I'm posting this to gauge reader responses, I may continue this if I can convince some co-author/s well versed in the Gargoyleverse to join up. Since I currently want to devote my time to non-Buffyverse fics this would help free up some time for me and I can work on this one sporadically while working in conjunction with another author or authors.Disclaimer: Buffy and co belong to Joss, not me. All things Gargoyles with exception of my OC belong to Walt Disney Studios. I make no claims otherwise.
All of the events of the first two seasons of Gargoyles have taken place by this time with exception to the flashback sequence which starts off this chapter.
Alexander Harris was sleeping outside – again - the fact that his parents didn’t even notice wasn’t the most disturbing. This was Sunnydale aka Vampire and Demon central anyone out after dark was fair game. Xander didn’t know this - he was only eleven years old and had yet to meet one Buffy Summers.
Why was it then that he was not - nor had never been attacked? Some consider fate or destiny engineered his safety, or maybe - and more probably - Mayor Wilkins kept him safe because Anthony Harris was one of his employees. A lesser employee to be sure with no real power, but an employee just the same.
The truth is far less complicated. Xander Harris had a guardian, a protector. Fierce and loyal. And it all started on his eighth birthday.
Xander never had birthday parties like other little boys, his dad was too busy or too drunk, and mom resented dad. Even at a young age he was a perceptive person. He only had two friends anyway - Willow and Jesse.
They always gave him presents at school, Jesse kept the good stuff for him at his house he was cool like that.
Today however Jesse told him he couldn’t get him a present this year, it really bummed him out, but he understood. Mister McNally had just lost his job because the head of their store was murdered by another street gang member, the whole place was restructuring. Whatever that meant.
Mrs. McNally had to take on more jobs as a stewardess, the family wasn’t in a happy mood. It wasn’t too big a deal - besides Willow got him the comic books he really wanted. A whole two years worth of Spider-Man.
He’d been reading so long that he lost track of time, so now he had to walk home by himself - at night. It was scary creepy after dark, but Willow’s parents were out of town again.
She was home all by herself, she said he could stay the night, but he knew what his dad would do if he did that. So he just walked home.
“Hello, little boy, are you lost?” a soft female voice asked.
Xander glanced up to see an older girl - one of the high school students. Harmony’s cousin. “Uh… nope.”
“Tsk, tsk oh well no fun for me tonight,” she said. Her face changed, it got all bumpy and strange looking and her eyes turned yellow. Xander let out a startled shriek, and then he turned to run. Two more funny faced creatures stood blocking his path.
“You promised to share this time, Choir,” the male teenager - monster thing - said.
“God! If only I could kill my mom for naming me that,” Choir complained. “Stupid cowardly bitch.”
“I really think I need to go now,” Xander said trying not to cry he took a step back towards home.
“I don’t think so morsel,” the other girl said. Grabbing his shoulder she leaned down. Xander could see the fangs - he was terrified, but suddenly the girl monster shrieked and vanished.
A shadow darted away from Xander, it was in the shape of something he couldn’t make out. Coughing up dust he watched as the male creature fought with the shadow.
“I hate fighting for a meal,” Choir grumbled. She fled leaving Xander and the others behind. It didn’t take long before the guy also vanished, turning to dust.
Xander stared at the shadow. “Th-Th-Thanks,” he finally said.
“Get home.” The shadow had a soft voice - a girl’s voice - it also looked like it had wings. And a tail.
Xander’s eyes widened. “Could you walk me there?” he asked there was no way he was walking home alone again.
The shadow seemed to hesitate two glowing red spots vanished - they were in a place the eyes might be. Finally she gave a quiet nod. “Very well.”
“Can we hold hands? Uh, in case you get scared.” Xander shuffled his feet trying to hide his fear.
She seemed to smile at that, but her body tensed up. “I don’t.”
“I promise not to be scared or anything,” Xander interrupted instinctively he realized why she hadn’t shown herself yet.
“I… Ok, but you promised.” Stepping out of the shadows the girl came into the light. She really did have wings - she was actually kind of cool looking to an eight year old boy. Her skin was a dark red, which helped blend in with the night - her hair was a shade of blonde. She stood on funny looking legs, they bent differently from Xander’s, and her eyes were almost golden in color. She also had claws.
Xander blinked. “Are you a mutant? Like the X-Men?” he blurted.
“Mutant? X-Men?” she repeated.
“Guess not,” Xander said with a sheepish grin. “Sorry.”
“I am a Gargoyle,” she revealed, “my family was born here, but…” Her eyes grew sad.
“They died?” Xander guessed his tone sympathetic.
