Jay started to swing her feet, but stopped herself before hitting the metal doors to the compartment under the table. She caught Tate smothering a smile at that, and grinned herself. She hated not being able to touch the ground, making her feel she was that much shorter then she really was. She glanced around the room, searching for something to do and wishing she had remembered to bring a book, when there was a knock on the door.

"Heís ba-a-a-a-a-ck," Tate whispered as the door opened and the doctor came in. Jay tried to keep from smiling and put on a look of deep interest.

"Well, which of you would like to go first?" the doctor asked. She pointed at Tate, who frowned at her. Weird, he thought. She doesnít like going last. Whatís up? Then he pulled his mind back to the present.

"Good news. The cancer is gone." It took his brain a few moments to get what the human was saying. His jaw dropped open and he stared as Jay whooped.

"All right!" she cheered.

"Thatís it? No more chemo, or radiation?"

"No more nothing. Youíll have to come back every two weeks for awhile, but thatíll stretch out to a month, then two months, and so on. Peg will schedule it."

"Yeah, sure," he replied dazedly. He couldnít believe it was over. "Hey, um, what about the catheter?"

"That can come out soon as you want. We have three choices about how. One, we can just pull it out." There was a moment of silence.

"Youíre joking, right?" Tate pleaded. He tried to cover a laugh as Jay became an interesting shade of green and a high pitched whine, nearly inaudible, started. Getting her nervous always started her doing that. The doctor paused for a minute, looking around for the source of the noise. Finally, he shrugged it away. "No, Iím totally serious. Itís completely safe, and my preferred method." Yours, buddy, NOT mine. "It doesnít hurt much". And Iíd bet you never had one pulled out of YOUR chest. "Two, we give you local anesthesia, and do surgery, or, lastly, put you totally under for it."

"Door number three!" The whine stopped at last.

"Are you certain?"

"You better believe it!"

"All right. Peg will help you schedule. I think sheís free now." Tate frowned. They were trying to get rid of him! What was going on?

"Ah, sure. Catch you later, Jay." The human waved as he left.

Tate stopped as soon as he closed the door. Something was wrong. Jay hadnít had a problem with him hearing the reports before. He leaned close to the door, trying to catch what the humans were saying.

"The original tumor is gone."

"Wait a minute, original?"

"Well, thatís the bad news. Itís somewhat complicated-"

"I donít care if itís advanced physics! What is going on?!"

There was a muffled sigh. "Something in your genetic makeup doesnít agree with the chemo, or does agree with the cancer."


"The cancer cells are growing, and wonít stop. Youíll be on chemotherapy for the rest of your life, which might not be that long, although the chemo will extend that time."

No! This is some kind of sick joke. There has got to be a way to fix this! There was a pause.

"How long?" It was so quiet he nearly missed it.

"Iím sorry, Jay. It could be a few weeks, or years. Maybe longer. And that is on the chemotherapy."

"Thereís got to be some other way. Please, tell me there is."

A momentary hesitation. "The problem is genetic. I canít help you, or any of the doctors here."

"So thereís no hope." NO!

"I didnít say that. I happen to know a geneticist that might be willing to help you." Yes!


"But heís expensive. He might not do it, and he has somewhat of a bad reputation." Oh, believe me, heíll do it. Or heíll have to grow himself wings really fast.

There was a moment of silence. "Well, there doesnít seem to be a choice here. Make the appointment."

"All right. Iíll call you tomorrow with his answer."

"Sure. Whatever." Tate darted over to the desk where Peg was stationed. He grinned. "I need an appointment for surgery to remove the tube," he told her, trying to cover up the fact he was more then slightly out of breath.

"All right, letís see..." the nurse flipped through a scheduling book. "The docíll be free in a week. At nine thirty."

"Sounds good. Sign me up."

"Right. Remember, no food beforehand."

"I doubt Iíll have a problem with that."

"Any more questions?" the doctor asked, looking over his clipboard.

"No, thanks," Jay sighed, trying to keep from crying.

"All right, Iíll get back to you tomorrow then." The doctor absentmindedly left, closing the door behind him. Jay swallowed and took several deep breaths. She was not going to cry. Fred had caused enough tears, and she wasnít about ready to shed some more for him. After several false starts, she finally managed to get herself under control and out of the hospital. She waited a few seconds before getting into her car, breathing in huge gulps of air. She grimaced at the acrid, moldy taste to the air, then ducked into her car. She rested her forehead against the wheel and tried to collect her thought, but it was so hard to concentrate. The doctorís words kept coming back to her. ...could be a few weeks, or years. She shook her head trying to get rid of the constant repetition her mind put the words through. This isnít working! She climbed back out and went to the wall. She leaned against the edge, looking down onto the busy street. If this geneticist didnít agree to do the operation....

For a single, brief moment, Jay considered jumping. Death hadnít really entered the picture before. In the back of her mind she had realized it might be possible, but to actually hear it was too much. Things would be so much easier....

Then reality hit. She might end up with all her bones broken, but not necessarily dead. Not to mention it would be very painful... No, that was not an option. Besides, if the doctor refused, a visit from Tate and his clan would quickly change his mind. She got back into the car and drove off, resolved to live with her lump.

She never saw the shadowy form flying above her from the parking garage to her home.

The doctor agreed to help almost immediately. He told Jay that she had to have an operation to remove her port and undergo most of her "treatment" at one time. By luck, fortune, or chance, Tateís operation was scheduled for the same night as Jayís. The gargoyle went under a quick, easy operation. He sat in the recovery room, his eyes and the fish painted on the ceiling swimming. Finally, both settled down enough where he was lucid enough to talk with Peg.

"íSup?" he rasped.

The nurse shrugged. "Iím on a break right now. In a few minutes, Iíll be going in to help with Jayís operation. Wanna watch?" she drawled sarcastically.

The gargoyle was silent for a few minutes. While the thought of actually seeing someone open up his friend was totally gross, he felt he should be there. That or the anesthesia was doing weirder things to his head then he thought. "Sure," he slurred. "Dís it matter Ďm not right in tha head yet?"

Peg thought about it. While it had been meant as a joke, it couldnít hurt. There was an observing room. In a teaching hospital like Yale, it was nearly a requirement. And surely the gargoyle had seen more gruesome things patrolling the city then an operation. She shrugged. "Why not?"

