Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 31

“It shouldn’t have affected you.” That was what was echoing in my mind. She would be fine. She wasn’t badly hurt.

I carried her, carefully, home. Where Thruor was waiting. Mike was right behind me.

“What happened?”

Kanesha grumbled. “I can walk.”

“Not until you’ve been checked out.” I set her down.

“She…” Thruor moved over. “Okay. You know where I keep that ointment, Jane.”

I nodded. I remembered. I still needed some of it myself. But Kanesha? Kanesha was mortal. It shouldn’t have burned her. It couldn’t have. I was terrified, I realized.

How many people would have died?

Instead of saying that, though, I got the ointment. “You missed the angel, Kanesha. He was coming in in full glory, wings out, flaming sword, the works.” I glanced at Thruor. “I need to learn some intimidation tricks.”

Thruor grinned. “I have a few, but they wouldn’t be for you.”

“Valkyrie stuff.” I did wonder. “Show me some time?”

She grinned again. “Sure.” Then she went back to tending to Kanesha’s “sunburn.”

I paced, and looked at Mike, and paced some more. Then I realized I wasn’t helping anyone and just sat down, my head in my hands. “If the angel calls, I’m up for helping remove bombs.”

Mike nodded. “Me too. Actually, probably better if I do.”

“You didn’t get hurt.” And Kanesha did. What was the difference between them? Mike was Thruor’s as Kanesha was mine.

Was it something I’d done? Had I done something to her?

Kanesha sat up finally. “That’s much better. A spell?”

I glanced at her. Glanced at Thruor. “For some reason, the spirit bomb hurt you. It shouldn’t have.”

There was an oddly knowing look on Thruor’s face, though. I decided I wasn’t going to ask her. Not in front of Kanesha.

Instead, I was going to stay with her…and I did. With ice cream, which I knew would make her feel better. Knew from experience.

“Why would it hurt me?” she asked, softly.

“I don’t know. I’ll find out, but this is…it has to be my fault, right?”
And Thruor, coming out of the kitchen with ice cream, “Do you love her?”

I looked up. “Yes.”

“I tried to warn you.”


Thruor grinned, cast a look over at a sheepish Mike. “I never said I loved him.”

I’d done something to her. I didn’t even know what.

Most of all, I didn’t know what to do now.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 30

I hit the deck instinctively. We were on the twelfth floor, so whatever was coming through the window had to be supernatural.

It was an angel. Perhaps it was the same angel I’d seen before, but before I had seen him trying to look more or less human.
This was an angel in full flight, literally. His eyes glowed and his wings reflected the light not white but in all the colors of the rainbow, as if iridescence beyond any claimed by a bird lay within their depths.
He was wielding a, literally, flaming sword. Pretty much everyone in the room screamed. I admit I let out a bit of a yelp myself.

There wasn’t any cover in the room. “Where,” the angel said. “Are the bombs?”

He ruined my bluff, but I wasn’t sure I cared. I wasn’t sure I cared about anything but stopping them, and he was doing a far better job than I on the intimidation stakes.

I needed to work on that. I was so used to sneaking around I hadn’t thought about those times when I might want to be all big and spectacular. Like, well, right now. I picked myself up, at least.

The angel nodded to me. “Lokisdottir.”
That acknowledgment led the older of the hunters to look at him. Look at me. And go pale.

“No, don’t worry. I’m not that Lokisdottir. Or you’d all be dead.”
The angel laughed. A ringing sound. I still didn’t like angels, but at least this one could laugh. “Indeed. You would.”

Then he turned to the pale faced woman. “Where are they?”

“She said she defused them.”

I shrugged. “I lied.”

The angel nodded to me. “You will give me their location and maybe, maybe I will put a good word in for you.” He turned to me. “You should go to your lady.”

I nodded. I figured I could let him handle it. I stepped back outside, moved over to Kanesha’s crumpled form.

It looked like she had been burned. But that was not possible. It looked like the same damage I’d taken…but she stirred and tried to roll over. “Wha…happen?”

