DISCLAIMER:This is based on the song Heal Again by Fade 2 Shade. Basically everything is used without permission or intent to steal/make a profit. Everything else belongs to Buena Vista or Pet Fly Productions.


Ordinary Heroes

This little boy, so scared is he,
black and blue from the beating he
took when he was two, today he
began to heal again.
A mother's love, a tough love
indeed, so tough it scarred her
only son's cheek, I say, today he
began to feel again, 'cause the
time will take away this pain, he'll
be free

"Damn. Now here's something for social services," the rookie declared, stepping back from the small child huddled in the corner of the room. From the moment they'd stepped into the apartment on a repeated call of domestic violence, that damn kid had been just dying for an excuse to get out. Not that Morgan blamed him, this place was a dump, but after finding what sort of a hellhole it was.... He shook his head and didn't even try to hide his disgust with his new - and hopefully VERY short-term - partner. Instead, he concentrated on the boy trying to hide in the corner simply by attempting to disappear into the cracks. Poor kid. What sort of- He reined in his mental tantrum, recognizing that the boy could easily see his anger and misinterpret it as directed towards him, instead of that mother- fucking slime eating little bitch that dared call herself a mother.

Pissed? Who, him? Hell yes.

Morgan squatted down near the child, keeping a hopefully comforting distance away. "Hey there," he called softly. "How ya doing?" He almost hid a wince. Even in the horrible lighting within the apartment, he could easily see bruises and cuts that formed physical shadows of hands and a belt all over the boy's visible skin.

"Momma said not t'talk with strangers," the boy finally said.

'Momma' deserves twenty years in lock up with serial killers, he thought rather uncharitably. "I'm a policeman," he continued in the soothing tone. "I won't hurt you."

"Momma doesn't like it when I talk."

Oh, God. Kid, what did she DO to you? "Your momma doesn't mind us talking." Not unless the bitch is out of her beer coma yet. "Nothing's gonna hurt you, kid."

By the time the social worker arrived, Morgan had coaxed the child into his lap, the pair holding a deep discussion of Digimon. It took some effort to convince him to let go and depart with the social worker for the police station, and it was finally accomplished only when Morgan agreed to go with them. The ride was quick and quiet, leaving the trio thankful to escape the car. A few more minutes to convince the child that yes, Morgan would visit him, and yes, it was ok to go, the social worker picked the boy up, flashed the cop a tired smile, and headed inside. She was barely halfway up the steps when assorted members of the press flooded out of the precinct and swarmed around the pair.

Morgan watched as the vultures descend on the poor woman, who practically doubled over to protect the boy against the screamed questions. The child stared around him, those helpless brown eyes terrified at the waves of humanity all trying to claim a piece of him. The screaming increased, demands rising from the babble, trying to discover if gargoyles were involved, had they hurt the boy, did he see anything, did this have anything to do with the attack in the park?

Almost too furious for words, Officer Morgan L. Morgan simply erupted. "Inside!!" he bellowed at the social worker, shoving his way to her side. She obeyed as he turned to the crowd. "QUIET!!!!" he demanded at his loudest roar. Amazingly enough, it worked. He glared around, unaware that the press shrank back at the clear fury in his eyes. "Who gives a fuck about these gargoyles?" he finally snarled. "I don't know if they had a single thing to do with this case, and I don't give a damn if they did! And right now, I wouldn't even care if one of them came down and started doing the Macarena on the steps! We've survived this long not knowing anything about those things, we can make it awhile longer. Right now, we've got enough problems with the monsters wandering around the streets, people hurting other, innocent, people. For God's sake, let us do our job without trying to hurt the victims in your damn witch hunt for moving statues!" He was only very vaguely conscious of people drifting out the precinct doors and onto the steps with him during the tirade, but the reporters could quite clearly note the anger radiating from the assorted cops gathered behind Morgan, and they fled as quickly as dignity allowed. It was only when they were all gone that he relaxed, slumping slightly with a deep sigh.

"Pretty impressive," Elisa Maza noted softly. "Never thought I'd see something like that."

He shrugged, flattered that the beautiful detective was so quietly, but apparently deeply, impressed. "Not really." He removed his hat, running a hand over his head before replacing it and heading inside to fill out an incident report. "Just doing my job, Detective."

