Story concept by Todd Jensen and Patrick Toman
Written by A Fan and Patrick Toman


Previously on Gargoyles...


Phoebe: You must give them the code.

Demona: I will have vengeance for the betrayal of my clan. Vengeance for my pain.

Selene: But who betrayed your clan?

Luna: And who caused this pain?


-- "City of Stone"


Angela: It's true, isn't it? Demona is my mother? Elisa, I have to know.

Elisa: Yes. It's true.

-- "Sanctuary"


Angela: Is she really gone?

Goliath: I... don't know.

Angela: The last thing I said to her was 'I hate you.' But she sacrificed herself for me. How can it end this way?

Goliath: She knew how you truly felt, and Demona's love for you was the first goodness she has shown in a long, long time. For her, it may have been a new beginning... a new beginning for us all.

-- "The Reckoning"


Demona sniffed and turned back to her work. A wet blot wrinkled the slick magazine paper and as she stared at it, another drop joined it. She dabbed at her cheek and looked at the moisture on her fingers in shock. Tears? But she never cried. Not since that awful night when she found Goliath and the others frozen in stone on the abandoned battlements of Castle Wyvern and very rarely since in her dreams. Surely losing the affection of one gargoyle wasn't worth crying over. Her lip trembled.

Alone, Demona wept.

-- "Perchance to Dream"

- - - - -

"It is hard enough to make a difference, even over a space of many years. Can a word or two spoken really change the world?"

-- Diane Duane

* * * * *


Some of the more interesting things that happen to people seem to happen on dark and stormy nights. Perhaps it is the atmosphere that such evenings bring about. Even when it isn't raining, there is a sort of dark foreboding around.

It had rained late that afternoon, and the news was predicting that it would rain again sometime that evening. Nevertheless, Demona was out gliding. She found that such a simple activity allowed her to clear her head and organize her thoughts. Her thoughts were in need of organization.

It would have been an uneventful evening if not for the violent and intense electrical storm. Rarely were violent electrical storms present in New York City, especially this late in the year. As she glided, it rose up around her, and Demona quickly looked for a place to land and wait out the storm. She chose a nearby office building and began gliding toward it, fighting the growing winds which were rapidly threatening to knock her from the sky.

Orange and purple lightning flashed around her, and it seemed as if several large bolts had come within five inches of her. For a moment, the bright light and psychedelic colors overwhelmed her and she lost all sense of direction.

Thunder exploded around Demona as she smashed headfirst onto the roof of an apartment complex that had come up out of nowhere. She tumbled head over heels twice and bounced once before crashing into a satellite dish, smacking her already injured head into the antenna's rim. Darkness quickly enveloped her senses as the rain began to fall.

When she next opened her eyes, the rain had stopped and the wind had faded to a light breeze which chilled her damp blue skin slightly as she slowly pushed herself to a sitting position. She shook her head to clear it, sending droplets of water flying in every direction from her rain-soaked red hair. Carefully, she stood up, inspecting herself for any signs of injury. Finding nothing other than the dull ache in her forehead, she took only a moment to wonder how long she had been out before continuing on her way. Stepping quickly to the rooftop edge, she spread her wings and leapt off. Circling around on the strong air currents left in the wake of the storm, she regained her bearings and steered herself back on course to her destination. A few minutes later, Demona swooped down and alighted gracefully in the empty courtyard of Castle Wyvern. As she caped her wings and looked around, she briefly wondered where everyone was.

* * * * *


Brooklyn had been wandering restlessly about the castle ever since the clan had returned from patrol an hour earlier. He walked past the TV room, pausing to glance through the half-open door at Hudson and Bronx basking contentedly in the glow of the television. A bit further down the hall, he peered through another door to see Lexington typing away at the keyboard of the outrageously expensive computer Xanatos had provided when they had moved back in to the castle. For a moment, he contemplated disturbing his rookery brother, but the zonked look in Lex's unblinking eyes as he stared at the flickering images on the huge color monitor told him that getting Lex's attention would be as futile an effort as prying Hudson away from his remote control. Sighing, he continued on, turning down the hall which led to the library.

Brooklyn's eyes darted up to the balcony as soon as he entered the massive library. "Hmph. Romeo and Juliet must've found a new place to hang out tonight," he muttered, a bit surprised to see nobody up there.

"What did you say, Brooklyn?" Goliath's deep, rumbling voice made Brooklyn jump, and his stomach leapt up into his throat as he turned to see the huge lavender gargoyle perched upon one of the ladders at the far end of the room, a thick volume held in his talons.

"Goliath! I... uh," Brooklyn stammered.

"I did not hear what you said a moment ago," Goliath said. "Were you looking for me?"

"No," Brooklyn blurted out a bit too quickly. An awkward second ticked by, then he added, "Actually, I was looking for... Angela."

Goliath's brow furrowed as he regarded the brick-red gargoyle suspiciously for a moment. "Angela and Broadway were here, but they left to get something to eat shortly after I came in. They are probably in the kitchen."

"Thanks," Brooklyn said, "I'll just go... look for them now."

Goliath gave a low growling sigh. "Yes. You do that."

Brooklyn stepped back out of the room slowly, and once he was out of Goliath's sight, he spun around to lean against the wall and let out a long sigh of relief. "Well, at least now I know where not to go for any more stilted conversations," he said to himself. Still in need of something to do, however, he continued on, deciding to see if some fresh air would improve his mood.

Brooklyn stepped out into the courtyard and sniffed the air, the scent of moss and wet leaves greeting his nostrils. A few small puddles here and there confirmed that it had just finished raining. "At least something went right tonight. It didn't rain while we were out on patrol," he mumbled to himself as the wind blew his long white hair around behind him. He shuffled across the courtyard and stared up at the departing clouds. Then he sighed again when he realized that they were still too thick for him to see the moon or the stars. He turned and kicked absently at a leaf near his feet when out of the corner of his eye he saw something move.

Nearby, he noticed a feminine shape standing there, just enough in the shadows that he couldn't make out any distinguishing features. "Angela?" he called.

Brooklyn's eyes grew wide with shock and surprise and his caped wings raised reflexively from his shoulders when the form stepped out of the shadows. "No, it's Demona. But I would like to know where Angela is," she asked.

Brooklyn took a defensive posture. "What do you want, Demona?"

She looked at him oddly. "I just told you. I want to know where Angela is."

"I think she made it clear the last time you spoke that she doesn't want to speak with you." Demona attempted to stride past him but he moved to intercept her. "Where do you think you are going?"

"I am going to find my daughter. Remember what Goliath said, Brooklyn. You haven't stopped following his orders, have you?"

Brooklyn frowned, puzzled. "Goliath's orders are what prevent me from ripping out your wings and seeing if immortals can survive a plunge into concrete off the tallest building in the world. And that's why I'm giving you ten seconds to leave this castle before I attack. Ten...nine..."

"Why are you doing this?"

"After all the things you've done to us, you ask me why I won't let you into our home? You're more insane then I thought."

"How many times do I have to apologize for all the things I've done?"

"How many times have you apologized for them?"

"I've apologized to you so many times, I've lost count."

"What were you apologizing to, a stuffed doll? Because I sure wasn't around to hear it. Six...five..."

"Brooklyn, I have no desire to fight with you."

"And that laser cannon you usually carry around really makes it hard for me to notice your overtures of peace. I'm always to busy dodging your, what would you like to claim they are, 'repeated misfires?' Four...three..."

"Enough! Brooklyn, I am going to find my daughter. Either come with me or get out of my way."

"" Brooklyn assumed an attack position. Demona just stared at him. When he moved to attack her, she still didn't believe what was going on, but simply put her hands up as if to fend off the blows.

Brooklyn's eyes flashed white and he let loose a growling roar as he lunged at Demona. An instant later he had her in a bear hug, using his momentum to tackle her to the ground. Demona landed on her back, the impact knocking the wind from her, and Brooklyn landed astride her. He paused, waiting for her to lash out at him, but all she did was raise her arms to protect herself in what seemed more like an instinctual gesture then a counter-attack. Brooklyn growled again and grabbed her by the shoulders, shaking her violently several times, trying to get a reaction from her. Instead, all he received was a look of shock and fear, which only enraged him more. As he clenched his talons into fists, Demona only waited for the battering to begin.

* * * * *


Hudson clicked the "channel" button on the remote again, landing on a station showing late-night professional wrestling, a type of ritualized combat that he had taken curious interest in ever since moving back in to the castle and gaining access to several hundred new channels.

"I wonder if that lad in the kilt'll be fightin' t'night," he wondered aloud as he scratched Bronx behind the ear.

Suddenly, Bronx sat up and began to growl.

"Easy boy," Hudson said, "If ye don't like this show, we can change the channel."

Bronx growled again and bolted from the room, barking menacingly as he ran. Hudson needed nothing more to tell him something was wrong, and he clicked of the TV and hurried after him. Lexington joined in the pursuit almost immediately, and Broadway and Angela were returning from the kitchen when Bronx barreled around the corner in front of them. They, too, followed after the huge gargoyle beast, not needing to ask any questions to know that something wasn't right. Goliath was the last to join in the chase after hearing a sudden clattering of metal as Bronx led the others past the library and, in the process, knocked over both of suits of armor which stood on either side of the double doors. The only thing that finally stopped Bronx was the heavy, closed doors leading to the courtyard, and he had already began gouging claw marks into the wood in an attempt to dig through them by the time Hudson, Goliath, and the others caught up.

"What is it, boy?" asked Hudson, out of breath. Bronx only whimpered and continued to paw at the door.

"Wait a minute," interrupted Lexington, frowning. "Do you hear that?" Everyone grew quiet, perked up their ears, and listened. Though the sound was faint, they could distinctly hear cursing and screaming.

"It sounds like..." Broadway began.

"Brooklyn!" Goliath and Angela said together. Goliath immediately grabbed the latch and threw open the door, and Bronx bounded impatiently into the courtyard. The sound of Brooklyn's irrational and incoherent screaming assailed the rest of the clan's ears as they all hurried to find out what was going on. They didn't have to go very far, as Brooklyn was attacking something right in the middle of the courtyard.

