Manhattan; November 16
It was late in the afternoon when MacBeth arrived at the Eyrie Building. Owen met him at the door and escorted him to the elevator. Having just returned from Britain, Macbeth had pre-arranged a meeting with Goliath. This time, he had no intention of getting the gargoyles to leave their home. That ship had long since sailed.
Owen followed Macbeth until they had reached the balcony on the highest tower, where Goliath was still in stone sleep. Owen silently gave Macbeth the once-over, knowing Macbeth was waiting for him to leave. He had, after all, brought two of Goliath's charges to Britain to thwart Owen's boss's plans, after all, and was not about to share the purpose of his visit with him. However, Owen knew David Xanatos was not about to deny entry to the castle for any of the gargoyles' potential allies at the moment.
The sky visible from the tallest tower of Castle Wyvern was turning from pink to dark purple, though a few rainclouds were gathering in the distance, slightly marring this otherwise peaceful scene. MacBeth looked to the horizon and grinned. Goliath would be waking up any minute now.
Finally, the sun set and the Manhattan Clan greeted the night with roars and growls. Goliath spread his wings and jumped down from his perch. He turned to find the two men waiting for him.
Goliath gave MacBeth a polite nod, and Owen left to tend to his other duties.
"What news do you have of Hudson and Lexington?" Goliath asked.
Macbeth's smile faded slightly. "Xanatos attacked us at Victoria Tower. But, I assure you, Goliath, Hudson and Lexington are fine. Griff invited them to stay awhile and get to know his clan. I suppose I should thank you for allowing your charges to assist me."
Goliath frowned at him. "We heard on the news someone had attempted to plant a bomb during the move," he said.
"Yes, but there was no real bomb," MacBeth explained. "It was a scare to cause a diversion. I'm sure you can guess who was behind it."
Goliath shook his head in distaste, but there were more pressing matters to deal with. "And you are sure Hudson and Lexington are safe?"
"They were safe when I last saw them," MacBeth reassured him.
At this time, Brooklyn had glided to the tower, closely followed by Broadway and Angela, who were carrying Bronx. Once set down, the gargoyle beast grunted at MacBeth, and turned away as though disappointed.
Goliath turned to face his clan. "Hudson and Lexington's mission in Britain has ended," he told them.
"We heard," Angela answered, sounding relieved. "And they're all right."
Brooklyn, however, did not look reassured. "What did you mean, when you last saw them?" he asked MacBeth. His voice was strained, as though struggling with keeping accusation out of his tone.
MacBeth did not look surprised by the question. "I can't say for certain whether Xanatos did anything to them after I left."
"But you said they were with Griff and King Arthur, right?" Broadway asked. "They should be all right."
Goliath sighed. "I suppose for the time being they are safer there than in Manhattan."
"I guess," Brooklyn agreed reluctantly, still glaring at Macbeth. Relieved as he was to hear Hudson and Lexington were safe, it was a bitter disappointment to find they didn't come home.
Elisa arrived at the castle a few minutes after sunset. When she reached the courtyard, she saw Xanatos's black and red helicopter land nearby. For a moment she stiffened. This would mean her visit with Goliath would not have the effect she was hoping for. Not wishing to be seen, she slipped passed Owen as he headed to meet his boss.
"Welcome home, Mr. Xanatos," Owen greeted, as Xanatos stepped out of his private helicopter. "MacBeth arrived yesterday and has arranged a meeting with Goliath."
"I thought that might happen," Xanatos answered as Fox stepped out of the plane behind him, carrying the sleeping baby Alexander. "I suppose he'll inform Goliath of the attack on his friends in London."
"The gargoyles have expected there to be trouble when Hudson and Lexington left for Britain," Owen answered.
"Better find out what our friend Goliath plans to do about it," Xanatos replied."
By this time, Elisa had reached the balcony too. Like Brooklyn, she also looking displeased about something. "Goliath, we have to talk," she announced, but paused for a moment when taking in MacBeth's presence. "Oh… I guess the stone matter is over now?"
"Yes," MacBeth answered her.
"Where are Hudson and Lex, then?" Elisa asked.
