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Ivan tried to act normal over the next few days. He went to the gym in the mornings, work in the afternoons. He did go visit ma and pop every night too. If they were watching him, they'd have to expect that. He was human, after all.

Let then think he was cowed and scared. Well, to be fair, he was. Scared anyway. Not cowed tho. Nope.

He took care of the recording, though it was not as easy as she said it would be. Of course. He'd had to steal someone else's login and then had to sneak into an office to pull the footage. None of this was his style, of course. For all his cloak and daggar bullshit, he knew he was leaving trails everywhere. Video footage, passcard swipes, people's memories. If someone cared to look into it he'd be super easy to zero in on.

He realized that was another way they tied you up neat as a kitten in a sack. Like quicksand, sinking deeper and deeper. That was what happened to pops. Blackmail, threats, shame, fear. Each one a cord tied to his arms and legs and around his neck. And when pops tried to get out, they shot him, a dog in the alley. Whether he lived or died was of no great loss to them. He either learned his lesson and continued their man or died and problem solved.

Ivan had to act before things got worse.

Alex had to have gotten his note to Drayson. He'd been a bit fuzzy- they'd had quite a few that night- but hoped his message had been clear enough for him but vague enough if anyone else read it.

Cap. We sure had an interesting time when we met Xena and crazy sword lady. And the disappearing chick with the purple hair. I found a new monster, though, and need your help. Same place? Same time? 4 days? It's a pleasant walk, if you can do it.

He'd left his phone at home and taken the metro to the edges of the city, where the outlet tunnels flowed. Not straightaway, of course. Meandering and all that. Took a couple hours before he arrived. He hadn't been here since that last time with Nox- and those creatures. Another idea flashed in his mind and he pocketed it. Maybe.

The sky was overcast and it was chilly, enough there was a slight mist to his breath. His collar was turned up to shield his exposed neck from the breeze and his hands were jammed into his pockets. His ears pricked at every sound. He was just in the outlet entrance, standing near the angled concrete wall that jutted up on either side.

He had no real interest in going any deeper. He'd been down a few times but still didn't like the idea of all that rock above him. Irrational, but hey. Didn't have to make sense.

So he just had to wait, constantly listening for the sound of footsteps. He hoped Drayson got his hint about not bringing his car. He didn't suppose it really mattered. Just seemed like a good precaution.

He was paranoid. But he had reason to be.


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