Disclaimer: Gargoyles: the Animated Series is the creation of Greg Weisman and belongs to Disney and Buena Vista Television. However, Charlie and Alphonse "Big Big Boy Caprice, and Breathless Mahoney were 'incorporated from the 2010 Dick Tracy movie, although this is probably could not be considered a strict crossover, it's more of an AU set during the height of the organized crime of the Mafia-era.
Note: this was also written for the Multifandom Crack Pairings Big Bang
"The Only Game in Town" by karrenia
It is said that most everyone whether they choose to admit it or not is or becomes a creature of habit. All of which means that it is more difficult for anyone who has become so entrenched in their own way that they are simply unable to venture outside of their comfort zones.
Elisa would have to admit that it that old bromides much like many another was only true as far as it went, because she over the course of her career as a police detective she had seen and encountered any number of things that had forced to alter her precepts accordingly. And much to her surprise and satisfaction that transition had proved to be not as difficult as she had thought it would be.
In fact it was the unexpected but most welcome meeting with her new friends that had brought about that change and it each and every one of them brought something new and unexpected to the table and she had learned much from them; in fact they were still learning as they went along.
Something which had not changed was her career as a police detective. And she believed herself to be a realist enough to recognize that inevitably there would be times when her world and theirs would come into conflict, but the rapport and the friendship that they had built in the time that they had come to know each other would work things out in the end.
Take this latest incident for example, the kid that came into her precinct clad in a ragged and soiled shirt and trousers with a ripped and torn jacket seemingly thrown on as an afterthought without regard for either its wear's comfort or an eye to matching the patterns in the shirt, was shaking and breathless.
He also sported a shiner the size of a robin's egg. He had obviously been in some sort of a scuffle and looked it. Elisa had sat him down in the chair facing her desk with Matt perched on the end of it, talking of inconsequential until the boy; he could have been no more than fifteen or fourteen at the youngest, and skinny as a rail.
When he finally did talk it came out all in a breathless rush, his hands kept spasmodically clenching and unclenching at his sides. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear could have recognized that the kid, his name was Charlie Korsmo, was agitated and with good reason. He was the only witness to a mob hit; and a bad one.
"Please, have a seat," Elisa invited and then added in an aside to her partner, "Matt, I'll just run and grab him a bottle of water, keep him here and talking for as long as you can and I'll be right back."
"What's your name, son?" Matt asked.
"Charlie, Charlie Korsmo."
With that she ran to the rear of the precinct and grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler located and then returned to the main office area and handed the bottle over to the adolescent boy. He grabbed with both hands that still visibly and nodded his wordless thanks.
"It, it's like this. I was just minding my own business, real quite like and I never wanted to see what I thought I saw."
Charlie gasped; a convulsive movement which caused his Adam's apple bob more than a little bit, but he seemed to gather an unexpected reserve of strength and was able to continue on without further prompting.
"What did you see?" Elisa asked and nodded encouragingly at the boy.
"A, a murder. One that that you read about in the newspapers all the time seems like, the mob icing one another, except this one was really messy-like. There was blood all over and as bad as that was the worst part of it was that when I looked the guy standing over the dead bodies looked up and over. I think he saw me, too."
"Where did this take place?" Elisa asked.
"Near the Red Garter Saloon, where they have all those poker games."
"If what he's saying is true, we're going to need to place into protective custody."
"Agreed," she replied and turned her attention back to Charlie. "Is there anything else you can tell us? And don't be afraid, anything you tell us will be very helpful and we'll take care of you."
"No," Charlie replied as took several healthy swallows from his water bottle; the shaking in his hands had gradually subsided as he talked and he looked much better than he had when he had come into the police station. "No, that's it. My ma, is gonna right tan my hide."
"We'll call your mother and let her know where you are and that you're all right. Do you have the phone number?" Matt asked.
"Yeah, it's in my back-pack."
He fished it out and presented a piece of paper with his number written in ball point pen and Matt moved over to his desk to make the call. He was on the line for a good ten minutes and came back over. "I explained to your mom and told her not to worry. You'll be okay, Charlie."
It turned out that the reason Charlie was so agitated was because the only witness to a murder on two hench-men on the payroll of mob boss Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice.
That was the problem, well one of the problems with organized crime, one never quite knew who the players were because the terrain kept shifting from one month to the next and often-times the stakes changed so rapidly by the time you thought you had caught up for every step forward you were forced to take at least five steps back. The in-fighting between the rival mobs, hell, even within the individual mobs was legendary but you could never count on that, not if you wanted to both play it smart and play it safe in the long run.