“You got hit by a spell, by the looks. It’s fine. We’re going home.”

“What about them?”

“An unexpected ally is dealing with them.”

I turned to Prue. “Call me if you need me to help remove bombs.”
Then I was leaving. With my lady.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 29

Outside, I could hear Prue checking on Kanesha.

Mike and Seb were facing down several of the hunters. The hunters were armed. There were bullet holes in the walls.
“Your cleansing isn’t going to happen. I stopped it.”

One of them…tried to shoot me. Predictable, perhaps. I dodged further into the room. “Don’t waste your ammunition. On second thoughts, do waste your ammunition.”

If they ran out, they’d be easier to deal with.

One of them was making frantic phone calls. “Oh, I’m sure she’ll answer. She’s just looking for her detonator.” I grinned.

“Here’s the deal. You’re going to leave. Every one of you. If not, I’ll start hunting you down.” A pause. “If she dies I’ll hunt you down anyway. Every one of you. The furthest corners of Midgard won’t be far enough.”

The one who’d tried to shoot me pulled the trigger again. It clicked on an empty chamber. Good.

Mike was looking at me. “They…let off a bomb.”

“I know. I can kind of smell it. They don’t seem to have any more.” Except the hidden ones that we’d no doubt be weeks finding. That they had to think had been dealt with.

“We don’t. But if you’d left us…”

I raised a hand. “You intended to kill me anyway. Don’t give me that crap.”

“You’re the one who will be leaving this city. I respect you enough to give you that chance.”
That voice came from outside.

I turned. “You stopped looking for your detonator?”

“Leave. I’ll build another one. Take your partner, take your friends, leave and don’t come back. This city’s ours now.”

“I don’t think so.”

The apartment was fairly spacious. The far side of the room, the outer wall, was practically all window, but the blinds had been closed, cutting out the sunlight, leaving the place somewhat dimly lit.

“Why so stubborn? I’m letting you get away instead of sending you back to hell where you belong.”

“It’s a character flaw,” I admitted. “Besides…you have no clue who I am.” I was stalling. I wasn’t even sure what I was stalling for.

Then, the window exploded violently inwards.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 28

Prue actually showed that she wasn’t completely clueless as we headed south towards Crystal City. On the way, we hid the detonator in a sculpture garden in Rosslyn. It wasn’t a place I figured they’d look.

If they found it, we were all screwed. If they found it…but I couldn’t carry it. If I did, I was sure it would somehow go off in the fight we were heading towards.

Kanesha still wasn’t answering her phone. I stopped trying, setting my face grimly. The one lucky thing – Prue had a bike. It wasn’t a very good one, and it felt uncertain and uncomfortable when I was used to “bikes” with minds of their own and the ability to stay balanced.

But it was a bike, and it beat running. Especially, it beat running at Prue’s pace.

“Where are they?”

“An apartment in one of the older buildings in Crystal City. Across Eads Street. Wait…that one.”

I suddenly knew exactly where Kanesha was. And exactly how much trouble she was in also came flowing into my mind. “And we don’t have much time.”

She nodded and gunned the bike. “Alright.”

We ran inside…the doors were broken and propped open, which I thought was a very good thing indeed. Had they been locked and we’d had to buzz ourselves in? Even that delay might be too much. And there was residue. “Somebody let off a bomb in here. I can smell it.”

“Hopefully it was the only one they had,” Prue said. “Which floor…”

I ran for the stairs. “I’m not sure but I’ll know when I get there.”

Of course., it was the top floor. Of twelve. I pounded up the stairs, aware of Prue’s somewhat labored breathing behind me. But I couldn’t slow down. “Catch up.”

I heard no response, but I ran out into the corridor…only to see Kanesha crumpled on the floor.
She wasn’t dead. I’d have known if she was dead. But she would be if I didn’t stop whoever was doing this. The door was open, and I heard the sounds of a fight. I also, distantly, heard sirens.

Some neighbor or other had called the police.

Mike’s voice, raised in a shout.

