by Lisette: Lisette_1@lycos.com

Created on: 03/21/01

Revised on: 11/27/01

Legalese: Nothing here is of my own creation. Goliath and his crew belong to Buena Vista and Disney. The characters of Talika, Lisette, and Caleb on the other hand, are of the author's creation and should not be used without her express permission. In addition, the words taken from the song, "Standing at the Edge of the Earth," belong to Blessid Union of Souls and no infringement on their copyrights has been intended. In no way will a profit be made from this.

Author's Note: This story is the eleventh part of the Talika series and a reminder that Avalonian time runs 24 times slower than in the Real World.

Brief summary: Will Elisa ever awaken? Will the clan ever be reunited? Maybe.. but things can only get more complicated.

Rating: PG-13 due to language and content

Previously in "Saving Trickster Puck"...

"Owen turned into Puck and, in the process, went against Oberon again," Elisa explained, wincing as she thought of the trouble that the small trickster must be in.

"What do we do?" Angela asked slowly, remembering all too well the anger that she had glimpsed during the two times that she had encountered the lord of the third race.

"Well why don't we just go to Av'lon an' get Puck from Unca Obe'ron an' Auntie Tie'tanie?" Hope asked as she raised her hands slightly and shrugged her little shoulders as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

* * * * *

"We think that where they went, Elisa sent them magically," she explained, not bothering to look up.

"An' why do ye think that, lass?" Hudson asked slowly as he stroked his chin thoughtfully.

"Many reasons: magic is the only logical explanation for their disappearances, Elisa was probably the only one able to move them all because of Owen's restrictions, Lisette's condition, and Hope's age," she said, counting the reasons off on her fingers as she balanced Alex in her arms. "But the main reason was that when the doctors left Elisa six hours ago she was awake, stable, and out of the woods. About four hours ago something drained on her so much that she was almost killed," Fox replied bluntly, almost sorry for her words as Goliath visibly paled. "Now she's slipped into a coma and can't tell us where my husband or the others have gone!"

* * * * *

"The Trickster Puck shall be spared his life and released back to the mortal world," Titania announced before turning and staring into the young woman's bright blue eyes, "provided that the halfling Lisette remains on Avalon in his stead."...

"Release Puck and I shall remain in his place," Lisette responded.

* * * * *

These are my kin? Lisette couldn't help asking herself as she surveyed the odd group that filled the room. "Oh là là," she groaned as her friends disappeared in a flash of bright light. "Please, hurry back..."


Avalon -- Throne Room

As the mortals disappeared in a flash of bright light, Queen Titania nodded her head curtly in satisfaction. Quickly, as the murmuring of her fae kin grew into a dull roar she turned to her beloved husband and grasped his arm tightly. "My husband, I quickly ask a favor of you -- and time is of the essence..."

Castle Wyvern -- ramparts

As the bright flash of light slowly died away, Angela, Owen, and Xanatos slowly stood apart and admired the bright moon that shone down upon them from the highest tower of Wyvern. "We're back," Angela murmured needlessly as she pulled Hope closer into her arms, shielding the small child from the warm breeze that ruffled her long, brown braid.

"And we must hurry," Owen added as he turned abruptly on his heel and started down the steep tower stairs. "The less time that Lisette spends on Avalon with the Lord and Lady, the better," he muttered as Xanatos and Angela quickly followed behind. "We must find the Detective."

Aerie Building -- Infirmary

Sighing, Goliath slowly reached forward and lovingly brushed an errant strand of raven hair from Elisa's pale face. She looked so beautiful -- like an angel deep asleep. In a way, Goliath was happy for her that she was finally able to gain the rest that she so obviously deserved, but at the same time he wanted nothing more for his love to awaken and fill his arms once again. It had been over a week now since the fateful night.. the night that had all but torn apart the clan and left the nights cold and bleak. All in one night Elisa's long-dead daughter had been revived and reunited with her mother, Caleb had returned, Elisa and Hope had both been shot with dark matter, Lisette had taken Hope's injuries from her and saved the child, and now.. Lisette had died that night, Elisa had fallen into a coma, and Xanatos, Owen, Hope, and his Angela were missing. All that remained were questions, questions that only Elisa herself could answer, and questions that would remain unanswered until his love awakened once again... if she ever reawakened.

Shaking his head quickly, Goliath banished the thought to the furthest regions of his mind as he turned his dark eyes to his love once again. He wouldn't let himself think that there was no longer any hope.. he couldn't. For if he did, soon he would be in much the same state of despair that he knew his second in command drowned within. Ever since he had heard the news, Goliath had barely allowed himself to leave Elisa's bedside -- he hadn't been able to. But even from there he had heard the worried words of his mentor and of Brooklyn's rookery brothers. All was not well for the young gargoyle. To be honest, Goliath couldn't blame him. Even though it had been just recently that he had finally gotten to know the young mage, he too had been charmed by her sweet innocence... an innocence that was now forever lost to the world.

Wincing, Goliath quickly shook his head, not allowing himself to think of that loss as well. Turning, he watched as Elisa's chest slowly raised and then fell, a silent sign of the life that still beat strongly within her. At times, he was so frustrated by her never ending sleep. All he wanted to do was take her small shoulders in his hands and throttle her until her eyelids snapped open, revealing her deep brown eyes to all the world. He wanted to see the sun shine through her smile once again and taste the sweet raindrops on her petal-soft lips.. her lips that were now so silent to the world. But that was not to be and it seemed at times that she would never awaken from her peaceful slumber.

Suddenly the door burst open behind him, sending Goliath to his feet in a lumbering and frightening pose, ready to fend off whatever dared to intrude upon Elisa's solace... and stopped dead in his tracks as Angela burst into the room, Hope in hand as Xanatos and Owen trailed after. "Angela?" he whispered hoarsely, barely able to believe that his child stood before him -- as a human, no less.

Instantly, he knew that he was seeing no mirage as the young woman smiled brightly, gently placing the small child on her feet before stepping forward quickly and wrapping her thin arms around Goliath's neck. "Oh Father, I'm so sorry for being away for so long," Angela murmured, instantly fearful at the desolate and bleak feeling that emanated from his dark eyes.

"Where have you been?" he asked roughly, squeezing her gently, ever mindful of her weaker human form.

"Didn't Elisa tell..." she trailed off in confusion as a small whimper sounded from behind her. Turning quickly, Angela pulled out of her father's warm embrace and watched as tears clouded Hope's bright blue eyes.

"Why is Mommy still in bed?" she whimpered quietly as she pointed past G'liath. "You said that she'd be all better!" she accused, tears now dripping down her little face.

Confused, the young woman turned quickly and watched in confusion as Owen left Xanatos' side and strode quickly towards the familiar hospital bed. "Elisa?" she murmured, finally noticing what had caught the little girl's attention.

"What happened?" Owen asked tightly, his eyes scanning over the detective's pale features as he felt Xanatos fall into step behind him. Instead of being up and about as he had figured that the detective would be by now, Detective Maza was once again sprawled in the same hospital bed, pale sheets pulled up against her chin as her dark black hair pooled around her pale face. This time, there were no machines that crowded around her bed besides a simple heart monitor that beeped away and proved to all that she was still alive and kicking.. somewhat.

"We were hoping that you could tell us," Goliath answered, his voice turning momentarily gruff as his dark eyes narrowed at the man. Instantly though, he softened his words as he heard Hope's quiet tears. Turning, he gently lifted the small child into his arms, amazed at how light and delicate she felt. With a nod at Angela, he resumed his vigil beside Elisa's bedside and met the manservant's direct gaze. "When we awoke the following evening Fox informed us that after being stabilized, Elisa had almost.. died," he whispered, his gaze momentarily becoming distant before he once again focused on the quiet man. "They were able to save her and since then she has slipped into a coma... Fox also mentioned that you four were missing and that..." he trailed off, not wanting to add the last part. Ever since the group had walked into the room, the one person who was missing was painfully obvious and saying it aloud made it all too real.

"She's in a coma?!" Xanatos interrupted, his usual calm facade broken in a brief moment as a deep frown covered his face. "Well do we know how long it could last?" he asked quickly, wracking his brain for all the knowledge that he had of coma patients, unhappily realizing that he didn't know very much.

"Possibly forever," Goliath murmured, finally saying aloud what the doctors and everyone else had been trying to tell him for the past week.

"Mommy," Hope sobbed, hearing G'liath's words. Even if she didn't really understand what a coma was or what forever meant, she knew enough to know that it was a very, very bad thing. "Mommy!!!" she screamed as she suddenly leaned forward out of G'liath's arms, reaching for her sleeping mommy. Why wouldn't she wake up? Why wouldn't she take her in her arms and make it all better?

"But she can't be in a coma!" Angela protested, her eyes filling with tears. "She has to go get Lisette!" she argued as she turned away, putting her slim hands to her ears as she tried to block out Hope's heartbreaking screams.

"Get Lisette?" Goliath asked quickly as Xanatos took Hope from his arms, quietly taking the child from the room. "Angela, what are you talking about? Where is Lisette?" he asked quickly as he turned and placed a lavender hand firmly on each shoulder and forced the young woman to look into his eyes.

As tears slowly filled Angela's eyes, the young gargess-turned-human turned away from the hospital bed and met her father's dark eyes. "On Avalon," she whispered, her heart breaking as she realized that she was letting her friend down... and then completely shattering as she finally understood her father's words. Elisa may not ever wake up. "Oh no," she whispered as she weakly dropped to her knees on the cold floor, her quiet sobs filling the small room.

In shock at his daughter's words, Goliath could offer no comfort as he tried to digest what he had been told. "Lisette's on Avalon?" he asked in confusion, feeling the beginnings of a massive headache start to come on. "So she is still alive?"

Sighing softly, Brooklyn watched as the bright lights of the cars moved below him. The night was so quiet, the dull roar and the honking of the cars a soft background to his thoughts... his thoughts of Her. Lisette... just the whispering of her name throughout his mind brought a fresh wave of grief pouring through his limbs... the pain was so sharp that each thought of her cut him deeply like a knife. Closing his eyes against the pain, Brooklyn felt his talons dig deeply into the stone ledge that he sat upon, the soft crunching of the pierced rock lost to his mind as he swayed with the strong wind.

"Why?" he whispered softly, slightly surprised at the sound of his own voice. It was a question that he often asked himself, often wondering why it had to of been her. Of course, he knew that what had been done was unavoidable -- none of the clan could have idly sat by and watched as Elisa's little girl died when they knew they could have done something to save her. Plus, that was just the way his Lisette had been, willing to sacrifice every part of herself in a heartbeat if it meant helping another. That was one of the reasons why he had loved her so very much.. and now she was gone.

Shaking his head, Brooklyn slowly opened his eyes and surveyed the dark night. During his mindless wanderings of the last week Brooklyn had often found himself returning to this particular spot. It was a building that sat high above the city with the Hudson river spread out before him, glittering beneath the bright moon. He had never been here before this week, but somehow he knew that Lisette would have enjoyed it -- she would have enjoyed the quiet peace that the height afforded as the river sparkled below him. In a strange way, it brought him a sense of calming peace and helped to ease the storm and whirlwind of emotions that everywhere else brought -- especially the castle. Everywhere he turned, all he saw was Her. She was everywhere in that building -- the memories too strong. He just couldn't deal with that.. not now.

It was beautiful tonight... the moon was bright and full as it shone down upon the bright city, the lights of the buildings and vehicles trying to compete, but in the end being of no comparison to the twinkling stars from up above. It was breathtaking, and he could see the moon shining in all of her glory through the reflection of her beauty off of the dark waters so far below. His Lisette had left him forever.. forever alone with his memories of her..


Surprised, Brooklyn jerked his head up, his white hair framing his desolate eyes as he caught sight of Lexington winging closer on a strong current of air. "Lexington?" he asked quietly as he helped his rookery brother find purchase on the narrow ledge beside him. Immediately a mild curiosity bit through him as he took in Lexington's bright and shining eyes. Something had happened.

"They're back!" the young green gargoyle cried out excitedly as he grabbed his brother's arm.

"What do you mean?" Brooklyn asked quickly, fear beginning to break through his haze of grief. "Is everyone alright? What happened?" he repeated quickly, unsure if he wanted the answer that he knew was coming. He wasn't stupid -- he knew of what his brother referred to. He knew who 'they' had to be.... and who it most likely didn't include.

