A Dragan's Tale


Author: Nu_Klear <nu_klear[at]yahoo.com>

Disclaimer: All characters belong to there owners! Also I'd just like to thank Tenhawk for allowing me to play in his universe!

Summary: Like the ripples from throwing a pebble in a pond, a single chance encounter can have many unforeseen results...

Warning: Crossovers ahead. (Yes Plural.)

Rating: PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content... in other words a bit more grown up then the series...but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.

Hercules leaned into his seat looking over the unfamiliar club in a half-hearted search for a familiar face. He was seriously thinking of leaving when a gentle tap on his shoulder caught his attention. "Mind if I buy you a drink?"

Herc sighed, turned to politely refuse and felt his jaw drop when he saw the owner of the voice. He stared for a moment. She looked him over, smiling, before she tilted her head and gave him a questioning look that as much as said 'Well?'

"Ah, sure..." he said distractedly as his mind skipped gears. "You're a dragon...?"

"You don't say," she said, trying to catch the attention of a passing waitress. "And all this time I thought I was a newt...!"

Herc stared at her a moment before starting to chuckle. He tilted his head apologetically at the being sitting on the chair beside him. "I'm sorry; I just expected a dragon to be..."

"Bigger than a yard stick?" She finished for him as she turned from giving her order to the waitress. "Well, you would be right...normally. Unfortunately, I'm not normal." That said, she reached up and flicked her cheek which gave a metallic ring.

Herc shook his head in disbelief, as his mind tried to catch up with the situation. "So you're not a *real* dragon?"

She crossed her arms and gave him an amused look. "I never said that." The expression on his face made her start chuckling. "Anyway, I'm called Chyra! It's my job to tell the new guests the rules!"

Hercules looked around nervously at the other patrons. "Rules...?"

She shook her head and smiled. "They are very simple... for most people, anyway!" His quizzical expression caused her to smirk. "We've had a few hard heads that seem to think that we weren't serious... they learned we are the hard way!"

"...back to the rules." She held up her 'hand' and began clicking off her claws. "Rule One - no approaching a new guest until they know the rules. Rule Two - if a guest indicates not being interested, *back off*. Rule Three - No offending the other guests; if you have a problem with their choice of partners, *keep it to yourself*! Rule four - when and if you find a partner and you mutually decide to go beyond just drinks, check out a room*! They are included in the cover so there's no extra charge! Rule..."

"Are you telling me this is a *Brothel*?" Hercules said with an expression of disgusted tinged wonder.

Chyra dropped her head into her 'hands' and groaned as the room was filled with the sound of scraping chairs. "Four - prostitution is strictly forbidden! Anyone found to participate in it will be punished and barred for life!"

Herc sheepishly glanced at the hostile stares coming from the people at the tables around him, blushing in embarrassment. "Sorry..."

"*FRESH MEAT*!" Most of the room cracked up at the taunting shout and those that didn't just shook their head in exasperation before going back to what they had been doing. Soon the room was buzzing with conversation again.

Slowly Hercules turned to face the direction from which the shout had come. His expression went from embarrassment to annoyance when he saw the young man with green hair sitting at a table behind him, grinning Walking back to him Herc saw a twitch start under one of his eyes. "What the Hell do you want?"

"That's it?" Hercules said with a pointedly false hurt tone to his voice. "No, 'how've you been'? No, 'what have you been up to'? No, 'long time no see, good buddy'? Just 'what the hell do you want'?"

"We have never been 'good buddies'," Dragan said as he crossed his arms, smirking as Herc sat on the other side of the table from Dragan. "And this being only the third time I've heard from you in the last two millennia kind of gives me the impression that this isn't a social visit! Now talk!"

Hercules shook his head and laughed. "Actually, this *is* just a social visit!"

Dragan stared at him in shocked disbelief for a moment before bursting out laughing. "*Say what*?! "

"I met someone that made me curious about some of the stories you used to tell." Dragan leaned toward the son of Zeus with a cold, hard expression that melted slowly to one of curiosity. "Hey, don't make me beg!"

Dragan stared at Hercules for a minute before shaking his head and chuckling. "What happened to make you want to hear those again?" Herc smirked and shrugged without comment. "Alright, let's talk in my office. Umm... by the way, what*should* I call you? Kev or...?"

Hercules winced as he stood and followed the smaller man through the maze of tables. "Please don't call me Kev! Kevin will do nicely... and you?"

"Dragan...the same as ever, my friend." Opening a door beside the bar with a nod to the security guard, he waved Herc through.

"That's the thing about not being a legend, you can almost always use the same name and no one recognizes it. Oh, by the way, thanks for keeping me out of that show of yours!" Dragan said. Following Herc up the stairway, Dragan bumped into him when he came to an abrupt stop at the top of the stairs. "Hey, what's the big idea? Don't you know it's rude to just stop in the middle of a walkway when there are people behind you?"

Herc stared at the floor of the office, or rather where the floor should have been. His breath momentarily caught in his throat when Dragan pushed past him and walked out onto what appeared to be thin air.

"I'm telling you, buddy, this will be easy money, man!"

The big man closed his eye with a pained expression, switching his cell phone to his other hand. He pulled the nozzle from the tank of his Harley Davidson. "Oh, that makes me feel so much better, Bobby! Why is it every time you say that I wind up with stitches?"

"Har, har! Look partner, Cheyenne and I already checked out his hotel room; there was an unread message saying someone couldn't meet him at someplace called the Mixer and asked for a new meeting place. Cheyenne did some checking on the computers and it turns out the only Mixer in the area according to city records is--and get this--a nightclub hotel!"

