Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story. They belong to the brilliant Greg Weisman. The idea for this particular story is shared between myself and Obi's Second Cousin.
Author's Note: I swear, I never knew that I would become such an Elisa/Owen shipper. I still ship Elisa/Goliath, but this new couple has completely taken over me. I blame—and thank—Obi's Second Cousin for this!
The evening was almost quiet, after the day's excitement at the docks, and Owen could not help but be a little relieved by the idea of an evening to himself. He so rarely enjoyed time alone, even with Mr. Xanatos in prison as he had been for the past several months. Not that Owen had complained about all the work. For much of the last few months, he had been grateful for it. It gave him an excuse to think of anything but a certain detective.
Elisa Maza. She was a woman without equal in Owen's mind. He had never met anyone so single-mindedly stubborn and infuriating. And yet, he had still pursued her. Even while she exasperated him and drove him mad with frustration, she was one of the most enchantingly lovely mortal women he had met. Not only that, but she was intelligent, strong-willed, and passionate. Naturally Owen could not help but be drawn to her. She was almost the exact opposite of Owen's own personality, and it intrigued him to be around her.
At least it had been, until a little over five months ago, when Mr. Xanatos had completed his project of transporting the Scottish Castle Wyvern to the top of the Eyrie Building in Manhattan. The intention behind the project was to determine if a certain legend with regards to the Gargoyles that rested upon the walls of Castle Wyvern truly would waken at sunset once the castle "rose above the clouds." The experiment had been a success, and Elisa had befriended the creatures.
Then she discovered the fact that Mr. Xanatos had betrayed them. Owen admitted that it had been a foolish choice on his employer's part. And not just because it had cost Owen his relationship with Elisa.
Or perhaps he was lying to himself, the soft voice of Puck whispered in the back of his mind. After all, Owen had become so adept at lying to himself in the last several years. This wouldn't be the first time that he had attempted to deceive himself about anything.
Owen hastily pushed the Puck's whispering aside. It would not do to give in to her little comments now. All it would do would be to drag him farther into the depression he had nearly fallen into after Elisa broke off their relationship. That had been the single worst day of Owen's life since Puck first created him a little over eleven years ago. He could still hear her voice shouting accusingly at him.
"And what about me? Was that all an act? Did Xanatos assign you to me? Why else would you choose me? I'm a cop, and you're boss isn't exactly squeaky clean. I am the last woman who you would go for if you were sane."
He had been unable to say anything to convince her that her accusations couldn't be farther from the truth. While he had been asked to keep an eye on her during the gala when they first met, he had pursued a relationship with her out of genuine interest. She was not the sort of woman that he would usually go after, it was true. Puck had taken a variety of lovers in the several millennia that she had been alive. From the cold and secretly passionate Lady Elva of Avalon to saucy tavern wenches in the seventeenth century, Puck had sampled all the delights that both men and women on both Avalon and the mortal world had to offer. But none of those past lovers had been anything like Elisa Maza.
She was a woman of great passion, who had snarked with Owen as though she could care less how powerful he was. Her irreverence for power had intrigued him. As had her great lust for life and vibrancy. It had also intrigued the Puck, who had often made the suggestion that perhaps she should attempt to get to "know" Elisa herself. Naturally, Owen had pushed Puck back when she made that suggestion. He was not about to allow Elisa to become another of Puck's little toys, because against all odds, he had begun to truly care for the police detective. And through his own loyalty to David Xanatos, he had possibly lost Elisa forever.
So he had thrown himself into the work that he had. And for the last several months, it had been sufficient to keep his mind off of her. It did not help that for the first time in weeks, he had been in the same room as Elisa Maza. All she could do was glare at him viciously, and the sight had twisted at Owen's heart. But even Owen Burnett, the seemingly emotionless personal aide to David Xanatos, needed to have a night to himself now and then. And after the fiasco at the docks with the stolen weapons and Tony Dracon—it had to be Dracon, as no other criminal in the city would be stupid enough to steal arms from Xanatos—Owen needed a night to himself even more than before.
