By Fleur Rine and Norcumi and



I'm still not sure how we got so much into this fic. It started as a silly comment about character similarities, then got to a support group, then started spawning possible scenes. It sort of demanded to be written. Scary, but majorly fun, so what the hey, reasons aren't really important. It was a blast to write, that's for certain, and I guess that's more than enough! :) In case you have no idea what's going on, go read part 1 to this madness under Fleur Rine's name. And finally, many thanks and sacrifices of chocolate to Fleur for such a fun project! We've got to do this again sometime. }:-) Ignore the screaming in the background, that's just the characters....



Disclaimer: Gargoyles, when they’re mentioned, belong to Disney and Beuna Vista. Jim, Blair and Megan belong to Pet Fly productions. Jay and Tate belong to Norcumi. Rhiannon, Richmond and Gamgee belong to Fleur.


Time line - This one falls around ‘Family Ties’ in Norcumi’s world and roughly in the middle of the Wastelands Saga.




That practically knocked Blair over with laughter. While Jim just smirked and shook his head, it was obvious the older man was almost as amused. “I suppose that’s a no,” he commented dryly.

“This is why he made detective.”

“Shut up, Jay.”

The gargoyle gave him a sickeningly sweet smile. “Nah, not gonna happen.”

The detective pretended to heave a long-suffering sigh. “Go on, get out of here. We’ll have enough problems with these nuts saying they got beat up by some kids that turned into monsters.”

“He says the sweetest things, doesn’t he?” Jay practically crooned, earning herself a collective laugh and a single finger salute from the Sentinel. She waved and leapt away from the brick, swallowing an almost instinctive yelp before her wings snapped open and caught an updraft. “Well that was fun.”

“Oh yeah,” Tate snickered.

“Odd, too,” Rhiannon said.

“Yeah. So anyway, give,” Richmond demanded. “What was with the singing thing?”

Jay stared at him blankly, the light bulb finally going on after a several minute delay. Then she groaned and hung her head. “Nicole’s brainwashed me,” she moaned.

Tate manoeuvred close enough to pat her on the shoulder. “It’s ok, you get used to it.” Turning back to the others, he grinned faintly. “One of my rookery sisters was born blind, and felt the need to... compensate by learning how to kick the ass of anything that moved. Easiest way to keep her timing was to music, but since we seem to be lacking a soundtrack, she sings. Then she taught us to do it the same way.”

Richmond and Rhiannon stared at him for a moment. “You’re not really serious, are you?” the gargoyle hybrid finally asked.

This time his grin was sheepish. “As serious as I can get, all things considered.”

“In other words, not much,” Jay added. “Annnyway, that’s the store there.”

They landed behind the building, Rhiannon quickly ducking around the front. While the males talked about god knew what, Jay amused herself by going along the wall and reading the assorted graffiti. She was puzzling over a strange pyramid with an eye at the top when a faint scuffle behind her grabbed her attention. She whirled around, looking for what made the noise. She didn’t have to look very far down: a giant mutt stood behind her, head cocked to the side, dark eyes trying to bore holes into her. Oh. Bleeping. Shit! Jay gulped as the snout pulled back from long, white teeth. “Um, guys?” she called out, voice shrill. She didn’t wait for an answer. “Dog. Big, ugly, I-make-Cujo-look-like-a-Disney-bunny-rabbit dog.”

“Whaaaat?” Tate asked. She didn’t bother answering, instead she backed up, finally bumping into Richmond.

“Anybody got a milk bone? Please?”

“I only got Ding Dongs, sorry,” Rhiannon commented, strolling around the corner. “Why?”

“I think she found Gamgee,” Richmond said around a smirk. There was a loud bark, and the dog bounded forward to nuzzle against the human girl’s legs. Rhiannon dropped to her knees to give the dog a good scratching around the ears.

“Biiiiig dog,” Tate muttered.

“Yeah, but he’s a good dog.”

“Does he need walkies with his...” Jay paused and looked Rhiannon and Richmond over. “I’d say humans, but you know.”

Rhiannon laughed. “Yeah, I think he needs some attention.”

“Well, he can’t come into the dorm, I’m sorry but no way.”

“Well, know a good place to exercise him?”

“I think I know a park that closes at night. I could use a walk to get off the adrenaline rush.”

“Cool. Anyone else?”

The males shared a look. “I’m set, thanks,” Tate said.

“Same here,” Richmond said after sharing a look with Rhiannon, who nodded in satisfaction.

“So we’ll meet you back at the room?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Dragon forbid we actually plan.”

They split up after Rhiannon doled out the food, even sharing some chips with Gamgee. A short flight later, the females landed in a small, fenced off park amidst some trees. Rhiannon dropped off the other girl’s back, and both turned to look back at the fence and dog on the other side of it. There was no was Gamgee would be able to squeeze through.

“Um, if I try to carry him over, will he try to rip my throat out?”

She laughed. “Only in a playful, puppy way. Don’t worry. He’s gotten the idea you’re a friend.”

“Yes, but will he rip my throat out?” Jay asked, climbing over with more than a bit of trepidation.

“Nah, he’ll just gnaw on an arm or two.”

“Lovely.” Jay stood next to the dog and eyed him warily, while he seemed to do the same. A soft “Be nice, Gamgee” from Rhiannon sent his attention back at her. He seemed to send her a ‘give me a break’ look, sigh, and moved closer to Jay. She gulped and gently picked the dog up, clambering awkwardly up the fence. Both girl and dog looked highly relieved when they stood on the ground again. Rhiannon was obviously struggling not to laugh.

When Jay and Gamgee had regained their dignity, the trio set out, wandering casually along the paths. It wasn’t long before Jay broke the silence. “So how’s tonight rated on the weirdness scale?”

Rhiannon grinned. “Pretty low, actually. The weirdness sort of runs together after awhile.”

“Scary thought.”

“Yeah. I just wish life were as quiet as this evening. We’ve only been attacked once, and that was just pathetic.”

Jay gave her a questioning look. “How bad does it get?”

Like earlier, the girl’s face shuttered, blanking out emotions. “Bad.” The voice was as flat as her expression, and Jay shuddered. How did – DOES – she survive like that?

She let out a quick sigh, part frustration and part simply to let the matter go. “I still blame the gargoyles.” What she’d meant as a joke fell flat, both well aware of the missing tone.

Rhiannon shrugged. “They’re protectors. They don’t have all those fangs, claws, and whatever for decoration. Nature made them able to kick ass.”

They walked in silence for awhile. “How do you cope, when you know they can be so violent?” Jay asked softly.

“I don't know.” Rhiannon shrugged. “Maybe because I know I'm worse.”

“What do you mean?”

“I wasn’t entirely kidding when I said I liked being all-powerful. I’m greedy for the stuff. But that’s the problem, and although I don’t like that part of me, it’s there. Incredibly there. And that’s something the Wastelands is real good at - introducing you to all the nasty parts of ourselves. I’ve met Rhiannon the Megalomaniac, Rhiannon the slut, Richmond the Vicious Maniac, Alex the wannabe Nazi, and Goliath the Human-hater. Not to mention the multiple Evil versions of my parents.”

Jesus. How can you go through that much and not break completely? “So if there’s a part of you that you don’t like - how do you get rid of it?”

“If I knew that, I’d be a lot closer to sanity.” Well, ask a stupid question... “I've already tried running, but that doesn’t work. It just makes it easier to pretend it’s not there, which only makes it harder when you’re reminded.”

“Oh, I hear you.” Too well?

