By Shadow RunnerShadow_runner4u@hotmail.com
Hello all, here is my own personal take on what occurred at the end of The Hunter's Moon. Right now it's looking like a series and for the most part it pretty much ignores The Goliath Chronicles.
By the way, I don't own them, they are not mine, pretty much everyone belongs to Disney and the best I can hope to do is borrow them from time to time and swear I wont make any money off them…
This is in no any way linked to any of my previous stuff, but just goes to re-enforce my obsession with a completely awesome series. Thanks to everyone who's read my stuff, hope this goes as well as some of the others…
Hope you like and happy reading.
***** ***** *****
Previously on Gargoyles…
Atop the highest turret of Castle Wyvern, Goliath stands looking over the city. Elisa joins him.
GOLIATH: "So, things have come full circle."
ELISA: "Somehow they always do… You know how I feel about you, right?"
Goliath runs his talons through her hair.
GOLIATH: "How we both feel...yes,"
She jumps up, links her arms around his neck and kisses him. She jumps down just as the sun freezes him.
ELISA: "Welcome home, Goliath… welcome home…"
She turns to leave.
***** ***** *****
SECONDS LATER ATOP THE CASTLE WYVERN…
Elisa paused briefly at the doorway of the Great Hall and turned to look back at the rising sun. She took in a deep breath as she looked at Goliath, his shadow already coming into view on the ground. Almost as an after thought added, "Sweet dreams…" she couldn't bring herself to say more - not yet - but soon.
Time to hit the road, she thought to herself. Her movements reflected her feelings; very tired, very drained, but happy. It was almost as if a great weight had been lifted from her. She realized that for the first time in a while she felt…pretty good. She turned to the coolness of the Castle.
Suddenly she didn't quite as tired anymore.
David Xanatos stood in the middle of the room, looking at her with an almost thoughtful expression on his face. Owen Burnett, Xanatos right hand man, stood off to one side of the hall, hands behind his back.
"They seem happy to be home. You know you are always welcome to see them, anytime." Xanatos replied, his voice slightly echoing in the room.
Elisa felt her temper rise and despite having spoken earlier with him, she still was not comfortable with the current situation. She knew now was not the time or place for a fight with the multi-billionaire, but after past dealings with him, one act of selflessness did not atone for the two years of drama he'd put the Gargoyles through… not to mention her and the rest of the world. She wasn't quite ready to forgive and forget and this was a confrontation that had been building for some time.
"Look here you self made freak of nature," she began.
Xanatos flinched slightly at her comment, but said nothing as she continued. "You may have bought your self some points with the others, but nothing can erase the pain you have caused over the years. Goliath and the others might be ready to redeem you, but me? Sorry bud, I happen to be a bit more reserved in my judgment. Don't think any of this changes much as far as I'm concerned."
"I know you say they are safe, but that doesn't mean I trust you, and just to make it clear, no I don't trust you. Trust has to earned Xanatos, not bought." She continued past him and through the room to the elevator. Xanatos started to speak but she cut him off with a wave of her hand. "Do not even attempt to grow a brain right now because I'm not in the mood for it."
Owen took this as his cue and walked over to her, "Detective, there is a pass and key waiting for you at the front desk. The key is for castle elevator entry and the pass will grant you unrestricted access to the building." He inserted his key and pressed the button for the car to come to the top floor.
Elisa looked at the stainless steel doors of the elevator, trying to steady her voice. The confrontation with Xanatos bothered her and while she'd always had a short temper with him, this time… it was more. "What's his angle?" she asked.
"There is no 'angle', Detective, and he is sincere about their safety." Almost as an after thought he added, "As Mr. Xanatos stated before, he owes them…and you, much."
The elevator arrived and the doors opened and as Elisa stepped into the elevator, she turned to face Owen. "You're right… he does owe them…." she said as the doors closed.
"Always a pleasure Detective" he said quietly. Owen turned back to see Xanatos still standing in the middle of the room. "Sir," He made the comment more as statement than anything else.
Xanatos was silent for such a long time Owen thought he hadn't heard him. "That could have gone better." he finally replied.
"Yes Sir, it could have, but it is to be expected."
"I suppose… still…" Xanatos finally turned to face Owen, "she did call me 'Buddy'. That's as good a start as any." He began walking out of the Great Hall.
"I believe the tern she used was 'Bud' Sir, and I should also point out she called you, and I quote 'A self made freak of nature'."
Xanatos stopped and looked thoughtful, "A term of endearment. I'm sure she meant nothing by it." He began walking to the back rooms where the waking cries of Alexander could be faintly heard. "I think it's going to be a beautiful day, Owen."
Owen adjusted his glasses and pulled a cell phone from his coat and began scheduling the day's appointments.
***** ***** *****
Cagney was mewing so loudly Elisa could actually hear him before she even entered her apartment. She walked in taking her jacket off, tossing it casually on the couch as she entered the kitchen. "Hey, you act like you haven't been fed in months." She felt a slight pang considering there had been a time where it might have been months before the cat might eat. Thankfully Broadway and the others had seen to the cat's well being in her absence.
