There were good ideas and there were bad ideas. This one could go either way. AU, Erik meets another mutant in his early Nazi-hunting days.

Rating for some language, the fact that Erik isn't necessarily the nicest person in the world (although his targets are Nazis), and some reference to child abuse.

The apartment building didn't look like much from the outside, and what little Erik had seen through the two tiny, dirty windows on the ground floor looked like less, but the people he got his information from didn't give him bad information. He didn't give them the option of giving him bad information. No, tucked away here in a back street corner apartment in an utterly nondescript part of the city lived Herr Hofmann, formerly an officer at Buchenwald. Like more than a few members of the SS he'd slipped away before he could be taken into custody for trial and payment for his crimes. Erik was doing his best to rectify that.

Well, not the custody part.

Or the trial part.

If Erik had been in the habit of such things, he might have wondered who the neighbors thought Herr Hofmann was; how they'd feel if they knew what their building was really harboring. He didn't actually care, though, he was here to end the bastard's worthless existence and in the process collect whatever information the man had about any other Nazis who'd made it out of Germany. Unfortunately Erik had been a little…hasty…in his dealings with his last target—not that Herr Gruber had had much of a constitution in the end—and hadn't gotten much information from him beyond Hofmann's location. If he couldn't get more names from Hofmann he'd have to return to Europe and start again from the source, and Erik hated the tedium of ocean voyages.

To begin his interrogation, however, he required Herr Hofmann's presence, and though Erik had been waiting patiently—for certain definitions of the word—in the narrow alleyway between Hofmann's building and another of the same construction, he had yet to see any sign of the man.

A woman who must be Frau Hofmann had put in an appearance an hour or two ago, dragging a blond probably blue-eyed little Aryan advertisement along by the ear and ranting...Erik had very little experience with children but at a guess put the brat at somewhere between ten and twelve, and whatever his crime had been he'd been thoroughly beaten for it as soon as the door was shut. With the promise of more to come when Frank arrived home, Frank presumably being Herr Hofmann's current alias, but Nazi-spawn or not that much the brat would be spared because Erik's engagement with his father was far more pressing. Erik was just glad that he had confirmation that Herr Hofmann was expected home tonight.

Erik's frown deepened suddenly. The windows hadn't done much to mute the brat's yells or Frau Hofmann's shouts which meant they wouldn't do much when Erik interrogated Herr Hofmann either. And this neighborhood wasn't quite bad enough that screams coming from inside an apartment would be ignored, especially if they went on for an extended period of time.

There were certain techniques that Erik could use to keep Hofmann quiet, or at least quieter, but it limited what he could do and assumed that Frau Hofmann and the brat weren't screaming as well. When he'd seen them he hadn't thought much about it, assuming that he could just gag them or knock them unconscious and shove them in a closet as he had Herr Alder's wife, but there always was the risk that they'd come to or get free at just the wrong time. He could slit their throats outright, he supposed, but it was a complication he wasn't in the mood to deal with.

The easiest thing to do would be confront Herr Hofmann somewhere else, somewhere deserted. Somewhere like the abandoned warehouse that Erik was using as his temporary home and base of operations where the only people who might see him come or go were the drivers of the unmarked trucks that occasionally visited the warehouse next door. But according to Herr Gruber Hofmann worked in a department store which meant people all around—too many people for Erik to take on at once—and generally speaking there were too many people out and about on the streets for Erik to grab him there as well. To say nothing of the awkward burden a grown man's body would be if Erik had to carry him across half the city.

A grown man. Erik tilted his head as an idea came to him. Carrying the body of a grown man or woman would bring him nothing but trouble, but a child? A man could openly carry an unconscious child with just the claim that he was sleeping, and once he had the Nazi-spawn back at the warehouse it wouldn't matter how much noise he made. Whether it was a lingering desire to differentiate himself from Herr Doktor Schmidt or something else Erik had never crossed the line into torturing children, but if the brat happened to be crying in fear…well, Erik wouldn't complain if it made Herr Hofmann more forthcoming. And he'd do the Nazi-spawn the courtesy of putting him somewhere else when Erik killed his father.

Erik shook himself and then stepped out of the alley and onto the street, taking a casual stroll past the main apartment door and the second window. The lock would be no trouble, but if he wanted to lure Herr Hofmann to him he'd have to get the brat out quietly. There had to be a note, too, one instructing Herr Hofmann to come alone to the warehouse—Erik had no interest in Frau Hofmann and he certainly didn't feel like explaining anything to the local police—and demanding some amount of money to make it seem legitimate. If Hofmann brought money with him that would be a bonus and one less thing for Erik to worry about when he went after his next target; if he didn't then Erik would still have time and privacy for his interrogation.

Erik didn't believe in luck, but as he stepped past the second thin-paned window and took a casual glance inside he was pleased to see the Nazi-spawn standing in front of the kitchen sink with no sign of anyone else in the room. The brat didn't even look up, and Erik took a few steps back and leaned against the wall by the door, checking his pockets. A scrap of paper from his notebook and the pen in his other pocket gave him the ransom note he needed…the figure was arbitrary, but that hardly mattered. Only making sure that Herr Hofmann came to the right address mattered.

A casual glance around told him that no one was paying him the least bit of attention, and he shifted a bit and put one hand to the door, just above the knob.

The lock clicked open obligingly—it was a tiny thing, well within the capabilities that Schmidt had beaten into him—and after one last look around to ensure that he wasn't being observed Erik slipped inside. The door opened on a narrow entryway rather than the kitchen proper, but he could hear splashes from around the corner, and he felt his lips curl upward as he drew his gun from the holster under his jacket and stalked forward.

The brat didn't turn as Erik entered the room, his focus on the pot in the sink front of him, and even if Erik hadn't known how to move silently his footsteps would have been covered by splashing and the muttered string of complaints accompanying the scrubbing. Complaints in English, but that was probably part of the Hofmanns' attempt to hide what they really were. Something must have alerted him to Erik's presence as Erik stepped up behind him, though, because he spun abruptly and as-predicted blue eyes widened when he saw Erik.

Before he could draw breath to scream Erik struck him in the head with the butt of his gun and he collapsed to the floor.