Aw, geez... my most sincere apologies on how freakin' long it took to get this chapter up. More than a year?!?!?! Please read notes on the bottom if you sincerely loved my OCs cuz I got news there about them. Not to mention... hmm... 2 short sequel/epilogue kind of things making their appearance soon?!

Chapter 15
Never Meant to Be

The sound of a blaring car horn was what jarred Gary awake. He looked around, dazed and confused, wondering what on earth gave him the crick on the neck. It was then that he realized that he was still sitting in a car, the sun was rising, and there was noone sitting next to him.

"Oh... mother... fucker," he muttered.

X

Mike was attempting to balance himself on his hands, using the hotel room's chair as an extra challenge, when his cell phone rang. Who the fuck calls at 6 am in the morning? he thought to himself, disregarding the fact that he was awake and doing some bastardized form of yoga. He heard his cellphone switch to speaker and automatically answer. It was a habit he had formed while working with Stacey, using the auto answer function during his routines. "Hello?"

"Um, Mike?"

Gary. Mike frowned as his arms gently shook. "What is it? You stayed out all night?"

"I, well, yes, but..."

"Spit it out."

"Shit, Mike. I fell asleep waiting for Beto to get out and he's not here!! The club is closed!! It's been closed for two hours!!"

X

Gary stared at his phone as the sound of something crashing could be heard.

X

Roberto was at first aware of lying on a cold hard floor. The pounding headache came next as vision slowly returned. He was staring up at a concrete ceiling, with tiny windows. A basement of some sort, or a warehouse. He tried to move but resistance at his wrists made him realize that his arms were tied or handcuffed behind his back. He let out a soft groan as he tried to roll on his side.

The sound of a door screeching open drew his attention. A black male was standing on top of some metal steps that led to a door. Judging by the height of the steps, he must be inside a warehouse then.

"Awake, are we?"

Roberto tried to keep from gasping. It was the dude that had been hounding him and then had attacked him in the garage.

"Since we're gonna get to know each other pretty well, I figured you should know my name. It's Sam. I'm gonna make you scream my name."

Roberto watched as "Sam" closed the door he had entered from and come down the stairs, twirling a small ring of keys before placing it into his back pocket.. He watched him with wary eyes as Sam stood over him, and in one quick movement, shoved his hand between Roberto's legs, grabbing his crotch, as he just lay on top of him, mashing his mouth against Roberto's.

Roberto let out a surprised grunt as Sam began to knead his flesh a bit more harshly, sliding it under his shirt as his mouth began to work on the side of his neck. He didn't have time to panic. Obviously he had been brought here past his guard (and when he escaped he was going to kill Gary for failing the one time he really needed him) and unnoticed. Judging by the light coming in through the window's, it looked like it was morning. Or if he was out all day, late afternoon. He needed to get out. Now that his anger in being taken captive was focused, Roberto felt confident enough in using his powers.

He let his body relax for a moment as he concentrated, before letting out a needy moan, and arching his body up into his kidnapper's. "Please," he whispered, as Sam chuckled.

"Needy little man-whore, aren't ya?" Hands began to drag his shirt off his shoulders.

Roberto spread his legs enough to be able to draw them up and squeeze Sam's hips between his thighs. "I need to touch you," Roberto whispered, letting his power roll out in waves. He felt his kidnapper shudder and thrust against him. An arm wrapped around his waist and lifted him up a bit, as the other arm went to the back pocket and pulled out a pocket knife. Roberto could hear the shick sound of it as it opened. He swallowed his fear and continued to moan softly "I need to touch you, I need to touch you." He felt as the blade knicked his wrists as they sliced off the ropes that bound him. He winced as he could feel blood pumping back to his fingers.

Roberto ran his hands up his attacker's sides, embracing him, touching his back, his waist, and his ass. Sam began to thrust harder against him, and Roberto kept up the charade, kneading Sam's flesh, as he slowly worked one of his hands into Sam's back pocket. He grinned to himself when he felt the ring of keys. He kissed Sam, trying not to gag as the man immediately shoved his tongue into his mouth. He grabbed the keys and slowly drew his hand out as his other hand pushed up against Sam's shirt, touching skin. He nudged against Sam, getting him to roll over and putting himself on top.

Perfect, thought Roberto, as he continued to mislead the perp. He waited a few seconds, meeting Sam's thrusts as he lay straddled on top, then he pushed himself up and swung down hard with both hands clasped together.

The sound of flesh striking flesh seemed to echo in the empty space, and Sam was left dazed, grasping his injured face.

Roberto scrambled off the man and ran towards the steps, picking out a key that seemed most likely for the door. The door opened as soon as he reached the top and didn't have enough time to block the punch that followed. He felt himself spin and only had time to put his arms in front of his face as he came crashing back down on the steps, tumbling a few feet and hitting the floor hard. Wind knocked out of him, he couldn't even fight off the hand that viciously grabbed his hair and yanked him upward.

"Shame, shame, Mr. Quintanar," said a familiar voice. Something looped over his neck. "I didn't want to leave this on you all day long while we prepared but I guess it's a fitting enough punishment for what you did to Sam over there."

Fable. So the cocky bastard had been toying with them all.

"Son of a bitch," Sam swore, stumbling towards the other two.

Roberto felt his body going limp, paralyzed, almost. But he could still feeling the throbbing pain in his elbow from hitting the steps, and he could feel the slight chill that existed in the air. He was thrown against Sam.

"You'll find him more cooperative. And just to drive in the severity of the situation, I'll let Smith know he can play, too, so long as he doesn't kill him or hurt him beyond usage. Oh, and here. One has to play safe and all."

Fable exited through the door as Sam gave an awful chuckle, having caught a box of condoms. Roberto felt himself being thrown to the floor and watched as Sam settled on top of him.

"You're going to regret that stunt you pulled, whore," said Sam.

Roberto felt tears of helplessness flood his eyes as Sam began to tear at his clothes. He couldn't move. There was no way to even try and defend himself.

Brooklyn... he thought to himself as he closed his eyes, trying to block out the sound of Sam unzipping his pants.

X

Fable chuckled to himself as he walked down the exterior steps. All was going according to plan. But the sound of a helicopter froze his steps. He watched and waited, hoping that it wasn't from the police. The helicopter appeared over the neighboring warehouse. He watched with confusion and interest as several people shimmied down ropes to the roof top of the warehouse. Then his eyes narrowed as he watched them through ropes, tying it around two large statues that he knew were not there before. A couple minutes later, the people climbed back up, and the helicopter began to hoist the two statues up.

"Son of a bitch," he hissed. It seemed that he was going to have to get some additional help if those statues were what he thought they were.

X

Owen checked over the solid states of Brooklyn and Angela. While everything seemed fine on a physical level, it was there expressions that caused him some concern. They had a look of determination and anger. The others back at the castle were crowded around one of the links and were frozen looking at each other. It was hard to read expressions clearly on stone, but to Owen it looked like surprise, or shock. He would have to talk to the detectives... but to find a time in between the meetings today... He let out a sigh of frustration.

X

Sam slammed his cock into him, and Roberto couldn't even cry out in pain. All he could do was gasp.

Sam's left arm wrapped around his neck, the right around his waist, pulling him up, forcing him to sit on the man's lap, and letting his own weight impale him further on the man's cock.

"So fuckin' tight," the man panted, as he began to thrust upwards.

X

Somehow, Elisa's apartment became the meeting ground for all the detectives. She wasn't sure how it happened, it just did.

Gary had dark circles under his eyes and Mike looked like a bomb ready to go off at the slightest touch. All of the others were grim. Not that she could blame them. Hearing the news of Roberto's disappearance had also left her feeling shocked.

Matt threw the folder he had on the table. "Samuel Winters and Mr. Smith. Those are the prints we have. We were able to find more information on Winters, but a lot of Smith's reports are classified. He's wanted on an international level."

"Jesus. What the hell did we stumble across?" asked Mike, opening the folder and looking through thee reports.

Elisa's cell phone rang and she stepped away to answer it. "Maza here."

