The Wedding
Christine Morgan /

Author's Note: The characters of Gargoyles belong to the folks at
Disney and are used here without their knowledge or consent. Nikki
belongs to Leva (she's just too fun to pass up!). Rate this one just PG-13
for adult situations.

#26 in an ongoing saga

OCTOBER 30, 1998.

"Aunt Agnes, this is Goliath."
He turned slowly from the window.
There followed a long, long silence.
Brooklyn, watching discreetly from the next room with Owen,
noted that Elisa and her parents wore the tense, braced expressions of
airline passengers during a plunging descent.
The Aerie Building's top-notch medical staff were on full alert,
and Owen's hand crouched like a pale spider over the button that would
summon them instantly.
She peered at Goliath, then with a hand that trembled only
slightly and was due more to the palsies of age than to fear, lifted a pair
of glasses that were suspended by a beaded chain. She perched them on
the end of her nose and looked him up and down without a word, lips
Diane Maza, Agnes' niece, clutched her husband Peter so
tightly that he winced.
The long silence grew even longer.
Owen moved away from the danger button, having evidently
decided that whatever her response might be, Agnes Taylor was not
going to keel over and start flopping around.
Goliath finally realized that the first move was up to him, and
gingerly took a step forward. His wings were caped over his shoulders
and he folded one arm in front of his chest as he bowed. "It is a pleasure
to meet you, Mrs. Taylor," he rumbled.
"Your name is Goliath? Just Goliath?" Agnes asked in a half-
grating, half-peevish voice.
He nodded.
"Well," she sniffed, giving Elisa a sidelong glance, "I never
did approve of women keeping their maiden names, but it doesn't seem
like you have a choice."
Elisa blinked.
Agnes returned her attention to Goliath. "And what do you do
for a living?"
It was his turn to blink. "I beg your pardon?"
"Your job?"
In the other room, Brooklyn stifled a smirk and saw that Owen,
too, was struggling to control his reaction.
"I ... I have no job," Goliath mumbled, throwing a helpless
look Elisa's way.
Agnes sniffed again. "Just sit around all day, do you?"
"Well, as a matter of fact --" he began.
"What do you do with your time?" She glowered at him over
the rims of her glasses.
"Gargoyles protect," Goliath said weakly. Then, visibly
collecting himself, he added, "We watch over the city, protect the
innocent --"
Agnes rolled right over him just as his speech was gaining
strength. "Last I heard, there wasn't much money in vigilantism. I
suppose you expect my grand-niece to support you, pay all the bills and
put groceries on the table."
"I ... no ... well, I ..." Goliath stammered.
"A policewoman must meet plenty of gainfully-employed
men," Agnes said to Elisa. "Attorneys, reporters, that sort of thing.
Instead, you have to marry someone who plays at being a superhero?
You'll run yourself right into an early grave trying to make ends meet,
Elisa Maria, just you wait and see!"
"He ... he sort of works for Xanatos," Elisa said defensively.
"Does he bring home a paycheck?" She looked back to
Goliath. "Well, do you?"
"Not as such ..."
"As I thought. No steady paycheck, no insurance. Diane, Peter,
I'm surprised at you. They'll be borrowing from your pocketbooks,
living off of you like leeches." She sighed heavily. "Well, that's your
problem, isn't it? The wedding is tomorrow? At Saint Andrews?"
"No, not Saint Andrews," Elisa said slowly. "It's ... well, it's
not in a church."
Arched eyebrows greeted that news. "Oh? You're bringing a
minister here?"
"No." Elisa gulped. "We're not having a minister either."
"A judge? A justice of the peace?" Agnes said, disapproval
growing with each shake of Elisa's head. Then she paused and gave
Goliath another once-over. "Hmph. I can see why. I imagine the courts
aren't going to view this as legal, anyway?"
Brooklyn envisioned Elisa trying to get Goliath put on her
benefits package through work, and snorted.
"You've made up your mind?" Agnes asked Elisa.
"Yes," she said, with not an instant's hesitation or faltering,
drawing her chin up proudly.
"Heaven help you," she muttered grimly. "You're setting
yourself up for heartbreak, not just yours but your parents as well. I can
see why your grandparents don't know about this. Your grandfather, my
brother, never missed a day of work in his entire life. If he knew your
husband was a bum, it would be the death of him!"
"He's not a bum!" Elisa protested.
Agnes ignored her and turned back to Goliath. "If you're not
going to work, you'd better be prepared to carry your weight around the
house! If you don't know how to cook and do laundry, you'd better
learn! And you'd better be prepared to mind the children, too! Does
changing diapers cross your eyes, mister Goliath?"
Peter Maza seemed on the verge of choking. His wife patted
him anxiously on the back.
"I assure you, I will do all that is necessary," Goliath said,
looking shocked to the core.
"You've never changed a diaper in your life," Agnes said,
surely and scornfully.
"That is true. My daughter --"
"Your _what?_" she cut in as Elisa groaned and covered her
eyes. "You have a daughter? You've been married before?"
"Yes, and no," Goliath said. "Angela is my daughter, but I
have never been married." He looked pleased by his answer, as if he
was finally out of the danger zone.
"Oh, I see!" She tapped her fingers on her thick strand of
beads. "Well. Some people think sex is just a big playground, never
mind the consequences. So now Elisa's going to be burdened with being
a stepmother." She rolled her gaze skyward and said again, "Heaven
help you. At least there isn't an ex-wife to complicate things!"
Brooklyn knew _exactly_ what both Goliath and Elisa had to
be thinking at that moment.
* *
"Mom?" Josh said, his eyes wide and startled. "Mom, it's
Maria Chavez spat out a mouthful of pins. "What? Carmen?"
"She just buzzed up. She's downstairs. Should I let her in?"
"What's she doing here?" Sarah, the youngest, asked
breathlessly. She was standing on the coffee table, holding her skirt so
that her mother could finish the hem, and fear of getting pin-stuck was
the only thing that kept her from her usual jumpy exuberance.
"Yes, Josh, let her in!" She glanced hopelessly around the
messy apartment and decided that it was the least of her concerns.
Carmen's childhood friend was marrying a gargoyle tomorrow night, so
of all the times for her to turn up unexpectedly ...
Josh and Sarah looked apprehesively at each other. Their older
half-sister had never warmed to them, and they hadn't even seen her in
several years. Sarah, in fact, only really knew Carmen from
There was a soft rap on the door, and Maria opened it.