The operation started out well. While Tate thought Jay looked a little... weird, he put it down to the anesthesia. It was the doctor, one Anton Servarius, that drove him crazy. For some reason, his instincts told him to get down into the room and protect Jay. He held himself back though. Tearing the one person best qualified to save her into kibble wouldnít help either of them. Finally, despite his best efforts, the anesthesia kicked in again and he fell asleep.

A steady beep woke Tate quickly. It took his fogged mind a few seconds to recognize just what it was. He swore and sat up, then swore again as dizziness and nausea hit him. The gargoyle shoved it away as he struggled to stand. Personally, he had never heard the noise, but he had watched enough medical shows on TV to place it. The heart monitor.

Iím dreaming, he told himself, this is just a nightmare. He watched helplessly as a team of nurses wheeled in a cart and tried to shock Jayís heart back to functioning. He turned away when they took out a giant needle. Tate paced the room, afraid to look. Finally, Peg came in.

"What happened?" he growled, towering over the human.

"Tate... Iím... Iím sorry."

"What happened?" He nearly roared it this time, and he knew his eyes were glowing white-hot with rage... and fear.

The nurse hesitated a moment, then sighed. "We lost her."

He froze, and there was a roaring in his ears. His mind refused to work. It wasnít possible. It couldnít be possible. Shaking slightly, he turned and looked into the operating room. The doctor, Servarius, was covering the body on the table, shaking his head. Dimly, he heard Peg talking. "Iím sorry, Tate, but this happens sometimes."

"Sorry doesnít quite cut it, Peg, does it?" he asked hollowly, then stalked out the room, barely remembering to keep out of sight of any humans. Somehow, he found himself back at the room he and Jay shared. He dazedly wandered around, picking up objects then putting them back down again. Gradually, it sank in that Jay was dead. He couldnít stand to stay there any longer. He ran to the window and fumbled with the latch, barely able to see through a torrent of tears. He leaped into the night and let out a roar, putting all his pain, loss, and anger into the wordless scream. For several hours he flew around the city, welcoming the mind-numbing chore of watching for updrafts and thermals. Eventually, he landed on a building roof. He had no idea where he was, nor did he care.

He finally realized he was holding onto something in a death grip. He looked down and saw it was Jayís CD player. He put the headphones on, feeling numb, as if he wasnít in control of his own body, and mechanically hit the play button. He instantly recognized the song. It was called Tubthumping, one she played over and over, driving him crazy with its annoyingly addictive tune, especially the chorus.

Weíll be singing
When weíre winning
Weíll be singing
I get knocked down
But I get up again
Youíre never going to keep me down

He hit the stop button, unable to take it any longer. For a bit he watched the stars between the clouds, but at last he broke down again. He wondered if the ache inside ever went away.

Jay woke up slowly, the return to consciousness a gradual process. She lay on the border of sleep for a time, unknowing and uncaring for just how long, not quite asleep and not quite awake. Finally, she pulled herself to the real world and took a careful inventory. Head, yes, legs, yes, arms, yes, everything seemed to be in order. Except she wasnít very comfortable. It felt like something was digging into her rear and her shoulder-blades. She waited for the wave of nausea, well, it actually was more like a flood, that always followed an operation. She and the anesthesia didnít get along very well. In fact, it could probably be said they hated each other. Strangely enough, it didnít come. Maybe they actually listened to me this time. Yeah, right. She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling for awhile. She just wished that it would stop spinning. It was getting very annoying.

Finally the room settled down. She slowly levered herself up, waiting for some ditz of a nurse to stop her. When no one did and she made it into an upright position, she finally looked around, something dragging at her back. This isnít the recovery room. Where the hell did they put me? She resisted the urge to check her catheter. That would not be a good idea. She turned herself sideways, so her feet dangled off the bed, but refused to look anywhere but straight ahead. If she looked down, she might see something sheíd regret. Open wounds, scars, cut jugular, whatís the difference? Oh, about five pints. Whoa, stop there. Going any further could get a bit messy. And blood is so hard to get out, too. She shook her head gently, trying to get rid of the macabre train of thought.

She examined her room. It was white, eerily reminiscent of an asylum room. All it needed was padded walls. There was a sink with a mirror over it in a corner, and the bed, actually a gurney, was in the corner opposite. A stall, probably holding a toilet, was next to the sink. The only visible way out was door at the far end of the room. Otherwise, the room was empty. For a minute Jay thought something was still wrong with her vision, but when she focused, there were still a few distortions in the door and wall. Why the hell would anyone put plexiglass in a hospital room? Because you arenít in Kansas anymore, maybe? She slid off the side of the bed, staggering slightly as she hit the ground, her balance worse then normal. For some reason, it felt more comfortable to walk on her toes. Well, if it works... Then the nausea hit. She staggered over to the sink and leaned over, gasping as a sick pale yellow fluid came up. She trembled as her stomach heaved, then took deep gulping breaths. I really, REALLY hate that. She reached over to turn the water on to flush the gunk down the drain, then froze. Her hand was a deep blue, nearly black, with four talons. Slowly, she finally looked down. Spurs had grown upward from her knees, and her feet had stretched out, and now only had three toes and a spur on the heel, arcing downwards. Behind her sprouted a tail, ending in a barbed hook, and wings, like a giant blue batís, appeared out of her shoulders. Jay raised her head and looked into the mirror. An unfamiliar face stared back. Dark blue skin covered a thin face. She no longer had even the remnants of eyebrows, instead ridges had appeared. Two horns started on her forehead and tapered backward into points about halfway along her skull. Well, this is... interesting. I go for "minor surgery" and I come out a gargoyle. What happens when you come in for major?

Jay was snapped out of her study by the sound of a door opening. She whirled around, going into an involuntary crouch. She hissed and the room took on an eerie clarity, the shadows disappearing as a deadly calm settled over her, getting her ready to strike and stop her opponent, permanently if necessary. The rage that came along quickly startled her out of it and back to normal.

A familiar man, tall with reddish-brown hair in a crewcut and brown eyes, stepped through, applauding. "Very good, mídear. I didnít think the natural instincts would come on that strongly. In fact, they shouldnít have at all."

"Servarius," she spat. "What did you do to me?"

"Actually, Iíve done you a favor. That tumor wouldnít go away without me doing this."

"Do you know what youíve turned me into?!" she shrieked, then mentally cursed herself. Great. Just go and tell him all the clanís secrets while youíre at it. Heís sure to love more guinea pigs.

