Gargoyle Troopers: The Home Front

by Desslock

DISCLAIMER TIME:  No I don’t own any rights what so ever to Gargoyles, the evil empire (aka Disney) does, and are used
here with out the owner’s or creators knowledge or consent.  Although the Roughwings are mine, if you ask nicely you might be
able to play with them, and if you feel so inclined to capture them for all time in a piece of art, all I ask is that you send me a courtesy
copy.  Also, due to a typo on the author’s part, the year should be 1996, not 1998, sorry.  Finally, if you have any questions or
comments then feel free to send them to me at

December 25, 1996

     “Brooklyn, I wanted to talk to you before you left.”  Rick said.
      “If it’s about last night, well I did sort of fly off the handle.”  Brooklyn preempted Rick.
      “That’s what I wanted to talk about.  I’m sorry for not telling you about Demona.  I just wanted you to know that I did what I did to look out for you.  I hope there’s no bad blood between use before you leave.”  Rick said as he offered his hand.
      “No, there’s no bad blood between us.  As for leaving tonight, well I gave it some thought, and I’m not going to leave, at least no just yet.  I’ve run away enough for now.”
      Smiling Rick said, “Glad to hear that.  So what changed your mind?”
      “A dream I had last night.”
      “I didn’t know that gargoyles dreamed while in stone.”
      “They don’t.”
      “I did not know that.”
      “Have you seen Athena?”  Brooklyn asked as a way of changing subjects.
      “Yeah, she’s in the mess hall eating dinner.”
      “Thanks.”  Brooklyn said over his shoulder as he headed in that direction.

      “Mind if I join you?”  Brooklyn asked as he sat his tray down in front of Athena.
      “No not at all.  You seem to be refreshed from last night.”
      “Remember that I was in hibernation all day as stone.”
      “That’s right, I forgot that you real gargoyles do that.”
      “That’s what Rick calls you.”
      “I’ll have to ask him about that.”
      “Just don’t let him know that I told you though.”
      “Why not?”
      “I don’t want him to be upset with me.  It’s hard to win his approval.”
      “What do you mean, I get the impression that he’s proud of all of you guys.”
      “I don’t mean for doing a job well done, I mean personally.”
      Taking a sip of his coffee gave Brooklyn the moment he needed to dig up the information he was looking for in his mind.
      “Is that what you meant when you said that he rarely shows emotion.  Every time I’ve seen him he’s been emotional and interactive.”
      “Yes, he is friendly and personable.  But that’s still not quite what I meant.”
      “Oh, I see.”  Said Brooklyn around a mouth full of turkey sandwich as the light bulb over him that had been flicker suddenly came on.  “You like him a lot don’t you?”
      “Yes.  I have since the first day we meet.  He was different than the rest of the Roughwings; he’s smarter, seen more and done more.  Someone who seemed to accept me for being a better learner than a fighter.”
      “Does Rick know you feel this way about him?”
      “No.  I have tried on several occasions, but he always seems to dodge the issue.  Its almost like he’s afraid of getting involved with me.”
      “Unless there are some rumors about you that I don’t know about, then I can’t see why he would be afraid of you.”  Brooklyn said with a smirk.
      Chuckling softly Athena said, “You’re a bad one.”
      “Well I never claimed to be a pure and innocent.”
      “After what you told me about Amanda I would hope not.”
      Scratching his head Brooklyn had a slightly sheepish grin on his face.  “Just how much did I spill my guts last night?”
      “Don’t worry, I promise not to tell anyone.”

     Meanwhile, in a different part of the training complex that was used by Demona to train her “special agents” including all the gargoyles, Aries angrily stomped down the hallway, his eyes alert for the one person he was looking for.  It was bad enough that Rick had convinced Demona to spend so much money for that little party his Roughwings had had last night, but then they didn’t even invite Aries, Ivan, or Genghis.
     But that was a small issue compared to the one that was in the forefront of his mind right now.  Spotting his target, Aries closed the distance between them in ten strides and was soon confronting his rival.
      “Rick! Just when where you going to tell Demona about your visitor?”  Aries asked harshly.
      “Not before I thought the time was right.”  Rick responded with equal vigor.
      “You should have told her immediately, instead of letting me find out two days later.”
      “Why should I have told her?”
      “Because as our leader she should know.”
      “She is your leader, not the Roughwings.”
      “As long as you stay here and work for her she is your leader.”
      “No, she is our employer.”
      “You still should have let her know.”  Aries said raising his voice.
      “That would have been unwise, these two have a history, and they hate each other.”  Rick replied calmly.
      “How do you know that?”
      “Because I know she took his flower before she took yours.”  Rick said with venom.
      Startled by what he had just heard, Aries nonetheless pressed on.  “Still you have no right to hide the fact that you have someone here.”
      “Perhaps not, but I will take that heat from her, not you Sarge.”
      Enraged by his lack of respect, Aries struck at Rick, but soon found himself laying face first flat on the floor.
      Punching him twice in the kidneys, Rick said, “Do that again and I won’t just kick your ass, I’ll tear you apart.”  
      Standing up, Rick walked away from Aries and began to consider that it was time for the Roughwings to end their employment with Demona and to move on.

      Picking himself up off the floor, Aries began to storm down the hallway that Rick had just entered.  However, much to Aries dismay, after several minutes of searching he was not able to find Rick.  Swearing to himself, Aries decided that now was a good time to let Demona know about Brooklyn.  
      Hurrying to Demona’s office Aries was surprised to find that the doors were locked.  Swearing in anger again a small yellow piece of paper caught his attention.  On the post it note was a message saying that an issue had come up and that Demona would be out of the office for the next day or so.
      “So much the better.”  Aries sneered as a coarse of action formed in his head.

      “Harper.”  Rick called to his friend and second in command from down the hallway.
      Noting that Rick seemed just a bit agitated, Harper had a suspicion that things were not well.
      “Harper, where is Brooklyn?”  Rick asked.
      “I don’t know right now.  What’s up?”
      “My little secret is out, we need to find Brooklyn and get him out of here ASAP.  Send the first Roughwing you see with him.  Then the rest of the Roughwings need to be ready to leave no later than one hour after that.”
      “Are you sure things are that bad?  Remember the situation we were in before.”  Harper counseled.
      “Yes I’m sure that things are that bad.  Now hurry, we may not have much time.”
      After Harper had left, Rick returned to his quarters to retrieve his personal weapon, an M1911 45 caliber pistol.  He also retrieved a small pack filled with supplies.  Fully aware of what Harper had said earlier; Rick knew that there was only one place for them to go, and that was on the other side of the country.