“What scares me is that there's absolutely no reason why I won’t become Rhiannon the Megalomaniac, the worst of the lot. She went through the Wastelands too - came home and started killing everybody who stood against her. At some point, I could become her, and I don’t even know where that point is.”

No. That Jay simply couldn’t see. “But you seem so in control.”

“Are you kidding?!  I'm sixteen years old - I don't know how to handle this!”

“It's too much, isn't it?  Do you ever wish you had nice, simple problems like the kids on Dawson's creek?”

That coaxed a faint grin from Rhiannon. “All the time.  But... it’s good to talk to somebody who’s got an idea of what it feels like.”

“Amen to that.” They walked silently for awhile longer. “I think you’re worrying too much,” Jay finally said. The younger girl just looked at her, silently requesting more information. “I mean, not that you shouldn’t worry, that’s the way to keep on the right path, metaphorically speaking, but those other Rhiannons aren’t you.”

That got her another look. “Yes they are. Different dimensions, but same people....”

“No, you just said the magic words. Different dimensions. Far as I can figure, that means something went down differently there, screwing up what you consider normal history. So any other Rhiannon couldn’t have had the exact background that you did, so she, they, or whatever the right term is, can not be you. Sure, there’s bound to lots of similarities, but nature is one thing, and nurture is a totally different one, and dammit I’m channelling Lizzie again.”


“It’s the vampyre thing. I got attacked, I survived, and now I’ve got too damn many memories. It gets complicated from there, don’t ask ‘cause I’m done lecturing.”

“Alright. So, aside from that, what about you? Sounds like you’ve got some issues of your own.”

“Issues. Lovely way of putting it. Yeah, I got issues. The biggie, though....” She looked down, watching as her feet flashed in and out of sight. Six blue, oversized, inhuman talons that no human would ever have. “Normal. I think at one point I could almost have been called normal. I grew up a human, in the human world. Sure I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, but almost all my life there’s been a clear line. There’s modern miracles, but it’s only because of science. Magic, inhumans, it’s all just... fantasy. Not real.” She grinned almost bitterly. “Then I met Tate. It’s like some whacked out balance: for every amazing, magical thing that’s entered my life, there’s something equally – evil, I guess, if you pardon the triteness factor. There’s a lot more wonder, but there’s so much more violence, too. I don’t like violence.” She looked over, flashing Rhiannon an apologetic grin. “Sorry. I don’t mean to whine like that, I mean, got my health, pretty damn decent life, great guy... and I’m angsting like an entire team of X-men.” She signed. “Guess it’s true. We always want more.”


Rhiannon gave the other girl a long look, musing over her words.  If she didn’t know better, she’d swear it was turning into that support group Tate and Richmond had been joking about.

“I don’t think you’re whining – well, no more than me and my ‘I don’t wanna be a bad guy’ rant.  Definitely not as much as the X-men, trust me on that one and just don’t ask,” she said finally, giving Jay a quick grin as the hybrid opened her mouth, then closed it firmly.  “I’ve grown up with the weirdness. I’m used to facing down really ugly things that don’t like me.  But you know, there are times I’d love to be one of the ‘normal’ people – some clueless Schleb who doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on because they’ve never had to face it coming at them like a Mack truck.  But if I were one of those people, perhaps I’d be the type who ran screaming when they saw a gargoyle.  And that would be a terrible thing.”

After a moment, Jay grinned, very slightly, “Yeah, I have to admit I’ve kinda gotten fond of the maniacs.”

“They grow on you.  Like mould.”  That got a wider grin, and Rhiannon decided to go for broke.  Since it’s Amateur Psychology night…

“You know, I don’t think you should just accept the violence.  It’s not something you should be comfortable with, unless you actually like the idea of being an utter psychopath.  But the violence isn’t a strictly gargoyle thing.  Maybe if you’d never been a gargoyle, you’d have ended up being raped, or bashed, or one of about a billion other nasty things, by a fellow human being. Everyone has the capacity for violence – you should see my Grandmother when she loses her temper.  It’s like a volcano with hair.  I’m not even going to go into what I’ve seen humans do.”

“That doesn’t make it any easier.”

“No, it doesn’t, ” Rhiannon sighed, “As for being normal, well, I think what you really miss is your old life, when everything had some sort of regularity.  You woke up, went to school, came home, watched TV, did homework, went to bed.  Repeat the next day.  It might have been boring, but it was comfortable, and you knew where you stood.  Suddenly, it’s wake up from stone sleep, spend all night fighting criminals, turn back into a human at dawn, deal with your hybrid boyfriend, baby-sit a pair of teenagers from another dimension, fight some more criminals, get terrorised by aforementioned teenager’s big dog before crashing out at some ungodly hour of the night, having been up for nearly 24 hours.  It’s hard to comfortable when you feel like the ground’s shifting every time you take a step.  I don’t blame you for missing that.”

“That’s exactly what I mean!  I don’t want to deal with Vampyres and Sentinels and immortal gargoyles and killers and Quarrymen and Mad Scientists!  I just want a normal life!”

Rhiannon touched her shoulder.  “Like I said, I don’t blame you.  But, like you said, you’ve got your health, pretty damn decent life, and a great guy.  So if you can remember that, you’re allowed to angst occasionally.”


Richmond looked up as the door finally opened, tensing, then relaxing when Jay and Rhiannon walked in. 

“That was a long walk,” he said, putting down the book, some fantasy he’d just been reading because it kept his brain busy on the stuff that didn’t make his chest hurt.  Why the heck would somebody with a life as weird as Jay’s read about more weirdness? 

“Yeah.” Rhiannon said quietly.  Richmond paused, raising a brow. 

You okay? he Sent.

Yeah. And she was.  Perhaps more okay than she’d been in a while, Richmond realised.

“Can I still borrow that shower?” she asked Jay, who nodded absently.  Richmond smirked slightly as Rhiannon grabbed her entire bag and bolted from the room. 

“Interesting background music, isn’t it?” he said, looking at Tate, who snored quietly on her bed.  Jay smirked, her preoccupation vanishing.

“I’m surprised you haven’t crashed,” she said.

“I’ve been running less time than you guys have.  My body’s only been up about 12 hours or so.”

Jay frowned slightly, “But it’s the middle of the night.”

“Only to you.  I’m used to it, even though it’s a pain.  Dimensional jet lag is a bitch.”

“I’ll remember that,” Jay said dryly.  She slumped on the bed, clearly tired, and Richmond decided to make a strategic exit.

“I’m going to go stretch my wings for half an hour or so,” he said, getting up.  Then he paused for a second.  “Thank-you.”

Jay’s head snapped up.  “For what?”

“Well, letting us take over your home is a good start.  But mostly for whatever you did to Rhea,” he shrugged, “I’m a guy, and that’s just the start of our differences.  Some stuff I’m not good at understanding.”

Jay frowned.  “How did you know we talked?”

“Call it an educated guess.  I do know her well enough to recognise when she’s feeling better.  Something has been bugging her for a while, and I’m not entirely sure what it is.” He shrugged again, “Could be one of a dozen things, to be honest.  So I guessed you talked about it, and if she’s feeling better, then you said something good.  So, thank-you.”

Jay stared at him for a moment, then she smiled.  “I don’t think I really deserve your thanks.”

“Well, you’re getting them anyway.” He crawled out of the window and flew off before she could reply.  He didn’t concentrate on a particular destination, just following the wind, until a siren erupt from directly below, just about giving him a heart attack.  Looking down, he saw a police car burst out from a building and realised he was flying over Cascade Police Station. 

After that, he just couldn’t help himself.

