Author's Note 1: I just wanted to take this opportunity to place some well deserved praise
where it belongs. My good friend Iliana (my rabid, obsessed, number one fan, who's
been with me since the beginning) has posted her first and second stories and they're
pretty damn good readin'. She displays a wonderful talent for writing, brings the
characters to life in striking detail and will most likely blossom into one of the archive's
finest. Be sure to check her out. And Trinity Dragon as well (another friend who's been
in contact with me), her debut story showed great promise and is a well written work.

Author's Note 2: Just wondering if anyone out there can tell me how to transfer a
Microsoft Works word processor program (version 4.5) to an HTML format. I usually
post in text format, but in several upcoming stories, I would really like to use Italics,
Underline and Bold, to avert some confusion. Please, if anyone knows, send me some
"easy to follow" instructions. Thanks. Laters...The Barracuda

29 - "Night Out"
Originally Written: April 20th, 2000

December 15th, 2000
From ashen cloud to ivory snow, where the castle's cornices actually began were blurred
in the atmosphere of Winter mist. Barely a trace of Wyvern's stones were left uncovered
by the concealment of snow, the dismal gray awash in pure, cleansing white. With
Christmas only days away, the spirit of the season had claimed the city within it's fond
embrace. Lights and ribbon were sprinkled on every street and building, lighting the
shadows with emerald glow and crimson revelry.

The gargoyles were looking forward to the holidays, as it provided a chance for all to
come together and celebrate the happiness and love they shared. The Wyvern clan were
excitedly counting down the days, yet with one exception, a injured spirit still healing
from the loss of her family.

Delilah paced slowly down the halls of the castle, studying the intricate ornamentation,
filling the corridors with a Yuletide cheer. The clan had spent many hours decorating
their castle, and their hard work had paid off. Leaves of holly lay perched from the walls
and ceiling, with red velvet bows and white glass bells in between the lush, festive
foliage. A large evergreen tree, placed in the main living room, stood tall and proud with
it's layer of glamorous embellishment.

In less than ten days, the entire clan, and their extended family, will gather immediately
after sunset on Christmas day. Delilah stopped and furthered her examination of the tree,
noticing especially the large amount of wrapped boxes underneath. And when her gaze
lay upon the tremendous fireplace, she smiled weakly at the sight of the numerous
stockings suspended from the mantle. The entire clan's, and the Xanatos' names adorned
the red material in bold white letters. She almost let loose a giggle at the sight of her
baby half-sister's own smaller stocking, placed intentionally between Goliath and Elisa's,
with her name spelled out in tiny gold letters.

But a wave of sadness hit her suddenly, like a punch to the stomach, and she quickly
turned away, knowing that in the labyrinth she called home, four less stockings would
hang from their fireplace this year. She slumped against the doorway and closed her
eyes, knowing if she opened them once more, her tears would freely flow, and present
her pain to any onlooker who happened by. Suddenly, a slight breeze crossed her neck
and before she could react, two dark arms flashed on either side and snaked around her,
and the copper gargoyle was pulled into Shadow's wide breadth.

"Mari Kurisumasu, Delilah-chan."


"Merry Christmas, Delilah." the dark warrior translated his native tongue, his low rasp
carrying softly on the still air. He lowered his head into her shoulder and pressed his
cheek to hers, mindful of the small bone spur below his ear. "The clan did a wonderful
job with the decorations, did they not?"

"Oh, yeah." Delilah replied morosely and turned to rest against his chest.

"You are still saddened, my blossom."

"Everything reminds me of my brothers, especially the holiday season. They loved
Christmas...very much."

Shadow sighed as he pressed her closer, and delved his hands about her slender frame.
Over the past few weeks, he had done everything in his power to lift her spirits, but still
even his best efforts had failed. She was growing more despondent each and every night.
Perhaps in time, she would recover, but for now, she needed to escape her pain, if for just
one night. In a soft movement that belied his frightful physique and stature, he lifted her
head with his fingers and mahogany eyes met chocolate. "Then, my delicate flower, I
shall do what I can to give you some happier memories," he began softly, "tomorrow
night, we'll go out. For dinner. Just the two of us."

Delilah instantly perked up, and barely blinked her eyes before swelling into a smile.
"You mean a date?"

"Yes. We'll meet here at the castle, in the library, at six."

Delilah excitedly grasped Shadow's dark grayish-purple hands, leaving behind her
anguish in the prospect of a night alone with her gargoyle suitor. "It sounds wonderful,
Shadow. I'll see you tomorrow night." said Delilah as she pecked him on the cheek and
took off down the hall, leaving the dark warrior with a goofish grin.

