I just want to thank the creators of DARK AGES for creating such a great background, and Storyseeker for correcting my fics and helping me with great ideas and for the characters of his ficverse.

Delilah used the short break Demona needed to take a quick breath, to counter her attack, nearing hitting her mother's left leg and making her step back.

"Xanatos seems to be friend," the hybrid noticed, now clinking Demona's sword with her mace, making it a duel of sheer force. "Why not trust?"

"Xanatos programmed Thailog to think like he does," the immortal replied, facing her opponent between the weapons. "What does this tell you?"

Delilah stumbled a bit by these words, allowing Demona to use her tail to grab the younger Gargoyle's left leg, bringing her to fall hard on the mat, letting herself to lower the blade to the hybrid's throat.

"This is serious, Miss Anderson," he noted, addressing her by her husband's name, which was both strange and disturbing since it had been a long time since she had been addressed as such. "If the stress levels rise as constantly fast as this...this pregnancy is going on, and if you continue this way, I can't guarantee anything. Not for its life, or for yours."

"What do you suggest?" she asked, patting her belly and watching Sevarius leave.

"A change of scenery maybe?" he suggested.

Roland attacks a Pizza-boy to get the pizzas only to be stopped by a gargoyle landing on him and knocking him out.

Demona lays Roland's unconscious form on the ground in front of Darlene, her children and Delilah.

"I will call the clan," Darlene told her mother instead.

"No," Demona said. "You will not!"

"How did you learn of it?!" Demona asked, irritated.

Goliath just pointed on the TV where Travis Marshall had appeared, previously unnoticed by the Gargesses and interviewed the Pizza-boy describing what had happened.

"You can have him after I've finished questioning him," Demona said.

"We need him now," Goliath replied. "His attack might cause an uproar. We will hand him over to Chavez."

"What?!"

Demona aiming her laser cannon on Goliath.

"Keep him," he said angrily. "But you are not welcome at the castle anymore!"

Demona didn't respond, but glared angrily at him, Javin and at the rest of his group who had just walked in.

"I hope I am," Darlene said, her voice but a whisper. "For as long as Roland is here, I will be moving out with my children."

20.09.98; 04:45; Destine Mansion, Guest Room:

Darlene knocked at the door, and when there was no response she simply entered, finding Delilah rolled up into a fetal position on her bed.

"Oh, little sister," the older Gargess said sadly, seating herself beside her. "I'm so sorry."

The hybrid just stared blankly ahead, as Darlene stroked her hair.

"You said we were family..." she cried after a while. "Clan."

"We are, we are," her older sister assured her. "But staying here isn't good for you, me...or my children."

With this, unseen by Delilah, she touched her stomach.

"Want to stay..." Delilah said, "…too tired to go."

Darlene stroked her hair a while longer, but eventually realized that she had failed at least this time, so she finally left.

Stepping out of her sister's room and holding back her tears, Darlene turned to Goliath waiting there silently. Without saying one more word, she walked to her oldest daughter's room, rightly expecting a not so peaceful talk, just as she had had with her sister.

"Two months, mom!" Lana greeted her while going up and down in her former room. "We have been here for two months!

"You are not leaving the city," Darlene tried to appease her.

"*Schön!*" Lana replied in reference to their time in Germany. "So I move into a castle where half the males are probably dreaming of me."

"Lana," her mother replied hard. "Don't overact."

"And what about grandmother? She'll go nuts here all by herself!" the half-gargoyle, half-human teenager said, adding more silently, "more nuts than usual."

"Please understand, I can't stay," Darlene replied "A bit of...distance, might help me to help your grandmother better."

"Like L.A.?" Lana replied impudently.

"Keep packing," Darlene ordered, pointing on her daughter's outfits and bag lying on the bed.

Ignoring her daughter's continuous angry muttering, the older Gargess walked to her son's room.

Jarred sat on his bed, his bag resting on his knees close to him, and holding his wooden sword with one claw. Unlike his big sister, he hadn't even begun to pack.

"Jarred, please…"

Jarred looked away, his eyes filled with tears, so his mother sat with him on the bed.

"I had not planned this, but I must do what is best for all of us."

"It is not the best!" The hatchling wiped his face. "This is our home."

"When we are together, we are home. It doesn't matter where we live."

"And Gran?"

Darlene sighed and placed an arm around her son.

