Of Things to Come

Written by Alan Coleman Waltrip

Outline by Rahsaan Footman. Revised by Todd Jensen

 

The Labyrinth.

"How is he?" were the first words that escaped Elisaís mouth as she came into the Labyrinth. Goliath broke off from his conversation with Talon and Maggie, and went to embrace her. They stood there for a few moments, simply glad to be in each otherís arms. Talon watched it all from the corner of the room, no emotion on his face.

Night had fallen only thirty or so minutes ago, and the returning patrol of Goliath, Hudson, and Angela had just come in, having stayed the day at Elisaís apartment. They had not found anything in their patrol of the part of the city where Brooklyn had been injured the previous evening.

Elisa had gone to her precinct station to try and find if she could find any information on new anti-gargoyle organizations, but she had come up dry. Then she had to see her parents off that afternoon, and she simply couldnít bring herself to tell them about her and Goliathís decision. She had tried, but simply couldnít do it by herself. And it had hurt all the more when her parents had been so understanding.

"Now, Elisa," her mom had said, "whatever is so important can wait until youíve resolved this latest problem with your friends. Take care of it and then let us know what this big important statement is." Her dad nodded. "Better to celebrate when thereís not a crisis going on." He grinned, "Of course as a cop, you know how crises seem to pop out of the woodwork whenever you want to celebrate something." He winked and hugged her, "Just give us a call when youíre ready to talk. Whatever it is, you know weíll be there for you."

Elisa sighed. She still wasnít so sure how understanding theyíd be about this. True, theyíd been pretty understanding about Derek, but this was different. Now all she felt was guilt about not telling them, but her dad was right, there were more important matters at hand than her relationship with her parents.

"He will be all right," Goliath told her. "The sun helped to heal him somewhat. He is still somewhat weak. He should be better by tomorrow night, if luck is with him."

"Thatís good to hear," Elisa said. He embraced her once again, as Elisa went over to her brother. "Derek, did you hear anything from the streets? About any new groups popping up?"

"It was a wash, Sis," Talon said, holding onto Maggieís hand.

"Same here," Elisa said, more to Goliath than anyone else. Her love nodded his affirmation. "Sorry."

"Did you want to see Brooklyn?" Maggie asked her, knowing it was one of the reasons she had come back down to their home.

"Of course. If I can." She looked towards Goliath.

"Hudson and Angela are with him now, but I am about to send out patrols for the evening. Short ones," he added at Elisaís look of concern. "I do not want anyone else getting hurt."

"Goliath," Talon said, turning towards the Manhattan clanís leader. "Weíre here if you need us, as well."

"I know. But I believe we can handle this. At least for now. But your help might be needed, and I thank you for the offer," Goliath replied.

"Iíll show you where he is," Maggie said, standing to take Elisa into the back.

Goliath turned back to Talon. "You will be needed, you know?"

"Weíll all be needed, someday."

* * * * *

Thirty minutes earlier.

To the common onlooker, it would probably have been the oddest sight he had ever seen. In a small room far beneath the city of Manhattan, now used for medical experiments, mostly in the field of genetics, four stone statues slowly shook to life, destroying the quiet nature that had existed in the room only moments ago.

But now the awakening roar of the four gargoyles in the room was all that one could hear. It echoed in the room even after the noise itself had silenced. Brooklyn, who as early as the night before had lain wounded on a cold, hard, examination table, sat up with seemingly full strength.

Sata pulled him into an embrace, but only heard him groan with an unnatural pain. She let him go, quickly. "Gomen nasai, Beloved," she whispered. "I should have realized that you would still be weak and sore."

"Shush," Brooklyn whispered back. "Itíll be all right. Iíll be okay." He grimaced slightly. "It isnít as if I havenít been through worse. Everythingíll be okay."

The Second-in-Command of the Manhattan Clan took in his surroundings. Broadway stood behind him, an extremely judgmental look on his face. No feelings of happiness or relief for his brother. Only conclusions and some questions in his eyes.

