Countdown To Christmas By RM Bachnick
So I've been writing for a few years now for the gargoyle fandom, and got stuck on a MAJOR writing block. One that has lasted a couple of years now. So I decided it was time to try our something new, and what started out as a little story for a challenge turned into a novel. Ok so maybe not that big….but I've been working at it fairly steadily for four months now and I'm still writing. And having fun! This will be my first even fic posted here, and my first time writing a BOP story. So you're comments are welcome- just try not to incinerate me with too many flames.
I'd like to dedicate this to all my former Clan LeFemme Sistas and Storyseeker. You've been buggin' me to write for ages my friend, and I thank you for not giving up on me completely. I know this wasn't quite what you expected, but I hope you like it none the less. Enjoy!
Legalities: None of the Character in this story are mine. They are owned by the gods in the comicverse, WB, and the giant Mouse in the House. I'm just borrowing them for my own entertainment, and make no money whatsoever offa them.
Some later chapters may lean more towards an R rating for language and violence.Chapter 1
"Dracon! Your visitor is here!"
The smooth talking crime lord tossed his cigarette butt onto the ground and crushed it brutally beneath the heel of his standard issues prison shoes. "About damn time," he muttered as he strolled through the prison yard towards the visitor's area.
Inside he nodded to the guard who monitored the phone conversations and deftly slipped him a hundred as he brushed by the man. The guard smiled, and pointed down to the far end, away from all of the other prison inmates. "She's at ten Tony."
Dracon grunted a response, and moved down to the far end of the room. As he slid into the seat he took a good long look at the woman seated across from him. Despite being locked up these past three years, Tony had kept close tabs on this woman, and he knew that life had been very hard for her. Sadly, it was beginning to show in the fine lines that were forming along her still beautiful face, and the slump of her once proud shoulders. Finally, he reached for the phone and she did the same.
"Hey Sugar, long time no see," he drawled casually.
"Not long enough," she grumbled back. "Look Tony, I have a lot I'm dealing with right now, so this had better be damn important."
"Ah, straight to the point as always," he chuckled. "Sorry things haven't been going well for you and your friends. See Sugar, if you wouldn't have arrested me maybe I could have been some help with those Quarrymen freaks."
"We managed just fine without you and your kind of 'help' Tony," she retorted.
"Yeah, but it took way too long to clean them out. And not without cost it seems," he observed quietly as he looked over her haggard features. "You should get some sleep Maza, you look like hell."
"Tony it took us nearly two years to get rid of the Quarrymen. Then the Towers were hit. Ever since then, we have been run ragged working with the Feds trying to track those people down AND fight the normal crime going on in this city. I don't have time to sit here and banter with you anymore. Now tell me why you called me here or I'm walking," she growled at him.
Tony sighed, a tiny part of him saddened to see his heart's pursuit so worn down by life. Then he stifled his emotions and his face went somber. "Word has it you and your buddies in blue are having a hard time lately trying to control the sudden upsurge in crime. Particularly with the increase of weapons."
He paused for a moment seeing that he now had her attention. "One weapon in particular has been causing you and your friends nightmares I would imagine."
"What do you know Tony," she asked finally. Again, it was without the normal threats that so often came with her former demands of information.
"Names, places, and dates baby."
"What do you want in return?"
"Well a parole hearing would be nice, but I'm willing to part with this information for free."
Maza's eyes narrowed instantly. "No way. There's got to be some catch."
"Well, maybe one small condition," he admitted with his infamous smirk. She merely gazed back at him expectantly and his face suddenly went deadly serious as his eyes went ice cold. "I want you to deal with this personally."
"Tony, I'm a cop, not some vigilante," Maza sighed.
He chuckled slightly as an eyebrow quirked. "Really?" he questioned, his gaze piercing through hers until she finally looked down. "Don't worry Sugar, I'm not asking you to kill anyone. I just happen to trust you more than anyone else."
"Oh?" she asked some of her old personality breaking through. "And what about Glasses? I though he was your right-hand man? He seemed pretty loyal to me."
"Glasses would lay down his life for me and that's what he nearly did last week," Tony explained grimly. "He has been looking out for my.. 'businesses' in my absence. But business has been getting rough lately. He tried negotiating first, but it seems our mutual enemy was interested more in a hostile take-over. Last week, Glasses wound up in the hospital with a bullet in his back while gathering information about this new gang."
"Ah…so this is a turf war and you have no one else to turn to," she said almost smugly. Tony felt his blood pressure rise as she baited him, and his eyebrows drew together in an angry expression. Her smirk finally showed completely through and then suddenly he laughed.
"Good to finally see the real you Maza," he said as he relaxed back in his chair. "Yeah it's a turf war, but this is your turf as much as it's mine Maza. These aren't local boys we're dealing with, and they ain't interested in nobody's business 'cept their own. Word has it that these boys are planning something big, but first they have to arm themselves."