"Detective Maza," came Owen's voice. "It's imperative we meet at 3 PM today. Preferably with some, if not all, of the visiting detectives."

"We're in the middle of a situation..."

"Really? Then it may be related. Because this is about our mutual nocturnal friends. So again, if you can. I'll call you later with a location."

Owen hung up leaving Elisa baffled. What more could possibly happen?

X

He tried to fight off the influence. But he was unable to. And his body seemed to respond on its own. His mouth worked on Sam's cock, taking it as deep as he could, while the guy who called himself Smith pounded into him, fingers digging into his hips.

Semen spurted against his face as Sam pulled out and pumped himself.

Smith gave a couple hard thrusts and slowly pulled out of him. Roberto collapsed, gasping for air, tears long since dried out. A wet plop sounded near his head as Smith dropped his used condom down.

"Think I'll take a break," he said, patting Roberto's ass.

Sam laughed. "Me, too. Don't think I've ever had this much sex in one week, let alone one day. Take a break, whore." Sam caressed his back. "It's not even noon yet."

The tears returned as Roberto was left lying on the floor, only his ripped up shirt covering him. He couldn't even curl up. He wanted to go home.

X

"Ah, Owen," said Xanatos, as he came up to him. "In between meetings, if you could contact Detective Michael Lee and inform him that the project has been approved."

"Project, sir?"

Xanatos grinned. "It's a secret project. Even Fox doesn't know. I intend to surprise everyone. Even the crew won't know until they pick up the important packages. It really is exciting. I think even you will be pleased."

Owen watched as Xanatos left.

While Xanatos looked sincerely pleased, and while he trusted the man... for the first time since his service did Owen feel unsure of this secret project.

X

Stacey, Elisa, and Jack were reviewing the surveillance tapes from the bar that Gary had last seen Roberto walk into. Hovering behind them was the owner, eyes bloodshot, and grumpy as hell. Jack understood how the man felt, considering that he had probably had only three to four hours of sleep. Overnight jobs made it hard enough to sleep during the day. To have it interrupted just plain sucked. However, Roberto was in danger, and he wished the man showed a bit more concern rather than the disgruntled appearance of a man being bothered.

"Stupid time lapse videos" Stacey grumbled, as she watched the people moved across the screen in flashes.

"There!" said Elisa," pointing to an image at a bar. The person ordering drinks was undeniably Roberto. Cueing the tape, they were able to see Roberto have several drinks, leave a couple times, and return, his shirt in varying stages of being unbutton.

Watching Roberto on the screen gave all the detectives a sense of helplessness. That was only because they knew the outcome. Continuing their search, they watched as Roberto got up one last time and stop just out of the camera's view. A shoulder was visible, then it was gone.

"Cue all exit shots to 2:30," ordered Stacey, as Elisa and Jack already moved towards the VCR's.

Fortunately for them, the time lapse wasn't as severe as the video from the bar.

"Back exit," said Elisa, pointing to the corresponding monitor.

On the screen was Roberto, leaning against a familiar male.

"That's Mr. Fable!" cried Jack.

"And that's Winters," said Elisa, with hatred in her voice.

How could she ever forget the face of her would be rapist?

"Ah, I remember him now," the owner suddenly said. "They told me he was drunk and were going to take him home."

"Do people make it a habit to tell you when they are leaving?" Stacey asked.

"Despite its appearance, detective, this bar is a refined establishment. None of our customers are allowed to leave with keys in their possession unless they are the designated driver."

X

Elisa was led to the table where Owen was waiting for her. She had left Stacey and Jack back at the hotel where they were going to meet up with the others to tell them what was found out.

"Miss Maza," said Owen, as Elisa sat in front of him.

"Mr. Burnett," Elisa greeted in return.

"I have some information that may be too urgent to go without saying before nightfall."

"How so? And what do you mean by 'may be?'"

"Well, Miss Maza. . . this morning I responded to another call to pick up our mutual friends. They were stranded in a warehouse district that, if I'm not mistaken, was where a missing officer was found."

Elisa leaned forward. "What happened?"

"They looked like they were getting ready to jump into action," Owen murmured, keeping a pleasant and professional face to avoid suspicion from any outsiders.

"Mr. Fable's warehouse."

"That would be the one."

"Well, then that removes all doubt. Thanks, Owen! I got a search warrant to ask for!"

Owen sipped his drink as Elisa jumped up and rushed away.

X

"Aesop, as in 'Aesop's Fables!'" groaned Matt, when informed of all additional information.

"And that was his van that I saw," said Gary, looking stressed.

Matt felt sorry for the younger man. He could understand what Gary was feeling -- Roberto was under his care and he lost him. He felt just as apprehensive when he and Goliath got separated during the whole Illuminati incident despite that separation being orchestrated.

Stacey and Elisa were standing on in opposite corners, both on their cell phones, talking to different people.

"Judge said she'll sign the order. It should be ready by early evening."

""I hate this fall and winter time crap," growled Mike. "Sun's scheduled to go down at 5:45. We have under two hours to gather a well trusted team. I'm certain your firends are going to help, right?"

"It'll be difficult for them if we're building a team."

"You're forgetting that like Matt's Illuminati..."

Matt bristled at being reminded that he was part of that group.

"We have our own connections that stretch far and wide internationally. I'm sure the judge will pull a few strings to get the appropriate people here."

"And you can just trust them?" asked Elisa, unsure of having faith in a bunch of people she didn't know.

"Well, every once in a while we're blessed with people we know and like, and sometimes we're cursed with people we don't like at all. Luck of the draw. But how much more trustworthy can a person be when learning about and fighting the crap we've seen and keeping quiet for the sake of humanity's sanity?"

"What about ours?" muttered Matt.

"You're friends with talking beasts. You're far from being sane. And so are we."

"Speak for yourself," said Stacey, hanging up the cell phone she was on. "Christina and Jack said they've noticed some extra activity at Fable's place. People in some type of uniforms are being dropped off."

"You mean like cops or soldiers?" asked Elisa, incredulously.

"He said blue jumpsuits with yellow emblems that look like mallets."

"Quarrymen," hissed Elisa.

"Then they're expecting us," growled Mike. "Or at least your friends."

"Meaning we they'll probably start the ritual the moment the sun goes down. If the troop isn't set up by then, we may get there too late."

"I'll wait by the other gargoyles," said Elisa. "We'll head there the moment they wake up. Matt can go with you guys and see if you can sneak in. Although, they'll probably be hiding in neighboring warehouses, too."

"It doesn't matter. Roberto's in there and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let him be killed."

X

The back of a small delivery truck hoisted open, revealing Christina. She waved for Matt, Stacey, and Mike to hop in. "We found ourselves being slowly surrounded, so Jack had his cousin Nick help us out by sending this delivery truck. Jack's driving. We've been going back and forth to our one warehouse so noone's infiltrated that one. We're hoping it's because they see it's busy and will ignore us when we start moving the rest of the troops in."

"Troops?" asked Matt.

"We have a few people here already. A few from your department too, it seems."

Matt was pleasantly surprised. "Good. That makes me feel a bit better."

Christina closed the door and some interior lights popped on. The truck lurched for a bit before steadily moving forward. "Jack counted at least 24 individuals, and it seems that most of these warehouses are currently not in use which explains why no one has really seen or heard anything. We also haven't seen Roberto, but the van is here, that much we were able to determine. When's Elisa gettin' here?"

"As soon as the Gargoyles wake up."

"Then all we can do is wait, huh?"

Matt nodded and grabbed onto a side rail as he felt the van slow down. He felt it shift and begin to head in reverse as the sound of a metal docking gate opening up was heard somewhere nearby.

Christina gave Stacey a quick nod and leaned over to Matt. "Hang on tight," she whispered.

Matt stared at her as he did as was told, and felt the van lurch to a quick stop as the sound of metal scratching against concrete could be heard. Mike, who was unprepared, almost lost his balance as he was pitched forward."What the hell! Baka!"

