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Chapter 3: Demona's Heart
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by KnightMysterio

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Nightstone Unlimited Building...
Domonique Destine's Office...
8 P.M. ...
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The luxurious, red-haired human sighed weakly as she finished her work for the day. She rubbed her eyes tiredly, and let her pen drop from her hand, turning towards the picture window of her office. Behind her, a stack of papers balanced precariously near a nameplate that said 'Domonique Destine.' She smiled wearily as the sun painted the New York skyline a bright orange-red. She stood up, bracing herself for what was to come next as she watched the sun vanish below the horizon.

The sky darkened, the orange-red melting away into a deep, dark blue. The woman winced as she felt something shift inside her. Her skin darkened, becoming a greyish blue, as she groaned in pain, her body swelling out. Her muscles bulged, tearing her business suit, as her shoes burst into shreds, her feet becoming wicked, ripping talons. Her hands became stronger, her ten fingers changing into eight wickedly hooked claws. A tail burst through the hem of her dress, as wings tore out the back of her shirt and jacket. Her teeth became fangs as her hair grew longer, becoming wild and unkempt. Small horns grew from her forehead as her eyes glowed bright red.

Domonique felt every bit of her transformation, bones forming and rearranging, flesh fusing and shifting, stretching almost to tearing before shaping into proper form, every second of her change agony. She roared in pain as her transformation finished, falling to her knees.

Domonique, now in her true form, the gargoyle known as Demona, gasped for breath as she tried to recover herself. Depressingly, she realized that she was getting used to the painful transformations Puck had inflicted upon her.

Demona shook herself off, bracing herself on the desk as she stood up. As she did, though, she caught her reflection in the glass of the window. And seeing herself brought back the memories that had haunted her for the past seven months.

Angela, her daughter, chained to a wall, hatred in her eyes. Her words, cutting through Demona like the sharpest of blades.

"You are capable of anything. I HATE you!"

Later on, while battling the one person she thought she could trust on a flaming roller coaster, the sound of his mocking laughter.

"You were too easy, Demona!! You were so desperate for companionship, it was easy to manipulate you to my ends!! I NEVER loved you!! ALL YOU WERE WAS A MEANS TO AN END!! A way for me to get the money I wanted! And you know what else, my 'Angel Of The Night?' I! HAD! FUN! DOING IT!!"

She remembers little about what happened afterwards. The coaster had collapsed around them, and her body had almost been torn to shreds by the flaming timbers.

And still, she survived, her body rebuilding itself. The damned curse that the Weird Sisters put on her would not let her die by any means until she killed MacBeth or vice versa.

More and more, that was looking like her best option.

Every time she had tried to rebuild her life, her plans had gone down in flames. Every clan she had tried to become a part of had either driven her out or had been destroyed by whatever Canmore that was calling himself or herself the Hunter.

And now...

And now her last, best hopes were gone. Goliath had rejected her in favor of that... that HUMAN. The rest of the clan would most likely kill her on sight if they could, especially after she had engineered that super-virus. Thailog had been using her ever since they met. And her daughter...

Gods. Ever since she found out that she had a daughter, that the children of her clan had survived, she had been overjoyed. But to her shame, and she could admit this to herself now, she had only thought of getting Angela to see things her way, to gain her help in her genocidal quest.

But Angela had been raised among humans, humans who had taken good care of her. That plan was doomed from the start, she was just too damn stubborn to accept it.

She sighed weakly, staring out at the city.

She was frightened. And admitting that to herself frightened her even more. She was frightened that everything she believed in was nothing more than lies she told herself to avoid guilt.

Worse yet, she was afraid that Goliath had been right all this time.

"Gargoyles protect. It is our nature. Our purpose. To lose that is to be corrupt, empty ... lifeless."

Goliath. So naive. So simple-minded. How can you trust so easily? How can you still be willing to protect? I know that Princess Katherine and even... even ELISA are kind-hearted, at least for humans. But how can you still protect these humans? If you had only seen what I have seen, the horrors humans commit...

She shook her head, frustrated. If. If if if if if. Every night since the church, when that FOOL shattered the statue that would have protected our kind from my plague, I've been unable to concentrate on anything but this. Maybe a glide will help clear my head. If nothing else, this city has an excellent view...

She went over to her desk, pressing a button hidden underneath a paperweight. The picture window opened, the breeze scattering papers all across her desk. She smiled slightly, letting the cooling night air rush over her body for a few moments. Then she leaped out, the wind lifting her up high into the sky, where she glided, alone with her thoughts.

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Castle Wyvern...
8 P.M. ...
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Orange fire washed over the sky, making the castle battlements shimmer in an almost golden light as the sun descended into the ocean, painting the sky in deep, darkest shades of blue. At seven points on the castle, stone statues suddenly cracked, majestic creatures bursting out of their shells, roaring their greetings to the night.

Owen smirked as these thoughts passed through his head. I really should write poetry, he thought, before turning his attention back to more serious matters. After his aborted romp three days ago, he had gone back to being Owen almost full time, concentrating on his duties at XanaCorp.

Elisa was the last to burst from her shell. She stumbled a little, still unused to waking up on top of a tower, but Goliath steadied her. They smiled at each other warmly.

Owen, standing behind them both, coughed to get their attention.

Elisa yipped, caught by surprise, and turned. "Oh. Hey, Owen. Anything wrong?"

Owen raised an eyebrow. "Well, for one thing, your parents called. They've gotten worried, they haven't heard from you in a while, and couldn't raise you at your apartment."

Elisa bit her lip, unable to meet Owen's gaze. "I realize this..."

"I didn't tell them myself because I assumed that you wished to tell them you... current condition yourself."

Elisa bit her lip, and played with the tip of her tail nervously.

Owen frowned. "Do you wish for me to call them?"

Elisa sighed. "No. Not yet."

"Why not?"

Elisa thought for a moment, then sighed. "Because there's something I need to do first..."

