A/N: Alright, so it finally occurred to my sleep-deprived, over-stressed brain that I may need some trigger warnings on this story. I'll be honest with you, most of the editing I'm doing is just formatting. I'm not reading this very closely, and I wrote it several years ago. So, I need your help, guys: Please, please, please let me know if you see something that needs a warning by commenting. I'm serious, y'all, I care a lot about making sure I don't mess up anyone's mental health, and I do not have time to read through everything myself and still be able to post more than once a month.
Known trigger warnings for various chapters: use of firearms, blood, prescription drug use (legal)
Cat scoured the last few pages of her third novel for errors, though her grey-green eyes burned from staring at the computer screen for so long. A glance at the clock in the corner told her it was about three in the morning, but she couldn't stop now. She blinked as her vision blurred again and turned her eyes to stare at the lights of Manhattan across the water, hoping to give them a break. She laughed to herself. She was one of the many reasons New York was referred to as the city that never sleeps.
She just hoped she could finish editing before lack of sleep made her sick again. How many nights had she gone on only three hours? Seven? Eight? Eh, she couldn't afford to waste the mental effort figuring it out. Turning back to her computer, she gathered what was left of her mind to make the home stretch with intense focus. Which is why she jumped so violently that she fell out of her chair when she suddenly heard shouts and growls from outside her house.
Getting to her feet in a fit of sleep-deprived rage, she very irrationally plucked the first weapon she saw (a sword she had purchased in England) from the wall and shot electricity through it. Her lights flickered, but she didn't pay them any mind as she threw open her back door and stalked outside to see…four men with hammers attacking what appeared to be either a) a giant bat or b) A Gargoyle. The name Quarrymen flickered across her mind as she yelled, "Hey! What the bloody hell do you think you gits are doing?!" She swore like a Brit when she was mad. She blamed it on too much Brit Lit.
"Now now, girlie. We're just handling a little pest control. I suggest you go back inside and pretend you didn't see anything before you get hurt," one of the men had turned to face her while the others restrained the gargoyle, who appeared to not require much restraining anyhow.
Her expression darkened, "The only pests I see around here are you and your goons. Now then, you leave the gargoyle there and I'll let you go on your merry way to torture some other poor soul with your racket, eh?"
He actually laughed, then he swung his hammer at her. Rolling her eyes, she swung her sword up to meet it in a graceful arc, supercharging it enough to kill a nearby streetlamp in the process. As the two weapons collided, his superior strength no longer mattered as the supercharge emptied itself into the Quarryman, removing and redirecting the energy of the momentum in the process. It was quick, though. A flash of light and he fell at her feet, twitching. She took a few steps to the left in case he woke up and got any bright ideas before looking at his stunned companions, holding her sword calmly at her side. "Anyone else?"
They looked at one another, and then, to her immense surprise, hurled the gargoyle's limp form at her before grabbing their ring-leader and scuttling away. She was hit by the flying body and knocked to the ground. He landed across her chest, making it difficult to breath. She wriggled and squirmed, glad she had dropped the sword on impact so she wasn't hurting him anymore than he already was. He was bigger and heavier than her, especially with those wings, so it was difficult to get out from under him. She finally scrambled away gasping for air, "Boy, am I glad you aren't any bigger." She now took the opportunity to retrieve her sword and placed it on the table inside before returning to study her new guest.
She had never loved the privacy fences on her yard so much, although she was surprised the noise hadn't woken her well-meaning yet nosy neighbors. Still, she needed to get him inside…how to do so was her only dilemma. She thought she might succeed in dragging him, but that seemed cruel and counterproductive.
Wracking her brain, she grinned and gave a small hop before dashing to her garden shed to retrieve the red wagon she kept for hauling plants in the spring. Pulling it back, she saw that it was still too small, but she shrugged as she realized it was better than nothing. Besides, who would she call to help?
Trying to be as gentle as possible, she pushed and pulled the gargoyle until most of him was on the wagon or at least not on the ground. She frowned at her work, but grabbed the handle anyway and pulled the wagon very loudly into the house. She then hurried to close the backdoor. Sighing, she looked at her guest (some hospitality!) and realized she still had a lot to do. She could tell that a good bit of the red on his skin was natural, but he was cut up and bruised pretty badly. One of his wings looked as though it had a long tear in it. That couldn't be a good thing.
She pulled him over to the couch and ran to fetch a tarp and sheets, tucking them quickly around the cushions so that he could be relatively comfortable without getting blood all over her couch...kind of like the trail that had dripped across the hardwood. She looked at him worriedly before beginning to heave him onto the couch. When she finally got him settled, she hurried to her bathroom and brought back every scrap of bandaging and gauze she owned, some disinfectant, washcloths both wet and dry, and a surgical sewing kit she had bought on a whim given her track record with clumsiness and sharp things.
Returning, she started working, beginning with the largest wounds. She cleaned everything and stopped most of the bleeding with the help of the washcloths and gauze. The cuts on his arms and legs could be managed with gauze and bandaged, but one on his chest needed stitches. The location of it worried her, but she started working anyhow. Once the sewing was done on his chest and then his wing, which took longer, she thanked God he hadn't woken up and placed a few final bandages around his chest.
She trashed most of the things she had used as they were likely irreparable, then she cleaned up some of the excess blood. Noticing she was smeared with blood herself, she washed it off her skin and absently changed clothes. Finally finished, she got a blanket from the closet in the hall and spread it over him. She smiled down at her patient, blinking away the black spots on the edge of her vision as her brain warned her that it was about to override her body. He did indeed have red skin. He was as tall as her full-length couch was long, and he had the most interesting white hair. Horns curved back into it away from a face that came out like a beak. She thought he was kind of cute and wondered why anyone wanted to hurt him so badly. Her knees suddenly gave and she hit the floor, annoyed as her body finally gave up to sleep.