Disclaimer: Gargoyles belong to Buena Vista, not me. This story was actually a rewrite of a story called Project Ebony, but I elected not to post it on my website. However, if you would like to read it, you can find it on Fanfiction.net under the penname YamiKaykaMotou.
Chapter One- A Spell Gone Awry
David Xanatos scrawled his signature to yet another contract before putting it aside and grabbing another one. It was a surprisingly dull evening at Castle Wyvern. Surprising as there was usually something happening within those stone walls. But, the evening was also a blessing. He had time to look through the contracts that had piled up since Goliath and the others had returned to the castle.
Xanatos lowered the contract he was reading. The whole business with the Hunters had been a messy one and he was glad it was over. However, the gargoyles’ troubles were just beginning. First off, their existence had been revealed to all of Manhattan. The second problem was a vigilante group called The Quarrymen. It was headed by a man called Jon Castaway whom he suspected was Jon Canmore, the last of the Hunters.
Of course, the Quarrymen were of no concern to Xanatos. They only sought to destroy gargoyles and no one suspected him of giving the gargoyles safe haven. He could just go about his business without anything disrupting it.
Demona smiled evilly at the setup. It had taken some time to get the necessary equipment for this spell, but it would be worth it. Her botched attempt to destroy humanity still weighed heavily on her mind. The spell she was about to cast was on a much smaller scale then her carrier virus. It was much smaller, in that it would only kill one person per month. Demona was too impatient to use it on all of humanity plus it was too inefficient to use it for that purpose.
She already had the spell’s victim chosen: David Xanatos. The industrialist had originally been her financer, but now she had her own company and thus he had outlived his usefulness to her. Choosing Xanatos over Elisa had been easy. Xanatos wasn’t a true enemy like Elisa was and she enjoyed torturing her enemies. She always imagined herself slowly killing Elisa with Goliath watching, powerless to stop her.
She pulled herself from her thoughts and began to put the spell together. The ingredients she had gathered had cost a good deal of her company’s money and were difficult to come by as well. That was another reason for not using the spell: too costly.
“This is for you Xanatos,” Demona said in a low voice. “Rest in hell.” Demona began to chant in Latin. Smoke slowly filled the room and began to pulse with a pale blue light. The smoke soon became light and streaked out of her house and towards its target.
“Come one, Alex. One more spell and then we can end the lesson and go to bed,” Puck pleaded with the boy. Alex was getting sleepy from all the spells he had been learning and Puck wanted to teach one more before calling it a night.
Alex yawned and forced himself to sit up and grin at his teacher.
“Atta boy! Okay, this spell is rather simple: A changing spell. Watch.” Puck materialized an orange and held it up. He focused his gaze on the fruit before a green light from his eyes shot out and struck the orange, changing it into an apple.
Alex giggled and clapped as Puck floated behind him and held the apple in front of the youngster. “Now Alex, try to change it back into an orange. Focus,” Puck instructed.
Alex followed Puck’s instructions and focused on the apple in front of him. A green light came from a palm and the apple became an orange again.
“Excellent, my boy, excellent,” the fay praised. He glanced around the room, looking for something else to practice on before he spied a vanity mirror on a dresser. Perfect!
“Okay, Alex. I want you to change that mirror into wood.” He gestured at his student’s target.
Alex clapped and laughed as he held out a hand. Magic gathered in his palm, which he aimed at the mirror, still giggling.
“Focus, my boy, focus,” Puck reprimanded- a little too late.
The beam of light shot out and struck the mirror before bouncing off and ricocheting around the room. Puck shielded Alex with his body to protect him from the wayward spell. The light headed for the doorway and out into the hall just as a beam of blue light was passing their room.
There was a brief white flash as the two spells collided. Once the flash subsided, Puck saw Alex’s spell circling the foreign spell before mingling with it to form a new spell of blue-green light that continued on the path the blue light had been going.
“Oh, dear,” Puck murmured.
Xanatos had just finished signing another contract when his office doors flew open. He looked up, expecting to see his wife, Elisa, or one of the gargoyles. There was no one there. He mentally shrugged as he got up to close the doors. It must have been a stray gust that came in through one of the castle windows.
He was halfway across the room when a beam of light cut through the air and engulfed him.