~ How long will I be able to do this? ~ she asked herself, knowing how fast he was growing up.

"You can visit her when things have settled down," she promised. "And I doubt her banishment is for long... Goliath told me those normally last just a week."

Jarred didn't answer on this, but at least he wasn't crying anymore.

"Pack your things. I will meet you downstairs."

As she left the room, Darlene was relieved to hear her son moving from the bed. Deciding to lose no more time, since she would have lost the last of her nerves, the pregnant Gargess moved pass Goliath and straight into her mother's room.

It had never contained anything like warmth, not even in her hatchling nights, but with Roland lying on the bed, trapped in iron chains; it was robbed completely of this illusion. Demona, watching over her brother's trapped and unconscious form at the end of the bed, only emphasized the grimness of the situation. Shade was but a shadow, lying in the corner, watching.

"You leave me no choice," Darlene's firm voice spoke through the room.

"At least you're not just running away and faking your death like last time."

"This seems to run in the family, doesn't it?" Demona's daughter asked.

Darlene noticed her mother stiffening a bit, as her mother had run away at least once, too, leaving sadness and death behind her.

"Your behaviour leaves me no choice, but..."

These words made the immortal turn around on the spot, glaring at her daughter.

"Leave the righteousness to my former mate!" the red-haired Gargess spat out. "No matter what, I won't allow a gargoyle to be sacrificed on the altar of Goliath's oh-so sacred relations with the humans!"

"I'm not here to discuss anything," Darlene said, meeting her mother's glare. "I will visit you, mother, if not at once. I hope you have got senses then at least for my children... and all of yours."

The blonde Gargess was about to walk away when she stopped.

"Delilah wants to stay here," she noticed. "You better make sure she stays alive and well!"

Darlene didn't have to turn around to know her mother was staring at her.

Minutes later, when the immortal had once again turned to her chained brother; Jarred had stepped in, a rucksack on his back.

"I...I wanted to say goodbye."

"It is all right, my grandson."

Hearing her words, Jarred forgot his self-control and raced up to his grandmother, embracing her.

"Shhh," Demona replied, softly stroking his brown hair. "You don't have to cry."

"I don't want to leave."

"But you must," the immortal said, kneeling in front of the hatchling, looking into his eyes. "We still are clan, no matter where I am. I promise you that."

"But the castle isn't my home," Jarred said, cleaning his face from the tears.

"Your home is where your clan is," Demona replied. "You will see. Now, I want you to stop crying because it wouldn't be good if the other hatchlings saw you like that. Okay? Better?"

Jarred nodded. "I wish you could live with the clan."

"Sometimes I wish so, too, but things are how they are," she admitted. "Now go downstairs, as your mother will already be waiting."

The hatchling nodded and turned to leave. When he reached the door, he turned around one more time, only to find his grandmother watching the captured gargoyle like a statue, so he left with sunken shoulders.

Many minutes later, Delilah walked in. "They are gone," she said.

"I know," the immortal replied icily without turning around. "I'm surprised you didn't walk away, too."

"It still hurts," the hybrid said, walking to Demona's side. "You said you could make it stop."

"I can help you make it stop. But we might need him to find Lucifia."

For a moment both remained silent, and Roland moved uneasily in his sleep.

"I'll make some food for us," Demona said. "Guard him. Shade, come!"

With this the red-haired Gargess and the garg-beast walked out of the room, leaving the hybrid to watch the captured Gargoyle, and remembered...

0000000000

14.09.98; 06:12; The Labyrinth:

"Be careful with sharp objects!"

"Yes, Maggie," Delilah responded, sucking at her middle claw.

"Despite your healing ability, we still have to be careful with the bacteria down here."

Even though she had heard it several times already, the hybrid nodded thankfully. "I will remember."

"Speaking of remembering...?" the lion-mutate hesitated. "Has Burbank spoken about what happened with Deborah with you?"

Delilah looked perplexed, not understanding why her surrogate mother would ask such a thing, but shook her head. "You said he didn't do something bad?"

"He didn't. It is just..."

"INTRUDERS!"

The Mutate stopped, as her large feline ears turned.

"The main hall, quickly!" Maggie ordered and made a head-start.

They arrived just in time to find Burbank and Brentwood, along with the mated Gargoyles assigned to their help and three men, trying to hold the gate closed.

