Hey, Readers and Gargoyle Fans!
Here's a new Fanfiction featuring two of my favorite Gargoyles characters: Hudson and Jeffrey Robbins! Seriously, I admired their friendship, and they were very wise characters; their episodes stand out in my mind when I think of the series as a whole. I decided to come up with a story that takes place after the end of The Gathering story arc from Season 2 [so it starts in July 1996], and wondered what would happen if Jeffrey had a nephew who came to live with him, and how he would react to the gargoyles. It will follow the comic story arc after the end of Season 2, and after that, it will follow a plot I come up with myself.
I hope you enjoy these first few chapters, and get ready for a fantastic journey!
Elijah Robbins did not want to live with his uncle in upstate New York, but he did not have much say in the matter; his parents were dead, so he needed to live with someone. And that someone happened to be Jeffrey Robbins, his dad's older half-brother, who was also an award-winning author, a Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart, and blind.
Just great. A blind author and a deaf teenager. This was going to be fun.
As he stared out the passenger-side window at the sea, Elijah was fortunate that he was able to switch off his hearing aids, since the cab driver was a Chatty Carl that was currently going on and on about some relative of his. He hated people that prattled on for hours and hours, and hoped that his uncle was not one of those people. Every once in a while, the teen looked in the review mirror, checking to see if the man was still talking, and was able to lip read some of what he was saying; apparently, his cousin was currently in jail for- The teen looked away, not caring about it; he just wanted to get to wherever he was going and lock himself in his room for the rest of his life.
He had never even met his uncle before his parents' funeral nearly a month ago, and he had not called since. Apparently, his dad and uncle were estranged from one another, some sort of old argument between the two, and they had never gone to visit the author, and he had never come to visit them. There were no phone calls, no letters on his birthday... no communication whatsoever. So, when he was told that he was going to live with said uncle on the other side of the country, he was nervous, to say the least, and determined not to let his Uncle Jeffrey completely into his life, since he had not cared enough to make an effort to do so before now.
Elijah started at someone tapping his shoulder, turning back towards the cab driver and turning his hearing aids back on.
"-few more minutes until we get there," the guy was saying, his voice sounding somewhat metallic thanks to the hearing aids. "No need ta pay me; yoir uncle already did that."
"T-Thanks," the teen muttered, checking that his knapsack was still sitting on the seat next to him. His suitcase, containing his clothes and a few worldly possessions, was in the trunk of the cab, and he could now hear the case shifting around every time the car took a turn.
Eventually, they arrived at a large house, pulling up a short driveway and stopping by the front door. The setting sun cast a warm glow on the house, and for a second, the boy thought it looked like a cool place to live, and took a sniff of the sea-salt air, not unlike the air back in Galveston. Two stories tall, made of brick, and to the door's right, a large window showed what looked like a library. As he climbed out of the car, he heard the sound of a dog barking on the other side of the front door, which opened as he was going to grab his bags.
His Uncle Jefferey looked the same way he had at the funeral, except he was not wearing a tuxedo. His hair was cut short to his head, similar to Elijah's own hairstyle, and the man wore those tinted sunglasses that all blind people seemed to wear. Which, combined with his square chin, made him look serious, like a college professor or something. He wore a blue cable-knit sweater, casual slacks, and he held a simple white cane in his left hand. At his feet was his seeing eye dog, Greta or something, who sat at attention by her master's side, giving the boy a curious look.
"Is that you, Elijah," his uncle asked, walking down the few steps towards the cab.
"Yes, it's me," the teen said shortly, taking a few steps towards the man, unsure if he should offer out his hand or not, since the guy couldn't see him.
The blind man gave him a warm smile. "I'd recognize that voice anywhere; you sound just like your dad when he was your age." He held out his hand, and the boy shook it, surprised at how firm and manly the grip was. "Welcome to your new home, though I wish you were staying here under different circumstances."
"Thanks," Elijah muttered.
"And of course, you remember Gilly from the funeral," he asked, indicating to the dog next to him. "Let her sniff your hand before you try petting her." The boy obliged, smiling a little as the dog licked his hand and allowed him to pet her. "You came just in time for dinner." He turned in the general direction of the cab. "Do you need any help with your luggage?"
"I'm fine," the teen said quickly; the last thing he needed was a blind guy helping him carry stuff up some stairs. He quickly pulled his suitcase out of the trunk, thanked the driver, and carried it and his knapsack up the steps to the house as the cab drove off.
The inside was just as nice, and looked like one of those mansions form those old murder-mystery films; wooden panels on the walls, ornate carpet covering the floor, and, looking up, it even had an antique chandelier hanging from the ceiling. He knew his uncle was a famous author and that he got money from disability probably, but he did not expect him to live in such a large house by himself.