      Twenty minutes later Rick meet Brooklyn for what he hoped would not be the last time.
      “Sorry about the abruptness of all this Brooklyn, but I have got to get you out of here and to safety.”  Rick said as he handed a small pack to him.
      “What’s going on Rick?  If you guys are in trouble then let me stay here and help defend you.”  Brooklyn said.
      “I’m afraid not.  It seems that Demona knows about you being here.  I can’t chance her finding you and capturing you.  That’s why I need to get you out of here.”
      “But what about the Roughwings?  Even if I am gone Demona’s going to be real PO’ed that you lied to her and then helped me get away.  You guys don’t intend to stay and fight do you?”  Brooklyn asked in alarm.
      “Don’t worry, after we’re sure that you’re safely away, then we’ll leave, and if need be we’ll fight our way out of here.  Hey, don’t worry, we’ll meet you at the castle in a week or so.”  Switching his attention from Brooklyn to Harper, Rick asked who would be escorting Brooklyn.
      “Athena is.”  Harper said as he helped her to strap on a small pack similar to the one given to Brooklyn.
      Grabbing Athena’s hand, Rick placed an M-9 Beretta and a single clip of 9mm ammunition in it.  
      Answering Athena’s questioning look, Rick said, “Sorry, one clip is all we could get for you.  Hopefully you won’t need it.  Now both of you get out of here, go.  And good luck.”
      Just then a familiar person entered the scene, a large gargoyle by the name of Aries.
      “Roughwings,” He announced.  “I know that you are loyal to Rick, and that is fine, but why are you going to follow his instructions when they do not make sense?”  He wants to leave this place, the one place that you have found safety and security.  I ask you what kind of leader wants you to do that?  If any of you want to join Demona and her clan, step forward now and we will accept you.”
      “He has a point there Rick, we have it pretty good here, so why are we throwing all this away?”  Duke asked.
      “Yeah Duke’s right.  Are you sure you’ve thought this one all the way out?”  Machiavelli asked.
     “I don’t care what any one says, it’s time for us to leave.”  Rick said sternly to his clan.
      “Fine then, go.  But your going with out me.”  Mach said firmly.
      “What do you mean by that?”  Harper asked.
      “Just that, I intend to stay here with Aries and Demona.”  Mach said.
      “You what?!”  Rick shouted.
      “Rick, calm down.  Shouting isn’t going to solve anything.”  Brooklyn said as he attempted to defuse the situation.
      “That’s right, Mach has made the right decision.  Demona is more than happy to welcome him in to her clan.”  Aries said as entered the conversation.  “In fact she is willing to extend that invitation to anyone else wishing to stay.”
      “You stay out of this.”  Rick shouted with barely contained contempt.
      “Too late Rick.  I’ve already made myself a part of this.”  Aries returned with equal contempt.
      Placing a hand on Rick’s shoulder, Harper leaned over and whispered a few words in to Rick’s ear.
      Seeing Rick’s hand balled in to a fist, Brooklyn knew that trouble was not far away.
      “Here is my offer Rick.” Aries said, “You let Mach stay and I won’t tell Demona about Brooklyn.”
      “Fine, we accept that offer.”  Harper said.
      “WHAT?!”  Screamed Rick.  “Harper, how dare you to make a decision like that with ….”  The rest of Rick’s sentence was cut off by Brooklyn.
      “Rick, listen to yourself, you’re out of control.  You’re starting to sound as controlling as either Demona or Aries.  Harper is right, this is the best deal we can get out of this.”
      “Brooklyn, I can’t believe you’re saying that.”  Rick said sounding hurt.
      “It’s the truth Rick.  This is the best we can get from this situation.  It’s better to let Mach stay here and walk away with out Demona knowing about Brooklyn than to try and force him to come with us and have Demona hunt us down trying to capture Brooklyn.”  Athena said as she also laid a hand on one of Rick’s shoulders.
      Rick stood there for a moment before slowly turning around.  As he began to walk away he folded his wings around himself like a cape and didn’t utter a word.
      “All right Roughwings lets go.”  Harper said.  “Athena, your on point.  Hannibal your trail.  Duke and I will be left and right flank.”
      As the Roughwings moved to their assigned positions, two gargoyles did not move.  Both Harper and Brooklyn stood there and watched as Aries and his clan turned and walked away.
      “Thank you for helping to solve the situation there.”  Harper said to Brooklyn.
      “No problem.  But I am worried about Rick, he seemed really hurt by Mach’s decision to stay here.”
      “I know.  But I also know that he is in no mood to talk about it right now.”
      “You are really are like family to stand by him like that.”  Brooklyn said.
      “It is the least we can do.  He treated us like family first, and taught us how to live as people, not just as soldiers.”  Harper answered before assuming his position in the group.

 December 27, 1996

      “Ok Rick, it’s been two days.  Time you leveled with me.”  Brooklyn said as he confronted his friend.
      “What do you mean?”  Rick asked.
      “I’m talking about your attitude lately.  Particularly in the last couple of days since we left Demona’s employment.”
      “I don’t want to talk about it.”
      “You may not want to, but I think you should.”
      “One against one, a draw.”  Rick said.
      “I’m not the only one.  Harper, Athena, Duke, and Hannibal all think you should tell us what’s on your mind.”
      “You’re just saying that.”
      “Rick, when have we ever lied to you?”  Hannibal asked.
      “Never that I know of.”
      “So why are you lying to us now.”
      “What do you mean?”
      “Just that.  We can all tell that you were hurt when Mach decided to stay with Demona.  But you have been really cold and reclusive lately.”
      “See Rick.  Everyone has noticed the change in you.  Please open up and talk to us.  We are your friends and family.”  Athena said.
      Sitting there quietly for a moment as he thought, Rick finally gave an answer.
      “You’re right, I was hurt when Mach decided to stay with Demona.  But I was also disappointed.”  Rick said.
      “Disappointed about what?”  Hannibal asked.
      “About the decision Mach made.”
      “But Rick, you’re the one who taught us to think for our selves.  To stand up and voice our opinions and to chose our own fate.”  Harper said.
      “I know, and that’s what hurts the most.  Mach took what I taught him and made what I feel is a bad decision.  The worst part is that there is no way to convince him of it.”
      “It may be a tough pill to swallow, but remember, if you want someone to grow up, you have to let them leave the nest.”  Brooklyn said.
      Looking at the gargoyle Rick smirked a little as the irony of the statement and whom it had come from sank in.  “Spoken like someone who would know from experience.”
       “Remember we’re all family, you’re not the only one hurt by the fact that Mach stayed behind.  We all feel like we lost something.”  Athena said as she sat down next to Brooklyn.
      “It’s nearly daylight, we should get some rest before we continue on.  Hannibal, relieve Duke from guard duty in an hour.”  Harper issued to the squad.
      “Thanks guys.”  Rick said to his clan.  “I guess the whole Mach issuing was bothering me more than I realized.  I didn’t even stop to think that the rest of you would be hurt too.”
      “That’s what family is for.”  Brooklyn said.

      It had taken Aries two days to get in to position, but soon, very soon he would be able to get the drop on the Roughwing clan and be able to carry out Demona’s objectives.  Up to this point she did not know that the Roughwing’s had left, and Aries had every intention of keeping it that way by capturing them tonight.
      Traveling through the ravine had been a tactical mistake that made the Roughwings vulnerable to ambush, but what they did next took Aries by surprise.   Aries could not believe what he saw, how could they be so foolish as to trap them selves like that by entering a cave.  Unless they did not know that they were being followed.  Smiling at the prospect of achieving complete surprise against the Roughwings, Aries readied his strike force.
      With in a short time, Aries had his squad in position and awaiting his order to attack. Although any one of the human squad members Aries had with him for this mission could have attacked, they knew better than to do that.  If Aries could sit there waiting patiently then they all could.  All they had to do was wait until sunrise and there would be one less gargoyle to deal with.  Looking around at his squad, Aries noticed something for the first time; the moon was setting behind him that meant the sun would rise in front of his squad.  That meant his squad would be at a disadvantage as the sun shone in to their eyes, while the Roughwings remained hidden in the darkness of the cave.  
     Growling in irritation, Aries decided to strike before they lost all of their advantage.  Squeezing the trigger, he sent a smoke round that had been filled with knock out gas instead, flying towards his prey.  With in seconds the rest of his squad had also sent gas grenades filled with knock out gas towards the enemy.

      Cough, Cough, “It’s gas, Brooklyn, Athena, get out of here.”  Rick said as he choked on the gas that filled the air.
      “But what about, cough, cough, you?”  Asked Brooklyn.
      “I’ll be fine, now go on and go!”  Rick shouted as he all but shoved both Brooklyn and Athena out of the gas cloud and towards the small exit that was at the end of the cave.
      Climbing out of the hole first, Brooklyn then helped Athena out.  Turning back towards the exit, Athena saw Rick begin to climb out.
     “What are you waiting for?  Go on you two, go to New York City.”  Rick said before falling back in to the cave.
     The sounds of a struggle in side the cave reminded Athena of the ambush they survived during the summer.  Lunging forward to try and help Rick, Athena had no intention of losing Rick like they had lost Sergeant that day.  Before she could even take more than two steps Brooklyn grabbed her by the waist and stopped her short.
     “What are you doing Athena?  We’ve got to go.”  Brooklyn asked.
     “I’m going to save Rick.”
     Before he could respond Brooklyn heard two gunshots and felt tiny chips of rock pelt his lower leg.
     “Freeze.”  Shouted a human clad in all black while pointing a gun at the two gargoyles.
     Shoving Athena in one direction as he jumped in the opposite direction, Brooklyn used his tail to fling a rock at the human.  Taken by the surprise the human was slow in reacting and did realize that he was in danger until the rock struck him between the eyes.
     “Nice throw.”  Athena said, picking her self up off the ground.
     “Well I was aiming for his gun, so not really.”  Brooklyn said.
     Athena quickly relieved the human of the burden of his weapon and was about to relieve the human of the burden of his life when Brooklyn stopped her.
     “No need to kill him, he’s unarmed and unconscious.”  Brooklyn said.
     “Better safe than sorry.”  Athena said.
     “Killing someone unnecessarily is not the gargoyle way.”
     “I’m not a gargoyle, I’m a Roughwing.”
     “In that case then act like one and carry out your orders.”
     Looking at the sky as it began to turn from black to gray, Athena realized that they had to get away from the area before Brooklyn turned to stone and was vulnerable.

