Preview: Goliath shouldn't have demeaned Owen's profession as a majordomo -
after all, there's no telling what lengths he might have to go to in order
to protect the one he loves...

Disclaimer: The Gargoyles and all characters therein are the property of the
Walt Disney company and Buena Vista Television. You all know the rest...

Authors note: This story takes place a several months after Hunters Moon.
I'm assuming that those episodes took place in early autumn, and I've set
this story in spring of the following year.


Identity Crisis - Part 1

Elisa was headed up the Eyrie Building's main elevator to the Castle
called Wyvern. Glaring up at the camera in the corner, she stuck out her
tongue - she was in a foul mood and didn't care who knew it. Most nights
she looked forward to the incredible view from the Castle's highest tower

...'yeah, she thought, the view of the city isn't half bad either...'

She sighed again. Tonight she was going to have to tell Goliath
that they would be separated for a while... Chances were that the Big Guy
was not going to take this well. He might even think of it as a sort of
betrayal. She hoped that once she explained everything, he would
understand.

The elevator chimed and the doors opened on the main Castle atrium.

Elisa stepped out to find Xanatos waiting for her.

"I hear that you've been given the assignment, Detective." He
fell into step beside her. "Congratulations! I knew that you would be an
excellent choice - which is why I recommended you when I spoke to Captain
Chavez."

Elisa came to a screeching stop and spun to face him. "You did
WHAT?" The look on her face was priceless. Somehow she managed to compose
herself. "When the Captain told me that you were going to be a big help on
this case, I somehow got the feeling that I was being manipulated. The
words, 'Xanatos' and 'manipulation' just seem to go together, but for you
to have intentionally maneuvered me into this ... What were you thinking?
Why?"

"Because you're the right person for the assignment. Because it
could result in a promotion for you. Because it'll do you good to 'do
something a little different' for a change. And most importantly, I know
that you'll do your best to wrap this up quickly so that you can come home
to your loved ones." Elisa just gaped at him. "Elisa, your relationship
with Goliath seems to have stalled. If nothing else comes of this case, at
least it may serve as a breather for both of you. You'll each have a chance
to put your relationship into perspective."

"Just who the hell do you think you are? Cupid?" She was jabbing
him in the chest with her finger. "I'll never believe that you did this for
any reason other than an ulterior one. For the sake of your wife and child,
I won't tell Goliath about this - yet!" She stomped down the hall and out
of sight.

Elisa's mood had gone from bad to worse. She could practically
see dark clouds circling her head - then again, maybe that was just another
migraine coming on. Her climb up to the tallest tower was very much like
her train of thought - it circled and circled, but slowly brought her closer
to resolution.

She exited the stairs through the tower roof. The sun was still
fairly high in the sky - it was only five in the afternoon. She had meant to
show up early. Two hours would give her some time to compose the
information she had to share with Goliath. Goliath... just his name had the
power to bring a smile to her face. She moved closer to him. For some
reason he was in his 'thinker' pose today.

"I wonder if I have something to do with this?", she whispered as
she ran her hand over his wing. She couldn't resist moving a finger over his
lower lip. It was pouted out over his upraised fist, making him look
unhappy, in a pensive sort of way. "Then again, I hope that I'm not the
reason for that look!"

She sat down on the flagstones behind his position and reviewed
the events that had led her here...


"Maza!" It was the voice of Maria Chavez calling her from down the
hall. Elisa and Matt had only just passed her office on her way to the
squad room.

"How does she do that?" She asked her partner in amazement. "We
only just walk back in after a long night, and somehow she knows exactly
when we're passing her office."

Matt shrugged "Maybe she has the place bugged."

"You'd better hope not, hotshot. If I found your secret stash of
'magazines' then you can bet that she would know about them too."

Matt turned three shades of red and turned to stare at her. She just lifted an
eyebrow, swiveled and headed back down the hall toward the waiting Captain.

"Hey, Captain, if you wanna see something funny, tell Matt that he has
some nice magazines." Elisa said sotto voice to Chavez while her back was
still toward her befuddled partner.

"By the way, Bluestone...", Chavez yelled loudly down the hall.
"...nice magazines!"

Matt flinched, his jaw gaping open. He then made a very fast exit in the direction
of the squad room.

Elisa couldn't help but laugh as she turned and entered the Captain's office.

Chavez entered and closed the door behind her. "I don't want to know what
that was about - but it was amusing." She admitted as she had a seat behind
her desk. "Elisa, I've had a special request come in from DC The sixth Precinct
there has stumbled into a very interesting case." At this she passed a large folder
across her desk.

Elisa wasted no time in opening it and scanning the contents.

Female Gang. Most members under 23 yrs. of age. High tech robberies.
Extensive knowledge of the targets. State of the art weapons. Averaging a
robbery every three weeks. So far, they were untouchable. Elisa looked up
a Chavez, who had remained silent, waiting for her to finish her scan of
the folder. "Captain, this is definitely something big. They must have
some major corporation helping them. There's no other explanation for the
equipment, the arms and the nature of the robberies."

"Yes, the Detectives on the case over there had already reached
that conclusion - they're not stupid, Elisa." Chavez chastised her. "The
problem is that they've hit a major software designer owned by our good
friend, David Xanatos."

"Peachy." Elisa was less than thrilled. Xanatos had so far kept
on the straight and narrow, but she just couldn't trust him after everything
he had done over the last few years.

"I knew that you would be broken up over that." Chavez was
actually smiling. "Here's the lowdown on this - the sixth precinct wants to
borrow you..."

"Captain! No!" Elisa was on her feet.

"At ease, Detective!" Chavez's voice was like a splash of cold
water. "Sit down, shut up, and listen to me." Elisa did just that. "Good.
Elisa, they need someone who won't be recognized by the locals as a cop, to
go undercover and infiltrate the gang. You are the perfect choice. You're
young - and can pass for younger, female, athletic, you know how to fight,
and you're street-wise to boot. You also have an extraordinary gift for
untangling intricate schemes. Let's face it, you're in the wrong place at
the wrong time."

Chavez stood up and walked around her desk to sit instead
in the chair next to her detective. "Elisa, this is a golden opportunity
for you. You've missed alot of work. You've been connected with the
Gargoyles. You know that you're not at the top of the commissioner's 'nice'
list. Successfully solving this could help negate all that - and help you
make your next promotion."

"Captain... I don't know..." Elisa felt trapped.

"Tell you what, take that folder home with you. Check it out. Let
me know by tomorrow - that's the longest I can give you to think it over.
I have to have someone suitable over there by Wednesday. If you don't take
it, I'll probably have to pass it on to a different precinct."

Elisa barely remembered clocking out and driving home. She had
hoped that Goliath wouldn't be waiting at her apartment for her, and luckily
he wasn't. She had downed some cereal and read the folder contents front
to back. They would give her a new identity, and a very expensive old hotel
to call home. She would be set up as a poor street girl who made out good
to become a very powerful corporate owner. Her alter ego would live in the
hotel she owned and have servants, limos, clothes...all the things that she
would never have in real life. She couldn't fool herself, it would be a
dangerous assignment - but it would be a very interesting dangerous
assignment.

She'd gone to bed, but had been unable to sleep. By three o'clock
she had called the Captain at home and accepted the job.


Elisa drew her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. Damn
Xanatos! The report had stated that he was 'donating' a hotel and it's staff
as well as a small corporate building to the DC precinct for the duration
of the investigation. All he wanted in exchange was the stolen software and
the ruination of the corporation behind it all. "How ironic!" Elisa
snorted. "Just a short time ago, he was doing the same thing to his
competitors." Still, she had to admit that he was perceptive - uncannily
so.

Her relationship with Goliath was 'stalled' as he had said. It
had been months since she had kissed him on this very tower, and he had yet
to return that kiss. The 'species thing' no longer mattered to her... Yes,
it made things more difficult for them than for your ordinary couple on the
street, but it was a small thing to deal with compared to the thought of
him not being a part of her life. There were never two people more suited
to each other than he and she. They were alike on the inside - practically
two halves of a whole.

He was the only one for her, she had admitted it to herself the morning that she kissed him.

But now what? She knew he felt the same way, but they still danced around and around each other. Neither seemed sure about taking that next step...