"Hi, Mom," she said shyly.
"Honey, what a surprise! What are you doing in New York?
Why didn't you call first?"
"I was afraid if I called, I'd chicken out."
"I thought you were in Japan for the rest of the year."
"Ran out of money," Carmen admitted ruefully.
Maria noticed a young man lingering in the hallway. He gave
her a nervous grin. "Hiya, Mrs. C."
Carmen noticed her noticing. "Oh. Mom, this is Vinnie."
* *
"Yes!" Lexington cried, springing up from the security
monitor. "It worked!"
"What are ye so excited about?" Hudson asked.
"Look!" Lex hit a few keys, and the image on the monitor
came up on the television screen, cutting off Leno's monologue.
"I was watching --" Hudson broke off his complaint and
stared. "Be that who I think it is?"
Two familiar shapes were in view, carefully closing on the
castle. The bright propulsion jets and the reflection of moonlight on
metal instead of flesh gave them away.
"It's Coldstone!" Lex said proudly. "I isolated one of the
frequencies used in his cybernetics and tried to send him a message.
They've come for the wedding!"
"Where be Angus?"
"Oops. I totally forgot about that." Lex looked chagrined.
"Never mind, lad. We'll greet them first and prepare them." He
heaved himself out of the easy chair and headed for the roof.
Lex bounded after him, babbling about all the complicated
things he'd done trying to reach Coldstone. Hudson nodded in what he
thought were the right places, since all the jargon sailed clean over his
They reached the battlements and Lex waved to the
approaching figures. Hudson glanced around to make sure the
automatic defenses weren't going to kick in and blow them out of the
sky, and then he saw that he and Lex weren't the only ones to have
noticed their visitors. Broadway and Angus were in the courtyard,
staring up.
The young gargoyle dropped his baseball glove and raced for
the stairs with Broadway huffing along behind him.
"Ye explained to him, did ye not?" Hudson asked Lex in a low
"Yeah, and showed him some of the videos. He knows, but
knowing and seeing for himself are two different things. I'm more
worried how they're going to take it."
"They be of the old ways, remember," Hudson said. "He'll be a
child o' the whole clan to them."
"But he's not going to feel that way. Far as he's concerned,
they're his parents."
"We dinna know that for certain."
"Cripes, Hudson, look at him! You're the one who first pointed
out that he looks just like Coldstone did when he was young, except he's
got Coldfire's wing structure. We don't need Sevarius and his tests to
figure that out!"
"Ye're right." He sighed. "I'll handle it, then, if ye don't mind."
"Is that ..." Angus panted, skidding to a halt beside Hudson.
"Aye, lad, it's them." He rested a hand on the youngster's
shoulder. "Are ye ready to meet them?"
He nodded. "I always wanted to know where I came from, 'tis
Broadway finally reached the rest and mopped at his brow. "I
must be getting too old for this."
"It's not your age that's the trouble." Lex poked him playfully
in the belly.
"I help Angus with his pitching every night," Broadway
protested. "That's a lot of exercise, especially on top of our regular
"Quiet, the both of ye," Hudson said. "Here they come."
In a warm whoosh of backjetted air, Coldstone and his golden
mate settled to the stones. Up close, it was clear they'd been through
some hard times. They were badly dented and scratched in places,
blackened with burnscars.
"Mentor!" Coldstone clasped forearms with Hudson, then
nearly got bowled over as Coldfire rushed to embrace the elder.
Angus sidled behind Broadway as the grownups greeted each
other warmly. Lex hurried to explain that he'd been the one to signal
them. "I didn't think you'd want to miss Goliath's wedding!"
"Not for the world," Coldstone said. "My brother needs a
mate." He fondly caressed Coldfire's metallic cheek.
"What about Coldsteel?" Broadway asked. "Did you find
"That is not a tale for this happy time," Coldstone said grimly.
"Well, then, mayhap ye'd be keen for a happy surprise,"
Hudson said. "Do ye know much o' Avalon?"
"I ... remember ... some of what Angela knew," Coldfire
confessed. "When I shared her body, I could hear the echoes of her
"It was mutual," Broadway said, shuffling his feet a bit as he
avoided Coldstone's eyes. "Feelings, too."
"We are still in your debt for helping us," Coldstone told him,
gripping his shoulder in a friendly gesture. "Do not forget that."
"Avalon is where the princess took our clan's eggs," Hudson
explained. "All but one, as it happens. Seems one o' them was
accidentally brought forward in time instead. 'Tis a long story, but I'm
in the way o' believing that egg was yours."
"What?!" Coldfire gasped.
"How can you know that?" Coldstone demanded.
"Ye tell me." Hudson beamed and drew Angus from hiding.
Coldstone took a long look, gaping. His red optic flashed and a
whirring sound came from somewhere in the metal half of his skull.
Although Coldfire's metal features were not designed to show emotion,
she went from stunned to overwhelmed in a split second.
Angus quailed under their scrutiny but stood his ground,
mostly because Hudson had him trapped and there was nowhere to back
up to. "Hi, Mum, Da."
Coldfire reached, hesitated, glanced at Hudson. "Elder, can it
be? He is our son?"
"That's what we think," Lex piped up. "He sure looks like it!"
"We've taken to viewing things a wee bit different these days,"
Hudson said. "E'er since Angela found out she was Goliath's own
daughter, she's challenged the old ways."
"He's so small," Coldstone said with what sounded like
disapproval, and Angus shrank back against Hudson's legs. "Angela is
grown. What's the matter with him?"
"Nothing is the matter with him!" Coldfire crouched before
Angus. "Weren't you heeding the words of the elder, my love? He
hatched at another time, later than she! He's younger, that's all."
Angus smiled shyly at her. She extended her hand, golden,
cool, gleaming, with a recessed nozzle in the center of the palm. He
stared at it for a moment, then placed his own small hand in it.
* *

OCTOBER 31, 1998.

"Jealous?" Fox asked, checking her reflection one last time as
the limo pulled up in front of the electrified gate of the sprawling
Cyberbiotics complex. The high collar of her seafoam-green satin gown
almost completely concealed the lingering bruises on her neck.
"I'm not jealous," her husband said. "I think it was a very nice
gesture on Goliath's part."
She sighed. "I've never seen my father so pleased."