The door opened and Matt found himself greeted by a couple people with smirks on their face. "He still hasn't gotten the hang of stopping in time. But he drives it better than any of us."

"Then let me take the wheel," said Matt.

X

As the troops were moved in, Matt was pleasantly surprised to see Morgan present. The seasoned cop was also slightly surprised, and a quick talk allowed each other to see how many secrets they actually had. Matt was certain that Elisa would be glad to have another cop within their force to be able to rely on should something happen to either one of them.

"It makes sense now," said Morgan. "I always thought that the late beats were what was doing her in many nights. So it's because she's friends with the gargoyles. What other time would she be able to see and talk to them except for the evenings?"

"It's difficult for her many times."

The two didn't get much chance to talk as dusk was fast approaching.

X

The sky became red before melting into a deep purple. Stone cracked and a tremendous choir of roars sounded out.

Each one seemed slightly confused as two companions found themselves back at home.

"Where were you?" asked Lexington, as Elisa hurried up, giving Angela and Brooklyn no chance to respond.

"We got problems. Roberto been taken as the last target!"

"He's at the warehouse we were at when sun found us," growled Brooklyn. "We have to help. Goliath! I know you don't approve, but he is a human and we've always protected them!"

Goliath gritted his teeth and nodded. "I have to agree with that one."

"Mike has already gathered a group of trusted people to aid us. It seems that the Quarrymen were hired to keep watch."

"Quarrymen," the gargoyles growled.

"Then we shall go."

X

The gargoyles met on the rooftops, waiting word from Elisa who had gone to join Matt. From their rooftop, they could see the squads of humans waiting to move forward.

They could also make out the shadows of the Quarrymen, armed with lasers.

There was a heavy moment of silent tension, and then the humans began to move forward like invading ants, quietly and with deadly precision. At the first sound of gunfire and the responding laser blast, the gargoyles took flight.

The battle was on.

X

Fable watched as Sam and Smith finished strapping Roberto to the alter. The Latin male was lax, unmoving and looking very much like a glassy eyed doll.

He felt a stirring in his loins which, he would have to admit, would have disgusted him prior to seeking out the power. But knowing how much power he would gain by completing this ritual made him hungry in many ways.

Fable began to chant in a language unfamiliar to his henchmen. He moved to the complete statue and removed a portion of the heart that was attached to straps. It was one of the pendants that he had retrieved many nights ago. Fable dipped it into a small bowl of red liquid that could only be described as as blood.

He moved to Roberto and placed it over his head.

The young man began to move, his eyes fluttering, his mouth slightly opening to release a long, drawn out moan. His body began to writhe wantonly as Fable took the bowl, dipped his fingers ito it, and used the liquid to draw symbols down Roberto's chest, stomach, and outer thighs.

Sam watched hungrily while Mr. Smith remained indifferent, eyes on Fable.

Only the two knew of the sacrifices needed for the completion of the ceremony. He would just have to wait for Fable's cue.

X

Goliath and Brooklyn roared as they swooped in from opposite directions, picking up Quarrymen and throwing them into each other.

Bronx bowled into a small group, being followed by a team of cops who quickly subdued them.

Elisa, Matt, and Mike fired some rounds, trying to make their way to the targeted warehouse, a slash bomb impeding their advancement by a few crucial minutes.

"They're starting," came Jack's voice through their headsets.

"How do you know?" asked Mike, shooting the hand of an advancing Quarrymen.

"I feel sick," responded Jack. "They're using blood magic. Or at least it feels like it."

Matt shot Mike a look.

"He's sensitive to it. Blood magic is evil by nature and its strong enough for people like him to feel it. Kind of like a loss of equilibrium even though everything is standing still?

"In other words, we have to move fast."

"Broadway and I think we can create an opening," came Angela's voice. "Most of them are advancing forward instead of standing ground. If we land near the ones guarding the doors, they'll most likely abandon it in an attempt to get at us."

"That's too dangerous!" protested Elisa.

"But I like the idea," said Mike. "Let me see who I can get to go near the door"

"Bronx can knock the door down once there is a clean path," added Hudson, who was currently whisking one of their injured comrades to safety.

"Got a better idea," added Lexington. "Xanatos sent two battle helicopters that are ready to be controlled by remote. Just give me a few minutes! I'll use them to drive the guards at the main entrance away. Detective Lee, just have a team ready!"

"Morgan, you stay and command the teams. Elisa, Matt, you're with me. Who else is near?"

"This is Gary. Jack and I are to your left."

"This is Christina. We'll cover Bronx!"

"Fine. Lex, those 'copters better be here soon."

X

Sam watched as the statue's eyes glowed when Fable stepped forward and just forced his cock into Roberto without preparation. Then again, being fucked the whole day probably left him prepared.

The tan man arched his back in a silent scream.

Sam couldn't help but notice that the height of the alter left their victim at the perfect height to be fucked in the mouth.

He watched as a glow enveloped both men, his mouth watering.

The sound of flesh slapping flesh called him as the look on Roberto's face wasn't of a person being tortured, but one in ecstasy.

It wasn't until he looked up at Fable's face that he was finally prompted to act on his need. The look on Fable's face was one of a challenge and dare, and it was a dare that Sam was willing to make.

He lowered his zipper and unbuttoned his pants, his cock hard and heavy with anticipation.

He approached the altar and when Roberto gasped, he shoved himself in. Sam let out a moan as the man began to suck. He closed his eyes, thus failing to see Fable nod towards Smith.

Mr. Smith's fingers reached for a large machete that was tucked in his waistband. He slowly approached Sam from behind.

X

Nine Quarrymen stood standing guard at the main entrance. They clenched the laser rifles provided by the man who gave them warning that gargoyles would be arriving. But what they hadn't been warned of was of the small army that was currently fighting them.

After the last fiasco, they really didn't want to go up against the police.

Moments later, two helicopters flew over them. A rain of bullets fell near them, and they all yelled in fright as they took off running in different directions.

"Go!" shouted Lexington.

Christina's group parted in two, revealing the charging gargoyle dog. Bronx barreled into the door, splintering the wood from the door frame. A moment later, he ran out as lasers flew out form behind him, one of them striking an officer in front of Christina.

"Man down!" she shouted.

"Cover them!" shouted Morgan.

Angela and Broadway landed next to the group. "Give him to me," she demanded.

Elisa slowed down as she headed to the doors.

"We'll stand guard for now," said Morgan. "Be careful."

Elisa nodded once at him, then glanced at Angela and Broadway.

"We'll join you in a moment," said Broadway.

A shadow flew over them as Morgan's group began to advance forward, shooting into the warehouse. Goliath landed next to Mike.

"We've managed to clear the rooftops but they are taking to hiding on the ground."

"And we've got people waiting for us inside the warehouse."

"Time to use the flash bombs then," said Mike. "Goliath, there are slightly more powerful ones in the warehouse we were using. You and your clan, use those to flush the others out of hiding. Morgan?"

"I'll start having the men retreat."

Goliath nodded and took off running to the side of another warehouse, using its side to climb up and take off.

Gary arrived, handing Mike a small tube.

"Sweetness. Okay, let's go for the grand finale."

While Morgan's's team continued to draw fire, Mike and Matt ducked past the bullets and lasers, making their way to the door. Mike tossed in the device and turned away. A brilliant flash could be seen from inside, and both Matt and Mike were the first ones in, guns blazing, taking down the Quarrymen from inside. Elisa, Gary, and Jack joined them as the others turned to ward off the Quarrymen that were rushing back to Fable's warehouse.

"The basement!" shouted Elisa.

The group ran to the door that led them to their destination. But when they pushed the door open, they halted, as a sight took them by shock and surprise.

X

To Fable, everything seemed to slow down. He could make out every sweatdrop that formed on his victim's face and chest. He watched as his own fell and splashed against the tan skin. He could see how Roberto's throat muscles worked to take in Sam's length and thickness. And he could see how easily the blade from Smith's machete slid through Sam's neck.

