As Darkness Falls "A Pale Comparison: As Darkness Falls"
by Lisette--send all comments to: Lisette_1@lycos.com

Legalese: GARGOYLES isn't mine and anything pertaining to them aren't mine as well. Characters that you haven't seen in the TV show are all mine. Any questions? No? Good. :)

Brief Description: What if Krishna's blood was enough to change Elisa... for good?

Warning: May not be suitable for younger readers due to some violent content. Also, since this is part two to "A Pale Comparison," it would most likely help to read part one first.

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Previously...

Monday, November 10th

"No!" Elisa yelled as she watched Krishna turn back to his enemy, once more drawing his fist back. He never was to see exactly what happened next. As Elisa watched the fist going back, her eyesight caught a hold of something in the corner of her vision: the wooden leg of the broken chair imbedded in the carpeting beside her. Moving faster than she had ever moved before when just moments ago she had no strength and was on the brink of death, Elisa rolled to the side, grabbed the chair leg, and then launched herself into the air, jabbing the improvised stake as hard as she could through Krishna's turned back. As the blood poured from the wound and onto Elisa's hands and dress, Elisa stumbled back and watched as the hold on Goliath was loosened and he tumbled to the floor; and then Krishna himself stumbled before falling backwards, landing on the stake and sending it the rest of the way through his chest till it came out the front in the area over his heart.

Crying out, Elisa felt the strength once more give way from her legs as she tumbled to the ground. As the tears streamed down her face, she couldn't help but drag her aching body slowly across the short distance till she was by Krishna's side. Meeting his eyes, she watched as his skin became pale, his black shirt darkened with his evil blood, and as he gasped for breath. With jerky movements, he quickly reached up and tore the chain loose from around his neck and then shoved it into her fist, closing it tight around the jewelry. Gasping, he then whispered "Thank you" before the light left his eyes and he grew limp. He was at peace.. finally.

Sighing, Elisa cradled the necklace against her as she once more let her head fall down as the last of the strength she had found hidden in that last reservoir was finally used up, leaving her with nothing. As her cheek rested against the soft carpeting, one thought broke free from the fog that was encasing her mind: I'm dying. Suddenly she felt soft, gentle hands on her body as she was turned onto her back and a hand was pressed tightly against the wound on her throat. Straining, Elisa slowly opened her eyes and looked into the dimming light of the room; straight into Goliath's warm eyes.

"Elisa... I.. we need to get you to a hospital.." Goliath said quickly as he looked at her in panic.

"No.. Goliath... too late," Elisa said quietly, a small, sad smile causing her full lips to turn upwards.

"No!" Goliath denied quickly, tears filling his eyes at her tired voice. "You're going to be alright!" he urged even as he watched her skin grow paler and some of the light in her eyes fade.

"No, I'm not.." Elisa whispered, the same sad smile on her face as she stared into his caring eyes. "I'm sorry.. Goliath..."

"You.."

"I love you," Elisa interrupted as she slowly drifted down, her eyes closing and her breathing going shallow.

She was dying. "I love you, Elisa," Goliath mumbled, admitting now what he could never admit before as he felt the thrum of her heartbeat slow till he could barely feel the pulse through the vein in her neck. Closing his eyes so he couldn't see her paling face, Goliath turned his head to the side. When he opened them, Krishna's still and bleeding body lay in his vision... his wound allowing his still-warm blood to escape.. his black, evil blood... that had ways of restoring Elisa's health in the past!

Mentally kicking himself for not thinking of it sooner, Goliath quickly moved next to Krishna. How to do this? The most direct way... Moving quickly, Goliath grabbed one of Krishna's arms and dragged the cooling corpse next to Elisa. Grimacing, he then lifted one of the heavy arms till he was holding it next to Elisa's bitten neck.. and then paused. "But what if his blood was all that was needed to change her over?" Goliath thought out loud. Elisa would never forgive him if he changed her into one of them.. but wasn't it worth the chance in order to save her? Looking at Elisa, he saw that her chest was barely rising any more, showing that the end was definitely near.. he had to decide now. Should he or shouldn't he? Shaking his head, Goliath
quickly pulled the stiffening arm out over Elisa's neck once more and then made a small slit in the skin with one of his talons. Almost instantly a small pool of blood formed. Careful to keep it away from his own skin, Goliath allowed one small drop of the blood to fall from Krishna's skin; onto the bite marks from Krishna's sharp teeth. Holding his breath, Goliath watched patiently as the blood did it's work. Almost instantly, the wounds closed over and disappeared till there were no marks left to show where a wound had ever been. Slowly, very slowly, he then noticed as some of the color returned to Elisa's cheeks and her breathing quickened till it's normal pace. Shoving the body aside, Goliath moved till he was once more kneeling beside Elisa, and watched in fascination as her eye lids fluttered open.

"Goliath?" Elisa asked weakly as her eyes focused once more on his face towering over her.

Smiling broadly, Goliath quickly reached down and gathered Elisa into his arms, holding her tightly against him. As the tears pooled in his eyes once more, this time from happiness, he held her head against his shoulder, inhaling the scent of her hair.. of her: alive.

*****

Wednesday, November 12th

"And.. how are you feeling?" Goliath asked slowly, still staring out into the dark night sky.

"I haven't changed Goliath," Elisa replied with a sad smile, knowing that was what he was really asking. "I'm still tired and weak from the loss of blood, but I'm still me.. still human," she replied.

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"A Pale Comparison: When Darkness Falls"

Friday, November 21st

Turning slightly, Elisa felt the layers of deep sleep that ruled her days as of late slowly lift to reveal a falling darkness. Yawning, she peeled open one eye after another, thankful that she had thought ahead and closed the drapes on the blinding sun. Sitting up slowly, Elisa quietly stretched her arms out as the last veils of sleep drifted away. Rising up in the darkness, she then side-stepped the various objects lining her path, slightly amazed at the clarity of her night vision as she moved into the darkened hallway and into the hot spray of the shower beyond.

As the hot water sluiced away the last remnants of sleep, Elisa lay her head against the smooth tile that lined the shower. Clenching her hand against her bare thigh, she tried her best to will away the burning hunger that gnawed up her delicate insides. The hunger... it began a couple of days ago as a small pang; a pang that steadily grew despite the amount of food she consumed.

Shaking her head, Elisa reached forward and quickly turned the wet handle of the tap, cutting off the numbing warmth. Reaching back, she gently squeezed the long masses of her black hair in her hands as rivulets of water ran down her back.

She needed... she needed... she needed... to get to work, Elisa realized as she hurriedly got out of the shower and finished getting ready. Deep inside, she knew that wasn't what she was going to say, but the question of what it was she needed continued to go unanswered in her mind. The question that she wasn't entirely sure that she wanted to answer.

Sighing, Elisa quickly zipped up her favorite red jacket and then donned the black baseball hat that she had purchased the other day. It had been a long time--many years in fact--since she had last worn a cap; the sensation of the cap so firmly pressed against her raven locks foreign to her. With the brim pulled down low over her forehead, she turned and brushed past Cagney who quickly darted out of her path, and snatched up the pair of dark, mirrored glasses that were lying on the counter.

Without another glance back, Elisa slipped on her only protection against the bright glare of the sun on her sensitive eyes and stepped out into the dying world of light. She had a date to keep.

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Castle Wyvern - 6:45pm - sunset

Bright light gave way to the dark night as the sun made its final descent over the New York skyline. Shielding her eyes against the glare, Elisa watched the timeless occurrence with a flowering of emotions; emotions that came to their peak as one particular statue cracked under the dying light.

Roaring his greeting to the new night, Goliath turned away from the same setting in time to see Elisa slip a dark pair of glasses from her face and smoothly stuff them in one of her coat pockets. "Bright day?" Goliath inquired by way of greeting as he climbed down from his perch and hugged his love tightly against him.

"Hmm, you could say that again," Elisa murmured as she breathed in his scent; a scent that belonged only to him.

Smiling gently, Goliath unwrapped one arm from around her tiny waist and gently pulled off Elisa's black cap, showing her glossy hair beneath. Stepping back, he then tilted her chin up till he met her stare. "And how are we feeling tonight, my love?"

"Better than ever," Elisa replied truthfully, with a small grin. "My strength has returned and my sleeping schedule is back on track. I'm even back on the streets again starting tonight!"

"What?" Goliath started as he shifted slightly. "Are you sure that's wise? It's not too soon?"

"I'm fine, Big Guy!" Elisa calmed with a small, carefree laugh. "Look at me... doesn't it look like I can handle a bit of street scum?"

Frowning slightly, Goliath had to admit to himself that Elisa looked as fit as ever. Gone was her pale skin, the dark bags that lined her beautiful eyes as of late; her hair was glossy once more and the sparkle had finally returned to those same eyes that so captivated his attention. "You're beautiful," Goliath breathed, not meaning to speak his mind aloud.

Blushing, Elisa glanced away and laughed quietly. "Thanks Big Guy, but that's not exactly what I was referring to."

Shaking his head, Goliath bit down on the laugh that was building within him. Trying to maintain his serious demeanor, he quickly changed the subject. "But you have no partner! Matt can't be back on the streets yet, can he? It's only been two weeks since he was hospitalized..."

"Oh no, Matt's going to be stuck behind the desk for quite some time yet," Elisa murmured sadly, her mind flashing back to the guilt she felt. Matt was hurt because of her, and her only. "But believe it or not," Elisa said quickly, trying to get the mental image out of her mind's eye, "there was a time when I was out on the streets without a partner--now will be no different," Elisa cried out defiantly as she stuck her chin out.

"But..."

"Goliath, I can take care of myself..."

"Something that I never doubted for an instant," Goliath interrupted smoothly as he squeezed her shoulders gently.

Smiling, Elisa shook her head slowly. "Nice cover up."

"I've learned from the best," Goliath countered quickly, his eyes twinkling.

"Maybe so," Elisa laughed as she punched Goliath's shoulder gently, "but in any case, I gotta run."

"Duty calls?" Goliath asked, the teasing note still evident in his voice.

"You could say that," Elisa grinned as she slowly backed away. "But I also gotta grab some food--I even feel that I could put Broadway to shame by how much I could eat!"

Tilting his head back, Goliath laughed loudly. "Somehow, I doubt that."

"You'd be surprised," Elisa murmured thoughtfully. Shaking her head, Elisa focused once more on her love. "My stomach is killing me," she explained, forcing herself to laugh in order to soften her words, all the while biting her lips against the burning pain.

"Well, go and eat now and then I'll have Angela..."

"Goliath," Elisa warned, her eyes glittering under the bright moon.

"Meet you at the station so that she can accompany you tonight," Goliath continued as though he hasn't heard her protest.

"Goliath, I just..."

"Please Elisa... Angela has been feeling... a bit smothered as of late, and I'd like for her to..."

Sighing, Elisa shook her head slowly and smiled softly. "So you thought you'd help us all out, huh?"

Frowning slightly, Goliath met Elisa's teasing glance. "If it's a problem..."

"Goliath, I was just kidding!" Elisa laughed, shaking her head at his serious demeanor. "Of course Angela can come along... just have her meet me at the station in an hour."

Nodding slightly, Goliath tried to hide his frown as he pulled Elisa near. "Be careful, my love," he whispered as his wings folded around them reflexively.

Smiling at his protective nature, Elisa snuggled closer for a minute before pulling back. "I'll be back after my shift," she promised quietly as she turned away and moved quickly down the shadowed stairwell.

"Be careful!" Goliath called out once more as her black hair twisted out of sight.

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NYPD 23rd precinct - 7:30pm

Sighing, Elisa sidestepped the various hardened criminal that lined her path as she veered towards the relative safety of her desk.

"Hey partner," Matt greeted as Elisa slid into the desk opposite of him.

"Hey Matt," Elisa acknowledged as she slipped out of her red jacket and placed it on the back of her chair. Glancing up, she cringed inwardly at the sight of her partner. He was only two weeks out of the hospital, making all of the bruises that lined his face still their vivid purple. To make it worse, his poor right arm was still in a sling while his left was in a heavy cast over his wrist, making it obvious to all that this detective had the beating of his life--all due to her. Because he was such a good and loyal friend Matt had endured the torture in order to withhold her whereabouts from Krishna. Fed up, Krishna had then used a method that Matt was unable to withstand in order to gain that same info. Swallowing her guilt, Elisa forced a bright smile as she said, "So, what's the plan for tonight?"

"Well," Matt answered as he shifted in his seat and reached his left hand forward to snatch one of the many folders that lay piled on his desk, "we've been given a new case."

"Oh?" Elisa asked as she reached across and took the file from Matt. "A robbery at Nightstone Unlimited?" Elisa asked in amazement as she arched her eyebrow at Matt, skimming through the file.

"You got it. Apparently, a shipment of weapons destined for the government was stolen last night at one of Nightstone's warehouses," Matt said with a tight smile.

"And Ms. Destine actually came to the police with this problem?"

"You bet. She also asked the commissioner personally that New York City's best be put on the case..."

"And that's why we're stuck on it," Elisa finished grimly.

"To top it off, thanks to some high-sitting friends of hers, the pressure is on us to solve this case quickly and quietly," Matt replied with a wry grin.

Shaking her head, Elisa laughed quietly. "Somehow, I doubt that when Ms. Destine requested New York's finest she thought that she'd be getting us!"

"Maybe not, but she's stuck with us now!" Matt laughed, wincing when the pain in his mending ribs flared up.

Frowning, Elisa chewed on her lip as she leaned across her desk. "Are you alright?" she murmured quietly.

Glancing up, Matt caught the worry and guilt shining in his partner's eyes. "I'm fine, Elisa... and would you please quit blaming yourself?"

"What?" Elisa asked, caught off guard by his uncanny perception.

"Elisa, what happened to me wasn't your fault," Matt whispered fiercely as he leaned across the desk and took Elisa's hand in his better one. "If anything, I'm the one to blame for telling him where you were in the end," Matt trailed off sadly as he averted his striking blue eyes away.

"No, Matt," Elisa argued quickly as she squeezed his hand gently. "You did nothing wrong! There was no way you could have denied Krishna of the information that he wanted--you went beyond anything that I could have done by holding out while he was... hurting you..." Elisa trailed off sadly, her eyes squeezing shut.

"But what good did that do me in the end? What good did it do you?! Because of me, you were..."

"I was what? Matt, look at me!" Elisa ordered firmly as she tugged his hand gently. When his eyes lifted up and focused on her, Elisa smiled warmly. "There were no serious consequences from that night--everyone emerged fine... including me," Elisa whispered slowly, trying to mean them, while all along a small voice asked a nagging question in the back of her mind: was she alright? Did she leave this incident unscathed? What of her sudden aversion to sunlight? The dying sleep that enveloped her? What of the burning hunger that consumed her even now? All pointed to something that her poor mind just couldn't conceive—something she wouldn't conceive. There were far too many things happening at once and she absolutely
refused to dwell on this matter--not then, not ever.

"Well, let's make a deal then," Matt called out decisively, breaking into her muddled thoughts.

"Huh?" Elisa grunted as she blinked away the thoughts that had plagued her mind.

"A deal," Matt repeated, his expression serious.

"What kind of deal?" Elisa asked slowly as her mind became focused once more.

"I'll put aside my guilt if you do the same with yours. We'll both admit to each other and ourselves that no blame is being placed on the other."

Forcing a smile, Elisa nodded slowly. Deep inside, she knew that she could never lay aside the guilt that governed her every move; but for Matt's sake, she would damn well pretend to. "Agreed."

"Good, I..."

"Are you two going to just sit here and talk all night or are you going to get moving on this case?"

Turning, the two detectives found Captain Chavez standing beside them with her hands planted firmly on her hips. "Yes, Captain," Matt replied as he quickly snatched his hand back and straightened up. "Actually, we were discussing just that!"

"Sure you were," Captain Chavez muttered as she shook her head. "I didn't realize that this case was so emotional that it would cause my two best detectives to offer emotional support through hand holding," she replied smoothly as she arched her eyebrow at the two.

Feeling a blush rising, Elisa shook her head slowly. "No, I.. ah we..." Elisa stuttered slowly.

"Save it Detective," Chavez laughed as she held up her hand. "I want you both to get going--Maza, you head on over to the warehouse and check out the crime scene. Bluestone, you're to try and see if you can have a word with Ms. Destine."

Noting that it was around 7pm and after sunset, Matt shook his head slowly. "Somehow, I seriously doubt that she'll be seeing anyone tonight."

"Detective Bluestone, Ms. Destine is the CEO of a large corporation, I'm sure she'll still be there..."

"But..."

"And if she isn't, then you better make an appointment for the first thing tomorrow morning, right Detective? Now move it!" she ordered.

Sighing, Elisa did as she was told as she stood quickly and slid on her traditional red jacket. Grabbing her keys from her pocket, she then waited patiently for Matt to get to his feet and then followed him out of the noisy building. "Do you want me to drop you off?" Elisa asked as she stuck her hands in her coat pockets.

"Nah, don't worry about me; I can catch a cab over to Nightstone..."

"You might as well just have them take you home and get some sleep," Elisa interrupted smoothly as Matt began looking for a cab. "There's no way you'll be able to see Demona tonight."

"You know that, I know that, but the Captain doesn't. Chavez would really have my hide if she found out that I called it a night without even trying!" Matt replied with a grin.

"Your dedication makes me sick!" Elisa groaned as she began unlocking her car door which was parked in front of the doors to the precinct.

"Hey," Matt called out as Elisa's door opened, "be careful out there, partner!"

Smiling softly, Elisa paused and met her partner's concerned look. "Aren't I always?"

"No, I mean it," Matt replied, his worried frown deepening. "If anything looks even slightly off, don't hesitate to call in for back-up."

"Matt, don't worry... I already have the back-up covered," Elisa said quietly as she glanced up into the dark night sky.

Catching the direction of her pointed glance, Matt's worry eased. "Goliath?" he whispered quietly.

"Nope. Angela," Elisa said with a smile as she slid behind the wheel of her beloved car. With a small wave to Matt, she was off and into the busy New York traffic. Smiling to herself, Elisa reached over and picked up the transmitter she carried while keeping a careful eye trained on the road before her. "Angela, you there?" Elisa asked as she clipped the microphone to her jacket collar.

"Yes, I am here Elisa," came the tinny reply.