He screamed as pain seemed to shoot through every pore of his body. His skin felt like it was on fire and his bones felt as if they were re-shaping themselves and forming new bones at the same time. His nerves, tissues, and muscles were aflame with an agony he had never known before. It was so unbearable that he passed out on the office floor.
Chapter Two- Changed
Puck zipped about the corridors, glancing into each room he passed. After putting Alex in his crib, he decided to look for that rogue spell and find out what kind of damage it had done. He, however, could not find anything destroyed or out of place.
‘Where could it have gone?’ he wondered. He moved in the direction of Xanatos’ private office. He noticed the office’s doors were wide open. Puck felt a sense of dread. If the spell came this way and if the CEO had been there…
Swallowing hard, Puck peered inside. No sign of Xanatos however there was an unconscious male gargoyle in the room. Alarmed, he took off to find Goliath. Surely, the clan leader was good at dealing with new gargoyles appearing out of nowhere.
Xanatos moaned as he regained consciousness. He opened his eyes to see Goliath and Detective Maza looking down at him with concern.
“Are you okay?” Elisa asked. “You were found unconscious.”
“I’m fine, Detective.”
Elisa’s mouth dropped. “How did you know I’m a detective?”
“I’ve known since we first met.”
“But, I’ve never seen you before in my life.”
“Did you hit your head? I’m David Xanatos.”
Goliath and Elisa exchanged looks. They had been stargazing earlier when Puck showed up, saying he found a male gargoyle unconscious in Xanatos’ office. Now, they were speaking with the male who was claiming he was Xanatos.
“Why are you two looking at me like that?” Xanatos demanded.
“It’s because you’re a gargoyle,” Goliath answered.
Xanatos stared at Goliath for a moment. “You’re joking,” he finally said.
“No. I’m not.” Goliath looked a little closer at the new gargoyle, particularly at his face. The beard and the hair matched Xanatos’ exactly as did the voice. The face’s structure also matched. There was no denying it: This gargoyle was Xanatos.
Xanatos believed Goliath the moment the clan leader said he wasn’t joking. He mentally chided himself. Of course, Goliath wasn’t kidding. He wouldn’t pull this kind of stunt.
Slowly, he sat up and his gaze fell on his legs. His pants were torn at the knees and ripped in some places. His socks and shoes had been ripped apart, parts of them hanging off a pair of black three-toed taloned feet.
He brought his hands up to see that they too were black with three claws and a thumb on each. His feet and hands were all he needed to know that he was a gargoyle.
He brushed his ruined socks and shoes off his feet before pushing himself up. He teetered for a moment before regaining his balance. He strode over to his wall monitor and began to playback the last few minutes of surveillance. The video quickly revealed the cause of his transformation, but not the one responsible.
“Only one person could be responsible for this,” Goliath spoke up. “Demona.”
“Brilliant deduction,” Xanatos commented. “But, why would she do this?” He gestured at his new form.
“I can answer that one,” Puck spoke up a second before he appeared, Alex propped up on one hip.
The fay circled Xanatos, his eyes focusing on the spell’s aura that still lingered, hoping to teach Alex how to reverse the spell and restore Xanatos to human form. Whenever a spell is cast, it leaves behind an aura that vanishes twenty-four hours after it was cast. Since only an hour had passed since the first spell was cast, Puck could easily identify it and what it was suppose to do before combining with Alex’s spell.
Puck slowly shook his head in disbelief. “Well, well. This is most fortunate. It appears that Demona had planned to kill Xanatos with that spell. At the same time, I was teaching Alex here a changing spell. I was trying to have him change his mirror to wood, but the blast ricocheted off the mirror and mixed with Demona’s spell. As a result, the spell’s effect was altered, but not the target.”
“But, why a gargoyle?” Xanatos asked.
“I think it’s because of that night with Tatiana’s Mirror.”
“Can you reverse it?”
“Alex and I could, but this was the result of mixed magic. By removing our spell, we would be allowing the remaining spell’s cancelled effect to activate.”
“In other words, I would be a dead man.”
“I’m afraid so.”
Xanatos rubbed the bridge of his nose, realizing that this meant he was stuck as a gargoyle. “Perfect,” he muttered. “Puck, please take Alex back to bed.”
Puck nodded, changed into Owen, and left the room.