 December 29, 1996

      Lexington plopped down in front of his computer and began to check his e-mail while opening an Internet browser in the background.  After a moment or two, Lexington closed the window with his e-mail and was surprised to see that the Internet browser had not automatically connected to his favorite web site.
      “Hmmm, I wonder why it did that?”  Lexington asked half aloud and half to himself as he checked his computer settings.
      Pulling up the computer log, Lexington saw that someone had been online that afternoon and that just before logging off they went and deleted all the Internet sites that had been visited.
      “That’s odd.”  Lexington commented.
      “What’s odd?”  Broadway asked.
      “Someone was on my computer this afternoon and they deleted all the Internet sites that the computer archives.”
      “Do you have any clues?”  Broadway asked as he entered amateur detective mode.
      “Well I know it wasn’t you, me, Angela, Goliath, or Hudson.  But beyond that nothing.”
      “Well you’re the computer geek, isn’t there someway you can un-erase what was erased?”
      “I don’t know, let me see.”

      “Oh hi Lex.”  Tammy said a short time later as she walked in to the room.  “I was wondering if you’re going to be on the computer for while.  If not can I use it?  There is an internet chat group I wanted to join.”
      “Sorry Tammy, I think I’m going to be here a while.”  Lexington answered.
      “Ok, no biggie, I’ll just wait till you’re off it.”
      As the conversation began to disappear from his memory, Lexington finally succeeded in the task he had been working on all evening.  Printing out his results, Lexington went to the kitchen to show his results to Broadway.
      “This is what I was able to pull up.  Someone went to a website about child and partner abuse, another site about emergency pregnancy prevention, and the last site was a rape survivors support group.”
      “Hmm, we know that who ever it was is female, and more than likely below the age of forty.”  Broadway said as he digested both the information and a ham sandwich.
      “Great, that only narrows it down to about a dozen people that would be in the castle that fits that description on any given day.”
      “Sorry Lex, but we don’t have a whole lot to go on at the moment.”
      “I guess your right.  Besides, its not like it’s a big deal.  Someone just wanted some privacy is all.”
      Returning to the living room, Lexington found Tammy typing away on his computer. 
      “Did you find the chat group you wanted?”  Lexington asked.
      Startled by the voice suddenly appearing behind her, Tammy sat up straight for a second and quickly turned around to see who was talking.
      “Oh Lexington, you scared me, it’s not nice to sneak up on people like that.”
      “Sorry.  I was just wondering if you had found the chat group you were looking for?”  Lexington answered.
      “Yeah I did.  You know the nice thing about the Internet is that it’s nameless and faceless.  No body knows I’m a gargoyle, they think I’m just a regular person.”
      Grinning a little at the fact that someone else had “finally” discovered what he already knew about the Internet, Lexington agreed.
      “It’s been great, I’ve even managed to meet some of my old friends.  Granted they don’t remember me, but I’ve been able to recreate some of my old friendships.”  Tammy continued.
      “Lexington, come on lad, if you don’t hurry you’re going to be late for patrol.”  Hudson said as he stuck his head in to the room.
      “Coming.”  Lexington called.  “Well let me know if you meet any more of your friends.  Maybe later I can show you some of my preferred chat groups.”
      “That would be nice.”  Tammy said.  

 December 31, 1996

      “Athena, lets just rest here for a while.”  Brooklyn said.
      “Why, we should keep going.”  Athena asked
      “Because you look as though you could use some rest.”
      “I’m fine.”
      “The circles under your eyes say differently.”  Brooklyn said with a hint of concern.
      Far away, a church bell rang out the time, as it spread across the fields the sound became faint and muffled.  
      “…nine, ten, eleven, twelve.  Happy New Years.”  Brooklyn said as he counted off the chimes.
      Sitting there as if she had not heard her partner say anything, Athena continued to stare off toward the west.
      “You know it’s a tradition to receive a kiss at Midnight tonight.”  Brooklyn said non-chalantly as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
      Wincing slightly as her wound was aggravated, Athena finally told Brooklyn what was on her mind.
      “Brooklyn, can I ask you a question?”
      “You just did.”  He snickered.
      “Why are we waiting here?  We’re wasting time, we should be heading to New York.”
      “We’re not wasting time.”  Brooklyn said.  “You need time to rest.  You’ve been getting hardly any sleep for the past week plus your shoulder was injured when we made our escape from that ambush.”
      “I know, but I wouldn’t have been injured if I had not try to go back for the Roughwings.  I disobeyed orders.”
      “That was not your fault Athena.  I wanted to help the Roughwings too, we just happen to pick a bad spot to discuss it at that time.”
      “But Rick said to make sure that you got back to New York ok.”
      “Which wouldn’t happen if you had gone back to help the Roughwings, you might have been captured.  The who would protect me during the day?”
      Just then a gust of wind swept across the area and Athena shivered as it struck her.
      “Aren’t you cold?”  Athena asked looking at Brooklyn’s bare chest.
      “No, cold doesn’t affect us “real” gargoyles much.”  He said as he wrapped a wing around Athena.  “Still if you were cold, you should have said something.”
      Feeling the warmth of both Brooklyn’s body and his wing, Athena crept closer to him.  “I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to be a hindrance.”  She said through a yawn.
      “Don’t worry about it, you’re not a hindrance.  Besides from what I have seen you can more than hold your own.  Don’t you think so?  Athena?”
      Wondering why she was not answering him, Brooklyn looked at his traveling companion and found her fast asleep as she leaned against him.
      I told her she needed to get some rest.  Brooklyn thought.

January 2, 1997

      Meanwhile, back in New York City, most people were doing one of three things.  Some were sleeping, some were working, and some were expressing terms of endearment to each other.  But that was what the human population was doing.  In the middle of the city, on the top of the tallest building in the world, one couple was not expressing terms of endearment; if anything they were expressing terms of estrangement.
      Walking in to the kitchen Angela was not surprised to find Broadway there.  
      “Um hmm.”  Angela coughed. 
     “Angela, what are you stressing out about now?”  Broadway asked as he shoved another greasy slice of pizza in his mouth.
      “Well for one thing this.”  Angela said picking up a slice of pizza and watching the double meat and grease slide off on to the pizza box.
      “What?  It’s just a pizza.”
      “With all that grease and meat it’s going to give you a heart attack.  You could eat a little healthier you know.”
      “Here we go with the diet thing again.”
      “Well you didn’t stay on your last one to well.”
      “So?  Its not like I’m trying to be a model or anything.”
      “No.  But you can afford to lose a few pounds.  It would be better for you; you’d have more energy, and probably fly faster too.  Plus you would look better.”
      “You never seemed to care this much about my weight before.”
      “I didn’t care before you started putting on so much of it.”
      “Come on, you know I’m big boned.  You said that was one of the things you liked about me, lots to cuddle.”
      “I do, but it would be nice if you looked a little more like Kenney or Brooklyn.”  Even as she said the words, Angela knew that she had made a terrible mistake.
       Standing up, Broadway quickly and quietly turned from Angela and walked out the door.
      “Cool, who left a half finished pizza on the table?”  Tammy asked as she walked in a few moments later.  Looking up from the pizza, Tammy saw Angela still standing where she had been when Broadway walked out.
      “What’s wrong Angela?”  Tammy asked.
      “Nothing, just a disagreement between me and Broadway.”  Angela said weakly.
      “Are you sure that’s all it was?  You seem pretty upset.  He didn’t threaten you did he?”  Tammy asked her anger slowly starting to rise.
      “No, he did nothing like that.”  Angela said defensively.   “It’s just that this time the argument was my fault, and it was all over some pizza.”  
      “Ok, well girlfriend, if you want to talk about it just let me know.  And if he ever does threaten you, then you had better let me know.”  As Tammy spoke, her voice took on an edge to it.
      “Ok, I will.”  Angela promised.
      Quickly reverting to her usually cheerful self, Tammy said that she had to leave for patrol but that she would be back later.