The man who had stood apart from all of that, playing his own game with her friends, the Gargoyles, was multi-billionaire David Xanatos, who seemed to fancy himself above all of the in-fighting and rivalries and what not. The fact that he not only possessed the resources and enough capital to buy several small countries at least three times over irked her to no end.
Added to that particular fact was that he thought himself pretty darn smart, smart enough that he could never be caught or indicted on any charge that she might care to bring to bear. In the back of her mind she thought, "Well, bully for him, but if that's the way he wants to play the game; then fine, I'll go along with it, for now.'
New York was a big city and even the Chief ruefully had been known to admit to both her uniformed officers and Elisa and her partner, Detective Matt Bluestone that they simply did not have enough manpower to cover all the bases as she might have liked.
Be that as it may she knew that they did not live in an ideal world and not every crime and criminal could be identified, captured and put away, but that did not mean that one simply stopped trying; so they did the best they could as matters stood.
** Meanwhile, Big Boy coerces club owner Louie Manlis into signing over the deed to Club Ritz. The fact that he was in theory stepping over the line into the territory of a rival mob boss, namely one David Xanatos, a Greek of all things.
He found the man that he had come to see in the back room of his establishment unpacking a case of sparkling cataba juice when he came into the building seeking him. To say that Marlins was surprised to see him would be an understatement. The club owner took more than a couple of steps back and then fetched up against the rear wall until he could go no further. "What, what do you want?"
"Oh, I think you know, you just don't want to admit it, do you?"
"We've be good friends in the past, Louie, or have you forgotten already? If you have, no worries, just allow me to spell it out for you. You see, it works like this, you scratch my back, I scratch yours."
"I want out, Big Boy," Louie Marlins whispered with his fists clenched at his sides.
"I'm sure you do, which is why I think that this time, mind you, I think we can reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, that all you have to do is sign over the deed of the club to me." Alphonse Caprice had considered various manners in which to approach Marlins in order to get him to do exactly what he wanted, from outright intimidation in order to run rough-shod over the man. In the end, he had gone with this much less overt combination of the two. He was reasonably certain that the man would get the message.
"I can't do that. I built this climb from the ground up! I've got kids, a wife to support!
"I understand, Louie, I truly do, but I would encourage you to change your mind. For now, let us leave this a strongly worded request, and I'll give you time to think it over.
"How long do I have?"
"Let us say, forty eight hours."
"I'll do that."
"See that you do, Louie, see that you do, otherwise things will go very badly for you."
And in the back of his mind, Caprice thought, 'Who does he think he is, muscling on our territory with his fancy cars, and over-seas money, like some kind of big shot and think he can get away with it? Humph makes no never-mind to me. Yeah, so? He may have more wherewithal and the resources to back up any threats that he might choose to make, but he has never dealt with Big Boy before. So let him watch it'. If the rich snob wanted to make an issue of it, then he was welcome to try.*
The pieces on the board were carved of ivory and ebony, an extravagant affectation but they could afford it. He had let her take the lead and choose which color that she wanted to be. Both of them were experiencing the first blushes of life after being married although the nature of his proposal had been somewhat unorthodox, as was the nature of their honey moon.
But if there was one thing that Fox lived for was the thrill of the hunt and the surge of adrenaline and with facing the future and the unknown with her eyes wide open come what may. That could very well be want had attracted her to David Xanatos in the first place and less so for his money. 'Perhaps so mused, I just have a thing for going for the bad boy and if my dear dad has a problem with it, then that's just tough.'
"Are you certain this will work?" David Xanatos asked. For his part he had always admired the red-haired former leader of the former media stars, the Pack, but it was as much a professional attraction as something along an asset. The Pack and its members had been valuable on any number of occasions, especially the most recent encounters with creatures that for all intents and purposes could very well have come straight out of legend.
The fact that they both knew otherwise, was a closely guarded secret, and the fact that they had both an ally and friend in the person of New York police Detective Elisa Maza and her partner Detective Matt Bluestone was a fact that he learned to adopt a wait and see policy towards. Only time would tell if the gargoyles would prove to be either an asset or a detriment to his business; either way he would deal with the outcome as necessary.
"As certain as I can be under the circumstances," she replied with a feral grin that would not have been out of place on the proverbial cat that ate the canary.