Five minutes later, he wandered into the Bull Pen.  It never ceased to amaze him that no matter what the world was like, all the police stations had some vague resemblance, something not entirely tangible, but there, nevertheless.  His mother would have called it the scent of coffee and donuts.  It took him a few seconds to find who he was looking for, mainly because Blair had his back to him and Jim was nowhere to be seen.

As he got closer to the Shaman, he heard him muttering to himself, too low for even his ears to catch.  A thick, heavy book was in front of him.

“Having fun?”

Blair jumped about three feet, slamming the book shut and whirling to face him.

“Richmond!  What are you doing here?  I mean, I wasn’t expecting you!”

“Yeah.  I guessed that.”  Richmond leant around him and picked up the book, not surprised to see that it was by Stephen Hawkins.  “Good book,” he told Blair, “But don’t show it to Rhiannon, or she’ll throw it at you.  ‘Hypotheses’ about multi dimensional travel are a bit of a sore point for her right now.”

Blair grinned.  “I can understand that.”

“Richmond?  What are you doing here?” Jim walked over, a coffee mug in one hand, a concerned expression on his face, “Has something happened?”

“Nah.  I was just out wandering, found myself near here and decided to pop in and say hi.”

“Oh.” Jim looked decidedly relieved for a moment, then he grinned, “We just finished with those punks you er, made friends with.  Three of them confessed everything, two of them babbled for two hours straight and one of them actually begged us to put him in jail so he’d be safe.”

“We do have that effect on people.”

“I’ll say.  Can we hire you out?”

Richmond grimaced, “I don’t think so.  Rhiannon and I will be moving on eventually.”

“When?” Blair asked, face falling.  Richmond shrugged.

“Generally at the worst possible moment.  We don’t have any control over it.”


“I see.”  Jim frowned.  “So,” he continued, a little awkwardly, “how are you all getting along?”

“Great.  So great, it’s scary, actually.  Jay and Rhiannon are Bonding.”

“Oooh boy.” Jim groaned.  “That’s bad, isn’t it?”

“Put it this way: they’re very alike, and I have a hard enough time handling one HIW.  That’s Headstrong Insane Woman,” he added when he saw the blank looks on the detective’s faces.  They grinned.

“When they start discussing the best way to threaten to kill us, let me know so I can hide,” Jim said with a mock shudder.

“If I see you on my immediate flight from the planet, I will.”

“Hey,” Blair said, looking a bit brighter, “Jim and I got free tickets to the basketball game tomorrow night. Why don’t you and Tate come along?”

“Sounds great,’ Richmond said, and meant it.  As much as he liked Rhiannon, being joined at her hip got tiring after a while.  Suddenly, something occurred to him. 

“How’d you get free tickets?”

Jim and Blair grinned.

“Sometimes, there are great benefits to stopping a crime.”


Jay didn’t bother restraining a yawn as the hybrid left. After closing the window most of the way, shifting to human, and changing her clothes, she collapsed back onto the bed. A little bit of pushing and she was comfortably curled up against the gargoyle, using his lower legs as a pillow and big feet as a backrest. When his hand drifted down to card through her hair, Jay closed her eyes and sighed in contentment.

It’d been a long time since she’d been so at peace with herself.

“So,” Tate finally asked softly, “what do you think of our guests?”

“Our? When did you move in and start paying rent?” Not wanting an answer, she hurried on. “They’re good people. Absolutely insane, but good people. Reminds me of the clan.”

He chuckled softly. “Yeah. Gotta agree with that one. So how was the walk?”

Educating. We told each other to keep the paranoia toned down, and actually listened to the advice. At least, I hope she did. Know it sure as hell gave me something to think about. “Was good. We got a nice chance to talk. You?”

“Some sports stuff, a bit of fun ways to kick ass, and then I fell asleep.”

“Mmm. Sleep. Sounds good.”

“G’head. Did yer hostess duties, deserve a nap.”

“Damn straight,” she mumbled, already halfway asleep.


Jay had totally conked out by the time Rhiannon returned. Tate greeted her with a small nod and gesture for quiet. A quick glance at Jay, then she nodded back. There was a light tap on the window just before Richmond shoved the window open and jumped inside. Damn, they have good timing.

“Hey,” the other hybrid called softly, tossing his trench coat onto the foot of the bed, “What’s up?”

“Jay’s dead till around noon at least, looks like Rhiannon’s planning the same-” She made a face at him which he ignored- “and I’m waiting till sunrise to get stoned.”

“Heh. Alright. You got any plans for tomorrow night?”

“Uh, no? Why?”

Richmond grinned widely. “Jim and Blair have tickets to the Jags/Rapids basketball game tomorrow, and invited us along. Wanna go?”

Tate’s eyes went wide. “You’re kidding, right? That game’s been sold out for weeks!”

“Cool. Jim said to go to their place when we wake up, then they’ll drive us to the stadium.”

“Ack, wait. This is a night game, isn’t it? Damn.” Richmond was giving him an odd look, to which he just shook his head. “Earlier when I said staying human is a bitch, well, that’s sorta an understatement. Feels like I’m in my own personal trash compactor lined with spikes, and there’s no way I can keep up enough concentration for an entire ball game.”

“Man, that sucks.”

“Yeah, well, you and Rhiannon go. No reason for you to miss out on the fun.”

“Yeah right,” the female in question said, voice muffled as she pawed through her large canvas bag, “and get stuck in the middle of guy’s night out? I don’t think so. Ah hah!” She finally surfaced, holding up a small gold necklace. After fiddling with it for a moment, doing Dragon knew what to it, she tossed it to him. “Here, try that on for size.”


“It should create the illusion of you as a human.”

“Cool!” Tate carefully got up and headed for the mirror, then put it on. “AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!”

Jay bolted upright, looking frantically around. When she finally managed to focus on him, she blinked a few times. “I hope to God I’m just having a nightmare,” she remarked with excessive casualness, staring, “cause if not, I so don’t wanna know what the hell is going on.”

Tate flushed to the tune of Richmond and Rhiannon’s hysterical laughter, a detached part of his mind commenting on the high quality of the illusion as the flush deepened, quite visible in the mirror. Actually, there was quite a lot visible.

Battle bikini. There was no other term for it. He did look like his human form, albeit a very unclothed one. His jeans and shirt had disappeared, replaced by a halter and loincloth getup similar to what he recalled Demona wore. However, it was more like a lovechild of the immortal gargoyle’s wardrobe and Xena’s outfit, trimmed down to end up making him look like an escapee of an ancient, low budget porn movie. “Dragon help me,” he groaned, hands going in different directions as he tried to make up his mind what to grab. He finally settled on reaching up to rip the necklace off and toss to back at Rhiannon like a venomous snake. Thankfully, as soon as the jewellery was gone he reverted to normal, clothes and all. He still took several cautious steps back. “Hell no!”

Jay looked at them then rolled over, pulling one of the pillows over her head. “I’m going back to sleep, so hopefully I can wake up out of this thing.”

That got more laughter from the peanut gallery. Finally, Rhiannon calmed down enough to gasp out an apology. “S-sorry! I really didn’t expect it to do that!” The giggle attack after it didn’t help.


“No, really, I can fix it!”

“Why does that scare me even more?” Tate mock whispered to Richmond.

“Didn’t think it could scare me even more than the image of you in that thing!”

Tate glared at him, then gave him the finger. When Rhiannon tossed the necklace at him, neatly ringing his raised arm, the hybrid yelped and jumped back, frantically shaking it off. “No!”

“It’ll work right now.”

“Uh huh. Yay.” Tate suddenly found himself at the receiving end of a violet glare. After a few seconds, it got way too intense for him. “Ok, ok, I’m getting.” He reluctantly picked the necklace up and stood before the mirror. Cringing in anticipation, knowing she was still looking at him, he slipped it on.

