reluctant_gargoyle: (Swoop)
[personal profile] reluctant_gargoyle
I'll never be human again.  I've come to accept that.  To accept that I'll never see the sun again, that I will, very likely, spend the majority of my life with most of the world fearing me.  That any children Goliath and I have--and believe me, the thought of laying an egg or going into heat is still a disturbing one on some level--will face them same problems.   But I have good friends, the continued love and support of my family, and the greatest guy in any world as my husband mate, who would love me no matter what shape I took.   I don't know if I'll ever truly get over what I've lost, but I do know that what I have now is very good indeed.

But no matter how I've come to accept my new life and limitations it carries, or even all the truly good things that I do have now, there is absolutely no denying that the early days following my permanent transformation into a Gargoyle were horrible ones.  Though I had put on a brave face for my parents' sake--and truthfully, for my own and for the guys as well--the confidence I felt in trying to manage my new life and situation was so slim as to be nonexistent. 

The nightmares continued to plague my stone sleep.  The day's had placed me back at my desk in the squad-room, absent-mindedly working on paperwork when screams filled the air.  Cries of "what in God's name is it?" and "monster" filled the air.  I looked up, trying to figure it out, onl to find all eyes, hostile and fearful, on me.  I couldn't figure it out until I looked down at my hands, my four-fingered, talonged hands, and I realized they meant me.  Familiar faces, Morgan, Matt, Captain Chavez, and more looked on with shock and horror as I tried to mouth protests and...

Stone-skin shattered and a roar escaped my throat.  I was staying further back from the edge than the others, until I was certain I wouldn't fall when I woke up.  It had been three weeks since I had been transformed.  And I wasn't sure things were ever going to get any better.  In the meantime, I had been doing everything I could to keep my mind occupied, namely, throwing myself into my training. 

Oh, being a cop had taught me how to fight, but fighting as a Gargoyle was an entirely different thing.  Different body, different balance, and so many more body parts to keep track of, not the least was a tail that seemed to have a mind of its own.

Goliath had been supervising my gliding lessons, which had been going about as well as could be expected.  Humans have an instinct not to throw themselves off of things, something Gargoyles definitely lacked.  The strange thing was, making myself do it was getting easier and easier, human fears being replaced b the instincts of a Gargoyle body. 

I was changing, and it was for from the only change.  Even in my distressed general state, my emotions were more intense, fried more quickly.  I was getting angrier more easily, often accompanied by a growl and glowing eyes.  Goliath and Hudson both were slowing helping me to rebuild my self-control, but the going was slow.  I often felt more animal than woman.

Hudson, meanwhile, had taken charge of my combat training.  Having trained several generations of warriors, including Goliath and the Trio, he was the natural choice, though I'm certain my frustrations were beginning to try even his great patience.  We had to start almost from the beginning, like an pre-adolescent Gargoyle just learning to fight.

We'd started simple the first few nights, with basic forms and movements, before moving on to hastily constructed but perfectly serviceable practice dummies.  I would trip over my tail or stumble over my feet or forget to balance for my wings and fall flat on my face or ass many times.  And each time, Hudson would tell me, "Again."  I nearly stormed off several times, did once, but I came back.  This was hard for him too, trying to be both the stern mentor imparting life saving skills upon a neophyte and the friend helping a friend in a desperate straight.

But I made progress.  Started getting pretty good.  Hudson said I was a natural.  Back then, I'm not sure if I thought that was a good thing or not.  I needed something to make sense of my life and becoming one of the Clan (Goliath would tell me I had always been one of them, of course), continuing in some way to fight against the crime and evils of the city, was something I could wrap my brain around.  But a part of me still balked at the notion that I was that good at not being human.

By the third week, Hudson had started pulling Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington off their patrols for me to spar with.  Lex was the fastest and the most agile, but physically the weakest.  Broadway was the strongest by far, but slower and clumsier.  Brooklyn fell somewhere in the middle, with good instincts and a craftiness that made him the greatest challenge.

I can hardly claim to have won every match, but I have a good accounting of myself, including ending one match with Brooklyn through the rather expeditious method of kicking him where the loin met the cloth, so to speak.  That earned me praise from Hudson for my "innovative battle strategy" and a squeaky groan from Brooklyn.