Goliath instantly appraised the situation. Brooklyn had thrown himself on top of what appeared to be Demona, but there were several indications that something was amiss. First, Demona was on the bottom. After a millenium of fighting, she was a warrior to be reckoned with; even Goliath had never been able to defeat her in single combat. Second, it appeared that she was not fighting back. Instead, she was merely defending herself against Brooklyn's blows. Third, she didn't have one of her hostile, murderous, I'll-kill-you-without-a-second-thought-and-then-have-the-remains-for-dinner looks that usually permeated her features. It was fully evident that if this was Demona, then there must be something terribly wrong with her.

"Broadway," Goliath said, trying to pull the enraged Brooklyn off of Demona, "restrain Demona. Hudson," he said, gently, "Would you please help me?"

It took the two of them to pry the struggling Brooklyn off of Demona. As Brooklyn was lifted off of her, Demona wiggled further away from him and began trying to get back up. She gasped in shock again, however, as Broadway quickly pushed her back down with his foot. Her eyes registered only fear and confusion as the bulky blue gargoyle took Brooklyn's place straddling her, and she was powerless to stop him as he then simply sat down on top of her. As Demona winced in pain from the pressure on her arms and torso, Angela gave Broadway a questioning glance, which he responded to with only a silent shrug. Angela could tell from the look in his eyes that it hurt him somewhat that Goliath was using him as a giant paperweight, but this was not the best time for either of them to question the clan leader about it. All that was important at the moment was that Demona was safely restrained, and with Broadway perched on top of her, it was painfully obvious to both Demona and everyone else present that she would have great difficulty moving until he chose to get off of her.

"Has everyone around here gone insane?" she yelled, squirming around in a vain attempt to at least free her arms.

Brooklyn, his shoulder tightly clasped by Hudson to remind him that Goliath wanted him to stay put and stop attempting to disembowel Demona, answered her. "No, just you. But that's pretty much old news."

"Demona, what are you doing here?" Goliath demanded.

"Where else would I be?" Demona said, still trying to struggle out from under Broadway. Tilting her head, she saw Angela standing at Goliath's side. "Angela, would you tell your mate to please get off of me? I may be immortal, but suffocating to death isn't fun."

"Mother, why did you come here? Especially after what you did to Elisa?"

While she wasn't in serious danger of suffocation, Broadway was making it hard for her to breathe. Her speech was shaky. "What am I supposed to have done to the Detective now?"

"Those nightmares you made her have."

"What are you talking about, child?"

Brooklyn frowned. "How many times this evening is someone going to ask what someone else is talking about? This is Demona. We don't need explanations. I know what she's doing here."

Demona strained her neck and looked at Brooklyn defiantly, and it was clearly evident that both of them were wary of the other. "And what am I doing here that I shouldn't be?"

"You never meet up with us just to exchange greetings or go out to dinner. So just being here means you are up to one of your schemes."

"I don't understand any of you. I go out gliding and when I return you act as if I don't have the right to be here, like you've suddenly cast me out of the clan again."

"Again? When did we let you back in?"

Hudson leaned towards Brooklyn's ear and lowered his voice. "Lad, ye aren't helping."

Angela looked at her mother's face. She knew that Demona was an excellent actress, but she doubted that even she could fake the look of total confusion, betrayal, and fear on her face or in her voice.

It was most definitely Demona. The face was unmistakable, and the vocal inflections were also undeniable. But it seemed that Demona wasn't her usual angry self. The only time Angela had seen the other, more emotional side of her mother was when they had talked during her imprisonment in the Labyrinth, and even then, there was a hint of anger in every word. When she spoke now, while she was angry, the underlying tone was that of self-pity and pain.

"Broadway," she said. "Let her go. I don't think she'll hurt anyone."

"But, Angela..." the portly gargoyle protested. He wasn't as furious at Demona as Brooklyn seemed to be, but he wasn't too happy with her just the same.

Goliath turned and looked at Demona, seeing the same thing that Angela had seen. He had never seen his former mate look so crushed and defeated. "Broadway, release her. I do not think she will harm us."

"Sit on Demona, get off Demona, I don't understand you guys," he mumbled. But Broadway did as he was told.

"Thank you," Demona told him as she stood back up.

"We seem to have a problem," Goliath rumbled. "You do not act like the Demona we all know and you seem to believe it is appropriate for you to be here. Why is that?"

"Because it is appropriate for me to be here. After you let me back in the clan, where else would I be?"

Hudson shook his head. "Perhaps ye'd better start at the beginning, lass."

"Hudson is right. Tell us exactly what you remember, starting with when Xanatos woke us up."

Demona sighed and then she began to speak. Her eyes turned inward, her voice became far away, and the others strained to hear as she recalled the encounter with the Weird Sisters that led her to confront centuries of denial...

* * * * *


"But who betrayed your clan?"

"And who caused this pain?"

"The Vikings destroyed my clan," Demona said, staring out into space at something only she could see.

"Who betrayed the castle to the Vikings?"

"The Hunter hunted us down."

"Who created the Hunter?"

"Canmore destroyed the last of us."

"Who betrayed Macbeth to Canmore?"

"Your thirst for vengeance has only created more sorrow. End the cycle, Demona. Give us the code."

"The access code is... alone."

Within minutes, Demona came out of her entranced state. She shook her head and looked at Goliath, who stared back at her with sadness in his eyes. "No," she gasped, almost in a whisper. "What have I done?" Her voice began to crack from the emotions that suddenly overcame her. "Castle Wyvern... the Hunters... Macbeth... it was all my fault."

One tear turned to many as she collapsed to her knees with her head in her hands, as she had once before, so many centuries ago. She barely felt the delicate hands that touched her.

"You are tired. Sleep."

- - - - -

Goliath didn't know what to think. The reaction he remembered Demona having had been completely the opposite. He tried to think of what could have happened that didn't that would have made things turn out differently, wondering if it could have even been something he said that might have made the Demona he knew choose the path she did that night. The look in his eyes became distant as he became lost in his own thoughts for a moment, only half listening as Demona continued talking.

Hudson noticed the far away look on his face, understanding it instantly. He gently placed his hand on the big gargoyle's shoulder, bringing him back to reality as Demona began describing how she next found herself in Paris...

- - - - -

While Goliath and Angela were fighting Thailog on the roof, Elisa had slipped down into the villa and attempted to stop the battle between Macbeth and Demona. When reasoning with them failed, she did the only thing she could. She grabbed a blaster from the shattered display case and shot Demona.

"Oh, man," she sighed as Macbeth and Demona lay still on the floor, "I hope this works."

A few seconds later, Macbeth began to stir. Elisa looked at the blaster she still held in her hands, then tossed it away and went to help Macbeth.

"Very foolish, detective," Macbeth said, holding his head as Elisa helped him to stand again. "The spell that links Demona and myself makes it impossible for us to die by anyone else's hands but our own."

"I was counting on that," Elisa explained. "Killing Demona temporarily was the only way to keep you two from doing yourselves in permanently."

"You should thank her, Macbeth," Goliath stated as he entered the room with Bronx and Angela right behind him. "Elisa saved your life."

"A sad, endless existence," Macbeth replied, "I'm doomed to face alone." He walked over and stood before the fire, closing his eyes. Goliath and Elisa followed him, but Angela went instead to where Demona lay, still unconscious, on the floor. She kneeled down and stared at the motionless gargoyle, her blue skin and wild red hair contrasting almost ludicrously with the torn, lace-trimmed wedding dress that she still wore. A moment later, Demona came to, and Angela jumped back a bit, unsure of what the female's reaction would be.

Demona rubbed her head and looked at Angela, her eyes registering mild shock. "Who are you?"

"Forget them, Night Angel," Thailog interrupted, throwing open the window. "The evening's a wash, but we still have each other."

Demona looked at Thailog, but then looked back at Angela and hesitated, long enough for Goliath to step partially between her and the armor-clad clone.

"Demona, I must speak to you," Goliath said. "No matter what you think of us, you must listen. I was wrong about you. You aren't going to betray Thailog. Thailog planned to betray you. He wanted you to kill Macbeth."

Demona turned to Goliath. "Why would my love want me to die?"

"If both you and Macbeth were dead, Demona, who would your money go to?"

Demona turned and looked at Thailog. "It is as you have said, my love. He is jealous," Thailog said smoothly.

"Demona, even with all of our battles, I have never lied to you. Can you say the same of your new lover?"

Demona mentally went over her relationship with Thailog. When she thought about it, he had taken an unnatural interest in her bank accounts and it was he who had hatched the Macbeth scheme.

Although she flew off with Thailog, the relationship was broken within the week. Newly formed Nightstone Unlimited became the sole property of Mme. Dominique Destine, and Alexander Thailog left France a somewhat wealthier man.

- - - - -

Goliath tried to harden his heart as she recounted her version of their encounter in France. This Demona had listened at least a little bit to his plea to give up Thailog. He wondered if the other one had as well. He found himself softening towards this forlorn creature, reliving those nights as silent tears slipped down her cheeks. Angela, too, found her feelings changing, and she listened in rapt attention as Demona continued on, telling of her first meeting with the daughter she never knew she had...

- - - - -

Demona couldn't get the girl that had been with Goliath out of her head. The resemblance to her and Goliath was unmistakable. But the only time that she and Goliath had produced an egg was a thousand years ago. The child, if the egg had survived and hatched, should have died centuries ago. But as her own case indicated, there were always exceptions to the problems of time.

Well, there had to be an explanation, and Demona had returned to New York City to get it. She had spent the past few evenings gliding around the city hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl but so far she had not seen a trace of any gargoyle.

Tonight, however, was different. Angela was gliding along the eastern edge of Manhattan Island and Demona had finally caught up with her. Surprisingly enough, the young gargoyle didn't seem to be afraid of her. They both landed on the same rooftop, and looked at each other for a moment or two before Demona finally spoke. "Who are you and where are you from? I know all of Goliath's clan and you are not one of them."

"My name is Angela... I'm your daughter."

"My daughter? That is impossible... I have no daughter."

"Yes you do. The clan's eggs survived. You and Goliath are my biological parents. I'm told that there's a resemblance."

"My daughter... after so long. Can it really be?"