The copper gargoyle, with now an extra skip in her step, hurriedly strolled upon the stone
floor, her somber mood lightened, and wondering what the following night would bring.
But she came screeching to a halt when a certain thought crossed her mind. "I can't go
like this," she said to herself, looking down at her usual attire, "what will I wear?"


"Elisa? Can I come in?"

"Sure thing, Delilah, we're in the nursery." the detective's voice called from the small
adjoining room. Delilah moved quietly through the semi-transparent, sliding doors and
found her mother in the large wooden rocking chair with a small bundle in her arms. Fox
was sitting near her, on a painted toychest, butted up against the wall. "What can I do for

"I...uhm, need a dress for tomorrow." Delilah sheepishly answered.

"Oh? And what's happening tomorrow night?"

"I'm going out...with Shadow."

"Well, well. That sounds like a date." Fox chimed in as she leaned back and crossed her
arms. "And where are you two lovebirds going?"

Delilah shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. Shadow never said."

The billionairess tilted her head to the side and bared her teeth in a rousing smirk, loving
her gargoyle friend's demure innocence. "A little, sexy romp with the roguish, black
ninja of the night? Intriguing."

"Fox." Elisa cut in, stopping Fox from teasing her daughter.

"I'm only kidding. So we need something to wear, do we?" Fox rose from the chest and
wrapped an arm around the clone's shoulders. "Follow me. We'll get you dressed up in
something that will blow that gargoyle's mind."


"Wow." Delilah barely released a weak gasp as she led into Fox's room and directed to
her closet.

Fox stood within the doorway and amusedly watched as the young gargoyle drifted
deeper into the massive walk-in closet, scanning the endless rows of clothing, shoes and

"My room isn't even this big." said Delilah upon reaching the rear wall. "Do you wear
all of these?"

"When you're in the public eye as much as I am, you gotta look good." Fox answered.

"Amazing. So many choices..." Delilah delicately ran her hands through the numerous,
colorful dresses, yet stopped in place when her eyes were snared by a glint of light. She
pulled a long dress from one of the racks and held it in front of her, an astonished breath
escaping her lips at the vision of a glimmering silver material.

"One of my favorites." replied Fox as she smiled slyly. "I've worn that for David on
more that one occasion."

Delilah's gaze held fast, examining the dress from top to bottom as it reflected the soft
lights of the closet, appearing with a surface she could only describe as liquid metal.
"It's absolutely perfect."


December 16th...
Shadow fiddled with the last loop on his vest and pulled it snugly into place. A day had
passed and he was readying himself for his dinner date. The dark warrior had stripped
himself of his leather loincloth and the holsters on his arms and legs, choosing instead to
wear a light gray vest with a high collar and Japanese style button loops. A matching
square loincloth hung from a black belt. He tugged at the material, stretching over layers
of rigid muscle, and noticed it had withstood the test of time, for he hadn't worn this
particular suit since the death of his grandfather.

A chagrined look spread across his features as he thought back to his life with his human
guardian. But tonight, this suit would serve a much greater purpose than to honor a fallen
friend. He caught his reflection in a silver shield hanging on the wall and, knowing that
no else was around, raised his arms and flexed his biceps. He then stopped within
mid-pose and brought his hand to his forehead. "What am I doing?" He shook his head
and looked to the clock, almost six. He nervously straightened his attire once again, and
quickly opened the door, heading towards the castle and his date within.


"Here you are, Delilah." Elisa appeared in front of the young clone, holding out the dress
in her extended arms.

As Delilah slipped through Elisa's bedroom doors, she quickly accepted the glimmering
garment from her mother's hands. She used the large bathroom to get changed and, as
she emerged fully dressed, was met with a smile and a coy smirk. Fox had joined Elisa
to see the gargess off.

"You look wonderful, Delilah." Elisa offered her most profound praise as she came
forward to smooth a wrinkle.

"You think so?"

"Definitely." Fox replied as she slowly circled the young clone. "You fill that sucker out
better than I ever could. Why don't you keep it?"

"What? No, I couldn't..."

"Too late. It's yours."

"Thank you, Fox." Delilah replied smiling, glancing towards the alarm clock on the far
nightstand. "Oh my god, it's almost six." She practically lept towards the double doors
and tore them open, and almost careened headfirst into a dark cerulean shape. "I don't
want to be late for Oh!!...Demona." Delilah now stood face to face with the immortal,
paralyzed with an eerie uneasiness in the doorway.

