Late December, 1995
What was to have been one of the strangest and biggest adventures of my life started innocently enough. With the Trio occupied by their own pursuits and Hudson enthralled by some TV show, Goliath and I had opted for a mini-date, taking Bronx with us for a little walk and play in Central Park. It was late enough to be secluded and, frankly, we were quick enough to get away if we were spotted. And muggers? Please. I’d have actually felt sorry for anyone who tried to mug us.
Goliath and I had been, well, his word was “courting.” I just said “dating.” Whatever it was we’d been doing, we’d been doing it for close to two months by then. We spent our free nights and time together when we weren’t patrolling, and I was, little by little, getting him more and more comfortable around my family, even managing to get him to come to dinner once. And when I’d told my parents we were dating, they’d told me it was not exactly a surprise.
The two of us pretty much didn’t come as a surprise to anyone, frankly. I think we were the only two people who didn’t quite see how we felt.
By and large, we’d been taking it slowly. No talk or anything more or anything long term or permanent, and definitely no sex. It was the longest I’d been with a guy without sex entering the picture, but Gargoyles are much less casual about that kind of thing than humans, and I know I wouldn’t have been ready for it anyway. I had, however, introduced the Big Guy to the concept of making out.
Alas, though, for our private night out was not to be. A strange fog rolled in across the pond and an armored figure on a skiff appeared out of it. We hung back, out of sight, until we saw that his helmet and armor resembled Goliath.
“Friend of yours?” I asked.
“Not that I know of,” Goliath said, frowning. The Steel Clan robots and Xanatos’s exo-frame had been cast in his image, and both of those were nothing but trouble. Was this yet another threat?
Bronx, however, sniffed the air furiously, then settled the matter for us. He let out a happy bark and ran toward the armored man, stubby tail wagging. Goliath and I exchanged worried looks before following.
Bronx pranced happily around the man, who reached down to scratch him behind the ears. “Well, beastie,” the man said, his accent nearly as thick as Hudson’s, “I see you remember me! But where’s Goliath?”
“I am here.” We stepped into view, briefly giving the man pause. He pulled back his helmet, revealing a well-worn face and blond hair, along with a smile.
“Goliath!” he beamed. “It’s me! Tom! From Castle Wyvern!”
Recognition dawned slowly on Goliath’s face, before he broke into a broad grin. “The boy… Tom!” he boomed. “Elisa! Tom was a friend to the Clan when friends were few indeed! But how can this be…?”
“It’s a long story, Goliath,” he said, “and one I’ll happily share once we’re underway. But you must come with me! The Eggs are in danger from the Archmage!”
Wonderment again worked its way across Goliath’s face. He had long believed that the eggs that had lain in the castle rookery were long gone. If those had somehow survived, then they… they we were not alone, not the last. “Then take us to them,” he said. “Would that we had time to summon the others…”
I had a bad feeling about this, but I pushed it aside. “They’ll manage without us for a little while,” I said. “You’ll need help. Bronx and I are going with you.”
We boarded the skiff and Tom invoked a magic spell that set us off into the mists. As we traveled, he told us of how he, Princess Katherine, and the Magnus had all survived, eventually hiding away on a magical island called Avalon, where time moved at a rate of one hour there for every day in the real world.
“But tell me, lass,” Tom said, directing his attention to me, “where did you come from? There were no females in Goliath’s group of survivors.”
I swallowed hard. Tom was obviously a friend of the Clan, but I had no desire to explaining my life story to everyone we met. I didn’t need the confusion or pity that would bring. I got enough of those from the people already in the know.
Fortunately, Goliath came to my rescue. “Elisa is a native of Manhattan,” he explained, “who met us shortly after we awoke, and helped to guide us in this new land. Once, there were many like her, but because of foolish magic, they are gone now, and she has joined our clan.”
It was an utter lie, but with enough truth to be technically accurate. The details of how I met them certainly were, and the notion of there being others like me was also technically true, and magic had indeed returned all the other Gargoyles in Manhattan to human-form. It would pass muster well enough.
“You’ve my sympathies, Elisa,” Tom said, and I nodded my thanks. I disliked the lying, but wasn’t at the point, psychologically, where I was ready for full openness either.
When we got to Avalon, we got the shock of our lives. The “Eggs” were not eggs at all, but nearly-full grown Gargoyles the Trio’s age. Goliath nearly wept with joy, while Tom explained it was an old nickname that he had never quite managed to stop using.
A brief battle with the Archmage cut things short, but after, I couldn’t help but notice one of the Avalonian Gargoyles, a lavender female named Angela.
“Goliath,” I said to him, “I can’t help but notice Angela looks a lot like Demona, except her coloring is different. Whose daughter is she?”
He avoided my gaze for a moment, before answering. “Sons and daughters belong to the whole Clan,” he said. “It is the Gargoyle Way.”
I bit back a growl of frustration. That would have been nice to know earlier. Not that I’d given any real thought to the idea of kids with Goliath, but I was aware of the possibility. The thought that he would maybe not think of the kids as his was a tormenting one. Worse, the thought that I would be expected to act the same way…
Worse, there was really little mistaking that Angela was Goliath and Demona’s daughter. I knew they were mates once, it was logical to think that they’d had a child together. And I knew that Goliath had still carried a torch for her, however briefly, before we’d ended up together. And even though they were no longer together and he was with me, I still reacted poorly to a reminder of his former life.
After meeting Katherine and the Magnus, and planning a rudimentary defense and attack plan, I pulled Goliath aside again. “She’s your daughter,” I said, flatly.
Goliath remained stone-faced. “They are all my sons and daughters,” he said.
“Dammit, Goliath, are you being blind or just deliberately obtuse. It doesn’t take a detective—which I still am—to figure this one out.”
He growled in irritation. “I am being a Gargoyle. Our ways are not your ways, for all we are alike.”
Why was I pushing the issue so hard? Even know, I don’t really know. But it mattered to me then, mattered to the future I might possible have with him.
“Yeah, well,” I said, “in case you’ve forgotten, I might look like a Gargoyle, but I’m also still pretty damn human. If we have kids, are you going to pull this kind of crap?”
“Elisa,” Goliath said softly, “you have… thought about that?”
“Of course I have,” I confessed. “I love you, Goliath. And this is pretty much me for the rest of my life. It’s a pretty logical conclusion. And… you’d be… you’d be a good father.”
He took my hands in his. “I had no idea your thoughts had taken you down this road. But I do not know if I have the answers you seek. You must understand, this is not borne of malice or of some way of detaching ourselves from our children. If anything, it bonds us more closely. A Gargoyle’s life is never easy… many die in battle. In our way, we keep any child from ever becoming an orphan.”
Well… when he put it that way…
“You and I, we are of two worlds, slowly becoming one. There are no easy answers for us, and each question will have to be considered in time, by both of us.”
“I don’t expect you to change overnight,” I said. “And I don’t expect any change to just be made by you. We’re in this together. This was all just… overwhelming. Got me thinking those things even more.”
“We will have to answer these questions,” he agreed. “But not here, not now. But I must ask of you not to speak of this to Angela. Bad enough Demona and Macbeth are among the attackers here, but she should not learn anything in this way.”
“I can do that.” I reached up and stroked his hair. He leaned down and kissed my forehead. “Love you,” I said.
“And I love you.”
I thought of something. “So… was this our first fight?”
Goliath gave me a curious look. “I… suppose?”
“And we made it through it just fine.”
Of course, we saved the world, but Angela’s deciding to come with us would raise the questions again, much sooner than we would expect…