"The Path Unfolding" – Epilogue
Barely able to see where she was going, Demona stumbled blindly through the alleys, trying desperately to find her bearings. It took only a few minutes for her to recover from being "killed" by Elisa, back at the mansion. Even the wounds Adam had inflicted to her wings had healed. However, repairing the damage that the laser pistol did to her brain was a much more complicated matter. Her eyes still refused to work properly, as if she was trying to peer through a veil of silk. She could hardly hear anything when she came to. All she could sense going on around her were the muffled sounds of commotion and several blurred images. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out how she managed to find her way out or even what she was finding her way out of. With senses impaired and surrounded by chaos, she could only respond to blind instinct. And for Demona, that instinct was her to run…fast and far.
It wasn't until she tripped over her own feet and collapsed to the ground that she finally stopped running. Coughing and sputtering as she tried to catch her breath, she happened to look up at the lit city streets, shining into the alley, and noticed that her eyes were finally beginning to focus again. However, the return of her eyesight was hardly first on her list of priorities at that moment. Her mind was still in a fractured daze, as if all her memories of the past few nights were just streaking right past her in a blur.
"Why…can't I…think?" she groaned angrily as she buried her face in her hands, trying desperately to get her mind to work and remember what she had gotten herself in the middle of.
Just then, the sound of a loud thump caught her attention from the entrance of the alley. Slowly rising to her feet and being ready for anything, she gradually made her way to the street and peered around the corner. Luckily, all she'd heard was a bundle of newspapers that had been dropped in front of a nearby newsstand by a delivery van. Waiting until the van was far down the street and gone, Demona emerged from the alley, examining the papers to inspect the date. But once she did, she could only become that much more confused as her eyes went wide with disbelief.
"This…this can't be right," she uttered in shock, looking up at the night sky in vain for some kind of answer. "Almost a whole week has gone by. But I…I can't remember…I can't…"
"What…happened to me?"
"Well, luckily, all that was damaged was the power cell," Alexander noted, surrounded by family and clan in Xanatos' office and tinkering with the New Olympians' device while a series of papers printed off the computer. "Now that we've got that replaced, it should be enough to get us back to where we want to be…or more appropriately, WHEN we want to be."
"Are you sure you even know how that thing works?" Lexington asked with a hint of concern.
"All right here," Alexander answered, holding up the envelope of instructions he'd received from the future. "Speaking of which…"
At that moment, the computer had stopped printing off its series of pages, which Alexander promptly collected. Pulling an empty envelope out of Xanatos' desk, he carefully slipped the papers inside.
"You guys might want to make sure you hold on to those," he noted, turning his attention to Xanatos and Fox, while handing the envelope to Owen. "It just might come in handy…25 years from now."
"Wait a minute. You're writing those notes for yourself in the future," Matt pointed out as Owen filed the envelope away. "But…you already HAVE them."
"But I DIDN'T until I came back here and wrote them for myself," Alexander explained. "You gotta follow the rules, man. You can't just pull something out of nowhere."
"But the only reason you know any of this at all was because you TOLD yourself. So technically…didn't that information ITSELF come out of nowhere?" Matt asked before pinching the bridge of his nose and letting out an exasperated sigh. "I'm not making any sense, am I?"
"Matt, when it comes to time travel, take my advice," Elisa answered with a hint of amusement. "I found my life got a lot easier when I STOPPED trying to make sense of it."
"So…what do you think happened to Proteus?" Angela asked.
"I imagine we'll probably leave Boreas to answer THAT question," Katana replied. "Once we give this device back to him, he can make the decision to either pull Proteus out of time or leave him where he is. Honestly, I really don't care which."
"Hmmm…," Talon muttered uncomfortably, getting everyone's attention.
"Something wrong, Lad?" Hudson asked.
"Well…am I the only one who's worried about that $20 million that Proteus said he embezzled from Demona?" Talon responded thoughtfully. "You know, the money he used to put the hit out on Elisa? It's still out there, you know."
"Oh," Alexander noted, snapping his fingers and making an aluminum briefcase appear in a flash of light before opening it up to reveal it packed with money. "You mean…THIS $20 million?"
"Where-did-you-get-that?" Matt exclaimed as the rest of the room could only look on in surprise.
"Just one more thing that Owen and I had to take care of while everyone else was snoozing the day away," Alexander replied. "Proteus has some MODEST computer skill, but he's still not in MY league. Once I found out what account the money was being held in, it was a relatively simple matter to have it transferred electronically, so…"
"…You stole it," Elisa accused, cutting Alexander off.