"Angela, Hope, Xanatos and Owen are back!" Lexington yelled over the cool night wind, a grin lighting his green face even as he cringed away from the look his brother's eye. Just by what he had said, he knew what question would be burning in Brooklyn's dark eyes.

"Angela's back with the others?" Brooklyn asked thickly, feeling a wave of warmth flood him as he imagined Broadway's joy at finally having his love returned to him, even as a wave of despair filled his body once again. He didn't want to go back to the castle. Even though he had been assured over and over again that Lisette was dead, to return and hear their words confirmed by the others was almost too much to bear.

The one thing that she had taught him, above all else, was that there was always hope -- by returning to the castle he was killing that precious gift that she had given him. But he also knew that the not knowing her fate was almost worse than dealing with the idea that she was indeed gone forever. Although it still struck him as unjust that she had lived through so much, survived for so long and lived through so many tragedies only to be killed by a bullet not meant for her, taking a death that was meant for another, he couldn't think of a more fitting way to go -- better this then something senseless or by the hate of an enemy -- she died doing the thing that she loved most: helping others.

As if sensing Brooklyn's thoughts, Lexington quickly closed his hand tightly around his brother's arm. "Brooklyn, she's alive," Lexington whispered quickly, his voice hoarse with the remembrance of Angela's words and the knowledge that he'd finally be able to return Brooklyn to his usual proud state.

"I know," Brooklyn whispered softly, his head dropping down to his chest as his hands tightened into fists, trying to fight back his tears and maintain his stoic-- "She's what?" he gasped, his rookery brother's soft words finally creeping into the fog that occupied his mind.

"It's Lisette! She's alive!!" he laughed, his smile growing wider as the look of desolation was slowly replaced by an unbelievable and heartbreaking brightness of joy and hope.

"But.. but how?" Brooklyn sputtered, beginning to sway on the ledge from the information as Lexington reached out a steadying hand.

"Owen saved her by becoming Puck with Hope's help!" Lex laughed as he quickly jumped forward and hugged his brother tightly to him. "Brook, she's alive!!"

As Lexington slowly pulled away, Brooklyn shook his head in amazement. "She's alive?" he whispered hoarsely as he felt his heart soar. He knew that she couldn't be dead.. he just knew it.. "She's alive!" he suddenly crowed, causing Lexington to stumble back in surprise. "Come on, let's go!" he cried out quickly as his wings snapped open, ready to take him back to his love.

"Go, go where?" Lexington asked in confusion, laying a restraining hand on his brother's arm once again.

"Back to the castle!" Brooklyn laughed, shaking his head quickly as he sobered. "I should have been there when she came back, come on!"

"Wait, wait!" Lex protested as he pulled back on his rookery brother once again. "Brooklyn, she's not there!"

"What?" he asked in confusion, puzzlement crossing features. "Well where is she? I thought you said that they were back."

"They are, but Lisette is still on Avalon," Lex quickly explained, kicking himself for not telling his brother the whole story in the first place.

"Avalon? What's she doing on Avalon?"

Sighing, Lex slowly indicated the small ledge as he slowly settled himself onto the hard granite, waiting for his brother to do likewise. When both were finally settled, Lex leveled his bright eyes on his brother. "Owen got into a lot of trouble with Lord Oberon for saving Lisette and was taken back to Avalon," he explained, hating to do this to his brother. "Angela said that Lisette was insistent that she and the others go to Avalon to try and help him, so Elisa sent the four to Avalon..."

"Which is why Elisa is in a coma right now?" Brooklyn guessed, wincing at the word and feeling guilty all at the same time. For the last week he had been so consumed by his anger and grief that he had paid no heed to the cares or grievances of the others -- not of Fox's pain at having her husband gone, not at Broadway's for being without Angela, and not for his very own leader who sat a vigil beside Elisa's bed. Elisa was all of their friend, she always had been, and he had acted like he didn't even care that she was in a coma -- that she may never get better.

Sighing, Lexington nodded grimly. "Owen said that she was too weak and that none of them saw it..."

"But why is Lisette still on Avalon? Why didn't she come back with the others?" Brooklyn asked, still amazed at the fact that his love was still alive and breathing somewhere and not gone as he had feared, as the others had warned. Suddenly, the night seemed even brighter than before as the stars seemed to shine down and twinkle with a cold warmth. It was as though in the few minutes that it took for Lex to tell him the good news, his whole outlook on life had miraculously changed -- he was ready for anything now... or almost. "What happened?"

"Oberon and Titania found out about Lisette's magic," Lexington answered simply, a small frown pulling at his lips. He remembered Goliath's anger all to well when his leader had learned of their treachery. To know that they were still up to their old tricks infuriated the massive gargoyle -- especially when it concerned the fae taking advantage of one of his clan members -- of holding one of his clan members in a bind that couldn't be avoided. And it made him all the more furious with indignant anger when he realized that he could do nothing about it.

"So?" Brooklyn asked quietly, afraid of the answer that he would be receiving.

"The night when Alex was born," was Lex's simple reply as he watched the anger cloud his friend's dark eyes.

"What?!?" Brooklyn roared, springing to his feet as his fist smashed against the brick wall behind them, sending small particles of stone crashing to the granite ledge. "But she's not even fae! They don't have the right..."

"Owen said that Queen Titania decided that since Lisette is most likely half fae and can use her magic, unlike Fox, she's more fae than human and falls under Oberon's decree."


"She also volunteered to stay on Avalon providing that Owen could go free," Lex interjected, his frown deepening.

Instantly Brooklyn felt his hope dissolve in a shattered explosion of fury. "She.. she did what?" he asked slowly, trying to reign in his anger and focus on his brother's words.

"Queen Titania tricked her into staying," Lex answered slowly, growing uneasy at the dangerous look in his brother's dark eyes. He recognized that look all to well and bad things tended to happen to the person who was on the opposite end of the stick. "But don't worry, Owen's confident that when Elisa wakes up she'll be able to go to Avalon and bring Lisette back," he said quickly, hoping to diffuse the bomb before it exploded in his face.

Sighing, Brooklyn closed his eyes and dipped his head towards his chest as he slowly breathed in and out, counting as high as he could as he fought his anger. When all was under control he slowly opened his eyes and stared out into the dark night. "But Elisa may not wake up," he whispered slowly, his voice low as the river twinkled far below him.

"I know," Lexington answered softly, closing his own eyes against the sight of Hope's tear-stained face as Goliath tried to desperately calm the little girl. "I know..."

Shaking his head, Brooklyn looked out into the quiet night. Lisette was alive out there, in a place where he couldn't reach her. But above all else, she was alive. With a start, he realized that while there was no doubt in his mind that he loved Lisette, or that she returned that love whole-heartedly, neither had actually spoken the words aloud. Smiling softly, he knew in that moment, with the moon and stars so bright above, that he would be seeing his love again -- of that he was sure. "And when I do, I promise to never let you go again," he vowed, the whole world disappearing around him as her laugh seemed to tinkle by him on the wind. "I love you."


Sighing softly, Lisette shifted restlessly in her large canopy bed, her hand resting lightly above the thick bandage that pushed up on her dressing gown. "Oh mes amis, where are you?" she whispered to the dark room, lit only by the bright light of the moon that poured through the open window. Already one week had passed on Avalon since her friends had left the isle... one week which equaled six months in her world. "Why haven't you come for me yet?" she whispered to the bright moon, the tears coursing down her cheeks as her hair spread out beneath her head in a halo of light.

"Brooklyn," she whispered softly as her small hand clenched around the light blanket that she lay upon, her face twisting in her pillow as she tried to scour the hot tears from her face. One week spent on an isle that was filled with her kin.. her kin that were suspicious and wary of her and avoided her at all costs. She had been alone these last few days, her sole company the queen of Avalon of which Lisette found herself unable to trust.. how could she? She had been tricked into resting on this isle.. for eternity. We shall return shortly with Talika to bring you home. She will not stand for this.

"Owen, where are you all? You promised," she whispered as she shook with her emotions. She hated it here, on this isle that promised peace and perfect tranquility while it afforded only isolation and loneliness. The others treated her like she was an abomination. A plague upon their kind. An oddity. She was not a full fey, but merely a hybrid with astonishing powers. She was odd... but she had always been odd. In her short life, she had never fit in, had never been accepted... save in Manhattan. Her clan had accepted her there, had welcomed her into their fold.... and now they had abandoned her.. forgotten her.

"Only six months have passed... surely they will come," she murmured to herself, trying to fight off her growing desperation. "Brooklyn, mon amour, where are you?" she sobbed quietly, no longer able to keep her tears silent as she curled into a ball, ignoring the protesting pain of her wound -- the wound that rested over her heart -- and buried her face into the soft feather pillow, trying to quiet her pain. "Mon amour..."

* * * * *

Sighing softly, he watched through slitted eyes as the angel cried out to the heavens. She was in pain again -- pain of her heart. But he did not understand why. She was half fae, or so he had been told, but the fae did not carry on like this, did not meddle with these bothersome feelings of love and despair -- why, she carried on like some poor human child! Foolish human! The thought wanted to make him laugh.. but he couldn't. As he had for the last few nights, he quietly watched from her window ledge as the angel cried out her pain, touching him in a way that he could not name. She was unhappy here, that much so obvious, but it was unavoidable. Why did she cry as she did?

Her face was unlined and unmarked by age, young and fresh and speaking of an ageless wisdom and innocence that begged for only warmth and love. But now, it lay pale and streaked with fresh tears. And her eyes.. how he wished that he could see her eyes, to see their warmth and color that were left only to his imagination as the darkness hid all. But the darkness did not hide her long trail of pale blond hair that shimmered in the bright moonlight, cascading down her shoulders and back like spun golden silk. And then her figure, all but hidden beneath the many folds of fabric and soft cotton, revealing little besides a small curve here and there. It wasn't right that this angel should be so hurt and scarred with pain... it wasn't right and it caused him to feel things that he had never experienced before -- an almost warming of his cold heart.

"S'il vous plait..."

Unable to stay hidden in the shadows any longer, he gently jumped down from the ledge and landed quietly on the floor of her room. "Please don't cry," he whispered softly, his voice sounding like a gunshot in the quiet room.

Instantly, a gasp of surprise and fear left his angel's mouth as she uncurled and sat up quickly, wincing as a flare of pain climbed her side as she placed her hand gently over her healing wound. "Who is it? Who is there?" she demanded, her eyes, all but hidden in the gloomy darkness, scanning the quiet room.

"Please don't cry any longer," he repeated as he slowly stepped away from the darkness and into a bright shaft of moonlight.

Confused, Lisette slowly straightened further as her bright eyes scanned the man.. no, the fae, that stood in her bed chamber. "Who are you?" she asked slowly, curiosity causing her to forget her tears as she slowly scooted off of the bed, her bare feet moving soundlessly over the cold stone floor till she was standing before him, looking up into his dark eyes. While it was true that during her brief time here she had not seen all that Avalon had to offer, she was still surprised to find that she hadn't seen all of her fae kin that occupied the isle -- and this fae was most definitely a stranger to her. He stood tall above her, a good three inches of height added on with shiny black hair framing his face in curly dark locks, his pale fey ears poking out of the mass on either side. He had broad shoulders and dark lavender leggings that were topped in a deep red tunic, but his bright violet eyes were what had captured her attention the most. "Who are you?" she repeated when she got no answer.

Unable to answer her simple question, he admired her beauty in the bright light of the moon. How he wished he had been present when this angel had arrived from the mortal world, so that he had been able to see her beauty sooner. But in a way, it was almost better to see her light captured in the dark night by the bright moon. The way that the soft wind caught the material of her gown and gently framed around her body, highlighting the curves that had been hiding while she slept, the hair that fell even longer than he had imagined, and the eyes.. the bright blue eyes that seemed to peer down into his deep, dark soul.

With that thought he quickly straightened. That was what had captivated him so much -- the contrast between her light and his darkness. "My lady," he murmured quietly with a hard smile as he reached down to take her small hand in his own and raise it to his mouth, his cold lips brushing against her satiny skin.

