Based on characters and situations from Disney's Gargoyles.

Originally published in Compadres #30 by Neon RainBow Press.

Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. That's it, typing practice. I'll return them to their actual owners (relatively) undamaged. This is an amateur work of fiction; no profit beyond pleasure was derived from the writing.

House Call

A Gargoyles story by Susan M. M.

A sequel to "Urban Folklore"

New York City, 1995

"What's wrong with him?" Lexington, a small, green-skinned gargoyle stared down at their 'dog.'

"I don't know," Brooklyn replied. He had reddish-brown skin, long white hair, devil's horns, and a beak like a pterodactyl's. "I've never seen him like this."

"What should we do?" Broadway asked. He was bigger than his rookery-brothers, with blue skin.

At their feet, Bronx, the gargoyles' pet, moaned and groaned. His normally blue-gray skin was an ashen gray.

"Is the poor beast no better?" asked Hudson, the oldest of the gargoyles.

"I thought surely a good day's rest would cure him," said Goliath. The blue-gray skinned gargoyle was leader of their clan. He was larger by far than any of the others, nearly seven feet tall. "Usually a day of stone-sleep heals most injuries and illnesses. Perhaps we should ask Elisa."

Lexington and Brooklyn exchanged glances.

"He wouldn't eat any breakfast." Broadway was chubby, and the idea of anyone not eating depressed him. "That's not like him."

"Uh, Lex, let's go next door to the library, see if we can find anything to help him," Brooklyn suggested.

Goliath nodded approvingly. "A good idea." He turned to Broadway. "Stay with him. Tend to him as best you can." Turning to Hudson, he asked, "Shall we fly patrol, old friend?"

"Aye. A good flight'll clear the cobwebs from my head. Maybe some fresh air would help the poor beast?" Hudson suggested.

Bronx just looked up at him and groaned.

"Perhaps not. We'll check back in an hour or two. If he seems no better, mayhap I should contact Elisa," Goliath said.

Brooklyn had a sheepish expression on his face, but said nothing.

Once Goliath and Hudson had left the clock tower, Brooklyn said, "We need to call Julie. She'd come help him, if we asked."

An astonished Lexington asked, "You want to bring Julie here?"

"Goliath'll kill you," Broadway predicted.

"Not if he doesn't find out," Brooklyn retorted. "With any luck, she'll come, heal Bronx, and be gone before Goliath and Hudson get back."

"And if our luck is bad?" Lexington asked.

"Then Goliath will kill me," Brooklyn said in a resigned tone. "You stay here and take care of Bronx, like he said. C'mon, we'll go to the library, call Julie. Then you can check for something to help Bronx, just in case."

"I doubt they have many books on the care and feeding of sick gargoyles," Lexington retorted.

"Maybe not, but they do have a telephone."

"We have got to get a cell phone," Lexington muttered.

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

Brooklyn carefully pushed the numbers. Telephone keypads weren't designed for gargoyle claws.

"Hello."

"Julie, it's Brooklyn. I need help."

"What's up?" asked Dr. Juliet Heyes.

"Our dog is sick," Brooklyn told her.

"Regular puppy dog or …?"

"Gargoyle dog," Brooklyn confirmed.

"Symptoms?" the veterinarian asked.

"He was moaning and groaning yesterday, and tonight he's still sick. His color's off. He won't eat. I don't know what to do."

"Do you want me to come to him, or do you want to bring him to my office at the zoo?"

"I'm not sure it's safe to move him. If I come pick you up, can you bring your black bag?"

"Pick me up? You mean fly me there?" She couldn't quite hide the excitement in her voice.

Brooklyn told her, "It'll be fastest."

"I'll be ready and waiting."

"See you soon." Brooklyn hung up the phone. "You stay here. If Goliath gets back early, try to cover for me."

"Hope you know what you're doing," Lexington said.

"With any luck, she'll be done and gone before Goliath and Hudson return," Brooklyn repeated.

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

Brooklyn landed on the ledge of the clock tower above the police station. He set Julie Heyes down. Carefully taking her hand, he led her inside. "Okay, you can take off the blindfold now."