"I don't know, Bobby. That sounds like a cat house to me," the big man said, putting the hose back on the pump with a look of concern. "And operating that openly tells me that they're either stupid, crazy, have connections or some combination of the three."

"That crossed my mind, so I made some calls. According to my contacts the place is just what it claims to be... a nightclub with an attached hotel. It caters to a specific crowd, although I couldn't find out what they meant by that! Owners a guy name Aym A. Dragon-- no known mob or drug connections, spotless criminal record...Like I said easy money!"

"Bobby..." his suspicions were aroused at the overly pleasant tone in his partner's voice. "What are you trying not to tell me?"

"Now would I ever hold back info from you, partner?"

"In a heartbeat." the big man said as feminine laughter erupted in the background followed by a muffled, "Traitor".

"Okay, I only got info on Dragon from one of my sources; the others hung up when I mentioned him... even after I offered them double!"

"That is *not* an encouraging sign, Bobby."

"You want to hear this or not? Then shut up. According to my source, Dragon is a mercenary, mostly retired now. He only has a few clients that keep him on retainer. My source wouldn't tell me anymore, except to warn me about his starting fee..."

"Okay...?" the big man said his confusion expression reflected in his voice. "What about it?"

"He charges fifteen percent of your yearly income, plus salary and expenses if he decides to take the job. Okay, there, I told you all that I know. Are you happy now?



"You've got to be kidding me!" the big man said rolling his eyes. "Bobby, this is crazy even for you...no way."

"Come on, partner..."


"Listen, I doubt this Dragon guy wants guys like this hanging around his club, so I doubt he'll give you much trouble. Look at it this way, its twenty thousand just to play bouncer. That's seventeen grand for you, Partner!"


"*Please*....! Come on Reno, you owe me and you could really use the cash!!"

"Why do I let you talk me into these things?"

"You're a true friend and upstanding citizen..."

"Can the brown nosing and give me the address and the perp's info before I remember how stupid doing this is!"

Dragan looked back at Herc's annoyed expression, glanced at the floor and smirked in understanding. "I guess I should have warned you about the illusion spell. Well, actually it's several smaller ones. I got the idea from a book; I forget its name, but a business acquaintance cast it for me, even added a few extras. See?"

Herc looked where Dragan was pointing and blushed. A white mist surrounded the table he had been sitting beside. Inside that mist a human and demon were doing a lot more than sharing drinks. As he watched, the gold dragon flew into the mist and landed on the table. The couple jumped apart, expressions of embarrassment that quickly became surprised chagrin. Nodding their heads sheepishly they straightened their clothes, stood and moved towards a desk between two sets of doors. "What...?"

"It has magic detectors/nullifiers built in," Dragan said as he looked over the club below him. "They let us know if anyone is using magic, what type of magic, and lets us see what the magic is doing. In this case it was a simple illusion spell. They were probably too embarrassed to check out a room... happens a lot with the newer guests!"

"Interesting, but *not* what I was going to ask!" Hercules gave his friend a look of guarded curiosity as he pointed at the floor. "What is this place and what is going on down there?"

"You always were a bit thick-headed when it came this." Dragan sighed in frustration and handed him a business card. "It's an interspecies nightclub and hotel. You need to know more?"

Hercules took the card and read it aloud. "The Mixer: A place for those wishing to experiment with different tastes!" Herc's face went blank as things fell into place in his head; looking back at Dragan he shook his head. "I'd change the slogan... might give the wrong impression to some people!"

Dragan shrugged. "That's their problem, not mine! I don't advertise; you can only find this place if it's what you're looking for." Dragan sprawled into a chair by the desk on the far side of the room from the entrance. For some reason the illusion didn't cover the floor of that quarter of the room. "And don't even think of acting all righteous on me! I happen to remember you never giving a second glance at human/centaur couples!"

Hercules smirked at his friend before forcing his face into an innocent expression. "I wasn't going to say a thing about the patrons; maybe about the host, but not the patrons!" He struggled vainly to hold in a grin at the dirty look Dragan gave him.

"Smartass! Just for that you can't have any of *this*!" Dragan held up a clay pitcher before pouring some of its contents into a tankard on his desk and took a sip. "It's authentic Greek mead, my good man. And your mother's recipe, no less! Wonderful!"

"Uh-huh, yeah, right." Herc walked over, poured some for himself. He sat down, took a drink and stared at the tankard for a while before glaring at Dragan. "How the Hell did you get my mother's recipe?"

"First rule of looking for someone--check their house and ask if their parents know where they are!" Dragan shrugged indifferently. "After that mess you got me out of in Athens I realized I still had some stuff belonging to you and Ioalus. I was in the area so I swung by your mom's place. She didn't know where you were but still offered me dinner and a place to sleep for the night. After dinner I asked if I could have the recipe and she gave it to me."

"Actually, she just wanted someone to grill about you who wouldn't omit things in order not to worry her..." Dragan looked at him over the rim of his mug, eyes sparkling with mischief. "By the way, what had you told her about how we got away from Athena?"

Hercules eyes went wide at the possibility that question suggested. "*You didn't*?!"

Dragan chuckled at the son of Zeus' tone of voice. "I don't tell lies, Her... Kevin! Not even for someone I respect. You know that. Now, why in the world did she blush like a virgin and then laugh for half a damn hour?"

Hercules, who had covered his face with his hand, looked at him through his fingers. "You're an ass, you know that?" At the smirk he received he took a long drink and sighed. "To answer your question, it's none of your business!"

"Okay, okay! Always so damned sensitive," Dragan said refilling his drink. "So what did you want to ask me about? In the year I hung out with you I told you hundreds of stories so I will need you to narrow it down for me."

