there will be mild violence - nothing worse than we've seen on the source shows.
Pairing: none yet, will later mention past-tense W/Oz, W/Tara Friendship
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from BtVS, Disney's Gargoyles, or 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'
Distribution: Bite Me, WLS, NHA, WWW - anyone else please ask first.
Willow had desperately wanted to see the cartoon that Xander had been talking about. He'd been looking forward to it for over a month, talking about it during recess, and in the quiet times in their classroom. Everyone else in the second grade had known what it was as well, and they were all looking forward to watching it. Willow had been trying to figure out exactly what the Great Pumpkin thing was about. Something about peanuts as well. Who ate peanuts and pumpkins? Finally, she had managed to ask Xander, and he explained all about it. It was the Charlie Brown halloween special, with trick or treating and a pumpkin patch. After almost a week of effort and A's on all her tests that weak, Willow had managed to persuade her mother to let her watch it at Xander's house that year. Her Mother had promised to come over an pick her up right afterwards, because it wasn't safe for small children to be out alone after dark.
She had laughed so much during the show. Xander had been right, it was wonderful. Although she didn't like Lucy, and she kept feeling sorry for Charlie Brown, all he got in his pillowcase was rocks. How sad, and even Snoopy had a better costume. How exactly did he get his doghouse to fly? Or was it all his imagination? Did dogs have imaginations like that? She had so many questions!
"Willow? Are you going to be staying very long?" Xander's question interrupted her mental tangents.
"My mom said that she would be over to pick me up as soon as the show was over. She found it listed, and said that I should stay here, because it's not safe to walk." Willow's answer was quick.
"Oh. In that case, can you help me go over that math we did today?"
An hour later, Willow's mother still hadn't showed up. There had been no phone call from her, no knocking at the door. It was beginning to look as if Willow had been abandoned. Xander had crept off to his bed, leaving Willow sitting in front of the dark television, contemplating her evening.
"I guess my mother isn't coming." Willow's voice was just a sad, soft whisper into the darkness of the room. Her head low, she shuffled towards the door, letting herself out of the house quietly. She didn't want to bother Mr. or Mrs. Harris. They both got cranky.
She was making her way slowly towards her house, carefully walking on the sidewalk so that she wouldn't be hit by a car. She shivered slightly, it had gotten cold while she had been at Xander's house. The breeze shifted again, stinging her eyes with cold, and going right up the sleeves of her jacket. Her hair blew into her eyes, making it harder to see, and she could hear the leaves skittering across the road. She could also hear footsteps of something crunching over the leaves, and the something was getting closer. Her mind filled with half formed images of things that it could be, a stray dog, a stranger, a late night jogger, or even the Great Pumpkin... although there was no pumpkin patch near this street.
A twig snapped from behind her, the sound accompanying the next crunching of leaves. Her heart pounding, Willow turned, half expecting to see something harmless, a cat or maybe even a noisy rabbit. Something that would tell her that she was overreacting, being afraid needlessly. It wasn't a rabbit.
Standing on the yard was something shaped mostly like a large dog, although it was covered with dark, knobbly scales instead of fur. It had lines of drool running from it's huge sharp teeth, and it's eyes were a really ickky yellow, like half cooked egg yolks. It came almost to her shoulder in height, and it was looking right at her.
Willow screamed in panic and bolted away, her only thoughts a panicked insistence that her mommy had told her monsters weren't real, the fear that the thing would want to eat her, and the oddly out of place idea that if this ugly not-dog ate her, she could never grow up to be a doctor and marry Xander. She ran, her breath burning in her lungs, hearing the thing chasing after her, it's claws scraping over the sidewalks.
She couldn't stop herself from glancing back every few moments, afraid that it would get her, needing to look and see that it hadn't, each time a small part hoping that the thing would be gone. Instead, each time, the thing was closer, gaining ground as she fled.