Broadway knelt at Bronx's side. He looked up. "You made her wear a blindfold?"

Julie tried not to stare at the portly blue gargoyle. She'd seen him at a distance before, but had never met him properly. "You must be Broadway. I'm Dr. Julie Heyes. And this is my patient?"

"He's been sick two nights now," Broadway confirmed. "Bronx never gets sick."

The blonde veterinarian knelt at Bronx's side. He seemed like a cross between a Komodo dragon (with a much shorter tail) and a mastiff: he reminded her of a Pernese watch-wher. "Hey, boy, let's see what's wrong with you." She opened her medical kit and pulled out first her stethoscope, then a small boombox. She started a tape of Scottish folk music. "Hear the pretty music, boy? Nice and relaxing, isn't it? Now, then, let's have a listen to your innards."

She checked his heartbeat, temperature, and blood pressure. "Has he eaten anything tonight?"

"No, and that's not like him. He's usually got a good appetite."

Julie glanced pointedly at Broadway's stomach, wondering what he considered a good appetite. "Wish we were in my office, so I could do an X-ray or an ultrasound." The blonde felt his stomach. "What does Bronx eat?"

"Same things we do."

Julie thought over the times Brooklyn and Lexington had raided her refrigerator. "What did he eat before you came to New York?"

"Table scraps, same as now," Broadway said.

"But you don't have the same food on the table now that you did in the old days, do you?" the vet asked. Brooklyn had explained to her how the gargoyles had been cursed to sleep for a thousand years, and had only been disenchanted to awaken in New York City a few months ago.

"Oh, no, there's a lot more choices in New York: pizza, Chinese, hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos …"

Julie held up her hand to stop him. "Okay, okay, I get the picture."

Lexington scurried in. "I just saw Goliath and Hudson. They're on their way back!"

"Get me some newspapers," Julie ordered. "Old ones, that you're ready to recycle or throw out. This is going to be messy."

"I'll handle them. You get Julie what she needs." Brooklyn took a deep breath. Goliath wouldn't be happy about him inviting a stranger to the clock tower, or the fact he'd kept his friendship with Julie secret from him.

Julie was concentrating on her patient, so she didn't hear Goliath and Hudson come in. She didn't notice them until the gargoyles' clan-leader roared: "Who is this stranger? What is she doing here?"

"She's about to induce vomiting, so stay out of the way. It's going to be messy," Julie warned. She did, and it was.

"Yuck," Lexington murmured.

"Get me some water for him to drink. Not too cold," she ordered.

"Who is this woman?" Goliath demanded. Behind him, Hudson had his sword half out of its sheath.

Gathering his courage, Brooklyn spoke up. "Uh, do you remember that TV show that was arguing whether or not we were real, and whether we were friends or enemies?"

Goliath nodded. He'd been out on patrol, and hadn't seen it, although the others had told him about it later.

"Well, this is Dr. Heyes, the woman who spoke up for us. She's a vet."

"A what?" Hudson asked.

"An animal doctor. She works for the Central Park Zoo. She's here to

help Bronx," Brooklyn explained.

Goliath peered down disapprovingly at his clan-brother. "You brought a stranger into our home?"

"I wasn't sure Bronx was safe to move, so I brought her here."

"She was blindfolded," Broadway added in his rookery-brother's defense. "She doesn't even know where we are."

"Is this true, lass?" Hudson asked.

Julie nodded. "My brother's in the army; I understand about 'need to know.' What I don't know, I can't tell." She rummaged through her medical kit, and found a half bag of Purina Monkey Chow. "Here, boy, try this."

Bronx sniffed it suspiciously, then nibbled slowly.

"He's eating!" Broadway was delighted.

"You did it," Lexington said.

"You could've brought him to me; it wasn't that serious. I can tell you what was wrong, and how to avoid it in the future." If she was frightened by the giant, still-angry gargoyle standing over her, she managed not to show it. She looked straight at Broadway. "You don't feed him anymore. He can, or him, but not you."

"Why not?" The chubby blue gargoyle asked, disheartened.