"I'm sorry," she bent over to pick the animal up. "No more bailing on you without warning." She rubbed the cat behind the ears for a few minutes before dropping him back to the floor. She opened a can of Nine Lives and placed the contents into the cat's dish and all was forgiven as far as Cagney was concerned.
She walked over to the kitchen drawer where she kept the lock box for her pistol and put it away. Ever since "The Incident', as she thought of it now, she'd been almost religious about securing her weapon. No sense in going thought that again.
Glancing up at the clock; she realized it was almost 9:30. "Damn it's late." She murmured as she walked towards the rear of her apartment. As she moved past the answering machine she noticed the message light was blinking.
She debated about leaving the message for later but decided it might be a good idea to check it now. It could be Captain Chavez but more than likely it was some long distance company wanting her to change her service. It turned out to be neither, rather it was a brief message from her mother asking her to contact Derek to see if he and Maggie could come to dinner next week. She felt a slight pang at the message since it had been sometime since she'd seen her brother. She'd have to plan on getting down to the Labyrinth soon.
She picked up her jacket and fished through the pockets before hanging it up. Her badge, car keys, loose change, and assorted pieces of paper were tossed on the coffee table. The last item was one she held on to for a bit longer.
It was standard identification card, which included name, height, weight, and other vital information; it also had a stamp that permitted unescorted entry into the Eyrie Building; the home of Xanatos Enterprises. Harmless enough she supposed… but it also had a place for a photo ID.
The picture bothered her, not because it was bad, actually it was a pretty good one. She wasn't exactly looking straight ahead in the picture but she wasn't exactly looking away in the photo either. She had something of a half-smile on her face, as if she had a pleasant thought just as the picture was taken.
What bothered her was the fact she hadn't had to pose for the picture at all because it was already on it when she picked it up from the Security Desk.
Elisa looked at the card closely, flipping it over in her hands. One thing was certain, who ever took it had done so when she was unaware. She pondered it for a moment longer, then tossed the card on the table in disgust.
Who was she fooling; that someone had to have been David Xanatos.
The real question was when… and why?
Surely even he couldn't have known all this would happen… could he? She was too tired to think about it any more, beside there were much more pleasant things to think about. She briefly touched her fingers to her lips; she could still feel the tingle. She contemplated taking a shower but then decided against it since her earlier exhaustion was returning.
Walking into the bedroom she striped down to under clothes and slipped between the cool sheets. She lay there in half thoughts and after a few minutes felt Cagney leap up on the bed with her. The cat snuggled up against her warmth, purring softly. Elisa smiled and sleepily stroked the feline. Her last thoughts before drifting off to sleep; I kissed Goliath tonight.
***** ***** *****
The ringing of the phone wasn't exactly what woke her, more it was the voice emitting from the machine telling her to quit screening her calls and pick up. It took only a moment for the voice of Captain Maria Chavez to finally kick Elisa into some semblance of alertness. She reached over and picked up the bedroom extension, '"Yeah, Cap. I'm here."
Captain Chavez's voice sounded far away, "Maza, are you there?"
"Yeah," she said a bit louder this time. Captain Chavez still sounded distant to her and realized she had the phone upside down. She flipped it around speaking into the correct end of the phone this time, "Sorry, what's up?"
"Mayor Anderson has called an emergency meeting for this afternoon at 3 PM. I might need you and Detective Bluestone to be here for it."
"Sure…no problem," rubbing her eyes with a free hand, she asked, "What time is it now?"
"It's 1:30. I knew you might be sleeping, but I couldn't put it off any longer. I know you have some down time coming but we really need everyone on this, I'll make it up to you. See you here at 3." And with that the line when dead.
Elisa lay there for a few moments, tapping the receiver against her forehead, trying to collect her thoughts. 3 PM. Meeting with the Mayor. Today. What the hell was going on now? Then it clicked; the Gargoyle Task Force.
The GTF was designed to locate the 'dangerous gargoyles' and bring them in. The foundation of the task force had been to protect the public from the dangerous creatures of the night, and up until a few days ago, the New York Police Department had been treating it as something of a joke. Nothing to be taken too serious but still needed in order to maintain the status quo. She imagined that had all changed in light of the resent situation.
She swung her legs over the bed, eliciting a soft meow from Cagney. Man, I don't like this she thought, as she moved to the bathroom. The phone began ringing again and for a moment she almost let the machine pick it up but then decided against it. "Hello?"
The familiar voice of her partner, Matt Bluestone, came though on the other line, sounding almost as sleepy as she herself felt, "Hey Partner…"
"You're up too? Damn, I was hoping it was a bad dream."
"Yeah, well then I'm calling to suck you into my nightmare. Only people who do terrible and rotten things should be woken in the middle of their 'night' for things like this." he replied.
"So what's your excuse?"
"Very funny. Any chance you could pick me up on your way in?"
Elisa rubbed her head in puzzlement, "Sure, but why? Is your ride in the shop or something?"
The voice other line was silent for a minute, "Yeah you could say 'something' like that…"
"Matt, what's wrong with your car?" Elisa could almost picture him rubbing his head trying to decide whether or not to say anything, "Come on… what gives?"