"It's your plan, dear, and far be it from me to second-guess someone with the tactical skill that I've come to admire since we've known each other, but I feel compelled to point that that there are far too many unknowns in the mix."
"Hey, I hear where you're coming from, David, but as you were the one who taught me long ago, that the only way to achieve maximum gain on any investment is with maximum risk."
Xanatos nodded and rubbed his chin. "I shouldn't think that our 'winged friends' would want to become involved in what all signs point to some kind of accelerated inter-mob conflict."
"Aside from the fact that this jumped-up mobster who calls himself, of all things, Big Boy, is stepping onto your territory," she remarked.
"I would not exactly call it stepping, more akin to dipping into the water in the deep end of the pool. I would not care, much, but I do feel more than a bit irked by the man's impertinence."
"Well, then, we should teach him that he's just a little fish in a big pond," she remarked as she leant forward in her chair and made her first move.
Later that same evening, at the Club Ritz
Matt Bluestone had agreed to go to the club Ritz which proved to be a large square building whose glittering marquee and glitzy paint lived up to its name. The interior of the building was just a glitzy from the expensive carpeting on the floor, so plush that it seemed to absorb the sound of his shoes as he crossed from the entry to the elevators that would take him up to the piano bar where he had been told that the only witness to the murder of Louie Manlis could be found, even this late into the evening.
Entering the building dressed in his customary dark khaki slacks and long trench-coat he felt decidedly under-dressed and out of place among the rest of the assorted clientele, but he would not let that stop him. Ignoring the inevitable eye-tracks and having shown his badge to the heavily muscled bouncer at the door, he crossed into the foyer and from there into the piano bar where he was told that he would find the only person who had last seen club owner, Louie Marlin alive.
The piano bar was well-named; it was spacious and laid out in a rough horse-shoe shape with the mahogany baby grand piano dominating the center of the room. Perched on top of it for all the world like a marble statue was a woman, who merited a second and perhaps a third look. She was blonde and beautiful and to borrow a time-honored cliché, one of those blonde bombshells.
Matt, although something of square himself when it came to the opposite sex, certainly had had his share of relationship; however as attractive as she was, long hair that came down to the middle of her back and what with those baby-blue eyes staring back at him with a combination of allure and disdain, made him tack more than a bit into the wind until he could get his bearings once more.
"Detective Matt Bluestone, New York PD, Ma'am, I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the whereabouts of your employer, Louie Marlin."
"Of course," she replied.
He had heard that she was known as Breathless Mahoney, but he did not whether or not that really was her name or it was simply a stage name that she had adopted to work in the club. Either way, it suited her. "Ma'am, when was the last time you saw Louie Manlis?"
"Have you ever been in here before, honey-pie, because you look awfully familiar to me, not to mention down-right attractive, you know I could have sworn I'd seen you before, Detective…" she trailed off with a tilt of her head and a hand on her hip. The dress that she was wearing, a lacy white chiffon affair with pleating and lace at the cuffs of the sleeves and the bodice clung to her slender frame like a second skin.
By now it had almost become second nature to her, she knew that she was attractive, and had the face, the voice and body that most men found extremely attractive.
Aside from her 'official job as Club Ritz chanteuse and entertainer during normal business hours, she also had a variety of 'unofficial' duties, one of much was turning on the charm whenever the circumstances demanded it. For instance, like now when the cops came by, asking questions, and she played both roles to the hilt.
Perhaps it was the unmet desire to become a glamorous Hollywood Diva, or the perfectionist in her that brought it out; she always aimed to please.
The fact that this particular detective was easy on the eyes did not hurt matters at all.
Matt tried not to notice the way that it clung to her curves. "No, and do you always answer a question with another question?" In the back of his mind he thought 'That was the trouble with hind-sight, it gives you perfect clarity of vision when it's too damned late to do anything about it.' Aloud, he said. "This is important, ma'am. You are a prime witness to the murder of Mr. Manlis and as such, you're vital to our on-going investigation."
She did not reply at once and not only because she was painfully aware that her boss would not want her to give anything away, especially when a murder investigation was in the offing. Also, because she did not feel at all in a forthcoming mood, it was a game that she played with those who came to her for information, money, or other favors, a game with often fatal consequences, but one at which she was very good at.
Her was a police detective that she had never met or heard of prior to this first meeting and at first glance she had assessed him as being wound way too tight but very easy on the eyes, and with potential if she worked things just right.