“Three nights ago. A large demon came after us - wanted us all out of the way for something.” She looked away to hide her pain from the human.
“Oh.” Xander turned aside - he was really late now, but he couldn’t let this Gargoyle just take him home and leave. Not when she just lost her home and family. “Demon?”
She nodded. “Yes. They are nothing to worry about though! I promise.”
“Aren’t demons scary? And stuff?” Xander looked at the Gargoyle with an innocent expression in his eyes.
“I suppose to a human, but they’re just another breed of creature. Not many are bad - at least not many who live here - my family helped control the bad ones,” she revealed.
Xander took her by the hand which succeeded in surprising her – she wasn’t much older than the human. At least she didn’t appear to be in Xander’s eyes. “Come on! You can stay in my closet if you like, none of those mean demons can find you there.”
Smiling at the innocent offer the Gargoyle shook her head. “Thank you. But it wouldn’t be very practical.”
Xander’s face scrunched up in deep thought. “There’s gotta be something I can do to help you! You scared off those scary things,” he stated.
Touched by the determined conviction of the human’s tone the young Gargoyle studied him thoughtfully. “Where is your house?” she questioned.
“Right here,” Xander replied bringing the pair of them to a halt.
Seeing a large two story duplex she was surprised to see very little development nearby. Most of the other houses in the neighborhood were abandoned – falling apart, and would have made fine nests for vampires. Except – and here she shuddered as the power washed over her – there were mystical wards surrounding this place. They were so strong even one of her kind could detect it – and that was saying something.
“I do not understand. You live here!?” She indicated the house which was in the exact center of the mystical protection wards.
“Uh huh,” Xander replied with a nod. “I haven’t even shown Willow this place yet. The other house we had got repossessed after the fire incident.”
“Re… Possessed?” she repeated trying to make sense of the word.
“Yeah,” Xander said with a slight frown. Then the child broke into a broad grin. “It was lucky that Grandma Tania said we could live here, she and daddy don’t get along too well.”
The Gargoyle studied Xander with a thoughtful expression. She stopped outside of his door – the wards didn’t affect her directly, but they made her feel uneasy. “I have walked you home. Good night,” she said.
“Wait!” Xander stopped her from leaving. “I really don’t have much of a family. Mom and dad barely speak to me and… well you lost your family. So why don’t we be each others’ family? You gotta live someplace safe,” he declared part of him wanting to protect his new friend.
“I. I would know your name first,” she said.
“Huh? Oh… It’s Xander!” His smile dimmed slightly. “I mean everybody calls me Xander except mom and dad. My full name is Alexander, Alexander Harris.” Xander grinned. “What’s yours?”
“Gargoyles do not have names,” she replied. Intrigued by this curious dwelling and this kind little boy she decided that perhaps staying here would be ok.
“No names. That’s silly!” Xander said. His brow scrunching he studied her closely and circled her at the same time studying every inch of her. She watched him curiously. “How about I call you, Firelight?” he asked.
Moved once again by this gesture – the newly dubbed Firelight smiled – shaking her head and folding her wings over her body like a cloak she nodded. “That is acceptable.”
“Then you’ll stay?” he asked hopefully.
Firelight couldn’t deny the longing, the hope or the desperation in his eyes. She was new to interacting with humans – with the exception of Mayor Wilkins – but she liked this human. He didn’t make her feel unsettled like the mayor did. “I will, but not in your dwelling. There must be somewhere I can rest away from prying eyes,” she said.
Xander’s eyes lit up and he laughed. “I know the perfect spot! Follow me.” He gestured at Firelight and then led the way around the house and towards the backyard.
Staring up at the imposing looking construct Firelight was awed, it looked imposing and impressive – much like a wooden fortress of old. Resting in the branches of two massive trees, whose proximity to one another caused them to grow intertwined – it was truly an amazing sight.
“Grandma Tania’s friend Mister O’Bron built it for me when I turned six. Not even dad knows about it,” Xander whispered the last part. His expression filled Firelight with a strange sense of pity though his gesture did not go unappreciated. The name however made her recall stories her elder siblings shared with her – could it be possible that he meant Oberon?
“It is perfect and quite sturdy too! Thank you Alexander,” Firelight said awkwardly moving to hug the boy whose cheeks flushed red with embarrassment.
“Uh… I’ll try to sneak you some breakfast in the morning,” he said his eyes shining with sudden fear. “I’d better get inside.”
“Alex… Xander, wait! Gargoyles – sleep during the day,” Firelight revealed in a cautious tone.
“Huh? Like owls or bats?” Fireflight nodded and Xander frowned. “Ok then I’ll come see you tomorrow night with food.” With that he turned and rushed back up the small path – as he did a woman stepped out from behind a tree.