He paused before answering, "You remember the little mishap at work?"
"What, you mean the explosion? Yeah, vaguely." She replied sarcastically.
"Where do you think my car was parked?"
Elisa cringed. Matt hadn't said anything about his car being caught in the ensuing chaos after the Hunter's blew up the Clock Tower, which incidentally happened to be on top of the 23rd Precinct. Things had been so busy she really hadn't had a chance to talk to Matt at all. "I'll be there in a hour." she replied.
She was about to hang up but instead called out, "Matt."
She had no idea why she called out to him since the original words she was going to say slipped from her mind. She took a deep breath before speaking again, "Sorry about your car."
"Hey, it's not like you could have seen that one coming. See ya here in an hour."
***** ***** *****
It was 2:45 when they arrived at the 23rd Precinct and parking turned out to be a bigger problem than they had anticipated. Matt gave her some good-natured ribbing about it, "Sorry Partner, gone are the days of just slipping right into the front row. Your gonna have to park in the rear with the rest of us lowly citizens." He actually looked like he was gloating about it.
Refusing to be baited into a verbal battle, she circled around and they walked to the front of the building. Much of the area was still roped off and there was a considerable crowd outside the building. A small band of uniformed officers were attempting to keep the group in check. Elisa saw Officer Morgan at the top of the stairs, trying to keep the piece with the others. She pushed her way through the crowd with Matt coming up behind her. "Hey Morgan, what the heck is going on?" she asked once they came into shouting range.
"Afternoon Detectives. Just trying to 'Protect and Serve', for all the good it seems to be doing." Morgan replied. At the top of the stairs the trio surveyed the crowd. In all actuality, it was more of a mob… an angry mob with picket signs.
'KILL THE MONSTERS', 'STOP THE EVIL','SAVE NY' and a slightly misguided "THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING ON TUESDAY' were only a few of the ones Elisa bothered to read; she could feel the rage building. Matt pulled her by the arm into the station, "Come on, we're going to be late."
The 23rd, from the outside, didn't look nearly as bad as it had a few days ago. Much of the outside clean up had been accomplished within 72 hours of the blast. Forensic teams, along with the Bomb Squad, looked for evidence early in order to prevent the crime scene from being contaminated. The inside, however, was another story. Even under normal circumstances a police station could be overwhelmingly busy, but at that moment, the 23rd was boarder-lined hysteria. There were more people in there than Elisa had seen in along time.
Police, forensic units, photographers, along with the press and TV crews, were all milling about trying to do their job and basically getting in each other's way. In addition to them, there was also a group of contractors repairing some of the damage the station had received as a result of the explosion. To top it all off, the security detail for the Mayor was in full force although she didn't see him around. Apparently he was already in a meeting with Captain Chavez.
She walked over to where several other officers and detectives were standing around a makeshift Command Post. Someone handed her a cup of coffee and she murmured her thanks. Everyone was talking in hushed tones, conducting their own damage assessments to the building and the situation as a whole.
"… rebuilding now.."
"… damn lucky no one was in holding cell two…."
"… A few more weeks and the place will be good as new..."
She was about to ask the Desk Sergeant for an update when she began to hear bits and pieces of the 'lessor' conversations that had been plaguing the station and her for days.
"… Fucking monsters.."
"… betrayed by one of our own.."
"… they really let them get away after they gunned down a cop?"
That comment got her attention. Elisa stopped and looked the sea of uniforms and people surrounding her. A few of the older officers smiled and nodded at her while others refused to make eye contact with her at all. On the surface, they simply didn't understand how her then partner, Jason Canmore, could have turned on them. Underneath it all, she knew a few wondered if she had somehow betrayed them too; if she had known all along what was going to happen.
Already, by some, she was branded as a sympathizer to the Gargoyles. They all felt hurt, betrayed, and it was going to take time for the healing to begin; the wounds were still too fresh. She understood what they were feeling, even if not for the same reasons. She shook her head sadly and began moving over to the area designated for detectives and uniformed officers.
A few reporters and several construction workers who appeared to be on a never ending break were currently occupying the restricted area. Upon seeing her arrival, the construction workers moved away, mumbling to each other as they left. Elisa heard bits of their comments but refused to be baited into a battle of the wits with people who were clearly unarmed for the battle. The reporters, on the other hand, remained where they were.
"OK you two, you know you're not supposed to be in this area. Let's move the party someplace else alright?"
"I'm waiting for a call," replied one of the men.
Elisa looked at the man as if he had just grown a third eye. She was trying to be civil but apparently they were not going to be won over by her charm. She took two steps toward the man who's butt was currently parked in a near by chair, "Maybe I didn't make myself clear; Get the hell out of here." She could feel her fists clenching as her temper began to rise.
Matt had been watching her ever since they enter the 23rd. While he was more than certain Elisa could handle this idiot, he knew she was in no condition to deal with this predicament calmly. Considering her earlier reaction to the picket signs he had the feeling that if this continued he'd be breaking up a fistfight. Neither of them needed any more drama right now. As he approached his partner he could see her conversation with the reporters was about to take a turn for the worse.