"The Kine'iende." Dragan froze with his cup to his lips, eyes focused on something other than the room around him. "What do you know about them?" Herc asked.

Dragan swallowed, gently set his mug on the table and looked at Hercules with a blank expression. "Not much more than what I have told you... they're an extinct order of knights."

Herc raised an eyebrow. "But..." Dragan held up his hand cutting him off.

"Many of the stories I told you were second or third hand, some are even forth or more! They were told to me while I was growing up by people that had heard them from friends, or by old people that couldn't get out of the past." Dragan closed his eyes, shook his head and sighed.

"Sorry. There was a reason I only told *those* stories when I was drunk! I really don't like even thinking about that time of my life... while I'm not sloshed anyway; too many bad memories!" Dragan picked up his mug again & quickly downed the last of the contents. He set the tankard back on the desk and refilled it before favoring Hercules with a forced smile. "So what could possibly make you curious enough about them to hunt me down?"

Hercules was tempted to refuse to answer that question, but the look in Dragan's eyes made him change his mind. "I met someone that claimed he used to be one. When I heard you were in the area, I had a few weeks between shoots so I thought I'd look you up and ask you some questions."

Dragan went utterly still, his face hard. His eyes blazed as they bored into Herc's intently. "What makes you think he was telling the truth? I know you Herc; you wouldn't be here if you didn't believe him at least a little. Umm, what does he look like?"

"First, lose the attitude!" Herc said his tone dripping with annoyance. "If you don't know anything else about them, why are you so interested in him?"

Dragan smiled wickedly and crossed his arms on his chest. "I said I didn't know *much* more, not that I didn't know*anything* more. You should know the difference!"

"Why am I not surprised?" Herc glared icily at Dragan. "So what else do you know?"

Dragan shrugged nonchalantly. "Why should I answer you if you won't answer me?"

Herc rolled his eyes the situation. "Fine, be an asshole! He was in his mid teens, brown hair and brown eyes. He knew a lot of things he shouldn't be able to know, and I saw him use a healing technique I hadn't seen in a long time."

"So it's not..." Dragan trailed off, lost in his own thoughts for several minutes. Shaking his head and sighing wearily, he slouched down in his chair and put his feet on the desk before speaking again. "I just know I'm going to need a drink before this is over... a *very* strong drink!"

"Well, you're not going to get one!" Herc jumped as the tiny dragon landed on the desk in front of him. "Last time you got drunk it cost thirty grand in repairs to the house!"

She turned and looked Hercules from head to toe. "Feel like telling me what's got his bellows burning?"

Herc looked uncomfortable as he shrugged at tiny dragon. "I just asked him about the Kine'Iende and mentioned that I had met someone that claimed they were one."

The small dragon rolled her eyes with a sigh. "That would do it! He'll be fine in a few minutes... I hope!"

"Excuse me, umm...Chyra, right?" At her nod Herc smiled slightly. "Who are you, and what's his problem?"

"I told you already, I'm called Chyra. Before I can answer the rest of your questions, I need to know something. You're not an actor, right?" Herc sighed and nodded at her. She replied, "I'm Merlin's idea of helping a friend! My blood was used to forge him and his sword. So when Merlin saw Dragan was slowly losing it he pulled me back from the afterlife and bonded me into this body. I'm supposed to be his conscience, keep him stable and make sure he doesn't go to the other side." She put her fore claws on her hips and glared at Dragan. "And as for the pain-in-the-ass Kine'Iende, up until shortly after I came along he blamed *them* for how 'bad' his life was!"

Hercules gave her an incredulous look. "Huh?"

Chyra looked at him speculatively. "How old do you think he is?"

"A little older then me... I never asked. Why?" Hercules worriedly leaned towards Chyra when she started making a choking sound until he realized she was trying not to laugh. "Want to let me in on the joke?"

Chyra finally got herself under control and looked at Herc sheepishly. "Sorry. I just didn't think he kept it hidden that well. He was nearly three when *Atlantis* was destroyed!"

Reno frowned and looked at the structure in front of him. It was good-sized building--two stories high and took up three-quarters of the block. Two people were standing on either side the door. Neither was very large, but by the way they moved he could tell they knew how to handle themselves.

He leaned the Heritage Softtail onto its kickstand, got off and lifted the large saddlebags onto his shoulder as headed for the entrance. He stopped when one of the doormen stepped into his path and smiled. "Good evening, sir. May I see some identification please?"

Reno smiled, pulled out his wallet and handed him his drivers' license. "Sure. No problem."

The doorman looked it over, then handed it back. "Welcome to the Mixer, Mr. Black. Is this your first visit to our establishment?"

Reno nodded his head and grinned. "Yeah. A friend recommended it to me so I thought I'd have a few drinks and get some sleep."

The doormen shared a small grin after looking Reno up and down. "Alright Mr. Black, there is a twenty dollar cover charge. It covers the use of a room and twenty-four hours' use of all facilities. Drinks are not included in it, though. Please pay at the window."

Reno shrugged and walked to the window, leaving the doormen chuckling behind him.

"You think he has any idea what he's in for?" the doorman on the right muttered.

"No, but with those looks I give him about fifteen seconds after he's been ruled before he finds out!" the Kitsune looked to his brother, mischief dancing in his eyes. "I just hope he really doesn't need sleep!"

Reno glanced back at the doormen; one was doubled over laughing while the other was talking into a radio.

"Oh, ignore those two. They're probably swapping dumb jokes!" the woman in the cage said smiling. She slid a piece of plastic to him through the slot under the window. "Go to the first empty table and place this tag in the holder you'll find on it. Someone will be there shortly to explain the rules to you. Have a *very* nice evening."

Reno hesitantly picked up the card and gave her a puzzled look. "Rules...?"