"You're room's upstairs, turn left, and it's the first one on the right," Uncle Jeffrey told him, standing by the foot of the stairs. "Want me to show you where it is?"
"I'll manage. Thank you, though," Elijah added quickly, making his way up the stairs, carrying his heavy bag as he found his room, nudging open the door with his foot. It looked like a regular bedroom; it had a bed, a desk with a small [and old] computer on it, a small bookshelf with some novels on it, and a dresser, as well as another door off to the side that led to a personal bathroom.
Placing his luggage by the foot of his bed, the teen looked around his new home, even looking out the window, which had a view of the front yard, which was surrounded by brick walls with an opening for cars to drive in and out of. Several yards past a gate was a small street bordered by a sidewalk [the same street he had driven on], and beyond that was a beach that led down to the ocean. Turning away from the window, he walked into the bathroom, looking around the simple space before his eyes fell on his reflection in the mirror.
He still looked the same, though he expected himself to look different after his parents' death, for some reason. He was still five foot nine, fifteen years old, and still had the same, narrow face that he took from his mother. His skin he took from his mother, along with his thin, lanky frame. He ran his fingers through his short hair, which was the only other thing he inherited from his father besides his eyes, which were blue, like the summer sky. And, of course, he saw the brown plastic of the hearing aids curling around the back of his ears.
For a few moments, Elijah stared at his reflection, trying not to think about the two most important people in his life that were gone forever, as well as the only home he had ever known that as now over a thousand miles away. Then, remembering his uncle saying something about dinner, he quickly left the room, making his way back downstairs.
The house was surprisingly cold, despite the warm weather outside, and Elijah was grateful that he still wore his light coat as he made his way down the main hallway, passing an ornate-looking library full of books and comfy chairs before finding the kitchen. To his surprise, he saw his uncle at the table, ladling some sort of batter into a frying pan.
"How's the room," the blind man asked, not looking over in his general direction. "If you don't like it, I could move you into another room."
A little surprised at how his uncle had known he was there, Elijah nodded, then remembered his uncle could not see that. "I'm fine," he replied. "It's a nice room; pretty cool view of the ocean."
"I thought you'd like it," the man replied, grabbing a nearby spatula, ready to flip the cakes when they had finished cooking. "I hope you don't mind pancakes; turns out I need to go shopping for groceries."
"It's fine," the teen replied, watching his uncle slip the spatula under one of the cakes. "How do you know where everything is?"
"Well, since I live here, I know where everything is and how to get around," his uncle explained. "Also, I like to think of the pan as a clock; the first cake is at noon-" He flipped that corresponding cake. "-the next is at three-" He flipped that pancake. "And the others at six and nine. It's also how I know where food's located on my plate."
"Sounds kinda complicated," Elijah commented, who preferred using digital clocks.
"It is, but you get used to it after so many years; makes being unable to see a whole lot easier. That reminds me," Jeffrey added, looking over in his general direction, "is there anything else I should know about your disability?"
The teen immediately stiffened, his fists clenching slightly as the subject turned to his hearing. "N-No. Nothing that you probably don't know already. I need special batteries for my hearing aids-"
"Got a box of them in the drawer over there," his uncle interjected, indicating to some place behind him.
"Right. And basically, if they break, I'm supposed to let you know, and I have my Audiologist's number, as well as the number of their colleague in the city. I also have the make and model of my current hearing aids. I usually take them out when I go to sleep, and I have a special alarm that emits a flashing light that'll wake me up in the morning."
"Well, I usually stay up late most nights," the blind man told him, flipping the pancakes again. "I'm a bit of a night owl, so I'm usually not up until nine each morning."
"I'm the same way," Elijah replied. "Especially since-" He stopped talking mid-sentence, recalling the reason why he often stayed up so late.
Fortunately, his uncle did not press the issue, transferring the pancakes to a nearby plate and switching off the stove. "Follow me; we'll eat in the dining room."
He followed Uncle Jeffrey into the dining room, which looked like a rich person's dining room, and they sat at the same end of the long table so they could continue to talk. It was almost eerie, just sitting in this large room with one other person and a dog, but at least a nearby window let the light of the sunset in.
"So Elijah," his uncle asked, putting two of the pancakes on another plate, handing it to him, "any interests or other things I should know about you? I mean, I've never met you before the funeral, though I would have liked to."
"Not much," the teen muttered, picking at his pancakes with his fork, ignoring the butter and syrup his uncle had set nearby. "I mean, I don't really do much. I swim, I listen to music, I read-"
"Have you seen the library yet?"