The second man, who was sitting on a nearby desk, raised an eyebrow and glanced at Elisa, as if daring her to remove them. "And we should be listening to you because…?"
It was a smug remark but it had accomplished more than it was intended for. Elisa's arm snapped out far faster than the man expected and he quickly discovered she was going to try and choke him with his own necktie.
Matt took this as his cue to intervene on behalf of the reporter who was turning an interesting shade of blue. He knew she'd give him hell later on but right now was not the time, or the place, for killing the man.
He pulled his partner off the gasping man, "Alright sports fans, move along. You can get your call someplace else. Move your butt Mister."
Elisa snapped around and looked at him as if she was going to strangle him, and in a brief second Matt saw her rage refocus on him. He stepped back, startled, but immediately shook it off, knowing there was no way he'd seen what he thought he saw. Instead, he gave her a look as if to say 'I have no idea what you are looking at' and sat down at the opposite desk and started looking through the contents of several folders.
The two reporters got up to leave, "You know, Bluestone," the man said as he straightened, and loosened, his tie, "You should keep an eye on your partner. It would be a shame if you ended up the same way as her last one… Shot in the back and all…"
Matt acted as if he heard none of the conversation and continued leafing through reports without really reading them. The pair moved away and he braced himself for the storm he knew would be coming. When it didn't happen right away, he looked up to see Elisa sitting at the other desk rummaging through the drawers with a frustrated look and muttering quietly to herself.
He glanced momentarily at the departing reporters, "What a couple of morons…" He shifted his attention back to Elisa and asked softly, "Are you OK?"
She let a heavy sigh out and looked over at him, "Matt, is this even my desk?"
Before Matt could even answer, Chavez stuck her head out of what was left of her office and yelled out, "Maza! Bluestone! My office, now!"
***** ***** *****
Elisa sat in the front seat of the Fairlane, waiting for Matt to come out of the station. It was getting late and she wanted to get over to the Eyrie Building before sunset. She checked her watch for the fifth time in fifteen seconds, "Come on Matt," she mumbled, "how long does it take to grab a grid map?"
He finally came out a few moments later with several folders tucked under his arm. "Sorry, I had to run a few outstanding warrants. Took longer than I thought."
"Warrants? On who?"
"Remember the reporters from the desk?"
"Yeah…" she replied slowly.
"25 unpaid parking tickets. They're booking them now."
She looked at him in disbelief, "They had 25 unpaid parking tickets?"
Matt looked at her ruefully. "They do now."
Elisa shook her head slightly, "Please tell me Xanatos hasn't started to rub off on you…"
"Never happen Partner," He gave her a sly grin, "Besides, they had it coming for not getting all the facts straight," He tossed several files onto the seat next to him, "If it makes you feel better you can go in and clear it up right now…"
She gave him one her rare smiles and shook her head as she pulled out into traffic, "Naw, It will only take them a few hours to figure out it's a mistake… Who knows, maybe they'll impound their vehicle just for good measure…"
***** ***** *****
Matt stood in the elevator and looked over the ID card. "And you have no idea how or when he took the picture?"
"No," she replied as she took the ID back, "Ya know what irks me the most is him just 'assuming' all will be fine and dandy."
"Well, you know what happens when you 'Assume'…" Matt paused and rubbed the back of his neck. He felt the elevator come to a stop, "Ya know, he didn't have to do what he did…"
Elisa cut him off as the door opened, "I know that, it's just… well… I just don't like the idea of the guys 'owing' him anything..."
"They owe me nothing, Detective."
David Xanatos stood in front of her as she stepped out. He had either over heard the last portions of the conversation or knew her well enough to know she would be harboring these thoughts. Elisa wondered absently if the elevator was bugged and if so, how much of their conversation had he heard. She could see the sun was already beginning to set and began to move past him. Xanatos reached out to halt her movement and they stood there for a split second, eyes locked.
Betray them and I'll kill you myself,she thought.
Matt watched Xanatos jolt and pull his hand away as if Elisa had zapped him with a bolt of electricity. He quickly stepped over to where Xanatos stood and was about to inquire as to what the hell had just happened, but Elisa simply looked away and continued through the Great Hall.
Xanatos rubbed his hand absently and watched her move through the building. Jesus! He thought, If I didn't know better…
"You OK, Mr. X?" Matt's voice cut through his contemplation, "You look… "
He turned to Matt as if nothing had just taken place, "I'm fine Detective Bluestone. If you will excuse me for a moment I have other matters to attend to." He turned and let left the room. Once he was clear of the Great Hall, he stopped to think about what just happened.
For a split second David Xanatos thought he saw Elisa Maza's eyes... change…
This was something he was going to have to think about.
He set off looking for Owen; perhaps he might have some insight.
***** ***** *****
Elisa stood alone and watched as the sun slowly sunk to the city skyline. The wind was beginning to pick up slightly, but she didn't feel cold. She loved this time of the day.
She felt rather than heard Matt walk up behind her. He was quiet for a moment, taking in the last light of the day.