"Take the pins and seal the gates!"

Talon sailed down from the higher levels of the Labyrinth, and at once gave orders to Burbank and Brentwood, followed by taking up the pins lying by the side of the gate.

"Maggie, Delilah, get everyone out here!"

The hybrid was about to move when another voice called, a well-known voice that spoke words directly aimed at her very soul.

"Order 14065!" Thailog's voice raced through the closed gates. "Kill them! OBEY!"

What was there to do, but to obey?

In one quick move, Delilah slit Maggie's throat open.

Maggie grabbed for her throat, staring at Delilah in pure disbelief, unable to speak a word. Yet her eyes were all what was needed to make the hybrid stumble backwards and make her foster mother's words race through her mind

"Be careful with sharp objects!"

Meanwhile, her brothers had used the pins to stab the two Gargoyles from behind. The female was stabbed through the side by Burbank with all his might, instantly falling on the floor, roaring in pain as the blood covered the floor, the male being stabbed through the chest by Brentwood and falling on his knees

Probably due to the clone's lack of strength, or pure luck, the male had the strength to try and rise from the floor, if only to reach his mate who lay a bit away from him, shuddering in death-pains.

"My love..." he whispered, blood coming out of his mouth.

Brentwood was going to jump on him, but a blast of electric energy fired by Talon's claws made him fly against the wall, collapsing unconscious.

"What are you doing?!" the leader of the labyrinth clan asked unbelieving, not having noticed that his wife was dying behind his back. "What..."

Malibu more jumped than glided from the upper level of the hall, pinning Talon to the ground. Beside him Hollywood landed, and in a quick following of movements programmed deep into him, killed three humans who were trying to flee with others still in the hall. Having done this, he looked in confusion at the limp forms at his feet, and then walked to the still unconscious form of Brentwood, past Burbank who used his weight to push the pin completely through the male Gargoyle's chest and into the earth, pinning him to the ground and killing him.

The female Gargoyle tried to crawl to her mate, but a second later, after another shudder had raced through her body, she grew limp, too.

Delilah watched it, finding herself sinking down the wall beside Maggie who coughed a bit more blood before dying, and as she watched she felt herself growing cold. She watched Burbank help Malibu pin a screaming Talon on the ground, watched a Gargess with black hair enter with several men, and most importantly she watched her former master, who had turned out to still be her master, enter...

She watched the Gargess kill Talon, but it was Claw's furious attack which made her run away on all fours, as she couldn't bear the screaming any longer. Delilah ran through the floors, past the room with the cells.

"Hey, what's going on?" Fang's voice came from it "No one invited me to the party!"

The hybrid didn't need to ignore the voice, as it didn't even reach her conscious mind, instead she ran to the secret tunnel where the cover was now open, her instinct leading her through it until she reached the end.

"Not one step further!"

Delilah looked up at David, a gray-haired human who had always been nice to her, now looking at her with pure anger, holding a long knife in his left hand. Behind him the hybrid saw the other survivors of the labyrinth glaring the same way on her. Beside them were Tracy and her mother, holding each other, crying tears of grief and terror.

"Beast, you betrayed us!" another man said, holding a long wooden board.

"Go back where you came from!"

"To hell with you!"

"Murderer!"

"Maggie always cared for you! How could you?!"

Delilah couldn't face it any longer, and turned around, fleeing back into the labyrinth, tears streaming down her face. Once there a deadly silence greeted her, and she carefully, without knowing where she was going to, walked down the floors.

Suddenly, a form stepped out of the shadows, quickly pressing her against the wall and holding sharp claws around her neck.

"One wrong move and I will tear out your throat!"

Without feeling anything, not even interest, Delilah looked into a sickly yellow skinned face, partly covered in blood.

"Who are you?"

The hybrid didn't respond, but stared at the other Gargoyle.

"WHO ARE YOU?!"

"D..." she began, finding the word hanging in her mouth. "Delilah."

Surprise flickered in the other Gargoyle's eyes.

"You are one of Thailog's clones?"

Delilah nodded automatically.

"Thailog master."

"I searched for him in the tunnels, and even smelt him and others," Roland said. "But Lucifia and her henchmen passed me and I had to hide. Why aren't you with him?! Are there others here?"

"Scared."

The physically younger Gargoyle looked surprised, as the monotonous answers of the Gargess puzzled him, but even more as her eyes were strangely lifeless.