Lexington, who stood in the corner of the room, seemed disjointed from the rest of them, as if he didnít really know how to feel. In truth, Lexington felt many things at that moment. Relief, mostly. But also betrayal, for what Brooklyn had said in his state last night. Lexington had come to his own conclusions.

He didnít know what Brooklyn might remember, but he realized that he knew something. And that was what was important. "Could you have stopped him?" Lexington asked, breaking the eerie silence that filled the room that he and Broadway had created.

Brooklyn turned around to meet Lexingtonís eyes, but couldnít. The smaller gargoyle stared at the floor, not wanting to look at his brother. "Whatíd you say?" Brooklyn asked, still a little groggy from the night before.

"What do you know?" Lexington asked, now looking at Brooklyn directly in the eyes. He began to make his way towards his brother, ready to speak again. "You liedÖ to all of us. You lied to me."

"What?" Brooklyn asked. Broadway soon realized that he wasnít working at full capacity, and stepped toward Lexington.

"Lexington-san," Sata began. "I do not think -"

But he cut her off. "Youíre no better," he told the jade female sternly. "What do you know?" he directed at Sata. "What about Graeme and Ariana? Did they know what was going to happen?" Lexingtonís voice was growing. "Did you tell them they couldnít tell me? Did they ever let it slip? You ever have to punish them because of it? Answer me!"

"Donít yell at her, Lexington," Broadway said.

Lexington spurred around, his eyes blazing white. "You heard what he said! He knows something. Itís too late for me, but not for you. Not with what he knows about whatís going to happen."

"Whatís going on in here?" Hudsonís voice broke in upon the quarrel. All four gargoyles looked towards the entrance of the room, seeing their elder and Angela standing there. Graeme and Ariana stood behind them, watching their parents intently. None of them knew how long they had been there, or what they had heard.

"Nothing," Lexington said as he began to walk towards the door. "Nothing at all."

"Lex, wait," Brooklyn said, trying to get up. He groaned in pain, lying back down on the examination table. "Broadway, can youÖ" he stopped.

"Yeah." Broadway started at the door, then turned at his feet. "UmÖ are you going to be okay?" he asked.

"Yes. Thank you, Broadway-san," Sata told him.

"Okay. But weíre going to talk about this later. All of us," he told them both. "Nowís not the time."

"Agreed," Brooklyn said.

Broadway made his way towards the exit, shuffling past Hudson and the others standing in his way. He didnít make eye contact with any of them, and he made no attempt to look back at those who might have betrayed his trust.

* * * * *

Downtown Manhattan, an hour later

"I understand what you are speaking of," Goliath told Lexington as they flew over the city, an air of tension around them all.

"I donít know if you do or not," Lexington retorted, even though it wasnít necessary. "He knows things, Goliath. Things that might have been - "

"Yes, I know. Trust me, I have gone over it time and time again. I have discussed it with Brooklyn himself. Yes, I believe he knows things. But about the distant future, not what goes on now. Not the specifics." Goliathís eyes did not meet Lexingtonís. The leader shifted his weight and turned left, the other two gargoyles following his trail.

"But he said something about Broadwayís daughter," Lexington said out of earshot from his brother. "That time canít be to far off."

"What did he say about her?" Goliath asked.

"He saidÖ" Lexington stopped, thinking. "He said that she was gone. Or that she had gone somewhere."

"And that was all?"

"Yeah. At least, that was all he got a chance to say before the sun rose," Lexington told him.

Goliath nodded, and looked back at Broadway, who had been staying out of the conversation as much as mortally possible. The larger gargoyle took a cue from the look Goliath gave him and grunted as he made himself speed up enough to join his brother and leader. "What are your opinions on this?" he asked his son-in-law.

"Honestly, Goliath, I donít know what to think. Youíve said yourself that we canít change the past. So whoís to say that doesnít hold true for the future as well? If Brooklyn does know whatís going to happen," Broadway paused for a moment. "Then I donít know if I want to know. It might be too much of a burden to bear. If we know whatís going to happen, then whatís the point of fighting? What would be the point of going on anymore?"

