Sun down couldn't have come any slower.
Elisa had finished work early, leaving on an 'a family member is in hospital' excuse. Matt wanted to go along with her, but with the amount of reporters they had swarming over the precinct, he's had to handle each of the preying hyenas himself and tried to cool the situation.
But things weren't looking good. All day long the radio and television was flooded with special broadcasts and programs, debates over what this revelation means for the rest of humanity, and interviews with members of Manhattan's citizens. Elisa swore she saw Macbeth having an argument with Margot Yale on the topic.
She drove through the unusually thick Manhattan roads, noticing the amount of camera crews on the streets and the out-of- town news reporters. She knew the story was going to have an effect, but she never knew it would have such a devastating blow on the lives of her clan.
There was no way the clan could risk going outside, all it took was one camera to get one shot of them and then it was all over. It was getting harder and harder to slip through the net, and with each shaky step the net was closing tighter and tighter around them.
When she arrived at the Eyrie Building, she quickly made her way through the building to the infirmary. She met Fox and Dr. Sato in the infirmary, Xanatos again was absent. Elisa frowned at the absentee and decided to have a few choice words with Xanatos the next time she saw him.
She focused her attention on the statue on the bed, the wiring of the machines leading into the chiselled figure. It was the strangest thing Elisa had ever seen and she had seen some pretty strange things in the last few years. But a statue hooked up to a series of expensive life-saving equipment was definitely top of her list.
"Where's your husband?" Elisa asked Fox.
"Why the accusing tone?" Fox frowned.
Elisa sighed, "I don't mean to..." she glanced down at the statue. I... I just wish we could fix this."
"That's what he said," Fox replied. "Last night, he came to bed and said 'I wish I knew how to fix this'."
"There is no way we can fix this," Sato interjected. "All we can do is hope for the best."
The sun began to set over the horizon; Elisa held her breath in painful anticipation. Outside, the corridors darkened as the sun dipped low over the towers of steel. On the battlements, gargoyles tore free from their day time prisons and their mighty roars filled the crisp air.
In the infirmary all was still.
No one moved, not the statue and not the humans. Elisa's heart hammered like a panicked bird in a cage, her mouth went dry. Her tongue was like sand paper. Then a movement. A small crack along the statue's face, a twisting curve that popped the shard of stone from its place.
More cracks, spilling along the hard grey surface. They fell away lazily, small chunks of stone. They didn't explode off his body as it normally would, they fell weakly, pitifully. But at least they fell from him; it was good news, it proved that the surgery was a success and that he would live to see another day.
Dr. Sato got to work, checking each little machine, making sure every little wire was still connected. Fox and Elisa waited, fingers crossed, and Sato gave the all clear. They gasped in relief, Fox weak-kneed. Elisa clutched the bed, stopping the relief from knocking her feet from out beneath her.
"I'm amazed he survived," Sato admitted. "I had no idea whether anything would remain plugged in, but as soon as he awoke everything reconnected. Amazing."
"How is he?" Elisa asked. "Will he be alright?"
"For now I can't make any assumptions," Sato replied. "We're still far from safe, but for now I'd say he's okay. I'll run a few more tests and then the clan will be able to see him."
"I'll go tell David," Fox left curtly, not letting Elisa get a word in.
Elisa watched her go, and then focused on Dr. Sato. "Thank you," she smiled. "You've done so much..."
"It's my job," he said casually.
"Doctor, do you think that perhaps Angela can come see him?" she asked.
He hummed, "I don't think so..." he looked down at the gargoyle, whose lids twitched. Broadway may awaken soon, perhaps it would be good for him to see a friendly face." He sighed. "Fine, one gargoyle may come see him for ten minutes. If all goes well, I'll allow the others to see him."
She thanked him again.
Sato left, preparing to file out his report and inform the others of the current condition of their unique patient. Elisa pulled up a chair and set it down besides the bed, ready for Angela later. She glanced down at Broadway, tapping his hand affectionately.
"I'll be right back, big guy," she whispered tenderly.