Pouring himself a cup of coffee, Owen sighed and turned on the television to watch the evening news. Perhaps the police had been able to pin the theft of the weapons on Dracon already, though Owen seriously doubted this. He meant no disrespect to New York City's police force, but there were times that snakes like Dracon proved to be too elusive even for the most determined of detectives to pin anything on. To his surprise, there did seem to be a story related to the theft running. Curious, he turned up the volume to see what had been discovered.
"In relation to a recent theft of several 'non-projectile weapon prototypes' from Xanatos Enterprises," the young female news anchor was saying as Owen turned up the volume, "the lead detective on the case, Elisa Maza, was found outside of the emergency room of Manhattan General, critically wounded by a gunshot wound to her stomach, and doctors are unsure if she will survive. The police have refused to comment on this unfortunate event thus far, but witnesses have stated that Detective Maza was seen in heated argument with gang leader Tony Dracon earlier in the evening, leading many to suspect that he was behind the shooting. Tony Dracon is also suspected to be behind the theft of firearms from Xanatos Enterprises. He was unavailable for comment on either case. In other news…"
Owen didn't hear the rest of what the woman on the television said. His hold on the mug of coffee in his hand had gone slack and he was vaguely aware of the sound of ceramics shattering on the floor.
Elisa…was hurt…Owen's chest constricted tightly, and even Puck was silent from shock at this revelation. How could this have happened? Why would it happen? Why Elisa, of all people?
The questions ran in circles through Owen's mind like a sick merry-go-round. Over and over, with no answers in sight. He felt sick to his stomach, and the desire to be violently ill had a great deal of appeal to him at the moment. But he could not give in to that desire at the moment. There were questions to be answered and he had to find a way to go and answer them. Unfortunately, Owen could not go marching through the streets of Manhattan and questioning average thugs about a cop being shot. Neither could Puck, as she stood out far too much and was far too passionate and lively to remain in the shadows long enough to listen in with regards to this case. Owen's best bet was the Gargoyles at this point.
Ignoring Puck's sense of insult at his decision, Owen made his way to the tower where Goliath usually spent his days during his stone sleep. It was far too close to dawn for the Gargoyles to do much good at this point, but they needed to know now, while the news was still that—new. Owen came up behind the large Gargoyle, trying to keep his tone even as he spoke, and feeling as though he was failing miserably at it.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you," he said quietly.
"What is it?" Goliath demanded testily. "Speak quickly!"
Owen forced himself to speak the next words. He had to, if Elisa was to be avenged. "Your friend, Elisa Maza, has been shot," he said evenly, amazed that his voice did not break when saying her name. "They're not sure if she'll live."
Apparently the news effected Goliath as powerfully as it had affected Owen. The Gargoyle gave a gasp that Owen was certain would become a yell of rage had the sun not risen then, and he was frozen in a pose of complete shock and anger. Owen couldn't say that he blamed the Gargoyle. He felt much the same as Goliath did currently. Now…to work. That was the only thing that he could do at this point.
Owen was not sure how much longer he could remain in his office, doing mundane paperwork and trying to forget about Elisa, lying in the hospital, probably in surgery, and possibly fading out of life. Gritting his teeth, Owen bit back a feral growl and looked up as the clan of Gargoyles—minus Broadway, he noted with only passing interest—charged into his office. Finally. A distraction.
"How did it happen?" Goliath demanded, storming up to Owen's desk.
Once more, Owen called upon a little over eleven years of practice at self-control to hide how truly terrified for Elisa he was. "We're not quite sure yet," he admitted, forcing himself to continue looking through various papers. "She was trying to get a stolen shipment of particle-beam weaponry off the street." He paused for a moment, once more trying to control his voice as it threatened to break. "It was…very important to her."
"Where is she?" Hudson demanded.
Owen stood and calmly—always so calm, he thought bitterly—placed papers in his briefcase. "Manhattan General," he answered blandly. "Pardon me…" he added, pushing through the Gargoyles to walk to the door.
He could stay in this office no longer. He had to go to the hospital and see Elisa. It was driving him mad, not knowing what had happened to her. One way or another, he was going to see her, even if he had to transform into the Puck and sneak in.