It was a dangerous game they played - she knew that. If something didn't give soon... if they didn't find their way soon... There was a possibility that their relationship
would remain just the way it was - and that would be a terrible thing when
she knew that together they could be 'so much more'.

It was this very stagnation which had led her to take the assignment. Even as Xanatos had
mentioned, she knew they needed some time apart. Now all she had to do was
break the news to her love.

Elisa stood up. Dusk had arrived. Lines of power began to glow
and crisscross Goliath's form. Elisa was awestruck by this event every time
she witnessed it. Now his limbs began to move, causing the only portion of
him which remained stone, his old skin, to rupture. Finally, a sudden
powerful stretch sent the last of the stone outer-covering flying in all
directions as he bellowed out the gargoyle equivalent of a yawn.

He swiveled around to face her even before the last stone
fragments hit the ground, his pout quickly changing to a smile when he saw
that she had indeed shown up.

"Elisa!" He reached out to her and then faltered as he studied her
face. "Is something wrong?"

"I have something that I need to tell you Big Guy, but first I
think I'd really like that hug."

Elisa moved into his arms, wrapping her own about his waist. He held her close, bringing his wings around to screen them both from the prying eyes of the rest of the Clan. Within the intimate privacy of his tented wings, Elisa was temporarily able to relax.

She would have been content to stay like that forever, but she could hear
his heart beating more rapidly than usual beneath her ear. 'I've already
got him anxious' she thought to herself. 'Guess I'd better not keep him in
suspense too long.'

She kept her hands upon his waist but stepped back so that she
could meet his gaze. It wasn't her imagination - he looked tense and
unhappy. Just what did he think she was going to tell him anyway?

She took a deep breath. "I'm taking a temporary undercover assignment in D.C.
starting tomorrow." She took another breath and continued. "I'll be gone
for at least a month ... but it's a golden opportunity that I'd be crazy to
turn down." There. It was out. She heard him sigh.

He was watching her with a confused, questioning expression.

"Elisa ... Why? Why are you leaving us like this? Surely there
is someone else capable of taking this assignment?"

"Goliath, I told you - It's a chance for me to make up for all the
time I missed when we were in Avalon. I'll never get a promotion
otherwise. Besides, it'll give me a chance to get out and do something
different for a change."

"This is not really about a promotion, is it?" Goliath's claws
briefly tightened upon her shoulders. He understood her too well not to see
the deeper motivation behind her decision. "You want to get away - from me
for a time."

His hands left her shoulders as he turned away from her. He suddenly seemed very interested in the skyline.

"Hey, it's only for a short while. I thought that the time apart
might do us some good." She admitted as she stepped closer and placed her
hand on his arm.

He looked down at her with a strange expression on his face.
"Running away never solved anyone's problems, Elisa."

"I'm not running away, Goliath. I'm just stepping back to take in
the bigger picture."

"I won't be able to protect you..."

"I'll be OK, Big Guy."

"How much time do we have left together?"

"I've got to be back at the station in an hour. They need to
finish creating my new identity. I guess I'll have to be leaving here in a
half hour."

Now that their time together was running out, Elisa felt a lump
rise up in her throat. The disappointed look on Goliath's face was
definitely not helping things.

Once again his arms came up and pulled her close, his wings
enfolding them both like a cloak. "Is there nothing I can do to change your
mind?" he rumbled softly in her ear.

She shivered at the feel of his warm breath, his deep voice in her
ear. Darn it, he knew how much she liked that! She forced her voice to
sound normal. "It's already a done deal. I promised Chavez that I'd go."

She took the sting out of her words by hugging him tighter. She felt him move
his claws through her hair. It was amazing how gentle he could be. His
claws worked her hair like a comb, straightening and moving the strands off
her face. After a while, he stopped stroking her hair and instead brushed
her cheek with the back of his hand and then cupped her chin, gently lifting
her face so that she would look at him. Despite the pain in his dark eyes,
there was a faint smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Before she had any idea what he was going to do, he bent forward and captured her lips
with his own.

His kiss was everything she had dreamed it would be - and more. He
brushed his lips against her own and she responded with a gentle nibble
which he really seemed to enjoy. She felt him parting her lips with his
tongue, before exploring her mouth in a hesitant manner. His tongue was
pointy and much smoother than her own. Rather than being repulsed, its
delicate probing sent a thrill of excitement coursing through her. He grew
bolder.

"I thought that Gargoyles didn't do this sort of thing!" flitted
through her thoughts. Talk about beginner's luck! Her legs felt like rubber
and her heart was pounding hard enough that she was surprised that he
couldn't hear it. All thoughts of leaving vanished from her mind.

After continuing for several heated minutes, the kiss ended as he
suddenly pulled away. His wings were withdrawn as well, leaving her feeling
chilled and bereft. He moved her to arm's length.

"We will find our way Elisa. You must believe that. Be careful
and remember that your Clan will be waiting for you. I will be waiting for
you!" He turned and dove off the tower, disappearing quickly into the night

Elisa turned and left the tower, wiping at the tears which had
suddenly appeared on her cheeks.


Goliath soared aimlessly, if shakily towards uptown. He just had
not been able to bring himself to remain on the tower and watch her leave
him behind. As far as he was concerned, she could not have picked a worse
time to go on an assignment.

The night before, when he realized that once again Elisa was not going to show, he had offered to patrol for Lexington. Afterwards, he spent the better part of the night reflecting on their relationship and had come to some insightful conclusions.

Now he would have to wait for her return before he could share those thoughts with her...

Almost before he realized where he was headed, Goliath found
himself landing on the roof of the building across the street from the
station house. The 'old stomping grounds', Elisa had once called it...

The station was again in use after several months of repair and renovation.

"Sometimes good things come out of a bad situation." Elisa had said. "If the
Hunters hadn't blown the top off the station it would have been years
before we had gotten any of the renovations which we so desperately needed.
We might not have gotten them at all - the city might just have sold off
the old place."

As it was, the city had opted not to rebuild the clock tower
atop the station house, turning that area into badly needed storage space
instead.

Goliath settled into the shadows, unconsciously assuming his
'thinker pose'.

Over the last few weeks, Elisa had been avoiding him more
and more often. His own pride had kept him from seeking her out on those
occasions - a mistake he now realized.

He had had a terrible nightmare a few days past, in which she
showed up at dusk to tell him that she knew things would not work out
between them after all. In that dream, she stood before him and with tears
in her eyes, bid him goodbye. The anguish he felt was still with him when
he awoke that evening. He had learned enough from human books to know that
the dream was a manifestation of his fear that she was drifting away from
him.

Down below him, he saw Elisa moving up the steps of the Police
Station. Even from here, his sharp eyes could see that she was apparently
as unhappy as he was.

He sighed. His soul searching the night before had led him to conclude that most of their problems were in fact his fault.

Over the last few months, they had become much more comfortable with each
other. They no longer felt self conscious about touching or hugging, and yet
he had never attempted to go any further than that. Elisa had begun to
withdraw after a night in which she had made the attempt to get more
intimate - and he had stopped her. A low rumble escaped him as he thought
back on it now. How stupid he had been! He should have talked with her
that night, but he had been so flustered by her unexpected, yet passionate kiss, that in true Goliath-fashion, he had bid her a hasty good-night, jumped off her balcony and flown quickly off.

Of course she was hurt - she probably thought he didn't want her, that
he didn't find her attractive - that he didn't truly love her...

Yet the truth was that he loved Elisa and he wanted her more than he had ever wanted
anyone - that 'anyone' referring, of course to Demona.

Demona... He was older now, and able to finally admit that it had
been lust which had drawn them together. That lust had quickly given way
to love, on his part. She, on the other hand, had apparently never made the
transition. Oh, yes, she had loved his touch every bit as much as his
rank, but in the end there was little room in Demona's heart for anyone but
Demona.

Elisa...He smiled just thinking about her. What he felt for her
was true and unconditional. Their relationship had started out with a deep
mutual respect and admiration. Before long, a trust, rare in its strength,
had been established, resulting in a very strong friendship. It was not
long before he thought of her, not as his human friend, but as a Clan
sister.

Well before the incident with the mirror, he'd known that he had
fallen in love with her. He needed no transformation of Puck's to see that
she was beautiful - inside and out... although he had been startled by the
incredible beauty of her gargoyle self.

