He was on his way back to his office, enjoying the brief moment of peace, when Raven stepped out the shadows along his route. “Hey, Justice…we need to talk.”
ArchAngel shook his head as the vampire fell into step beside him. Though he looked older and larger than when he’d known him in his previous life, he still considered Raven to be one of his best friends. He trusted him like he trusted few others, and the vampire had yet to let him down. He’d done what no vampire should have been able to do—age. But, of course, that had been the unintended side effect of an evil weapon the immortal Odin had used on him. He’d gone from the apparent age of fifteen, the age he’d been when he’d been turned, to an adult in a matter of seconds. Where he’d once seemed but a callow youth, now he had all the bearing and sheer masculine beauty of a vid actor from back on old Earth.
As odd as ArchAngel’s own life had been, he still found the change unsettling. He’d known Raven for years back on Earth, and the vampire had never changed even slightly. Now he was a completely different person. To look at, at least. Inside, he seemed to be the man ArchAngel remembered. That was a good thing.
“I really hate it when you appear out of nowhere like that,” he growled under his breath, knowing Raven would be able to hear him.
Remaining unseen was Raven’s unique gift, his vampiric talent. The only one he’d received other than the ability to talk to dogs and other canines. ArchAngel still hated it when it was used on him.
Raven grinned over at him and offered a tiny shrug. “Eh—that’s life, I guess.”
ArchAngel returned his grin. “So what’s up?”
“I need a favor.”
“Of course you do. There’s a lot of that going around today.”
Raven stopped in his tracks and slanted a dark look his direction. “What are you talking about?”
ArchAngel stopped and returned his gaze. “Quickfingers dropped by to see me earlier. Apparently Nyx has summoned and named another imp. As you can imagine, our little blue friend isn’t all too happy about it. You know how he feels about his progeny.”
“I always thought that was one of Jaz’s stories—you know how she likes needling the imp.”
ArchAngel shook his head. “Nope. It’s for real. Quickfingers is afraid of those other imps. For whatever reason.”
“So what does he expect you to do about it?”
“Talk to the women. I get the feeling he’s avoiding Jaz right now because he doesn’t want to be around this other imp.”
“So you’re—what? A glorified messenger service? A spirit mediator?”
ArchAngel shrugged, then smirked. “Something like that, I guess.” On a day like today, considering what he’d already done, he wasn’t sure it wasn’t in his job description any way he sliced it. Returning stolen kittens, restoring the intellects of broken men and helping an imp avoid his child. All in a day’s work for the most powerful immortal who’d ever lived. If anything, this place would serve to keep him humble. “So what favor can I do for you?”
“It’s nothing so strenuous, I’d say. Val wants to have a baby. She wants to have our baby. I’m figuring you might be able to do something about that.”
ArchAngel blinked at him, then started walking again. “Now I’m a one-man fertility clinic?” He knew he sounded a bit exasperated, but he couldn’t help it.
“Hey, when you can bend reality, you should expect the occasional odd request from your friends.”
“I’m starting to,” the android replied. “But I’m really not sure I can bend reality that far. The only part of you that carries your original DNA is your brain, and even that’s been modified by the virus. I could try to have Loki isolate a sample, but I’m not sure I can do what you ask even if we can get that far with it.”
“But it wouldn’t hurt to try, would it?”
Raven had been married to Val for a few years now, since not long after they’d returned from Bryon’s Earth, flush with a victory over an alternate version of ArchAngel’s father and with an idea for several new agencies they wanted to push through the High Court. ArchAngel had backed their play then, not only because he was Raven’s friend, but because he thought the other agencies were a good idea.
It hadn’t made Athena happy, but, then again, he wasn’t sure there was anything that could. Loki swore up and down she just needed a good screwing, but Loki was prone to saying things like that. Not even his formidable wife had been able to temper his penchant for being a smart-ass.
“Would it help if Loki had other DNA to compare mine to once he extracted it from my brain?”
“Maybe. What are you thinking?”
“Maybe my mom would be able to donate a little to use as a control.”
“That’s not a bad idea. I suppose we can talk to Loki about it and see what he has to say.”
They emerged into the worldgate section after a few minutes of walking in companionable silence, both men lost in their own thoughts.
ArchAngel paused and turned to regard Raven. “I’m not sure where Loki’s hanging out these days, but I’m sure I can find him. Why don’t you track down your mother and see about getting a sample from her while I look for the Trickster?”
“Okay. I’ll meet you back in your office in, say, two hours?”
They parted ways. Apparently Raven knew where to find his mother, since he headed off in a specific direction with no sign of hesitation. ArchAngel watched him go and sighed. Rachel Flynn would be easier to find than Loki, that was for sure. He hadn’t quite been lying when he said he could find Loki, though it wouldn’t necessarily be easy. Even with ArchAngel’s considerable talents for manipulating probability, Loki could be hard to locate when he wanted to be. .
If he was anywhere on Earth Prime, ArchAngel should be able to find him, much the same way he’d found Carl and Pete. If he expended his power, he could bring anyone to him, assuming they were in the same universe. His power, formidable as it was, didn’t extend past a single universe. If he wanted to affect causality in a certain dimension, he had to go to that dimension.
Of course, Loki’s not without his own odd resources in that department. He might even be able to frustrate my powers.
This was turning out to be quite the frustrating day. With any luck, he’d have a chance for a little down-time tomorrow.
He wouldn’t be placing any bets on it though.