Wavering Eyes

New York City, May 3rd, 2001.

"How much longer can we afford to wait until the police do something?" John Castaway shouted, standing behind the podium, and grinning as he took in his audience. "Everywhere these creatures appear, chaos follows in their wake! If you wish to truly protect yourselves, join the Quarrymen!"

As the crowd erupted in applause, Goliath solemnly perched on a nearby rooftop.

"Let's get out of here, Goliath." Angela placed a comforting hand on his cloaked wing.

"She's right," said Brooklyn as he kneeled beside his leader. "We're doing ourselves no favors by listening to this guy's garbage."

"You're right." Goliath stood back up. "We will finish our patrol of the village, and then you are both dismissed for the evening."

"Calling it a night early, eh?" Brooklyn grinned and tilted his eye towards Angela. "You know what that means, right?"

"You and Elisa want to be alone," Angela smiled.

"Yes, well..." Goliath tried not to blush. Instead, he strode towards the ledge opposite Castaway's rally and took off into the air. Brooklyn and Angela quickly followed.

As the gargoyles soared south into Greenwich Village, things began to quiet down. People were either in their homes or heading home. Most stores were closed, and restaurants were in the process of sending their last patrons home so their employees could join them.

A black van was idling in front of a fairly well-known all-night General Store as two men in ski-masks piled out.

"Looks like somebody is about to cause trouble," Angela said, pointing towards the would-be-thieves.

"I know this store," said Goliath as they landed on the rooftop across the street. "The owner is a friend of Bluestone's."

"Then let's give him the best protection a gargoyle can provide," Brooklyn said, his eye glowing.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

"Now, just finish emptying the register, old man, and nobody will get shot," the man in the black ski-mask said, as he pointed a pump-loaded shotgun at Mr. Jaffe's head.

"Fine, fine." Jaffe opened the register and emptied it into the sack. "Just take it and get out of my store."

The man in the blue ski-mask sighed. "Bag is a bit light tonight," he muttered.

"No prob," said Black Mask. He then turned his shotgun on the four customers, who were currently holding their hands over their heads. "You're going to make up the rest of this old man's share. Wallets, watches, jewelry, cell phones... put 'em in the bag."

The shop went dark as the lights were suddenly cut. The hoodlums grouped together as Black Mask readied his gun. The sounds of ominous breathing and growling filled the room. Black Mask cried out as his gun was suddenly whipped from his hand.

The glowing white eyes of Goliath briefly illuminated the store as he grabbed Black Mask by the head and threw him against a shelf.

Blue gasped and his fight-or-flight instinct kicked in as he ran towards the door. But the glowing red eyes of Angela lit up on his right as she grabbed him by the collar of his coat and threw him behind the counter.

The lights came back on as Brooklyn emerged from the backroom. "It's okay, everyone is safe," he said.

But Mr. Jaffe gasped in fear and grabbed Black Mask's discarded shotgun. He then pointed it straight at Goliath's throat. "Get out of my store, monster," Jaffe said... the fear practically dripping from his mouth.

"Please, understand that we only wanted to help." Goliath stepped backwards, practically pleading. His eyes widened in shock as he noticed Jaffe's customers trembling in fear.

"Get out," he said, as he cocked the shot gun and stepped between his customers and the gargoyles.

"We should get going," Brooklyn suggested. Angela nodded in agreement.

Goliath sighed dejectedly, and followed the other two gargoyles out. They quickly scaled the building outside, and caught an air current. Taking off northward, they landed on a rooftop after clearing the General Store by a few blocks.

"You took that harder than usual," said Brooklyn.

"Does that man mean something to you?" Angela asked.

"That man is the reason I took an oath to protect this city and all who dwelt within," said Goliath. He hung his head in shame. "His courage to serve the community that needed him reawakened my sense of purpose."

"Goliath, you know that we're taking this one night at time," Brooklyn said, placing a comforting hand on his leader's shoulder.

"Sometimes I wonder if it will ever make a difference." Goliath he cloaked his wings around himself in shame. "Are we doing any good for this city? For ourselves?"

