Author's notes: Just a little plot bunny inspired by seeing Hellboy 2: The Golden Army for the first time. No real spoilers are involved here, though. The mainly functional character of Fanny Davenport is original to this story. Canon characters, both named and implied, belong to Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Press for the original comics; and Guillermo del Toro, Sony/Revolution Studios, and Universal Pictures for the movie versions.

Shades of Red: A Hellboy Story

As Hellboy faced the towering, black tree-like creature, the jeans and tee-shirt clad, brown-haired young woman cowering behind it kept on whimpering in fear.

He waved the huge pistol he gripped in his left hand. "Look, lady, move away, far away. I've got to shoot this thing down, but I don't have the best aim in the world."

Fanny Davenport, pushing her long hair out of her face, peered out from behind the menacing creature that seemed more interested in the red man with the pistol than in her. As much as she wanted to will her legs to take her far away from this frightening scene, she stood frozen in place; mesmerized by the enormous size of the red guy's stone-like right hand.

"I use really big bullets, lady," Fanny heard him continue, "Odds are that one of 'em could just pass though Mr. Elm Man and get you anyways. Just move away, why don't you?"

In Fanny's peripheral vision, she could see crowds of terrified onlookers waving her towards them. She finally found the courage to run to their protection.

"Atta girl," Hellboy muttered, right before he pumped several huge bullets into the wooden giant and it toppled over just like a tree felled in the forest.

He watched as the tree-like carcass first swelled and then shrank away to something almost the size and shape of a baseball bat. Fanny, in spite of her fear, once again moved closer; and heard him laugh to himself. "I've already got a hand the size of a baseball mitt. Guess I could use a bat."

As he holstered his large pistol and bent over to retrieve the now small, club-like creature, he felt a hand on his left arm. Looking up, he saw the young woman from before.

Arising to his full height, he tried to smile at her to show that she really had nothing to fear.

"Thanks for getting out of my way, lady. That really helped."

"Fanny; you can call me Fanny."

She almost smiled back, but looked down instead. What she had been planning on saying remained frozen on the tip of her tongue.

"I'm sorry if I scared you, Fanny. But I had to get you to move. Better for you, better for me."

She nodded and then looked up into his face. "I know what they call you. Do you really, really come from that, um, other place?"

Hellboy shrugged. "I'm big, I'm red, and I'd have horns if I let myself. I've got this long red tail and I've got cloven hooves inside these black boots of mine. So, yeah, I look like I probably came from that other place. Don't know for sure, though."

Fanny blinked. "What do you mean, you don't know?"

Hellboy sighed, "Tell me, Fanny, do you really know where you came from before you were born? Before Mummy and Daddy wrapped you in a warm, soft blanket and gave you your first bottle?"

"I …" Fanny hesitated, "No, not really."

"Well, Fanny, neither do I. I may have just had a 'Daddy' and not a 'Mommy'. He may have had a rough army blanket instead of a warm, soft one and candy bars instead of a bottle. But that's all I know and, as far as I'm concerned, that's good enough for me."

Fanny blushed at the gently implied criticism. Looking away, she mumbled, "I should've thanked you for saving my life instead of asking stupid questions."

Hellboy smiled broadly, "You're not the first to ask and won't be the last. As for the rest, I'm just doing my job. Now, I've got to explain to my bosses why I let all these crowds of people see my big, red butt."

Laughing, he walked away, leaving Fanny with something to think about.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome, Beth Palladino