"Wouldn't you want to dance instead?" she asked coyly.
"Ma'am, just the facts, if you please," Matt replied. "From what I understand Mr. Marlins was last seen here in his office the club meeting with a Mr. Caprice and the nature of that meeting involved around ceding the deed over to Mr. Caprice."
"That's true," she replied quietly.
"The meeting did not go well, and they two men argued. I don't supposed you would know Mr. Marlin's whereabouts after the meeting broke up, would you?"
She shrugged her bared shoulders and sighed. "How should I know? I'm not his keeper."
"You were the last person to see him alive. That's makes you either our best witness to a possible homicide or a suspect, or…."he trailed off.
"Or you could be brought in as an accessory to murder or thwarting our investigation."
"Funny how that would turn out?" she remarked in an off-hand manner and disarming manner as if it mattered little to her which way things would turn out. That bored but still supremely over confident manner and the set of her ruby-painted lips both fascinated and frustrated Detective Matt Bluestone at the same time.
She moved forward suddenly, a move that Matt did not see coming and within the space of moments her arms were twined around his shoulders and she was cooing into his ears. For such a slender woman she was quite strong. "Ma'am, Miss Mahoney, please, are you attempting to seduce me?"
"What if I am?" she asked as she released her hold on him and stepped back a pace or two to regard him. "What are you going to do about it?"
"If you must know, I don't keep Louie's schedule for him, after all he's a big boy and can take care of himself. But if I did, the best place to find him would be the Red Garter on the south side of town. He'll be playing cards with his cronies." She shrugged again. "That is if he's still alive."
"Would you mind if he were?"
"Yes, and no, Yes, because he was good to me and gave me a start; and no, because he never was very wise when it came to business and his money. You know that old saying about fools and their money…."
"They are soon parted." Matt completed the saying.
"Exactly," she replied. "Good luck, Detective Bluestone," she added. "You are going to need it."
The train tracks, the following evening, near midnight. The moon was a bare silver of itself in the sky and the wind blow in from the east as they caught the rising thermals and glided across the city and from there to there to the location indicated on the rather cryptic note that had been delivered to them.
Lexington had been right on the money when he had located the address written on a piece of paper on a map of the city provided by Elisa. It was a train-yard with several tool sheds and a track criss-crossing up down an area roughly half the size of a soccer field. It looked and felt empty of people, however, that did not mean much.
Broadway was on edge, landing with a heavy thud on the ground nearest the tracks with his wings folded back and away from his stout but strong body.
Elisa and Matt arrived shortly after the clan did and could now be seen getting out their car and half-running, half-trotting in their direction. Of anyone else, there appeared to be no sign.
Hudson appeared calm and implacable as he normally did, but the manner in which he had half removed his sword from the sheath on his back told a different story.
"We may have been set up," Goliath began even as he took a careful three hundred and sixty look around at their immediate surroundings. However had sent that missive had had an unmistakable intent behind it; they had wanted their presence here and now for a reason.
In the back of his mind Goliath just wished he knew exactly what that reason was. It would go a long way to providing answers to a few too many questions that had been nagging at him of late. 'For starters, who would know enough to that they were real and not just an urban legend? Secondly, if they knew that much about us: why choose this of all places? And why now?'
However, the answers to those questions were not immediately forthcoming. Elisa had explained that she and Matt were in the midst of conducting an investigation into the apparent murder/homicides involving minor players in what was shaping up to become something of an inter-gang turf war. Why that should concern the clan Goliath was given to understand was that in the world of the mafia, organized crime at least kept other crime at controllable mess.
She had gone to add that it was not an ideal situation and that the force was spread too thin to bring them all to justice, but the leaders of the mobs had been around for a long time, and had entrenched themselves into the Manhattan main-stream and like a weed had taken root and grown.
She could use their help, although Elisa had also admitted that she did not want to have to involve the clan unless she absolutely had to. She knew that Goliath, as the leader would have her back no matter what, and usually he would ask any number of questions just to get a feel for whatever they might be up against, and she admired and respected him for that. However, every so often she sometimes felt that his need to protect her and the city bordered a just a tad on over-protective side. And if she were being honest with herself she did seem to have taken a certain shine to the clan's second-in-command although she wondered if it were merely a physical attraction and nothing more than that.
As things stood, she had more important things to concentrate on just at that moment, their messy emotional entanglements.