Demona said nothing, casting upon her a scrutinizing look, and fixing her eyes on the
dress. "Your attire is more elegant than usual. A special occasion?"

"Uh...yes! Yes." Delilah answered curtly, bowing her head and purposely avoiding the
older gargoyle's eyes. "I'm going out for dinner."

"Hmmm, well, I'm sure your dinner companion, whomever...he may be, will enjoy your

"Thanks..." a barely audible whisper was Delilah's only reply. "So...uhm, you
like the dress?"

Surprised that the clone would ask her opinion, Demona's brow lifted, and yet she soon
formed a peculiar smile. "It's nice, but it...needs something." She grabbed the golden
band from above her left bicep and placed it on Delilah's arm. She stepped back to
admire the radiance of her jewelry on the young clone. "Much better."

Delilah studied the armband, rubbing a talon over the slick surface and passing along a
look of total astonishment to the immortal.

Demona's face flushed slightly. " not want to be late." she managed, swiftly
changing the subject.

"Oh yeah," the copper clone retreated from the room, delivering a fading farewell to her
friends, "bye Elisa, Fox."

Demona turned back, only to see the humans staring intensely at her. She released a
scowl to match their gleaming grins. "What?!" she barked, outstretching her arms in an
angered posture. "I came to visit Angela and," she pointed a taloned finger directly to
Elisa, "you're the one who wanted me to treat her with more respect!" Demona sunk
into herself, folding her arms and looking away. "Damn humans."


Shadow could follow his own footprints in the deep carpeting now, as he had spent the
last fifteen minutes pacing back and forth in a nervous tread on the library floor, waiting
anxiously for Delilah. It was after six now, and his agitation was growing with every
strike of the clock's hands. He had carefully laid out the plans for tonight and hoped
nothing would go wrong.

Yet torn from his thoughts when a soft clearing of the throat sounded behind him, and he
whirled around to see Delilah slowly emerging from the shadows. The dark warrior's
eyes grew wide, his brow ridges rising in pure astonishment, as the copper clone drifted
towards him, seeming as though she was floating above the ground. She appeared as if a
spirit from ages past, come back to life to grace the castle library for this one night.

Her silver dress clung to her body, excentuating every curve. The gown was sleeveless,
with a low backline to allow her wings to remain unfettered. It draped to just above her
ankles and was split up to the upper thigh on her left side. The golden bands on her arm
and ankles reflected brilliantly what little light fell in the library, and glowed like they
were of the sun itself.

Shadow finally released the breath he had been holding and bowed, his eyes remaining
glued to the young woman's stead. "You shine brighter than the moon, my blossom."

"Thank you." She blushed slightly and allowed the dark warrior to take her hand and
gently lay a kiss on her slender fingers. As he lifted back to his full height and stood
silently before her, she caught sight of his deep mahogany eyes and hoped to save from
embarrassing herself, she would not become lost in them.

"Shall we leave then?" he rumbled gently, breaking Delilah from her revering gaze. He
took her by the hand and led her outside to the battlements, nearing the edge where the
city fell into full view of the residents. He turned to face her and pulled from his tunic a
long strip of fabric. He moved behind her and swiftly covered her eyes with the

"Wha...what are you doing?" Delilah asked confusedly.

"It's a surprise." the dark warrior stated simply without any an indication of his plans.
He stepped up to the ledge and pulled her close to him. "Hold on." With one swift
motion, the couple lept from the cornices and into the starry night, with Delilah allowing
Shadow to lead her through the cold winter currents.


"Oh thank god, it's almost over..." said detective Iliana Starr as she bolted from the
patrol car, and slammed the door shut behind her.

"We're not done yet, 'Ana," came her patrol partner's call, from the driver's side door.
"We still have tonight's reports to fill out before we can go home to our beds."

"Ahhh, Johnson," Iliana whined, throwing up her arms, "why must you always spoil my

"I just love seeing that beautiful scowl cross those gorgeous lips."

"Oh shut up." Iliana spit back, her eyes icing over as her gaze followed her partner into
the precinct. "Big son of a...I'm glad this partnership is temporary. Oh well, at least he's
cute." She headed up the steps of the police headquarters and took one last moment to
stare up at the stars. And, in the expanse of the naked heavens, two distinct and distorted
shapes sailed above her, and continued on into the night. "What the hell..." she uttered,
straining her eyes to peer into the night sky, and yet found no trace of the figures that had
flown past. "What the hell was that?!"