Smiling, Elisa slowly changed lanes as she headed in the general direction of Nightstone's warehouse. "What's your current position?" she asked as she unconsciously checked her rear view mirror.

"I'm directly above your car," Angela replied after a short pause. "Elisa, where are we going?"

Grimacing, Elisa pondered over how to answer the young gargoyle's question. Sighing, Elisa shook her head slowly. "We're going to check out a warehouse... a weapons shipment was stolen from there last night."

"I see," came Angela's thoughtful reply. "Will there be other humans present?"

"I'm not sure... security for sure. Why don't you just wait on the roof?" Elisa suggested, knowing Angela's question even before she asked. "I doubt that I'll be needing any back up--the bad guys hardly ever return to the scene of the crime the day after they commit it..."

"And you will stay in constant contact with me and alert me if you need my help," Angela replied, finishing Elisa's statement for her.

"Exactly. See, I knew that there was a reason why I need you guys so much!" Elisa said, laughing at the young warrior's intuition. "Seriously though, why is it that you needed to get out of the castle so desperately?"

A long sigh was her only response.

"Broadway?" Elisa asked sympathetically.

"I... I really care for Broadway," Angela's voice responded through the tiny speaker, "but lately he hasn't left my side for a moment. I've been feeling a bit..."

"Smothered?" Elisa supplied with a small smile.

"Exactly," Angela sighed. "That is why I asked father if I could accompany you tonight.. I hope you do not mind," Angela gushed quickly, the worry she was feeling becoming evident in her voice. "I mean, you and father..."

"It's alright!" Elisa laughed as she pulled in front of the warehouse. "I'm sure that Goliath can come up with something better to do than baby-sit me!" When Elisa's laugh was greeted by a thick silence, Elisa hopped out of her car and looked up into the clear night sky. "Angela?" she asked, worry entering her voice.

"What are we doing at one of mother's warehouses?" came the quiet reply.

Sighing, Elisa ran a hand through her long black hair as she began walking to the front door of the dimly lit warehouse. "It was from her company that the weapons were stolen."

"And *you're* going to help my mother?" Angela asked pointedly, a note of disbelief entering her voice. It was obvious to all of the clan that there was no love loss between Elisa and Demona--after all, the gargoyle had attempted to kill the detective on more than one occasion.

"Yeah, well isn't life funny like that sometimes?" Elisa asked wryly as her hand rested on the cold door knob. "Now just wait up there... I'm sure that the lab boys and girls found everything worth finding already, so this shouldn't take long."

Without another word, Elisa stepped through the door and into a dingy office beyond. It was relatively small with a long bar that ran the length of the wall opposite the door she entered through. Standing behind it was the 'security force' which consisted of a young kid who looked just out of high school and a grizzled old man. Behind them stood the only other door to be seen.

"Good evening, ma'am," the older man called out in a deep, yet polite voice. "What can I help you with?"

"Detective Elisa Maza, NYPD," Elisa replied in way of greeting as she flashed her badge at the two guards. "I just have a few questions for you about the robbery last night."

"We'd be glad to answer any question you have, ma'am," the old man replied, a new light of respect glittering in his eyes. "But we already told the fellas who were here last night everything that happened."

"And I'd just like to go over those things again, if you wouldn't mind," Elisa replied as she flashed a large smile to lighten her words.

Before the old man had a chance to reply, the younger one, who had said nothing up until that point, grinned shyly and said, "Not a problem."

Slightly annoyed by the fact that the twerp was talking to her chest and not her, Elisa cleared her throat loudly so that his attention snapped up to focus on her eyes. "Thanks for your cooperation," Elisa muttered before she snapped open the case folder that she carried. "Now, you both were working last night at the time of the robbery, right?" she asked, getting down to business.

"That's right," the old man agreed, sending a dirty look to his young partner for his earlier behavior. "Our shift lasts from 10pm till 6am. We first heard noises at around 2:30am."

"And you stated earlier that you heard glass shattering--one of the skylights, right?"

"Yeah, but whoever it was blocked the door from the inside before we could do anything," the young man spoke up, his eyes straining to look anywhere but at the detective's chest after he had been caught before.

"So you called the police, and with their help you were able to get inside, at which point you discovered the missing weapons," Elisa summarized as she skimmed the report and their statements.

"Right," the two guards agreed as they nodded their heads in agreement.

"And you didn't hear anything else? No names spoken, words, or voices?" Elisa persisted, arching her eyebrow in disbelief.

"I know it sounds strange," the old guard agreed hesitantly, "but after the sound of them breaking the skylight, it was as quiet as a cemetery in there."

Sighing, Elisa slapped the folder shut and slid it back in the inside pocket of her jacket. "Well, thanks for your help guys..."

"Oh, it was our pleasure!" the young man interrupted, only to receive a sharp elbow in his side.

Shaking her head, Elisa tried to repress her smile. "Um, would you mind if I had a look inside real quick?"

"Not at all," the old man replied quickly as he gestured for Elisa to step behind the counter. "Just continue straight back until you hit the far wall and then hang right. When you come to the clearing, that's the spot where the boxes were..."

"You're not coming?" Elisa asked, surprise flickering across her smooth face.

"Sorry, but the boss has really laid down the law since the robbery--new rule is that we always gotta have two guards up front at all times," the young man explained quickly.

"Oh, and you'll need this," the old man broke in as he handed her a flashlight.

"What for? Isn't the warehouse lighted?" Elisa asked in confusion as she accepted the heavy flashlight.

"Yeah, but they also broke out the overhead lighting in that part of the warehouse, so you can't see anything without that," the young man explained quickly as Elisa stepped into the large warehouse.

"Thanks," Elisa mumbled as she began walking down the long aisle. When she heard the click of the door closing behind her, Elisa switched on her transmitter once more. "Angela?" Elisa asked quietly as she continued down the aisle.

"I am here, Elisa," Angela replied after a brief pause. "Where are you?"

"I'm walking through the warehouse back to where the shipment was stolen... where are you?"

"I am by the skylight that was broken earlier... it seems that it has been boarded up..."

Glancing up, Elisa strained her eyes to look over the towering columns of boxes to the skylights above. "Probably to protect everything else in here in case it rained--at least until they can get the new glass in," she guessed.

"Yes, but it seems that they didn't finish their job... part of the skylight has no covering... I could fit through without taking more boards away... do you want me to..."

"No Angela, you better wait there in case the guards change their mind and one of them comes back."

"Alright, Elisa..." Angela murmured, her voice showing her disappointment, "but what's it like in there?"

Glancing around, Elisa shook her head slowly. "Like a regular old warehouse," she muttered as she continued walking.

"Elisa..." came Angela's sighed response.

"Okay, okay," Elisa laughed, shaking her head slowly. "Well," she replied as she checked out her surroundings, "once you leave the small office that the guards are in up front, you're in a very large chamber. There are cement floors and walls... boxes and other equipment are piled either on top of each other or on metal stands... stacked a good ten to fifteen feet high. The boxes and racks all join together to create different aisles... right now I'm walking down the large, main corridor... good lighting... okay, now I've reached the far end of the warehouse," Elisa muttered as she turned right as ordered. "Here the lighting is getting dimmer because of the smashed lights," Elisa described as she turned on her flashlight for the first time with a dull click. Nodding at the added illumination, Elisa continued down the narrow passageway.

"Elisa?" Angela asked after a few moments of silence.

"Still here," Elisa assured as she swept her flashlight beam in front of her. "It's really dark over here and the flashlight is my only illumination..." Elisa trailed off as she stepped into an open space. "Found it," she muttered as she walked into the center of the clearing, her black boots echoing hollowly off the concrete in the silence of the warehouse.

"Found what?" Angela asked quickly, excitement entering her young voice.

"The place where the weapons were stored.. hold on a sec," Elisa muttered as she slowly turned around. In all honestly, she didn't know what she was looking for. Still, with years of cop experience behind her, Elisa knew that she would know what she was looking for when she found it. As she slowly turned and surveyed the empty space, she was dismayed to find nothing that caught her eye. Apparently, the boxes of weapons were stacked upon each other, for there were none of the metal stands to be found here. According the report, eight boxes of the weapons were stolen--and they must have been eight very large boxes considering the amount of room that was now left open. At a rough estimate, Elisa guessed that the space she was standing in was about 8x10 feet in diameter. All together, that was 8 by 10 feet of nothing, for as she turned, nothing in the glare of the flashlight caught her careful eye. Sighing, Elisa mouthed the word aloud: Nothing.

"Elisa?"

Shaking her head, Elisa turned to leave. "There's nothing here Angela.. just a large empty space that used to be filled with boxes of weapons."

"Now what?"

"I guess we go follow up on some other leads..." Elisa muttered, her voice trailing off as a faint glint of light caught her sharp vision in the corner of her eye. Stopping, Elisa turned and surveyed the area that she just vacated. Seeing nothing, Elisa slowly moved back into the space and turned instinctively towards the bare wall of the warehouse. The glare had come from that direction.

"Elisa?"

Ignoring Angela's soft voice, Elisa did something strange... something so strange that it was a wonder that she didn't question her motives: she turned off her flashlight and set it quietly on the concrete floor. Instantaneously, darkness flooded the open space, leaving Elisa surrounded by the mysterious night. Amazingly, in a matter of seconds the darkness ebbed away and shapes began to take form in the gloom--boxes, shelves, and other mysterious objects began to make themselves known to the detective once again. Shaking her head, Elisa pushed away the wonder at the clarity of her night vision as it became even clearer. It was true that there was no color in this strange array of darkness--after all, as she remembered from her college psychology class all those years ago, it was the rods in her eyes that were used in night vision, and those were all but useless for seeing color. Still, the clarity was something that was common only to the day. She saw each shape and object in the dark gloom as she would see it in the daylight, only minus the color that each possessed.

Shaking her head, Elisa forced her thoughts away from the stuffy classroom of so long ago and instead turned her dark eyes on the wall that had caught her attention. To her amazement, she saw one imperfection among the starkness of that picture. Along the concrete floor that lined the similar wall lay a layer of dust. This dust was so thick in places that piles of it were fluffed up along this perpendicular line. What caught her eye, was that in one of those piles of dust, a small object jutted out.

"Elisa?" Angela repeated, a little more anxious this time.

Ignoring her friend's insistent cry, Elisa stepped forward slowly, her eyes trained on the small object. Upon reaching the wall, she then reached one foot out and gently nudged aside the pile of dust. Reaching down, she slowly picked the object up and inspected it in her hand, a look of puzzlement upon her face.

"Elisa?!" Angela repeated again, this time the worry in her voice more than obvious.

"I'm here."

"Are you alright? Why didn't you answer?" Angela asked quickly, her voice drifting through the miniature speaker, a note of annoyance evident.

"I've found something..."

"What?"

"It's a button," Elisa said slowly as her eyes traveled over the small object.

"A button?" Angela asked in confusion, missing the significance of the find.

"Yes... it's a small gold button that is completely covered by an inscribed fiery sun with a red eye in the center of the sun," Elisa described, amazed at the intricacy of the work. It was obvious that a great deal of care had gone into creating the tiny find.

Suddenly, Elisa detected the faintest sound from behind her. Pocketing the button in her jeans pocket, Elisa whirled around quickly. She wasn't surprised to find two men dressed from head to toe in black standing behind her. ~Masked men... lovely~ Elisa thought to herself as she smiled at the strangers. "Can I help you boys with something?" Elisa asked loudly, her voice breaking the silence of the warehouse. From the build of the two strangers, it was obvious that her guess of gender was right on.

"Give us the button," came the gruff reply.

"What button?" Elisa asked innocently, her smile never wavering.

"The one that you just pocketed," the other masked man said, patience not evident in his voice. "Give it to us now and you won't be hurt," he continued ominously.

"I think not," Elisa replied as the smile instantly vanished and was replaced by a look of determination. Without even thinking, Elisa instantly dropped into a defensive stance as she moved to grab her gun.

Seeing her actions, one of the men quickly leveled a pistol at her and shook his head sharply. "Don't even think about it... just hand over the button."

As her hand slowly slid back away from her holster, Elisa stood tall once again. "Why is the button so important to you?" Elisa asked quietly, her eyes glinting as she met the thugs' gazes.

"Quit stalling for time and give us the goddamed button!" the man holding the gun yelled out as he stepped closer to Elisa... close enough for her to touch if she wanted, his finger tightening on the trigger as he stared into her cold brown eyes.

Growing tense, Elisa slowly shook her head. "I don't think so," she muttered slowly before twirling about in a roundhouse kick, her foot connecting easily with his gun hand. The man didn't even have a chance to react, her movements were that inhumanly fast, as the gun flew from his hand and went clattering to the concrete floor a few feet away. Once more, before either men had a chance to react, Elisa once more acted out in cold fury as she jumped up and kicked her right leg forward once more, this time connecting squarely with his stomach--a move that was so powerful that the masked man flew back from her and crashed into some heavy crates at the edge of the open space. Turning, Elisa focused her attention on her other prey.

The man was only now beginning to regain his senses, the whole attack on his friend only having lasted a few seconds. Seeing the woman's cold gaze shifting towards him, he reached for the knife he always kept sheathed in his boot, as though moving in slow motion. Unfortunate for him, the woman wasn't moving in the same slow motion as him but much, much faster. Before he even had a chance to reach his midsection, let alone his calf, she was upon him. Without even blinking an eye, she lashed out with her lightning fast reflexes and held him fast with a single hand. Glaring at him, she slowly squeezed his fragile neck and lifted him effortlessly a few inches off of the ground.

"What... are... you?" the man gasped as he strained for air. Ignoring his words, Elisa stared deep into the thief's eyes, there being no doubt in her mind that this man before her was somehow related to the weapon theft. But as her gaze began to wander lower, Elisa felt the hunger that had been her constant companion as of late intensify into a sharp peak until the pain began to grow in waves in her abdomen. Soon, she found her eyes trained on the rapid throbbing of his life vein. As all other thoughts left her mind, Elisa focused on the rhythm of the pumping.. the ever present thrumming of his blood running through his body till it sounded like a roar of water cascading through her hearing. Just as the roaring reached its crescendo, and just as Elisa felt as though she was on the brink of.. something, a single voice broke through her muddled thoughts.

"Elisa!" Angela's voice called out, echoing in the dark warehouse. Upon hearing her friend's voice, sense once more returned to her foggy mind. Snapping her eyes away from the thief she held, Elisa turned and saw Angela standing at the entrance to the clearing, a look of shock and horror upon her face.

Shaking her head, Elisa quickly dropped the man to the hard concrete floor and turned to fully face her friend. "Angela, I..." Elisa stuttered as she realized what the implications of the scene must seem to the young gargess.

Suddenly the young gargoyle's eyes widened even more, if possible, as her cry once more broke the quiet of the warehouse. "Elisa! Look out!"

Swiveling about, Elisa's eyes narrowed as they took in the scene behind her. The goon who she had just dropped now stood straight with his retrieved gun trained on her and his partner beside him. Knowing that she had no options but one, Elisa was about to move from the line of fire when the handgun was fired at her at point blank range. The silencer on the weapon caused the quietest of a muffled thwump before the bullet made its deadly arc at her. As it reached its destination, Elisa felt a brief flare of pain in her chest as the force threw her back into Angela's arms before sinking to the ground.

"Elisa!" Angela cried out as she cradled her friend's black head of glossy hair in her lap. Glancing up, she was relieved to see that the two masked men had seized their opportunity and fled. "Elisa?" Angela whispered again as she looked down once more.

"Fine... I'm fine," Elisa gasped as she sat up quickly and pulled away.

"But, you've been shot!" Angela gasped as Elisa turned her back to her friend and stood up quickly.

"No... he missed me," Elisa whispered in amazement as she slowly fingered the charred hole in her black tee-shirt and the smooth, unmarked skin beneath. It didn't make any sense... Elisa had felt the impact of the bullet... the pain as she was shot... but she was unmarked, her skin smooth and pale. "He missed," Elisa repeated, her voice stronger as she zipped up her red jacket to hide the hole and turned to face her friend once more. Angela stood behind her, her large brown eyes filled with confusion and worry as she slowly toyed with her long braid which lay over her shoulder.

"But he was so close... how could he have missed?" Angela murmured as she stared at Elisa, standing apparently unmarked before her.

Forcing a laugh and a small smile, Elisa shook her head slowly. "I guess that I'm just lucky that he was such a bad shot!"

"But..."

"Angela," Elisa interrupted quickly, her smile faltering, "I'm fine."

Frowning, Angela nodded her head slowly. "You were very lucky, Elisa," she finally said quietly, her tone serious as her eyes stared at her friend. "It also seems that you had similar good fortune when dealing with the men before I had arrived..."

Knowing that Angela saw too much and knowing that there was a serious question underlying the innocent one, Elisa's eyes narrowed slightly. "Yeah, I guess you could say that.. but speaking of which, where did they go?" she asked quickly, trying to draw away from the subject at hand.

Sighing, Angela shook her head slowly. "The two men are gone. They left during the commotion after the gun was fired--but what were they after?"

"What?" Elisa asked, thrown off by the abrupt change of subject.

"The two men... what were they after?" Angela repeated, her expression as neutral as Owen's.

"Oh... the button," Elisa replied as she quickly reached into her pocket and withdrew the small gold button, unusually relieved at the change.

Taking it into her hands, Angela inspected the button carefully. "Amazing that they went to all that trouble over such a small object."

"It must have some importance to them," Elisa agreed as she accepted the golden button back and slipped it in her jeans pocket once more. "And that's exactly what I plan on finding out."

Nodding her head slowly, Angela met her friend's determined gaze. "Then you'll be returning to the station now?"

"Yeah.. I want to do some digging around on the computers there," Elisa agreed, a far away looking entering her eyes. Shaking her head, Elisa quickly focused back on the topic at hand. "Um, why don't you head back to the castle then? There's no reason that you should have to sit and wait for me."

Sighing, Angela looked at Elisa's determined glance and then thought back to all she had lay witness to that night.

As if reading her mind, Elisa's eyes narrowed slightly as she stepped forward and squeezed Angela's hand gently. "Angela, I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention the men that we encountered tonight to Goliath."

"Not tell Father? But why?" Angela asked slowly, trying her best to hide her emotions.

"Not Goliath or the clan. It would just worry them--and there's nothing to worry about..."

"But..."