Everything seemed so silent. Blood sprayed out into the air as if it were underwater. And he could see past that veil of blood and make out the shocked looks on the detectives' faces as they entered.

But it was too late for them. The ritual was complete. The blood rained down as Sam fell, soaking Roberto and Fable.

And everything sped up as Fable cried out his completion, emptying himself into his sacrifice.

The latin man let out a shriek of pain as a blinding light surrounded him and he began to lift up on his own, above the altar. The statue behind them glowed, the jaw of the statue dropping, as ghostly hands came out of the mouth. They shot out and went through Fable, and he too began to glow. The ghostly hands then reached Roberto, grabbing the small wisps of lights that had surrounded him, and began to pull back.

Fable watched, detached, as a shield formed around him. He ignored the bullets, instead focusing on how the latin man now writhed in pain. He could feel himself grow stronger as the hands pulled pack the into him, and the wisps of light separating from Roberto. Once he absorbed everything, no one would be able to stop him.

X

"Shit!" shouted Mike.

"He's growing in strength!" confirmed Jack, looking fearful.

"I can't believe we're being held at bay by ONE MAN!" shouted Matt, trying to take a shot at the one identified as Smith. The deadly shooter was using both hands firing off automatics.

"Mike! Jack! You're gonna have to do it!"

"Damn it all..."

"Do what?" asked Elisa.

Mike looked at her. "Best way to describe it is use our life force. Jack will still be able to move after his one shot... but neither of us will be able to repeat it for at least a month. This shot has to count."

"I noticed you only mentioned Jack moving," muttered Matt.

Mike nodded. "I'll be out for the count. So you better cover us."

"Need you ask?"

"Focus on the shooter. Wait until he reloads. All we need is a couple seconds."

"You guys better be hurrying," said Gary, his voice tainted with slight panic. Looking over, they were alarmed to see that Roberto looked to be getting old, as streaks of white hair had begun to form on him.

Mike and Jack passed off their guns to Matt and Gary. They both refilled their own guns, as did Elisa. Then they began to shoot using the guns Mike and Jack gave. Sure enough, there was a click and the gunfire heading their way stopped.

Mike and Jack stepped out, both of them glowing. Mike held out his arms, chanting something that sounded asian, as Jack just murmured "Please don't be late."

As soon as Elisa saw Smith take aim again, she and the other two began firing in earnest.

Fable glowered, realizing that something was about to ruin his power trip. "Stop them!" he shouted, as the cracks on the statue began to fuse together.

Several things happened at once.

Gary took off running, yanking off his coat, heading towards the altar. Two wide beams of light shot out, striking the statue, reforming the cracks. Mr. Smith aimed at Matt's head, but an explosion from above altered his aim just enough that one shot hit Matt's temple and the other into his shoulder. Matt crumbled to the floor in pain. And Elisa, ignoring her falling partner even though it scared her, remained steady with her aim, finding her mark dead center of Mr. Smith's chest.

The man went down, the statue exploded, and Gary caught Roberto as the loss of powers dropped him, wrapping him in his coat.

Quarrymen fell from above, many unconscious, a few dazed. Several officers and the gargoyles fell in. Gary rolled to the side, cradling Roberto like precious cargo, the unconscious man's hair color returning to normal.

Brooklyn saw the battered body of his human lover in Gary's arms and roared, seeking out Fable who was attempting to run. He leapt at his direction, caught him by the shoulders and slammed him into the wall. Fable slid to the ground, out cold.

And just how quickly the battle began, it all slid to a halt.

Elisa ducked down to check on Matt, relieved to see that it was only a clean would, despite the pain Matt stated he was in.

Jack was holding himself up as an officer came towards him.

Mike, on the other hand, lay on the floor, fighting to remain conscious, just to see if his younger charge was alive. He watched as Brooklyn made his way to Gary and Roberto. He could see Brooklyn hold out his arms.

"Please, let me..." said the red gargoyle, sounding pained.

Gary stared up at him, then nodded, relinquishing his hold.

Mike watched as Brooklyn tenderly picked up Roberto and cradled him close. A heavy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. That hold was as loving as anyone could get. He struggled to say something, but found himself unable to move his lips. Someone came over, asking him if he was all right. As his eyes closed on their own, Mike realized that he had made a huge mistake. And having received the message from Xanatos, he knew that he would not be able to fix it. He could only hope that he would be forgiven if things turned out the way he and Goliath had planned.

X

Goliath watched as his second in command held the human. A wave of guilt washed over him. He turned to seek the detective Mike Lee, but discovered that the man was currently being attended by the medic unit. More police were on their way, and they were not part of the crew hired by the others. He and the other gargoyles needed to make themselves scarce. Maybe there was still time. If he could get with Xanatos... then maybe...

X

"I'm sorry but Xanatos has already retired for the evening," said Owen.

Goliath growled.

"What's wrong, father?" asked Angela.

"It's... it's nothing." Yet.

X

Gary watched the sky as began to get less brighter. Roberto and Mike had yet to wake up. Jack was under observation and Matt was scheduled to be released in the morning. Christina kept hopping in and out, flirting with the male nurses, probably keeping occupied to stop from worrying about everyone. From what he understood, Stacey was dealing with the judicial branches that did their best to keep events such as what occurred secret, but still legal.

The only thing was, Fable would be getting too much of a public trial. The underground groups would be hard pressed to find the correct reporters to bring in to carefully edit out the "useless" information from the public.

Elisa, in the meantime, was working with her Captain and IA on the death of Smith. FBI agents had already arrived and were questioning her on Smith. Knowing how he was wanted on an international level, they would have to be satisfied with whatever phony story Elisa could come up with. The sheer number of bullets that had come from Smith's gun was more than enough to give just cause in her discharging her gun.

He watched the monitors and hoped that when Brooklyn stopped by that night, Roberto would at least open his eyes.

X

Xanatos and Owen stood near the gargoyles as the sun began to sink past the horizon. A large cargo helicopter flew was landing.

"Well you let me know now, sir?" asked Owen.

"You can open and take a look," said Xanatos, looking very proud. "Flew them out from Japan."

Owen, or rather Puck, felt nervous with that comment. The blades slowed down on the helicopter and the cargo door slid open. Owen stepped forward and paused, unable to believe what he was seeing.

The sun disappeared and the sky was filled with roars, both from the castle's roof top and from the cargo hold.

"Aren't they incredible?" Xanatos asked. "It was their choice to come out here to America."

Three females and one male gargoyle stepped out.

"Welcome," said Xanatos. "We hope you enjoy your newest home."

Owen bowed as the other four bowed in return.

"We are very much pleased to be here," said one of the females, with a heavy accent. She was considerable older and had the feel of a matriarch. "We look forward to getting to know our American clan."

"Whoa..." came a surprised voice.

Owen watched at their resident gargoyles approached. Goliath's face was unreadable, Hudson perplexed. Angela didn't look so confidant as Broadway, Lexington, and Brooklyn looked on, interested.

Xanatos introduced all of the gargoyles, and Owen couldn't help but feel concerned. In many ways, the gargoyles were like humans... But they were also beasts. And with all beasts, the need to procreate would eventually be a strong need that had to be fulfilled. Goliath, and one could assume Hudson, had already fulfilled that. On Goliath's part, Angela stood there as proof. But the three younger ones?

X

"Goliath."

The clan leader felt uncharacteristically small when he heard the tone Hudson used.

"Goliath... was this the secret you were working on with Xanatos?"

"Yes."

There was a bit of silence. "I would most likely be happy if I were not questioning the motives for these arrangements."

"They were not done of good will. And though it is far too late, I regret it."

Hudson nodded. "Temptation will be great considering how unorthodox and new Brooklyn's love for the human is."

"That was the plan. And for the record, Xanatos has no idea. He honestly believes it is a move to unite gargoyles globally."

The two gargoyle males watches as the two younger females flirted with the three males, all looking quite flustered. The male newcomer was ogling the streets below while the older female and Angela watched with annoyance.