"Goliath..." Angela said, before adding, "Father. You saved the world. You can't believe that you haven't done any good in this world."

"All you had to do was stand back and Demona would have made our lives much easier," said Brooklyn. "Of course that would have meant sacrificing everything we hold dear. But, hey, it would have been an easy path to a nightmarish peace."

"You are right," said Goliath. "Both of you. But he is a good man and I had hoped for a different response."

"Go see Elisa," said Angela. "Enjoy the remainder of the evening."

"That's the right idea," Brooklyn said, grinning. "You two have fun, send Elisa our love"

Goliath smiled before standing up. "See you both tomorrow night," he said before taking to the air and heading towards Soho.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Paris, May 4th

Beneath the Eiffel Tower, the concrete, the bedrock, the Squad's HQ was alive as support staff maintained their various vehicles in the hanger. On the other side of the HQ, all five members of the Redemption Squad dodged live rounds as they ran their obstacle course.

"The next mission is coming sooner than you think," Hunter cried while narrowly avoiding a particle beam. "I promise you."

"Yeah, I know, sheila," Dingo snapped as he darted behind a sub-machine gun. "But God's sake, even back in my Pack days, our traps weren't lethal."

"Are you telling me you can't handle it?" Hunter grinned as she threw an explosive star at the particle beam.

"Perhaps it would be logical if I were to remove the threat," said Matrix as he expanded and covered each of the mounted firearms, then absorbed them into his mass.

"You couldn't have done that sooner?" Dingo said, leaving himself an opening for Hunter's fist to connect with his jaw.

"What was that for?!" Dingo cried.

"In our line of work, even a teammate can turn on us," said Hunter. "Don't think for even a moment that the Illuminati can't compromise this team any time."

On the other side of the training room, Fang fired his electro-blasts at ceiling-mounted machine guns. "Ain't no gun that's a faster draw than me," he grinned.

Two more ceiling-mounted machine guns remained. With lightning-fast reflexes, Yama threw a shuriken at one, taking it out. Then he darted out of the way of more gunfire from the remaining mount.

"Hey, Yama, the sooner we finish the sooner we eat!" Fang cried. "And the sooner we eat, the sooner we go on our next mission, and the sooner you can go home and make sweet love to that special sweetheart you've got waiting for you! Unless I get there first and show her what a good time actually is!"

Yama's eyes burned white, and displaying his reflexes again, destroyed the machine gun with a throw that was so quick, Fang didn't see Yama even reach for the second shuriken. Nor did he see Yama draw his katana and hold it to the Mutate's throat.

"Yama, whatcha doin'!" Dingo cried as he got back to his feet.

Hunter ran to the control panel and deactivated the obstacle course. As all of the weapons powered down, she wiped away the sweat from her brow above her mask, and turned to address the team. "All right, everyone take a shower, get something to eat and meet me in the conference room in thirty minutes."

Dingo and Fang exited the training room while Matrix melted into a puddle and seemed to vanish into the ventilation system. As Yama began to follow, Hunter placed a firm hand on his shoulder. "Not you," she said.

"Fang's words were vile and have no place on this team," Yama growled.

"Fang is an essential part of this team," said Hunter. "And on any mission there is a chance that your enemy will make things personal, to try to throw you off of your game. As such, he is in fact, the perfect training partner for you."

"A team also cannot operate without trust," Yama snapped. "And none of us trust him."

"But we work effectively with him," Hunter retorted. "All of us except for you. And I will not have you attacking any of your teammates without my say-so."

"You attacked Dingo!"

"I was making a point," said Hunter. "I was not trying to murder him because he offended my delicate sensibilities."

"But Fang…!"

"I do not care how much you two despise each other," Hunter cut him off. "Your job is to work together as a unit. And if you cannot do that, if this continues to effect this team during a critical mission, then I promise that you and your clan will pay the price for it."

Yama's mouth fell open. "After all this time, you cannot..."

"Am I absolutely crystal clear?" Hunter spoke through gritted teeth.

"Hai," Yama muttered.