      “Hey slow down a little.”  Lexington called out to his partner.  Being the fastest in the clan, it was unusual for Lexington to want someone to slow down, but this time something seemed to be wrong.
      “Hey Tammy, did you hear me?”  Lexington called out again.
      “Sorry Lex, I was just still a little hot is all.”
      “I can see that, so what has you so ticked off tonight?”
      “Just before we left I ran in to Angela, she was upset because she and Broadway had had a fight.”
      “Another one?”  Lexington groaned.
      “Yeah, but this time she seemed really shook up, like as if she had been threatened.”
      “Threatened?  By who?”
      Looking at Lexington dumbfounded for a moment, Tammy explained what she meant.
      “Your kidding right?”  Lexington asked.
      “No I’m not.  Maybe gargoyles don’t go around beating each other, but remember I was a human at one time, so I know all to well how we think.”
      “Man, how does the human race ever survive?”  Lexington asked in disbelief.
      Just then a scream was heard and then suddenly died.  Looking at the ally way below them, both Lexington and Tammy saw what was the cause of the disturbance.  Four young men were surrounding a woman who was clutching something very tightly to her.
      Not even bothering to ask what they should do, or to even see if Lexington was following, Tammy immediately dove toward the scene below.

      “Come on pretty mama, we just want to party a little.”  Said one of the young men.
      “Yeah, we can give you a real warm place to stay for the night.”  Said another.
      “Please, just leave me and my baby alone.  I only came here looking for some shelter, I didn’t know this was your place.”  The woman cried desperately.
      “Sorry lady, but rent is due, and since you have no money, guess we’ll have to have payment of another form.”  Said a third.
      Eyes aglow with rage, Tammy came swooping down the length of the ally and landed a power punch to one of the four attackers.
      “What was that Jose?”  Asked one.
      “I don’t know Mitch.”  Answered another.
      Winging her way back around, Tammy landed next to the unconscious thug she had just struck.  “Leave the woman alone, now!”  Tammy yelled as she flung the unconscious thug at another one.
      Seeing two of his buddies be taken out in less then five seconds, the third thug turned and ran but was quickly subdued by a green gargoyle that had snuck up on the fight.  Looking left and right in terror, the fourth thug knew that he needed some leverage, some thing to bargain with if he was going to get out of this.  Grabbing the woman with the baby, the fourth thug brought a knife to her throat and threatened to slit it.
      At the mere mention of the threat, Tammy became even more enraged, her eyes began to glow much brighter, her faced carried a snarl that showed a lot of teeth, and her wings were out, making her look bigger than she was.  Lexington could only sit there in awe for a moment as he recalled the last time he had seen Tammy like that.
      Then like a ton of bricks, it clicked in the gargoyles mind and all the pieces suddenly fell in to place.
      “Listen buddy, you can either do this the easy way and give up, or the hard way.”  Lexington said as he pointed towards the two unconscious men lying on the ground.
      Taking one last look to his left and to his right, the thug made a decision.  Shoving the woman towards the female gargoyle, the thug charged at Lexington with his knife.
      Catching the woman before she fell to the ground, Tammy instantly lost all interest in the thug and focused solely on the woman before her.
      “Are you hurt?”  Tammy asked in a cool and calm tone.
      “No I’m not hurt, just shaken up a bit.”  The woman replied amazed at how quickly the creature in front of her had calmed down.
      “Do you have a place to stay?”
      “No, I’ve been evicted, I was hopping to find a steam vent or something to help keep my baby warm tonight.”
      Reaching in to her pocket, Tammy removed a business card.  “Here, go to this address.  They can give you shelter for the night, they also have assault survivor counseling there too.”
      Looking at the gargoyle straight in the eyes, the woman could read the message in them.  It said that she too had been an assault survivor.
      “Time to go.”  Lexington said as he put a hand on Tammy’s shoulder.
      Becoming aware of the sound of sirens for the first time, Tammy nodded, helped the woman up, wished her good luck and began to climb one of the walls to gain altitude before leaping in to the air.
      “Thank you.”  The woman said as she waved goodbye to her new friend.

      Sitting on top of a building munching on a couple of hotdogs that Lexington had somehow managed to acquire, Lexington and Tammy sat in silence.  Finally, after finishing his hotdog, Lexington asked the question that had been on his mind for the past half hour.
      “Tammy, why were you so secretive about your past?”
      “What do you mean?”  She asked.
      “Well for one thing no one knew that you were a victim of rape, you even went so far as to try to hide it when you were on line.”
      “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  Tammy said.
      “Sure you do.  You said it your self, you were in a bad mood earlier this evening because you were worried that Broadway had threatened Angela.  You tried to delete all indications that you were visiting rape and abuse sites on the Internet.  You had some ready made pamphlets for the woman we helped tonight.  You looked a she-devil when you attacked those thugs.  The last time I saw you look like that was when you attacked Kenny when he accidentally walked in on you and you felt threatened.”
      “It’s a part of my life I just don’t like to talk about.”  Tammy said flatly.
      “Maybe you should talk about.  Look what it’s doing to you, it’s tearing you up on the inside.”
      “Really Lex, I’m ok.  I’ve been dealing with this for a while now.”
      “No your not ok Tammy.”
      “Oh, and how do you know what’s in my heart?”  Tammy asked sternly.
      “I know you haven’t smiled once this whole evening, in fact your whole personality is changed.”
      “That’s just your opinion, I’m still the same person I’ve always been.”
      “Would you listen to your self Tammy, you’re lying to everyone, but mostly yourself.”  Watching as she balled one of her hands in to a fist, Lexington knew that what he was saying most have been hitting home.
      Placing a hand on her shoulder, Lexington continued.  “Tammy, I haven’t known you for a real long time, but I do know what kind of person you are.  You’re a kind- hearted person that is happy and cheerful.  I almost never see you with out a smile, yet tonight I haven’t seen one at all.  Worse yet I’ve seen you change from a gentle caring person to an out of control monster.”  Turning Tammy’s head so he could look her in the eyes, Lexington saw tears streaming down her face.
      Wiping away one of her tears, Lexington then continued.  “Sooner or later in one of your rages you’re bound to kill someone.  Tammy, if you keep letting the hate eat at you like this eventually there will be nothing left of the gargoyle we all know and like.”
      As Lexington spoke, deep inside of Tammy a vicious three-sided struggle was being waged.  Two emotions were attempting to escape, one was anger and bitterness, the second was sadness, and they struggled against each other to become the dominant emotion.  As anger and sadness fought each other, they surged against a third emotion, the one that Tammy wore most of the time and kept the other two in check, happiness.  
      Even deeper inside of Tammy, in her heart of hearts, she could see the strength of her anger, the vastness of her sadness, and how her happiness was being eaten away by the two and becoming weaker and weaker all the time.  She knew that what Lexington had said was the truth that she had been afraid to face, that her soul was being eaten alive.  What scared her even more was something else Lexington had said, she was becoming something else, she was becoming more and more like the thing she hated most.
      Breaking down in tears, Tammy let the sadness and the hurt burst to the surface as she buried the hate and bitterness down deep.  Taken by surprise by her sudden change, Lexington put an arm around Tammy and tried to comfort her as she sobbed.     