"Hey!" Fang's voice came from a near door. "Nice little pussy cat wants out!"

Surprised, the hairless Gargoyle looked at the door where the voice had come out from, and then back to the hybrid.

"Don't make any quick moves."

With this he released her, stepping away and into the other room, never taking his eyes off her.

Once he was out of sight, he was out of the hybrid's mind, and as she slowly walked back to the hall he was forgotten, and the voices didn't interest her.

"You are with Thailog?"

Maggie lay on the floor, limp... Why was she limp?

"Why do you think I'm trapped here? I love big black!"

There was a pool of blood around her neck, why was it?

"If I release you, I want you to help me find him...and kill the bitch that did this!"

Slowly, Delilah raised her claws. They were bloody. Her whole body was bloody.

"Sure! Free me and I'll help you kill the Pope."

~ I killed her, ~ the hybrid thought.

"Where is the key?"

She sat beside the limp body.

"Over there in the cupboard."

"I'm sorry," Delilah whispered.

…..

"Thanks, man."

Maggie didn't respond, and the hybrid looked around in the hall, where there were humans and two Gargoyles lying dead on the ground. Talon and Claw were also lying limp on the ground... Had she killed them, too?

"ARGHH!"

No, her brothers had killed them, and now they were gone... Why wasn't she gone, too?

"Sorry, but from the way it sounded, I'd rather prefer walking the other way. Greet Thailog from his old pal Fang if you see him."

There was the sound of feet-claws quickly running away, and then, after a moment, Roland stumbled into the hall, holding his chest which seemed a little burned.

"What are you doing?"

Delilah didn't answer, as all that was in her mind was fog now, and the strange feeling of loss.

"Hey?" Roland asked, walking nearer. "Can you hear me? Will you help me to kill the ones who did this?"

There was no response, but suddenly the yellow-skinned Gargoyle turned around, snarling and attacking someone Delilah couldn't see.

More words, spoken by men she didn't register.

"Lucifia will be happy we got him back."

No thought.

"Let's take this mutant, too. She might need him."

Her breathing was not even noticeable.

"And the Gargess?"

Her eyes didn't blink.

"She's already dead. Look at her eyes. Look at the blood."

Her heart felt like it was barely beating.

"Come, we have a lot to do tonight."

Then there was no sound for a time, but Delilah didn't register any of it, except for her heart that was beating alone in the dark.

0000000000

20.09.98; 05:05; Destine Mansion, Guest Room:

Delilah shook her head, as if she could make the memories disappear this way, but it only helped to spread the tears she had all over her face.

~ Tears don't help, ~ she recalled Demona's words when she had once found her crying. ~ Do something, and stop being pathetic. ~

The hybrid bit her lips and looked at the chained Gargoyle. Deciding to do something, she walked over to him, near his calm face.

"Sorry," she said. "I'm..."

Suddenly, she looked straight into two open and clear eyes. Before she could react, Roland had brought his chained arms over her head, pressing them against her trachea.

"One wrong move and I will tear out your throat!"

Delilah couldn't speak, so she just nodded, feeling another tail strongly fixing her own.

"I will stay up and you will follow my every move!"

Carefully, she did as he ordered, and as they both stood she felt him relaxing a bit.

"I know you," he whispered. "You are the one from the labyrinth... Where am I?!"

"In my house," an ice-cold voice replied for Delilah.

Surprised, both looked to the door where Demona stood with a growling Shade by her side.

"Sister," Roland said, trying to get over his surprise. "You will open these chains and let me go, or I will kill her."

"No."

The ugly Gargoyle pulled the chains closer around Delilah's throat.

"Don't believe I'm lying."

"I don't," the immortal replied icily, holding Shade back while never taking her eyes from her brother. "But I won't release you. I have the keys. If you want to talk, I'm downstairs with the meal."

"Please…" Delilah begged, feeling tears rising in her eyes.

"Stop whining!" Demona snapped, turning her eyes to the hybrid and nearly piercing her with them. "If you had been careful then you wouldn't be in this situation. Think about that."

"If you think you can trick me..." Roland began, but didn't end his sentence when his sister left, closing the door behind her.

"She'll come back."

"No," Delilah managed to whisper.

For a moment, Roland let her stand this way, before he cursed and released her from his grasp, on which she fell to the floor, coughing.