"Please Angela," Elisa asked again as she squeezed her hand once more. "Promise me that you won't mention any of this to anyone."

Sighing, Angela cast her eyes to the barren cement floor beneath her. "I promise," she murmured quietly as she pulled away and began walking towards the lighted aisles beyond.

Sighing, Elisa shook her head slowly. She hated doing this--forcing the young gargoyle to hide things from her clan, but she just couldn't have the others learning of what happened tonight. Too many questions would be asked; questions that she didn't have the answers to. And until she did, she'd rather just keep the problem to herself. "Thank you Angela," she murmured as the gargoyle disappeared from view.

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Somewhere else in Manhattan - 10:00pm

"Mistress, the men you hired request your audience," the young, pale faced man said quietly as he bowed before the woman, trying his best to stop the shaking in his limbs. Before him, sitting on a regal throne on a raised dais, was his queen.. his Mistress. She was beautiful.. no, she was a Goddess. The Mistress looked to be about 25 years of age, but he knew that she was much older than that--MUCH older. Long, silky red hair cascaded down her pale shoulders, revealed by her off the shoulder midnight blue gown. Out of the pale face of the Goddess stared the large, emerald green cat-like eyes of the devil herself.

Sighing, the Mistress raised her hand slowly and beckoned for the men to be brought forth. A few seconds later there was a shuffle at the door as the two men stumbled into the room, the guard, Jorge, following them in. "You have the button?" she asked coldly, her voice echoing throughout the dark room.

His voice shaking, the first man slowly pulled off his black mask, revealing a man of no more than 22--a baby compared to her--with short, spiked blond hair and bright blue eyes. "N..n..no Ma'am.." the young man stuttered, his blue eyes shifting about the dark room. No doubt, he was busy wondering why he had bothered to get himself involved with this lady.

Scowling down at the man, the Mistress's eyes narrowed slowly. "You are to address me as Mistress," she spat out coldly, her eyes burrowing deep into the man, as if looking into his very soul.

"Y..yes Mistress," the man stuttered quickly, his partner sending him panicked looks. "Forgive me for my slip.."

"Now, where is the button? Why have you failed in this simple task?" she asked slowly, her voice deadly.

Gasping, the man shook his head slowly. "I.. uh.. we..."

Annoyed by the human's sputtering, a look of anger passed across her face. With glinting eyes, the Mistress quickly raised her eyes to Jorge and nodded slightly at the bumbling young man. Nodding his head in acknowledgment, the pale faced guard quickly stepped forward, grabbed the unknowing young man by the neck, and turned it quickly. In a matter of seconds, the man was dead.

Shaken, the dead man's accomplice watched all of this in horror before facing the woman.

"Take off that ridiculous mask in my presence," the Mistress spat out coldly, her voice calm as she watched her guard drag the dead man from the room out of the corner of her eye.

Nodding quickly, the man ripped off his hood, showing yet another youth with long brown hair tied in a pony tail. "Now I repeat, where is the button?"

"The woman has it," the man replied quickly, no hesitation evident in his voice as he met the Mistress's unwavering gaze.

"What woman?" she asked quickly.

"A police detective by the name of Elisa Maza," the man replied just as quickly, knowing that his life depended on it.

Frowning, the Mistress glared at the young man, transforming her beautiful face into an ugly mask. "Explain."

"When we got into the warehouse through the skylight, we began searching the empty space you told us about when we heard the office door open," the man explained quickly, his eyes flitting to the spot that his partner once occupied.

"And?"

"We hid and a few minutes later the woman came into the space... she was talking to someone through a transceiver. She found the button and so me and.. me and Jimmy came out, his gun aimed at her and told her to give it to us."

"Continue," the Mistress said coldly, her frown deepening at the man's words.

"Well, this woman.. it was impossible! She moved faster than lightning and took out Jimmy before we even had a chance to blink... and then she was on me and was about to.." Here the man paused as confusion covered his face. In actuality, he had no real idea what the woman was going to do to him. "Well, I don't know.. kill me probably, when a gargoyle came in behind us..."

"A gargoyle, you say?" the Mistress asked quickly, her interest sparked. Now this was definitely getting interesting. During her short visit in New York it was almost impossible NOT to be regaled with the urban legends of the gargoyles--stories that now seemed to be a truth.

"Yeah, so we used her as a distraction and Jimmy was able to shoot the lady point blank in the chest..."

"So she's dead?" the Mistress asked, slightly disappointed that this mysterious woman was out of the game so quickly.

"Well that's the thing," the man said quickly, slightly relieved that the look of murder was off of his boss's face, replaced by curiosity. "Jimmy and I hightailed it out of there and watched from a distance.. the gargoyle thing flew away by herself, and the detective walked out of the building a few minutes later!" Jimmy said quickly, excitement lighting up his face. "I know that Jimmy shot her, but she acted like she wasn't hurt at all!"

Pondering the man's words, the Mistress slowly reclined back into her throne. Now this WAS interesting. A police detective who had lightning fast reflexes and who was unharmed by a bullet wound. Nodding her head, the Mistress once more looked at the small human male. "And how did you learn of her name?"

Here, the young man allowed the first smile of pride to cover his face. "Jimmy and I went in and asked the guards who was just there and the young one said that it was Elisa Maza, a detective," the man said proudly.

Sighing, the Mistress closed her eyes briefly. "Foolish mortal," she whispered. The only thing that stopped her from killing him on the spot for his stupidity was the fact that very soon, there would be nothing to connect him with her or her organization. "Very well then," she murmured, "the money shall be transferred to your account as agreed upon."

Nodding his head greedily, the man smiled a shaky smile before quickly taking his leave.

"You're letting him live?" Jorge asked quickly, surprised at his Mistress's words.

"Of course not, fool. The others have instructions already to kill him before he reaches the door," the Mistress said quietly, her thoughts returning once more to the man's words. Turning, she gazed at her young guard thoughtfully. "It was very foolish of you and the others to have lost such an important key to our organization... had that ever gotten into the wrong hands, we may have been discovered," she began slowly, her gaze turning hard.

Immediately, Jorge began to sweat as fear entered his heart. "Mistress, we..."

Holding up her hand, the Mistress instantly stalled his protest. "On the other hand, you did get the required weapons from the warehouse without being detected--an admittedly easy task considering your powers. Still, your lack of brains has also brought an interesting puzzle to light."

"The woman?"

"Yes. I want you and another to go and bring this Detective Elisa Maza here, tonight--alive and as unharmed as possible," the Mistress ordered, her voice cold once more.

"I think that I'm capable of handling a human woman on my own..." the young guard began to protest, his cheeks red with indignation.

Frowning at the impudence of the young man, the Mistress shook her head slowly. "I told you to go with another because this woman may be one of us.. now GO!"

Startled, Jorge quickly bowed once more to his Mistress and took leave from the room. Smiling softly, the Mistress slowly steepled her fingers together--this night was turning out to be more interesting than she had even hoped.

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

NYPD 23rd Precinct - Saturday, November 22nd - 4:00am

Sighing wearily, Elisa slowly rubbed her aching eyes. This was getting her no where fast. Ever since she had returned from the warehouse, her entire time had been devoted to figuring out the mystery of the button. Search after search and test after test had proved futile to her cause. The forensics lab had come up with no prints beside her own and declared it an ordinary button--ordinary when ignoring the fact that it was pure gold. Also, the computer was giving her no headway on the strange symbol to be found on the button. "Argh!" Elisa groaned as her eyes focused on the damn button once again. She knew that the button was an important key to the weapons theft, but she just couldn't figure out how. The likely answer was that one of the robbers had somehow lost it during the robbery--but the question was how to get the button to identify that robber.

"Any luck?"

Surprised at the intrusion into her solitude, Elisa unconsciously covered up her evidence with a sheet of paper. Turning quickly, she found herself staring into the weary eyes of Captain Chavez. "Captain," Elisa replied slowly, "you startled me."

Sighing, Chavez shook her head slowly. "I take it that it's been a long night for the both of us?" she asked, ignoring her detective's statement as she took in the numerous empty coffee cups that littered Elisa's normally neat desk.

Looking at the mess that the Captain was witnessing, Elisa grinned sheepishly. "Yeah, you could say that."

"How did the warehouse go? Any clues?" Chavez asked quickly, trying to hide her smile at her Detective's discomfort.

"Ah.." Elisa said slowly, her gaze unconsciously shifting to the hidden button. "No.. I didn't find a thing," Elisa murmured slowly, not sure why the lie was even leaving her lips.

Sighing, Chavez nodded slowly, completely missing the strange look that passed over Elisa's face. "I was afraid of that," the Captain said slowly. "Any other leads you can follow up on?" she asked as she turned away and began heading back to her office.

"Yeah, you could say that," Elisa muttered as she stood up quickly and shoved the button into her pocket. Moments later she was out the door.

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

"There she is! That's the woman!" a soft velvety voice whispered from a roof across from the station.

"I can see that nimrod!" another voice whispered from beside him.

"So Jorge, do we grab her like the Mistress ordered?"

"No.. not yet," Jorge replied slowly, his eyes on the woman. "There are too many mortals around. We shall follow her for now and grab her when the time is right."

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Castle Wyvern - 4:30am

After a few minutes debate of her next destination, Elisa quickly decided on the castle. After all, as strange as it was, the heavy and tiring sleep that always pulled on her body during the day was gone during the dark hours of night. Instead, she felt more awake and ready to move than ever. Sighing, Elisa climbed into the elevator that would take her to the Great Hall so many stories above. As it dinged shut, her thoughts returned to their troubled path. Those strange things that had ruled her life as of late were the same things which brought her to the castle now. Something was decidedly wrong--and either she didn't have the answer, or she just didn't want to see it. First there was the heavy sleep that only hit during the day hours, the biting hunger that gnawed at her tender stomach even now, her remarkable night vision, her fast reflexes, her pale complexion, and her astonishing strength. Elisa was not stupid... she knew what the signs were pointing to, but she just had to believe that she was wrong. And until she knew for sure, these were worries that she wanted to keep to herself... herself and perhaps one other.

With a soft chime, the elevator doors slowly slid open to allow her entry into the cavernous room. Without even stopping to admire the amazingly delicate tapestries that lined the stone walls, Elisa shoved her hands in her pocket and turned down the hallway that she knew would lead her to the clan. It was in the renovated part of the castle that Xanatos had so graciously donated to the clan that she would find Goliath. They needed to talk.

Moments later Elisa emerged into the large room that was decked out in the latest of entertainment equipment. And like she expected, the entire clan was gathered here. Per usual, Hudson was lounging in the soft arm chair in front of the large screened television with Bronx at his side. On the couch beside him sat Brooklyn, engaged in the same program as his elder. Against the other wall sat Lexington, his eyes trained on the computer screen before him while Angela and Broadway sat at a small table putting together a puzzle. To the other side was Goliath, a calm look on his face as he read out of an old hard cover novel. Despite her quiet entrance, all eyes immediately turned in her direction as she entered the room. Unable to hide her amusement, Elisa laughed and shook her head. "Your guys' amazing hearing will never cease to amaze me!"

Smiling at the sound of her laughter, Goliath allowed one of his rare smiles to show. "An admitted aid to our kind," he acknowledged as he put his book aside and strode across the room to greet her with a hug, ever conscious of the clan's eyes.

"So lass, did ye find out anythin' 'bout the button that ye found?" Hudson asked as he muted the sound of the television, his curious gaze leveled on the raven haired woman.

Startled, Elisa threw a quick glance in Angela's direction. Catching her friend's confused and worried gaze, Angela spoke up quickly. "I told the clan about your and Matt's assignment and about our... uneventful night at the warehouse," Angela said, pausing a bit over the blatant lie.

Smiling her thanks at the young gargoyle, Elisa turned her gaze to the wizened old gargoyle. "I only wish Hudson... I just spent the last four hours wasting my time--I couldn't come up with a single thing on the button."

Curiosity lighting up his face, Lexington quickly jumped away from the computer and scampered across the room. "Hey Elisa, can I see it? Maybe I'll be able to find something that your lab people missed!"

Smiling at his eagerness, Elisa gently withdrew her only scrap of evidence from her tight jeans pocket and gingerly passed it to the small green gargoyle. "Sure Lex, just be careful with it."

"I will Elisa," Lexington promised with a small grin as he grabbed the button and rushed back over to his computer, his two rookery brothers on his tail. With that, the room once more turned back to normal. The three male gargoyles were working on the mysterious button while Hudson and Bronx resumed watching their show.

Still maintaining her small smile, Elisa turned slightly and looked in Angela's direction. To her consternation, Elisa saw a small frown on the young gargess's face. Nodding slowly, she knew what Angela wanted her to do. "Um Goliath?" Elisa asked quietly as she reached out and squeezed the large lavender hand.

"Yes Elisa?" Goliath asked, confused by the defeated look upon his love's face.

"Can I talk with you for a moment.. alone?" she asked, nodding her head in the direction of the library.

Taking her hint, Goliath nodded slowly and led his detective friend down the hallway. As they disappeared from sight, the sole person who saw this exchange turned her worried eyes away. ~Father will know what is wrong and how to fix it~ she mentally consoled herself as she turned back towards the clan.

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

Library

As the large oak door quietly clicked shut behind Goliath, he turned to face Elisa.. or tried to. Instead, he found her nervously pacing the spacious and cozy room. "Elisa," Goliath asked, concern shading his voice, "what is it that you wanted to speak with me about?" Even as he asked the question, mentally he tried to answer it on his own. Could it be the case? Perhaps there was more going on then she had mentioned earlier... perhaps Demona was up to no good again. Or it could be something else as well--maybe she was still concerned over the Krishna issue. Shaking his head, Goliath realized that it could be one of a number of things, and that only Elisa could shed some light on it.

Sighing, Elisa stopped her nervous pacing and looked down at the soft oriental carpet that lay across the cold stone floor. What should she do? What would Goliath think when she told him all that had happened? Shaking her head, Elisa started pacing again, ignoring the baffled looks that Goliath kept sending in her direction. The answers all pointed to the fact that the small bit of blood that Goliath had given her was enough to make her into a.. no.. but it couldn't be! It was only a small drop of Krishna's blood--surely that wasn't enough to.. to change her. Sighing, Elisa thought back to one of her conversations with the vampire: "the night will come when I finally take your last drop, leaving your body with nothing, until I open my veins to you and you drink..."

"Elisa?" Goliath asked again.

If that was the truth, if she had been changed, what was she to do now? Was there a cure to such a thing? What would happen to her? Her friends, her family.. how could she ever face any of them again like this? Even more important, how would Goliath react? Could he possibly still love her if her worst fears were confirmed?!... but maybe she was wrong. It was possible... perhaps she was just sick and imagining everything else. That could be it--just her imagination working over time. Actually, that HAD to be it. The other idea was just impossible! Too fanciful to ever happen to her.. right? Groaning, Elisa slowly shook her head. No matter the case, it was obvious that this was a problem that she couldn't solve easily on her own. And who else to turn to but Goliath? True, she had only known him for a little over two years now, but in that time he had become her best friend. In that short amount of time, he not only caught her from falling, but he also captured her heart. Whatever was going on, he would face it with her.

"Elisa, what..."

"Goliath, I have to talk to you about something," Elisa interrupted as she stopped her pacing. Ever so slowly, Elisa lifted her head and met the dark eyes of her love. Very slowly, she crossed the distance between them, trying her best to quell the fears that she felt in her heart. Reaching down, she very gently took his large hands into hers and looked into his eyes. "Goliath, I..." Elisa began when a sudden smell entered her nose. Stopping in her tracks, Elisa felt a whirlwind of desires and feelings fill her being as she quivered, trying to recapture the elusive scent. Ever so slowly, she turned her dark eyes down till they rested on the large hands of her love. There. That was where the scent emanated from.

"Elisa?" Goliath asked in confusion, he too looking down at his hands to see what had so captured her attention.

Confused at the strange yearnings and at the hunger that now thundered painfully against her sides, Elisa slowly flipped over one of Goliath's hands. As if drawn like a magnet, her eyes quickly focused on a small drop of red that lay pooled at the end of a small scratch on the back of one of his taloned hands. Gasping as the feelings increased, Elisa stared in wonder at the small drop of blood that lay there... blood. "You're hurt," she whispered quietly, in awe of the blood.

Finally noticing what had so captured his love's attention, Goliath cleared his throat nervously. For some reason, her stare began to make him feel uncomfortable, although he couldn't say why. "Uh.. it is nothing... a small paper cut from reading earlier..." Goliath began to explain when Elisa did the strangest thing. Ever so slowly, without wavering her gaze, she slowly raised his hand up to her sensuous mouth and placed her lips against the wound. Amazed at the sensation of Elisa's sweet lips against his skin and her delicate tongue which ran teasingly over the wound, Goliath stood speechless, all thought of words fleeing his mind. All thoughts of EVERYTHING leaving in an instant under the hypnotic feelings.

Elisa, too, was mesmerized, but with decidedly different reasons. As the drop of blood touched her tongue, a wave of something filled her to the core... a wave of.. ecstasy? Before she knew what she was doing, Elisa began to suck, softly at first, but soon harder and harder at the wound, urging more of the fluid to come forth into her awaiting mouth. For the first time, the burning hunger began to be satisfied, and in it's place was a peace and joy that Elisa had never before known. Suddenly, a single flare of pain in her mouth broke the reverie that she was in. Gasping, Elisa dropped Goliath's hand and turned away, her hand covering her mouth.

Surprised as well at what had just occurred and at the sudden stop, Goliath watched in muddled confusion as Elisa bent over in pain. "Elisa?" he asked quietly, unnerved at the weakness displayed in his usually strong voice.

Ignoring his concerned question, Elisa slowly touched her finger to her tongue and then pulled it away quickly, amazed at the drop of her own blood that glistened on her finger tip. As fear and horror began spreading throughout her body, Elisa slowly slid her tongue up and over her smooth white teeth. Gasping, she drew her tongue away quickly as it was pricked once again. Standing straight, her back still turned to Goliath, Elisa reached a quivering hand up slowly and gently fingered the two sharp canine teeth that were now extended from her mouth. "No, oh God no," she whispered quietly, the horror of knowledge and of the truth revealed filling her.

"Elisa?" Goliath asked again, his voice a little more solid and sure this time.