"Too much junk food. See to it his diet's closer to what it was in the old country, get him a bit more exercise, call me if there are any further problems." She started to roll up the vomit covered newspapers. "I wouldn't mind seeing him in a few weeks, just to check him over."

"No," Goliath growled. "I'll not let him be poked and prodded in a human laboratory." Elisa Maza had warned him what might happen if David Xanatos managed to get them locked in his lab. Or any other human scientist, for that matter.

"Your pet, your decision." Julie turned off the tape player. She began packing her equipment. "All that leaves is the matter of the bill."

"Bill?" Brooklyn gulped.

"You think house calls come free?" She grinned mischievously. "The next time you take me flying, no blindfold."

Brooklyn breathed a sigh of relief. "Deal."

She handed Lexington the vomit filled newspapers. "Make yourself useful. Throw this out."

The smallest gargoyle took the newspapers gingerly, holding them at arm's length.

"If there's nothing else you need, I'm ready to go. Where's that blindfold?" She took a last look around their lair.

"You don't object to being blindfolded?" Goliath asked.

"You have enemies. I went on record months ago saying that gargoyles were nice people, so your enemies probably won't like me very much, either. Safer for all of us if I don't know where you live," Julie said.

"You are a most unusual human," Goliath observed.

A dozen responses ran through Julie's mind. I'm fen. Thank you. I hight the Lady Juliet of Abora; what SCA chirurgeon wouldn't grab at the chance to treat a gargoyle dog? After a moment, she replied, "Maybe you just haven't met the right humans."

Goliath relaxed enough to smile. "Perhaps I have not."

Brooklyn approached her apologetically, the blindfold in his paw.

"I'm as ready as I'm going to be. Go ahead," she told him.

As Brooklyn took the vet in his arms and flew her home, Goliath turned and looked at Broadway and Lexington. They were too quiet. There was something they weren't telling him.

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

"I'm going to set down on this rooftop, so you can take the blindfold off," Brooklyn warned her.

"Okay." She shivered a little in his arms.

"You all right?" Brooklyn asked as he untied the cloth.

"Just chilly. Next time I'll wear a warmer jacket."

"Sorry. Cold doesn't bother us. I forgot you humans –"

"It's okay. Are you going to be in much trouble for fetching me?"

"Some," Brooklyn admitted. "Nothing I can't handle. Thanks for being Dr. Heyes and not Julie when Goliath got back. He doesn't know we're friends."

"He doesn't approve of cross-species friendships?" she asked.

"More that I kept it a secret. But, yeah, he tends to be a little suspicious of humans. The first man we met in New York claimed to be a friend, and he tricked us, tried to use us," the red gargoyle explained.

Julie nodded. "Once burnt, twice shy."

"Something like that. But since I have to take you flying again some time to pay the bill, we could become friends now, and he wouldn't be able to say or do anything," Brooklyn suggested.

"I don't want to get you in trouble with your family."

The wind started blowing, and he spread his wings around her, like a cape. "It's okay." He looked into her hazel eyes. "You really want another flight to pay for the house call?"

"What I want as a scientist and a healer, I don't dare ask as a friend." He said nothing, and taking the silence as an invitation, she continued, "I would love to examine you and your friends in my lab. If I knew what was normal for you when you're healthy, I'd have a much better chance of helping you if you're sick or injured."

"We're pretty tough," Brooklyn hedged. Julie knew gargoyles were nocturnal. She didn't know they turned to stone during the day, and he wasn't about to tell her that. Which, unfortunately, made it impossible to explain that a day of stone-sleep healed most minor injuries.

"Yeah, so tough that a bellyache panicked the lot of you. I'm not asking, because I don't want to put you in an awkward position. But if you agreed, I wouldn't do any invasive procedures. Anything I did, I'd explain first, and give you a chance to say yes or no. Think it over. I'm not asking, as much as I want to." She shivered. "That wind may be chilly to me, but it's a good updraft to you. Let's go."

"Hold tight." He took her in his arms and leapt off the roof, his mind too full of thoughts. "I'll take you home."