Part of her wanted to yell at herself for being such a... scaredy cat that she kept looking to see if it was gone, especially since she could still hear it getting closer. Part of her was convinced that she was going to die now. A third part was stubbornly insisting that this had to just be some sort of nightmare. A fourth part was wishing that something, anything would happen to save her from the big, scary thing chasing her.
She glanced back again, just in time to see a huge dark shape, bigger than an eagle swoop down, and she had the impression of sharp claws scraping over the back of the nasty not dog, making it stumble to the ground, yelping in pain and anger. She looked back ahead, and kept running, hoping that she could get away. Wondering what the big thing had been.
She didn't look up in time. There was a big stick laying on the sidewalk, and she caught her feet on it, spilling down onto the sidewalk, heat and pain flaring in her hands and knees. Panicked, she scrabbled back to her feet, lurching forwards again, tears streaming down her face from fear, and now the pain as well. She could hear it still chasing her, and falling like that would only let it get closer. She could almost feel it's hot, stinky breath on her, and any moment it would sink those sharp teeth into her back, ripping and tearing...
It's hot breath was steaming against her jacket when a pair of strong hands grabbed her from above, and she was lifted up into the air, high over the street. She could see a pair of arms wrapped around her, slightly muscled female arms, although there were only three talon-tipped fingers to each hand, and the skin looked like a leathery bronze something, not at all like her own hands. She could see the thing that had been chasing her, and as she watched, something landed beside it, something big, with wings and a long tail. It had to be as tall as Mr. Tanner, the school gym teacher! Except that it as green, and had a face like a lion's, and of course, there was the matter of the wings... Willow had no idea what the green creature was, but it seemed likely that something similar had grabbed her up into the air.
The dog-thing growled at the green winged man?, and he roared back, just like a lion. He had a staff, and it was clear that he was intending to fight the not-dog. Willow hoped that the green man with wings won. He wasn't quite as scary.
The something holding her circled around, landing a bit farther down the sidewalk, and carefully lowered Willow to the ground. Her body shaking, Willow looked behind her to see what had picked her up. This was definitely a woman creature. Her skin looked all bronzed by the light of the streetlamp, and she had big wings, and a tail shifting slightly behind her. Her face looked almost like a humans, but she had sharp teeth, like fangs. Red hair almost the same color as Willow's tumbled down around a pair of curling horns, something like a ram's. She wore dangling gold hoops in her ears, which made Willow feel safer, for some reason.
Willow could feel herself staring. She had never imagined that something like this creature could exist. Forgetting the hungry not dog, she breathed a question. "What are you?"
The bronze woman with wings knelt down, making her eyes almost level with Willow's own, and Willow could see that her eyes were also green. "We are gargoyles. We protect... places, and people. We don't hurt people, it's not our way. Are you alright?"
"Gar... gargoyles? Like the waterspouts? I hurt my knees... I think I'm mostly afraid. That thing... it was going to eat me!" Willow could feel the tears multiply, and flung her arms around the gargoyle woman, wanting to feel comforting arms around her once again.
The gargoyle woman held the frightened child while her mate killed the hellhound. She rubbed soothing circles over the girl's back, and longed for the day when she would have hatchlings of her own. "Not quite the same, the waterspouts were inspired by tales of my people though. Were you going somewhere when it started to chase you?"
"I had been watching the Charlie Brown halloween special at my friend's house. My mom was supposed to come and get me, but she didn't. So I was going to walk home, and it was out there, and it tried to get me..." Willow began sniffling, trying to slow her tears.
"Don't worry, child. We will make certain that you get home safely."
They stayed back a bit, but followed the whole way as Willow made her way home, not leaving until they saw her open a door, and enter a nice looking grey house.
Looking at his mate, the green one asked a question. "Do you think that she will remember? That she won't view our people as an enemy?"
Sighing, the female's answer hung mournfully in the air. "I don't know. I hope that she would remember, but I just don't know. The humans here are so good at forgetting about things... This is why were exist, to protect them from the dangers of the night."