"Arm themselves? You make it sound like they plan on overrunning the city or something," she snorted skeptically. Dracon's expression however sent a chill down her spine and he nodded.
"How long do we have?"
"Two weeks. This new gang- they call themselves the Wild Cards. Their boss is one Harley Quinn. Got herself caught and locked up in Arkham Asylum in New Gotham, though. That's the only thing that's bought us all some time."
"THE Harley Quinn?" Elisa gasped the color draining from her face.
"Yeah, that bitch is crazier than your boyfriend's ex." Dracon smirked a bit when he saw Maza scowl at him fiercely. "Anyway, it's taken some time for her to figure out how to regain control of her people, but she's done it somehow. You've already seen what those new guns can do to an armored car, much less a bulletproof vest. In two weeks, five thousand guns will be leaving the docks of New Gotham by train to be distributed here."
"Damn," Elisa whispered as her head sank into the palm of her hand. Tony allowed her a moment to let it sink in and then he pressed on, a note of urgency in his voice that she had never heard before.
"Listen Maza, you have to go to New Gotham and stop that train before it leaves. Exactly two weeks from now at 11:00 pm the supplier will be meeting with Harley's right hand man to deliver the goods. The train is unlisted and supposed to leave by 1:00. My contacts have no idea yet as to where or when the delivery will show up in town."
"New Gotham? Tony that's another jurisdiction-"
"Maza, you have to keep the police out of this as much as possible. She's got too many contacts inside. If they smell something, they'll reschedule and you may not ever have another shot."
"Damnit Tony I can't just go into this thing on my own," she hissed at him frustrated.
"I didn't say alone baby," he reassured her with a grin. "As it turns out I have a few contacts of my own up there. Talk to your Captain, but make sure she doesn't say a word to anyone else about this. Then look up a Detective Jesse Reese at GCPD."
"What guarantee do I have that he's clean?"
Dracon chuckled once again. "He's as squeaky as you Sugar. Pretty damn impressive considering his old man helped mentor me in the finer arts of….'business'. Junior never took to our preferred work ethics though- even locked up his own father last year. Trust me, he'll keep this quiet."
Elisa looked back up at Tony, her eyes locking with his for a few seconds. "Anything else I should know?" she asked finally.
"That's all I've got for now. If I hear anything more, I'll send word to you." He noticed she didn't ask how, and he smiled a bit knowing that deep down it irked her at how much control he still had despite being behind bars. When she nodded and made to hang up the phone he suddenly blurted out her name to stop her. She blinked in surprise and he resumed his calm tone, though he couldn't help the emotions behind his next statement.
"Elisa, watch your back up there. These people are as crazy and dangerous as their boss. As much as it pains me to say this….take your boyfriend with you. You're gonna need all the help you can get."
"Tony….how am I supposed to take down an entire gang with just a handful of people?" Elisa asked slowly.
"Don't worry Sugar," he reassured her with a determined look on his face. "When the time comes you'll have all the help you'll need."
Her brow was creased with worry, and her shoulders slumped even further with this newly added burden. She obviously didn't like the way any of this was going to go down, but she silently agreed that it would have to be this way. If the police lost control of Manhattan, who knew what would happen after that.
Despite the overwhelming feelings Dracon knew she was going through right now, Elisa managed to twist her lips up in a ghost of her own smirk. "Dracon, I think you might have been a good enough boy to go up before a parole board. I'm sure you can handle things from there."
"Got it all covered Sugar."
"Then you just have to promise me one thing for when I come back."
"Anything for you Maza."
"I haven't had a break in god knows how many years. When I come back, promise me you'll continue to be good…at least for a few months." She was making a deal with the devil and yet she couldn't help the slightly pleading tone that carried over the phone line.
"Maza, if you give me my turf back, I promise you here and now that none of my guys will ever bother you and yours again."
The look she gave him made every minute he had spent in prison fade away. "Tony…..you don't know how much that means to me right now," she admitted in a rough voice. He blinked in surprise when he saw tears shimmer in her eyes, and watched as she forced them not to spill.
"Ah Baby…..shhh," he whispered over the phone his hand reaching up to spread along the glass. He smiled wistfully. "Damn, what I wouldn't give to be holdin' you right now."
"That was a long time ago Tony," she sighed, but he didn't miss the faint smile that played along her lips.
"Yeah but they was good times doll. You tell that purple giant that if he ever breaks your heart I will make one exception to my promise to you. Now get outta here before I have to pay Gino over there another c-note to keep quiet."
His last little remark seemed to have lightened the mood a bit, and she pressed her hand against the glass across from his briefly. "Thank you Tony."
Dracon merely smiled and hung up the phone and sat back to watch her leave. It was a few minutes before Gino finally walked over and tapped on his shoulder. "Come on Tony," he said gently his eyes sliding over to the surveillance cameras. "Don' want the big boys upstairs getting too suspicious."
"Yeah, especially now," Tony muttered to himself as he shook off his feeling of nostalgia and returned his mind to the task at hand and the plans that needed to be laid out.
