Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or locations from Gargoyles, those belong to their owners.
Author's note: This story takes place the summer following "The Journey", and though it ignores the comic's continuity, I'm using Fang's real name, revealed in Bad Guys #2.
"That's so good that your stepdad's getting his act together," Tyler said as he walked along the underground with Daniel.
The two boys had left for the Labyrinth after talking to one another on the phone and met up at their usual entrance in the early evening. On their way towards their favorite hang-out, Daniel had filled his best friend in on his stepfather, Richard, getting a promotion at work, sobering up, and being nice. Tyler was as surprised as Daniel had been, but felt happy for his friend that Richard was not being a drunk jerk anymore.
"Yeah, and Mom's happy too," Daniel said.
This made Tyler smile. "And that's the best thing. That's great that you and Auntie Carmen are cool with each other again."
"Yeah, it is," Daniel said, smiling as well. "Now I just need for Dad to come back and everything'll be perfect."
"So long as your stepdad doesn't find out about Uncle Freddy, you mean," Tyler pointed out. "Speaking of, have you heard from him? I mean, has he called or anything?"
Daniel shook his head, looking rather bummed. "No, he hasn't. I mean, I get it, he probably doesn't want this Sevarius guy knowing about us, and he also probably doesn't wanna risk calling home and having Richard be the one who picks up the phone. But man, I miss him so much."
"I miss him too, but we're already in October. He should be back soon," Tyler said reassuringly.
Nodding, Daniel continued walking alongside Tyler towards the Labyrinth, at times seeing a resident or two coming or going. Tyler had once again told his parents that he'd be hanging with Daniel, whereas Daniel's mother knew where the boys were going, but the two boys had to make excuses to their friends, Yvonne and Cynthia, regarding why they couldn't hang out that Saturday night. The girls grew ever curious on why the boys always had somewhere to go either Friday or Saturday night that they could not tell the girls about or let them come along, which rather worried the two boys that their friends could eventually catch on to things. Daniel and Tyler were discussing what they could do about it when, after a few moments of walking from around a corner, they heard someone call out from behind them.
"Oh, hey, Daniel!"
Turning around, the two boys saw who was clearly the gargoyle that Hollywood had been cloned from, coming from a different tunnel than the one they had taken. "Hey, Broadway!" Daniel exclaimed. "It's good to see you again!"
"Good to see you too!" Broadway said as he walked over to them, and right behind him came along Angela and also Elisa Maza.
"Nice to see you, Daniel," Elisa greeted the boys. "And your friend too. I'm Elisa. I assume Daniel's told you about us."
As Daniel and Angela had never met, and none of them had met Tyler, introductions were made. Right afterwards, the five began walking again, as they were close to the entrance of the Labyrinth.
"How's everything going at home, Daniel?" Elisa asked him.
"Well, ups and downs. The down is that Dad's gone for some time, but the up is that things are fine again between myself and Mom," Daniel said, figuring that Elisa knew as much about Fang as the gargoyles did, since she was such a close friend to them. "And even my stepdad's being nice lately."
"Wait. Did you say your "dad" is gone for some time?" Elisa asked.
"Yeah. Turns out that Fang's not Danny's uncle, he's Danny's dad," Tyler told them.
"Really?" Broadway asked with a baffled expression on his face, doing his best to pretend to be surprised.
"Okay, that's definitely unexpected," Elisa commented with a chuckle.
Daniel and Tyler both kept a straight face, for they knew that Elisa and the gargoyles were faking their surprise. On the very night that Malibu snuck out thanks to the boys to meet Fang and show him his newfound intelligence for the first time, as well as inform Fang of the tiny camera drones hidden in Daniel's apartment and the building's vicinity, the mutate and clone decided that it would be best to fill Daniel and Tyler in on the hidden cameras too, mainly so the boys wouldn't accidentally reveal anything about their visit to the Eyrie Building and how Xanatos was responsible for Malibu's newfound intelligence, as well as that of the other clones. It would get Malibu in trouble, for starters, and Fang also wanted any advantage over Talon and the gargoyles that he could get, and the boys saying something they shouldn't without knowing they were being watched and listened to would not work in the mutate's favor, so he made sure to tell the boys. Daniel and Tyler, involved in yet another secret to keep, had done a good job at playing it cool.
"He's super happy about it," Daniel said to the others about his father. "And so am I. I'm bummed he went on some trip, but it'll be great when he comes back."
"I do hope everything works out for you and your father, Daniel," Angela said with a genuine smile.
"Thank you," Daniel said to Angela, returning the smile. "So you came to hang out down here too?"