Goliath smiled to himself, seeing a rare (not so rare, any more, Goliath told himself) moment when his daughterís mate revealed to them something which made perfect and utter sense. He looked at Lexington, who still seemed livid about Brooklynís recent revelation. As the leader opened his mouth to say something, the smaller gargoyle stopped him.

"I heard him just fine," he told Goliath. "And I understand."

"Good," Goliath said simply. "Iím glad that - "

But Lexington cut him off. "I understand that you two just donít see. The information heís learned has had no effect on you. At least not yet. But I knowÖ I know that he knew what was going to happen to me. And he did next to nothing about it. Nothing, you guys. Think about what could have been different - "

"That is enough, Lexington," Goliath said, harshly now. "Now is not the time for this. If you believe Brooklyn wronged you, then you need to take it up with him. I think you need to find some point of closure on this."

"Fine," Lexington said, intending to drop the subject, at least for the evening.

And that was when the shot whistled by.

* * * * *

Washington, D.C.

"So, Iím sure you can understand why I have the standpoint that I do about these creatures, Senator." Margot Yale spoke as clearly as she ever did in any public speech, although this particular speech wasnít all that public.

"It sounds to me as if you are basing your argument on personal involvement with the gargoyles, Ms. Yale," a representative from another group broke into the hearing. The nameplate in front of the individual said ĎPITí.

"And you would be?" Senator Blackwater asked from his seat in the small hearing room. His four companions were also with him, anxiously awaiting an answer.

"Yes, sir. My name is Joseph Unger. Iím here representing People for Inner-species Tolerance, an organization that operates out of Manhattan." The man pushed his long black hair out of his eyes, trying to gather his thoughts and not stumble through his speech. "Over the past few years weíve spread our influence to other places in the world, especially places where sightings of other gargoyles have been reported, such as Japan and London.

"As I was saying, Ms. Yaleís opinion of the gargoyles seems to stem from the fact that she accuses them of attacking her numerous times over the course of the past five years. She seems to be completely ignoring the information that has been brought to the public. Such that there are numerous reports of the gargoyles actually helping people in muggings and one account of a hostage situation," Unger stated to them all. Blackwater and his companions merely nodded, while Margot rolled her eyes in obvious disgust.

"Let us not forget that I was involved in that particular hostage situation," Ms. Yale spoke up. "Yes, they did detain our captors, but they were babbling incoherently about children who werenít even there. We were afraid for our lives. And this was only the day before the mysterious Lost Nights that plagued Manhattan a few years ago."

"Are you suggesting that the Lost Nights were the gargoylesí fault?" Unger asked her.

"Thereís nothing to suggest that they werenít," Margot said plainly. "Youíre arguing that the gargoyles are our protectors, but theyíre also responsible for two anti-gargoyles organizations which plagued Manhattan and the rest of New York for over two years."

Unger stopped her. "Thatís the same as blaming the Jews for the Nazis, Ms. Yale."

Margot continued. "They went from being vigilantes to petty thugs destroying antique monuments all over the city, Mr. Unger. Thatís hardly the same thing."

Matt Bluestone sat in the back of the room, smiling to himself about Ms. Yaleís comments. He hadnít even been called to testify today, and guessed that they were finished with him. However, both Lee and Singleton, his Illuminati contact and his Ďhandlerí, respectively, had suggested to him that he stay for the rest of the proceedings, and warned him that more was going on here than he expected.

Miss Yale went on, "I also believe that the gargoyles are responsible for a certain group of television stars becoming known fugitives. One of them, who is supposedly reformed, is now married to one of the wealthiest men in the world, while reports of the rest of the groupís criminal nature have been made all over the world, including South America, Australia, even Egypt."