Startled, Lisette stood still for a moment, transfixed by the stranger's lips upon her hand before she quickly snatched it away and cradled it to her chest. "Who are you?" she repeated, a small frown crossing her lips.

Smiling softly, the man slowly shook his head at the wariness in her beautiful eyes -- they were so expressive, even more so than a word or song could ever be. "I am Iris, fae extrordinaire," he replied as he bowed with a flourish, delighting in the small smile that graced his angel's lips.

"So I see, monsieur," she murmured as he straightened and withdrew a bright red rose from behind his back, offering it to her as his dark violet eyes probed her own. Wary for some reason, she slowly backed away into the cold comfort of darkness... she didn't like the way his eyes delved into her own, as if he could read her very soul with those eyes. "What.. what are you doing here?"

"I heard you crying," he answered simply as he waved his arm with a flourish, indicating the open window behind him. "I was curious."

"Oh," she murmured slowly as she backed further into the darkness. "I am sorry that I disturbed-"

"Not at all," he answered quickly as he stepped away from the window and further into the room, following her retreating figure. "What is it that troubles you so?"

Instantly a flash of confusion filled her as she stopped her retreating. This Iris confused her as no other. In one instant she felt the need and desire to be as far away from him as possible, fearing him for some strange reason, while in the next he seemed perfectly harmless and nothing more than caring, causing her to feel foolish for her silly behavior. "I.. I miss my home," she replied honestly as he finished off the distance between them and gently took her hand into his once again, her eyes locked with his own.

"But is this not your home now?" he inquired, confused by her response.

Smiling sadly, Lisette slowly shook her head. "I suppose that I miss my friends more than the home itself."

"Ah, I see," Iris answered slowly, not really seeing at all. "Well you shall have more friends here. New friends," he stated firmly, a bright smile lifting his lips.

Smiling wryly, Lisette couldn't help but laugh. "It is not the same.. besides, none of your kin are willing to befriend me..."

"I will be your friend," he countered quickly, that same irresistible smile lighting his features.

Laughing, Lisette gently withdrew her hand from his. "Alright then, Monsieur Iris, friends we shall be," she proclaimed with a gentle smile.

"Good then," Iris said quickly, his smile growing as his angel's light smile warmed his cold heart. "I will see you again, my friend," he murmured before disappearing in a flash of bright light and leaving Lisette alone with her thoughts once again.

Shaking her head slowly, Lisette slowly wandered back to her large bed and crawled in once more. "Iris..." she murmured softly, pondering the enigma of her new friend as sleep stole over her and brought her to darkness once more.

Three Weeks Later

"Iris, do you realize that it has been a month since my friends have left me?"

"Hmm?" Iris asked slowly, glancing up lazily from his place in the grass. With a growing smile, he turned and watched as Lisette slowly swirled three massive trees up above their heads, all but blocking out the bright moon as she idly practiced her magic.

"I have been here for a month now," Lisette repeated, a sad smile tugging at her lips as she clapped her hands together, magically restoring the massive trees to their rightful places. In truth, the time she had spent on Avalon had passed by quickly, her days filled with lessons upon endless lessons with either Queen Titania herself or the Sisters Three, working to hone her magical skills and bring her up to the status at which she was expected to be. On the other hand, her nights were filled with hours upon hours of time just spent with her dear friend, chatting about all that she missed back home and all that her future held for her, amused for hours on end by the amusing tales of Iris's endless resume of tricks and pranks. Yet throughout it all, thoughts of her friends at home never were far from her mind... Brooklyn was never far from her mind.

"So?" Iris asked, yawning as he stared up at the dark stars so high above.

"So?" Lisette sputtered in mock anger as she climbed to her knees, her long gown draping around her as she crawled over to Iris and slugged him gently on the arm. "Iris, I have been here for a month! A month!" she cried out, her light humor instantly collapsing under her tears.

"Lisette, what's wrong?" Iris asked quickly, concern touching his features as he got to his knees and wrapped his arms gently around her small shoulders.

"Iris, a month here on Avalon is equivalent to two years in the mortal world!" she sobbed, her heart breaking all over again.

"Did you really take the time to sit down and figure that out?" Iris joked, gently pulling away and brushing her pale blond hair away from her tear streaked face.

Ignoring his light words, Lisette quickly shook her head. "I've been gone for two years now.. why haven't they come for me? Why hasn't Brooklyn come for me?" she whispered, closing her eyes against her confused pain.

Sighing softly, Iris gently reached forward till his hand was gently resting upon Lisette's smooth cheek, slowly sliding down until he lifted her small chin up, forcing her to meet his eyes. "I cannot speak for your friends, but I can say that I would never, never leave you for that long. Perhaps.. perhaps they were not as close as you thought.. perhaps your Brooklyn was not all that you thought him to be," he responded quietly, knowing that his words would hurt her.

"What?" she asked softly, her blue eyes flooding with tears and the despair that she felt. "But.. but he loved -- loves me!" she protested, correcting herself in mid-sentence. "He could never give up on me! My friends would never abandon me!" Lisette protested, realizing that her words sounded weak even to her own ears.

"If that's true, then where are they now?" he questioned slowly as he climbed to his feet, staring down at her bent form sadly as he ran a slow hand through his unruly black hair. "I'm sorry, my angel," he whispered softly, using his pet name that was reserved only for her, "but perhaps you should think again of who your real friends are."

With those words spoken, Iris disappeared in a flash of light. Sighing, Lisette drew her tear stained eyes away from the place he just occupied and slowly drew her legs close to her chest. Iris was a good friend, but she just couldn't believe his words, she couldn't give up on her friends... not yet.

But two years.. two years had passed in her home.... what could take them two years to come to her? By now.. by now Alex would be five years old! Up and talking and walking like an angel! And the others.. her clan had all aged one year by now.. how much had they all changed since she had been away? What about Caleb? Had he returned to wreak havoc among her loved ones? For surely something had happened -- surely something horrible had happened to prevent them from coming for her.. surely they hadn't just forgotten her? "Brooklyn, je t'aime... please do not forget about me...."

* * * * *

Smiling softly, Iris watched from his perch in the tree tops as his angel cried her heart out beneath him. The smile was a cold one, for even though it pained him to see her hurting like she was, he also knew that it was necessary for his cause. So, he allowed the coldness to well up from deep within him and cover his face with a mask of indifference. Let her suffer.

"My, aren't we the demon tonight?" a soft voice taunted from behind him.

Turning quickly, Iris was mildly surprised to a find a slim gargoyle form lounging lazily on the large tree branch behind him. "Velvet, what brings you here tonight?" he asked sourly, annoyed to have his peaceful night interrupted by the annoying likes of the gargess.

"What else? Watching you wreak havoc on poor Lisette's emotions!" Velvet cackled, a large smile lighting her face.

Sighing, Iris slowly allowed his eyes to roam over the gargess. The mortal Princess Katherine and her friends, the Magus and Guardian Tom, had not been very creative when picking the name for the hatchling that stood before him. After all, the gargess was covered in a fur that was so soft that it felt like velvet -- black velvet that easily hid her in the darkness and allowed only the whites of her eyes to shine out. With silky black hair that flowed in a short bob around her face and a black tunic, she made the perfect one for stealth.. a fact that he hated. "Speaking of wreaking havoc, don't you think that it's about time you went down and made your appearance?" he asked, his voice snide as he appraised the gargess with the contempt that he felt.

"Oh do I have to?" the young gargess whined slowly as she leaned back against the tree, idly picking at her long talons as she sighed her discontent. "All of my rookery brothers and sisters know that being nice is not one of my strong points..."

"Which is exactly why your brothers and sisters are all happily mated while you have no one and will grow up to be an ugly, unhappy old maid!" Iris bit back, watching in unveiled amusement as a look of anger flashed across the gargess's face.


"And which is why you must continue to befriend Lisette and convince her that her Brooklyn is no-good and who no longer loves her, who can't love her so that..."

"So that you would finally have Lisette and I would still have nothing!" Velvet interrupted quickly, a large scowl on her face. "You heard what she said! It has already been two years in her world! If she ever does return to this Manhattan, which is unlikely, her Brooklyn will be old and wrinkled and of no use to me!" she huffed, her eyes slowly losing their blood-red light. "I get no reward from this little arrangement that we have created!"

"Perhaps," Iris murmured as a knowing smile covered his lips, "or perhaps not. In either case, like I promised you two weeks ago, in doing this you will be rewarded with the mate that you desire..."

"As wonderful as this Brooklyn that she always speaks of?" she asked softly, a strange light entering her eyes.

"The same," he murmured as he slowly clenched his fist, his eyes never leaving the broken form of his angel. He, of such darkness, should never be allowed to touch the light that is of her beauty, of her heart -- never. But for her, he would hide his cold exterior to make her his.

Yet over and over again she had pushed him away in all matters of romance, only wanting his friendship as she waited for her love to rescue her. In the end, she would only be his if she was no longer the gargoyle's.. and so became his plan and the involvement of Velvet. She would have her desired mate in the end, and all it took was a simple form of craftiness.

His fae kin were more than happy to avoid the halfling at any cost, finding no interest in the mortal while his Lord and Queen were merely thankful that he did not share his kin's disdain. The only real trouble came from the mortal gargoyle clan that occupied their isle. The meddlesome fools had been all too happy at the prospect of meeting the young halfling that their clan sister, Angela, had spoken so highly of... a meddling that would only hinder his work at making his angel rely upon him fully.

So, it was with Velvet's help that the young mage had been convinced that the gargoyle clan shared his kin's disdain at that of which was not pure, but merely a mutt of mixing blood. Now, the only ones that she had on Avalon that she felt that she could trust were the two that were manipulating her the most. Grinning in the darkness, Iris slowly nodded his head. "Go to her, Velvet, and do the thing that you do so well -- manipulate her."

Smiling a fanged smile at his words, the gargess slowly nodded her head before launching herself off into the dark night, gliding silently down until she was crouched behind the young woman. "Lisette, what troubles you so?" she murmured quietly, causing the woman to turn even before she had finished and launch herself into her dark arms.

"Oh Velvet, do you as well think that they have forgotten me?" Lisette whispered hoarsely, voicing her fears aloud as her heart clenched tight with the pain she felt. "Why have they not come for me? Why hasn't Brooklyn come for me?" she whispered as she hugged her gargess friend tightly, the tears burning at her eyes.

Sighing, Velvet silently slipped into the roll that Iris demanded as she gently soothed the young woman, rubbing her back gently as she searched for the right words. "Lisette," she began slowly as she pulled away and stared deep into the young woman's large blue eyes with eyes that were the color of the deepest night, "perhaps.. perhaps that they haven't forgotten you.. but are relieved at your going?" she suggested, wincing as a look of horror covered the young woman's face. "I mean, you know that both Iris and I care for you deeply," she quickly pushed on, nearly gagging at the words as she gripped the woman's shoulders tightly, "but perhaps for your clan in Manhattan it was more difficult to accept the fact that you were a halfling..."

"What.. what do you mean?" Lisette asked slowly, the tears sliding down her pale cheeks.

"Well.. what if the clan felt as my clan, or your fae kin here? What if what you took for acceptance was truly just pity?"

"But.. but no!" Lisette protested as she quickly drew away, fighting her friend's words with every fiber in her body. "My clan loves me! Brooklyn loves me! They care for me a great deal! Why.. Elisa.. Elisa is like a sister to me, and Goliath.. he's my leader!! And Angela and I are so very close... and Brooklyn.. oh Brooklyn," she sobbed as she dropped to her knees, her hands hiding her face as the sobs wracked her body. "Brooklyn loves me!!"

"But Lisette," Velvet whispered softly as she knelt once more beside the young woman and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, "If that were all true, then where are they now? Why have they not come for you?" she asked softly, her voice betraying none of the boredom that she felt at the young halfling's problems.

Shocked, Lisette slowly shook her head as Velvet's words rang through her mind. "Something.. something must have happened. They.. something stopped them from coming," she murmured, closing her eyes against the fresh wave of tears. Deep in her heart, she knew that her clan couldn't have forgotten her, that her love couldn't have forgotten her.

She was a freak.. Brooklyn never loved her, but only pitied her... never loved her.

"No," she murmured forcefully, her eyes snapping open as she focused on her caring friend. "That cannot be true... I know that they love and care for me...."