X

Roberto opened his eyes to find himself in a hospital, yet again. He glanced over to his right and saw that it was night out. And someone was sitting near him. He felt his heart jump briefly as everything that happened came rushing at him, and he let out a strangled cry.

The figure next to him moved, turning on a light.

"Hey, hey, you're all right. It's over, it's over," said a familiar voice. Roberto got his breathing under control and saw that it was his partner, Gary.

"Brooklyn?" he asked, weakly.

"Uh, he hasn't stopped by yet."

"Oh." Roberto's eyes fluttered and closed. A moment later, he fell asleep again.

X

Brooklyn watched in amusement as Hana, the visiting gargoyle, laughed with glee. "It is beautiful here, and not as crowded as home."

"Really?"

"We do not get out much into the city, but when we do, there is so many people walking the streets. Very much like here but it seems less crowded."

"It's fun watching them," said Brooklyn. A moment later, he flew over a familiar hotel and was hit with a pang of guilt. It had been four nights and he had yet to visit Roberto at the hospital. He wasn't even sure if the human was still there or if he had been released. He wanted to go, he really did. But he felt bad about leaving Hana behind to do so. The female was so attentive and had seemed crushed when he first tried to tell her that he needed to go somewhere alone. And he felt awkward at the thought of introducing her to Roberto, but didn't know why. And that in turn led to the guilt.

"You look sad again, Brooklyn-san."

"Do I? I'm sorry. Uh, it's nothing."

"I hope you trust me soon enough to tell me what is troubling you, friend. It hurts to see you so sad."

Brooklyn felt himself blushing. "Er, sorry."

X

"I'm fine," murmured Roberto as he took his bag back from Gary.

"Well, I don't think you are. This wasn't like other times, Roberto. You need to see one of the counselors. The chief is going to make it mandatory for you anyhow once we get home."

"I'm... I might not even be going home."

"Oh. That's right. You were talking about... uh, transferring here. Forgot."

There was a moment of silence as Roberto finished packing his few personal items.

"So, uh, Brooklyn. . . he hasn't come over any of these nights, has he?"

Gary looked uncomfortable. "N-no. But he might have had a good reason. From what I hear, Elisa nor Matt have been able to visit the gargoyles, and Christina said she went to see them once but they were out."

"Oh. I guess I could try to see them tonight."

Gary looked even more uncomfortable. "Mike's getting out in an hour, too. He said he was going to see them."

Roberto frowned. "Then I better try to get there before he does."

"And face Goliath?"

"I'm not afraid of him."

Gary sighed. "Fine. I'll try to join you."

A nurse wheeling in a chair stepped into the room. "Ah, Mr. Quintanar! Your chariot awaits."

Roberto grimaced. Damn hospitals and their policies.

X

Brooklyn watched as Angela clutched at Broadway and led him out into the air. "Follow us," she said, to the other female and male. Lexington was already gliding in the air, waiting for them. Hana stood beside him, watching. And watching all of them were Hudson and the elder female Ayasama.

"What is wrong, Brooklyn-san?" Hana asked. "You look extremely tense. It is not good for your health."

"Hana-san. There is something I should tell you."

"What is it?"

"I... I really like you..."

Hana smiled brilliantly.

"But I also like someone else..."

At this the female looked completely confused. "But... but there... aren't any...isn't Angela-chan together with Broadway-san?"

Brooklyn looked even more tense. "It... it isn't another gargoyle I like. It's a human."

"Oh."

"Male."

"Oh!" Hana's eyes were wide, and then lowered, looking hurt. "Oh. I... I understand, Brooklyn-san. But why did you not mention this before?"

"I don't know."

"And you have not seen him these past few days?" Now she sounded reproachful.

Brooklyn shook his head.

"Why not?"

So Brooklyn told her a short version of what had happened. How Roberto was injured because of a case and that he was in the hospital. He also mentioned how Goliath did not approve of the relationship. Hana asked him how he felt about this, and he answered that he was hurt about his family not being understanding. And he was also uncertain of how to proceed from there.

"Brooklyn-san. In my clan, the situation is a bit reversed. There are more females in my clan than males. It is not unusual for females to find companionship with one another. It eases the pain of loneliness. That is why I am not as outraged as your leader is. But I am a bit shocked that you chose a human. And that the human chose you. True love is rare, and if this is it, then fight for it, no matter how fleeting it is."

"Fleeting?"

Hana looked sad. "Humans live short lives compared to ours. Do not forget. If you love the human, make his life happy even if you will have to continue alone on your own. That is what I think. You will have us as friends. I... I like you enough to want your happiness, Brooklyn-san, even though I had hoped you saw more in me than a friend or sister. Now I know why you look so sad, and it relieves me that I am not the cause of that sadness."

"Hana..." Brooklyn felt his heart warm up inside him and pound. This was a wonderful gargoyle. If he hadn't met Roberto first... Brooklyn reached and and drew her to an embrace. "Thank you so much," he whispered, holding her tight.

Hana fought tears as she hugged him back, nature dictating that she hide her disappointment.

She pulled back. "Shall we visit your human? I am curious to know who has captured your heart."

Brooklyn grinned. "If he's not in the hospital, he should be in his hotel. Let's go!" Brooklyn grasped her hand and together they rushed to the edge, leaping off and soaring into the air.

Neither one were aware of what had transpired behind them.

X

In the shadows, Goliath, Mike, and Xanatos were watching the gargoyles interacting with one another.

"I think they are getting along greatly," said Xanatos.

"Yeah. Swell," said Mike.

Xanatos beamed at a job well done. "I'm kind of jealous that I never thought of this before. You would think that a happily married man and a proud father would be more open to trying to help his friends find similar happiness as well."

Mike shrugged. "That always seems more like a woman thing to do."

"I guess you're right," laughed Xanatos. "Speaking of women... I do have my queen waiting for me. Dinner and all. There's a premiere of a new musical. So for now I do have to bid you all farewell. Owen can escort you out when you're ready."

Mike nodded and watched as Xanatos left them. He turned to Goliath, shifting nervously on his crutch. He had been released just a couple hours prior to Roberto and had more time to prepare to meet with Goliath for the evening. He had hoped that there would have been little difference to Brooklyn's actions now that female gargoyles had been introduced but to no avail. Brooklyn had not visited Roberto once while in the hospital.

"So, those two have been together like this for the past four days?" he asked, pained.

Goliath nodded, looking grim.

"Shit... Roberto will be crushed.

"And Brooklyn will feel guilt when he comes to his senses."

At that point, Owen stepped up behind them. "Detective Lee? Your colleague is on his way up."

"Which one?"

"Mr. Quintanar."

"Kuso!!"

The elevator slid open and an apprehensive Roberto stepped out, pausing when he saw Mike and Goliath standing next to one another.

The two tensed up.

Roberto shot Mike a wary look. Then he saw past them and his eyes widened.

Brooklyn was embracing a female gargoyle and was looking quite relaxed.

Roberto felt his lungs freeze. There was a slight rumble of thunder in the distance. The man turned to face Mike and Goliath.

"Was this your doing?" he asked.

"My idea," muttered Mike. "I was too late to stop it in time."

"I, too, was unable to stop Xanatos from carrying this out. He is unaware of the situation," added Goliath.

"And why did you want to stop it?" Roberto glanced out to watch Brooklyn and the female jump out into the air and disappear into the cloudy air.

Mike stepped closer to Roberto, placing a hand on the younger man's shoulder.

"Because I saw how much he loved you."

Roberto stepped back, slapping Mike's hand off his shoulder, his face flushed with sudden anger. "You saw?! You changed your mind because you saw rather than believe in me? That is so fuckin' typical of you!"

"Well, you don't exactly a great record in choices," responded Mike, defensively.

He immediately regretted what he said as a moment of silence fell upon the group. Even Goliath stared at Mike, stunned by the tactless nature of Mike's response.

"Uh, f-forgive me," he stammered out.

Roberto's face showed no emotion. He turned to Goliath.

