Chapter Four: Explanations

Angela leapt from the ledge without hesitation upon waking from stone sleep.  She barely heard the shouts of the others as the wind rushed in her face and her heart beat loudly in her ears.  Her only concern was finding her father.  She dreamt this day, an ugly dream about Goliath dying in a hail of gunfire, and it drove her now to find him.  She had a terrible feeling something awful had happened.

Angela had tried for a very long time to get some acknowledgment of affection from Goliath.  Raised under human tutelage, she had different ideas about family than those held traditionally by the Scottish Gargoyle Clans.  Goliath had been adamant that there were no biological families in the Clan, and that she was a daughter of the entire Clan, not just one pair of mates.  Goliath was more than a little reluctant to admit that Demona was Angela's mother, and that was possibly due to the broken heart he had suffered at Demona's traitorous hands.  When he finally did come around, admitting his responsibility for her being, he had gone wholly the other direction in his treatment of her.  He loved Angela very much, and was fiercely protective of her safety.  Angela reciprocated the same feelings for her father, having risked her well being many times to save him.

"That lass is definitely her father's daughter, down to her quick temper and tendency to rush into things," Hudson assessed as he pushed off soaring in another direction to search for their lost leader.  Each of the remaining Gargoyles flew on a different heading in their search.

Angela's determination was rewarded when she spotted Goliath and Elisa and not very far from the tower.  She circled several times, each circle bringing her closer to the ground.  She paused mid-flight in shock as she got a good look at her father's condition.  He was bleeding profusely from a chest wound and one wing dangled oddly behind him dragging in the grime of the street.  She dove steeply, fanning her wings at the last second before driving herself into the ground.  She landed lightly running toward the two of them, "Father?!"

Both Elisa and Goliath looked up at Angela, "Angela?" Goliath asked shakily.

"What happened?" she asked gruffly looking at Elisa.

"It's a long story, Angela, and one that's going to have to wait.  Goliath needs medical attention now."

Angela nodded staving off her anger and wrapping herself in her wings.  She moved to her father's free side raising his arm so that she could add her support to Elisa's.  Goliath sucked air through his sharp teeth in a pained breath, "I'm sorry, Father." she said sincerely.

"No apologies, my Daughter," he said quietly, affording her a small smile.

They returned to the castle as quickly as possible, laying Goliath carefully on the floor.  Angela looked down at him with worried eyes.  Goliath, noticing her expression, raised a hand to lay on her cheek, and Angela covered his hand in her own trying not to cry, "Do not worry, Angela.  I will be all right."

"Goliath," Elisa said, he turned his head to look at her not removing his hand from his Daughter's face, "I'm going to straighten this wing, and I won't lie to you, it's going to hurt."

He nodded slightly at her, "Do what you must, my love."

Angela's brows furrowed at his comment and she looked at Elisa oddly, unsure of what had transpired the previous night.

As Elisa reset the bone, Goliath grunted in agony and the hand on Angela's cheek balled into a fist before his arm fell limp to the floor.  Goliath taxed the last of his strength, and he lost his tenuous hold of consciousness.  Angela's hand covered her mouth in emotional turmoil seeing her father in such a state.  Angela now knew what he must have gone through when she had come close to death. 

Elisa did her best to splint the injury then stood and moved toward one of the elevators.  Angela followed, "Elisa," Angela said stopping her, "What exactly did happen?"

"We tangled with a thug on the way over here," Elisa replied truthfully, "He got the better of us."

"That is not the whole truth," Angela accused, "It is too early in the night for Goliath to be so badly injured."

"I did not say it happened after dark, Angela."

"What?!"

"Look, I've got to get Zanatos and a doctor who's not going to ask any questions.  It's a long way to dawn.  Please, let me make sure he's going to make until then and I will be happy to tell you the whole story."

"It will wait," Angela said reluctantly, and she returned to her father's side.

"You should keep pressure on that wound until I get back," Elisa instructed turning and heading for the elevator.

Angela nodded her mouth a thin line as she mulled over what Elisa had said about the timing of her father's injuries.  Blinking, she reached over and pressed hard on the folded wad of gauze covering the glaring wound in Goliath's chest.  She kept the pressure up but her mind was a million miles from the room in the castle.  So much so, that she did not see when Goliath's wing scraped across the floor.  He moaned quietly and looked up at his Daughter's downtrodden countenance.  Slowly, he raised his large hand and rested it on her slender forearm.  Angela started and looked down seeing her father conscious.  He smiled weakly at her.

"Father!" she said brightening.

"Such a long face," he whispered as if talking was an effort.

"I was just thinking," Angela returned.

"About?"

"Elisa suggested you were hurt before sunset," Angela stated, "Is that true?" Goliath only nodded, "But... How?"

"Lady Tatana," Goliath said weakly, "Granted me twenty four hours in human `guise."