He yawned. "Such hysterics will get you nowhere. As for what, you are now a gargoyle. Donít be surprised you havenít heard of then, theyíre very rare. Only eight left, as far as the world knows. Now, there are nine. Congratulations."

"I hope youíll pardon me if I restrain my enthusiasm," she snarled, inwardly storing the information. Tate and his clan werenít the last!

The doctor grinned back. "Now arenít we cranky? Donít worry, you wonít be alone for long. There are quite a few people willing to pay a great deal of money for you."

"Money? What the hell are you thinking? You canít sell me!"

"Wrong. I can. And I will." Her anger grew and she snarled. Her eyes began to glow and this time, she welcomed the beserker calm. She leapt at Servarius, talons ready to tear him into pieces. She slammed into the clear wall and dragged her claws down, starting an eerie screech that set her teeth on edge. Jay opened her mouth and roared, inwardly shocked at the shrill screech, like a giant eagleís cry mixed with a lionís roar.

The geneticist just laughed. "Donít waste your strength. Even if you did get out, a highly unlikely chance, you only have about two hours until sunrise. And wouldnít you just love to know what happens then?" he called out as he left. The rage stayed with her, fueled by the doctorís last comments. She banged on the wall, but he was right. She wasnít going anywhere soon. For a moment, fear and depression overwhelmed her.

But her rage saved Jay again, along with a sense of pride that made her refuse to give in and be sold like some kind of animal. She welcomed the wave of hatred that followed. It wasnít the fact that she had been changed into a gargoyle so much as Servariusís smug insistence that she was helpless that fueled her anger.

She stood up, more clear headed then ever before in her life, and examined the room again. The only way out was through the wall. She shrugged, then an idea hit her. She attacked the clear material, making a lattice work of claw marks over the entire wall. Then Jay stood back, eyeing her handiwork. So far, so good. She moved around to behind the table and experimentally lifted it, bracing herself. She lifted it easily, staggering slightly as it came off the ground without much effort. Man! Wish I could keep this kind of strength for gym class! She pushed the thought away and concentrated on the matter at hand. Pushing off the wall, she charged forward at the transparent barrier. Belatedly, she realized she should somehow cover her face, but was at a loss as to how. Something dark blue covered her field of view, and she realized it was her wings. Okay, this definitely has good points.

The gurney slammed into the wall and Jay heard a loud crack. She moved back a bit, then rammed it again. On her third try, the wall shattered. Alarms shrieked as she bolted through the door, not bothering to open it first, and then up the stairway behind it.

Jay swore as she ran into a human dressed in what she had to call battle armor, knocking him down. He rolled to his feet a few steps down and pulled out a gun, firing quickly. A dart sprouted in the wall behind her. The human tried to reload, but ran out of time as she kicked him in the shoulder. Had she been more used to her new abilities and body, she might have done serious damage, but all she accomplished was to push him further down the stairs. She leapt up the stairs, some instinct telling her to go on all fours. She found it faster and bounded upwards, avoiding the occasional gunshot behind her. Only one door remained ahead of her. She slammed into it, shoulder first, and the hinges gave way. Then Jay realized her mistake. She was on the roof. And the only way down was filling with more humans in battle gear.

The sound of gunfire brought Tate out of his misery. For a moment, instinct warred with grief, but feelings lost to racial patterns. He stood and spread his wings. Maybe beating up a few hoodlums would help. He doubted it, but who knew?

The location of the firefight wasnít too far and he landed on a rooftop nearby. He looked over to the next building and froze in amazement. Crouched behind the scanty protection of a decorative chimney was a gargoyle. It took a few seconds for his brain to catch up. He looked carefully in the dim light, and was certain that it... no, definitely a she, wasnít somebody he knew. His eyes lit up with a fierce white blaze and he snarled. There werenít going to be any more deaths tonight if he had anything to say about it!

Tate glided to the roof, his mind going into overdrive. If she hadnít flown away yet, then she was probably wounded in the wings. So the best idea seemed to be a snatch and fly.

He caught an updraft and headed up, gaining enough altitude to dive and get a better perspective on the battle. Things had not changed in the few seconds it had taken him to get up. The gargoyle was casting glances downward and muttering what probably were curses, and the humans were advancing. He turned and dived, ignoring the wind and centering on his target. Tate pulled up slightly, leveling off yet retaining his momentum so when he shot past the female, it was no problem to try to grab her. Unfortunately, she chose that moment to duck a shot by one of the humans, so instead of grabbing her, he clipped her and she was knocked off the building.

"Oh, SHI-I-I-I-I-I-I-T!" she screeched, reminding Tate of a western he and Jay had watched only a few nights before. He brushed the thoughts of the human away as he dove after the gargoyle, desperately trying to catch up.

Jay couldnít help but to mentally laugh when she realized what sheíd screamed. It was straight from an old movie she had loved and pressed on Tate, whoíd had the good taste to find a similar liking. Amazing what you think of just before you become road pizza. She was surprised at the calm she felt, and accepted that in a few seconds she would be a pothole cover. But suddenly there was a jerk on her back, just underneath her shoulder blades, a sensation she hadnít ever felt before. She looked at the ground in puzzlement. Why was it moving away?

"Are your wings damaged?" a familiar voice asked roughly.

"Ah, um, I donít think so. That is, not really."

"Good." The pressure suddenly disappeared as Tate let go of her wings. She shrieked and curled up into a ball, hoping the landing didnít break all her bones. Then there was a snap, like someone had flicked a leather jacket, and a different tugging feeling developed on her back.

"You can open your eyes now," he commented sarcastically. She popped open an eye and took a cautious look downwards. The street was moving away again at a frightening speed.

There was a chuckle from her savior. She looked up and realized she was gliding under her own power. Not good. Really not good. "You looked ridiculous," Tate snickered, "like youíve never flown before."

"Would you believe me if I said I hadnít?"

"Not really. That roof over there looks like a good place to rest. We lost the goons. And I want some explanations."

"You and me both," she muttered. Jay followed her friend to the roof and watched as he set down gracefully. I hope thatís as easy as it looks. She tried to mimic his landing, but failed miserably, ending up on her face. Nope.

"Ouch," she commented, not moving and trying to ignore the real gargoyleís chuckles. "Go ahead, laugh it up. Well, whatta ya want to know?" she snarled as she clambered unsteadily to her feet

He quickly calmed down, almost too fast. Somethingís wrong.