"Because your clan is scarce, I'm not going to fight for Brooklyn's attention. In some way, I can understand that some good will come of this if I allow Brooklyn to forget about me and focus on the female.

"However, if I find out that Brooklyn ends up with a broken heart because of her, I will come back during the day and grind you up into fine dust."

"Roberto," pleaded Mike.

"Don't talk to me," growled Roberto, turning away from them. "I need time alone."

Mike and Goliath watched helplessly and with incredible guilt as Roberto began a lonely trip back towards the elevator.

"Kuso," muttered Mike.

"Maybe I should try talking to Brooklyn," murmured Goliath.

"That may alienate him even more," replied Mike. "Let's face it... We screwed up big time."

Both males stared out into the sky. Soft flashes of light could be seen against the clouds below the castle. They were interrupted from their thoughts by the arrival of Gary.

The younger man froze upon seeing them. "Ah! Oh..." He floundered with his words. "Um, Roberto hasn't been up yet, has he?"

"Yeah. He has."

"Oh. Um... did he leave with Brooklyn?" was the next timid question.

"Er... no," responded Mike.

The quietness of the normally loud man alarmed Gary.

"What happened?" he asked.

X

Brooklyn landed on the neighboring rooftop of the hotel Roberto was staying at, looking discouraged.

"I don't know where he could be..." he said, forlornly.

Hana settled beside him. "What of his friends?"

"I'm not entirely sure of where to find them. And I'm not speaking to Detective Lee. He was the one strongly opposed us," growled Brooklyn.

"What about your friends, Maza-san and Bluestone-san? We have yet to meet them as well."

"They've been too busy to come and see us, but you're right! They may be at home."

The wind picked up at both gargoyles had to regain control of their gliding.

"Smells like it's about to rain."

"Dammit. We better head back to the castle then. We'll see them tomorrow."

X

Roberto walked, unaware of his surroundings. His heart pounded with each step, and his chest kept constricting, making it hard to breathe. He crossed the roads without paying much attention, only luck being on his side keeping him from harm. He didn't notice the few pelts of raindrops against his skin. Nor did he notice when people began to shriek and scurry about as the rain began to come down heavily. People wrapped their coats tighter against themselves as they tried to keep the cold water from touching their skin as they made for cover in shops and such. A few were prepared, bringing out umbrellas and continuing their treck.

But not Roberto. He barely shuddered as the ice cold water drenched him. Instead he continued walking until he had no energy to do so. He stumbled into an alleyway and leaned up against one wall. His blank look began to crumble as the urge to sob finally hit. It started out choked as his arms came across his stomach, knees giving out, causing him to slide to the floor. The rain helped drown out the sounds of his broken heart, giving him privacy in the public street. He rested on his hands and knees in a puddle, letting out his anguish at the betrayal of his friends. And he mourned knowing in the back of his head that he would need to end the relationship. He could not be so selfish.

Some time had passed, and he was sitting against the wall as the rain barely let up. But by then he really didn't notice that the rain no longer felt cold to him. He thought that he was just tired, and thus sleepy.

The sound of a passing car could be heard. The sound of brakes. The car returning slowly with squeaky tires. A door opened followed by the sound of rain hitting an open umbrella could be heard. Shoes stepped down and began to walk to where Roberto sat, splashing lightly in the puddles of water. "Help me here," came the person's voice, as another door opened up. Roberto was shielded from the rain temporarily as the person stood over him.

"Oh, Roberto," said a sad voice. "Hold this." A blanket was draped over Roberto's shoulders and strong arms scooped him up. Roberto shuddered for a moment but did not wake, his face pale, and his lips showing a tint of blue.

He was carried to a yellow taxi and gently placed on the seat. The driver got in and glanced back. "Um, you always make it a habit of picking up bums off the street? 'Cause..."

"No. This is a close friend of mine. He's just had... a really bad night."

The driver nodded and looked forward as he began to drive.

An arm tightened around Roberto's waist while the other hand pulled Roberto's head down to rest on a shoulder.

No one spoke a word.

X

Elisa stepped into her apartment, grateful to be out of the rain. In a matter of a few weeks, she knew it would probably start snowing.

IA kept up the routine questions,but strangely enough they only talked to her and Matt.

She quickly found out that an elaborate cover story had been formed revolving around the events that had transpired a few nights ago.

She understood. After all, talked about spells or magic would either be met with disbelief or mass hysteria.

Of course, the daily questions and planning left her too exhausted to visit the gargoyles. And tonight it chose to rain. But she was feeling antsy enough to try to brave the rain and go see the gargoyles. It worried her to find out that Brooklyn hadn't been by to visit Roberto. Time was running out and the detectives would soon have to leave to go back to their home state, and she was afraid of any choices that had yet to be made.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Cagney demanded her attention. She smiled at her cat and went to prepare her a meal. Tomorrow night. She would be able to visit the gargoyles tomorrow night and have plenty of time to talk to them.

X

He wasn't sure what brought him to awareness first. He was shivering like crazy, and although he was cold, he could feel heat surrounding him. He felt trapped under blankets, but he certainly didn't remember arriving at his hotel.

One thing he was certain off, there was someone uninvited spooned against him.

Roberto's eyes snapped open, his body tense, a slight gasp caught midway. In that split second, he was also able to tell that he was indeed in a hotel room. The color scheme looked the same as his own, but the room was a lot smaller.

The person holding him let out an annoyed chuckle. "Awake, finally?"

Roberto turned his head, shocked brown eyes meeting smug green ones.

"G-gary?!"

"Yeah."

"I... uh... what are y... why am..." Roberto lifted his covers slightly, realizing that while they both lay underneath the covers, Gary was actually on top of the sheet, separating the two by a thin layer of cloth. Roberto brought down the covers, a small blush on his cheeks. "Uh... you changed my clothes?!'

"Well, duh. I wasn't about to try to keep you warm and have you in bed with wet clothes. When I found you, you were near a hypothermic state. Figured you have had enough hospital time so I brought you here."

"Oh," murmured Roberto, staring at the wall. His memories hit, and the pain in his chest returned. He pulled the blankets higher, covering the lower part of his face.

Gary sighed and the room felt silent. So silent that Gary felt himself falling asleep. At least until Roberto spoke.

"Well?"

"... 'Well' what?"

"Aren't you going to say it?"

"... Say what?"

"'I told you so.'"

"Referring too?"

Roberto blinked back tears. "You said you didn't think this relationship would work out."

Gary forced his eyes open and stared at the back of Roberto's head. "No. I can't say it because someone else meddled in your affairs. For all I know, if it weren't for those two, it might have worked."

Silence fell again for a brief moment.

"Thanks," whispered Roberto.

"Don't mention it," murmured Gary.

Despite his heartache, Roberto felt himself smile. Despite harsh words usually shared, Gary often proved to be a great friend. Despite those cherished moments, Gary always proved himself to be an asshole.

"Oh, uh... don't forget. This never happened," he said.

Roberto's moment of happiness turned to annoyance. "Get out of my bed!"

"Your bed?! This is my room!"

"Fine! Then get out of your bed!"

"No!"

"Gr!" Roberto turned around to sit up and unexpectedly encountered lips. Turned out Gary had been leaning over him to try to appear more intimidating.

Roberto felt himself go bright red as his hand covered his mouth, turning away to hide his face under the covers again. Neither one of them spoke.

Once the embarrassment lessened, Roberto cleared his throat. "Ahem. Th-that never, uh, happened," he croaked out, wishing he had agreed with Gary as he usually did in buddy-buddy moments instead of having an outburst like that. He waited to hear Gary respond, but the silence continued, making him uncomfortable.

"Um, Gary?" he called out, then froze. Warm lips were gently pressed against his shoulder, near his neck.

"What if..." began Gary, lips moving against Roberto's skin. "What if we... just once... let it happen?"

"Let what happen?" Roberto asked in a strangled voice.

"Maybe Christina is right. Maybe... maybe I am too judgmental for a reason. Maybe I do get angry because... because I... I'm denying myself something... Or refusing to acknowledge something about myself."

"Gar..."