Goliath had thought of Elisa as more than just his friend long
before she had started showing such an interest in him. How he had subtly
pursued her... afraid that to be too blatant would scare her off. And after a
time, she had begun to reciprocate, but whenever he had tried to come right out
and raise the subject, she shushed him, and all but told him that it would
be impossible.

Still, he had not given up - his heart would not allow him to… right until the night that he saw her kissing Jason. That had proved to be too much, driving him to act in an
irrational, dangerous manner completely out of character for him.

He groaned out loud at the mere memory. His subsequent actions had nearly gotten
her killed!

When he had finally decided that he would rather settle for her
friendship, than risk losing her, she had surprised him again with her
tentative admission of love - and a kiss.

She would never know how his heart had soared that morning! Since
then, he had wanted to kiss Elisa in return, but he had been unable to
bring himself to do so until this evening.

It had nothing to do with the fact that kissing wasn't a gargoyle custom. Gargoyles, it seemed, quickly picked up the custom once they'd been exposed to it, and they enjoyed it
every bit as much as the humans did...At least he certainly had just this night!

So, why had he never kissed her?

He had determined the reason the night before - his inborn instinct
to protect had been magnified beyond all reason by the love he felt for her. To
have kissed her would have been to risk going much further with their
relationship, and the truth was that he feared hurting her.

Their species difference and size difference (many gargoyle females were not much larger than she) did not trouble him so much as the fact that she was fragile
compared to a gargoyle. It would be too easy for him to accidentally snap
one of her bones, or dislocate a joint. He just couldn't bear the thought
that he might harm her! His own instinct to protect, was actually keeping
him from her.

Before the last sunrise had claimed him, he had decided that if he
truly loved her, he needed to stop thinking of her as fragile. He would be
as gentle with her as he could - and trust her to guide him.

He had awakened at peace with himself for the first time in
months, only to find her facing him exactly as she had in his nightmare.

Gargoyles were not, as a rule, prescient beings, but even now the dream
lingered, making him afraid that she would not return from her assignment.
He would stand watch over her tonight. He would keep in touch with
Bluestone, and if at anytime the dream returned, nothing would keep him from
her...

Many hours later, a bone-weary, frazzled-looking Detective Maza
left the precinct, unaware that her guardian angel still watched over her.


Ms. Elizabeth Antelope entered the Hotel Morrison just past eight
on Wednesday night.

She was a spectacular woman, dressed in a form fitted cranberry skirt suit with matching pumps. Most heads turned as she passed through the hotel lobby in a cloud of dark hair.

There was something 'different' about her which just caught people's attention. Maybe it was the way she wore her long hair... It was loose and natural, moving like
dark silk, flowing with her gait - a big contrast to the expensive, rigidly
tailored suit. Maybe it was the regal way in which she held her chin up,
again contrasting with the long, quick strides she took toward the
elevators. Perhaps it was the determined pout on the beautiful, exotic
face... a face which wore little makeup. She was young. As far as her
admirers could tell, she was in her mid twenties. She was important, too.
The Hotel manager and staff all greeted her warmly, wishing her a good
evening. Two porters followed her with suitcases and bags they had unloaded
from her limo.

As she disappeared into a nearby elevator, one of her admirers
passed a bill to an employee. "Who is she?" he whispered.

"That, is the Owner of this establishment - Ms. Antelope." Replied
the busboy.

"Ah - so she's a native American?"

"Yes sir. Sioux, on her father's side, I believe."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't David Xanatos own this
hotel?" the tall, brunette stranger asked.

"He did, Sir. Now Ms. Antelope owns it." The busboy looked for a
way to escape. Fortunately, an elderly couple entered the lobby, giving him
an excuse for a hasty "Good day, Sir.", followed by a quick departure. He
hadn't liked the look in the Brunette man's eyes...The guy looked like some
sort of predator at mealtime.

The brunette pushed his glasses up on his nose and turned to look
back in the direction the owner had disappeared in. 'How very interesting
this is!' he thought to himself. 'For her to have somehow gotten the best of
Xanatos...Well, well, it was time to start nosing around, beginning with
a records search.' He turned and headed back towards his office,
anticipating an enjoyable evening of electronic sleuthing.

A half-hour later, Ms. Antelope found herself alone in her huge
penthouse suite.

"Finally!" Elizabeth exclaimed, as she quickly shucked her
jacket and kicked off her pumps. She collapsed on the king-sized platform
bed and sighed. What a day it had been!

The flight in had been boring - when you flew by gargoyle, other modes of
transportation tended to pale in comparison. They had circled for an hour
awaiting their turn to land. Then there had been the long trip through DC
traffic to the Croft Corporate Building, where she had spent the rest of
the day 'in a meeting'.

That's how it would have appeared to an outsider.

In fact, the entire Corporation. was a cover - it was staffed by a large
number of detectives, who dressed and acted like business men. Behind the
meeting room doors, she had been introduced, briefed, fed and instructed.

The Croft Building was her 'safe house', a place to meet her
contacts, a place she could go to study what little they had on the gang
members, to research whatever she needed to research, and at the same time,
appear to be the one running the Corporation as Ms. Antelope.

The still nameless gang had stolen the Corporation's latest imaging software, and
hopefully they would soon be lured into a repeat performance. Word had been
leaked that the software which was stolen was not nearly as important to
the company as a second project which had been kept under wraps.

The Croft Corp. was in actuality owned by Xanatos Enterprises, but
in such a Xanatos-like round-about way, that nobody but Xanatos, his
confidants, the Police and Liz herself knew it. 'Did the gang's backer know
it?' She wondered. The Croft Corp.'s actual CEO was a man named Raphael
Cougan. He and his staff were still running the show from some nondescript
offices on the third floor. His attitude about the relocation had been
good. He and his staff would put up with the inconvenience in the hopes
that the case would be solved.

She had spent the entire day working her tail off, and in pumps yet!
Her feet were killing her! "I'll never complain about pounding a beat
again." She breathed.

After spending most of the day at the office, she had gone shopping. She had never been an avid shopper, and spending the last four hours buying clothes, even at Xanatos' expense, had been tortuous. Still, she had a new image to keep up.

So she rolled off the bed, and decided to take a leisurely tour of her new home.

She had a private elevator, which opened up into a large, foyer.
There was a door on the left which led to her home office. There was one
on the right which led to the Concierge's suite (now vacant). There were
large double doors straight ahead which led to her own luxurious penthouse.

Upon entering those doors, she had found herself in the middle of
a very large living area. The room was spacious, with a cathedral ceiling,
skylights and huge windows. French doors led outside to the pool, Jacuzzi
and garden. The garden was planted with several trees, shrubs and flowering
plants. A brick patio with table and chairs was tucked toward the back for
some privacy.

Back inside the penthouse, she found a huge kitchen off the living
room. Adjourning it was a formal dining room. The table looked as if it
would seat twelve with elbow room to spare. Near the dining room was a
small bathroom for guests. Continuing on, there was a short hallway with a
big linen closet, ending with a second set of double doors.

Passing through these, she once again found herself in the master bedroom. To the left was a beautiful private bath with whirlpool and shower. To her right was a
walk-in closet.

The bedroom itself was huge, with the king-sized bed and
night stands as the only furnishings. Dresser drawers were built into the
walk-in closet. Many large foliage plants and several ficus trees finished
the room's decor. In the right, rear of the bedroom was a door that led
directly to the concierge's bedroom. It locked on her side.

She had thought it bizarre at first, but remembering how many times Xanatos had
needed Owen's assistance in the dead of night, she realized that such an
arrangement might be beneficial.

She approached the floor to ceiling windows and admired the view.

The city stretched out before her, it's multitude of lights glittering
for many miles in each direction. It was nice, but it wasn't home.

She sighed. Was somebody doing the same thing back home? Was he thinking of
her?

It was going to be a long assignment.


Back at the Eyrie Building, Goliath crouched on the lower tower's
wall, staring out over the city. He had remained there since sunset, four
hours ago.

"How long is he gonna stay like that?" Brooklyn wondered out
loud. He and the other younger gargoyles had moved up to the higher tower
after eating, so that they could observe their leader without disturbing
him.

"Aw, he's just missing Elisa. He'll probably be OK in a night
or two." Broadway replied.