Her smile deepened. "Everything will be explained inside, Mr. Black."

He stared at her for a moment, then shrugged and entered the club. He froze just inside the door, staring out over the club. He was really glad he was still wearing his sunglasses so it wasn't quite as obvious that he was staring. It looked like a scene from a sci-fi movie; all around him humans in and out of costume intermingled.

Reno snapped out of his daze when he noticed several individuals that were sitting alone watching him. Slowly he walked to an empty table, sat down and placed the card into a stand sitting on the table. When he looked around again most of the customers that had been watching him were now watching the band, although a few continued to watch him intently.

"Don't mind them, sir! They won't bother you if you don't want them to. Would you like to order a drink?" Reno jumped at the unexpected voice from beside him. Turning to face its owner he found a young woman dressed as a demon, a serving tray under her left arm. "I must warn you that if you have anything with alcohol you will have to check your weapons into the weapons locker."

Removing his sunglasses Reno looked her over. Her skin was light pink and two slender black horns emerged from her brown hair to curve back over her head. She was wearing a skintight T-shirt that said 'Devilishly Beautiful', and a pair of knee length denim shorts which, he discovered when she turned toward the bar, had been altered to accommodate the slender tail wrapped around her right thigh.

Reno watched the tail shift position and frowned. *How in the hell is it doing that*? Finally, curiosity getting the best of him, Reno reached out and squeezed her tail between his index finger and thumb. When she jumped with a startled squeak Reno's finger slipped and he completely encircled her tail.

Stepping away she spun to face him, her tail pulled away from her thigh as it slid through his fingers. "I... I'm s-sorry, sir... But t-that isn't on the menu!" she said as her cheeks began to redden.

Reno slowly looked up at the shaky smile on her reddening face, his eyes wide, and blinked. He looked from her blushing face to the warm tail in his hand, feeling the muscles twitch and the blood pulse.

"It's real!" Reno said in quiet amazement.

"Yes s-sir, and q-quite sensitive too, so c-could you please let go?" Seeing the dazed look on his face as he sat staring wide-eyed at her tail, she suddenly realized, "You d-didn't know..." She unconsciously slid her tray between them, wrapped her arms around it, and squeezed it tightly as a new possibility entered her mind. "Please... don't shoot me," she said in a near whisper.

Reno snapped out of his daze at her frightened plea. When he looked up from her tail and took in her body language Reno mentally slapped him self. Falling back on his police training, he forced a reassuring smile on his face. "Calm down; it's okay. I'm not going to shoot you... I promise. I'm sorry if I scared or offended you. I just wasn't expecting it to be real!"

As she began to calm down, she visibly relaxed. Reno glanced around the room and saw several people giving him hostile looks. "Look, why don't you sit down and let me get you something to make up for this... or at least show the lynch mob I'm not up to something!"

When she looked in the direction he indicated, she smiled and turned back to him. "T-that's just c-club s-security. It would be really easy to get them to c-calm down!" she said and pointedly looked down.

Reno followed her gaze and felt him self blush when he realized he still had his fingers wrapped around her tail. Quickly letting go he cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I'm sorry..."

"It's okay... I'm not mad! I just don't let many people play with my tail is all," she said as she sat in chair beside him. "I'm called Tease. Who are you?"

"Vince Black, Nice to meet you."

The human behind the bar watched as the waitress sat down at the newbie's table. He turned to the demon beside him. "Think we should call the boss?"

The demon glanced up from the drink he was mixing, looked over the tables before he shrugged and went back to the drink he was working on. "Why? She's on break, so it's not like she's goofing off!"

"Yeah, but he hasn't been told the rules yet!"

The demon poured the drink into a glass and set it on the waitress' tray, then turned to face the young human. "Listen to me, kid. First off, the rules only say that you can't make a move on a newbie until they know the rules, they don't say anything about letting a newbie make a move on you! Secondly, this is the first time I've seen her show the slightest interest in anybody and she is perfectly capable of telling him the rules, so I'm not going to bother her. Also, I think she has made it clear she has no interest in you so quit acting like an ass and get back to work!"

The human's face paled and his eyes went wide. "But I've never even thought of her..." He trailed off seeing the demon's shoulders shake in silent laughter.

"Why you... I'm going to... *That wasn't funny, you poor excuse for throw rug*!"

The demon just laughed louder at his friend's outrage.

Chyra giggled at the look on Herc's face before shaking her head at Dragan. "Nothing like the fall of a civilization to bring out the best in humans," she said. He was three, his entire world had been destroyed and he was alone. He needed someone to blame for that; eventually he picked the people he was told were supposed to protect them!"

Herc's expression was serious when she finished. "Why..."

Dragan cut him off before he could finish. "Why didn't I tell you my real age? You never asked. Why am I still alive? That, as you said, is *none of your business*! Why don't I blame the Kine'Iende anymore? A friend kicked my ass, rubbed my face in the fact that I was being a hypocrite, and then he and Merlin spent two years helping me start to get over it!"

Chyra turned and glared at him. "Don't you mean 'grow up'?! I mean, you behaved like a damned hatchling...and a spoiled one at that!"

Dragan grabbed her tail, yanked her off the desk & dropped her into an empty waste basket, then closed the lid and put his foot on it. "Chyra, you need to learn to shut up," Dragan said to the closed lid as clangs and curses echoed from it.


"Not until you promise to quit embarrassing me!"

"YOU... *What about me? You think being the size of a housecat does my pride any good*?"

Herc set his chin on his folded hands, eyes flicking from Dragan to the can and back as they bickered. After a moment he shook his head and knocked Dragan's foot off the can. "Now, now; play nice with your sister!"