She blinked and rubbed her eyes, and peeked on either side, wondering if anyone else on
the busy streets had seen what she had been witness to. But no one had seemed to notice,
still going about their usual business. "Whoa...I gotta stop watching those Star Trek and
X-Files reruns. They're making me see things." she whispered quietly and moved inside.


Delilah had now realized just how much she had used her sight to memorize the subtle
nuances of her city, and the tempestuous currents contained within the periphery of
skyscrapers. She had lost track of her whereabouts and for how long they had remained
in the air, but with Shadow's firm grasp on her hand, she could care less.

A shift in his body position and a sudden rush of wind signaled his descent, and she
clasped onto his powerful arm. He came to a rest on a snow covered rooftop and upon
landing, guided Delilah down with his stalwart hands on her slender waist and settled her
beside him. The couple moved towards a single door and moved inside. Immediately,
Delilah become aware of the abrupt rise in temperature. The air was warm and humid, a
definite change from the winter chill. "Where are we?" she asked.

"Patience." Shadow murmured as he again dragged her to his intended destination.

As Delilah followed the warrior, a low rumbling grew increasingly louder as they
approached. A cooling moisture gathered upon her bronze skin, the air carrying a
refreshing mist and arousing her sensitive perceptions to her environment. A sweetened
perfume of flora permeated everywhere, even stronger now than when they had entered.

Shadow lurched to a stop, and Delilah almost bumped into him. "We're here."

"And where's here?" she inquired as the blindfold fell away and revealed a menagerie of
sharp, blinding color. An entire tropical forest lay contained within the walls, stretching
ever outwards and up to the very peak of the roof, where the massive skylight overhead
allowed the moon to direct it's glimmer into this grand chamber. An impressive cliff
climbed over fifty feet above them, with a thunderous waterfall feeding a large pond of
clear, crystal water, complete with it's own ecosystem of exotic fish. "Oh wow."

"Xanatos Arboretum. I believe Elisa and Goliath have been here a few times. Come."
Shadow motioned towards a shortened wooden table, placed in the middle of a massive
blanket, and sitting near the pond topped with what looked to be a complete four course
meal. He helped her down and sat across from her. She gazed with utter wonder at the
setting before her, and as Shadow pulled the covers from the dishes, a traditional
Japanese meal, with some foods she had never seen, appeared before her. "I hope you
enjoy. I haven't cooked for someone else for a long time."

"You made this?" exclaimed Delilah as Shadow handed her a plate of eggrolls. "I never
knew you cooked."

"My grandfather taught me...before he died." Shadow answered back, a sullen grimace
slightly afflicting upon his features.

"He taught you a lot, didn't he?"

"He shared with me everything he knew. From martial arts skills to cooking to the very
history of his family and the country of his birth." Shadow grabbed the chopsticks and
helped himself to a heap of chowmein noodles.

"Was he the only human friend you ever had?"

"Before I joined this clan, my grandfather was the only human I ever knew."

Delilah looked up from her plate and caught Shadow's eyes, her astute observational
skills telling her that he was holding back. "There one else?" she asked of him,
thoroughly inquisitive and unbelieving of his words.

"Well...we lived near a small village, but...he felt I shouldn't reveal myself, for the
chance that the humans living there could harm me."

Delilah caught the smirk on his lips and the dissonance carried on his voice. "But you
didn't obey him, did you?"

"No." Shadow chortled slightly.

Delilah pointed a chopstick towards him. "You did meet someone else." she chuffed

"In a manner of speaking. I remember, when I was soon as the sun set, I
would tell my grandfather I was going to train and run off towards the village. I would
watch the humans as they went about their nightly chores or played with their children.
A simple life that was denied to me because I am different." Shadow sighed and took a
sip of tea from a small china cup. "There was a group of young humans, about my age,
who would often play after dark. They would disappear into the forest and I would
follow, watching them have fun and enjoy each other's company."

"You wished you could join them."

"Very much. But, I feared their reactions to me and never took the chance. Yet, one
night, a young girl ventured far into the woods alone to pick berries for her family. I
happened to be hunting in the same area when I spotted her. She was quite lovely and I
soon found myself...staring at her." Shadow looked sheepishly to his plate as Delilah
chuckled softly. "But she was alone in a remote area of the forest, a dangerous territory
where wild animals often tread. She would never notice a wolf stalking her as she
gathered her fruit, until it attacked. I came to her aid, and with one swipe of my knife, I
killed it. When I turned to see if she required aid, she...well..."