"I'm sorry."

Surprised, Roland stared down at his former captive.

"Why?"

"I didn't help you when they caught you," Delilah said, staring up at him.

Roland looked at her, unbelieving.

"You were hardly in any position to help," he remarked after a while, the memories of his capture still painful.

When she didn't respond, he tried to break out of his chains, but found them unbreakable, and it wasn't just because he was weak from starvation either.

"You don't happen to have the keys for these, do you?"

Delilah shook her head.

"Great."

0000000000

20.09.98; 05:11; Castle Wyvern Courtyard:

"Great," Lana said, as she watched the many members of the clan watching them land.

"Lana!"

Darlene did not have time for her oldest daughter's mood, while holding a fussing Gem in her arms, and turning to Goliath. "Thank you again."

"We are clan," the giant Gargoyle simply said, still holding a larger case with the things Darlene had decided to take from her former home. "You should rest now."

"I will," Darlene promised, releasing her little hatchling.

Gem had been crying nearly the whole flight and still didn't seem very happy yet, as she looked around the courtyard in unusual shyness.

"Mom, I think I'll search for the others," Jarred said.

"Okay, but make sure you get rid of your things first."

The hatchling nodded sadly and walked into the rooms of the castle.

"Brother, sister!" Desdemona exclaimed, as she glided down into the courtyard, her mate close behind. "What has happened?"

There was a moment of silence, and as Darlene didn't answer at first, Goliath took the lead.

"Demona refused to hand our rogue brother over, and thus was banished," he explained. "The Andersons have decided to live with us now."

Unbelieving, Desdemona stared at Darlene who nodded sadly.

"I saw no other way..."

For a moment there was silence between the enlarging groups of Gargoyles.

"Okay, we are all thrilled with this," Lana commented sarcastically. "Could someone show me my room so that I can bury myself in ice-cream?"

Darlene and Goliath exchanged glances.

"Lana," the pregnant Gargess began carefully. "No one uses individual rooms here, as you know. Since we're living here permanently now, we have to live by all their rules."

"WHAT?!"

"You can, of course, use a room to rest," Goliath added. "But sleeping as we do, there is no need for each of us to have rooms."

"I need my privacy!" Lana insisted.

"Lana, please," Darlene said. "We all must adapt."

"ADAPT?!" the teenaged Gargess replied furiously, her eyes glaring dangerously red. "I have had to adapt since you pulled me into this again and again...I lost everything because of you…you..."

Tears began to rise in Lana's eyes, and furiously she stormed off, ignoring the stunned Gargoyles she passed.

Darlene wanted to follow her daughter, but her legs simply didn't have the power for this anymore, and if not for Desdemona catching her she would have fallen.

0000000000

20.09.98; 05:16; Destine Mansion, Living Room:

Demona sat at the table, two steaming bowls at her side, as Delilah and her brother walked in, the latter carefully eyeing every part of the room, throwing a special glance on Shade who ate from a bowl, not far behind her friend, before stepping in.

The hybrid instantly sat at the table, while the younger Gargoyle stayed standing, his arms tied, staring at his sister.

"So what is the deal, dear sister?"

"You show me Lucifia's places and tell me what you know," Demona explained while taking her meal. "For this, I will let you go."

"And I should believe you, why?"

"You have no choice."

For a moment, the former bandit lord stared at his sister.

"Lucifia told me there were others living with you," he began cautiously, taking a look at Delilah. "Where are they?"

"Gone," she replied icily. "I suggest you eat now."

"In your dreams!"

The immortal turned to the hybrid. "Eat some of it," she ordered her. "And then give it to him."

Delilah nodded, doing as she was told, but when she held her bowl to Roland, he just took it reluctantly.

"Would you rather have mine?"

His sister's remarks came along with the roaring of his stomach, but still he held back.

"Will you release me?" the skinny Gargoyle asked, raising his chained arms.

"No."

Still staring at his sister, Roland sat down, using his spoon the best he could. The meal was a wild mix of vegetables and raw meat, worse than most things he had gotten to eat back in his camp, and much worse than what he had smelled lying by the moped. Ignoring the pain of the rat bite on his lip, he let it slowly fill his stomach, and once he was sure it wouldn't kill him, at least not right away, he emptied the whole bowl.

