Mac Taylor sighed in frustration as he looked at the stack of assignment slips still left to work through. He glanced at them, a double homicide in Central Park, a homicide in Queens and a double homicide on Park Avenue. He sighed; Danny and Hawkes could take the double in Central Park, Flack was taking that beat today. Stella could keep Lindsay in line with the other double, maybe an afternoon with the Greek woman would cure Lindsay of the ridiculous crush she had on him. He'd take the single solo. He rubbed the heels of his hands into his eyes, yawning widely before looking at his watch. 4.30 pm already. This was gonna be a long night.
Flack glanced around him, fidgeting slightly. This was going to be close. If he even made it to his watchtower at all. Maybe he could cut out early, he mused, before hearing a car pull up. He turned to see which CSI's he'd be working with today and was flooded with mixed emotions. Danny and Sheldon. His heart sank even as a small smile curved his lips up as he took in their startling contrasts. He couldn't cut out early. Not on these two. He couldn't risk anything happening to either Danny or Sheldon. The hunter inside Detective Don Flack surged to the surface at the thought of harm befalling the two CSI's. He turned his back on the two approaching men, clenching his hands into fists, willing away the fireballs that flowed just under his palms, and ruthlessly stomped it back down. Good God, it had never reacted that strongly before…
Danny drove himself and Sheldon to the crime scene, studying the former-ME out of the corner of his eye. Some days he thought Sheldon was better off in the morgue. When he saw the newest CSI's deep brown eyes darken with barely concealed sadness or anger as they paced out the crime scenes. But then, he thought, shifting his gaze back onto the road, if Shel wasn't out here with them, how cynical would they have gotten? Would they still see the bodies as victims or would they just become slabs of meat that cost them overtime? Getting out of the car, Sheldon beside him, Danny nodded to Flack as the two CSI's ducked under the tape. As Danny saw the two bodies dumped side by side underneath a tree, he scowled, knowing that tonight the city would have to look after itself. He couldn't leave this scene, couldn't leave Don and Sheldon, not knowing what lurked in the dark of New York City. Danny's eyes flashed icy blue and he felt his wing scars ripple as the hunter in him flew to the surface. He shoved it back down, rolling his shoulders back, shifting uneasily. What the hell was that all about…?
Sheldon Hawkes watched Danny out of the corner of his eye. The blonde hunter still had no idea he was working with a healer and another hunter. He bit back a smirk. Neither did Don. His urge to smirk faded rapidly as Danny parked the car outside the crime scene. He frowned as he got out of the car and ducked under the crime scene tape. He sighed, eyes darkening with sadness as he saw the two bodies face down under a tree. Don came up on his right side, Danny on his left. Sheldon shook his head, handing his kit off to Don and pulling on some gloves. As he knelt down beside the bodies, Sheldon fought the urge to shudder as he felt the hunters in both Danny and Don, surge to the surface. The healer in him eased its way to the forefront, earthy green tendrils of power sliding up and down Sheldon's arms, wanting to reach out to the two hunters on either side of him. Sheldon blinked in surprise, before carefully easing it back down. The healer in him had reached for the hunters in Danny and Don. That had never happened before…
The two CSI's paced out the crime scene, working easily together, moving in a spiral pattern out from the bodies, collecting evidence as they went. Don fidgeted nervously, watching as the sun set over New York. Danny glanced up every now and then, seeing the sunset, blood-red through the skyscrapers; he pushed his glasses up his nose and kept working, a worried frown on his face. Sheldon ignored it all. They would come. He knew it. He could feel it. The three men stood in the crime scene, two diligently processing, one standing by and keeping watch.
The two hunters watched, each with growing nervousness, as the sun finally sank below the horizon. The healer worked on, confident in the knowledge that the creatures would come, confident also in the knowledge that the two hunters with him would meet them head on. The hunters moved forward, unconsciously mirroring each other's movements. They paused, stances casual but ready to fight, both knowing that soon they would be needed.