Dragan growled at Hercules as Chyra pushed the lid open and pulled herself out of the can. "*She is NOT my sister*!"

Herc smiled smugly at Dragan's outburst as he watched Chyra run under the desk. "You couldn't tell that from the way you two argue!"

"Dragan's right, sir!" Chyra's voice echoed from under the desk. "If I'm any relation to him I'm his mother!"

Dragan fell out of his chair with a pain filled indignant yelp, then dove under the desk as Herc watched Chyra crawl out of the hole which the computer cables were coming out of in the desktop. "Chyra, when I find you I'm going to melt you down and make a watch!"

Herc looked between the tiny dragon sitting on the desk and the legs of the ten thousand year old mercenary sticking out from under the desk. Finally he looked at Chyra and summed up his thoughts on the situation in five words. "Ten-thousand, going on fifteen. Right?"

Chyra sat on the desk chuckling at Herc's comment as Dragan searched for her under the desk then stopped and stared at something in the bar below as the phone began to ring.

A bang followed by loud cursing accompanied the first ring. Dragan slowly climbed out from under the desk, holding the back of his head. He glared at the dragon sitting on the desk and hit the speaker button on the phone. "*This had better be good*!"

"This is Mike down in security, sir!"

"What is it, Mike," Dragan all but growled as he rubbed the back of his head.

"We just got a message from the guards at your house. The place was attacked!"

Dragan stared at the phone for a moment before chuckling. "I must have hit my head harder then I thought because it sounded like you just said someone attacked my house!"

"Um, Dragan..." Chyra said.

"Yes sir, I did," the frazzled guard said. "Also, when they did an inspection after the attack, they... they found that vault seven had been broken into and emptied!"

"*WHAT?*" Dragan screamed at the phone, his face going pale.

"Dragan..." Chrya called louder.

"They were able to capture two of the attackers, but the police were beginning to arrive and they were sure they would takethem into custody. Travis and Makael are trying to track the thieves with Yang, but can't be sure he won't lose the trail..."

Dragan stared at the phone silently for a moment. "Call my lawyers. Tell them and those idiots at my house to keep the cops off my property. Call everyone that's off duty and have them help Travis and Makael find my property. Then make sure to tell those fools to find out who organized all this, or they can..."

"*DRAGAN...!*" Chyra screamed.

"WHAT?" Dragan screamed back, turning to face her. She just silently pointed at the image on the floor. When he looked in the direction she indicated he groaned at the scene below.

Several people, most of them armed with automatic weapons, were blocking the front entrance. Two of them were holding guns on a Native American man and blonde woman while the rest covered the club. A human with long brown hair and wearing a trench coat was holding a shotgun to a customer's head and pointing a pistol at the men with the machine guns.

The lightly armed security guards were doing their best to cover the situation but less than a quarter of them had firearms. Their purpose was to break up fights and the like, not riot control.

"It'll be a blood bath...!" Dragan was too distracted to tell who said it, but had to agree with the assessment.

"Sir, what's wrong? Should I send assistance?"

Dragan ignored the phone and favored Hercules with a smile filled with grim amusement. "Why is it that whenever we're in the same city, my life goes to the lowest level of Hell in a hand basket?"

Reno watched as the woman across from him reached up and tugged at one of the horns that emerged from her hair. "See? They're real, too." She said as she let go of her horn and took a sip of her Pepsi.

Reno hung his head and chuckled humorlessly. "Easy money my... I'm going to get you for this one, Bobby!"


"Oh the guy that sent me here," Reno looked at her and smiled "He's always saying that and every time he does I get the sudden urge to hide."

Tease looked at him suspiciously. "Sent you? What did he send you here for?"

Reno stared at her for a moment, shrugged, pulled a folded piece of paper from his duster and handed it to her. Tease slowly unfolded the piece of paper to reveal a wanted poster.

"Guess this explains the guns... You're a bounty hunter?"

"Yes, I am." Reno frowned when she seemed to deflate slightly. "My partner got a lead that this guy would be here. So, there any chance you've seen him?"

She looked at the poster for a moment then looked up at him with a small smile. "Would you believe he was thrown out of here about an hour ago?"

"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Reno shook his head and sighed as a grin slowly spread across his face. "Oh well, my partner is watching his apartment and said that he'd let me know if he shows up there. So I guess I'll just wait here for him to call me." After a moment of smiling into his ice tea he favored Tease with a puzzled expression. "How did you know I had guns on me?"

Tease smiled coyly and tapped the end of her nose. "I could smell the gun oil. The boss likes us to be able to tell if a guest is carrying so that we don't get anymore of those hunter freaks in here trying to blow up the place!"

Reno looked at her blankly for a moment then shook his head with a pained expression. "I know I'm going to be sorry I asked but... 'hunters'?"

"Demon hunters," Tease said her face darkening. "Mostly a bunch of psychotic, sociopath assholes that seem to think that anything that isn't human has to die, whether they are dangerous or not! Needless to say, they are not really welcome here!"

Reno stared at her in shock for a moment before grimacing like he had just bitten into a lemon. "What do you know, I was right. I'm sorry I asked!"

Tease looked at the sour look on his face and looked down embarrassed. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to offend..."


Tease spun in her seat to see a red faced human male a few tables away standing up, his hand reaching into his jacket. Her heart jumped into her throat as she realized what was about to happen, only to feel a chill run down her spine when the sound of a shotgun chambering a shell behind her caused most of the club to freeze in place.

When the man's head slowly turned to face her, his face paled. She slowly turned toward Reno as he walked pass her, sawed off shotgun leading the way, the scowl on his face might as well have been carved from stone.

