The moment he heard the footsteps behind him, he knew he was in trouble.

He had no real reason to think so; while it was unlikely for him to meet someone he didn't recognize on his own ground, it wasn't unheard of, nor was it particularly uncommon. Tourists were tourists.

Not a lot of tourists had shiny black eyes that took up the whole sockets, though.

Carefully, he turned to face the woman, trying to ignore the sudden nervous quickening of his heart. He knew he shouldn't be scared. He knew what she was, knew she had no reason to be here in an alley at night, looking at him with hungry eyes. She was in the wrong, not him. Getting scared in a situation like this wasn't something he did.

"What do you want?" he demanded, satisfied when his words came out clear and unwavering. It wouldn't do to make her think he was scared. Because he wasn't.

She picked her way through the alley toward him, as confident as a cat stalking a mouse. "He was right. You are pretty fuckin' dim." Her voice was laced with a slight Cockney accent, out of place considering they were currently in California. He squinted at her, realizing he could recognize her if he looked hard enough. So she was one of his. The accent threw him, but he supposed it wasn't really hers.

A pang of sadness struck him, but he forced it down.

"We have a deal, remember?" he growled, stepping back as she approached. "Non-interference. You leave us alone, we stay out of your boss's business." He grimaced distastefully. "I remember because I had to make out with him."

Her eyes, which had faded to a dull, muted gray, went black again. "It was a stupid deal!" she shrieked suddenly, and the air around her seemed to vibrate with her rage. "And I'm gonna show him that. When I show him... when I show him what I can do with you..." A twisted smile contorted her face. "He'll reward me. And we'll take all of you. Every single one."

He stood his ground, meeting black eyes with defiant blue. "Then come at me, bitch. You think I can't take you?"

Black eyes shone eagerly. "No, my dear. I don't think you can." Her hand shot out, and he slammed backward into the nearest wall, feeling the bricks crack as an invisible force crushed him against the unyielding surface. The back of his head throbbed, and something warm and wet trickled down the back of his neck. Pressure against his chest made it hard for him to inhale.

He waited, breathing in short gasps as the woman reached him unhurriedly. When she was within reach, he wrenched his right arm away from the wall and struck her in the jaw. She reeled with the blow, snarling gutturally in her throat as he shook off the crushing force and stepped away from the wall.

"I'm probably older than you, you know," he told her as he regained his breath. "You can't win this. And I'd really appreciate it if you let her go."

Her eyes were dull gray again, and downcast. "...Fine," she murmured. The woman's mouth opened, and a thick cloud of oily black smoke billowed out like toxic smog.

He had just dared to relax when he realized that the smoke, now free of its previous host, was heading straight for him. There was no time for him to flee before the noxious cloud was upon him, forcing itself into his eyes, nose, and mouth.

Later that night, earthquakes raged on the west coast. Hundreds died, with thousands soon to follow.