This little girl, so soft, so sweet, her
loving father took the one thing, you
see, the one thing she'll never get
back again, but the
time will take away this pain, she'll
be free

The girl, maybe nine, on a remote possibility ten at most, took one step off the elevator, looked a loooong way up to meet his eyes, then burst out bawling. Detective Henri "H" Brown's first reaction was to blink and stare down at her in confusion. He knew he was big, but he sure as hell wasn't that scary. Ellison or the Captian, sure, he could see that reaction. But him? Even his Hawaiian shirt wasn't that bad today.

His second reaction was to kneel down and pull her into a deep hug. " 'Sokay, baby, it's ok." At first the kid resisted, but after awhile of senseless murmured reassurances, she leaned against him trustingly, still crying her eyes out. He somehow got her calmed down and sitting at his desk, and at last he cautiously began to question her. The answers first disturbed, then disgusted him. This child knew far too well, in far too much detail, things she should still be ignorant of. Keeping a careful lid on his anger, H continued the questioning.

Oh-la-la, Oh-la-day, keep up
tonight for we will be here,
All we want is to be free,
'Cause the time will take away this
pain, now I see

Henri pushed his way into the conference room, ignoring the startled cries for him to get out. Instead he surveyed the assembled people, his hands in tight fists and a snarl just aching to come forth. "Who. The hell. Is Ingraham?"

A tall, dignified man with short silver hair and glasses stood up. Two people away. Good distance. He could do well with that distance. "I am. What is the meaning of this?"

Brown didn't hesitate, or even let him finish speaking. He took three quick steps forward, hauled back, and happily decked the man. The politician collapsed, the rest of the room jumping up in a complete uproar. He continued to ignore it, kneeling down to cuff the man.

"Brown!" The familiar bellow of Captain Simon Banks broke through the chatter. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Arresting this asshole."

Startled gasps filled the room. Simon coughed and shifted uncomfortably. "On what grounds?"

"He's a baby raper," Henri snarled. "His daughter just showed in the bullpen looking for some uniforms to believe her." He paused, gathering inner strength he didn't know he had. "I think she went to at least three people before me."

This old man now sleeps, most the
day, cancer inside him, eats away,
all that's left of his fragile frame, he
stands up straight, his body frayed,
prays to the heavens, take me
away, I can no
longer stand the pain...
But the time will take away this
pain, he'll be free

"Evening, Nick!" Rafe called out as he entered the hospital room. Nicholas Lu started awake, taking in the arrival of the handsome police officer. He didn't even try to restrain his sleepy smile at the young man's cheerful demeanor as he carefully shed his impeccable coat, hanging them up before unloading the carefully prepared food he always brought with him for Friday visits. It was apparently visible that despite the pair's comfortable relationship, there was no blood shared between the elderly Chinese man and the young South African. Equally obviously, neither one cared.

Nicholas sat up and absorbed Rafe's comments about work in the police force, watching the youngster prepare their meal in accompaniment to tales of the latest cases and office hijinks. At last satisfied with the preparations, Rafe sat down and presented the meal. Both men tried to ignore the way Nicholas's hands shook in his careful, yet thankfully successful attempts to use fork and knife. Unfortunately, the moment he actually tasted the food, he couldn't stop an instant gag reflex, spitting it out onto the plate, gagging and trying his best not to vomit.

"Nick!" Rafe yelped, leaping up and ignoring how his own meal splattered all over his expensive suit. "What's wrong? Are you ok? Nurse!!!"

"No," the old man gasped, "fine. I'll be fine." It took longer than indicated to actually retake control of his body, convincing it that he wasn't about to choke. He finally settled back, the attack having exhausted him. Rafe also settled back into his chair, brown eyes clearly showing the worry he somehow managed to keep mostly off his face.

"It was the food, wasn't it?" he asked softly. "Was it too spicy? Damn, I knew I shouldn't have done that sauce!"

"It's not that. The new chemo.... It's done strange things to my taste buds."

The younger man looked up, a combination of hurt and confusion scrambling across his face. "I'm sorry. I... hell, I should've figured."

Nick managed a shaky smile, an equally trembling hand reaching out to pat him on the shoulder. "Don't blame yourself, boy. One meal here or there, it's no matter. I'm sure it's just as excellent as your usual. You eat, and I'll try talking for a change."

