Disclaimer: That which is the product of John Twelve Hawks or Christopher Nolan is not mine.


The knock was polite but insistent. The young man on the other side of the door was all clean lines and self-possession. He had a face that could be anywhere from a young twenty-five to an old sixteen. His brown hair was slicked back severely and he was dressed like a missionary.

"Can I help you?" Miles asked carefully.

"I'm Arthur," the young man offered his hand. "I believe you knew my father. May I come in?"

Miles's gaze fell on a metal tube strapped over the young man's back. "Please do. Do I need to worry about my neighbors?"

"No," Arthur shook his head, a ghost of a smile on his face. His eyes ran over the walls and furniture like a hound scenting for a fox. Miles knew what he was thinking; about the tracer beads that could be hidden in cushions and microphones that could be hidden in the walls. The eyes were impassive to an outsider. Like all Harlequins, Arthur carried himself with the aggressive self-confidence of a predator as he prowled around the room.

"There's an Internet cafe fifteen minutes from here," Miles said slowly. He held up his cell phone and let Arthur see that he was turning it off and setting it down. "Your father enjoyed places like that."

"He liked the atmosphere," Arthur nodded approvingly. "I prefer buses and trains to cars. They feel so boxed in."

Thirty minutes later, Miles had thoroughly searched his clothes for tracer beads and had picked a random diner. By random, Miles did not mean any old diner. Arthur had pulled out a random number generator and used it to determine their stop and which place they were using. Miles had never enjoyed the company of Arthur's father but he had respected the man and what he stood for. The twisting path Arthur led him on reminded Miles of exactly why he had never enjoyed Pendragon's company.

"I'm here to protect your daughter," Arthur said after they had ordered coffee and the server had vanished behind the counter.

"I thought as much." Miles said with a sigh. "I haven't told her."

"Probably wise. If she appears to be a citizen, she's in less danger. The only difficulty is blood work." Arthur folded his hands thoughtfully. "I believe I can deal with that for a time at least. Are there any embarrassing blood disorders in your family."

"I'm sure you can make one up," Miles said. "Even better, imply that I might not be her father and I don't want her to know."

"We believe in better safe than sorry. So do they." Arthur noted in what Miles gathered was agreement.

"He never mentioned he had a son," Miles said after a pause.

"He wouldn't, would he?" A trace of bitterness entered Arthur's voice.

Miles felt he could safely rule out Arthur as a member of the brethren. The Brethren would kill Mal outright, probably making it look like a car accident or an aneurysm. They would never announce themselves. "Could you enroll in one of my classes?"

"I suppose," Arthur looked uncertain for the first time.

"The son of my friend and my student would have a reason to pop round on occasion." Miles said.

"Then I'll enroll. I'm sure I can come up with the credentials." Arthur smiled with his eyes.