AN: This story is a continuation of my previous story "Adelpha." You might want to read that first, but I will try to quickly, yet eloquently, exposit all information from that story that is needed to understand this story within the first couple of chapters.

Also, an appendix is provided as the last chapter, which details the typical life cycle of the gargoyle characters in my story. I tried to keep my imagination inline with the limited information that is given in the show, regarding gargoyle breeding, childhood, youth, life stages, etc. After beginning this story, it has been brought to my attention that such details do exist in sources outside of the show itself and are considered "canon", and this canon does not always match up with what I have created. Well, to this I say, please indulge poor Allegra and have some mercy! Already a middle-aged mother, resigned to watch afterschool cartoons at 2AM because it's summer and my kids are home and that's the ONLY time I can find to myself, I do not have time to hunt down old comic books as well. However, if you enjoy the story other than being confused by these details (which only come up once and a while) please feel free to check the appendix at the end for clarification.

Reviews, even critical ones, are appreciated. Thanks! Allegra

The cover art was created by Furiarossa and Mimma

Prologue: New York City, 1970

It was an unseasonably muggy late-spring night on a New York rooftop. A boy with no more than the clothes on his back, a head full of impossible schemes, and whatever else he could stuff in his backpack, sat relaxing on a noisy air conditioning unit, admiring the glow of Manhattan. He was hardly the first runaway to arrive alone in the city and many more would come after him. New York tended to eat most of his kind alive, chasing them quickly back into the bus station or police station to be picked up by their anxious parents. If no such parents existed, it left them at the mercy of unsavory characters that would use them up and leave them for dead. But this boy had been in the city three nights and his eyes were still full of cocky enthusiasm; a strong indicator of his potential staying power. After all, there were still some that made it and saw their dreams come true.

He looked not more than sixteen years of age, but his precocious eyes had an intense, calculating gaze as he looked out over the city. The building he stood on was a midlevel, tall enough to put him right among the glow of layers of lit windows, neon advertisements, and bright searchlights. He'd chosen it because he'd found a backdoor propped open at the ground level. After sneaking in and waiting until the doorman was distracted enough that he swipe an unguarded elevator key, he'd utilized a door to the fire escape with an alarm long since disarmed by some inventive chainsmoker. Now he sat stretched out on the highest point of the roof, enjoying the view, planning his next move, and cockily munching on a slightly cold cheese-burger as if he owned the place.

His private occupation of the roof was about to be interrupted, however, as a large shadow passed over him. He rose suddenly as if preparing to defend himself, but he did not flee as the shadow landed near him, revealing itself to be a female gargoyle. She snarled at the sight of him, her eyes blazing red, Then in two large strides she snatched him by the collar of his shirt and raised him off his feet, growling, "I can't for the life of me remember why I didn't kill you on sight, boy!"

"Ugh!" he gasped uneasily as he tried to regain his footing, "Maybe it's because you like me so much?"

"Where are the books?" she demanded. Her voice was not loud, but cold as ice and menacing.

"They're in the bag," the boy squawked, as he grabbed at her arm. He seemed quite aware he was in great danger of being tossed and didn't want to end up falling off the rooftop.

"I was just borrowing them," he added. She released her grip, dropping him unceremoniously to the rooftop surface below. She grabbed the backpack and tore it open, dumping the boy's precious few belongings on his head in order to find what she was looking for.

"Hey!" the boy cried irritably as he attempted to salvage them in the darkness, "Is that really necessary?"

Ignoring his protest, she continued to flip through his things. An NYC travel guide and booklet of public transit maps were dropped on top of him. With a sense of relief, she recovered the two ancient texts the boy had absconded with. Thankfully, they were unharmed as the boy certainly had no sense of their actual value or the powerful secrets they contained. And then, a third book slipped out of the bag, into her claw. She stopped, her face filling with curiosity as she turned it over and over, studying it in growing amazement. At her sudden silence, the boy looked up from his scattered belongings with an arrogant grin.

"And that's why you keep me alive!" he declared triumphantly.

"How did you…" the monster trailed off.

"See?" he asked, almost tauntingly, "I am a useful friend to have around...for a worthless human, that is."

"How did you break the code?" she demanded, "A boy like you? No one's been able to decipher it. I thought it was impossible!'

"I like doing impossible things," was his response. She glared at him a moment, then leapt down to the rooftop and grabbed him by the back of his jacket.

"Come on," she ordered, jerking him to his feet.

"Whoa! Where are we going?"

"Back to Maine."

"No way!" he exclaimed, tearing himself from her grip and stepping back.