"Perhaps," Velvet conceded, sighing as she realized that she would get no where with this line of thought. Even though the doubts crept through the young woman's mind, her heart promised her that the words were untrue. This young halfling would never forgo everyone, for she would never doubt them.. which meant that Velvet had to try a different tactic. "Perhaps," she continued as she gently wrapped another arm around the young woman. "Or mayhap Brooklyn really wanted one of his own kind? Deserved a gargess for a mate?" she suggested, hiding her smile behind a look of concern.

Instantly, fresh tears flooded Lisette's eyes as she slowly shook his head. "But.. but he loves me," she murmured, confusion flooding her.

"Maybe he does love you.. maybe he believed that you were the only one for him.. but is that fair?" Velvet asked, seeing that she had Lisette's complete attention. "From what my clan sister, Angela, has told me of the rest of our clan in Manhattan, the numbers are small. What of a future for the clan? What future could you provide for the clan as Brooklyn's mate?" she prodded, seeing that her words were reaching the young woman.

"What.. what do you mean?" Lisette asked slowly, brushing a wave of hair from her wet face as the soft grass bit through the thick material of her gown and pressed against her bare legs. In that instant, the world faded away as the night sounds dulled, leaving her in the perfect moment with the prickly grass pressing into her legs, the wet dew seeping through as her hands turned to ice, matching her heart perfectly as her sight focused on Velvet's dark lips.

"What about hatchlings?" she asked, watching as the halfling's blue eyes clouded over and her face lost its expression. "Is such a thing even possible with you? They would inherit your magical prowess... would your Brooklyn want that?"

Biting her lip so hard that it drew blood, Lisette slowly shook her head, her face dry now in the soft breeze save for a single tear that trickled down her pale cheek. She desperately wanted Velvet to stop, to stop voicing aloud all of Lisette's secret fears that she had kept deeply hidden within her.

"What if your magic, or your being 'different' somehow hurts your love in the end?" Velvet pressed, adding the final stake into the young woman's chest. "Mayhap he loves you as much as you proclaim... but perhaps in the end he is better off without you.. safer and happier with a gargoyle mate, a gargoyle love that can bare him gargoyle hatchlings and live a normal gargoyle life, not threatened by magic..." she trailed off, inherently knowing that her work was done and no more words would be needed.

The seeds of doubts had been planted -- the seeds that would push Lisette away from her Brooklyn.. perhaps even away from her clan. Now, she had no more tears to cry as all emotion dried up within her, leaving her a hollow shell of coldness. Two years. "They will come for me.." she murmured hollowly as she leaned against her friend and stared up at the cold stars above, "you'll see Velvet, mon ami, they will come for me..."


As the moon moved on its silent course through the dark night sky, Brooklyn slowly massaged his aching wing joints, thankful that the night's patrol was finally over -- it was like the never-ending patrol filled with violence, strife, and more senseless deaths. Then again, such was New York City at anytime of the year. A few more weeks to go and then Valentine's Day would be upon them.. if only Lisette were there to share in the holiday. If only Elisa was able to join Goliath in what had become tradition for them.. if only.

"Man, am I ever glad that's over with," Broadway sighed as he slowly lumbered onto the high castle tower and settled heavily beside his rookery brother. "I'll never understand what comes over this city this time of year. Why can't it be Christmas coming up instead?"

Breaking away from his thoughts, Brooklyn grinned sheepishly at his rookery brother. "But you should be happy -- it's almost Valentine's," he said, forcing his voice to take on a note of nonchalance even as an old and stinging pain burned deep within his chest. He doubted that the pain would ever go away.

"So?" Broadway asked, his expression instantly turning sour. "I know what you're going to say," he quickly interrupted, holding up a large blue hand to stop Brooklyn's sputtering. "But it doesn't matter.." he continued as he slowly turned to look up at the moon, thoughts of the human holiday flying through his mind, "Angela's human."

Sighing, Brooklyn slowly nodded his agreement. With Lisette on Avalon, Puck locked into the role of Owen, and Elisa sealed away in a timeless coma there was no one left to change Angela back into her true form. What had started out as a night of fun and a harmless prank of changing her form had left the young gargess, Broadway's mate, stuck in a form that she despised. Gone from her life was patrol, stone hibernation, or any of the things that she loved most.. instead she was stuck in a weak form that she didn't know how to use to her advantage quite yet, locked in the differences of her race from Broadway, realizing the adversity and problems that her father had to deal with Elisa for all this time. "Well... you can still be together," Brooklyn suggested, trying to lighten the mood. "You guys can still go out..."

"And what about Alex and Hope?" Broadway asked, not about to let his rookery brother cast away his depression so quickly. After all, ever since she had returned to him their lives had changed... she hadn't been his any longer. Instead, during the day she had been cast into the role of Hope's surrogate mother, the little girl needing someone to care for as her mother so obviously was unable to. So, during that time Angela had turned into a sort of nanny for both Hope and Alex.. meaning that she spent more and more time sleeping the nights away then spending it with him. She had no choice.

"I'm sure that Owen can..."

"Brooklyn," Broadway interrupted, grateful to his brother for trying so hard to brighten his mood but knowing it was of no use, "none of us can go out on Valentine's Day... the humans know that we exist now and to do so would just be problems for us. We can't go out as gargoyles," he argued, watching as Brooklyn's expression seemed to falter.

Sighing, Brooklyn slowly nodded his head as he stared out at the bright moon. "I know," he murmured, "I know." The beginning of the catalyst that marked their lives was Hunter's Moon... it seemed so long ago. The night where Demona threatened the entire human race, and in the process, exposed them to Manhattan, if not the world. Immediately following the world had been in an uproar and the city hadn't been safe.. but since then things had died down... sort of. Now the world knew about them and the populace would not be fooled into thinking that they were wearing 'great costumes.' No.. they would see right through their feeble attempts and would know the truth and they would be in danger once more.

"We'll never be able to walk the streets of New York City," Broadway muttered sourly, shifting uncomfortably on the cold stone, small puffs of snow falling around him, amazed at his own grim look at life.

"Goliath will have your head if he hears you saying that," Brooklyn returned quietly, not knowing how to counter his friend's pessimistic view. "And what's gotten into you anyway? This doesn't sound like you," he added, brotherly concern coloring his voice. "Is it Angela?"

"More the fact that she's not gargoyle," Broadway muttered quietly as he kicked his feet out into the dark night, aimlessly crunching a piece of icy granite in his fist.

"Hey," Brooklyn interrupted quietly as he placed a gentle hand on his brother's shoulder. "When Elisa wakes up, then we'll get Lisette back and change Angela back into a gargoyle," he murmured, a hopeful smile on his face.

"If she ever awakens," Broadway added glumly, not noticing as the red gargoyle's face fell once more. "I mean, it's been-"

"Broadway, Brooklyn!" a voice called out suddenly, breaking both out of their dark thoughts as they whirled around to see a very-human Angela standing at the stairway that led down to the castle behind them, the dark night catching her dark brown braid and tossing it around her face as she wrapped her arms tightly around her, the soft snow flakes powdering her form.

"What are you doing out here!?" Broadway quickly admonished as he hurried to his love's side, wrapping his warm velvety wings around her, instinctively protecting her from the cold air that he couldn't feel. Even as he warmed at the feeling of his love in his arms, he also felt his mood crumble even more as he realized once again that were she only gargoyle, such actions wouldn't be needed.

Smiling up at Broadway's warm eyes, Angela leaned into his embrace. "Hope is asking that you both join us -- we're going to go and visit Elisa," she murmured, feeling the world melt away so that it was just she and her mate, locked forever in a timeless embrace.

"Um... I'll go on ahead and Hope and I will meet you there," Brooklyn broke in, recognizing the love that was shining in the couples' eyes all too easily. Smiling, he quickly stood up and jumped from the parapet, gliding gently to the courtyard below. He was happy for his brother, happy for the love that he and Angela so obviously shared... yet at the same time he couldn't help but be filled with a longing for the same. How he wanted his love back in his arms again... Shaking his head, he quickly poked his head into the large Great Hall. "Come on, Hope, let's go see your mom."


Smiling softly, Goliath slowly stretched out his large wings before slowly advancing on the familiar white bed that occupied its usual corner. "Good evening, my love," he murmured as he swept down on the chair that sat, as always, to the left of the bed, allowing him to look down upon Elisa's peaceful face. She was so lovely.. so very beautiful. Each night as he returned from patrol, it was her lovely face that allowed him to forget the hatred and evil of the night beyond. She brought him peace... and sadness.

"I just finished with patrol," he murmured as he gently took her slim hand into his own, careful of the wires that were attached, and gently squeezed it as he reached forward with his other hand and gently rubbed it against her cheek. "It was.. busy, as the city prepares for Valentine's once again. Two weeks... and then the holiday will be upon us. It will be good for the holiday to pass." Even with his words thoughts of their shared Valentine's Days together flooded his mind. "Do you remember when we celebrated this day together? Our first one?" he rumbled softly. "The night was so perfect..." he said, smiling softly. "No villain to stop, no plans to thwart, no crimes to halt... just you and I," he rumbled.

Shaking his head, he gently ran his hands through her thick black hair. "Fox mentioned earlier that today was your day for therapy and that you did a wonderful job," he murmured, talking to her as he always did, hoping that somehow his words reached her wherever she rested. In reality, her therapy amounted to little. It was necessary in her state that her muscles be worked so that they did not waste away to nothing... mainly just stretching her limbs to keep the muscles there for when she awakened.. if she awakened.

"And I see that they washed your hair today," he continued, admiring the way that her hair shined under the harsh lights. "You look beautiful, as always, my love," he continued as he adjusted her blanket. "And we all miss you..." he trailed off as he watched her chest rise and fall rhythmically, reminding him that somewhere deep inside his Elisa prevailed, still fought for her life.. for them. Somewhere she was locked deep within and he wanted nothing more than to reach her... his worst fear was that she was conscious all this time, able to hear and sense everything that happened but unable to communicate with them, locked in a silent prison.. he didn't want her to be alone in that silence forever and tried to comfort her with his words. Her rising and falling...

"She also mentioned that Matt and Captain Chavez visited you with your parents today," he continued, blinking away his thoughts as he focused on his love's pale lips, ever unmoving. "Chavez knew that you had befriended the Xanatos family and bought the story of being moved from the hospital upstate to stay here, where you would get the best attention," he added, smiling at the thought. "Matt was very... creative, with his excuse as to what happened, and she has not questioned him yet on it.. they are still looking for the 'criminals' who are responsible for your condition," he laughed quietly, finding a dark humor in the situation. He had to these days, for without his duty to his clan and the smallest things to laugh at each day... he would fall apart at the seams. "And Talon and Maggie promised to come visit tomorrow night..."

"Oh, Elisa," he whispered, a single tear burning at the corner of his eye as he gripped Elisa's hand tighter. "Please come back to me..." he whispered as he slowly brought her hand to his cheek as he dropped his head to the bed beside her, finding comfort in her steady breathing. "You've been through so much worse.. you cannot let this stop you now... I love you...."

And then, as the emotions built within him, a soft and gentle voice intruded upon his thoughts as a soft hand gently entwined itself in his thick, black hair. "Goliath?"

For a brief moment, Goliath did not acknowledge the movement as he lay still, his heart beginning to beat at an alarming rate. And then, very slowly as though he were afraid that all was just a figment of his desire to see something that was not there, Goliath lifted his head and found himself staring into Elisa's deep brown eyes, filled with confusion and an overwhelming love as her hand fell weakly back beside her limp form. "Elisa?" he whispered quietly, praying to all of the Gods above that he was not dreaming as he quickly lifted her hand to his lips and pushed his chair away, leaning closer to her beautiful face.

"Goliath.. what... what happened? Where am I?" Elisa murmured, weakly turning her head to look around the large infirmary, the confusion growing larger as she took in the sterile environment.

"Oh Gods, you are back," he gasped, his voice choked with joy and amazement as he quickly reached forward and wrapped his massive arms around her thin form, squeezing her gently as he breathed in her sweet scent, unable to stop the tears from streaking down his face.

