Disclaimers: All characters in this story that are from Gargoyles are the property of Disney and Buena Vista, and I am using them without permission. Stay tuned after the story for final disclaimers that would basically ruin the story if I told them here.
Note: This story is separate from my Annwn stories...for now. This is
a part of the same universe, but gives me the chance to explore characters
who as yet do not play a part in Annwn. I hope you all like this story:
be gentle, as I am an inexperienced 'fic writer, and I'm using a character
that known information about is decidedly rare. --Ari
He sat, quietly surveying the scene laid our before him. It was rather interesting, he supposed...but he had not the taste for so many people in one place at one time. The fact that there were among the assembled Children mortals did nothing to lessen his unease. He hadn't thought that bringing any mortals to Avalon was a good idea. They dismissed his warnings almost out of hand: they assumed that their brother was merely being a dampener on their merriment. But he still didn't like it, and he was determined that he would not join in the festivities.
He turned, annoyed by the disturbance of his thoughts. He had hoped for more time alone: it was his only real wish, the only thing he desired. To be alone. For awhile it had been his, this dream. But no. He couldn't remain in solitude forever in this crowded place. "Yes? What do you want?"
"Come now, I see no reason for you to be acting thus. We are all here together for a party. A party. You do know what that means, right? You're supposed to have fun!"
He rolled his eyes. Surely this fae who had been misconstrued by foolish mortals into a Nordic divinity had a little bit more sense...hell, a little bit more dignity than to first come to this horrible party, second, become drunk at the said party, and third, to bother him with his drunken babble. But he decided to humor the "god". "Yes, Odin, I do understand what a party is. Now, if you'll excuse me." He slipped away into the crowd of people, leaving the great Nordic god to wonder if he even knew what fun was...
"Excuse me, Naught?"
He spun around. Who in Oberon's name had dared to call him that? His anger must have been evident on his face, because Coyote looked quite apologetic.
"I'm sorry, brother. I forgot that you dislike it when other people use the name that you have taken strictly for mortal use."
"No offense taken, Coyote," he answered uneasily.
"The Queen Titania wants to speak to you. Something about the fact that you have not yet chosen a mortal to bring to the party."
"But... Lord Oberon and I had an agreement. I do not have to bring a mortal. I do not have to join in the party."
"Apparently Queen Titania disagrees," Coyote smiled apologetically. "Sorry."
He allowed himself a cynical laugh. Of course, Coyote didn't need to worry about who he would bring to the party...he already had his mortal. He shook his head. Why me? he thought tiredly.
He made his way to Queen Titania. He was not looking forward to this.
"Why Naught," Queen Titania said. He made a very real effort not to cringe at the use of his human name, but his pain was still evident to the queen. "I was not expecting you to be so...prompt."
"My only desire in life is to make you happy, my lady."
Titania laughed. "Sarcasm really doesn't become you, child."
"I know. But it is so much fun."
Titania smiled again. Had it been any of the other Children, she might have been angry. But she always made exceptions for him...he often appeared to need such exception. "Seriously, child. I have noticed that you have not yet chosen a mortal to bring to the party. I trust that you are merely planning who you will bring?"
This was his chance...he could say that yes, he was merely planning who to bring, and then, if anyone asked what had happened to his guest, he would say that the mortal had died unexpectedly...of a heart attack at the sight of the beauty of Avalon! It would be perfect. However, there was something about Queen Titania's demeanor that induced him to tell the truth. Even though he didn't really want to. "No, my lady. The Lord Oberon and I had spoken of this. I am not required to join in this party. I do not need to bring a mortal."
"Yes, I was aware of this arrangement," Titania answered. "However, I have spoken with the Lord Oberon concerning you, and we have decided that you will be required to choose a mortal to bring to the party."
"But my lady..."
"No buts," Titania said, her voice kind but firm. "You will bring a mortal to the party. You cannot be forever in your solitude. Surely this is but a small matter. You will easily find a mortal to come with you." With that, Titania walked away from him, leaving him to contemplate his situation.
Of course I could find a mortal to come with me, he thought silently.
That's the easy part. It's bringing her here without ruining ... everything
I have worked for that will be hard. And he left Avalon to find a way to
bring her to the party that he didn't want to take part in.
"Think of me, think of me fondly, when we've said good-bye. Remember me once in a while -- please promise me you'll try. When you find that, once again, you long to take your heart back and be free -- if you ever find a moment, spare a thought for me."