Angela gave him a sharp glance. "That shows how much you know.
Guys, those two are joined at the soul. I'll bet you anything that his mood
gets worse as time goes by."

Lexington actually looked frightened. "Great, just what we need, a
more morose Goliath!"

"Maybe Hudson can talk him into a better mood."

"Well, you're the second in command, why don't you go round him
up?" Angela swatted Brooklyn playfully with her tail.

He straightened and turned in the direction of the TV room. "No
respect..." he grumbled.

He still could not believe that Elisa had left them - even temporarily. They had all thought that things were going so well between her and their leader. When Goliath had told them what was happening last night, they'd all been shocked. Clan members did not usually go off on their own to help out in strange cities.

Still, he had to admit that Elisa was cool. He had come to think of himself as a hip, modern, with-it kind of Gargoyle guy and he appreciated her sense of commitment to
her Country as well as to her clan. Women in this age were by and large far
more interesting than they had been in the tenth century.

He envied Goliath. Who else would have the dumb luck to run into
someone like Elisa right off the bat? If it had been him, he wouldn't have
let her go - which is why, he reflected, she never would have ended up with
him.

Elisa had left.

Goliath had let her go.

His leader was wise when it came to the members of his clan. He
always seemed to know what they were feeling, or why they did the things
they did. He hoped that one day, he would be as insightful, and as good a
leader.

He hurried on to get Hudson.

Angela approached her father, unsure of the welcome she would
receive. Nobody wanted things to work out between him and Elisa more than
she did. She had spent so much time with them on their journeys, that she
knew how much they truly loved each other. She looked on Elisa as her elder
clan sister and there was nobody else she admired more. If she could be
like anyone at all, she would want to be like Elisa.

She stood next to Goliath and waited for him to acknowledge her.
To her surprise, he threw an arm around her shoulders and pulled her
close.

The rare, tender moment was ruined by the sound of Owen clearing his
throat. They swiveled around to face him.

"Mr. Xanatos would like you to come down to the office when you
have a moment Goliath." Owen's face remained bland as usual.

"I'll be down in a moment." As Owen turned to leave, Goliath
spoke again. "Have you no life of your own, Mr. Burnett? You spend your
every waking moment serving him, waiting on him. You've become nothing more
than a toady - have you no pride?"

Angela stared at her father in surprise. He had never before been so impolite to the Majordomo.

Owen stopped in his tracks and turned to face them. "Serving is
it's own reward, Goliath. You of all people should know this. Do you and
your clan not serve this city, regardless of how it treats you?" At
Goliath's silence, Owen raised his eyebrow. "A majordomo's life is not
easy, but you'll find this out for yourself soon enough. Good evening." At
this Owen finally made a dignified exit.

"Father, what did he mean by that? It sounded like a threat!"

"One does not insult the trickster lightly." He looked at Angela
and sighed. "I'm not sure why I spoke to him like that. For some reason,
his manner was offensive to me tonight."

"I know that you're upset about Elisa, father. Perhaps that is why
you spoke so sharply. Don't worry, I know that she loves you - girls can
tell these things. She will solve the case quickly so that she can return
to you."

Angela was rewarded with a quick hug and a rare smile before
Goliath leaped off the tower, on his way to see Xanatos.

By midnight, Goliath had returned to the spot on the tallest tower
where he normally rested during the day. He was in his 'thinker pose'
again.

Xanatos had been in an informative mood, explaining to him exactly
what it was that Elisa was doing in Washington. He had seemed unusually
friendly and sympathetic - which rubbed Goliath the wrong way.

He did appreciate that Xanatos was trying to turn his life around, and he did
believe that he would succeed, but he did not want pity from the man who had
put Elisa in this position to begin with.

Still...he had to admit that she herself had made the decision to take the assignment.

Hudson found him a few minutes later. "Oct, lad, it's not so bad
as all that. Ye've always known how independent she is." When Goliath
didn't reply, Hudson tried again. "Ye can stew all ya want, but ye still
have duties, obligations to fulfill as our leader. First off, ye've not yet
eaten. Ye'd best be following me to the kitchen. We'll talk over a hot
bowl of stew."

Reminded of his responsibilities, Goliath did not argue, but
rather clapped his old mentor on the back and followed him down the stairs.

Hudson had been doing less and less flying over the last few years, and
Goliath could tell that his 'arthritis', as the humans called it, was the
reason. Every so often he would command Hudson to go here, or go there on
some errand or another, just so that he would get some exercise, but tonight
he let him get away with using the stairs.

Down below, four pairs of eyes watched Goliath follow Hudson. One
of the four gave the others a thumbs up.


Daniel Todd sat at his desk and flipped through the portfolio in
his hands one more time. This was amazing! His best people had worked on
gathering the information after he had reached a dead-end, but not one of
them had come up with anything else. Elizabeth Antelope...what an
intriguing woman!

Twenty-five years of age. Born July 12, 1971 in Arlington, Va.
Only child of a Sioux father and an African American mother.

Incredibly high grades all through grade school.

Began hanging with the wrong crowd in junior high, resulting in
several run-ins with the law. She had a record of shop-lifting, loitering,
breaking and entering. Amazingly, her grades remained respectable.

At Benjamin Bannecker high school, the legal problems seemed to
have stopped, although police files listed her as the suspected leader of a
girl's gang called the Darts. Her g.p.a. was a perfect 4.0.

Her academic strengths included computer programming, electronics
and amazingly, math.

She graduated High School with high honors, attended Howard
University for two years and then entered MIT on a scholarship!
She did a lot of study in the computer and robotics fields before
suddenly dropping out in her second year.

Not three months later, a rival gang in her home turf completely
vanished. Not a single member was ever found. The Darts became visible
again and this time, there was no doubt that she was leading them. They kept
a low profile, but at the same time amassed a great deal of wealth in a
short time. They had no rivals, other gangs stayed out of their way.

Several Companies in the general vicinity suffered break-ins which all but
wiped them out, and yet nothing could be traced back to the Darts.

Ten months later, the police had infiltrated the gang, but their
mole got caught and disappeared, just like every other person who had
crossed them. It took a betrayal by a lesser gang member to end it all.

Before the rat could speak, the gang vanished. Police believed that they
split up the assets and assumed new identities.

Antelope did not change her identity. She moved to New York City,
where she lived until just recently. There are no records of her activities
from that point on.

The rat died in protective custody under unknown circumstances.

Daniel closed the file and sat back in his chair. What secrets
did this woman possess? What did she have over David Xanatos? Why was she
back in DC?

Todd wanted her secrets. He could use her talents. Now, the
problem was how to recruit her? She was risky - a loose canon, a very
dangerous loose cannon! He wasn't sure of her resources. What if she
simply took over his 'business' and made him disappear?

He would watch her for a while. Maybe get to know her. Yeah...
play it by ear, and then see if he came up with a plan...


Elizabeth sat in her office at the Croft Building scanned her
files.

Over the course of the last week, she and the Department had learned
precious little. The list of Companies that had been robbed did not seem
to point to a common business associate. None of their key employees seemed
to have any connections, either. The types of files which were stolen
didn't yield any clues.

She closed the folder and threw it across the room.

"At this rate I'll be here forever!" She groaned and rubbed her temples,
trying to ease the ache. "One whole week...I've been here a whole week
already and I have nothing to show for it!"

She stood up and walked around the room for a while collecting her
thoughts. She and Matt worked so well together. They had a system.

Maybe...

Elizabeth moved to her desk and hit the intercom switch.

"Yes, Ms. Antelope?" It was her secretary.

"Send Mr. Conners in here when he has a moment, please."

"Yes, Ms. Antelope."

'Jeez,' thought Elisa, 'I sure am glad that I didn't end up being
a secretary...I just don't have what it takes to do that yes sir, no sir
thing...'

Ten minutes later, Detective First Class Daryl B. Conners entered
Elizabeth's office.

"You rang?" he joked as he took a seat across from her.

Elisa couldn't help but like Conners. He was bright, caring and
dedicated - her kind of cop. "I was wondering if I could get Bluestone in
here. We've always worked well together, and I think that his connection
with the Illuminati might help."