"The Pack?" This time it was one of the senators who asked the question. It was Burns, if Matt remembered correctly. "Theyíve been proven to be deeply emotionally disturbed individuals, Ms. Yale. I seriously doubt that the gargoyles contributed to their current standings."

"But thereís also the case of Doctor Anton Sevarius, missing since - " Margot tried to continue, but Blackwater finally cut her off.

"Thank you, Ms. Yale. Your stand on the issue has been noted. If we need you at a later date, our people will contact you." The Senator never looked up at her from the paperwork on his desk.

"Very well," Margot said, clearly disappointed that she wasnít able to go on. "Thank you, gentlemen." And with that, the woman left the room, the heels of her shoes making a sound that echoed even after she was gone.

"Iím going to call for another adjournment. You are all excused for the next two hours, but please return back here by three oíclock. Dismissed." Blackwater and his associates stood, exiting through a private door in the back of the room.

Matt stood with several others, letting them exit before him. When he saw her in the hallways of the building, he was merely attempting to try to get to the front entrance where he assumed his ride would be waiting for him. Sara Jasper met his eyes, and approached him as fast as she could in the crowd of people that were moving against her.

They embraced for a long time, ignoring those around them that might have been staring at them. "What are you doing here?" Matt asked her when they finally separated.

"IÖ umÖ I got a summons. Just yesterday. Iím guessing they discovered my tiesÖ my former ties with the Quarrymen. And considering the fact that Iím also a New York police officer, I bet I was quite a find." Her eyes never left his.

"Iím sorry. Part of all this is my fault," Matt said. "If I had - "

"Donít," Sara told him. "You did what you had to do, and you canít change any of that now."

"I know," Matt said. "You want to go get lunch? I donít have to be back for a couple of hours."

Sara nodded, and the two made their way outside. No limousine awaited them, and Matt smiled once again. They headed towards a close, quiet restaurant where no one would bother them until they want to be bothered.

* * * * *

Downtown Manhattan.

Broadway found it amazing how quickly the tone of the evening could change. When he heard the shot, he immediately readied himself to help either Goliath or Lexington. He realized that neither of them had been hit, and joined them both in a fighting formation.

"Be on guard," Goliath told them both.

"Where are they?" Lexington hissed at the other two.

"There," Broadway said, motioning towards a building top below them. Two figures were on the roof. The female figure scrambled about the roof, trying to keep them in sight with a set of binoculars while the male figure was preparing another round. Goliath saw him load the rifle, and aim straight at them.

"Move," Goliath said, and both Broadway and Lexington bolted away from the path of the bullet. Another shot sounded in the night air, this time accompanied by police sirens in the distance. Goliath ducked towards the roof, straight at their current assailant. His eyes glowing with white fury, the leader hit the gunman in his mid-section, knocking him to the ground. The human grunted in pain, finding his way back to his feet.

The woman, seeing her partnerís distress, pulled out her small hand pistol, aiming it at Goliath. She clicked off the safety, and pulled the trigger, missing the large gargoyle by no more than four inches. That was when she heard the swoop of wings above her, and felt the hard surface of the roof against her head as Broadway knocked her unconscious.

Lexington came down on the gunman, almost breaking the humanís neck in the process. This time he stayed on his back, pulling up the gun towards the small gargoyle. As he started to pull the trigger, Broadway snatched the weapon from his hands, his eyes glowing white.

"Iíd destroy this right now, if it wouldnít make the perfect evidence to put you away for a while," Broadway told the human. He tossed the gun to the other side of the roof, picking up the shooter and slinging him over his shoulder. The man didnít resist; frozen with fear as the tables has so quickly turned. Now all he wanted was for all of this to be over with.

Goliath spoke up. "I will take the woman. Put them on the street where the authorities can find them. Lexington, bring the weapon down with us. We should not be hearing from these two for a while."

The large gargoyle glared at the shooter slung over Broadwayís shoulder. "Iím not quite sure why you are trying to kill gargoyles, but your time of using us as target practice is at an end. Why are you doing this?" The manís eyes rolled up into his head and he fainted at the sight of Goliathís fearsome canines just inches from his face.

