9 - "Nine Months Away"
Originally Written: February 24th, 2000

February 12th, 2000
"Oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god..." A mantra of apprehension chorused
unendingly as Elisa paced around her room, bouncing from bed to desk to the massive
couch near her fireplace, never staying in one spot long enough to even leave an
impression of warmth upon the lush carpeting. A couple of days had passed since her
conversation with her sister, and Beth's unintended joke a suggestion she may be
pregnant. Elisa had kept quiet to the others about this startling revelation, delving into
her police work whenever possible, avoiding the clan, and her husband.

Barely two weeks from the end of the honeymoon, and that one night on the beach.
Surely her body couldn't already be showing signs of conception. Yet, if carrying a half
gargoyle child within her, this may be the most unique pregnancy in the history of the
planet. Through means of a simple drugstore kit would then show her, if perhaps blessed
with an infant of Goliath's blood, but she couldn't bring herself to find out. "There's no
way..." she said quietly as she continued her pacing, unaware of a presence within the
doorframe, blanketed from her eyes by the penumbra of darkened shadows.

"No way of what, Elisa?"

"Goliath!!" Elisa whirled around to catch sight of her husband coming towards her,
small square panes of the window's glass reflecting the moon's light upon smooth
lavender skin. "Oh nothing, just...nothing." She forced a smile to allay the large
gargoyle's suspecting nature, a curiosity to rival her own. She allowed herself to be held
hostage in the stead of powerful arms, gently pulling around her slender body.

"Have you seen a doctor yet?" Goliath asked his human love, as his wings encircled them
both. "I hope you are not still sick."

"No, not yet. I'm fine, the nausea's not as bad anymore." She rested her head against his
chest, and the pulsating rhythm within of a powerful heart. "I'll go later, I promise."

The city's roar diminished within the folds of leather membranes, as Elisa burrowed
deeper into her mate's solid chest. A tanned hide of a diluted violet color stretched over
a sculpture of concrete, Elisa marveled at the viscera of Goliath's massive body. Her
hands moved up to his shoulders, and traced the prominence of muscle and a bony
protrusion at the elbow, capturing his hand when she reached his arm's end. She
released herself from his grasp, drawing him behind her as she led Goliath to the library,
where they would spend the night until sunrise.

****************************************

Through the infinite chase of moon and sun, a dance destined to continue for billions
upon billions of years, where a passage of three days is barely a speck in the grand
celestial equation, but a lifetime to a certain detective living above the clouds. Elisa had
still not seen the doctor, feigning good health when usually waking to her earsplitting
alarm, she could barely fight the urge to vomit. Early in the afternoon, where the sun
took it's throne above the water's edge at the cessation of the sky, it's blinding rays
turning the warriors of the night to stone above Wyvern's towering spires.

An elusive slumber would be her bane, as Elisa ended up staring at the digital alarm
clock resting on her nightstand and watching the minutes float by. She wrestled with
thoughts unbecoming of her tireless spirit, as a growing fear spread throughout her. 'Why
am I scared to go to the doctor? Why am I scared to be pregnant?' she thought to
herself. 'I've always wanted to have a child, and now, with the man I love by my side for
eternity, my dream could quickly become reality. So why do I hesitate to find out? Why
am I so afraid?' A trembled breath escaped and she coerced herself into a sitting stance,
gazing at her new mahogany furniture, glowing a deep reddish brown in the faded
sunlight spilling through the closed blinds. Past her dresser and wardrobe, where a
rounded archway concealed an extra room with sliding wooden doors, she centered her
glare.

'Future expansion...in more ways than one.' Xanatos' well chosen words surfaced, as
she thought back to the day he presented her with this room. Lifting herself from the bed,
she opened the semi-transparent doors and crept inside. A massive bay window, with
enough light flowing through the segmented glass to fill the small room with the dying
rays of evening shine. The window's ledge invited her to perch upon it's wooden face,
and she curled against the crystal surface, wrapping her arms around the oversized shirt
she often slept in. It was a clear day, the clouds had gathered somewhere beyond
Manhattan's island borders, providing an unimpeded view of the skyscrapers just below
her.

"Hell of a view, ain't it?"

"Beth?!" Torn from the feast of the city's splendor, Elisa whirled around to discover the
source of the voice behind her. "What are you doing here?"

"Reading break. I was able to take a week off, so I thought I'd drop in. Especially after
our 'discussion' a week ago." Beth sat on the other side of the window ledge, mimicking
Elisa's sitting posture. "So, you peed on the stick yet?"

