Disclaimer: Most of the characters and situations in this story belong to Marvel Comics, Fairview Entertainment, Dark Blades Films, and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. All others belong to me, particularly Cedric, and if you want to borrow them, you have to ask me first. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.


The limousine rolled up to stop in front of the mansion, and the driver got out, opening the car door and helping out the frail little man before removing the big package from the trunk. The flat, white-wrapped object barely fit under the driver's arm, but it left his other hand free to help the old man up the steps and into the house.

Once there, the driver trailed patiently behind as the old man went from room to room to peer at the walls and mutter to himself. Finally the old man settled on the spot where the staircase began its upward climb from the living room, where light filled the curve of the wall.

The driver made no protest; he set the package down carefully and took away the pedestal and bust that occupied the space, returning with a stepladder and the required tools.

As the driver worked on the wall, the old man unwrapped the package tenderly, smiling as the painting came into view. When the wall was ready, he handed the canvas up to the driver, watching as it was hung in place and adjusted to his specifications.

Finally, he nodded, satisfied. The driver stepped down and put the equipment away before returning to escort the old man out.

In the empty house, a camera turned to examine the painting. Vivid blues and greens filled the canvas, background to the woman who sat smiling serenely at the viewer. Red-gold hair, blue eyes, white blouse, green skirt, the ocean behind; the impression was of a mermaid perched for a moment on land, beautiful and mysterious.

As if satisfied, the camera pivoted back to its original position. The light stayed on, waiting for the house's occupants to return.