Delilah propped herself up on her elbows and rested her head on her hands, absorbed in
his story. "What'd she do?"

"She simply, and silently stared back at me. I offered my hand to help her up, but she
was perhaps too afraid of me to accept. I proceeded to leave and was almost out of range
when I heard her calling me. She had chased behind to thank me for saving her life. I
was barely able to manage a few words, and she then disappeared for home."

"Did you ever see her again?"

"Yes. She came looking for me the next night, and we soon became friends. But..."
Shadow's story withered and he looked away.

"What is it?" she asked worriedly. "What happened?"

"Her parents found out about our visits and forbid her ever to meet with me. Soon the
entire village was up in arms against me, and everyone was told to stay away from
the...'winged animal'." Shadow absentmindedly stirred the remains of his dinner with
the wooden chopsticks. "She would sneak out sometimes to see me, but it didn't last. A
year later, she moved away to attend university...and I never saw her again."

"Oh Shadow, I'm so sorry. But home come you never mentioned her before?"

"Her leaving the village, and my life, was...difficult to get over."

"Was your grandfather angry with you?"

"For a while. I had disobeyed him and his greatest fear was realized, but he soon forgave
me, knowing I was only searching for kindred spirits. That was my first, and last, contact
with humans...until I came to New York." Shadow snapped his gaze to Delilah,
close-mouthed and staring into her tea. He frowned. His intention was to cheer her up,
not compound her pain with his own. He reached over and cupped her cheek. Her head
shot up and she flashed her sparkling brown eyes, reflecting the scenery around them.
"But that is the past, my blossom, and I have found so much more."

"Are you happy here? With the clan...with me?"

"Very. I never knew love...until I met you." Shadow felt the soft skin of Delilah's hand
on his own. "What say, we finish our meal."

"I'd like that."


The doors to the twenty third precinct flew open and a slim woman with a scarlet tress
lept down the flight of stairs, landing on the sidewalk below with a thump. "Yesssssss,"
she cheered, "shift's over!" Detective Iliana Starr had finally finished her duty shift, and
had the rest of her night to relish. Even if it meant returning to her tiny apartment and
collapsing into bed.

"Have a good night, detective." a kind voice called out behind her and Iliana turned to
see Maria Chavez descending the steps.

"You too, captain." she replied, watching as the elder woman heaved her purse over one
shoulder and continued on her way down the sidewalk. "Hey, what are you up to
tonight? Crashing just like me, I bet."

"No," Maria responded, "I'm meeting a...friend."

"Oh?" Iliana smirked, as her captain's facetious tone revealing perhaps more about this
friend than she wanted. "A friend, or maybe a...secret admirer? Ruff!"

"Never mind, Ms. Starr."

"It's past two in the morning. What kind of guy would meet you at this hour?"

Maria stopped in mid-stride and peered behind her, with nothing but a cocked eyebrow
and a slight tugging to her dark crimson lips.

Knowing she would never break her superior's secret, she huffed and scowled. "Well,
anywhos, have fun. Later cap, I gotta cruise..."

Maria left her rookie detective with the nagging question tearing at the inside of her mind
and disappeared into the rabble of New York's citizenry, as detective Starr moved to
behind the concrete barrier lining the steps and found her moped still chained to the
steelwork near the building.

"Dammit, it seems everyone in this entire police station is keeping a secret. Maza,
Bluestone, Morgan, and now Chavez..." she grumbled, undoing the lock and chain
around her mode of transportation. She wheeled out her small motor scooter, painted a
deep gloss black with purple flames, her favored color, and grabbed the helmet attached
to the seat. She mounted the machine, and the tiny engine roared to life. She sped off
into the streets of Manhattan, dodging every passerby who happened to be in her
turbulent path.

"Out of the way!! Police business!!" she shouted almost laughlingly, as she tore down
the sidewalk. But still with her, the dark shapes she had spotted more than a couple
hours before, and she constantly flashed her eyes from the street to the sky, searchingly.
Possibly she would see them again, or just maybe, she had only succumbed to her fatigue.

As she neared her apartment building, she screeched to a stop, and pulled the helmet off,
running a slender hand through her fiery locks. And for one last time, she glanced above
her, and for one last time, explored the celestial fields of stars and moon, and shook her
head slightly, thinking now the shapes were nothing but an amalgam of news reports on
her city's creatures of myth, bad late-night movies, and leftover double cheese pizza.