"I don't know if the department will go for that, Ms. Antelope. You know how they frown down on extra expenses. Even with you-know-who's backing, this is getting awfully costly. Besides, where would he stay? Would he be your secretary or what?"

Conners gave her a piercing look. She was getting the feeling that he felt
she was abusing her position.

"He could be my majordomo." She leaned toward him. "We're not
getting anywhere, maybe he could come up with something, anything!" She
pleaded with him. "Look, if he can't pull a few strings, we'll just send
him home, what's the big deal?"

"OK, I'll talk to the Chief and see what he says. If he gives us
the thumbs up, we'll call Chavez, and clear it with her." He stood up and
began walking toward the door. Just before he opened it, he looked back
over his shoulder. "You really owe me for this kid."

With a final wink, he disappeared.

Liz smiled. "I really like that guy," she sighed.


A few days later, the nameless gang struck again. The target had
been the DC branch of Nightstone Unlimited. Once again, they had been in
and out with before the police had arrived. The stolen software had only
just been completed and had been developed for the US Government as part of
a new targeting system for Naval Destroyers.

The theft had occurred in broad daylight. The guards and anyone
else who realized what was happening, had been tranquilized. Somehow, the
gang had managed to break all the security codes and disable all the
security cameras.

Conners had cursed up a storm when he found out that they
wouldn't even get a picture of any of the perps. Luckily, they were putting
together some promising composite sketches with the eyewitness' cooperation.

To top off the whole disaster, Liz found out that Dominique would be
flying in from New York.

Elisabeth quickly informed the others that one of Nightstone's CEOs,
Dominique Destine, would recognize her on sight. Since it was very possible
that Destine would travel in the same social circles as Liz, there was a
very real danger that they could meet. They would all have to be very
careful with her social calendar from now on.


Xanatos watched the younger gargoyles leave on patrol.

They had just awakened, but rather than eat their first meal, they all but fled the
castle. Even from this window, he could see that they had no wish to remain
anywhere near their leader.

'Ah, there he is now', Xanatos observed.

He could see Goliath stomping off toward the kitchen with Hudson hot on his
hocks. As they passed through the courtyard, the Clan leader casually
reached out and brought down an entire light post in a burst of brightness
and exploding glass.

Good ole Goliath... When they were upset, some people chewed their nails, some people ate ice cream and some people even disappeared for a while... Not Goliath! His favorite tension-relieving pastime was to destroy the electric courtyard lights!

Elisa had only been gone for a few weeks. What was going to happen when a month, maybe even two slipped by?

He did not intend to find out.

Xanatos realized that Owen had appeared at his side. "Owen, it
seems that our happy home is no longer happy."

"So I've noticed, sir." Owen had also seen Goliath's tantrum.

"Is there anything we can do about it?"

"There may be a solution, sir."

"Let's discuss this in my office, shall we?"

"That would perhaps, be best."

Fox found them in the office a half hour later. "David, you've
got to get Elisa back here." She looked pretty angry. "Goliath is just
completely impossible to be around, let alone share a roof with. I just
tried to start up a conversation with him, and he snubbed me!"

"He did what, dear?" Xanatos wasn't sure he had heard her
correctly.

"He snubbed me! He stood up, slammed his book shut and told me
that if I wanted to carry on the conversation, I could either wait till he
was stone, or follow him up to the top of the Chrysler Building, where the
wind would, no doubt, stifle the noise!"

She was beet red at the humiliation of having the usually polite Clan Leader talk to her that way.

Xanatos and Owen stared at each other. "I think that clenches it
Owen. You'd best go get Alex ready while I talk to Goliath." Xanatos
steepled his hands atop his desk. "He hasn't left the castle yet, has he
Owen?"

Owen looked over a few of the room's monitors. "No sir. He's at
his usual spot atop the tower." Owen turned and left the room.

"What are you up to David?" Fox looked intensely interested.

"We can't afford to call Ms. Maza home, so we'll just send Goliath
to her." He grinned as he saw her eyes light up.

"This ought to be good!"

"Hold that thought - I still have to get him down here without
getting myself killed."


Xanatos re-entered his office a short time later with Goliath in
tow. Telling the big gargoyle that he had more information about his
favorite detective had quickly gotten his attention.

"How is she?" Goliath spoke as soon as they entered the office.

He seemed much less depressed already.

"Detective Maza is fine. She's not making very much progress with
the case so far, and I hear that she is homesick, but other than that..."

Goliath was watching him, obviously hopeful for some more information.
Xanatos sighed. It was time to give the plan a try. "Elisa recently
requested that Detective Bluestone be sent on down to help her, but I'm
afraid that the idea was nixed by Captain Chavez."

"Why would Elisa need Bluestone's help with this?"

"Goliath, I'm sure that she probably doesn't need his help. She's
probably just lonely, and since she was able to use his being her partner
as an excuse..." He intentionally left the sentence hanging and waited for
the Clan Leader to think things through.

Goliath walked to the large window behind the desk and stared out.

When he finally realized that the big gargoyle was not about to
speak, Xanatos continued, "You know, Goliath...Owen and I have done some
thinking. Since Elisa will not give up the case and come home - maybe we
can send you to her instead?"

The next thing he knew, David had a very large gargoyle staring
intently down at him. "Just what is it that you're saying?"

"I'm saying that she's lonely and homesick, and she's obviously
missing you. Why don't we just send you to DC to keep her company?"

"How?" Goliath seemed to be taking the bait.

"We let Owen's alter-ego cast the same transformation spell on you
that he cast on Demona - excepting the pain part. I give you a fake ID, a
stipend and have you flown out. With just a little string-pulling I arrange
for you to assume the role that she had asked Matt to take - that of her
majordomo. At night you can stay out of the public's sight and protect her."

He was encouraged by Goliath's pensive expression and continued. "Puck
will give you a working knowledge of everything you need to know to be a
convincing majordomo. I'll fill you in on Elisa's new identity - she can
tell you the rest once you're there. We've thought of everything. Think of
it as a working vacation."

There, he'd done his best. Now everything was up to Goliath.

Goliath turned toward the window once more. His head was
spinning. He was afraid to trust Xanatos and he was even more afraid to
trust the trickster...

Then again, he would see Elisa. He'd be able to spend the entire time near her - day and night.

But - the trickster had foreseen this, he realized. He had mentioned it a few weeks ago on the tower. Goliath would surely be placing himself in his power.

...Then there was the sun... he would finally feel it's warmth again, as he had back in
Norway.

And Elisa was homesick and lonely. How could he stay away when she
needed him?

If he did this thing, he would be able to walk with her - in
the sun! He would be able to protect her and maybe the nightmares of her
leaving him would finally end.

His mind made up, Goliath swung around to face his one time enemy. 'If I have the trickster's word that he will release me from the spell once I return, I accept your offer."

Xanatos clapped a hand on his shoulder. "I know a certain
detective who's going to be very surprised tomorrow!"

"Tomorrow? That soon?" Goliath looked startled.

"The sooner, the better Goliath." Xanatos opened the office door
and Puck, with Alex in his arms, floated in.

In short order, two spells had been cast. The first was a more friendly version of the transformation spell. The second spell was one of transferred knowledge, giving Goliath
all of Owen's practical know-how.

"I don't feel any different," Goliath commented afterward.

Puck, back in his Owen persona, actually smirked. "You will, come
morning."

"Well, Goliath, you've got a lot of explaining to do to your Clan
before morning," Xanatos commented. "You'd best get to it. Once you've changed, we'll complete your identity, so I suggest that you also take some time to select a
human name."


Liz stood out on her garden patio staring over the low wall at
the coming dawn. It had been a very long night for her. After spending
much of the day at the office meeting associates of the of the actual Croft
staff, she had gone to a formal dinner given by...herself.

Conners had arranged the whole thing, taking great care to exclude anybody who worked
with or for Dominique Destine. The diner had been a great way for her to be
seen by suspects and friends alike.

The problem was that she had hated it.

Elisa had spent many nights pretending to be something she wasn't - it
came with the job. Prostitute, call girl, bad cop, petty hood...you name
it, she'd been it, but she had rarely been as uncomfortable as she had been
in that dining room.

She had been expected to come across as sophisticated, witty and knowledgeable in several different areas which were in fact, Greek to her. To top it off, she had had to stifle herself to prevent her usual barbed comments and general sarcasm from surfacing. It had not been fun... until a friendly guest named Daniel Todd had latched onto her.

