This Too Shall Pass
Summary: When he remembers their lives it is in brief flashes and snapshots of the moments both big and small. AU
A/N: I'd like to apologize for the long absence... but I won't. I have (sometimes unfortunately) a life and a tendency toward writer's block. I will apologize for the lack of seasonal fics which I enjoy writing and the lack up updates for ItB because I was hoping I'd finally finish something. It is now officially on Hiatus.
You may thank the show Once Upon A Time and the podcast Welcome to Night Vale for the sudden urge to be creative. You may not like where the urge takes me.
Now that I have time again, I'm trying to retrain myself to write certain things, particularly hard prose and subjects I might not actually enjoy writing. This is just an exercise. The challenge I gave myself here was to write a fic in which all the dialogue are the lyrics of a single song, in the right order. Scene separation (there will be many and they are important) will be marked with an X.
Note: Do not tie this to the other one shots UNLESS you want them to have a particularly dark ending. Does not mix and match with In the Beginning.
Pairings: Angela/Broadway, Talon(Derek)/Maggie, Elisa/Goliath, Fox/Xanatos, Implied (*cough*blatant*cough*) Owen/Bluestone
Warnings: violence, mentioned miscarriage, non-graphic character death, implied slash, language, angsty angst angst, bad feelz
Spoilers: Season 2
Disclaimer: Gargoyles belongs to Disney, Buena Vista and the great and powerful Greg Weisman; lyrics to the song This Too Shall Pass belongs to Danny Schmidt (go hear that song).
"Things change fast," Xanatos muttered, staring in bemusement. Fox and Angela sat together in the library, bent over books and magazines and occasionally one of the two would exclaim and gesture enthusiastically. Like David, Owen found his eyes straying to Angela, fit and strong yes, but now noticeably softer around the middle. The women ooh'd and awe'd over toys and nursery decorations though it would be over a decade before any of it were needed. David didn't seem entirely sure he liked this new development and Owen sympathized.
As he passed by to leave the room and attend business elsewhere in the castle Owen reached out a hand and brushed the dark man's shoulder in a gesture of comfort. From the blond it was practically a full body hug.
"But this too shall pass."
"Better carve it on your forehead!" Brooklyn raged at the older gargoyle.
"Or tattoo it on your ass," the swearing was not unexpected but Owen had thought Brooklyn - so angry, so full of rage - not Lexington, not in such bitter tones.
It was bad. Owen could not think of a worst night in their history in the castle. Dirt, grime and blood coated both human and gargoyle. Angela's dusty face was stained from tears but none fell now.
Goliath gave no more words of comfort and Hudson struggled, searching for some wise proverb or a tale that would comfort them through this trial. His words were punctuated by gasps and terrible gurgling moans from the other room as Broadway struggled to make it to dawn.
Lexington and Brooklyn were losing patience and Goliath had no more strength left to regain control of his clan. Someone would snap.
At the window Angela stared into the night in silence, her hand rubbing almost idly over the swell of her belly. So tired from battle, so heavy with egg and so very weary. Too weary, Owen thought, to even weep though her mate lay dying in just the other room. The hatchling may never know its sire.
" 'Cause who can tell," Hudson rumbled. He was losing the thread, Owen thought, and Brooklyn was ready to start screaming again. "When the clock strikes twelve, if today's become tomorrow or if-"
It wasn't Brooklyn after all. With a great sigh, Angela leaned her head against the window pane and shut her eyes.
"It's all just gone to hell."
"My friend makes rings," Fox explained, smiling almost shyly as she held out the bands, one almost comically over-sized. Twisted metal in smooth curves that hinted at Celtic knots and wings. Owen didn't think he'd ever seen the redhead blush before and he had seen her in some fairly compromising situations.
He didn't think he'd ever seen Goliath so happy with the deeds of a Xanatos. Or Elisa with tears of joy. Something brushed his hand and the blond glanced up. Beside him Matt Bluestone grinned and Owen answered it with a quiet smile of his own.
Behind him the trio and Angela celebrated the moment with cheers and (for Angela and Broadway at least) kisses.
"She swirls and sings," David said teasingly, uncomfortable with the moment of sweetness or perhaps realizing that the happy couple were lost for words. Fox made a face at him.
"She's a mystic," the half-fey started and Owen could sense one of the pair's play fights starting up. Alexander tried to intervene by demanding to be picked up and shown the delicate looking rings. Owen knew better. He'd nearly touched one, perhaps foolish and a little wistful.
Iron. The band meant for Goliath's left, third claw, would withstand all but the absolute worst the gargoyle might face.