A weak hand clutched at her, a grasp so cold and feeble Elisa felt her skin run crawl. She whirled around, staring down at the blurry eyed gargoyle. He was awake, yet he never looked so tired. His skin was pale, his eyes heavy with dark circles, even the way he breathed sounded painful.
"Duh..." he gasped painfully, Elisa panicked for a moment. Don t leave..." he whimpered. "Please."
"I'll be right outside," Elisa soothed. "I'm going to get Angela, so you rest up." she stroked his large ear, he smiled weakly.
He reluctantly released her and she headed to the battlements, finding the clan had already begun the trip down to the infirmary. She quickly explained what had happened and that Broadway was fine, but for the moment it was best he only have one visitor until he could be given the green light.
"Angela can go," Brooklyn offered.
"What?" Lexington gasped. "But Brooklyn-!"
"It's fine, Lex," Brooklyn grasped his shoulder. "We can see him another time, let Angela see him."
Lexington frowned suspiciously at his brother's behavior, Brooklyn squeezed his shoulder once more and Lexington gave in. He sighed a 'fine' and left with Brooklyn, heading up to the battlements. The rest of the clan dispersed, deciding to spend the evening with a few distractions, while Angela went with Elisa to see her broken love.
Angela felt her stomach churn, she wasn't sure if it was anticipation or fear. Neither she nor Elisa spoke, the silence was almost as bad as the tension between them. She wanted to know if Broadway had woken up, or if Sato had any other news. Elisa was yet to tell her Broadway had awoken, she didn't want to give the girl hope in fear Broadway had fallen asleep.
They approached the doors, the small windows black with only a few dim lights shining down upon him. In a twisted way, it was almost peaceful. She waited a moment, waited for approval, Elisa smiled encouragingly. With ever so hesitant fingers she pushed against the door. The light above the door flashed bright red, blinding her temporarily as a loud whining could be heard.
"What's happening?" Angela cried. "What's that noise?"
"I... I think something's gone wrong," Elisa answered.
"What?" she gasped.
The infirmary doors burst open, Sato and his men came rushing in, pushing them aside.
"Sato, what's happening?" Elisa demanded.
"Step back, please," he ordered. "Please wait outside."
"But -" Angela began to protest.
Elisa pulled her back and they entered the corridor, Angela tried to pull away from her but Elisa pulled her back once more. Hot tears began to brim in her eyes, she trembled and her legs finally gave in. Angela collapsed to the floor, covering her face as tears flooded down her eyes.
"Angela," Elisa cried. "Angela, look at me! Angela!"
The gargess hesitantly looked up; Elisa looked at the young gargoyle and lost her thought. She had never seen anyone in the clan so torn up, everything was falling apart faster than they could sew the wound up. Elisa didn't know what to say, nothing she could do to help Angela.
Instead she helped Angela to her feet and carried her off onto one of the beds, setting her down gently and hugging her tightly.
Brooklyn stood on the battlements, looking down upon Manhattan. The wind was cold, rising up around him and curling his mane around him like a web of white. Lexington was silent, wondering what his rookery brother had wanted. Brooklyn may be older, but he remembered one of their old trademark signs.
"Goliath hasn't decided what to do yet, has he?" he spoke up in a soft voice.
"Not yet," Brooklyn confirmed. "He wants to find who did this, but he's not sending anyone out yet. He wants Broadway to get better first."
"Is that why we're up here?" Lexington asked.
The wind howled furiously, pushing at the thick stature of Brooklyn. The wind bit at Lexington's ears, but he endured worse in even worse weather. Brooklyn jumped off the battlement, folding his wings around him as Goliath so often did.
"We're going to see Broadway first," Brooklyn instructed.
"But earlier you said-"
"I know what I said," Brooklyn cut in. "I do want Angela to see him first, she needs to more than anyone, but I never said we wouldn't get a chance too. We'll go in later, once things settle."
"And then?" Lexington asked.
"We get the bastard who did this to our brother," Brooklyn replied.
"We're going to go after Dracon?" Lexington gasped. "But he's-"
"He's going to pay," Brooklyn growled. "I swear, we're going to get him and he's going to pay for what he did to our brother."