Elisa glared at her baby sister. "No, I haven't taken a test yet or even seen the doctor."

"Why not? You should know for sure, before you do anything else. Besides, you
probably aren't even pregnant."

"I'm late."

"Late? Late for wha...oh." Beth immediately shut herself up at her sister's simple
statement.

"I'm think I'm pregnant. Don't ask me how I know, but call it a strong feeling. I have
all the symptoms."

"So...are you happy about this?"

"Yeah, I am. I've always wanted to have children. It's just...the circumstances are a
little unusual. I mean, Goliath is the man I love more than life itself. He is the one I
want to spend the rest of my days with, and I know he'll make a wonderful father. Hell,
he already is to Angela..."

"But..." Beth urged her on.

"I'm also scared. I'm scared about this baby. I'm scared about carrying this baby to
term. I'm scared about raising this baby in a world that will most likely fear it just
because it's half gargoyle."

"You have no reason to be scared. You know Goliath will always be there for you, and
the clan, and your family. Anyway, don't you think you're getting ahead of yourself?
You can't be sure you're pregnant without the proper certainty a test can provide. I
mean, you and Goliath are different species. To be frank, you married a lizard."

"Hey!!"

"I'm just sayin' is all. Besides, we don't even know for sure. And don't feed me that
crap about 'having a feeling'."

Elisa smiled at her sister. How did a little twerp like this know her so well?

"Let me go and get a test. Then we'll find out whether or not you'll need extra large
jogging pants." Beth said quietly and left the room, heading for a drugstore she knew of a
couple blocks away.

Elisa watched her disappear into the hallway and turned back, to the window, to the city,
to the setting sun. Upon the emergence of Earth's lone satellite, a dead planet barren of
life, yet an inspiration to centuries of civilized man and a beacon to the creatures perched
upon the granite cornice. Soon the gargoyles would awaken. Soon Goliath would
descend into the inner sanctum of his castle, through the massive oak doors, where his
presence filled the room with a silent strength and filled Elisa's very being with a
overwhelming devotion. He would hold her in his arms, where the crushing weight of
the world had no power, in which Goliath and Elisa became only two, in a realm of
nothing, far from those who would endeavor to keep them apart.

****************************************

A half hour later, Beth returned with the test and watched Elisa close the bathroom door
behind her. Cut off from her sister, she perched on the end of the bed, where an eternity
of lost time passed by, before the anticipated sound of a door opening caught her
attention. She stood up and looked wide-eyed towards the archway as Elisa stepped out,
no discernible emotion apparent. "So, are you?..."

Elisa stopped and glanced towards her sister, who looked like she was going to explode.
"The stick turned pink." she whispered.

Beth immediately looked at the box's directions, blue for not pregnant, pink for...
"H-HOLY SHIT!!! You're gonna have a baby!!!" Beth jumped on her sister, almost
lifting her from the ground as she captured Elisa in a massive hug. "I'm going to be an
aunt. Oh god, I already feel old." She pulled back to look at Elisa's face, stained with
trails of tears.

Elisa had suspected, but the reality had yet to sink in. She stood in shock, as she put forth
her best effort to form coherent speech, "I'm going...to be a mother..." she mumbled,
desperately trying to convince herself. "Goliath and I are going to have a baby."

"Oh man, this is terrific! We gotta tell the others."

"Tell the others what?" The celebration was broken by a familiar deep voice, as Beth
jumped slightly and Elisa turned only to stare headlong into a muscled torso. Released
from his prison, Goliath had awakened at dusk's advent and joined the ladies in the
room, quietly gliding behind them without a sound, but luckily, missing an important part
of the conversation. "Beth, it's...good to see you again. So, what is the news?"

Beth backed off with a smirk as Elisa slowly approached Goliath. She grabbed his hands
and pressed them to her chest, noticing a small mien of confusion cross his noble
features. "I have good news...at least, I hope it's good news. You know I haven't been
feeling well lately, ever since the honeymoon. Well, it turns out, there's a reason." She
slowly guided his hands to the expanse of her stomach, and took a deep breath.
"Goliath...I'm pregnant. We're going to have a baby."