Shaking her head as Goliath's voice slowly intruded upon her dark thoughts, Elisa quickly turned and darted away from Goliath. She couldn't let him see her like this.. not now, not ever. Running as fast as she could, her footfalls at light as air as the castle whipped by, Elisa ran towards the elevator. To her immense relief, the door was just slipping shut as she squeezed within. Without wasting a second, Elisa quickly reached over and jabbed her finger viciously at the button that would take her down to the first floor of the building.

"Jesus, what's after you?!"

Surprised at the voice, Elisa quickly straightened her shoulders in the elevator, her face to the door. "Matt," Elisa whispered as every muscle in her body tensed. How stupid was she! Of course someone was in the elevator.. why else would the door have just been closing? She couldn't let him see her like this!

Exasperated that he was faced with his partner's stiff back, Matt stepped forward in the small elevator and placed his left hand, the one that was only bound in a cast to aid his wrist, on her shoulder. "Elisa? Why'd you run in here like you were being chased from a bat outta hell?"

Suddenly, something in Elisa snapped--perhaps her humanity. Growling low in her throat, she turned suddenly and threw Matt's arm off of her and faced her partner. In that instant, all thoughts that could be called rational--all thoughts that belonged to her and were what made her up as a person vanished.

Gasping, Matt quickly jumped back against the wall, astonished at what lay before him. It was his partner--but not. Elisa's features were all twisted into a vicious mask that spelled out only death and suffering. To make matters worse, if possible, her beautiful brown eyes now glowed red and two sharp and pointed fangs were bared in his direction. For the first time in his life, Matt feared for his life--from Elisa.

Hissing at him and showing her fangs, Elisa coiled up and made ready to pounce when a sudden ding sounded from behind her. To Matt's immense relief, the elevator doors slid open with a soft whoosh and Elisa bolted into the brightly lit lobby. As people scattered left and right in hope of avoiding the monster that was Elisa Maza, she crashed through the glass doors and into the night beyond.

Gasping at what just occurred, Matt slid down the back of the elevator and pressed a clammy hand to his forehead. "What in the hell just happened?" he muttered as he closed his eyes tightly, another headache coming on.

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"There she is!" one of the darkly dressed men hissed as Elisa bolted from the Aerie building. "Now is our chance! Let's get her!"

"No Gabriel!" Jorge growled as he reached out and grabbed the younger and more inexperienced man. "There are too many mortals around. We will follow her and wait for the right time."

"But.."

"We cannot fail the Mistress again... as it is, she may not let us live for our first mistake," was his only reply as his cold eyes followed Elisa's inhumanly fast movements.

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

Library

Shaking his head, Goliath ran back through what had just occurred for about the tenth time in a row, still trying to make sense of what just happened. It seemed harmless, what Elisa had done. Bizarre, of course, but nothing dangerous from her actions. Yet for some reason, Goliath couldn't shake the idea that the scene that just occurred was wrong in some horrible way--immorally wrong even. How was it that Elisa was able to see the wrong in her actions, yet it still alluded him? For that had to be the reason for her rapid departure--a departure so fast that his eyes could barely make out her fleeing form. Then again, that didn't make any sense. That just had to of been a part of his stupor. Still, Elisa must have sensed that something was wrong.. but what? Whatever it was, it must of had to do with whatever Elisa was going to tell him--something important.

"Father?"

Turning his head, Goliath watched as Angela poked her head inside the room, a look of concern upon her face. "Ah, yes Angela.. come in.."

"Father, where is Elisa?" Angela asked as she stepped fully into the room, noting the dazed and confused expression that covered her father's proud features.

"Ah.. she left," Goliath mumbled, trying to decide if that was the accurate word for her departure.

"I see," Angela said slowly, her frown deepening. Surely Elisa couldn't have told Goliath everything that had happened at the warehouse and have the conversation completed so quickly... which meant that Elisa hadn't told him. Looking up into her father's dark eyes, Angela debated with herself quickly. It was wrong of her to keep such a secret from her clan, from her father. It was even more wrong that Elisa had asked her to do such a thing in the first place. But what could she do? This was something that Elisa should discuss with him--it wasn't her place to tell... was it?

"Angela? What is it?" Goliath asked slowly, watching as a mix of emotions passed over his daughter's face. She had always been an easy one to read, her emotions playing over her face. Even now, he could see that she was at war with herself to do what was right. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. Thinking back, Goliath remembered the quick look that passed between Angela and Elisa before she had mentioned that she needed to tell him something. With a nod of his head, everything clicked into place. Stepping forward, Goliath gently took his daughter's hands into his own and stared into her eyes that were so much like his own. "Angela, you know what Elisa was going to tell me."

The statement was less of a question and more of an acknowledgment. Gulping, Angela averted her eyes quickly, the decision of the right thing to do weighing heavily on her mind.

"Angela, if you know what Elisa was going to say, then you must tell me... I believe that something is wrong," Goliath said slowly, only realizing as he stated those words that the thing that was so wrong was in fact with Elisa herself. "Angela, what is going on?"

Sighing, Angela bit her lip slowly. "Father... I.. I promised Elisa that I wouldn't tell," she said slowly, her voice catching over the words.

Shaking his head, Goliath reached up and forced his daughter's chin so that he was once more staring into her dark eyes. "Angela," he rumbled slowly, his gaze never leaving hers, "if you know something is wrong, you must tell me. I cannot help her if I do not know what is going on."

Sighing, Angela knew that her father was, as always, right. Strengthening her resolve, Angela straightened her shoulders and met her father's direct stare. "Tonight, at the warehouse, something strange happened."

"Go on," Goliath urged, a strange sort of dread washing over him.

"I was on the roof listening through the transceiver as Elisa searched the warehouse.. I heard other voices and realized that Elisa was in trouble. It took me a couple of minutes to squeeze through the hole in the skylight, and when I got there, I saw that there was a masked human lying balled up against the wall and... and Elisa held another man by the neck suspended in the air."

"What?" Goliath asked in disbelief. For some reason, this was not the answer that he had been expecting.

"Yes Father.. it was amazing!" Angela gasped. "It was as though she was as strong as a gargoyle--stronger even!"

"But that's not possible!" Goliath said quickly, shaking his head in disbelief.

"I know, but it gets worse! The man that was on the floor got up behind Elisa and pulled out a gun. I barely had time to shout out a warning when she was shot point blank in the stomach!"

"What?!" Goliath growled in disbelief, his eyes lighting up a bright white as he flared his wings out in anger.

"But Father, she wasn't hurt!" Angela said quickly, her eyes as wide as saucers.

"I don't understand, you just said.." Goliath started in confusion, his anger abiding.

"That's what worries me so! I saw Elisa get shot! I felt her body recoil back into mine from the bullet, yet she wasn't hurt!" Angela explained quickly, still trying to make sense of the situation.

"So you're saying that Elisa was both strong, fast, and she was unaffected by this man's bullets?" Goliath asked, the skepticism obvious in his voice.

Sighing, Angela shook her head slowly. "I know how this sounds Father, but I'm telling the truth! Elisa made me promise afterwards to not tell you or the clan about it... but I just couldn't keep it from you."

Nodding, Goliath looked down at his daughter. "And you did the right thing, Angela. Whatever is going on, Elisa may need our help."

Before Angela had a chance to respond, the door to the library burst open revealing an out of breath Lexington. "Goliath, Angela, you guys gotta come to the entertainment room! Matt's back and you won't believe what he just said about Elisa!"

"Elisa?" Angela asked quickly, worry covering her face.

"Matt is back?" Goliath asked just as quickly as he followed the young warrior from the room.

"Yeah, while you and Elisa were talking, Matt came over to talk with Elisa. When we told her that you guys were busy, he said that he was just going to head home and he'd talk to her tomorrow," Lexington explained as he hurried down the dark hallway and into the room.

As soon as Goliath stepped into the room, he knew that something was going on. Surrounding Matt on all sides were the clan while Owen and Xanatos stood against wall playing with a computer monitor installed there. "What has happened? Where is Elisa?" Goliath asked quickly as he broke in on the mass of confused and jumbled voices.

Noticing the lavender leader for the first time, Matt quickly turned. "I don't know Goliath, but something has happened to her," he said quickly as he stepped over to the giant leader.

As Goliath's eyes narrowed, he slowly replayed Angela's confused and concerned words over in his mind. Then, he remembered everything else that had occurred between them over the last couple of weeks. From Krishna, to Elisa's complaints about her health, to her strange behavior earlier. "Explain," Goliath growled out slowly.

Nodding his head, Matt began to rub his hand where Elisa had so viciously grabbed him earlier. "Just as the elevator doors were closing, Elisa ran in and hit the down button. She wouldn't answer me when I talked to her, and when she finally turned around... well, it wasn't her."

"What do you mean it wasn't her?" Goliath asked slowly, his head spinning.

"She.. she changed! It was Elisa, but it wasn't! She looked like she wanted to kill me!"

"Not Elisa!" Angela interrupted quickly, her voice weak as she knew that it was a feeble protest.

"Goliath, her eyes were glowing red and.. she had fangs... she looked like Krishna," Matt said quietly, his eyes turning so sad that it was enough to cause anyone's heart to break.

"No," Goliath breathed, all of his fears confirmed. It couldn't be true... the blood that he gave her to live was just a drop.. just a small drop. Surely that wasn't enough to change her into.. into a vampire! But the hunger that she mentioned earlier, her heavy sleep during the day, her remarkable recovery, her energy during the night, her strength, speed... the scene earlier in the library. It all made sense. "No," Goliath repeated, his voice more firm. He would not believe it. He would not allow himself to entertain the thought that his Elisa.. his love could be changed into one of those monsters.

"Goliath, over here," Xanatos called out from the other side of the room.

As if moving in a dream, Goliath crossed the small distance across the room and stood beside the billionaire, the clan gathered behind them. "What is it Xanatos?" Goliath growled out, already trying to find a way to defeat the idea of Elisa being changed in his mind.

"Owen and I just dug up the security video of in the elevator," Xanatos said quickly as his fingers flew over the keyboard.

His interest instantly peaked, Goliath leaned forward and watched as the monitor before them gradually opened up to reveal the elevator. Because the camera was positioned high in the back corner of the elevator, you could just see Matt leaning up against the other back corner. Suddenly, a blur flashed in front of the screen and entered the elevator as the doors slid shut. Looking closer, Goliath easily recognized Elisa's long black hair and red bomber jacket as she stared at the door. Then, Bluestone stepped closer to Elisa and touched her gently on the shoulder. Amazed, the clan watched as Elisa twisted around quickly and nearly threw Matt against the back of the elevator. To their astonishment, they saw that Matt's description was correct. They barely recognized the thing that was on the screen. There stood Elisa's proud form in her red bomber jacket, her shiny black hair trailing behind her shoulders. But from there on, everything was different. Elisa's face, which usually held nothing more than a smile or a carefree smirk, was now twisted into a grotesque look of hatred and.. hunger. Even in black and white, the different shading of her large eyes was more than apparent. And just like Matt described, Elisa was snarling at the camera form of Matt.. snarling a mouth that held two sharp and pointed fangs. Still, the most disturbing thing about the picture wasn't the fangs or the glowing eyes, but instead the alien look in Elisa's eyes. There was no recognition of her partner in those eyes, but instead the look a snake may have just before it devours a tiny field mouse. The look of a cold hunter about ready to strike upon its prey.

Coughing slightly, Owen managed to gain the attention of all those gathered in the room. "I'm afraid that Detective Maza has been changed into a vampire," he intoned quietly, stating the obvious to the group.

Closing his eyes against the paused screen of the alien Elisa, Goliath shook his head slowly. "Where is she?" he ground out slowly, his eyes squeezed tight.

"I cannot say," Owen answered simply, his rock hand stationary at his side. "We have very few cameras outside of the Aerie building, so the last shot we have is Miss Maza disappearing on foot into the city of New York."

"We have to find her," Goliath said quickly as he flared out his wings and began walking towards the door that would take him to the battlements.

Nodding their heads, the clan quickly fell into step behind their leader. They all loved and treasured their human friend dearly, and they would stop at nothing to get her back. Still, one gargoyle hung back from the clan. "Lad, ye cannae expect to find the lass when she is on foot in such a big city as ours," Hudson broke in gently, calling out to the gargoyle's retreating back.

Freezing upon hearing his mentor's words, Goliath's shoulders tightened. "We have no choice. We must find Elisa before.. before something happens."

"You do have one other choice," Xanatos broke in from his position next to the monitor. As all of the gargoyles turned to face their newest enemy turn friend, Xanatos smiled his famous smile. "After the incident with Krishna, I took it upon myself to place a homing chip on the Detective's jacket. If she's wearing the jacket, then we can find her."

Growling at the man's words, Goliath took a menacing step forward. "I seriously doubt that Elisa gave you permission to do this?" Goliath asked quickly, his eyes narrowing.

"Of course not. Due to my past with the Detective, her giving me permission to that would have been out of the question... then again, the detective is an integral part of my and my family's life now, meaning that her well being is now of my concern," Xanatos said quietly, a small frown tearing at his smile.

Sighing, Goliath allowed his eyes to turn back to their normal color. "Elisa will not be pleased to hear of this, but for now, we are thankful that you did what you did."

Shrugging his shoulders, Xanatos quickly turned his back on the gargoyles and began typing away at the computer monitor once again. "According to the tracker, Detective Maza is heading at an extremely fast clip towards Central Park." Turning, Xanatos quickly pushed a button on the console which caused a small portion of the wall to slide open, revealing a small hand held device within. Without wasting a second, Xanatos quickly took out the device and handed it over to Lexington. "You should be able to track her movements with this."

Nodding his head, Lexington quickly began pushing buttons on the small device until a display came up on the small screen. Smiling, he turned and nodded towards Goliath. "I've got her."

"Good, then let's be off," Goliath said quickly as he once more began his fast pace towards the battlements. Just as he climbed on the old stone ledge and prepared to launch off to find his love, a single voice stopped him..

"Wait for me!" Matt yelled as he ran forward.

Nodding his head quickly, Goliath nodded to Brooklyn. Understanding quickly, Brooklyn easily swung the bandaged detective onto his back. Even though he knew that Matt would be of no help to them in his current condition, he also knew that there was no way the detective would be left behind. His partner was in danger, and therefore, he was ready to come to her aid in any way he could.

"And what, may I ask, are you going to do once you find the detective," Owen asked quietly as he stepped forward quickly, a restraining hand on the large lavender leader.

"We shall bring her back to the castle," Goliath replied, his stare icy as he launched himself into the dark night sky, shrugging the hand away. Throwing glances at the manservant, the clan quickly followed suit.

"In that case," Xanatos murmured as the gargoyles soared away, "you better prepare the medlab for her arrival."

"Sir?"

"We need to find some kind of cure for her... and you may want to have some blood bagged up and ready to go," Xanatos said grimly as he turned and walked away, intent on finding and filling in his wife on what was going down.

Sighing, Owen nodded slowly as he took out his ever ready cell phone and dialed a number quickly. "Yes, I need you to contact the Red Cross and see if you can get your hands on some blood samples... Yes, I am already aware that we have a good stock of samples on hand. I need you to get at least twenty more bags from them.. No, it doesn't matter the type and money is of no expense in this matter. And I need it tonight."

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

Central Park

Snarling at the people that flew past Elisa's line of vision, the monster that she had become ran faster. So fast, that the humans that she flew by only caught the briefest glimpse of red before the being disappeared into the night. Block by block, mile by mile went by as Elisa ran.. from what, she could no longer remember. All she knew was the hunger that was eating her alive. The hunger that had been there for so long, but had recently been reactivated... the hunger that needed to be satisfied. Yet, the hunger wasn't what was driving her now. No, instead it was the basic survival mechanism. Something had threatened her, whether it be physically or something else, and now she needed to run, to escape from that thing before it threatened her
existence more.. threatened what little sanity remained. For the part of Elisa that made her who she was had taken a forced back seat for the moment as the animal in her took over. Yet, it wasn't so much like an animal than a monster that ruled her body now.. ruled her ever changing body. Changing not in large noticeable ways, but instead they were small. As she ran, the two fangs that had extended earlier glistened in the bright moonlight. Her large, brown eyes continued to glow that dark red light. Even now, her skin began to glisten and turn pale as the need burned inside of her.. the need to be satisfied.

Suddenly, Elisa came to a screeching halt. For some reason, she wasn't even breathing hard from her fast run.. for another even stranger reason, this fact didn't puzzle her. Nostrils flaring, Elisa slowly tilted her head to the left and right, taking in her new surroundings. Everywhere she looked, tall trees towered above her, offering protection from other creatures of the night... creatures perhaps like herself... perhaps not. Standing straight and tall, Elisa flexed her strong muscles and stared into the dark night--a night made brighter by her keen vision. Nothing moved before her, yet her sharp hearing detected the sharp crack of a breaking branch behind her. Her nostrils quivering, Elisa detected the faint smell of the thing that she so desired.. blood. It was roaring within the creature behind her. Smiling a cold smile, Elisa stared into the dark night and waited for her prey to make itself known. She didn't have to wait long.

As the man stepped through the trees, he kept his eyes trained on the woman before him. All he could make out in the dark night which was protected from the sheltering trees above was her lithe form contained in a dark pair of blue jeans and a striking red jacket. Down her back cascaded a wave of black glossy hair. Sneering at the woman's stupidity and his own good fortune, the man slowly withdrew a long wicked knife from its sheath and brandished it boldly before her. "Turn around real slow lady and give me all of your money," he called out, his voice sinister.

Ever so slowly, without a sound being made, the woman turned round as commanded. Yet the sight before him was enough to cause the man to stand frozen in fear. "Oh my God.. what are you?!" the man screamed out as he took in her deathly pale face, the red burning eyes, and the sharp and pointed fangs that protruded from her mouth.

Ignoring the man's scream, Elisa darted forward with inhuman like speed and grabbed the man viciously by the front of his coat lapels. Hissing at the jabbering fool, she then pulled him close to her and reached forward with her mouth. Ignoring everything else but the hunger that was consuming her, Elisa sank her long fangs into the man's tender neck. So eager for the sweet taste of his life, she quickly ripped her fangs back out, taking a large portion of his skin with her. As the blood gushed forward, Elisa quickly put her pale lips to his ravaged neck and sucked greedily at the large wound. Instantly, the sweet nectar that brought her life and sustained her filled her mouth and cascaded down her throat. As the warm liquid began filling her belly, a feeling of ecstasy enveloped her. Ignoring the small drops of red that escaped her lips and trailed down her pale chin, Elisa sunk down to her knees with the man and soon cradled his head in her lap, his dying body lying on the cold ground.