"I've been living on Avalon. Princess Katharine, the Magus, and the Guardian brought all the eggs there after Castle Wyvern was attacked. They raised us. They're part of my clan... as you are."

Demona smiled. "We have much to talk about."

- - - - -

Broadway slowly moved closer to Angela as Demona told of her first short meeting with her daughter. He held no fondness for Demona and still had trouble understanding why Angela still wanted anything to do with her either, especially after what had happened at Coney Island and, more importantly, just last night. Angela had been so upset when she had returned home that she hadn't even wanted to talk to him about it. Even this evening, he could tell she was still angry, and he had tried to avoid even bringing it up as they patrolled together. All he knew for sure was that seeing Angela upset made him upset, and right now the one person who always seemed to be the cause of Angela's bad moods was standing just a few feet away. He puffed up his chest and eyed Demona suspiciously for a few more seconds, then looked at Angela, expecting to still see the pained look in her eyes that had been present earlier. Instead, he saw a look of compassion and understanding, and he relaxed and blushed slightly as Angela noticed him watching her. Silently, she took his hand, and together they continued to listen as Demona continued with her story...

- - - - -

Angela landed on the clocktower, followed a second later by Demona. "So this is where the clan has been hiding. Above Elisa Maza's precinct."

Goliath came outside. "Angela has told us of your meetings over the past weeks, and I trust her judgement. But I must warn you, Demona, if you attempt to use the knowledge of where we sleep to capture us, then I will forbid Angela to see you."

"I still think you are a fool for trusting humans, Goliath. But our daughter is right, what do I have to gain from destroying gargoyles? Even though they have corrupted you, perhaps others can be made to see the truth. And there will be others. There are many years ahead of you still; there will be future generations."

Goliath frowned. "I am pleased that you have changed some of your views. It's a pity that you haven't changed all of them."

- - - - -

Lexington fidgeted uncomfortably, crouched on all fours, as he listened to how Angela had trusted Demona enough to reveal the location of the clan's home to her. Two years ago, he had given his trust to Fox and The Pack and had come close to doing the same with them before they betrayed him and tried to hunt him and Goliath for sport. If he had been in Goliath's place, he would never have trusted Demona, no matter what Angela might have said. He looked up at the big lavender gargoyle just then, wondering if he was going to trust Demona at her word now, as well. He still wasn't totally buying her story himself, though as she went on to describe things that had just happened a few short weeks ago, the detail and emotion with which she told her story was making it harder and harder to believe that she was simply lying...

- - - - -

Demona entered the clocktower and gasped in horror. Her daughter was lying on the floor, her body limp and her breathing nonexistent. Elisa Maza was standing over her, preparing to bend down.

"Get away from her, murderer!" Demona screamed as she lunged toward the detective before she could finish the job Demona believed she had started. She had made it halfway across the room before Lexington, Hudson, and a growling Bronx intercepted her.

"Stand back, Demona. If I don't get her breathing, she won't live till sunrise," Elisa said. She kneeled down beside Angela and checked for a pulse, then tilted the girl's head back, opened her mouth, and pinched her nose shut. Demona stopped struggling against the two gargoyles' attempts to restrain her, watching with wide, confused eyes as Elisa then sealed her lips over Angela's open mouth and breathed a long, deep breath of air into her. It wasn't until Elisa moved to give four quick chest compressions, counting them aloud as she did them, that it finally clicked in Demona's head that the woman was performing a medical ritual that the humans called "CPR."

Demona could only watch, wide-eyed, as Elisa repeated the cycle of breaths and chest compressions two more times. After what seemed like an eternity, Angela coughed and took a breath for herself, then began to breathe without assistance. Happy exclamations rose from the clan, and Goliath put his hand on Elisa's shoulder. "She lives... thanks to you."

Elisa smiled. "CPR. The gift that keeps on giving."

Demona looked at the detective. The human who had thwarted her plans time and time again had just saved her daughter. It perplexed her to no end, but she concentrated on the problem at hand. She and Elisa asked the same thing simultaneously. "Who did this to her?"

"You should know, it was obvious they were looking for you. And we were only there because you were up to no good," Brooklyn snapped, glaring at Demona.

"They call themselves 'Hunters,'" Goliath said, "but soon, they will be the prey. My prey."

"So you have finally learned the truth, Goliath. Humans cannot be trusted, especially not the Hunters. They have hunted me for over nine hundred years and they have killed countless gargoyles."

"A human just saved your daughter's life," Brooklyn said.

"As I told you long ago, perhaps the Detective is the exception that proves the rule." She looked at Elisa, who still kneeled by Angela's side, checking her pulse. "I will be grateful to her until she dies, but that doesn't change the fact that humans cannot be trusted. They are a malignant cancer that should be removed from this planet."

Brooklyn stepped between Demona and Elisa and pointed his finger at the red-haired female. "It's you who can't be trusted, you psychopathic..."

The argument was ended when the gargoyles turned to stone and Demona screamed and transformed into a human. As Demona took a moment to recover from her metamorphosis, Elisa wondered whether it was a good idea to let her go out dressed as she was. But then she remembered that she had already done it once before... and this was New York City.

"Come on," she said, reaching her hand out tentatively to the human woman who now kneeled on the floor where a gargoyle had stood a moment earlier, "let's get you out of here."

Demona looked at the detective for a moment before silently accepting her offer of assistance and letting Elisa help her back to her feet. Without a word more, Elisa led Demona down the stairs and through the building. They got all the way to the front steps before running into Elisa's temporary partner. He stopped in his tracks and looked at Demona oddly. "Elisa, who's your friend?"

"She isn't my friend," Elisa said, more harshly then she would have liked. "This is... Dominique Destine. She decided to walk home in the wee hours of the morning and apparently got mugged. Since we have a... mutual acquaintance, I decided to expedite the paperwork. Dominique, this is Jason Conover."

Demona was also looking at Jason oddly. She didn't even notice that he had extended his hand, and after a few awkward seconds, he drew back from his attempt at a greeting.

"Well, Dominique, I'm on duty right now," said Elisa, trying to be civil. "I'm sure you can find your own way from here." She grabbed Jason's arm and headed towards her car. He started to object, but she whispered, "Take my advice, you don't want to talk to her. Neither of us want to be within a hundred light-years of her."

- - - - -

Angela quickly wiped at a tear that was beginning to form in her eye and gazed sadly at Demona. She herself could barely remember anything that had happened that night after the Hunters' electrified net had hit her. She could recall falling, but then everything was a hazy blur save for a few brief moments when she had heard her father's voice, urging her to hold on until sunrise. Her next clear memory was of Elisa leaning over her, checking her pulse, then Broadway holding her hand. Her mother hadn't been there - no one even had been sure that she was still alive until that night - but until just now, she had hoped that if Demona had been there, her reaction would have been more than just another pointless rail against humanity. And despite all that, Elisa had still seen Demona safely out of the building.

Angela looked down and closed her eyes for a moment, picturing Demona and Elisa in her mind and wondering which one she really cared about more, and her heart suddenly filled with dread at the prospect of ever having to make the choice. Then she felt Broadway squeeze her hand, and she reopened her eyes and turned to him, blinking quickly several times to clear the tears from her eyes. She gave him a half-hearted smile and received back a look of understanding that turned it into a real one. Demona had reached the night of the Hunter's Moon now, and Angela returned her attention to the tale...

- - - - -

Demona poured the contents of the test tube into the vial, instantly turning the liquid it contained from a pale green to a dark shade of violet. Sitting on the Medici Tablet next to the vial, the Praying Gargoyle suddenly began to glow.

"You'll thank me for this later," Demona stated calmly as she tossed the empty test tube away.

"Don't hold your breath," replied Brooklyn, eyes glowing as he held his injured shoulder and stared down the barrel of Demona's laser gun.

"Demona!" growled Goliath as he and the others rushed into the room. "What sorcery is this?"

"She's already cast a spell," Brooklyn said. "My Latin's rusty, but it can't be good news."

Demona smiled slightly and chuckled as she turned toward the clan. "Oh, but it is." She picked up the container of purple liquid in her talons and turned, holding it up for them to see. "All I have to do is shatter this vial and all of humanity will be destroyed," she declared. "Only our kind will survive, thanks to the..." Demona swallowed the rest of the sentence as her eyes fell upon Angela. The unspoken words settled uncomfortably in the pit of her stomach, and she froze at seeing the look of horror that covered the young girl's face.

Goliath stopped in his tracks, too, as he saw the look in Demona's eyes suddenly change. He followed her gaze, turning to see his daughter standing there silently just inside the doorway, staring back in shocked disbelief at Demona and the vial she held in her talons.

"Angela, I..." Demona began weakly.

"You've been planning this all along?" Angela questioned sharply. "Mother, ...why?!"

Brooklyn crept away and joined Lexington and Hudson as Demona all but forgot about him. "I... I am doing this for you, Angela," she said, trying to offer some explanation to the young female she had come to care about so much over the past few months. "So you will be able to grow old and raise your children in a world where you can walk down the street without getting attacked. A world where you won't be hated and hunted just because of what you are. Where you will never have to fear being shattered in your sleep..."

Demona's voice trembled more and more with each word she spoke, but Angela only looked at her coolly. "No," she said. "This isn't about me, is it?"

"Angela," Demona said, a look of desperation beginning to cross her features, "i-it's..."

"It's about revenge," Angela continued. "That's all you care about, isn't it?"

Demona closed her eyes for a moment. "After all I have seen the humans do to our kind... if this is revenge, then it is richly deserved." She paused for a moment. "But you wouldn't understand, would you?"

Angela's features softened, and she said softly, "Actually, mother...I do understand."

Demona opened her eyes again and looked at Angela accusingly. "How could you possibly know how I feel?"

Angela began to look almost ashamed. "The other night, I wanted revenge on the Hunters. I wanted it more than anything else." She bowed her head. "At least, I thought I did... until I lost my home... and almost lost Elisa, too. I was so blinded by hate that I nearly lost sight of the things that were truly important." She looked back at Demona. "I never want to be like that again. And if you want to be like that, I don't ever want to be like you."

