Summary: There's a new thief in town, and she has a profound affect on Goliath... Story 3 in the "Wheels and Wings" series (crossover with "Viper").

Author's Notes: Gargoyles belongs to Disney and Buena Vista. This story and every other in the "Wheels and Wings" universe come before and in place of "Hunter's Moon" and the whole Goliath Chronicles. Viper belongs to Pet Fly (the car to Dodge) and this story in that universe continues the 1994 season, disregarding the 1996-1999 continuation. The Grgola mythology and the concept of guardians belong to me. Please, don't use them without permission.

The day after tomorrow...
A time when criminals rule the streets...
The only weapon that can stop them needs a driver...
A thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled,
And flesh-and-blood gargoyles ruled the skies...
Now, in Manhattan they are befriended by a human cop.
Together, against a corrupt system,
They are taking back the streets...

The Egg
Evil Overlady

~ Prologue ~

A pine-green form against the black night, Vipra landed softly on the Manhattan rooftop, cloaking green-black bat wings around her slender form.

Quickly, she glanced for onlookers. Then, four-taloned gargoyle claws stabbed into one of the roof tiles and peeled it back like so much sticky note paper.

Below was her quarry. A pink tongue licked autumn-red lips in anticipation. The black leather of her whip flew, wrapped around a nearby pipe. Vipra swung down into the ragged square hole. Trained talons traced along the whip and the gargoyle was soon hovering above the glass display case on its heavy wooden stand.

A pointed ear tuned to guards, the thief kicked off the case, freed a claw, and scooped up the precious citrus-green Faberg egg. Golden Romanov griffins bearing its weight on their shoulders glistened in one of the remaining display lights. You're mine...

In the darkness, a low male voice sounded, "I do not believe that belongs to you."

Vipra jerked her head, silky black hair hitting her two green spiral onyx horns that grew from her skull. She almost lost her grip on her leather.

A pair of glowing white eyes rested slightly above human height in the shadows.

A demon? Not a dragon. The eyes were too small. "What are you?"

"A protector of this city," came the response. The figure stepped into the moonlight.

A gargoyle! A living flesh and blood gargoyle. "By the dragon..." she breathed. "I was told I was the last."

The larger, broad-shouldered male stood there, ebony wings draped over his form, framed by lavender-colored skin. "You were told falsely." One claw reached out from under the wings. "Now, put it back."

Horny-browed eyes turned to the glittering gold egg, narrowed at him. "No."

"To steal out of greed is not the gargoyle way."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh, please... Wake up and smell the new millennium." She kicked the remaining wooden stand at him, as she raced up her whip and climb onto the roof.

She turned to untangle the leather.

A large light-purple clawed hand clamped down on her slender wrist. Snow-white eyes met her. "In this city we have laws." He held her there as he used his other limbs to climb up out of the hole. "I have sworn to obey them as I would yours in your home."

Her own eyes flashed red. "I have no home!" She kicked him back into the hole.

His arms flung to either side of him, keeping him from going in.

Vipra clutched the egg to her bosom like it was her own. "You don't know what it's like to hatch and grow up with no clan..." She backed up as his claws bit into roof tiles and provided leverage for him to push himself up. "To watch your human parents grow old and die..." She gestured with one claw. "To be cast out onto the streets like some rabid dog." She stopped. "To meet each sunrise as if it might be your last."

He finally climbed onto the roof. "We have all suffered through the centuries." He stood, gesturing at her again. "But we've managed without stooping to petty theft."

"This is the only life I know!" She snapped, and aimed a well-powered a high kick for his head.

He caught it, and flung her foot aside.

She spun, sweeping his legs out from under him.

"Oof!"

And she was on top of him, pinning him under one knee. "Look. I don't want to hurt you..."

A tail slapped her in the face, knocking her to the roof.

She froze a moment, checked for wounds. There were none. Vipra breathed heavily. "-But I will if I have to." She spun, fists clenched.

He wasn't there.

She turned back.

He stood a few feet away, the egg in his claws. "This is insanity. You would sacrifice your heritage for this... piece of metal?"

She glared with crimson-glowing eyes. "You would defend human laws?"

He lowered the egg. "Human or gargoyle, they are laws nevertheless, and I have taken an oath to uphold them, to protect this city from the criminals who threaten it." His voice turned a fatherly softness. "It is the gargoyle way, to protect..."

"Protect what? There's nothing left for me to protect." Her voice choked with threatening tears from the memories of her human foster parents.

His wings opened with a subtle invitation. "You can start over," he told her simpathetically. "A new life. A new home. ...A new clan." Gentle dark eyes met her.

Her breath caught in her throat. "There... are others?"

A nod.

Her mouth was dry. A new family... A family of her kind!

But she couldn't betray her adopted clan leader. She had to complete her mission. "I..." It pained her to say it, more than she'd anticipated. "Can't... At least not yet." The tension eased from her posture. She raised a peaceful hand. "Please, just hand it over. I don't want to fight you anymore."

He tried to look into her eyes. "If you're doing this against your will..."

"I'm not."

Muscular arms crossed. "I'm sorry, but the egg stays here."

"I'm sorry too."

A small mechanical device rose over the building. "This is the police. Hold it right there," a woman's voice sounded from it.

The male gargoyle turned.

Vipra rushed him, spread her wings as she grabbed the golden object, but he didn't let go.

They landed on the roof again, a wingtip knocking the probe away.

The two gargoyles found themselves in a tug-o-war. "Let go, damnit!" she screamed in an all too human voice. Red glowing eyes met white ones.

One hand did let go to grab her upper arm.

She let out a caterwaul and tore the Faberg egg away, striking him in the arm with a four-spiked tail.

The male gargoyle cried out. His recoil threw her exit off, and the egg went flying, tumbling down the roof.

"Curses," Vipra hissed, yanked her arm free from his loosened grip. She fled down the roof. Claws scooped up the egg, closing the lid which had come ajar in the struggle. Without missing a beat, she dove off the side of the roof, howling spookily into the night.

* * *

Goliath watched her go, gripping his bleeding arm. He sighed.

The Viper's probe, under Elisa's guidance, reoriented itself. "Goliath, you all right?"

"I am not seriously injured."

The probe lowered to hover just above him. "Not seriously, huh?"

He grunted but said nothing. She'd have a med kit ready for him no matter what he said, so he ignored the remark. Carefully covering the wounds with his free hand, Goliath climbed to his feet and followed Vipra's path down the roof. Maybe if he found a particularly strong updraft, he could follow.

Something glittery caught his night-sensitive eyes and he stooped.

"What is that? Scanners read it as being made of some kind of metal..."

He picked it up, turned it in the moonlight. "It... appears to be a part of the egg..."

The golden train car sparkled.