Silence followed her revelation. Goliath continued staring as Elisa cocked her head,
waiting for a response, any response. Indigo wings drooped below his shoulders and his
knees grew weak. Goliath blinked once, then twice, followed with a slight quiver of his
bottom lip, "A-A...child? You are...pregnant? With...my child...a child...a
baby...jalapena." Seven hundred pounds wavered over seven feet off the ground as the
Maza sisters watched Goliath's eyes roll back in his head, and topple to the floor.

But Elisa and Beth were there first, quickly slipping under each shoulder and preventing
Goliath from hitting the ground. Yet trying to keep a massive gargoyle on his feet is not
easily accomplished.

"Oof. Jeez, this guy weighs a ton. I sure hope when you guys made this kid, you were on
top, Elisa."

"Oh, just shut the hell up and help me get him on the bed." Elisa grunted as she and her
sister moved cautiously towards the bed, with her husband barely conscious. They
released their grip and Goliath's immense form fell to the mattress. Elisa crawled beside
him and propped him up, rubbing her fingers down his brow.

Goliath's eyes fluttered, and he came to, steadying himself by grasping the bedpost.
Delicate fingers smoothed around his chin and forced his gaze to his wife beside him.
"Elisa..."

"Well?"

"A child. We are going to have a child. Oh, Elisa..." Regaining his balance, he released
from the bedpost and stole his arms around his wife, drawing her closer to him. She
pressed up against him, and nestled in the cavity created by her husband's embrace.

"I take it, you're happy about this?" Elisa asked softly.

"Yes, very much. I would love to have a child with you, Elisa. The question is, are you
not happy about this?"

"No, of course not. I've wanted this for a long time, and now..." She turned her gaze
away, her smile fading from view as Goliath stripped away the ebony strands, pulling
them back over her ear.

"You are worried about having a child that's half gargoyle."

"Yeah, you could say that. But now that I know for sure, I can't think of anything I'd
rather want. Like I told Beth before, to have children would fulfill a dream I've had for a
long time." She submerged into his warmth, taking pleasure beneath a layer of love and
desire. "A beautiful child for us to love and raise and watch over as it grows."

"Well, now you will definitely have to see a doctor," Goliath broke the mood, "to my
knowledge, there's never been a hybrid such as this one. We must ensure it has the best
chance to thrive. Perhaps Xanatos and Fox can arrange for a doctor, with...unique
knowledge."

"And tight lips." Elisa added.

"And the best part," Beth pressed a hand upside Goliath's right shoulder blade, beneath
his wing, "I'm going to be it's auntie Beth."

Goliath's brow rose and he snapped his head back to stare at his sister-in-law. Drifting
through his subconscious grew displeasing thoughts of 'the annoying Maza' teaching his
child how to swear or something else unbecoming. With a pointed finger, he shot back
in his ever commanding tone, "You will stay away from my child, Beth." Goliath
chaffed. "I will also have to keep it away from the trio. They can be very influential."

A playful scowl played about Beth's face as she crossed her arms and stuck out her
tongue. "Phbbbbt!"

"As we're on the subject of the clan," Elisa arose from his lap, and wielded a worthy
question, "shouldn't we tell them about the baby?"

"Baby?" Three pairs of eyes directed upon an inquisitive voice, to the bedroom doors,
slightly ajar, with a lavender skinned female poking her head through. "Did I hear what I
think I just heard?" Angela asked hopefully.

Elisa smiled softly and replied with nothing but a slight nod of her head and a rubbing
gesture on her stomach.

"Oh, Elisa!!" Angela threw herself through the doors and wrapped herself around her
human friend, ripping Elisa from her father's arm. "This is beyond any of my wildest
dreams!!"

"Ungh, uh, thanks Angela...umph, uh...I...can't breathe..."

"Oh! Sorry..." Angela released Elisa from her grip and rebounded to her father's
outstretched arms. "Congratulations father, it seems I'll have a new brother or sister to
help teach about the world around him...or her."

"Hmmm, yes daughter. Your help will be greatly appreciated."

"Especially changing diapers." Beth teased.

"We must tell the others, father, Elisa." Angela rose to her feet, and pulled her parents
from the bedspread. "Come on, they haven't left for their patrols yet."

****************************************

"Is that the new meat?" Beth spotted Shadow through the assemblage of winged
creatures, and gave him the once over. "He's kinda cute." she whispered to her sister as
they entered the castle's large kitchen.

"Yeah, but you'll have to fight Delilah for him. I think your 'niece' has a crush on him."