Demona's eyes widened in shock at the last sentence. Angela slowly walked over to the table, with Demona too stunned to offer any resistance. She looked at the small gargoyle statue resting on the tablet. Looking back at her mother, she pointed to it. "Is this what you're using to protect our kind?"

Demona simply nodded.

As Angela turned back toward the statue, Demona tried one last time to reason with her daughter. "Please, Angela. I just want to make a world where our kind can be safe. Where we don't have to worry about things like the Hunters. Where you and I can be together."

Angela closed her eyes and sighed sadly, shaking her head. "I want a world like that, too, mother," she said softly, "but not if it's made this way. Not like this." Then she raised her hand in a fist, and prepared to bring it down on the Praying Gargoyle.

"Wait!" Demona screamed. Desperation and anguish filled her voice and her laser cannon clattered to the floor as she extended her arm towards Angela in a frantic gesture. Angela turned halfway around, glaring at Demona, her clenched fist only inches away from the fragile statue.

"I'll do it! I swear, mother, I'll do it! Then you can spread your evil if you dare -- we can all die together, you, me, the whole clan! Is that what you want?"

"Angela... you don't have to... you... I..." Demona looked at Angela's steely expression and then back at the vial she held in her talons, her eyes filling with confusion.

"Mother, please," she heard Angela say softly as she stared at the purple liquid. "Don't do this."

"Demona," Goliath rumbled, "listen to our daughter. Give us the vial."

"I can't, Goliath!" she cried despairingly. "This is the only way! This is..." She trailed off, then continued in a voice so low that it could barely be heard. "...this is all I have left."

Angela moved her hand away from the Praying Gargoyle and took a step closer to Demona, who still held the vial in her talons. "You still have us," she continued softly. "You can start a new life. You don't have to be alone anymore."

Demona lowered her eyes and looked away from her daughter, sadness replacing the anger in her voice. "I gave up any chance of such a life long before you were hatched."

"You still have a chance at a real life, mother."

"Perhaps," Demona said, still not meeting Angela's gaze, "but your clan would never trust me. No one will ever trust me."

Goliath shook his head. "Trust must be earned, Demona. It may take some time, but if you try, eventually we will trust you again. Rejoin the clan, give up your vengeance, and we will get through the times ahead together."

Angela looked at her pleadingly. "Please, mother? It doesn't have to be this way."

"Goliath, you aren't actually thinking of letting her back into the clan, are you? After all she's done," Brooklyn said.

"Lad, this is neither the place nor the time," Hudson said.

Demona sighed as she took one last look at the vial and then finally looked into her daughter's eyes. Her voice was barely above a whisper as she gently handed the canister to Angela. "I will try."

Angela handed the canister to Goliath, and then embraced Demona. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she whispered, "Thank you, Mother."

- - - - -

Demona ended her story with a long sigh.

"She's lying, Goliath! The past can't be changed. History is immutable. She admitted that herself." Brooklyn had barely been able to hold his tongue while Demona was telling her story, and he was incensed even more now that it looked like Goliath and Angela were starting to believe her. "This is the kind of situation you see on television," he argued. "Bad guy pretends to reform, gets in good with the good guys, then betrays them."

Lexington thought for a second. "She's not talking about a different timeline - she's from a parallel universe... I think..."

At that point, Owen Burnett stepped out of the shadows where he had obviously been standing for some time. "Perhaps I can explain..." he began.

* * * * *


Demona turned off the light and pulled up the covers, laying her head back uneasily onto the overstuffed pillow and staring blankly at the canopy which covered the bed. She was exhausted. She hadn't had more than a few hours sleep each night for the past week and it was finally catching up to her. Today, she, or rather, Ms. Dominique Destine had almost nodded off during an important meeting. She couldn't even remember half of what that consultant had been saying about Nightstone Unlimited's pending stock offering despite the fact that the preparations for it had been occupying most of her time ever since she came back to New York. And as if that weren't enough, there was also a new competitor to deal with.

The blue gargoyle shifted restlessly under the covers, trying to find a comfortable place for her tail, her eyes still wide open as the worries about Nightstone's new rival paraded once again through her mind. Things had been tough enough when Nightstone was trying to break into the market and the only serious competition had been Xanatos Enterprises. Now there was a new player in the game, and the sudden expansion of European giant Maddox Technologies into the American market had Demona worried. She had never been worried about competing with Xanatos. She knew him, she knew his style, and she could anticipate his moves. Indeed, though she'd never in a million years admit it, she had learned a thing or two from him, as well. But Maddox Technologies was a whole new ballgame. She knew next to nothing about the private lives of either of its owners, Nicholas Maddox and Mavis O'Connor, or the way they did business. And while she was already working to rectify that situation, doubt continued to creep into her mind over whether or not Nightstone Unlimited would be able to hold its own against two multinational corporations.

Which brought her back to thinking about the stock deal. She still had doubts about that, too. Was it really wise to start selling small portions of ownership of her company to human investors? Her financial consultants all said it was. It would make Nightstone Unlimited stronger, and give the company more working capital. Besides, she could decide how much stock to sell and when it would be sold, and there'd be no real risk to her as long as she always held a majority of the shares herself. Of course, she didn't want to keep everything to herself forever. She hoped to be able to share it one day. Demona closed her eyes as she thought of Angela. Allowing the weariness to finally overtake her, she drifted off to sleep.

- - - - -

She was running, shielding her body with her wings as she crashed through the underbrush, her laser cannon slung over her shoulder. She stumbled slightly as she came into a grassy clearing, sore and out of breath. She had lost her bearings several hundred feet earlier, when she had tripped on a tree root and tumbled down a small embankment, but her sense of direction returned as she looked up to see a man on horseback holding a crossed pair of swords over his head. It took her only a moment to recognize the bronze statue of King Wladislaw Jagiello of Poland and form a mental picture of her position relative to the rest of Central Park.

"You're mine now, demon," growled an angry voice from behind her. Spinning, Demona gasped at seeing the muscular, masked figure step out of the shadows. His uniform was the dark blue of the Quarrymen, but the red slashes of his mask identified him to her instantly.

"The Hunter!" Demona hissed. Her voice was an unsure mix of shock and fury, but her glowing red eyes showed only pure hatred. She raised her wings and took a step back, realizing as she spotted the man's glowing hammer that her own weapon was still slung uselessly over her shoulder.

The hooded man took another step towards her, bringing himself fully into the circle of light that surrounded the statue. He held the humming Quarryhammer in both hands, almost as if he wanted Demona to get a good look at it. His eyes narrowed as he taunted her. "After I've finished with you, demon, I think I'll wait until sunrise to pay a visit to your spawn."

Demona didn't even pause to think about how The Hunter could possibly know about Angela. She was moving before he even finished speaking, crouching and then leaping on the man like a jungle cat. Human and gargoyle went down together, Demona's eyes glowing like hot coals as she slashed at his chest with her talons. She dug her claws into his armor as he pressed the electrified hammer to her bare midsection, screaming in agony as the current raced through her body but refusing to let go. Still, the shock dazed her, and the Hunter, still on his back, managed to raise one of his legs and kick the weakened gargoyle off him. She landed in a heap at the base of the statue, looking up to see the bronze horse seeming to stare quizzically back at her.

The Hunter had regained his feet and cocked his hammer again. "You'll have to do better than that, demon," he snarled as he advanced toward the fallen gargoyle, hoisting the hammer high above his head. It was then that Demona's head cleared enough to notice that her laser cannon had slipped off her shoulder during her fall and was now lying within a few inches of her right hand. The Hunter noticed this, too, but a moment too late. Demona grabbed the weapon and fired one-handed at nearly point-blank range. The shot hit the man in the left shoulder, knocking him backward and making him lose his grip on the hammer, which bounced once on the ground before coming to rest a good ten feet from his reach.

"I intend to, human," Demona replied wickedly. Slowly, she pushed herself back to her feet, steadying herself against the statue with one hand as she kept the laser gun trained on the Hunter with the other. He was holding his injured arm, and, having realized that now he was the one without a weapon, he started to step back. He had reached the edge of the area where the lighting ended and the shadows began when a blast from Demona's laser struck the ground just at his feet. "Take off that mask, human," Demona ordered coldly, her eyes glowing dimly as she adjusted her aim to the man's chest. "I want to see your face as you die."

She was momentarily startled when the man laughed, but her aim never wavered. "You mean, after all this time, demon, you don't know who I am?"

"I never cared," she replied. She repeated the order and adjusted the laser to its highest setting, letting the hum of the weapon's capacitor punctuate her words. The man said not a word more. Slowly, he reached up to take hold of the top of his hood...

"Freeze! Police!" The sudden stream of light blinded Demona and made her lose her target. Turning, she growled and moved her hand to shield her eyes from the glare, squinting to confirm through glowing eyes what her ears already told her. It was that blasted human, Elisa Maza. She stood with her gun trained on Demona, crouched behind the open driver's side door of her car.

"Lay down your weapon, Demona. It's over," shouted Elisa.

Demona quickly turned back to the Quarryman she had been about to unmask. His hood was still in place, and while he still favored his injured shoulder, he now held a wicked looking blaster of his own in his good hand. The few brief moments she had turned her back to him had been plenty of time for him to draw the weapon.

"Some other time, perhaps," he chuckled, holding Demona at bay with the weapon as he backed away into the shadows from which he had come. "The Hunt is not over." Then he was gone, as quickly as he had appeared, leaving Demona alone in the light from the car's high beams.

Demona's frustrated scream echoed through the air, and she turned quickly back towards Elisa. "You fool! I had him! You let him escape!" she cursed.

"I said lay down your weapon!" Elisa repeated. If she had heard what Demona had just said, she didn't seem to care.

Demona's eyes narrowed as the frustration and rage washed through her. She remembered all the previous times the human Elisa Maza had interfered in her plans, and in an instant her next action was determined.

Elisa realized Demona's intentions just in time to dive for cover. She hit the grass and rolled just as the blast from Demona's laser cannon hit the front of her Fairlane. The resulting explosion was deafening, and it raised the car several feet off the ground before engulfing it in flames as gravity slammed it back down again. Broken glass flew everywhere, and Elisa covered her head with her arms and tried her best to crawl further away from the burning wreck that used to be her car.