"Goliath... Big Guy, what's wrong?" Elisa gasped, her confusion ebbing away to be replaced by concern as she felt moisture on the back of her neck, realizing with a start that her Goliath, the one who stood tall and resilient as the stone he became, was crying. "I love you," she murmured, not knowing what was wrong and not knowing how to fix it, relying on the only thing she did know for sure.

"MOMMY!!!" a voice suddenly screeched, echoing throughout the bright room and breaking into the couple's embrace.

Turning, Elisa pulled away from her love as a golden bundle dived into her awaiting arms, causing her to gasp in surprise as she looked down in amazement. "Hope," she murmured softly, tears finally coming to her eyes as Goliath wrapped his strong arms around her once again, cradling them both in his warm embrace -- safe from the world. "Everything will be alright," she murmured, knowing in that moment that nothing could detract from the love that they all shared.

* * * * *

"So Lisette has been on Avalon all this time?" Elisa asked slowly as she absently ran her weak hand through Hope's soft head of blond locks, chewing her lip thoughtfully as she slowly regarded the assemblage of gargoyles and humans that surrounded her bedside.

"We have to go get her," Brooklyn said quietly from his perch on the hospital bed that had been pulled beside the detective's, Lexington sitting at his side. "She's been there so long...."

"We promised her that we would be right back," Angela added, nodding her agreement as she squeezed Broadway's hand gently, trying to maintain her grasp on the serious topic that they discussed even as her heart soared at seeing Elisa's bright eyes roving around the room, pondering their problem.

"But you cannot go until you are strong enough," Owen interrupted as he quickly adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses, barely beating Goliath to the same statement as Xanatos and Hudson nodded their agreement. They had already experienced once what happened when the detective tried something that her body was just not yet prepared for... they didn't want to risk losing her again.

"But we can't just leave her there," Fox countered as she hugged her son close, noting that his bright eyes followed the conversation closely.

Sighing his agreement, Goliath closed his dark eyes momentarily as he squeezed Elisa's shoulder gently. "While Lisette has been away from her clan for too long, you all must remember that time passes only one hour on Avalon for each day here.. to her it has not been that long...."

"Yeah, but she's gotta know how long it's been here and is wondering where we are," Lex interrupted, sending his leader an apologetic shrug as Brooklyn nodded in agreement.

"Which is exactly my point," Matt Bluestone interrupted, breaking into the conversation as he stepped away from his place against the wall and nodded at his partner. "Elisa, it hasn't been exactly easy for me to convince the Captain of how you got into this mess in the first place with the little amount of time I had to come up with a good excuse," he stated as he ran a hand through his thick red hair. "She's finally gotten to the point where she visits you nearly every day... what am I supposed to tell her as to why she all of a sudden can't visit you while you're gone on Avalon? Who knows how long you'd be gon-"

"But we can't just leave her there!" Brooklyn interrupted again, growing impatient with the talk. Ever since he and Hope had stepped back into the room and had saw Elisa, awake and well, his heart had soared as he realized that he was that much closer to finally reclaiming his love. Now, despite the time that he had already waited, he grew impatient with the pointless talking instead of doing what needed to be done.

"We won't," Elisa murmured with such a note of finality that everyone in the room knew that the subject was closed, watching as the detective's soft brown eyes hardened with determination. "Lisette, despite how long she has already been there, won't be harmed by staying there a few more weeks.. just until I get my strength up a little more," she explained. "And then we'll get her back."


As tiny beads of sweat appeared on her smooth forehead, the young woman quickly ducked the oncoming attack and rolled off to the side. As the sharp blades of grass and small twigs poked against her heavy dress she quickly rolled to her feet, her breath leaving her in stinging gasps as her hair tore loose of its restraints to frame her pale face, the quiet noises of the night filling her ears.

"Hold still, you little Mortal!" her adversary's voice hissed, breaking through the night's symphony as the enchanting fae opened her mouth wide for yet another attack, unaccustomed to having her magical attacks avoided in such physical ways.

Ignoring the magic wielder's cry, Lisette quickly teleported from her position, disappearing in a flash of green light only to reappear once more right behind the Banshee, hiding her smirk behind a determined frown as she quickly clapped her hands together, wrapping the fae in binds of iron and light, casting her to the floor. "Hah, gotcha!" Lisette crowed, finally allowing her tensed muscles to relax as the fae glared at her through heavily lashed eyes, struggling vainly on the softly carpeted forest floor as the moon shone down upon them. But then, before she could triumph in her attack anymore Lisette felt a stab of sharp pain in her back, throwing her to the ground beside the fallen fae. Crying out, she turned quickly and watched with wide eyes as the Sisters Three looked down upon her beaten form disapprovingly.

"Do not rejoice-"

"In your triumphs-"

"Quite yet, halfling," the sisters whispered as they launched another wave of magic at her, barely giving the young mage time to roll out of the way of the blast.

"Zut!" Lisette cursed as she sprang to her feet, relying on the many months of martial arts training that she had received back at the castle as she darted behind a tree, barely avoiding what would have been another wounding strike.

From up above, Queen Titania watched all of this with a hidden smile, noting with satisfaction that the young halfling relied on not only her magical abilities, but her physical ones as well to avoid harm. Such actions were not commonly seen amongst her fae children, giving Lisette the advantage that she needed in order to defeat the Banshee... but the Sisters Three were a different matter entirely. Out of all of the fae that occupied Avalon, save she and her Lord, the magical sisters were the ones remaining that would pose a severe threat to the powerful mortal. "Think, young Lisette," she commanded, her regal voice breaking into the training down below. "Think out your situation and act instead of reacting to their methods."

Smiling, she saw that her words obviously had reached the young woman as Lisette quickly closed her eyes, calling upon the magic of the Isle itself to power her next attack as a ring of fire surrounded the Sisters Three, causing the triplets to cringe in surprise. Then, with a clap of her hands the young mage quickly wrapped the fire up and around until it was a dome covering the fae, using her mind to fight off their attacks as she slowly closed in her shield around them.

Nodding her approval, Queen Titania watched all through slitted eyes, noting the exertion that it cost the young mortal as her body became rigid, her face lined with tension... when a sudden tingling in the further regions of Titania's mind caused her to clap her hands together, instantly breaking the mage's concentration.

"Quoi?" Lisette asked in surprise as her flaming shield dissipated into nothing, sending her staggering against a tree for support. Shaking her head, she quickly looked up into the dark night sky and watched as the Queen of Avalon slowly lowered down to the forest floor, a faraway look in her eyes as she settled between the adversaries.

"My Queen?" one of the sisters asked, which, Lisette wasn't sure as the blond took a hesitant step forward, her sisters at her side.

"Training.. training is canceled for tonight," Titania answered slowly as she focused once more on those that surrounded her. Quickly, she snapped her fingers and broke the spell that bound the Banshee to the ground. "That will be all," she announced, instantly dismissing the confused fae from around her as she strode purposefully to the young mage.

Growing more confused by the moment, Lisette watched as the Sisters Three shrugged their shoulders as one before disappearing with a flash, the Banshee sending her a scornful glare before following suit, leaving her alone with the Lady of the Isle in the dark night. Shaking her head, she quickly wiped a light hand against her face, shrugging off her fatigue as she turned to the mistress of the Isle. "Queen Titania?" she asked.

"Lisette, you did well tonight," Titania responded quietly, her even voice sounding more like a purr to her own ears as she stopped before the child, her cape twirling around her slim figure.

"Merci beaucoup," was her hesitant response as Lisette nodded at the woman, confusion playing across her face. After all, in the last five months not a single night was there an interruption in her nightly lessons. Even when the Queen was not there to witness them and give instructions, the Sisters Three made sure that she stayed on a strict schedule, never giving her a moment's respite until the lesson was completed -- it was odd for the lesson to be interrupted, causing Lisette's curiosity to rise.

Nodding, Titania eyed the young woman slowly. During the time that she had rested on Avalon, the mage had made amazing headway with her lessons, surprising even herself with the speediness at which she took to the magic.... as though the ability was as much a part of her as any other fae child. In a way, it made her long for her daughter, Fox, and wish that more could have been done to cultivate the powers that Titania knew were hiding within Fox's ordinary human means. Then again, if such a thing had happened, Titania knew that Oberon would have insisted upon Fox residing on Avalon... a thing that would have caused her daughter much grief.

Shaking away the troubling thoughts, the queen saw that Lisette watched her with those bright, blue eyes of hers that seemed to posses a wisdom that went beyond her young years. Soon, that decision would be hers and Titania feared the answer that she would get. "Lisette... are you happy here on Avalon?" she asked slowly, knowing that the question needed to be asked.

Surprised, Lisette merely blinked in response before quickly turning away from Titania's probing eyes, instead taking in the dark quiet of the woods. "I.. I do enjoy the isle and its beauty," she murmured uncertainly.

Sighing, Titania slowly shook her head. "That is not what I asked. Do you enjoy it here.. I see that you have made friends here on Avalon with both Iris and the young gargess...."

"Yes," Lisette interrupted, her answer more of a sigh as she stared at a particularly interesting piece of wood lying at her feet. Even as she murmured those words, however, hot tears began to burn at her eyes as she slowly began to shuffle at the ground below with one slippered foot. "They are wonderful to me-"

"But you miss your friends back in the mortal world?" Titania prompted, already knowing the answer as she saw a single tear drop from the woman's downcast face, breaking her cold heart once again.

Fighting her tears, Lisette slowly nodded her head as she straightened her shoulders. "But it does not matter," she murmured, her voice catching slightly over the half truth as she lifted her head and stared defiantly into the queen's bright eyes. "I have been away from my clan for only five months here on Avalon, but for them it has been ten years... and they have not come for me yet," she murmured, her voice turning bitter as she quickly turned her face away once again, her hands curling into fists at her side.


"No!" Lisette quickly cut in, her harsh tone of voice startling the queen as the young woman looked up suddenly, her eyes flashing green before slowly fading into the same soft blue. "Perhaps it is for the better this way," she added in a softer tone, causing a puzzled frown to light the fae's face. "In ten years all that I have left behind has changed so much... it is no longer my home and my clan is better without me," she murmured before disappearing in a flash of green light, leaving the clearing in a startled silence.

Shaking her head, Titania slowly rethought her motives and pondered the problem at hand. "A puzzling matter that will have to wait," she finally murmured before disappearing as well, knowing that the time had arrived.

* * * * *

Great Hall

As the muffled din of voices wrapped around one another like the silky weaving of a spider's web, Queen Titania casually leaned toward her husband and whispered two words: "She's here."

With a slight nod Oberon straightened in his throne and cast his steel gray eyes towards the entrance to the Great Hall. "Let silence reign," he commanded, his regal voice cutting through the noise like a heated knife through butter. As all eyes turned towards their Lord and father as the Sisters Three stepped as one away from the closed doors and moved gracefully through their parted kin until they knelt before the raised dais.

"Our Lord Oberon," Selene began, her eyes flashing as she looked to her lord, her raven hair swirling around her shoulders.

"And our Lady Titania," Luna continued, her silky white hair mimicking that of her sister.

"Lady Talika, protector of the mortal world, and Goliath, leader of the Manhattan clan and head of Avalon's Honor Guard, seek admittance to your court with Brooklyn, second-in-command to Goliath," Phoebe finished as she lowered her head, her blond head of hair glinting in the soft lighting as they awaited their command.

"We bid enter," Oberon responded as he extended a stiff arm out to his wife, waiting until she gently rested her hand atop his before they rose together, a sign of respect for their guests.

As the fae of Avalon fell respectfully to their knees, the Sisters Three moved once more to the doors and opened them wide, giving room for the visitors to pass. "Ah, Lady Tal-" Oberon began warmly as the woman strode quickly into the room, her wispy skirt flaring around her slim and shapely legs, her dark eyes glowing green in anger as her raven hair formed a soft cloak behind her.

"Don't even bother!" Elisa cut in icily as she stopped before her old friends, her hands planted on her hips as her eyes flashed with barely repressed anger.

Ignoring this, Oberon turned amused eyes to the two gargoyles that flanked her on each side. "Goliath, welcome back to our isle and we bid welcome to our new visitor," he called out, smiling first at the familiar lavender gargoyle before turning towards the one that he assumed to be Brooklyn.

Holding his anger in check, Goliath swiftly shook his head. "Where is she, Oberon?"