No battle bikini. Just a fully clothed, cringing human. He let out a relieved sigh. “Well that’s a relief.”

“Ye of little faith,” Rhiannon scoffed, leaning back in Jay’s oversized beanbag. “Just remember that it’s only a visual illusion. Anybody touches you, they’ll feel gargoyle.”

“Watch out for the tail,” Richmond advised.

“Feh. So long as it’s not that thing again, I’m cool.”

“Great, fine, go away I want to get some sleep.”

Richmond and Tate looked at Rhiannon, who just gave them a Look right back. As one the males turned and headed for the window. “How do you stand that?” Tate asked.

“The Look? By doing this. Leaving is the only answer.”

“Remind me to keep her away from Jay. She doesn’t need lessons in that.”


“Oh my god!” Tate half laughed as Blair proudly gestured them to their seats, “How the hell did you get seats here?”

“And when do we get to know where the bodies are?” Richmond asked in equal awe. It was obvious that the hybrid was as amazed that they were sitting right behind the Jaguars bench, even more so that several of the players had turned around to toss greetings at Jim and Blair.

The Sentinel laughed. “At the docks. The head of a band of terrorists took over the arena, then kept some of the players hostage. We took care of it.”

“Wow.” Tate couldn’t stop gawking around like a three year old. It was the first time he’d been inside an arena, let alone a professional stadium. Somehow, he hadn’t realized just what to expect. It still seemed surreal: waking up to find the girls gone with only a rather ominous note of “gone out, be back later have fun,” a totally crazy flight over discussing basketball with Richmond, and then the mundane arrival at the Loft. Even the ride to the stadium had been just the wrong side of normal to give him a case of the jitters. Too cool, too weird.

“Whoo! Let’s get this party started!” Blair’s hoot next to his ear pulled his attention back to reality, and Tate leaned back to just enjoy the game.

Three minutes into the first quarter, there was a stadium rattling explosion and the lights went out.

There was a collective groan of “Aww, shit!” from behind the Jags bench.


“I’m beginning to think Rhiannon was right.” Tate growled under his breath. 

“Not our fault the generator blew.” Richmond muttered back.

They were standing outside the stadium, cooling their heels while Jim and Blair, all policeman-like, checked out the trouble-causing generator.   There were a lot of people around them.  The entire stadium’s worth, plus more. 

When the lights had gone out, a lot of people had panicked.  A voice had almost immediately come over the loudspeaker, telling everybody to remain calm, that there was a problem with the electrical generator, and for everybody to evacuate the stadium ‘for their safety’ while it was fixed.  There had still been panic, but the detectives (with a little help from two hybrids) had managed to keep their section of the stadium relatively calm.  

 “Hey, there’s Blair!” Richmond pointed to the long-haired man jogging across the parking lot towards one of the police cars.   He turned when they shouted to him.

“Guys!” He looked worried, but covered it well.

“What’s happening?”

 “Everything’s under control now.  The generator just blew a gasket, or something.  Jim and I are going to stay here and help the beat cops send everybody home.  You should go too.”

“You sure?” Richmond asked.

 “Yeah, I’m sure.  Just get going, okay?”

Richmond and Tate exchanged a look.

“Sure.” Tate said casually, turning away.

“See ya.” Richmond said, following suit.  Blair looked relieved for a moment, before he quickly masked it and ran back towards the cop cars.

 “So tell me,” Richmond said as they wandered over to a less visible section of the parking lot, “Has Blair always been such a terrible liar?”


“Are the bomb squad on the way?” Jim asked as Blair walked in.  He’d heard his Guide’s heartbeat long before then.

“Yeah.  They’re clearing everybody away from the area.  We’re the only ones left in the building,” Blair glanced at the reason for the evacuation.  He’d seen a fair few bombs since he’d started tagging along with Jim.  This was one of the nastier looking varieties.  Beyond that, he knew very little. 

“What about Tate and Richmond?” Jim asked.

“I sent them home.”

“Thank God.” Jim muttered.  He scowled at the bomb.  That was another thing that was bugging Blair.  There should be some sort of countdown device, with red and blue wires sticking out of it, shouldn’t there?  This one had nothing, not even a stop-watch.

 “And I thought the hardest thing about tonight would be getting my head around the fact I was watching a basketball game with Richmond the Dimension-Hopping Hybrid.” Blair trailed off when he realised his Sentinel had his head tilted to the side in a way he was very familiar with.  But even as he reached for his gun, a new voice interrupted them.

“Don’t move.” 


“Okies, any ideas?” Tate asked as he and Richmond, crouched on the rafters above the stadium, watched Jim and Blair being led at gun point down the stairs towards the court.  He counted an even dozen men with guns – not a good figure.

The other hybrid bit his lip briefly, sizing up the situation much as Tate had.

“I don’t think our trigger happy friends look very patient.” He said, his attention their friends below, nearly on the court. 

“Let’s just help Jim and Blair, how does that work for you?” Tate asked.

Richmond was already launching himself from the rafter, heading for the men behind the detectives.  Behind him, he heard Tate mutter, very dryly,

“Well, now that I’ve managed to convince you…”

There was a satisfying crunching sound as he connected with one man, then a second in a neat little domino effect that brought everybody’s attention to the brown and green gargoyles.  Bullets from the stands suddenly peppered the court and the seats around them.

It also gave Jim and Blair time to grab their guns, dive behind said chairs, and start firing back.

A sudden pain exploded across his lower left leg.  He yelped, legs giving way, landing on his ass on the court floor like a little kid.   Two seconds later, Tate vaulted over the barrier, grabbed his arm and half carried, half dragged to cover. 

“You okay?” 

Richmond felt the wound, and nodded.

“I think it’s just a whatdoyacallit.  Flesh wound.  Hurts like hell, though.”

“Don’t bleed to death, or Rhiannon will kill me.”

“Nah.  She’d just set the necklace to battle bikini mode and staple it to you.” Richmond grinned, ripping the pants off at the knee.  There was a bleeding line along the outside of his leg, fairly deep, but not too bad.

“Oh god, that’s even worse.”   Another volley of shots, and a sudden scream let him know that Jim and Blair were holding the fort, so to speak.

“How many left?” Richmond asked.

“Seven, maybe eight.”  He didn’t need to add that the odds, never good to start with, had gotten a lot worse with the advantage of surprise now gone.

“You know,” Richmond tied the end of his pants leg around the wound, “this is crazy even by my standards.  Why the hell would they blow out the generator, have everybody evacuate and then come in?”

“You’re right.  It is crazy.”

Richmond reached behind him, and pulled out his laser pistol.

“Is everybody carrying a weapon except me?!” Tate yelped.  Richmond gave him a very toothy grin, popped over the barrier, chose a target and fired the gun.

“JEY-ZUS!” Blair yelped as the laser exploded the chair one of the gunmen was hiding behind.  “What the hell was that?!”

Richmond stood up, wings flared, tail lashing, eyes blazing.

“You have seriously pissed me off!” he shouted.  “I hate being shot!!”  He changed the laser’s frequency and shot up.  There were pretty fireworks, but didn’t damage anything.  The chairs had been bad enough.  While everybody was reeling from the noise, he said, very softly,

“Ever used the ‘Act like a demon’ trick?” He’d been speaking to Tate, but somebody else heard him. 

Jim shot up, wearing a very credible expression of fear.  “Drop your weapons!” he shouted to the gunmen, “He’s out of control!  I can’t stop him!  He’ll rip you to shreds!”