She looked back up to see Demona casually step aside as a flaming tire rolled past her, a thin trail of smoke curling from the barrel of her gun. "You missed me, Demona," Elisa said as coolly as she could.

"I was aiming for the car," Demona lied as she raised the gun again, "This time, however..." Demona forestalled any further comment at seeing Elisa suddenly reach for something in the grass. She started to pull the trigger, but a split second later something hard and heavy struck her hand, sending pain shooting through her wrist and making her shot go wild. Demona cried out at the sudden, sharp pain, and the stray blast struck a nearby tree. Then she looked down in astonishment at her feet to see the scorched hubcap that had struck her.

"Nice catch," shouted Elisa sarcastically.

Demona growled and her eyes glowed bright red again as she looked back up and in the direction of the detective's voice. Elisa was back on her feet now with nary a trace of damage on her save for some dirt on her clothes.

This time, Demona's scream was one of pure rage. For a moment, Elisa didn't even move, so stunned was she by the angry gargoyle's primal cry. She came back to her senses just in time to avoid the next shot as Demona began firing wildly, strafing the area with laser fire. "What does it take to kill you!" screamed Demona as Elisa ran, ducked, and dodged for her life, Demona's shots missing her by inches.

"Mother, please! Stop this fighting!"

Demona heard Angela clearly over the din but did not see her until it was too late. Angela glided out from behind the trees and into the clearing, pulling her wings back as she prepared to land near the statue.

The last blast Demona had fired towards Elisa left the barrel of her gun and sliced through the air, searching for a target, but although Elisa was standing directly in its path, Demona suddenly knew that the blast would never find her.

The young female gargoyle never even saw it coming, though to Demona, everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. A numbness worse than anything she had ever felt before overtook her, and she could only stare, horror-stricken, at what was about to happen. The shot struck Angela head-on in the chest, and the force of the blast threw her backward and slammed her into the side of the statue's pedestal with a sickening "thud." Then she toppled forward and crumpled limply to the cold hard pavement.

"Angela!" Elisa and Demona's horrified cries were sounded simultaneously. Elisa was already running toward the fallen girl before she had even hit the ground, but Demona didn't move at all. Her arms fell limply to her sides, and the laser cannon clattered hollowly to the ground at her feet. She could hear Angela sobbing from the pain and wanted to run to her - to do anything she could to help her daughter - but her body would not respond. It was as if her feet and legs were as lifeless as those of the statue towering over the terrible scene before her. All she could do was continue to watch and listen, and Angela's cries were the only thing she could hear. Every other sound had faded away so that each labored gasp, each tortured moan that Angela made, filled Demona's ears.

"Mother, help me!" cried Angela, fighting against the pain to speak the words. As she spoke, she struggled to turn her head, then reached out weakly with her hand. But it wasn't Demona to whom she was speaking or who gently took her hand and softly answered, "I'm right here, Angela." It was Elisa.

Demona stared in shocked disbelief at hearing this exchange. Still unable to force her body to obey her brain and move, she watched with tears beginning to form in her eyes as Elisa knelt down beside Angela and tried as best she could to comfort her. Gently, Elisa rolled Angela onto her back, and Demona could see the alarm flash in the human woman's eyes when she saw the large, dark wound that the laser had left on the girl's chest. She could see the pleading look in Angela's eyes as Elisa hurriedly removed her red jacket, and the flash of intense pain in those same eyes as Elisa pressed it against the wound in a desperate attempt to stop the blood that was starting to flow. She could only watch as Elisa took Angela's hand again, able to clearly hear the softly spoken words of encouragement that the woman offered to the stricken girl, able to hear each and every trembling breath Angela took, but completely unable herself to give any comfort to her own daughter.

"It's going to be all right, Angela," Elisa said softly, "the sun will heal you." She held back her tears and squeezed the young female's hand as Demona looked on, trying to hold back tears of her own, knowing that sunrise was hours away.

"Mother... the sun... I..." Angela's words came in shallow gasps, till at last they were too faint for Demona to hear over the dull roar that had begun to echo in her head. A few seconds later, Angela's crying stopped and her body became still. Elisa held Angela's hand a moment longer then gently leaned over her and closed her eyes. Then Elisa slowly stood up and turned to face Demona, who was still watching, tears starting to flow down her cheeks. Demona looked into Elisa's eyes again and saw them change. All traces of emotion had disappeared, and look she gave to Demona was hard and cold. "You just killed her," she stated matter-of-factly, "You just killed your own daughter."

Demona did not reply. She wanted to say something, anything, but no words would come. There were no words that she could speak; nothing that could be said which would make any difference. All she could do was stare at her daughter's body, then back at the steely look on Elisa's face. Her ears were ringing with Elisa's words and her mind was screaming, "I never wanted this to happen! I never wanted to kill her!" But she couldn't say it. Even as Elisa began walking toward her, repeating in that same cold voice, "You just killed your own daughter," she couldn't say it. Her lips failed her now as her legs had done earlier, and her head began to pound, her vision to blur from the tears. Soon, Elisa was right in front of her, staring straight into her eyes with a look so cold that it threatened to pierce her soul. But Demona couldn't look away, and her vision was so blurred by tears that there now almost seemed to be three Elisas speaking with one voice: "You just killed your own daughter." And finally, Demona screamed...

- - - - -


Demona woke up with a start as her terrified cry echoed through the empty house. A lightning flash lit the room for a split second, and for a moment Demona thought she saw something standing at the foot of her bed. She sat up and groped for the lamp on the table beside the bed, but when she finally turned it on, there were only the curtains of the bed fluttering lightly in the breeze coming through the open window. Thunder rumbled in the distance as Demona rubbed her eyes and took a second look before deciding it was all just in her head. "It was just a dream," she said, trying to reassure herself, "just a terrible dream," but the image of Angela's lifeless body still hung in her mind. She looked down at her hands to see that they were trembling, and suddenly she felt very cold. She grabbed for one of the blankets that she had thrown off during her sleep and quickly drew herself up in it, trying to stop the chills that suddenly overcame her, but blankets were an inadequate solution for the kind of chills she possessed.

Demona closed her eyes again, telling herself one more time that it was just a nightmare - that none of the things she had seen were real. But then she inadvertently found herself wondering if this was what it had been like for Elisa just a few short days ago, and the harsh words Angela had spoken to her the previous night came right back to her.

"Know this, Mother, if you ever, ever hurt anyone I love again, I swear that I will NEVER speak to you again for the rest of my life."

Demona had been so shocked by her daughter's reaction that she hadn't even been able to reply. She hadn't even known how much the human woman meant to her daughter. She had acted out of anger - acted without thinking - and she had ended up hurting the one person she cared about most. She had wounded Angela emotionally and hadn't been able to do a thing about it.

Demona shivered again and reopened her eyes, hoping that the light would drive away these unpleasant thoughts. The similarity of reality to her dream was even more terrifying to her than the dream itself, and she didn't want to think about it any more. Especially the part where Angela had addressed Elisa, rather than herself, as "Mother." Was it possible that Angela really might think of Elisa in this way? It was a question Demona wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer to. Nor was she certain whether that or the fact that she had killed her own daughter was the thing she found most disturbing about the dream, and she couldn't help but wonder where Angela was at that moment, and if she was safe.

Demona suddenly cast off the blanket and got up from the bed. She'd had enough of these thoughts. She needed to clear her head. A few steps brought her to the open window and she placed her hands on the sill and leaned out into the night. The crisp late autumn breeze on her face chased away any lingering traces of sleep as she gazed off in the direction of Castle Wyvern and the Eyrie Building. There was the faintest trace of rain in the air and lightning still flickered in the clouds far to the east, so far off now that the thunder could no longer be heard over the sounds of the city. Behind the departing clouds, the sky was clear and the moon glowed brightly, an irresistible sight to a gargoyle who had spent too much time on the ground and not stretched her wings just for their own sake in quite some time. She made up her mind then. She would take a nice long glide over the city and try to forget about her dream... and maybe pass by Castle Wyvern along the way, just to look in on her daughter. Feeling better already, she placed a foot on the sill and leapt from the window. Her wings unfurled and caught the breeze, and she headed off into the night.

* * * * *


"...the nature of which can be found in the theories of Dr. Stephen Hawking, among other people. For every action, there are an infinite number of possible reactions. And those reactions cause other actions that also have an infinite number of possible reactions. Let us take what Demona has said. Where she comes from, she was reluctantly accepted back into your clan after a reform. Here, she never made that reform and continues to be a threat. There are an infinite number of Demonas out there, an infinite number of Owens, Goliaths, Lexingtons, and so on in an infinite number of universes where literally anything could happen, even things you would think impossible. But contact between the different universes is supposed to be impossible, or at least, only theoretically possible."

"This is all very fascinating," Demona said. "But how do I get home?"

"I do not know how you got here, therefore I cannot yet theorize a method of return. There are many theoretical ways of travel between timelines, a great many of them postulated by science-fiction authors with overactive imaginations."

"Who would have thought, Owen Burnett, a closet science-fiction fan?" said Broadway.

"It is often beneficial in my line of work to have an intimate knowledge of fiction. There is a grain of truth in a great many stories. I cite as an example, Macbeth."

"Yeah, whatever," Brooklyn said. "You wouldn't happen to have any theories that were created by people who knew what they are doing?"

"Of course. It is simply that the field of parallel dimensions is a relatively unexplored field, and most of the advanced theoretical work is fictional. But there are a few researchers working on this topic. I do keep up on the latest research in various fields. The predominating theory is that each quantum reality has a specific quantum frequency, and some theories hypothesize that by altering the quantum frequency of matter you can move matter into another quantum reality, parallel dimension, parallel universe, alternate time-track, whatever you choose to call it. The most likely method involves a quantum energy field tuned to the specific quantum frequency of the dimension you intend to enter. However, harnessing the energy required for such a field is not an easy task."

"Exactly how much energy does it take?" asked Lexington.

"Needless to say, the power required is substantial - and it would need to be generated almost instantaneously. Too little energy could kill a living subject as some molecules will make the transit and other will not. You would discorporate. The only known event even capable of a sudden burst of enough pure energy is a bolt of lightning."

