Hey guys! I guess you're surprised I'm not dead...Well, I'm back, and I'm here to stay.

Thanks for sticking with me.

So, you know the drill...I don't own Gargoyles, I just own Gabrielle, Bret, and this story.

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*******Chapter 8*******

It wasn't even until after Brooklyn had jumped that he realized he no longer had wings. Brooklyn had leapt after her before he even realized he had done it.

As they descended, he reached out to her, not knowing whether to be strangely happy or disappointed in his stupidity for coming after her. When their hands had a firm grasp of the other, she pulled him close in an embrace.

Tears gathered in Brooklyn's eyes. He felt a spreading sense of serenity in spite of their plunging to their deaths. Their deaths so close in time somehow couldn't touch him, couldn't stir him. He tightly squeezed her in his arms and buried his face in her hair. His throat tightened as she held him and hid her face in the crook of his neck.

They were going to die.

Wasn't she scared? She'd probably be insane to feel the same sense of calm as he did. Was it because that he had been gliding for so many years, that he had grown used to the sky, and simply couldn't believe the situation he was in?

Brooklyn shuddered as he felt something trickle down his neck and chest. Was she crying? He felt even more tears gather in his own eyes. He pressed his mouth against her ear and whispered. "Don't cry," She probably couldn't even hear him. He could barely hear himself. "Don't be afraid."

A single tear danced swiftly down his cheek, the air rushing past them wiping it away for him. Something stirred in him, something at his core. He felt as if something was changing in him, but what? Compared to what did he differ?

Pain split down his back like a lightning bolt, causing him to suddenly arch against her. He could barely contain a howl from the great ache he felt that seemed rooted deep inside him. He felt himself stretch and broaden, his grip on Gabrielle shifting, but never loosening. Something ripped apart his back and slowed the fall.

Brooklyn flexed his wings and glided back to the rooftop.

A smile crept across Brooklyn's face. "You know, you should really get a doctor to look at this falling-off-buildings thing. You might be an addict, or something." He said softly, pushing his wings against the currents in a singular, strong, sweeping motion.

Gabrielle looked up at him and smiled, barely comprehending that she had been falling, but now was flying—or, really, gliding.

Brooklyn glided back to the rooftop, reluctantly letting go of Gabrielle. She let her hands slide down his arms and gave a tiny grin. "I'll ask someone at work about my dependency on falling from rooftops. Maybe there's a support group, or something."

His smile broadened. "Keep me posted on that." He took her hands in his. "But…can I still call you 'Gab?'"

She paused momentarily, then laughed. "Well, it's better than Gabbers,"

Brooklyn's brow wrinkled with confusion. "I never called you—"

His speech was interrupted when Gabrielle's sudden thrust against him. Her head was nestled in his chest, hugging him tightly with her shoulders shaking. Before Brooklyn could ask if she was all right, he realized that she was laughing. Laughing.

He didn't truly understand why, but this discovery made him start to laugh, too. Quietly, at first, but with every chuckle they expelled, their laughter grew louder and more harmonious. Holding his friend in return, he firmly gripped her shoulders and held her at arms length and peered into her face. Though her eyes were dry, her cheeks were damp. Gently wiping her face, she went on her tip-toes and mirrored the action.

Someone cleared their throat, demanding attention. Both Gabrielle and Brooklyn had jumped at the sound, staring wide-eyed at the now all-gargoyle clan.

That is, except for Demona, who was now human and had her hands forced behind her back by Broadway.

Someone cleared their throat again. It was Hudson. "If ye don't mind, we'd appreciate i' if ya came over an' told us how yer fall went."

Lexington straightened, brightening. "Yeah, and we'll tell you how we kicked Demona's butt!"

0o0o0o0

"I was just glad that Brooklyn decided to sprout wings before you guys splattered on the streets." Elisa handed Gabriel some hot coffee. "I mean, we weren't entirely sure that we casted the reversal in time."

Gabriel sighed, failing to suppress a shudder. "Me, too." She thanked Elisa for the coffee, tugging a blanket wrapped around her shoulders closer to her frame. "But…how did you guys do that? Overcome Demona and cast a reversal spell?"