"Why whatever are you talking about?" was the Lord's quick response as a mischievous gleam lit up his cold eyes.

Hissing out her breath, Elisa quickly wiped a stray strand of raven hair from her face as she glared at her friends. "You know damn well what we're talking about!" she stated firmly, surprising the gathered fae with the ferocity of her voice. "It was low forcing her into that decision, of tricking her into that situation," she corrected as she glared at Titania, "especially when you knew that neither Goliath nor I could do anything about it!"

Ignoring Talika's anger, Titania cast a cool eye over the group. "Your anger surprises me," she murmured, watching in concealed amusement as the brick-red gargoyle slowly followed the conversation, his quick eyes jumping warily back and forth from her to Oberon.

Shaking his head curtly, Goliath extended his wings, sending a large crack throughout the large room as the velvety skin snapped tight before settling them over his shoulders in a dark cape. "Oberon, you gave me your word long ago that my clan would be protected and immune to the wrath of you and your children," he stated calmly, his jaw clenched tight. "Lisette is a part of my clan and you have broken your word again."

Angered, Oberon slowly clenched his hand tightly on the chair's arm as he glared at the impudent mortal. "As we said before, Oberon's decree is his own to interpret," he murmured quietly, his voice a deadly monotone.

Before Goliath could add another angry word Elisa quickly extended her hand and rested it gently on his large bicep, taking in calming breaths as she studied the couple slowly. She was letting her anger get the better of her and that needed to stop right there. This was getting them nowhere.

It had been two weeks since she had awoken from her coma -- two weeks of grueling physical therapy as her muscles slowly regained their strength. Even now, she could feel the strain on the unused muscles and knew that she wouldn't be able to go much longer without the aid of the crutches that she had come to depend upon the last few weeks -- but she didn't want to have to resort to those means until it was very necessary. After all, any show of weakness before her 'friends' was unwise in the heated situation. And while she had all intents on settling all in a calm and diplomatic matter, upon entering the Great Hall Elisa felt her anger boil over at the sight of her friends, standing so poised before them. This act was treachery in her mind, treachery against their friendship and it angered her to no end. Still, anger would get them nowhere.

"This is pointless," she finally stated, once more in control of herself. "We have come to get Lisette and take her back home to her clan," she said quietly, stressing the noun as she slowly moved her eyes back and forth between the two fae. "She has been away from us for far too long."

Nodding slowly, Titania stared at the detective for another moment before she snapped her fingers, instantly causing Coyote to break away from the crowd of fae to kneel before her -- not before sending an apologetic look to Talika. Smiling coyly, she knew that was to be expected as the trickster had taken an uncommon affection towards Talika's adopted family. "Coyote, bring forth Lisette," she murmured, waving him away as he disappeared in a flash of green light.

* * * * *

"... and then she just started asking me strange questions without saying why, rien!" Lisette finished, gesturing broadly in the quiet woods as she slowly paced across the soft grass, a confused frown tugging at her lips as her gown swayed around her legs, stained and torn in places from her lesson.

"Huh?" Violet asked, her eyes following Lisette's agitated movements before quickly turning to the fey that leaned casually against a far tree, a strange gleam in his dark eyes as they turned towards her.

"Nothing," he muttered nonchalantly to the dark gargess, easily translating his angel's French as he pushed away from the large tree and slowly stepped beside the young woman, setting a gentle hand on her shoulder. "What did she ask of you?" he asked, turning her until he was staring down into her bright blue eyes, the eyes that he loved so much.

"Oh, she...."


Surprised, Lisette quickly turned away from her friends and watched in confusion as a different fey stepped out of the shadows and into the bright clearing that they occupied, his tight blue jeans swishing in the quiet night as his dark black hair glinted off of his leather jacket. "Coyote?" she asked in confusion, instantly sensing a strange tension in her fey friend as Iris slowly stepped away from her side. She didn't know why, but it seemed as though there was always tension between Iris and the other fae.

"Lisette, you are wanted immediately in the court of our Lord and Lady," Coyote commanded quietly as his dark eyes slowly slid back and forth between the young halfling, his brother, and the quiet gargess. He did not know quite why, but the sight of the two natives to Avalon with the halfling always troubled him. For some reason, he doubted that they made the best of company for the young woman.

"Now?" Lisette asked in confusion as she slowly stepped towards the trickster, sensing her friends slowly step into place beside her.

"Now," Coyote confirmed with a sharp nod. "Although I suggest that you-"

Before he could finish his sentence, a flash of green light quickly covered the young mage, disappearing a moment later to reveal a deep burgundy color gown that clung to her arms and torso before flaring around her small hips, her long blond hair hanging in a loose tumble down her back with a single small braid wrapping back from each temple to form a thin braid over the top of her loose flowing mass. "Change?" she asked with a small smile, anticipating his suggestion as she nodded at the fey. "A wise suggestion, mon ami," she smiled as they both disappeared in a flash of light, leaving Iris and Velvet alone in the dark clearing.

"Now what was that all about?" Velvet asked, a clear note of annoyance in her voice as she put her hands on her hips, her full lips pouting out over her sharp fangs as her wings formed a cape around her slim form.

"I believe," Iris murmured absently as he eyed the place that his angel once stood, "that things are finally all coming together."

"Wh--" Velvet broke off as she and the fey disappeared in yet another flash of light, the single hooting of a hidden owl the only sound to remain in the dark island night.

* * * * *

Great Hall

As Lisette appeared with a flash of bright light, she instantly dropped into a low curtsy, her burgundy dress sweeping wide as her chin dropped down to her chest. "My Lord and Lady," she called out respectfully before slowly raising to regard them with curious eyes. "You summoned for...."


Gasping, Lisette felt herself become frozen to the floor of the Great Hall as her eyes snapped shut, her breathing becoming ragged at the sound of that single, familiar voice. Before she could stop them, hot tears flooded her eyes as a deep and confusing pain wrapped around her heart, causing for her legs to feel weak. "Brooklyn," she whispered raggedly as she slowly turned, her eyes sweeping past all of her fae kin until they came to rest on the three individuals that she thought that she would never again see.

Shaking his head, Brooklyn slowly took a hesitant step away from Goliath and Elisa's side, his eyes never leaving that of his love's form. She was... perfection defined and the very sight of her took his breath away. How could he have been away from her for so long? The deep burgundy dress that she wore accented her every curve and contrasted sharply with her skin tone, making her appear slightly pale as her hair covered the material like golden light. In pained amazement, he watched as her rose petal lips trembled, his eyes caught in watching their soft features.. the lips that he remembered so well before his gaze slowly traveled up until they locked on the bright, sky blue eyes that he knew he would never forget, now filled with tears.

"Lisette," he whispered again as the world dissolved around him, completely melting away as he took another hesitant step forward, one after another until he completely broke away and crossed the distance between them, instinctually wrapping his arms tight around her slim form and crushing her against his chest. "Oh Gods, I missed you so much," he breathed, her beautiful and hauntingly familiar scent filling him as he buried his head in her hair, relishing in the way that her form seemed to fit so perfectly against his own.

"Brooklyn?" she murmured quietly, her head swimming as she clutched at him, not daring to believe that she was really in his arms again. But even as she questioned it, she knew the truth. His scent, the scent that belonged only to him, filled her head and made her legs weak as he held onto her tightly. Everything was per--

"Where have you been?" she asked quickly, breaking away from her thoughts as she pulled out of his embrace, unable to keep the accusing note from entering her voice as a single tear dripped down her cheek unnoticed. She had almost done it.. she had almost succumbed to her heart when her head had finally woken her from her trance. She now remembered the words of her friends here on Avalon... the truths that she must never forget. Hating herself with every step, Lisette slowly backed away from her love, not missing the look of hurt confusion that flashed across his features as she put a few feet in between them. "Why didn't you come for me?"

Sighing, Brooklyn slowly caped his wings over his shoulders as he searched for an answer, inwardly cringing at the look of hurt that shined through his love's expressive blue eyes. He should have known that she would be upset... they had been gone for so long. "I'm so sorry," he whispered as his eyes drifted down to the floor, "but..." he trailed off as a fey and a gargess broke away from the group that filled the room and moved until they were standing on each side of his love, the light of protection shining in each of their eyes.

Surprised, he watched as the fey, a tall being that resembled a human with long black hair and pale features, put a hand on Lisette's small shoulder, eliciting a small smile from his love as the gargess, one of Angela's rookery sisters he guessed, with skin, hair, and clothing of black flanked her other side. For some reason, he couldn't help but see the something else that flared within the fey's eyes... a sort of possessiveness that made him think that the hand on Lisette's shoulder was not only for support to his love but also a sign of possession.

"Ten years... ten years have passed in the mortal world," Lisette interrupted, her smile growing sad as the tears flooded her eyes. "So many years have passed in our world and yet you did not come... why now?" she asked, thankful for her friends' silent support as she asked the question that had been burning within her for so long. She hadn't known that Iris and Velvet would follow her here to the Great Hall, but she was so very thankful that they had... although the thought that she needed support from her new friends to face the old was disturbing.

"Huh?" Brooklyn asked in confusion, finally jerking his attention away from that single hand that rested on Lisette's burgundy-covered shoulder... a hand that elicited an unfamiliar wave of jealousy. "Ten years?" he repeated back, glancing back as Elisa and Goliath slowly moved to his side. "But it's only been five and a half months.. well, not only," he amended quickly, shrugging his shoulders -- five months were like a lifetime for him.

Sighing, Lisette quickly shook her head, her blond hair tumbling over her shoulders. "Five months here on Avalon, oui, mais it has been ten years in Manhattan.... although you do not look as though you have aged a day," she murmured thoughtfully, taken aback by this realization as she finally turned and really took in the two that had accompanied Brooklyn.

"What?" Goliath rumbled in surprise, confusion masking his features as he looked back and forth between Lisette and the fey and gargess that flanked her. While she seemed to be the same Lisette that had disappeared from them so long ago, Goliath already sensed a change in her.. nothing too different, but nothing subtle at the same time.

"Lisette," Elisa broke in slowly, her eyes narrowing as she stepped forward and gently took one of the young woman's hands in her own, pulling the young woman forward and away from her friends. "Five months have already passed here on Avalon?" she questioned, staring deep into her blue eyes.

"Well.. yes, yes of course," Lisette responded hesitantly, surprised by her clan's reaction. There was something wrong here.. something different that she just couldn't place her finger on. "Why? What is wrong?" she demanded as she saw a spark of anger flash in Elisa's chocolate brown eyes.

Closing her eyes, Elisa quickly counted to ten in her mind before turning back to the raised dais, knowing that her eyes were glowing green in anger. "You changed it and you didn't even tell her!?" she growled out, jabbing a finger at the King and Queen of Avalon, her voice ringing throughout the large room.

Sighing, Titania slowly leaned back in her chair as her husband steepled his fingers before him. She knew that this moment was to come and that Talika's anger was to be expected. But then again, when faced with the amazing prospects, Titania knew that the trade off would be well worth a few centuries of anger in the end.

Straightening, Titania gracefully rose from her throne and stepped into the medley of people, pushing past some until she stood tall and straight before Talika and the young mage. "Allow me to explain," she said quietly as she smiled at the uncertainty that was shining in Lisette's bright blue eyes. The poor child was being faced with so much, had already gone through so much during her short life.

"Please do," Lisette nodded, the confusion clouding her eyes as she turned back and forth from Elisa to Titania, doing everything in her power to avoid looking at Brooklyn.

"When you came to us, Lisette, all those months ago in hopes of restoring your teacher back to the mortal realm," Titania began, smiling gently down at the young woman, "you demonstrated a very strong determination and love of all those close to you. When you defied Oberon's ruling and saved Puck from death, you proved your capability for love to everyone -- as well as your magical abilities. I knew that I could not allow you to return to Manhattan where your magical ability would never reach its full potential...."

"And why not?" Elisa broke in, crossing her arms across her chest. "You knew that I helped Lisette with her lessons as well as Puck," she pointed out, smiling as she knew she had the woman trapped.

Annoyed, Titania held back her sharp retort and instead focused on the young halfling. "As well as I was... selfish... and did not want such an... intriguing puzzle to leave our shores so soon," she admitted haltingly, encouraged by Lisette's small nod. "And because I knew that my time with you would be short before your clan came for you, I asked my husband and Lord to allow Avalon to run at the same time as the mortal world for this brief period."