"More emotion, Elysse! Feel the words! Don't just sing, be the song!"
"We never said our love was evergreen, or as unchanging as the sea -- but if you can still remember stop and think of me... Think of all the things we've shared and seen -- don't think about the things which might have been...Think of me, think of me waking, silent and resigned. Imagine me, trying too hard to put you from my mind..."
"Enough!" The music ended abruptly. "Elysse, have you ever been in love with someone?"
Elysse stared at Madame Fitzgerald. "What do you mean, Madame?"
"Have you ever loved someone more than anything in the world, and then had them leave you, and the most you were able to ask of them was that they try to remember you sometimes?"
"It shows." Madame Fitzgerald turned abruptly. "Needless to say, our practice is over. And I do expect considerable improvement by next week. You know as well as I do that for Phantom of the Opera you must be able to sing and act."
"Your recommendation Madame?"
"Fall in love," she said shortly, and made her exit.
Elysse shook her head. Madame Fitzgerald was very annoyed with her. She had been working so hard. She knew quite well that Phantom required her to act and sing. She wasn't denying it. Not one week ago, Madame had been complimenting her on her quote "vastly improved" acting. Sometimes I will never understand her...Elysse sat quietly on the window ledge. She looked out over the city. She wanted nothing more than to fly away...far away. To someplace where she could truly be happy. She wiped away a silver tear that made its way down her face. "I just want to go home..." But she knew she couldn't. She was stuck here, in New York. It was her choice, she knew it. Broadway called her, and she couldn't deny its power over her.
"No more talk of darkness...forget these wild-eyed fears. I'm here, nothing can harm you -- my words will warm and calm you..."
Elysse turned. She recognized the song, its meaning to her life, the voice, and its owner. "Andrew..." she whispered.
"Let me be your freedom, let daylight dry your tears! I'm here, with you, beside you, to guard you and to guide you..."
She enveloped him in her arms. "Andrew...I didn't hear you come in! How long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough, my Angel of Music, to know that something troubles you," he answered. "And to know that that something deals with The Phantom of the Opera."
"Oh, Andrew, how can I make Madame happy? She doesn't think that I can make this production. She doesn't think I'm good enough."
"Good enough to get the lead or to get a part?"
"Then she is wrong. You and I both know that you are one of the most talented performers to hit this town in a long while."
"She still doesn't see why I only made the Kitty Chorus in "Cats". She thought that I should have been Grizabella."
"You're too young to be that depressed."
"You'd be surprised."
"Come now, child."
Elysse smiled, trying to show him that she could be happy. Then she realized that he was quite serious: he had already gotten her coat from where it had hung on the back of the door. "But, Andrew..."
"Come, I have something to show you."
Elysse obeyed, hardly knowing what she was doing, or what enticed her
to follow this old friend. She knew she needed rest...but somehow, rest
was the last thing she felt like right then.
"Where are we going?"
"Just follow me, Elysse. Just trust me."
Elysse followed Andrew through the darkened streets of the city. She wondered again where he was taking her. Often in the past he had taken her to different parts of the city, always knowing what type of place she would like. She was sure this time would be no different.
They reached a street corner on which stood a rather old and decrepit building. Elysse was frightened to say the least when Andrew stopped there.
"We're here, " Andrew announced, and he led her inside.
"What is this place?" Elysse asked as she stepped into the darkness.
"One of my old 'hiding places'," Andrew answered, a touch of bitterness coloring his words. "A place I used to come so that I could escape the confusion."
Suddenly the lights came on.
"Andrew..." Elysse breathed. "It's beautiful."
Elysse took in her surroundings. It seemed to be the remnant of an old theater. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and rows upon rows of rich red velvet seats stretched out in front of her. And at the front...an absolutely incredible stage.
"Go on," Andrew said, motioning her to the stage. "It's why I brought you here."
She walked slowly to the steps on the side of the stage. "Incredible..." she breathed.
She climbed the stairs and walked to center stage. She stood a moment, looking out into the incredible theater. She was silent, not wanting to breath, lest the entire place disappear like the shattered fragments of a dream.
"Sing." Andrew whispered the word, yet it echoed throughout the entire hall. His word called to her, and she followed the command.
"Think of me, think of me fondly, when we've said good-bye...Remember me, once in a while, please promise me you'll try...When you feel that once again you long to take your heart back and be free, if you ever find a moment spare a thought for me..."
Elysse stopped short, surprised by the emotion and strength of her voice...it would have made even Mme Fitzgerald proud. "You are incredible, my dear," Andrew said quietly.