That managed to get a grin out of him. "I'm... not really hungry anymore."

"Well, can I ask a question anyway?"

"Of course! You always have been, and lord knows you've never been shy with your opinions," Rafe teased gently.

Nick had to laugh at that. "Well, I decided not to question this a long time ago, but...." He shrugged. "I'd like to know."

"Fire away."

"Why are you doing this?"

Rafe's face went carefully blank. "Doing what?"

"Visiting an old man dying of cancer at least once a week, and you come bearing those mostly homemade meals."

"You're not dying!" Rafe snarled, jumping up from his chair to pace around near the door. "You're not dying," he repeated in a softer, more fragile tone. "Lots of people get cancer nowadays and survive."

"Not my age, not this advanced," Nick replied in an equally soft tone. "Denying the facts won't make it stop happening."

His reply was a deep sigh, raking his hand through the perfectly set hair.

"Why are you doing this?"

"I... because."

"None of that 'community service looks good on a resume' crap. Please. I'd like an answer before I die."

Rafe winced, then sighed again. His hands fell from his hair to hang limply by his sides. "My father.... I separated from my family under bad circumstances. There's lots of arguments and foolishness there that I won't go into. My father got cancer. The same...." He swallowed noisily. "The same as yours. I never even knew about it until he died, a heart attack, of all things, two weeks away from remission. It wasn't until a friend sent a condolence card...."

He sniffed, then straightened. "I'm sorry."

"No, that's my line," Nick said, trying to hide his own rampaging emotions. "Come, let's try to eat this. How about dim sun next week? I've never had problems with that...."

Oh-la-la, Oh-la-day, keep up
tonight for we will be here,
All we want is to be free,
And the time will take away this
pain, now I see

"Detective... um, Rafe?"

The tall man paused and swung around, heading over to the main desk for the first time in weeks. He smiled at the pretty, albeit nervous, nurse, turning on the charm. Damn you, I AM getting in there for dinner. Nick said he was in the mood for dim sun, and he's getting it! "Yes?"

"You're the visitor for Mr. Lu, right?"

A cold feeling of dread settled into his stomach. "What of it?" he demanded, voice harsh with worry.

"Um, he left this for you," she squeaked, holding out an envelope. Now utterly confused, he took it automatically.

"Left it? What do you mean, left it? Where'd he go?"

The girl's eyes went wide. "You don't know? Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!"

Rafe carefully set the shopping bag of food down on the counter, moving slowly and deliberately to keep from doing anything extreme. "What happened?"

She apparently noticed the dangerous note in his voice, as her eyes went even wider. "Wednesday night... he... it was peaceful. He didn't wake up."

"Nick's dead?" a voice asked. It wasn't him... it couldn't be him.... Oh God, this couldn't be happening.

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Rafe!" the nurse squeaked from far away. He ignored her, instead turning away and walking down the hall.

Dead. He was dead.

A thousand curses in multiple languages tried to escape, only clamoring around and around in his mind. When he finally came back to reality, he was in some random hospital corridor, uninhabited and therefore identical to too much of the rest of the building. Numb with shock, he opened the envelope and pulled out a sheet of paper covered with a few lines of shaky writing. Repeatedly swallowing, he read the letter carefully, then reread it. He was finally unable to hold back tears, and the detective sank to the floor, uncaring of the condition of his clothes as he cried helplessly. The letter fluttered away to the other wall on a waft of air conditioning created breeze, ink smeared with salt water.

Dear Rafe:
Thank you so much for all you've given me. I considered myself alone, an old man meant to die the way he lived too long: alone. You gave me a sense of not just friendship, but family, that I have been missing for so long. You made my last months both happy and rewarding. There was a reason for all that suffering, and you are it. Never doubt that I found it to be worthwhile. Thank you for being such a wonderful son.

Once again alone, Rafe wept for both his fathers.

Hey, come on now, don't speak, just
see me walk away, I am beginning
to heal again. Feel this strength,
run through my veins, break away
these rusted chains
And walk away so free my friend,
'cause the time will take away
this pain, we'll be free

"I'm leaving Sharon."