"You're still leaving us, aren't you?"

"Y-yeah."

"Then why don't we let this happen."

Roberto felt his breath catch in his throat as Gary 's hand pressed down on his shoulder, forcing him to face upward. There was a rustle of cloth and Roberto felt Gary slide under the covers and over him. Lips covered his as hands ran up against his arms. A leg forced its way in between Roberto's, and Gary's hips began to slowly thrust against him. Roberto could feel a hardness begin to develop and he began to panic.

This was wrong on so many accounts. First and foremost, Gary was his working partner. Second, he was the most homophobic partner he had ever had to work with-- at least until a moment ago. Third, if he let it happen, he knew there would be regrets afterwards.

Roberto pushed up on Gary's shoulders to look him in the eye. "Don't," he whispered.

"Why not?"

"Because I want to be able to come home someday."

Gary looked confused, but he stopped moving against Roberto.

"If we do this, you may come to regret it."

"If we don't, I may regret not taking the chance to find out."

Roberto sighed and closed his eyes. "But I don't want to risk you being regretful if we do. You see... if we don't do this, and I leave... I can always come back. If curiosity still exists, then we can always attempt something. However, if we do this and you regret it... I won't be able to come back home and face you."

Gary sighed. "I... I understand."

"Besides, Gary, what I need more than anything right now is a friend. Not a lover."

Gary slid off of him. "You're right."

Roberto turned on his side and felt Gary come up behind him. "Let me just hold you," he said.

Roberto gave a soft smile, tears threatening to take over again. "Thanks," he whispered.

X

Mike sighed as he hung up the phone. For the past couple of hours, he had been trying to get a hold of Roberto and Gary but to no avail. The only thing keeping him from panicking was that Jack's agitation dropped and he had stated that Roberto was fine.

But his heart was heavy. A call to headquarters revealed that Roberto had put in an request for an immediate transfer and it was approved. Seemed that there was a need for a deep undercover mission and his experience made him perfect for it. The thought made Mike sick to his core.

But the damage was done and he knew that he wouldn't be able to change Roberto's mind. The man was running, and to give chase meant driving him to desperate means to escape. Mike couldn't allow that to happen.

"If there is any god out there listening, please keep him safe," he prayed.

X

Elisa and Matt stood in front of the visiting detectives, with the exception of Roberto.

"Your departure is so quick!" exclaimed Elisa, surprise evident on her face.

"With us, it's usually case solved, suspect gone, onto something new."

"What about a court hearing? We'll see you then, right?" asked Matt.

Stacey sighed. "I think they're gonna arrange it so that we won't have to participate, or do it by satallite."

"What about the gargoyles?"

Gary gave a condescending look. "Well, seems only a few of us can face all the gargoyles without remorse to do a proper goodbye."

Mike winced while the other two detectives glanced at each other. Tonight they would probably find out happened since the battle.

"And Roberto?"

"Undercover," Gary replied, sounding cross. "He thought it best to make a complete break from everyone."

Elisa wasn't sure what to feel. On one hand, she understood Roberto needing to get away after what he went through, and from the people who witnessed it. However, it meant leaving Brooklyn behind. The young male had had enough heartbreak. It angered her. Hadn't Roberto claimed to have loved the gargoyle? If so, why leave without so much as a goodbye?

Mike glanced at his watch. "We need to head in. Check points and all. Thanks for cooperating with us. And I'm sorry for any discomfort and inconvenience we may have caused you."

Jack produced a business card. "If you ever need help outside your expertise, give this number a call. Just say you're a friend of Luxer and they'll connect you to someone who can find you the correct help. Just remember that the organization doesn't exist."

"Yay," muttered Matt. "I feel like I've been inducted into the Illuminate again."

Mike grinned. "But at least we're not pompous asses with crazy initiations, right? And the Masons are worst. Until next time."

The detectives headed into the terminal, waving back as they did so. Elisa and Matt waved back in return, torn between relief and sadness. It wasn't that they completely connected with them as friends. It was the fact that here was a group that understood the burden of dangerous secrets.

X

Gary stared out the window of the plane as it began to roll across the runway. His fingers touched his lips as he recalled his unexpected desire and action to kiss his gay partner. He felt his face turn red. He had been shot down and somehow it felt worse than when his first crush looked at him like if he were a worm and said, "Ew. Like, no." His head thumped against the pane.

"Uh, you okay?" Christina asked.

"Yeah, yeah." Gary rubbed his head. Seemed he miscalculated how heavy his head actually was.

His thoughts drifted back to Roberto. He knew that Roberto's flight wasn't until the following morning, but he had lied, stating that his partner had left that morning. It was the only way to keep his team from attempting to contact Roberto.

He sent a silent prayer, hoping that they would soon see him again, alive and well.

X

The sun set, in Elisa's opinion, too quickly. She dreaded the explanation she was going to have to give to Brooklyn. At the same time, night couldn't have come soon enough as there was some serious discussion that needed to take place.

"Where did they come from?" she had asked when she first arrived. Stunned couldn't even begin to describe how she felt when she spotted the frozen form of Brooklyn looking down at a female gargoyle. Both shared gentle smiles.

"Xanatos brought them over from Japan," Burnett responded, wiping his glasses with a white handkerchief.

"Seems he was convinced by Goliath and Detective Lee. He was unaware, and still is, of their ulterior motives. Of course, both quickly regretted their decision, especially when Mr. Quintanar arrived in time to see those two take off."

And some things now made sense, including the possible justification of Roberto leaving without a goodbye. Of course, her emotions and feelings were no even more in turmoil. The gargoyles were her friends, and her loyalty lay with them, especially Goliath. But now he had gone and hurt not only one of his clan with his words and actions, but has also hurt a human with a wound that would not heal overnight.

When the sun sank behind the horizon, Elisa had braced herself, eyes focused directly into Goliath's.

The shame and guilt was evident when he looked at her.

"Elisa!" cried the other three males, as they happily crowded her.

Lex seemed the most enthusiastic.

"Meet our new friends! They came all the way from Japan!"

Elisa politely smiled, wanting to be friends. However, knowing that they were just 'pawns' made her feel sorry for them.

Brooklyn stepped forward. "Elisa? This is Hana-san. We were planning on visiting Roberto. She's interested in meeting him. Have you heard if he's free? He never went to his room last night."

Elisa felt her throat tighten. She cleared her throat and did her best to break the news, cursing that Matt wasn't around to back her up.

"Their team was told to return immediately to their home state. They left early this afternoon."

Goliath cringed and everyone else froze.

"Did... did Roberto leave a message for me?"

Gods, he sounded so hesitant yet hopeful, it hurt!

"He, uh, tried to come last night but must have missed you. He, uh, went in the morning. Seemed he had to be involved in a different case."

Brooklyn looked absolutely devastated.

"He was here?" he whispered. "And I missed him?"

"I'm sorry, Brooklyn."

"Will he write? Call? Come back? Did he leave any way to get in contact with him?"

Elisa shook her head. "It's a deep undercover mission. I don't know how long it is, but he's cutting himself off from everyone." Brooklyn looked towards Goliath. "Makes things easier, doesn't it," he snapped, before rushing off to the side of the building.

"Brooklyn!" Goliath called out.

"Allow me, Goliath-sama," said Hana. The female took off after the red skinned male.

Elisa moved to Goliath. "What is all this about?" she asked, dangerously quiet.

Goliath looked defeated. "A rash reaction. I'm not sure why... its not our way..." He seemed to be struggling greatly with his words. "I wasn't myself," he finished, lamely.

Elisa grunted. "I don't accept that. Why wren't you yourself."

Goliath growled and turned away. "I'm embarrassed to reveal that to you just yet."

Elisa decided not to press the matter. It was clear that guilt was troubling Goliath and it would be detrimental to keep pressing the issue. "Just make sure to talk with Brooklyn," she said, before making her way to greet the new gargoyles.

X

Brooklyn flew through the air, trying to force himself to breathe.