"I didnít know there were any of our kind left, aside from my clan."

"Thatís nice," she commented sarcastically, then quailed under his glare.

"A member of my clan died tonight," he snarled, "and Iím not in the mood for jokes."

"I...Iím sorry, Tate. I didnít know. Who- who was it?"

He stared at her for a moment in silence, weighing his choices. "Why would you care?"

Her jaw dropped. Hello? Is anybody home? This is your cancer buddy speaking. Of course I damn well care about the clan. Then reality hit. He didnít, no, couldnít recognize her. "Well, I happen to have a clan of my own." Even if it is yours too. And most of them hate me. She shrugged. "I am trying to sympathize here."

He stared at her for a few more minutes, his expression unreadable. Finally he sighed. "She... was a human. We were taking treatments for cancer at the same time. She died on the operating table tonight." Jay felt an eerie wave of calm wash over her.

"What was her name?" she heard herself ask calmly, reasonably, as if she was asking for tomorrowís weather. She knew what the answer would be.


For a moment Tate felt the sheer misery overcome him, but it was disrupted when the strange gargoyle shrieked, "That bastard!" He stared at her, shocked at the sudden savagery. Her eyes glowed a vicious red, and she snarled as her hands raked over the bricks in the wall, leaving huge furrows in the stone.

"Not only does he take away my humanity, along with that a normal life, well, as close at it could get, and my identity, but he takes away my life too!" She snarled and her hands clenched, crushing stone into powder.

Tate took a step back, unsure of just what was going on. "Is something wrong?" Well, DUH! Stupid question, idiot.

She closed her eyes as she took in a deep breath, holding it in for a few seconds. Then she breathed out, eyes opening when the breath left, the red glare of rage still faintly visible. Then she spoke in a calm, almost dispassionate voice, hiding the hysteria below a cover of calm. "Tate, Iíll explain this slowly so you can understand it. One, Jay is not dead. Two, Servarius is behind the act that started all those nasty, overblown rumors. Three, he did it so he could mess around with her genes. Why Jay, I donít know. And four, I am Jay. Am I missing anything?"

He leveled a glare at her. "Yeah, your sanity." He crossed his arms and turned away, trying to ignore the fact about how she knew his name and so much about what had happened. He couldnít remember telling any of that to her. "Iím really not in the mood for practical jokes."

There was an exasperated snort, then silence.

"Um, I don't mean to sound rude, but, if you don't mind me asking, that is, just... what are you?" The voice was familiar, as was the question. Tate turned slowly, afraid of what he knew he was going to see. The gargoyle was still there, hands on hips and a dangerous glint still in her eyes. He finally began to believe. "Jay?" he whispered, squinting in the vain hope it would help. Gradually, he began to see the resemblance. He had trouble breathing as he stared. It wasnít possible. It couldnít be possible.

She rolled her eyes and snorted. "Who were you expecting, Marilyn Monroe maybe?" She ran a hand over the brown stubble covering her head. "Besides, whoíd have this bad a haircut on purpose?"

That got a laugh out of him. He blinked away moisture that was collecting in his eyes and hugged her. "Iím- Iím glad youíre not dead."

"Me too." Suddenly she swore. "Oh, man, what am I gonna tell my parents? They are going to totally lose it."

It was Tateís turn to grin.

"Hey, Iím back!" Tate yelled into the house.

"Sure, sure," Steve grumbled, his voice growing louder as he approached, "whoop de fragging- ." His voice broke off when he caught sight of Tate.

"Whatís wrong?" Frank called. "Yo, bro, whatís..." His voice broke off as well when he entered the room. Mector was drawn by the sound of hysterical laughter to the kitchen. The sight that met his eyes didnít make sense. Frank and Steve were standing in the doorway, mouths agape and eyes boggling, while Tate leaned against the outside doorframe, laughing fit to kill. He could hear more laughter behind Tate, and he guessed it to be from that human, Jay. "What is going on here?" he scowled. The laughter only increased. Then, when Tate sagged against the doorframe, unable to stand by himself, the clanís leader was shocked into silence as well. Behind Tate was a gargoyle... one he had never seen. Finally, the laughter dwindled into giggle attacks.

"Now this is a Kodak moment," Tate exclaimed.

"Mector, if only you could see your face," the new arrival gasped

Mector did a double take. She sounded familiar, but... "So, you going to introduce your friend, Tate?"

The youngster just began to laugh again. The female chuckled as well, but came inside. "Come on, donít you remember me? The cancerous human, Jay?"

"What?! Thatís impossible!"

"Guess again."

"Look, much as Iíd love to let this go, sunrise is about two seconds away."

Jay stuck her tongue out at Tate. "Spoilsport," she grinned. She turned to the east, and caught the faint glimmer of light-

...And stretched and yawned, hearing her back crack as she twisted to get rid of a few persistent cricks. But that wasnít all. There was a shattering sound, like a huge clay pot had been dropped. Jay stared out the window and swore under her breath. It was sunset already!

Tate dropped a friendly hand on her shoulder. "How was your first day as a gargoyle?"

She blinked. "Ah, Iím not really sure. It was... different. But you know what? I havenít felt this rested in... Well, forever! Itís incredible! Like I just had 2 cans of Jolt!"

"Noooo!" Tate pretended to scream and faint. The human-turned-gargoyle lightly punched him in the arm. "Cut that out."

"Calm down you two, and work it off. You have patrol tonight."

Both groaned good-naturedly and headed off. "Thanks a lot," Tate complained to Jay, who just shrugged and grinned.

"Hey, itís either me bouncing off the walls or patrol."

"Iíll take patrol!"

drawn by Artemis (http://www.tenthorbital.com/) Late July, Shortly after Sunset

Tate found Jay on Porterís Rock, overlooking the Mystic River. He walked quietly up behind her and wrapped his arms and wings around her. "Tate, please donít," she whispered.

He quickly stepped back. "Whatís wrong?" She sounded like she was going to cry.

"Tate, I... I have to leave. I have to go home." He couldnít believe his ears.

"Wha- why?"

"Itís not you, itís just... I need to at least let my family know Iím alive."

"You know how theyíll probably react."

"Yeah, but I have to do this. This is my clan! You wouldnít just go off and leave the clan without at least saying goodbye, would you?"

"Youíd be surprised," he mumbled. "Look, what if they..."

"They donít take it well? Then Iíll be back real fast."