Two hours must have passed before Sato and his crew finally emerged, blood on their clothes. Angela sobbed at the sight. The nurses and assistants cleared out, leaving only Sato and the two patient visitors. Elisa tried to remain calm, tried to distance herself from the situation as she did with each task the force handed to her.
"Well?" Elisa said.
"A fracture caused some internal bleeding," he explained. "It wasn't too serious; thankfully, we spent the last ten minutes monitoring his progress after the clean-up."
Elisa gave a sideways glance to Angela; Sato picked up on the tension.
"Broadway is responding better," he continued. "He's been slipping through consciousness, making remarks and such. Normally I wouldn't advice this, but considering the situation, I'll give you five minutes alone with him."
Angela's face instantly brightened and she ran past him, entering the dark room. She stopped short at the sight of Broadway, his bed like an open rib cage that enclosed around him like a casket. He was more wires and machine than gargoyle. But beneath all that he was still there, somewhere.
"Broadway..." she sobbed, rushing to his side. My love..."
She stroked his head, it was clammy and moist. "Can you hear me?" she whispered. "I hope you can. Listen to me, my love, I don't have much time. I want you to know there is family here waiting for you to wake up, no matter how long it takes."
She searched his face, waiting with paused breath for some kind of response. Slowly, there was twitch, a small muscle spasm. Broadway's eyes flickered, they didn't exactly open, but they moved nonetheless. She saw a hint of darkness, the brown of his eyes.
Her heart hit her ribs, it took every ounce of her being not to clutch her chest and weep over him. Sato warned her that he was not out of the clear, far from it, but the fact he responded to her voice was a good enough sign that he was still alive.
Angela and Elisa had left ten minutes ago, Sato returned briefly but only for a moment or two to conduct a check-up. Hudson saw his chance and seized it. He wasn't sure when he would be given the time to see Broadway, with chaos's claws seized firmly into the flesh of the Eyrie Building he doubted he would ever be given a chance.
Elisa and Angela were lucky to visit Broadway, but with the inner fracture Sato had decided it was best to give Broadway time so his condition and health could stabilize. When the corridor cleared, Hudson sneaked into the ward, tip-toeing towards the dreaded doors ahead.
He pushed the doors open, knowing no fear. He had faced horror before; a pair of bleached doors weren't going to scare him away. He stopped at the sight of the gargoyle, so still on the bed. There was something much worse about that for some reason, when his mate lay dying in his arms he knew what to expect.
She was bleeding, with a gaping wound, it was obvious and he knew how she was going to die. But now there were so many different things that could go wrong, the inner fracture for example, Hudson had very little understanding of medicine but he knew that with all those wires in, every little thing that goes wrong will be declared loud and clear.
There was no escaping every little pained breath, because it was every little pained breath that the machines were trying to keep running.
Hudson took a hesitant step forwards, setting down on a chair that had been brought in earlier that day. He groaned as loudly as the chair, feeling his age surround him as clearly as he felt his wings. Hudson knew not to think of himself as immortal, gargoyles were old, but they didn't live forever.
And, sadly, neither would he.
He had hoped that perhaps Broadway would figure out their biological tie, but he knew Broadway wasn't the sharpest. He had to tell Broadway himself, before someone else did, it was best Broadway heard it from him rather than someone else. Hudson sighed loudly, looking to the statue on the bed.
He didn't even know if Broadway could hear him, but Angela did say that he had responded to her voice. It was worth a shot, either Broadway heard him and he had one more thing to live, or he didn't and he would have to wait longer. What did Hudson have to lose?
"I hope ye can hear me," Hudson murmured. "Sayin' this takes a lot, I doubt I could say it to yer face. But listen, if ya can, yer..." he looked at Broadway's face, seeing so many similarities. "Broadway... you're my son."
Hudson took a moment, waiting for a response. None came. He sighed, wondering if he confessed such a thing because he was drowning in his own sorrows, or because he was guilty for keeping the secret for so long. Or was he jealous? Angela and Goliath had such a great relationship, but after all that's happened could they ever have that?
It wasn't too hard finding Dracon, he hadn't learned from his mistakes and was still hanging out with the same old people at the same old places. This time, however, they found Dracon somewhere new. As they passed downtown Manhattan they spotted one of his cars, it was one of his lesser known cars, one Brooklyn would have overlooked if Lexington hadn't spotted Glasses at the wheel.
