LIFE GOES ON

Meanwhile, Back in New York…

PART 5: VIOLENT NIGHT

By Kimberly T. (e-mail: kimbertow at yahoo dot com)

Disclaimers & acknowledgments: I don't own the gargoyles concept; Disney does, as well as a few of the characters mentioned in this story. All the non-Disney-created characters are mine, but I'm not making a dime off this, so please don't sue.

Author's note: this takes place on the Monday after Thanksgiving of 1996; six nights after the Manhattan Clan left for their 'vacation' in New Orleans.

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5.1: In The Air Again

It was a lovely night out, crystal-clear if very chilly; all of New York City was enveloped in freezing temperatures. Luckily, gargoyles are built to handle cold weather, even gargoyle clones, and to Delilah, Malibu and Brentwood the cold merely felt invigorating as they frolicked above the rooftops. It was their turn to go gliding and stretch their wings tonight, and they were enjoying it to the fullest, laughing as they played tag and chased each other's tails.

Claw's furry hide was also equipped to handle cold fairly well, and gliding was good exercise, so he was keeping warm enough as he flew along, keeping an eye on his three gargoyle charges. That is, when he wasn't lovingly eyeing and nuzzling the bundle in his arms. Dana's thin human skin wasn't equipped for cold weather at all, and she was so bundled up in multiple layers of ragged clothing that only her eyes and mouth showed out of an old ski mask. But she had insisted on coming along, and as they were still newlyweds, Claw had willingly agreed.

Everyone who knew them agreed they made an interesting pair, but surprisingly well matched. Claw could not speak as a result of his mutation, but could hear perfectly fine, and stone-deaf Dana could not hear, but could speak well enough to be understood if necessary. Between themselves and a few other Labyrinth residents, they used sign language to communicate. If they had to communicate with somebody who didn't know sign language, and they were caught without pen and paper handy, then Claw would listen and interpret as needed for Dana (not needed often, as she was quite good at lip-reading), and she would speak for them both.

The clones knew a smattering of sign language now, but with his arms full of Dana Claw could hardly use it. But if the clones strayed too far away, Dana could shout at them to bring them back, or cry a warning if she and Claw saw a hazard they did not. So far tonight, though, they were staying well within range and keeping out of known danger zones, making Claw's escort job easy for a change.

Part of their sudden streak of caution surely came from their uncertainty that the skies were entirely safe for them yet. The clones had stayed down below street level for the better part of a week, after the Quarrymen had engaged in a battle with—well, somebody, lost eleven men in the process, and started screaming even louder than before for 'justice' and 'public safety,' meaning the destruction of all gargoyles. Those residents of the Labyrinth who were completely human had reported that the general mood on the streets was outraged, anxious… and definitely unfriendly towards people with wings.

But doubt had been cast on the Quarrymen's story from the very start, when Detective Bluestone had discovered scraps of gargoyle costumes at the scene of the battle. And three days after the battle, someone had discovered a body on top of an apartment building; a dead man wearing a gargoyle costume. A man who happened to be part of a known criminal organization, and the common consensus became that some members of this gang had dressed up in gargoyles costumes and donned stolen jetpacks, gone out to commit some crimes that could be blamed on the gargoyles, and had run into the Quarrymen instead.

Once the news had broken and the NYPD's official theory on the incident had been announced, the anti-gargoyle fervor had died down to a significant degree and the Quarrymen were now almost laughingstocks, for their apparent inability to tell criminals wearing costumes from real gargoyles. But Talon had waited another two days after the news had hit the streets, before allowing any of the Labyrinth's 'kids' out to play. Last night, Sunday, he had allowed Hollywood and Burbank to go out under his watchful eye, and since nothing had happened to them, tonight it was the others' turn.

The rest of their sudden streak of caution could probably be attributed to the revelation of Delilah's pregnancy; if there was one thing that all gargoyles, even clones grown in artificial maturation chambers, instinctively took very seriously, it was protecting pregnant females and their eggs. There had even been some rumblings from her clan brothers that she should be staying in the Labyrinth all the time now, instead of going up to stretch her wings with them. But Delilah had most vehemently insisted that she go, and Maggie, also pregnant, had agreed that it was important for pregnant females to get a reasonable amount of exercise. So Delilah glided with them with ease, her change in profile (not huge and heavy with egg yet, but most definitely showing it) not yet limiting her ability to keep up with everyone but Brentwood.

Brentwood had just tagged Malibu as "it", and laughed as he dodged away from Malibu's attempted return tag and flew behind a wide chimney. Then they heard a pleased exclamation from him, and a flurrying of feathers, and a minute later he came walking back around the chimney base with a wide grin and both hands full. "Look! Pigeons!"

"Oooh, yummy!" Delilah exclaimed with a smile, and Malibu enthusiastically agreed as they landed beside their brother. Pigeons tasted much better than the usual meat in their diet, the rats they caught in the Labyrinth.

Brentwood pointed back the way he came and said there were more back there, but he handed one of his two fresh-killed pigeons to Delilah with an even wider grin, saying, "Just for you! Talon says you got to eat more."

"Talon's real smart," Delilah agreed with a grin as she began ripping the feathers off to get at the meat. "He says I have to eat enough for two, to feed the egg inside," as she paused to briefly caress her swelling belly with a smile.

Malibu scratched his black mane with a look of confusion as he fetched a pigeon for himself. "How does egg eat? Eggs don't have mouths."

"Dunno," Delilah shrugged as she began tearing into the bird. She mumbled between mouthfuls that when they got back, she would ask either Talon or Maggie, who was real smart too.

The males insisted that Delilah have another pigeon after finishing her first one, and she was happy to oblige. After finishing their impromptu snack and brushing the stray feathers off, they looked around for Claw and Dana. The two newlyweds had landed on the roof as well, but on the far side to let the clones eat in peace (while they all knew their gargoyles liked to eat fresh kills raw, most of the Labyrinth residents preferred not to witness it directly.) They were taking the opportunity to do some cuddling and nuzzling as they sat there with Dana on Claw's lap, and Delilah sighed heavily when she saw them. Malibu noticed, and said softly but shrewdly, "You still miss Thailog?"

"Always," she admitted with another sigh. "Sometimes, I feel so alone…"

"You still got us," Brentwood reminded her softly as he ran his talons through her mane.

"You have us, and you have egg," Malibu said just as softly as he lightly touched her belly. "With us and it, you not alone, ever." Delilah smiled sadly but nodded, as they walked back to their escorts.

To be continued…