Goliath would have been disgusted, but his attention was diverted when he heard the ringing of his earpiece. "Goliath? Whatís going on?" It was Elisa. "I heard some reports of a disturbance around where Brooklyn was last night."

"It will be all right," Goliath told her. "Weíve taken care of it. The three of us are going to head back to the castle for the evening. Meet us there if you can."

"Okay. Iíll try. Are you sure you guys are okay?" she asked.

"Weíll be fine, as long as we can get to the bottom of what is going on."

"Okay. If I donít see you tonight, Iíll be there first thing tomorrow. I have to go." Elisa severed their connection.

The sirens drew closer, and the gargoyles started to make their way back home.

* * * * *

The Next Evening.

Owen Burnett did not flinch as he stood behind the awakening gargoyles, and made no attempt to block his eyes from the flying stone shards. Goliath stretched as he turned around, clearly a bit disoriented from just waking up.

"Mr. Xanatos has requested your presence in the main hall," he said calmly.

"Of course." The leader saw Hudson out of the corner of his eyes, and raised his hand to indicate for him to hold his position. Goliathís eyes said that they would talk later, and he followed Owen inside the building.

Once inside the Great Hall, Goliath saw Elisa, Xanatos, and an unknown woman waiting for him. "Who is this?" was the first thing he asked, frowning slightly.

"Goliath, Iíd like you to meet Doctor Emily Gray," Xanatos said in his most professional demeanor.

"Itís a pleasure to meet you, finally," Dr. Gray said, extended her hand. Goliath took it with a rumble. The leader did not like not knowing what was going on around him.

"You agreed to this?" he asked Elisa, not noticing the short look of disappointment on the doctorís face.

"Hear them out, Goliath," Elisa said simply.

Goliath turned back to Xanatos and the doctor, crossing his arms. "Doctor Gray has studied what we have on gargoyle anatomy, and I feel sheís best qualified to take on the job of your clanís physician, so to speak. With your approval, of course. The closest thing we have at the moment is Dr. Goldblum, but heís only a geneticist," Xanatos made his case.

"In light of the indication that your clan has not fully resolved its public relations problem," Xanatos continued, noting that Goliath was less tense than he was only a few minutes ago, "I think itís a good idea to bring her in."

Goliath looked towards Elisa, who offered her advice. "What happened to Brooklyn could have been a lot worse. What if it was, and there wasnít anyone there who knew what they were doing?" She paused. "Heíd be gone by now."

The large gargoyle nodded, but did not look entirely comfortable with the situation. "Fine," he breathed finally. "For now."

"Thank you, Goliath," Dr. Gray told him.

Goliath said nothing. He turned to exit the room, but Elisa stopped him. "Wait, they should hear this. I have some bad news," Elisa said. She waited a beat, and continued, "The two people who shot at Brooklyn and you guys were released this afternoon."

Goliath simply closed his eyes and shook his head.

"The higher-ups said that, basically, because you donít legally exist, trying to hurt you doesnít constitute a crime. Yes, the weapons they were carrying had been fired recently, but they claimed that they had been at a gun range that afternoon and had receipts to prove it. There were no witnesses that they had fired the weapons and we couldnít find any shell casings nearby. We couldnít even bust them with possession of weapons because all of their guns were registered to them and the weapons were empty. Nobody legally living was hurt, so we had nothing against them except disrupting the peace, and thatís just a misdemeanor. All they have to do is pay a fine."

"Their weapons were empty?"

"Yes."

"Odd. I would have sworn that there were still bullets in the weapons when we left them on the street."

"Hmmm," she said quietly. "I may need to see if I can find out a bit more about those two." Elisa looked up into Goliathís eyes. He was silent for a long time. Finally she asked, "What are you thinking?"

"That our situation in the world is worse than I thought it was. This isnít petty crime from Dracon or the Yakuza," Goliath said. "This is pure xenophobia. I have been too hopeful of being accepted by the human world. Things are not as I anticipated."