"Jay, youíre considered legally dead! You canít go back!"

"I have to. Listen Tate, this isnít something I just want to do, itís something I need to do. Servarius took so much away from me. My friends, my family, my life!"

"The clanís your family now. You have a life here."

"You know itís not the same thing."

"Yeah," he sighed, "yeah, I suppose. Look, I hafta get back to the house. Catch you later, Ďkay?"

"Sure. Later."

He hurried into the library, hoping the gargoyle he was looking for would be there. The room was empty except for a short white-haired female gargoyle, the oldest in the clan, sitting in a chair, wearing glasses and reading a book. She looked up as he came in. "Ah, Tate. Can I help you?"

"Uh, yeah, I was hoping I could talk to you."

"Of course, anytime." She removed her glasses and put down the book. "What do you want to know?"

"Sadie, did you know my parents?" he asked, sitting down across from the venerable gargoyle. Better get her started on something familiar and work my way up to Jay.

She glared at him. "This is about Jay, isnít it, not your parents?"

"Well, um, ah,...."

"I thought so." She smiled. "If you ask about your parents, then youíre going to find out about your parents. Besides, itís about time you knew the truth. Despite what Mector says."

Now he was totally lost. Maybe time had finally taken its toll on her. She was, after all, over two hundred years old "The truth? Whatíre you talking about?"

She sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Yes, I knew your parents. Well, the leader said they were killed protecting the clan, correct?"


"That much might be true. Your mother, Mariah, was one of the best warriors in the clan. She was second, and it was thought she might one day be leader." Tate stared. He never knew that! And it wasnít really something the clan was likely to keep from him. Why had they?

"And my father?" he dared to ask.

Sadie sighed. "One night Mariah was on patrol in the Sandpit. She found several humans there, trying to kill one among them. She saved the human, but by then he was badly beaten and nearly unconscious. He thought he was hallucinating. She brought him back to the house and his wounds were bandaged. By that time, it was sunrise. When the clan awoke that night, they found him sitting on the roof with a gun. Apparently the other humans had come back during the day and tried to get to him. They would have destroyed the clan in the process. He saved all our lives."

"So? What does that have to do with my father?" Tate demanded, getting a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was pretty sure he knew just what.

The venerable gargoyle leveled a look at him. "Mariah disappeared shortly after he left. Several years later, she came back with an egg, which she left in the care of the clan, no explanations to anyone, even Mector. Before she left, though, she did tell me one thing. Tate, the human was your father."

Sadieís statement knocked the breath out of him. He stared at her, unable to comprehend just what she was saying and starting to get a lot of sympathy for Luke Skywalker. "Thatís... thatís not possible," he gasped.

"Apparently it is."

"I... I need to think about this."

Chad opened the fridge and pulled out a can of Coke. He popped the top and took a swig, his thoughts as dark as the soda. Sighing, he leaned against the counter and pulled his thoughts together. That Servarius gives me the creeps. And that story of his... I mean, címon, Jay would talk to us. Weíre her family. He took another pull on the soda can. And that other story we got... Yale calling to tell us Jay was dead, then he tells us it was all an unpleasant mistake. It just doesnít make sense.

"Drinking and thinking. Thatís my big brother. Well, if you take out the thinking part," an amused voice came from the door, making him nearly spit the Coke across the room in shock.

"Jay!" he exclaimed, turning to find his sister, dressed in a trench coat and floppy hat straight from an old detective movie, making it impossible to see her face, or much else for that matter. They exchanged hugs. "I donít believe it! That crackpot said you couldnít come back for awhile."

"Which crackpot? Thereíve been so many."

"Heh. Iíll bet. Anton Servarius." He frowned. If he didnít know better, Chad wouldíve sworn Jay was growling. She shook her head and the rumbling stopped.

"If I get my hands on that bastard, Iím going to rip him apart," she stated quietly, in a tone that seemed dangerously real.

"You know you shouldnít make threats you canít keep," he taunted lightly, as old habits kicked in. Even with the hat, he could tell the "look" he was getting could kill.

"Whatíre you doing home? I thought you still had a few more years left at college."

He shrugged. "Summer break. Way too short, but good. How Ďbout you?"

"Oh yeah. Jeeze, forgot all about that." Jay heaved a sigh. "Anyway, Servarius isnít treating me. Only reason heís saying he is is to keep his butt out of the fire."

"Oh, come on, he canít be that bad. What happened? Meet a guy?"

She stared at him for a few seconds, giving him the feeling that he was being judged. "Promise not to scream?"

What? This isnít normal. Even for her. "Sure."

Jay removed the hat and coat, and he couldnít help but to stare. "Boy, that chemo sure does weird things to you. Or was it the radiation? Come on, Jay, stop fooling. Ditch the costume. It is so fake."

A smile twitched at the edges of her mouth. Then, without looking away from him, she raised a hand and slammed it down onto the fake marble countertop. Raising her hand a minute later, she casually dusted it off and continued to glare at him. Hard as he tried, Chad couldnít stop himself from looking down at the countertop. There were four holes in the stone now. He looked back at Jay, his jaw hanging. She raised an eye...ridge and asked sardonically, "Do you wanna see me fly too?"

"Uh...." He swallowed. This was really not normal. "You know, Momís really not gonna be happy about that."

Jay shrugged again and started doodling on a napkin. "I donít think thatís gonna be the first thing on her mind. Well, I can tell youíre dying to ask something. Shoot."

"What the hell happened to you?"

"You still havenít learned about that thing called tact, have you? The good doctor-" Now Chad was sure he heard her growling. "-decided to mess with my genes. I am now a gargoyle. And if you make one crack about rainspouts or pigeons, you will become very well aquatinted with traction." He snorted. This was definitely Jay. "So where are Mom and Dad?"

"At a dinner party. Theyíre due back any-" He broke off as they both heard the rumble of a car in the driveway. Jay groaned.

"Man, I thought Iíd have at least some time to think up something to say," she growled as she pulled the coat back on.

"Come on, youíre their daughter. How bad can it be?"

Jay froze and Chad could see a shadow of pain cross her face. "Pretty bad," she sighed, then adjusted her hat.

She moved back into the shadows, blending so well that he had trouble finding her. The door opened and their mother yelled out, "Chad! Weíre- Oh, youíre down here. Weíre back."

"Yeah, so we noticed."