Tate leapt up beside him, growling like something out of the dark ages.  Ye-haw! 

“Vengeance shall be mine!” Oooh, very dramatic.   Richmond’s lips twitched, but he covered it with a snarl. 

One ‘demon’ was enough.  Two was just too much.  The men dropped their guns.

“You don’t understand!”  One of them shouted, “We have to find the vial before it warms up!”

“Talk sense!” Blair shouted.  He had his gun trained on the men, no small feat since there were more of them then his gun could comfortably cover.  The lead gunman answered, just as Jim stepped closer to him, his voice calm and controlled.

“I’m going to reach into my front pocket and pull out my credentials.” Very slowly, his left hand went into his pocket and pulled out a small, slim folder.  “I’m with the military.  A vial of an extremely deadly nerve gas was stolen from one of our labs.  We caught the person responsible, but he said it was too late, that he’d left it here.”

“So you blew up the generator?” Jim asked incredulously.

“Look, we have to find this vial,” the soldier said desperately.  “It’s being kept in a block of ice somewhere in this stadium.  Once the ice melts, it’ll release the gas.”

 “Did your ‘person responsible’ say where he left it?” Jim growled.

“He was too busy ranting about his cause,” the other guy said bitterly.

“Right!” Jim barked,  “Everybody start looking!  If any of you boys reaches for a gun..”

He didn’t get to finish, Richmond let loose with his own battle roar.  “Just don’t reach for your guns,” he growled into the silence that followed.  This time, Tate couldn’t hold back a snicker.

There were too many fucking chairs in this stadium, Richmond thought grumpily less than a minute later.  And his goddamn leg meant he couldn’t move that fast.

“HEY!”  He looked up at Tate’s shout.  The green gargoyle was holding up a silver case about the size of a shoebox.

“That’s it!” somebody yelled, relieved.  Tate looked around for a second, then darted further along his row of chairs and held up one of those polystyrene coolers people of this time used.

“Think this will help?” he asked. 


Well, glad that’s settled, Tate thought, more than happy to hand the cooler over to one of the government men. The further that thing was from him, the better. The man with the cooler scurried out, while Jim and Blair talked quietly with the spokesman. The rest, however, were giving the hybrids long, intense looks that had Tate’s hackles rising. He moved casually to Richmond’s side, taking a closer look at his wound. “Is it just me, or is the peanut galley starting to give us too much of the MIB treatment?”

“Just you,” Richmond replied sarcastically, giving him a feral grin. “But I still have the better firepower.”

“Which reminds me, we really need to discuss this firepower fetish of yours later.”

“Why, you need tips? But yeah, I think we’ve worn out our welcome.”

“Great. Hey Jim?” Tate didn’t bother yelling, instead mentally betting that the Sentinel was listening in. When he casually turned to meet the gargoyle’s eyes as if chance while scanning the stadium, in his mind Tate raked the money in. “We’re gonna go now. Sorry to leave you like this, but out new buds are looking a little trigger happy.”

The hybrids moved towards an exit, glaring at any of the men that looked unhappy with them leaving. When one actually tried to subtly move his hand closer to his gun, Tate snarled in his face while Richmond placed an obvious hand on his own pistol grip. The human backed down.

It took them about six minutes to exit the arena to the back, and Tate half thought they both held their breath the entire way. It was rather miraculous that they’d done it without getting a bullet in the back.

“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they actually went along with that,” Richmond said.

Tate half shrugged, careful not to jostle his hold on the other hybrid. “I think Jim’s ex-military. He can probably work something out. If not, he can always lie through his teeth.”

He made a face. “So we owe him big.”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s our problem. Besides, we gotta come out at some point. Let ‘em think there’s more than just Jay around. Protection in numbers, even if there aren’t really that many numbers here.”

Richmond grunted in reply, and they flew back to the dorm in silence. The room was still empty, something Tate was mostly grateful for. It meant less bitching about being careful and whatnot. Jay still had yet to fully appreciate the wonders of stone sleep.

While Richmond settled himself on the bed, rather more a fall than sitting, Tate grabbed the first aid kit from under the bed and started pulling out various goodies. The dimension traveller raised a brow. “She keeps all that in her room?”

He laughed. “I asked her the same thing. Apparently Jay took first aid as a course or something earlier in the year. And she gets paranoid about injuries for some reason.”

“Can’t imagine why. Wonder where they are, anyways?”

“Getting in trouble, of course.”

“Isn’t that our job description?”

Tate grinned. “Hey, I thought you didn’t buy into Rhiannon’s theory.”

“Shut up and bandage.”

His grin spread, but he obeyed. For a minute. “Well, at least we can blame Jim and Blair for it. They run into as much weird shit as we do. Must be a Sentinel thing.”

“Mind explaining that?”


Richmond made a face as Tate finished wrapping his leg. “You and Jay keep mentioning that. So what’s the sentinel deal?”

Tate shrugged and sat back on his toes, comfortable in a crouch leaning against the bed. “This falls under the tell and die category, by the way. Jim’s a Sentinel. Means he can extend his senses to... unholy levels, really.”

“Sevarius?” he asked, arching a brow.

“Nope. Mother Nature. I guess way back when they protected primitive tribes. Blair keeps insisting there’s a connection between us gargs and them.”

“Speaking of which, how’s he fit into this?”

“Blair keeps him from getting overwhelmed. I think it’s more than just chance, but...” He shrugged. “Not my business. They keep Jay safe, I know I can trust them, so who am I to meddle?”

Richmond studied him for a bit, then looked away to scan the room. “You all are that close, huh?” he asked, looking at the collection of pictures on the bureau, Jay and Tate in human form, her seated, leaning against his stone form, and then Jay with Jim, Blair, and some of the Major Crimes crew.

“Not exactly,” he muttered. The younger male tilted his head, asking for more. Tate sighed. “Well, it all depends. How would you define having someone else’s memories running around your head?”

After a second, Richmond shrugged. “Fairly normal for me, actually.”


Jay leaned back with a sign, grateful to finally be off her feet. “Ya know,” she commented idly, pausing to take a sip of soda, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone powershop like that.”

Rhiannon grinned evilly at her. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone on a first name relationship with everyone in a shoe store.”

Jay made a face at her. “I’m getting better! I’m down to averaging a pair a month!” She blinked. “I didn’t just say that, did I?”

“Yes, you did.”

“Damn. You know, it wouldn’t bother me that much if I didn’t go through jeans and shirts like normal people go through Kleenex. I’m this close to actually taking Richmond up on that zipper suggestion.”

“And god forbid we actually let them know we listen to them, right?” They shared a conspiratorial grin before returning to attacking their meals. “Although, you do realize we’re contributing to a horrible cultural stereotype, don’t you?” she continued with a sly, smirk. At Jay’s blank look, it spread. “Nothing to do, so we come to the mall and shop until we drop?”

She laughed and returned the smile. “Well, since the other option is to totally break social standards and wander around with a tailhole all the time, I’m for going out and shopping.”

Rhiannon laughed and raised her soda cup in a mock toast. “I’ll drink to that.”

“Amen to that.” Between downing French fries, Jay found herself keeping a habitual eye on the crowd, taking in the people that crowded the mall on Saturday night. Catching her companion doing the same thing, although with a more wary tone, she had to grin. “We need help. Acting like any second something’s gonna jump out of the plastic plants and attack us... Too much time around the guys.”

“It’s almost weird, relaxing and having fun,” Rhiannon admitted with a faint grin. “I’m actually liking this trip.”