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

"Goliath! According to the homing beacon she should be right below us!" Lexington called out as he glided closer to his leader.

Nodding his head, Goliath began surveying the trees below him. Suddenly, he caught a flash of red in a break of the trees. Without even taking the time to mention what he saw to the clan, Goliath dipped his wings and soared towards the ground. As he flew through the small opening between branches, the sight on the ground became clear to him... the sight of his Elisa leaning over a man on the leave scattered ground below, her mouth attached firmly to his neck. "No, Elisa!" Goliath roared out as he changed trajectory.

At Goliath's call that slowly slithered into her blood lust haze, Elisa barely had time to lift her head before something plowed into her from behind. Grunting in pain, Elisa dropped the man that she had been feeding on and went plowing into the earth beyond. Groaning at what felt like a ton of bricks lying over her, she watched as the world went dark.

Shaking his head to clear his dazed vision, Goliath slowly pulled his aching body off of the ground.. and off of Elisa. Never before in his life had he experienced such a hard landing. Suddenly, that word echoed in his mind. Elisa. Groaning, he fell to his knees and looked at her unmoving body before him. "What have I done?" Goliath whispered as he took in the leaves and dirt tangled in her beautiful black hair, her pale face, the red blood smeared by her mouth, the trench of torn up dirt that they left behind them, and her peaceful expression. Now she looked so calm and peaceful, so much like an angel that it was hard to believe what he saw earlier.... until his eyes drifted back to the fresh blood that dripped down her chin... and back up to her unmoving form. What was he thinking--plowing into Elisa with such force and landing on top of her small body no less.. he could of killed her. Then again, seeing her bent over the man like Krishna had been with her not so long ago, he knew that he had no choice in the matter. Suddenly, his eyes darted to her face as Elisa groaned quietly. Gasping in relief, Goliath sat back and shook his head slowly. He was afraid that he HAD killed her.

"Goliath?"

Turning around quickly as Brooklyn's voice broke into his reverie, Goliath noticed the clan landing softly on the upturned earth behind him. Immediately, Matt jumped out of Brooklyn's arms and knelt before Elisa's victim. Gasping, Angela looked back and forth between Elisa's still form behind Goliath and the unmoving man. As her eyes lit up, he knew that his daughter had put the pieces together. Sighing, Angela let the sadness show in her eyes as she looked at the trail that marked her father's descent and at Elisa's still form once again. "Is she..." Angela trailed off sadly, a mix of emotions playing within her.

"She's alive but we must hurry," Goliath interrupted quickly. Turning, he looked at Matt's creased brow as he felt for a pulse on the man. "Is he alive?"

Sighing, Matt reached forward and pushed the unseeing eyes shut of the ravaged man. "He's dead," he whispered, closing his own eyes against the sight.

Growling, Goliath shook his head slowly. He was too late. Slapping himself mentally, Goliath realized that despite the tragedy, they needed to act, and act now. Turning his head sharply, Goliath looked sternly at his clan. "We shall deal with the man later. Right now we need to get Elisa back to the Aerie.."

"Father, watch out!" Angela cried out suddenly, her eyes wide.

Instantly wary, Goliath turned quickly and watched as Elisa's eyes snapped open. To his horror, her beautiful eyes were glowing an evil reddish color. Before he had a chance to act or move, Elisa acted. With inhuman strength, she rocked onto her back and then flipped onto her feet. "No, Elisa.." Goliath started to call out as she reached forward and lifted him by the neck. With speed that was so fast that his eyes couldn't follow, Elisa threw Goliath as though he weighed nothing across the large clearing and into a tree beyond, effectively reducing the tree into toothpicks. Instantly, Angela was by her father's side, a wary eye trained on Elisa.

Standing ready, Elisa turned and hissed at the rest of the clan. Despite the fact that she just fed, the hunger was already gnawing at her sides when faced with all of the mortals before her. Like before, the hunger controlled all thoughts and all emotions. That was all she was, and it showed on her face as she looked from face to face.

"Lad, ye better get behind me," Hudson muttered as he grabbed Matt and gently pushed him behind him. With his sword ready, Hudson watched as the three rookery brothers formed a semi-circle, a barrier between Elisa and the clan. Glancing over his shoulder, Hudson saw that Goliath was still down with Angela trying desperately to get him to his feet.

"Elisa, you don't want to do this," Brooklyn said slowly as he faced his human friend.

"Yeah, Elisa, snap out of it!" Broadway cried out. "This isn't you!" It WASN'T Elisa before them. It couldn't be. He, like the rest, cared deeply for their human friend and it tore them all apart to think that if she didn't back off, they'd soon have to fight her in order to protect the clan.

Her only answer to their cries was to hiss once again, showing off her bloody fangs. Suddenly, her eyes focused on Lexington. Hissing in fury, she knew that she couldn't take the time to feed on one when faced with so many, which meant that she had to take them out of commission before she could have the sweet reward of blood. For to her, her quarries resembled not the friends she'd had for the last two years, but instead lunch ready for the picking. Before anyone could cry out a warning or before Lexington could react, Elisa was upon him. Moving faster than their eyes could follow, she jumped forward and swung her arm fast and hard across his innocent green face. With a crack that echoed throughout the trees, Lexington's head swung sideways as he flew back and to the ground. Gasping, everyone watched as he moaned once before becoming still on the leave strewn ground beside Hudson.

Growling at the sight of his rookery brother being attacked, Brooklyn spread out his wings with a snap and felt his eyes begin to glow their deadly white. With Lexington being dealt out of the game, he now knew that he had no other options but to defend himself and his clan with whatever means necessary. "I'm sorry Elisa!" Brooklyn yelled out as he jumped forward and tackled Elisa to the ground, slamming her head against a large rock that littered the forest floor. Growling, Brooklyn pinned her arms to her sides and stared into her red eyes, hoping and praying for some kind of recognition. He got none. To make matters even worse, the hard slam against her head did nothing to faze her. "Oh crap," was the last words he got to mutter as Elisa hissed up at him. Once again moving with lightning fast reflexes, she quickly shoved his arms up, lifted her legs and planted them against his midsection and then shoved back as hard as she could. Grunting in pain, Brooklyn watched the ground fly beneath him as he was propelled across the clearing. Before he even had a chance to extend his wings in hope of slowing his descent, Brooklyn felt his head connect with a tree branch as everything went dark.

"Brooklyn!" Angela cried out as she watched him being thrown across the clearing. Wincing, Angela turned her eyes away as his head first connected with a large branch before he slammed into a tree and then sunk to the ground below. "Father, you need to wake up!" Angela cried out as she turned once more back to her father. His impact with the tree had left the large gargoyle leader unconscious with a thin stream of blood trickling down his face. She knew that his wounds weren't life threatening, and that the sun would heal them, but she also knew that sunrise was still a good four hours away. In the meantime, they still had Elisa to deal with... an Elisa who was busy fighting and hurting her clan.

Roaring in rage, Broadway watched the exchange between Brooklyn and Elisa. Before his brother even hit the ground, Broadway was upon her, hoping beyond hope that he would be able to use the element of surprise against her. He was wrong. As if sensing his movements, Elisa turned towards the large, portly blue gargoyle so fast that he was unable to stop his forward movements. Gasping, Broadway ran straight into Elisa's arms, her red eyes burning into his.

As if she were throwing a newspaper, Elisa used Broadway's forward momentum against him and threw him towards the other end of the clearing where yet another tree was demolished. Grinning through her blood lust, Elisa then turned to the two other mortals who were still standing.

"Lass, I nae be wanting to hurt ye," Hudson growled as he watched her stalk them slowly, a demonic grin upon her face, "but I will fight ye if I hav' ta."

"Uh, Hudson?" Matt asked slowly as he backed away from his partner, only the elder standing between him and death. "Maybe this isn't such a good idea," the detective said slowly. Unwillingly, the memories of Krishna's cruel attack on him came to mind. The pain of being tortured slowly by the monster was something that had probably scarred him for life--something that he would never forget. From Elisa's demonstrations of her powers earlier with the clan, it was obvious to him that for some reason, she would be capable of the same cruelties if she got close enough to him... which she undoubtedly would.

Hissing, Elisa darted towards Hudson quickly, the blood lust ruling her mind. Moving with lightning reflexes that belied his old age, Hudson met her oncoming attack with a swipe of his old sword. Growling, he watched as she darted away from his attack, but not soon enough so as to avoid a nasty gash on her right arm. Crying out at the pain and at her own blood that shone in the bright moonlight, Elisa turned her red eyes once more on the old gargoyle.

"Lass, I don't want to hurt ye!" Hudson cried out, strangely ashamed that he had struck down Elisa with his sword, yet disappointed that he didn't do more damage.

"Hudson, I don't think that she shares that desire!" Matt cried out as Elisa charged once again.

Once more, Hudson was ready for her, his sword ready. Yet, to his astonishment, at the last moment Elisa flipped right over him, landing solidly on her feet behind him. Turning quickly, Elisa performed her amazing round house kick on Hudson just as he turned round to face her. Unfortunately for Hudson, due to her enhanced strength, that one kick was the last thing he saw as her leg snapped up and struck his chin, effectively knocking him into unconsciousness.

"Uh oh," Matt muttered as he slowly began back tracking, watching as Hudson went down before him. Smiling evilly, the thing that used to be his partner turned around and hissed at him, the blood from her kill still dripping down her chin. "Elisa," Matt murmured, his eyes pleading with her, "you don't want to do this! It's me, Matt!" he cried out as she slowly reached a hand up and wiped the trail of blood from her chin, her cold eyes focused on him. Gulping, Matt slowly reached down and took his revolver from the holster in his trench coat. With shaky arms, he raised it and focused the gun onto his partner. Hissing at him, Elisa reared back and suddenly darted forward. Closing his eyes, Matt quickly fired off shot after shot at his partner until his clip was empty. Opening his eyes once again, he saw that all shots hit their mark as Elisa stumbled back, fresh blood soaking her black shirt. Yet to his amazement, the bullets only slowed her down. Standing straight, Elisa hissed at him once again and began advancing. Groaning, Matt remembered that his bullets had the same effect on Krishna.. why did he even bother to hope that it would be any different this time? In seconds, Elisa was before him. Closing his eyes, Matt waited for the end to come.

"Elisa, no!" Angela yelled out as she left her father's side for the first time. Charging the short distance across the clearing, Angela stopped in the center and watched in fear as the monster slowly turned around and faced her. "Come and get me!" she cried out bravely.

Grinning at the young mortal's words, Elisa slowly began moving towards her new prey. Showing her fangs at the young one, Elisa snapped her arm back and hit the weak mortal behind her in the head, causing him to fall to the ground unconscious. She would save him for later.

"No!" Angela cried out as she watched Matt fall to the ground like a dead weight.

That second of distraction was the one thing that Elisa needed as she quickly darted forward with inhuman speed. In less than a second she reached the young one and wrapped her hand around the young gargess's throat.

Choking, Angela stared at Elisa through wide eyes. Amazed, she felt herself being lifted into the air as black spots started to appear in her vision. Then, through darkening eyes, Angela watched numbly as Elisa opened her mouth wide and slowly brought it to her throat.

Groaning, Goliath slowly lifted his head. What had happened? Shaking his head, Goliath looked around the wooded clearing. Gasping, he first saw Lexington lying, unmoving on the ground besides the dead man. On the other side of the clearing lay Brooklyn and Broadway, demolished trees besides them. And in the center of the clearing lay Matt and Hudson, both out as well while Elisa stood front and center with Angela in her grips. Knowing that he needed to act fast in order to save his daughter's life, Goliath charged across the clearing, ignoring all the pain he felt, and tackled his beloved to the ground.

Screaming her rage, Elisa quickly kicked Goliath off of her and reversed their positions with her straddling his large form. Still, despite the difference in their sizes, with Elisa's strong arms pinning his to the ground Goliath couldn't move. Growling, Goliath looked past Elisa and watched as Angela weakly put a hand to her throat and was relieved to see that no blood marred his daughter's skin. Turning back, Goliath looked up into Elisa's glowing red eyes. Try as he might, he couldn't find anything at all recognizable in that cold and hungry gaze... could it be that she was gone?

Hissing at her attacker, Elisa licked her lips hungrily. Her wounds had caused her to lose some of her own blood making her weaker now and in need of nourishment... nourishment that this mortal could provide. Grinning evilly, Elisa slowly began lowering her mouth to his throat, her glowing red eyes locked on his large dark ones.

Gasping through a bruised wind pipe, Angela looked up in horror at Elisa's bending form. "No, father!" Angela screamed as she tried to get to her feet to come to his aid.. she was just too weak from her struggle with Elisa.. she couldn't make it!

Knowing what was coming next, Goliath continued to stare into Elisa's eyes, searching for his loved one somewhere deep within. "Elisa," Goliath whispered as her teeth inched ever closer, "I know that you're in there... I love you..."

Sighing, Elisa lowered her lips to the mortal's neck when his words entered her foggy mind. 'I love you' echoed back and forth through her mind, reaching and accessing something that had left her for awhile due to the blood lust: her humanity.. Elisa herself. Gasping suddenly, the redness left Elisa's eyes and her normal dark eyes met Goliath's. "Goliath?" she asked weakly as she scrambled backwards, freeing him from her hold.

Recognizing his love in her eyes, the doorway to the soul, Goliath quickly jumped to his feet and wrapped his arms tight around her. Knowing that no words were needed and that there were none that could accurately portray what he was feeling at that moment, Goliath contented himself with having her small body wrapped in his arms, her soft face pressed against his chest, her warm body melting in with his, her strong arms wrapped around him, and her hot tears dripping down onto his skin.

"Goliath, what's going on?" Elisa asked slowly as she buried herself in the warmth of his love. Feeling contented with his warm wings wrapped around them, shielding them from the world and all that could cause harm, Elisa felt safe once more.. but her was mind a blank and all fuzzy. What had happened? Where were they? Confusion burning away the contentment, Elisa slowly stepped back out of Goliath's arms and stared up into his dark, love filled eyes, and repeated her question. "Goliath, what's going on?"

"Elisa, I..." Goliath started, not sure what to say when her eyes turned away from his and instead focused on something behind him. Turning, Goliath watched as some members of the clan slowly began to awake, groaning in pain, their eyes trained warily on Elisa.

"Goliath.. the clan..." Elisa whispered as she slowly slipped past him, her mind in a haze. Moving, she stepped next to the strange man lying on the cold hard ground. Kneeling down, Elisa slowly stretched her hand out and laid it against the cooling skin of his neck.. the side that wasn't torn to shreds. "Goliath, he's... he's dead," Elisa whispered, wondering why the words struck her the way that they did. She didn't recognize this man.. she didn't know him... so why was his death hitting her like that of a loved one. Shaking her head, Elisa rose slowly and crossed the clearing till she knelt beside her partner. "Matt?" she asked quietly as she reached out a hand and touched his face gently.

Groaning, Matt stirred and slowly opened his eyes. When they focused on the concerned look of his partner though, fear filled his eyes and contorted his face. "No! Get away from me!" Matt cried out as he hit Elisa's hand away and back peddled furiously.

Surprised and hurt, Elisa quickly jumped back. Why was he looking at her with such horror? What had she done? Suddenly, memories began filling her brain--memories of what she had done while in her blood haze.. memories of what she had become. With a shaking hand, Elisa slowly reached up and wiped at the smear by her mouth and then looked at her hand... it was red.. red with blood. "Oh God, I killed him..." Elisa whispered as she stared hard at the red smear, wishing it to disappear. "I killed that poor man!" Elisa gasped, wishing it were all a dream. Suddenly, a soft and warm hand touched her shoulder. Turning quickly, Elisa buried her head in Goliath's warm embrace. "Goliath, what have I done? What have I become?" she sobbed, the tears trailing down her cheek.

"Shh, Elisa.. it's going to be alright," Goliath soothed, tears touching his own eyes. For this was his fault.. it was all his fault. If he hadn't of given her Krishna's blood, the stranger wouldn't have been killed by her hand.. he wouldn't be dead. The man's death was on his head.. it was his fault. None of this would of ever happened and Elisa wouldn't be feeling what she was right now... then again, she wouldn't be feeling anything. If he hadn't done what he did, Elisa would be dead.

"Goliath," Elisa sobbed, shaking her head as she looked up at her love through teary eyes, "I killed him! And I hurt the clan too!" Shaking her head, looking down at the blood on her hands, Elisa pulled out of Goliath's embrace once again. She didn't deserve his comfort.. she deserved nothing but death and punishment for what she did.. she was a monster now.. there was no way of avoiding the truth now.. she was a vampire. "No!" Elisa screamed as she turned away from the clan and what she thought to be their accusing stares. Even her own partner was afraid of her.. and with good cause. She was a monster.

"Elisa, it's all right.. come here," Goliath urged as he tried to pull her close.

"No!" Elisa screamed as she pulled away and looked at the destruction she had wrought.. with her own hands. Turning her gaze away from her bloody hands, her damn bloody hands, Elisa looked up into Goliath's sad, sad eyes. "Why didn't you let me die?" she asked slowly, hate at what she had become, hate for herself burning in her eyes. "I was a protector.. a protector like all of you.. and now I must kill those I protect in order to live," she whispered. "You should have let me die," Elisa repeated as she slowly turned and began walking away.

"Elisa, no!" Goliath called out, tears burning down his cheeks as he reached forward and grabbed her arm.

"I don't want to hurt you or the clan again.. and I may not snap out of it next time..."

"But..."

"Stay away from me Goliath... just stay away," Elisa sobbed as she twisted her arm out of Goliath's grasp and turned on her heel. Without looking back, she took off at a dead run further into Central Park.. further into the trees in hopes of losing herself as well as the clan.

"No, Elisa wait!" Goliath yelled out urgently as Elisa disappeared from view. Turning, he was about to follow when Angela's voice broke into his mad rush.

"Father, wait!"

Turning, Goliath looked back at his daughter, her hand still touching her tender throat. "Angela, are you..."

