DISCLAIMER: I don’t own the rights to Gargoyles or to W.I.T.C.H. and no profit is earned.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was inspired by an episode of W.I.T.C.H. that only aired in the U.S. last week. If you have any comments or preferences, please don’t be shy. RandR.
They watched with a mixture of distaste and anticipation. Those below were, the first thought, completely vile. He could feel the hatred and loathing that radiated from them as the leader of the group worked them toward frenzy with the racist garbage he was spewing. So sweet
, a traitorous part of his mind whispered. He clamped down on that part. The self-loathing that always came over him at times like this tended to interfere with the feeding. It was best to think of it as a simple biological necessity and try not to attach any messy emotions or moral judgments to it. Yeah, that works
, he thought bitterly. A hand on his shoulder caused him to glance at his companion. The furry face wasn’t terribly expressive, but there were nuances there that he had learned to read and knew that his long-time friend was concerned, able to feel his anger as easily as he was able to feel the emotion from the gathering of fanatics. “I’m fine,” he said gruffly. “Let’s do this.” The other nodded. The group below was riding high on a wave of racial hatred and anger inspired by the uniformed man on the small, improvised stage. It could be tasted in the air. Time.
He spread his wings and prepared to descend into the group to feed. The Quarrymen would make a fine meal once the object of their hatred was actually before them. Then he stopped. There was something else there, too. Although, he was most keenly attuned to hatred, he had discovered, since leaving home months before, that he could sense related emotions as well. Fear was one of them. Too often, fear and hatred were inextricably bound, as they were in the Quarrymen. His senses were almost overwhelmed by them, but the fear became more palpable as the mob-to-be reached a fever pitch. Someone else was down there, and that someone was very afraid.
Angela struggled with her bonds as best she could in the cramped container. She was bound and gagged. She had discovered that much upon awakening, quickly followed by the discovery that she was in a crate. The feel of the wood against her skin was distinctive even with the other sensations she was bombarded with. The hangover from the tranquilizer dart had left her nauseous and suffering a terrible headache. The sound of the diatribe going on outside the box didn’t help either. Quarrymen!
She began to struggle more fiercely with her bonds, but was still weak and could make little headway. She fought the panic as best she could, trying to think of a way out. A more detailed examination of her bonds revealed that the lock for the shackles had been placed carefully out of her reach and the chains themselves were thick enough to give her trouble even if she had been at her full strength. Despite her best efforts, she felt herself growing desperate. There was little doubt about what would happen when the leader of the group finished working them up.
Without warning, the sounds from outside changed. The shouts of approval became cries of panic. A roar and the sounds of an ensuing battle gave her hope. The clan had found her!
As opponents, the Quarrymen left a lot to be desired. Their hammers were formidable weapons, but they had to connect first. A glance at Khor showed him that he had no need to worry about his friend. He had several Quarrymen airborne at once and was assembling a nice collection of hammers. They were careful not to actually kill or even incapacitate their enemies. The more they humiliated them the more the anger and hatred of the fanatics grew.
The presence of the prisoner changed the equation a bit, though. They had only been at it a short time when he called to Khor. “Let’s wrap this up. I think their prisoner wants out.” Khor nodded, and the two stopped holding back.
Soon, unconscious bodies littered the floor. It took no measurable effort to tear open the crate and free the female gargoyle inside. She was definitely better looking, he noted, than the old hag’s former minion.
“Thank you.” She stood and stretched as the last of the chains fell away. “I’m Angela, of the Manhattan clan.”
“Shagon,” he offered. “This is Khor.” He turned to his friend. “We should be going.” He wanted to leave the female with a favorable impression if he could, something that wouldn’t be possible if she learned too much about him.
“Wait! Of what clan are you? We rarely see other gargoyles. I’m sure the others would like to meet you.” She glanced at Khor. “Your friend is welcome, as well.”
It was a kind offer, he supposed. Not that many people wanted them around, regardless of good deeds done. The death of the old sorceress may have freed their minds, but their bodies remained trapped in the monstrous forms she had crafted for them. Most found them frightening. Those who knew the truth merely pitied them. As he and Khor found both reactions repugnant, they had left town to seek a remedy elsewhere. After all we’ve done
, he reflected, it’s not as if we had a reason to stay
. He shook off those thoughts quickly, knowing where they would lead.
“Thank you, but we have our own business in-” a crash from the skylight that he and Khor had earlier discarded as an entry interrupted him. A blue-skinned red-haired female landed on the floor and looked about for someone to lay into. Hatred for the Quarrymen poured off her, but it quickly gave way to confusion as she took in the sight before her.
“Hello mother,” Angela greeted her calmly, a note of amusement in her tone. Shagon almost smiled. It was rather anticlimatic.
“Daughter,” the newly arrived gargoyle drew herself to her full height. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, thanks to these two.” She introduced them. “This is my mother, Demona.”
“Demona?” Shagon started at the name. This was the sorceress that the Oracle had suggested they seek out? He examined her with all of his senses, and noticed Khor doing the same, taking a few steps forward to sample her scent. Both were shocked at what they found.
The older gargoyle’s hatred for the Quarrymen was only slightly more intense than her hatred for humans in general. There was an aftertaste of soul-tearing bitterness there, as well, that, instead of nourishing him, left the transformed human sick to his stomach. It was entirely too much like what he had felt from the one who had cursed them. He shared a look with Khor, who made an unhappy sound and nodded his agreement. They had wasted a trip. There was no help to be had from this one.
“You know of me?” Suspicion blossomed in the gargoyle as she eyed them warily.
“I’ve heard the name,” Shagon allowed with a casual shrug. “We really must be going now.”
“Very well,” Angela was beside him then, with a hand upon his arm. That hadn’t happened in a while. He turned his senses on her and again retreated from what he found. She and her mother were polar opposites. Although there was no slightest physical resemblance, he saw in her the same qualities that had drawn him to Will. There was the same courage and compassion that had motivated him, inspired him to take up the fight, that made him love her. “Thank you, again, for your help.”
This had to end, Shagon realized. It was bringing back painful memories. The truth was the quickest way to end the conversation. “Thanks are unnecessary. We didn’t know you were here.”
“Oh.” That dampened her enthusiasm. “So why did you attack them? Have they caused trouble for your clan?” She still had hope of taking them in, helping them.
“No. I have no grievance with them.”
“Then why?” she asked as she released them and the two began to walk toward the side entrance they had slipped in by earlier that night.
He answered without bothering to glance at her. “We were hungry.”