Gasping, Lisette slowly drew back as she shook her head in wonder. "You mean that.. all this time... when I thought that they had forgotten me for so long it had only been..."

"Five and a half months," Elisa confirmed, nodding her head grimly as she glared at her fellow protector. "And the only reason that it took us this long to get here is that I had.. some complications, in order to get us here in the first place."

"Complications?" Lisette immediately questioned, concern flooding her as she quickly turned to her detective friend. "What happened? Are you alright?"

Shaking away Lisette's questions, Elisa instead drew the young woman into a warm hug. "It doesn't matter now," she whispered into her ear, amazed at the wealth of love that she held for a girl that she knew for only a little over a year now. "All that matters is that you're finally coming home... right Titania?" Elisa asked as she pulled away, glaring pointedly at the fae queen as she brushed an errant strand of raven hair from her face.

"If that is what young Lisette so desires," Titania acknowledged quietly, her words a soft sigh as she tried to hide her disappointment. She had always known that this time would come and had worked hard not to become attached to the child. After all, it didn't take a genius to see the love that Owen held for the girl... if the trickster Puck could hold such affection for a mortal, then she had no doubt that Talika, protector of the human race would share in that feeling.. and she also realized that she would not be able to keep the child for long. But even during that time, despite her strongest acts to the contrary, Titania had grown fond of the young woman. Now, she hated for the time to of arrived.

At these words, Lisette slowly drew back and tried to fight the confusion that swarmed within her. If this question had only been asked a few mere months ago, her answer would have been instantaneous... but now the doubts gnawed at her. First it had been a deep bitterness and feelings of betrayal as she believed that her clan had allowed years to pass without coming for her, that they had forgotten her... but now, now she knew that only months had passed, during which her clan couldn't come for her. Even now she could see the love and caring that shined in Elisa's chocolate brown eyes, Goliath's dark onyx... and Brooklyn's soft eyes.

Brooklyn. He was the sole reason that she now hesitated with her decision. Deep in her heart she had always known that Brooklyn's love for her had been true and not just pity for a halfling -- she had more faith in her love than to believe such a thing. But at the same time, Velvet's kind words rang through her mind...

"Mayhap he loves you as much as you proclaim... but perhaps in the end he is better off without you.. safer and happier with a gargoyle mate, a gargoyle love that can bare him gargoyle hatchlings and live a normal gargoyle life, not threatened by magic..."

The thought almost made their pure love look dirty. After all, it was obvious that Goliath and Elisa were meant to be, leaving no question in her mind about that. But because of that love, that meant that the future of the clan rested on Broadway and Angela, Lexington and his future mate, and.... Brooklyn.

What kind of future life did she and Brooklyn have? She was way too young, only twenty, to be thinking of children and a family, but as Iris and Velvet had pointed out, she had to think of such things. Even if she and Brooklyn were able to have children, the chances were great that any child would inherit her magical prowess... did she have the right to bring such a child into the world?

She remembered all to well the persecution that she had suffered because of her magic -- she never wanted to wish that upon another. Plus, the humans had trouble enough accepting anything 'different,' namely the gargoyles. If the half gargoyle child also contained the blood of a human and.. magic, then not only would it be a mutt and a hybrid to the humans when outside of its loving home, but to all of the races. She didn't have the right to force this all on Brooklyn! She loved him too much to do that to him! And what if her magic caused him even more trouble?.... she didn't want to hurt him, and even though it would kill her to do so, she knew that if she truly loved him, then she should let him go. Maybe then he would fall in love and mate with a gargoyle... belonging with his own kind. She had no kind of her own -- she belonged to no race.

"Lisette?" Goliath rumbled slowly, watching as a single tear trickled down her cheek, her blue eyes filled with such sadness that it looked as though she had just lost the most important thing in the world to her.

Slowly, Lisette raised her eyes and looked at the faces of her clan. She loved them all so very much... how could she reject them? Turning further she glanced at Titania, sensing that the queen wanted her to remain. And then Velvet and Iris... both were such dear friends to her -- her entire network of support on the isle.... she knew what they wanted. And... Brooklyn. Sighing softly, Lisette knew what needed to be done... yet at the same time she felt a wave of selfishness. She knew that she didn't deserve and couldn't have him... but at least she wanted the opportunity to watch him. As much as it would kill her to watch him move on and be happy with another, it would kill her more never to see him again.

"I will return with my clan," Lisette finally murmured as she moved forward to wrap the queen in a warm hug, surprising the fey. "It is with them that I belong," she whispered into the woman's pointed ear.

Finding her sadness melt away, Queen Titania nodded slowly as she returned the hug. "I understand," she returned honestly as she pulled away and tenderly pushed a tendril of blond hair away from the young woman's forehead. "But please come back and visit here."

"I will," Lisette promised, finding herself unable to be angry with the Queen, despite her constant trickery. In the end, she knew that Titania was just doing what she thought was right in order to do the right thing.. not always true, but always following her heart. "And I shall bring Fox with me as well," she whispered conspiratorially, winking broadly at the queen before slowly backing away until she was between Goliath and Elisa, finally feeling at home as the large gargoyle rested a gentle hand on her shoulder.

But despite the words spoken, many different thoughts ran through many different minds. While disappointed acceptance shined clearly in Queen Titania's eyes, a troubled smile touched both Goliath and Elisa. Why had she faltered and hesitated? Her actions were that of a stranger while her pain as reminiscent of the young woman that had disappeared from their lives so many months ago.

Through Brooklyn's mind, however, was a hurt disbelief. The way that she had pulled away from him and her hesitance in wanting to return with them stung deep. He loved her with all of his heart, yet he sensed a distance between them that wasn't there before. Something wasn't right, and as he turned his eyes away from Her, his eyes narrowed on the dark-haired fae that stood beside the strange gargess. He was tall and broad-shouldered, putting him just a few inches below his own height, with curly hair that framed his face, hiding his elfin ears. In human standards, the fae would probably be considered handsome -- but that appearance was ruined by the dark scowl that now lit his face. Sighing, Brooklyn quickly realized that their departure from Avalon was about to get complicated.

"But Lord Oberon," the strange fey cut in quickly before turning away from his gargess companion, bowing respectfully at the lord of Avalon before nodding back towards the group. "Surely you think not of sending Lisette back to the mortal realm with no means to continue her lessons!"

Startled, Lisette felt the color drain from her face as she spun towards her friend, her long skirts swirling around her. "Iris!" she gasped, unable to believe his words. Her friend was going to ruin her chance to return to where she belonged! Now that the decision had been made, she wanted nothing more than to return to Manhattan, Angela, and her clan. Ignoring Iris's wink, Lisette felt herself begin to tremble as she turned to regard Oberon with wide, frightened eyes. She couldn't bear the thought of Elisa, Goliath, and Brooklyn returning without her.

And Brooklyn wasn't about to allow that either. "What are you talking about?" he asked quickly, his eyes flashing white as he moved beside Lisette. "She has Owen and Elisa..."

"Our Trickster Puck is already encumbered with the teaching of Alexander Xanatos as well as leading the busy life of a mortal," Iris interrupted, trying to soften his words with a small shrug. If all went according to plan, then alienating and angering his angel's clan was the last thing he needed to do. "The life he leads leaves no room for the thorough and advanced teaching that Lisette needs and deserves," he added, smiling as he watched his Lord give a nod to continue.

"And forgive me if I misspeak," he continued as he gave a slight bow to Elisa and Goliath, "but from what Lisette has spoken, I gather that Talika is equally busy in her balance with her duties as protector of the first race and her pursuit of her mortal life as Detective Elisa Maza... not to mention the raising of her daughter, Hope," he finished, turning to fully take in his lord.

"But that's ridic--" Elisa started, her hands planted firmly on her hips.

"Not ridiculous," Lord Oberon interrupted as he slowly pondered the fey's words. "We see your point, Iris... what is it that you suggest?" he questioned, knowing that an alternative motive was always involved when dealing with a child of Oberon.

Smiling, Iris moved until he was standing on the other side of his angel, ignoring her hurt look of betrayal. "Simply that I join our trickster brother, the Puck, in the mortal realm known as Manhattan as the halfling's teacher," he proclaimed, dropping into a low and sweeping bow. "That is if Goliath and Talika would allow it," he added with a nod in their direction.

"An intriguing suggestion," Oberon murmured as he settled back in his throne, gently massaging his chin as he pondered the fey's words. The real question was what trick the fey really had in store. "And would Goliath and Lady Talika allow such a thing?" he questioned, turning his attention back to the massive gargoyle and his companion.

Snorting softly, Goliath turned from the dark fey to stare down into his love's eyes. "Do we really have a choice?" he murmured, so quietly that only her ears could hear, her dark brown eyes windowing his question.

"Not really," Elisa murmured back, a small frown pulling at her lips. The fey, Iris, was good... he knew what he wanted and he knew how to get it. After his words, it would be impossible to leave Avalon on good terms with the Lord and Queen if a teacher was not secured for Lisette. Sighing, Elisa felt a wave of sympathy for the girl that she was beginning to love more and more as a daughter or sister... somehow the life of the young woman was no longer her own, but something that would be led and guided by not only her and Goliath, but now the Lord and Queen of Avalon... and all for Caleb's attack on her and Hope's resurrection. In a way, it all came back to her and the decisions that she made so long ago.

Shaking away the thoughts, Elisa turned and stared at the fae with hardened eyes, turning back and forth from the trickster to Lisette herself. She had noticed the look of betrayal upon Lisette's face, now replaced with a small smile.... with a start, she realized that the two must be friends. Somehow, that thought worried her as she finally turned back and nodded her consent to Goliath. It was now his choice as it was his clan.

But upon seeing his love's nod, he knew that his decision had already been made. Their first priority was to get Lisette back to Manhattan and her clan... they would worry about the rest later. "We will allow it, albeit against our better judgment," he stated, already thinking over the consequences of having not just one, but two fae and their treachery to deal with.

Trying to hide his smile, Iris quickly nodded his agreement as all of the pieces of his plan began falling into place. Plan A had been that with all that he and Velvet had been feeding his Angel, she would not even want to return to Manhattan... Plan B had quickly gone into effect when that proved impossible. Now, with his travel to the world with his Angel secured, only one piece of the plan remained to be seen. Turning, he quickly nodded at Velvet, the dark gargess seemingly lost in her own world as her gaze traveled slowly over the brick-red gargoyle that Lisette had spoken so much about.

"Then it is decided," Oberon decreed, his face taking on the look of impassive boredom that constantly defined his personae. "The halfling shall return to the mortal realm with her clan provided that Iris accompany them and provide lessons...."

"Wait," another voice called out, causing Brooklyn to sigh in frustration as he wondered what obstacle would be thrown in their path this time. Whoever would have thought a simple retrieval mission could be so complicated? Turning, he felt his eyes widen in surprise as the dark gargess, so quiet up to this point, quickly stepped forward until she was standing before Goliath, her head bowed low and her midnight black hair hiding her eyes.

"Who are you?" Goliath questioned, curiosity getting the better of him as he looked down at the young gargess. "I have not seen you on Avalon before." That fact simply surprised him. It was obvious that the gargess was one of the hatchlings of his clan, but he had thought that he had met all of the eggs when he had returned to Avalon so many times before. Where had she been hiding all this time?

"My name is Velvet, and I am a part of Avalon's clan... of your clan," she murmured, her voice soft and smooth like the velvet that composed her skin as her dark eyes raised up to meet Goliath's. "I, like my rookery sister Angela, am curious about the world beyond Avalon's shores. My friend, Lisette, has told me much of your world and I am eager to join your world with my sister... if you would permit it."

Surprised at her words, Goliath slowly turned away from the dark gargess and looked over to Lisette, not missing the soft smile that touched her lips. "Lisette?" he questioned, feeling that it was about time that at least some of this was explained.

"Goliath, Elisa... Brooklyn," she murmured, smiling weakly as she nodded at each in turn as she moved to stand between Velvet and Iris. "I would like for you to meet Velvet and Iris, my closest friends here on Avalon," she said, not bothering to add that they were her only friends here on Avalon.