Xanatos walked to the office’s window that provided him with a spectacular view of the city. There he stood and looked at his reflection more closely, even though he appeared to be looking at the city. His skin was completely black as were his tail and wings (except it insides which were a light grey, like stone). His arms, legs, and chest were more muscular than before. His tail was long and muscular as well and he noticed that the apex of his wings were single-fingered like Goliath’s.
‘I don’t look half-bad,’ he thought.
“Xanatos, if there anything we can do to help?”
The changed human nearly jumped at Elisa’s voice. He had forgotten they were there! Regaining his composure, he replied, “Not at the moment. If you’ll excuse me, I have some business to take care of before the night’s over.” Xanatos slid into his office chair and picked up his phone to make some calls.
Chapter Three- Adjustment
Elisa and Goliath left the office and closed the doors behind them. Both were silent as they walked down the corridor. Elisa couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Xanatos. In just one hour, he had lost his humanity forever. He had to be taking this loss hard, but he was covering it up with his usual calm exterior.
Goliath was also deep in thought about Xanatos. He was wondering how he was going to tell the clan and how they were going to react. Thinking of the clan made him think of Fox and Alex. What would Fox think and say when she found out?
“I know it’s hard to accept dear, but there’s nothing we can do about it,” Xanatos told his wife over the phone.
“You’re telling me that you’re stuck as a gargoyle,” Fox answered. “Of course I’d find that hard to accept.”
“This doesn’t change the fact that I’m still the president of this company as well as your husband and Alex’s father.”
“I suppose Owen and I can alternate in working during the day and taking care of Alex,” Fox mused aloud.
“Exactly and I can take over at night.”
“I’ll go ahead and tell the rest of the company about the CEO policy but not why we have it in place.”
“All right. Goodnight, my dear. I love you.”
“I love you too, David. Goodnight.”
Xanatos hung up and grabbed the discarded contract. He squirmed in his chair as he read. He couldn’t get into a comfortable position because of his tail. He made a mental note to have a tail-friendly chair ordered and delivered before draping his tail over a chair arm and going back to his contract.
“And that’s the story,” Goliath concluded. Five pairs of eyes (Bronx was asleep) stared at their leader in shock. No one knew what to say.
Hudson was the first to break the silence. “Is there anything we can do?”
“According to Xanatos, not at the moment. But, I suspect that we will be helping him to adapt tomorrow night,” Goliath replied.
Angela frowned while the others nodded in agreement. Waiting until tomorrow night to help Xanatos didn’t feel right to her. She wasn’t sure why she felt that way, but she did. She really wanted to go down to his office and offer her assistance, even if he didn’t want it. But, she kept her silence. She would just double her efforts tomorrow night.
Xanatos gave a sigh of relief as he finished the last contract. He was hoping to get them all out of the way so Fox or Owen wouldn’t have to do them.
‘It must be close to dawn,’ he thought. He pondered on where he should sleep. His bed wouldn’t be a good idea. The parapets with Goliath and the others? No, that would be too awkward. He thought about his bedroom again and realized that the floor would be perfect, especially if he was against the wall. His decision made, Xanatos headed for the door. The last thing he recalled was his hand reaching for the doorknob.
Chapter Four- Glide and Climb
Fox Xanatos headed for the main office, concerned. Her husband failed to return to their room before sunrise. A quick check of the security cameras showed that he wasn’t with the other gargoyles. ‘Where could he be?’ she wondered.
She knew that if David was found in the halls, he would be all right. Gargoyles were guaranteed safety in the castle. She had also told Owen to tell her if he found David. He agreed to her request. She suspected it was because he felt guilty about the situation. He needn’t feel that way. If that spell hadn’t gone astray, David would be dead.
Fox reached the office doors, opened the right side door, stepped in, and nearly had a heart attack. Standing behind the left side door, with his hand outstretched, was David! She smiled slightly. He must have been on his way out and hadn’t realized that it was later than he had thought. At least he was safe.
She gave her husband a quick look over before going to the desk. He didn’t look too different from his human self. She knew it was going to feel strange to be married to a gargoyle at first, but she would have to get used to it. For now, however, she needed to tell Owen to stop looking before getting to work.
