It took them exactly one week to pack everything they owned. The furniture was sold or stored, the old clothing and useless paraphernalia were thrown away, and the few items of sentiment and general daily living were shoved into boxes and suitcases. The houses were emptied, the plane tickets bought for every last one of them, the weapons put in special cases to give to a contact that could get them out of the country without arousing suspicion with customs. The aunts and uncles were informed and most of them opted to leave as well; the less ties, the better.
Two days before they were to leave, Adien got a single message from his cousin. "Come to the hospital. It's important."
The thought hadn't even occurred to him. What would they do with Fox? Adien got Mirium to drive him, still unwilling to get behind the wheel after all these years of being chauffeured. They went up together, up to the room that had been so dark for so long. It was bright now and Ella was sitting beside the bed. "Ella," Adien said quietly. She turned and then beckoned him up to the bed
"I hear you got Kebin," Fox said slowly, looking up at him. Adien felt like his knees were no longer there and he half-sat half-fell onto the bed. "It's too bad, I was going to shoot him myself. Oh well, maybe I can get Rus. Ella said you didn't find him?"
"No," Adien whispered. He cleared his throat. "No."
"Hey, hey, hey, cut that out!" Fox grinned and held his hands up. "Just because you're a queer doesn't mean you're allowed to cry. Come on, you're contaminating my manliness."
Adien's mouth dropped open. "Why, you asshole!" he snapped, laughing. "You'd think that shooting you a few times would make you think before you spoke, but maybe we'll have to put a bullet through your brain before that'll happen."
Ella had slipped out at some point. Fox gave Adien a weak punch on the arm. "You gonna do it, mate?"
"I'm considering it." Fox was right though. Adien was crying. He couldn't help it. He thought he was going to lose Fox. "Maybe I'll just have to beat you up."
Fox watched Adien thoughtfully. "You don't want me, do you," he said, matter-of-factly. Adien swallowed and looked down, shaking his head.
"Not right now. Right now, I don't know what I want."
Fox grinned crookedly. "Well, you take some time to figure that out, kid." He ruffled Adien's hair. "It's good, really, because I don't know either."
Adien threw himself onto Fox. "Gentle, gentle!" Fox yelped. "I'm broken!"
"I love you," Adien told him.
"I love you too, lad." Fox patted him on the head. "Now get off me before I tear my stitches. I don't want to bleed all over these nice clean sheets."
Luke had fought his way through airport security to be here, and at the urging of a single message. He found the right gate and glanced nervously into the waiting area, then went and sat down. "My captain said we'd never see you again," he told Adien. "I'd hate to prove her wrong."
"Well, don't tell her." The Irishman was wearing sunglasses. "We're leaving. I just wanted you to know that from now on you're on your own with cases."
"You make more work for me."
Adien shrugged. "Point taken."
Luke looked at him, that determined little pixie chin held high, his green eyes hidden. "Why are you leaving? You help people in this city. You keep drugs off the streets. You work for the good, don't you?"
"I kill people." Adien shrugged. Luke noticed that there were an awful lot of dark haired people in the waiting area, most of them clumped together and most of them wearing sunglasses. "I don't help them. You do that."
"I'm not very good at it."
"You're better than I am." The speaker blared out a call for boarding and the dark haired people started to get in line. There were more than Luke had met, but he knew he'd probably never get introductions to them. That didn't matter. He was here to say goodbye to Adien, not his family. "You'll do fine." Adien got his bag and stood. "I've got to go."
"I know." Luke sighed and looked up at the ceiling, then out at the runways. "How long?"
"A year," Adien said with a shrug. "Probably more. I mean, we really have to clear out for a little while, make ourselves less…visible." Adien followed Luke's gaze, then looked back at the detective. "You'll make this city right again."
"Fine. Have it your way." Adien leaned down and kissed Luke's cheek. "Maybe I'm crazy."
Adien laughed and offered a hand. "Good luck, Detective Castellani."
Luke shook the hand firmly. "The same to you, Mr. McAlly."
Adien got in line and presented his passport to the woman at the counter. Luke watched her examine it, then wave him past. He watched him walk down the tunnel to the plane. He couldn't quite see, but every time he played it back in his head, he liked to think that Adien had looked back at him, one last time. But he was probably just fooling himself.