The drive to Manhattan General was long and nerve-wracking for Owen. The New York traffic seemed worse than it had ever been before, and Puck screamed in his mind to let her out, let her simply transport them there in a mere moment. Owen remained adamant, however. He would not give in to Puck in this instance, he needed the time to calm himself, even if it was only marginal. It wouldn't do for him to go into the hospital in a frenzy and then start punching nurses and doctors aside on a whim. Much as he was tempted by that idea, he was not about to give in to the insane desire.
When he finally reached the hospital, it was so late at night that almost no one beyond the doctors and nurses were there. The waiting room was empty of visitors waiting for the chance to see loved ones who were somewhere in the hospital. Owen was grateful for that much. He didn't know if he could stand sitting in the waiting room with several other nervous relatives and friends of various patients at the hospital.
Sighing heavily, Owen made his way to the front desk. The nurse sitting there was pretty; blonde and probably just out of medical school judging by how young she was. Owen waited until she noticed him to speak.
"Pardon me…could you tell me where Detective Elisa Maza is?" he asked in his usual quiet tone. "I wish to see her."
The nurse looked him over, clearly noting that due to his coloring he could not be related in any way to Elisa, and shook her head. "I'm afraid that she's in intensive care," she said with an apologetic look. "Only family is allowed there. What is your relationship with Detective Maza?"
Owen gritted his teeth at the question. "I'm her…her ex," he said, the words leaving a bad aftertaste in his mouth as he pulled out his ID card. "You don't understand, Miss. I have to see her."
After checking his ID and clearly recognizing his name, judging by how wide her eyes grew, she looked back up at Owen. "I'm so sorry, Mr. Burnett," she said, very clearly meaning it. "But at this point, it wouldn't matter if you were God. I still can't let you in to see her."
Were he the sort of person who was used to screaming when frustrated, Owen would have given in to that impulse at the moment. This was infuriating! Did this girl not see how badly he needed to ensure that Elisa was well and safe? But before he could voice his arguments, there was a great clamoring as the nurse behind the desk and several others ran through the halls to another room. Panic gripped Owen's chest, something that he was unused to feeling, and he followed after the nurses to the room.
To his horror, he found Elisa in the room, the machine attached to her making an ominous, continuous keening sound. No…no, no, no…
"Code blue! Code blue! ICU!"
The blonde nurse rushed to the machine and looked pale. "Flat line! No pulse!"
Owen felt sick and leaned heavily against the door frame as the doctor turned to a nurse beside him. "Epinephrine," he ordered firmly, using an enormous needle to inject the medicine into Elisa.
"Still flat," the nurse informed him, her face still drawn.
"Get the paddles," the doctor ordered.
For a moment, all Owen could hear or see was the still form of Elisa and that continuous keening beep that signaled her heart was not working. This couldn't be happening. Not to Elisa. She was stronger than this…she had to come back…
Owen watched Elisa's body jerk painfully as the electric charge from the defibrillator shot through her, and the long wailing beep turned into a pinging sound. The blonde nurse sighed in relief and managed a smile.
Relief flooded through Owen's body, making his legs weak. He was vaguely aware of the kind nurse guiding him away from the room and explaining that he couldn't be there, that Elisa's family would be returning and he should leave them alone with her. That didn't matter anymore. Elisa would survive at least a little longer. The sound of his pager beeping pulled Owen back to reality and he set his jaw. It was time to meet with Dracon about the guns. This was the last thing he wanted to do, but it had to be done.
Turning to the kind nurse who had spoken to him earlier, Owen cleared his throat. "Miss…" he started, scrambling for a name, unable to remember if she had told it to him.
"Call me Judy, Mr. Burnett," she said sweetly, smiling at him. "She's going to be okay. I'm sure of it. Most other people would have crashed sooner and far worse than she did after an injury like that."
Small hope, but a hope nonetheless and Owen was grateful to Judy for giving it to him. He managed one of his rare, slight smiles and handed her his business card. "Thank you. Please…call me if there is any change."
Judy glanced at the card and nodded. "I will. And…" she glanced around before leaning forward to whisper conspiratorially with him. "I could get in trouble for this, but if you like, when you come back I could try to get you into the room for at least a few minutes."
The sudden urge to kiss Judy seized Owen, but he managed to rein it in. Barely. Puck was practically screaming at him to do so. Instead, he nodded politely and thanked the kind young woman again before walking stiffly out the door. He had a man to see about some guns.