"God, I'm crazy." she sighed. "There's no way my life would be that exciting to ever see
one of these so-called 'Monsters of Manhattan'." And yet, as if on cue, her eyes
pinpointed something moving silently throughout the airways, drifting between the
buildings in her field of view. "Holy...shitballs..." Iliana focused her gaze on the shapes,
passing now directly over her, and proceeded on their way into the extent of the night's
darkened province.

The power of fifty five horses flooded through the pistons and drivechain, and she took
off like a flash, intent on catching these shapes, whether real or hoax, and wherever they
may be headed.


"Did you enjoy the movie, my love?" A splash of caramel cream set down into the snow,
creating a striking imbalance between colors as Desdemona released her question into
the embrace of the wind, turning to watch her mate extend his impressive wingspan and
come to roost beside her.

"Yes, very much," Othello answered to his consort, nearing her side, "though it's hard to
believe that so many gun fights, car chases and explosions can occur so many times to the
two same men."

"Even when those exact incidents usually happen to a certain clan of gargoyles who
reside in New York."

"True. But of course, I have never seen before tonight a human female so willing to take
her clothes off onscreen...and for such a long period of time." Othello swelled into a
foolish smile and soon fell victim to the light slap of his loving mate's hand across his
arm. He bit his bottom lip and cast a dry look towards Desdemona. "You know I only
have eyes for you, my love." he chided, wrapping his arms around his mate.

She pillowed her head into the extent of his shoulder. "I hope so, for your sake." she
laughed softly and opened her eyes to the view around her, only to notice a pair of
shadowed figures landing on a building next to them. "We are not alone, my love." As
soon as the words escaped her lips, her companion tensed and threw his wings about her,
scanning wearily around him. Desdemona shook her head slowly, and rolled her eyes,
though admiring her mate's ever vigilant demeanor. "It's all right, they are friends. Over
there." She pointed towards the couple and Othello directed his gaze to the neighboring

"You are right. Shadow and Delilah."


"Now that we have landed, may I take the blindfold off?" Shadow beseeched to his date.

Delilah paused for a moment, allowing herself the time to witness a truly incredible
event, as the dark warrior's eyes had been binded by the fabric strip, and he almost
seemed helpless...almost. The copper clone guided her hands to the knot behind his
head, pulling the blind away and using her hand to gently direct his head towards a tall
building near them.

Shadow straightened up instantly. "Amazing."

"I always come here during the holiday season." Delilah answered as she allowed herself
to be swept into Shadow's arms. The couple stood silently in the basking glow of the
Empire State building, it's towering steeple ablaze with a thousand white points of light,
a beacon of hope in the swirling snow flurry. "One of my favorite sights in the city
during Christmas."

"It's wonderful." Shadow whispered.

Delilah leaned back and lifted her head to gaze up at her companion's noble face. He
was wearing a smile, rare for him. His arms were securely wrapped around her slender
frame and his wings, though imposingly dark as the night sky and framed with bony
spurs, provided a warm barrier against the winter wind. She ran her fingers along his
wings' slender arms and slowly turned within the embrace of the velvety folds of ebon.
She could feel his breath and smell his musk, an undeniably strong and beautiful scent
that belonged to him alone.

Sensing her eyes upon him, he too looked down and almost became consumed by two
pools of devouring chocolate brown. Her white locks fell over her face much like her
adoptive mother's, though covering most of her right eye. Using a tender stroke of his
talons, Shadow swept the tendrils away and held her face with his gentle but firm hands.

What seemed like an eternity to the young clone, Shadow leaned towards her and
brushed her lips with his own ever so slightly. She felt her heart quicken it's pace and
trembled at his stimulating touch. She closed her eyes, allowing her feelings to be her
only guide.


"We should not be watching this..." Desdemona whispered, peering out from behind a
brick wall.

"Yes," Othello agreed, perched directly behind his mate and watching with great
intensity the couple across the street, "it is not right. Eavesdropping is wrong."

"Yes...very wrong."

The former cyborgs finally found the strength to pull themselves away from their spying
and leaned against the wall. Desdemona played with her golden locks, twisting what
portions lay over her shoulders with her fingers, and Othello rubbed his hands together,
his tail twitching unceasingly in the drifts of snow.

"It is...not wrong if we are only watching our friends," Othello stated slyly, " case of

"Of course!" Desdemona lightened up and whirled around to resume her position near
the wall. "We are...concerned about their welfare."