"Oh, heavens no. Stealing would imply that it was her money in the first place," Alexander argued as he latched the briefcase closed and shifted his gaze in Goliath's direction. "You're forgetting that Demona incorporated all of her funds with those of a certain clone of a certain individual in this room, or am I being to vague? And 20 million dollars of THAT money ORIGINALLY belonged to ANOTHER certain individual by the name of David Xanatos…"
"…Which I am now happily returning," Alexander continued, sliding the briefcase across the desk to Xanatos, who merely responded with an amused smirk. "Consider it turnaround on a successful business investment."
"Ooooohhh, that's our boy," Fox cooed dotingly, reaching over and hugging Alexander around the neck.
"Well…eventually," Alexander answered with a shrug.
"What did I tell you?" Katana stated, while everyone else in the room could only hang their heads uneasily.
"Why do I suddenly have a REALLY queasy feeling in my gizzard?" Brooklyn remarked.
"You'll get over it," Alexander replied assuredly before rising to his feet. "Well, don't think this hasn't been fun guys, but we've gotta run. We've still got one more stop to make before heading home."
"Where are you off to, now?" Lexington asked.
"Well, we've still gotta go back two weeks, make sure Owen gets that e-mail," Alexander replied. "Otherwise, he wouldn't have the information he needed to help out Adam when he arrived. Speaking of which, where IS he, anyway. I haven't seen him since we got back."
"I believe the monitor will have the answer for you," Owen replied simply, pointing at one of the surveillance screens in the office to reveal Adam looking out over the city from one of the castle battlements.
"I got him," Elisa declared, turning around before taking Goliath's hand in hers. "Want to come with?"
"I'll…be along in a moment," Goliath replied innocently.
Elisa simply nodded with a gentle smile as she gently caressed his hand before walking out of the office. But Goliath, himself, wasn't as forgiving. Granted, he was relieved that the threat against Elisa's life had been dealt with and that the entire matter had been brought to an end. But now there was the far more lingering matter of Elisa's pregnancy. After all, there was still no telling what the end result would be to this impossible occurrence. What would happen to the child? What would happen to Elisa? None of these were questions he had any answers to. And even as Hudson sensed his discomfort and put his hand on Goliath's shoulder for assurance, it did little to ease Goliath's mood as he merely let out a heavy sigh.
Little did Goliath know that Elisa's pregnancy was exactly what she was thinking about as well as she slowly made her way through the castle to meet up with Adam. However, her train of thought was taking a decidedly different route than Goliath's was. Now that she had this time with her thoughts, time to relax, look back and take stock of everything that had just happened, she couldn't help but take not of certain memories over the past few days. Things that, while at the time, weren't given any consideration, now suddenly felt very curious…
… … … …
"Truth is, one of the greatest people I've ever known was born here and she's never wanted to live anywhere else."
"My mother. My father, on the other hand, hit a pretty rough patch for a while and ended up here. Didn't care for the city much until he met her…then he couldn't bear to leave."
… … … …
"Actually, I can't imagine what their lives would have been like if they hadn't found each other…He gave her a life she never knew was out there…and she made his life worth living again."
… … … …
"Huh…fast hands AND a dead eye. You're just FULL of surprises, aren't you?"
"Well, what can I say? My mom's a good teacher,"
… … … …
"Unnh…who are you? You're certainly no human…"
"Oh, I'd tell you. But…you wouldn't want to hear it. It would make you craaaaaaazyyyyyyy…"
… … … …
"Yeah…? Who's gonna save anyone from ME…?"
"From you? What are you talking about?"
"…Don't blink…you'll miss it…"
… … … …
"Yeah…him…So, are you going to tell us what the deal is with our guy, here? Particularly, what was with that Gargoyle 'Jekyll-and-Hyde' act he pulled last night?"
"Don't get greedy, Elisa. There's only so much I can get away with telling you. And believe me I'm pushing it, as it is."
… … … …
"You still haven't figured out what he is, have you?"
"HEY! No tattling!"
… … … …
"Then it IS true!"
"I TOLD you, you didn't want to know."
… … … …
Eventually, Elisa's mind stopped drifting and she soon realized she had reached the exit to the battlement where Adam was looking out over the city. At first, she was completely unsure about what to say to him. But then she remembered that he'd be leaving any minute. And once he did, another opportunity would never come again. So, taking a deep breath, she steadied herself and walked out along the walkway to greet him.
"Enjoying the view?" she asked, announcing her arrival. "I guess it all looks pretty different where you're from, huh?"
"Actually, you'd be surprised how much it doesn't," Adam replied simply, "Although, there are a couple of places that, if you were there, you wouldn't even recognize them."
"Mmm," Elisa replied simply, nodding her head.
"It's kinda like everyone here, really. At least, for me," Adam added. "Seeing them now…it's like…looking at a picture of someone you know before you met them and all you can think is…they're just not…complete yet."
