Finally, she stepped away from the operating table.
"Is he going to be all right?" Broadway asked.
Simultaneously, Brooklyn demanded, "How long will he be out?"
"I've done all I can, but he's lost a lot of blood. I wish I dared give him a transfusion." Julie looked at Brooklyn and Broadway. She didn't need to deal with worried relatives with her normal patients. How much should she shelter them? Should she warn them to prepare themselves for the worst, or would it be kinder to give them false hope? Would the hope necessarily be false? "His condition is very serious."
"Why can't you give him a transfusion?" Brooklyn demanded.
"I don't know if your blood is compatible with his. If the blood types don't match, then the transfusion could kill him," she explained.
"As much blood as he's lost, he could die anyway," the red gargoyle retorted. Warrior-trained, he knew all about battle injuries.
Reluctantly, Julie nodded.
"Is there a way you can tell if we're compatible?"
"I can try. But this isn't the Mayo Clinic. My tests won't be exact," she warned.
"Try," Brooklyn ordered. Broadway nodded his agreement.
She quickly took blood samples from all three gargoyles and examined them under a microscrope. After several minutes, she announced, "I don't think it would be safe for you to donate, Brooklyn. There are factors in your blood that aren't in Lexington's. Broadway, it might be safe for you."
Julie gathered her tools. "This will only hurt a teeny bit. Not much more than a mosquito bite. You can handle a mosquito bite, can't you?"
The big blue gargoyle nodded. "I can if it'll help Lex."
She drew a pint, wishing she dared take more. "Dan, there should be some orange juice in the fridge in the next room. Would you get him a cup?"
"Sure." Glad to have something to do, the detective hurried off.
Julie exchanged the saline drip for the pint of blood. She glanced up at the clock, and was shocked to see it was only midnight. It felt much later.
"Broadway, I don't want you flying for at least an hour. Just take it easy for a while, and maybe a snack and another juice in a bit, okay?"
Brooklyn was so worried about Lexington that he didn't even tease Broadway about what an easy time he'd have following doctor's orders to have a snack.
Dan handed her a cup of orange juice. "You look like you need this as much as he does."
"I need a vodka," she retorted. "But I don't dare. I need a clear head to type up my lab notes. I don't trust my spelling in Cherokee sober; no way I'll be able to spell things correctly drunk."
"Cherokee?" Dan and Broadway asked.
"You think I'd risk keeping the lab notes for this in English? Safer to keep it in Cherokee. I want to make sure nobody can read this, not without your permission," she explained.
"That's right, you told me you were part-Indian," Brooklyn remembered.
Julie nodded. "Teeny bit. My great-great-grandfather – the one whose wanted poster is on my living room wall – once rescued an Indian maiden from the cavalry."
Broadway's mouth dropped open. His knowledge of 19th century American history had come from sneaking into theatres and watching westerns; Julie's description sounded completely backwards to him.
"We grew up practically next door to the reservation," she continued, "and everybody who could afford horses had them. I always tagged along with my Dad on his vet visits." She shrugged. "Half the kids I went to school with were Cherokee."
She rechecked the EKG and blood pressure monitors, frowning as she did so.
"Is my blood helping him?" Broadway asked anxiously.
"Too soon to tell."
"But he's gonna be okay, isn't he?" Broadway wanted to be reassured.
Julie said nothing.
Brooklyn stepped toward her and took her hand in his paw. "Just how bad is he?"
Julie took a deep breath. "If he were an eagle, I would have seriously considered putting him down instead of operating."
"Putting him down?" Broadway didn't understand the veterinary euphemism. Brooklyn did, and he inhaled sharply.
"I think he'll survive, but I can't promise. And if he does live, there's a chance Lex may never fly again."
"We won't know for a few days." She sighed. "It's a good thing I keep a change of clothes here. I'll be living here until he's fit to release."
Brooklyn and Broadway exchanged worried glances. The pair hemmed and hawed a moment.
"You've done all you can, Julie," Brooklyn told her. "We'll take him home, tend to him."
"No, you won't."
"But nothing. He's my patient, and I haven't discharged him yet. I may be worried – I'm used to working on animals, not people – but darned if I'm quitting on him. He's not fit to move. He stays here," she insisted.
"But come dawn," Broadway began. Then he stopped in mid-sentence, and looked at Brooklyn.
Brooklyn thought a moment. Her hand still in his paw, he led her to the corner of the room and lowered his voice. "What you learn as a doctor is private, right?" He'd learned that from watching television.
She nodded. "Doctor-patient confidentiality is guaranteed by law. Of course, it doesn't normally affect vets, but this is a special case."
"There's something about us I haven't told you," Brooklyn began.
"A few hundred things," Julie retorted.
He looked up into her hazel eyes. "You know we're nocturnal."
She bobbed her head once in agreement.
"We don't just sleep during the day. We turn to stone."
She stared at him. "You what?"
"We turn to stone," Brooklyn repeated. "Usually, a day of stone-sleep will heal most injuries, but this …."
Julie thought a moment. "That will make a difference where he spends the day and make it easier to hide him from my co-workers. But he's not leaving here tonight." She was adamant. "When do you, uh, change back to flesh and blood?"
"Then come straight here. I'll re-evaluate his condition as soon as he wakes, but he doesn't leave here until I say he's fit," she insisted.
Reluctantly, Brooklyn agreed. "You're the doctor."
"You did what?" Hudson roared.
"I left Lexington with Julie at her lab," Brooklyn repeated.
"But she'll see in a few hours –"
Brooklyn interrupted, "I already told her." Before the elderly gargoyle could protest again, he continued, "She's a friend, and a healer. We can trust her."
"We had to trust her, Hudson. Lex was too hurt to move. He was hurt worse than stone-sleep could've healed," Broadway explained.
"Aye, but –"
"With Goliath gone, I'm clan-leader," Brooklyn reminded him. "This is how it's going to be."
Hudson inhaled sharply. He'd been clan-leader when Brooklyn and his rookery-brothers had hatched. And now the youngster was pulling rank on him! And he, realized, he was completely justified in doing so. He was Goliath's second-in-command, and he understood this strange new world much better than he did. "Aye, lad. As you say."
Filksongs and folksongs quoted in this story:
'Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station 3' by Leslie Fish
'Barrett's Privateers' by Stan Rogers
'Ladyhawke' by Julia Ecklar
'Baby Vampire Boogie' by Harold Groot
'Cold Iron' by Rudyard Kipling