Elisa nodded. "One of the officers told me that when he asked about gargoyles the shooters believed you to be demons, in some way responsible for the harsh winter Madoc and the Unseelies caused."

"Seems youíre never going to live that down," Xanatos put in. Goliath simply glowered at him.

Elisa continued, "Apparently, the couple claimed that you remaining in the city would cause more destruction, and however you want to take that, itís bad. More than likely, others are going to start thinking the same way, especially when they find out that nothing serious happened to these people."

"This going to be a problem for you for quite some time," Dr. Gray said, moving closer to Goliath and Elisa. "Itís a lot like what happened with the Jews during fourteenth century Europe. The plague was raging, and the Christians had no one else to blame but the people who were not like them. They didnít have anything to do with the plague, but they had to pay dearly for it."

Goliath grunted in approval. He still felt nervous around this woman, on account of the simple fact that he knew nothing about her, and that she had been brought in without his consent or knowledge. Even so, the doctor continued, "You can do all you can, Goliath, but the sad truth is that there are always going to be some humans who fear you, simply because of your physical description. Humans have had that problem for centuries. Do you really think they would accept you when you look so different from them?"

Goliath raised his brow. "And you? Why are you not afraid of us?"

"Iím a doctor. I promised to take care of all life, no matter what form it comes in. Aside from our physical appearance, Iím no different than you."

"That remains to be seen," Goliath told her.

"And the way your species sleeps as well," the doctor went on. Goliath held in his expressions, and his desire to walk away from this. "Humans have a tendency to fear the dark, and the things that dwell in it. Itís like vampires; not everyone believes in them, but theyíre afraid of them just the same."

"Are you going to continue to stand here and tell us what we already know?" Goliath asked her finally. "Spare us your opinion, doctor. You can stay, but we will all be watching you." The gargoyle turned and stormed out of the room, Elisa following.

"Well," Xanatos said, smiling slightly, "That went well."

"Funny," Dr. Gray said. "Is this going to work?"

"If weíre careful, everything should smooth out nicely." Xanatos left, Owen following in his path. Dr. Gray stood alone in the quiet room, a pensive look on her face, for quite some time before leaving.

* * * * *

"Goliath, what are you doing?" Elisa asked once they were out of earshot. "I know you have a hard time trusting people, but I think you should give her a chance."

"Which is exactly what I am doing," he told her bluntly. "I would have trouble trusting anyone brought in by Xanatos."

"I understand that," she told him, stepping closer. He put his large arms around her, and Elisa laid her head on Goliathís large chest.

"But you are right, of course," he said. "We need to open up a bit more. We can not be isolated forever."

"Weíre not that alone. Not anymore," Elisa said. The two walked around the castle before Elisa left as dawn came.

* * * * *

Washington, D.C.

Neither Blackwater nor any of his associates had shown up that afternoon, and Matt had been told to return back to his hotel. This time, he had to catch a cab, since his limousine had once again been neglected. Not that he minded. The times that he was out of the eyes of the Illuminati were few and far between, and he enjoyed the ride back quietly.

Matt pulled his keycard from his wallet, and slid it through the appropriate place on his door. He opened it, when a hand grabbed his own.

"You have to come with me," Lee told him.

"What now?" Matt asked, his voice tired.

"Itís time for the real meeting," Lee said simply, turning around. Matt let out a sigh, closed the door to his room, and followed Lee down the hall.

"Real meeting?" Matt asked, clearly annoyed. "What have I been doing here this entire time?"

"Itís the Illuminati, Bluestone," Lee said. "They canít just send out a bulletin that reads Ďall members with any ties to the Unseelie Court please report to Washington, D.C. for a briefing.í"

"Unseelie Court?" Matt said, not trying to trick Lee, only shocked that she had mentioned the name.

"Donít play dumb," Lee said sternly as they exited the hotel and entered yet another limousine.

