14 - "First Time"
Originally Written: March 11th, 2000

August 26th, 2000
A spiral of flames smoothed over Annika's skin, a shimmering reflection of heat from the
glowing fireplace. She reclined against the cushioning of the massive library couch,
leafing through the remaining pages of an older book with a slightly weathered cover.
She had started this book a week ago and been enticed by it's sweeping tale of two lovers
coming together after facing great personal trials. She especially enjoyed the romance
novels she had found in this inexhaustible fountain of knowledge that was Xanatos'
library.

She closed the book, intent on leaving the denouement for another night. Being
extremely careful to mark her place, she returned the thick volume to the shelf from
where it came. She quietly made her way out of the library into the grand hall, and
headed for the rousing clatter of the TV room.

Through the arched hallway, she crept upon the polished stone, her talons making barely
an echoed click. Slowly pushing the wooden door out of the way, she looked on as
Broadway, Angela, Brooklyn, Sata, and the twins engrossed themselves in what must be
a captivating movie, judging by the blank look on Graeme and Arianna's faces. This was
one aspect of freedom she loved. Humans put forth their greatest technical abilities in
creating vast amounts of captivating pleasures, for nothing but to entertain themselves,
and she took every opportunity to immerse herself. Todd was quite a movie buff and
often shared with her his favorites.

Not wanting to disturb them, she continued on, and soon reached the grand bedroom
belonging to Goliath and Elisa.

The door was slightly open, and a hushed murmur from inside had captured her interest.
She peeked inside and found the married couple on the bed, just enjoying the closeness.
Elisa buried herself in the lavender giant's massive arms as she curled up beside him.
Annika noticed Goliath's hand massaging her large stomach, moving under her shirt and
connecting with his mate's silky skin underneath. A whispered conversation raced
between the two, ranging from various subjects, most notably the clan, the city and the
precinct where she worked. One topic of interest that lured Annika, were several choices
of baby names.

She smiled. Elisa had gotten so much bigger since they first met, and she had to admit,
she was looking forward to the birth. She was very happy for them. After all they had
gone through, they were able to find a long lasting love in each other, as if their own tale
had been torn from the books she treasured so much. She left the couple to their privacy
and softly closed the door.

She headed outside and a tempest of wind rushed to meet her, concealing inside the
haunting melody of a soft soprano. Shadow was playing his flute again. She slipped past
the splendor of the main gardens, and the recently added fountain, dragging her slender
talons through the water, causing a ripple to spread out through the azure elixir. She
came upon the edge overlooking the city's East side and leaned against the bedrock,
gazing out on the monuments of Manhattan's prestige, unaware of charcoal eyes
watching from the darkness.

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

Lexington slowed his breathing, enough so to barely release a sigh through closed lips.
He camouflaged his small body in the shroud of shadows, his gaze secured on the gargess
below. His bionic eye flushed with a pallid red as the mechanical retina within focused
on Annika's stead. Such elegant beauty, and such incredible luck, to find a single
gargoyle in the city of his protection. Always forced to watch from the sidelines as his
brothers and clanmates consorted with their betrothed, always forced to retreat to the
comfort of his computer and online chatroom.

"She's very pretty, don't you think?"

Lexington whirled around, only to see Angela leaning against the stones behind him, a
capricious smile growing ever steadily. He turned away, annoyed at being discovered. "I
suppose."

"Oh come on, Lex." Angela released herself from the wall and crept up to the
web-winged gargoyle's side. "Blond hair, blue eyes, nice wings...'ample' attributes."

Lexington didn't answer, only moving his gaze back to a blush rose standing out from the
castle's somber gloom. "She's perfect..." he whispered finally.

"Then tell her. Ask her out."

"She wouldn't be interested."

"How do you know?"

"I know," he spat out, "besides, she's already got someone in her life."

"You mean Todd? But they're friends..."

Lexington looked over his shoulder and laughed under his breath, "You really are naive,
aren't you?"