Xanatos was surrounded by a layer of stone. He knew why and pushed against it as hard as he could. He emerged from his stone prison with a battle cry as she stretched his limbs. He didn’t express shock at the sound he had made. He had heard the others make it several times before so it was no big deal.
“Good evening, David,” a familiar voice said behind him.
He took in his surroundings before turning around to see Fox getting up from behind the desk. He smiled at her. “Hello, dear. How was work today?”
“The same as usual.”
“No takeovers or assassinations?”
“Oh, you don’t consider those as usual business?”
The couple shared a brief laugh before Fox added, “Owen’s offered to take care of business tonight.”
“How come? I’m awake now.”
“David, you can’t spend every night in your office. You need to get fresh air once in a while.”
“I suppose so.”
“Good and I think you should start with gliding lessons.”
“Ah. I see where this is going. I guess I should learn how to glide and climb walls.”
“Just focus on gliding and landing.” Fox gently pushed Xanatos into the hall just as Owen entered the office.
Xanatos headed for the topmost tower where he knew Goliath slept. He hoped he was still there. As he reached the top of the stairs, his hopes were answered. Goliath was there and so was Elisa. His arrival caught their attention and they turned to him.
Elisa was the first one to talk. “Hi, Xanatos. What’s up?”
“I came up to ask for gliding lessons.”
“You want lessons?”
“Actually, it was Fox’s idea.”
Elisa suppressed a smile. Xanatos was usually so calm and collected. Hardly anything fazed him. Now he looked a little…awkward and uncomfortable. It was kind of a refreshing change.
Goliath wasn’t sure what to say. Xanatos normally doesn’t ask the clan for anything. Granted, these conditions weren’t normal, but it was still a bit disconcerting.
There was silence on the tower for a couple of minutes before a new voice said, “Broadway and I would be happy to give lessons.” The tower’s occupants turned to see Angela at the tower stairs with Broadway still on the stairs.
Angela was thrilled as Goliath and Elisa left. She had been hoping for an opportunity to help Xanatos since last night. Giving gliding lessons was the perfect way to help.
“Angela, why did you offer to help?” Broadway whispered.
“Because Xanatos needs our help and I love to help,” she whispered back. She glanced at Xanatos, who was looking over the tower’s edge, before heading over to him.
Xanatos looked over the edge of the tower. All he could see were clouds. It figured. The castle had to be above the clouds for the spell to be broken. However, the dizzying height now served to remind him of just how high up he was from the street.
‘I’m not worried, though,’ he thought. ‘I’ve got wings now. I just don’t know how to use them.’ It was true. He was used to using a jet pack to fly and the wings that went with them were stiff and metal. The wings he had now were flesh, bone, and blood. In fact, they seemed weak, fragile, and couldn’t possibly keep him aloft.
“Are you ready?”
Xanatos looked over to see Angela standing beside him. Squaring his shoulders, he replied, “Of course. It shouldn’t be too hard.”
“It might be harder than you think.”
“Angela has a point,” Broadway spoke up. “When hatchlings were being taught, some were too scared to learn. There’s also the wind currents to consider.”
“I appreciate you telling me all this,” Xanatos cut in. “but I believe the only way to learn it is to do it.” Spreading out his wings, he planted a foot on a space between two parapets with his hands resting on them. Then, he pushed off the tower the way he had seen the others do it.
For a few, brief tense seconds, he plummeted toward the street below and then a gust of wind came up and Xanatos lifted up his wings and caught the current, causing him to soar up to the tower. Xanatos couldn’t help himself as a laugh escaped his throat. ‘This is incredible!’ he thought. ‘A lot better than using a jet pack.’
Angela and Broadway gaped in astonishment as Xanatos dipped and soared around the tower. “He did it,” Angela whispered loudly in awe. “His first time and he did it.”
“I think using his jet pack and watching us helped out,” Broadway added.
They heard Xanatos laugh and their astonishment changed to surprise. He sounded like he was enjoying his flight! Was it possible that he had adapted to being a gargoyle already? No, he couldn’t be. He was just discovering the joy of gliding. Angela understood that feeling perfectly. The first time she succeeded in staying aloft, she was amazed at how different everything was from the air, not to mention feeling the wind whip through her hair and supporting her wings.
Angela came out of her recollections and took to the air herself with Broadway close behind. Xanatos had mastered the takeoff, but now he needed to practice more complex moves and, of course, landing.