"That Grampa's work?" Alexander squirmed in his carseat,
further rumpling his dapper little suit as he tried to get a better view of
the complex. Floodlights marked the path to Fortress 2, its motors
humming quiescently.
Owen parked the car and got out to open the rear doors. A jet-
black minivan pulled up alongside, the darkly tinted window on the
driver's side rolling down far enough for Brooklyn's beak to poke out.
"Here we are," he announced.
"How's Goliath doing?" Xanatos asked with a grin.
Brooklyn winked. "He's getting cold claws, but if he tries to
make a run for it, Broadway's gonna sit on him."
"I am not going to run," Goliath grumbled from the shadowed
depths of the vehicle.
The side door slid open and Lexington hopped out, gazing
eagerly at the huge air fortress. "Are we going to have a chance to look
Coldstone and Coldfire descended, followed by Angus.
Already, he and his mother had developed a close bond. He was a living
reminder that she had once been something more than a magically-
enhanced robot. Coldstone was more reserved, clearly unsure what to
make of having fatherhood suddenly thrust upon him.
Matt Bluestone and Edie drove up in a copper Avalon (which
Matt had chosen on purpose just to bug his partner). The plate read
ILUMIN8, to Xanatos' amusement. They had Agnes Taylor with them,
since Elisa and her parents had arrived earlier that afternoon.
"Fine place for a wedding," Agnes huffed. She was about to
say more but broke off as light streamed from a crack in the hull and
It looked like something from a sci-fi movie, all of the people
staring up at the hatch, light pouring on their upturned faces. Except all
of the people were in formal wear, and the silhouetted figures at the top
of the unfolding ramp were not spindly bulgy-eyed childlike aliens.
One of them stood ramrod-straight, and if Owen Burnett had
not been right there pressing the worst of the wrinkles out of Alex's suit,
would have easily been mistaken for him. The other figure had a
distinctly odd shape, and it wasn't until the ramp was fully extended and
the two of them started down that those of the guests who had never met
Halcyon Renard were able to see that it was because of the motorized
"Hello, Daddy," Fox said.
Goliath emerged from the minivan, drawing some gasps from
those who hadn't seen what Xanatos had done to him. He stoically
ignored them and clasped forearms with Renard, mindful of how old
bones pained easy.
"You honor us," Goliath said, inclining his head.
"I'm flattered that you asked," Renard replied. "Never thought
this would be one of my duties as captain of this ship."
"My kind have few ceremonies, but it is always the oldest and
wisest among us who conduct them."
"Ah," he said dryly, "and as I'm the oldest person you know --"
"Nay, I may have a few years on ye," Hudson chuckled. "But
this be a human ritual, so who be better suited?"
Another car, this one a beat-up Mustang that was a particularly
ghastly shade of Pepto-Bismol pink, rattled up beside the minivan and
parked. Aiden Ferguson, looking fresh and virginal in lace-trimmed
pale green, got out of one side while her roommate and best friend
Birdie hopped out from behind the wheel. As usual, Birdie was in
marked contrast to Aiden. Her dress was a tigerskin print beneath a
black velvet jacket, and she'd touched up the burgundy blaze in her dark
hair just for the occasion.
"Shall we go in?' Preston Vogel inquired. "I'll station a cybot
to show the other guests in as they arrive."
"Your Elisa is already aboard," Renard confided to Goliath.
"I've not seen a more beautiful bride since Anastasia and I were
Fox opened her mouth to retort, then shut it with a snap. Her
father had flat-out refused to attend her own nuptials, so in truth he
hadn't seen her as a bride. Just as well, really. David's father had
handled the unusual events all right, but Petros Xanatos was still a hale
and hearty man. It had been better for her father's health.
Still, as she followed him aboard and saw how much trouble
he'd gone to as host of this event, she couldn't completely squelch a
bitter feeling.
The cavernous interior of Fortress 2's main bridge had been
completely redone. There was a dance floor, a buffet table that groaned
with tempting goodies, a bower of white carnations, deluxe folding
chairs bedecked with ribbon, subdued lighting, flowers everywhere,
music ...
"It's gorgeous!" Fox murmured.
Her father gave her a sour look. "A mere shadow of what I
would have done for my own daughter."
Xanatos slipped an arm around her waist. "If she hadn't
married me?" he asked with a lightness he didn't really feel.
Renard did not deign to acknowledge that one, and steered his
chair over to show Goliath more of the preparations. The cake was four
feet tall and topped with a spun-sugar castle that was a nearly perfect
replica of Castle Wyvern.
MacBeth arrived, handsome in a steel-grey suit that matched
his eyes. Rumor had it that Aiden and Birdie, particularly Birdie, had
tried to convince him to wear traditional Scottish costume, but they had
been unsuccessful. The sight of MacBeth in a kilt would have indeed
been something to behold!
Angela scurried off to find Elisa and the other bridesmaids.
Guests milled about, chatting, sneaking amused glances at the groom as
he stood in blatant discomfort near the carnation bower.
The Labyrinth-dwellers came in, Talon in the lead. Following
her introduction to Goliath, Agnes had insisted on seeing her grand-
nephew, stating that the Mazas had been giving her the runaround for
too long. So off to the Labyrinth they'd gone. She had taken it in stride,
the most fearsome scolding being reserved for Diane Maza, for having
kept her grandchildren a secret.
"Oh, wow!" Hudson heard, and turned to see an oddly familiar
face. "Oh, man, it _is_ true!"
"Don't I know ye?"
"Hudson," Maria Chavez said, "this is my daughter Carmen,
and her boyfriend Vinnie."
"I do know ye!" Hudson thrust a finger at the young man.
"Ye're the one that pelted Goliath with banana cream!"
"Carmen?" Talon blurted.
"Derrek?" Carmen Chavez nearly toppled, staring at his wings,
his fur. As a girl, she'd had the _worst_ crush on him ...
Josh, Sarah, and Angus dashed off to explore the bridge, with
Alex running after them. Dee and Tom, Talon and Maggie's twins,
fussed and struggled, wanting to go play with the bigger kids.
Delilah and Claw stood uncertainly by the wall, watching but
not eager to participate. Neither of them were used to large crowds. The
clones had declined to attend, having grown too agoraphobic to set foot
aboveground, to the relief of the other gargoyles. They'd gotten used to
Delilah (not a tough thing, Brooklyn had been heard to note, since she
was a real treat on the eyes) but the others still gave them the creeps,
particularly Lex.