Why? he kept asking himself. Why would he leave like that? I thought we were in love? I thought he was going to stay. Why do I always end up alone!

Brooklyn settled on top of one of the buildings. He could see the hotel that Roberto had stayed at. He could see that the room was dark. He had been left behind.

His wings shot out, extending to their full span. He threw his head back and let out a mournful roar.

Then he curled into himself, wings wrapped tightly around him, shielding his face, and wept.

X

Hana landed on top of a building a few streets away. She had been tailing Brooklyn until she spotted movement from the corner of her eye.

It was a human, and she noticed that it ducked from sight and then reappeared as Brooklyn passed, following him visually. She took a wide angle and silently landed near the human, the hum of a large air conditioner fan masking any noise.

She cringed as she heard Brooklyn let out an awful, mournful roar. She watched with extreme interest as the human ducked back, hands over his chest as he slumped to the ground.

"Brooklyn," she heard him say. "I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. Please. It'll be better this way."

"For who?" she asked, stepping close, certain she knew who this person was. Then human started, scrambling up off the floor and faced her. Just as many emotions flittered across his face, so did they in her heart. She felt sadness, anger, and mostly confusion. This human dared to hurt Brooklyn's heart with lies about leaving, but there was so much pain in his voice as well. Why would he to that to himself and Brooklyn?

"Er... y-you!" the male stammered.

"Hana."

"Huh?"

"My name is Hana."

"Roberto."

"So I guessed correctly. Brooklyn-san has mentioned you."

"Has he?" Hana watched as the man hid most emotions from his face. At first glance, it looked like an expression of disinterest and mild contempt. But they eyes still swam in pain. As she observed, Roberto continued to talk. "And passing, I imagine. Seems to me he found someone else to occupy his time."

He's trying to protect his own heart, Hana realized. That is jealousy.

"I did not know of you upon my arrival, and obligation kept him by my side these past few days. In his excitement, he probably did forget. But then he spoke of you when I expressed interest. So do not take that tone with me. There is nothing worse than a being that hides his emotions."

Tears began to flow as the harsh expression dissolved.

"Why are you being so... civil?" he asked. "You said so yourself. You have interest in him! Shouldn't you be glad I'm stepping out of your way?"

"I care for him" said Hana, trying to choose her words carefully. "But love? Not yet. I am not so heartless as to wanting to get in between two who love each other already. I do not understand why you are so willing to give up on him. Could it be that you are not truly in love with him?"

"I don't know," murmured Roberto, wrapping his arms around himself, shivering as the cool air began to blow. "I thought I was. But maybe not enough to keep trying to fight for this. He made me feel so wanted, like never before. I didn't feel used. But maybe... maybe it was because I thought he could never be able to betray me with another. When I saw you two last night... I knew... I knew it would be unfair for the both of us. I'm human. You two are gargoyles. I know the life span is vastly different. I would be selfish to keep his love. Me, living my whole life with him by my side until the day I day, and then what? Damning him to the rest of his life mourning me? No! It's better if I stand back and let him forget me now. And with you there... at least there's a chance that the both of you will grow old together. It's... it's better that way."

Hana was having a hard time understanding every word, as the male was fully crying now and trying to speak. Her heart went out to him and she stepped closer, drawing the frail human into an embrace. "You are foolish in my eyes," she said gently. "I only understand a part of your reasoning." She felt small arms encircle her waist. In many ways, it felt like that of a child. She had no idea humans were so tiny. She never held one this intimately.

She purred, trying to sooth the male. Minutes passed, and she loosened her grip as she felt him pull away.

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

"So what are you going to do?" she asked.

Roberto gave her a pained smile. "I'm going to ask that you watch over him in my place. I'm standing firm with my decision. There's work that I agreed to do and I can't back out. Of course when I went in, I did so knowing that survival chances were fifty-fifty. Even if I no longer feel like dying, I can't give that as a reason to back out. And it would be really unfair of me to go to Brooklyn now and ask him to wait for me, especially since there's no way of knowing if I'll come back as myself, or even if I come back at all."

Hana struggled not to shed a tear.

"So please, Miss Hana. Be good to him."

Roberto turned away from her, heading to the doorway that led back inside the building. The asian gargoyle watched as he opened the door and stepped in. The sound of the metal door closing sounded loud to her ears.

X

Brooklyn landed back at the castle, apart from everyone. He didn't feel like joining anyone. But it seemed that wasn't meant to be. A large presence made itself known. Brooklyn turned away from his leader.

"Brooklyn. Please listen."

The younger male looked at Goliath, resignation in his face. "Yes, sir?"

"I was mistaken."

Brooklyn gave a start. Then he narrowed his eyes. "How convenient. Now that Roberto is gone you realize this?"

"I deserved that," Goliath rumbled, standing next to Brooklyn. "However, I realized it back at the warehouse. But I must admit, and I'm ashamed to admit... my disapproval was more out of jealously rather than determining what was natural or not. In our times, it wasn't unheard of when males became affectionate with one another. After all, we outnumbered our sisters. It was rare, but they weren't shunned."

Brooklyn looked bewildered. "Then why..?"

"Why oppose to your union?" Goliath asked.

Brooklyn nodded.

"As I said. Jealousy."

Brooklyn shied away. "Jealous of who?" he asked, slightly horrified.

Goliath let out a bitter laugh. "Not of who, Brooklyn. Of what. You only knew Roberto for a few weeks, and you were able to physically express your love. I've known Elisa for years... and we've only shared a kiss."

Silence reigned.

"It hurts," Brooklyn whispered.

"Yes. It does. It is the most powerful emotion in existence. It can send you soaring into the heavens. Or it can send you crashing into the depths of hell. And from there it is your choice to die, or move forward."

Brooklyn began to silently cry again. Goliath, in seeing that, drew him into a one armed embrace, wing draped over the smaller male.

"Does Elisa know?" he asked after another short moment of silence.

"I think so," responded Goliath. "But she chooses to deny it."

"I hope, in the end, your love story comes out better than mine," whispered Brooklyn.

Goliath tightened his embrace for a moment. "Don't give up on yours."

The sun rose, freezing the two in their moment of sadness and comfort.

X

Roberto stared out the window, watching as the Statue of Liberty left his sight, the plane circling back around to head westward. Sunglasses covered his eyes, hiding the bloodshot look from everyone.

His heart still feeling heavy, Roberto knew he was doing the right thing. A gargoyle and a human? The others were right. A relationship like that was never meant to be. But a continued friendship was. If life permitted, he hoped to someday see Brooklyn again. And his friends. Roberto settled back, closing the window shade.

The plane gained altitude, leaving behind the rising sun.

Fin

AN2: Currently on deviant art, at kaltheinya. deviantart. com (remove spaces for those sites that don't allow html addresses within the story), you will be able to find pages to a comic I started up utilizing my original characters mentioned in this story. There are single shots of the new looks if you check the gallery. However, they have been altered from my original concepts due to their setting in terms of, only two of them are completely human, the others look like humans but aren't. It's a sci-fi kind of thing, intergalactic wars, cross breeding, etcetera, and yes, it will be a mature comic as time goes by. But being on deviant, I'll probably edit it but post it else where in it's uncensored glory. Just keep an eye out.

Also, on adultfanfiction . net there will be a PWP featuring Roberto and one of the Gargoyle characters (wonder who it could be) that takes place 2 years later. Uh... no, not Brooklyn. And then on fanfiction there will be one that takes place 10 years later so everyone can know what has happened to the characters. While I have been known to do tragic stories... I do enjoy bittersweet ones. So it won't be what you all expect, but hopefully you'll be satisfied.

AN3: I based Hana off of a fanbased storyline called Timedancer which is based off of what Greg Weisman wanted to do, although his character name would have been Katana, if I'm not mistaken. Guess I sort of wanted to remain canon. YAY!!! I just found out he has been doing comics for the gagoyles under Slave Graphic Comics label. They're already on issue 7 but lucky for me, volume 1 is being released with the first 6 issues. Must buy. Same to all of you gargoyle fans!!!