Xanatos was having more fun then he would admit. Angela wanted to show him how to dodge laser fire and airborne enemies. This ended up being done in a game of Tag. Avoiding Broadway and Angela wasn’t easy at first and neither was trying to tag them, but he soon learned to use the wind currents to his advantage.
His next lesson was a true challenge: Learning how to land. There were several positions that could be used in landing and Xanatos had seen them all. The easiest one to him seemed to be landing from high up. He had seen Demona and Goliath land that way the night he tricked the gargoyles into stealing three disks from Cyberbiotics.
He watched Angela and Broadway’s landings before attempting it himself. He soared upward and then brought himself to a feet first bullet position, keeping his wings back-to-back and trailing behind him to slow his descent. His feet touched the ground, but the weight and momentum of his upper body cause him to land face-down on the hard stone.
“Are you all right?” Angela asked as she rushed over to him.
Xanatos sat up and gave himself a check over before answering, “Perfectly, fine. I clearly have to work on landing.”
“Nobody gets it the first time, although you almost did.”
“Well, that’s encouraging,” Getting up, Xanatos ran to the tower’s edge and leaped into the sky. He was going to land perfectly even if it took all night! He decided to try his tutors’ landing approach: They had glided to the tower and braked in mid-air before landing. He proceeded to go through with it and everything seemed to be going fine until the final step. Xanatos misjudged the space between him and the tower and slipped off the stone. He lunged forward with his claws and slid down a few feet before coming to a halt.
He looked up to see Angela and Broadway looking down at him. He couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. He had seen the gargoyles take off and land countless times and he couldn’t manage a simple landing maneuver.
‘Nowhere to go but up,’ he thought. Now was the perfect time to learn how to climb. It would be safer way back up than attempting another landing. Carefully, he pulled one hand out and found himself still anchored into the stone by one hand! Amazing. He put his free hand into the rock above his other hand. Hand over hand, Xanatos climbed his way back up to the two mates.
Angela smiled as Xanatos pulled himself up over the edge. His first climb went just like his first glide: wonderful. ‘Aside from landing, he’s really got the hang of this. No pun intended.’
Xanatos continued to practice landing until it was almost dawn. Then, he retired to his bedroom while the others went outside. He still wasn’t good at landing, but he was improving.
Chapter Five- Shared Troubles
One week since his transformation had passed and Xanatos had learned to glide, land, and climb walls with ease. While he was content with this, the clan felt differently. The former human would shut himself in his office all night and sleep in his bedroom instead of outside. That was no way for a gargoyle to live, even one who used to be human.
Even Elisa agreed with them and decided to talk to Fox about it. She knew trying to talk to Xanatos would be a waste and that Fox was the only one who could talk some sense into him.
She met up with the red-haired woman as she was putting Alex to bed. “Fox, can I talk to you?”
“Sure. Just give me a few minutes.” Fox suspected what Elisa was going to say and her suspicions were confirmed when she stepped into the hall.
“Fox, I want to talk about Xanatos.”
“I thought as much.”
“The clan feels that he should be…well, doing what they do.”
“He could stand some fresh air. Aside from that one night and daytime, he never leaves the office. Either Owen or I bring food to him.”
“So…you’ll talk to him?”
“I sure will.”
“Honey, you can’t stay in your office for the rest of your life.”
“Well, I can’t leave the office whenever I want. I have a company to run.”
“You’re not the only one running it.”
“I know. I also know that you and Owen need sleep if you’re going to do the day shift.”
“How about the three of us do a night shift rotation? We could start now with Owen in the office, me going to sleep, and you spending time outside.”
“I already know how to glide, climb, and land.”
“Then, offer to go on patrol with the others.”
“Patrol? I don’t know the first thing about it.”
“They’ll assign a partner to you to show you the ropes.”
Xanatos knew when he was beat. “Fine. I surrender.”
He left the office with Fox behind him. He found the clan out in the courtyard, looking as if they were about to receive patrol assignments.
Angela was the first to spot the pair. “Hi,” she called.
Fox smiled in response. “You have room for one more for patrol?” She inclined her head toward her husband.
There was a brief pause before Goliath answered, “Lexington needs a partner tonight. Why don’t you two patrol Times Square?’