The clan was back inside the tower, gathered just beside the staircase leading to the face of the clock. Everyone was standing, dazed at what had happened, save for Brooklyn and Gabrielle, who had practically collapsed with fatigue when they reached the gargoyles' home.

"Well, lass," Hudson said, gesturing his claw in her direction. "Once we 'ad a hold of 'er, we 'ad our chance to take th' papers and cast the counter-spell."

Brooklyn sighed, his wings tightly enfolding his body. His arms were crossed and he was hunched over, looking uncomfortable, anxious, and chilled.

Lexington inched his way toward Brooklyn, beaming. "And isn't it awesome that I came up with the idea?"

Hudson crookedly smiled, chuckling. "And isn't just our luck that ye had an ol' timer like mi'self to read the La'in spells?"

Broadway puffed out his chest and sniffed. "But I'm the one that decided to get dirty and take down Demona—"

Angel rolled her eyes. "Yes, but didn't you lunge at her with everyone else's help?"

The color of Broadway's face darkened.

Goliath erupted with a deep, boisterous laughter. "We all played our own part, and we are all very glad that each member of the clan could contribute to such unusual and dangerous circumstances."

Everyone was quiet, finally realizing their accomplishments. Each gargoyle and human studied the other, a silent but lively exchange of both nervousness and relief.

"Gabrielle," Angela said with slight hesitation. "When exactly did the spell wear off on you? We didn't see the counter-spell for that. We were worried that you…"

Gabrielle swallowed, a lump in her throat rising at the thought of shooting again and flinging herself off a roof. "When I shot that gun…It was like I woke up. I don't know how to explain it. But it was like when I tried to kill Brooklyn, and I had the intent to kill you guys, too…I gained control again."

Hudson nodded. "It is no' uncommon fer someone under a spell like tha' tah be released from it if it be against th' very nature of th' one that's under the spell."

"So Gabrielle couldn't bring herself to hurt anyone like that," Elisa concluded, tapping her chin in thought.

"Especially her friends," Goliath added.

"Wait a minute!" Angela exclaimed, her eyes wide with disbelief. "You walked off the roof and you weren't under the influence of the spell at all?"

Gabrielle shook her head, affirming Angela's speculation. "Yeah. I thought I was going to ruin my pants," She laughed nervously, then stopped in mid chuckle. Her face became solemn as she lowered her eyes, whispering. "I thought I was going to die." She shuddered. "And the worst way possible."

Broadway beamed, "Yeah, but you had Brooklyn to save you! And I," Broadway added, jutting one of his talons to his chest. "Got to defeat Demona single-handedly!"

Finally, Lexington laughed. "You gotta get your eyes checked! I was the one that saved the day!" He waved his arms for emphasis, proclaiming, "I know that Demona'll just transform back into a gargoyle tomorrow night 'cause she has a whole bunch of spells, but wasn't it bangin' that I thought to turn Demona into a human?"

Everyone shouted in choruses. "BANGIN'?"

Lexington shrugged. "I hear a lot of really cool people saying it lately." He straightened, holing his head high. "And since I'm cool, it only makes sense that I use cool words."

Brooklyn rolled his eyes sulkily. "Yeah, Lex, you're so cool."

Lexington giggled mischievously. "Sounds like someone's jealous that they don't know all the cool words like I do."

Brooklyn frowned. "Yeah, right. What other cool words do you know, anyway?"

"A lot of them!" Lexington thought a moment. "Like… I think you're beat."

"I'm what?"

"You heard me. You're beat. It's too cool for you. You probably don't even know what it means." Lexington stated, folding his arms over his chest and laughing cockily.

Goliath placed a hand on his forehead, mumbling, "Do they ever grow up?"

A smile formed on Gabrielle's mouth. This was the most at home that she had ever felt before. She felt like she had true friends here. She felt that she was safe and loved—and that she loved them, too. "Okay, guys, as much as I'd love to stay here with you, I need to leave and get some shut eye, or heaven knows I'll be switching patient scheds. I'll see you guys later."