"In the sense that she's still mystified by things-"
"- but scared to ask-" Owen held up a hand and Detective Bluestone fell obediently silent. Detective Bluestone.
The words tasted bitter on Owen's tongue but he told himself he'd get used to it.
He said nothing for too long and Matt - Bluestone - sighed, clear blue eyes going dark and... yes, combative.
Lips twisted in an ugly, mocking smirk. Lips that usually looked soft and sweet and kind but Owen knew that they could be just as cruel and sharp as an unexpected knife in the back.
"How can nothing last?" he asked and for a moment Owen wondered if that's what Matt thought this last year was. Nothing.
"Because like a cancer in your body," Owen said in the tone he uses on particularly boring business executives that he won't allow himself to actually be rude to (Matt hated that voice, that tone, that flat look like what Owen is seeing through his glasses holds all the interest of a fly to him and it shows in the way his face went from mean to hurt like he somehow had the right after this) and walked past, not even bothering to brush against the other man - not even one last time - and left the room. He pretended not to hear the broken almost-a-sob. "It all just goes too fast..."
"We think..." Xanatos dropped his head into his hands, tired and finally showing it at four in the morning. His desk was strewn with building plans and Owen had to fight the urge to straighten it up. "...too big."
"We think our self is one whole thing," the man- Owen wouldn't call him a scientist as that would be an insult to the whole profession - was nearly singing. Gesturing with the gun. Bound and gagged across from him the coffee girl watched with big eyes that had started to water. Owen wanted to tell her not to be afraid. Not to cry.
His tongue felt swollen and useless. When he opened his mouth the only thing to come out was blood. He didn't try to speak again.
"And we claim that this collection has a name and is a being," white coat bloody, glasses speckled in red. Owen wondered what the media would call this madman that had decided that the term "hostile take over" needed a stronger mental image. He was warming up to his audience, to his message.
The ache in his head was getting worse and Owen just wanted him to stop.
"But deep inside when every cell divides," the man grinned down at Owen and pressed the muzzle of the gun, uncomfortably cold now that it had had a break from firing, at least that was how it felt, against Owen's temple. "It sets upon the rule that states..."
The coffee intern whimpered.
The man's finger tightened on the trigger.
Owen closed his eyes.
"Self-interest is divine."
"Cancer, too lives by this golden rule," Halcyon croaked from what was now undoubtedly his death bed. Around them machines beeped and whirled and fed the old man oxygen and new blood cells and drugs. "That you must do unto the others, as the others unto you."
Five year old Alexander watched his grandfather with wide eyes while his mother stood back, near the door, choosing anger over sorrow as she always would. Right to the end.
"All for the best," Vogel muttered, a non-sequitor, Owen thought, until he remembered the earlier conversation between father and daughter that he and Alexander had walked in on.
"Cause that's all the life accepts," Halcyon Renard, blind and weak and dying had not caught the topic change and Owen thought that Vogel should not have tried to redirect the conversation. Fox's jaw clenched.
"And so we kill it like a buffalo," she said sharply, mouth curved in an angry slash that might have been mistaken for a smile if those in the room didn't know better. Vogel frowned but even Owen knew that story- a life lesson taught on a hunting trip that perhaps should not have taken place - and so Vogel should know it too. Alex didn't understand, wanted to cling to his mother's hand, Owen could tell, but even so young the boy felt bound by duty or perhaps understood in some small way the importance of this occasion. He stayed in his chair, silent and watching.
Halcyon frowned in the direction of his daughter's voice.
"With awe," he nodded pointedly. "And with respect."
"Don't ask God," Talon snapped. His sister, so much smaller than him, especially with his wings spread wide, stood her ground. "Just ask the sky! She'll tell it to you plainly in the clouds that whisper by."
A simple disagreement, Owen thinks, gone the way many arguments between siblings will.
Mrs. Maza - and Owen would always wonder how she'd been coerced into the castle - uncrossed her arms and shared a sympathetic look with Fox who'd recently discovered Alexander's own argumentative side.
"And praise the shapes!" Derek turned, hands raised high as though to indicate just how stupid he thought his sister was. Detective Maza was turning red with anger, but still she was silent. "And then praise the way they change!"
"And they'll teach you," Diane interrupted finally, her voice steady and firm but not raised. She didn't need to raise her voice to command respect and Derek fell silent immediately. "Not to pray to light without you pray to rain."
"So I pray to hands and I pray to needs and..." Peter shifted, uncomfortable and rightfully so in the face of all that female emotion and sympathy.