"They like to treat us right, donít they?"

"I suppose. Just be prepared for whatís to come."

"And what is to come? I mean, where are we actually going?" Matt asked.

"The same place. The briefing will be held by Senator Blackwater and supervised by Martin Hacker - "

"Hacker?" Matt said.

"Yes. I believe you two know each other."

"Yeah. Um, old friends."

"I care," Lee told him sarcastically.

"Right. This tripís just full of surprises," Matt said to himself.

"You donít know the half of it."

* * * * *

"Itís good to see you again, Matt," Hacker said to his former partner as he followed Lee into the conference room he had spent the last few days in. Matt didnít even make eye contact with him.

"Come on, Matt. Thatís no way to treat an old friend," he said.

"Hacker," Blackwater scolded. "We donít have the time."

"Right, sir," Hacker said, promptly closing his mouth and donning a more professional demeanor. "Please have a seat, Matt."

Matt sat in a lone chair in the middle of the room, directly in front of Hacker and Blackwater, along with a few figures behind them whose faces he couldnít make out. He was fairly sure that one of them was probably Singleton, his handler. Lee stood in the back corner of the room, not making a noise.

"Letís get straight to the point, Mr. Bluestone," Blackwater began, letting out a sigh as he did so. "We all know you were in Manhattan on the night of April 30th when the Unseelies mounted their final attack. All we really want to know is if Madoc Morfryn is actually dead."

A short silence hung in the room. Matt found himself amazed that the Illuminati knew what they did about that night. Sara, he thought. Theyíll question her sooner or later.

"He is. One of the gargoyles did it," Matt said simply.

"The one called Demona?" Blackwater asked.

"That would be her."

"Anything else? Trust me, Mr. Bluestone, we know about your connections with the gargoyle clan in Manhattan. And believe me, the high echelon members do not mind it. Itís nice to have connections on the outside," Blackwater told him as pleasantly as if they were discussing the weather.

"What do you know about Emrys Hawkins?" a voice in the back asked. Matt couldnít make out the ownerís face. "He was spotted in Manhattan recently, although he resides in London."

Emrys? Matt thought to himself. He had hardly had any contact with the boy while he had been in Manhattan, but he had known who Emrys really was. "He was a houseguest of the Xanatoses for a short time period. I hardly knew him."

"Very well," Blackwater said. "Youíre dismissed, Mr. Bluestone. You can return to Manhattan at your leisure. You will be compensated for your time in Washington."

"Thank you," Matt said, standing. He was deeply confused about why he had even been called, but he exited the room as quietly as he had come in. Lee slowly followed him.

When the door closed, Blackwater pushed his chair back away from the desk. "Why did you ask about the boy?" he asked.

Duval stepped forward into the light. "I was simply curious. I recently ran into Emrys and some of his companions. I donít think they will be causing us any troubles in the future. At least, not in the direct future."

"Are we finished, sir?" Blackwater asked.

"I believe so. How many are left?" he asked Hacker.

"Four," Mattís former partner said, not looking down at his paperwork.

"Call them in tomorrow. After that, we can all head back home," Duval said, exiting the room through the back.

* * * * *

Manhattan

Brooklyn had demanded to go out on patrol that night, even though Goliath had argued with him. Behind the Second-in-Command trailed Sata and Angela, while his son flew by his side. The city was quiet, for once in a long time, and Brooklyn had turned the patrol group around.

Suddenly, Graeme spoke up, "Why do we keep doing this?"

Brooklyn looked at his son. "Itís our nature," he said simply.

"And thatís good enough for you? They shot you. You would have died if mom hadnít gotten you to the Labyrinth in time. And now youíre up again, putting yourself back in danger. We all put ourselves at deathís door each night to protect these people - we fought against the Unseelies to stop the humans from being enslaved - and here they are, trying to kill us. Whatís the difference between people like the Pack or Dracon and the people whose lives we save every night?"