Before Owen could ask, Elisa turned and leaped off the side of the tower, gliding unsteadily off.

Brooklyn frowned at the direction Elisa flew off in, and started to climb up to Goliath.

Goliath sighed, watching her leave, and turned to Owen.

"What of the Yale woman? How far has she come?" he asked.

Owen blinked, then thought for a moment before speaking. "She hasn't noticed Elisa's dissappearance yet, thank God. She's concentrating soley on gathering evidence against her, and thankfully the lack of it is keeping her frustrated and away from Elisa's family right now. Meanwhile, I'm still unable to locate Mr.Xanatos or his family to help get the Sharks mobilized. Still, it's only been a couple of days. I'm not worried yet."

At that point Brooklyn climbed up to the tower. "Where's Elisa going?"

Goliath's tail flicked nervously. "She's gone to see Demona."

Owen facefaulted. Brooklyn's eyes blazed white. "WHAT?!?!"

Goliath raised his hands in a calming gesture. "Enough, Brooklyn."

The red-skinned gargoyle wouldn't calm down. He roared angrily, "God DAMMIT Goliath! You're letting the woman you love go to see that, that MONSTER!?!"

He turned, and started to leap off the tower, intent on stopping Elisa. He didn't get very far, as Goliath reached out and grabbed his tail, pulling him back.

He held Brooklyn close, his own eyes glowing with his irritation, and spoke very softly.

"Now listen to me very carefully. There is a VERY good reason why Elisa is going to see Demona, and I am going to explain it to you."

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A few minutes later...
Somewhere over the city...
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Demona sighed to herself, letting the cool night air rush over her body as she floated easily of the city, looking almost like an angel. It felt good, to simply let go of her cares and glide freely. She wished, silently, that she could simply glide forever, to fly free of all things.

But her problems would still be there tomorrow.

All this glide was, it was a means of temporary escape.

She shook her head sadly, and turned to the east. She was accomplishing nothing with this, she might as well find something to occupy her time. There WAS a Quarrymen rally tonight, she could see what that maniac Castaway was planning...

She sighed weakly. More pointless busywork. All just a shroud to hide how little she had left, and how her losses were mostly if not entirely her fault...

She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. No. Enough. I have made mistakes, but THAT IS ALL. There is still the mission. I still had to protect our kind from humanity's evil.

Oh really? If the virus had been released as planned, how would the rest of my kind accept me? By the dragon, so many of them still believe in humanity, still have hope for them. I might get some support from some like the remnants of the Guatemalen clan and MAYBE the remaining British gargoyles, but the majority of our species would crucify me for such an act. And Goliath... Angela... The clan would want my life for killing their precious human friends...

She cursed herself. She was doing it again, rolling things around and around in her head, dooming herself to the mental equivalent of the curse of Sisyphus...

She shook her head one last time, settling on one thought. I have lived longer and seen more than any gargoyle alive. They do not understand my point of view, but they will one day. I am sure of it.

Small comfort. But it would have to do. But still, doubt lingered in her mind, primarily about Elisa, who had aided the clan since they first awoke from the Magus's ancient curse, about Xanatos, who had proved to be a man of his word in every situation, and now protected the clan loyally, and about Princess Katherine, who had, despite all of Demona's assumptions about her, had raised the eggs, and Angela, to apparently be fine young warriors...

It was too much, Demona decided. She had to find some way of clearing things up in her head or she would drive herself INSANE.

She kept gliding, muttering under her breath. She'd observe the rally tonight. Maybe seeing one of the worst of humanity in action would help clear her thoughts.

She looked idly to one side...

...and saw her.

A young female gargoyle, riding the winds and heading towards her. At first, Demona's heart leaped. A new hatchling! A new soul to take care of!

But then, as the gargoyle came closer, she could see familiar features taking shape.

HER!??! But... How...

Demona's steadying thoughts clouded over with confusion again. As the gargoyle came even closer, a slight smile spreading on her face as she saw Demona, she became certain. This gargoyle was Elisa.

She had no idea how this came to be. She had no idea how one she had considered her worst enemy for so long had become a gargoyle yet again, but it was just too much. Too much, too much, TOO MUCH!!!

The closest thing to a coherent thought Demona could form was jealously. Was hate. Her fury rose, and she dived at Elisa, her eyes glowing with rage, a warcry erupting from her throat.

Elisa sighed weakly, and braced herself. When Demona hit, she rolled in mid-air, getting Demona underneath her. Demona snarled incoherently, trying to get her hands around Elisa's throat, but Elisa's greater strength in her gargoyle form prevented Demona from doing so. They fell a thankfully short distance, landing hard on a rooftop around twenty feet down.

Demona snarled savagely, trying to throw Elisa off. But the former detective was familiar with dealing with perps that fought back. She quickly got Demona's arms pinned down, and used her legs to immobilize Demona's.

"Demona, calm down for a second, I just want to talk."

Demona just snarled. Elisa shook her head, frustrated. "Demona, please, calm down. I'm not here to fight, and this isn't about some vendetta. I just want to talk with you."

"What could we EVER have to talk about?!" Demona roared.

Elisa bit her lip, a nervous expression on her face. "I want to talk with you about being a gargoyle."

The enraged glow faded from Demona's eyes, replaced by a look of very eloquent confusion.

Elisa sighed weakly. "This form was suppossed to be just a two-night thing, something to make me feel better about and help me clear my head to deal with some personal problems. However, on the second night, something... 'bad' happened and I was forced to be sealed in this form for the rest of my life so that I'd live through the evening. I wasn't expecting to be spending the rest of my life as a gargoyle, and needed to talk to someone, preferably another female gargoyle. Angela, God bless her, wouldn't exactly be any help, since she was raised by Princess Catherine on Avalon. And all the other female gargoyles I met while travelling around the world are unreachable, so you're the closest thing to a female gargoyle raised in a normal clan that's available, and yes this sounds as pathetic to me as it probably does to you," she said, laughing weakly.