"As a human?" she said head cocked, "But why?"

"I... wanted a night with Elisa... in her world," He said truthfully, unwilling to hide his feelings from his daughter.

"Why?" she asked again, not quite making a connection.

He licked his lips before answering her again, unsure how she would react, "Because, I love her."

"But Father, she's a human!" Angela protested.

Goliath's face-hardened, "And that should change the way I feel?" Raising his voice caused him to cough violently.

Angela looked away, knowing she angered him.

"You do not like Elisa?"

"That's not it!" Angela defended, "It's just..."

"Did you not feel a sense of loss when we thought her dead?"

"Of course," Angela said angry herself.

Goliath quieted a moment, "Elisa is the first human who has not violated my trust... the Clan's trust.  She and I share a very special bond, Angela, one forged on the day we met, and tempered everyday since.  I thought you had sensed it... that you would... understand.  I cannot ignore those feelings because she and I are not of the same people... I will not."

"I'm sorry," she said quietly, looking ashamed.

"I love you no less, my Daughter," Goliath affirmed, taking up her hand, "I am telling you this because I thought that you should know.  I hope that you can accept this of your father."

"I will try," she said breaking a small smile.

"I do not wish the others to know... I..."

"Shh, you need to rest," Angela said, nodding an affirmation to his request for secrecy.  Goliath nodded and slowly closed his eyes, leaving Angela to the silence of the room.

That was not to last long as one by one the rest of the clan returned from their futile part of the search.  The sight that greeted them upon entering the roost shocked each.  They gathered around their fallen leader each asking a multitude of questions of Angela.  She ignored them a moment as she contemplated how to explain Goliath's condition to their satisfaction.  Elisa entered through the other door quickstepping across the tile with Zanatos and a short balding doctor in tow.  Elisa knelt on the other side of Goliath looking across at Angela.  She returned the gaze not with anger as Elisa had expected but a rather curious measuring look.

"We've got it now Angela, thanks," Elisa said.  Angela nodded once, rising and herding the rest of the clan onto one of the patios to answer their questions.

The doctor was several hours performing a triage surgery to remove the bullet and repair enough damage to keep Goliath from bleeding to death before dawn.  Elisa was sitting near the "recovery room" with her face shielded from view when Angela returned.  She sat down next to Elisa laying a hand on her shoulder.  Elisa started and sat up straight looking at Angela.  Angela looked concerned for her, and Elisa drew in a deep breath before speaking, "The bullet tore a lung and shattered his shoulder blade," she said shakily, "They repaired enough to keep him going until sunrise.  His wing they left alone, I guess I did OK."

"Yes, you did," Angela agreed.

Elisa sighed again, "So, where do you want me to start?" trying to hold to her promise.

Angela looked away, "There is no need for explanation," She said waving her hand, "Father told me already."

"He... did," Elisa said in shock.

Angela looked back at Elisa, hugging her suddenly, "Father is a good judge of character.  I am happy for you two."

"Thank you, Angela," Elisa whispered, "I just wish I had insisted on taking the car, then none of this would have happened."

Angela released her, "It's OK, dawn is nearly here, he will be all right."

"I know," Elisa said, trying to sound confident, "What did you tell the others?"

"That Goliath was attacked shortly after waking, and that he was in no shape to give me further details."

"Thank you again."

"You're welcome," She smiled as she stood and took a place next to the door Goliath rested behind, "See you tonight," She said as her features set with the light of day.

Elisa stood and entered the room Goliath was in.  She looked at his stony features as he lay on the table.  He looked peaceful.  Elisa looked over to the doctor,  "His vitals were stable as the sun rose, he's going to make it."

Elisa sighed relief, "Good, now I'm going to recuperate."

Elisa was back before the sun set that night waiting anxiously by the table.  She watched the last rays of light disappear from the sky then turned to Goliath's stone form.  His outer shell seemed to take longer to crack, the cracks longer to spread.  The layer burst forth after tense moments as Goliath roared a greeting to the night.  He sat up slowly and began removing the bandages on his chest and wing.  As Goliath looked up Elisa rushed into his arms, and he embraced her warmly.

"You're all right!" she said with tears in her eyes, "I thought I was going to lose you."

"I'm fine," he replied tenderly kissing her raven hair.

Angela opened the door and entered with measured steps.  Elisa moved away a moment looking at Goliath's daughter, while Goliath rested a hand on Elisa's nearer shoulder.  Angela's face was unreadable as she stopped several steps shy of the pair looking from one to the other.  Goliath locked his gaze on her unsure whether Angela had accepted what he had told her.  A smile broke on Angela's face then.  She reached out as she closed the gap between them to take Elisa's hand firmly in her own.  She then looked to her father embracing him. 

"Welcome back, Father."

Goliath sighed, eyes closed as he encircled them both in his embrace.  He was happy, truly content for the second time in as many nights.