And I ran into the apartment to face a standoff.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 27

Even I would have to sleep eventually. The solution was obviously to get the detonator somewhere…no. Wait. It was a deadman’s.

If the signal went out, the bombs would go off. I stopped, stood there, breathing and trying to think. I’d bought time. I hadn’t solved the problem. In fact, the only way to fix it right now was for somebody to go find and defuse every one of the bombs they’d planted. I had no idea how to do that.

Unless the detonator itself gave a clue. Maybe through its signals. I pulled out my phone with my other hand and tried to dial Kanesha. It wasn’t easy with one hand, even with speed dial.
She didn’t answer, and that sense of her being in danger increased.

I swore. I was trapped in an inescapable situation. Well, not entirely. I tried Seb and Mike. No response there either.

So? I tried the next button on my phone. Prue. “Prue. I have a problem. A big one.”

“What’s up?”

“Uh…I can explain, but if you’ll come to the Lincoln Memorial with duct tape it would be really helpful.”




She hung up and I just stood there, ducking behind some trees and hoping they’d pick the wrong place to look. If I moved too far, Prue wouldn’t be able to find me. If I stayed here, they certainly would.

I could barely breathe, but then Prue came running. “Oh, thank goodness.”

“What…the heck?”

“I managed to get it away from the bad guy, but if I release it, then spirit bombs go off all over the city.”

“Oh…you do…” She moved to carefully tape down the switch. “…know how to make enemies.”

“Wasn’t aimed at me. This time. Kanesha and Seb were dealing with their base and rescuing Clara, but they’ve gone off the grid.”

Prue used worse language than I had. “Time to call in the cavalry.”

“Any cavalry I call in is vulnerable to the bombs.” I let out a breath. “I have to do this myself.”

“I’m with you.”

I looked at her. “No offense, Prue, but you’re a kitchen witch. Not a fighter.”

“I’m still with you. Now…”

“We hide this. We hide this really well. I think Clara can use it to find the bombs when we get her back. And…do you have a gun?”

Grimly, she nodded.

This wasn’t ideal, but it was what I had. And I sensed, somehow, that my mother approved.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 26

I assumed there had to be a person detonating it, so the first thing I looked for was somebody in one of those Templar jackets.

I saw three of them, but I couldn’t tell which of them might have the bomb. And the world seemed a little off.

What did the bombs even look like? I didn’t know. And I felt as if something was…

…no, I realized. Somebody had put out warnings. Maybe, even probably, my mother. Everyone who could was running in the right direction.


But that wouldn’t help those who couldn’t run. And it wouldn’t help the mortals who could be harmed, the ones vulnerable.

I felt my heart rate elevate. I felt in real danger for the first time. Which one of them had the detonator.

Then all three of them turned and saw me. They seemed to be the only people who did. It was as if my stealth mode was on overtime.

It probably was. I didn’t want anyone seeing this, I really didn’t.

My phone rang. I ignored it. I didn’t have time to answer. I knew it was Seb, but I literally didn’t have time to answer him.

It popped into voice mail. Better…because now I was being charged by two of them.

That meant the third had the detonator. “Don’t bother. She’ll be cleansed with the rest of them.”

“You need to stop this.” They did hesitate, but they kept coming. I grabbed the arm of one of them, let her spin past me and back. She stumbled to the ground. “You don’t know what you’re messing with.”

“You just don’t want to die, demon.”

“I won’t.” I felt the mist swirl around me again. “But do you realize that if anyone dies in the moment you let off those bombs, they’ll be destroyed too? Do you even know what your weapons do?”

“There are always casualties in a war.” She was older. She was higher ranking, I suspected. More important.

She was the one I had to convince. “A war you started.” I pushed the other one to the side, strode towards her. “A war I’m willing to risk my life to stop.”

“Who are you?”

“Still working that out, but there are people in this city that are under my protection.”

I felt a sense of alarm, of danger not to me. I had to ignore it, but it took everything in me not to whirl, to run towards that sense. Kanesha. Kanesha was in danger.

What could I do about it? Nothing. She would be in more danger if they did this.