Angela scowled, her mother's most prominent genetic trait apparent in her features.
"Well, the only way to find out if she's interested or not, is to ask her. How do you think
I started my relationship with Broadway? The one thing that first attracted me was his
honesty. If you don't ask her now, you may regret it for a long time."

Lexington rested his head on his folded arms, searching deep into his soul, attempting to
find what bravado lay beneath his gargoyle hide and inorganic implants. "Maybe..."

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

Annika listened to the city's voice, a peculiar amalgam, one of serenity and discord, yet
still enough to overpower Wyvern's silence. The castle had emptied once more. She
was becoming quite used to how the residents of Scotland's finest stone palace would
often disappear to live their lives outside of the imposing confines of the battlements.

Hudson had gone to the Labyrinth for his weekly class and was heading to Maria's
thereafter. Othello and Desdemona were out on patrol and with Angela's consent, had
decided to drop in on Demona. She believed Lexington was still in the computer room
where she last saw him, probably testing the newest product of Xanatos' software line.
She was still getting used to computers, but loved to play video games, especially when
she beat Todd at the racing contests.

Her lips crafted into a smile when she thought about him. The human who had risked his
life for hers and her freedom. A very handsome, funny and caring human she had come
to hold in high regard. She wondered where he was. He had promised to meet her at the
castle at midnight. He still had trouble adjusting to her 'schedule', sometimes falling
asleep at night.

A trained awareness of the now familiar sounds of her home, captured an inauspicious
creak, made louder by it's capture within the solid walls. She peered over the ledge to
see the wooden door receding into the castle's interior, as someone had pulled it back.
Light poured from the opening and a shadowed figure emerged.

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

"Well well well," Lexington chuffed as Angela anxiously looked on, "if it isn't Mr.
Wonderful..."

"Lex."

"This guy is really starting to get on my nerves."

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

Todd studied the confines of the courtyard, trying to catch sight of his gargoyle
companion. He was late and he knew it, but he hoped her forgiving spirit would relent to
his beguiling charms.

Unknown to the young man, Annika had slipped from the ledge and climbed above him,
watching from overhead as he moved near the fountain and smoothed his apparel in the
reflection of the crystal waters. Annika collared a light draft and touched down
gracefully, with yet a whisper of sound. She prowled behind the young man and covered
his eyes with her hands.

He jerked upright and soon smiled, recognizing the scent of her perfume, a gift from him
weeks ago.

"Guess who?" she whispered in her most seductive voice.

"Uh, Judy?" Todd answered.

"No."

"Simone? Theresa?"

"No..." Annika was becoming annoyed at his bad joke.

"Michelle? Kendra? Jackie? Uhm, how about...Annika?" He laughed out loud, even
though her anger over his simple jest manifested in a feral growling. He pulled her hands
away from his face and turned to look her in the eye. His smirk softened her scowl and
she eventually smiled. In a swift moment of silence, he leaned over and captured her
ruby lips with a kiss.

Surprised by the speed and ferocity of his embrace, she instinctively pulled back.

"Oh sorry. I didn't meant to."

"No, no, it's okay. Just a little sudden, that's all."

"I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. I thought...you know..." He shrugged his shoulders and
looked to the ground, his smile fading away.

"Thought what?" Annika pulled his head up with a sharp talon beneath his chin.

"I thought we had something special. I care for you Annika, very, very much. I mean,
you almost sucked my tonsils out a few months ago, and now it seems you're afraid of
me."

"It's not that...I..." It was her turn to look down. "As you well know, I don't have a lot
of experience in this...kind of thing."

"I'll give you as much time as you need, Annika. But, I mean, have you looked in a
mirror lately? You're frickin' gorgeous! It's hard not to. With every passing night I
spend with you, with every brush of your skin, with every smell of your perfume, with
every sight of those eyes..."

Annika blushed at the statement. 'I love being with him.' she thought. 'I want to express
my feelings for him, both emotionally and physically, but...I'm...'

"Scared." he answered, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking.