"I'd think real hard before I made my next move, because I only see two ways this will go," Reno said emotionlessly. "One: you can pull whatever you got and I shoot you, or Two: you very slowly use two fingers to place it on the table in front of you and back away from it like a good boy!" The man slowly pulled a 9mm Jennings from the inside of his jacket; as he began to set it on the table the man hesitated, eyeing the approaching security guards, the gun shifting in his hand.

Reno took another step toward him and placed the barrel against his head. "You really want to find out if I will..." His next words were cut off by a door slamming open. Reno had drawn his handgun and was covering the door with it before the first of the twelve people had fully entered it. His scowl deepened when he saw the two people that were being held at gunpoint. "'Easy money', huh, Bobby?"

"Oh, shut up!" the Native American man growled back.

Dragan shook his head at the look Herc threw in his direction and turned his attention back to the phone. "Mike, how close is the nearest help?"

"Ten minutes away at most, sir."

"Wouldn't do any good then. In ten minutes this place would be a *battlefield*!" Dragan muttered the last part as he shook his head, looked down into the club again and turned to a cabinet against the wall that had a keypad on the front of it. "Mike, you in main security or the field office?"

"Main office, sir... Why?" The confusion in Mike's voice was clear even through the phone line.

"Check the feed from any camera C-3 through C-10," Dragan's tone slip from annoyed sarcasm to anger. "Or you could look out the fucking window, seeing that you're just across the street."

"Holy shit! What... I mean... how... w..." Mike continued stumbling over his words until Dragan finally cut in.

"How long have you worked for me, Mike?" Dragan asked in a pained tone, tapping at the keys on the cabinet.

"About a week, sir. The supervisor took everyone else with him when the report came in. He told me to stay here, call and inform you of the situation, and stay out of trouble." Mike said hesitantly.

"He did, did he? Do me a favor kid," Dragan continued with out waiting for a response. "Call your supervisor, tell him what is going on and let him know that I'm going to have a little chat with him about company procedure when this is over! Thanks!"

That said Dragan reached back and hit the speaker button, breaking the connection as the cabinet swung out revealing a compartment behind it. The almost *completely* empty compartment! Dragan stared at it in disbelief. "What the hell...!"

"They're all in for repairs," Chrya said, rubbing her head in embarrassment at Dragan's expression. "After that last mess they really needed it. Most of them are due back next week, and *I'm* too small to carry anything from the armory with which to replace them!"

Dragan pulled a tactical harness out of the compartment and pushed the cabinet back into place. He shook his head with a half smile and chuckled. "Oh, this is just turning out to be a *Perfect* day! Thieves get in the vaults, attacks on my club *and* house, and *NOW* I have no weapons! I've definitely pissed off somebody upstairs!"

Dragan pulled out a drawer on his desk and pulled a large revolver out of it. "Only six shots. I wish I hadn't turned my Bren into the locker."

Herc looked at the gun in distain. "What are you planning to do with that?"

Dragan glanced at him as he checked the gun over. "Jeez, Herc, I never took you for that slow. I'm going to shoot the rude people in ski masks that are waving guns in my club."

Hercules scowled at him. "I figured that much out for myself. I meant, why don't you just use hand to hand?"

Dragan shook his head in amusement. "Herc, I may be tough, but I'm not bulletproof... and there is no way I could get close enough without me, the patrons, and/or my club getting filled with holes."

Herc sighed in frustration. "'You'? Don't you mean, 'we'?" When Dragan looked up with a surprised expression on his face Hercules grinned. "What? You thought I was just going to sit up here while you played with the party crashers? Just... don't use the gun, okay? Couldn't we use a diversion or something?"

Dragan rolled his eyes and sighed as he slid into the tactical harness. "What do you suggest? That we streak the place? That would distract them alright!"

Dragan chuckled sardonically. "I don't have anything to work with; as you saw, my backup armory is empty at the moment, my security is scattered to hell. I'm sorry... If I had one flash bang I could..."

Herc watched a mischievous smile spread across Dragan's face as he trailed off and felt his stomach sink. "You've got an idea, don't you?" Herc crossed his arms and smirked. "And it had just better not involve me being naked, either!"

Dragan shook his head at him and raised an eyebrow. "How would you feel about taking a gamble? If this works no one will get killed, but if it doesn't then we won't have surprise anymore. This *will* get messy!"

Hercules looked down at the rapidly deteriorating situation in the club and sighed. "Looks like we don't have much choice. We don't have time to think of anything else!"

"Cool! Let's do it!" Dragan picked up Chrya in his right hand and walked toward a door beside the stairway they had entered. "We jump the moment they look at the distraction. We'll have to hurry; if these guys are any good at all we'll only have seconds before they recover!"

Chyra looked up at Dragan nervously as they approached the door. "Dragan... what are you planning?"

Dragan grabbed the door handle and turned it before looking down at her and baring his teeth in a feral grin. "*Payback!*" That said, he pulled the door open on silent hinges and took two steps onto the concealed catwalk. He pulled back his right arm and with a causally toss threw a screaming Chrya at one of the intruders.


Michael swore to himself as he scanned the club. This was supposed to be an easy run. The target was reported to be near the front entrance, they were supposed to be in and out in seconds! However, from the beginning things hadn't been going to plan.

First, when they had arrived on site the security guards at the entrance had been harder to deal with than they had been led to believe. Then there was a couple at the cage that had to be dealt with and finally, when they entered the building they found an armed altercation was already taking place so security wasn't in the indicated positions. And to make things even more interesting, the *target* was no where to be seen.