"I'm fine, but everyone else may not be. We need to help the clan first... Lexington still has the tracer and we can find Elisa later... help us," Angela pleaded as she stumbled to her feet.

Chagrined, Goliath turned and watched as the branches stood still once more, hiding all evidence of Elisa's quick departure. Sighing, he knew that Angela was right. Turning away from his love, Goliath began helping his clan--his first responsibility... always.

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

Sobbing, Elisa crashed through the trees, her troubled thoughts following on her heels like winged demons. Soon it become apparent that as far and as hard as she pushed herself, she would never outrun her problems.. they were always there with her. As the tears poured down her cheeks, Elisa finally came to a halt and fell to her knees on the cold ground, a layer of pine needles her only comfort. "What have I done?" Elisa asked, looking up through the thin roof of leaves above and into the dark night sky. "What have I become?" Shaking her head, Elisa lifted her hands to her tear streaked face and cried... for herself, for her friends and family, for the man who was dead at her hand, for Krishna, and for her future. What was she to do now? All of her plans for herself.. all of her hopes and dreams were gone in an instant. Now she would never be able to live a normal life, have children, be with Goliath, protect her city, see or feel the warm sun, be with her family, stay with the clan, stay with Goliath... everything was gone and torn away. She was a monster now who would prey upon the blood of the ones she was sworn to protect... all in order to sustain the miserable life she was now forced to lead. How could she lead it? She was now one of the creatures of evil that she herself fought until so short ago. Should she go on?? But could she really end it all? Could she kill herself? Did she have a choice? She had no future now.. no friends.. no family.... no love. All she had left were her memories of the past.

Suddenly, all thoughts of future and present predicaments fled her mind as two beings thumped to the ground before her. Thinking that the clan had caught up to her so quickly, Elisa tore her hands from her eyes and stood quickly, ready to run... when she saw that instead of her beloved Goliath and company, two strange men now stood before her. "Who are you?" Elisa asked quickly as she eyed the two men warily.. something was not right about them, although she couldn't say what. One of the men was exceptionally tall, around 6'2" with a gangly body, long stringy blond hair hidden beneath a black baseball cap, a black tee shirt on, and large black jeans that looked as though could fit three of her inside--normal for the day and age.. except for the large black trench coat that he wore over it all. Still, he only looked to be around nineteen years old. The other man looked older.. about her age with curly brown hair, a black long sleeved shirt, and tight black jeans. Still, despite their obvious affection for the color black, the really disturbing thing about the duo was their cold eyes.

Eyeing her over, the shorter one nodded in her direction. "The Mistress wants a word with you," he said simply, a small smile on his hard face that showed no warmth.

Shrugging her shoulders, Elisa smirked at him. "Yeah, well I'm not really into that type of thing. Tell your 'mistress' that I'm not interested in speaking with her." Turning, Elisa faced them with her back, showing them that she was unafraid, and slowly began walking away.

Hissing and showing his fangs in the moonlight, the tall man was about to charge when his companion laid a restraining arm across his. "Gabriel, don't be a fool!" Jorge hissed at his young friend. "Do not forget what we just witnessed... she is one of us."

"One of us?" Elisa repeated as his words halted her steps. Ever so slowly, Elisa turned around and faced the two men once again. For the first time, she noticed their slightly glossy skin. "You're vampires!"

Nodding, Gabriel slowly opened his mouth, revealing his fangs to his quarry. "You're right about that one," he hissed as he sprang at her.

Dropping into a defensive crouch, Elisa was ready as the man came flying at her. Just as his fist was about to connect with her face, Elisa caught it in her hand and turned, swinging the man about until he connected with great force with a tree.

Sighing, Jorge watched the transaction with a small frown on his face. "He has a lot yet to learn," he muttered as his student went down with a crash. Shaking his head, Jorge darted forward and kicked out his leg, catching the woman in the small of her back. Crying out, she went down on the ground. Laughing at how easy this was going to be, Jorge reached down and grabbed her by the throat, lifting her to eye level. Thinking that the fight had finally gone out of the woman, Jorge grinned at her. "There you go lovely, just sit back and enjoy the ride."

"Fuck you," Elisa grunted as she tried to pry the man's hands off of her throat. Knowing that it was useless, Elisa did what all well trained female officers of the law did in a similar situation--she brought her knee up viciously and enjoyed the look of pure pain that flashed across the thug's face as his most sensitive spot was smashed. Groaning, the man fell to the hard ground, his face purple and contorted in pain. Vampire or not, that had to hurt. "Asshole," Elisa muttered as she stared down at him. Suddenly, she heard the crack of a branch behind her. Turning quickly, Elisa saw that the younger man was back on his feet and ready to attack. Moving quickly, Elisa stopped that thought with a round house kick which sent him back to the ground. Though, just as soon as her feet hit the ground again, two powerful arms wrapped around her middle, pinning her arms to her side. Struggling, Elisa quickly realized that her efforts were futile, for even with her advanced strength, the arms were still like steel vises. "Why.. why are you so strong?" Elisa gasped as she squirmed in his arms.

Laughing, Jorge shook his head. "Obviously your creator didn't really fill you in on everything, now did they?"

Smirking, Elisa realized that by creator, the jerk must be referring to Krishna. "He.. didn't really get a chance," Elisa grunted as she continued to struggle, trying her best to squeeze somehow out of his grasp.

"Well, here's a free lesson," Jorge said easily, no strain evident in his voice from holding his captive so tightly. "The older a vampire is, in other words, how long the vampire has lived since being made into one, the more powerful the vampire. I was made over one hundred years ago and Gabriel over there was just made one year ago... from how weak you are, I'm guessing that you're young as well!" Jorge laughed, squeezing Elisa tighter so that it was difficult for her to breathe.

"Let... me... go!" Elisa screamed as she struggled even harder.

Ignoring her cries, Jorge nodded over at his young fledgling who was just getting back to his feet. "Gabriel, let's move it!" he called out as he slowly began rising in the air, Elisa held tightly in his arms.

Nodding his head, Gabriel quickly followed suit, his eyes boring holes into Elisa.

Sighing, Elisa continued to struggle, knowing it was useless. "Boy doesn't this bring back memories," she grumbled as Central Park began passing in a green blur before her eyes.

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Clearing in Central Park

Sighing, Goliath glanced up at the dark sky above, muttering a silent prayer for his love. Ever since she had fled the scene, he and Angela had been going around trying to assure that the clan was all fine. Now, everyone was finally back on their feet, Hudson being the last. Shaking his head, Goliath looked back down at his mentor and extended his hand, pulling the old gargoyle to his feet.

"Ah, that lass packs quite a wallop, she does," Hudson grumbled as he patted the leaves and dirt off of his old tunic. Reaching down, Hudson ignored the creaks and cracks in his back as he retrieved his sword from the ground and returned it to its sheath, mindful of Elisa's blood that stained the sharp metal.

"Yeah, you could say that again," Brooklyn muttered as he gently massaged the back of his head where already a large bump was forming where his head had connected with the tree branch.

"Speaking of the lass though, where is she?" Hudson asked warily, turning around and surveying the clearing.

"Gone," Goliath said grimly. "We were able to get through to her, but when she saw the man... she left," Goliath explained, his eyes dropping to the dead man.

"Aye," Hudson nodded, not really agreeing to anything but just stating the first thing that came to mind.

Shaking his head, Goliath turned around and glanced at Elisa's partner. To his dismay, the detective didn't look the best with his features pale against the dark bruises that lined his face. "Matt, are you alright?" Goliath asked slowly as he reached out and put a strong arm on his shoulder.

Shrugging away the pain from his injuries and the shame he felt at saying what he did to Elisa, Matt nodded his head and forced a grin. "Aside from this headache, I'm sitting alright."

Sighing, Goliath nodded. That seemed to be everyone's opinion after their run in with Elisa. Brooklyn had a large purple bruise on the back of his head, hidden under his mass of white hair. Broadway suffered about the same after his run in with a different tree, and Goliath could attest to the same. Lexington seemed to be alright aside from the fact that his green chin was now beginning to darken due to massive bruising. The only mark to be found on Angela was a red imprint of where Elisa's hand had held her death grip. Hudson, on the other hand, was a different story. He too had suffered a blow to his chin, evident by the way that the old warrior continued to massage the area. Beside that though, there was also a weariness in his eyes. Unwillingly, that showed to all that he was not as young as he used to be--he seemed the most harmed from Elisa... his beloved. What were they going to do? Track her down of course, but after? Was there any way to save her? The safety of the city had to come before any personal feelings... but how could he destroy her in order to save some strangers? Could his instinct to protect run that strong to destroy the one that he loved most? Even if they could save her.. could they save her from herself? Goliath knew the look that had flashed in his love's eyes... the look of self-loathing to such an extent he had never known. She had meant her words when she wished that he had never saved her... she would have rather faced death than the deeds she had committed or what she had become.

"Uh, Goliath?" Lex asked, breaking into his leader's thoughts.

"Yes, Lexington?" Goliath asked, forcing himself to focus on his clan. There would be plenty of time later to worry and fret over the future.. or lack of it for him and his love. For now, he needed to concentrate on getting her back.

Looking down at the small device that he clutched in his hand, Lex rapidly began typing away at the miniature buttons. "Guys, Elisa's moving.. and fast. She's leaving the park," Lexington said, his eyes on the beacon as it moved across the little screen.

Growling, Goliath snapped his wings back and looked up into the dark night sky. "It's time to move," he ordered as he looked sharply at the clan. "Hudson, I want you to bring Matt back to the castle and fill in Xanatos on what is going on.. we may need his help." At Hudson's resigned nod, Goliath quickly turned to the rest of the clan. "Let's go."

"Let's hope that she doesn't kick our ass again," Brooklyn muttered under his breath. Catching a glare from Angela, Brooklyn just shrugged his shoulders and began scaling a nearby tree.

As Hudson watched them disappear from sight, he shook his head sadly. Why did this always happen to Goliath? Why was their leader always put in the position where the one he loved was the one who became their enemy.. the one that they had to fight and try to destroy. "Just remember lad, that ye need to be protecting the clan and our protectorate.. that must always come first," Hudson whispered as the clan disappeared from sight.

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

Somewhere over Manhattan

Grumbling about her luck, Elisa took in their surroundings as they finally floated down to the street below. "An abandoned warehouse. Go figure," Elisa muttered as she looked at the dark building before them. She began to expect this as the inner city flew by in a blur as her captors flew further and further towards the waters that marked the warehouse end of the city. Still, she was hoping for something a little more creative. The city street that they stood on was deserted, as it should be at five in the morning, with litter lining the gutters and the bulbs in the street lights long since destroyed. Struggling against the vampire's iron grip on her, Elisa was nonetheless somewhat impressed by what she saw. Even though the building was dark, she could also see that it was well guarded.. and well protected from the light of the sun. All of the visible windows seemed to have been coated with a thick layer of black paint and then boarded over with wood. Also, from the dark alleys that surrounded the warehouse, red eyes glowed at them as they approached the solid metal door that marked entrance to the building.

Standing guard to this door was a woman who looked no more than twenty with blond hair that was twisted into a French braid. She alone would not be enough to deter the hardened thugs that roamed the city streets.. if it were not for the fangs that showed as she grinned at them as they approached.

"Ah, I see that you found the little wench that the Mistress wanted!" the girl crowed in a thick British accent.

"Yeah, Cathy, we found her all right!" Gabriel nodded as he reached up and gave the girl a high five.

Rolling her eyes, Elisa continued to struggle in Jorge's iron grip. "Glad to see that I'm so renowned," Elisa muttered as the girl opened the thick door and let them into the warehouse. The first thing that struck Elisa was the fact that the place was so incredibly huge.. so incredibly huge and empty. Despite the darkness that filled the cavernous room, her sharp eyesight was strong enough to show that no other people were in the room save for another guard who stood before a door at the far end of the room. Still, the guard interested her less than the stack of crates that lined the wall to her left. Blinking and straining her eyes, Elisa barely made out the writing that was prominently displayed on the wood: Laser Guided Canons. "The missing weapons shipment... you guys stole that?" Elisa asked in amazement. So there was another connection between her and her captors beside the small fact that they were all vampires.

Ignoring the struggling woman, Jorge gripped Elisa tighter and began dragging her across the cold concrete floor to the door at the far end, the sound of his shoes cracking against the concrete echoing throughout. Without even bothering to exchange pleasantries, Jorge just nodded at the guard, an older male vampire. Nodding in return, the man quickly opened the next door revealing a set of stairs cut from stone leading down into darkness.

Looking in amazement at the secret stairwell contained behind the door, Elisa couldn't help a cold shiver as Jorge began pulling her down. "Into the pits of hell?" Elisa mumbled as she renewed her struggles to free herself.

"Shut up," Jorge hissed as they reached the final step and entered into a large cavern.

Amazed, Elisa stopped all of her struggles and looked around. The room was huge and dark, the only light coming from the far end where a single chair stood on a raised dais. Lining the dark walls Elisa could barely make out hundreds of pale faced individuals.. no doubt like herself. Unnerved, Elisa saw that they all watched her with cold, glittering eyes. Turning her eyes away, Elisa allowed herself to be propelled further into the room. Before her, sitting in the throne was a beautiful young woman. Young in appearance, but there only. From looking into her cold green eyes, it was obvious to Elisa that this woman had been through much and had lived a long life.. a VERY long life. Before Elisa had a chance to say a word, Elisa's captor quickly stopped before the dais and shoved Elisa's down to the cold stone floor till she knelt on her knees before the throne. Glaring up, Elisa saw that both Jorge and Gabriel had an iron grip on each of her shoulders, ensuring that she would not be moving without their permission.

"Is this the woman?"

Surprised, Elisa looked up and glared at the woman sitting before her. The woman that with those four simple words had gained the whole room's attention. It didn't take a genius, or even a detective to figure out that the woman who spoke now was the leader of this little gathering.

"Yes Mistress," Jorge answered quickly, his voice even as he bowed his head quickly in a show of respect. "This is Detective Elisa Maza, the woman from the warehouse."

Surprised, Elisa jerked her head around and looked at Jorge. Knowing that it was to her benefit to say nothing, Elisa instead just stared at him in amazement, wondering how in the hell he knew her name.

"And?" the Mistress asked, her voice regal as she looked at her servant.

"You were right, Mistress.. she is one of us," Jorge answered quickly, knowing innately the question that she asked with that one simple word. "Also, the men that you hired were correct... the gargoyles do exist."

Narrowing her cat like green eyes, the Mistress focused on the young vampire as she sat forward in her throne. "And how do you know of this?"

"Because, Mistress, my fledgling, Gabriel and I just watched her take out a whole group of them."

A bit surprised at the underling's answer, the Mistress slowly nodded her head and sat back in her chair. Hearing the hushed whispers from around the room, she quickly raised her head and looked at her fledglings. "This changes nothing," she said quickly, her voice like the ruling of God as the voices stopped in an instant. "Now, where is the button?" the Mistress asked as she turned and looked down at Elisa with cold, glittering eyes.

Sighing, Elisa knew that the woman was speaking to her. Even though she knew that it was in her best interests to answer, Elisa decided instead to do it her way.. in other words, she ignored the question and instead chose to glare at her captor.

Frowning, the Mistress looked down at the impudence of the woman, her fiery red hair falling across her face. "I said, where is the button?"

Ignoring the question once more, Elisa looked into the woman's eyes and turned the tables. "Who in the hell are you and why did you bring me here?" she quickly bit back. As she asked the question, she allowed the anger that she felt at her helplessness to show in her eyes, which now glowed a deep red.

Seeing this, the Mistress bit back a smile, unable to resist admiring the woman's courage. Still, it would not be good to encourage this type of behavior. Maintaining her stone cold face, the Mistress looked down at the raven haired woman. "I am known as Mistress."

Upon hearing this, Elisa couldn't resist the short laugh that fell from her lips. Big mistake, as was proven by the nails that were suddenly dug into her shoulder from Jorge. Wincing, Elisa bit back her cry of pain and instead straightened her shoulders. "What the hell is going on? Why do you guys want the button so badly?" she asked instead, her glare just as cold as the rest of the vampires in the room.

This time, unable to stop, the Mistress smiled at the woman.. a very cold smile. "I am a vampire. The oldest one that lives," she replied coldly, her tone matter of fact. "And as for the button, it was lost during a raid of a warehouse for a weapons shipment. We need the button back because it is proof of my organization."

"Which is?" Elisa bit back, storing the info that she was gaining in the back of her mind.

Smiling at the Detective's quickness, the Mistress eyed her carefully. "The organization was founded by me and consists of those of our kind.. those ONLY of our kind. Our activities range from stealing and selling weapons, drugs, mercenary actions, and anything else that we desire."

Narrowing her eyes, Elisa glared at the woman. "So basically anything that's against the law," Elisa ground out slowly. "Why am I being told this?" she asked, getting right to the point. Even though she was appreciative of the information that she was getting, she also knew that stuff like this didn't come without a price.

"Well, as I see it you have two choices... and since I rule here, what I say goes," the Mistress replied, her melodic voice cold and hard--the voice of a cold blooded killer. "You either hand over the button and join our organization, become one of us... or you die."

Closing her eyes briefly, Elisa once more cursed her luck. She couldn't believe it.. this woman was actually offering her a place in her organization. Well, then again, she wasn't actually offering her a place but more like telling her that if she didn't join her group, she was as good as dead.. no, she was dead. If anything, that just showed the woman's stupidity though, for obviously she knew nothing about Elisa. "You might as well wait till hell freezes over because that's how much of a chance that you ever have of me lowering myself to your level and joining your little group!"

Sighing, the Mistress narrowed her eyes as she glared at the woman. It was obvious to all in the room that she was NOT amused by the Detective's words. "You're already at my level," the Mistress said quietly, her tone deadly. "Jorge, has our moral friend here killed yet?"

At the woman's words, Elisa turned her eyes down quickly, her mind flashing back to the man who was now laying dead in Central Park. Unwillingly, the memory of her teeth sinking into his unresisting flesh came forward, the feeling of joy and ecstasy she felt as she drank every last drop of his blood.. as she killed him. Once more, the shame at her deed ripped through her, tearing her soul to shreds. After living something like that with her sense of right and wrong, it would be amazing if she could find yet a shred of her that wanted to live through this mess.. that COULD live through what she had done.