That was the detonator. If she pressed it, the bomb went off.

No. It was worse. If she released it. She’d programmed the bloody thing on a deadman’s. Mother? I thought.

I see it.

Any bright ideas?

She wasn’t here, she was just linked to me. Working with me. Through me. I didn’t mind.


I nodded. I saw it clearly…but my timing would have to be perfect. She started to lift her finger.

I moved with all the speed I had, grabbing the detonator away from her…and pressing down on the button. She stared.

“I’m not a demon. I’m a goddess,” I explained. “You don’t understand the difference, but you can’t beat me.”

Then I took off running. But if I let go, every one of those bombs would go off.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 25

“Okay. They’re…they’re planning on cleansing the city.”

I sighed. “Let me guess. Let off all the bombs they have on a grid.”

She nodded.

“I’ll warn everyone I can.” Get out, come back in afterwards. That was one way of dealing with it.

“There might not be time. There’s going to be one central detonator. They’ll put it at the Washington Monument.”

It’s amazing what pizza could do. Or maybe she’d already had some doubts. Doubts that I’d brought out…probably in saving her from the werewolves.

I tugged out my cell phone. “When’s this supposed to happen?”


I didn’t want to think about what would happen. I had the sudden realization I could escape. All I had to do was ask Loki.

Or not even ask him. He wouldn’t let me be caught in this. That was confidence-building in its own way.

I could trust him. But it wasn’t his presence I sensed, but one more stable and feminine. “Not just yet, mom.”

“Who are you talking to?”

“My mother. She’ll pull me out if we can’t stop this.”
The girl actually looked relieved. “I mean. You’re okay. You could have let the werewolves eat me.”

“They wouldn’t have eaten you. Humans don’t, apparently, taste very good.”

An uncertain laugh from the girl. “Alright.”

“What will they do to you if they know you helped?”

“Excommunicate me.”

“Okay. I want you to go to this church. Tell the pastor Jane sent you. He’ll protect you. His name’s William.”

She blinked. “You work with a priest?”

“He’s a good man. What’s your name, anyway?”
She looked thoroughly embarrassed. “Lucy.”

“That’s a pretty name.” It beat Jane, at least for the reasons I called myself Jane.

“Until some idiot points out it’s short for Lucifer.”

I shuddered. “Okay. Get to the church. I’ll deal with this.”

I just had to get to the Monument quickly. I gave her a map and then I ran for it. I ran for it as fast as I could.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 24

That bit of normality seemed to settle her. We munched on sausage and pepperoni pizza. “So, how did you get involved with them anyway?”

A pause, then. “A vampire.”

I nodded. “Oh, vampires are definitely…well…evil would imply that they had more of a mind left than they do. Bestial.”

“Not what I expected. I mean, there are all those stories about romantic vampires, sweeping women off of their feet and stuff, and the real thing’s more like zombies.” A pause. “I should be trying to kill you, not sharing pizza.”

“You know you couldn’t.”

“Was there really a dog?”

I nodded. “Yes. Also, those bombs? They do hurt mortals. Not as much, but if you screw up, you can deny somebody their afterlife.”

She frowned.

“I’m not trying to stop you people just for me. Well, a bit for me. But not just for me.” Yeah. I was scared of the bombs. But I wasn’t just selfishly scared.

“Okay. What are you, anyway?”

“I’m…a minor Asgardian.” I temporized.

“Like a valkyrie.”

I shook my head. “Nah. Maybe. I’m kind of in training. You must know how that goes.”

“You don’t seem evil.” She took another bite of pizza, looking confused.

“That’s because I’m not. Oh, I can be a bitch sometimes, and I freely admit I’ve killed people when I had to. But I’m not evil. I can show you evil, though.”

Maybe I could save this one.

“But there’s only one true God. Which means…”

I sighed. “He’s real enough. Your God that is. I’ve met angels. Well, an angel.”

“How do you know the angel wasn’t a demon?”

“He was in a church. Demons can’t go into churches. They’re banned. I can.”