"Graeme," Angela said from behind them, pulling herself up to meet his eyes. "Itís our duty," she said as Brooklyn pulled back some.

"We need to talk about this later," he told Sata, who nodded in agreement.

"Itís what we do," Angela continued. "As a gargoyle, you canít stop protecting. Itíd be like - "

"I stopped breathing?" Graeme finished for her. "Iíve heard that before."

"Look," Brooklyn sighed. "Weíre almost home, and itís almost dawn. Weíll talk about this later." The four landed on the castle parapets as they did so often, and Graeme walked off, going to use his computer before the sun rose.

Brooklyn went to Angela, looking into her eyes. "Thank you," he said plainly.

Angela smiled. "Heíll come around, Brooklyn. Heís not the type to lose his way."

She left to find Broadway sitting in the library, a copy of King Lear lying open on his chest as he thought silently. He raised his head when he saw her come in. "Hey," he said simply.

"Whatís the matter?" she asked, sitting in the chair next to him.

"Iíve just been thinking about what Brooklyn said, about us, about the future. It infuriated Lex, but for some reason Iím okay with it, when I know I shouldnít be." The large gargoyle sighed.

"If he does know something, there might not be anything we can do about it. Itís almost dawn, letís go to sleep." Angela lifted herself from the chair, pulling Broadway up with her. He didnít say a word as they walked to their roosting places.

* * * * *

Goliath was making one last round around the castle with Bronx at his side when he heard Hudson come up behind him. "They might have forgotten, lad, but I havenít. The other night, in the Labyrinth, you were going to tell us about you and Elisa." It wasnít a question.

The leader nodded. "Have you thought this completely through?" Hudson asked. "There will be a lot to it, and there are going to be a lot of people who arenít going to be happy."

"I know. But youíve said yourself that love does not make you think clearly," Goliath told him.

"Iím sure it will work out, my boy." They walked the rest of the way in silence.

* * * * *

Washington, D.C. The next morning.

"You didnít have to come back. You were free to go," Singleton said from behind Matt and Sara. The detective turned around to face him.

"I wanted to see how all this ended," Matt said. "Besides, Sara hasnít been dismissed yet."

"Fair enough," Singleton said as the three continued on to the meeting room. "Youíll all be done today, I assure you both."

"Thatís good to know," Sara said.

As they entered the room, Blackwater and the other senators sat down, one of them calling the room to order. "Letís get this over with as quickly as possible. Weíve all heard the appropriate information from various parties, and now all that needs to be decided is what to do about the gargoyles. Ms. Yale, I believe you have something to say."

Margot stood, turning so that the entire room could hear her. "I believe that we need to capture all known gargoyles and study them in highly protected facilities. This needs to be done all over the world. Gargoyle sightings have been reported in other places than Manhattan, including London, Japan, and even the less populated areas in rural Asia. Theyíre all over the world. Something has to be done about it soon, or weíll have to face the consequences."

Unger stood up without being asked, hoping to interrupt Margot in her speech. She began to sit back down, and Unger began anyway. "The gargoyles have not proven themselves a threat to the public. We know that they can communicate -- that they are intelligent beings. Unless they do something particular that proves them a threat, we should leave them at peace."

"Senator," Margot started again, standing.

"Ms. Yale, I believe weíve heard enough. This hearing has gone on long enough. Most of the evidence presented shows that most of the so called gargoyle-related damage was caused by the various anti-gargoyle organizations that rampaged Manhattan." Blackwater stopped for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "Weíll leave the gargoyles alone -- at least for now."

Margot let out an audible sigh, stood, and exited before the crowd of other people in the room. Matt and Sara were slow on their way out, and Singleton brushed up against him. "Tell the leader that the ruling was a thank you," he told Matt.

"Thank you for what?"

"For standing up against Madoc and the others. If it hadnít been for them, I hate to even consider where we would be." Singleton turned a corner, and Matt couldnít see him anymore.

"Odd," Sara said simply.

"I know. Come on, letís go home."

* * * * *

THE END.