Elisa sighed, letting Demona loose as she stood up. Demona quickly scrambled to her feet, looking at Elisa suspiciously. But still, there was a spark in Demona's eyes, an desperate wanting....

Elisa stared at Demona for a moment, and sighed, her wings drooping. She shook her head and turned to glide away. "This was a mistake... I had doubts about this from the beginning... I'm sorry for bothering you..."

As Elisa started to turn away, Demona's heart started to beat faster. Something in her mind was telling her, desperately DEMANDING that she not let Elisa get away, or something in her would be lost forever...

"WAIT!!" Demona screamed, cursing herself on how desperate she sounded. Elisa turned, surprised.

Demona blinked, and ran a hand through her hair, trying to recover some of her dignity.

"Um..." Demona was panicking, trying to think of something to say to keep Elisa there. "Could we... Go over to my place to talk? I... I don't want to be caught out here if some humans show up."

Elisa blinked in surprise, but smiled, motioning with her shoulder for her to come along. "Sure. C'mon."

Demona nodded, and started towards the ledge. She spread her wings and winced, folding the left one inward slightly.

Elisa frowned, and said, "What's wrong?"

"Dammit... Must have landed harder than I thought... Wing's busted..."

Elisa came up to her, checking on Demona's wings. Sure enough, where there was once solid wingbone, was a softness that shouldn't be there.

"Hn... I'm going to have to carry you back to your place. Do you mind?"

Demona's eyes widened. "Um... All right."

Elisa nodded, and turned around, motioning for Demona to grab onto her neck. Demona hesitated, still unsure of Elisa's sincerity, but soon wrapped her arms around Elisa's neck, holding onto her. Elisa checked to see if Demona was holding on, and spread her wings, leaping off of the roof. She wavered unsteadily for a moment, not used to the weight of someone on her back, but stabilized quickly.

Immediately, Elisa turned towards the Nightstone Unlimited building, but Demona stopped her.

"No. I have a place in the city."

"You do? I just figured..."

Demona smirked. "Just turn where I tell you."

Elisa nodded, and let Demona lead her, the two gliding together through the night. All the while, Demona's instincts told her to attack! Elisa was her enemy! Don't let her take away everything you've worked for, everything you loved!! But Demona pushed back those instincts. Elisa has willingly come to her. A young gargoyle had come to HER for aid. For the first time in years, she had a chance to be a mother, to make up for all the chances she missed.

There was no way in HELL she was going to screw this one up.

Eventually, they came to a small, relatively handsome brownstone enclosed by a high stone fence. Demona pointed, "There. That's where I live. Just set down on the roof."

Elisa glided down to the roof, and landed roughly, her talons skidding. She let Demona off, and grinned sheepishly.

Demona just smirked. "I think you need to work on your landings."

Demona laughed lightly, and motioned for Elisa to come down with her into the building. They both went through the stairway entrance on the roof, and came down into Demona's home.

A panel opened up when they reached the bottom, letting them out into Demona's study.

Elisa grinned, impressed. "Oh wow..."

It was more homey than Elisa would have originally thought. The panel they came through held a fireplace, which Demona lit once they both passed through. There was a soft, floral designed rug covering the floor from wall to wall, and a massive set of bookshelves, piled from end to end with books of all types, ranging from various Army field manuals to romance novels. A pair of comfortable chairs were arranged haphazardly near the fireplace, facing a large picture window that showed a large apple tree that grew in the side of Demona's yard.

"This is nice," Elisa said, walking deeper into the chamber.

Demona smiled, and said, "Thank you." Then she winced again, instinctively bending her wings to cape them around herself. Elisa heard this and turned, asking,

"Are you going to be okay?"

Demona nodded, and sat down carefully in one of the chairs. "It'll be reversed once I transform for the day. Now..."

She sighed, leaning back in the chair, and motioned for Elisa to sit down as well. "What, precisely, did you want to discuss with me?"

Elisa sighed, and sat down in the other chair, staring into the fire as she tried to gather her thoughts.

Demona frowned. "Maybe it'd be best if you started from the beginning."

Elisa nodded, and sighed. "Okay. This whole mess started around four days ago, when someone found out about my relationship with Goliath. Someone blabbed it to my whole precinct, and I was fired immediately. I'm also facing criminal charges. People still think the clan was responsible for the destruction of my old precinct, and now that it was revealed that I'm involved with a member of the clan, I'M being charged as an accomplice."

Demona sneered, but said nothing.

Elisa continued. "Anyway, we thought we'd call in a favor from Xanatos, since he owed the clan for saving his son from Oberon."

Demona blinked. "Wait. WHAT?"

Elisa chuckled. "Long story. Tell you about it later. Suffice to say Xanatos decided to make up for everything he'd done to Goliath, myself, and the rest of the clan, starting with rescuing them from police after the fiasco with you in the church, and putting them back in their castle. Anyway... My partner, Matt Bluestone, and I, went over to Xanatos's, hoping to get him to help clear up my legal problems. But he wasn't there, so that plan crapped out. Owen, who's also Puck, believe it or not..."

"I know that Owen is Puck, Elisa."

Elisa stared at her, surprised.

Demona grinned. "Long story. Tell you about it later."

Elisa blinked and then laughed. Demona laughed as well. When they both recovered themselves, Elisa continued her story. "Well, Puck offered us a chance to relax by turning us both into gargoyles for a couple nights. We took it, and on the first night we just had fun. The second night we went out on patrol, following up a lead I had on an illegal weapons shipment. We broke it up easily, but there was someone there..."

Elisa shivered, unknowingly caping her wings and gripping them. "It was a woman. A powerful, brutal woman who tore through us like we were nothing. Then she... she..."

Elisa shivered again. Demona frowned, leaning forward and placing a comforting hand on Elisa's shoulder. "Go on."

Elisa smiled weakly at her, and then sighed. After a moment, she finished her tale. "She broke both of my wings, and crushed my ribs in one punch. Puck managed to pull us all back to the castle, but he couldn't fix me without killing me by accident. So he made the transformation irreversable, and a day in stone healed me."