"I almost got hit by lightning earlier this evening. I was gliding along when suddenly the entire sky lit up. For a few moments, I couldn't see a thing."

Owen's expression changed to one of concern, which wasn't much different from his usual expression. It took a lot of observation for anyone to even notice his emotions. "I see. This is most interesting. If you'll excuse me, there are some matters that require my attention."

As his dark suit blended back into the shadows, Lexington thought he saw someone else standing there, watching, but then he blinked and there was nothing.

Goliath looked at Demona, the expression on his face an odd mixture of contemplation and sadness. Demona met his gaze only for a moment before diverting her eyes timidly. Hudson scratched Bronx idly behind the ear and traded silent glances with Broadway and Lexington, while Brooklyn mumbled under his breath and kicked absently at a small stone on the ground. Finally, Angela dared to break the awkward silence.

"What exactly do I call you?" Angela asked. "You are and aren't my mother."

"It doesn't matter."

"Okay. I just don't know what to say."

"Neither do I."

Brooklyn chimed in. "Exactly what do you say to a supposedly nice counterpart of an enemy? What would you say if Thailog, assuming he wasn't dead, showed up saying he was a reformed parallel version of himself?"

"Thailog is dead?" Demona asked, shocked.

"Thailog isn't dead? Oh, great. And I thought you were telling us about a better world."

The conversation had hit a dip again, and Angela ushered Demona away from the silent stares, leading her away from the courtyard and the clan. "Doesn't this make you wonder what else might have been?" she asked as the two of them ascended the steps leading up to the castle walls.

"I've made a lot mistakes and caused a lot of grief over the last millennium, child, even where I come from. I would give my left arm, permanently, if I could go back and change just one of them and save the life of one person I've destroyed."

"I only wish that our Demona would realize that."

"For a long time, I was unwilling to accept that some of the things that happened were my fault. When I realized that, I was able to admit that both humans and gargoyles were people and that people aren't perfect."

"What kind of things would you change?"

"The massacre at Wyvern. Had I not betrayed the clan and encouraged the Captain to betray the Princess, our descendents might still be alive today."

"Or the Vikings might have destroyed the castle two or three nights later," Angela replied. "They were winning as you awoke that night."

"The only reason they got that far was because the Captain and I were conspiring with Hakon. Only Hakon and his men didn't know that the Captain was working with me."

"And if they had known?"

"Then we would have all been dead, regardless. If not, Goliath and I would have still been together, and you would have lived out your life at Castle Wyvern, assuming that the humans there continued to keep us safe long enough for you to hatch and live out your life."

"Neither you nor my mother should continue to blame yourself for events that happened a thousand years ago. You were wrong, but there's nothing you can do about it now."

Demona sighed and stopped walking, turning away from Angela for the first time since the conversation had begun. She placed her hands on the parapet wall and looked out over the city. "I wish I could find a reality where I never made any mistakes, and live there," she said after a long pause.

"I never thought you were the type to run away from your problems."

"I've been running away from my problems since before you were conceived," Demona said, turning back to Angela. "I found ways of rationalizing them, but the problems were always mine. The Captain may have been involved, but we both planned Hakon's attack and ordered specific points to be undefended."

Feeling that the topic would only cause this distraught version of her mother to sink further into the depths of self-pity which had built up over the centuries, Angela switched gears. "What is the rest of the clan like where you come from? Take Brooklyn, for example. Is he the same in your universe?"

"Too much so, if what I saw tonight is any indication. The truth is, I have feared a confrontation like that ever since I came back. He was not pleased with the decision to readmit me to the clan. He's been especially vocal about it."

"Perhaps the problem is that you and Brooklyn are more alike than either of you would admit."

"Brooklyn and I? You must be joking."

"You both have such strong tempers," Angela explained, "but you always try to hide them until you reach a point where you just..." She paused, trying to think of the right word. "...explode," she said finally. "It really frightens me, sometimes," she added, somewhat sadly.

"Angela," Demona said gently, "perhaps you miss my counterpart so much you are casting her personality on your clan."

Angela considered that statement for a moment, then another question came out of the blue. "What am I like where you come from?"

Demona paused a moment before answering, wondering if, back in her world, her Angela was getting worried about her whereabouts. "The same, as far as I know," she answered. "It seems that the only difference between our two worlds is me and all the things I did differently. That changed everyone else."

"The thing that scares me about all this is the questions that it brings up," Angela said. "There could be a universe out there where I am an evil person."

"Someone once told me that there is no one truly evil, although some come very close. Everyone is tossed onto their respective side by their beliefs, desires, and perceptions." Angela smiled involuntarily for the first time since the night had begun, knowing who that "someone" was. Demona smiled, too, as she put her arm around her counterpart's daughter and briefly wondered how that made them related.

* * * * *


Demona covered the distance between her home and the Eyrie Building quickly, though she wasn't even consciously aware that she had flown straight there until she looked up from the reflection of the moon in the reservoir in Central Park to see Xanatos's tower rising in front of her. She had been thinking about her dream the whole time, and about what Angela had said to her the other night, and she wondered if she should try to speak with Angela tonight if she saw her. Doubts and questions filled her mind. Was it was too soon to try to approach her daughter? Would Angela still be too angry to listen? And was she even ready, herself, to speak to Angela? She had concluded after much thought that she wasn't. At least, not yet. For now, she'd stick with her original plan. Right now all she wanted to do was make sure Angela was safe.

She caught an updraft over Columbus Circle and rode it in a wide spiral until she was several hundred feet higher than the top of the Castle's tallest tower. Then, with only a slight motion of her wings, she brought herself into a wide arc about the Eyrie Building. She knew Xanatos was as paranoid as she was when it came to security, and she had no desire to face off against Steel Clan robots tonight. Nor did she wish to be spotted by the clan if she could help it. She would only approach as close to Castle Wyvern as was necessary to spot Angela, and once she saw that her daughter was alive and safe, she would move on. Nothing could have prepared her, however, for what she saw as she made her first pass around the Castle: it was herself, standing with her arm around Angela!

Demona's mind went into a spin of shock, anger, and jealousy, and only one thought entered her mind: a clone. This time, however, the emotions that swept over her were ten times more intense than they had been when Thailog had first introduced her to Delilah. It was bad enough to think of her gargoyle genes combined with Elisa Maza's human ones, but the clone she saw now was even worse because it appeared to be a perfect duplicate of herself. The clone's coloration was even the same as her own, and it wore exact replicas of her clothing, as well! Without another thought about the Steel Clan or any of Xanatos's other defenses, Demona dove toward the Castle.

She pulled back her wings as she dove, turning her body into a virtual missile as she picked up speed, and came at Angela and the imposter from their blind side. The clone didn't have time to react. Demona hit her like a linebacker, grabbing her with her talons as she impacted. The momentum carried both of them off of the parapet and down into the courtyard below. After hitting the ground, they rolled together for almost fifty feet, a blurred, blue mass of wings, arms, legs, and tails, crashing through the trunk of a tree before coming to rest. Only then did Demona let go, but only so she could viciously throw the impostor off of her and into the side of the fallen tree. Demona got back to her feet instantly, adrenaline and rage racing high, but her duplicate was terribly dazed and barely managed to stagger back to her feet. Talons at the ready and murder in her glowing eyes, Demona prepared to lunge.

"Mother, please! Stop this fighting!" Angela cried out as she glided down from the parapet. She landed in front of her mother, blocking her path, but Demona had already stopped moving at hearing Angela's words. For a moment, Angela was startled at how quickly her mother had backed down.

"What is going on out here, lass?" demanded Hudson as he raced into the courtyard, sword drawn and Bronx by his side. The Trio was right behind him, but all stopped in their tracks at seeing Angela standing there, in the midst of the destruction, between the two Demonas. Bronx crouched and growled at the new Demona, recognizing her instantly.

"Easy, boy," cautioned Hudson, laying his hand on the back of the huge gargoyle beast.

"Whoa..." commented Brooklyn. He blinked and shook his head, then stated the obvious. "There's two of them."

"I told you she was telling the truth," muttered Lexington, elbowing Brooklyn in the side.

"Are you all right, Angela?" asked Broadway concernedly.

"I'm fine. Just..."

"Demona!" Goliath interrupted his daughter with his growled observation as he came through the doorway and saw what was going on. Had the mood not been so tense, it might have seemed funny when both blue gargoyles turned simultaneously and looked at him. It was the new arrival who spoke first.

"What is the meaning of this farce, Goliath?" Demona asked angrily, still eyeing the double disdainfully over Angela's shoulder. "Was it Xanatos's idea? Or did Thailog get more than his looks and his temper from his 'father?'"

Goliath's face contorted in anger at Demona's insinuation and a growl rose in his throat. This time, however, Angela interrupted him before he could speak.

"No, mother," she said, stepping into Demona's line of sight. She paused for a second until she was sure she had her mother's attention. "She's not a clone. She's... she's you."

Demona stared blankly at Angela for a moment, trying to process what she had just heard. Then she suddenly remembered the last time she had met a double of herself, just over a year ago on the night of Xanatos's wedding. "A time-traveler?" she asked hesitantly.

"Not exactly..." replied Angela, relieved that her mother, for the moment, seemed to be more intent on listening than attacking. "She's you, but from another universe - a parallel dimension. We... we don't know how she got here yet... but Owen is trying to find a way for her to go back."

Demona took in what her daughter had to say in silence. Despite how bizarre the story sounded, she had no reason to think Angela would lie to her.

"It's the truth... as near as I can tell." The sound of her own voice startled Demona, and she looked over to see her double standing a dozen or so feet away, seemingly recovered from the skirmish but hesitant to approach any closer. The double continued, timidly, "And I'll leave as soon as I find out how. I know if I was in your place, I wouldn't want me here, either."

Demona only stared and said nothing for a moment, then turned and looked at the clan again. They had grown quiet, too, watching the scene play out between the two Demonas with obvious interest. Angela could feel the awkward tension mounting again, and she knew already that the silent staring only was making both Demonas more ill at ease than they already were. She looked again at her mother and then at her mother's double. It was then that she noticed that the second gargoyle was holding her right hand oddly over a spot on her left forearm.

Angela moved to her immediately. "You're injured," she said, concerned. It was an observation, not a question.