"In part," Broadway replied, as the main entrance to the Labyrinth came into view. "We came with Elisa to visit Maggie and Derek."
Elisa could not help but smile brightly. "Turns out I'm going to be an aunt."
This news stunned the two boys, whose eyes went wide. "Wait, for real?" Tyler asked.
An equally surprised Daniel added, "Maggie's having a baby?"
"They found out a few days ago," Elisa said, very excited at the prospect of becoming an aunt. "Everyone's been coming down here almost every day since, especially my parents. It's a shame my sister, Beth, is in her university in Arizona. She really wishes she could be here right now."
"I totally get it," Tyler told her. "Same way my aunts and uncles were when my mom was pregnant with my little sister."
"I'll bet nothing's gonna stop her from being here for when the baby's ready to be born," Broadway commented.
"That's a bet I'm pretty sure you'd win," Elisa told him in good humor. She definitely was looking forward to the whole family being together for this.
By now they had arrived at the Labyrinth, crossing the large entrance door. The group did not have to search for the parents-to-be, as they quickly saw Maggie walking with Talon right behind her, exiting a hallway that led to their bedroom. "Derek, seriously, I'm fine," Maggie told her partner. "I'm pregnant, not sick. You don't have to do everything for me."
"Already being overprotective, Derek?" Elisa teased her brother as the group approached the mutates.
The panther mutate looked a little embarrassed. "Hi, Sis, everyone. And no, I'm not being overprotective. I just want to make sure Maggie and the baby are okay, that's all."
"And we are, Derek," Maggie insisted. "It's still very early in the pregnancy for you to be coddling me. I know you mean well, but I'm feeling a little smothered."
"She's not kidding," a voice said from nearby, and everyone turned to see Malibu approaching the group. "Talon's been all over Maggie since the pregnancy test, just all anxious."
"Hi, Mal... hey!" Daniel started to greet their clone friend, but was taken by surprise upon seeing him.
"Dude, you look so different!" Tyler pointed out.
"You really do," Broadway agreed.
"Hehe. I know, right?" Malibu said with a grin. Indeed, the gargoyle's look was quite different than the last time the boys saw him on the previous weekend. He was wearing a black, rather torn up Metallica t-shirt (with a hole cut in the back for his wings), denim shorts, and his long hair was tied back in a ponytail. Most noticeably, his eyes, teeth, and the inside of his mouth now looked like normal colors, as they did on Broadway and Angela. "Finally found some cool clothes to wear. And everyone was real surprised when me and the others woke up from our stone sleep a few days ago and our colors had changed a bit."
"That was a bit disconcerting, but ultimately, it's no big deal. Something similar happened to us mutates too, over some time. The important thing is that all the clones have gotten so much smarter and independent lately," Talon told the others with a proud smile.
"That's such good news," Angela said.
The clone gave Angela a genuine smile. "Yup! Though not as good as the news Maggie and Derek got, that's for sure."
"Well then, if you guys'll excuse us," Elisa said, "Maggie, Angela and I would like to have ourselves some ladies' time to properly catch up and make plans."
"I'll see you later tonight, love," Angela told Broadway.
As the guys watched the three ladies excuse themselves and head out to a different part of the Labyrinth, Malibu turned to Broadway. "Oh, hey, Broadway. I was wondering if I could ask you a favor?"
"And we wanted to ask a favor too," Tyler said.
"Oh, yeah, sure," Broadway said in curiosity. "What can I do for you guys?"
Before either Malibu or Tyler could speak, Daniel did so first. "Actually, you guys go ahead and do whatever. There's something I need to talk about with Talon, then I'm gonna go look for Claw."
Talon was a little taken aback. "Oh. Well, Claw's busy playing poker with Burbank and a few other folks. We should have time to talk."
"Okay," Daniel said, then waved to the others as he followed Talon to another area of the Labyrinth. "Have fun, you guys. I'll see you later."
As the remaining three watched mutate and child move away, Broadway turned to the other two. "So, what was it you guys wanted to ask me?"
Tyler spoke first. "Ah, well, Danny said that you offered to take him to the castle you guys live in. We've both been wanting to go, but I didn't know he wanted to stay here tonight. Is it okay if you can take me to visit now that we have a chance?"
Broadway smiled at this. "Well, I don't see why not. We can go, show you around for a while, then I can bring you back."
"Awesome!" Tyler exclaimed. He was thrilled to visit the castle again, keeping it quiet that he had already been there before.
"And what did you wanna ask me, Malibu?" Broadway inquired as he turned towards the clone, who grinned back at him.