An unearthly howl rent the air, causing all three men to flinch. Sheldon eased himself to his feet. The healer stepped forward as well, trying to see what had caused the howl. Danny and Don moved to stand in front of him, before looking at each other in surprise. Both opened their mouths to speak, finally recognizing the hunter in the other, but their attention was dragged away by another god-awful howl.
Ignoring the NYPD detective next to him, Danny pulled off his shirt, yanking his sword out of the sheath strapped to his leg. He snarled, his eyes flashing icy blue. Standing bare-chested in the middle of Central Park, Danny spread his wings. Bringing his sword around to bear, the winged hunter stood ready to take on whatever the night threw at them.
Hearing the closer howl, Don turned his back on Danny, leather jacket billowing behind him. He brought his hands up, flicking them lightly. The corners of his mouth curled up in satisfaction as his hands seemingly burst into pale blue flames. The small smirk turned into a feral, almost manic, grin. Don spread his hands, flames licking up his arms and turned to face the darkness and whatever lurked within it.
Even though he wasn't a hunter, Sheldon stood his ground. He frowned in concentration, allowing his hands and arms to glow their soft green. His eyes, normally a deep brown were now shot through with veins of green, and even though they shone with power, they also held a lot of fear. He shot Danny and Don a quick smile when the two stared at him in stunned surprise. As another unholy scream split the air, the two hunters swung away from Sheldon, moving in unison to form a protective barrier between him and the creatures of the hours of darkness.
Danny let out a wild snarl as three of the shadowy creatures barreled out of the darkness towards him. He stretched his wings half-out, bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet. He swung his sword around, decapitating one, before burying the blade into the belly of another. He growled furiously, trying to tug it out, but with no success.
"Don…" he called, not taking his eyes off the third creature as it stalked towards him.
Don hissed as two creatures hurtled out of the shadows, knocking him to the ground. He let out a vicious roar and hurled a fireball at each. The two creatures staggered back, allowing the hunter to roll gracefully to his feet. He flung out his hands, throwing two more fireballs at each creature. Hearing Danny's voice behind him, he spun, jacket billowing behind him. Seeing Danny, sword buried in one creature, staring down another, Don stretched out both his arms, flames exploding from both palms to engulf the creature pinned by Danny's sword.
"Took you long enough," the winged hunter called over as he freed his sword, slashing it through the throat of the third creature.
"I was a little preoccupied," Don shot back.
Two more creatures screeched as they bolted out of the darkness, knocking the two men to the ground. Don brought both hands up to the creature's head, engulfing it in flames and kicking it off him. He snarled viciously, rolling easily to his feet. A sudden feeling of dread swept through him. He spun, looking around for Sheldon; the healer had been too quiet.
Sheldon stood, his back pressed against a tree, his eyes wide with fear, as his two hunters fought determinedly to protect both him and the city they called home. His head snapped to the left as he heard a noise. His eyes went impossibly wide and the glowing green on his hands and arms flared brighter. The creature stepped out of the darkness, hissing its happiness at finding a defenseless healer.
Seeing Sheldon backed into a tree by one of the creatures, Don flung out a fireball. The creature snarled at him, narrowly dodging it, before stepping closer to Sheldon, confident in the knowledge that Don would not risk the healer. Don growled loudly in frustration, his heart breaking at the fear in Sheldon's eyes. Hearing Don's growl, Danny turned, catching sight of Sheldon. He snarled. With one strong beat of his wings, Danny was in the air, sword arcing through the night to take the creature's head. The winged hunter landed gracefully on the balls of his feet, smiling at the frightened healer. His smile faded, however, when Sheldon's eyes widened even further and he took an involuntary step forward.
"Danny! Move!" the healer yelled.
Danny spun on his heel, wings flaring out so he could take off into the air again. But he was too slow. A solitary creature let out a futile screech as it thundered into him, clawing desperately at Danny's wings, struggling for a good handhold. Danny yelled in pain and anger as the creature pulled on his wings, twisting and turning in an attempt to bury his blade into the creature. He swung his sword, managing to slash it up the creatures arm. It shrieked, letting go for a split second, allowing the wide-eyed Sheldon to breathe a sigh of relief.
