A/N: Sorry about the formatting. FP keeps eating my breaks and I'm not sure how to get it all working properly.

Midnight: A cheap bar on the wrong side of town.

"What are you, of all people, doing back in my pub?" The barman smirked deeply as the long-forgotten regular approached the bar.

"Guess." The voice spoke like gravel, sharpened by a lifetime of cheap booze and cheaper cigarettes.

"Looking for your ex?" mocked the man behind the bar, the smirk still firmly plastered on his face.

"Got it in one."

A brief pause marred the conversation as both men gathered their thoughts. The smirk slipped from the barman's face, replaced by a look of some concern.
"How'd you know?"

"Only two reasons I can think of as to why you'd be back here. Since I ain't heard about any bodies turning up, I'm ruling out the first".

"It's been a long time. I don't do that any more," The harsh voice took on an almost wistful quality.

"You do look..." the older man faltered, searching for the right words "cleaner. Smoother."

"People change."

"They do. Getting off the juice changes them even more."

"Right. Are you going to tell me anything?" The wistfulness fell away, replaced by dull hope.

"Last I heard, and it was a while back, your ex moved up north. Something to do with an unpaid loan to unspecified collectors."

"Got anything more specific?"

"Is a whorehouse in Darwin specific enough?"


"It's all that I've heard."


"I don't get too many patrons from the other side of the country. But what I've told you should be enough of a start. Not like there's that many possibilities here."

"It'll do. You aren't going to ask where I've been?"

"I don't need to hear that."

The old regular left a wad of cash on the bar and limped away.

Mid-Morning, Darwin Airport.

A bent figure walked out of the terminal, a small and undeniably shoddy suitcase in hand. He paused momentarily, shaken by the half-rural atmosphere outside the terminal, before hailing a lone taxi from the small airport.

"Where're you headed?" asked the Cabbie in cracked, smoke-stained voice.

"231 North Road" Came the equally smoke-stained reply.

"The whorehouse? Not digging or anything, but you don't look like you've got cash to spare and that ain't exactly the cheapest place to get your leg over."

"This isn't about the whores."

"You ain't a leg breaker, are ya? You got that look about you."

"Shut up and drive." Irritation soaked through the passengers' voice.

Noon, the northern edge of Darwin

A short and mostly inoffensive trip later, the cab pulled up outside a nondescript apartment block. No signs advertised it, nor did any embellishments belie its existence. It just was. Much like the limping man that approached its front door, an uncharacteristic air of apprehension in his ungainly steps.

As he gently opened the front door, all attention spilled upon the newcomer. A heavy coat and terribly unfashionable fedora concealed most of his form from view but did nothing to conceal the walking cane and heavy limp. The stares of two dozen interested prostitutes assaulted his half-hidden face. The oldest looking of them spoke up as he cleared the entrance, boredom dripping from every word.

"For you, it's 200 a session. With any girl who'll agree to it."

"That isn't why I'm here."

"You aren't lookin' to sign on are you? We don't deal in guys here."

"I need to speak with the owner."

"Really. Why would you want that?"

Winding people up seemed to amuse the lady. It didn't seem to amuse the visitor.

"Just go and say that John is here."

"John, that's new. We get 50 Johns in here every day,"

"How much for you to shut up and do as I say?"

"300, but I'm all booked out."

"It shows. Get your boss out here before I go looking."

The madam stopped for a second, weighing up the possibilities.

"Fine. But don't try anything with the girls."

The newcomer held his hands up in a gesture of defeat.

"Wouldn't dream of it."

Minutes passed. Just as the visitor had begun losing hope, a lithe man appeared at the doorway. A smile stretched almost to the ears as he noticed the visitor.

"Jonathan. It's been far too long."