"No, I haven't been to town yet."
"Oh, I meant my own library here in the house."
Elijah blinked with surprise. "You... have a library," he asked.
"It's not big and fancy, but I like it. Feel free to go in there whenever you want; my collection is your collection. And don't worry," he added, giving his nephew a small grin, "not all of them are in Braille!"
The teen rolled his eyes a little. "Thanks."
There was a short lapse of silence, then Uncle Jeffrey spoke up again. "How's the family back in Texas? I heard that Martha's new child got baptized right before you came here."
"Do you mean Cecilia?"
"She's fine; the party was fine, and Aunt Martha actually drove me to the airport this morning." It was hard to believe how long ago that was; it seemed like centuries ago that he had last been in Texas, and now he didn't know if he'd ever see it again.
"Wow," the man said to himself, taking a bite of his own pancakes. "It's been a while since I've seen most of our family down there."
"It's been a while since you've seen anyone," the boy muttered to himself, finally pouring some syrup on his pancakes.
His uncle did not reply to the comment, or even showed that he heard it, and continued on as normal. "Of course, I've always preferred the sea, which is why I settled out here, and I enjoy the seclusion of the area, though my friends come and visit every now and then." He felt his watch, which the boy noticed had raised ticks on it, not dissimilar to Braille [he had done some research before coming about blind people so he did not have to ask his uncle about how he read and so on]. "One of my good friends should be coming here in about an hour or so, actually. Would you care to meet him?"
"Who is he?"
"Just another old veteran like me. His name's Hudson, and he was interested in meeting you, based on what I've told him about you." Uncle Jeffrey stared right at him, the boy's reflection in his tinted sunglasses. "He's here most evenings each week, so you'll probably meet him eventually, but if you're still tired from the flight and taxi ride-"
"I'll probably get some sleep," Elijah replied quickly, not really wanting to deal with two strangers asking him about his feelings or deafness or well-being now that his parents were dead. He took another bite of the pancakes. "These are good, by the way."
"Thank you. It took me a while to learn how to cook on my own, but now it's one of my favorite parts of the day."
"What do you do during the day?"
"Mainly research and work on my upcoming novel. It's not a very exciting lifestyle, I know, but I enjoy it. Of course, if you want something more to do, I trust you to go swimming by yourself; the Atlantic Ocean's on our back step. Also, I have a VCR in the living room if you'd like to rent a movie from the town's video store."
They ate in silence after that, both finishing their meals a few minutes later. The teen offered to clear the dishes, some of his mom's lessons on guest manners still in his head. He thanked his uncle for the food and excused himself right as the sun set outside.
Going back to his room, he unpacked his clothes, putting them in the dresser, put some of his own books on the shelf next to the other novels [some of the ones that were already there were written by his uncle, he noticed]. He pulled out his own copy of his uncle's most recent novel that he had bought, The Sword and the Staff, opening it to the bookmark a few chapters in.
It was a fantasy novel, like Lord of the Rings, and focused on the wizard Merlin and some sort of magical scrolls. It was not his type of book, but he figured he might as well read it, just in case his uncle asked him if he had read it; the fact that there was a copy already waiting on him in his room, he knew that he had made the right choice. He turned off his hearing aids, bringing the world into silence, not just because he wanted to focus, but also so he could ignore whatever visitor was coming later that night. He had enough of people talking to him from the funeral until now about his parents, lamenting what had happened, and he just wanted everyone to stop focusing on him and go back to their own lives.
Elijah hated being pitied; he already got enough of it because he was moderately deaf, and he needed hearing aids in order to hear most conversations. He wanted people to just ignore the plastic contraptions in his ears when they met him, but it was always the first thing people noticed. He had wanted aids that fit snugly and were hidden in his ears, but because of costs, he had a behind-the-ear kind that wrapped around the outside of his ear. Even though it was the same color as his skin tone, it was still pretty noticeable, and people immediately asked him about it. Of course, with being deaf, now combined with the death of his parents six weeks ago, it was almost unbearable, so he had resolved to avoid people at all costs.
And now I'm stuck at a house in the middle of nowhere, he thought to himself, looking out the window at the ocean that was barely visible in the darkness. With an uncle I've never met before, and everyone I know is over 1600 miles away.
He sighed, looked up at the ceiling for a few moments, then returned to his book.
Hudson landed in Robbins' backyard, a little tired from the flight, but ready to continue the book he and the author were currently reading together [All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot]. Going up to the back door that led directly into the library, he knocked before entering.
"Good evening, Hudson," Robbins told him, closing the book he was reading as Gilly ran up to the aged gargoyle, who smiled and pet the dog.