Beth laughed and went to mingle among the clan, taking a seat next to Othello and
loading her plate with the banquet laid out before her. Goliath and Elisa stood in the
kitchen doorway, watching the clan eat breakfast and prepare for their day. A rare
moment, when all of them were together, through diversified evening activities and
nightly patrols to keep their city safe. Though mostly confined to the castle's safe haven,
they savored full lives of adventure and discovery.

A few moments passed before Goliath cleared his throat to bring them to attention. "I
stand before you tonight, my friends and family, with news of joyous cheer. It seems we
are going to have another new clan member very soon." Goliath's words almost became
lost in an uncommon flood of emotion, and he paused momentarily to collect himself.
"Elisa is pregnant, we are going to have a child."

With the exception of a few utensils dropped to the tiling, the vast kitchen grew still, as
all gathered there froze in place. A distant droning of the castle's chatter was all that fell
in place of the absence of breath.

It wasn't until Brooklyn twitched, as if remembering something important, and turned to
Broadway, laying a few raps of a balled fist on his spiked head. "You owe me twenty
bucks, pal."

"That's not fair." Broadway responded. "How do I know you didn't meet this kid in the
future?"

Before flashing a glance to Sata, Brooklyn quipped, "You don't. Now pay up."

As the impact subsided, the others offered forth their congratulations, the exception being
Beth and Angela, who had already heard and Shadow, who stood away from the rabble
surrounding the mismatched couple, wide mahogany eyes centered on an indiscreet
stead.

"Shadow, you do not share in our happy news?" Goliath called to him, with the others
turning to see the dark warrior.

"What? Oh, no, Goliath-sama, Elisa-chan. It is most welcome news." He came forward
and bowed to them both. "It is just...I never thought it would be you."

"What does that mean?" Elisa asked coarsely, as she freed herself from Desdemona's
fond embrace.

"An old legend, from my past. One of my grandfather's numerous tales. I...never gave it
much thought, until I learned of your association with Goliath."

"Old legend?"

"Yes. I do believe I still remember the scripture of an ancient tale of a guardian and his
human love coming together, to have a child, made of both races. 'This...child of
destiny, a child of hope, a holy trinity for those innocent to believe in. To unite our
kindred, to bring peace to both sides, to release the trapped guardian spirit, an eternal
protector of the winged creatures of lore'."

"Okay, that's one weird legend. And who's this guardian spirit?" Beth asked the dark
warrior.

"I...have no idea. It was a long time ago, and even my grandfather didn't know the entire
story. But using the books in my collection, and your extensive library, I can research it
further."

"Man, do you two do anything normally?"

"Shut up, Beth. Well, I guess we have to tell Xanatos now, huh?" Elisa asked her giant
love.

"Yes. We will need his help to find a doctor to have a look at you and our child."
Goliath answered, one brow ridge going up. "Besides, it's not that I don't trust a store
bought home test, but..."

"But you want a second opinion."

"Hey," Beth chimed in, "that's a perfectly good test! I've used it myself..." Elisa looked
at her sister, as Beth turned a dark shade of red. "Uh, let's go see Xanatos."

"That will not be necessary, Ms. Maza." A playfulness carried on a clandestine pitch, a
well-known voice of the owner of the building below them. Beyond the small
celebration, the Xanatoses emerged into the kitchen doorway, with Fox smiling, and
Xanatos wearing his traditional smirk. "We were just...passing by, and I must say, it'll be
nice to have a playmate for Alexander." Xanatos said quietly as he digested the news.

"That's it? That's all you have to say?" Elisa's tone bordered on annoyance.

"Of course not." Fox delivered a light slap to her husband's shoulder. "Congratulations,
Goliath, Elisa. This will be a most welcome addition to our family." She moved to the
couple and whispered into Elisa's ear, "Perhaps I can loan you my maternity clothes."

"Hmphf. I'm only two weeks along."

"And perhaps I can loan you a doctor." Xanatos pried into the conversation. "You'll
need a pediatrician. One who is very experienced and has backgrounds in biology
and...ahem, zoology. I have prepared for this very situation and have a doctor in mind.
I'll call him tomorrow."

"What a minute," Beth scratched her head, "you've prepared for Goliath and Elisa to
have a baby?"

"Ever since they announced their engagement. His name is Dr. Alan Pierce. He has
extensive knowledge in several fields and has over twenty years of medical service under
his belt."

"Can he be trusted?" Goliath asked as he wrapped an arm around Elisa's shoulders.