More guests came in, escorted by cybots.
"Another member of the wheelchair contingent," Renard said,
heading that way. "We must make him feel welcome. Poor fellow, it's
one thing to be so confined at my age ..."
Once, Jason Canmore had been tall and healthy. Now, his legs
lay stiffly before him, atrophied from disuse despite extensive physical
therapy. He had aged ten years in the past two, his face deeply
shadowed by his constant pain.
There was a woman beside him, slim, blond, and attentive.
When her eyes met those of Preston Vogel, everyone who witnessed it
felt the spark jump. Lex and Owen threw sharp glances Aiden's way,
but she hastily shook her head in denial.
Jeffrey Robbins brought a gift for Hudson -- a hardback copy
of his latest novel about Merlin. Gilly and Bronx romped off to see
what the kids were doing. After reading the dedication (To Hudson,
who showed me it's never too late to try again), Hudson proudly
introduced Jeffrey to none other than Arthur Pendragon himself.
The once and future king and the blind author immediatly hit it
off. While they fell into an intense discussion, the London-born
gargoyle Griff mingled his way through the crowd with his own blend
of easygoing, impossible-to-dislike heroism.
"Leo and Una wish you all the best," he said to Goliath. "Sorry
they couldn't make it, but bloody good of you to send the invite."
"Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast," Birdie
remarked, drawing blank looks from everyone but Josh Henderson and,
of all people, Hudson.
Aiden's parents Kenneth and Finella Ferguson, and Mary
Bywell, arrived last. Vogel tore himself away from Robyn Canmore
long enough to check over the guest list. "Everyone who responded has
arrived, Mr. Renard."
"Very good, Mr. Vogel. Take us up."
If not for the viewscreens and the deeper hum of the motor, it
would have been hard to tell they were moving. The air fortress rose
smoothly into the moonlit sky.
* *
"Oh, Elisa! Peter, take her picture!"
"Mom, come on!"
"No, you stay right there! Raise your chin and smile."
Elisa dutifully did as she was told, but once the first photo was
taken, it was as if a fever overcame her mother. She was posed with all
three of her bridesmaids, then each of them individually, then with her
parents while Beth handled the camera, then with just her dad, then just
her mom, then more of her alone. Putting on the veil. Sitting by the
mirror. Checking her garter and showing a little leg.
"You do look beautiful," Angela said enviously.
"It's Mom's dress." She ran her hands over the rich fabric.
"And you are almost as lovely as she was," her father said.
"It fits perfectly." Diane made one final adjustment and turned
Elisa to the mirror again. "See?"
Her mother's wedding dress, now hers, was a creamy shade of
ivory that made her skin seem to glow. From a tight, lace-trimmed
bodice, the skirt fell in three tiers of gathered satin. The sleeves were
puffed to the elbow and then tight to the wrist. Her veil was a cloud,
pinned to her upswept hair. She chose not to wear it over her face but
let it float behind her instead.
"Do you have everything you need?" Angela asked.
"The dress is old," Elisa said. She colored slightly and glanced
at her father. "My ... uh ... what's under it is new."
"The cameo's borrowed from me," Nikki added. "I got it from
my grandmother, so she'll be happy to see it on you."
"And the garter's blue," Beth finished. "Wonder who'll catch
"Just don't throw this my way," Nikki said, bringing Elisa her
bouquet of ferns, baby's breath, and carnations. She had steadfastly
refused roses of any and all varieties.
Angela sighed. "One look at you, and Father won't be able to
remember any of his lines!"
"He doesn't have a cheat sheet?" Peter Maza grinned. "I never
would have made it through our wedding without one."
Diane snorted. "You wouldn't have made it through our
wedding without Carlos there to make sure you didn't faint!"
"We've taken off," Beth reported. "It'll be time soon!"
Elisa took a deep breath, trying to quiet her suddenly jumpy
Someone knocked. "Everybody decent?"
"It's Derrek. Come in!" Diane opened the door. "Go stand by
your sister and let us get a picture. Doesn't she look beautiful?"
"You sure do." He snickered. "And Goliath -- whoa! Whose
idea was that, and how'd you make him go along with it?"
"What are you talking about?" Elisa asked.
Angela nudged him urgently with her tail. "It's a surprise!"
"What is?" Elisa demanded, but her brother took the hint and
hushed up.
As he took his place for the pictures, he said, "You'll never
guess who Maria Chavez brought! Carmen! She got into town last
night, didn't know anything about the wedding, and now she's here." He
laughed. "They must have been up all night trying to get everything
Somebody else knocked, but this time it was Preston Vogel.
"We are ready to begin."
"Let me get out of the way." Derrek tweaked his sister's nose
for luck. "Come on, Mom, I'll walk you to your seat."
Diane embraced her daughter. "I'm so happy for you!"
"Thanks, Mom."
Instead of a best man, Goliath had chosen three groomsmen to
go along with Elisa's three bridesmaids. They paired up to walk down
the aisle preceding Elisa and her father. At the last moment, though,
Hudson had pleaded that he would rather sit and watch, so Goliath had
turned to his brother. Coldstone wasn't sure what to make of all these
humans, but agreed.
"What's this?" Elisa flicked playfully at the tuxedo collar that
Brooklyn wore around his neck. "You look like a Chippendale dancer!"
He grinned as he took Angela's arm. "Just wanted to look good
for the wedding!"
The music began, a solemn march. Elisa couldn't see but she
could hear the shift and murmur of the guests, all eyes turned
expectantly toward the door. Her hands wanted to shake so she gripped
tight to her bouquet, feeling foolish. She'd been in love with Goliath for
years, his lover for more than a year, so there was nothing to be nervous
Angela and Brooklyn, looking so lovingly at each other that
they might have been the ones going to the altar, began the walk. Nikki
had campaigned vigorously to be able to walk with Xanatos, intending
to leak the pictures of them arm-in-arm to VIP Magazine and the Daily
Tattler as a boost to her burgeoning stage career. That left Beth to walk
with Coldstone, which understandably daunted her a little.
And then they were alone.
"Nervous, Lee-Lee?"
She jumped and looked at her father. "You haven't called me
that in years!"