"Meet me in the conference room in twenty-eight minutes," Hunter said as she exited the training room and headed towards the women's locker room.

Yama sheathed his sword and stormed off. Passing the men's locker room and making his way towards the service elevator. He pressed 'Up' and within moments found himself topside. Twenty-six minutes to get some air, clear his thoughts, and return to his team.

As he soared over the city, the cool wind on his face did little to alleviate his anger. Fang, he expected this from. But Hunter? He growled. Given what he had heard about her family's history, it should not have surprised him. They might work well together, but he was a Tengu… a gargoyle and she a gargoyle-slayer.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of sirens. His eyes followed the flashing lights of the Parisian police cars. They were on their way to the Louvre. He had ten minutes until he needed to be at Hunter's conference. He growled; she could wait. He could do some actual good for someone and blow off some steam.

He glided towards the Louvre and landed on the roof. The rooftop door had already been smashed open earlier. He drew his sword and approached it when he heard the familiar sound of a gargoyle's growl. A female gargoyle's growl.

Before he could take another step, a gargoyle darted out of the stairwell, running on all fours. She stood up and Yama gasped as he took her in. She was carrying a heavy particle beam rifle, slung over her shoulder, and a coiled whip at her belt. Blue skin, red hair, contempt on her otherwise beautiful face. The female matched the description he had heard shortly after joining the team.

Demona's eyes widened when she saw him. "Who are you?" she asked. But before any other words could be exchanged, a police helicopter shined a search light on them, and bullets rained down between the two gargoyles.

The arrival of a second police helicopter signaled even more gun fire. The two gargoyles dodged the blasts, and Demona raised her particle beam and fired back, hitting the first chopper in the tail.

Yama gasped and took to the air; circling around to assist the falling copter, he breathed a sigh of relief as it landed relatively safely on top of the Louvre. The sound of a banshee-like cry on the wind signaled Demona's departure.

Yama took off in pursuit, but she was already several hundred feet away. His anger at Hunter forgotten, he clicked the radio in his ear. "Yama to Hunter, respond?"

"Where are you?" Hunter asked; if she had been angry earlier, it didn't register in her voice. She was all business. "I know you left the base!"

"I spotted the rogue gargoyle called Demona," Yama replied. "She must have stolen something from the Louvre. She shot down a police helicopter, and escaped. Should I return to base?"

"Negative!" Hunter said. "This could be our best chance to nail the demon!" Yama twitched at her use of the word. "Stay on her!"

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Hunter ended the call, her own eye twitching behind her mask as Dingo, Fang, and Matrix entered the conference room.

"So where is 'Sir' sending us this time?" Dingo asked. "Hopefully some place tropical."

"Geraldine FitzGerald has just escaped," Hunter said as her face appeared on the screen behind her. "You three are going to put her back in her cage."

"Us three?" Dingo said. "What about you and Yama?"

"I have my own mission," Hunter said. "Yama will be assisting me."

"All right!" Fang cried. "Just us guys, no chick and no stick-in-the-mud to dull things up."

Dingo glanced over at Hunter, silently pleading to not be left alone with just Fang and Matrix. But Hunter merely pointed at the door. "You have five minutes to be on board the Redemption V."

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Yama growled as Demona's silhouette disappeared into the distance. He activated his comm-link once more. "Hunter, I have lost the target."

"It's all right," Hunter replied. "Did she spot you?"

"She did," said Yama. "My apologies for not maintaining my secrecy."

"Return to the general vicinity of the Louvre and wait there until I tell you otherwise,"

"Might I ask why?" Yama sighed.

"The demon is very lonely," said Hunter. "A new gargoyle will intrigue her. She will return tomorrow night, and when she does you will ingratiate yourself with her, and then we'll strike."

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

The Quarryman Brownstone

"I don't know why I'm here," Mr. Jaffe said, sitting in a comfortable chair opposite John Castaway. "Matt Bluestone is a friend of mine, he runs the Gargoyle Taskforce, maybe I should have gone to him."

"I believe that Bluestone, in his heart, is a good and well-intentioned man," said Castaway as he sipped his mug of coffee. "But he does not take the gargoyle threat seriously."