"Good evenin'," the gargoyle replied, folding his wings around him, almost like a cape, and closing the door behind him. "Not very cloudy tonight; moon's pretty bright as well."
"Thank you," the blind author replied; the gargoyle often told him what the outside evening was like, since he could not see it himself. "How is the rest of the clan?"
"They're doin' fine," he replied, settling himself in his regular armchair on the other side of the fireplace. He was careful not to reveal too much about his life at home, since the blind man did not know of his gargoyle-ness; the old gargoyle did not want to risk loosing his friendship with the author."Anythin' new with ye?"
"Yes; Elijah arrived about an hour ago."
Hudson's eyebrows raised in surprise, panicking a little. "I thought he wasn't due for another week!"
"That was a week ago," his friend said good-humoredly. "I offered for him to meet you tonight, but he claimed to be tired from the trip."
The old gargoyle gave a relieved sigh, glad that someone who could see what he really was was not going to see him; he made a mental note to be more careful when he visited so he could learn the youth's schedule and avoid him. "'Claimed?' Ye don't believe him?"
"I think he just needs some time to adjust. He's moved here from the other side of the country, and his parents died a little over a month ago; it's a lot for someone his age to deal with. It's going to be tough, getting him to open up and help him acclimate to his new home, so don't be surprised if it's a while before you officially meet him."
"I understand. To be honest, I was nervous about meetin' him as well."
"Really? How come?"
"Uh... I'm just not good with kids." Hudson did not know if that was true, but he figured that it was a better reason than admitting that he was a gargoyle. "And ya told me he can't hear; that's what bein' deaf means, right?"
Robbins chuckled a little at that, getting up from his chair and walking over to the bookshelf, feeling the Braille bumps on the spines. "Not necessarily. Yes, while most deaf people cannot hear anything at all, he has very slight hearing in each ear; not well enough to hear regular conversations. He wears hearing aids, tiny machines in his ears that amplify the sounds he hears." He pulled a book off the shelf, sliding his fingers over the bumps on the cover. "Also, from what I've heard from his aunt, he's an expert lip-reader."
"He can tell what people are saying without hearing them, just by watching the movement of their mouths. It's not an easy skill, and most deaf people prefer not to learn it."
"Incredible," the gargoyle said, impressed that someone so young was able to do that. "I had heard that they can talk with their hands-"
"American Sign Language," the blind man interjected, walking back to his seat. "But don't worry; when his hearing aids are on, he doesn't really need to use ASL. It wouldn't really help in his case, anyway, with me being blind and all."
"Is he a nice lad?"
Jeffrey sighed, still holding the book in his hands. "Yes, but I think that it will be a long time before I get to see that side of him," he confessed. "I… was never present in his life before now; the only time we've met before today was at his parent's funeral. It's partly my fault as well, for not reaching out to him or his family years before, but I'm hoping to make up for lost time with him here."
"Well, I wish ye the best, and I'll wait as long as necessary until the lad wants ta meet me," the aged gargoyle said genially, giving his friend a small smile.
Robbins gave a smile of his own. "Thank you. Now," he continued, opening the book to the bookmark, "let's see where Mr. Herriot's journey takes us tonight."
So this is the end of the first chapter! We met Elijah, recently orphaned, deaf, and not happy to be living with his uncle in New York.
Now, before you continue the story, I should probably let you all know: I myself am not deaf, nor am I related to anyone or friends with anyone that is deaf or suffers from hearing loss.
Now, you're probably wondering why the heck I decided to write about someone who's deaf as if I had the knowledge to do so. While I am not deaf myself, I am currently learning American Sign Language, which is one of the reasons I was inspired to write this story, mainly because of how amazing deaf culture is. I was also inspired because of the lack of main characters that are deaf or suffer from hearing loss, and figured that it would be a nice change from OCs with normal hearing.
So, if anyone out there is deaf or suffers from hearing loss, or knows someone that is, I do NOT mean any disrespect, nor am I pretending to be an expert on deafness or ASL. I also am NOT exploiting ANYONE with a disability in ANY way, shape or form! I will be doing eresearch for this story when it comes to what hearing loss is like, deaf culture, as well as how to sign certain words. I just wanted to let you all know that now. Also, if anyone out there is deaf or hearing impaired, or knows someone who is, leave a comment and let me know; I'm kinda curious to see how many people relate to Elijah.
I hope you've enjoyed this first chapter! Favorite and follow to keep updated on new chapters, and feel free to leave a review with your thoughts.
I do NOT own The Lord of the Rings, Noises Off, All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot, or Gargoyles in ANY way, shape or form.