"My last chance. After tonight, you're not my little girl
anymore." He kissed her forehead. "It'll be fine." The music swelled
into the familiar melody. "Here we go."
"Love you, Dad."
"You, too." With measured strides, they proceeded onto the
bridge and down the aisle.
Elisa knew every single person in the room, some better than
others but none were strangers to her. Not even that guy sitting with her
old friend Carmen, she saw with some shock. She was surrounded by
family, friends, loved ones. All of them looking at her with pride and
It was quite a group, she realized. Seeing them all together
showed her just how strange her life had gotten over the past few years.
Gargoyles, robots, mutates, cops, billionaires, sorceresses, fey-in-
disguise ... she suffered a brief vision of some idiot Quarrymen trying
something. Unless they were packing a nuke, they'd be squished to a
grease spot before they knew what hit them.
She had good friends. Powerful friends, weird friends, but
good friends nonetheless. And they'd all come to share this happy night
with her.
Her nervousness melted away. Ahead of her, Coldstone and
Beth parted to stand on opposite sides of the arched bower, and she
beheld her groom.
And nearly ruined everything by bursting out laughing.
Goliath was wearing a tux.
His wings were hidden, caped tight beneath the black jacket.
His tail was nowhere to be seen. He could almost have been a man. A
large, purple, inhumanly-featured man. He looked thoroughly
uncomfortable but somehow regal all the same.
Her love for him welled up, warming her from head to toe. She
instinctively knew that Xanatos had put him up to it (one glance at that
worthy's smug grin was enough to confirm it), but that he had gone
through with it for her.
He moved to meet them, and bowed to her father. Peter lifted
Elisa's hand from his arm and placed it into Goliath's hand.
They turned to face Renard, who sat straight and tall in his
chair. A large leatherbound book rested in front of him. For once,
Preston Vogel wasn't hovering at his shoulder like a shadow.
A rustle swept the bridge as the guests sat. Through the glass
dome on the roof, the moon shone down silver-white. A timeless
moment, an expectant hush. A last-minute tension as everyone in the
room recognized the momentous occasion for what it truly was. The
import of what was happening here. A union of human and gargoyle.
Such a thing had, to their knowledge, never before been done.
Elisa felt Goliath's fingers close on hers. She glanced up at him
and saw such love in his night-deep eyes that she caught her breath.
Brooklyn broke the timeless moment by leaning over to stage-
whisper to Renard. "Leave out the part about 'speak now or forever hold
your peace,' okay? No need to give anybody a _cue_ to bust in and tear
the place up!"
Xanatos elbowed him sternly, but a ripple of relaxing laughter
passed through the room.
"Honored friends, family, clan, and guests," Renard began.
"We have come here tonight to bear witness and celebrate a
commitment of devotion. These two, Goliath and Elisa, have chosen to
pledge themselves to one another. To be as one, now and forever."
Goliath smiled at the use of the ancient ritual phrase.
"Where are the elders to speak for these two?" Renard asked.
Hudson stood, self-consciously. "I speak for Goliath," he said.
"And I for my daughter," Peter Maza said proudly.
"Then let no one contest or deny this union," Renard declared.
Renard beckoned, and Lexington and Aiden came forth, both
of them a little shy but bearing up well. Lex held a bottle, and Aiden
bore a tray upon which rested a silver goblet. Lex opened the bottle and
Aiden offered the tray to Goliath and Elisa. As they reached
for the goblet, they saw that it was really two seperate pieces, made to
fit together in an interlocking curve. They lifted the goblets to their lips
and drank. The wine was smooth and rich as liquid velvet.
They fitted the goblets back together and returned them to the
tray. Aiden smiled in tearful happiness at Elisa as she and Lex retreated.
"Have you the rings?" Renard asked, looking from Brooklyn
to Angela.
They both nodded and stepped forward.
"These rings shall be symbols of your union and the
unbreakable bond that you share," Renard said. "Goliath, do you take
Elisa as your true mate and wife, to keep always in your heart, to love
and protect and share in life's joys and sorrows?"
"I do," he said surely, and took the ring from Brooklyn. It was
fine gold, intricately designed in a crennellated pattern reminiscent of
castle walls. He slid it onto her finger. "With this token, I seal my vow."
"Elisa," Renard said, "do you take Goliath as your true mate
and husband, to keep always in your heart, to love and protect and share
in life's joys and sorrows?"
"I do." Angela gave her the ring, a larger and heavier version
of her own. She had a bad moment when she couldn't figure out where
it was supposed to go, him not exactly having a ring finger, but she
chose the one in the middle and knew it would be fine. "With this
token, I seal my vow."
Instead of making the final pronouncement, Renard surprised
Elisa. "Goliath wished now to say a few words." He nodded to the
Goliath faced Elisa, holding her captive with his gaze. When
he spoke, his voice was low, as if his words were meant only for her,
but they carried to every ear. "Just as a castle is built one stone at a
time, so too was my love for you. Every word of kindness, every act of
trust, made it stronger. You were the first in this new world to reach out
to me without deception or fear. I would have been honored to live out
my life with no more than your friendship, but you brought me your
love, and for that I am truly blessed." He gently cupped her trembling
chin in his hand. "You are my castle, Elisa. You are my home."
To hear such things from him, normally so reserved in his
affections ... and with all the others to hear ... overcome, she clutched
his hand to her cheek, wetting it with her tears. She knew she should say
something too, but was beyond words.
"The vows have been spoken and sealed," Renard said, his
own voice sounding a bit thick with emotion. "Now go on and kiss her,
for we all know you want to!"
He pressed a tender kiss on her mouth. As their lips met, the
room was filled with a twinkling shower of light, motes of stardust
raining from above, winking out like sparks as they touched down.
"Aiden?" Owen queried with one raised brow, amid the
thunderous cheers and applause.
"Mr. Renard wouldn't allow rice or birdseed," she explained,
dabbing her eyes.
Goliath straightened up. "Is the ceremony complete?"
"Yes," Renard said.
"Good." With that, he roared and flexed his wings. His tuxedo
_exploded_ off of him in shreds, leaving him in his customary belt and
Elisa laughed and threw her arms around him. "Believe it or
not, I like this look better!"
"Goliath and Elisa!" Renard announced grandly. "The
* *
"That was quite a party," Elisa said, snuggling into the warmth
of Goliath's arm. She kicked off her shoes and rubbed her stockinged
toes into the plush carpet.