She looked up expectedly, searching for the trust and confidence he offered in the grayish
tint of his eyes. "No." She moved closer, drawing in his breath. "Not since I met you."
Her large red lips opened slightly and pressed delicately against Todd's. She closed her
eyes and gestured her arms around his waist, securing her hands and pulling him closer.
He felt her tremble as he caressed her backside, and the sensitive spot where her wing
membranes attached. The couple held each other close, their long kiss lingering,
deepening their feelings for each other. It was Todd who would actually break the kiss to
regain his breath.

Annika coyly smiled at him. "Was that better?"

"Oh yeah, much..." Todd replied breathlessly, attempting to cool himself off in the night
breeze.

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

"Oh," Angela could only offer a sighed response, "I guess they're better friends than I
thought. I'm sorry, Lex."

"Yeah, it looks like the only way to get a girlfriend around here is to either go on a
magical journey, travel four hundred years into the past, or drive around town until a
beautiful blond falls on your car."

"Lex...I..."

"Save it. I guess I'll always be alone..." He quickly lept from his place and slipped past
Angela.

She tried to catch him with a rapid thrust of her arm, but he was fast enough to escape
what surely would be an endeavor on the gargess' part to assure him of his valued place
in the clan. He retreated into the shadows and from Angela's sight. "You're never
alone."

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

"I've wanted to do that since the first time." Annika relented, entangling her talons with
his fingers. "I guess I was afraid. Afraid to get close to anybody, after the way I raised."

"You know I would never do anything to hurt you. Never." Todd pressed the point, so
there would be no room for doubt.

"I know." Annika stared at him, while guiding her fingers down his face, tracing the
lines of his cheekbone. He shivered and sucked in a breath. "Have you ever had any
other girlfriends?"

Surprised by her question, he cocked an eyebrow and stared at her. "Yeah, a couple. But
I've never felt for them like I feel for you. Don't get me wrong, I cared for them too, but
you...well, let's just say I've never saved any of them from bad guys with big guns."

Annika laughed under her breath. "Did you ever...uhm..." She blushed a darker shade of
pink at the question she was about to ask. "Did you ever make love with any of them?"

"Yes, yes I did."

"So you've had sex before."

"And you haven't...obviously..."

"No. I've read about it, seen it in movies, heard about it from...various sources." she
whispered, reliving past conversations held with other female clan members. "I've often
wondered what it was like."

"It's great. And it also brings people closer together in a way you can't...imagine..."

Annika gazed into his eyes in a way that made him shudder, baring her soul in a silent
affirmation. Her intentions were as clear as the sapphire of her eyes, but he didn't want
to hurt her. He cared for her like no one else, but feared for her feelings if it didn't work
out. He didn't even know if gargoyles were 'compatible' with humans. Well, there was
Goliath and Elisa, so it must be possible. He was torn from his reverie when he felt her
arms snake around his neck.

She pulled her mouth to his ear, just barely dragging her lips on the sensitive lobe and
warming his skin with her breath. "I'm no longer afraid. And I want you to be my first."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. The first time we met, you saved my life. Every night for the past three months,
you've been there for me. Showed me things I never knew. Showed me a world I never
imagined. Showed me a tenderness I never thought possible. I think I'm in love with
you, Todd Hawkins."

"Wow. You said it."

"Yeah, but it's true. Now the question is, do you feel the same way about me?"

"Yes. I think I do."

"Good." She kissed him again, this time with more passion than ever before.

He responded in kind, his tongue touching her own, feeling her warmth rise from her skin
and radiate throughout his body. This magnificent creature, who some would call demon
and treat as a monstrosity, was more beautiful than he could ever imagine. He had
watched her as she learned about the world he took for granted and as she took pleasure
in the simplest things. Seeing a movie for the first time, ordering Chinese food and
trying to master using chopsticks, dancing to music on the highest turret of castle
Wyvern.

Annika rubbed her cheek on his, delving into his scent where it was strongest, near the
back of his neck. "I want you." She grabbed him by the hand and hurriedly led him
inside the castle, with no break in her stride until she came to a door, her door, and
stopped in front. She reached behind her and turned the knob, swinging the door open.
She walked backwards into the bedroom, all the while never letting go of his hand. He
was dragged in, while kicking the door closed and locking it, and pulled towards the bed.