Elisa looked up at Demona, staring right into her eyes. The fear and confusion in them surprised Demona, who had only seen determination and confidence in them before...

"I was healed completely, but now I'm going to be a gargoyle for the rest of my life. I... I never expected this, and I just don't know what to do, or what to think anymore."

Demona's eyes widened in surprise. "And... And you came to me?"

Elisa giggled nervously. "Well... I figured you'd be less likely to kill me if we were the same species... And honestly, there are some things I'm feeling right now that I just can't talk to Goliath about."

Demona's heart was fluttering. Elisa needed her. "And you're sure about this?"

Elisa nodded. "I just... I just wanted to talk to someone... Goliath's wonderful, but sometimes... "

Demona just smiled, "Sometimes he just seems too stubborn for his own good. Correct?"

Elisa giggled weakly. "That's one way of putting it."

Demona shook his head. "Goliath... He's an idealist. He is so set in his ways, that it's hard for him to accept anything new."

Elisa nodded, her head drooping slightly. Demona saw this and frowned. "That doesn't mean you should give up on him, though. If you... If you truly love him," Demona said, surprised at the words coming out of her mouth, "you'll be able to work through whatever differences you may have."

Elisa looked up at Demona, and then grinned foxishly. "You do realize that you just endorsed me being in love with Goliath, don't you?"

Demona laughed. "I'm having a hard time believing it myself..."

They looked at each other for a moment, then cracked up laughing. When they got control of themselves again, they smiled. Demona tried again to cape her wings, wincing as she got them around herself, and sat back in her chair.

Demona clasped her hands together, and smiled warmly. "What is it you wanted to know, exactly?"

Elisa thought for a moment, rubbing her arm nervously, and sighed. "Well... It's hard to explain. After I woke up the next night, I was just glad that I was alive and still had my wings. And the first night was wonderful. Goliath and I just glided together, and it was wonderful..." she smiled wistfully, then continued, "But the night after that, I realized that there was so much I didn't know! I didn't know what to think, how to act, what to feel!"

"And so you came to me..." Demona said, a thoughtful expression on her face. Elisa nodded. Demona, after a moment, said, "Elisa, you could have talked to anyone in the clan about this. I know what you said earlier, but still, any of the others, Hudson most likely, could have easily help alleviate any concerns you have."

Elisa shook her head, the confused, fearful, frustrated look on her face remaining. "I... I know. But for some reason I just kept thinking that you'd be my best bet."

Demona smiled softly, closing her eyes as she relived pleasant memories of her youth. When she opened her eyes, she said, "Elisa, what you're feeling is natural. Most likely your gargoyle instincts are coming on all at once, and it's conflicting with the remnants of your human feeling. Eventually, those feelings will fade, leaving you pure gargoyle."

Elisa nodded slowly, another fact slowly starting to hit her. But she was so intent on what Demona had to say, she barely noticed this nagging feeling...

Demona continued, standing up and starting to pace around the room. "As for your desire to see me for help, that's natural as well. Many younger females tend to go to the elder females for advice. I did myself, back when I was much, much younger."

Elisa nodded, still having a frustrated expression, if a somewhat relaxed one. "Well, that's all well and good, but..."

Demona held up a finger, interuppting her, and grinned. "I'm not done."

Elisa smiled weakly, and nodded.

Demona thought for a moment, and continued. "The basic instincts of a gargoyle can basically be summed up in one word: Protection. That one word defines our entire species, our entire life, and is the one thing no gargoyle can deny."

Elisa frowned. "But Goliath said..."

"Goliath is a FOOL!!" Demona snarled, clenching her talons tightly, her eyes blazing red. Elisa winced, bracing her. Demona quickly regained her composure, pressing a talon to her forehead to help calm herself.

"Goliath understands very little about being a gargoyle. He is noble, brave, kind-hearted, and a true warrior. But he is also very naive."

Elisa shook her head. "I'm not sure I know what you mean..."

Demona sighed. "The instinct to protect, I have found, can be defined. Goliath chooses to protect this island, his home, and the ingrate humans who reside within it. I have chosen to protect our species from extinction. I have been working to protect our kind for over a millenium. I have been around the world, and have seen the worst of humanity, and what they did to our kind in the name of 'racial purity.'"

Demona snarled the last two words. She sighed, and continued, walking over to the window and staring out of it.

"I have seen far too much, Elisa. Goliath thinks humanity can be trusted, and will accept us eventually. But I know better..."

Elisa's eyes had widened steadily during Demona's brief tirade. Finally, she bit her lip nervously. "I'm sorry. I... I didn't know..."

Demona shook her head, chuckling weakly. "No one could have. It's all right."

Elisa nodded, standing up again. "Maybe I should go..."

Surprising both of them, Demona quickly came over and grabbed Elisa's wrist as she turned towards the fireplace, most likely with intent to go back out the secret passage. "NO! Please..." She looked directly into her eyes, not realizing how desperate she sounded and looked.

"Stay with me?" she asked.

Elisa bit her lip, trying to decide.

Demona, frantic now to keep Elisa there, started to think fast. After a second, she said, "My house is safe. No one knows I live here, so you can stay the night if you want. A-Also, we can continue talking, get to know each other better. M-Maybe I can make dinner. I'm not that bad a cook."

Elisa just looked at Demona thoughtfully for a moment.

She truly does seem sincere... Maybe... She smiled. "Sure, why not?"

Demona smiled widely, and relaxed, letting go of Elisa's wrist. "Okay then!" she said, a little too brightly, "Maybe we can start by telling me if I can help with your legal problems?"

Elisa blinked. "You?!"

Demona huffed. "Well, I DO own a legitimate, multi-national pharmaceutical company," she said. She thought for a moment, and added, "Semi-legitimate."

Elisa blushed. "Sorry. I guess I'm used to thinking of you as a genocidal killer who wanted my head on a platter."