Looking at Elisa's reaction, the Mistress didn't even need for Jorge to confirm what she could already see evidence of. "Like I said, you're already at our level and you are already one of us. Now, will you join us?"

Glaring up at the woman, Elisa pushed back her feelings of self-hate. She would have plenty of time to condemn herself for her actions.. an eternity it seemed. For now, she needed to concentrate on her current situation--and decide if she wanted to live through it or not. Deciding that the woman deserved an answer, Elisa chose the one that would portray her feelings best. Staring in the woman's soulless eyes, Elisa quickly spit at her feet.

Aghast at the woman's boldness, the Mistress quickly glared down into the woman's tormented brown eyes. "Where is the button?" she demanded quickly, her voice icy.

"Fuck you!" Elisa yelled back as the vampires that filled the room began whispering in amazement. Never before had they seen a person, vampire or mortal, stand up to their leader, their queen as this vampire did now. Never. And this one would never live through it.

"That's it, search her!" the Mistress yelled, losing control her temper, something that never happened.

Nodding his head, Jorge and Gabriel quickly tore Elisa's red bomber jacket off of her shoulders and searched it, and then the woman herself. Growling in frustration, he turned towards his mistress and shook his head. "There is no button here!" he cried out as he forced Elisa back to her knees in her jeans and black shirt while she thanked Heaven above for having her left it at the Aerie with Lexington.

"Where is the button?!" the Mistress demanded quickly as the woman began to struggle in Jorge's grip.

Angry, Jorge quickly reached out and backhanded her across the face. To his amazement, this only caused the woman to struggle more in his grasp.

More angry than she had ever been in her long life, the Mistress watched the struggle as a flash of gold caught her eye. Squinting, she turned quickly and watched with wide eyes as a small golden cross slipped out from under the woman's black shirt. Unable to hold back the gasp that fell from her lips, the Mistress quickly stepped off of her dais and moved forward as Jorge and Gabriel finally held Elisa still. Bending low, the Mistress gently fingered the golden cross. "Krishna," she whispered in amazement.

Shocked, Elisa looked up into the vampire's eyes. "How did you know Krishna?" she whispered, the name falling heavy on her lips.

Ignoring the question, the Mistress looked at Elisa with new eyes. "Krishna made you," she said quietly, making it more of a statement than a question. "Where is he?"

For the briefest of moments, Elisa couldn't help the wave of sadness that passed over her at the question. "He's dead," Elisa whispered, remembering the vampire's final moments and words.. words of thanks for setting him free from a long and unhappy life... free to finally join his loved ones in the world beyond.

Shocked by the woman's words, the Mistress slowly backed away and reclaimed her place on the throne, a faraway look in her eyes. "I never would have thought that he'd give up," she murmured quietly, just loud enough that those closest could hear.

Shaking her head, Elisa looked up at the shell shocked woman. "How did you know Krishna?" she repeated, her tone hard.

"I made him," the Mistress finally answered, her gaze finally meeting Elisa's.

Shocked, Elisa stared at the woman. "You... You're Sita?!?" she asked in amazement, her mind turning. "But.. but he said that you were dead!"

Smiling sadly, Sita shook her head slowly. "I decided that I was ready to move on... to start again," Sita explained. At the look of shock that crossed Elisa's face, Sita felt a sudden urge to explain and defend herself. "After all, Krishna still held hate for me in his heart..."

"But he didn't," Elisa interrupted quietly. "He told me that he loved you.... your death tore him apart."

Now it was Sita's turn to look shocked. Nodding slowly, Sita felt a single blood red tear form in the corner of one eye. "I lied to spare him any pain and went my own way."

"But.." Elisa said quietly, a troubled frown flitting across her wide lips, "but I thought that the one that you created was the one that you were to be paired with for life..."

At Elisa's words, the room quickly burst into a mocking laugh. Surprised, Elisa's looked at the mean, condescending looks on everyone's faces. What on earth could be that funny right now was beyond her. Turning, she looked once more at the Mistress, Sita, and saw that her face held not a look of mirth, but of great sadness.

"I lied about that as well," Sita explained quietly, instantly dispelling the laughter in the room. "The ones who resist are the ones with the strongest wills... destiny has nothing to do with it."

Upon hearing her words, two emotions flared in Elisa, one following instantly by the other. First came surprise, an amazing balloon of surprise that knew no ends. After that quickly came anger.. an anger like none that Elisa had ever before felt. An anger that rivaled the anger she felt for herself. "You BITCH!" Elisa swore, her stare red and icy as she glared at the woman. "He chose me and I resisted him! Because of you, he felt that he had to change me into.. into.. into a MONSTER in order to have someone by his side! He believed you!!" Elisa screamed, tears of fury pooling in her dark eyes.

Smiling sadly, Sita slowly shook her head. "He always was a sad one," she murmured quietly, a faraway look entering her eyes once again, "so moral in his time... a good person who always worried about the right thing to do and the good versus the bad. He never wanted to be bad..." Sita trailed off, a small smile on her cold lips.

"You monster," Elisa whispered quietly, her voice hard. "He died because of you... I KILLED him to spare him any more pain... I killed him because of you!" Elisa swore, yelling at her enemy.

Looking as though she had been slapped, Sita glared at Elisa as her eyes began to burn a bright red. "You are a vampire.. yet you killed one of your own?" Sita whispered quietly, her voice deadly. "You killed your creator!!"

Snarling at the evil woman who sat before her, Elisa glared back at her with her own red, glowing eyes. "Maybe I'm slow, but wasn't he already dead in the first place?" she asked, her voice sarcastic with a razor edge. "That I'm already dead now, thanks to you!!"

Hissing at Elisa, showing her sharp and pointed fangs to all, Sita slowly shook her head. "It no longer matters, for you will die for certain now." Growling, she turned quickly and turned her fiery eyes on Jorge and Gabriel. "Kill her... and make it painful!" she ordered, hissing at Elisa.

Struggling even harder, Elisa was lifted roughly from the ground and back out into the dark night. She had no idea where they were taking her, but from Sita's tone, she knew that she wasn't going to like it. As Gabriel struggled to open the door, Elisa could barely hear Sita handing out instructions to her group of vampires.

"The rest of you, pack up everything--we must be out of Manhattan by dawn!" Sita instructed as she glared over her shoulder at Elisa. Turning, she nodded quickly at Gabriel. "Don't forget her jacket.. I never want to see anything related to her ever again."

Nodding his head, Gabriel quickly dashed back and scooped up Elisa's red bomber jacket before returning to his mentor's side.

"Let me go!" Elisa screamed as Gabriel finally got the door open and as they slipped from the room.

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"Goliath," Lexington called out as they soared over the dark warehouses, "she's moving again!"

"Where to?" Goliath asked as he looked over at the young green gargoyle. Luckily for them, a short time after they began tracking Elisa's movements, she had stopped and remained stationary for a short while. Apparently, his love was on the move once again. Still, her movements puzzled him. True, he didn't expect her to stick around Central Park for long, but to head towards the unsavory warehouse district? It didn't make any sense. If Elisa was being true when she said that she never wanted to see them again, then logic said that she would have left town. Shaking his head, Goliath focused once more on Lex.

"Uh.. you're not going to believe this," Lexington muttered as he quickly began typing at the small display, his wings keeping him on a steady course.

"I don't like the sound of that," Brooklyn said quietly as glided nearer to his rookery brother.

"She's heading back towards Central Park!" Lexington finally said, unable to deny the truth any longer.

Containing his own groan, Goliath nodded his head curtly and did a quick one eighty. Unconsciously, his eyes slid over to the eastern horizon where the sky was a lighter blue.. sunrise was coming.. soon.

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Central Park

As Jorge and Gabriel flew down for a landing, Elisa couldn't help but recognize the clearing they now stood in. How could she not? That night, so long ago, when she had taken Goliath for a tour of the city and had ended up being attacked in Central Park, she had spent the day protecting him. Early that morning when she had her final confrontation with Xanatos's goon squad, she was cornered in this exact same place. Behind her rose a sharp cliff of stone. Once more, she was cornered. "Now what?" Elisa muttered as she struggled in Jorge's grip.

"Argh... don't you ever stop fighting?" Jorge asked as Elisa landed a good kick against his knee.

"No," Elisa answered simply as Jorge drug her against the outcropping of rock. Not even trying to be gentle, he quickly flipped Elisa around and slammed her back against the rock, causing her head to smash into the unforgiving stone. Unable to stop the cry from leaving her lips, Elisa slowly slid down onto her knees before the cruel vampire.

Smiling at the woman's pain, Jorge turned slightly and nodded at his apprentice. Smiling knowingly, Gabriel reached inside his large coat and withdrew a long metal stake--almost like a railroad stake. It was at least a foot long, the stake growing wider till it was almost two inches in diameter at the end... which was strangely topped with a grinning skull, all made of metal. Sharing in his master's grin, Gabriel quickly passed the stake over to Jorge, who in turn turned to
glare at the woman.

Groaning at the crashing pain she felt in her skull, Elisa slowly raised her head and looked up, wanting to see what the dynamic duo had in store for her next. As her eyes settled on the long stake, a soft sigh left her lips. This did NOT look good. "Stealing from train tracks now?" Elisa muttered, her eyes trained on the sharp point.

Grinning at Elisa, Jorge looked down at the deadly point and caressed it slowly. "No.. this was made specially for such an occasion."

Without giving Elisa a chance to belittle his toy further, Jorge quickly nodded over at Gabriel. Seeing the sign, Gabriel quickly jumped forward and shoved Elisa's shoulders back against the stone wall.

Gritting her teeth, Elisa wrapped her arms around the young man's and was about to shove him away when she saw Jorge moving out of the corner of her eye. Turning too late, Elisa could do nothing but watch as the evil vampire swung the metal stake back over his head with both arms and then arced it forward and down. Screaming out, Elisa felt the stake pierce first through her thin black tee-shirt, and then into the soft skin of her belly, between two ribs cracking them apart, out her back, and then into the stone behind her. Jorge's drive was so powerful that the stake continued on straight through the stone till just a few inches of the long stake could be seen through the gaping hole in her stomach. Almost immediately blood began soaking her black tee-shirt in a large circle around the skull, which stared up at her with red eyes. The pain was unbelievable, unlike anything she had ever experienced before. In so much pain that she couldn't even cry, Elisa doubled over her stomach, afraid of any movement that would jar the stake and wound her further.

"Hurt a bit, does it?" Jorge asked in his slow, even voice.

Gasping, Elisa pulled her hands away from the gleaming skull and stared in horror at her blood stained hands.. her own blood. The pain was so intense that it was a wonder that she was still conscious.

"Hmm.. I do feel a touch sorry for you. After all, you killed your creator, Krishna was it?" Jorge asked, pausing in his mental torment. At Elisa's lack of response, Jorge shook his head and knelt before the woman, staring at her down turned head. "Anyway, you killed the poor bastard before he even had a chance to teach you anything about your new powers and weaknesses. You see, vampires have remarkable healing powers," Jorge said, a sadistic grin on his face. "If you're wounded, it only takes seconds to minutes for the wound to heal.. as I'm sure you're aware of from the bullet wound you received earlier this evening.. right?"

Only half listening to her tormentor's words, Elisa closed her eyes against the waves of pain. Pain that was so strong that it blocked out everything else but his words. It blocked out the sounds of the dark night: the owls hooting, the birds chirping, the city beginning to awake. It also blocked out the feeling of the cold granite pieces biting into her legs and knees through her thin jeans covering and the cold wind pushing gently at her hair, marking the winter yet to come. Only the immense and tormenting pain that allowed no movement and a constant flow of blood and his words were able to reach into her muddled mind.

Not expecting an answer to his questions, Jorge quickly continued. "On the other hand, a vampire's wounds cannot heal if they are obstructed. Actually, you're experiencing this first hand... you can't heal the wound in your stomach until the stake is removed," Jorge said, laughing at her pain. "As for your next lesson, and this one is important, blood is what makes us live. The more blood you have, the longer you will live and the stronger you will be. And since you are losing quite a bit of blood out of that nasty hole in you... well, you're not feeling very strong, are you?" Jorge asked, turning and grinning at his companion who shared his smile.

Gasping, Elisa could already see where this was heading.. a not very pleasant direction for her.

"Soon, you won't even be strong enough to lift a hand. But that brings us to our third and last lesson," Jorge continued, the smile suddenly gone as he looked at Elisa with full seriousness. "You see, you can't die from bleeding to death. No matter how much blood a vampire loses, they will never die from the loss. On the other hand, one thing that is sure to kill one of our kind is the sun. I assure you, it's rays are VERY lethal."

Closing her eyes, Elisa whimpered pitifully as yet another wave of searing pain rolled throughout her body, her arms wrapped protectively around her wounded middle.

"And that is the way that you shall die. For with that stake in your stomach, you are now immobile, bleeding, and very weak. Therefore, you have no way to hide yourself from the sun which shall be rising in.. oh, about five minutes," Jorge replied, the grin returning.

"Ah, speaking of the sun," Gabriel asked quietly as he tugged at his mentor's shirt, his eyes trained on the lightening sky, "shouldn't we be hitting the road.. and fast?" he asked, his voice squeaking. Death by the sun's rays did NOT sound appealing to him.

"Too true, my young Gabriel," Jorge answered as he stared down at the bleeding woman. "Enjoy the sun," he whispered, his voice cold and hard as he turned quickly and flew towards the receding night, seeking cover from the sun's rays.

Turning, Gabriel couldn't help but feel the tiniest bit of pity for the beautiful woman. After all, that had to hurt. Shrugging his shoulders, Gabriel knew that his empathy for the woman was still just one of his weaknesses of being such a young vampire.. soon, he'd be able to kill with the best of them and feel no remorse what so ever at the life he had taken. "Burn baby burn!" he cackled as he threw the bright red jacket he had carried since the warehouse at the woman's side. Without another glance back, he launched himself into the light bluish-purple sky after his mentor.

"Goliath..." Elisa whispered, blood red tears trailing down her cheeks as the sun continued to rise. "Help!" she croaked, and even as she did, Elisa realized that she wanted to live. Despite all of the crimes that she had committed and all of the rules that she had broken by taking that man's life, Elisa wanted to live. Oh how she wanted to live! How she wanted to see another night with the one that she loved! "Goliath!" Elisa screamed as pain ripped through her.

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

Castle Wyvern - sunrise

"Owen, do you have any word yet from Goliath or the clan?" Xanatos asked as he fastened the helmet on his protective armor with his wife's help. Ever since the clan's departure so long ago, the Xanatos family had been monitoring Elisa's position on the tracer. Still, the detective was moving at such a fast clip all over the city, that it was hard to believe that the clan was having any luck with her. Plus, with dawn almost upon them, that left it up to him to take up where Goliath and his clan had left off.

"Not yet, Sir," Owen replied as he followed his boss's fast clip towards the ramparts and the open air of the night beyond. "May I say once more, sir, that I do not think that it is a wise idea going after Miss Maza."

Sighing, Xanatos turned and faced his loyal manservant. "Yes, Owen, and it's been noted," he said quickly as he continued on.

"You do realize, sir, that if Goliath can not get through to the Detective, then there is little chance that she will listen to you," Owen continued.

"I agree, David," Fox said quickly as Xanatos stepped up to the ramparts, his eyes on the rising sun. "You saw what happened last time with Krishna... I don't want something to happen to you again..." she trailed off, tears shining in her bright eyes at the memory of finding her beloved husband lifeless after the monster had drank his blood.

Sighing, David turned around and hugged his wife tightly. "I love you Fox, but you know that I can't just let her go. The sun is about to rise, which means that the gargoyles will no longer be able to pursue the Detective..."

"But they can just pick up the trail tomorrow night!" Fox pleaded as she held onto his armor for dear life, ever careful of the hard metal. "She still has the beacon on her..."

"Fox.. we just can't let her go," David repeated quietly.

Sighing, Fox slowly nodded her head. She knew that her husband was, as always, right. "Very well, but be careful!" Fox whispered. "I love..."

"Sir, someone is coming," Owen interrupted, his eyes on a dot that was growing ever closer to the castle.

Turning, Xanatos watched as the dot emerged into a gargoyle shape.. a gargoyle shape that was carrying a human. Adjusting his internal monitor, Xanatos zoomed in on the shape and felt a smile break out on his face as he recognized the gargoyle elder, Hudson. "It's Hudson!" he said as the gargoyle glided closer. A few minutes later he landed softly on the stone castle, Matt Bluestone in his arms. "Cutting it kind of short," Xanatos said with a smile that no one could see as he clasped arms with the old gargoyle.

"Aye, but it be a long way from Central Park," Hudson acknowledged as he withdrew his hand and rubbed his sore wings.

"Where are the others?" Fox asked, searching the night sky for the rest of the clan.

"Still pursuing the lass... I'm 'fraid that things 'ave taken a turn fer the worse..." Hudson said, his face turning sad.

"What?" Xanatos asked quickly, his eyes scanning the tracer that would lead him to the Detective.. now located back in Central Park it seemed.

"Elisa killed someone and then attacked us when we went to stop her," Matt answered for the gargoyle, his eyes sad.

Sighing at his words, Xanatos wasted no more time and fired his thrusters quickly. With the sun rising in just a few minutes, it seemed that he needed to get to the Detective sooner than ever.

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

Growling, Goliath looked back over his shoulder and watched as the sky lightened even further. "Where is she?!" Goliath roared as he pushed his wings to catch every single little thermal draft he could find. He needed to get to Elisa before sunrise.. he needed to find her before he turned to stone. For if he didn't get through to her by then, she may leave New York, making it even more difficult for them to locate her.

"Goliath, right below!" Lexington called out from behind him. In truth, the entire clan was gliding behind Goliath. Because of their smaller size, the rest of the clan usually had the advantage of speed over their large leader. On the other hand, now Goliath was so driven to find his love that he was leaving his clan in the dust. As a matter of a fact, they were all straining to catch up and trying their best not to lose sight of him.