"But it wasn't my voice, Andrew," she answered. "It's as though this place had some sort of spirit -- some sort of force that allows me to sing like that."
"Remind you of anything?"
Elysse caught his meaning. He really did love that musical. "In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came. That voice which calls to me, and speaks my name. And do I dream again? For now I find The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside my mind."
From everywhere yet nowhere came the sound of music -- as of an organ. As Elysse looked questioningly at Andrew, she knew that the music was audible only to them.
Andrew's strong tenor filled the hall. "Sing once again with me our strange duet. My power over you grows stronger yet. And though you turn from me to glance behind -- the Phantom of the Opera is there inside your mind."
"Those who have seen your face draw back in fear. I am the mask you wear..."
"It's me they hear."
Their voices blended so perfectly it was as though they were one. "Your spirit and my voice in one combined: The Phantom of the Opera is there inside your/my mind."
Spectral voices rose to carry the words of the chorus. Elysse considered briefly the meaning of the warning. Maybe in some bizarre fashion, it was meant for her as well.
"In all your fantasies, you always knew --" Andrew walked slowly towards her, and she felt a momentary stab of fear, then the call to her soul she found impossible to resist. "That man and mystery..."
She continued. "Were both in you."
Then together, "And in this labyrinth, where night is blind: The Phantom of the Opera is there inside your mind"
Elysse listened as the last strains of the otherworldly music faded away. Andrew held her close in his arms, and she felt perfectly content, and yet afraid, as though she stood on the edge of some great void. She pulled away from him.
"My Angel," he said. "What troubles you?"
"Who are you?"
He was taken aback by her words. "What do you mean who am I? I am Andrew...your friend and confidante."
Elysse shook her head. "You know that's not what I mean," she said. "The music...the atmosphere in here...You created all of it."
Andrew turned slightly. "I suppose you would have figured it out on your own after awhile anyway...you are too perceptive for your own good, child."
Elysse watched in fascination as the man she had known for so long as Andrew changed appearances. He now donned a hat and cape, and the hat covered the eyes that she had so admired in years past. A faint glow surrounded him. "Who are you?"
"I have no name. And I have many names. I am all and nothing, the abyss which will one day consume all. I am Naught."
Elysse took a step back. "Yes," he said, with a cold and bitter laugh. "Even the Angel fears me. Everyone fears me."
"Andrew..." Elysse began.
"That is not my name."
"I don't care who you are. Are you or are you not the same man who brought me here?"
Elysse took a breath. "Then for that I thank you. And because you are the man who brought me here, I cannot fear you. You are Andrew. Whether you choose to call yourself differently is your own choice." Elysse could hardly believe that she could be so level-headed. For all she knew this was some sort of demon...
"You are afraid. I have seen that look before in your eyes. Opening night, your first play."
"And you are still Andrew," Elysse said calmly. "You are still my dearest friend. And I could never fear you
Naught stared at her. She was indeed unafraid now. "If you are truly unafraid, then follow me."
"Trust me," he replied. He held out one hand to her. She took it, and found herself surrounded by the glow that had surrounded him. Then the light faded, and she found herself somewhere totally foreign to her. Beautiful, but entirely unlike anything she had ever seen.
"Andrew..." Elysse still used the name she had always known him by. "Where are we?"
Elysse looked at him in complete disbelief. "But...Avalon...it doesn't exist. It isn't real. It exists only in myth--"
He cut her off in mid-sentence. "Mythology? Look around you, Angel of Music. You are surrounded by Mythology! The Aesir, the Egyptian gods, the gods and goddesses of the Native Americans...All are of my race."
"What race is that?"
"The Children of Oberon. The fairies. The Fey."
"But...then...mythology...legend...It's all true?" Elysse asked incredulously.
Elysse took a moment to fully take in her surroundings. She had stepped out of reality into mythology. Into the world that formed the base of human societies. "Why did you bring me here, Andrew?"
"I brought you here because the Lady Titania required of me to bring a mortal."
Elysse pondered for a moment. "For what use?"
"Are you going to perform some experiments on me or something?"
A cynical smile graced the half-concealed face. "You are a child of science-fiction, my Angel. No, I did not bring you here to make you the subject of some hideous experiment. You're here for a party."
"A party. A celebration. For the Fey."
Elysse looked at Andrew...Naught...whoever this person was. "Why did you bring me?"
"I told you. I was required to bring a mortal, and you were the one I chose."