"Funny you should ask, 'cuz I was hoping for the same thing as my buddy here," the clone said, putting an arm around Tyler's shoulders. "I want to visit the castle too, but I figure it's better to ask permission from someone who lives there first, ya know."
Upon hearing this request, Broadway looked rather concerned. "You too? Well, honestly, I wouldn't mind taking you. But won't Talon get mad? I'm pretty sure he doesn't want you guys there. You know, because of Xanatos."
"Oh, I already have permission from Talon. Since us clones are smarter and more independent now, we can go out and explore the city better, so long as we're safe and careful," Malibu said with a casual smile on his beaked face. But to Tyler, who knew the clone better than Broadway did, it was obvious that Malibu was lying through his teeth, which the child didn't mind, as he figured they weren't exactly doing something immorally wrong.
"Really?" Broadway asked. "So he's okay with it?"
Malibu nodded. "That's why I was gonna ask you right in front of him, so you'd see. Talon trusts us now to make our own good decisions. And I feel like getting to know your clan and your home is a good decision."
"Come on, Broadway. Please?" Tyler pleaded with the portly gargoyle.
"Well, if Talon gave you the okay to go out, then sure, I'll take you guys there," Broadway said amiably.
"Thanks, Broadway, I really appreciate it," Malibu told Broadway, then turned towards his young human friend. "C'mon, Ty, let's get get going."
"Sure! This is gonna be so cool," Tyler exclaimed as he followed the two gargoyles. Both he and Malibu were certainly looking forward to their second visit to the castle, unbeknownst to their companion, wondering what they could do there this time.
"I'm sorry, Daniel. I know you don't like this part of the Labyrinth, but since nobody's allowed in here, it's the most private place where we can have a talk," Talon said as he led Daniel towards the holding cells, all still currently empty, the two now standing in the hallway with the cells. "I assume you want to talk about Fang."
"Yeah, mostly," Daniel replied. "But I wanted to say first that, well... congratulations. It's really cool that you and Maggie are gonna have a baby."
"Oh. Thank you, Daniel," a genuinely surprised Talon said, as he knew for a fact that the child did not like him.
"You're welcome," Daniel said. "Plus I'm kinda hoping, since you're gonna be a dad, that you can see my situation in a different way now."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, things at home are a little different lately. I haven't told anyone besides Tyler and my mom, but Fang's not my uncle. He's my dad. Mom ended up discovering him when Dad and Tyler and me got distracted, and they argued and she just blurted it out by accident."
Talon was silent for a few moments. He already knew this thanks to Goliath's clan letting him know, but he couldn't let Daniel know he knew, not knowing that the boy was sure this was old news to Talon. "Okay, that's really not what I expected to hear. How did your Mom take it?"
"She took it hard at first, especially since she and Dad never really liked each other. I guess you could say I'm the result of the one night that they agreed on something," Daniel replied with a wry little smile, leaning against a wall. "She's trying to get used to Dad, the way he looks now and him being back in our lives. And he's away right now too, with that Sevarius weirdo who did this to you guys, being like a bodyguard for him or something while they travel to places. He's been gone for a few weeks now."
"I see. But why are you telling me all this now?"
"Like I said, I'm just hoping you can see things a different way. I was angry at my mom for not telling me that he's really my dad," Daniel explained, "but we talked about things and everything's okay between us now. Even my stepfather's being nice lately, he got a job promotion and he stopped drinking and being mean. So, things are pretty okay at home."
"That's great," Talon told the boy with a genuine smile.
"Yeah, it is. Before he left, Dad told me he doesn't really trust Demona or Sevarius, and he's been working for them just to get some money to help out. And since Sevarius is gonna pay him a whole lot of money for working as a bodyguard, Dad says that as soon as he comes back, he'll stop working for those two, then try finding a place he can stay, and that way it's safer for me and my mom in our apartment, because he wouldn't be there all the time."
Talon nodded, saying nothing for now, so Daniel continued. "So, what I'm trying to say is that I know my dad did some crappy stuff, before and after being mutated. But he's really changed, especially after Mom told him he's my dad. He wants to stay out of trouble and he wants to be a good dad to me."
"Daniel, I know that all you want is for us to stop going after Fang to bring him back down here," Talon told the boy. "It's just... it's difficult, after the things he's done."
"But..." Daniel started to say.
