Of all the places where he might have imagined himself interrupting an arcane ritual of dark and powerful magic, the Canadian wilderness had been near the bottom of the list. The men who chased him had big swastikas on their jackets. He wanted to shake his head, but that would make him stumble.
"Over here," someone called. Big red guy. No swastika. Lindsey veered and stumbled and ran smack into an invisible wall. The big red guy picked him up by the scruff of the neck and hauled him—
—into a tumbledown shack. "This wasn't here," Lindsey said stupidly.
He hushed. Outside, the pursuit thundered past. Lindsey eyed his rescuer, who wore a scruffy trenchcoat and had a weird forehead. And a tail. When he'd counted to a thousand, he said, "You look like you should have horns."
"I cut them off." The red guy frowned. "How come you could see that ritual, anyway? Do you have mystical powers?"
Lindsey shrugged. "I have an evil hand," he said, holding it up.
The big red guy looked interested. "Those can be tricky. What does yours do?"
"Well, after the guy it belonged to died, not so much, actually." The red guy looked suspicious, flexing his right hand, which was easily twice the size of the left one and looked as though it did demolition. Lindsey realized he was three seconds away from being thrown out of an invisible shack. "Look — I have some stuff in my past. I'm trying to do better."
That got him an understanding look. "I was supposed to be bad news. Sometimes you have to make a choice. Fight all that fate crap."
"Yeah. So what's your name?"
Lindsey stared. "Hellboy." The red guy nodded. "Hellboy. If you're trying to be good, have you thought about changing that?" Pause. "I guess not. So. What do those Nazi guys want?"
He understood complicated. "End of the world stuff?"
Hellboy nodded. "Yeah." Lindsey felt he should step out of the way of the horns that ought to be there. The guy wasn't wearing a whole lot under the trenchcoat, and he had a very nice chest.
In the distance, the chanting started up again. "Do you think they'll succeed?"
"I don't know."
"Should we go out and try to stop them in a stupidly heroic way?"
Hellboy grinned. "I'm waiting for reinforcements. It's a long ritual."
"Good. I think I'm all out of heroic." But not all out of stupid, because the next thing out of his mouth was, "Want to have some possible-end-of-the-world-so-why-not sex while we wait?"
Hellboy shifted. He was very large. He could probably snap Lindsey in half with one hand. The smaller one. "You want to have sex."
Lindsey shrugged. "I used to have a thing for vampires. I'm trying to broaden my horizons." He scratched awkwardly at the back of his neck. "I guess you don't go for humans."
Hellboy stared, and then he looked away. "I've never really thought about it."
"You've never... thought about it." Lindsey tried to control his smile. He leaned in and licked at the strong throat. Red, slick, tough skin. Hellboy jerked, but didn't move away. Lindsey ran his hands in under the trenchcoat and started to push it off. "Are you thinking about it now?"
"Yes." A short, awkward kiss turned into a long, gentle one. When it ended, Hellboy looked thoughtful. "What if the world doesn't end?"
Lindsey gave up on controlling his smile. What the hell. "Then we do it again," he said.