Firelight failed to notice her as she studied her new home for a good roosting place.
“Alexander is not yet ready to learn of those like vampires,” the woman remarked softly to herself. “But I can not take this newfound friendship away from him. Perhaps I can make him forget about the vampires and demons, but I can let his memories of you remain.” The woman smiled and eyed the Gargoyle. “Rare to see your kind still alive here. If only my failure of a son hadn’t chosen to give himself in service to that creature who calls himself Mayor, but enough lamenting, at least this line of my human family has demonstrated faerie magics.” Shaking her head a forlorn expression appeared on her face and she cast a simple memory cantrip. Until the time was right both Alexander and Firelight – his new Gargoyle friend – would forget the precise circumstances of their first meeting. The woman ‘Tania’ – Xander’s ‘Grandmother’ left, vanishing from the Hellmouth before its energies began to taint her.
As the years passed no harm ever befell Xander – not with his new guardian Firelight to protect him. And he in turn learned much about Gargoyles from his new ‘sister’. The first time he saw her turn to stone he panicked badly and almost spilled the beans to Willow and Jesse because he didn’t know anybody else he might turn to.
Fortunately his fears left – chased away by her assurances that it did not hurt her. He couldn’t bring himself to share Firelight with anybody, which was the only thing that stopped him from going to his human friends for help.
But soon enough everything changed – the day Buffy Anne Summers came to town and managed to strike him down upon their first meeting with puppy love. The day he nearly lost everything and the day he was forced to say goodbye to a very dear friend.
Firelight destroyed the vampire stalking her ‘clan brother’, he was in the cemetery after dark – a foolish thing. She found him standing over a grave the words on the stone read Jesse McNally.
“There’s nothing there you know,” he said somberly.
“What do you mean, Xander?” She eyed him with concern his tone had been cold and harsh, almost bitter.
“The thing that killed him didn’t leave a body!” he stated with a snarl. “I had to stake him. He was like a brother to me! And does she care? No! And Willow… it’s like she just forgot everything we did as kids, like somebody reached into her mind and tore out anything and everything about Jesse, almost like he doesn’t mean anything!” Xander’s grief was palatable.
Firelight placed a hand on his shoulder her concern radiating off of her in nearly visible waves – she could tell it hurt him a lot. “Who is so callous? And why do you hold such contempt for your ‘sister’?” she asked him.
“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” Xander’s words were tinged with venom. “I worship her, she is like a Goddess to me… oh sure it’s probably just hormones or something. But I killed the thing that stole my best friend’s face and she doesn’t care!” Xander cried to the heavens his hands raised as fists – he looked about ready to punch Jesse’s headstone.
Firelight’s eyes shone red. “You don’t know that. Vampire Slayers are forced to see these types of things quite often. Perhaps she thinks that by not calling attention to it, it will help in your grieving process.”
“Maybe,” Xander returned in a reluctant tone – he wasn’t ready to let go of his rage yet. “But that’s no excuse for Willow!” His eyes shone almost as red as hers and Firelight shook her head.
“There are many stages to grief, brother, females tend to hide it from those who are also hurting. Especially when they feel the way they do, perhaps she chooses not to burden you with her own grief,” Firelight suggested with a knowing look.
“I don’t know.” Suddenly her other words registered. “Huh? When they feel what way that they do? And, you know about Slayers!?”
Firelight chuckled. “Gargoyles know much about this world. There is very little to do at night except read books or fight demons.” Firelight smirked. “And if you can not see what I have seen in my observations between you and your ‘sister’… then I can’t tell you.” She laughed lightly.
“Uh I guess that makes sense. I mean what you said about Slayers and stuff, I don’t get whatever else you’re muttering about,” Xander said evading the situation. He couldn’t just see Willow that way. “Do you think the pain will ever stop, Firelight?” he asked turning back to eye the grave with a sad sigh.
“No, but it will get better, brother,” she told him.
“Thanks. We’d better get home before anymore bloodsuckers show up.” Xander turned from the grave, but he knew in his heart that things wouldn’t be the same. Never again.
Owen Burnett felt a sudden chill – it nearly upset his carefully engineered emotionless demeanor, he did his best not to show it outwardly. Glancing briefly to his young charge, Alexander Xanatos was sleeping. This led to his wondering as to the source of this perplexing sensation.
“Alexander!” Titania exclaimed appearing quite suddenly in the room.
“Is sleeping, I fail to see reason for your concern,” Owen remarked candidly.
“Not him. My other
grandson,” Titania corrected the disguised Fay with an air of disdain.