"Please let me finish. I just want you to know the whole story before we discuss things further," Talon interrupted, though he did so gently, and the boy complied despite looking a little uncomfortable. "After we were mutated, the four of us ran away. We lived in the countryside for about three months, keeping a low profile, hunting animals and eating whatever else we could find, and when it started to get very cold in December, we decided to return to Xanatos. Fang was a loudmouth, sometimes a jerk, but he wasn't really a bad guy. Not until we started living here in the Labyrinth. I guess that after living at Xanatos's castle, he thought of the Labyrinth as a big downgrade. Fang started bullying people, extorting things from them. I wanted to believe he was just acting out and would eventually stop doing those things, but he didn't. He and his two goons, along with Claw, they found a stash of weapons and tried taking over the Labyrinth. Claw did it because he was scared of Fang, and eventually he turned on him. Thanks to the gargoyles, we managed to stop Fang, imprisoned him and exiled the two guys who helped him."
Talon sighed before continuing. "But unlike Claw, Fang didn't want to make amends. He was always defiant. Then there was the time he went along with Demona and Thailog to help them out. We captured him again soon after, but still, he's never wanted to make up for the bad things he's done. Eventually you helped him escape and he still kept doing bad things. I know you didn't believe me about him beating the hell out of me after escaping, but you can ask anyone here about it. Then he started working for Demona and Sevarius after you helped him escape, and who knows the kinds of things they ask him to do. He even used you as a hostage that night at the castle, and he knows we won't go after him so long as he stays in your apartment."
Daniel looked very uncomfortable when Talon mentioned he could ask anyone about Fang beating him up, as Daniel knew that this meant it was true after all, but he spoke up regarding the rest. "He didn't use me as a hostage, I went along with it so they wouldn't take him. And I told you, he's gonna stop working for those two as soon as he comes back home, and I'm fine with him staying at my place if it means you can't bring him back to that cell. I'm sorry about him beating you up, but I'm telling you, he's trying to be good, and you guys won't give him a chance!"
Seeing that the boy was starting to lose his cool, Talon went down on one knee, putting himself on Daniel's level rather than look down at him. "Daniel, I get it. He's your dad and you'd take on the whole world to keep him safe. I'd do the same for my dad. But in all the time I've known Fang, he hasn't given me any reason to believe I can trust him to be a decent guy and do the right thing. Can you see that from my point of view?"
Daniel stayed quiet, head down, not looking the mutate in the eye. "I... I don't know... I guess?"
"Well, I've decided that I'm going to see things from your point of view, Daniel," the mutate told the boy, who now met Talon's eyes. "Maybe knowing that he has a son is the kind of thing Fang needs to get his act straight. You're saying he wants to quit working for Demona and Sevarius, and that he wants to be a good dad to you, so I'm choosing to believe that."
"You are?" Daniel asked. "Does that mean..."
Talon nodded. "It means that I'll give your father the opportunity to make amends for the bad things he's done. Fang seems to really love you, so if anyone out there can make him turn over a new leaf, that's you. You be a good son to him so he can be a good dad to you."
Daniel looked both surprised and relieved at this, which made him awkwardly fidget a little where he stood. "Okay. I will."
Talon smiled, standing back up and putting his big hands on the boy's shoulders. "So then, I'm counting on you to be a good influence on Fang, and you can count on me to give him a chance to show us he can change for the better. Deal?"
"Deal," Daniel said, nodding his head, then he smiled rather sheepishly. "Thank you, Tal... I mean, Derek."
"And thank you too, Daniel," Talon said contently, taking his hands off the boy's shoulders. "For helping me see things from a new perspective."
Daniel nodded again, still smiling. "Okay," he said, and after a few seconds, he jokingly added. "But I hope you're not expecting a hug, 'cuz it's not happening."
Talon couldn't help but guffaw and grin at this. "I guess I'll have to live with that. And I'm glad we can finally understand each other and that we could reach some middle ground."
Daniel nodded, looking much calmer now, and happy too. "Me too. Thanks again, Derek. I know Dad can be good, and I'll help him show you. I'm sure everything's gonna be fine."
"I know you'll do your best. Let's hope everything works out for everyone," Talon said, looking in quite a good mood, and he started to turn to walk away. "Come on then, let's take you to..."
Daniel watched the panther mutate's face change from a pleased smile to an expression of shock. Turning as well, Daniel's face also turned to shock and his heart sank, because standing nearby, at the spot where the hall to come to the cells area turned the corner, was Claw, the one person they had both been keeping secrets from regarding Fang's escape and whereabouts. They had not heard him coming, but from the stoic expression on his face, it was clear to both Talon and Daniel that Claw had heard everything.
To Be Continued...
Author's Extra Note: So there we go, dear readers. It was a long time coming, for Claw to find out about what really happened the night that Fang escaped and what Claw's reaction will be to that, and we're getting to it now... or we will get to it eventually, as next chapter goes back to London, so you'll have to hang in there a while longer to see what happens next. Thank you for reading!