"Were you sent by Lucifia?" Demona asked when they all had finished, and Delilah began to gather the bowls.

"No."

"How many of her cult's places do you know?"

"Three," Roland replied, finding himself strangely urged to tell her, as Delilah put the bowls and spoons in the sink, most strangely beginning to wash them as if nothing else mattered right now. "I know of two more, but can't tell you anymore than their names."

"Do you know who the hunter is?" she asked.

The skinny Gargoyle hesitated, as he didn't want to answer, but somehow felt his lips opening.

"Nnnn...no," he said, as he failed to stop himself, rising from his chair with his eyes glowing white. "You put something into the food!"

"A truth serum," she replied, leaning back on her chair. "It is strong, but will abide in less than fifteen minutes."

"You dare!"

"You aren't to be trusted," the immortal answered. "I went through some trouble getting you, brother, certainly more than you are worth, and I won't take foolish chances."

Roland kept glaring at his sister, especially as she mentioned his worth.

"I will show you all that I know," he snarled, "and then you will let me go?!"

"Yes," Demona replied, rising from her chair and turning to the hybrid who was still washing the bowls. "Put it away, dear hybrid, we're going hunting and have little time. Maybe you can do better in this than in guarding a prisoner."

Delilah winced at the rebuking, but nodded sadly, leaving Roland to wonder what sort of madness he had landed in.

0000000000

20.09.98; 05:46; Castle Wyvern,Tailor's Room:

"And then finally she pulls me here!" Lana complained, walking up and down like a pacing tiger. "Of all places!"

"Cruel," the tailor commented calmly, continuing to sew together a loincloth, as she had for more than half a hour now since Lana had come storming in.

"I tell you!" Lana commented, not even noticing her friend's lack of interest. "She drags me around as if I was still a baby like Gem, and had no right to decide anything!"

"You need a graduation," the tailor replied.

"Mhh? From school? I have had enough of this!"

Her friend looked at her for a moment in total disbelief.

"No," she said slowly. "When my siblings and I were a bit younger than you, we made the tests, proving ourselves to be warriors in the eye of the clan."

"Tests?"

"Mind, heart, strength, endurance..." the tailor remembered, once again concentrating on setting the needle the right way. "A great celebration afterwards followed, and we were finally warriors with the right to vote."

"So I would need to do some kind of sport competition, and then be able to do what I want?" Lana concluded. "Sounds fantastic!"

The yellow-skinned Gargoyle looked up, wanting to tell her how very much she got this wrong, but then a knock sounded on the door and Mary stormed in.

"I just heard that the leader finally finished his talk with Chavez."

Seeing the surprised look of Lana, she sighed, going through her stray hair.

"Because of Roland's attack," she explained. "They probably have found a solution, but Goliath didn't look very happy."

"What solution?" the tailor asked, her interest awakened.

"Don't know, but the leader will call the clan together later this evening."

"Right at six."

All turned to the door when Brooklyn entered.

"Second," Mary greeted. "What will he say?"

"Can't say yet, sis," the beaked Gargoyle replied, his serious eyes betraying his easy tone. "Lana, I have to bring you to your mother."

Lana groaned, but grabbing her rucksack she complied, knowing she had no choice.

"And what cruel punishment has she planned for me?"

"I honestly don't know," Brooklyn noted. "But I believe Darlene only wants the best for you."

"Sure."

Ignoring the Gargess's muttering, the second of the clan showed her to one of the castle's many doors.

"She is in there," he explained, and then added with a slight smile, "oh and welcome to the castle."

Looking back at the red-skinned Gargoyle, Lana shook her head and entered the room.

As expected, she found her mother sitting on the bed, but not with the serious expression she had thought to see on her face, but with a soft, exhausted and almost relaxed expression.

"Lana, please sit down."

Reluctantly Lana did so, placing herself beside her mother.

"I've put you through a lot, haven't I?"

"That's an understatement, mom."

Darlene sighed, absent-mindedly touching her belly.

"I wasn't being completely truthful when I said that we were moving out of your grandmother's house because she didn't want to hand over Roland...or because of what she did in the past."

Lana looked at her mother intensively.

"Lana, my pregnancy is harder than I told you," she said. "There are risks for your brother or sister…and for me."

"Mom..." Lana began in shock, but her mother stopped her by raising a hand.

"It is not that dramatic," she said, complementing her former words, "but stress enhances the risks and with your grandma..."