“Good! Which reminds me-” She broke off to dive into her group of shopping bags, finally coming up with a small plastic bag covered in bright red type declaring ‘PrintScape,’ which she handed over. “I um, was thinking maybe if you should happen to come back to this dimension at some point, ya know, you can try to stop by or call to chat or.. um.. something.” She leaned back, grinning nervously and hoping the gift wouldn’t be taken the wrong way. “And if nothing else, you can use it to get past locks or something.”

Looking rather confused, Rhiannon pulled out a bit of plastic the size of a credit card. On it, a blue dragon coiled around silver type. “Welcome to my Reality” was followed by Jay’s name, phone numbers, e-mail address, and several physical addresses.

Before either could manage another word, a young man ran by, grabbing several of their bags as he blasted past.



He managed to make it two more steps before they tackled him. He went down with a startled yelp before Rhiannon knocked him unconscious. She shared a grin and Look with Jay. “What do you say to not telling the guys about this?”

“And let them think we’re the trouble magnets? No way. They don’t need that sort of delusion.”


Half-straddling the guy, Rhiannon realised she’d lost something.

“Hold it!” she commanded the wide-eyed shoppers who’d started moving towards them.  They froze, while she looked around frantically.

Finally, she spotted the small plastic rectangle a few feet away.  Crawling over and picking it up, she gave Jay a sheepish grin as she put her gift carefully in her pocket.  If Bag Snatcher had interrupted, there definitely would have been a Warm and Fuzzy Moment when she’d opened the bag.

“I really don’t want to lose this.”

Jay grinned back, and the shoppers relaxed.

“Are you two all right?” one of them asked. 

“I’ll be fine,” Rhiannon groused, grabbing the bags the jerk had dropped when they tackled him, “as soon as I get my shopping back.”  The guy moaned. Wow, he’s got a tough head.  As discreetly as possible, she hit him again.

Jay noticed, and she snickered as she stood up.  “Shall we go?” she asked in a fake high-brow voice.

Rhiannon smirked briefly, then tried to impersonate one of her Mom’s most annoying ‘friends’, “Of course, Dah-ling!  Don’t want to miss the bargains!”

“Stop. Right. There.” The voice behind them brought the game to an abrupt halt.  Rhiannon instinctively reached for her hidden pistol.  She’d nearly brought it out when the voice went on, sounding suddenly amused, “Jay, have you corrupted this girl?”

Jay grinned, and winked at Rhiannon.  “What’s wrong with that?  Rhiannon, I want you to meet Megan Conner – she works with Jim and Blair in Major Crimes.”

“Shh!  Keep that down, would ya?” Megan grinned.  Rhiannon tilted her head to the side, unaware of the suddenly startled look she got from Megan.

“You’re Australian, aren’t you?”

Megan’s hard stare vanished.  “Yeah.  You know some Australians?”

“A few..”  She tapped Bag Statcher on the head.  “Ya want him?”

“Nah, the security guards can handle him.” She waved to the approaching guards and went on, holding up her shopping bags to demonstrate her point, “I’m off duty,” Then she hesitated for a moment, “Hey Jay, walk with me a second, okay?”

Jay frowned.  “Uh, sure.”

Rhiannon got to her feet.  “I’m coming with you.”

Megan gave Jay a Look.  “It’s about those statues you like so much.”

The gargoyles.  Jesus, does every cop in Cascade know about Jay?

The girl in question, suddenly tense, smiled very slightly.  “It’s okay Megan, she likes the statues too.”

Megan looked relieved, although Questions appeared in her eyes.  “Well, come on.”

Once they were a safe distance away, Megan said, very quietly.  “Look, Joel Taggart rang me a few minutes ago.  He said Jim and Blair were involved in an incident at the stadium.  There was some sort of problem with the generator, the military got involved.  I’m telling you this because there were reports of two ‘demons’ attacking the military guys.  One of them got shot, before he, and I quote, ‘threw a fireball at them’.”

“A fireball?  Tate got some freakish skill I don’t know about?” Rhiannon asked.

Jay shook her head.  “Are you sure it’s not Richmond?”

“No.. Unless,” Rhiannon sighed bitterly. “Yeah, it would have been him.  It wasn’t a fireball,” she told Megan calmly, “It was the beam from his laser pistol.  I got one too, see?” she tugged the weapon in question out of the back of her pants, where she’d stashed it.  Jay yelped.

“What the heck is that?”

Rhiannon shrugged, “A Type III laser pistol.  It’s got eight different calibrations, including iron-based beams, hand-print recognition and rechargeable solar batteries, which is really helpful – the pistol I brought with me into the Wastelands became utterly useless when the battery wore out.”

Opened mouthed stares were her only reply. 

“You think this is incredible?  You should see the exo-suit we picked up.  It’s highly advanced, even by my standards.  When I store it, it’s about the size of a really thick Frisbee, but when it’s activated, it’s a full-sized exo-suit with trimmings like you would not believe.  It’s so cool, it steams.”  Jaws dropped further.  “I only mention this because, when I get a hold of Richmond, I am going to put that exo-suit on and demonstrate every single one of those trimmings on his stupid macho ass and make him only wish he had been shot.”


Richmond, you’d better be bleeding, or I’m going to make you bleed.

Richmond bolted upright, startling Tate.

“What’s wrong?”

“We have got to get out of here,” he said, getting to his feet even as he spoke. The door flew open.

“If you so much as move, I will break your spine.” Rhiannon growled.  Jay and a woman he didn’t recognise stood behind her.  

“Uh, I can explain..” he began.  Rhiannon hurtled across the room and bear-hugged him.

“Uh, air.. please.”  Richmond gasped.  Rhiannon pulled away, and over her head he saw Jay bolt to where Tate was still slouched in the beanbag, looking completely terrified.

“Are you hurt?  Megan said somebody got shot.”  She was running her hands over her boyfriend as she spoke, obviously looking for a wound.  Tate raised a browridge, but didn’t stop her.

“That would be me.” Richmond said tentatively.  Jay stopped with the wandering hands.  Tate looked disappointed.  “My leg… It’s fine, really.  I’ve had worse.”

“I remember when you had worse, Richmond,” Rhiannon spat, and suddenly, he realised why she was acting so weird.  She’d been scared.  Horribly scared, thinking of the times when all she’d been able to do for him was wait for the dawn with him, unsure if he’d even make it that far.  And when she got scared, she covered it by pretending she was angry. 

“I’m fine, Reh.” He touched her ear gently.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Rhiannon asked quietly, her anger fading.

“It wasn’t a big thing,” Tate said.  Jay glared at him.

“Getting shot is a big thing!”

“We just didn’t want you to worry.  We’d have told you when you got back, really.”  If you’d noticed anything.


Richmond flinched back from the woman’s shout, nearly losing his balance.  Tate jumped.  The woman stalked further in, her hair flying around her face.

“Okay, your weird babblin’ about exo-suits and laser pistols was bad enough,” she told Rhiannon, “then you made me drive you and your big, ugly mutt back here, both of you talking about how you’re going to hurt ‘them’.  When I get here, I find out that ‘them’ are two guys with wings, one of ‘em bright green.  If either of them say one word about me ‘being in the light’, I’m going to…” she broke off, “This is Jimbo and Sandy’s fault.  I know it.”

“It is not!” The younger of the two men she’d just mentioned appeared in the doorway.

“More of you?” Jay cried, “My room isn’t large enough for a convention!”

“You mean this isn’t this where the orgy is?” Blair asked, all wide-eyed innocence.  In one move, Jay turned, grabbed a pillow and threw it at him.  Richmond, Rhiannon and Tate snickered.  Even Megan smirked.

“Megan, I’d like you to meet Richmond and Tate,” Jim said, stepping past his partner.  “They’re friendly.”