"Castaway, I don't want to bullshit you, but those hoods your men wear creep me out," Jaffe declared. "I know you're not an American but you couldn't have failed to grasp what hoods like that stand for in this country."

"When you entered the brownstone tonight, what did you see?" Castaway asked.

"Quarrymen," Jaffe replied.

"Were they wearing their hoods?"

"No," Jaffe admitted.

"So what did you see?" Castaway asked a second time.

"Men and women," said Jaffe. "White, black, Hispanic, Asian..."

"We welcome everyone into the Quarrymen from all races and creeds," said Castaway. "We are nothing if not a humanist organization."

"But those hoods..."

"A hood is not evil in and of itself. Tell me," Castaway said cutting him off. "Why do your pop culture heroes wear masks? Batman or Spider-Man for example? Clark Kent's glasses?"

"I'm not really a comic book guy," Jaffe said. "My grandkids loved that X-Men movie last summer, though."

"They wear their masks to protect their loved ones," said Castaway. He leaned forward in his chair. "The comparison with the hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan wasn't lost on me. But I won't let a fiendish organization like that stop me from using masks to protect those I care about, or for my friends in the Quarrymen to protect their families.

"Mr. Jaffe," Castaway continued. "We are fighting an insidious menace. And not just them, but the terrorists that support them like the 'People United for Interspecies Rights'. We also contribute to charities that help those around the country and the world battle oppression. We are a human rights organization first and foremost."

"That's all well and good," Jaffe said. "But I'm still not sure about any of this."

"Give us a try," Castaway said as he rose from his chair, went to his closet, kneeling in front of a cardboard box. From it, he produced a black hood and returned to Jaffe, placing it in the older man's hands. "You'll find friends here, and a community that will help you to better serve yours."

Mr. Jaffe hesitated, then stuffed the hood into his jacket pocket and reached forward to shake John Castaway's hand.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Chambly, France

Several kilometers outside of Paris, Demona passed over vast farmland before soaring across the dozens of acres that made up the land of her chateau. She had bought this land, and the house, decades ago, and as she gracefully alighted on the ground outside a large ring of mushrooms, she knew the investment would be worth it.

As she strode towards her gothic chateau, she heard the welcome sound of a familiar howling and smiled as her beast, Hellhound bounded out of the woods to greet her. She kneeled down, and lovingly stroked his crimson mane with her left hand, while her right continued to grip her particle beam cannon.

"Thank you for guarding our home, my pet," she tenderly said, then scratched behind his ear. "You must be famished." She stood back on her feet and, instead of heading towards the house, she detoured out towards a small, decaying barn. "How about a fast dinner before sunrise?"

Demona unlocked the doors and strutted inside, towards the sound of a harsh and fearful whimpering. Three humans sat on a large bench, their ankles shackled to the ground. She smiled sadistically as she looked them over. She then settled on a well-muscled young blond man and unlocked his shackles.

"If you can escape this property alive, I will not hunt you down," she said, her lips tightening into a sadistic smirk. She gestured towards the open door.

The blond man looked at her, then looked at the remaining two captives: a dark-haired Romany woman, and a shout, stout red-headed man. He then looked away, to hide his shame, and bolted out of the doors and towards the woods.

Demona emerged from the barn, locking the doors behind her as Hellhound darted out from behind the barn and began to chase the young man down. As she watched, her cellphone buzzed. She unclipped it from her belt and answered.

"Brother, I have news," Demona said. "After I stole the whip, I spotted a new gargoyle. One that I have never seen before."

"Is there an unknown clan in Paris?" Coldsteel asked, from the other end of the line.

"There are no clans in mainland Europe," she replied bitterly. "Not anymore."

"Perhaps a rogue, then," Coldsteel suggested. "A new recruit to your cause?"

"Potentially," Demona said, as her lip pulled back into a smirk. "Do you have Goliath in your sights?"