Copper hands dragged over amethyst skin as Delilah was held in Shadow's powerful
embrace. Suddenly remembering she hadn't taken a breath for a couple of minutes, she
broke away and deeply inhaled. "Oh...wooooooowww."

"Nanisama, mai kusabana seikou..." Shadow muttered in his ancient language, resting his
chin on her ivory hair as she curled up against him.

"So, where do you want to go now?"

"Let us head back to the castle, for tea, in my chambers."

"Sounds nice."

"Besides," Shadow started as he turned to face a building near them, "there we can be

Delilah looked up and around at their setting. "Alone? Is there someone else here?"

"Just some friends, who have let their curiosity get the better of them." Shadow caught
Delilah's hand and led her to the edge.


"Heeeere, monster, monster, monster..." Iliana Starr called out to her imaginary creatures
of the evening twilight's realm, watching intensely the top of the building where the
shadows she had been tailing had vanished without a trace. "Where are you?" she
muttered beneath her breath. "I know you're up there somewhere, and whether you're
real monsters or just some punk kids on hangliders...I'm going to find out...well,

She had lingered on her motor scooter for a while now, and her intense scrutiny of her
target's last stop was beginning to wane somewhat. Fatigue and hunger were settling in
and she was now wondering if it was all worth it.

THUMP!!! A large clump of snow dropped onto her, startling her back to the rooftop.
"GAAHH!!! What the hell?!" The building's overhang, from where the snow had fallen,
served as a launching pad for her shadows, as the forms lept back into the air. "Oh, I
don't think so..."

Once again, her chase continued on. She followed as best she could, weaving through
traffic and desperately avoiding being splattered by several large semi trucks passing by.
But she persevered and soon came upon the towering spire known to all New Yorkers
and even the entire world. The Eyrie building. Her specters were heading straight
towards the top, now too far up to be seen any longer.

Her front tire skidded upon the Eyrie steps, leading into the grand foyer. Iliana hopped
off and scoured the upper atmosphere, yet the shadows were gone. "Well, well, well..."
she muttered, now realizing they had not disappeared, but had only arrived home. "I
wonder if Mr. Xanatos knows there are very large bats in his belfry. And...Elisa. She
lives in one of the rented apartments...could she be aware way..."


Delilah huddled near the fire, letting the heat of the roaring flames caress her skin and
ward off the vicious chill. She and Shadow had just arrived back at Wyvern and quickly
made their way to the dark warrior's chambers. He had started a fire in his small pit,
centered in his room, to help combat the cold temperature he knew was affecting Delilah.

The young clone remained seated on the stones, watching Shadow prepare a pot of tea on
his hot plate. Her eyes never blinked, never wavered from the sight before her, for
Shadow had removed his vest, leaving his chest and back completely bare once more.
With even the smallest movements, she could make out his muscles moving, flexing,
churning with sheer power under his dark skin. She quickly averted her gaze when he
turned to face her and, with two steaming cups of tea, sat down alongside. She accepted
the cup and leaned against him, her eyes moving slowly back to the majesty of the
blazing inferno, only kept at bay by the granite enclosure. Yet even with the fire, she felt
herself shiver, and was immediately covered with a black, spurred wing.

"I don't think that dress was meant for cold weather." Shadow casually responded,
enjoying the view of his blossom curling deeper into his wing, like a child and her

"It must be the human part of me," Delilah answered, "I can sometimes feel the cold
more than the others in the clan. But I finally have someone to keep me warm."

"Until my last breath, my blossom." Shadow moved in closer and the couple came
together in a sweetened union of their lips. The dark warrior's talons moved nimbly over
the clone's exposed brass skin, causing it to quiver with his subtle contact. He used his
fingers to gently grab the straps of her gown and pull them over her shoulders. Slowly,
Delilah leaned back on top of the large Japanese styled blanket as Shadow hovered over
her, his wings flared and his eyes defiant. Their lips met once more and the dark warrior
rubbed his hand up her thigh, feeling her tremble as he slowly began to remove her dress.

Unexpectedly, Delilah opened her eyes and threw up her arms. "...n-no..." She pulled
herself from Shadow's grip and sat up, replacing the straps of her dress and folding her
wings around her.

"Delilah?! What is wrong?!" Shadow asked frantically.

"It''s too fast." She tried to calm herself and looked to the small window, attempting
to catch a glimpse of the stars. "I-I don't think I'm ready."


"Elisa," Goliath called to his wife, "please come away from the window."