"Yeah. We." Jay stepped out into the light and waved feebly. "Hi Mom, Dad."

"Jay!" Her parents enveloped her in a hug. Finally, they let her go.

"We didnít think youíd be back so soon. The doctor said-"

"The doctor is an insane bastard that oughta be strung up," she interrupted. Chad smirked into his soda can. Little sister was growing up, and she had one foul mouth. Well, she probably deserved to badmouth the doc after what heíd done.

Their parents stared for a few seconds, surprised at the venom in her voice.

"Now, he canít be that bad," their mother put forth. He could see Jayís bitter smile beneath the hat. "How much you wanna bet?" she asked.

The grown ups exchanged looks. Jay sighed. "Um, look. I just want you guys to know I still love you and Iím still me."


"Iíve... changed. Oh, hell, itís easier to just show you." She snorted and took off the hat and coat again. For several minutes, nobody said anything. Then their dad cleared his throat. "So, honey, did you do something to your hair?"

"What hair?" she shot back, and they all laughed. Admittedly it was slightly hysterical, but it was enough to break the tension.

"Jay, what happened?"

"Well, would you believe-"

"Police! Freeze!" a voice shouted as the door slammed inwards. A small troop of people dressed in armor stomped in, guns up and ready to fire. Everyone reflexively followed the order. Everyone, that is, except Jay, who went into a crouch. She snarled and Chad stared as her eyes began to glow red.

"I said freeze, and that includes you, monster!" a man in a red helmet snarled back, gun aimed straight at her. That fact that all the others were pointed at him and his parents didnít make Chad feel better. Jay noticed it too and she straightened slowly, the red glare never totally leaving her eyes. She seemed to reach a decision and turned back to her family. "Sorry for interrupting things," she stated calmly, as if this was an everyday occurrence, "but now I have to go. And believe me, that burglar wonít bother you again."

Chad could see the look in her eyes, begging him to play along. These goons were obviously not police. "Uh, yeah, sure, thanks," he said.

"Come on monster, enough chitchat." Red Helmet growled as another armored figure, this one female with blonde hair pulled into a ponytail, put strange handcuffs on Jay. Those donít look like regular police issue Ďcuffs. This isnít good. The troupe took her outside and Chad heard the slam of doors and the roar of a motor.

"What was that all about?" his mother asked after a few stunned seconds.

"I wish I knew," he sighed. He walked over to the counter, trying to convince himself that what had just happened was real. Then he grinned and snatched up the napkin Jay had been doodling on. But I think I know where I can get some answers.

"Hello, you have reached 713-1764. Nobodyís home at the moment. We arenít interested in buying anything and weíre happy with the newspaper delivery. If your message doesnít concern anything along those lines, please leave a message at the sound of the beep. Otherwise, be prepared for several nasty little messages on your answering machine. Have a nice night. Beeeep."

Chad grinned. Whoever this was, he could see why Jay had his number. "Uh, hi, this is Chad at 887-6183. Jay is my sister and sheís gotten into some major trouble. Iíd like to-"

"What happened to her?" the same voice demanded. Wha-? Howíd he...Then he laughed to himself. Clever bastard. Donít bother with a machine, just pretend you have it. "Is she all right?"

"Kinda. Last time I saw her she seemed okay, if you ignore the wings and tail. But her color was a bit off."

"Ha ha. Hysterical, pal. What happened?"

"A bunch of goons came in and took her off somewhere."

The voice rattled of a round of vicious curses. "How many did they have to drag away?" he finally asked.

Chad frowned. "None."

"What?! That doesnít sound like Jay."

"Yeah, well, they had guns, and the entire family was present."

"Hostages. Damn. Any idea where they took her?"

"Not a clue."

"Wonderful. Whatíd they look like?"

"They were wearing armor! How am I supposed to know?"

"Was it blue and gray? And were they wearing helmets? The leader had a red one?"


"Servarius," the voice hissed. "When I get my hands on him..."

"Wait a minute. Are we talking Anton Servarius, as in the geneticist? "

"Yeah. Dammit, I should have known heíd come after her." The voice sighed. "Look, youíre in Norwich, right?"


"Okay, Iíll be down in about an hour. See you then."

"Wait a minute!" Chad yelled into the phone, but all he got was a dial tone. He hung up the phone and swore. Things did not look good at all.

1 hour later

Chad paced around the kitchen, pausing occasionally to take a swig from another can of Coke. He glanced at his watch for the hundredth time. Where is he? At last, after what seemed to be an eternity, there was a knock at the door. He bolted for it, pulling it open before the person on the other side had a chance to knock twice. Then he stared. Well, of course heís a gargoyle. If Jay was, why shouldnít he be one? He cleared his throat. "Uh, hi, Iím Chad."

The gargoyle nodded. "Tate. Iím the one you spoke to on the phone."

"Great. Now tell me what you know about my sister."

The gargoyle sighed. "Those goons that took her work for Servarius. They probably took her so the doc could finish whatever he started."

"Then letís go."


"Letís go. Servarius shouldnít have moved his operations yet. Why should he?"

"You are definitely Jayís brother. Just a small problem, though. How we gonna get there?"

"Iíll drive. If somebody has a problem with that, Iíll just say Iím taking you to a costume party."

"...All right. Letís go."

Jay stared at the ceiling for awhile, watching it twirl around and around. The goons had barely waited until leaving the house before drugging her. She vaguely remembered a ride in a van, chained so she couldnít move had she even been aware enough to. Now she was strapped to a table or gurney in a room somewhere with a white ceiling that moved by itself. Gradually, it settled down.

Jay tested the straps keeping her down, but her captors knew what they were doing. A face loomed over her, and dispelled any hopes of this being even relatively good.

"Hello again. And donít you know itís rude to run off before your treatments are finished?"

"Sevarius, donít you know itís illegal to kidnap people and change them into gargoyles?" she parried.

"And where in the Constitution does it say that? Ah, never mind, we have more important matters to discuss. I was quite impressed with your escape. Which shouldnít have happened, but I hadnít counted on one of Goliathís clan to help you. New York is their protectorate, not New Haven," he commented dryly, idly preparing a syringe. Yes! He shoots, she scores! Jay thought to herself as the doctor injected the contents of the needle into her bloodstream. She gloated inwardly, and hoped he might let loose another clue to the other gargoyle clan.

"Tough, " she snarled, trying to not let her jubilation show.