"You should have brought that gun of yours," Lexington commented.
"If I had taken it someone would have noticed," Brooklyn replied. "I don't want anyone to know we were here."
"We're going to kill Dracon, aren't we?" Lexington said. "So why don't we just shoot him? Poetic justice!"
"When Dracon dies I want to be right there," Brooklyn growled. "I want to feel my hands around his throat as I kill him."
They tailed the vehicle, following it through the dark alleys until it parked outside the old Pack Media Studios. Lexington instantly tensed and Brooklyn ordered them to land. Lexington's hate for the pack had caused issues before, and Brooklyn was not going to allow him to ruin another plan.
They watched Dracon and his men enter the old studio, then glided over and quietly settled onto the roof, peering in through a skyline. They saw Dracon move in towards the props, looking them over like a curious child.
"What the hell is Dracon doing here?" Lexington whispered. "Hyena and Jackal haven't been seen in months, so do you think...?"
"I don't doubt that Wolf would lower himself to work with scum like Dracon," Brooklyn remarked. "But no matter who it is, you keep a cool head, got it?"
They returned their attention to the scene below, watching as a figure appeared from the shadows and joined them. At the sight of Wolf, Lexington's eyes lit up like flares, but he bunched his hands into fists and remained still.
"We need to move closer," Brooklyn said. "We can't hear them from here."
"I know a way in," Lexington replied. "But we'll need to be quick."
Lexington led Brooklyn around the side of the building and through an air-vent, the dusty tube led out into the main warehouse and they climbed up onto the rafters above. It appeared although they hadn't missed much of the conversation, Dracon and Wolf had just finished exchanging bank details.
"I appreciate the help, Wolf," Dracon smirked. "But before we can start our little business transaction there's a nuisance we must first see to."
"You think killing the gargoyles is so easy?" Wolf frowned.
"It's easy enough," Dracon laughed. "Point and fire, simple."
Wolf looked unconvinced.
"Look," he said. "The gargoyles are easy to kill if you know how, I distracted the fat one and got him while he was open. We can do the same with the others."
"You don't get it, do you?" Wolf said. "The gargoyles will come for you now, you attacked one of their own. They'll kill you for this."
"Let them come!" Dracon said. "I'll shoot every last one of them!"
"Fine, do what you want," Wolf growled. "Just don't shoot down my gargoyle."
"Hmm? Oh, yeah, you want the old one," Dracon said. "When you catch him, do me a favor... make the old bastard suffer."
Lexington punched the rafter they crouched on, his eyes burning deep with a fiery white hatred. "That's it!" he hissed. "They pay - now!"
"No, wait!" Brooklyn ordered.
Lexington ignored him and dived down, howling like a demon. Dracon turned and Lexington delivered a punch to the side of his head, he staggered to the ground. Dracon's men pulled out their guns and fired at him, Lexington tucked his wings in and took a frantic dive behind an old prop car.
"Watch out for another one!" Wolf bellowed over the gun fire. "They never hunt alone."
Brooklyn moved along the rafters, watching the men carefully as they moved in towards Lexington's position. Wolf sniffed at the air, Brooklyn jumped down onto another rafter, maneuvering around until he was behind Wolf and then jumped. He grabbed Wolf by the scruff, slamming him down onto the floor.
He charged forwards, slamming an elbow into the back of Dracon's neck and pushing him onto the floor. The men with the guns turned to him and pulled out their used clips, he took advantage of the paused moment and knocked them aside with his tail. He slid over the car and grabbed Lexington, throwing him to his feet.
"Move!" he ordered. "Now!"
Lexington scampered towards the wall, climbing up to reach the skyline. Brooklyn followed, glancing back to find Dracon and Wolf on their feet. Dracon pulled a gun out from beneath his jacket, firing a quick round. It hit its target, cutting across the flesh of his arm.
Lexington cried out, he clutched his arm and fell back from the wall. Brooklyn grabbed him, catching Lexington by the waist with his tail. Dracon fired again, missing this time. Brooklyn quickly climbed up and through the skyline, the two gargoyles disappearing into the night sky.