 January 6, 1997

     Gliding through the night away from the city was far more peaceful than flying through the city.  The air was cleaner, there were few bright lights, and most importantly there were almost no obstacles to run in to.  Brooklyn felt more peaceful now than he had in a while. Over the past several days he and his partner had traveled over a large part of the country during their journey to New York.  Brooklyn still had no idea what had set off the chain of events that had lead to him and the Roughwings hastily leaving California.  Worse yet he still didn’t know what had become of the Roughwings.  The only thing he knew for sure was that he and Athena had waited a couple of days for the Roughwings but had failed to find them, and there was little if anything they could do about it.    
      Lost in thought Brooklyn’s attention was suddenly snapped back to reality by a blur in front of him.  Coming up short he saw what had caused the disturbance.
      “What is wrong my friend?” Athena asked.
      “Nothing, I was just thinking.  Trying to figure out what we should do next.”
      Sighing, Athena looked at Brooklyn and said “Brooklyn, I don’t think there is much more that we can do.  We have spent more than a week looking for my squad and we have yet to find any news.  The best thing we can do is simply follow orders and go to New York City.”
      “You sure about that?”
      “How long have you felt like this?”
      “Since yesterday.”
      “I had no idea.”
      “Brooklyn, I don’t like the thought that the Roughwings may have been hurt, captured or worse.”  Looking at Brooklyn, the female gargoyle continued.  “But I also don’t like the thought of failing my mission and not seeing you reunited with you family.”
      Thinking about what Athena had said, Brooklyn was struck by the weight of her words and yet how at the same time she did seem to be lighter of heart lately.  Even her gliding was more playful, either that or he was just now noticing it.   
      “Catch me if you can.”  Athena threw over her shoulder as she dove toward a pond below.
      A smirk coming across his face, Brooklyn decided to follow suit.  Folding his wings he soon caught up then passed Athena on their descent.
      “Brooklyn what are you doing?”
      Ignoring her, Brooklyn slowed at the last moment before diving in to the water for a swim.  Coming up for air several yards from where he dove in, Brooklyn saw Athena looking down at him.
      “Why did you do that?”  She asked
      “Because it’s been quite a while since I went for a swim.  Come on in, the waters fine.”
      Looking down at the water, Athena hesitated.
      “What’s the matter?  Do you not know how to swim?”
      “No I don’t.  I’ve never had a chance too.”
      “Well come down here and I will show you how.”
      Standing at the edge of the water for a moment, Athena finally decided to join her friend.    
      Huh, focus here Brooklyn, think about what you are saying, and keep your mind on the present.  Brooklyn thought to himself.
      “So are you going to teach me or what?”  She asked after wading up to her waist.
      “Sure.  Now just do what I tell you.  Turn around and lean back in to the water.  I’ll support your head and teach you how to float on your back.”
      “Floating, that’s not swimming.  Teach me how to swim.”
      “I will, but first things first.  Besides I think you will like floating on your back.”
      Trusting her friend, Athena turned around and slowly leaned back in to the water.  Then she felt a slight pressure as Brooklyn used a single hand to keep her head above water.
       “Now just relax and let your feet float to the top of the water.  Then spread your arms out like a T.  Good, now I’m going to let go of your head and you will be floating all by yourself.”
      Wow, I’m floating.  Athena thought to herself.  But the water wasn’t the only thing making her feel lighter than she ever had before.  Although the water did go a long ways toward that.  It was like gliding, but it took less effort.
      I never would have found out about this if it weren’t for Brooklyn.  He really is a nice guy, and a great friend, and someone I can trust.  I wonder what I can do for him that would be nice?  A hand suddenly reaching out and grabbing her wrist interrupted the rest of Athena’s thoughts.  With her attention drawn towards her wrist, Athena never saw the other hand that reached out to her mid section and tickled her.
      Letting out a shriek Athena found herself starting to sink as her body began to tense up in anticipation of combat.  But then just as suddenly the attack stopped and she was being lifted out of the water.
      “Sorry Athena didn’t mean to scare you like that.  But at least I did find out that you are ticklish.”  Brooklyn said as he held a very irate gargoyle in his arms.
      Looking up at him Athena yelled, “Brooklyn!  What was that for?  I did not appreciate it!” as she struggled to get away from him.
      “Hey I’m sorry.  I was just playing a joke.”
      “That’s not a funny joke.  You were being mean to me.” Said Athena, now standing a few feet from him and up to her chest in water.
      “How was I being mean to you?”
      “You snuck up on me and then attacked me.”
      “I did not attack you, I tickled you.”
      “Which all most made me drown.”
      “No it didn’t.  Besides I was there to catch you before you even went under.  You haven’t played a joke on somebody before?”
      “No I haven’t.”
      “Man, you are such a bore.  We have got to work on those social skills of yours.”
      Looking him in the eye she read the real meaning of his words.  Relaxing again Athena said, “I’m sorry Brooklyn.  You spent this time teaching me how to swim.  I shouldn’t be mad at you.”
      Coming up to her Brooklyn put a hand on her shoulder as he said “That’s ok, I guess I did scare you pretty good.”
      “Yes you did.”  As she said this she noticed that the hand on her shoulder left Brooklyn’s mid section exposed.  Deciding to take advantage of the situation Athena lifted her own hand and patted his.
      “I forgive you.”  As the words came out of her mouth her hand flew to Brooklyn’s mid section and began to tickle it.  The reaction she got was just what she wanted.
      “Hey!”  Brooklyn shouted as he began to squirm away, but found his escape route blocked by a tickle attack to his other side.
      “Well two can play that game.”  With that Brooklyn proceeded to tickle Athena in kind.
      After several minutes of squirming, thrusting, parrying, blocking and laughing Athena found herself hopelessly out classed.   Trying to catch her breath Athena tried to tell Brooklyn to quite it, but she just couldn’t quite get the words out.  Leaning in closer Athena attempted to pound Brooklyn on his chest.  Just then Brooklyn stopped tickling her and caused Athena to lose her balance and crash in to him.
      Breathing heavily to catch her breath, she finally got the words out “Stop it, I can’t breathe.”
      “Sorry.  Here, lets get you back to dry land then.”  Brooklyn said.
      Shaking her head no as she said, “Just give me a minute.”
      Looking up, Athena saw that Brooklyn was looking down at her.
      “Better yet?”  Brooklyn asked.  Man why is she still leaning against me?  He thought.
      “Some.”  Athena replied.  But is it because of the air or because I feel… Like I haven’t felt before.
      “No hurry, take as long as you need.”  Oh yeah sure, take advantage of the situation, way to use a friend, Brooklyn thought.
      Looking at him again, Athena said, “Brooklyn.”
      “Yes?” he replied as he leaned closer to her.
      “I don’t feel like learning to swim tonight.”
      “Ok, we can do that some other time then.  For now lets head back to land.”
      Leaning closer to him, Athena looked in to Brooklyn’s eyes as she spoke.  “Brooklyn, thank you for being such a friend to me.  I hope to repay you.”  With that Athena tilted her head and began to gently kiss Brooklyn.
      Taken by surprise, Brooklyn was slow to respond to Athena’s kiss.  However, he soon began to respond in kind, taking things slowly like she was.  Is this for real? He thought.  I do feel some attraction to her, but to this extent?  Or are we just really good friends?

      Meanwhile, back in New York City….
     “Hey Lex, what are you going to teach me tonight?”  Tammy asked as she sat down in front of Lexington’s computer.
      “I already showed you how to use HTML to make a web page, so lets stick to something similar.  Tonight I will teach you how to program in basic.” Lexington answered eagerly.
      “But isn’t writing programs hard?” 
      “It can be, but basic is an easy language.  Besides you seemed to pick up on computer stuff pretty easily.  Remember just a few weeks ago you knew next to nothing, so you’ve come pretty far pretty fast their pretty lady.”
      “You’re just saying that.”  Tammy said as she blushed just a little at the compliment.
      Watching the two younger gargoyles from a short distance away, Hudson was glad to see that Lexington had finally found someone who he could share his hobby with.  Broadway had Angela, although the two of them had been having quite a bit of problems of late.  Goliath had a relationship with Elisa, even though he would never admit it out loud to the clan.  Even Brooklyn had found some peace, although he had to leave the clan to achieve it.  But with a little luck he would return to the clan once he had tamed what was running wild in his heart.
      Hudson felt at peaceful and at ease, things were going well for the clan.  Sighing a little, Hudson also felt a little worried, for he knew that good times could not last, and they never did.   