A scuffling of booted feet gave away the ambush before it could effectively come to bear. The noise and the movement had come from just beyond the edge of the last row of tracks. Having been keyed up to a fever pitch of alertness the clan was prepared to face just about anything.
What they did not expect was that the dark-clad attackers would come so far and freeze in their tracks at the sight of them, muttering and cursing under their breath.
When Goliath approached as close as he dared, operating under the assumption that they were armed, he could hear them arguing with each other in a language that had the rhythms and cadences of those he found similar to Latin, but there were every five words in ten that did not add up.
One of them, a short, stocky mustached individual appeared to break off the argument when he could sense rather than feel Goliath's presence behind him. He turned around and gasped, pointing, and lapsed back into using English instead of that other strange but not quite familiar language. He had a gun in his pocket which he pulled and began to wildly brandish it in the air. "What! What the hell?
Brooklyn came over at that moment with his wings capped and his hands falling loosely to his flank. "Hey, no worries. We're not gonna hurt you."
"Unless, you attack us first," rumbled Goliath.
"Yeah, like the big guy said," Brooklyn continued.
"I didn't know monsters could talk," the obviously nervous man replied. Just then whatever words he might have made in response to that were abruptly cut off by the loud report of a gun being fired from hiding and the man toppled over, face first onto the asphalt of the train yard, a large red stain spreading across the front of his dark clothing.
Elisa and Matt had joined them by then and Matt sighed. "I think we were invited to the wrong party."
"Yeah, it's like our invitation got crossed in the mail," Broadway quipped.
"Whatever the case, I think we should get outta here before this neighborhood gets any more crowded," Hudson added.
"You guys, take off," Elisa said. "Matt and I will stand a better chance of getting this sorted out than you. But, if this is what I believe it's shaping up to be then I'd feel more comfortable if you and the clan where somewhere in the vicinity."
"Agreed. Elisa. You have only to call us and we will be there," Goliath replied.
"Ditto," Brooklyn replied as he winked at Elisa.
Even as Matt and Elisa watched the clan soar off into the deepening evening sky, Matt turned with a rather curious speculative look in his eye, "Was Brooklyn flirting with you?"
"No, Yes, oh, I don't know. Do me a favor and let the subject drop, okay?" she replied
"Sure, okay, co
It was late and Elisa had still had not returned from a late shift when Broadway and Lexington arrived at her apartment. He managed to squeeze his bulky body in through the open window that she left purposely open should any of the clan need to visit her; followed a moment or two later by Lexington.
Who went off on his own tangent even as Broadway began to a curious look around at his surroundings, noting that it appeared not to have much in the way of personal decoration as much he had half expected that it would. Entering in through the hallway and into the living area Broadway was drawn to a particular shelf mounted to the wall where his eye was drawn by something silver and shiny.
It was Elisa's spare gun. He could not help himself, he had seen the pictures in the pulp dime-story comics that Elisa had brought over for the others to read, although he could not read them himself, and had loved hearing about the exploits of comic book detective heroes, such as Dick Tracy, and dreamed of emulating them.
He picked it up, and turned it over and over in his hand, aiming it a pretend bad-guys.
Even as he did so Elisa came into her apartment bone-weary after working a double shift and as one thing led to another, it was only sheer bad luck that the gun would go off the moment that she came around the corner and into her living area.
The moment the bullet made impact with her chest sounded as loud as someone clapping loudly in an empty and cavernous room. Broadway gasped in shock. Among the few humans that the clan had meet since they had all unexpectedly awakened from their stone slumber and into this new world that they were still learning so much about; Elisa would always be high on his list of a favorite people. He would never even dream of hurting her, or willingly seeing harm come to her. She toppled backwards, her hands splayed out at her sides.
Broadway was so shocked that he let the gun drop nerveless from his hand and almost felt like crying. He uttered several gasping hiccoughs and then ponderously knelt down beside her still form. "C'mon, Elisa! Get up! Please, get up! I am so sorry. I didn't mean…
"Broadway!" Lexington cried. "What's happened? Did Elisa get home?"
"Lex! You'd better come here. I need help! Actually, it's Elisa the one that need's help! Come quick!" her.
"There's a phone in the hallway!" Lexington exclaimed. "I'll get Matt right away."
"Hurry, Lex. She doesn't look so good."
It was touch and go, but according to the doctor that the bullet had not done any permanent damage and in fact had bounced off of the police badge that she wore underneath her jacket, which had probably done much to save her life.