"I understand," Lana said, unable to say more as her mother's blue eyes looked on her.

"But no matter what, I should have paid more attention to how my children get along with all these changes I put you through. So..." Darlene smiled widely, spreading her arms. "Welcome to your room!"

"Mom!" Lana exclaimed, unbelieving.

"Can't have my oldest unhappy."

With this, Lana embraced her mother tightly, soon finding her hair being combed.

"Oh, but remember that you are still confined to the rookery, so you won't be able to live here for another two weeks."

"MOM!"

0000000000

20.09.98; 06:26; Deep in The Bronx:

The abandoned looking building, with its entrances seemingly nailed shut with boards, which were also covered with graffiti, was entered through an open window. The shadow that entered made hardly a sound at all, as it parted into two forms. The larger looked around carefully for a moment before entering the floor, as the second sniffed on the ground, whining silently.

'We have found nothing of the missing child so far...'

Demona quickly walked across the floor, following Shade who had the lead, aiming her laser gun at every shadow before making sure they was nothing but shadows.

Delilah and Roland, who was still chained, entered the building seconds later, cautiously following the immortal who had by now reached the central room where a lonely television was telling its messages to no one at all.

Shade was sniffing on the ground, but finally emitted a whining.

"Nothing," Demona commented bitterly. "Chasing ghosts the whole night!"

Roland noticed his sister's tensed tail-movement, while stepping into the room, followed by Delilah, and being careful not to step too close to Shade.

"You know she is clever," the ugly Gargoyle commented.

Demona stared at her brother for a moment, stepping closer until she towered over him. Her cold eyes glared at him, and so the former bandit-lord steeled himself for an attack he knew he had not much chance to set against, and noticing how Delilah took a step back behind him.

Suddenly Demona reached into her belt-bag, presenting a key that she used to open his chains.

"Go wherever you want," she told him, taking the chains. "But don't dare to attack the clan, ever..."

"We now go to the 23rd precinct," a reporter said, "where we face the arrest of the Gargoyle responsible for the attack on the pizza-boy."

In disbelief, Demona looked to the shabby TV where now Ruth and one of her younger brothers, who bore a slight resemblance to Roland due to his spikes and skin-tone, appeared.

"Though it seems the story is not quite what it first appeared," the reporter continued. "Doesn't it, Captain Chavez?"

"As my officers found out by questioning the victim and only witness, his minor wounds are very likely a consequence of an accident," the captain said seriously. "The street he used was filled with waste, so it was very likely his moped slipped and this Gargoyle simply took advantage of it."

The camera turned to the two Gargoyles, Ruth being visibly nervous and her brother looking rather repentant in handcuffs.

"I saw how the moped slipped," the yellow-skinned Gargoyle explained. "I was hungry and like pizza very much, so I took advantage of the situation and wanted to take one instead of helping him. Luckily my sister stopped me."

The camera zoomed to Ruth who, still nervous, nodded.

"My brother meant no harm and would never hurt anyone," she explained. "I'm sorry for the uproar we caused."

"So seemingly an interesting case is closed." the reporter noticed. "What is the penalty?"

"This has yet to be decided," Chavez replied. "If you will excuse us, I have to take the culprit to his cell."

With these words, the police-captain laid a hand on the handcuffed Gargoyle's shoulders, leading him into the precinct, followed by Ruth and various officers.

"RARRGHH!" Demona roared, having blood red eyes, and hurling the TV away in one violent movement of her tail, making it crash on the wall. "Stupid weaklings, all of them!"

Saying nothing more, she stormed away, Shade following her tail.

Delilah, quite shocked, stayed behind for a moment, watching the likewise surprised young Gargoyle.

"Come with me," Roland said, being the first to regain his voice.

Delilah seemed to be even more shocked by his words. "Where?" she asked.

"Somewhere, anywhere," Roland said. "We'll find a place in the city and wait to get our revenge on Lucifia."

The hybrid thought about it for a minute, but then she shook her head.

"I can't," she replied. "She promised to stop the pain."

"Does she look like she cares for you? Does anyone of them?" the skinny Gargoyle asked sarcastically. "None of them care for us!"

"My sister Darlene does."

"And where is she then?"

Delilah looked away, but finally she shook her head.

"Can't go…it hurts," she simply said before looking at him. "Come with me."