Dracon lowered his gun, and threw it at his men. "You morons!" he cried. "How the hell couldn't you land a single hit? You're all useless!"
"What I'd tell you..." Wolf said. "The gargoyles are coming for you, best prepare for the worst."
Lexington looked at his wound, a bloody gash that cut deep into the muscle, but it was a superficial wound and would heal after a rest within the stone shell. They got as far away as possible and took a rest, Brooklyn looked over the wound, making sure the bullet was impaled into his flesh.
And then did his responsibility as a big brother.
"You could have gotten killed!" Brooklyn roared. "Do you realize that? Dracon shot Broadway and was going to do the same to you!"
"They were planning on killing Hudson!" Lexington reminded him. "I couldn't just sit and listen! Besides, I saw my chance to finish Dracon off!"
"You glided in, screaming like a banshee, and alerted everyone to your presence!" Brooklyn chastised. "That might have worked on a Viking back in 994, but not with a thug in '96!"
"... I was avenging Broadway," he protested.
Brooklyn sighed and sat beside him, "You think Broadway would have wanted you to get hurt?" he asked.
Lexington didn't answer.
"We're going back to the Castle and we're going to visit Broadway," Brooklyn said. "No one needs to know about tonight, got it?"
Lexington just nodded.
Elisa entered the precinct through the back, the front was still plagued by the media swarm that had clutched the throats of every official in Manhattan and Elisa didn't want to get involved. Matt was the one who took care of the media, he had experience with vultures.
Captain Chavez had called Elisa half an hour ago, just after she had returned to her apartment. Chavez said it was important, Elisa decided not to keep her captain waiting, especially with all the paperwork Chavez had to face with the media frenzy skulking beyond her walls.
As she entered the office she found Matt, looking as confused to see her as she was to see him.
"Elisa?" he frowned. "I thought your shift was changed."
"It was," she confirmed. "Captain Chavez wanted to see me, where is she?"
"I think she's meeting with the mayor," Matt answered. "But with those crutches she could just be coming back from a coffee break."
Captain Chavez had been injured during the Canmore raid on the precinct and since then had been using crutches to walk, she was supposed to take a few weeks off before returning to work, but returned as soon as the precinct was declared safe and returned to her yet to be refurbished office.
As they were discussing this, Chavez returned to her office, waving off their assistance and sat behind her desk. She set her crutches onto the floor, focusing her attention on her two detectives.
"I'm glad you could arrive so soon, Elisa," Chavez said. "I know this must seem irregular..."
"I'm used to late night meetings," Elisa replied.
Matt hid his knowing smirk.
"Now the reason I called you here is... well..." she folded her arms together and leaned back in her chair. "The last few years have been hectic, what with all the gargoyle business, and I need to know something very important. Elisa, Matt, do you have any connection with the gargoyles in Manhattan?"
They fell silent.
"I take your silence as a yes," Chavez said. "Or perhaps you think I've gone a little insane."
"Captain, why would you ever...?" Matt frowned.
"Because I want to catch the bastard who shot that gargoyle," Chavez answered. "I don't know a lot about gargoyles or why they're here or why they seem to help people, but not knowing doesn't give me the right to shoot one. Whatever they are, they're helping us and someone needs to help them."
Elisa and Matt turned to one another, silent as they tried to wonder if the benefits of having Captain Chavez on their side was worth the risk of exposing them to one of the most powerful women in Manhattan. Matt sighed, running his hand through his hair. He shrugged at Elisa.
It was her decision entirely, it was her secret, and it was her choice whether or not she wanted another person in on her little world. If she allowed for Chavez to be in on this secret then perhaps they could finally put Dracon away for good, better still they might be able to cover evidence with her help.
Elisa hated the thought of manipulating the law she had tried so hard to uphold, but if it meant keeping her gargoyles safe, if it meant preventing another incident, then Elisa would have to do whatever it took to keep them all safe from monsters like Dracon.
"Captain Chavez, I know the gargoyles," Elisa said. "And if you mean what you say, then I think we can work something out."
To Be Continued...