Gabrielle was answered with mangled protests.

"Don't go , Gab!" Broadway said, sounding on the verge of tears. "It was really scary tonight, but we have so much fun when you're here!"

"Yeah, Gab, won't you stay?" Lexington pleaded, his eyes round like a puppy's.

Gabrielle thought she was going to burst into tears. She couldn't handle all the friendship and love she was receiving. "No, guys. You all know I really want to stay…but I can't. I really gotta go. I'll stop by tomorrow, okay?"

Elisa held up a hand. "Wait a sec. Below the clock tower is a police department. You can't just waltz in and come up here."

Gabrielle blinked. Elisa was right. Gabrielle thus far was only able to enter the clock tower because Brooklyn had visited her first and glided her there. "Oh. Well, I'm sure there's some way…"

"It's cool Gab," Brooklyn interjected, unhooking his wings and spreading them showily. I can visit you once in a while and glide you here. No big deal."

"Really?" Gabrielle raised her brows. "But, I don't want you to have to go out of your way for me all the time. I mean, You're my friend, not my personal travel agent."

Brooklyn titled his head like he was confused. "But I patrol the city all the time, especially your part of town. We each have our own special section to look after." He smiled. "So, actually, I'm there almost every night. I can drop by once in a hwile just to say 'hi', not to just give you a glide somewhere."

"Okay," Gabrielle said softly. "That sounds good."

Brooklyn turned toward the steps that led to the face of the clock. "If you wanna go home, I can take you back." He mumbled, glancing over his shoulder.

Gabrielle's features brightened. "Thanks, Brooklyn!"

Gabrielle said goodbye to the garbled good-byes and farewells. Letting herself be hoisted into Brooklyn's arms, she found herself clinging to Brooklyn's massive frame as he took off the ledge.

"You're still scared?" Brooklyn observed, sniggering. "I thought that fall would have cured you."

Gabrielle closed her eyes and ducked her head. "Yeah, a near-deaht experience induced by falling from a place high up. That should make me feel more secure about heights."

Brooklyn stammered. "Well, when you put it that way…"

They reached her apartment building, Brooklyn tilting his wings so he could land on the third story fire escape.

"What are you doing?" Gabrielle gasped. "I'm not getting on that thing again!"

"C'mon, Gab, I'll be sure that all you have to do is make your way into the window. I'll guard you from behind so you don't have a chance of falling."

Gab bit her lip, saying nothing.

Taking this as agreement, Brooklyn landed at the stair platform that led to her window. He let down Gabrielle directly in form of her window, his wings spread at the side, obscuring her peripheral vision. Gabrielle sighed shakily, forcing her heart to beat at a normal pace. She opened the window, using all of her strength to lift in up in tiny increments. Her strength was completely lost—she felt drained and depleted. She was surprised she hadn't collapsed from simple exhaustion.

Gracelessly climbing into her bedroom and falling face-first on the floor, Gabrielle scrambled to a stand, facing Brooklyn. "Thanks Brooklyn." Gabrielle said, her brain feeling like mush and her thoughts like fleeting, forgotten dreams. "I'm glad…" Gabrielle tried to swallow, her mouth dry and her tongue swollen. "That you're my friend."

Brooklyn grinned, his razor-like teeth glistening. "Me, too, Gab." They remained still, staring at each other. They both felt as if they had a lot to say, but nothing sounded right by the time they committed themselves to finally speaking. "I'm gonna head off, Gab," Brooklyn said, finally. "I'll see you around."

Gab waved weakly. "See you,"

Turning, Brooklyn flexed his wings, standing at his full height.

"Wow," Gabrielle mouthed. He was huge! She knew he was gigantic since they first met, but he was almost always slouched and slumping, disguising his actual length. "And just think," She thought to herself. "Goliath was even bigger!"

"Oh, Gab?"

"Huh?" Gabrielle snapped back to the present. "What's the matter?"

Brooklyn shifted uncomfortably. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, what is it?" Gabrielle heard her heart pounding in her head.

"What does 'that's beat' mean?"

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