"They chose to stay at Knight's Spur for the time being," MacBeth replied.
"They are with Griff and King Arthur," Goliath told Elisa. "What did you want to tell me?"
Elisa gave MacBeth a suspicious look, but turned back to Goliath. "Well, this concerns all of us, actually." She pointed at the tower's parapets. "Look who just landed in the yard."
With a sinking feeling, Goliath turned towards the edge of the tower. But Brooklyn reached the edge of the parapets first and looked down. "Oh perfect," Brooklyn grumbled when he spotted Xanatos's familiar black and red helicopter.
When the others caught up to him, Bronx raised himself to his hind legs, supporting his front paws on the parapets. He growled in dismay.
Goliath sighed. "Well, I suppose there was no point for him to stay in Scotland after the stone was moved."
"Does this mean Hudson and Lexington are truly safe from him now?" Angela asked.
"As long as he didn't find them before he left," Brooklyn answered bitterly. "He can't be happy they interfered with his attempt to seize the Stone."
"Perhaps not," Goliath replied, looking at Angela. "But I do not believe Xanatos has forgotten how we helped save his son. It would take more than losing the Stone to cause him to forget that."
"Yeah, but for long is he going to be grateful enough to let us foil his plans in peace?" Brooklyn asked.
"Xanatos never really expected us to stop foiling his schemes, yet he still wants us alive," Goliath answered.
"Didn't he try to kill you and Angela in Arizona?" Brooklyn asked.
Goliath frowned at him. "Since Hudson and Lexington were not harmed, we should let the matter rest and not confront Xanatos." He replied. "And remember, he has mainly attacked us in the past because we were in the way, not for revenge. Attacking Hudson and Lexington after the stone had been moved would not have helped him." He sighed again and turned away from the balcony. Uneasy as he was about the news of Xanatos's return, he did not want to confront Xanatos. Unlike before, the clan had no safe place to live away from Xanatos, and he did not think the defeat Xanatos suffered was of such magnitude that he would forget how they saved his son and would want to harm them and certainly not destroy them while they sleep. He wouldn't be that wasteful.
Elisa did not look convinced. "I think Brooklyn is right," she said. "You know what Xanatos is capable of. I'm not saying we should panic about Hudson and Lex, but we can't take it for granted that Xanatos will honor your truce with him."
Goliath momentarily looked a bit taken aback by Elisa's words, not least because it was most unusual for her to disagree with him when he was taking a cautious approach. But then, Elisa had a bitter grudge against Xanatos for what he did to her brother, and obviously didn't like seeing the clan putting their lives into Xanatos's hands.
At this point MacBeth stepped forward, clearing his throat as though reminding the others he was still there. "I agree with you, Detective," he said softly to Elisa.
MacBeth then turned to Goliath. "I advise you not to drop your guard. Xanatos isn't someone who can be trusted. He is a cunning man who will do anything to serve his interests." With that, he turned and left the tower.
Elisa glared at him as he left. "It's all very well of him to warn us," she said, mostly to herself. She caught Goliath's eye. "He knew what you stood to risk, going against Xanatos. Seems to me he took quite a chance with your safety by asking your help with the stone."
"We cannot fault him when he was honest about the mission," Goliath replied. "Hudson and Lexington knew what they were getting into."
"But did they also know MacBeth would leave them before they were in the clear of Xanatos?" Elisa asked.
"Macbeth has left Hudson and Lexington in good hands," Goliath told Elisa. "If anything had happened, I believe King Arthur and the London clan would let us know. We should wait until we have heard from them before deciding what to do about Xanatos." Goliath watched Elisa continue glaring at the direction of MacBeth's departure. "MacBeth would not have asked for our help only to desert us. Even when he was our enemy, he had a sense of honor."
"But Xanatos doesn't," Brooklyn said. "There's bound to be another time we'll have to foil his schemes, he's not going to tolerate it forever."
"I know we can't push our luck with Xanatos," Goliath replied. "But that is exactly why I do not wish to confront him about Hudson and Lexington, not without proof he has harmed them. For the time being, Xanatos is the reason we have our home and protection from the Quarrymen. Starting a fight with him unnecessarily is too dangerous."