"Tell us where Dragan is and no one will get hurt!" He had to feel a certain pride that he kept the nervousness out of his voice even after he saw at least three demons that would just shrug off their guns like water! <When I get back I'm going to have a long talk with whoever decided that we didn't need to know this place was a demon bar.>

"What you be wantin' with Dragan?" a demon sitting at a nearby table asked in a cold tone.

"That's none of your concern..." Michael was cut off by a disreputable-looking man dressed as a biker, currently pointing a Sig-Sauer at them while holding a shotgun to another man's head.

"If you want to know then it is." Reno shook his head, his scowl deepening. "Then again, I guess it wouldn't take a genius to figure that out."

Michael felt his body tense as a low grumble rose from the crowd. <This is going to be bad, *VERY* bad!>

Gritting his teeth as the situation drew out, Michael was about to repeat his demand when something slammed into the chest of the man beside him, knocking him off his feet and into the two hostages, driving all three of them to the ground as a loud voice shouted, "Incoming!".

Michael turned toward the pile of tangled bodies as the rest of his men dove for cover or searched for the source of the attack. So he was the only one to see the small golden form roll off and away from the group of prone bodies and slowly get to its feet, shaking its head. He stared at the small form for a moment in disbelief before speaking. "They threw a bloody iguana at us!"


Michael's eyes bulged and he felt a chill run threw his body at its high-pitched indignant shriek; its head snapped up, eyes gleaming.

Reno blinked in surprise when something hit one of the armed men, knocking him into Cheyenne and Bobby, sending all three of them sprawling as most of the others dived for cover. A second later he saw two men hit the floor. One landed and fell forward into a roll that brought him to his feet just in time to land a punch to the jaw of the individual that was bringing his weapon to bear on him. The second man grabbed two of the others and slammed their heads together with a loud thump and causally tossed them away.


Reno's head snapped toward the man he was covering with his shotgun, only to find Tease standing there a severely bent serving tray in her hands. When he looked down he found the man laid out unconscious on the floor, his gun lying on the floor beside him. Reno shook his head and handed his P226 to Tease. "Watch him. I'm gonna go help."

When she took it, Reno hurried to the nearest of the armed men who was trying to get a clear shot at one of the guys that were tearing into his buddies and snapped a kick to the kneeling man's ribs. Reno swore when he felt the body armor the man was wearing absorb most of its force and swung the butt of the shotgun into the base of his neck.

Hearing the familiar sound of a gun chambering a round behind him, Reno rolled onto his back and smirked up at the wide eyes staring out of the ski mask at the shotgun now aimed at the center of his chest. "Are you wearing body armor too?"

The ski-masked man nodding hesitantly caused Reno's smirk to deepen. "Good!"


Herc's eyes went wide as he watched Dragan throw Chyra at one of the intruders. Herc shook off the surprise at his actions and followed Dragan as he launched himself at the intruders that had remained standing. Seeing Dragan roll and hit one out of the corner of his eye, he winced as the man Dragan hit did a complete 360-degree spin in the air before smashing through a table. < Broken jaw, at least... Hope Dragan doesn't forget not to kill them. >

Landing on his feet Herc grabbed the two closest intruders, slammed their heads together and threw them at two of their buddies who were getting to their feet. He started for the tangled pile of bodies when he heard the sound of a gun going off behind him. Grabbing a bottle off the table beside him, Herc turned and threw it at the person behind him in one smooth action, then stared in horror at the Native American man's surprised expression as it shattered on his chest knocking him off his feet. "Oh, damn... uhh, sorry!"

Bobby swore as he pushed the unconscious man off of him and Chey. After checking if Chey was all right, he picked up the unconscious man's gun, got to one knee and glanced around, trying to figure out what was going on. Seeing one of the men that had accosted him and Chey coming up behind Reno he got to his got to his feet to intercept him.

He had only taken a few steps when Reno rolled onto his back, and after a moment's hesitation shot his attacker in the chest from less then four feet. Bobby winced as the guy was lifted off his feet and slammed on to his back, to curl around where the buckshot had hit him. < Damn... That reminds me, I need to get a new vest. >

Shaking his head, his eyes went wide as he saw a bottle flying at him. When it hit his chest and shattered against his vest he felt his jaw drop as his feet went out from under him. Falling back he didn't have time to correct his position and he landed hard, his head bouncing off the floor, making his ears ring.

"Bobby!" The smell of brandy was almost overwhelming as he opened his eyes and looked up at Cheyenne's worried face. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine..." He trailed off. Eyes bulging, his mouth worked for a few second without sound before he spoke again. "On second thought, I think I'm going to need a MRI!"

Cheyenne frowned, followed his gaze and felt her own jaw drop as a man ran down the aisle formed by the tables toward them with a dragon the size of a house cat in hot pursuit. As she watched, a ball of flame just missed the fleeing figure, hit the floor and melted the carpet. "I think I could use one, too...!"

Michael ran as fast as his legs would carry him, ignoring the smoke coming from the charred places on his coveralls and occasionally looking behind him at the enraged dragon pursuing him. < Why couldn't I have brought a street sweeper, or a mage, or any goddamned thing other than an MP-5 that doesn't have a chance of hitting that thing! >

"Iguana! I'll show *you* Iguana, you hairless monkey! Humph!" Michael looked behind him to find one of his men holding the struggling creature to the ground with one hand while trying to draw a field knife with the other.

"Hold still, you flying rat!" The enraged growl that came from the tiny dragon made Michael start backing away from the pair.

"Awww, fuck... that really wasn't a smart move!" Michael said. He watched him lift the knife and stab down at small dragon, only to hear a metallic clang as its tail swung up, knocking the blade away and into the forearm of the arm holding her.