“Okay,” Lexington answered. Turning to Xanatos, he added, “Let’s go.”
As the pair glided to their assignment, Lexington asked, “Why did you want to go on patrol?”
“I was relieved of my company duties tonight and possibly tomorrow as well. I need something to do to fill the time.”
Lexington nodded. “Makes sense, I guess.” Truthfully, he didn’t understand. Protecting the city was a job, not a time-filler.
A scream sounded from below, followed by a bullet striking brick. Lexington wasted no time in heading for the source of the trouble while Xanatos followed behind.
The trouble appeared to be a woman being mugged at gunpoint. The first shot was a warning to silence the woman. Lexington dove into the alley, his eyes glowing and a battle cry escaping his throat. His cry startled both victim and attacker. The mugger attempted to aim his gun at the small gargoyle, but Lexington swooped overhead and his tail slapped the gun from his attacker’s hand.
The mugger recoiled at suddenly being disarmed before running out of the alley. Xanatos landed in the alley just as his partner turned to the woman. “Are you all right?” the small gargoyle asked.
The woman looked at the two of them for a moment with wide eyes before a smirk came to her lips. “Better off than you’ll be,” she remarked before taking off.
Lexington and Xanatos exchanged looks before the sound of hammers charging up above them reached their ears. Then, at least a dozen men dressed in blue dropped down from the fire escapes. The symbol of the hammer on their uniforms was all the identification Lexington needed.
“Quarrymen!” he exclaimed.
Xanatos looked at the throng with disinterest. What danger did they pose to him? They didn’t hurt humans unless they openly admitted to liking gargoyles. Then, he felt the weight of his wings and remembered that he was a gargoyle. The Quarrymen became a concern to him now.
The human closest to him swung his charged weapon at him and Xanatos dodged. He didn’t want to hurt them, but by the same token, he had to defend himself. He heard a body hit the ground and knew that Lexington had just knocked a Quarryman unconscious.
Another human swung his hammer at him. Xanatos swerved his head to the side, grabbed the hammer’s handle, and yanked it out of his attacker’s hand. He used that hammer to deflect the strikes of the other hammers being swung at him.
He was suddenly blindsided by another hammer. He went flying sideways and hit the wall. Pain exploded behind his eyes and he became aware that he had dropped his weapon. He screamed in pain as electricity danced over him, courtesy of yet another hammer strike.
“No!” he heard Lexington cry before the small gargoyle was hit with an electric shock of his own.
Xanatos tried to get to his feet, but he kept getting knocked down by hammers, charged and uncharged alike. He felt some ribs break and he coughed up some blood.
‘Am I going to die?’ he wondered amidst the laughs and jeers of the Quarrymen standing over him. He had never felt so defenseless in his life or experienced such pain. Here he was lying in the dirt, getting pounded on by a group of people who hated gargoyles and he wasn’t a real gargoyle. He just looked like one.
At that moment, a surge of anger went through him. He was not going to die like this! A growl reverberated in his throat as he leaped to his feet, eyes blazing white. The sudden show of anger caused his attackers to back up a few paces before resuming their attack.
Xanatos ceased with the elegant strategy of using the Quarrymen’s own weapons against them. Instead, he went for the simple attacks the other gargoyles used. He grabbed two men and knocked their heads together, rendering them unconscious. Then he crouched and spun in a circle, knocking people down with his tail. Within minutes, the entire ambush group laid unconscious at their feet.
“Are you all right?” Lexington asked once he regained his breath.
Xanatos took in shallow breaths for the pain of his broken ribs came back in full force. “Some of my ribs are broken, but other than that, I’m fine.”
“Let’s get back to the castle.” Lexington had cuts and bruises all over him, but they didn’t faze him as he started to climb up the wall. Xanatos followed behind, albeit, a little more slowly because of his ribs. As he climbed, he thought back to the fight. He came to the realization that he had fought like a true gargoyle towards the end. Only now did he realize that he had been acting like a human and had refused to let his gargoyle instincts guide him. It took an attempt on his life for him to let his instincts take over. Now that they were unleashed, re-bottling them again was impossible.
As Xanatos took to the air, he vowed that he had to act more like a gargoyle and one way was to sleep outside with the others.