Now it was Demona's turn to blush. "Elisa... I want to start over. After the fiasco at the church, I've started to realize that I'm the one who's made a royal mess of most of my life. And I want to start by apologizing to you, and trying to make up for what I've done..."

Elisa waved her hand dismissively. "Demona, to be bluntly honest, I've never held that against you. I'm used to people hating me for one reason or another, and I'm used to people trying to kill me on the job." She shrugged, and said, "It's part of the code. Serve and protect."

Demona smirked, curious. "'Serve and protect?'"

The tan-skinned gargoyle nodded. "Sure. It's the code every police officer devotes his or her life to. And it's the code I've lived my life by every day since I joined the force."

Demona's tail swished along the ground in an amused fashion as a slow smile spread over the bluegray-skinned beauty. "I swear, Maza, sometimes it seems like you should have been born a gargoyle to begin with."

Elisa grinned widely.

Demona smiled back, and said, "Anyway, let's get back to you. I said I would help you with your legal problems and I meant it. Let's start simple. Who's been assigned to your case?"

"Margot Yale."

Demona grinned. "That's good in two ways. One, Margot's an annoying bitch but she's an honest and DEDICATED annoying bitch. She probably hasn't made a move yet because she's wanting to find evidence that implicates you and is failing. Two, she's hated me ever since I beat her in a civil case involving some chemicals I needed. I know how to read her and counter her."

Elisa grinned. She had been having happy fanatasies about humiliating Margot to comfort herself ever since the change. And now it seems that some of them may come true.

Demona checked the time, and frowned. "Damn, it's later than I thought.... Listen, why don't we head into the kitchen? I can make us dinner and we can talk until sunrise."

Elisa nodded. Demona grinned, and went into the kitchen, fixing a meal for the two of them. They sat down and chatted as they ate, Elisa filling Demona in on the full story behind 'World Tour', Demona telling Elisa about the few happy memories she had during the years she spent alone, dodging the Hunters.

Finally, all too soon, the sun started to peer over the horizon. Elisa sighed and got up from the chair she was sitting in, going back into the living room. Demona followed her as she turned towards the window, facing the rising sun.

"Will... Will you stay with me one more night?" Demona asked, biting her lip nervously.

Elisa turned back in surprise, staring at Demona. Then a grin slowly spread over her face. She nodded, and turned back to the rising sun as she felt the now familiar tightening of her skin. She took a savage pose, spreading her wings wide and opening her mouth in a snarl as she turned to stone.

At the same time, Demona screamed, her transformation hitting her suddenly. She fell to the ground, trying to compose herself as she went through the painful process of her body re-arranging itself into a human form. She groaned weakly, picking herself up off of the floor.

She smiled at the statue Elisa currently was, and left to get ready for work.

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Nightstone Unlimited Building...
Later on that day...
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Domonique Destine strode into work in a manner that NO ONE currently in her employ had seen her: Smiling, visibly happy, and with something of a bounce in her step. This baffled the people in the lobby, especially the front desk clerk, who had felt the sting of Domonique's razor sharp temper more than once.

"Ms.Destine, are you alright?" he asked.

"Better than I have been in years," she said, not really noticing who was talking with her. She went over to the elevator and immediately pressed the button for her private office on the top floor, entering the security access code that would take her there and let her in without further clearance needed.

She whistled to herself as the elevator took her up, and stepped out of the car before it had finished opening, giving a pleasant greeting to her personal secretary and entering her massive office. Twirling, she sat down at her desk and picked up the phone, leaning back as she dialed a number.

Three rings later, a nervous-sounding male voice answered, "Assistant D.A.'s office."

"Hello there. Tell Margot Yale that Domonique would like to talk to her. She'll know what it means," Domonique said, rocking idly in her chair.

"Miss Domonique..." the voice started to say.

"Just tell her," Domonique said, letting a trace of menace creep into her voice.

The male voice gulped, then disappeared from the line for a moment. After a minute, pure icy hate in the form of Margot's voice came over the line.

"What do you want, Destine?"

Domonique grinned. "A little birdy told me that you're prosecuting Elisa Maza for a suspected terrorist conspiracy?"

Margot hesitated, then said, "She is a suspect in the attack on the Clock Tower..."

"And am I right in assuming you have found no evidence against her other than the fact she has the hots for an overlarge purple lump of a gargoyle, something which, oh by the way, has no bearing on the charges against her whatsoever?"

Margot cursed. "You're taking over her defense, aren't you? That would explain why I haven't been able to contact her for the past couple of days, and why her partner is being so damn close-lipped..."

Domonique chuckled. "That's exactly right, Miss Margot. She's been instructed by my attorneys not to say a single word to you, or even go NEAR you until the trial, if there even is one."

Margot sighed, "I'm starting to doubt there is even going to be one. Everything my investigations are finding is pointing to the Hunters, these Canmores that Maza mentioned in her account of the incident. But Robyn's already been aquitted, and Jason's already doing time as an invalid. The only one left is John Canmore, and he's vanished off of the faith of the Earth..."

Domonique grinned to herself. This is going to be easier than I imagined, she thought.

Margot asked, "Why are you taking Maza's case, anyway?"

Domonique smiled wistfully, and said, "Let's just say that I owe her a great deal."

Margot sighed again, "Thank you for saving me the trouble of calling around, Destine. I was about to contact her parents next."

At this, Domonique frowned. Does Elisa's family know what happened to her? Margot continued, saying, "It's starting to look like the only charges I can make stick are the vigilantism charges."

That caught Domonique off guard. "Wait. What?"

Margot snarled, "Look, Destine. These gargoyle things have been operating as independant vigilantes, working OUTSIDE of the law, ever since they showed up in this city! I have nothing against them personally, and I admit they frighten the Hell out of me, but I will NOT allow people to take the law into their own hands! Elisa has been covering for their vigilante activities for God knows HOW long, and I mean to see that she gets punished for it. She stays off her job, and she WILL do the time, eventually the gargoyles will as well, and I guaran-damn-tee that there's NOTHING you'll be able to do about it!"