"How do you think they are going to take it?" he asked softly.
"Not well, I'm sure…" She paused, looking at the stone forms before them.
Matt surveyed the scene before him. There were seven still forms before him, but as the sun went down, the forms became… less still. The jumbled sounds of the city could be heard in the distance, but just above the din, there was a crackling sound, like paper being wadded up. He moved over to where Elisa was standing and watched in wonder.
It was as if the air was charged with electricity. The crackling was getting louder, and suddenly there was a small controlled explosion. The roars were simultaneous and almost deafening as they came to life within moments of each other. With eyes blazing and mighty wings stretching out, the sky was almost obscured. The echoing roars were fading out, only to be replaced with the voices of Gargoyles… clearly happy to be awake and alive.
"Wow…" Matt said in a hushed voice.
"I never get tired of seeing it," was all Elisa said.
It didn't take long for the Clan to realize they had company and the trio of Brooklyn, Lexington, and Broadway were the first to reach them. All three were speaking at the same time, each reliving their own version of the events from the past few days. Angela approached next with Bronx and Hudson.
"Good mornin' ta ya Lass," Hudson said reaching out to hug Elisa. His deep voice vibrated in the night air, "Tis good to see you again too, Lad." As he reached over to shake Matt's hand.
Only one other stood off to the side, not quite ready to join the happy group, waiting patiently for the others to finish their welcomes. Goliath slowly approached his extended family and smiled, "Yes Matt, it is good to see you again. We thank you for all you have done for us. We are in your debt."
Matt noted that while Goliath may have been talking to him, The Clan leader was looking at Elisa while he spoke. He looked away, embarrassed for a moment, but not really sure why, "It was nothing." He mumbled.
Elisa took this moment to interject, "Yeah well, don't be too glad to see us until you hear what we have to say."
The Clan was suddenly all business. Even Bronx sat alert, waiting to hear what new they brought. Any news from the Human World eventually brought change, and possibly danger, to them.
"Matt and I had a meeting with Captain Chavez today and things are not looking good right now." She paused for a moment before continuing on, "As you know the Gargoyle Task Force has been established to find you guys and bring you to justice."
She heard some quiet grumbling from the group and a soft curse she decided to ignore, despite the fact it was a sentiment she felt also.
"The Mayor is serious about this. The GTF is now full time with about 20 people assigned to it," She took a deep breath before continuing, "and since I'm not going to have access to the information I use to have, Matt and I were thinking it might be a good idea if you all lay low… "
The rest of her statements were lost in the uproar.
Broadway's voice spoke over the volume of the others, "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
Angela looked at him harshly for his choice of words, "Ahh sorry…" he said sheepishly, "I meant… What the hell is that supposed to mean…?"
Angela elbowed him, clearly not happy with this choice of words either.
Elisa finally was able to finish what she was saying, "for awhile, at least until the heat is off."
The entire group was now trying to talk over, at, and too each other, but no one was listening. Elisa could feel her head beginning to pound. She was about to yell out when she felt a strong hand on her shoulder.
She tried to take strength from his closeness.
His voice forced the other into silence, "Why would you not have access to police information?"
"I've been pulled from the task force, that makes Matt the full time GTF Commander." Elisa expected this news to be meet with a lot of questions instead there was only a shocked silence. It was actually becoming an uncomfortable silence.
Goliath was the first to speak, "Why have you been removed?"
When Elisa failed to answer his question, his anger finally surfaced, "Once again, we are forced to hide when we have committed no crime! Are the police not concerned with finding the actual person responsible for these crimes?"
It was the question they all wanted to ask.
"They are concerned with finding those responsible, and to answer your question, yes they have assigned someone for that very task." Elisa replied defensively.
She felt her momentum building and knew she wouldn't have a second chance to get all this out so she spoke quickly, "But right now the public is freaking out! That is what is driving this whole thing." She could feel the tension building and continued on, "Believe me, this was not my call or even Matt's. What does matter is that a lot of people are looking for you and you might not be safe, no matter where you are."
She knew she avoided the real answer he was looking for, and the look he gave her made it clear that nothing she could have said would have been an acceptable answer anyway. Matt interjected before Goliath could debate the issue any further and for once Elisa was thankful for the interruption.
"Either way, we need to come up with a game plan." Matt took the files he'd taken from the station earlier and spread them out on a near by table, "Here are the grid areas we will be searching for the next few days. The Eyrie Building will be checked first since only the entire city saw Xanatos lift you out of St. Damien's Cathedral…"
Lexington moved over to see the area Matt was looking at, "Well if they are coming here first we can't very well stay here…"
Matt was in agreement, "Right, so what we were thinking is…"
A voice spoke up from behind the group, "There is nothing to find if you cannot come in and look."
No one had even realized Xanatos had come outside as he walked over with Owen behind him. "You can stay if I don't allow them to search my building and I believe I can keep the police out of here for a very, very, long time."
Of all people to speak on Xanatos behalf, Angela spoke up, "No, that will make it look like you have something to hide. You have to let them search, and when they find nothing, we can come back." She looked to the others for conformation of her statements, "Right?"