“With those claws, I wouldn’t want to be here if they weren’t,” Megan said wryly, and added, “No offence, of course.”

“What happened to them?” Jay asked Jim.  There was a note in her voice that suggested she was a very small distance from ripping somebody apart, and if she didn’t get some answers soon, that distance would get a lot smaller. 

“Mad scientist gone really, really bad,” Jim said.  Jay rolled her eyes.

“Of course it would be, after all, we’ve had our quota of criminals.”  Jim smirked.

“He stole a nerve gas from the military, left it in the stadium.  The military only knew it was there, but not its exact location.  So they shut off the generator to get everybody out, and planted a fake bomb to remove anybody else and buy them enough time to find the vial,” he explained.  Rhiannon frowned.

“It seems like a lot of trouble to go to just for one vial of gas.”

“The military guys didn’t have much time, and they wanted it kept as secretive as possible.  The guy worked for them before he went nuts.” Blair said, almost angrily, then went on, very quietly, “If that gas had escaped, it would have killed everybody in the stadium in five minutes.  One of the Military guys told me after you left that it would have been warm enough to release ten minutes after we found it.”

There was a brief silence while everybody swallowed hard.

“You know, that was pretty close,” Tate said finally. 

“So how did you go with the whole ‘demons’ thing?” Richmond asked, mostly to distract Jay, who looked ready to let loose on Tate how close it had been.

Jim shrugged.  “I managed to convince them that it would be in their best interests to forget about you two.  They’re keeping with the busted generator story, and they’d rather nobody else knew what had really happened.  It was the best I could do, but it should work.  They’re not likely to include ‘a big green demon and another demon with a handgun that shot fireballs flew down and beat us up’ in the report.  Things like that have a habit of haunting a guy if he wants to advance his career.  One guy did radio for help, but he was the one behind the chair you blew up, so they’ll put it down to pain-induced hallucinations.”

“Damn, you’re as good at convincing people to forget about us as I am,” Richmond grinned.

            “See?” Rhiannon said, “Proof.  It’s all you gargies’ fault.  You’re the trouble magnets.  It’s got nothing to do with Jay or I.”   The other person in question smirked widely, a little colour returning to her face.  Great, Richmond thought, they’re gloating now.  I preferred it when they were scared.

            Megan came to their rescue.  “So how come you two were fighting a bag snatcher when I came across you?” She asked innocently.

            The smirks vanished.  “Uh….”

            “A bag snatcher?” Richmond asked his rookery sister with excessive interest.

“Who are the Trouble Magnets?” Tate crowed. 


Jim leaned against the closed door, smirking absently to himself as he watched the kids playfully argue back and forth about the bigger trouble magnets, cheerfully calling out incidents and injuries ranging from silly to severe. Once again he was reminded of his own time in the military, or to a lesser degree, the change room way back when he was on Patrol. These children, if one could still call them that, had survived and perhaps thrived on what could easily have broken some of the soldiers and cops he’d worked with. God help us when they can’t laugh at it anymore.

But despite the grim undertones to the conversation, he could spot a definite improvement in the foursome. He’d never seen Jay quite so animated as when she was going into elaborate detail concerning a robbery and the idiots she’d caught. He’d witnessed everything on her from pure emotional breakdown to giddiness, but this outright joy at life was a first. Tate also had lost a bitter edge, actually letting go of the iron tight control the Sentinel had seen thorough their last meeting. The half-breed was finally sincere with more than his desire to protect.

He’d encountered Richmond and Rhiannon for an even shorter time than Tate, but they also showed signs of improvement. They’d lost a bit of their paranoia, not enough to lose their edge, but enough to now let someone tap them on the shoulder unexpectedly without losing a hand. Not a bad change, in his mind.

Blair unexpectedly wandered by, nudging him in the side as he passed. Jim shot him a look, which the younger cop returned with a raised brow. The unspoken dialogue was clear. He was expected to join in the fun and chill out for once. A grin crept into being and he shut away his inner cop for awhile. That he could handle.

“You think you have it bad?” He jerked his thumb in Blair’s direction, easing down to sit beside Megan on the bed. “Try hanging around him for a day.”

“Hey!” Blair yelped and mock glared at him, hands on hips. “Come on, man, my life was never this crazy before we met. You’re the bad influence!”

Megan practically laughed herself off the bed. “It’s both of you!” She turned her focus on the teens. “My first day here, not on the force mind, but in the states, and they were causing chaos! I wasn’t 10 minutes off the plane before I’m following Jimbo in a car chase-”

“In a hijacked taxi, on the wrong side of the road, with a kidnapped observer,” Blair muttered, which she ignored.

“And while he did catch some drug runners, he managed to completely destroy the Captain’s new car, all without leaving the parking garage.”

“Oh god!” Jay actually did fall over laughing. “I can just see his face! Man, he musta loved that!”

“Which reminds me,” Richmond drawled, “just how much of the Cascade cop population knows you?”

“All of them!” Jim snickered, earning himself a rude gesture from Jay.

“Yeah, as ‘the chick Ellison brought in to do his paperwork’.” The two shared false, syrupy smiles. “Seriously, though-”


“Shut up, Jim. I know a lot of the department, many of them loathe me all for my lonesome without knowing about the garg thing. Only about seven people from Major Crimes know that. And most of them found out by sheer chance.”

Megan made a face at her. “And scaring the crap out of us in the process.”

“I didn’t mean to! I’ve said I’m sorry! Jeeze, play Psycho Demon Critter once and they never let you forget it.”


The story trading and banter continued well past midnight, until Jay finally chased the cops out with threats of stetting Helen the CA on them for lingering past visiting hours. Having lost moral support from the male cops, Richmond and Tate opted for a late patrol with Gamgee. Finding herself alone with Rhiannon again, she grinned. “Dunno about you, but I’m too wired to sleep now. What about you? Any plans?”

Rhiannon grinned back and shrugged. “Got any good movies?”

“Not really, but enough popcorn that it won’t matter! Besides, it’s gotta be better’n homework.”


“It’s nice to have a quiet night.”

Tate blinked and looked over, flight path dipping as he tried to give the other gargoyle an amazed look. “A military evacuation of a stadium due to a mad scientist’s vial of killer junk, several hours shooting the breeze with some cops, two carjackings, a drug dealer, and a belligerent drunk make a quiet night?!?”

“Forget the Wastelands, have you ever done a patrol in New York?”

The thought made him blanch. “Ok, ok, point to you. Geeze, that’s ridiculous.”

“Isn’t it, though?”

Taking in the other hybrid’s rather insane smile, Tate decided not to ask if it was humor or not. “While we’re on the subject of the ridiculous, is it just me or are the girls really turning into that support group?”

Richmond shrugged. “Yeah, but I think it’s helping both of them.”

“Point again. It’s a good thing.”

Richmond raised a brow. “Jay has massive issues too?”

He snorted. “Is a bear catholic? Does the Pope poop in the woods?”

“Can I get back to you on that?”

“Yeah, well, we’re both pretty new to this half-human, half-garg thing. Jay’s been having problems lately. I still don’t get it, but...” He shrugged.


“Exactly.” They shared a grin. “Glad we males don’t have that sorta problem.”

Richmond finally laughed. “Hey, the occasional identity crisis and random strange memory is nothing, right?”

“Right.” They glided on silently for a few minutes before Tate checked his watch. “Sunrise in an hour. Ready to head back?”

“Why not?”

“They could be plotting.”

“Ewww. Scary thought.”

