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[personal profile] reluctant_gargoyle
Late November, 1995

I'd never been much of a praying woman before, outside of some very general, dear God, let me make it out of this alive sort of way, but often after my transformation, I found myself in prayer.  Prayers for sanity. Prayers for it all to make sense.  Prayers for my life back.  Prayers to... God?  The universe?  Fate?  I'm not entirely sure.

I was slowly getting used to what had become my life.  The loss of the sun, my job, my car, the ability to go down the store for a carton of milk whenever I wanted, it all still ached terribly.  The true saving grace here was Goliath.  Now that how I felt, how we both felt, was out in the open, it eased some of the stress.  We were becoming some kind of couple, figuring out what exactly that meant for the two of us, blending dating with courtship.

I was outside on the clock tower's balcony, perched on the railing.  The talons of my feet gripped it tightly, insuring that I wouldn't fall over.  My balance and coordination had improved greatly over the past two months.  I was no longer in any danger from my own body.  On that night, however, I found myself in prayer again.

Okay, I thought, point made.   I love Goliath, he loves me, and we're working the rest out.  All out in the open.  No denial.  Yep.  Everybody knows what the other thinks.  Perfect place to start something.

So...

Can I have my body back now?


I mean, human or Gargoyle, I'm going to feel the same way.  We'll still love each other.  And I won't go back to trying to deny it.  No way.  A human and a Gargoyle?  We'd be in for a rough time.  But I'm willing.  We'll find a way to make it work.

So...

How about it?

I waited.  I closed my eyes.  So help me, I even counted to ten.  But when I opened them, nothing had changed.  I wasn't actually surprised.  I hadn't expected anything, but figured it was worth a shot.

A soft change in the sounds around me and a subtle, musky scent, mixed with leather and concrete, told me that Goliath had come out of the clock tower.  I let my train of thought derail.  "Elisa," Goliath began, "are you all right?  You have been staring out over the city without moving for some time now."

I turned to look at him, then hopped down off the railing.  "I'm okay," I said.  "Just thinking, really."

"Ah."  I guess it was pretty clear what I had been thinking about.  Our relationship was... strange.  Fragile.  I knew, and he did to, that our feelings were genuine, that I wasn't just marking time and making the best of things until I found a way to be normal again.  But feelings confessed did not mean everything was happy and fine.  We still had a long way to go.  And the loss of my human life still loomed large in front of us, as did my hope to one day be human again.

I ventured a question.  It had weighed upon me lately.  "Goliath, do you ever think about what would have happened if I'd been changed back to normal like everyone else? "

Goliath inhaled deeply and held the breath for a moment before letting it out.  "Often," he said.  "I think often of the pain you have endured and would have done anything to spare you that."
Not the part of the question I was really hoping to have answered.  "And... what about us?  We only started talking because we didn't really have much other choice."  Feelings once uncorked were impossible to put back in the bottle for long.  If we had waited much longer to talk, repressed feelings would have become uncomfortable outbursts, leaking over to the rest of our lives.

"I do not know," Goliath confessed, bowing his head.  "I would hope I would have had the courage to broach the subject all the same... but I do not know if I could have been so brave."

And what if he had?  How would I have reacted?  I had worked so hard to keep my feelings buried in those days, feeling somewhat safe in the knowledge that Goliath seemed to give no sign of feeling the same way.  Would I have talked to him if he had declared his feelings, told him how I felt, and asked where we went from there?  Would I have become Goliath's girlfriend that very night?  Or would I have blown him off?  Would I have refused to have the conversation, said there was nothing to talk about?  Would I have broken his heart to "protect" myself?  Or would we have talked but found that the answer was "no," that in spite of our feelings, there was no way for us to make things work?

No easy answers, that's for sure.  Even now.

"I think you would have," I told him.  "But I'm ashamed to say I don't know if I'd have been brave enough to listen."

He put his arms around me, then his wings.  I laid on my chest and felt the heat that radiated from him like a furnace, felt the comfort of hide that was just a little bit leathery.  "Do not feel shame," he said.  "Love plays havoc with even the bravest of hearts.  I know your bravery would have shown through.  You have never run in the face of fear."

Comforting words, but I doubted they would have matched the reality.  I wasn't nearly as brave as he believed.  "And us?  Do you think we could make it as a human and a Gargoyle?"

"I know not," he said.  "But I would give anything to be able to try, whether or not it would work, to let you have your life again.  I would gladly sacrifice anything, even my chance to be your love, to see you restored to your natural form and spare you your pain."

Goliath all over.  Noble, self-sacrificing, and always trying to look out for me.  That he would be willing to give up on being with me, that he would be willing to love me, knowing it could never be, just to spare me pain spoke volumes of how deep his love for me was.

"That's a devil's bargain and you know it, Goliath.  Look, I'm not going to lie.  You know I miss my life.  But I love you.  And I wouldn't want my life back if it meant I couldn't have you.  That's not an acceptable trade-off.  It's not a deal I'll make and it's not one I'd be happy with you making either."

Goliath let me go for a moment and looked me in the eyes.  "Are you happy like this, Elisa?  Truly?"

A straight-forward question that deserved a straight-forward answer.  "I'm not unhappy," I finally managed.  "Not completely.  I'm alive, I've got a home, a purpose, good friends, and you.  Lots of people can't even say that much about their lives.  And I have happy moments.  More and more of them.

"And maybe one day I'll be able to give you a better answer."

He shook his head.  "There is no need.  I would worry if you had answered any other way.  I cannot promise happy days... but I shall always be here for you."

I pulled him back into an embrace, wrapping my own wings around him.  "Best deal I've ever heard."
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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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