"It's just a small scratch," her mother's double began, "it's nothing..."

"Let me see," ordered Angela, gently taking her arm. The wince she gave told Angela right away she was probably lying, and it only took Angela a quick look at the wound to confirm it. "This should be cleaned and bandaged," she stated as she gently but firmly pressed the blue gargoyle's hand back over the cut, "so it doesn't get infected."

The other Demona looked on with mild interest as Angela examined the injury she had evidently inflicted on her double during the scuffle. After a few seconds, the same feelings of jealousy she felt earlier started to return. It seemed almost ludicrous when she thought about it. How could she be jealous of herself?

Angela stepped away from her mother's double and saw that the clan was still watching. Then Broadway looked at her and seemed to read her mind. "Why don't we all go back inside?" he suggested. "And help Angela find the first aid kit," he added.

"And leave these two alone?" asked Brooklyn disapprovingly.

"Yes. My thoughts exactly," replied Angela plainly.

Brooklyn started to open his beak to amend his last statement, but Goliath nodded in agreement. "Let them be, Brooklyn," he ordered, then helped Angela to herd everyone back inside. He stood at the door as the others filed slowly past, then took one last look over his shoulder at the two Demonas, who were still standing there, silently staring at each other, before disappearing back into the castle himself.

* * * * *


The two gargoyles stared quietly at each other for several long moments before either of them spoke.

"My daughter certainly seems to have taken a liking to you," Demona said, realizing as she spoke that the statement had come out sounding somewhat more bitter than she had intended it too.

"I'm not trying to win her affection away from you," replied the other Demona quickly.

"I didn't mean it that way."

"Yes, you did. And I'd feel the same if our situations were reversed."

"Oh please," said Demona, shaking her head disgustedly, "you can stop with this ridiculous 'I know exactly how you feel' garbage right now. You are not me. You are nothing like me."

"Until last year I was you!" her double replied forcefully. Her voice became tinged with sorrow as she continued. "So full of hate and rage... angry, alone, and unloved. Even if I am no longer exactly like you, I know you better than anyone."

Demona caped her wings and turned her back to her double as the gargoyle's sadly spoken words sank deep into her soul, each one triggering old memories and old pains. She closed her eyes for a moment. She didn't want to listen to this anymore, and the fact that it was being said to her in her own voice made her determination to get away from it even stronger. Opening her eyes again, she saw the courtyard wall was only a few feet away. Quickly, she stepped over to it, sank her claws into the stone with a "crunch," and began to climb.

The other Demona was startled by her counterpart's sudden actions. "Where are you going?" she asked.

"Away from here," stated the gargoyle who was already halfway up the wall. She paused in her climbing to turn and gaze back wickedly at the gargoyle staring confusedly up at her and spat back, "Away from you."

The first Demona reached the parapets first, but the second raced up the steps and met her at the top just as she uncaped her wings in preparation for flight. "You can't run away from yourself forever, Demona," she called out to her double, slightly out of breath from the running. "You can keep trying, but in the end the pain will still be there and the only thing you'll have left behind are the people you care about - the people who care about you."

Demona threw open her wings and growled, spinning on her heel and glaring at her double. Part of her wanted to attack, but another part of her wanted to listen. "Angela still loves you," her double continued sadly. "Why do you keep letting your hatreds push her away?"

The question hit Demona hard, and there was a moment of uneasy silence before she spoke. "I... never wanted to hurt her," Demona said. Her voice calmed some as she continued, "I love my daughter."


"I love my daughter."

Angela heard her mother's declaration clearly as she climbed the steps. They were words she had wanted to hear for the longest time, and the forcefulness and conviction with which they were said momentarily stunned her. She stopped in her tracks and waited, afraid to disturb the two gargoyles just yet.


"Then give up your vengeful crusade," said the other Demona. "It's already given both of you enough pain and enough suffering. Isn't what happened to Angela last month proof enough? She nearly died because of..."

"Because of the humans!" Demona exploded, not liking the direction the conversation was suddenly taking. "It was the humans' fault! The Hunters attacked her!"

"Because they thought she was you!" her double screamed back in frustration. The frustration turned into a mixture of anger and sadness as she continued, but suddenly she wasn't addressing her words to her double any more. "They attacked her because they thought she was me! She nearly died for a feud I started a millennium ago!"

Demona was stunned. She had never thought about the possibility that the Hunters had mistaken Angela for her. But she was even less prepared for what she heard next, after her double had managed to compose herself again somewhat.

"You say that you hate all humans," she began, "but you don't know what I know." She paused to make sure she had her counterpart's full attention, and suddenly the mood became very ominous. Her voice was calm and steady as she continued. "A human saved Angela's life that night, and that human was Elisa Maza."

Demona's eyes went wide and her jaw dropped; she was so completely aghast at this revelation that she couldn't even speak. An unsettling numbness, not unlike that in her dream, washed over her, and she could only stare dumbly at the expression on her counterpart's face. It seemed from her expression that it had hurt her to say the words as much as it hurt Demona to hear them. She was even more startled when Angela picked that moment to reappear, coming up the stairs the rest of the way to join the two gargoyles on the parapets. Although neither of the Demonas knew it, the young female had overheard everything that had been said during the past few minutes. For the moment, Angela thought it best to leave things at that, so she said nothing as she approached her mother's double with the iodine and bandages she had retrieved.

The young lavender-skinned female watched her mother out of the corner of her eye as she cleaned and bandaged the cut on the other gargoyle's forearm. Demona had turned away and was staring out over the city, her emotions unreadable. Angela couldn't even begin to imagine the turmoil that her mother's thoughts were in at that moment, though she knew no hurricane could compare to the storm that must have been brewing inside the blue gargoyle's head. She finished tying up the bandage in silence, then stepped to the parapet wall, too, and stood a few feet away from her mother, waiting, but not sure what she was waiting for.

The silence seemed to last for hours, and the voice that broke it was unexpectedly calm. "Is it true, Angela?"

Angela continued staring out over the city, knowing that her mother was still doing the same, and answered as simply as she could. "Yes, mother. It is."

A few moments later, she quietly turned away and followed after the other Demona to another part of the castle.

* * * * *


Both Demonas spent the short remainder of the night in quiet solitude. Angela's mother did not move at all from her silent place on the parapets, and her counterpart retreated to an equally quiet place on the opposite side of the Castle. Angela spent her time circulating back and forth between the two of them, checking on them, keeping other members of the clan away, but not intruding into their privacy.

It was about an hour before dawn when everyone seemed to converge back at the place where the evening's events had all began. Goliath had just received word from Owen, who was notable in his absence for most of the latter half of the evening, that he had found a possible solution to the other Demona's problem. Curious as ever, the rest of the clan had gathered while Angela went to fetch the Demona in question. Everyone was mildly surprised, therefore, when she returned with both Demonas following. Naturally, Owen was the first to step forward.

"Demona," Owen Burnett said, nodding his head in her direction. "Demona," he said again, nodding his head in the other Demona's direction. "I have spent an hour in discussion with an expert on theories involving parallel dimensions. Together we have utilized experimental Xanatos Enterprises equipment to determine the nature of this problem and I have good news. Our universe is balanced precisely for the amount of matter present at its creation. The spatial disturbance which brought the second Demona here has not yet dissipated and is slowly sucking matter in the form of air molecules into our universe."

"This is good news?" Brooklyn asked incredulously.

Owen silenced him with a glance and a raised eyebrow, then continued. "The closest analogy to this would be a leaky faucet. Her universe is slowly leaking into ours, thus throwing both of our systems out of balance."

"I knew this universe was not big enough for the both of us," commented the first Demona, eyeing her counterpart with the same look of contempt she had given her earlier in the evening.

"How do we get them back in balance?" the second Demona asked, ignoring her.

"You must return to your universe within the hour. Any further delay would risk permanent damage."

"How do we go about that?"

Owen hoped that what he was about to say made sense to the gargoyles listening. "The disturbance began as two congruent high-intensity electrical storms in both our universes. Such storms are uncommon, but they do occasionally happen. A coherent mass of matter, Demona, entered the electrical field created by the storm, thus disrupting it and altering its properties. It became a portal from her universe to our own. Usually in such cases, the counterparts' actions mirror each other to such a degree that they both create an anomaly and after they both make the transit, they cancel each other out. There was such a case in 1970 involving a small aircraft flying from the Bahamas to Palm Beach. The pilot claimed to have completed a flight that should have taken seventy-five minutes in just under forty-five after having passed through an unusual cloud formation. Of course, this was never confirmed, and since data collected from ground-based installations disagreed with the pilot's interpretation of events, he and his passenger were assumed to have simply had some sort of mass delusion. Demona must return to where she entered this universe and enter the disturbance. It will return her to her own universe, taking some matter, which should rebalance our systems, and the reverse thrust should dissipate the disturbance and close the portal."

"Take us to this spot," Goliath said to Demona.

"She must go alone. Her return will seal the spatial disturbance. Any other presence might be thrown into her universe with her with no hope of return when the disturbance is sealed. I have no doubt that my counterpart is just as intelligent and resourceful as myself, but it seems unlikely that he will be able to locate your universe of origin."

The other Demona looked at her counterpart. "I hope you realize what I realized. Trying to destroy the humans only gets the ones you love killed. Better to try and protect the gargoyles who are left."

Demona, the one who belonged to this universe, hrumphed and said, "I always believed the only one I could truly count on in life was myself. Now I cannot even trust myself." She turned and left without another word of explanation.

Angela moved to go after her, but the other Demona stopped her, grasping her gently by the arm before she even made it to the steps. "Let her go, Angela," she said softly.

Angela stopped, watching as her mother reached the parapets, spread her wings, and glided off into the night.

"She'll learn, Angela," the double said, "but in her own time."

"I just wish I could help her," Angela whispered sorrowfully, hanging her head as she turned back to Demona.

"You can," Demona replied. She took Angela's hand reassuringly, waiting until the girl's questioning eyes met her own before continuing. "Just be her daughter, Angela. She needs that more than anything. Spend time with her and give her some pleasant memories. Be there for her. Let her know she's not alone. And whatever happens, don't begrudge her for who she is, because before all that, she is your mother."