She was groggy but conscious according to Matt who delivered his report to the agitated and concerned clan members. He had also said that they wanted to keep her in the hospital for a few days for observation but she was expected to make a full recovery.
Matt was a little bit disconcerted to witness someone as large and formidable as Goliath hover protectively in a manner that would not have been out of place in a mother hen; on him it just looked like a stooping hawk about to pounce upon its prey. Not for the first time and more than likely not for the last either, but Matt was very glad that Goliath and the other gargoyles were fighting the good fight.
Hudson, seemingly the eye of calm in the middle of the storm of agitated fidgeting and questions, stood and took them aside and repeated his own reassurances and added a few more of his own.
Understandably, Broadway, whose inopportune curiosity about Elisa's gun had led to this accident, did not want to be there, but felt torn between his apprehension and his own feelings for her; whatever Hudson said to him must have won out because he remained waiting with the others.
"Do not blame yourself, lad," Hudson remarked at one point. "It was accident.
"She's gonna be okay, right?"
"Yes, you heard what Matt said and she will have the best of care that the human doctors and nurses can provide. The lass is a fighter, I am certain she will be fine."
"She'd better be," Brooklyn growled as he anxiously hovered to one side, with his wings capped and trying to get into to get a closer look at Elisa who lay propped up by pillows in the hospital bed. Somehow, her well-being had become more important to him in the past few months than either of them realized.
"Matt says that the doctors have managed to remove the bullet," Hudson replied and also that she was very fortunate that the bullet bounced off her police badge and has done no lasting damage. They just want to keep her overnight for observation.
Although she was still groggy from the pain medications Elisa figured that if she was ever going to get some much needed rest and allay the concerns of her worried but well-intention friends she had to speak up for herself.
"Guys, I'm touched that you're all concerned for my well-being, but I'll be fine. Promise." And Hudson's right, it was no one's fault; it was an accident, so stop blaming yourself, Broadway."
Broadway squeezed shut his eyes and then nodded and there was a suspicious trail of moisture around his closed eyelids. "I, I'll try."
"Let us go, the lass needs her rest," Hudson emphatically stated.
Once everyone else had departed the eighth floor hospital room Brooklyn was the last to leave turning back at the last minute to slip over to Elisa's bed-side and gently took her hand. "I don't think I've told you often enough how much I love, respect and admire you, Elisa."
"Why, Brooklyn, I never took you for the romantic type," she replied, a bit of color coming to her own cheeks. "If I knew this was the lengths I had to go to in order to get your attention..." she broke off in a coughing fit but soon recovered.
"Don't joke about it, please. I'm trying to be serious her," he replied, "But yeah, you do have a distinct tendency for falling off of high places. You really need to stop doing that."
"I'll keep that in mind," she replied.
"Brooklyn, thank you, but I really need to get some sleep now," she added.
"Okay, okay, but don't get leaping out of bed and checking yourself out of the hospital without getting word to us, promise?" he added, gently but firmly squeezing her hand in his before her released and starting for the window and out of the building. He turned at the last minute and the held and locked gazes for a few minutes. She nodded and blushed. "I promise."
At the clock tower, 48 hours later, evening
To say that Elisa Maza was incensed that someone with a track record that Alphonse "Big Boy' Caprice had amassed over the years could not be indicted and would soon be released from jail, would be an understatement.
She had just been released from the hospital had been taken there by understandably distraught Matt Bluestone. The fact that her injury had come about due what those in the military and the police referred to as 'friendly fire, was not lost on him.
Assessing the risk of any given situation was a part of the job, so was the danger nature of what they both did for a living. Elisa was not wet-behind the ears rookie and she was more than capable of taking care of her, and she certainly did not or welcome his playing 'mother hen' over her' still he could not help worrying.
Nor did him blame the stout gargoyle, Broadway, for what had happened. It was an accident, perhaps one that she never have happened had he known anything about hand guns, but it did, and thank heaven that Elisa was all right and back on her feet, even her arm would be out of commission for a while, still the alternative was unthinkable.
"Elisa, I am so, so sorry! Broadway rushed, and he spasmodically clenched and unclenched his fists at his sides visibly torn between the impulsive desire to rush to her and pick her and twirl her around but worried that by doing so he might cause her even more harm. He felt terrible about what had happened even though many of his friends and fellow clan members had repeatedly reassured him that it was an accident and that he had should not blame himself.