"My rookery brother is at Detective Maza's home for a 'quiet night' in," Coldsteel said, on the other end of the line. Demona's eyes flared red just as the sounds of the blond human screaming in terror echoed through the sky before being silenced by her pet. "You spoil that beast of yours," he said.

"My pet so rarely gets such indulgences in New York," she replied. "Let him enjoy the French countryside."

As she spoke, the first rays of the sun appeared over the eastern horizon. Demona dropped the phone and her weapon, and fell to the ground in pain as her body shifted, her wings and tail were reabsorbed into her frame, while her skin morphed from a lovely blue to a pale Caucasian. Her body itched as hair follicles quickly grew in places her gargoyle form lacked. Finally, her brow ridges were pulled back into her skull.

"My apologies, sister. Did I catch you at sunrise?" Coldsteel asked, not hiding his apathy.

Dominique picked her phone up off the ground, gripped the whip that she had clipped to her belt and grinned. "The pain I feel at the rising and setting of the sun will pale against what I have in store for Goliath."

She ended the call, before picking up her particle beam cannon and making her way towards her chateau. As she entered the house, she climbed the stairs and strode into her library. After setting the gun down on a table, she approached a small vault and opened it. Pulling out a manilla envelope, she opened it and removed an ancient piece of parchment: the final page of the Grimorum Arcanorum.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Elisa's loft, Manhattan

As Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" came to an end, Elisa leaned against Goliath's chest and placed a hand on his thigh. But her mate continued to grumble.

"You didn't like it?" Elisa asked.

"It was well done," said Goliath. "But my mind was elsewhere."

Elisa raised an eyebrow. "Goliath, you know it kills me that the city doesn't appreciate you guys," she said. "But you knew acceptance wouldn't be overnight. You've reminded all of us whenever we were down."

"Yes," said Goliath. "Being raised by humans, Angela did take their fear the hardest."

"I'll talk to Matt, and see if he can talk to Mr. Jaffe," Elisa said. "I've met him a few times, he's a very good man. He'll come around."

"I should not dwell on the opinion of one human," Goliath sighed. "Still..."

Elisa placed a finger on his lips and got off of the couch, standing in front of him wearing nothing but a black negligee. "Tonight's our night off and we still have a few hours until sunrise," she said. She grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet. "Why don't we stop worrying about what we can't do and explore more of what we can do?"

Goliath grinned, lifted his mate into his arms, and pulled her in for a kiss.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Chambly, France

Within the master bedroom, the bell of the clock chimed, waking the occupant of the four-poster, king-sized bed. Dominique stirred under the covers, before stretching her arms over her head and smiling.

Normally, Dominique slept no more than three or four hours after sunrise, and her dreams did nothing to help her disposition. But today, she had slept for well over six, and just as she had every morning for the last several weeks, she slept peacefully and contentedly. She almost hated to get out of bed at all, but the sun would rise in Manhattan in fifteen minutes and she needed to be ready.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Elisa's loft, Manhattan

Goliath ran his hand across Elisa's bare back before buckling his loincloth and cloaking his wings. He looked out the window as the sky began to brighten. Elisa got up, donned her terrycloth blue robe and followed him out of the bedroom and out onto the balcony.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Chambly, France

Now dressed in her halter-top, loincloth, and gold jewelry, Dominique stepped out of her chateau carrying the stolen whip in her left hand and the rolled-up parchment in her right. As she strode through the expansive backyard, she held her arms to her side and basked in the warm golden rays of the early afternoon sun.

She stepped over the mushrooms and set the coiled whip on the ground in the epicenter of the fairy ring. She studied the page one more time before casting it aside and pulling a silver dagger from her belt.

"Argenti penetrat terram nativitatis nostrae," she chanted, then plunged the silver dagger into the spot of earth at the center of the coiled whip. And as she did, the gentle breeze became a violent wind.

"Regina iubes me ad maximum telum est responsum eius ad me," she continued to chant, her long hair flowing in the strong, howling winds, as the whip began to glow with a green energy.

The violent winds did little to deter her; rather they fueled her. Dominique cast her attention to Goliath, her hatred focused like a laser as she finished the ritual.