Chapter Six- Showdown
Xanatos got a surprise when he and Lexington returned to the castle. The others were concerned about him when the small gargoyle told them what had happened. Angela fussed over Xanatos’ injuries, trying to determine their severity.
“They’re just broken ribs,” he protested. “Nothing serious.” It was true. Broken ribs would be healed after a day in stone sleep. Yet, at the same time, it felt good that the clan was concerned about him.
The clan got a surprise of their own when dawn arrived. Instead of heading to his room, Xanatos took up a spot next to Brooklyn and struck a contemplating pose. None of the clan knew why Xanatos was joining them, but it was becoming clear that the businessman was accepting his gargoyle nature.
Dominique Destine gave a bored sigh as she listened to her company’s budget report. She had better ways to spend her time. An example was Xanatos. It had been over two weeks since she cast that spell and yet there had been no news reports on his death. How come?
Slowly and discreetly, Dominique reached into her skirt pocket and withdrew a remote control. Keeping it hidden under the table, she pushed a button which activated the robot spies she had planted around the Eyrie Building, particularly in Castle Wyvern. She wanted answers and she was going to get them.
When her meeting finally came to an end, she dashed up to her hidden office and switched on her security monitors. All the screens showed various areas of Xanatos Enterprises. She focused on those that showed Castle Wyvern. She paused at one that displayed the clan and gazed tenderly at her daughter’s stone form. She saw so much of herself in Angela. It was a pity she had Goliath’s compassion for humans and the belief that not all humans were bad.
Demona tore herself from those thoughts and was about to move on to another screen when something caught her eye. She slowly examined each stone statue before pausing at the one between Brooklyn and Bronx.
‘Since when do gargoyles wear business suits? Never, that’s when. This one does and he bears a close resemblance to Xanatos,’ she mused. ‘In fact, I think he is Xanatos!’ Demona bared her teeth and her green eyes began to glow red. Xanatos had escaped her spell and as a gargoyle, too!
“You bastard!” she hissed. “You may have cheated death last time, but this time, you will die!”
‘No covert dealings coming out of Cyberbiotics. Not too surprising really, but I thought I’d check.’ Xanatos smiled contently. It had been three days since the Quarrymen ambush and he was finally on his night to work. Of course, the first thing he wanted to do was to see if any rival companies were engaging in shady deals. Not a hard search if one knew where to look.
He punched up Nightstone Unlimited’s activities and leaned back in his new office chair that had been delivered last week. He knew Nightstone was Demona’s company and he wanted to know what she was up to. He hoped she wasn’t cooking up another genocide scheme. If she was, though, Goliath would want to know.
‘The entire clan would want to know too. Naturally, I will help since Fox and Alex would be in danger.’
Xanatos focused his eyes on the screen and suddenly sat bolt upright. There was an order being placed to Servarius from Demona. The item being ordered made Xanatos’ heart leap into his throat: The CV-1000 carrier virus!
‘That’s the virus she used the last time she tried to kill humanity.’ Xanatos knew this from hacking into Demona’s private company files two days after the Hunter’s Moon. Springing out of his chair, he ran out of the office to tell the others what he had discovered.
“So, Demona’s planning to try her scheme again,” Goliath said after Xanatos reported his findings.
“We have to stop her,” Brooklyn growled.
“Yes,” Goliath agreed. “Xanatos, when and where will Demona receive the virus?”
“At her home in about an hour.”
“Then we have no time to lose. Let’s go.”
“I’m coming too,” Xanatos announced, surprising the others.
“You, lad?” Hudson asked.
“Yes. This virus threatens the lives of Fox and Alex. I don’t want Demona getting her hands on that virus.”
“Very well,” Goliath replied. He didn’t want to waste time arguing and really there was no point in arguing. Xanatos was just as much a gargoyle as the rest of them. There was no reason why he shouldn’t come.
The house’s lighting was dim and gave the place a spooky feeling. There was no telling where Demona could be. It had been too easy getting inside. A balcony window had been left open and no alarms had been set. This made Xanatos suspicious. Since Demona was human during the day, it made little sense for her to leave the window open, much less not setting alarms.
A metal door with a number pad on the wall beside it barred their path. Goliath did not hesitate to slice the pad off the wall. The door slid open to reveal some kind of laboratory. The kind appropriate for creating a killer virus, as a matter of fact.