"I believe so. I've met him a couple of times. In fact, he was a candidate for the job of
creating a cure for the mutates, and he knows about your brother's 'condition', Elisa. Dr.
Goldblum himself has vouched for him. I'll call him and set up a meeting. I'll let you
know when your first appointment is." The billionaire effectively ended the conversation
as his cell phone burst with a shrill ring from his suit pocket.

Beth came up to the couple, and placed her hand on Elisa's shoulder. "You know, there
is another clan to tell about the baby." she reminded her sister and brother-in-law. "You
have to let mom and dad know too." She looked on as Elisa brought her hand to her face
and groaned.

"Oh, I'm definitely looking forward to this."

****************************************

Tired, breathless, spent of all available energy, she continued on throughout the night.
Blinding were the lights of Manhattan's inner core. She wasn't used to this, it was too
bright, too different, too strange. Her enhanced senses picked out every sound through
large, pointed ears. An almost noxious stench hung in the air, a taste of salt and exhaust.
The humans below probably could not detect what she could, their limited sense of smell
masking what was slowly killing the environment around them.

Her tattered clothes barely clasped to her body by the last thread, as the wind threatened
to rip the attire from her completely. She constantly smoothed her golden locks, though
dirty from a buildup of dried and caked mud, back from her field of view. She was
barely able to keep herself in the air, her wings were growing tired from the chase. She
had to land soon, make her way on foot, before they could catch her, and force her back
to that house.

She continued on, throughout the night.

****************************************

"I'm sorry, but what the hell did you just say?" Peter Maza's voice rang out in the
spacious library, a rasp growing over the sounds of a flourishing fire.

"I'm pregnant, dad." Elisa calmly answered.

"I'm sorry honey, it's just a shock." Peter sat back in his chair, resting his head on his
hand. "I mean, you just got married less than a month ago. I suppose we were expecting
grandkids someday, but..."

"But not...so soon, Elisa." Diane took over Peter's conversation. "We are really happy
for you. But your father's right, it is a shock. Was this planned?"

"No, actually."

"Then how? Don't you two use protection?"

"Yes, all the time. Except," Elisa thought how she should continue, "that time on the
beach. We, uh, never used..." She turned red, becoming slightly embarrassed about the
topic.

"Goliath never wrapped his jimmy." Beth finished for her, but with much different words
than Elisa would ever have. Elisa glared at her sister, but felt relieved that she didn't
have to say it herself. Goliath sighed and looked up at the roof, as his hands tightened
around Elisa's shoulders.

"You never used a condom." Diane shook her head.

"Only that one time!" Elisa yelled out. "We didn't think there was a chance of me
getting pregnant at all let alone it happening during that one night on the honeymoon."

"You didn't think?!" Peter cried out from his chair. "Elisa, you know better than that.
You've seen more of this very situation than anyone else, being a police officer. And
you, Goliath. You should have known better than to risk having sex without a condom."
Peter directed his gaze towards the lavender giant. "But I guess gargoyles didn't have
birth control in the tenth century!"

"Now just wait..." Goliath rose to his feet, intent on defending himself, but Elisa pulled
on his arm, bringing him back to the couch, with Beth breathing a sigh of relief.

"Knock it off, dad. Goliath tried to remind me but I forced the issue. I told him not to."
Elisa returned with a spit of venom, silencing her angered father.

The five sat in silence, their tempers ready to pop, until Diane tried to regain some sense
of order. "We are sorry, Elisa. We didn't mean to spoil your surprise, but we just don't
want anything happening to you that's beyond your control. This is a touchy subject,
considering the child's 'heritage', and bearing in mind the public's opinion about
gargoyles, we're worried about you and your baby."

"I know. I know you're worried because you love me. This baby came as a shock to
Goliath and I as well, but now that it's happened, we couldn't be happier." Elisa
reassured her parents. "Xanatos has found us a doctor to look at the baby, and he's
offered everything at his disposal to make sure the baby is healthy up to, and after, it's
birth. Goliath and I will love it and care for it, until the day we die."

"We have no doubt about that, Elisa. But if your child is born with the physical attributes
of a gargoyle, it will be an outcast from society. It will be hidden from sight for perhaps
it's entire life. It's the same problem your brother and Maggie face, if they ever choose
to have children."

