"What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden, and it's not. A lot of the time, it's what makes you great." ~ Emma Stone

{+}+{+}+{+}+{+}+{+}+{+} CH 1

Elisa sat along the low wall that ran along the outside of the wide walkway on the uppermost level of the 23rd precinct police station. There was a fine coating of snow everywhere, giving the world a clean, fresh look.

Behind her was the brightly lit clock face that was announcing the time approaching nine o'clock.

There was a contentment in her, knowing that her friend would be there soon and she would be able to soar the skies.

Elisa hopped down off of the low wall, shaking the fine dusting of snow that had gathered on her shoulders as she'd sat outside. Once inside, she looked around the place that had become her new home. Some of the things here were so foreign to her, she mused. While she had no problem with the television and radio if her friends came over and turned them on, if she were alone, she preferred to sit with a good book.

She went to the book shelf now, her gaze running over the familiar titles there. Works of Shakespeare, Keats and other classics clashed with brightly colored comic books and more modern paperbacks that her younger friends had stashed there for safekeeping.

Smiling and shaking her head, she wandered to the small refrigerator and withdrew the covered plate of something that Angela had assured her that she'd like. Carefully uncovering the paper plate, she put it gently in the warmer and waited impatiently while it warmed, filling the air with the delicious smells that already had her mouth watering.

Once sufficiently warmed, Elisa withdrew the plate and took a deep whiff of the fragrant red sauce and what looked like wide noodles with cheese oozing on the top of it all.

Lasagna, Angela had called it.

Elisa placed the plate on the small table and dug in with the aid of the oversized utensils that they'd managed to find for her. While she had no problem eating with just her hands, it tended to get messy, and seemed to unsettle her friends a little.

Thus… the oversized fork, spoon and knife.

It was heaven. The sauce, the spices, the cheese…

She was thankful that she hadn't gotten any of the sauce on herself, from the sheer speed at which she had shoveled it into her mouth. As she rose to put the plate into the large black trash bag, she heard voices coming closer now, and she felt herself go still.

When the door opened and she recognized a few of the voices, she began to relax. She hurriedly disposed of the plate and rushed over to the pair of space heaters to make her guests more comfortable.

The cold didn't bother her, but she had discovered as autumn gave way to winter, she knew that her friends would appreciate the warmth.

The three boys came up the narrow stairs first, jostling and pushing each other in their exuberance and excitement to be there.

Elisa grinned at them. Broadway, Brooklyn and Lexington were very much rough and tumble boys, just beginning to show maturity in their faces, but still young enough to tease and play.

A fourth member of their motley crew, this one following at a more sedate pace, was Angela. Besides Elisa, she was the only other female, and as much as she bemoaned the fact sometimes, Elisa knew that it didn't bother her.

Most of the time.

"Phew," Angela huffed out, making her way to stand near a heater. She rubbed her gloved hands and held them out to the glowing orange coils and sent Elisa a glance, "You are so lucky that you don't get cold. It's not even Halloween yet, and it's already this cold."

Elisa didn't know what to say to that. She was a gargoyle after all, and she'd never felt the cold…not to the extent that humans felt it.

And she had no idea what 'Halloween' was. She'd have to remember to ask sometime.

Elisa took one of the large, thick blankets that the kids had brought up when the temperatures had begun dropping at night and threw it around Angela's shoulders.

"Thanks," Angela said, gripping the edges of the blanket.

"…best thing ever!"

Elisa turned at the snippet of conversation, frowning at the boys. "Best thing ever?" She repeated, confused.

"An old movie," Angela clarified. "A couple of them, actually. There's evidently a Bogart film festival downtown at the Old Tivoli Theater. Broadway really wants to go, but…"

"But what?" Elisa encouraged.

Angela sighed. "It's next Thursday."

It took Elisa a moment before the meaning kicked in. Thursdays were the meeting times for the "Future Police Officers of America". It was the small club Goliath had created to give the kids a reason to come and visit Elisa in the clock tower at least once a week as well as hauling up furniture and other items without raising any suspicions.

"Oh, well," Elisa huffed out. "You can miss a week. Or come another day." Elisa took Angela's hands in hers. "It is fine. Really. You should all go and have some fun! Don't worry about me, or coming to visit will seem more like an obligation than fun."

Angela bit her lip. "Really?"

"Of course," Elisa said with a laugh.

Angela let out a relieved sigh.

"I can stay here that evening," Elisa said with a shrug.

"Hey, you could come with us," Broadway said, coming to stand behind Angela, his arm curling around her shoulders.

"How?" Elisa asked.

"Hey, yeah," Lexington said, walking up to join them. "The Tivoli has that old balcony. They don't use it anymore so it's closed to the public. Lucky for you," Lexington winked, "we happen to know a way up there."

Elisa blinked at him. "Really?"

"Yeah," Brooklyn said, joining his friends. "There's an access hatch that opens directly from the roof to the balcony. It's never locked, and you could just drop down, watch the movies and then climb back out the same way."

Angela turned to Brooklyn, her eyes narrowing. "Do I want to know how you know about that?"

Brooklyn shrugged, grinning. "Lingering knowledge from my misspent youth?"

Angela put her hand on his forehead and pushed. "You're still a 'youth'."

Everyone laughed, and Elisa began to think it was possible. She'd never seen a movie, though the moving pictures on the old black and white television fascinated her.

"I think I would like to come along," she said.

"Great!" Lexington said with a laugh.

"Yeah," Broadway added.

"Is there a way to get to the balcony from inside?" Angela asked. "Maybe we could all sit together."

"There aren't any seats up there," Brooklyn warned, "But, yes, there's a way up there."

Angela rubbed her hands together, her breath coming in white puffs as she exclaimed, "This is going to be so much fun!"