"I'll have to have a few words with Lexington when we
return," Goliath said worriedly. "I do not think Renard was amused by
his hacking into the ship's computer."
"You have to admit, though, that the karaoke system he rigged
made things pretty lively." Elisa chuckled at the memories: Nikki
wailing her way through the hit song from "The Bodyguard" with even
more syllables than Whitney Houston herself, the trio singing "Barbara
Ann" by the Beach Boys, Angela's achingly sweet rendition of "Wing
Beneath My Wings."
"I hope no one minded that we left early."
"They expected it." She winked. "By the time we get to
Xanadu, we'll still have a few hours before daybreak."
He shifted his grip, then hissed as a pin jabbed him in the arm.
He groped around, eliciting a delicious squirm from her.
"Thought you wanted to wait until we got to the cottage," she
He held up the hundred-dollar bill, still with the offending pin
sticking through it. "And why, I wonder, did Xanatos pin this to your
"The money dance is customary," she said, dropping the bill
into her purse with the others. "Though it's usually with smaller
denominations! We must have made over a thousand bucks!"
He glowered in mock ferociousness. "And for that, those men
were allowed to put their hands wherever they wished? You did dance
quite long with some of them ..."
"MacBeth's a terrific dancer. But my feet are killing me! And
having Talon step all over them didn't help! Anyway, don't you go
getting all jealous on me, buster! I saw you dancing with Fox!"
"That woman is like static cling," he grumbled.
"Mm-hmm, and where'd she pin _your_ hundred?"
"If anyone caused a stir with the dancing," he said hastily, "it
was your father and Dee."
"Yeah," Elisa grinned, remembering how her father had
looked, waltzing with tiny giggly Dee in his arms. "That, or Birdie and
"Her dress did match his pelt," he said.
"What about Matt and Edie, though?" She shook her head,
amazed. "Heck of a time for him to drop _that_ bomb!"
"What do you mean? I thought you were pleased that she
caught the bouquet?"
"Didn't you hear what Matt said? They _have_ to get married.
Understand?" She scooped her hands in front of her waist in an
exaggerated bulge.
His eyes widened. "They're having a breeding season?"
"Guess you could put it that way. At least that's one thing we
don't have to worry about!"
"No, I suppose not," he said, gazing thoughtfully out the
She touched his face. "Oh, hey ..."
"I wonder what they would be like," he murmured. "Would
they have wings? Would they have your lovely golden skin and dark
"Goliath ..."
"I know it is not possible," he said, now focusing on her
instead of the passing scenery. "Yet I wonder."
Elisa slumped in the seat, exhaling. This wasn't how their
wedding night was supposed to be. Here they were, zipping along in
Xanatos' personal luxury copter (Brooklyn and Matt had soaped "Just
Married" on the rear), headed for a honeymoon cottage at his idyllic
upstate retreat, his gift to them, and instead of enjoying the trip and
anticipating the arrival, Goliath was getting all mopey.
"I thought, now that Angela was here ..." she ventured.
He nodded. "And someday she will have children of her own,
my ... grandchildren," he said as if the notion surprised and amused
him. "I thought I would be content with that. Now I am not so sure."
"You picked a hell of a time to bring it up," she said, far more
bitterly than she'd intended. "I _can't_ give you kids. Would have been
better if you'd had these second thoughts before you married me."
He turned to her, alarmed. "I am having no second thoughts
about our marriage! Elisa, my Elisa, I love you more than all the
world!" He pulled the combs from her hair, letting it fall loose around
her shoulders, and ran his fingers through it. "I only wish that we could
create such proof of our love. A child. Your child, with your bright
smile ..."
Her heart melted. "Maybe there is a way. We don't know it's
Even as she said it, she could hardly believe those words were
coming out of her mouth. Since her teens, she had always envisioned
her future as being without kids. Being a cop made it all the more
difficult. The long hours, unusual hours, the risks ... her father's partner
Carlos Chavez had died in the line of duty, and Elisa had grown up
knowing it could have been Peter instead. She never wanted to put a
child of her own in that painful situation. No, Cagney was about all the
responsibility she could handle.
"Delilah, for instance," she continued. "She's part human ..."
"She is a product of Sevarius' unclean science." He spoke with
utter finality.
Elisa knew better than to persist when he got like that. Case
closed. Small wonder that even after all this time Delilah was still
scared to death of him. It wasn't because he looked like Thailog, it was
because of how he looked at her. Her and the rest of the clones.
Unclean. Abomination, that was the word he'd first used when they'd
met Thailog.
They lapsed into dark silence, each of them lost in their own
* *

NOVEMBER 1, 1998.

Elisa awoke to the last rays of daylight filtering through the
few leaves that still clung to the trees. She rolled over, alone in the
spacious bed, and sat up.
It took her a moment to adjust to where she was. Not her
apartment, not the room at the castle that had become a second home.
She was on the second floor of a cabin overlooking a lake. The
bedroom made up most of the second floor, while downstairs was a
living room with a kitchenette along one wall. The cabin itself was
made of flagstone and rough-hewn timber, but the furnishings were all
ultramodern. It made a strange but somehow apt mix.
Her husband was by the door leading onto the balcony, half-
kneeling in his thinker's pose, still locked in stone. She went over to him
and kissed his hard cold ear.
"Evening, honey," she said softly.
As if he'd heard, but really responding to the sun's vanishing
below the horizon, minute cracks raced across his body. Elisa stepped
back, clutching her robe tight to ward off flying shards as he burst into
life and motion.
He turned to her, and for a long moment they looked steadily
at each other.
"I love you," he declared.
She smiled. "I know. I love you, too."
"Last night ..."
"Not much of a wedding night, yeah." She laughed ruefully.
"Funny, isn't it? The first night we're legally allowed, even _supposed_
to, and we don't." His expression was so miserable that she couldn't
bear it. If he could wake renewed, so could she. "Hey, I won't tell if you
don't, and if we start now we can make up for lost time!"
"Do you mean it?"
She dropped her robe and stood there in the maribou-feather
scanty that Fox had given her as a bachelorette gift. "Do you think I
mean it?"