Without even slowing, Goliath dove down through the tree branches, ignoring the cuts and scratches he was receiving from them, and landed roughly on the forest floor below. "Elisa!" he bellowed, his eyes searching through the brightening light of the day. Time was running out, and it was running out fast. His internal alarm clock was going crazy.. the sun was about to rise and he was about to turn to stone.. he had no time! All about him trees towered above and hid the light blue to deep reds that the sky was turning. Suddenly, Goliath heard a soft moan from behind him. Turning quickly, Goliath dashed through the trees, shoving branches here and there, and soon found himself in a clearing that faced towering sheer rock. Frantic now, he looked a little to the right and saw Elisa's huddled form against the cold rock. "Elisa!" Goliath called out in relief. He was going to turn to stone soon, but at least he would let her know how much he loved her, and hopefully she would stay with him until sunset.. then everything would be alright. Worried, a small frown flitted across his face as he saw that Elisa barely responded to his voice. Turning, he quickly rushed the small distance between them and knelt beside her. Ever so gently he reached his hand out and touched her shoulder. "Elisa, the sun is about to rise.. but please wait until tonight so that we can talk... I... I love..." Goliath started when Elisa finally rose her head and faced him.

"Goliath," Elisa whispered quietly, her voice weak from the loss of blood.

Surprised at the blood red tears that trailed down her cheek, reminding Goliath all the more that Elisa was no longer human, Goliath followed her eyes down till they rested on the metal protruding from her stomach. Aghast at the wound and at the large amounts of blood that soaked her black tee-shirt, Goliath fell back and stared with wide eyes. "Elisa.. what has happened?" Goliath asked quickly as he regained his composure and rushed forward again. There was blood everywhere.. so much blood! What should he do? What could he do?

"Goliath," Elisa whispered through waves of bright red pain. Ever so slowly she unwrapped one of her stiff hands from around the gleaming red skull that marked the end of the metal stake and reached her wavering hand out towards him. As the blood red tears dripped down her cheeks, she gently laid her hand against his lavender cheek, staining it red with her blood. Suddenly another wave of pain roared through the hole in her stomach, causing her to curl up once more in a ball of pain.

"Oh God Elisa.. what.. what can I do?" Goliath asked, his own clear tears running down his cheeks. What could have possibly happened? Who could have done such of thing to her? Who could have driven a metal stake through his love and into the stone wall behind? What on earth had happened?!

"Please Goliath.. please take it out," Elisa whispered, her face twisted in a mask of pure torment.

"But.. but I should leave it in..." Goliath trailed off as he heard a mass of branches being whipped around behind him. Turning around, he saw that the rest of the clan had finally caught up to them... and were staring at the sight before them with wide eyes.

"I can't heal.. can't heal with it in," Elisa gasped, unable to cry from the pain anymore, it being too intense.

Looking back as if for help from the clan, Goliath slowly faced Elisa and nodded. Very carefully he wrapped his hands around the gleaming skull. Gritting his teeth, Goliath then pulled with all of his might. The instant that the stake began to move, Elisa began to scream like something that he had never heard before, such a pure pain that it... it was unreal. As the stake grated out from the stone wall and pulled back through her back and out the front, Goliath roared along with his love, feeling her pain. The instant that she was free, Elisa collapsed forward into Goliath's arms. Gasping, she lay there and stared up into her love's face. "You'll be alright now.. you'll heal?" Goliath asked, hoping that she would say yes as the clan gathered around, all unable to look away from the large, bloody hole that marred her perfect stomach. Even as he asked the question, he already knew the answer. She didn't look right.. not right at all. Her dark black hair shone glossy, yet her skin was waxy and pale and her eyes were dim with bright red tears staining her skin.

Forcing the closest thing she could come to a smile, Elisa gritted her teeth against the pain and shook her head slowly. Even now she could feel the hunger build within her as her body took on the momentous task of repairing the hole in her stomach. She needed blood.. but even more than that, she needed time. "Goliath.. the sun," Elisa gasped. Jorge was right. She was too weak to hide from the sun, and her beloved clan had no time to do it for her.

Not understanding, Goliath shook his head slowly. "Elisa, at sunset we will figure something out..."

Crying at the unfairness of it all, Elisa felt the blood tears drip down her face. "I.. love you," Elisa whispered.

As if it were scripted, Goliath took his cue and bent down till his lips met with Elisa's. As he kissed her pale lips, his own clear and salty tears mingled with her dark red blood tears to create a mix together as they trailed together down her cheek. Pulling back, Goliath stared at her with pure love in his eyes, knowing that he lived for her and for her only. With only love on his mind, Goliath smiled down at Elisa, still believing that they could make everything right that night, after the sun had fallen.

Sadly, Elisa helped bring that hope crashing down as the sun slowly rose over the horizon. "No time," she whispered.

Only as the stone sleep began to creep over Goliath did understanding reach him. It was only as Lexington cried out, "Goliath, she's a vampire now! She'll die in the sun!" when he remembered the full extent of her condition. "No!" Goliath roared as his body turned to stone.

Sadly, trying to ignore the pain, Elisa watched with a mixture of wonder and awe as Goliath turned to stone before her very eyes. One last clear tear that dripped down his stone visage was the last clue that this wonderfully carved statue was once a living being... was once her love. Such was life.. you lived, and you died. Now, it was Elisa's turn to die. As the sun continued to climb, Elisa felt a whole new kind of pain--the pain of her skin burning as every single area that was open to the sun's violent rays. As she began to scream in pain greater than even that of the stake pierced through her, pain of being burned alive, Elisa thanked whatever being watched out for her from above for allowing her to see Goliath change that one last time.. to say goodbye.

Suddenly, all of her thoughts of peace and goodwill vanished in a hurried minute when a dark shadow blocked out the bright sun. "Detective, it's time to get out of here!" Xanatos yelled out as he reached down and roughly pried Elisa out of Goliath's stone hands. Holding the bloody detective in his hands, Xanatos quickly looked around, searching for a possible way to hide her. Even as he did this, his eyes couldn't help but stray to her, unable to block out the Detective's tortured screams as her skin began to smoke. There was no place to hide, no place to hide from the sun! Desperate for a solution, Xanatos quickly dropped the detective on the hard dirt ground and then threw his body over hers, trying his best to cover her body and hide her skin from the bright sun's rays. Even as he did this, he knew that what little protection he was offering wouldn't be enough.. not nearly enough. "Owen!" Xanatos yelled into his headset mike. "Where are the helicopters! I need the helicopters honed in on my position now!" Xanatos yelled, his voice cracking, whether it be from the strain or from the emotional turmoil he was in after being forced to hear Elisa's tormented screams--screams of pure torture. "Hang on Elisa.. hang on just a little bit longer," Xanatos pleaded quietly, knowing that his words couldn't possibly be reaching Elisa's ears over her own screams. "Just a little bit longer..."

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

Sunset

As the lazy sun slid over the horizon that marked the line between heaven and earth, the gargoyles slowly awoke. Yawning and stretching, they threw their arms in the air, arched their backs, and stretched their wings out to their sides, greeting the dark night sky with their roars. As life once more entered Goliath's body, so did awareness, and with that came all memories of the past night.

"Elisa!" Goliath roared and turned around quickly... and almost fell off of his perch atop the highest tower of Castle Wyvern. "What?" Goliath growled as he looked around and saw the clan awakening below him. How was this possible? They had been in Central Park at sunrise.. how did they get back? More importantly, what was Elisa's fate?

"Goliath, over here," Xanatos called out from his position next to the stairs.

Turning, Goliath quickly jumped off of his perch and rushed over to the billionaire. "Xanatos.. Elisa?" Goliath asked quickly, his voice cracking on his love's name.

"She lives," Xanatos said quietly, a large smile on his face.

"But.. but how?" Goliath asked, a grin quickly lighting up his face as he followed Xanatos down the winding stairs.

"I was able to offer some protection from the sun for the Detective until we were able to get our helicopters in there... Goliath, I'm not going to lie to you. She was hurt.. hurt badly," Xanatos said as he stopped on mid-step and faced the large gargoyle, his large and uncharacteristic smile faltering.

"How.. where is she?" Goliath asked, his own smile faltering as well.

"She's still in the medlab... when we got her back here, she was badly burned by the sun..." Xanatos said quietly, still remembering her charred skin and the horrid stench of burnt flesh. "We gave her blood when we got her in, and her skin is back to normal now, but her stomach wound isn't healing as fast.. well, as fast as we thought it would," Xanatos explained as he led Goliath down the twisting hallways until they stopped outside the doors of the infirmary.

Pausing, Goliath waited before entering the room and stared at his enemy-turned-ally. He knew that the billionaire was leading up to something, but to what, he didn't know. "What do you mean, you thought it would?"

Sighing, Xanatos ran a hand through his dark hair. "You must remember that we've never dealt with a vampire before Krishna, and even then, the exposure was limited," Xanatos explained. "We're not sure exactly WHAT to expect.. but.."

"But what, Xanatos?" Goliath asked quietly, anxious to see his love.

Sighing once again, Xanatos stopped his pacing and met Goliath's eyes. "Listen, I'm more worried about how this affected her emotionally than physically. Her body will heal.. but her mind?..."

Growling softly, Goliath nodded his head. He knew about this problem and had been aware of it ever since he had first seen Elisa bent over the dead man. Elisa had always been a protector, and that had always come first for her, but now she had killed someone in cold blood.. she had fed off of him. But did it matter? He loved her... Shaking his head, Goliath gently pushed Xanatos aside and entered the large infirmary. Right away he saw her lying in a white hospital bed against the far wall. She seemed to be sleeping. Trying to remain quiet, Goliath slowly crept across the room and stood by her bedside. She looked so peaceful and angelic.. it was hard to imagine that everything he had lain witness to before had actually happened. Her
black hair was lush and glossy beneath her head, and her skin was once more it's usual tan color, her lips red. The only thing that was really a testament to what had happened and the fact that she was changed was the IV that was inserted into her arm... the IV that dripped in fresh blood from a bag straight into her body... blood that she needed to survive. Ignoring this fact, Goliath reached a hand out and gently took Elisa's hand into his. The minute that his hand made contact with hers, Elisa's eyes fluttered open. "I didn't mean to wake you," Goliath whispered quietly.

Smiling, Elisa squeezed Goliath's hand gently. "I heard you come in... a.. perk, to my condition," she replied, her traditional smirk pulling at her lips.

Encouraged by this, Goliath smiled and bent down and kissed her forehead. "I love you Elisa," he said, meaning every word of it.

For some reason, instead of reassuring her, Elisa felt troubled. "Goliath... I killed a man," Elisa whispered, blood red tears in her eyes. Feeling the annoying wetness collecting there, she quickly reached a hand up and wiped the tears away, and then stared with wide eyes at the red streaks on her hands. "I'm a monster who craves blood, drinks blood, needs blood, and who even cries blood," Elisa whispered, a sob building within her chest.

"No, Elisa!" Goliath said quickly as he squeezed her hand and then brought it to his lips. Ever so gently, he kissed her knuckles and then gently rubbed his own across her forehead where she would have brow ridges if she were a gargoyle. "I love you," he repeated.

"But how can you love a monster? A killer?" Elisa asked bitterly, her expression turning sour. "You heard what I said earlier.. I'm every bit the protector that you are, but now I'm forced to drink the.. BLOOD of those I protect! I'm a monster!"

"No you're not Elisa!" Goliath contradicted once again. "You cannot help what you are now.. you must accept it. Despite the changes made in your physiology, you are still the same person. You are still the same protector..."

"Am I?" Elisa broke in, self disgust showing in her face. "Goliath, that man is dead at my hand! I lost control!"

"You lost control one time.. that still doesn't change what you are on the inside," Goliath said, his dark eyes boring into hers. "Elisa, the clan and I are not going to abandon you.. and we're not going to let you abandon us! We can face anything together!"

Sighing, Elisa closed her eyes against a wave of pain that flashed through her stomach. "I believe you," she whispered, tears in her eyes. Opening them, she focused her dark eyes on those of her love. "Goliath, I love you so much.. I never want to be apart from you," Elisa whispered, the truth shining in her eyes. "You're right when you said that I'm not changed on the inside, for I know that I'm not. I can't promise that I'll never again lose control, but I can try my best not to," Elisa amended, her strength resolving.. until one little detail came crashing back. "But we keep forgetting one small detail.. Goliath, I need blood to survive and I refuse to take it from someone else..."

"And you don't need to Detective," Xanatos said, finally entering the stage as he made his presence known by stepping beside Goliath.

"What do you mean?" Elisa asked, cocking her eyebrow at the man.

"We were able to bring you back with blood from blood banks.. why can't we always do that?" Xanatos asked, a boyish grin lighting up his face. "After all, we'd just give you enough per night to get rid of the hunger that you've mentioned so that you can function normally."

"Function normally?" Elisa asked in disbelief. "How can my life ever be normal now? Xanatos, I'm a vampire!" Elisa said, laughing at the absurdity of it all.

"Easily," Xanatos said, a new light entering his eye. Just from that alone, you could see that he really had been thinking about this little problem. "No one besides us needs to know that you're different. After all, vampires must lead night lives... you are a detective for the NYPD, 2nd class that works the night shift. What could be better?"

"Well," Elisa murmured, still unconvinced.

"If anything, in a strange way, your new 'condition' is a sort of bonus. You now have strength, agility, and speed even greater than the gargoyles! Think of how much better you'll be able to protect New York now!" Xanatos said, a big grin on his face.

Unable to hold back her laughter any more, Elisa shook her head. "Okay, okay.. you don't need to sell me on the idea!" she laughed, a genuine smile touching her lips. "But people will start to wonder when five to ten years down the road I look the exact same... Xanatos, I'm immortal."

Sighing, Xanatos felt his smile begin to sag. "I suggest that we worry about that problem when it comes along and instead learn to deal with this one thing at a time," he answered wisely as he gently massaged his brown goatee. "In the meantime, with your permission I would like to take some blood samples and other tests... hopefully, by the time that your age becomes a problem, my staff may have discovered a solution.. a cure, of sorts, to your condition."

Sighing, Elisa slowly nodded her head. What choice did she have? Really, there was none. Either she did as Xanatos recommended, or else she abandoned all that she loved and cared for right now. Turning, Elisa looked into Goliath's dark eyes and squeezed his hand tighter. Seeing the love shining in his eyes, she knew that there was no question to be answered.. she could never leave him.. never. "I'll do it," Elisa whispered as she smiled at her love.

"Visitor alert!"

Surprised, Elisa turned and watched as the clan plus Matt filed into the room, Brooklyn in the lead. Laughing, she watched as her partner drew out a large bouquet of flowers from beneath his trench coat. "What's that for?" she asked, relieved to see nothing but concern in his eyes.

"For my partner, of course!" Matt said, a boyish grin on his face.

"Matt, you shouldn't have!"

Turning a little red, Matt shook his head slowly. "What are you talking about? I didn't. Those are from the Captain.. she hopes that you make a swift and speedy recovery from that nasty cold which is keeping you from work tonight!" Matt said, laughing at the collected groan he received from the clan.

"Cute Matt, very cute," Elisa replied as she rolled her eyes and accepted the beautiful bouquet of carnations.

"So Elisa.. how are you feeling?" Angela asked hesitantly as she stepped beside her father and smiled at her friend.

"Better," Elisa replied with a shy smile. Turning, she scrutinized the clan and was relieved to see that they all looked good as new, no sign of her attack on them present. Clearing her throat, she met everyone's gaze one at a time. "Guys, I'm.. I'm sorry for attacking you last night.. I..."

"Hey, don't worry about it, Elisa!" Broadway called out, his ever ready grin shining on his face. "We all know that it wasn't you!"

"'Sides," Brooklyn cut in, a devilish grin on his own beaked face, "we put up a pretty good fight!"

Laughing, Elisa nodded her head. "If it was anyone else that you guys were fighting, you would have won the fight for sure..."

"But Elisa," Goliath interrupted, a loving smile on his face, "we did win the fight in the end, and that's the only thing that matters."

Sighing, Elisa shook her head slowly. Why was she so lucky? True, it didn't seem that luck was going her way when that small drop of blood did what it did to her.. but then again, she still had the love of her clan and some kind of a life to lead... she still had Goliath's love. What could ever be more important than that? Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. "Matt," she asked as she turned and looked at her partner, "what were you even doing here the other night? You were supposed to be getting some sleep!" Elisa said, confusion showing in her eyes.

At her question, Matt grinned slowly. "Well, I had an interesting night up until that point," he replied mysteriously. "You see, when I stopped by Demona's work place the guard in front told me to go on up when I flashed my badge..."

"Mother let you in after she had already changed?" Angela asked in disbelief.

"No, Demona didn't even know I was coming... you can bet that the guard is no longer working there!" Matt laughed.

"Well, what happened?" Elisa asked quickly, curiosity getting the better of her as well.

Laughing at the memory, Matt shook his head slowly. "Well, the secretary wasn't in the room so I went ahead and walked right in to her office..."

"You did WHAT?" Brooklyn asked, thinking that the detective had gone mad.

"Yeah, the door was open and I figured that I came this far anyway, so I walked on in... and man, you should have SEEN the look on Demona's face when I came in!" Matt laughed, tears in his eyes and his face red over the memory. "Before she had a chance to attack, I went ahead and said that I and Detective Elisa Maza were handling her stolen weapons shipment case... she went ballistic!" Matt laughed. "If only I had a camera then! Right away she went to the phone and began making calls to all of her high up friends demanding for the case to be passed onto someone else!"

"So that's what tied you up until the time you arrived at the castle?" Elisa asked in disbelief.

"Yeah, but that's not the best part," Matt said, his smile growing, if possible. "It seems that Demona had used up all of her favors and in the end was pretty much told to stick it!"

"So we still have the case?" Elisa asked. Even as she did, she knew that the case would never be solved. After all, she now knew who was in possession of the stolen weapons, and she doubted that they'd ever find them. Even if they were able to do that, they would also never be able to prosecute the thieves.. how did you send vampires to prison?

"Nope," Matt laughed, "she dropped the case! I was coming over last night to tell you that the case had been dropped!"

At Matt's words, all of the clan began to laugh a little. After all, Demona must of been FURIOUS to see that she was stuck with one of her worst enemies handling her case, depending on Elisa to get her weapons back. Soon, the little laughs became deeper until everyone was in hysterics. As Elisa wiped the tears from her eyes, she smiled over at her partner. "Nice work Matt."

"Anytime Elisa, anytime."

THE END

Once more, thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this. Your opinions, comments, criticisms, etc., are, as always, welcome and encouraged at Lisette_1@lycos.com. Thanks for reading! :)