The lithe policewoman was staring out one of the large bay windows in their bedroom,
her face pressed up against the glass, trying to discern any movement inside Shadow's
tower. "I want to see what they're doing. They came home twenty minutes ago and I
can't see anybody moving." Elisa replied as she strained her eyes to try and get a better
view, her breath leaving a heated patch on the frosted window pane.

Goliath sighed, throwing down his book and rising from the couch near the fireplace. He
came up behind his wife and placed a massive lavender hand over her eyes, forcefully
wrenching her away from her prying.


"Enough, Elisa." Goliath huffed, scooping the slender human into his arms, and using his
incredible gargoyle strength to keep her from squirming away. "Give our daughter some

"But I just wanted to see..." Elisa pouted and caught Goliath's eye with her mock

The lavender giant sat down on the bed and held her close, speaking softly into her ear,
"Shadow and Delilah will continue their relationship the best way they know how. And
they don't need us getting in the middle."

"All right, fine." Elisa blew a lock of ebony hair away from her face and rested her head
on Goliath's muscular chest. "Besides, that window of Shadow's is much too small to
see anything."


"Delilah?" Shadow hesitantly reached for her with outspread arms. "I apologize if I've
done anything to upset you."

"It's...not you." she muffled her own words, turning slightly to look him in the eyes.
"I've never done this before. Never...felt like this before. I...I'm scared."

"If you are not ready, then we shall slow down," Shadow consoled her in his soothing
rasp, "I didn't mean to push you." Using his powerful arms, he pulled the clone close to
him. "I have never done anything like this before either, remember? It just

"Too natural. I'm just not ready yet, Shadow. I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry about, my blossom. We have plenty of time to live, to
laugh, to love. If anything happens, it will happen in it's own time."

"Thank you." she whispered quietly and leaned towards Shadow. She traced the cryptic
designs of his fiery tattoos with a single talon and looked up, discovering anew what had
so bewitched her the first time they met, his deep chestnut eyes. "I guess I kind of ruined
the mood, huh?"

"Not at all. I have found this night very pleasing. And we still have more than four hours
before dawn. What shall we do for the rest of the evening?"

"Let's go to the library. We could sit and read in front of the fire."

"That sounds wonderful." Shadow rose up and offered his hand. Delilah readily
welcomed his gesture and was lifted to her feet. She evened out her silken, silver attire
and followed her escort outside, and upon entering the castle, the young clone attached
herself to his arm and held it tight. The couple headed towards the library, passing the
large wooden doors belonging to the owner of this grand castle, and his inquisitive wife.

The door creaked open slightly and a raven haired woman poked her head out, watching
as her daughter disappeared from sight. "Now where are they going?" she asked herself.

"Never you mind, detective."

"Whoa..." Elisa was pulled from the door by two large arms. Knowing it was futile to
resist, the small human offered no resistance as her husband brought her to the sofa, and
dumped her onto the cushions.

Goliath settled beside her and taunted his finger in her face. "I told you to give them
their privacy."

"Yes, dear." Elisa chuffed.

Her sarcasm was met by a soft quieting laugh from the lavender giant. "I know you care
for her. I know you don't want her to be mistreated, but there's no need to worry, my
love. Shadow would never do anything to hurt her, you know that."

"Yeah...but she's so innocent, so trusting. This relationship is a first for her. A real
chance at a real life."

"And Shadow will be there for her." Goliath pressed her tight to his chest as Elisa
looked up into his eyes.

"And so will we..."


She pulled off her knee high black leather boots, and fell into her single sized bed, all the
while groaning at having been kept up too late by her incessant curiosity. Iliana Starr had
finally come home, and still flooding through her thoughts, her shadows of the night.
She turned over at stared at her tiled ceiling, and a few of her posters slapped
haphazardly onto the walls, pondering what she had beheld this evening at the Eyrie.
"Maybe he's just an eccentric billionaire who made up the entire 'gargoyle menace',
paying off guys to fly around town, or just maybe...they're real..."

She snatched a loose sheet and pulled it over her, turning on her side, and watching the
snow begin to fall once more. As her lids involuntarily drooped, she slurred her last
sentence as the wake of slumber's oblivion overtook her slender form, "Whoever, or
whatever lives up there...I'm gonna find out...and maybe I'll start with the one woman
who possibly knows way more than she's letting on...Mrs. Elisa Maza...time fer this
'rookie' detective to do some investigatin' of my fellow officer's living conditions...I
wonder how good the security system is there?..."