"I'm sure a lot of pig-headed bastards said the same thing when I was born. Or you
mom, dad, when you dealt with racism and prejudice because of your race. A colored
woman and her native husband raising a family without caring what color their skin was,
or if they looked different from anyone else. I don't care what my child will look like.
All I know is, even if it has wings, or a tail, or spikes along it's brow and elbows, we will
raise it with compassion and commitment and guide it through a long and very happy
life, no matter what."

Diane and Peter just looked at each other. An eloquent defense mounted by their eldest
daughter had calmed frayed nerves, and appeased her father's temper. They searched
each other's eyes for a hint of anger, but it had dissipated beyond anything worth
screaming over, and worth losing a vital part of their lives. "Touché, kiddo. I guess, if
we accepted your relationship with Goliath, then we can accept this as well. I owe you
an apology, Goliath. I didn't mean to blame you, it's just...my baby girl."

"It's not needed, Peter." Goliath reached over and shook Peter's outstretched hand.
"You are worried about your daughter. I would be if Angela were in this very situation.
But I can promise you this, I will protect Elisa and our child until my last breath. I will
always be there for my family, whether they are human or gargoyle, or a combination of
the two."

"We've never doubted that for a moment, Goliath," Diane responded, "ever since Elisa
told us of her feelings for you, we've never been afraid of your relationship, or
the...surprises it may bring." She sighed and rubbed her brow, intent on changing the
subject once more. "But I do have other questions...you say, there's never been a half
human, half gargoyle baby before?"

"There have been rumors of several relationships between our races but always, fear and
prejudice have ended...what could have been." He pulled Elisa closer to him and rested
his chin on her hair.

"Do you know if Elisa will be okay?"

"We'll have our first meeting with Xanatos' doctor soon, and then we'll know more. But
I do not think Elisa is in any real danger, at least not yet. I do not think her body would
accept the child if it would cause her harm." Goliath assured the Mazas. "We will keep
you informed after our first, and every visit with the doctor."

"That's all we wanted to know. Now, we can offer our congratulations." Diane reached
forward and captured her daughter in a hug as Peter sat up and walked to the couch. He
hugged Elisa just as she was released from her mother. Peter looked towards his other
daughter, who had been witness to her family's argument from a far chair. "Oh, and by
the way Beth. You're our last chance for any 'normal' grandchildren. Please stick to
your own species." he joked.

"I don't know dad, that Shadow is pretty sexy."

****************************************

Past five in the morning, when all those who inhabited the kingdom of iron and glass
were safe in their beds, secure in the tides of slumber's wake. Goliath and Elisa had
relieved the castle of their company and retreated to their own room. Cinders of burned
wood graced the mantle on the far side of the room, the orange ember within, glowing
softly against the stone casing of a craftsman's brickwork. They were silent as they lay
upon the comforter of their bed, Goliath lost in his thoughts, and Elisa having drifted to
sleep in the arms of her husband. A massive lavender hand rested ever so gently on
Elisa's stomach, feeling it move with her every breath, with his other hand, stroking her
ebon tress, in awe of the strands of delicate silk flowing through his taloned fingers.

Goliath looked to his nightstand, where a clear vase of the purest crystal, adorned the
ivory lace covering of the mahogany surface. A gift from Fox, of a dozen long stemmed
roses for the expecting mother. Plucking the nearest flower from the vase, he brought it
forward and held the tiny plant in a caress of leather. A touch of cerise to a span of
copper, as Goliath guided the rose down Elisa's skin. From her delicate cheekbones to
the length of her chin and the column of her neck, he moved downwards, past her breasts
and onto her supple stomach. Taught skin stretched across a uniformed muscular
structure, a well toned midsection, spiraling down into the dark crevasse of her belly
button.

He paused to take in such a simple human characteristic, yet so alien to him. And with
such a slender waist, and smooth skin. No protrusion of bone, no wings or tail to mark
it's extent. He centered his gaze on her stomach, wondering of could be, and what soon
shall be. A new life, bred from his loins, born from the womb of the woman who
captured the dearest part of him. He had seen pregnant women before, read about the
human birthing process in a sequestered evening in the library, but now he had turned the
page into an unknown chapter. Perhaps a hazardous course for his mate, a danger to her
very life. He shuddered at the thought of losing her, as if ripping the soul from his body.

Unbeknownst to him, a small bead of cold water had remained trapped within the rose's
petals, and with the last touch to Elisa's skin, had worked it's way free. It rolled down
the petal and perched precariously on the feathered edge, before letting go and falling to
the skin below.