Before anyone could respond, Queen Titania slowly stepped forward, an elfin smile touching her lips. "Then it has all worked for the better," she proclaimed, not missing Talika's glare in her direction. "Lisette has recuperated from her wounds on our isle and has made amazing progress with her studies. And now, she returns to her home with the friends that she has made here... a fitting ending, wouldn't you say?" she asked, arching an eyebrow at her old friend.

Sighing, Elisa knew that she was in no position to point out the fact that Lisette had been held on the isle against her will, torn away from her loved ones, while the clan and the young mage suffered because of the Queen's trickery. "Perhaps," was her sighed reply as she turned back to Goliath. They had who they had come for, and even though they did pick up a little extra baggage along the way she was sure that Xanatos could spare the room at the castle.

Smiling, she turned and watched as Brooklyn reclaimed his position beside Lisette, Iris standing on her other side as Velvet kept her eyes locked on Brooklyn's turned back. Sighing, Elisa quickly shook her head... on second thought, maybe the added two would be trouble.

Then, before another word could be spoken or before another person stepped forth, Goliath quickly and easily lifted Elisa into his arms, cradling her against his massive chest as he stepped closer to the gathering of travelers. He knew that Elisa's strength was already beginning to wan... after all, she had only been out of her coma for a little while and had only been in therapy for even less -- her atrophied muscles still needed time to recuperate. Turning, he nodded at the queen as the group gathered around him.

Picking up his cue, Lisette motioned for the group to gather closer as she eyed Elisa wearily. She didn't miss the way that Goliath held her so protectively... something was wrong, and the minute that they got back to Manhattan, she was going to find out what, for once and for all... if she didn't have to deal with something else instead. Shaking her head, Lisette focused on the queen of Avalon as the fey quickly gathered her magic around them, wrapping it in soft strands around the group until they were shielded in its green magnificence. She was finally going home...

Castle Wyvern, Manhattan

Sighing, Angela felt her warm breath lift strands of her dark brown hair from her face, thrown back to settle on the thick braid. Biting her lip, she turned away from the spot that had held her attention for the last hour or so and instead looked up into Broadway's warm eyes. "I should have gone with," she murmured, blinking back tears as he gently squeezed her hand, wary of squeezing too hard. But then again, after months and months of having to deal with her in this strange human form, the gargoyle was getting used to it.

Smiling, Broadway quickly shook his head as he wrapped his arms around her, ignoring everyone else. "Elisa was still too weak to take us all," he answered quickly, shrugging his shoulders. "And there was no way that Brooklyn would have let any of us go in his place...."

"I know," Angela interrupted, shaking her head quickly as she turned to glance back at the empty courtyard of the castle. Only a mere hour had passed since her father, Elisa, and Brooklyn had left for Avalon... in Avalon, that meant that even less time had passed. She needed to learn patience, but the thought of finally seeing Lisette again, the closest person she ever had of being a best friend, was too exciting for her to just wait patiently.

Turning, she watched as Lexington played with Alex and Hope, his actions seeming more mechanical than heartfelt. Even Hope and Alex seemed to understand the excitement as they regarded their toys half-heartedly, their eyes instead jumping back and forth to the faces of the adults that paced nervously on the hard granite.

But to Angela, it was Owen and Fox that seemed the most anxious for the return of their friends... and who would be more fitting? While Lisette had helped with Alex for the time that she had been at Wyvern, he was so young that it was difficult for him to truly understand all that was happening. And Hope... well the poor little girl didn't even know Lisette! She only met her once, and that was when she sent Lisette and the others to Avalon to save Puck. And as for Hudson... shaking her head, Angela couldn't help the smile that touched her face. Hudson tried to act gruff and noncommittal as he leaned against the outside wall, but Angela knew that he was excited for the return of their clan member.

There was no one that wasn't affected by Lisette's disappearance and all were eager to see her return. The same went with Xanatos, Lexington, and even Broadway... but with Fox and Owen it was a different story. From the way that Lisette had spoken of Fox, Angela knew that she cared deeply for the woman, considering both her and Elisa to be like older sisters or the mother that she never knew. And it took just one look at Fox's face to see that the love was returned. And Owen.. well, one had to be blind to not see the love that he held for her friend. He wasn't just her teacher... he was her protector and friend. And now if only Lisette would return to where she belonged... to her true home.

Sighing, Angela quickly closed her eyes, gently pulling away from her love as she pressed sharp fingers into the soft skin at her temples, willing away the headache that was beginning to form. "Lisette," she sighed as she turned her head away, only catching the sharp flash of green from the corner of her eyes.

"Ang-" Broadway broke off, his attention riveted on the spot that had remained empty for so long, his words cut off as his love turned quickly, her smile brightening instantly as hope etched across her face.

"Lisette?" she whispered quietly, tears already pooling in her eyes as the green mist slowly cleared away, revealing her father's tall form, Elisa by his side... and Brooklyn and Lisette standing beside them. "LISETTE!!!" Angela screamed, causing Broadway to jump back in surprise as she pushed past him and the others, launching herself into the young woman's arms, falling to the ground in a pile of limbs.

Lisette had finally come home.

Minutes later, as the crowd slowly parted away and gave the young halfling room to breathe, the two new guests were finally noticed.

"Velvet?" Angela asked in amazement, her eyes crinkling in confusion as she took in the dark gargess that stood quietly beside a tall fey she had never before seen.

"And Iris?" Owen asked, a flash of suspicion crossing his face before it was hidden just as quickly beneath a mask of indifference. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh!" Lisette gasped, a startled smile lifting her lips as a small blush stained her cheeks. In the excitement of seeing everyone again she had nearly forgotten about her friends. "Everyone, I would like for you to meet Iris and Velvet," she quickly announced as she gestured towards her friends.

Ignoring her words, Owen curtly shook his head. "I know who he is, but what I want to know is what he's doing here," he answered back, surprising the Clan with his answer.

"Well.. he's my friend," Lisette answered back, frowning at her mentor. "He and Velvet both.... they were all that I had while on Avalon," she whispered, turning to cast her eyes to the ground as Angela gently squeezed her shoulder.

Feeling her pain as though it was his own, Iris quickly stepped forward and bowed theatrically before the odd assortment of humans and gargoyles. "And since Velvet was curious about this Manhattan that Lisette spoke so highly about, and because she needed a new teacher, we decided to join your little band of misfits," he added, smirking at his brother, seeing easily through the human disguise.

"And we welcomed them here," Goliath added quietly, his voice rumbling above the others as he frowned at his clan, almost daring them to question the strangers' presence. And, like a good clan, no more questions were asked.

"Well then, Iris an' Velvet, we welcome ye ta Castle Wyvern," Hudson replied for them all.

Hours later, the past has been retold and all had been caught up on the events that had transpired during Lisette's absence. The new friends has been introduced and suspicions had been sent aside. Now, as the night began to wan the others slowly drifted away, Angela led her clan sister Velvet away from the group, eager to hear of her home even as Owen did likewise with Iris, stepping out of the cold and biting wind and into the warmth of the castle.

Taking his cue, Brooklyn followed suit as he gently grasped Lisette's small arm, stopping her from joining the others. But even as her eyes slid away from his, he read the unease that shined in her bright blue orbs... an unease that mingled with the deep sadness that had penetrated her being for so very long. Shaking his head, Brooklyn bit down on his resolve and gently pulled her away from the doors to the Great Hall and lead her back into what used to be the gardens -- now nothing more than a pile of withered vegetation, the cold season working its deathly magic upon the beautiful flowers.

No words were spoken -- none needed to be said as they disappeared from their friends, their absence noted by only a few. And then, they were alone, the dark night broken only by the bright moon that shone so high above them, illuminating the spot that during the summer had spoken of so much love.. now only speaking of death and destruction.. a place of melancholy. The perfect setting.

I knew that this moment would come in time...

With guarded eyes, Brooklyn gently turned Lisette until he stood before her, lifting her chin with one taloned hand until his eyes locked with her own. "What's happened?" he asked slowly, his dark eyes piercing into her own, probing her in the way that only he could.

That I'd have to let you go and watch you fly...

"What... what do you mean?" Lisette stuttered as she nervously toyed with a long strand of her pale blond hair. Even as the words left her lips Lisette choked on the lie; she knew exactly what he was referring to. How could she not? And how could she possibly prevent this from destroying her very heart?

Are you searching for words that you can't find?

His eyes narrowing on her uncharacteristic fidgeting, Brooklyn slowly caped his wings around his shoulders. "What's happened between us? What's changed?" he asked, not knowing whether to draw her into his arms or to back away, cringing at the accusing note that he heard in his own voice.. the pleading.

"I..." Lisette began weakly, fighting the tears that seeked to brim her eyes, her throat burning with the strain of withholding the sobs that were waiting to break forth.

Trying to hide your emotions but eyes don't lie...

"There's a distance between us that wasn't there before," he whispered hollowly, begging her with his eyes to deny what he sensed... what he saw. And as though he was fulfilling a well-worn part in some long-ago written tragedy, Brooklyn watched as his love straightened, her gaze shuttered.

Guess there's no easy way to say goodbye.

"I am sorry," she whispered, meaning those words with every part of her being, "but I no longer love you," she lied, feeling her heart shatter even as she watched Brooklyn's eyes become dead and hardened.

"I see," was his tightly whispered response, holding his wave of torment under a tight fist of pain as he turned stiffly away, never seeing the hot tears that streaked down Lisette's face or the hand that unwillingly reached for his departing back -- never knowing that she regretted the words the minute that they left her mouth... never knowing that she could never take them back and that they were not her own. His pain was all that he knew.

As her torment built around her, Lisette lashed out with her magicks from the tallest tower of Wyvern, sending the waves crashing into the city even as they tore through the Heavens above.

So I'll be standing at the edge of the earth
Hoping that someday you'll come back again

Soon, the deep rumble of thunder wracked the city as thick, dark black clouds swarmed over the night sky, blocking the view of the Moon and Stars above.

I'll be standing at the edge of the earth waiting for someday

Closing her eyes, Lisette's senses wrapped around the growing storm, her slim form a bare silhouette against the deep backdrop, the stark cold from the stones of the tower seeping into her slippered feet as the fierce winds tore at her burgundy dress, making a whirlwind with her loosely flowing hair.

I don't want to let you leave this way

Then, as the acrid scent of the storm reached its peak, a single peal of bright lightning ripped through the sky and crashed into the rocks behind her. As her blue eyes snapped open, the Heavens opened up above her, drowning her in cold sleets of rain that weighted down her dress, molding it to her form as her hair became plastered to her face.

And I know this may be
The very last time that we see each other cry

But more importantly, the torrential rain hid her tears. How amazing it was to her that a love that had been so carefully built, blossoming slowly into a beautiful rose.. could be so easily destroyed with one small phrase. All that they had built together had been ended with that single sentence. How could something so beautiful and perfect have been destroyed so easily, in one single moment?

I'll be standing at the edge of the earth
Hoping for someday

As the deep sobs wracked her small body, Lisette controlled the storm with a wild abandon, the thunder booming around her as she displayed her pain the only way she knew how. She had lost her love and the blame was her own.

Waiting for someday, Believing in someday
Praying for someday, I'll be...
Longing for someday, Clinging to someday
Cherishing someday, I'll be...
Thinking of someday, Dreaming of someday
Wishing for someday, I'll be...
Living for someday, Counting on someday

She had caused this heartache... it was her fault. For truly the first time, it was her fault. He was gone...

Throwing her head back, Lisette's scream ripped through the dark night sky, mingling with the loud crash of thunder as she fell to her knees, heedless of the sharp stone that bit through her dress and extended her arms out to either side of her, her head tilted back as the water washed over her in rivulets. He was gone.

Gasping as a loud rumble shook the castle walls, Elisa tore her eyes away from the new guests and turned dark eyes towards the door that led out into the courtyard. Instantly tears stung her eyes as she stepped closer to Goliath, feeling his arm instinctively wrap around her and pull her closer as she lifted Hope into her arms, breathing in the child's familiar and comforting scent. "Lisette," she murmured quietly, her eyes slipping shut.

Unnoticed, one other pair of eyes followed Elisa's towards the door, mischievous glee shining forth from his dark eyes as he nodded at the dark gargess that stood beside him. And so it began.