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[personal profile] reluctant_gargoyle
Late September, 1995

One minute I had been discussing the theft of Titania’s Mirror with the guys (along with learning about the existence of the so-called “Third Race”), the next I’d been lifted into the air by a green, bright light that filled the clock tower. When it faded, I saw the guys staring at me and felt weak on my feet. Something had changed, I could tell that much. But what? I closed my eyes and put a hand to my forehead.


I felt a strong hand grasp my wing, just below my wing talon. I looked up at Goliath, saw his lavender face, and in a moment, pieced together what had happened. A huge grin lit up my face like a thousand watt bulb. “Goliath,” I bubbled, “this is wonderful! You’ve been changed into a Gargoyle!” No longer would I have to be afraid of loving him. We could be together without any problems. I wrapped my arms around his neck and held on tight.

Goliath broke away from me, concern writ large on his face. “I am not the one who has changed,” he told me. “You are.”

Say what now? That was just laughable. “Goliath, I’ve always been a Gargoyle.” I laughed a little. “I think I’d know if I wasn’t.”

Again that look of concern. Here he was, having made a sudden change of species (he had, hadn’t he?), and he was worried about me.

“Tell me,” he said, “how did we first meet?”

Well, that was a dumb question. As if I could ever forget that day. “I fell off the castle,” I said, suddenly a little hesitant, as though what I was saying wasn’t adding up. “And you… glided down…to catch me?” A perfect image of Goliath, swooping down, wings flared wide, appeared in my mind. Maybe… maybe he hadn’t changed? No, that was impossible.

“Think,” he said, as he started to lead me outside to the clock tower’s balcony. The others followed after. “If you’ve always had wings, why would you need me to catch you?”

I looked up and over my shoulders at my wings, the wing talons moving ever so slightly. “I can’t glide with these,” I said. A sudden smile lit my face again. “Can I?”

“Come with me.” Goliath moved closer to the edge of the balcony. Before I even knew what was happening, he had thrown us both over the railing. We were going to die, I realized, leaving little more than a bloody mess on the street below. There was absolutely no way anything else could happen…

Our wings caught the air and I let out a shriek like I was a teenager on a roller coaster. The rush of air under my wings, the feeling of weightlessness, the sensation of speed, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It just let one question. “Why haven’t I done this before?”

“You couldn’t,” Goliath said. “You were human.” Was there a note of happiness in his voice? Why would he…? What was going through his mind?

“Goliath…?”

“I was just thinking,” he said, softly, as though every word was a battle to get out. “When you were human, I never noticed how beautiful you are.”

Well. That was certainly revealing. I knew how I felt, but I hadn’t dared to consider how he had. I was starting to wonder if Goliath hadn’t been right though, that I’d been human. He certainly took to gliding more easily than I did. But there was one thing in what he said. “What, you thought I was ugly?”

Goliath’s mouth hung open and he started to stammer. “Careful, updraft,” he managed, conveniently, as an updraft lifted us up and over in the sky. We swooped lower, catching sight of the people below, and what I saw prompted me to scream. It was impossible to believe! It couldn’t have been!

We alighted on a rooftop and were quickly joined by the others. “This is terrible!” I said. “Everyone in New York has been changed into a… a human!

Goliath groaned and covered his eyes with his hand. “No, no, no, no,” he muttered. “Elisa, please, you must understand. They were human already, as you once were.” He sounded almost regretful about that. Now, more than ever, I was certain my feelings were not unrequited. But if I had been human, then what did that mean for us…? It was hard to think that I had been…

A flash of light came from the World Trade Center and Goliath and the others were off. I tried to follow, but somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to leap over the edge. I sank to my knees in helpless frustration. Maybe Goliath was right.

While he and the others were gone, battling Demona and discovering that all the humans in the city had been changed into Gargoyles, I tried to wrack my brain and sort my memories out. If I’d always been a Gargoyle, then why would I have been afraid of Goliath and Bronx the first time I saw them? Why would Xanatos have gone to so much work to control those specific Gargoyles? Why had my brother become a Mutate? And if Goliath had been a human… well, that made even less sense.

All of which left only one possibility. Goliath was right and I had indeed been human. And Goliath and I, my feelings for him (his for me?), all of it was back to square one. After I’d told him how wonderful it was that he was a Gargoyle, after he’d told me I was beautiful. That both of us had been so happy to be the same species that we could barely think. But if what I suspected was true, that I was human, then I could no more be a Gargoyle than he could be a human. It just wasn’t meant to be.

The guys soon returned, with news of what had happened to the city and Demona’s use of the Child of Oberon called Puck. Though I thought Puck—at least in A Midsummer Night’s Dream—had been a fairly harmless trickster, these tricks were far from harmless. At least they’d recovered the mirror. But now, with more than just me affected by this, it became even more important that we found Demona and put things right (whatever that was).

I hesitated as we moved to leave. “I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of jumping off rooftops,” I said. From inexperience or species differences, I don’t know. I was almost certain I had once been human now. I shouldn’t have wanted to get used to it. …Should I?

Goliath jumped first, making slow circles in the air. “Don’t worry,” he told me. “I’ll always be there to catch you.”

A flash of light erupted from the mirror and made his words a lie. As the light struck them, each of the natural-born Gargoyles was transformed into a human, finishing with Goliath. Who was still in the air. Instantly, he began to fall. Acting entirely on instinct, I leaped after him, catching him and fighting for lift. I couldn’t counter gravity entirely, but I could sink my talons into the side of the building, stopping our fall and letting a suddenly human Brooklyn and Broadway pull us up.

Goliath was confused. “I fell,” he muttered. “I’ve never fallen before…” He looked up at me as though seeing me for the first time. “Elisa!” he exclaimed. “You’re back to normal!”

I shook my head. “You’re the one who’s changed! You fell because you don’t have wings.” I was suddenly certain that this was not Goliath changing back, even though I had been sure before he had not always been a Gargoyle. Which meant that I definitely hadn’t. I knew we weren’t supposed to be the same species, but I was almost certain it was supposed to be the other way around.

I looked into Goliath’s handsome human face and idly thought, Why can’t this be?

“We’ve never needed wings to glide before,” Hudson said, covering the mirror with a sheet taken from a clothesline.

“We must have used wings,” Lex offered. “How else could we glide?”

“He’s right,” Goliath said. “We’re supposed to be Gargoyles and we’re not. And Elisa’s and the others are supposed to be human, and they’re not.”

At that, the last of my false memories faded. The outside corroboration, seeing the others change and not believing they had changed back, shattered whatever notions I had left that I was truly a Gargoyle. But if we could find Demona and Puck, surely we could put everything right, return everyone to normal? As happy as I had been gliding through the sky with Goliath, it hadn’t been right, hadn’t been natural. Just a spell. He was a Gargoyle and I was a human, and that was the way it was. Back to the loneliness and heartbreak and the love I dared not speak. Maybe… maybe when this was over we could talk.

We beat Demona, of course, with me laying a most satisfying smackdown on her. And most things were put right. Except for me, of course. No going back for Elisa Maza. The human was gone forever, replaced by a Gargoyle. One life ended that night. It would take time for a new one to begin…
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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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