"I guess I could see that," Elisa noted, pausing to take yet another deep breath before speaking again. "So…'Gargan', huh? Gotta say, that was a pretty interesting alias."
"I thought you'd get a kick out of it," Adam responded with an amused smile.
"I don't suppose you're actually going to tell me what your REAL name is," Elisa suggested, none too subtly, which only captured Adam's undivided attention as he stepped back from the edge and looked at her intently.
"You want me to confirm what you already suspect," he deduced with a cryptic grin, partially concealing a more serious expression underneath. "Would it actually make you feel better if I did?"
Elisa didn't respond right away. It wasn't until she looked down and placed her hand over her belly that an answer finally escaped her lips.
"To be honest…I really don't know."
Just then, Adam propped his finger up under Elisa's chin, drawing her gaze to meet his. At that moment, Elisa wasn't entirely sure what to think. And she knew even less as Adam gently cupped her face and softly kissed her forehead.
This was the scene that greeted Goliath and the others as they reached the exit to the battlement. They had no idea what to make of it either. Just then, they watched Adam lean down, placing his hand on Elisa's belly and whispering in her ear. Even with Gargoyle hearing, they were still too far away to hear what Adam was saying. But his words clearly rocked Elisa to the core as her eyes went wide and she looked over at Adam, completely stunned. Adam, meanwhile, simply looked back at her with a tender smile.
"Hey!" Alexander called up with a couple of shrill claps as he walked into the courtyard with Katana. "We got places to be! Are you coming or what?"
Adam simply responded with a nod in Elisa's direction before leaping off the battlement. Twisting horizontally in mid-air, he finally opened his wings halfway down, allowing him to glide backwards, using the talons on his feet to skid to a stop, right in front of Alexander and Katana.
"Show off," Katana uttered sarcastically as Adam simply smirked at her with a quick straightening of his tie.
Elisa, meanwhile, was still standing on the battlement, frozen in stunned silence. In fact, she didn't even seem to notice as Goliath and the others ran to her side.
"Elisa, are you alright?" Broadway exclaimed, voicing everyone's concern.
"What did he say to you?" Goliath asked only to have Elisa reach over and place his hand on her belly, even as her gaze never wavered from Adam's direction.
"He said…, 'Don't worry…'," Elisa spoke weakly through a trembling smile as tears that were no longer under her control began flowing down her cheeks, "…'He'll be fine'…"
"…'I oughta know'."
Now it was everyone else's turn for a shock as Goliath and the others looked down at Adam who was about to depart. Goliath was naturally even more staggered than the others, especially as Adam looked back up towards him with a deathly sober gaze.
"Contact!" Alexander announced, pressing the activation button on the time machine.
At that moment, all the lenses came to life, creating a familiar swirl of twinkling lights around the future trio. Within moments, the sparkling trails converged, indicating that they were only seconds from disappearing for good. And Katana couldn't help but toss a playful wink upward in Brooklyn's direction, causing him to respond with a look of confusion. Adam, meanwhile, had his own means of saying farewell as he spread his wings wide, threw up a pair of peace signs and reared back his head.
"GOODNIGHT MANHATTAN!" he bellowed, his voice echoing throughout the courtyard as the lines of glitter met, causing the three to vanish in a brilliant flash.
"I said it before and I'll say it again," Xanatos remarked from the stairs at the edge of the courtyard, "Fascinating."
"Yes…he really is…isn't he," Fox replied as she snuggled against Little Alexander, who simply giggled, still waving goodbye to the three strangers who just disappeared.
Meanwhile, back up on the battlement, Elisa finally managed to regain her composure, wiping the tears from her eyes. It was then that everyone else managed to snap out of their own astonishment as Elisa put her arms around Goliath and snuggled against his chest. Goliath was quick to return the favor, holding her close and folding his wings around her gently as the rest of the clan gathered around. And what was initially surprise had now given way to a certain awe as Angela moved in, pulling away briefly before finally placing her own hand on Elisa's belly, her smile a mixture of joy and excitement.
A moment later, everyone turned their gaze towards the city skyline, looking out towards the horizon. As Goliath and Elisa still held each other close, their fear gradually became drowned out by a bright feeling of hope. Even Peter and Diane, down in the courtyard, somehow found themselves feeling more at ease and they took in the sight of their daughter, surrounded by nothing but the support of her friends and loved ones. And all around, there seemed to be just a profound sense of relief as the entire group looked towards a future that suddenly seemed filled with possibilities as limitless as the lights of the city below.
"So…have you thought about what you're going to tell Captain Chavez?" Matt mentioned suddenly.
"Just HAD to ruin the moment, didn't you?" Elisa replied sarcastically, making Matt suddenly feel very sheepish.