"I think you are beautiful," he breathed. He swept her into his
strong arms and closed his wings around her. "Let me take you back to
She shivered at the rich promise in his tone, and shivered more
as he carried her to the bed. Anticipation quickened her pulse. He
kissed her firmly, deeply, his large hands moving restlessly over her
And then he threw the covers over her and commanded her to
stay put, while he went downstairs. She could hear him rattling around,
glasses clinking, other sounds, but whenever she so much as set a foot
out of bed his own keen ears picked it up and his voice would roll up
the stairs bidding her to get back in bed.
When he finally returned, he was carrying a tray. "Breakfast in
bed," he announced. "If I'm to do my share of the housework as your
great-aunt commands, I'd best start now."
Elisa laughed. "Well, I am hungry ..."
But it turned out he had other things in mind. Especially for
the maple syrup, which never did make it to the waffles.

* *
Much, much later, when her legs were steady enough to
support her, they went for a moonlight walk along the shores of the
"You look awfully smug," she observed.
"Do I?"
"Yes, you do."
He nibbled the side of her neck. "Don't I have reason?"
"Yes, you do!" she gasped. He had been sweetly relentless
with her, denying himself his own pleasure in pursuit of hers, using his
hands and mouth and even his tail in ways she had never dreamed
possible. "But later, it's your turn!"
"Later?" he whispered, pulling her against him.
"What, here? Right out in the open?"
He rumbled low in his throat. "This from the one who seduced
me midair in the heart of the city! Besides, who's to see? Xanatos boasts
that there is no one else for miles around."
Her lips curved in a smile. "All right, then." She whisked off
his belt and tossed his loincloth up in a tree.
"What?" She shed her own clothes and drew him down onto a
bed of moss. The wind off the lake was cold, but they were soon
beyond noticing.

* *
A splashing noise roused Elisa from a light doze.
Her head was pillowed on Goliath's chest. His wings were a
warm, leathery blanket, his body a solid but comfortable mattress.
They'd drifted off right after, still intimately joined. She sighed happily
and snuggled down again, feeling him stir beneath her.
The weird thing was, there was something familiar about it.
A fish, she thought. But that couldn't be right, because when
had she heard fish jumping in a lake? She was from New York, and had
never been fishing in her life.
Splish, splish, creak, whunk, whunk.
What the hell?
She raised her head again but couldn't see much in the dark,
not with Goliath's wings in the way.
Whunk-splish. A hollow, slapping sort of sound.
Waves? Small waves against a small boat ... a skiff? Whunk.
And splish, as the steering pole came down into the water.
That was it. A boat. Those were the noises that had marked
their journey, their quest.
"Goliath!" she hissed.
He smiled without opening his eyes. His hands slid down her
back, over her bottom and upper thighs. His tail tickled its way up her
And then came the unmistakable sound of a hull running
aground on a sandy beach.
_Now_ his eyes flew open. "Elisa! Did you hear --?"
"Shh!" She carefully and reluctantly disentangled herself from
him and sat up. Throwing her shirt loosely over her shoulders, she crept
to the thin screen of bushes between their hideaway and the shore, and
peeked through.
Her jaw dropped. Unable to speak, she gestured for Goliath to
look. He crouched beside her and did so, and she felt his surprise in his
indrawn gasp of breath.
A skiff. Identical in every way to the one that had carried
them, except that it was less bedraggled, less worn, less upended-by-
loch-monsters-crashed-over-waterfalls-sunk-by-sea-serpents. But still, a
skiff, with the same prow, the same shape.
A slim figure was standing beside it. A woman. A woman
draped in a cloak, looking around uncertainly.
"Princess?" Goliath wondered, barely audible. "Nay, not she,
but for a moment ..."
"She must have come from Avalon," Elisa whispered. "That's
one of their boats!"
"Something about her ..."
Just then, a plane droned by, lights flashing. The woman on the
beach cried out in fear, flinging her hands over her head and extending
her wings.
Goliath and Elisa both did a double-take. What had looked
like a cloak had been a caped pair of pale, fragile-looking wings.
"She's a gargoyle!" Elisa said, stunned. "Do you recognize
"No," was his puzzled reply. "Still, we must go speak to her. If
she has sailed from Avalon, then she was sent here. And you know what
that means."
Elisa nodded. "That this is where she needs to be."
He retrieved and donned his loincloth while Elisa struggled
into her jeans and picked up her shoes. The gargoyle by the boat stayed
where she was, scanning the skies like a frightened rabbit looking for
hawks, and when she heard them emerge from the bushes, she whirled
so fast that her long hair flew out like a banner.
"Jericho?" she called, peering at Goliath. As he moved into the
moonlight, her hopeful expression faded. "Goliath? It is you?"
He stopped. "You know me?"
She retreated toward the skiff. "I should not have come. I'll say
you farewell."
"Wait!" Elisa said. "Who are you?"
"Elektra. Of the Avalon clan. I greet you, Elisa Maza."
"I thought I had met all of the gargoyles on Avalon, during the
battles with the Archmage and Oberon," Goliath frowned. "I do not
know you."
"I ... lived seperate from the others." She edged toward the
boat. "But knew, did I, of your valiant efforts to save my brothers and
"Don't go," Elisa said in her most soothing tone. "You must be
here for a reason."
"I do not understand," Goliath said. "Why would you live
apart from your clan?" He moved closer to her, studying her intently.
"Goliath? What's the matter?"
"Show me your hands," he commanded Elektra.
She hid them in the folds of her gown and looked up at him
pleadingly. Elisa was startled by how small she seemed. Sure, most
everybody was tiny in comparison to Goliath, but Elektra was even
slighter and more slender than Elisa herself.
"Let me see," Goliath said sternly.
"Goliath, you're scaring her," Elisa said.
Goliath seized Elektra's wrists and turned her palms to the sky.
He stared, then raised questioning eyes to Elektra. She halfheartedly,
fearfully tried to resist, and then her shoulders sank in resignation.
"You know. I feared you would," Elektra sighed.
"You've got five fingers!" Elisa held up her own hand next to
She pulled away. "Please ..."
"What is this?" Goliath strode around her. "Some trick of
"No. No trick, I swear unto you! I but came seeking my
rookery brother, who is these many days gone from Avalon, and I
feared for his safety."
"What's going on?" Elisa asked Goliath. "I thought gargoyles
only had four fingers."
