Alrighty then…here is the next, and final chapter of this story. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review this story and/or leave me a rating (For those of you on gargoyles-fans). It has been a great boon to my writing that so many of you have supported this story!
Is there anything else in store…I don't rightly know yet. This was only supposed to be a trilogy of stories, but I may go back and tell of Michelle's first experience with the Gargoyles…what do you think? Email me and let me know!
Take care and thank you again for all of the support!
Chapter Twelve: Salvation and Revelation
Many things happened following Tanner's orders for Michelle to go find help and all of them seemingly at the same time. Demona kicked free of Tanner's clutches, cutting him yet again across his left thigh, and started for Michelle. Michelle had finally had the information contained in Tanner's order sink in and was finally running from the scene. Michelle ran as fast as her legs could carry her, but she was sure that any moment there would be a clawed hand on her shoulder rending her flesh. She didn't chance to look back, fearful of what she would see.
There was a rush of air making her duck momentarily, and a blur of color dropped seemingly from the nowhere, blocking her escape. A sudden flash of anxiety went through her, and fleetingly she thought that Demona might have accomplices of her own. Michelle skidded across the short grass in an attempt to a stop, but thudded heavily into the body now directly in her path. Before she could get a good look, the gargoyle said, "Get out of the way!" and bodily pushed Michelle past it.
Michelle stumbled in an attempt to maintain her feet, and then whirled around to face the way she had come. Demona slid to a stop much as Michelle had, in front of what turned out to be another Gargress. The Gargoyle separating Michelle from Demona was dark haired, so brown it was nearly black, and her skin tone was a dark, almost purple, blue. Her wings quickly folded around her body as she faced Demona, seeming to possess utter confidence in her control of the situation. Michelle's eyes were drawn away as other streaks of color fell out of the night sky creating a loose circle around the drama unfolding between them. Her gaze lingered as she watched the gargoyle that could only be Goliath aiding the further injured Tanner to his feet.
"Get out of the way Angela," Michelle heard Demona growl.
"No, Mother I will not," The other said, and shaking her head she added. Michelle started at that. Her mother? Good lord, she had never heard anything about that on the Internet. Looking closer she saw that there was a resemblance there they nobody could deny, her face and her build were nearly identical to that of the Demon who had been after her and Tanner for three nights. Another thought quickly followed on the heels of the first, even as the one named Angela said, "Why? Why are you attacking my brother?"
Michelle chanced a look at Tanner who had retreated slightly behind his slightly larger father, limping heavily and holding tightly to a wound that now glared from his thigh.
If the gargoyle named Angela and Tanner were siblings, and Goliath was Tanner's father…did that mean that Tanner had been battling his own mother for the past three nights? Her eyes drifted back toward the drama unfolding before her.
Demona gathered herself up, straightening to her full height, but she didn't answer the younger gargoyle, which was now standing with arms folded across her chest.
"Are you so hateful that you would attack even one who has never before set eyes on you?" It was Goliath talking now and slowly approaching his former mate. Michelle was now thoroughly confused, her previous theory in doubt. Could it be that she had left the Clan before Tanner's hatching? But then why would she attack her own spawn?
Demona whirled around to face Goliath, yet still remained silent, seeming to notice that she was hemmed in by five different Gargoyles, her eyes darting this way and that as the circle closed about her.
With a feral growl of frustration and hate, Demona leapt for the air, and Goliath rose up to try and drag her back down, but barely missed latching onto her ankle. She gained a tree limb above the group and quickly disappeared from sight. The larger Gargoyle sighed heavily as he slowly lowered his arm to his side.
"Broadway! Lexington! Go after her," A smaller burnt orange hued gargoyle called out with authority.
"No!" Goliath bellowed, "Let her go, Brooklyn. It would do no good to try and hold her and we both know it."
The smaller gargoyle looked ready to argue, even as the two he had ordered out were frozen halfway through the act of following Brooklyn's orders. After a few moments of staring at each other the smaller relented and Lexington and Broadway relaxed their stances.
Goliath turned toward Tanner saying, "Are you all right?"
"I will be," Tanner said in a voice that was tinged with exhaustion and pain. Michelle cautiously approached the two of them. The others seemed not to notice that she was even there anymore, but the two gargoyles so much the reflection of each other both sensed her approach and turned their heads to face her.