“Ah I see. Is there some reason he would be in danger now?” Owen inquired as he briefly adjusted his glasses.
“I don’t know! The Gargoyle protecting him should be able to handle anything, with possible exception to the ascension. But there are still two years before Wilkins’ plan culminates, still plenty of time to convince the sisters
to intervene.” Titania pursed her lips. “You and I are not the only ones to sense this either, it’s as though.” The Fay queen trailed off.
“Magic affects the boy,” Owen realized with sudden clarity.
“A Primal is trying to control my grandson,” Titania said her eyes clouded with rage.
“And Lord Oberon forbade any to interfere with that particular branch of the family tree. Hence why they were ignored during the great calling,” Owen reminded.
“Only those of the fairy court can not intervene in dealings with Alexander,” Titania observed. “A condition enforced upon us all by those pitiful creatures that play at controlling the Slayer.”
“A curious bit of irony, my queen, both of your grandsons sharing the same first name,” Owen observed with a wry smile allowing some of the Puck to emerge form his cocoon.
“It is a common name,” Titania said dismissively. “And since we
can not intervene… perhaps someone else can,” she remarked with a small smile.
“You would involve Mister Xanatos?” Owen asked.
“No! Think harder,” Titania instructed.
“Ah of course. The lad has already met one Gargoyle,” Owen pointed out.
Titania smiled and waved her hands creating a small sparkling shower of mystical power to flash briefly. “I trust she will be able to solve our dilemma.”
Owen nodded. “Aiding a human wouldn’t be the most ideal endeavor for her, but considering that she would in fact be aiding a member of the fairy court… I’m certain she’ll – mellow out – as they say.” He smiled briefly and Titania vanished as suddenly as she appeared.
“She is a cunning adversary, but a cunning ally as well and being indebted to Demona is something that I can live with. If it means protecting Alexander from a fate worse than death.” Titania’s words floated out of the ether leaving Owen to smile slightly and rub his hand against his stone fist. He was beginning to feel like letting the Puck loose, but the trouble was – how to get around Lord Oberon’s decree?
Dominique Destine was no stranger to magic – being a practitioner herself ensured that, but be that as it may… instantaneous and sudden teleportation away from her home was an event met with cautiousness, uncertainty and annoyance.
“Where am I?” she said to herself her in a put-upon tone of voice. Glancing at her surroundings it wasn’t long before she had some answers, having been in the region before. “Wilkins’ little nesting ground. I might have known, this must be his doing. I told him I would never serve a human, least of all one determined to throw his soul away on a fool’s errand.” Stalking out of the empty street she prepared to end this farce only to suddenly find herself witness to a curious sight.
Five human teenagers were slowly moving down the sidewalk in a most peculiar manner. One of them growled and another yipped at her. “I’m hungry! When are we goin’ to eat, Xander?” she demanded.
The dark haired boy in the center turned and shot her a glare. “We’ll eat when I’m hungry enough!” he snapped. His gaze fell on Dominique and he smiled lecherously. “I’m in the mood for a little something else at the moment,” he remarked.
“Move along, child,” Dominique ordered in a threatening tone.
“Make me,” the boy demanded with an impish gleam in his eyes.
Dominique noticed the last rays of the sun slowly sinking into the west and a dark smile spread across her face. “If you insist,” she stated coldly. The transformation took hold of her almost instantly and with a loud roar she transformed into her true form, the teenagers watched this all in stunned disbelief, all except for the one leading them.
“Unexpected,” he remarked. “Get her!” he barked glaring at his followers.
They rushed Demona with a speed incapable for mere humans. Demona hurled one of the males across the street and broke a fire hydrant with his body. Snarling she flicked her tail into the midriff of one of the females, causing her to stumble to the ground.
She was hardly being challenged by these pitiful creatures. She understood though that they were no ordinary humans. Demona let out a roar and raked her claws across the face of the second male member of this ‘pack’, blood spurted from his wounds and he howled in pain.
The leader started to laugh and the other three broke off their attack. “Unworthy,” he stated simply.
“No, Xander, please!” the injured one cried.
Demona watched in disgust as the other three fell upon the injured one, they began to feast and she curled her lip slightly. Her battle lust was up and her Dominique outfit was ruined - and she happened to like that particular business suit. Fortunately it still covered her enough for modesty’s sake. “I might have known,” she said realizing what these humans were. Or more importantly what had happened to change them.
“Mmmm, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to mate with a Gargoyle,” the leader remarked casually he licked his lips and skirted around the feeding frenzy.