The simple pronouncement left Maria Chavez staring at Ben in shock. She actually liked the spitfire her brother had married, happily disregarding the television stereotypes for the bunk they were, and they'd actually become very good friends. "But... she's eight months pregnant!" she finally protested, well aware how foolish it sounded, but it was the only thing to come to mind.

He slumped down in the chair with a sigh. "That's exactly the point. Dammit, I'm a federal agent, for god's sake! I'm home how often? Undercover work lasts how long?" A strangled laugh escaped him. "I get my wife pregnant, leave for seven months to go into that damn Cali drug ring, and barely make it home to find I'm gonna be a father, contraceptives or not! Maria.... I can't do this." The look in his eyes was wild, desperate.


"Ben-" she started, only to be interrupted by the phone. Snarling a curse, Maria stood and answered.

"Hello, this is Randy, from Manhattan General. I'm looking for a... 'Maria Chavez'?"


"Well, we have you listed as an emergency contact for Sharon Chavez. We can't seem to locate her husband."

She suddenly sat down. "Ben, where's your pager?" she demanded, covering the mouthpiece while the man on the other end carefully nattered away. Her little brother automatically checked his belt, only to swear and head for the door.

"Must've gotten caught by the seatbelt again. Damn thing's loose. Why?"

"It's the hospital. They're calling about Sharon. All they'll say is there's been an accident."

Oh-la-la, Oh-la-day, keep up
tonight for we will be here,
All we want is to be free,
And the time will take away this
pain, I'll be here
Cause the time will take away
this pain, now I see

The day of the funeral had been beautiful. Clear blue sky, moderate temperature, and enough of a breeze to make the flags around the cemetery flutter about picturesquely the way usually only found in movies.

It had been a month since the funeral, one month since she'd last seen Ben. And being the nosy older sister that she was, Maria had finally decided to hunt him down, since he never answered her calls, or given any idea what he was doing. For all she knew, he and his newborn daughter, saved from the wrecked body of his wife, were also dead.

She pounded on his front door for several minutes, already regretting that she'd lost her key to the place. The door finally opened a few minutes later.

Maria blinked in surprise. "You look like shit," she observed.

"Thanks for the update," Ben snarled, shoving his bangs out of his eyes, both loaded down with bags so massive it looked like he'd been punched not too long ago. "I suppose now that you've woken her up you'll have to come in?"

"Yes," she said, already moving inside and into range of the air horn wails of a newborn. "Good lungs."

"Try hearing it at two in the morning."

She snorted and tracked the screams to the baby enthroned in a crib, screaming her head off. Maria tsked and picked the child up, carefully cradling the baby. Either stunned or finally getting what she wanted in the first place, Ben's daughter quieted. "Having a rough time?"

"God, what an understatement!" Ben collapsed onto the living room couch. "I don't know what I'm gonna do!"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Silence. "Ben?"

He sighed deeply. "I never wanted kids. She.... It was all one big mistake."

She turned to glare at him. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? This is all you have left of your wife, and you say she's a mistake?!?!"

"Don't give me that bullshit! In case you didn't notice, things weren't all light and laughter around here! It's like this is one big guilt trip! We know you didn't want kids, but, well, just before you leave your wife she'll leave you, but congrats! You get a rugrat instead! I'm wanted back at work, but I can't take her, even that isn't enough money to hire a nanny or what the hell ever it is I'd have to get...." He sighed again, all anger spent. "I'm.... I'm putting her up for adoption."

Time froze, then shattered. "You've got to be joking." He shook his head. "Then I'll take her."

He snorted. "Yeah, right. You're a New York cop taking a drug enforcement agent's brat. That'll fly."

"She may be your daughter, but she's my niece. Let me adopt her."

He paused, studying her carefully. "You're serious about this, aren't you?" Suddenly he laughed. "Jesus. Your boyfriend's gonna love this twist."

"Simon's not-" She started, then gave up to focus on the more important argument. "He lives across the country. Besides, what he thinks doesn't matter. I want to adopt her."

"Ok, fine, whatever!" Ben threw up his hands. "You wanna do crazy shit, go ahead! Draw up the papers, I'll sign whatever. Enjoy."

Maria looked down at her new daughter. "I will," she whispered.

What have we become, what
have I done



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