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The move to the Clock Tower and the trouble with Macbeth had occupied the holiday the previous year,so I had been prepared to make the next one a night the guys would enjoy.  I'd ordered costumes at the request of the Trio and even one for myself on the off chance that I could get Goliath to go out and enjoy the festivities with me.  Truthfully, I could not wait for the chance to spend a night out with him.  Even then, before I was willing to admit it, I was hopelessly in love.

All this had been before the Mirror, before I'd been transformed against my will.  Before Goliath and I had admitted our feelings for each other.

Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington were still excited for the night, and Matt had picked up their costumes for them.  Against my express wishes, he'd also picked up mine.  Looking back at it, I appreciate the gesture and what he was trying to do for me, but back then, it had felt like just one more reminder that the life I had known was gone, gone forever.

The Trio were busy inside getting ready and I was standing out on the balcony, looking out over the city.  We'd been hearing the odd news report lately of "werewolf" sightings, but didn't put too much stock into it, especially this close to Halloween.  Right then, regardless, it was the farthest thing from my mind.  I had been a Gargoyle a little more than a month.  I was better than I had been, especially since Goliath and I had had a long and revealing conversation about our feelings for each other, but I was far from being able to say I was all right.

Goliath came out to join me.  "Are you all right, my love?"

He'd started calling me that recently.  It was beautiful, really.  I'd been called a lot of pet nicknames by various boyfriends before, but, well, maybe it was him, the way he said it, I dunno, but it was the most beautiful thing I'd heard.

"Not really," I said.  "I mean, I was looking forward to tonight so much before and now..."

"Now, you do not feel like celebrating."

"No," I agreed.  "Not at all."

I fought back tears and put my arms around him, my head on his powerful chest.  One of his arms wrapped around me and the other stroked my hair.  For just a moment, I felt absolutely safe.

"Elisa," he said after a long moment, "if I may..."

I looked up.  "Big Guy?"

He took it as a sign to go on.  "Before, you spoke to us of this night as one in which we did not have to hide ourselves, one in which we could freely join your world without fear, without suspicion.   That we could taste, however briefly, of the freedom this time and this place denies us."

Goliath went on.  "I know this past month has been hard for you, more difficult than I can ever begin to conceive.  But tonight, I truly believe tonight would do you a world of good, if you will but let it."

I saw in his face that there was more that he wanted to say, but that he was having trouble putting his thoughts to words.  He wasn't wrong either, not really.  Moping around the tower wasn't doing myself any good.  Tonight, no one would notice a handful of Gargoyles, except maybe to comment on their really awesome costumes.  And after it was over, we would slip away, back to our world of secrecy, all of us.  It was not a pain I would have to endure alone.

"There is... something else, as well," Goliath finally managed.  I waited for him to finish gathering his thoughts, and he went on.  "Though I did not truly realize it, when you first approached us about tonight, there was a part of me excited to by the prospect of spending it with you.  I... would still like to, but only if that is your wish as well."

Well.  What could a girl say to something like that?  Yet I was still hesitant.

"What if someone I know sees me?"  I asked at last.  The world at large counted Elisa Maza among the missing, vanished just like her brother.  No way I wanted to explain myself to anyone; they wouldn't believe it in the first place.

"Tonight?" Goliath asked.  "When all are in costume, in a city with as many inhabitants as this?  I mean not to dismiss your concerns..."

"But the odds aren't with it," I said, finishing the thought.  One of the only chances I would have for a little bit of normalness with Goliath, and I was throwing it away?  Given my situation, completely understandable, and yet also so very... stupid.

"Okay," I said, "we'll go.  But if I want to leave..."

"Then we shall leave."

***

 
So I put on my Belle costume (Yeah, Beauty and the Beast.  What would I possible have been thinking when I ordered that?) and Goliath and I went to the Halloween Festival in the city.  Dancing with Goliath, out in the world with him...  I can't even begin to explain how long I'd been waiting for a moment like that.

The peaceful night, however, was short-lived.  We encountered the werewolf---a werefox actually---being chased by Xanatos in his Gargoyle exo-frame.  He'd already lost his helmet in the struggle with the werefox and in that moment, it was almost worth all my other pain to actually see him taken utterly by surprise.  It didn't last for more than a moment, barely there at all, but he had clearly been caught off-guard.

Goliath tried to reason with the werefox, which left me to deal with Xanatos.  He had defaulted to his ususal smug, flip behavior.  "That's a new look for you, isn't it, Detective?" he asked.

I wanted to wipe that smug grin off his face.  After what he had done to Derek and the other Mutates, all the pain he had caused my family, caused me, caused the Clan...  I wanted ot hurt him, make him pay.  It would have been easy.  I wasn't a cop anymore.  There weren't any rules anymore.

No rules but the ones I made.  And I wasn't going to sink to the level of the likes of Demona.

"Yeah, well, wings are becoming a family tradition," I growled.  If he was interested in the creature, then it had to have been human once, like Derek.  It made my blood boil.

We would discover that the werefox was, in fact, Fox, former member of the Pack and Xanatos's girlfriend.  She'd been transformed by the Eye of Odin, a magical artifact in his possession and given as an engagement gift.  It had, supposedly, brought her inner-self to the surface.  Now, though, it was killing her and he needed our help.  Needed it enough to plead for it.  A part of me thought we should have said no.  But Fox, nasty though she was, was the innocent one here.  We helped and saved the day, taking the Eye as "payment" for our help.  And Xanatos...I actually think he really does love her.  The world is strange sometimes.

The sad thing?  All in all, it actually went better than the next Halloween.
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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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