He came to slowly, groaning at the pain in his head as he glanced around, hearing a loud thumping noise. "What's- what's going on?" He grunted, opening his eyes, only to see a familiar figure fling himself from one side of the room to another.
"Betrayal!" The Professor sighed, "That crew you hired have completely turned against us, trapping us here whilst they go after the gorillas!"
"How can they?" Clayton pushed himself into a seated position, "They don't know where they are?!"
Slowly, he opened up his eyes, to see a guilty look flash across Jane's face.
"They were going to hurt Daddy." She whispered, not looking at his accusing face, "Besides, you hired them!"
"I did." Clayton had to admit defeat there, "I did indeed."
Tarzan flung himself across the ship again, the sound echoing off the walls with a loud BANG, before clinging at the metal grate up above and slamming his feet against it.
"Tarzan, enough!" Clayton ordered… or at least he tried to, pushing through the ache in his head.
It was evident that Tarzan was struggling with the enclosed space, eyes wide and terrified.
How could he have expected the young man to move to London, as though nothing was wrong.
Slowly, he made his way over to the younger man, cautiously placing a hand on his shoulder, only for Tarzan to spin around and growl threateningly at him.
"It's okay." Clayton tried to be calm, "It'll be okay."
"No, it won't." Tarzan shook his head, "This is all my fault. I betrayed my family… Kerchak was right."
Clayton couldn't tell him the truth… he couldn't tell him that this was his original plan. To find the gorillas and lead the poachers right to them.
"All those magnificent creatures!" The Professor sighed mournfully, "Shivering in cages! What is this world coming to!" He slammed his fist against the side of the boat, only for it to tip to one side violently, sending everyone skidding and sliding into one another.
"By jove… I don't know my own strength!"
The ship then rocked violently to the other side, sending them skidding in that direction.
"What the devil is going on?!" Clayton growled.
There was the triumphant cry of an elephant, before a foot came crashing through the grate, inches away from a confused Professor.
"That sounded just like an elephant."
The elephant helped Tarzan out of the ship, and the man was gone, diving into the water before Clayton could say anything.
"Come on!" He ordered the others, "We need to get back to the island!"
Clayton could honestly say that he had never rode an elephant into battle before.
He wasn't sure it was an experience he was ready to repeat.
"CHARGE!" The Professor yelled, knocking the leader of the poachers over.
Once Tantor had skidded to a halt, Clayton leapt off the back, tackling another man to the ground and knocking him out with one hit, before moving onto the next one. In the distance, he spotted two of them trying to get away with the gorilla Tarzan had referred to as his Mother, spurring him into action.
Knowing that Jane and the Professor would be able to manage the other on the back of Tantor, Clayton gave chase after them.
And then he spotted the vine.
"I can't believe I'm going to do this." He muttered, taking a running leap as he grabbed it, swinging forwards and knocking one of the men away from the cage. As the other man growled and prepared for a fight, there was a sudden commotion up above, prompting Clayton to look up.
An entire army of baboons.
Clayton never though he'd be happy to see them again.
The little one made a noise that sounded an awful lot like CHARGE, and they all rushed forwards, sending the poacher running for the hills, as the baby baboon landed on Clayton's shoulder.
"Alright. Maybe you're not so bad."
Tarzan rushed over at this point, as Clayton broke open the locks of the cage, helping his mother out of the cage. However, before the pair could properly reunite, there was an almighty BANG, as Tarzan grunted in pain, hand moving to clutch his arm.
It was easy to see the blood oozing out from in between his fingers.
Clayton's head shot over to where the bullet come from, eyes widening at the sight of Jane struggling with the last poacher, both of them fighting over a shotgun.
She was only trying to help.
But the Alpha gorilla didn't see that.
"JANE!" Clayton yelled, as the Alpha charged at them, just as Jane managed to kick the man away. She spun around… and panicked.
The gun went off again, and the Alpha fell to the ground, closely followed by Jane dropping the gun, her hands flying up to her face in shock.
"I didn't mean to!" She begged Tarzan, as him and his mother rushed over, "Please! It-it was an accident!"
Softly, the Professor took her arm and pulled her away. "Come on my dear." He whispered, "Give them some space."
"Daddy, please, I- "
"- I know. I know."
Clayton remained silent, glancing over at the fallen gorilla, who seemed to be talking to Tarzan.
It was a fatal wound, but that much was obvious.
The whispered conversation went on for a few moments, before the large gorilla went limp, and his hand fell to the ground. Almost immediately, the surrounding gorillas' started to make low, mournful sounds, as Tarzan pulled the body into one last hug.
He was never going to touch another gun, so long as he lived.
He watched as Tarzan turned to face the group, straightening up and banging on his chest as a show of dominance, before moving to leave.
He was in charge now.
He was the Alpha.
He wasn't leaving his family… not now.
"London is going to appear very small after all this." Clayton mused, watching as Jane, the Professor and the Captain got the rowboat ready.
The gorillas hadn't lashed out at the young woman, but it was clear that she would never be welcome, and that was the best they could have hoped for.
"I will miss you Clayton." Tarzan whispered, having come to see them off.
"Hold your horses for one damn minute!" Clayton snapped, annoyed at the interruption, before turning back to Tarzan, "Well… I suppose it's time for us to say goodbye old boy."
He held out his hand, only for Tarzan to press their palms together, much like he had that first meeting.
Clayton couldn't take it anymore, yanking himself away and striding over to the boat, refusing to look back at the younger man, even as the Professor waved and cried out to him.
"Goodbye! Goodbye Tarzan!" The old man sighed, "Oh, I am going to miss that boy."
Clayton remained silent, in the process of untying his neck-scarf to wipe his forehead.
"Clayton, old boy…" The Professor cleared his throat to catch his attention, "… Don't you think you're better off staying here?"
"… I have responsibilities in England, Professor." Clayton refused to look the man in the eyes, "I am heir to a rather large estate if you remember- Dammit!"
The wind caught his neck-scarf, sending it flying out of his hands, back towards Tarzan. Clayton glanced back and immediately wished that he hadn't.
Tarzan looked heartbroken.
"I know how… cruel society in England can be. Would you not be happier here?"
For a moment, Clayton was going to argue… and then he thought about it.
Yes. Yes, he would be happier here.
"It's been a pleasure Professor." He held out his hand to shake the older man's hand, nodding at Jane, "Miss Porter."
He then jumped into the sea, thankful that his feet could still reach the bottom as he trudged forwards in determination. Tarzan was only just getting to his feet when he managed to reach him, a confused look on his face as Clayton pulled him into a kiss. When they finally pulled away, Tarzan had a dazed look on his face.
"Come on." Clayton then grunted, grabbing Tarzan's hand, "Enough of this."
Back at the boat, the Captain of the ship was ready to turn back around.
"Nonsense!" The Professor waved his hand in dismissal, "We'll just say that we couldn't find him. People do get lost in the jungle all the time, you know."
As he was led over to the small group of gorillas, who had been hiding in the bushes, Tarzan's mother took his hand and almost seemed to smile warmly at him.
It was probably the first time a mother had approved of him so quickly.
Before Tarzan could introduce him, he held up a hand to stop him, clearing his throat nervously.
"Oo, oo, ee, eh, oooooo."
This time, the cheering was completely warranted.