"Sicut divina hac flamma circulum," she practically shouted as the ring of mushrooms burst into purple flames. "Mab me iubes quae in potestate mea!"

The whip's glow brightened as the purple flames illuminated the entire ring with their energy.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Elisa's loft, Manhattan

Goliath flared his wings out and struck a fearsome pose as the first rays of the sun appeared over the horizon.

As he turned to stone, Elisa reached out and cupped his cheek. The fearsome visage dropped, replaced by an expression of his love for the woman who was the last thing he saw before he slept.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Chambly, France

Dominique grinned viciously as she grabbed the bone handle of the ancient whip. The runes on the handle glowed red as she held it aloft, taking the lash in her other hand.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Goliath yawned as his eyes slowly opened, closed, and then opened again. There were no skies above him, just a white ceiling. A warm body was lying next to him. Despite the darkness of the room, he could tell the body belonged to a human female.

"Elisa?" he whispered. He felt the woman next to him begin to stir.

"You said something, my love?" Goliath's eyes widened. Even in the darkness, his eyes still not fully accustomed to being awake, he recognized that voice.

The adrenaline rush kicked in. He leaped out of bed, and turned towards it in a defensive stance.

"Demona!" he growled. "Why have you brought me here?!"

"Heavens, what's wrong with you?" she aggressively asked as she flipped on a light.

Goliath briefly shielded his eyes and then lowered his arm. The occupant of the bed that had lain beside him was, indeed, Demona. But she was not a gargoyle. She was a human.

It was then that his eyes caught sight of his reflection. He gasped at the sight of it. He was no longer a gargoyle. Looking back at him was a well-built, dark-skinned, human male.

"What have you done?" Goliath said, whirling back towards the bed as Dominique slowly got out of it.

She approached him, raising an eyebrow. The look of confusion on her face was the only thing she was wearing. Goliath then looked down, he was just as bare as she was. No loincloths or lamb-skin rags to be found anywhere.

"Did you have a nightmare?" Dominique asked as she approached him. Goliath stepped backwards, his backside connecting with the cold wall.

"Yes," Goliath replied, playing along for a moment. "A terrible one."

"It's that book you're writing, isn't it?" she asked. "You've spent too much time looking at pictures of war-torn lands and genocide."

"My book" he asked. "Yes... of course."

Without being able to stop himself, he took Dominique in. He had never seen Demona's human form before, only heard about it. He was surprised at just how similar in appearance they were. Her face, her overall build, her various features. Dominique lacked the wings, tail, ears, talons, and haunches of Demona while possessing hair in places that her gargoyle form lacked. He quickly looked away, in shame.

Before this situation could get more awkward, they were interrupted by a knocking on the door.

"Mom, Dad?" came the distinct voice of Angela. "I heard a noise, are you two all right?"

Dominique untucked the white bedsheet and used it as a wrap, while Goliath hurried into the bathroom. Flipping on a light, he studied his new human form even more closely.

"Your father had a bad dream, child," Dominique said as she answered the bedroom door. "He'll be all right."

"'Child?'" Angela playfully protested. "I'm married."

"If you still want me to make you breakfast, then I will call you 'child'," Dominique replied, equally playful. "We'll meet you two in the breakfast nook after we've showered and dressed."

Being a human now, for some reason, a shower felt like a good idea. Perhaps it would help him clear his head. He pulled the curtain aside, stepped into the spacious shower, and was immediately confused by the controls. Gargoyles seldom bathed, unless necessary and sunrise was hours away. Stone sleep cleaned them just as it rejuvenated them.

He fussed around with the controls, and the shower burst to life. Too cold. Too hot. He had seen Elisa do this before, and even joined her more than once. But this was almost as confusing as Lexington's new LexPhones.

Dominique pulled the curtain aside and stepped into the shower to join him. "Are you trying to scald yourself?" She reached for the controls and lowered the temperature to a mild heat.

Goliath pressed himself further against the wall, hoping to avoid all physical contact with her. If Demona wasn't behind this, who was? Puck? The Weird Sisters?