"Do you really think that will help?"

"It helped me." She smiled. A moment later, Angela smiled, too, and as the clan looked on silently, the two gargoyles embraced.

Goliath followed a few steps behind as his daughter escorted the double up to the parapets, with the rest of the clan trailing along behind him. Owen Burnett was the last to ascend the steps, arriving at the top just as Demona bid a final good-bye to Angela and took off without delay. As they watched her glide off into the pre-dawn darkness, there was a moment of silence. "It would seem that everyone has to leave the darkness sometime," Goliath said.

As Angela nodded in agreement, Owen smiled slightly. "Don't worry, I have a feeling that she will be home before she knows it."

Angela sighed and shook her head slightly. "And where is my mother's home?" They all knew she wasn't talking about where Demona lived. Home is where the heart is, and Demona's heart was a total mystery.

Owen began to speak. "There is a saying that some cultures have. The gods have two jars. From one they take good, from the other evil, and so they make beings. And the never-ending conflict between the Two is what makes us truly alive."

A brief period of silence followed as Goliath and Angela contemplated that statement.

"If you'll excuse me, I believe dawn is approaching," Owen said. He turned away and headed back in to the castle as Goliath placed his arm around his daughter. The two lavender gargoyles stared wistfully over the city in the direction Demona had glided off in a moment longer, watching as the orange hues of the coming sunrise began to blot out the stars, before Goliath finally spoke.

"Come," he said, addressing the entire clan, "daybreak will be here soon."

The crunching sounds of seven sets of claws filled the air as seven gargoyles slowly scaled the tower walls and made their way to their perches. Goliath was the last to take his place high atop the tower, and he turned and looked down at the other members of the clan on the parapets below him. His gaze settled at last on his daughter, and he smiled at seeing her with her spirits so much higher than they had been just a few short hours ago. A few seconds later, sunrise found him and froze him in a contemplative pose much like the one he had been in the first time he awoke in the twentieth century, except for the smile still on his face.

* * * * *


Owen's eyes narrowed as he entered the Great Hall and saw the three women who waited for him there. As always, The Sisters were clad identically to each other, but what annoyed Owen more than their mere presence was the fact that the style of clothing they had chosen this time was an exact, albeit feminine, duplication of his own. Their stiff, tailored suits were impeccable, identical to Owen's in both color and texture of the fabric. Perfectly pleated double-breasted jackets covered crisp white high-collared blouses, and long matching skirts came to just below the knee. Their wire-rimmed glasses matched his own down to the last detail, and in stark contrast to their usual style, the Three Sisters wore their hair pulled back into tight yet still identical buns. They looked like triplet substitute schoolteachers from hell, and if Puck could have been there, he would have gladly told them so.

But Puck couldn't be there. Alexander was miles away, safe with his parents and grandfather in Maine, and The Sisters knew it. Their wry smiles said as much, daring the Puck to show himself. Owen knew it, too, but he had no intention of giving the Sisters the satisfaction of seeing him attempt to defy Oberon's geas just to deliver a snappy critique of their wardrobe. Still, he couldn't help betraying a little of the Puck in his voice when he finally spoke to them.

"Are you three still here?" he inquired. The Puckish sarcasm shone clearly through. Owen saw the Sisters' smiles broaden slightly in anticipation of more and he quickly caught himself. It was purely Owen Burnett who added dryly, "I had assumed that you would wish to return to Avalon before Lord Oberon notices your absence."

The Sisters' smiles faded at what Owen's statement implied. No longer amused, they replied together.

"We no longer answer to Oberon."

"It is his Queen who commands us now."

"It is she who gives us leave to travel to this realm."

"I see," said Owen flatly. "Shall I continue to assume, then, that your presence here and the events of the past few hours are not merely coincidental?"

"We will reveal not more of our purpose here tonight, dear brother," stated the raven-haired Selene.

"But we would not give you false hope on this strange and mournful day," added the silver-haired Luna.

"Amends for the past will be made in time," concluded the blonde-haired Phoebe, "New chapters shall be added to the stories we have written."

Owen didn't have a chance to say more. As Phoebe finished speaking, the Three simply vanished in a flash of shimmering green light. Owen cocked an eyebrow speculatively as he stood and stared at the place in the room where the Weird Sisters had been only moments before - the same place where they had first greeted him hours earlier. Why they had even chosen to appear to him at all was still a question that remained unanswered. Did they only wish to tempt him, hoping to get their "dear brother" into even more trouble with "big daddy Oberon?" (If there was such a thing a thing as more trouble then he was currently in.) Or was it something more? He wondered what mission could be so great that Queen Titania would defy Oberon's edict by sending the Sisters once again into the mortal world.

He said his next thought out loud, knowing from experience that they were still watching him. "Next time, I am not covering for you unless you give me a satisfactory explanation." It hadn't been easy to construct a plausible bit of science fiction to convince the gargoyles that the other Demona's arrival was purely accidental. After he had spoken with the Sisters, he had spent an hour in discussion with a scientist to come up with enough technobabble, and another hour after that researching independently to find a suitable example of the phenomenon in question.

After another silent moment, Owen shook his head at the empty space and went off in pursuit of his duties.

* * * * *




Angela stood silently on the parapets, scanning the horizon with worried eyes as the first hints of the coming sunrise began to appear in the eastern sky. She turned at hearing the swooping of wings, but disappointment covered her face as she watched only five gargoyles circle down and land around her. She looked to her father as he deposited Elisa carefully back onto her own two feet, but she could already tell by his grim expression that he had no news to give her that would brighten her mood.

"There's still no sign of her?" the young female asked sadly.

"We searched all night," Goliath said. "I am sorry."

"We looked everywhere, Angela," Broadway said as he cloaked his wings and took her into a comforting embrace.

"Aye, lass, and we've been over every inch of this concrete island," added Hudson as he set Bronx down. The gargoyle beast walked over to Angela and whimpered as he rubbed against her side, trying to do his best to comfort her, too. Angela managed a slight smile at the gesture and rewarded him with small pat on the head.

"I don't understand it," Lexington said, frustrated, as he took off the strange headset he was wearing and tossed it to the ground. "Finding her should have been a piece of cake, but I couldn't pick up a thing with this stuff Owen gave us. It's like she just vanished into thin air." He looked up at Angela a second too late to realize from the pained expression on her face that he probably shouldn't have said that final thought aloud.

"Yeah? Well maybe she just doesn't want to be found," Brooklyn said coolly as he massaged a sore spot on his wing-arm. Everyone turned to glare at him, except for Angela, who buried her face in Broadway's wing.

"What's that supposed to mean?" demanded the big blue gargoyle.

"What do you think it means, mister..."

"Stop it!" yelled Elisa, stepping between them. "Angela, I'm sorry," she continued softly, taking the girl's hand. "I'm sure we'll find her," she said as Angela turned to look at her. "I'll keep looking during the day. She's bound to turn up soon."

"I just don't know why she'd... after what I said to her... she tries so hard... I never meant to..." Angela was on the verge of sobbing.

"I know, Angela."

Everyone immediately turned and looked up at hearing the familiar female voice. Angela began crying, but her tears were ones of joy as Demona landed a few feet away. She drew her daughter into a happy embrace, and the two of them held each other in silence for several long moments as the clan exchanged glances of relief mixed with confusion.

"Mother, I'm so sorry... all those things I said to you..." Angela said as she and her mother backed apart slightly, just far enough to make eye contact.

"It's all right, my daughter," Demona said softly. "You were angry. You had every right to be. I know I shouldn't have just taken off like I did... I just need some time to think."

"Where did you go? You've been gone all night... I've been so worried - we all have. Father and the others even went out looking for you."

"It's a long, long story," Demona sighed. "I promise I will tell you all about it tonight."

A moment later, the first rays of the sun cleared the horizon. Elisa stepped back as Angela, Goliath, and the others turned to stone, cringing slightly as Demona gave a sharp scream of pain and began to transform. Her wings and tail shrank away until they seemed to be absorbed into her body. Her feet and hands sprouted extra digits as gargoyle claws and talons turned to human fingers and toes. Her brilliant blue coloration faded away, and only her wild red tresses remained unchanged. She collapsed to her knees as the transformation ended, but this time, she wasn't surprised at all when she looked up to see Elisa silently offering her hand.

Demona accepted the hand, and Elisa pulled her to her feet. "That really looks like it hurts," Elisa commented idly.

"Believe me, it does," Demona confirmed. Then she took a moment to look at the statue of Angela on the battlements. "Was I really that harsh last night?"

"Well," Elisa admitted, "you did call Broadway a 'walking garbage disposal.' That didn't exactly go over too well with Angela."

Demona sighed. "I did go a little too far, I guess," she said. "It's just that I want to make sure that my Angela is happy." She shook her head ruefully, "I guess I'm just a little over-protective of her."

Demona paused for a moment. "Elisa," she said suddenly, "I want to... thank you."

Elisa was startled a little. "What?"

"I... want to thank you for saving my daughter those weeks ago," Demona said softly. She bowed her head. "She's the most important thing in the world to me... I'm not sure what I would have done had she died."

"Probably wiped out humanity," Elisa said sarcastically.

Demona only nodded, which caused Elisa to regret her words. "Hey, I'm... I'm sorry."

"Don't be, Detective," Demona said, regaining control of herself, "I know what I was like back then, what I was capable of. But I'm glad that that's over now; that the person I was is gone now."

"Speaking of 'gone'," Elisa asked, one eyebrow arched as she tucked her hands into the pockets of her red jacket, "where were you last night, anyway? Angela wasn't kidding - we spent all night trying to find you."

Demona turned around and smiled, an ironic expression on her face. "Just talking to myself," she said. She moved to the edge of the balcony and stared out on to the rising sun before adding, "I would have never thought that an immortal could regret wasted time."

A few moments later, she turned and withdrew into the castle, leaving Elisa staring after her thoughtfully.



The authors would like to give a special "Thank you" to Laura Ackerman, Brian Dumlao, Entity, Batya Levin, Todd Jensen, Nicodemus, and Kathy Pogge for all their encouragement and help.

The quote attributed to Diane Duane is from the novel Dark Mirror.