Set after Avalon, but focuses on the events of "The Mirror". Not comics compliant.
The Puck's meddling that night had offered the clan a unique opportunity to see the city, for the first time, as it was meant to be seen—from ground-level, eye to eye with the rest of its inhabitants. Yet, though the bewitched New Yorkers around them had seen only what they had believed to be their own kind, they still hadn't quite managed to blend in with the crowd. Though their species had been altered little else had changed at all, and every other gargoyle on the street that night had worn the same modern clothing their human selves had chosen to wear that morning...
The clan, garbed only in their usual breechcloths had been noticeably under-dressed for a busy Manhattan street.
It had earned every one of them a healthy share of askance looks—curious stares, disapproving glares, embarrassed glances and smiles of amusement—though that itself was still a pleasant change from the reaction to which they were accustomed. Yet one such had seemed to stand out from the others that night—to Lexington's recollection, at least.
Only one—though it seemed odd that he should have been memorable at all.
He had seemed to Lexington quite close to his own age—which at a mere thirty or so and change would translate to a human of roughly seventeen—no longer light-limbed like a child, but still spare of muscle. His skin had been a tawny ocher color, like baked clay, like terracotta—almost the same color Elisa's had been, only darker, more honey-touched brown than red. His nose had been broad and flattened, his ears wedge-shaped and pointed, but otherwise the features of his face were likely a close reflection of how he might have appeared when he was human. His forehead had been somewhat more distinctive, with two slender horns rising on either side of a short crest, jagged with protrusions in a pattern that was almost crown-like, and the scalp behind it had been entirely bare, making it difficult to guess what color his hair might have been.
There had been nothing at all unusual about him—save the obvious, which was that he was not as he should have been—and surely, with the entire population of Manhattan transformed that night, he should never even have stood out from the rest of the changed crowd around him...
Yet somehow he had. Once the changeling's damage had been undone, once the trials of that night were over—and even still into the months that followed—Lexington found that he remembered nearly everything about him. And though the others liked to praise his intelligence now and then, in the end he had felt like an idiot for taking as long as he had to finally understand why.
Even before the curse of long sleep that had brought them into this new century, the other two—his closest brothers, for none of them had names then—had often mocked him lightly for being a late bloomer. And perhaps he honestly was—weaker, physically, smaller. At times more immature in his way—more naive in the beginning, more curious, less cautious, more trusting. Though of course well aware that he was different from his companions this had, for the most part, meant very little—for no two gargoyles were ever truly much the same, and among their kind simply being different, of itself, had never represented the heavy onus that most humans held it to be.
So it had never seemed unusual—or problematic, or even worth much thought at all—when he noticed the others' interests shifting while his own appeared to lag behind. But when Angela had appeared, he had played along, vying for her attentions with the other two—it had cost him nothing, after all, to pay her the complement, and the competition between them was as good as any other game...
Or had been until Brooklyn lost, and Lexington was forced to watch his brother behold Angela's and Broadway's happiness with a faint, bittersweet regret that he didn't quite share.
And not for the first time, Lexington had remembered the boy—the young gargoyle he had seen on the night when Puck had transformed the city. The one that had looked upon him—shirtless, practically naked by the standards of human modesty that the other had no doubt still possessed—for a brief few seconds, but with a shy, fleeting appreciation. Lexington hadn't quite understood it, not then, but it had left his face feeling hot and his stomach tight all the same.
Only in seeing that look on Brooklyn's face, his disappointment and loneliness, had Lexington finally understood—and even further, come to understand at last the empty ache that had seized him the very next sunset when he had woken up to the thought that he would never see that other young gargoyle again.
It had been the attention that had set his gaze apart in Lexington's eyes, he realized now—that boy had looked at him the way his brothers had looked at Angela. To be seen in that way—to be measured by another's eyes as something desired, even briefly in passing—was something that Lexington had never before experienced...
And it was not something he was likely to experience again.
Humans had names for everything, words for everything, and Lexington knew the word for what he now knew he was. Though he knew better than it seemed they did than to make it any more than what it was—merely another thing that was true of him and not the others, such as his being green-hued while Brooklyn was red. But humans did name things and count things, and number, and study, and some things it made it easier to understand, to estimate or guess. And though the clan now knew that their kind were not so few as they had once had thought they were still not many, and he knew that those like him would be rarer still—
Perhaps impossibly rare.
Lexington could indulge his brother with a smile when Brooklyn spoke wistfully of leaving—just long enough, he said, to visit the places their kind still lived that Goliath had uncovered in his travels. Maybe he would one day. Maybe he would even find what he needn't admit he was seeking. And perhaps Lexington would even go with him—but he could not let himself hope that he would find the same.
He didn't dare.
Lexington still thinks about that boy sometimes—as a gargoyle, the way he had seen him that night. He would think of terracotta skin and its earthy contrast against drab green, and imagine how it would feel to have wings caped around him as he explored shoulders just broadening into adulthood with the hungry, unfulfilled curiosity of his hands. He would imagine those eyes lingering on his for longer than a mere glance and try to the savor the memory of heat. And he would never know the human name those eyes had once belonged to, but in a way that made the illusion easier to enjoy...
Without a name for his phantom, or any image beyond the false face he had seen that night, Lexington didn't have to feel like he was stealing something he wasn't meant to have.