Elisa looked slightly mollified by these words, but Brooklyn groaned bitterly. "In other words, he owns us."
Goliath sighed, resting his hand on Brooklyn's shoulder. "It is only temporary," he told him softly. "When we hear from Hudson and Lexington, we will re- examine our options."
Angela eyed Brooklyn in concern. "Do you really think it's safe to wait?" she asked Goliath.
"Xanatos isn't going to come after us right away," Broadway told her.
"Maybe not, but we have another matter to deal with," Elisa told them. "If Xanatos is back, it won't be long before the public notices and demands the GTF investigate him for harboring gargoyles."
"But you and Matt are in charge of the GTF," Angela said. "Isn't there a way you can stop the investigation?"
Elisa sighed. "Matt and I are doing all we can to keep people quiet," she explained. "But if we have nothing to show for our "investigation of Xanatos", Chavez might appoint someone else for the job."
"But she trusts you and Matt!" Broadway insisted. "If you two tell her there's nothing to find here…"
"You have to see this from her point of view," Elisa replied. "People are panicking, and if we have nothing to tell the public, the Quarrymen will be able to convince more people to join them."
For a split second, Goliath felt a surge of rage, but quickly managed to stop himself. "Xanatos does not wish us to leave the castle at this time," he said in a voice forced calm. "His desire to dominate us at least has one advantage. He will expect to be investigated and prepare for it."
Owen and Xanatos had watched the exchange between MacBeth and the gargoyles via closed circuit in Xanatos's office.
Xanatos sighed with slight relief, though he did not appear entirely at ease. "It looks like we're safe for now," he told Owen. "Still, it wouldn't hurt to make an effort to convince the gargoyles to trust me."
"Goliath does seem to be taking a reasonable approach," Owen agreed. "But if Brooklyn or Detective Maza convince him they are not safe here, it won't be long before the gargoyles confront you."
"I suppose not," Xanatos replied, "but Goliath won't want to leave the castle again. This buys us time before the opportunity to prove myself to him presents itself."
"The last time Xanatos tried to hide us from the public he meant for us to stay at his retreat Upstate," Goliath told the others. "We should prepare for the possibility he will try to move us there until after the investigation."
"Great," Brooklyn muttered. "He told us he's letting us stay here out of gratitude, now he's not even going to do that?"
"This is only a possibility, nothing more," Goliath insisted.
"And if it happens, do you think he'll let us back after the investigation is over?" Angela asked.
"I believe so," Goliath replied. "Xanatos will want to keep us close by."
Elisa continued to look skeptical. She sensed Goliath's willingness to put his clan in Xanatos's hands had more to do with his desire to stay at the castle than with actually believing Xanatos could be trusted with their safety. But then, she knew Goliath was right not to make a rash decision when it did not seem called for. And she wanted to stand by Goliath.
Brooklyn, on the other hand, groaned in defeat, folding his wings around himself and turning away from Goliath. He hated the idea of Xanatos owning them, and after Demona had once deceived him, was afraid of putting his trust in the wrong person again. But what was so frustrating was that there was nothing the clan could do. There was no safe place for the gargoyles to go with the city hunting them like animals.
Broadway watched Brooklyn in concern, and stepped forward. "Look, there's nothing we can do about Xanatos right now," he said. "We should go have breakfast. We can figure out what to do when we have to."
He and Angela turned to leave, but Angela glanced back at the others. Goliath had his arm around Elisa, and Brooklyn was still staring at the floor.
"Are you coming?" Angela asked.
Brooklyn looked up, forcing himself to meet Angela's eyes. "No, I'm not hungry," he said softly.
Angela shrugged and left with Broadway.
Brooklyn watched them leave, looking miserable. He was hoping once Hudson and Lexington's mission was over, they would return, making his situation a little more bearable. He missed them terribly. He also felt more hurt and angrier over this than he cared to admit. Hudson and Lex were with a whole new clan of gargoyles while he was stuck here feeling rejected and ignored.