There was a loud clacking sound as Margot slammed the phone down. Domonique stared at the phone for a moment, and chuckled.

A little more complicated than I originally imagined this would be, but still workable, she thought, returning to her work.

After a few hours, her secretary rang her. "Ms. Destine, there's an Owen Burnett here to see you."

Hm? What could he want? Domonique thought irritatedly. "Send him in, Beverly."

A few minutes later, the doors to her office opened, and the blonde-haired, tuxedoed gentleman strode into the room.

"Good to see you again, Ms.Destine."

"Make it quick, Puck, I have work to do today," Domonique snapped, with only a trace of her usual anger.

Owen smirked slightly, and sat down in the nearby guest chair, folding one leg over the other.

"Very well then, Demona. I am going to tell you something very important: What EXACTLY happened the night Elisa became a gargoyle permanently."

Domonique snorted. "I already know what happened."

"You know Elisa's version, which, from I have been able to gather when she told me, was a frightened, heavily biased version."

Domonique bit her lip, and put down the pen she was writing with. "You have my interest, Puck. Continue."

Owen nodded. "Very well then. Elisa and Matt Bluestone were previously investigating reports of illegal weapons coming into the city when Elisa was fired. After the first night of their 'relaxation gift,' they decided to follow up on the shipment. They split off in two directions. Goliath and Elisa's group arrived first, and found Tony Dracon at the harbor unloading several crates filled with surplus military weapons, as well as some newer, more experimental weaponry. Including lasers and sonic weapons. AIDING Tony Dracon was an unknown woman with apparently superhuman speed and strength, who identified herself as the first of thirteen, Varua the Titan. She defeated Matt, Goliath, and Brooklyn easily, and then broke Elisa's wings and most of her ribs. I retrieved them as well as Hudson's group, who had been intercepted by an entity that was either a Quarrymen battle robot or a man in Quarrymen-themed battle armor. Needless to say, no one was in very good shape. Stonesleep healed everybody, but just barely, and healed Elisa only AFTER I cast a spell that sealed her in her gargoyle form for the rest of her life."

At the mention of 'Quarrymen,' Domonique sneered angrily. But what Owen told her did clear up a lot of missing details...

"All right then, what do you expect me to do about it?" she asked after a moment.

"Simply be on watch for Varua when Elisa returns. Also, provide me with whatever information you can gather on Varua. I have a theory about her appearance and..." Owen hesitated, "Well, let's just say some threads are starting to connect for me. Good day, Demona."

He pulled a piece of paper from his coat pocket and left it on Domonique's desk. Without another word, Owen got up and strode out of the room. Domonique frowned, mulling over what Owen had said. She opened the paper, and frowned at it.

It was a sketch of a brutal-looking woman in a black, high-necked trenchcoat and hat, with the words 'Varua The Titan' scribbled at the top.

Domonique studied the picture carefully. She didn't know what she could do about this woman yet.

But she'd be damned if she'd let whomever this was get in the way of her road to redemption. And VARUA would be damned before Demona let her harm anyone she cared about.

----------------------------
Night...
Destine Manor...
----------------------------

Elisa's granite shell slowly cracked as the red jewel of the sun sank beneath the ocean of sky and steel. Finally, as the sun completely vanished, Elisa broke free of her shell, roaring. When the awakening rage passed, she looked around, biting her lip as she saw the shards of her stoneskin scattered about the floor. She started to look around the room for something to sweep the shards up with when Demona entered, a little dazed from just having finished her transformation.

"Elisa, don't worry. I have a maid that comes in each night and knows enough not to ask questions or comment on what she sees to anyone. Relax."

Elisa frowned at the mess her awakening had made, then nodded, chuckling. "So how was work today?"

"Boring, as usual," Demona said, rolling her eyes. She sighed, and said, "Elisa, Owen stopped by today and told me what happened at the docks. And about Varua the Titan."

Elisa shivered at the sound of the name, caping her wings around her body. "Could we please not talk about her?"

Demona nodded. "Okay, I'm sorry. I just wanted to tell you that I know the full extent of... of what happened that night, and will do what I can to help you."

"I appreciate that. I still don't want to talk about it."

Demona nodded, and started to go into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for them. Elisa followed, wanting to help this time. Wordlessly, they got materials for an omlette together, Demona getting the food, Elisa sifting through the massive cupboards for a frying pan.

Finally, when the silence became too much, Demona asked the question she had been needing to ask.

"Elisa, have you told your family about what happened?"

Something crashed to the ground, and Demona whirled to see what happened. What she saw was Elisa in tears, putting her hands to her face as she slowly collapsed to her knees.

"I'm sorry I just... I... I mean I..." finally, she broke down, her voice cracking into a strangled sob. Demona was by her side immediately, holding Elisa to her chest as she cried.

Demona held her close, stroking Elisa's hair as she whispered comforting words to her. Elisa hugged Demona tightly, sobbing heavily, barely able to speak.

"Oh God... Oh God... That bitch... She's taken everything from me... I'll never be human again... Oh God..." she whimpered.

"It's all right, Elisa... Everything will be all right..."

"No it won't. It's not suppossed to be this way! I'm HUMAN, not a gargoyle!! It's not, it's... I'm..." she collapsed into sobbing, no longer able to speak. Demona just held her tightly, whispering words of comfort to her, stroking her hair. After seven minutes, Elisa finally calmed down. She pulled away from Demona, wiping the tears from her eyes and chuckling weakly. "I'm sorry... I guess when you mentioned my family, everything just hit me at once."

Demona just smiled. "It's okay. And believe me, Elisa, I've been where you are. Not exactly for the same REASONS, mind you..."

They both chuckled. Elisa sighed, and said, "You're right though. I should tell my family. God, they must be worried sick, I haven't called them since I was fired..."

Demona nodded. "You should do that soon. Possibly tonight. But first I think we should get you back to the castle. Goliath and the others must be worried about you."