The fellow had been in his early thirties, with brown hair and
round eyeglasses. He was apparently affiliated with a company called
Interdat, which produced translation software.

Daniel had stayed near her the rest of the evening, making all
manner of snide remarks under his breath in response to some of the pompous
statements floating around the table. He had made her laugh several times
and they had carried on some really bizarre conversations about such things
as Monty Python's Flying Circus and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.

The remainder of the evening had been bearable, almost enjoyable. She had
thanked him at the door and he had promised to keep in touch. She sighed
and hoped that he wasn't thinking of asking her out...he was a nice guy, but
that was as far as it went.

"This assignment is wearing me down," she muttered softly to
herself.

It had been very late when she'd gotten 'home' and her sleep had
been filled with bad dreams so that by four o'clock she'd given up and
gotten out of bed. She had gone for a swim in the heated pool and was now
enjoying a cup of coffee and the sunrise.

There were a few leads in the case, but not one of them seemed
promising. To top it off, Chavez had refused to let Matt join her,
reminding Elisa that he had other responsibilities. She had received the message second hand from Conners a few days ago.

He had then informed her, earlier that very evening, that Xanatos
was sending someone to help them.

She had been hot over that!

Conners had handed her a faxed, handwritten note from Xanatos which went on to say that her new 'partner' had worked with her in the past, that they were a great
team and that the new guy would be assuming the role of her majordomo.

"As the head investigator on this assignment, you ought to know
the details," she had said. "Who is the mystery person?"

"Sorry, Antelope. Xanatos says that our new help has already been
assigned an ID which you wouldn't recognize anyhow." Conners had taken
Xanatos' meddling better than she had and she wondered if he had perhaps
received a little bonus from the billionaire.

"Well, what's his new name?"

"Stoneman. G. L. Stoneman." Conners had smirked. "Hope he ain't
one of those desk jockeys."

"Stoneman? That's a most... unusual last name." Elisa had a very
strange feeling in the pit of her stomach.

The details, Xanatos had written, would be made clear after
Stoneman's arrival. He had wanted everything to be a surprise. "Just what
I need," Liz spoke aloud. "another surprise from David Xanatos!"

She couldn't even begin to guess who her one time acquaintance might be. Oh
well, there was little that she could do to prevent the forced partnership,
so she might as well just go with the flow. Stoneman would arrive sometime
this afternoon.

"Then we'll see just how much of a hot-shot he really is!" She smiled evilly.


The sun rose over the Manhattan skyline and the Gargoyles who
called Castle Wyvern home turned to stone - all except their Clan Leader.

Goliath had been watching his daughter and had actually seen her skin color
fade as she changed to stone at the same time that a strange, but not
unpleasant tingling ran through his large form.

He looked at his companions, finding that each of them had begun their daylight hibernation. He brought his hands up before his eyes and was amazed to see that each
now had five dexterous digits instead of his usual clawed four. His skin
color had gone from lavender to a deep bronze.

Looking toward the east, he could see the glowing orb of the sun cresting the roofline of his city. It was amazing... the glow, the warmth of it on his skin!

Goliath felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder and turned to see
Xanatos smiling at him. Their eyes were now nearly on a level with each
other.

For once, he didn't mind the human's company.

"Come on ...Mr. Stoneman, I've had Owen set us a breakfast table
out in the courtyard." Xanatos steered him toward the stairs. "I assume you
want to sit outside and finish watching the sunrise?"

Goliath actually smiled back at him. "I wouldn't miss it for
anything."

Goliath spent a leisurely breakfast with Xanatos, Fox and Alex,
enjoying the view, and thrilled by the strange sounds of morning which other
people seemed to take for granted. He could hear birds chirping and
singing, only recognizing the sounds because of the many times he had heard
them on the TV. Still, hearing them for real was enough to bring a lump to
his throat. He turned his head in the direction of more chirping and caught a
glimpse of a pair of wrens flitting about the tower walls.

He had never actually seen a bird in flight before. Pidgins didn't count - Goliath, like most Gargoyles despised them the way most humans despised rats.

A butterfly suddenly flitted past him, causing him to nearly drop his fork in surprise.

Everything was so different! Everything looked different, smelled
different, felt different! He never thought it would be so...wonderful.

He had to force himself to pay attention to Xanatos' lecture about
the importance of remaining in character.

"I know that it'll be difficult sometimes, but you must become Mr.
G. L. Stoneman ... at least while the sun's up. Do not answer to any other
name. Whatever you do, don't blow Elisa's cover! You must never think of
her or address her as anyone other than Elizabeth Antelope, your employer.

The sooner you get in the habit of using these new names, the less chance
that you'll make a potentially deadly mistake." Xanatos was regarding him
with a very serious expression. "Owen's spell of general knowledge will be
triggered when you get off my copter in DC. At that time you'll suddenly
find yourself able to function quite well in human society. Um... I've been
told to let you know that you may experience a sudden, very temporary
disorientation when it happens." At this he stood up" Well, we have a lot to
get accomplished in the next few hours. Let's go."

Stoneman rose and followed him inside.


Six hours later, at around one p.m., Liz's intercom buzzed. She
reached over and hit the button as she continued scanning her list of major
competitors, and their owners.

"Yes?"

" Ms. Antelope, Mr. Stoneman called and wanted me to let you know
that he has settled into his suite at the hotel and has taken control of
your domestic affairs." At this point her secretary giggled. "If he looks
anything like he sounds, I'm gonna have to ask you to arrange a meeting for
me."

"You'd better watch out that I don't offer him your job." Liz
joked. It was the first time she had heard Sandra actually lighten up.

"A... sorry. Anyway he said that he had to fire one of your maids
and the guy who cleans the pool. He found them messing around on his sofa."

"Anything else?"

"He said he'd see you when you got home. That was all."

"OK, thanks Sandra." She removed her finger from the switch and
sat back in her chair. Whoever this Stoneman guy was, he hadn't wasted any
time assuming his cover.

She stood up and headed for Conners' office, which was on the other side of that floor. To her dismay, he had left for the day. His partner, a shorter, blond fellow named Maddox, was unable to tell her much about the new majordomo.

"Yeah, Conners picked him up at the airport," he said. "He told me
that he seems like a really nice guy. Conners dropped him off at the hotel
but had to leave when he was paged to the hospital - his wife's having
their second kid."

"I didn't know that! I'll have to get him something!" Elisa was
amazed that no one had told her about this. "Gee, ya work with people for
weeks, and they still treat ya like an outsider," She huffed.

Maddox had the good graces to look embarrassed. "Sorry, Liz. It's
not like that at all - we do consider you part of the family, we just forgot
to tell you about the new delivery."

Liz smiled and clapped him on the back. "I'm just giving you a
hard time. I'm heading back to the Hotel to meet the new guy. I doubt that
I'll be back tonight." She called down for her limo and left the office.

A half hour later she entered her suite, to find a staff meeting
underway in front of the pool. She stood in the living-room and watched
through the huge windows, intent on listening in.

The help sat in lawn chairs and loungers facing the new majordomo,
whose back was toward her. He was tall, probably six feet five, she would
guess, and it was obvious that he was powerfully built, even though he wore
a perfectly tailored camel suit. His hair was a very deep brown and hung
down to his waist. He had it neatly tied back in a tail.

As she took this in she realized where she had seen that form before. She must be losing her mind!

It couldn't be...but Xanatos had mentioned sending an acquaintance of
hers, and she only knew one person with a body and hair like that!

With a wave of frustration she realized that she wasn't able to hear what he was
saying. Heart hammering, feeling almost dizzy, she moved to the French
doors and quietly opened one.

"...To sum everything up, I am a very fair...man. If you do
your job correctly, and promptly, you'll find that I'm willing to go out of
my way to help you, should you ever need my help. If there is a dispute, or
problem of any kind, do not put off seeking my help. Resolving such problems
quickly will make all our jobs easier and more pleasant..."

Oh my God! Liz thought. It is him! I'd know his voice anywhere!

Her legs felt shaky. She had to know how and why he had done this, yet somehow she
forced herself to pay attention to what he was saying.

