Anne hated getting pushed around in a wheelchair. She was perfectly capable of walking out of the hospital, but no, they had stupid rules that didn’t make a damn bit of sense. The orderly at least seemed apologetic about having to do the chore. As her frustration built, Anne took a long, deep breath. At least they were letting her out. There’d been some discussion by the docs that maybe they should keep her in the hospital for her own safety.

“Here you go Detective,” the orderly said as he pushed her outside. “Did you have someone coming to pick you up?” She looked around. Anne was expecting Kurt. He’d left that morning to talk to Jason, but Anne was sure he’d be back in time to pick her up. If not, Dale should’ve at least come.

“Yeah, but they must be running late,” Anne answered. She reluctantly reached into her purse. Maybe it was time to call her folks. Of course, if Anne called them, there was a good chance that she wouldn’t be leaving their house anytime soon.

“Do you want me to wait with you?” he asked.

“No, I’ll be fine,” she answered, pulling out her phone. Before Anne had a chance to punch in her lock code, a limousine pulled up. A tall, stately woman gracefully exited out from the back as the driver hurried over to Anne’s wheelchair. The orderly, satisfied that his duty was done, fast walked back into the hotel. Anne could only stare at the smiling face of Mrs. Maritza Holland.

“I hope you don’t mind that I came to pick you up,” Mrs. Holland said, “I wanted to talk with you, and Mr. Schneider is being detained by your colleagues.” Anne’s heart skipped a beat. Had Jason arrested Kurt? Was he coming for her next? The driver eased Anne out of the wheelchair and escorted her to the back of the limo. Mrs. Holland took over and helped Anne sit down in one of the supple leather chairs.

“Take us to Antoine’s, Charles,” Mrs. Holland told the driver before turning back to Anne. “From what the news reported, I doubt much of your wardrobe survived. We’ll have to do something about that.”

“Why are you doing this, Mrs. Holland?” Anne asked, “The last time I saw you, you had armed men pointing weapons at me. And you weren’t very happy with Erik’s mission surrounding me.”

“My problems with Erik have nothing to do with you,” Mrs. Holland answered, “How would you feel if you find out that the FBI was investigating a homicide in your city without even telling you?” Anne nodded her head in understanding. That explained a lot. “There are other issues I have with that man, but I’m mature enough to realize my biases and try to overcome them.”

“What other issues?” Anne asked.

“You’ll find out about all of that once he’s gotten you back to the Saint,” Mrs. Holland answered.

“Who?” Anne asked.

“Jaegar’s boss,” Mrs. Holland answered. “Now, what I want to know is what exactly happened at your apartment.” The older woman’s blue eyes seemed to bore into Anne.

“I’m not sure that I should. At least not until I talk with Samantha,” Anne said. She wasn’t sure where Mrs. Holland fit into Avalonian politics or their intelligence services. Anne half-expected the older woman to erupt in fury, but instead a warm smile crossed Mrs. Holland’s face.

“I understand your hesitance, Detective, but Agent Hart is busily helping keep Jaegar alive,” Mrs. Holland answered. “In the meantime, I have the American government asking me pointed questions about a possible, illegal operation on their soil. I need to know what happened if I’m going to protect you, Jaegar, and his team.” Anne looked hard at Mrs. Holland. The older woman wasn’t lying to her, or even trying to deceive her. Anne told Mrs. Holland everything that had happened in the past two days. Sweet mother, had it only been a couple of days?

“And you’re sure Jaegar wasn’t lying to you when he said he didn’t know what your attacker was?” Mrs. Holland asked.

“No, he wasn’t lying to me,” Anne answered, “Do you know what it could’ve been?” Mrs. Holland shook her head.

“No, and that concerns me,” Mrs. Holland answered, “Jaegar’s been doing this so long, if he doesn’t know, it must be something new from the Dark Towers. With Arem’s appearance on this side of the gate…” Mrs. Holland let the thought trail off. “Let’s get you into some new clothes and then I’ll drop you off with the team. My attorneys should have Mr. Schneider out by then.”


Sam was going to kill him when they got back to the safehouse. Veronica’s magic managed to put him back together. The pain that shot through his body with every movement told him that her healing wasn’t quite complete. For the moment, though, Sam was content enough to glare at him from the seat next to him. That, he could deal with.

Kurt and Anne were chatting in the front of the van as the team drove to the second murder site. Veronica was sitting on the floor in some sort of trance. She was murmuring a low chant of what sounded eerily like elvish. Erik didn’t understand all of the intricacies of magic on this side of the gate. Hell, he barely understood it on his own side. That said, he knew that it took a pretty strong and capable spell-slinger to accomplish what Veronica had on this side of the gate. When Veronica told him that she needed to “center” herself because she’d “thrown her aura slightly out of sync with this realm,” Erik was experienced enough to let her do what she needed to. Now, if she could just quit following him around with those puppy dog eyes. He was trying to be nicer, because Sam asked him. He wasn’t sure if he was succeeding. Sam was too pissed off that he was accompanying them on this jaunt for him to ask.

“Okay everyone, we’re here,” Anne announced as the van parked on a darkened street. “I’ll go make sure that there isn’t anyone still at the crime scene. I’ll call you when you can come up. Will she be ready?” Anne nodded her head at the chanting sorceress.

“She said she would be,” Sam answered. Anne looked unconvinced, but she started to walk over to the house.

“STOP!” Veronica bellowed in an unearthly voice, “DO NOT APPROACH THE HOUSE!” Veronica jumped out of the van into a fighting stance. Bright white energy swirled around her hands.

Surrounding them, golden eyes glared out from the darkness.