Goliath straightened wrapping his large wings around his body in a living cape; he then looked back at his son with a raised eyebrow. Tanner looked fleetingly embarrassed but turned to Michelle saying, "Are you alright?"
She nodded, "Confused, but none the worse for wear."
Tanner smiled a little then turned back to his father, "How did you find us?"
Goliath looked back to the woman standing in their midst, "Xanatos showed us the video of your visit to the building." He said speaking directly to Michelle. She flushed bright red for a reason she could not explain, "It allowed us to concentrate our search in the park."
"How long have you been looking?" Tanner asked next, seeming guilty of something.
"Since last night," Goliath said and his voice this time was tinged with the worry he had felt.
"I'm sorry Father, I disobeyed you," Tanner said, unable to meet his eyes.
This time Goliath looked confused, "Oh?"
"I did not come back to the castle after the concert, nor the next day as I should have," Tanner admitted, "If I had, none of this trouble would have happened."
"Why did you not come back?" Goliath asked evenly. Tanner's eyes were unable to help the glance to Michelle.
"I…met Michelle," Tanner finally said. Goliath raised his head slightly sighing as he nodded, seemingly in both disappointment and understanding.
"I see," He said simply, but it was weighted with undertones, and Michelle wondered what it was she was hearing in what the tall gargoyle was not saying.
Before more could be said a red and white classic car came to a screeching halt near where they were all now closely gathered. A slight, dark haired woman stepped out and ran to where Michelle's partner the past few nights stood.
"Tanner!" The woman said in a voice that was both anxious and joyous.
"Mother!" Tanner said in relief, hugging the dark haired woman tightly.
Michelle blanched a moment as the implications of their conversation hit her. Tanner's mother was…human? While she was relieved that his mother was not that psychotic Gargress that had been intent on destroying them both, she was overwhelmed by a feeling that she couldn't describe, unsure about the fact Tanner had been born…not hatched…born of a human mother. She thought reluctantly that it might be disgust in the way something like that must have happened.
Michelle hated herself for even considering that, when she had been the one to make overtures to him after their first meeting. She had been the forward one, excited by the thought that she was making friends with a gargoyle, even if she couldn't really tell anyone about it. She had truly come to like Tanner, to feel protective of him, and perhaps even something more. So why was that feeling suddenly changed for the fact that he was only half of what she thought he was?
Without realizing she had done it, she found herself on the edges of the group, and turning, not ready to deal with the news she had just received she began walking away.
"I'm so glad you're alright," Elisa said as she pushed back from their embrace and looked Tanner over with a quick and critical eye, "That bitch," She muttered running light fingers over the scars still glaringly obvious on Tanner's chest and arm. Her gaze moved down to take in the blood that Tanner was trying to staunch on his leg, "We need to get this treated," she said to Tanner. He waved her worry away a moment.
"Mother, I want you to meet someone," Tanner said enthusiastically and one hand on Elisa's upper arm, he turned pointing to where Michelle had been standing, only to find the spot empty. His expression smoothed over and was replaced by a frown of consternation and anxiety. His eyes quickly scanned the area finally finding Michelle steadily increasing the distance between. He turned briefly to his mother looking imploringly into her eyes and she nodded giving him leave to catch her. Tanner smiled wanly and nodded, turning to catch up with Michelle.
"Michelle," He called, missing the looks the others were following him with. The woman started at the sound of his voice and he was shocked when she quickened her pace as if to avoid him, "Michelle…Stop!"
As if against her will, Michelle pulled up short at his command and when she turned there was hurt look on her face, and guilt.
"What's wrong?" Tanner asked as he caught up with her.
"I…just need a few moments to think," Michelle replied avoiding his dark eyes.
Tanner stood there a moment his brow furrowing, "Michelle…there's something wrong…what is it?"
Michelle finally met his gaze her eyes watery with tears, "That woman's… your mother?"
It was Tanner's turn to start, realizing belatedly that she had been present when Elisa had come onto the scene. He had reacted naturally, and in turn given away what he had been trying to keep her from finding out. He looked down, nodding; "Now you know. You have every right to hate me for keeping that from you."
"Hate you?" Michelle asked, as if confused, "No, not that. Uncomfortable, maybe…but I don't hate you."
"Yet you're running from me," Tanner said and there was an edge of nervous anger in his voice.
"It's not something you hear every day," Michelle snapped, "I mean…damn…I don't know what I mean. I don't know what I thought this was supposed to be about."