The return flight was actually quiet, much to Tate’s surprise. They quickly made it back to the dorms, only to find the lights on. Sharing a questioning look, the males entered cautiously, expecting trouble of some sort.

Instead the two girls were fast asleep. Jay was draped half off the bed, arms dangling down towards a bowl empty except for some popcorn kernels. Rhiannon was curled up in the beanbag next to the bowl, TV remote dangling from one limp hand. The TV itself was surrounded by popcorn, grease smears across the screen where an early morning news show played out almost silently. The males shared a look, clearly asking each other what the hell had gone on.

“Ghostbusters,” Rhiannon mumbled. They looked at her, nonplussed. She stirred, sighed, and opened her eyes a slit. “We watched Ghostbusters, booed the demon dog thing, Jay fell asleep, and then I did. And I’m going back.” Piece said, she rolled over.

Without even looking at each other, the two turned and headed back for the window.

“Are you getting déjà vu here, or is it just me?” Richmond asked quietly.

“Just you.”


“Do you think it’s safe now?” Tate asked.

They were sitting on the roof, exactly above Jay’s dorm.  Richmond shrugged.

“I have no idea.  Rhiannon’s asleep, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“How do you know that?”

They still hadn’t told them about the soul-bond.  It was their deepest secret, the one thing they were most reluctant to mention, mainly because even the most laid-back person had a hard time coping with the fact they could pop in and out of each others heads at will, and then there were those who got extremely Weird about the ‘higher powers’ bit.  Hmmm.  To speak or not to speak.  Ah hell, it’s not like I can’t trust him.

“Uh, Rhiannon and I have this bond.  It’s hard to explain, and I don’t know how it happened exactly, but we kinda have a telepathic link.”

Tate was silent.  After a long moment, he said, “Seriously?”


“You mean you can go into Rhiannon’s head and you still don’t understand her?!”

Richmond couldn’t help but laugh.  “Come on!  Nobody could understand her!” he cried defensively.  Tate shook his head, then gave the sky an ‘I don’t believe it’ look.

“The guy can go into a girl’s head and still doesn’t know how they work.  This does not bode well for malekind’s eternal quest to understand females.”

By now, Richmond was practically hysterical.

“Whaaat?” Tate asked.

“I’ve had so many different reactions to telling people that – yours is not what I expected.”

Tate grinned, and shrugged.  “You say that, with those two below?”  After a second, he said, “Seriously though, what’s it like?”

“We’ve been bonded all our lives, so, for us, it’s normal.” Richmond shrugged, “We’re not always in each other’s heads, thank god.  Otherwise I’d have gone nuts long ago.  It’s a bit like being permanently attached to a telephone she’s on the other end of.”

Tate nodded.  “Bet it’s been helpful lately.”

“Oh yeah.”  Absently kicking his feet against the wall, Richmond said,

“You know, I’m going to miss this world.”

“Yeah, those mad scientists grow on you after a while,” Tate said lightly, but the suddenly stricken look in his eyes betrayed him.  After a moment, he said quietly,

“Anyway you could get back here?”

Richmond shook his head.  “Not likely.  Only way we could would be if we got the cloak off Raptorus, and as soon as we do that, we’re giving it back to it’s original owner.  And Sempiterna’s not going to let us go on little pleasure cruises to our favourite dimensions.  It’s the whole ‘don’t fuck up time’ thing.  Gods only know how badly we’ve already damaged it.”

For a long time, Tate didn’t say anything.  Finally, he spoke.

“You know, you’re going to be missed in this world too.”


Rhiannon bolted upright, all sleepiness forgotten. 

Oh, Gods no.  Not now!  Not when she was having so much fun!

But, as always, the Wastelands didn’t listen.  Desperately, she reached into her pocket, pulling out the paper napkin she’d kept stashed in there.

“Jay!” she shouted as the familiar fire and ice started forming around her.  The other girl shot up with a barely coherent shout.

“It’s okay!  We’re going!  Not much time!  Take care, okay!” She could practically hear a clock ticking away the precious moments she had left.  She threw the napkin at Jay, although it only fluttered to the floor a few feet in front of her. 

Jay was a bright girl.  She realized what was going on, just as the magical sphere formed completely.  Through the layer of burning ice, Rhiannon saw her begin to leap towards her, then hesitate and settle for screaming,

“Goodbye!  I hope you get home!  If you can, come back anytime!”

“No!” Despite the fact she was already missing Jay, Rhiannon had to smile, “It’s your turn to visit me!  Read the note!”

Then Jay, her room, and the entire dimension vanished. 


Behind her, Jay reached over and picked up the napkin Rhiannon had thrown at her.  Scrawled across it in bumpy, uneven writing (obviously, she’d written it in the back seat of Megan’s car on the way back to the dorm) was a short letter.


I’d love for you to one day visit my world – I know you and Tate would fit right in with my friends, and the rest of my family would just love you.  But that’s not likely to happen.  Of course, if it ever did, feel free to drop in.  We live in the great wacking big castle on the skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan.  It’s pretty easy to spot. 

Thank you for, well, everything.  I owe you one.  Several, in fact.  Normally, I hate owing anybody anything, but this time, I don’t mind. 

Take care,



Beneath it was a postscript, more neatly written.

P.S.  Look under the bed.  Just to remind you that yes, we were here, and no, you’re not the only one with a weird life.

Frowning slightly, Jay knelt and peered under the bed.  There was a small box sharing the space with the dust bunnies.  Pulling it out, she opened it, just as Tate slammed into the wall beside the window.

“Is Rhiannon still here?” he asked.  Jay shook her head, and he sighed and crawled through the window.

“Guess they had to move on, huh?” Tate shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot.

“Yeah.” Slowly, Jay reached into the box and pulled out a flat square black box.  On the top, a black screen sat beside a red button.  She’d seen it before – Rhiannon had brought it out while the others had been there and stuck it on the bureau, although she hadn’t mentioned why.  Jay looked up at Tate, who only shrugged, then pressed the button. 

It was a hologram of Jay’s dorm, with all of them – Richmond, Rhiannon, Tate, herself and even Blair, Jim and Megan.  They were obviously enjoying themselves – Richmond was telling one of his stories, Rhiannon was backing him up with her hands, the cops were laughing hysterically, and Tate was grinning down at Jay, who was leaning helplessly against him, giggling. 

“Cool.” Tate grinned.

“I so want to know how she did this,” Jay said. Then she laughed.  In the image, both Richmond and Tate were in full wings-and-tail mode and she could see Jim’s gun poking out of its holster.   Rhiannon had given her a holographic image of seven trouble-magnets at rest.  It was oddly appropriate.


Jay leaned against Tate, still grinning as she rolled the memories of the weekend in her mind. A sigh, half contentment, half wistful, escaped. “Good people,” she declared.

“Understatement. I hope they make it home soon.”

“No argument here.” They sat silently for a bit, lost in thought until Jay finally stirred. “Rhiannon didn’t seem to think they’d be back.”

“Richmond told me basically the same thing. Much as I want them to make it back to their home, it sucks.”

She grinned and handed over the napkin. “Yeah, but we do have a standing invite to visit them sometime.”

“Cool. I’d love to just show up one day, impossible as it probably is.”

“Nothing is ever impossible.”

“So you mean you finally accept there is magic?” he smirked.

Jay stuck her tongue out at him. “I prefer to put my faith in more tangible things.”

“Such as?”

She grinned and bounced the cube gently in her hand. “Friendship.”



Once again, many thanks to Fleur for such a fun project. It was terrific to work with such a great writer, not to mention someone who enjoyed the insanity rather than running at the first chance from the weirdness. :) I just hope the readers had as much fun as we did.

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