Elektra hung her head. "My father's blood courses strong in my
veins. That is why I look as I do. That is why I stayed well away from
you when you came to Avalon. The Magus knew other gargoyles would
see the differences in me. He cautioned me against it." A tear rolled
down her cheek. "So that I dared not even come to him as he lay
"I don't get this at all," Elisa complained. "Who was your
With a dreading glance at Goliath, Elektra said, "Prince
Goliath reacted as if struck. "The prince? Katherine's father?"
"Oh, my God!" Elisa stared anew at Elektra. "You're half
She nodded, turning her face into the moonlight so they could
see the mere nubs of her brow ridges, her fair skin.
"How can this be?" Goliath said, rubbing at his own brow
ridges as if he had a headache.
"The prince left a journal, which the Magus did find some
years after we hatched. He confided it unto me, for he knew upon
reading it that I was the prince's own daughter by a female of your clan.
But from all others, we have kept it most secret, knowing that it would
bring naught but pain to the princess were she to know of her father's
"Why did the Magus keep you from me?" Goliath wanted to
"He feared you would shun and despise me, and make me no
more of the clan." Her whole body drooped as if she were awaiting just
such a fate. "What place is there for one such as me, born as I am of
human and gargoyle? Never would the clan understand, accept. Nor
would humans."
Elisa looked at Goliath. He was still trying to wrap his mind
around these revelations. "Elektra," she said gently, "there's something I
think you should know."
"Avalon sent her to us!" Goliath said, turning to Elisa.
"I meant not to come here," Elektra apologized. "I hoped to
find Jericho. Prithee, let me keep my secret and tell not my clan, or the
"Child," Goliath said gently, brushing his knuckles against her
brow ridges, "the Magus was mistaken. You bring us such hope ..."
Seeing only confusion in poor Elektra's eyes, Elisa explained.
"Last night, we got married."
Comprehension dawned with slow splendor. "Married ...
human and gargoyle? Mean you, that it is _not_ forbidden and wrong?"
"I don't know about forbidden, but it's not wrong." Elisa rested
her head on Goliath's upper arm. "Not wrong."
"Then this is why Avalon sent me here?" Elektra wept happily.
"To prove unto me that I need not be ashamed of my heritage?"
"And to show us," Goliath said, putting an arm around Elisa,
"that children of both races are not impossible. You bring us the best
wedding gift of all!"
At his urging, Elektra told them of her parents and their brief
liason. "'Twas her unrequited love of thee that brought her, yearning, to
Malcolm's embrace," she confessed.
"I remember your mother," Goliath said, his skin darkening
with mild embarrassment at the news. "She was of rare beauty."
Elisa jabbed him in the ribs in mock jealousy. "Watch it,
Quickly deciding that a change of subject was the better part of
valor, Goliath asked Elektra, "But why _did_ you come if not seeking
us? You are looking for one of your clan?"
She nodded. "Jericho has taken leave of Avalon, but I fear for
"Jericho ... which one was he?"
"We didn't have a whole lot of free time, what with the
Archmage and all," Elisa said. "Why did he leave?"
"He sought more from life than Avalon offered. When you
came, Goliath, and found us lacking as warriors, Jericho was stung by
our weakness."
Goliath started to protest, but Elektra held up a hand to still
"Please, I say unto you only what Jericho thought, which was
not as I believed. Jericho is proud and quick-tempered. It is that which
makes him bold, but also that which makes him prone to danger. In the
Seeing Stone, I have beheld him amid weapons and bloodspill. He
wishes to be a warrior, but I fear she will make a murderer of him."
"Who?" Goliath asked in a tone that said he was afraid he
already knew the answer, but Elektra's reply hit him like lightning.
"His mother, I believe."
"His mother!?" Goliath reeled.
"Alike in coloring, they were, with skin of blue and scarlet
"Demona," Elisa said through numb lips.
"Aye, the same," Elektra agreed. "As an enemy she had come
to us before, but ensorcelled as you did surmise by will of the
Archmage and the Sisters. This time she did come alone, and none
others of my clan knew, save Jericho and myself. And if not for the
Seeing Stone, I would not have known of it either."
"That is why she went to Avalon!" Goliath's fists clenched.
"She failed with Angela, so now she will corrupt my son!"
"_Your_ son?!" Elektra gasped, swaying. "You are Jericho's
"Oh, boy," Elisa muttered. "Let me guess -- you guys left the
eggs to the females, right? You wouldn't have known which ones
belonged to who, or how many, or anything."
Elektra recovered a lot faster than Goliath and looked him
over critically, tapping her index finger against her lower lip in a
gesture eerily reminiscent of Princess Katherine. "He has your height,
and build, although his voice is not so deep as yours. But ... this means
that you and Demona ..."
"Long story," Elisa cut in. "Here's the Cliff's Notes: mates a
thousand years ago, she escaped Wyvern, he slept, she didn't, she went
bad, now she's the enemy. Angela's their daughter."
"And Jericho their son. I see. But what am I to do? I must find
him! I dared not tell Gabriel of the darksome images from the Seeing
Stone. He thinks I have come for another reason altogether --" her pale
cheeks colored slightly and Elisa guessed that Gabriel wasn't entirely
off in his thinking.
"I knew she had been too quiet lately," Goliath growled. "We
must find out!"
"We will," Elisa promised.
Elektra read the emotion in Goliath's tight jaw and stormy
eyes, and spoke up quickly. "Nay, let me try first, I beg of thee.
Demona shall have no reason to mistrust me or bethink me enemy, and
mayhap I can speak with Jericho. Then, if sterner methods be needed..."
"I cannot let you go up against Demona," Goliath said. "You
are the only one of your kind."
"Each of us who lives is the only one of our kind," she
countered. "I have too long lived alone as if in a museum by virtue of
my differentness. Also, Jericho is my brother. I know he is your son, but
I have known him far longer, and 'twas my own ill-spoken advice that
might have urged him to leave us. I must do this, Goliath."
"How will you find them? This world is much larger than the
one you knew."
Elektra glanced over her shoulder at the skiff. "Avalon will aid
me. But first," she removed a fine silken cord from around her neck. An
amber pendant dangled from it. "I would give you this, Elisa. From
Avalon it comes, rich with Avalon's essence. If you wish children, it
may be as a breeding season to you."
Elisa stared at the swinging amber teardrop. She was aware of
Goliath watching her closely, wanting her to accept it but wanting it to
be her choice. Of her own free will.
"Thank you, Elektra," she said, and slipped the cord over her
* *
The End