Brooklyn let the currents of the air carry him far above the petty confusion of the humans on the street below. It was so quiet up here, above the noise of the humans. It was positively peaceful... not like the castle. The castle seemed to get more and more noisy every night, with growing Alexander running around everywhere... and with Broadway and Angela fussing over their egg like it was the most important thing in the universe. The very thought made him snort in disgust.

He almost didn't see the woman, hidden as she was in the shadows of the roof of the building. In fact, he might never have noticed her if she hadn't stepped out onto the ledge.

She wasn't pretty, not in the conventional sense. She was swarthy, with straight black hair that seemed to be little more than a collection of split ends. From Brooklyn's vantagepoint, he could see the beginnings of gray streaks in that hair. Her dress was a pale yellow that made her look slightly jaundiced. It whipped around her thin legs like it was trying to pull her over the side of the building. She wore no shoes on her feet, and shivered as the wind cut through the thin dress like a knife. She spread her arms wide and tilted forward, seeming to move in slow motion. She began to fall, her hair whipping behind her.

Brooklyn didn't even think about it. He just swooped and snatched the woman up in his arms, spreading his wings wide as he headed for higher ground. Surprisingly, she didn't make so much as the slightest noise of protest. She didn't even shift in his arms as he held her close. She smelled of stale sweat and cheap perfume. "It's alright, miss." Brooklyn whispered, trying to be soothing. Normally this was the kind of thing he'd have let Lexington or Angela handle, but they weren't there. "Whatever it is, it's not worth your life. Nothing is worth throwing your life away." They were words he'd practiced and used far too often for his liking.

"They killed my baby brother." The woman's words were almost torn away from them by the wind, but Brooklyn had long practice with catching words on the air. He swooped down to a rooftop and set the woman on her feet, but she just crumbled into a broken heap like a rag doll and stared up at the sky.

"Who killed your brother?" the beaked gargoyle asked, crouching beside the woman and trying to look as non-threatening as possible. No small feat for a brick red gargoyle with a beak.

She didn't turn to look at him. It was like he didn't even exist for her at all. Her eyes were black and reddened from tears; the pupils dilated from the drugs Brooklyn suspected were coursing through her system. "The cops. The jails." she whispered finally. "They killed my little Tony." Her whole body convulsed, and she released a petulant cry of pain and sorrow that seemed as though it might shatter the stars themselves.

Brooklyn rolled her onto her side and pulled his cell phone free from its small hook on its belt, pressing the speed dial for emergency services. He couldn't give the woman the kind of medical attention she needed. "Paramedics? I have an emergency..."

&&&&&&&

Elisa leaned against the turret and looked up at the night sky, Goliath beside her. "Another inmate slit Dracon's throat during lunch." she said without taking her eyes off the stars. "Over pudding, of all things. Of all the ways Dracon could have died... that has to have been the lamest."

"He was to be released soon, wasn't he?" Goliath said, his voice little more than a rumble deep within his chest.

"Yeah. He was going to go live with his sister Marian. I had to tell her." Elisa bit her lip.

"I didn't think it was possible to watch a soul die. But I think I did today."