Goliath nodded his head slowly not really sure he liked the direction the conversation was taking. Angela had not been a part of the Clan when they were compelled to leave the Castle before so she had no idea what it meant to be forced into leaving again, "There must be…"
Matt cut him off before he could finish, "Good it's settled, you all look at the maps and come up with a spot hole up in for a few days. In the mean time, Mr. X, you and I need to decide what the best course of action for searching you place…"
"NO!" Goliath bellowed out, "We will not be driven from our home again!"
The others cringed and only Elisa stood her ground… they'd had this conversation before. She was about to speak when Hudson cut her off.
"Hear them out, Lad. There be more at stake this time," Hudson replied and made it a point to look at Xanatos as he spoke, "but this time, we know we be coming back."
Goliath took a deep breath, "Aye… Brooklyn, you and the others begin looking for a 'temporary' home for us. I do not wish to bring any further danger to our home nor it's…." He paused as if to say more, but the words seemed to escape him for the moment.
Matt and Xanatos turned to leave as the others moved to the Great Hall to begin working a plan. Owen Burnett stood off to the side quietly tapping away on a small portable computer pad leaving Elisa and Goliath essentially alone.
"Would you now like to tell me what has happened?" Goliath asked, all traces of his earlier anger were gone. Now there was only the voice of concern, as if he knew she was leaving more out than she let on.
Elisa knew he submitted way to easy to the temporary relocation. In the two years she had know him, never once had she avoided looking him in the eye. Now she found herself unable to even lift her head to look at him. She rubbed her eyes and face "It's not what you think, Big Guy. It's just been a long day. I got no sleep today, had that stupid meeting with the Captain and the Mayor, and had a run in with two knuckleheads at the job…"
Goliath rumbled and Elisa took it as a bad sign. He'd always been over protective when it came to areas that might involve her. She remembered his reaction to Tony Dracon and that had been nothing… in comparison to what she was about to tell him, "I've been given a new assignment. I'll be...."
"What?" His voice echoed in the quite.
She finally looked up at him "Goliath, I've been put in charge of finding Jon Canmore…"
Goliath stood in silence, his face unreadable, but inside he felt as if all the air had been sucked from his lungs. Elisa had said 'finding' but Goliath knew what she really meant.
She was going to hunt for The Hunter.
Few people knew what really happened that night at the church, and he did not relish the thought of Elisa having to find him. Chances were if she did find him, she might very well find someone even more deadly.
"That might prove to be dangerous." was all he could bring himself to say.
"Will they assign you another partner?" He didn't know why he asked the question, maybe because of what happened with the last partner.
"Goliath… I don't think…" Her voice trailed off as she started to turn away from him.
Goliath placed both talons on her shoulders effectively preventing her from completing the movement, "Tell me Elisa." He placed one claw on the side of her face, brushing the hair from her face, "Please…"
She paused before answering, choosing her words carefully, "I don't think…" she suddenly stood up a bit straighter, "I don't want anyone to work with me…not on this…"
The words came as a shock to Goliath. "But why…?"
It suddenly dawned on him and the knowledge hit him even harder. Another partner might discover the Clan. Another partner might not be as willing as Matt to accept them.
Another partner could turn out to be another Hunter.
Elisa was unable to trust anyone because of the uncertainty involved and would be at risk because of them. Because of her relationship with the Clan; because of him, "What about Matt?" he questioned.
"Matt? Well… I don't know…I'd guess if he's not tied up with the GTF then yeah, he'll work with me, but in the mean time…"
"Then I shall watch over you on your search."
Elisa cocked an eyebrow at him, "Goliath, your missing the point. If you're out flying around the city looking out for me, you'll be risking your own safety. Someone is bound to see you so that just isn't an option." This was the part of the conversation she knew was going to be rough, "Besides there's another thing…"
Goliath cut her off, "So you wish me to do nothing?" he cried out, "How can you even think of such a thing? I will not stand by while you risk your life looking for the man who attempted to destroy my Clan!"
"Goliath! Listen to me," She took a deep breath and continued, "It might not be a bad idea if you stayed away from me for a while…"
That one statement was all it took to push Goliath's already fragile temper over the edge. Wings flew up, eyes blazed, and the roar was enough to almost deafen Elisa, and this time she did flinch. This was not how she planned on spending the few hours before her shift, arguing. She was surprised all the noise had not brought the others running. Maybe they were just being polite but Elisa had a feeling they knew better than to get involved in this discussion, "Big Guy, if something were to happen to you…"
"And what am I to do if something happens to you?! The risks are equally great." his voice was rising and he had to steady himself against the shaking that threatened to over take him.
The pain and emotion coming from his voice was overwhelming her, but she also knew she had to stand her ground… to keep them all safe… to keep him safe. "We have always known there were risks. My job, dealing with Xanatos, Demona, The Pack… Good Grief, your very existence! Everything about us is based on some type of risk…"
"These are not risks you should be having to take."
"What's that supposed to mean?" she quickly snapped, "These things existed long before…" Goliath looked at her sternly, "OK, maybe they ALL didn't exist before, but I can't stop doing my job because you suddenly have a problem with it!"