Elisa nodded. "Yeah... Demona?" she said, a nervous expression on her face.

"Hm?"

"Would... Would you be there with me when I talk to my parents? Please?"

Demona's eyes widened in surprise. If asked to do something like this a few days ago, she would have said no, possibly laughing in Elisa's face..

But now, after spending time with Elisa, learning about her, about her bravery, her cunning, and her kindness and understanding, qualities she had not seen in any human for centuries...

Demona smiled. "Of course."

Elisa smiled, and hugged Demona again. "Thank you."

Demona blushed deeply, surprised, but returned the hug. They both stood up, and Demona said, "Before we go, we should try breakfast again. Also, there's been something I've been wanting to do. Would you come with me into the bathroom?"

Elisa blinked, but nodded. She led her though the kitchen into a small, but very stylish bathroom, with a tub large enough to hold Demona at her full wingspan, and a bureau with many cosmetics, most likely used for preparing Domonique Destine for various business meetings.

"Sit down, please," Demona said, motioning to the chair.

Elisa did, and caped her wings around herself and looking at Demona curiously. The elder female smiled, sifting through a drawer for a moment and pulling out a hairband and brush. She placed the the hairband on the table and lifted up Elisa's long, raven locks, beginning to brush her hair.

Elisa's eyes widened in surprise, but then she smiled, placing her hands on her lap, letting Demona brush the windblown kinks out. Her tail flicked about involuntarily, and Elisa let out a soft, almost purr-like sound.

"Hm?" Demona noticed Elisa's tail movements and gave her a curious look.

Elisa blushed. "Oh, it's nothing. It's just... My mother used to brush my hair like this."

Demona blinked, then smiled warmly. She finished brushing Elisa's hair, turning it as smooth as silk again. She then picked up the hairband, and used it to tie Elisa's hair into a ponytail.

"There."

Elisa looked herself over. It was an interesting change, to be sure, and did look good on her, but...

"Not that I'm complaining, but why this?"

Demona shrugged. "I figured that you could use a new hairstyle to go with your new appearance. Besides, you look cute like this."

Elisa blushed. Demona grinned, and motioned for her to go back into the kitchen. "C'mon. We still have breakfast. Then we better be off."

Elisa nodded. They went back into the kitchen and finished making breakfast, sitting down and chatting amiably, as they did last night. Finally, after a much briefer time than before, they finished. Demona opened the secret passage in the fireplace, which let them up onto the roof. Using the nearby abandoned building to gain height, they glided off.

The flight back to the castle was uneventful, with Elisa not catching any updrafts that threw her off, and they flew mostly in silence, Demona hanging back a little to watch Elisa's form.

She's like a hatchling, just learning to use her wings... Demona thought, not without some amusement. She'd have to show her how to really use her wings properly one day. Then she'd be as good in the air as Demona herself.

They landed on a castle parapet, and almost IMMEDIATELY the rest of the clan started making their way over to her. Bronx, Broadway, and Lexington stayed far away from her for the moment, putting themselves just within view. Hudson stared at her warily, but made no move towards his sword. He accompanied Goliath and Angela, who looked uneasy at Demona's prescence here.

Goliath and Demona just glared at each other for a moment, before Angela's voice broke the tension.

"So, how did it go, Elisa?" Angela asked, smiling warmly.

Elisa grinned. "Better than I thought it would. Much better. Demona helped me with a lot of my concerns, and, well..." she blushed slightly. "It turns out that if you give her a chance, she can be a really great friend as well."

Angela grinned widely at her mother. Hudson sighed in relief, relaxing visibly and smiling. And Demona, still not used to being praised like this, blushed a bright crimson, an act which astonished Lexington and Broadway.

Goliath, however, still looked uneasy. "Demona, may I speak with you in private?"

Demona nodded tensely, her eyes briefly flashing red. Goliath started walking to a more enclosed aclove of the castle, and Demona followed. Once they were properly away from the other members of the clan, Demona caped her wings and leaned up against a wall, watching as Angela and Elisa discussed how Elisa's visit went. She smiled at the eager manner Angela and Elisa were displaying.

"They're almost like sisters..." she said.

Goliath smiled at them, and nodded. "Yes. It's been a great joy seeing them together," he said. He then bit his lip, obviously reluctant to say what he wanted to say next.

"Demona... You know that I care for Elisa deeply..."

Demona shook her head, exasperated, not yet looking at him. "Look, Goliath. I've long since moved past having issues with the two of you being in love."

Goliath sighed. "All I really want is a peace between us, Demona. For this feuding to end and for you to at least try to understand..."

"Understand?!" Demona snarled, her eyes glowing red as she whirled around on him, spreading her wings slightly. "You're the one who doesn't understand, fool! You don't understand a single damn thing"

Goliath backed away, startled by this. She realized what she was doing, and put a talon on her forehead to calm herself. After a moment, she sighed, and said, "But for Elisa and Angela's sake, there can be a truce between us."

Goliath stared at Demona, and sighed rumblingly. "I suppose that is the best I can hope for."

"It is," Demona snapped. But she caught herself again. "Elisa has my home phone and office numbers. She is going to talk to her brother first, then she wishes me to be with her when she tells her parents of her current condition."

Goliath nodded. "So be it."

They walked back out to join the others, and almost immediately tried to fight back chuckling, as Angela seemed to very interested in Elisa's new hairstyle, and what she could do to 'improve' it.

Demona smiled and came up to Elisa, who looked exceedingly grateful at getting away from the aspiring hairdresser.

"Listen, I have to get going. I have some work-related things I need to take care of."

Elisa nodded. "It's all right. I'm fine now. And thank you so much for these past couple of nights."

To EVERYONE'S surprise, including Demona herself, Elisa grabbed Demona, hugging her tightly. Demona blushed deeply, but returned the hug. After that she wordlessly leaped off the parapet and glided away.