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Goliath, now dressed in a lavender shirt and brown pants with his hair tied back into a long ponytail, slowly took a seat at the square kitchen table. Dominque stood at the stove, dressed in a stylish golden blouse and a black skirt as she cooked breakfast. Though, in his eyes, watching her cook looked less like watching Broadway prepare a meal for the clan and more like she was mixing some sorcerous concoction. Barely a word was spoken.

The silence was broken as two humans who could have only been Broadway and Angela entered the room. Broadway had short, slightly messed blond hair, and was dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt. But Angela was unmistakable. She was almost the spitting image of Dominique but with his darker complexion and longer hair. She wore a black pants-suit over a white blouse, a couple of buttons undone with a badge hanging around her neck from a blue lanyard. Goliath took a closer look at her badge and took a deep breath when he recognized the United Nations logo on it, next to a photograph of her face.

"Good morning," she said as she kissed Goliath on the cheek before taking a seat next to him.

"Mornin'," Broadway said as he sat down at Goliath's left, opposite Angela. He then turned to Dominique. "Hey, Ms. Destine, I would have been happy to cook."

"When you're in my house, I do the cooking," Dominique retorted. "And once again, it's 'Dominique'. You are family now."

"You know Mom," Angela replied with a grin. "She rules the house with an iron fist."

"And don't forget it," Dominique said, as she flipped a crêpe onto a plate with her spatula.

"I thought you hired me because you liked my cooking?" Broadway said. "Nightstone's top chef?"

"I won't deny that your coffee brews and meals have made us millionaires many times over," Dominique said. "I suppose stealing my daughter was an equitable trade."

Goliath listened, surprised at the lack of bitterness in her voice. This wasn't the Demona he knew; it was his Angel of the Night from over ten centuries ago... albeit in the form of a human. And yet, the passion he once held for her had yet to materialize.

"You two will need to make do without me soon," Angela said as she fingered her badge. "The UN is sending me to Macedonia in a couple of days. I just got the news this morning."

"Isn't that place a war zone?" Broadway said, paling at the thought of it.

"The Albanian National Liberation Army has attacked security forces, yes," said Angela. "But the entire region is a tinder box."

"They shouldn't be sending an intern!" Broadway protested.

"Actually, I volunteered," Angela replied. "I'm sorry, I should have told you. But I couldn't live with myself otherwise."

Goliath smiled for the first time. Human or gargoyle, this was indeed his daughter.

"Be careful," Dominique warned as she set down a plate in front of Goliath before taking a seat. "The world isn't safe anymore."

"It's hardly any safer here," Angela sighed.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

After breakfast, Broadway left to catch the subway while Dominique, Angela and Goliath piled into Dominique's red 2000 Jaguar convertable. Angela sat up front, while Goliath struggled with the seat belt.

Taking the FDR Drive, they found themselves in front of the United Nations within a half hour. "They're not sending me off today," Angela said. "I promise we'll all be eating dinner together tonight and tomorrow." After hugging her parents, she exited the vehicle.

Once she departed, the atmosphere became a lot more frigid. "Please, sit up front," Dominique asked. Goliath hesitated, then climbed into the front seat, thankful that he had figured out the seatbelt by now.

"And where are you taking me?" he asked bitterly.

"You forgot?" She sighed and shook her head. "Of course you did."

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Goliath followed Dominique into an office on the Upper East Side, prepared for anything. What he found was a rather plain room with a couch, some Japanese artwork adorning the walls, and a suspiciously famliar-looking woman, wearing a yellow business suit, seated.

The woman got up and shook their hands. "Mr. and Mrs. Destine?" she said. Goliath gasped again, recognizing the voice of Katana. His eyes darted to her desk. Upon it sat a photograph of a white haired man, in a black leather biker jacket, and an eye-patch, that would have made him laugh under different circumstances.

"Good morning, doctor," Dominique said.

"Doctor." Goliath nodded, all the while pondering whether this was just a dream. It was too vivid, and reminded him too much of similar attacks upon his mind.

"I thought we had rekindled something last night," Dominique said. "He was passionate, loving, just like the early years of our marriage. But this morning... he called out to another woman. An 'Elisa'. And that was before he called me 'Demona'."