“Well you’ll just have to keep wondering, human,” Demona stated. Raising one clawed hand she incanted a quick phrase in Latin. A burst of mystical energy collided with the four humans, the three eating their former friend were stricken down quite suddenly and three spectral entities left their fallen forms. Racing back towards the zoo.
The fourth however merely staggered. Something prevented her spell from affecting him, and he smiled darkly. “I like it here, Gargoyle, this young Fay will serve me well as a body. I have no intention of giving it up,” he stated his lips curling up into a cruel grimace.
“A Fay? Living on the Hellmouth!? I find that hard to believe, Primal,” Demona said. She slowly circled the young human intending to try a more powerful spell. She had no time for this, she had an immortal sorcerer to see.
“Oh but it is, Harris here is descended from Titania and a human.” The boy laughed his laugh sounding unsettled.
“Titania only mated with one human that I am aware of,” Demona stated. “I will not be distracted by your lies.” She hurled the second spell at the boy and this time it seemed to work.
Screaming in pain he collapsed to his knees clutching at his head. Energy flickered behind his eyes and he seemed to be glaring at something unseen. “Get out of my head you damn BITCH!” he shouted. The Primal spirit was exorcised and sent screaming into the night. But it was not Demona’s spell which had defeated her.
She eyed the human curiously – she had sensed his mystical push. “Can it be?” she wondered to herself.
A sudden keening attack cry filled the night and Demona found herself tackled by a lithe though shorter figure. “Leave my clan brother alone!” her attacker cried in an almost possessive tone.
Demona snarled using her years of experience to knock the assailant away. She quickly recovered as did her attacker who was now slowly circling her. Demona’s eyes widened in surprise when she saw that it was a younger Gargoyle that had moved to defend the human.
“Firelight, stop!” the boy shouted. “She didn’t attack me, I mean she did, but she helped me,” he explained.
Warily the younger Gargoyle glanced in his direction. “What do you mean, Xander?”
“This morning at the zoo something possessed me, one of the Hyenas… I think.” The boy shook his head to clear it. “Anyway, whatever spell she hit me with helped me to get rid of it,” he explained.
“You serve a human?” Demona demanded seeing the care this young Gargoyle showed for the human.
“He is my clan brother!” the Gargoyle stated angrily. “You speak as if serving humans was a bad thing.”
“They killed my clan!” Demona cursed.
“Well this human had nothing to do with that, he has lived here and protected me from harm ever since my clan was destroyed by demons.” The younger female moved to check on the other fallen humans, when she saw what they did to the fifth - injured one - she shuddered noticeably in disgust. And just a hint of fear.
“There is more to this, human, than it would seem.” Demona weighed her options carefully. Perhaps it wasn’t Wilkins who had forced her here – in retrospect had it been the non-aging sorcerer she would have most likely found herself in his office, not here in the middle of the street.
“I don’t know what you speak of,” the younger Gargoyle said. Her tone was evasive, her eyes unable to look into Demona’s.
“I think you do,” she said with a slowly widening feral grin. “Take me to your rookery,” she ordered.
“Why should we?” Xander demanded boldly striding into Demona’s personal space.
The immortal Gargoyle smiled a chesire cat-like grin for she now knew that she had them. “Because I could tell you about your power, boy,” she stated.
“That’s a laugh, I don’t have power,” he argued with an almost manic look in his eyes.
“If you do not trust me, then at least have sense enough to trust your own eyes and mind,” Demona retorted. “That creature fought my spell and would have won, but you drove it away.”
Xander eyed the Gargoyle uncertainly.
Firelight glared between the two of them. “Don’t trust her,” she growled in warning.
Xander shook his head. “Come on, but we have to bring them with us,” he stated indicating the three comatose humans. “Some vampire might decide they make easy prey, and I’m not leaving them here,” he said his eyes gleaming with conviction.
Reluctantly Demona agreed. “Very well,” she said with a sigh.
Xander nodded and hefted the smaller of the two females in his arms. “Great! Oh and you’ve gotta tell me how to make Firelight like you too,” he said.
“What do you mean?” Demona questioned.
Firelight eyed Xander curiously.
“I want to know how to make it possible for Firelight to see the sun and walk about in the daytime like you do,” he said.
Demona smirked. “I will tell you how it was accomplished with me, but I doubt very much that the spell could be duplicated in one so young,” she said knowingly.
Shrugging Xander led the way, while Firelight carried the other female human and Demona was forced to hoist the male in her arms.
“If I had my way I would leave you for the vampires, but an ally of his type might be more profitable in the long run,” she told the comatose human. Marching off after the others she left the corpse behind for some wandering demon to deal with.To Be Continued