Ten minutes had passed, and I hung up the phone. I was going to owe Leon big for this one, but fortunately, Leon didn't have deadlines.

I sat back down with Delaney, her eyes examining me, looking for some sign that would tell her what I'd been up to. I smiled.

I pulled out a pen and flipped over my place mat. I began drawing a map that even a child could follow. Then, where I would normally put an "X", marking the final destination, I drew a box. I wrote the word "Leon's" with an arrow pointing to the box, and within, I drew a crude duck with fangs.

"Do you always have such bizarre landmarks on your maps?" Delaney leaned forward, her brow creased with curiosity.

"It's Leon's way of identifying you. He told me to draw you as a rubber bird." She looked at me, all I could do was shrug. "Either he's absolutely crazy, or he's afraid he's being tapped. I don't know which. But I'm not going to risk it, for your sake."

She wiped the arching brow away with a pass of her hand across her bangs, but her lack of confidence remained in her voice. "I'll thank you when I get out of his shop alive."

We shared a flippant glance at the map, and the vampire duck. For that moment, I wondered if I wasn't fated to meet Delaney. She and Sen were going to get along famously. That is, as long as Sen let Delaney get close enough.

I looked at her. "You can't tell her about me, she'd never accept your help if she knew I was involved."

Delaney nodded, but there was a hint of questioning in her eyes. She shook off the question as I continued.

"Leon opens shop in a couple hours. Go there, he'll provide you with anything you need. Leave your staff with him."

She opened her mouth to protest. I cut her off.

"You'll get it back soon enough. He's going to need it on hand so he can make you a replacement piece for the one I-" I stopped, searching for the right word.

"Broke?" She apparently saw the struggle in my eyes. "Ruined? Split? Decimated? Annihilated?" Somewhere in the back of her brain, I had found the thesaurus I misplaced years ago.

"Broke works. Leon's impressed with your staff already, he wants a look at it, he's never heard of segmented quarterstaff before."

She held her chin up proudly. "Three piece segmented quarterstaff with interlocking steel joints and steel tips." She then leveled her gaze and added, "I should have shelled out the extra cash for the steel core in the rods."

I held up my hands in mock surrender. "I said I was sorry, and I'm trying to help fix it."

"I just don't feel right, having to travel without a weapon, even in broad daylight."

I reached into my jacket, unsnapped a couple spots and pulled a holster out and slid it under the table, wrapping the shoulder straps around the sheath.

"Here, it's a pair of daggers. It's not much, but it'll get you safe to Leon's for certain."

She took the parcel from my hands and looked at it under the table. I heard a single blade slip from the sheath. She looked back up to me.

"They're beautiful. Thank you."

"Don't mention it. I owe you."

"By the time this is over, I'll owe you." She looked back down at the blades, avoiding my gaze. I guessed that she wasn't used to owing favors.

"Just make sure she's safe." I drew up a second set of directions, taking her out of New York and back to my hometown, to Sen.

Delaney nodded, "And what are you going to do?"

I thought about it for a moment. "I'll think of something."


I paid the tab and stood out front of the diner, lighting a cigarette and watching Delaney head for Leon's shop. I had wished her luck in getting Cederik, she wished me luck in "whatever it is that you're going to do now."

I turned the opposite direction of Delaney and set out on foot. I had no idea what I'd be doing with myself now, I hadn't been thinking when I headed out this way, and fortunately, it worked out to my benefit. But now what?

...You could always go home...

No, not yet. It's not time. I'm not ready to have to face her yet.

Three blocks had passed and the buildings were becoming infrequent. I was facing the sunrise.

Dammit, I'm going to buy a pair of sunglasses, that's what I'm going to do.

**Author's Note** That's it for right now, if you haven't read it already, you can catch up with Delaney in Wylderaven's "The Hunted". Thanks for your time, your words and your support. Don't worry, Jareth will be back, but I need a bit of time to regroup and figure out where he's going now. Because, as you can see, he's got no idea what to do with himself. In the meantime, I'm also posting a one-shot short story involving Jareth, to kill a little time for him, and to tide you people over, buying me a little creativity vacation. Look it up under the title "Smokes and Mirrors". :) TTFN!