 January 7, 1997

    As the sun shone down on the two gargoyles, one of them stone; the other flesh, it warmed them nicely after the night’s swimming.  Lying on her back, Athena wondered just what had happened that night.  In fact she was trying to figure out what had happened over the past week.  She had just meet Brooklyn about three weeks ago, and now they were partners trying to get back to New York City. 
     Well they had started out as that, and she figured that they still were, and they had become friends.  This was nothing new for Brooklyn she figured; he had had friends all his life.  But as for Athena, she didn’t have any outside of the Roughwings.  This was a new experience for her.  
      Sighing, Athena finally let her mind grasp the next thought that was trying to surface.  They were becoming a third category, they were more than friends.
      “There, I just admitted it to myself.” Athena said out loud.  But what about Brooklyn, how does he feel about me?  Athena wondered.

      Awaking from his sleep, Brooklyn found Athena lying next to him.  Not only was she laying next to him, but most of her arm was touching his too.  Now Brooklyn was not the type of guy to lose his composure around females, but this time he was coming close.
      Oh man, I wish she wouldn’t do that.  It makes me start to thing think of things I would rather not think about.  Brooklyn thought as fought to dismiss the image that had appeared in his mind while he inched away from Athena.
      “Brooklyn, is that you?”  Athena asked sleepily as she awoke.
      “Yeah it’s just me.”  Brooklyn answered.
      “Is it nighttime already?”
      “Been that way for a good half hour now.”
      Quickly sitting up, Athena softly cursed at the time that they had wasted.  Staggering slightly as she stood up, Brooklyn quickly came to her side.
      “Hey are you ok?”  He asked.
      “Yes, I’m fine, I just stood up to quickly that’s all.  Come on, let’s get going.”  Athena said as she began to climb a tree from which to start her glide.
      “Ok.”  Brooklyn said.

      A short time later, Brooklyn began to worry about traveling companion.
      Is it just me; or does it look like Athena is flying all over the place tonight?  Brooklyn thought as he watched Athena swerve left and then right for no apparent reason.  Then suddenly Athena’s wings seemed to fold in on themselves and she rapidly lost altitude.
      Diving after her as quickly as he could, Brooklyn was able to catch her and come to cushion the impact of their hard landing.
      “Athena, are you ok?”  Brooklyn asked worriedly.
      Her eyes fluttering slightly before opening, Athena asked what happened.
      “I don’t know, you seemed to lose concision all of a sudden and almost crashed into the ground.”  Brooklyn said as he noticed that Athena was shivering.  
      Placing his hand against her forehead, Brooklyn realized that Athena had a fever, and a high one at that.
      “You’re burning up, why didn’t you say you were sick?  We could have waited a day or two for you to get better.”
      “I couldn’t put you in danger like that.”  Athena said weakly.
      “That’s not excuse.”  Brooklyn said more sharply than he intended too.  “We need to find some shelter so you can rest.”
      Looking around, Brooklyn quickly spotted a near by cave that would due nicely.  Picking Athena up in his arms, Brooklyn quickly made his way to the entrance of the cave.  After taking just a few steps inside he froze were he stood.
      “What’s wrong?”  Athena asked weakly.
      Swallowing hard, Brooklyn managed to croak out an answer from his throat.
      “Nothing.  Just need to make sure the place was safe.”  
      Walking to the far corner of the room, Brooklyn gently placed Athena on the pile of sheets and blankets that looked as though it had passed as a bed at one time.  After that he proceeded to the make shift cabinet on the opposite wall and dug through it for a few moments until he found what he was looking for, a small bowl and a rag.  Pouring a canteen in to the bowl and dipping the rag in it, Brooklyn wrung it out and placed the rag on Athena’s forehead to try and reduce her fever.
      After a few more moments Athena finally dozed off and her shivering seemed to lessen.  Sighing a little, Brooklyn looked around the cave and couldn’t help but to feel the bitter irony of him finding this place.  Checking on Athena one last time to make sure she was ok, Brooklyn stood up and walked towards the cave’s entrance.

      Standing in front of a small pile of rocks, Brooklyn knelt down and placed a hand on the center of the pile.
      “Hi Amanda, it’s me Brooklyn.  I’ve missed you this past month.  I’ve tried not to let it bother me too much; to try and get on with my life, but it’s been hard.  I still have the photo of you.”  Swallowing hard, Brooklyn hesitated a moment before continuing.
      “Amanda, I don’t know if you can hear me, or if you could even help me, but if you can I could sure use some help right now.  Athena is really sick, I don’t know if she will make it or not, but if you can please help her.  She’s young still; she has a family who cares about her.  And I, I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her in our home, she deserves better then that.”
      Wiping the tears from his eyes as he stood up, Brooklyn promised that he would come and visit her again tomorrow night.  

      Making his way back to the cave that he and Amanda had at one time shared, Brooklyn staggered towards the bed where Athena lay.  His body still shook with sobs as he knelt down to check on his friend.
      “Brooklyn, don’t worry about me.”  Athena mumbled in her sleep.  “You’re doing the right thing.”
      “But I am worried about you.”  Brooklyn replied.  “Heavens knows I didn’t want to feel close to anyone so soon, but for some reason you came in to my life.”
      “Amanda would understand.  I understand.”   Athena continued to mumble as if she could hear Brooklyn speak.
      “Maybe, but I would still feel guilty.”
      “Let go of the guilt to free your heart.”
      “Yeah right, easier said than done.”
      “Show unconditional love, like you did to me, like she has done to you.”
      “What the….”  Brooklyn sat up straight as if an electric current had passed through him.  What had he just heard?  Had that been Athena talking to him through some fever induced dream, or had it been Amanda?
      The voice had sort of sounded like Amanda’s, but had that been because he has thinking about her?  He was sure that he had seen Athena’s mouth move, so she must have spoken those words.  But the grammar used, especially that last sentence sounded as though someone else was speaking about Athena.
      “Brooklyn my sweet, always caring.  That is what I like best about you.”  Athena continued, but in her own voice this time.
      “That’s the last thing Amanda said to me.”  Brooklyn said as he staggered back.
      Suddenly Athena began to cough wildly and to choke.  This brought Brooklyn back to reality as he rushed to Athena’s side and helped her to trash can so she could vomit in to it.  Laying Athena back down in the bed, Brooklyn decided that he would do what he always did, protect, and right now he would protect Athena.

      After the sun had set, two gargoyles awoke from their sleep.  The first was a red skinned, white haired male, while the other was a greenish-gray skinned, blonde haired female.  Looking at each other in surprise, neither one was able to say a word, instead they simply let actions speak for them as they simply held and comforted each other in an embrace that lasted a long time.
      “Athena, you’re ok.”  Brooklyn finally spoke.
      “Yeah, I guess I just needed some rest is all.  But Brooklyn are you ok?  You sound as if I was about to die.”  Athena said sounding concerned.
      “For a while there I thought you were going to.”