Roland growled.

"Do you have any idea what they did to me?!" he asked furiously, and on seeing the hybrid shake her head, he added. "No, of course not, I'm my dear family's dirty little secret!"

"Delilah, come!" Demona's voice echoed through the house. "We'll barely reach the mansion before dawn!"

The hybrid turned on the floor, a pained expression on her face, only to find herself stopped when Roland held her arm, looking at her with a strange expression.

"She is only using you."

For a moment Delilah remained silent, looking into the air.

"Thailog used me, too, and Lucifia has made me..." she began, stopping at once and looking into his eyes. "This pain... shall stop. This is what I want."

"I was hurt, too," Roland explained calmly. "Let me help you."

"Did you make the pain go away?"

Roland opened his mouth and closed it again, finding no true answer.

"DELILAH!" Demona's voice echoed again. "Damn you! Did Thailog forget to give you ears when he created you?!"

Looking at him with a mix of desperation and resignation, Delilah followed the voice, leaving Roland behind in the dark.

0000000000

20.09.98; 06:46; Castle Wyvern, Main Hall:

Ruth landed, and was quickly surrounded by a large group of clan-members, including many of her siblings.

"Great acting, sister."

"You looked a bit nervous, lass."

"How is our brother?"

"Our brother is fine," Goliath answered for the young Gargoyle, laying a proud claw on her shoulder. "I spoke with Chavez, and she will keep him safe in a cell before he returns home after Xanatos pays a fee for him."

Ruth, who had looked nervous by the praise she had gained, actually showed a true smile when Smokey came near, giving her a hand and smiling the same way, making some of their siblings whisper with knowing smiles.

"I really can't see any reason to be happy," a cold voice commented the scene loudly.

Turning around, the group noticed Kronos and Ajax standing near them at the castle.

"You lied your way through this, leader," the muscular black-skinned Gargoyle noted. "What if the humans find out?"

The other Gargoyles became uneasy.

"We will deal with this if it happens," the leader explained, looking around. "Do you two have any suggestions?"

"You should have taken our rogue brother from our sister." Ajax suggested.

"Or not told the humans anything about him in the first place," the older black-skinned Gargoyle added.

"We don't need more violence, or more lies," Goliath explained. "Not with Lucifia around."

"Or Thailog."

Goliath growled, as his older brother mentioned his clone.

"What do you want me to say?"

"Only that your decisions lately bring nothing but pain for the ones you claim to protect."

"Hold your breath!" another voice joined the discussion

When Kronos and Ajax turned around, they found Elisa staring at the large dark Gargoyle, and had she been a Gargoyle herself then her eyes would have been aflame.

"The clan and the police worked together to hold the situation at bay!" the leader's mate added. "And it worked!"

Kronos and Elisa looked at each other for a moment, and then the Gargoyle laughed.

"We'll see about that," he noted, stepping aside and walking away, followed by Ajax.

"Well, I think it is time for you to return to your duties," a female elder told Ruth.

Her daughter nodded, a bit disappointed since she had silently hoped that this deed would get the leader to cancel the rest of her punishment. Yet when she looked at Goliath, she noticed he had definitely other worries right now, so she walked to the entrance of the castle where Lana was already waiting with a broom in her hand.

"I found us a quiet place to sweep," the half-Gargoyle told her. "There you can tell me everything about your little flirt with Hollywood."

The red-haired, dark blue-skinned Gargess sighed.

0000000000

20.09.98; 06:56; Destine Mansion, Living Room:

Demona released Shade, as she landed, and the two entered the house followed by a downtrodden Delilah.

"You look sad, dear hybrid," the immortal noticed sarcastically, as she turned around to the younger Gargoyle.

"I...I liked him."

On this comment, Demona looked over the brown-skinned hybrid's shoulder.

"Something that shows how different we are," she commented. "But you might say it to him yourself."

Surprised, Delilah turned around, seeing the form of Roland entering, looking seriously on his sister.

"I won't live with you," he said. "I will live with her!"

On this, Delilah smiled, feeling strangely touched.

"Whatever," Demona replied, leaving the room.

Roland watched after her until he was sure she had left, before turning to Delilah.

"Thank you," the hybrid whispered.

The former bandit-lord nodded, having no opportunity to say anymore since the sun rose and froze them both.

To Be Continued...