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[personal profile] reluctant_gargoyle
It's hard to believe that anything could have been worse than Halloween, 1995, but the next year actually managed it.  Not long before, the Canmores, a pair of brothers and a sister obsessed with killing Demona (and none to fond of us either, by association) had destroyed the our Clock Tower home.  Worse, our flight from there had been caught on film, revealing the existence of Gargoyles in New York City in such a large scale way that there would be no more denying it.  Much speculation was--and still is truthfully--being made over why one of the Gargoyles was dressed like a human, though thankfully there were no clear shots of my face.  Gargoyle or not, there's enough about me that still looks like I did that someone who'd known me could possibly recognize me.

In the aftermath, a hate group calling themselves the Quarrymen had sprung up.  Lead by a man named John Castaway, members of the group dressed in black, with hoods hiding their faces.  Goliath and I had encountered them and their power-hammers fist hand.  Some of them, at least, wanted nothing less than our complete and utter destruction.  Others, ordinary people, were joining too, because they were afraid, and Castaway was well versed in using the rhetoric of fear and hatred to build his power and gather followers.  Thirty years ago, he'd have fit right in with the Klan.

To complicate matters further, the city had tasked the police with creating a "Gargoyles Task Force," putting our friend and my ex-partner Matt Bluestone in charge.  Most of it was made up and friends and former fellow officers, people I had known and had had to cut out of mu life.  Though officially charged with keeping the Gargoyle situation from spreading out of control and overtaking the city with violence, the were also being advised by ADA Margot Yale, who saw us as little more than mindless beasts and wanted our heads on a platter.

The final straw was that we were now living with Xanatos.  He'd saved us when it had looked like the Task Force was closing in and offered the Castle as a home for the Clan once more.  I thought it was a bad idea.  No, make that a spectacularly bone-headedly bad idea.  After all he had done, all the crap he had pulled...  I didn't trust him in the least.  Even Goliath believed, on some level, that, at best, all we could really trust was for him not to smash us during the day.  But when he said that the feud was over, that he wanted to do whatever he could to repay us for saving his son from Oberon, I almost believed him.  Truthfully, we had few options and with the possibility of reclaiming the Clan's ancient home before him, Goliath accepted the offer of sanctuary.

And so it came about that Xanatos was throwing a Halloween ball at the Eyrie building, open to both the movers and shakers of the city, as well as the more mundane, and, of course, us.  Angela and the Trio were excited and Hudson was spending the evening with his human friend, Jeffery Robbins.  And I was undecided, worried.  The street festival last year was one thing, a prolonged party quite another.  Eventually, and with encouragement from both Goliath and Angela, I decided to attend.  With any luck, there wouldn't be anyone I knew.  And if there was, well, I was prepared to lie my tail off.

Angela, Broadway, and Lexington were going with a Wizard of Oz theme, dressing as Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, and a cybernetic Tin Man, respectively.  Brooklyn was keeping his a secret, while Goliath felt that just being himself was enough.  I settled on Esmeralda, from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which we'd managed to catch at a theater just right for sneaking in (yeah, okay, not my proudest moment really, but hey...).  Pretty good movie, overall, though Goliath had been grumpy about the movie's gargoyles and how inaccurate it was to the book.

Prior to the party, I took Brooklyn to the Labyrinth to check in on my brother and see how the Clones were getting on.  There, Brooklyn surprised me by asking Delilah to the party and she surprised me by accepting.  Delilah, recall, is a clone made from both me and Demona.  Thailog apparently couldn't decide which one of us he liked better, so he decided to have his cake and eat it too when constructing his personal toy.  Brooklyn being interested in her was surprising, since he'd never shown any sign of any interest in me and he absolutely hated Demona.  Then again, given how he reacted to both Maggie and Angela, his type appears to be any breathing female with wings.

What we didn't know was what not long after we left, Thailog, alive after what had appeared to be a fiery death, had attacked the Labyrinth.  He injured Maggie and took control of the remaining Clones.  Learning where Delilah was, he left determined to reclaim her as well.