"Boy, you are trying my patience," she threatened.

"I'm staying here!" he insisted.

"Back to Maine or off the side of this rooftop. It makes no difference to me."

"I'd sooner jump off this rooftop before going back there," he insisted, "I might as well be dead." She rolled her eyes in response.

"A bit melodramatic, don't you think?"

"No, I don't," he glowered, turning away from her and shuffling through what was left of his backpack to transfer the most valuable of its contents into the pockets of his jacket.

"And you, with a family that cares for you," she pointed out.

"And he can go on caring for me from his fishing boat," he spat bitterly as he dropped the shredded bag and folded his arms defiantly, staring past her at the lights of the city. She sighed in exasperation, wondering why she couldn't seem to learn from past experience and leave humans to their own folly.

"It comes to this, boy," she explained in her typical, cold tone, "You know far too much. You either stay with me, or you die tonight. And I am not inclined to remain one minute longer in this human-made hellmouth." The boy's eyebrows raised and he smiled mischievously at her over his shoulder.

"Well, now we're talking!" he declared, "All I have to do is convince you that this 'human-made hellmouth' is exactly where we belong."

"Which is never going to happen," she replied.

"I told you, I like doing impossible things," he reminded her, and pointing almost straight up, he said, "Take me up there!"

"I can think of several much easier and faster ways of resolving this argument," she said in a voice dripping with malice.

"Come on!" he pleaded like a child asking for a treat, "Don't you want to see the view?"

"I do not."

"It's the Empire State Building, for crying out loud! It's over twelve-hundred feet tall! It's the tallest building in the world. At least it will be for another year or so. We have to go up there and see it. I've been wanting to see it since I was a kid!"

"Buy a ticket, then."

"They're closed now and I don't have any money. Besides, you need to see this too!" She sighed again, glancing up at the tower. It was so high, she couldn't even see the top through the clouds.

"Very well," she relented, "I will take you sight-seeing, and then we're going back to Maine." She lifted the boy over her shoulder and he settled himself on her back, between her wing joints. It took several circles around the exterior of the building to get enough lift to bring them to the top. She had to admit, the pinnacle of the building was beautiful in its own way. Mankind often created great beauty amid its horrors. And this city had a strange, ironic beauty with its sprawling sea of lights, each representing generations of cruelty and indifference, even as they drowned out the natural lights of the sky.

They landed on the roof of the pinnacle, far above the safety of the observation deck. If she pushed him off, she mused that he'd be dead before he even hit the ground.

"Look at that!' he exclaimed almost maniacally, "This is the tallest building now, but it won't be for long. See over there? They're half done building the World Trade Center. Two towers that will be even taller than this one!"

"I see it. Now I'm taking you home."

"No," he insisted, "This is home now. I'm going to be an engineer. I'm going to make a ridiculous fortune. I'm going to have my own tower and it will be even greater than these!"

"You're going home to Maine." The boy looked at her and growled in exasperation, but then he smiled smugly and his tone changed.

"You aren't paying attention, Demona," he chastised calmly, "Look down there. What do you see?"

"A diseased wasteland, plagued by humanity." The boy shook his head in frustration.

"No, Demona. Clouds. You see clouds. We're standing on a building, and we are above the clouds." Demona fell silent for a long time.

"You are even madder than I am, David Xanatos," she whispered at last.

"It's not impossible," he told her earnestly, "I'm going to do it for you. I'll bring your family back. And then, you'll tell me how to live forever." She turned to him sharply. For a moment, she meant to tell him that she had never asked to be immortal and it was a curse that wasn't within her power to share. Thinking the better of it, she protested, "I can't stay in this depraved place. This city is designed to devour souls and drive minds insane."

"You're already insane," he retorted.

"Not near as far gone as you, I say! Do you really think you can make all this happen in this decrepit nightmare of a city? You have no idea what horrors are waiting down there. But you're going to beat the odds, become a billionaire, reconstruct a castle in the clouds, and become immortal? The only part you've left out of this fantasy is slaying the dragon and winning the fair maiden."

He sneered contemptuously at the idea.

"Why should I slay the dragon when I can just make it work for me?," he asked arrogantly, "And I don't need a maiden. I don't need anyone."

"Except me, apparently." He looked back at her, eyes wide.

"So, are you in?"

Demona looked out again at the city below her. The river was black amidst the lights, as was the sky above her that should have been full of the stars that had always been her guides. Then she thought of her love, frozen in silent death, so far away. Was it truly not impossible to save him? And would he ever be able to forgive her if she did?

"I should have killed you on sight, boy," she muttered, tears brimming in her eyes.