Goliath continued on as if he hadn't heard a word she said, "Elisa, you cannot be put in the path of danger, and then not expect me to protect you. The risks you take are because of your connection to the Clan. It is a hazard I cannot ask, expect, or even allow you to undertake alone."
Elisa now angry beyond words. She couldn't remember if she'd ever been pissed off at Goliath but this was coming pretty close. While she understood why he was upset, she didn't understand why all this was coming out now. She looked at him long and hard before speaking.
"What is your problem? We both know if the Hunter is running around out there, someone has to stop him. Regardless of whether it is you or me… wait it sec… yes it does matter… IT'S MY JOB!" she emphasized, "Give me one good reason why shouldn't it be me?"
Goliath fought to calm himself down, "So much has been taken from us over the years and we are only now beginning to get parts of it back. We are back in our ancestral home, the clan lives on in Avalon, and we now know there are other clans all over the world… But above all of this I have been given a chance… for love… with you…My Love…"
Elisa blinked as soon as she heard the words leave his mouth. For a slit second she couldn't see, hear, or even think. So shocked by the words, she actually took an involuntary step away from Goliath. Had he just said what she thought he said? My Love? Elisa had only heard him use that term about one other…person, so to speak. She knew how she felt, but to hear the words from him for the first time … She felt like her heart was trying to pound it's way out of her chest.
"Yes… You. You are My Love…" He closed the gap between them, "I've been wanting to tell you for sometime and after last night…"
There was a loud hum in her ears and suddenly she couldn't hear. She shook her head in an attempt to clear her head, but it only caused the sounds to increase. Goliath moved to her with look of distress on his face. His look of anxiety was now causing her to panic. What the hell… She stepped back to lean against one of the low ledges of the castle.
In a trembling voice she retorted, "No that's not good enough! I'm sorry Goliath, it's not that easy… " Her voice sounded muffled, as if her ears were filled with cotton. She felt as if she were yelling the words, and in fact, by this time, she was. She felt out of control as her eyes were began to water. What the hell happening to me? With the sound of thunder in her ears, Elisa did the one thing that made sense to her at the moment.
She took off.
"ELISA!" he yelled after her but she was gone.
Goliath watched her as she left. What had just happened? Anguish overtook him and her roared into the night. His heart told him to go after her, take her in his arms and never allow her to leave him. His head told him to let her go. It was a tough battle, but his head won… this time.
He turned his back and looked out over the city. A city he had sworn to protect. He would still protect it and it's inhabitance despite the fact it no longer wanted to protect him and he would protect Elisa whether she wanted it or not. He could not bear it if something were to happen to her. His claws were digging into the stones of the Castle wall.
For the first time since he realized the depth of his feelings for Elisa, he felt alone.
He barely noticed Owen Burnett standing over in the corner, watching what had just taken place. Owen turned silently and walked back into the castle.
***** ***** *****
Elisa found Matt, Xanatos, and the others wrapping up the final details of their plan. They would be staying near the old cemetery since it was well outside the search area and fairly isolated. It had actually been Hudson idea since he and Goliath had spent a day there after one of the many Demona fiascoes. They would be relatively safe there during the day as long as they spread themselves out a bit.
Matt had already made the necessary arrangements to have the Eyrie Building 'searched'. Xanatos had called in a favor on Matt's behalf and got a judge to issue a search warrant for the building. The poor man thought Xanatos had lost his mind but issued it anyway. The GTF would search the place tomorrow afternoon around 4 PM, this way they would still be there after sunset and was more for the benefit of anyone who might know something about Gargoyle physiology.
The only thing that really mattered was making the public believe Xanatos was not harboring the gargoyles. Fox even submitted her two cents worth by suggesting a press leak, deciding she might as well get a bit of free publicity at the same time. Owen, who had just returned to the room, said he would make the necessary arrangements.
Elisa was trying to forget what had just happened outside. She was still a bit shaken and while she could hear again, her eyes still ached and her mouth felt like it had been stuffed with old gym socks. She checked her watch, it was almost 11 PM and she realized they had been at this for almost 5 hours, no wonder her body was freaking out.
"Hey Matt, time to roll." She hollered out.
"Just a sec..." He called over to her. He turned to Brooklyn, who was reviewing a map with Hudson, "Everything looks good. The real test will be over the next few days." Brooklyn nodded in agreement as Matt moved over to where Lexington was tapping away on a computer.
Elisa walked over to Brooklyn, "Are you guys going to be able to make it to the cemetery without being seen?"
"Sure, Hudson said the sewer comes out by there, so we can stop by the Labyrinth on the way and let Talon know what's up." He looked at her and smiled, "You were right, we do need to stay low for at least a few days…"
"Thanks," she said absently, "Tell Derek I said hello while you're down there and that Mom wants to have him over for dinner next week…" She felt her thoughts slipping into any details of the plan, looking for possible flaws… any possible danger…
Brooklyn knew what she was doing and put a reassuring claw on her shoulder, "Hey don't worry, we'll get thought this and then it will be life as usual."