Trusting that Danny had the creature under control, Sheldon turned, looking for Don. The dark haired detective was fighting a battle of his own, hurling fireballs frantically at three creatures that surrounded him. Sheldon swore softly. This sucked! Here, in a fight, he was useless. He was worse than useless! He took a couple of steps back and watched, eyes still wide, as Don finished off the two of the three creatures he was dealing with. He spun, throwing two more fireballs at the third and final creature, before turning to face Sheldon. He shot the hunter a shaky smile, which faded as an agonized scream ripped through the night.
"Oh God, Danny!" Don shouted, as he took off in the direction of the scream, Sheldon hot on his heels.
Don crashed to a halt, staring in horror at the scene before him. Danny lay on the ground, glasses askew, blood pooling beneath his back. The creature he had been fighting lay dead, pinned to the earth by his sword. Don gagged, catching sight of Danny's left wing. The creature had wrenched the wing half out of Danny's back, exposing the bone and leaving long bloody furrows down his back. The winged hunter gasped and writhed, gritting his teeth against the agony. Tears ran down his face and blood ran down his back.
Sheldon gasped, doubling over as he felt the shove of Danny's pain against his mind. Don's head whipped back and forth, his face full of emotion, torn between the two men. Sheldon took deep calming breaths, carefully easing Danny's pained plea out of his mind. Danny writhed on the floor, agonized cries being torn from him as the bones in his wings grated together. Don flinched as each cry tore through him, cutting deeper than any knife could.
Sheldon dropped to his knees beside Danny. He could feel Danny's pain pressing against his mind but he ignored it. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Opening his eyes, Sheldon reached out his hands, holding them over Danny's injured wing. The healer's hands flared green. Sheldon closed his eyes, keeping his hands steady over Danny's wing. Danny stilled, watching Sheldon intently, all his pain gone. Don stared at the two men, crouching down on Danny's other side.
Sheldon concentrated. Even though he was dulling it, he could still feel Danny's pain pressing against him. He tried to ignore it, fixing his mind on the injured wing. A wave of dizziness washed through him, causing his eyes to fly open and the green in his hands to flicker a little. Don was by his side in an instant, one hand on his shoulder, saying something Sheldon couldn't hear over the thrumming in his ears.
"Don't touch me…" the healer ground out, closing his eyes again as he steadied the glow of his power.
Pulling his hands away, Don rocked back on his heels, exchanging a look with Danny. The two hunters looked at each other, then back at the healer. Sheldon swayed unsteadily as yet another wave of dizziness flowed through him. This was so much harder than the puppy he'd found in the trash can. Ignoring the dizziness, Sheldon forced himself to focus on Danny's injuries. He felt a thrill of satisfaction as the bones knitted back together. Now he just had to worry about the cuts and scratches. The two hunters watched worriedly as Sheldon swayed, face paling, the glow in his hands flickering fitfully. Don made another move to reach out for him again.
"No, Don, don't," Danny said, hurriedly, not taking his eyes off the healer, "If you touch him he'll have to deal with any pain you're in as well."
"He's gonna kill himself this way, Danny!"
"No, I won't…" came the absent reply from the healer, "I know when to let go."
Sheldon kept his hands steady. The green glow of his power still flickered fitfully, but the wounds on Danny's back were slowly healing. The two hunters gazed at him in concern. Sheldon's face was pale, he was swaying unsteadily. His eyes were unfocused and dull. Danny and Don looked at each other.
"Shel…" Danny said softly, "Shel, let go. I'm ok, now."
Sheldon wavered, eyes fluttering, "I'm nearly finished," he murmured weakly.
"No, Shel, now. Let go," Danny told him firmly, Don watching with wide eyes.
Sheldon blinked owlishly at the winged hunter. He glanced down at the wounds; they were all but healed. He could let go. Danny wouldn't mind. Neither would Don. Danny and Don would let him sleep. Sheldon took his hands slowly, sluggishly, away from Danny's back. He looked at the two hunters and tried to smile at them, but even that took too much effort. Sheldon just sighed softly, closing his eyes, and let himself fall, trusting his hunters to catch him.