"Yes, quite. But I knew you would return to your home sometime, although, I must say I was beginning to doubt youíd come." He held up another needle. "Now, itís time for your treatments."

Chad and Tate looked at Servariusís building, a forbidding brick structure located in New Haven. They had casually walked around the entire building, finding several of the goons that had taken Jay standing guard, not quite obviously enough to alert the real authorities. The two had gotten back into Chadís car to come up with a battle plan.

"This is not gonna be easy," Chad sighed, glancing out at one of the goons.

"If this was easy, anybody could do it. Look, I want you to stay here and watch for us. Hopefully, we wonít make much noise coming out. But if we do... If you can only get one of us out, take Jay."

"Wait one blasted minute! Are you trying to tell me to stay put and not go after my sister, while you go in?"


"I donít think so!"

"Look," the gargoyle growled, "someone needs to stay here in case we need a quick getaway. Knowing Servarius, we will. I canít drive, heaven knows what condition Jayíll be in, so that means youíre elected driver. Donít like it, tough. Get my point?"

Chad sighed, then nodded. "Okay. Just... make sure both of you get back in one piece."

Tate smiled. This was another human that would make a good ally of the clan, given enough time. And if we all survive this. "Iíll try my best," he promised, climbing out and quietly shutting the door.

Tate clung to the wall of the building, hanging upside down in front of a window. He glanced through, then grinned, baring his fangs. Servaruis had just gone through a door at the end of a hallway, leaving it open enough for him to see through. Strapped to a hospital gurney was Jay. She feebly snarled at the doctor, who didnít respond except to fill a needle. He turned and quickly, without warning, jabbed it into her arm. She snarled, then gasped. Tate winced at the scream that echoed through the window, his eyes glowing a furious white. He barely managed to hold himself back from charging in and ripping Servarius into little pieces. The fact that Jay needed him to stay calm and out of things for the moment was all that kept him back. The scream quickly ended, and the doctor leaned over and patted Jay on the shoulder. She didnít do anything. Tate waited until ten minutes after Servarius had left the room, then shattered the window. Thankfully, no alarms went off as he dropped to the floor. He stayed in the crouch for a few seconds, then opened the door.

"More? How sweet. And you said that was the last of it," Jay growled.

"You can cut that sarcasm with a spork," Tate replied.

There was a few seconds of silence as Tate made his way over to his friend.

"Tate?" Jay asked incredulously.

He smiled. "Better believe it." He examined the straps for a few seconds, then shrugged and snapped them. He helped her upright. Jay sat for a few seconds, clutching her head, then slid off the table. She staggered and would have fallen if Tate hadnít caught her. "You gonna be okay?"

"I hope so."

"Come on." He led her to the window and boosted her up. He watched concernedly as she struggled upwards. She shouldnít be having this much trouble. This should be easy. What did he do to her? Tate shook away thoughts about the doctor and revenge. That could wait until later. Right now, the only thing he should be concerned about was getting Jay out of here.

Finally, she managed to get through. Tate quickly followed, but no quick enough. A guard, probably on patrol, spotted him as he left.

"Stop!" the human shouted. Do they really expect us to do that? He dropped from the window and landed next to Jay as a door down the wall opened and goons began to boil out of it.

"Run. Your brotherís waiting with the car."

"And leave you behind? As if!" The two gargoyles ran for the street, both hoping the goons wouldnít fire in a crowded area. They burst into a crowd of late-night pedestrians, starting screams and oaths. They galloped down the street, all too aware of the growing mob behind them. They gained a bit of distance, but couldnít hold it for long.

The two gargoyles darted around a corner and leaned up against the wall, sucking in huge gulps of air. Jay fell to her knees. "Ya know, they really need the pitchforks and torches," she gasped.

"No kidding," Tate snarled back. "But those hammers do just as well."

"Oh yeah. Wish I knew where they got Ďem though. Do you think we outran Ďem?" Tate let the rising shout answer for him.

"Right. Man, itís at times like these that I really wish I was hu- Auuggghhhhhh!" She bent over double, and tried to stifle her scream.

"Jay!" Tate leapt over to his friend and put a protective arm and wing over her. He turned his attention to the noise of the approaching mob.

"You gonna be okay?" he asked, still searching for signs of discovery. He could feel something happening to Jay, but he couldnít tell what.

"Iíve been better," she moaned, voice higher then usual. She batted at his wing. "But at the moment, things are looking up."

"Whatíre you- Oh shit." Tate stared at his friend. Instead of a blue gargoyle, there stood a human teenager dressed in ragged clothes. She grinned, baring canines longer than a human should have.

"Servarius sure picked a good time to screw up."

Tate stood up. "What are you talking about?" He glanced behind her as the first few of the mob careened around the corner, hammers looking eerily like the aforementioned torches. "Címon, letís go!"

"Tate." Jayís quiet voice stopped him and he turned. She was backing away, towards the growing crowd. "Iím sorry. Stop by some time." Then she screamed.

Whoa! Chemo didnít do anything to her lungs! She backed away, looking as terrified as hundreds of other humans that he had just saved. Then she turned and ran towards the mob, still shrieking. Somehow, she got tangled up with the front of the swarm of people, delaying the rear from attacking. Tate had only a moment to look back for her as he climbed the nearest wall, before the mass surged ahead at him. He leapt off the wall, and thought he saw one of the humans wave to him.

Jay collapsed behind the garage with a sigh. She waved listlessly to Chad as he went into the house. She blinked and tried to make sense of the night. After she had somehow changed back into a human, things had gotten kind of foggy. She barely remembered finding her brother and the drive home. And Tate still hadnít shown up. She sighed again and settled down, determined to wait until he appeared.

Within five minutes, the human was sound asleep.

Tate glided into a silent landing behind the garage of Jayís house and swore to himself when he saw Jay lying on the ground. He tried to make a quick and quiet retreat, but then he realized that she was asleep. He went closer and looked down at the sleeping human, feeling a strange mixture of emotions churning in his gut . In the faint pre-dawn light, Jay didnít look human, or gargoyle. Somehow, a strange mixture of both. A stray piece of hair, one of the few surviving pieces, straggled onto her face. She mumbled and shifted, trying to get comfortable. The gargoyle stepped behind the garage, waiting silently until she quieted down.