Once Broadway and Angela were out of his sight, Brooklyn felt Goliath and Elisa's eyes watching him. He glanced at them, and quickly looked away. He was sure they wanted to be alone too. "I'd better go," he muttered, his voice barely audible.
Goliath watched as Brooklyn jumped over the parapet and glided away from the tower, knowing perfectly well Brooklyn was heading for the library to hide from Broadway and Angela.
Bronx leaned over the parapet, emitting a pitiful howl, as though trying to call something to Brooklyn. Goliath approached him and gently patted his head. Bronx whimpered and returned to the floor. He brushed against Goliath's leg for a moment, then headed for the castle and disappeared from sight. Goliath sighed and turned back to the parapet, staring at the direction Brooklyn had gone to.
During the last two weeks, the Manhattan Clan mostly laid low in the castle, waiting for the atmosphere to cool down after their presence was discovered on Halloween. Goliath was already fully recovered and he and Elisa were pursuing their relationship, though they were not officially mates. Broadway and Angela were spending more time alone together. "I expect Broadway and Angela to become mates any night now."
Elisa noticed Goliath was worried about Brooklyn. "It's painful for Brooklyn to be around Broadway and Angela," Elisa pointed out. Goliath stared at her a bit awkwardly, for the first time realizing she knew.
Elisa gave him a reassuring nod. "I've seen the way he looks at Angela, especially when she's with Broadway."
Goliath sighed. "I hope Hudson and Lexington return soon for Brooklyn's sake, as well as ours," he said. "Brooklyn spends most of his time alone since they left for Britain, possibly even long before that. I don't like to interfere, but I wish Broadway and Angela weren't so blind to their friend's pain. It's not as if Brooklyn has many options for making new friends."
"I agree. Brooklyn must be feeling worse because Xanatos is back," Elisa said.
"Yes, he does find it difficult to deal with so many troubles at once. He misses Hudson and Lexington, and is afraid for their safety, but there is nothing he can do about it. And his pain over Broadway and Angela is keeping him from turning to them for support."
Elisa rested her head on Goliath's shoulder. "At least you and I can help by letting Brooklyn know he has our support."
Goliath held her close, giving her a small, sad smile. He threw another glance at the direction from which Brooklyn had disappeared, and turned back to Elisa. "What is the GTF doing about the Quarrymen?"
Elisa sighed. "Well, Matt and I are trying to convince people not to join them or listen to them, and even announced that many of their members have criminal records and have committed accounts of assault on people and trespassing and destruction of property."
"And has that helped?" Goliath asked, though his expectations of Elisa's answer were not high.
"Not much," Elisa answered bitterly. "Most people are too scared to listen. We even tried to convince Yale to make the Quarrymen illegal, but she argued back that generally the Quarrymen haven't committed enough crimes. Though she did say that while she does sympathize the Quarrymen's fears and concerns, she doesn't agree with them. She finds immediate extermination of gargoyles unnecessary and she doesn't approve of them or anyone taking the law into their own hands, so she claims. She did announce that any Quarrymen caught committing a crime will be prosecuted, including Castaway."
"As long as the public continues to hear horrific stories about gargoyles, they will not move to stop the Quarrymen," Goliath surmised, deeply disgusted. "They have to be convinced gargoyles are not a threat to their safety."
"I know," Elisa agreed. "We just have to figure out how."
"By continuing to defend them," Goliath answered, quickly making up his mind. Elisa faced Goliath, looking slightly alarmed. "That's a dangerous move," she said.
"We are already in danger," Goliath told her. "The public cannot stop fearing us if they do not know us."
Elisa groaned in frustration. "Goliath, how many people have actually been grateful for your protection?"
Goliath suddenly gave her a sly smile. "At least one I have rescued from falling off of this castle."
Elisa lowered her eyes, though Goliath was sure she was smiling. "When we first met, I thought we could never trust humans again," Goliath went on. "You tried to convince me there was another side to this world. Somewhere between then and now, I learned to believe you."
He gently touched Elisa's face, tilting her chin so he could look her in the eye. "It's time to try again."
Indeed, Elisa did smile.