"Any questions?" There was a long pause. "Good. Rajitha, Mary,
you two will need to stay, but the rest of you may take the remainder of the
day off - with pay."

At this, many smiles appeared and several thank-you sir's were heard.

The help shuffled past him and nodded politely to her as they
headed for the front doors.

As if in a dream, she saw him turn around and freeze when he noticed her standing there. He reached up and removed the sunglasses which she had only just noticed he was wearing.

He was a handsome, deeply tanned man of around thirty years of age and there was no
doubt that he wore the face of her would-be lover. She wanted to yell out
her joy and jump into his arms, but she couldn't. Her years as a detective
had conditioned her too well to allow her to step out of character where
the blunder could be seen or heard. She could see Rajitha dusting the light
fixtures in the hallway and Mary was around here somewhere as well. She had
to clear her throat before she could speak.

"Mr. Stoneman?" Her voice was steadier than she would have thought
possible.

He nodded in reply, but his face was not quite its usual stony
mask. Although there was only a trace of a smile touching his mouth, his
eyes glittered with amusement and she couldn't help but grin at him. She'd
bet anything that they both looked pretty sappy just then.

"Let's move to my office." She turned her back to him and moved
towards the privacy of that room. At the entrance to the office she stopped
and allowed him to enter first, then closed the door behind them.

Before she knew it, she was being swept up and held close in his strong embrace.

Neither of them was capable of speaking for a while. They held on
tight, overjoyed at being together again. Her head was buried in the front
of his jacket. She sighed deeply. "Even when you're human, you still smell
the same," she spoke softly, afraid that to speak louder would make the
dream end.

"I hope that is a good thing." His voice rumbled, deeper when
heard through his chest.

"It's the best," she spoke a bit louder. Tears were actually
welling up in her eyes as she lifted her head to look at him. "This isn't a
dream. You really are here," she tried unsuccessfully to prevent her voice
from wavering.

His finger brushed a tear off her lashes, and then he leaned down
and kissed her thoroughly. "I really am here," he murmured next to her ear a
few moments later.

The kiss had been a little strange, for her at least. She was so
used to his true form, that now, this human one made her feel as if she was
kissing a stranger. Fortunately, his familiar scent as well as the familiar
voice which murmured to her, quickly put her at ease.

Liz wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for
another kiss. It didn't matter that it wasn't his true form. All that
really mattered was that he was here with her.

They snuggled for a while until she realized that they were standing too close to the door.
The desire to spend the rest of the day in his arms, was too tempting, so she forced herself to move to the sofa and sit down.

He followed and sat next to her.

She was still staring at him in amazement, she realized when she
saw him flush and nervously shift his eyes away. Elizabeth took his hand in
both of hers, noting with satisfaction that he was looking at her again.

"So, what does the G stand for?"

"Nothing, I just placed the initial there for the phonetic
effect." He grinned at her confusion but did not volunteer any more of an
explanation.

"Well, what does the L stand for then?" She was clearly amused by
the whole thing.

"It stands for Lyath." He laughed at the look on her face. She
raised her eyebrow at him and groaned.

"G-Lyath, I should have figured it was something like that. Pretty
slick, rookie."

"Thanks, boss."

Elisabeth suddenly became serious. "Big guy, what in the world
possessed you to allow 'Owen' to do this to you? I'm assuming that he did
the honors?"

"He did. Xanatos and Owen offered me the chance to come out and
help you after telling me that your captain would not allow Bluestone to do
so." He gently rubbed her hands as he continued. "I fear that I was making
everyone miserable, and that the offer may have been as much to rid
themselves of me for a while as to try and help you out."

They spent the next moments filling each other in on what had been
happening during the last few weeks. Lyath told Liz a little about the rest
of the Clan and their failed (and somewhat bizarre) methods of trying to
cheer him up. Elisabeth admitted that she really hadn't gotten very far with
the case.

"That's as much as I can tell you here, Stoneman. Rules are
rules, the rest will have to wait till we're both at the office or ...
somewhere much more private."

They both blushed at her words. Amazed that she had actually said such a thing, she stood up and began straightening her suit, once again becoming Ms. Antelope. "So, can I help you unpack? I can't wait to see what kind of goodies Xanatos has given you."

He could see that she had resumed her alternate identity, so he
did so as well, thankful that for now, she had not pursued a more personal
topic. "Of course you may," he responded. "I think you'll find that I lack
for nothing...although in truth, I may need some help figuring out what
everything is, let alone how to use them.."

He scratched his head, causing her to snicker.

"Wouldn't that spell of general knowledge cover such items?"

"Apparently there are some gaps in what is and what isn't covered.
I can tell you anything you want to know about running a household's staff,
but I have trouble with things like... toothpaste, for example. I know what
it is - I've seen enough commercials to know how to use it, but...how much
should I use? How long should I brush?." He made a sour face.

"You've got to be kidding me."

"You know that I do not usually kid around. In normal
circumstances, any dirt, germs, or what-not either die when I turn to stone,
or come off with the old skin. I've never had to deal with toothpaste,
shampoo, antiperspirant, or hair gel before."

"So that's why you guys have such perfect teeth...anyway, it
sounds to me as if this is a function of the trickster's sense of humor.
I'll bet that he just couldn't resist messing you up a bit," she shook her
head.

"If that is all he has done 'to mess me up', I consider myself
fortunate." he said as he opened the office door for her and then crossed
the foyer to his suite. Unlocking the door, he stood aside and motioned her
to enter.

Elizabeth looked around as Stoneman closed and locked the door
behind him. She had never actually taken the time to look around the
concierge's suite before.

It was modest, compared to her penthouse, which is to say that it
was luxurious by most peoples' standards. There was a small entryway
immediately inside the door, with a coat closet on the right. The entryway
opened up into a nice-sized living-room with some very nice leather
furnishings. As in her suite, there were plenty of large windows and a few
skylights to boot. His unpacked suitcases and garment bags sat next to the
couch.

He was standing next to her, taking the room in as well.

"So, G.L., I take it that you haven't actually looked around the
place either?"

"I came in to drop off my cases and found the maid and pool
cleaner "playing" on my sofa. I ended up spending the next half hour with
them in your office. Janette, almost talked me into giving her a second
chance, until I found out that she was to have made an important trip to the
grocery store on Mary's behalf.. Needless to say, she hadn't even made it out of the
building." Goliath was scowling by now. "After all that, I just stayed at
the penthouse, introduced myself and called a meeting."

"Talk about dedication to one's job..." she teased him.

"I admit that I was understandably anxious to meet my employer..."
he mimicked her by raising an eyebrow.

Liz intentionally moved away from him and began to explore the
suite. It was unnerving to see the big guy in human form. It was still him
no doubt about that - he looked very much the same, sounded the same,
moved the same - well, maybe a little more gracefully...but...oh! it was
just so confusing!

She entered the kitchen, which had a breakfast bar and opened out
onto the living room. She opened various appliances, checked out the drawers
and found a utility room with a washer and dryer tucked in the back.

Although Goliath had remained at the kitchen door, she was very much aware
of his eyes watching her. She tried her best to remain nonchalant as she
faced him in the doorway, and waited for him to step aside to let her back
into the living-room.

He didn't budge.

Their eyes locked.

Without warning, he scooped her up in his arms and walked to the
armchair. Once there, he sat down with her on his lap and hugged her to
him. His cheek was pressed against her own, his breath warm on the side of
her neck.

"Elisa...how I've missed you..." he whispered.

She shivered. It was so good to hear her name again - especially
when it was him saying it. They embraced for several moments more before
finally relaxing. Elisa got up and pulled him behind her as she made her
way over to his luggage.

"Come on, let's get your things put away. I have the rest of the
day off, and I'll be damned if we are going to waste it, after all, it's
only Monday and the weekend is quite a ways off." She grabbed two garment
bags while he somehow managed to lift the remaining cases.

A short trip through the living room and the doorway on the left
brought them to the bedroom. It was smaller than her own, but had a queen
sized bed, lots of storage space, and a balcony.

She dropped the bags on the bed and opened them. One, by one, she began to transfer the suits inside to the walk-in closet.

Goliath, who had dropped his cases on the floor, opened them and began to remove the contents, stacking everything neatly on the bed.

Elisa, who had counted a total of eight suits, hung the last one
up and helped him place the rest of his things in the dressers, closet, or
bathroom as the need might be.