He stepped out an over the human again. "Goodbye, Jay," he whispered, not even trying to hold back the tears. He finally knew why his mother had left the clan so long ago. To fall for a human was crazy, sheer stupidity. Their lives were so fragile, so short. That was why they needed gargoyles to protect and help them. He tried to swallow the lump in his throat. Itís better if I just go. After what Servarius put her through, oh and Fred too, mustnít forget Fred, she deserves a normal life. He smiled. Well, as normal as sheíll let it get. Jay doesnít need to worry about statues slash Ďguardians of the nightí. Damn few of us are going to reach Sadieís age.

Glancing back one last time, the gargoyle climbed the tree behind the garage and leapt off, gliding away. It would be sunrise all too soon.

September 3

Jay leaned her forehead against the warm glass of the window, staring out at the backyard. It was past dawn, but that never stopped her from looking. She sighed and wondered if she was going crazy. Tate hadnít come back. And in the rush of medical visits, family gatherings, school preperations, and general parental inflicted social events to prove that yes, she was still alive, she hadn't had much time to spare to worry much about her friend.

Maybe she had just imagined it all. Maybe none of it was true, none of it had ever happened. Jay closed her eyes and thought back. No, it had to have happened. She couldnít have imagined all that. She thought back to her first flight, the night she first met Tate. It had been an incredible experience. Then there was the time she had flown all on her own, under her own power. Unintentional, and frightening as hell, but still amazing. And the rush that came from breaking up a mugging, stopping a burglary. No, that was real. She had to believe that.

But the fear lingered, a fear that had kept her from turning down the driveway when she drove past, and left her hanging up before the phone connected. There was a combination of desperate need that it was real, and just as desperate fear that she hadn't been through all that, seen what she had, learned so much about everything. That she hadn't even met Tate, and everything had simply been some sort of chemo trip.

Or simply the worst case scenario, that she pretended to ignore but haunted her at night. That her bluff hadn't been enough, and something - something fatal - had happened to the gargoyle. In its own perverse way, not knowing really was better. It meant the unnamed options were all open, that nothing was permanently decided.

"Jay! Time to go to school!"

She winced at the bellow from downstairs. She knew. She just didnít want to go. She lingered for a moment more, then walked downstairs, grabbing her backpack as she went by.

The walk to school was quick and mind numbing. She hesitated a few seconds before entering her homeroom, then pulled the door open. She nodded and smiled automatically at the teacher, then set down her backpack next to her chair. Back into the grind. And adults think they have it dull. She un-zippered the bag and fished around for her book. She settled herself with another sigh and quickly lost track of the world around her. The adventures of the characters made her oblivious to the fact of the door opening and several students coming in, and then most leaving. Finally, she was brought back to reality when somebody tapped her on the shoulder. She sighed in disgust. Just when it was getting good-. "What?" she growled.

"Um, this is my first day, and I have no idea where any of these rooms are. Can you help me?" The voice was male, and sounded totally clueless. She dove back into her bag and pawed through it. She knew she had a map in there somewhere. "Whereís your first class?" she asked, her voice muffled.

"Uh, room 114."

"Ok, thatís on the second floor in the building on other side of..." Her voice died off as she finally turned to hand him the map. He was tall, with dark skin and close-cut brown hair. His eyes held a look of humor and nervousness, as if he had told her a dirty joke and wasnít quite sure if she had gotten the punch-line. He seemed vaguely familiar.

"Of campus," she finished, trying to sound like she wasnít as smitten as she really was. I know Iíve seen him somewhere before. But youíd think I could remember a face that looks that good. Down girl! Now is not a good time! "Iím going to be heading there myself. Iíll show you the way if you want." Ooo, now wonít you just enjoy that? Down girl! Down!

He looked slightly disappointed as he took the map. "Thanks. Thatíll be a help. Now whereís... 227?"

"Youíre not gonna find out unless you tell me whatís your name."

"What? Why?"

"Because that makes it slightly easier to hunt you down if I donít get the map back in one piece, in relatively good condition."

He laughed. "Makes sense. Iím Tate Knight."

Suddenly Jay had trouble breathing. Not possible... she thought foggily. Itís just not possible. Itís only a coincidence. But even as she tried to deny it, she could finally place the face. Turn the skin green, add horns and wings, shave the head, and bingo, one cancer-surviving gargoyle. She swallowed and stared. "How...?" she gasped faintly.

He grinned, able to see the recognition in her eyes. "Turns out Iím half human," he said, sitting down next to her and lowering his voice, "so if I try hard enough, I can turn into a human. Only during the day though. Cool, huh?"

She couldnít come up with a reply. Just the idea blew her mind. "Why didnít you come visit afterwards?" she finally asked.

Tate squirmed. "Iím not quite sure. I... I guess it was Ďcause... I didnít know how youíd handle it."

"You thought Iíd freak."

"Well, yeah."

She sighed and ran a hand over her hair. "You know thatís not true."

He grinned faintly back at her. "Then weíre even. You didn't exactly come a'callin' lately."

She gave a bark of laughter, hiding a bit of hurt that quickly washed away in relief. He was ok. "All right, I suppose so. Howíve you been?"

"Pretty good. Down to one month visits. You?"

"Yup. The same." She grinned and hummed along to a song from the Wizard of Oz. Tate looked blankly at her. She laughed. "Ding, dong, Fred is dead," she chanted in a singsong to the tune, causing both to crack into laughter. A few people gave them looks, and Jay just shrugged to them.

"Itís tumor humor," she called out, making them sure both were crazy. Neither really cared.

That's right, I'm back! Just here to say the large gap between Jay getting turned into a gargoyle and leaving the clan will be filled in but as a separate fic, and so'll the time between human and school. Sort of.

I wanna go back Back to part 1

Let me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home

I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive

Any questions? Complaints? Screams of outrage that I actually consider myself a writer and/or dared to show this in public? Tell me! Send it all to Norcumi@backtick.net! I love mail!!!!

All characters except those of Servarius, the Xanatos Goon Squad, and Goliath, along with the gargoyle race in general and a bit of gargoyle lore, (all of which are owned by Buena Vista and therefore the Great Mouse, used with great reverence, respect, and without permission. This isn't intended as copyright infringement) belong to me. You can't use them without my permission. But if you ask, you're most like to get it. But you still have to ask.

The pic of Jay was drawn by the great Artemis, whose website The Tenth Orbital has lots more great art of gargoyles, dragons, and stuff. VISIT IT!!!!

Tubthumping belongs to Chumbawamba. Lyrics also used without permission.