He hesitated. He had no idea why he had chosen her. She just seemed like the logical choice. "You are the only human who I thought was capable of accepting the idea of going on a date with Naught." He hated the name. It only instilled fear. She couldn't ever l--- she couldn't accept Naught.
"Trust me, you're a lot more interesting than some of the boyfriends I've had in the past." Elysse paused. "You know, you picked a fine time to take me away from the mortal world. Mme. Fitzgerald will kill me when I miss practice."
"Not while I'm with you, she won't."
"So, what am I supposed to do?"
"Follow me," he extended a hand to her, and she took it.
"Is this going to be like the last time I followed you, and ended up in Faery? I don't want to leave just yet, you know. I just got here."
"No, it won't be anything like that."
"Promise?" Elysse smiled.
He led her out of the castle, into the courtyard. They walked slowly down a path, until they came to the edge of a cliff. The cliff overlooked a vast sea. Moonlight splintered where it hit the water.
Elysse sighed. "This is so gorgeous."
"Not as lovely as you, my darling."
"That has got to be the oldest line in the book," Elysse said with a laugh. Then, noticing the downcast look on his face, she thought silently of a something that would cheer him up. Then she had it... the perfect burst of inspiration that she knew would bring a smile to his face. It was, of course, their song. Elysse had been practicing it the day they met, and it perfectly described them...Never quite knowing what the other one wanted, only wanting the best for one another. Of course, now it might not be quite so fitting...but the meaning would be clear.
Elysse cleared her throat, and began to sing.
"Isn't this rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground --
You in mid-air.
Where are the clowns?
Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.
Just when I'd stopped opening doors
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair...
Sure of my lines...No one is there...
Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want...
Sorry, my dear!
And where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.
Don't bother they're here.
Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career...
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
She removed his hat, revealing the incredible blue eyes that she had known for so many years, without ever really knowing the true depth of them. He managed a smile. "Do you have any idea what you're getting yourself into, Angel of Music?"
"No," Elysse smiled. "But no one really does when they first start out. Insight comes later." She paused. "I guess I'm willing to find out."
And in that moment, alone, watching the moon reflect on the lake, nothingness
was changed...healed...by the power of a mortal heart.
From the balcony of the castle, Lord Oberon and Lady Titania stood watching the tableau before them.
"And, my lord," she began. "Do you approve of the Child's choice?"
"We believe it to be...interesting. Likely to cause some commotion amoung the rest of the Children, but still very interesting."
"I think it should prove just that...and more."
"Very well," Lord Oberon left the balcony to rejoin the party in progress.
A sudden flash of light lit up the air around Titania. "And so, my lady, what do you think of this match?"
"Nothingness -- Darkness -- will be brought back into the light." She turned to face Coyote. "You tell me, trickster. Will it work?"
"It won't be the first time this has happened... You know quite well that this has been successful with those in more darkness than he."
"Well have I learned that lesson..." Titania paused. "Perhaps the one least likely to love will be the next to fall."
Coyote looked at her questioningly. She does believe it possible. Now am I happy or scared to death? The eternal question. Then, aloud, "I have to get back to my own date."
"Very well. I believe I will return as well."
And the two immortals left one of their own truly alone in the darkness
of the night, with only the flickering light of a mortal heart to guide
"A shot of magic. A handful of desert. At the monument of time, I
tell the myths of eternity... That musical tune is maddening like the wind.
That figure is a person frozen in ice. Not knowing of the dawn, not seeing
the coming night, only my garnet eye crosses time, and I think of the people
From The Sailor Pluto Monologue by Takeuchi Naoko
This story is purely the work of my mind. Of course, most of the characters don't belong to me. The two exceptions to this are Elysse and Mme.Ceara Fitzgerald are both characters that I created for my own use. Naught, Titania, and the rest of those I included from Gargoyles are all the property of Disney/ Buena Vista. Phantom of the Opera and "Think of Me", "All I ask of You" and "Phantom of the Opera" are the property of Andrew Lloyd Webber, to whom I apologize profusely for borrowing his songs and using them in a fanfic. "Send in the Clowns" is from A Little Night Music, and belongs to Stephen Sondheim, who also has my profuse apologies. "Sailor Pluto" and her monologue both belong to Takeuchi Naoko. I thought the quote was somewhat appropriate. Any copyrighted materials I missed are hereby hypothetically acknowledged.
I hope you enjoyed this story: If you have feedback, it would be appreciated. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.