Maggie was curled on the couch, Delilah and Elisa pressed close. Diane would arrive with Beth soon but in their absence Angela crouched in front of the mutate, one taloned hand on her knee. Even Fox was near and touching, a hand on Maggie's shoulder and Owen would not see that deepness of sorrow on her face for another nine years.
Derek - Talon now, in his anger and his sorrow and his pain - was gone either being surrounded by male presence and comfort or in the night air, trying to escape the moment.
"...I pray to blades of grass," Angela whispered, had been whispering since taking her place at Maggie's feet and Owen recognized the words. Half spell, half prayer no doubt taught to her by the Magus when she was small. He hoped the words did their work and brought comfort to the circle of sadness but somehow he didn't think they would. "To find forgiveness in the weeds."
"...But as for health..." Beside him Peter was still muttering, still trying to find the place, in memory, where he should have been able to protect his son and daughter-in-law from... this.
Owen knew there was no such place and that he would never stop searching for it.
"I just never did believe," Maggie's voice was no longer cut off by tears but it sounded wet and Owen had no doubt that more tears would come. Golden eyes stared upward and Owen realized she meant... of course she did.
She would wonder if maybe she'd been a good girl, and not left home, not allowed Sevarius to experiment on her or maybe if she'd just said her prayers each night then maybe her first child wouldn't be a red stain on her bed sheets or in the halls of a castle.
"And so I never prayed myself," she was starting to cry again and Fox made a noise, so broken and sad on behalf of this female she barely knew that being in this room felt like an invasion. Owen was there to fetch if things needed fetching, to arrange things if they needed arranging but at that noise, as the women pressed closer, as Fox put her arms over Maggie's shoulders...
It was the first time he deliberately disobeyed by choice.
"...Except to those that prayed for me..."
"The story goes," Titania started, a smile in her voice and her eye though she kept her face appropriately somber otherwise.
Alexander, on his new throne, did not look up at her though he no longer cried. Owen looked at the Queen, so pleased with how her plans had gone despite the loss and the pain on both sides, and felt sick. Pleased, despite Hudson's sacrifice and Lexington's broken wings.
Despite how Fox sat, still on the bloodied battlefield. Uninjured in the fight having proven herself very much Queen Titania's daughter but dying still beside the body of the only man she had loved. Dying of a broken heart.
Pleased despite way her grandchild - the new King - had wept.
King at sixteen.
He would never see that girl again. Or his father.
She continued her voice cunning and sweet and charming.
"Or the way that I was told..."
Owen knows what she's going to tell him now and can't bear to hear her tell the tale, though he knows it is a lesson Alexander must learn and must learn now.
Now that there is a kingdom to rule. He steps forward, halting her, and speaks for her, limping his way to the boy king.
"There was a king that always felt too high... And then he fell too low," Owen's voice stayed even and Alexander looked at him, looking for comfort. Owen wanted so very much to give it.
But he thought of Oberon and his mercurial moods, not unlike the Puck's but so much more dangerous for all his power. He thought of Fox's wild moods, the way her power could escape her in fits and starts, of Titania always so controlled... until she wasn't.
"And so he called," Owen continued slowly, "all the wise men to the hall," he glanced at the Queen who smiled.
Still so pleased.
"And begged them for a gift to end the rises and the falls," Alexander's eyes were wide and wet but no more tears fell. Enraptured as always when Owen taught.
He knelt, stiffly, painfully, and took Alexander's hands, closed them in between his own cold ones.
His body - Owen's body - was badly damaged and needed repair but this was Avalon and the dead king Oberon's word was still law. Puck could not stand within these shores.
Not until Alexander could wield the power this throne and its crown held.
"And here's the thing," Titania's voice rang out, seductive and cloying. Alexander still did not look at her and it gave Owen some small strength. He pulled their hands apart and Alex looked down at the ring that had appeared in his palm.
"They came back with a ring," Owen explained, taking the small, plain silver band and holding it up for Alexander to see. " It was simple and was plainly unbefitting of a king."
He turned it, slowly, to show the engraving on the outer edge that Alexander could not read just yet. Owen had always thought there would be more time...
He took Alexander's right hand, firmly, in his own.
"Engraved in black, it had no front or back, but there were words around the band that said..." he slowly pushed the ring onto the teenager's forefinger and waited until his pupil, his godson and now, his king stared back into his eyes.
"Just know: This Too Shall Pass."
A/N: Yes I ship Bluenette (Brustone?). It's a pairing that I tried to write into LOVE but... failed. We'll see.
No challenges but I would like some reviews... you know... to let me know if you forgive me or not for the absence.