In the meantime, even when training with him, things continued to be awkward with Goliath.  The first night of my transformation had brought forth feelings neither one of us was ready to talk about, feelings I was still grappling with.  Before we'd known the transformation was permanent, the feelings had been scary enough--tantalizing, tempting--but now, we both were trying to keep them buried.  Did he love me?  Did he only love me as I was?  Could I love him back?  Even if I did... what kind of life would we have, normal or Gargoyle?  I would later discover he too had been grappling with the same kinds of feelings.   But right then, it led to awkward silences, too long stares, and all too quickly broken moments of physical contact, as though we were afraid that if we touched for too long, we would both start talking.

There was some measure of awkwardness with the Trio too, truthfully, and a second kind of awkwardness with Goliath.  As far as anyone knew back then, they and Demona were the last remaining Gargoyles on Earth, with Demona and I the last females left.  It opened questions of the survival of the species, of none of them having a mate.  Even if I could have, I had no desire to play Eve.  Especially with what I had learned about Gargoyle breeding, information imparted upon me in case (God forbid, I had thought then), I was still a Gargoyle many years hence.  Sex--beyond the occasional awkward daydream or idle thought about Goliath--was usually far from my mind.

A Gargoyle my age, if she'd been mated, would have already laid an egg, which would hatch in 1998.  As if the notion of laying an egg hadn't been terrifying enough (I continued to insist, on some level, that Goliath was a friend, nothing more, futilely), what I had learned of the future past that was even harder to handle.  Should I still be a Gargoyle in 2007, around the Autumn Equinox, I would essentially go into heat for several nights, desperate for a mate to take me.  Even with that more than ten years off, it was a terrifying thought.  Worse, I had little actual doubt that still be a Gargoyle then.  It made the awkward moments with Goliath all the more awkward.  There was more I would find out about Gargoyle biology and culture later, but those are other stories.

Eventually, however, I was pronounced good enough to join the others on patrol  Though I suspect Goliath would have liked to accompany me on my first patrol, I saw him and Hudson speaking harshly, caught something that sounded like "the lass needs to glide on her own wings" from Hudson, before Goliath assigned groups.  He assigned Broadway and Lex to accompany me.  Good, in its own way.  After Goliath, I was closest to Broadway, stemming from his own detective ambitions.

It was, mercifully, fairly uneventful.  The first two hours passed without incident, and then we spotted a mugging down below, a man and a woman being menaced by three thugs.

A part of me still wanted to yell out, "Police!  Freeze!" but instead I directed Lex and Broadway to swoop down.  Lex swooped and picked one up, throwing him into the alley wall.  Broadway dove lower, tackling his.  I swooped and flared my wings at the last moment, pulling up and taking out the last of them with a kick, before landing.

The man screamed, "Not again!" and I recognized the woman he was with as Margot Yale, an assistant district attorney.  There was a look of fear and even hatred in their eyes, fearful of the monsters that  had come upon them, even though we had likely saved their lives.  I hadn't thought about it before, but I suspect my modern dress only frightened them more.  I leaped, climbing up the wall to join the others before anything else could happen. 

Out of sight, I swung myself up over the edge of the rooftop and almost immediately felt the strength leave my legs.  I crouched down and felt a tear leave my eye.

Broadway put a comforting hand on my shoulder.  "Is this what it's like?" I asked.  "For you guys?  Does it always hurt this much?"

Lex and Broadway exchanged awkward glances.

"No always," Lex said.

"It'll get better," Broadway added, though I'm not sure his heart was in it.

Was this to be my life now?  Protecting a world that hated and feared me?  As a cop, I had known the frustration of a thankless job, but this was something on a whole other level.

I wiped my eyes and got to my feet.  "C'mon," I said, with more determination that I actually felt, forcing myself to move.  "We've got a patrol to finish."

We stopped two more muggings and a burglary that night, always to the same response of fear, both from the criminals and the saved. 

When he'd found out about my transformation, my bother, Derek, had offered to me a place in the Labyrinth, with him and the other Mutates, away from all this trouble.  Tempting though it was, I threw the idea away.  I would be stronger than the fear or the hate.  I wouldn't run.

We returned to the Clock Tower near dawn, and I threw myself into Goliath's arms, my head on his chest, begging him to tell me that it would be all right, as the sun came up and froze all concerns away.

It got better.  Little by little, I learned to deal with the pain, as my love for Goliath bloomed and I took what measure of acceptance I could.  We did occasionally find real friends, especially on the Avalon World Tour.  And now, with the existence of Gargoyles revealed to the world... well, who knows what will happen.
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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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