"Yeow!!" Elisa gasped as she awoke with a sudden start.

"I apologize, I did not mean to wake you."

"What are you doing?" Elisa asked softly, as she lay back to the pillows and her place
within Goliath's loving touch.

"Just...imagining."

"Imagining? And what thoughts would a tenth century gargoyle dream up while laying
next to his human wife?"

Goliath placed his hand to her naked skin, nearly covering her entire stomach with his
palm. "Old fears...and new ones." He grew sullen, as the slight curve to his lip withered
to Elisa's chagrin. "Are...you still afraid to have this baby, Elisa?"

"Yes. Yes, I am. Every time I close my eyes, I see a baby in the haze of my dreams. A
small innocent child. And I ask myself over a thousand of a thousand questions. Will it
have wings? A tail? Will it have skin like mine, or yours? Will it be feared for what it
represents? Will I be able to keep it safe from the horrors waiting outside these walls?
Will we be able to keep it hidden, if it's more gargoyle than human? It will need an
education, but it won't be able to walk into a school and try to be one of them. Pretend
to be what it's not."

"The hatchlings were educated by the elders of the clan. Hudson, with years of
experience, will teach the child. And Desdemona, who was one of the primary
caretakers of the eggs, and Owen, who has done quite well with Alexander. Lexington,
Angela, perhaps even...Demona."

"You're kidding, right?" she quipped, as Goliath laughed within his chest, but his
chuckle subsided most fleetly.

"Wisdom of a thousand years, she has seen what we can only read about in ancient texts.
She would need to calm that ever present temper of hers, though. But my concern also
turns to you. I am worried about what this baby will do to your body. I don't know if
you will be able to birth a child that has wings or a tail or ridges on it's forehead and
elbows. I would not want you to go through with the pregnancy if it would cause you
serious harm, or threaten your life."

A draft passed through from the open hearth, curling around the room, and drifting over
Elisa's nude body. She shivered, and moved closer to Goliath. "The risk, we don't know
of yet. To have a child with you would be a blessing. A blending of ourselves and our
love. A beautiful baby that would be unique to the world. We still have more than eight
months to see how the...how our child develops, and the doctor will probably be able to
tell us more. And I know I won't be afraid with you by my side."

"Always and forever, my wife."

****************************************

Dead coals remained in the still place of fire, as the room lit with the glimpse of morning
sun. The occupants of the master bedroom emptied onto the battlements as Goliath led
his mate to his place on the highest turret.

Barely over the distant horizon, Elisa watched the sky grow bright, and turned back to her
husband. "Another unknown." she whispered.

"I'm sorry?"

"Oh, ah, well, I guess we don't know if the baby will be spending the days among the
statues of Wyvern's exterior with it's daddy, or safe in it's bed inside beside it's mother."

Goliath too, turned his gaze to the coming sun and released a breath to the encroaching
wind. "However our child sleeps, it will be loved." A mere assertion from his lips, spoke
volumes to Elisa's heart.

Cast in the light, flesh of a lavender shade turns to cold, unfeeling granite. Elisa stared
into the city from his tower, and looked down to her stomach. "The child of destiny...a
child of hope...a holy trinity for those innocent to believe in.
...hope...trinity...Trinity...Hope...hmmm, I hope it's a girl."

****************************************

The machines were upon her, their deafening roar a harbinger of her impending capture.
She had made it so far this time, so close to freedom, yet not close enough. Through the
torment of an electrical charge, the machines still thundered over her. She fell to the
ground, the dirty puddles of water collected after a spring shower, soaking into her
clothes. They pulled their tazers away, and the pain subsided. She gasped for breath, and
found her throat burning with the raw ocean air.

She tried to move, and tried once again. She couldn't be sure of any movement, through
numbed senses. A murmur of voices was all she could hear, as slight tremors on the
ground alerted her to her attackers. Cold steel gripped her wrists and ankles, but she
could give no resistance. As her body lifted into the air, she wheezed a haggard response,
"...p-please...don't...take...me back...please..."

"Sorry, girl," a harsh yet slightly sympathetic voice, "we got paid to do a job, and that job
is taking you back to your father."

She felt herself being thrown onto a stretcher, with tight fabric straps binding her to the
canvas. Her freedom gone, her spirit crushed, she could only watch as the ground
beneath her drifted away, and a lone tear was thrown to the mercy of the wind, lost in the
city's unforgiving clutch.