“I don’t like to, because I feel a bit like a trespasser, but I don’t get smited or anything. That’s generally one good sign that something’s evil. Or at least, actually opposed to your God.”

Which wasn’t a bad definition, I thought, of Evil.

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 23

It wasn’t a voluntary entrance – that much was clear. She landed on the front table and slid off it to arrive in a heap.

I turned to Monica’s friend. “Back door. Run.”
She nodded, eyes widening, then did as I said. The hunter picked herself up. I prayed she didn’t have a bomb.

Actually, other than the jacket, she didn’t seem to have anything. And I recognized her attackers.
The same werewolves who’d roughed Mike up after he mistook one of them for a stray dog and tried to put a collar on her.

I moved to the hunter and pulled her to her feet. She winced at my touch. “Come on. I know them. They won’t actually eat you, but they won’t be averse to hurting you if you hurt them.”
“They’re werewolves!”

She sounded on the verge of panic and I realized she wasn’t any older than I was. I pretty much dragged her out of the back door. “And they’re decent people.”

“That’s not possible.”

“What did you do?”

“I tried to…I tried using holy water on them. It didn’t work.”

I laughed. “And they tossed you through the window. Haven’t you ever thought that holy water doesn’t work on things that aren’t evil?”

“They’re all…”

I knew this was no time to lecture her. Instead, I gently but firmly held her against the wall. “You’re coming with me.”

She squeaked.

“To a safehouse. We’re going to talk.”

Thea’s safehouse was the best place to take her. It wasn’t even far away…I’d walked there.

I frogmarched her, trying not to be too obvious, through the streets, then took her through the back door.

“Oh, nice. This is…”

“This is a safehouse and training place and I will kill you, literally, if you compromise it. The gear’s a pain to move.”

She managed a weak laugh. “I…”

“Right now, your people are being dealt with by my people. Right now. Because I won’t have this in my city. But I’m trying to do it with as few casualties as possible.”

I kept my eyes on her. “But I won’t have it either. You people killed a being that was basically a dog. An animal. Innocent.”
She squeaked again.

“Not everything’s black and white and one way or another you will learn that. Now. Sit down. I’m going to order pizza.”

Episode Sixteen: Bombs: Scene 22

The deli looked pretty ordinary, and Monica’s friend turned out to be a Hispanic looking woman. Quite attractive, as I expected.


I moved to slide into the booth opposite. I’d ditched the sword, but I was still armed. Just in case.

“You look too fierce to be an off duty model.”

I grinned. “Sorry. I hang out with too many bikers.” I did kind of look biker gang-ish. Black leather and all.

“It’s a look.” A pause. “I could use some advice. Monica referred me to you.”

“What about?”

“She told me you have a stalker.”

I frowned. “I’m not the best person to ask. I still haven’t properly got rid of him.”

“Everyone tells me to ignore him.”

“Sometimes that works. Sometimes it makes them more eager.” I wondered if I should have avoided Tyz’vel. “It couldn’t work with mine because, unfortunately, I flirted with him before I realized he was a stalker.”

“Ugh…wait, don’t you prefer women?”
“Switch hitter,” I said with a bit of a grin.

“Oh…” She tailed off. “Well, I don’t think I did anything to encourage this one.”

“Not saying you did. So, try ignoring him first. If that doesn’t work, get a restraining order. And if that doesn’t work come to me. I have biker friends.”

“Big, intimidating guys?”

“Oh no. Of course not.” I grinned. “Big, intimidating girls.”

She laughed. “Oh man, that is even better. I should have known it was a girl biker gang.”

I didn’t think I would ever be part of the gang, but I nodded. And I knew what I was buying as soon as I could. I might not be able to get one of their bikes, but… “Of course it is. So…yeah. I can help.”

She nodded. “But try the legal means first.”

“Right. And scaring them off…only usually works. I’m still trying to get rid of mine.”

“You must be tempted to kill him.”

“I am,” I admitted. “Hopefully he won’t show up dead.” Of course, I knew that wasn’t an issue, but…
Which was, of course, the moment when the hunter came through the front window.