 January 13, 1997

     “Broadway, can we talk?”  Angela asked.
      “About what?”  
      “About us.  What’s happening to us?  I know we don’t get along as well as we used to.”
      “I don’t know Angela.  All I know is that it just seems like we always end up hurting each other lately.”
      “I know, but why?  What has changed between us?”  Angela asked.
      “A lot has happened over the past few months.  We found some new gargoyles, Brooklyn left the clan, and Lexington was made second in command.”
      “Is that part of it Broadway?  You feel hurt because Lexington was chosen instead of you?”
      Broadway fell quite a moment as though this simple yes or no question had just now entered his mind.
      “It was kind of a let down, Angela.”  Broadway finally answered.
      Looking at him for a moment, Angela knew he was lying to her, that he had been more hurt than he was letting on about.
      “What about you Angela?  You’ve been on edge a lot lately.  Is something bothering you?”
      Now it was Angela’s turn to be quite for a moment.
      “Yes, I’ve been having this terrible sense of dread that things are happening and I have no control over the matter.  Like when Brooklyn left, he just up and left with barely any warning, and there was nothing I could do but just watch him go.”
      “You’re worried about him aren’t you?”  Broadway asked.
      “Of coarse I am.”  Angela said defensively, then as an after thought added.  “Aren’t you?”  
      “Yeah.”  But at least I realize how much I miss him.  Broadway thought.
      Sitting down next to him, Angela asked.  “Broadway, one of the things I like about you is that you’re easy going and don’t let things bother you.  But lately it seems like you’ve been really cynical and moody.  Is there something else bothering you?”
      “I don’t know.”  Broadway answered.
      That is a good question, he thought.  There have been a lot of little things that have been getting under my skin lately.  I guess the whole Lexington thing had been bothering me more than I cared to admit.  That and the fact that Brooklyn has been getting a lot of attention, and he’s not even here anymore.
      “Angela, I care about you.” Broadway said as he broke the silence.  “I don’t want to hurt you.  Yet that’s what we seem to do half the time anymore.  Maybe we need a little time apart to sort things out?”
      Looking up at Angela, Broadway could see the hurt look in her eyes.  
      “I don’t want to hurt you but….” Broadway started before Angela placed a finger to his lips.
      “I know Broadway.  I know this is for the best.”  Seeing the hurt that was also in his eyes, Angela leaned forward and hugged Broadway.
      “Just promise me you’ll let me know what’s on you mind when you get things straightened out, ok?”  Angela said as she rose and walked away.
      Sitting there for a moment, Broadway finally walked to a near by bathroom so that no one would see him cry.
      “Angela, are you ok?”  Lexington asked as he saw her walking down the hallway crying.
      “Do you want to talk about it?”
      “Do you want to talk to Broadway?”
      “Do you want to talk to Goliath?”
      “Do you want to talk to anyone?”

 January 20, 1997

      Strolling along one of the outer walls of the castle Angela was surprised to see Goliath standing there.  He had a distant look about him, as though he was unaware of his surroundings and instead his attention was totally focused at some distant point towards the west.
     “Father, what is bothering you?”  Angela asked
     “I am worried.”  Goliath answered without thought.
     “What are you worried about?”
     “Nothing you need to worry about.  As the clan’s leader I will deal with them.”
     “Father, don’t treat me like a hatchling, if its something concerning the clan then maybe you should talk to us about it.”
     “Not everything I am worried about concerns the clan.”  Looking at his daughter for the first time during the conversation, Goliath continued.
       “I am worried about you.  I know it has been almost a week since you and Broadway broke up, but I can still see the hurt in your eyes.”
     Lowering her head as if in guilt, Angela knew that her father was right.
     “Yes father, I won’t lie to you.  It still hurts.  But the rest of the clan doesn’t need to worry about me.”
     “That is where you are wrong my daughter.  Clan will always look out of its own, even though they may be far removed right now.”
     Lifting her head again Angela now understood why Goliath had been standing there, staring off towards the west.
     “You’re concerned about Brooklyn aren’t you?”  She asked.
     “Yes.  He has been gone for several months now and we have not heard from him in the past month.”
     “Maybe he just got real busy.”  Angela said helpfully.
     “Maybe, but Brooklyn had either called or written once every week, then they just suddenly stopped.  I’m afraid something may have happened to him.”
     “Oh father, don’t say such terrible things.”  Angela said as she pushed aside the images that had formed in her mind.
     “It is a thought we must consider, even if it is unpleasant.”  Goliath said as he wrapped an arm around Angela in an uncharacteristic display of fatherly concern.
     “I know, but I refuse to believe something could happen to Brooklyn.  He’s to smart and tough for…BROOKLYN!”  Angela shouted at the end.
     Looking up to see what had Angela so excited, Goliath was surprised himself at the sight that he saw.  Flying towards them was a gargoyle with red skin and white hair; the very one they had been talking about, Brooklyn.  But something was wrong; he was not alone as he approached.
     Wiping a tear from her eye, Angela looked at Goliath and said, “See father all you need to do is to think positively sometimes.”
     Grinning from ear to ear as he landed Brooklyn was surprised to find he had an audience waiting for him.
     “Well I never would have expected my fan club to be here waiting for me.”  Brooklyn said as Angela all but plowed him over as she rushed to hug him.
     “Brooklyn, we were so worried about you.”  Angela whispered as Brooklyn attempted to disentangle himself from her.
     “Yes the whole clan will be glad to know that you have made it back safely.”  Goliath said as he shook hands with the younger gargoyle.
     Turning to towards the female gargoyle who had stood silently behind him, Brooklyn indicated towards Athena.
     “Goliath, Angela, this is Athena.  She is part of Rick’s clan.”
     Surprised at the information that Brooklyn had just provided, Goliath proceeded to give the new comer a once over.  She was shorter than Angela, in fact almost shorter than Brooklyn.  Her hair was blonde and in a pony tail that came to just past her shoulders and looked as though it had not been cleaned in a couple of weeks.  Her skin and eye coloring were identical to that of Rick’s.  Despite the skin coloring, it did not hide the dark circles under her eyes, which lead Goliath to guess skin and eye color weren’t the only traits she shared in common with Rick.
     Her uniform had seen better days as the gray and black strips on it were covered in mud, blood, sweat, and had several tears on it.
Nodding numbly at the introduction, Athena finally made a sound, “Mission accomplished.”  Was all she said as her knees buckled and she fell to the ground.
     “Athena!”  Brooklyn shouted in alarm as the three gargoyles rushed to her side.
     Checking her pulse, Brooklyn found it to be rapid and weak, her skin was flushed and felt dry, her breathing was rapid and shallow.
     “What’s wrong is she injured?”  Goliath asked.
     “No, just dehydrated, and probably exhausted too.”  Brooklyn said as he picked her up.  “We had better get her to the infirmary.”
     Meanwhile, in a different part of the castle, Lexington sat down at his computer terminal and began to type in a set of instructions.  
     “Hello, what’s this?”  Lexington asked half to himself.
     “What is it?”  Tammy asked as she peered over his shoulder at the computer screen.
     “I hacked in to the castle’s central computer and accessed the infirmary section to see how hard of a test it would make for you.  But I didn’t expect to find this.”  As Lexington pointed to the read out coming up on his screen.
     “What’s so special about this?”  Tammy asked.
     “This.”  Lexington said as he pulled up an X-ray picture reveling the skeleton of a gargoyle.
     “Are you sure that’s not just archived data?”
     “Nope, its real time.  Hmm, want to go take a look?”  Lexington asked.
     “Why Lex, are you asking me out on a date?”  Tammy mocked.
     “Yes pretty lady, I am.”  Lexington chuckled.
     “Then lets go you mad romantic you.”  Tammy chuckled.
     As the two of them left, neither one noticed the look of disgust that crossed Broadway’s face as he watched the two leave.

     Seeing Angela standing in one of the corridors leading to the castle’s infirmary, the curiosity of both Lexington and Tammy’s became peaked.
     “Hi Angela, what’s going on?”  Tammy asked.
     Turning to face her addresser, Angela looked right past Tammy and spoke to Lexington as though she wasn’t there.
     “Brooklyn has finally come home.  He’s in their now with Goliath.”  Angela said as she indicated to the room at the end of the hallway.
     “Oh no.”  Lexington said as the image of the x-ray flashed in his head.  Not even waiting to hear the rest of Angela’s explanation.
     “What’s wrong that would have Lexington so worried?”  Angela asked.
     “Because Brooklyn is hurt.”  Tammy said.
     “Why does Lex think that?”
     “Because he saw the medical readout.”