Elisa woke to the gentle rapping on her door and realized she had fallen asleep on the sofa once again. She groggily stood and shuffled over to let Goliath in from the icy rain that had been falling all week. A couple more degrees and it would be snowing. The massive gargoyle shook himself off, and then reached out to draw her into his embrace.
She submitted, the smell of him calming her frayed nerves as it always did. He stroked her hair for several minutes, his arms and wings folded gently around her body as he felt the tension start to drain away from her tense muscles.
For his part, Goliath was intensely worried- had been for the better part of two years now. Things had gone from bad to worse in this Protectorate of theirs, and at times it seemed that they were making no headway in their efforts to fight crime. For the first year after the attack on the clock tower, Elisa had been stuck working so many double shifts, she finally succumbed to a devastating illness called pneumonia. In the meantime, the Quarrymen had begun to form, and the city was so caught up in the turmoil of the debate, that even his own clan had begun to suffer from the stress.
And then there was the terrorist attack that had nearly cost Elisa her own life. She had been one of the few lucky ones to escape the building moments before it had collapsed. Even now, she still carried the ghosts and demons of that day. Elisa withdrew into herself, and their relationship- what little they had been given chance to explore- came to a screeching halt. It was months before she opened up to him about what had happened to her and how she felt. And then the first of the new guns began showing up.
In the past six months, nearly fifty innocent people had been murdered by these deadly new monstrosities. The bullets were enormous, and packed with a tiny explosive that ripped through five inches of steel like it was nothing. Every attack on the trucks and banks hit so far were well planned, and nearly everyone who had tried to stop them or got in their way ended up a gory corpse.
Even poor Hudson had nearly died while trying to protect a family that happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The aged warrior had taken a shot to his left foot, and the explosive bullet took a good portion of his lower leg with it. Xanatos' doctors had been forced to amputate the rest of the lower leg, leaving the elder gargoyle permanently crippled. Elisa blamed herself for Hudson's loss as much as Goliath did. As a result, she had thrown herself into the search for the source of these guns with a vengeance bordering on obsession.
Goliath was stirred from his worries when he suddenly felt a wetness against his chest that was not rain. He looked down to see Elisa silently weeping and he held her tighter, wishing that there was some way he could take all of this away.
"God damn it," she swore tiredly. "Just one night….all I want is just one night where I can forget this all."
"I'm so tired Goliath…so tired of the fighting, the death. Three years ago, we finally admitted how much we care for each other, and then we were torn apart by everything. I don't want to loose you," she admitted in a shaky voice as she clung to him.
"Shhhhh," he soothed as his talon lifted her chin up. "I love you Elisa Maza, and we will have time for each other. I promise."
She reached up and brought his head down for a kiss. It had been ages since they had kissed, and between the overwhelming emotions and her exhaustion, Elisa felt her knees give out. Goliath scooped her up however and carried her towards her bedroom.
"You need to sleep," he told her gently.
"No not just yet, we need to talk," she said grimly.
Goliath hesitated, but her tone had changed and he knew that she would not rest until she had told him what she needed to. He changed trajectories, and instead headed for the massive couch, where he sat carefully as he kept her curled on his lap.
"I went to see Dracon today," she blurted out finally. She felt Goliath's body twitch in surprise, and then a low growl emanated from his throat. "Easy Big Guy," she soothed. "He may have very well helped to save our city. His contacts have been gathering info for him about our guns. It seems he's no more keen on having these jerks around than we are."
"What did he want in return?" Goliath grumbled.
"You're joking. Men like him don't give up information unless they can benefit from it somehow."
"And he will, by staying alive and keeping his… 'business'." She then laid out everything that Dracon had told her and what needed to be done. She of course left out the fact that she had promised to get him a parole hearing, or that she figured his men would probably somehow be involved when it came time to make the bust.
Goliath was quiet for a long time as he digested everything. "I'm going with you," he said finally.
"I was counting on it. Besides, with the limited police help, I'll need all the backup I can get."
"When do we leave?"
"I've already talked with Fox. She will have their plane ready to leave tomorrow evening. I've already cleared everything through the Captain, and Xanatos said he will stand by in case we need reinforcements. As much as I hate to rely on him, he's the only other backup we can count on for now," she said with a grimace. She still hated the billionaire for what he had done to her brother. But over the past few years, he had proven himself to be a reliable and powerful ally, even at the risk of his own money at times. Derek may never forgive the man for what he had done in his past, but Elisa had finally managed to keep a civil working relationship with the executive. If only so she could use him in times like this.
Goliath nodded in approval, and finally stood back up to take her to bed. She curled up against him, and he inhaled her scent deeply before placing her under her sheets. "Rest now Elisa and I will see you tomorrow evening."
"Sleep," she sighed even as her eyes slid shut of their own accord. Before she knew it, she was once more sound asleep, with her love watching over her for awhile longer before he quietly exited the apartment and headed for his own roosting place.