Annika reached the edge of the soft mattress, and plunged into the inviting folds of the
soft white quilt. She pulled Todd on top of her, and wrapped her arms around him,
rebellion burning brightly in her eyes. Annika tore from him his jacket and shirt,
revealing his bare chest. He was naturally muscled, even though he hated working out.
'Damn jocks' he called them. She ran her hands down his chest, and kissed him so
fiercely to almost bite his lip. They climbed together into the middle of the bed, and
Annika rolled on top. As he held her hips, she leaned back and removed her gold
bracelets from her arms, legs and neck. With a simple motion, she released her golden
locks from their confinement and they tumbled around her face and shoulders. She
grabbed the bottom of her tunic and pulled upwards, removing the shirt and throwing it
to the floor. Her breasts were large and firm to the touch, her gargoyle physiology
keeping her voluptuous shape.

He quickly kicked off his shoes, pants and socks, her large wings making it quite difficult
as they obscured his view.

She leaned down and opened her mouth on his chest, tasting, and pressed the soft curves
of her body against his groin, giving in to her most heartfelt desire. He returned with an
arduous fire by kissing down the expanse of her breasts and her stomach, eventually
reaching the black belt. With her urging and a simple tug, the lower half of her clothing
fell away, leaving her completely nude. Annika allowed herself to be turned on her back
as Todd took the more aggressive role. He attacked her neck with a barrage of kisses,
sucking hungrily on her soft, scented skin. An aroma of honeyed delectation, released
from her pores in the heat of passion. She was beginning to breathe harder, her chest
rising and falling with the need for more air in her lungs, losing herself in the ageless
dance of sensual sin.

Todd was becoming lost as well, his primal urges taking control of every move, and
every thought. It was all he could do to pull himself away, and catch an absent breath in
his throat. "Are...are you sure about this? Are you ready?"

With a quick gesture, she reached to the small bedside table near the bed. Reaching into
the drawer, she pulled out a box and handed it to Todd.

He took it from her and blushed slightly. "My favorite brand...how did you..."

"I saw it in your apartment. I believe that's your size too?"

"Damn." He pulled out a small package and threw the box behind him. "Oh man, I love
this new packaging. So much easier to open." He ripped open the condom and prepared
himself.

Annika grabbed him and pulled him closer to her slightly sweaty body, she was trembling
in his powerful grip. A gargoyle on the verge could not be denied and Todd would not
hold anything back. Not tonight, and now with her finally within his embrace, not ever.

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

The couple would make love for most of the night, eventually falling asleep due to
exhaustion. Todd held Annika in his arms as dawn grew close to breaching the night, her
body half covering his. Her arm and wing were haphazardly tossed over them for
warmth, her white sheet was tangled about them both, trailed down the creamy contours
of her body like a meandering silver stream.

Drawn from her light sleep, Annika opened her eyes and with a mere nudge, nuzzled her
face on his neck. She could smell him, a mixture of Gravity cologne and natural male
musk. She caught sight of his face, he had slept with a smirk. She smiled and traced his
ear with her talon.

He stirred and eventually his eyes fluttered. Awaiting his longing gaze, a pair of blue
eyes, framed by skin of cerise and hair of golden blond. "Hey."

"Hey."

"So, was it everything you expected?" he asked hopefully.

"More than I ever imagined."

"Good." A smug smile grew on his lips. "I got a reputation to uphold."

"If it's any consolation, you're the best I've ever had." She laughed and pressed her
forehead to his. "Thank you. I've never felt anything like that."

"It only gets better with time."

Annika cupped his cheek, and stared at him for the longest time. "I love you."

"I love you too." he answered back, drinking in her scent of morning dew and sweetened
perspiration still dried to her skin. He pressed her close and she responded, tempted by
his warming touch.

An hour they spent together, before the call of day forced her from the bed to take her
place on the battlements. The others could not help but to notice her unusual mood as
she took her place, a large smile frozen in on her face with the rays of the sun. Beyond
friendship now, and her greatest dream fulfilled, with the making of one hell of a journal
entry.