     “Brooklyn?  Hey, are you all right?”  Lexington said as he entered the room that Angela had pointed to.
     “Lex, good to see you bro.”  Brooklyn said as a large grin came across his face.
     “Angela said that you were in here, so I thought that you might have been hurt.  But you look like your ok.”
     “I am.  But unfortunately Athena isn’t.”  Brooklyn said as he indicated towards the female gargoyle lying on the bed on the other side of the room.
      Just then another gargoyle entered the room.
     “Who’s your friend there?”  Brooklyn asked.
     “Brooklyn, meet Tammy.”  Lexington said as he made the introductions.
     Brooklyn noted that the change of expression on Lexington’s face as he spoke implied that Tammy was at the least a very good friend.
     “She joined our clan after you left.”  Goliath added.
     “Nice to meet you.”  Tammy said.
     “So who’s your lady friend there?”  Lexington asked Brooklyn.
     “Her name is Athena, she is a Roughwing, a member of Rick’s clan.”
     “Rick has a clan now?”  Lexington asked.
     “Yep, couldn’t believe it my self either.”  Brooklyn answered.
     “What’s wrong with her?”  Tammy asked as she slowly approached the sleeping Athena.
     “Dehydration, and probably exhaustion.”  
     “Dehydration, exhaustion?  What did you two do, travel across country?”  Lexington asked.
     “As a matter of fact yes.”  Brooklyn said deadpan.
     “Who is Rick?”  Tammy asked.
     “A gargoyle like you Tammy.  We met him before we meet you and Kenny.”  Lexington explained.
     “Kenny?”  Brooklyn asked.
     “Another gargoyle that joined our clan.  We met him about the same time as we met Tammy.”  Goliath explained.

February 4, 1997

      “Your bid.”  Brooklyn said to Lexington.
      “Keep your shirt on.  I’ll see your five and raise you five.”  Lexington answered after looking at his cards.
      “This is nice guys.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to play cards like this.”  Broadway said as he finished off his beer.
      “Yeah, I didn’t like playing the with the Roughwings, other than Rick and Athena the rest of them were lousy.  I would always win.”
      “Speaking of Athena.  Seems like you two have been getting kind of close their guy.”  Lexington commented to Brooklyn.
      “Yeah, she’s a nice girl.  Just to bad something so bad had to happen to her.”
      “Oh, and I suppose your something good then.”  Broadway sarcastically replied.
      “Hey ouch, that was uncharacteristically harsh of you there.”  Brooklyn said in mock injury.
      “Just stating the obvious.”
      “Well the obvious is that if you ever get her in bed, you’ll find out I did work the old Brooklyn charm on her.”
      “No way, you mean you actually did it?”  Lexington said
      “Glad to know there are no virgins at this table then.”
      Both Broadway and Brooklyn choked on their beers at that point.
      “What do you mean no virgins?  When did you do it Lex?”  Brooklyn asked.
      “And how did you know that Angela and I did it?”  Broadway asked just as quickly.
      “It was before you got back Brooklyn, about a week or so after New Years.  Tammy had been sort of depressed lately, so I took her out and showed her a good time.  We got a little caught up in the moment, one thing lead to another, and the rest as they say is history.”  Lexington answered.
      “So I guess the mean you two went and consummated the relationship then.”  Brooklyn said.
      “Yeah I guess they did.  But still, how did you know about me and Angela?”  Broadway asked.
      “You would be amazed at all the places that the security cameras will cover around this place.”
      “What?!  You caught us on tape?”  Broadway exclaimed as Brooklyn broke in to a fit of laughter.
      “Fear not rookery brother, I destroyed all evidence of it.”

     Walking past the trio as they played their card game, drank their beer, and told their lewd tales, all Elisa could do was to shake her head in awe that guys would be guys regardless of the species.
     Stepping in to the large living room that the gargoyles shared, Elisa spotted Hudson sitting all alone in his favorite recliner.
     “Hi Hudson, why aren’t you in there playing cards with the boys tonight?”
     “Ach, that in there is a young man’s game.  I’m better off staying out here.”
     “Are you sure?”  Elisa asked.
     “Elisa lass, I am an old soldier, and all I want to do right now is to enjoy the quiet.”
     “Suit your self then.”  She said as she headed towards the castle’s library, and its most frequent visitor.

      “Hey Goliath, you in here?”  Elisa asked.
      “That is a silly question, who else come in here?”  Goliath asked.
      “I don’t know, there is a first time for everything you know.”
      “Perhaps.  What brings you down here looking for me?”
      “I just thought I would come and see you is all.  Do I need a good reason?”
      “No, it is just that I thought perhaps you needed the clans assistance with something is all.”
      “Is that all you think I ever come here for then?”
      “No, you also come on occasion to keep an eye on Xanatos.”
      Darn it Goliath, Elisa thought, Stop playing games and take the bait.  What do you want me to do, spell it out for you?
      “Well that’s not on the agenda for tonight.”
      “Then what is on the agenda?”
      “I don’t know, maybe a stroll through the park, catch a movie, or just a quite flight over the city.”
      “I’m sorry Elisa, but I have to go on patrol this evening.  Perhaps another time.”
      “Ok, I’ll catch you later then.”  Elisa said as she did her best to hide the crushed look she felt.
      What’s changed between us Goliath?  Elisa thought.  Why do you seem remote and distant lately?  Its like you don’t want to be more than just friends with me.
      Watching Elisa leave, Goliath slowly uncurled his tail from around the stool he had been sitting on.  It hurt him to deny himself his feelings he felt for Elisa, but things just would not work out.  She was human, he was gargoyle, they were of two different to be together in this world.  Oh he knew they had talked about it a hundred times before, but the more he thought about the more Goliath was convinced that a relationship between him and Elisa would not work out.  
      That was why he wouldn’t even try; he valued her way too much as a friend to risk losing that friendship to both him and the clan because of just him.  Besides there was a city full of men that would make a good mate for Elisa.

February 28, 1997

     Athena stood at the top of one of the towers of castle Wyvern and waited.  She had been doing this more and more often over the past couple of weeks.  Sometimes the other gargoyle would come and wait with her, to talk to her, to try to comfort her.  Always Brooklyn would come and spend time with her to make sure she was ok, but neither he nor they could make her feel completely better.
     “Athena, why don’t you just tell the rest of the clan that you are worried about the Roughwings?”  Brooklyn asked as he joined his very close friend.
     “Because they are your family, the Roughwings are mine, and I do not want to burden them with my problems.”
     “Who said you would be?”
     “No one.”
     “So why are you worried about that?”
     “Because they are your family, the Roughwings are my family.”
     Wrapping an arm around Athena, Brooklyn gently pulled her towards him and gently spoke to her.
     “You want to go and look for them don’t you?”
     Nodding her head, Athena softly said yes.
     “I figured as much.”  Brooklyn answered.
     “Brooklyn, you know I care about and don’t want to hurt you.  But I have to leave for a while, I need to find out what happened to my squad.”  Athena said as she laid a hand on top of Brooklyn’s.
     “I know, that is why I have been getting ready for this moment.”  Brooklyn said.
     “What do you mean?”  Athena asked.
     “If you plan on leaving, then you’re not leaving alone.  I will go with you.”
     “Brooklyn, I couldn’t ask you to leave your family again, not for me.”
     “It’s ok Athena, my clan knows that I plan on leaving if you were to leave.  Besides, I’m not the only one who wants to go, Broadway said he would like to go too.”
     “You mean the two of you would be willing to leave your home for me?”  Athena asked in surprise.
     “Yes, for you, for Rick, for the other gargoyles, and for each other.  Besides Athena there is one thing you still don’t seem to understand.”
     “What is that?”
     Turning Athena around so that she faced him, Brooklyn looked straight in to her eyes and told her the simple truth.
     “Athena, for whatever reason you may feel as though you do not belong to our clan, but we don’t feel that way.  We accept you in to our clan, as much as we accepted Rick, Tammy, Angela, or me.”
     “Thank you.”  Athena said while wiping a tear from her eye and pulling Brooklyn close to her.

The End