For her part Elisa wanted to go to him and give him a big friendly and reassuring hug; as she reached up to finger the reassuring outline of her police badge that she wore underneath her jacket; that badge had saved her life in more than ways than one throughout the course of her career, but never quite so literally as now.
She crossed the distance that separated them and took his large hand in her own. "I know how you feel and believe me; I completely understand it, so you can stop apologizing now, Broadway. I'm okay, see, and feel, I'll be fine. It was an accident. It's okay."
He hiccoughed. "I, I understand, I think."
"Good, now that's settled. We need to figure out what we're going to do about our 'organized crime problem," Matt replied.
"Agreed," Goliath replied.
Brooklyn nodded, "I agree, too, but there's just one thing I don't understand about all of this, and don't everyone give 'that' look," he added with a snort, and tossed back his mane of long white hair. "It's just that I don't understand why they should be fighting over the same patch of land in a city as big as Manhattan. I mean, maybe we don't understand humans as well as we should, but it strikes me as kinda counter-productive."
"He's right, it's irrational, but we're dealing with some very dangerous, very well-connected, but extremely irrational people here, and we have to take that into account in whatever we eventually decide to do about," Elisa replied.
"You're gonna ice them, gargoyles!" David Furtado demanded of his boss, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice."
Seated behind his expensive desk within the confines of his office; also known to his closest intimates as the Inner Sanctum, he leaned back in his leather reclining chair with his arms folded over his chest.
He was one of those men who had once been proud to boast a large build but not that he was pushing fifty, some of the muscle had begun to run to fat, but he was still a hale and hearty man. His smile: a thin narrowing of his thick lips and it was a now a kind one, but rather calculating one. "Yes. If it's all possible, and frankly I'm not sure I even believe the rumors that my men have brought back from the run-in they had with these urban legends."
"He claimed to have seen one with his own eyes. And while I know the man and I'll vouch for him," Nikki Alonzo replied with a sardonic expression plastered on his own face, remarked, "One thing, Victor is not known for is a vivid imagination."
"I agree, which is why I sent several men out earlier to verify all of these various sightings of real live gargoyles seen flying around in the Manhattan night sky; and they're true."
"How are you gonna manage it, Boss?"
"Nikki, you know I love ya, like a son, but for all of our sakes, it's best that you leave that to me. When I need for you do something I will let you know."
Elisa called from the site that Hudson had read was a historical landmark situated in the heart of the city, a place called St. Patrick's Cathedral. Soaring through the midnight sky of Manhattan, Elisa and Matt had chosen to meet them there and had gone down to collect their car.
They had had to interrupt their nightly patrol routine came as a surprise but not a bad one. Elisa had once asked him a question that had stuck in his mind for a while, and at that time he had considered more of a rhetorical than one that had required a definitive answer. The question had been if he would rather live in a world where everything was as regular as clock-work, or if he would prefer to live in a world with surprises, both good and bad.
He had believed that he would take both the god and the bad as they came.
Coming within visual distance of the turmoil boiling in and around the upright structure of the church and its environs reminded him of nothing more than a disturbed wasp's nest, and Hudson of that question and realized that he would not chance his answer one iota, although some of the bad surprises were worse than others.
They all landed on the street level, off the to the left and slightly behind the combatants, who had noticed their arrival quite yet. Once they did the shouting and the raised voices and the whirr and crack of discharged hand guns sounded as loud and as startling as someone shouting in an empty room.
"Well, well, look who's decided to join the party!" one of the larger and more belligerent-looking toughs chuckled. He twisted his grip on his gun and then nodded to the others gathered around him. "We've got ourselves a real party now, boys. Let's have at' em!"
"It would appear that have arrived at a rather inopportune time," Hudson dead-panned.
The gargoyles eyes glowed white and their hackles raised, and before another word could be spoken the bullets began to fly fast and furious. It only during an unexpected lull in the fighting, interspersed with grunts and groans and thuds as bodies began to hit the asphalt of the street and the walls of the church that Lexington noticed that their opponents had begun to circle around and that should they need to reposition or leave any potential escape routes were being slowly cut off.
He sidled over to Goliath to say as much when he saw out of the corner of his eye someone big up a heavy metal bar and throw it in his general direction. It had been thrown with more force than accuracy and when it connected it caught him a glancing blow, staggering and opening up a shallow cut on his temple, but not knocking him out.