"I see," Katana said, as she took her notes, then turned to Goliath. "You said you were a writer," she said. "I suppose you could have been trying out a name for a fantasy villain.

"I, I..." Goliath stuttered. He couldn't help but feel guilty. "I don't know what came over me."

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Goliath dejectedly followed Dominique out the doors. Was his guilt real? Was he trying to figure out what, if anything, she was up to? At this point, he didn't know anymore.

"I just don't understand," Dominique said. She covered her eyes with a pair of dark sunglasses, hoping to hide any tears from the world. "We were happy for so many years."

Part of Goliath compelled him to place a comforting hand on her shoulder. But he held that part in check. "I don't know what is happening here."

Dominique whirled around, prepared to read him the riot act. But they were interrupted by the sound of thousands of booted feet marching.

Appearing, as if from thin air, thousands of Quarrymen marched. In the midst of the march, standing astride a giant parade float stood the all too familiar figure of John Castaway shouting into a microphone. At his side stood a hooded, female Quarryman.

"And as we are on the verge of attaining true power over this land, our leader has given me the blessing to order you all to cast aside your hoods once and for all!" Castaway smirked as each of the Quarrymen before him and behind removed their masks. "We need not hide any longer!"

Behind Castaway, the woman ripped off her hood, and long flowing black hair spilled out. Goliath gasped at the sight of her, as she wielded her hammer. "Elisa!" he cried out.

"What?!"Dominique cried, then turned on him again, the anger on her face immeasureable.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~


A top a small apartment building, the stone skin began to crack as the last rays of sun disappeared into the horizon. Yama awoke with a mighty yawn. He ran towards the nearby shed, and found his weapons and his black uniform undisturbed. He quickly donned them and took to the air, just in time for his comm link to buzz.

"Yes, Hunter?" he answered.

"I scoped out the Paris headquarters of Nightstone Unlimited today," she said. "There was no sign of the demon. Just that insufferable Sandra Dumont, their local director. Although, I suppose, she may be a demon in and of herself."

Yama rolled his eyes at Hunter's attempt at humor, although he couldn't help but bristle again at her use of the word 'demon'. "Do we know what she took last night?" he asked.

"An old whip that was dug up in Verona two years ago," Hunter replied. "All I have been able to uncover is that part of the Mab poem is inscribed on its handle."

"Mab poem?" Yama inquired.

"You need to read more Shakespeare, Yama," Hunter said.

"I know who Mab is. Or was," Yama growled. "On our mission to the Shandong province, the Monkey King said he had been one of her subjects. If her son rules the Third Race, we needn't worry about her."

"I don't care whether Mab is dead or alive," said Hunter. "If the demon has her whip, it must be an object of great power. Find out what she's up to, by any means necessary."

Yama deactivated his comm-link and almost soared past Notre Dame when he heard the cougar-like roar of a female gargoyle.

He corrected course in mid air and then came to a landing atop the cathedral. Standing before him was the gargoyle that Hunter disgustingly referred to as 'the demon'. And her descriptions didn't do her justice. She was as intimidating as she was beautiful, and as he sized her up, he wasn't confident enough in his impressive skills to think he could beat her if this became a fight.

"I saw you last night at the Louvre," she said. "I must apologize for running off, but..."

"The humans were shooting at us," he said. He stole a glance at the whip hanging from her belt. "You needn't apologize."

"And where did you come from?" she asked, sizing him up as he did her "Your accent is not French. And there are no clans in Europe."

"East," he replied. "I had heard stories of a winged monster of Notre Dame a few years ago. I allowed myself to hope it was one of my kind."

"But why travel this far?" she asked. "Our kind seldom leave their territory."

"Because," he sighed, the memory as bitter as it ever was. "Because I was banished from my clan."

"I see," she said. "I am Demona," she reached out her hand.

"I am Yama... the Mountain," he responded, taking her hand in a warrior's handshake.

"Come with me to my chateau," she said. "I think we have much to discuss."

To Be Continued...