Goliath, after a moment, smiled and came up to Elisa, hugging her lightly and kissing her brow. "Well. I take it visiting with Demona helped."

Elisa smiled warmly. "A LOT. Lemme tell you about it..."

Goliath put an arm around Elisa's shoulder as they walked off. Lexington and Broadway were still dumbstruck. Hudson just chuckled knowingly, and went off to watch his favorite program after reminding the two boys that they needed to go on patrol. They blinked and nodded, taking off. Bronx got bored immediately after Demona left, and decided to join Hudson. Angela just stared after her mother for a moment, a warm, hopeful smile on her face, before she joined the boys on patrol.

Brooklyn, meanwhile, just glared after Demona from a hidden place, his beak curled into a snarl, his eyes glowing a bright white. He couldn't let what he did to her go. He simply could not. And one day, one way or another, he'd make her PAY.

He shook his head, and leaped off to join the others. But he couldn't now. He wasn't ready. And he had to be careful. He didn't want Goliath or any of the others to know what he was planning...

Not yet, anyway.

--------------------------------------
Somewhere above the city...
--------------------------------------

Demona couldn't help herself. This was the first time she had felt GOOD, felt truly HAPPY in a long time. She danced through the air, doing somersaults, spirals, power-dives and twists, whooping and hollering and laughing for all she was worth.

She was finally doing something right for a change. After centuries of royalling fucking up, she was doing something RIGHT, something GOOD, and by the Dragon it felt wonderful!!!

From a nearby rooftop, a trenchcoated, powerful form watched Demona with amusement. After the gargoyle passed out of her line of sight, pulled her cuff back, revealing a wrist-mounted communicator.

"My lords. As expected, Elisa went to Demona for advice, and has formed a truce with the clan."

A voice from the other end answered, "Good. Very good. Phase 1 is completed then. What about you, Varua? Have you completed your end of things?"

Varua nodded, a gigantic grin forming underneath the wide brim of her hat. "Yes sir. I broke into her office and went through her files, computerized and otherwise. It contains clear records of everything she's doing, including her progress against Castaway."

"And?"

"Nothing we didn't already know. She'll be easily controllable once the plan is implimented."

The voice on the other end chuckled. "Good. Very good. Then we can begin Operation: SotF immediately. The deadline will be four years from now, on Breeder's Moon. Tomorrow, you and Hacker will get in contact with Matt Bluestone to activate him."

Varua nodded, chuckling. "It's been so long. You think he'll remember that he's a part of our little Illuminati family?"

The voice laughed. "He'll remember."

------------------------------------------------------
Meanwhile...
In a suburb of New York...
------------------------------------------------------

Margot Yale yawned as she pulled up to her house. She got out of her car and walked up the cobblestone path to her home, a plain white building that looked more expensive and ritzy than it actually was. She yawned again, frustration etched on her face as she deactivated her security system and went inside.

Her husband, Brendon Yale, waited for her inside, sitting at a coffee table in the kitchen, which was for the most part unlit. Most of the lights in the house were off, draping nearly everything in shadows. He held a cup of coffee in his hands and was sipping it, his hands shaking badly.

"Oh, hey honey. How was work?" he said, his voice cracking slightly, as if he was nervous about something.

Margot sighed, setting her bags and coat down on an armchair. "Going nowhere, as usual. I'm debating calling in tomorrow and telling the DA to drop the terrorism-related charges. Nothing I'm finding is pointing to her, or these gargoyles as the type of people that would blow up a building."

"That's nice, dear. I'm sorry you couldn't find anything," Brendon said, taking another sip of his coffee, his hands shaking so badly they almost spilled it.

Margot frowned. She was good at noticing details, and something about this scene wasn't right. Brendon was used to being bossed around, both by Margot herself and his employers at the City Treasurer's office. But even on his worst days, Brendon never sounded this nervous. For that matter, why were most of the lights in the house off?

"Honey, what's wrong?"

Brendon winced as another, higher pitched voice answered. "Oh, nothing much, hon. It's just that when I got home, a pair of lunatics were waiting, saying they wanted to kidnap both of us. HA!"

Margot's eyes widened as a female creature with golden, metallic limbs sauntered out of the shadows, revealing that she had had her arm cannon levelled at the back of Brendon's head the whole time. The cybernetic beast laughed shrilly, sending a chill down Margot's spine.

Oh God... Hyena... she thought. In her panic, she forgot that Hyena had mentioned TWO lunatics. She slowly moved to the side, trying to think of something she could do, trying to think of a way to get Brendon away from her and get them both out of here.

"I wouldn't do that, Ms.Yale," another voice said. Margot whirled in the direction of the couch as a light switched on, revealing Jackal. He grinned wickedly and pointed his own arm cannon at Margot's face. "Not unless you want to have that pretty little skin peeled off."

Margot gulped, but to her credit, remained mostly calm. "So what happens now?"

Jackal and Hyena traded wicked grins. Jackal turned back to Margot and said, "All four of us get up, and calmly get into your car. Then you drive us all where we tell you to go. Then something neato happens."

"What will happen?" she asked, trying to get as much information out of the cyborg killer as she could.

Jackal just grinned. "You'll find out once you get there. You get one more question, Miss Yale. Then I let Hyena have some fun. Our client won't mind if you come to him slightly... damaged. He's more than capable of repairing it."

Margot sighed, thought for a moment, and asked. "What do you want from us? Why did your 'client' ask you to come for us?"

Jackal thought for a moment. "That's two questions, but I'll let it slide. The first one is simple: We want nothing from you but your cooperation. As for why our client wants you, that's simple: He pulled your names, as well as the names of three other people, out of a hat. Now move."

--------------------------------
To Be Continued...
--------------------------------

Token Disclaimer: All characters in this story save for any originals are copyrighted to Disney and Buena Vista. (Sadly enough.) All ORIGINAL characters are copyrighted to me.  The following story takes place 3 days after "Changes."  Breeder's Moon concept is copyright Terese Sinclair and used with permission...