All things considered, the party started off well enough.  Only person I really knew there was Doctor Sato, the surgeon who'd saved my life when Broadway accidentally shot me, and he was easy enough to avoid.  For one reason or another, Xanatos and family had bugged out shortly before the party started.  Brooklyn, dressed as "Super-Goyle," utterly failed to spark anything with Delilah.  I also saw ADA Yale chewing out her husband for having the nerve to dress up as something so unimaginative and cliched as a Gargoyle and later saw her complimenting Lex on his costume.  I should have known something bad was going to happen.  It was all going entirely too well.

Goliath and I stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air.  The crowd inside was getting to be a bit much.  The fluttering of wings, however, got our attention.  The Clones--Malibu, Brentwood, Burbank, and Hollywood--dropped down before us.

"Hello, friends," Goliath said.  "What are you doing here?"

"Oh," a voice said, identical to Goliath's, but with a completely different cadence, "they're with me."  Thailog dropped out of the sky and landed in front of us.  "Hello, Father."

"Thailog!" Goliath growled.  "What are you doing with them?"

"Just reclaiming what's mine," Thailog sneered.  "But I seem to be missing one.  You haven't seen Delilah by any chance, have you?"

"She's not ours anymore," I growled, eyes glowing red.  "And neither are the others."

"Oh, I beg to differ."

"We're beaten you before," Goliath said.  "And we'll do so again, if we must."

He approached Thailog warily, looking for an opportunity to strike, but Thailog was even faster, slamming a fist into Goliath's chest.  I heard a sickening, metal sound, and saw Goliath fall.  Thailog had hidden a blade in his gauntlet and Goliath...

I saw red and let out a roar, leaping at Thailog with my claws out to tear his face off.  He tagged me with another blade, cutting along my shoulder, then backhanded me against the wall. 

Fortunately, the cavalry arrived, as Brooklyn and the rest emerged from inside the castle and Hudson and Bronx made their own return.  At Thailog's signal, the Clones attacked and a battle broke out.  As Second-in-Command, with Goliath down, I should have been spearheading the defense, but with the love of my life maybe dying, I was suddenly very useless.  I moved to his side.  "Goliath..."  

Dawn was endless hours away and his injuries were too great.  He'd never make it.  He was literally dying right there in front of me.

"Elisa," he breathed, weakly.  "You must... you must help the Clones... see the light..."

God.  He was dying and all he could think of was helping someone else.  Is there any wonder I love the guy?

I held his hand.  "Stay with me, Big Guy.  We'll get help..."

To say I was frightened was an understatement.  I had never been this close to losing him before, and now, there was so much to lose.  I would not just be losing a friend, but my true love. The prospect of a very long life without him loomed up before me, endless nights without him.  Alone.  Leadership of the Clan, God, if he died, I'd be in charge, shouldering the enormous responsibility.  All this and more passed through my panicked mind. 

The battle was taken out of our hands.  Owen called out Xanatos's security goon squad and bargained with Thailog to send Delilah out in exchange for his calling off the hostilities.  Thailog played up the fact that if we really believed in free will, we would let her chose what to do.  Fortunately, she chose not to go with him, but to return to the Labyrinth.  So did Hollywood, Burbank, and Malibu.  Brentwood, however, chose to go with Thailog.  Lexington tried to stop his clone, but Goliath stopped him, saying that freedom of choice had to include the freedom to choose poorly.  Thailog and Brentwood left, as Goliath continued to slip away.

He would have died that night, I know, had not help arrived.  Brendan Quarters, Yale's much beleaguered husband, had witnessed Goliath's stabbing and had sought help in the form of Doctor Sato.  To say the doctor was surprised was to say the least.  He looked over Goliath quickly, gasping, "That's not a costume..."

"Can you help him?" I asked, pleading.

"Detective Maza?" he gasped, in recognition.  

"Long story," I said, quickly.  "Can you help him?" I repeated.

"I don't know," Sato said.  "But I'll do what I can."

I owe Goliath's life to the both of them.  He lived, thanks to the timely intervention.

Hell of a way to spend a holiday.  I'm thinking of skipping Halloween '97.

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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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