As soon as the whole clan was inside, a thick steel door came down and sealed them inside. The windows were also barred with the same metal.
“A trap!” Goliath exclaimed.
“Correct, Goliath,” came Demona’s voice from an intercom.
A hiss was heard and green gas began pouring into the room. The gargoyles tried to claw the door apart and escape, but one by one they dropped unconscious.
Xanatos moaned softly as he came to. He found himself on the floor bound by thick cables as were the rest of the clan. He glanced around until his gaze landed on Demona, who was slowly and absentmindedly stroking the side of a laser gun she held in her claws. The moans of his fellow clan members drew her attention and she smiled wickedly.
“Well, well,” she drawled. “Welcome back.”
“Where is it, Demona?” Xanatos demanded.
“The virus. The CV-1000 carrier virus.”
Demona let out a short chuckle before replying, “There isn’t one. I falsified that order. I knew you would check on my company files.”
“Why the trap?”
“To capture you. You were supposed to die two weeks ago!”
“I’m aware of that and thanks to a rogue spell, I became a gargoyle.” Xanatos didn’t mention that the spell combined with Demona’s and cancelled out the death aspect of the spell. No sense in giving that information away.
“You can’t kill him, Demona,” Goliath cut in. “He’s a gargoyle now, just as we are.”
“He’s no gargoyle,” the redhead countered. “He merely looks like one. Inside, he is still human.”
“I disagree,” Xanatos piped in. “True I behaved human for about a week and a half. But for the last three days, I acted in true gargoyle fashion. I am a gargoyle, just as Goliath said.” With that, Xanatos snapped his bonds and leaped at Demona, delivering a kick to her midsection.
The force of the kick sent her skidding across the floor, both hands still holding the gun. Xanatos landed on top of her and seized the gun, intending to take it from her. But Demona kept an iron grip on it. The two of them tugged back and forth on the weapon, trying to gain the upper hand. Then, to Xanatos’ horror, the gun discharged in the direction of the clan.
The sudden discharge startled Xanatos and gave Demona the chance to deliver a kick of her own. Xanatos flew through the air and landed on his side. He caught sight of Goliath, free and cutting the others loose before Demona blocked his view, the gun pointed at him.
Before she could fire, the weapon flew out of her hands, courtesy of Xanatos’ tail. It landed next to Goliath, who promptly stepped hard on it and destroyed it.
Anger poured into Demona at the sight of her destroyed weapon. She decided to take it out on Xanatos. After all, it was his fault! Eyes blazing, she lashed out at the male before her, leaving three claw marks across his cheek. She proceeded to pummel him, punching him on one cheek and then other. Her fists also hit his nose and lips.
“Ha!” she sneered. “So much for your claim about being a gargoyle. You can’t even fight back.”
“Just…waiting for the right…moment,” he replied.
Demona paused for a moment to wonder what he meant before his legs thrust upward and sent Demona sailing. He quickly got to his feet as Demona hitting her head on the floor, rending her unconscious.
Goliath looked at Xanatos as Hudson went to tie up Demona. There was blood all over his face. His nose appeared to be broken, he had a split lip, and claw marks on one cheek. Despite his injuries, he acted like everything was fine. ‘Typical Xanatos,’ he thought.
Xanatos winced slightly as Fox put some ointment on his cheek. She had been horrified at her husband’s state before setting out to attend to his injuries. Of course his nose, lip, and cheek would heal after a day in stone sleep, but she didn’t want him to risk getting his wounds infected before sunrise.
When she finished, Xanatos kissed her cheek as best he could before leaving the room and heading down the corridor. He paused outside a door. He had just heard his name mentioned as well as Elisa and Goliath’s voices.
“He actually fought Demona?” Elisa asked, slight astonishment evident.
“Yes,” Goliath answered. “He handled himself quite well.”
“I still find it hard to believe.”
“He may have been human when he first changed, but now he is a gargoyle.”
“I’m happy to hear that,” Xanatos interrupted, entering the room. “Somewhat.”
As Goliath and Elisa shared startled looks, Xanatos inwardly smiled. It was true that he was human in mind and gargoyle and body and spirit, but he was still David Xanatos as he would prove while he helped protect a city that feared and hated gargoyles.