She gave him a sarcastic smile, "Define usual…"
Brooklyn grinned sheepishly back at her and shrugged his shoulders, "OK, usual for us…"
Elisa looked at the red gargoyle with renewed respect. He had grown up a lot over the past two years, and she was impressed. She knew he was trying to calm her fears and reassure her things would be fine and she hadn't realized how worried she truly was until just then. It wasn't just the possible threat to the Gargoyles. It all went beyond that. Even Matt was frustrated and Elisa couldn't blame him. He was in charge of a Task Force he knew would never find it's intended suspects… not if he could help it.
Everything they were doing went against all they knew as cops, making it an uncomfortable situation for both of them.
"I hope so…" She turned and began walking over to where Matt was standing by the elevators.
Brooklyn started to accompany them out, but then decided against it. What ever was plaguing her, she was going to have to work out for herself. He remembered how he felt after she, Goliath, and Bronx were missing for those many months. Responsibility for the lives others comes with a heavy price…
He looked over at where Angela stood with Broadway and the others.
No matter how much you might love them.
***** ***** *****
"So what do you think?" David Xanatos asked Owen.
Owen stood in front of a large monitor. They were reviewing a video feed from one of the outside surveillance cameras. It was set on a repeat loop and the same scene was playing over and over. On the screen, Elisa and Goliath stood arguing. The volume was muted but it didn't matter; he didn't need the sounds, he already knew what said.
It was the footage itself that was interesting.
"Pause it right there!" He snapped and hesitated for a moment, realizing he'd just given his superior an order but Xanatos made no indication he'd taken offense to his tone. "Go back 2.3 seconds, and index forward for 5 seconds, Sir." His tone was all business now. Xanatos did as instructed, "Now loop that frame back." He stepped back as Xanatos joined him in front of the screen.
Both stood in the absolute quiet of Xanatos private office. On the screen Elisa was shaking her head. As Goliath approached she stepped away and looked up. Xanatos hit pause on the remote just as the image appeared and in that instant they both saw it.
"Well?" Xanatos asked again.
Owen moved closer to the monitor and tapped it with a stone hand, "I have no idea, Sir…"
***** ***** *****
Hudson walked into the Great Hall to settle in for some TV. They still had a few hours before they needed to leave for the Labyrinth and he wanted to rest his weary bones. I be getting to old for this, he thought to himself. His head was aching slightly from all the planning as he sat down slowly in the overstuffed chair. Xanatos had gone though much trouble to have everything in the Great Hall returned to the same setup it was prior to their initial departure. It was a nice touch as far as he was concerned.
Bronx lay down by the side of the chair and grumbled as he gnawed on an old bone that he'd found someplace. Hudson half heartily looked for the remote for the TV and when he bent froward he saw Goliath standing near the ledge looking out over the city.
He thought it odd that he had not been there to see Elisa and Matt off. Something was wrong, he could sense it from Elisa as soon as she returned from speaking with Goliath. While it was not his place to question Goliath's actions, he felt a certain parental kinship to the lass. If something had happened between the two of them, it was best to get it worked out before things got any worse. Clouded judgement was no way to go into battle. He groaned again as he pushed himself up and walked outside.
"Tis a beauty of a night isn't it."
Goliath took in a deep breath, filling his lungs with the cool night air, "Yes, it is." They stood in silence for a few minutes before Goliath finally spoke, "What brings you out here tonight, old friend?"
"I could ask ye the same thing..."
Goliath looked over at Hudson, leave it to his old mentor to pick up on his moods. "I would ask a question of you my friend…"
"About what, Lad? What can I tell ye that ya don't know already?" When Goliath made no immediate comment, Hudson knew it had something to do with Elisa. Things had changed between the two since they had returned from Avalon, a closeness of sorts and Hudson was pleased with the arrangement, as it was far better than the alternative. "Has something changed between the two of ye?"
Goliath remained silent for a time. "I'm not sure…it might become… complicated…" he seemed to shift a bit uncomfortably as he spoke.
Hudson was puzzled, what was to be complicated? They obviously cared a great deal for each other so it should be simple. Then he realized this was not a typical relationship. He smiled at his friend, "Goliath, much has happened since we awoke in this new land. Those things we hold dearly are still a part of us… but we be in a new time, a new place. 'Tis not the same world we left…"
Goliath pondered this, coming from Hudson, it was quite a shock. Hudson held fast to the old ways, but he was right, this was a new time and a new place, but were things really that different? "Perhaps it is not as different as we might think old friend…"
"Ye both shall figure it out, just give the lass some time to get used to it. Tis not an easy thing to love… least not as we do."
Goliath smiled to himself, No old friend… it is easier…
Hudson looked at him and felt a bit better than he had when he first walked out. He clapped his friend on the shoulder and began to walk back in to the Castle, but before he could get in Goliath called out to him, "Hudson, until we leave, the others will remain within the Castle walls… This is a dangerous time for us..."
Hudson nodded grimly, "Aye Lad, that it tis." He turned to find the others and pass the news long. "Tis dangerous time for us all…"
***** ***** *****