"I don't understand," Tanner said concerned.
"US," She said in exasperation, "Here I am flirting with a gargoyle for heaven sakes. I guess I never really understood the implications. I thought it was safe…until," She pointed in the general direction of where Goliath and Elisa stood watching the two of them, "Now I'm feeling a bit, um, awkward…like I may have gotten myself in too deep."
"Michelle," Tanner said slowly taking both of her hands into his own, "You are a friend…I had no intentions on anything else," It was an understatement, and Tanner knew it, but he would not follow that far into his father's footsteps. There was too much to be lost by that kind of action. He would deny himself the feelings of longing he had when he was around her.
Michelle was nodding, as if only half believing of what he was saying to her. Or perhaps it was that she felt the same way he did in truth. He shook his head minutely, he would not let himself assume that either.
"So," Michelle said after taking a long breath, "How exactly…I mean you… I understood that it was…improbable, if not impossible for the two species to…um…copulate," She was extremely flustered by her forward line of questioning.
Tanner laughed nervously, "Well…there were other things involved."
"Such as?" Michelle said, crossing her arms.
"Um…would you believe magic?" Tanner said self effacingly.
"After dealing with an immortal gargoyle and you…both of which 'don't exist'. I think I could believe that."
Tanner could only nod. They both fell into an uncomfortable silence.
"It answers a lot," Michelle said succinctly, after the silence seemed to drag on too long, "You being half human."
"Yes," Tanner said simply.
"Have you always been able to wake so early in the day?" Michelle asked unexpectedly, as if it had been eating at her since he had awakened three hours before sunset.
"No," he answered honestly, "That had just started, the day following my birthday."
"Really?" She asked trying not to sound intrigued.
"The other's don't know," Tanner said quickly, "And I don't want them to know."
"Why not?" Michelle asked confused.
"You don't understand how hard it is for me, being what I am, even within the clan," Tanner said, "There are those who dislike me, for what Goliath allowed to happen. Those same members of the Clan would not look kindly on any more differences."
"That's silly," Michelle muttered, "They're going to find out sometime…I did."
"It does not have to be now," Tanner added imploringly.
"But what about your inability to heal?"
"That is a handicap that I have had all my life," Tanner said with a shake of his head, "The Clan knows that."
"Didn't that scare you with all the battles you have to get into? I mean the thought of not being able to heal even once sleep overtakes you?"
"I've learned ways to minimize my risks even in an intense fight."
"I see," Michelle said softly.
Tanner spent the next several hours explaining his life to her. He told her what his parents had told him about their night together, about his own birth, and about the anomalies in him because of that. He told of the Lady of Avalon's visit and how she had warned him of the 'gift' and the trouble they might cause him.
Tanner then brought her back over to the group and introduced each in turn, and it was only then that Michelle seemed to return to life. Tonight's revelations seemed to darken her normally bright and happy spirit, and it pained Tanner a little to know that her attitude toward him had darkened slightly.
He watched as she chatted animatedly with some of the others relaying the events of the past several days for them to hear, stopping only occasionally to let Tanner relive his own experiences of the past 72 hours. He was careful not to reveal his ability to wake early in the day, and was more than grateful that Michelle kept her promise and his secret.
He wondered as the night swiftly gave way to the day, and the Clan had to say their goodbyes, if Michelle would still want to see him anymore. There was that welling ache in him again at the thought that she might just call their meeting a loss and move on.
When the other's turned to go, and only Tanner Goliath, Michelle and Elisa were left in the small clearing, Tanner turned on his heel and made ready to leap into the nearest tree.
"Tanner?" Michelle said in a small voice.
He turned toward her again, relaxing his stance, he was sure that he looked anxious to her eyes, "Yes."
"If I haven't acted too much like a jerk tonight," She paused looking down, and then slowly back into his eyes, flipping her long hair out of her face, "Would you like to meet me tonight?"
Tanner smiled his chest swelling and warmth spreading back through him. He glanced at his mother and father, looking for some kind of sign of disapproval. Elisa was holding to Goliath's waist and he in turn rested a hand on her slight shoulder, and they were both smiling with knowing looks.
"Sure," he said happily, "But how about we make it at the castle?"
"Oh, I'd love to see your home," Michelle said with the enthusiasm he had liked the moment that they had first met.