Broadway glanced down at his injured rookery brother and dropped two of the mobsters he had been dangling from their wrists, shouting, "Lex! "as he did so.
"Goliath, this is not going well!" Hudson shouted, even as he methodically chopped and sliced up weapons. "We must leave. This is no longer our fight and I believe we were deliberately led into a trap."
Goliath snarled, a low rumbling rising from his massive chest. "Agreed,' we need to make to withdraw, immediately."
Brooklyn nodded his head. "You'll get no arguments from me."
"Up the wall, everyone! Now!"
They all pivoted and began to climb the wall, digging their claws into the smooth stone.
Once they had all gained purchase on the steeply slanted roof it was then that Goliath realized that it given the angle at which it sloped down-ward, it would provide little purchase from which to take off from.
"Uh, I hate to point this out," Brooklyn remarked. "But we're kinda stuck here."
"I realize that, but I see little alternative…"
Just at that precise moment when Broadway with a still-groggy and disoriented Lexington gathered in his arms came near to sliding off the room and into the boiling mass of attacking mobsters below; they could all heard a loud whirring and thrumming come from the east and to one side of their present position.
When it came into sight they could see that it was a large metallic flying machine with whirling blades for wings. A hatch opened up in its side and holding onto a metal strut with one hand and beckoning to them with the other was the man known to them only by reputation as David Xanatos.
"Come with me, if you want to live!" David Xanatos shouted to be heard over the roar of his helicopter's engines and rotors. Down below where a mixed crowd of mobsters and a farther out where the awnings of residential and commercial buildings offered protection from both the violence taking place and the rain; a smaller crowd of curious on-lookers gathered.
Goliath considered both the offer and the man who had made it with suspicion and something like hope for a way out of this impossible situation, in the very limited amount of time in which he had to make it. The fact that he and his clan where trapped, surrounded by hostile humans who were looking to kill them.
He had not wanted to believe it possible that Elisa had been right about these mobsters, about how they would become caught up in a war of rival gangs; but he had seen it with his eyes and could no longer afford to not believe. That they would turn their violence and their internal feuding to them was something he was still having a great deal of trouble reconciling. He was angry, frustrated, and out of options.
On the other hand, he knew very little about this David Xanatos, other than what little Elisa and Matt had been able to dig up; which amounted to very little, other than that he was wealthy, aloof, and intelligent.
Goliath stole a significant glance with Hudson, and the others seeing the lines of tension and faith in his judgment cross their faces and made his decision. "Very well, we will go with you,"
"Excellent decision," Xanatos replied.
With that Goliath and the others boarded the strange metal bird and were carried away from the besieged church where they had been led and trapped.
"Why did you help us?" Elisa demanded of David Xanatos
"Because it was my own best interest to do so, would be the most obvious answer. But if you have learned anything about me in our brief association, Detective Maza; it would be this, I hate to be predictable and because I wanted to do so."
"The first I'll believe, the second, not as much but I think I understand it," she replied. "That last, that's much more problematic."
Xanatos grinned and flashed a significant glance over at his limo driver, a man he referred to as Owen.
Going only by first impressions this Owen-person would not have merited much in the way of attention, medium-build, bland and expressionless, the perfect unobtrusive assistant, but upon closer examination she could have sworn that she could get a sense of something more, buried just under the skin; it was there and gone in a matter of seconds so she could not have positive that the saw it, but the sense of it would not go away. Elisa made a mental note to file it away for later retrieval.
Shortly after Detective Maza had departed his offices David Xanatos turned to Owen and remarked. "There goes a rather formidable woman. I must admit that I am feeling a bit ambivalent whether I prefer her as a foe or as an ally."
"Only time will tell," Owen blandly remarked.
Xanatos nodded at that remark, that if he had known prior to this and if he had not , recent events would have led him to conclude that the man called Owen Burnett was so much more than what appeared on the surface, that coming from Owen, that it could mean any number of things. Time, was one thing that he had plenty of, and then some.
"What of her allies?
"The gargoyles?" Xanatos reached up to stroke his chin and considered. "The interference of the mob into my affairs came as a most unwelcome and unexpected surprise. I trust that that has now been taken care off. As for Goliath and his clan, well, I'll just have to cross that proverbial bridge when we come to it."
"They could fall into one of the two categories that you mentioned earlier, Sir," Owen remarked.
"Indeed, and until we know for certain, I want to play the game and see just where it takes me."