They both took time out to look around the master bath, finding that he had a whirlpool tub.

A short while later, the bags were zipped and stored in the closet
as well. Goliath reached into his jacket pocket and brought out a small
stack of folded papers. He handed them to Elisa.

"The rest of the clan have sent you a few letters. They said to
tell you that they expect to receive their first postal mail from you."

Goliath grinned in earnest, proud that even Hudson and Broadway had made an
effort to write to their missing clan sister.

Elisa was so touched that the clan had taken time to write to her
that for a moment she was speechless. Most of her clan could read, thanks
to their leader's strong influence in the area of literature, but writing
was difficult for a gargoyle. Even with larger, gargoyle-sized writing
utensils, their hands were poorly equipped for gripping them. The large
claws made some fine motor skills, like writing, difficult and time-
consuming to perform.

Which made these letters all the more precious. Elisa was now in
possession of some of the only gargoyle writings (Demona probably did most
of her writing while in human form) in modern times.

"I can hardly wait to read them!" Elisa smiled up at Goliath. "I
promise I'll answer every one of them by tomorrow evening!"

"One of them is from me."

Elisa gave Goliath a puzzled look.

"I wrote it to you several days ago, before I realized that you
could not receive personal mail that might 'blow your cover'. Rather than
throw it out, I held it for you."

"Goliath..."

"Shhhh. You don't have to read it now, but when you do, I also
expect to receive a letter."

They stared at each other a moment before Goliath cleared his
throat and moved to sit on the bed. Since they were both in as private a
setting as they would get, Elisa sat on the bed next to him and brought him
up to date on the case. He seemed most perturbed by Demona's arrival in the
city, and insisted that from now on, Elisa allow him to accompany her
everwhere other than the Croft Building, where she would, presumably, be
safe. She had no problem with that, in fact, she was relishing the chance
to spend her days with him.

They worked out a schedule of sorts. In the mornings, she would
report to work. While she was there, he would remain at the hotel,
supervising her staff, and arranging any after office meetings or dinners as
necessary. He would join her for any such dinners or meetings, if they
occurred before sunset. Barring any sudden developments in the case, her
evenings and weekends were her own and they would find some way to enjoy
them together.

By now it was three-ish and Elisa, who hadn't yet had lunch,
realized that she was famished. Her belly let out a loud rumble, which was
quickly drowned out by an answering rumble from Goliath's stomach.

"I hope that means that you're hungry too!" Elisa laughed as she
stood up. "Come on, let's grab a bite somewhere."

"I just remembered that I haven't eaten since daybreak. Could we
eat someplace outside?" Goliath followed her out of the room.

"Sounds like a plan. Let me change out of these heels first,
though." Elisa let them into her place and they were both quickly welcomed
by the housekeeper, a fifty-ish woman named Rajitha.

"Good evening Rajitha! Where's Mary?" She really liked the two
women. They both reminded her of her mom.

"She is in the kitchen, Ms. Antelope," the housekeeper replied, as
she continued dusting the window blinds.

They found Mary busy preparing the pastry for a beef Wellington.

"Good day, Miss. I didn't have a chance to greet you earlier, you
was out o'here so fast." Mary looked up and smiled.

"Mr. Stoneman and I had a lot of things to discuss. Looks great,
but isn't it a bit early to be starting dinner?" Liz moved around looking
in the pots and bowls which were strewn about. Lyath remained in the
doorway.

"You can't rush a good meal, I always say. It'll probably be
ready around six-ish. Is that all right with you Miss.?

"That would be fine."

"Would you like me to fix the two o'you a small snack to hold you
off?"

"No thanks, Mary. We're on our way out for lunch as soon as I've
changed. Could you do me a favor? Set out two places for dinner tonight.
When the meal is done, just keep it warming, and you can go home for the
evening. I'll serve it myself."

"Oooh, Miss, is it for somebody special?" Mary's eyes lit up.

"Actually, Mr. Stoneman will be joining me."

Noticing that the person in question had moved back out to the
pool area, Mary lowered her voice. "He seems to be a very nice man. Not bad
lookin either, if you ask me." Mary continued moving about the kitchen as
she spoke. "Anyway, he must be more than a mere employee, or you'd 'ave me
stay to serve the meal," she finished, giving Liz a sly wink.

Liz laughed. "Mary, did anyone ever tell you that you'd would make a
lousy detective?"

"Well I do watch Miss. Marple ev'ry week... and that's what she would have figured was happenin'!"

Both women laughed.

After telling Rajitha that she could leave with Mary once the
dinner was done, Liz headed back towards her bedroom and the door therein.

Inside, Elisa placed the letters in her end-table drawer before moving
towards the closet. She decided to keep her blouse, but changed into a pair
of nice pants, a casual blazer and a pair of flats. She called Goliath in
when she was done and unlocked the door between their rooms.

"I'll leave it unlocked from now on, just in case..."

"Just in case, what?" he said, moving nearer.

"Just in case I need you." She managed to keep a straight face.

Goliath pulled her up against himself. "...Elisa, we could go back
to my suite and order in..." he murmured, stroking back her hair. "After
all, physically I am a little bit more compatible with you now..."

She froze. He had finally made his move...and there was no doubt
of it this time. She was unsure of what to say...they had to talk, but how
to begin the conversation?

She was saved by the sound of her stomach. It was nearly deafening this time.

Goliath laughed heartily and gave her a quick kiss. "Maybe we'd
better go out to eat after all."

She laughed as well, but suddenly became serious. "Goliath, I
don't know how to say this, so I'm going to come right out with it..." She
glanced toward the window, suddenly too shy to meet his eyes. "I don't want
us to, um...consummate our relationship while you're human." She mustered
her courage and turned her head to look him full in the eyes. "Do you
understand why?"

He placed his hands on her shoulders, as he often did when they
were having a heart to heart. "Please, tell me."

"Because, if we truly love each other, as we've been saying for
months now, it shouldn't matter that we're not of the same species. I want
you to realize that I accept you just the way you are - I don't want there
to be any doubts about that! Besides," she smiled. "I've discovered that I
actually prefer your true form."

Goliath tipped her chin up and stared at her wordlessly for a
moment. "I feel the same way about you, Elisa. Still, perhaps it would be
best if I was in this form. It would do much to ease my fear that I might
harm..." The rest of his words were lost as Elisa wrapped her arms around
his neck and kissed him.

When they reluctantly parted, Elisa smiled at him in a way that
made his heart skip a beat. "That's enough of that. You are NOT going to
hurt me, Goliath. So far, you've never so much as bruised me." She kissed
him again. "It's strange," she said." I know who you are. The physical
differences are not that great, but I find all this very...unsettling.
Every time I turn to look at you, I nearly jump in surprise that you're not
lavender."

"I'm sure that we'll both get used to it in time." He said quietly, again brushing her
hair from her face. Then his expression became troubled. "My love… what you said about our differences is admirable, but you must understand that I am not…" he momentarily faltered.

"…A human," she finished. "I know and it doesn't matter."

"You must understand that I am not a human male," he corrected. "And although you say it does not matter to you…at a critical moment you may still find that I am too different to…" He paused, his face flaming and obviously embarrassed to continue.

Not willing to jump to the wrong conclusion again, she merely hugged him and waited.

With a sigh, he buried his face in her hair and then whispered, "Elisa… in the end it may, after all, not be possible for us to mate. Or worse yet, you may find my… attributes… repulsive."

Her heart skipped painfully to hear him actually speak of his secret fear and she couldn't help the wry smile that twisted her lips. Raising her head, she kissed first his chin, and then worked her way up the side of his neck, leaving a trail of kissed which led right to his ear.

"One way or another, we will be mates," she whispered. "And as for finding any part of you repulsive: that just isn't possible!"

To prove her conviction, she proceeded to kiss him soundly… right up until her stomach interrupted them with an emphatic growl.

His eyes sparkled mischievously and he snickered at the sound. "We're both famished... let's go eat."

She groaned. "Just remember that, out there..." Here she waved
towards the window, "...I'm Ms. Antelope and you're Mr. Stoneman, and we
are not really supposed to be involved with each other." He nodded. "OK,
then, Mr. Stoneman, call for my limo."

End of Part 1