"*God Damn it!*" The young man screamed, jerking his hand away, face clinched in pain, cradling his wounded arm to his chest. When he opened his eyes to inspect the wound he saw the small creature sitting where he had had it pinned, smiling up at him.

"'Rat' this, you son of a bitch!" Chet's eyes went wide as he saw smoke begin to drift from her nostrils a split second before she let loose a jet of dragon's fire directly into his crotch. He stared at the column of flame blankly in surprise for a moment before the pain hit and he began to scream.

Michael watched in horror as the column of fire hit the young man's crotch, flowed between his legs and came out the other side. "Bloody hell... she's roasting Chet's nuts..."

"Gee, is it Christmas already?" Before Michael could turn toward the speaker something came down on his head and everything went black.

Bobby watched one of the commandos dive over a table, catch the dragon and drive it into the floor. He scowled when he saw the ski-masked man trying to pull a knife strapped to his leg. < What is that thing?! Well, if that guy kills it I'll never find out! >

Bobby pushed himself to his feet, picking up the borrowed automatic weapon as he did. He had just gotten to his feet when a pain-filled curse caused him to look up just in time to see a jet of flame, which from his position appeared to be shooting out of the commando's ass, coming straight toward him.

"*Shit!*" Bobby dove to the side, swearing as the fire ignited the alcohol on his clothes. Hitting the floor Bobby rolled hard to dose the flames; a moment later someone threw something over him and began patting out the last of the flames.

After the fire was out Bobby lay on his back with his eyes closed for a moment. When he opened them he found himself looking up at Reno's worried expression. "Thanks, partner!"

Reno frowned at the Native American, mischief in his eyes. "Don't thank me yet, Bobby. You're paying to get the burnt polyester smell out off my trench."

Bobby looked down at the mentioned item, which was currently covering his lower body, then favored him with an indignant glare. "*Polyester!* I'll have you know that..."

Bobby never got to finish his rant; a commotion cut him off and drove whatever he was going to say out of his mind.

"Dragan, *LOOK OUT!*"

Dragan jumped from the catwalk smiling. Watching the intruders scatter had left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. < Amateurs! I can't believe someone would send a bunch of losers like these after me. Me! >

Dragan hit the ground seething and rolled to absorb the force of the impact. Coming to his feet he punched the nearest man in the jaw, barely remembering to pull the punch at the last second. He watched as the man spun like a top before going through a table, then headed for the men that Herc had thrown.

He was almost there when one of the men got himself separated from the pile. Dragan shook his head in disgust when the guy pulled a knife and went into a combat stance. "Drop the knife and I won't hurt you kid!"

The only response Dragan got was the man lunging at him, thrusting with the knife. Dragan's hand snapped up and slid under the knife catching the man's wrist on his own, then pushed up and away. Dragan stepped to the side and turned his wrist, catching the other man's wrist. Dragan squeezed the wrist, causing him to drop the knife and yelp as it made a loud crack.

Suddenly the intruder shifted and snapped a kick into Dragan's knee. Dragan hissed, yanked on the man's arm pulling him off balance, making him scream in pain. Grabbing the back of his coveralls with both hands Dragan lifted him off the ground and threw him.

Herc turned back towards the pile of bodies just in time to see the guy with the knife lunge at Dragan. Herc winced at the sound of the man's wrist breaking, then groaned and shook his head when he kicked Dragan in the knee. < Stupid... Now he's going to *hurt* you! >

Herc pinched the bridge of his nose with a pained expression when he saw Dragan throw his attacker like a rag doll, bouncing him off the ceiling and sending him crashing through some tables on the far side of the club. Herc sighed, lowered his hand and felt his heart sink when he looked at Dragan. Grabbing something off the table beside him, Herc threw it hard and screamed a warning he hoped would be in time. "Dragan, *LOOK OUT*"

Chyra looked at the blonde woman who had pistol-whipped the man that had first insulted her, and growled as she threw a pitcher of water on the few flames that still burned on unconscious man. "What in the name of all that's holy do you think you're doing?"

The blond woman stared wide-eyed at the Chyra, her mouth moving but no sound coming out. Chyra snorted a bit of fire out of her nose in irritation at her lack of response. "What's the matter? Are you deaf, dumb, or perhaps you don't speak English... (Do you need me to say it in French?)"

The blond woman blinked and gestured at the prone body on the floor. "He was burning..."

The dragon snorted "Yeah, I was the one that burnt him! Why did you interfere? It's between me and him!"

The blonde's face went hard "I'm not about to stand around and watch someone be tortured! No one has the right to hurt someone like that. It's barbaric!"

Chyra laughed, shook her head and smiled. "Whatever... I suppose if he had called you a bitch you wouldn't have slapped him cross-eyed?" When the blonde looked away Chyra's smile deepened. "That's about what I did to him. It looks like his clothes took the worst of it, so I doubt he is hurt to bad."

Chyra turned to check on Dragan. Her eyes went wide and she felt her heart sink.

Dragan winced when the man he threw bounced off the ceiling and smashed through the tables. < Damn it! I didn't mean to throw him that hard... How the hell am I going to explain that! >

"Dragan! *LOOK OUT!*" Dragan head turned in Herc's direction at his name, while his body tried to dodge to the side at the warning. Dragan felt something hit him from behind, staggering him. Finally his eyes focused on something in the mirror above the bar behind Hercules. Standing behind him and to the left one of the other men in the pile of bodies had gotten free; in his hand was a smoking revolver.

Looking down he saw the growing red patch on the front of his shirt. As he looked up at the rapidly approaching Hercules his vision began to waiver, everything was beginning to turn red. "Perfect day, huh?" Dragan whispered.

Suddenly it felt as if someone had pulled the floor out from under him as the room tilted ninety degrees.



The beginning...



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