June 28, 1997
April 19, 2124 (Surprise!!!)

This time the landing I made was much softer. Well, all things considered. For a moment, I just lay on the rug, trying to get my act together (not to mention my breath: the time-travel spell seems to speed you up for landings). After a few seconds, I finally heaved myself up, then stared around.

I couldnít believe it. I was back. Good old 1997. In the library, no less.

Riiiight. Donít I wish.

Oh, I was in the library, all right. Then I got a better look around. The furniture had changed, along with the lamps. In place of them (the lamps) were small globes that (I swear Iím telling the truth!) floated mid-air, giving off light that was about the same, if not better then your average lamp. Several were even darkened in parts, or half, directing their light like from an invisible flashlight (ĎCept for the bulb, of course). I figured Ďbout then that I wasnít in Oz anymore.

I walked tentatively over to where we had left Sadie, and was (in a sorta gruesome way) reassured that her statue (body?) was still there. It was nice to know that she was still with the books she loved so much, even after I-didnít-have-a-clue-how-much time had passed.

A gasp behind me was my only warning. I spun around, not knowing what I would see.

It was not an unpleasant sight, believe me.

Ahem.

Behind me was a male gargoyle, fairly old (my guess is around 170's- that about 80ís to 90ís for any humans who might get their grubby little paws on this), but he was still in shape to whoop crooks. His coloring was dark gold, and his hair was silver, but from age, not genes. His goatee still had stripes of red left, but not much. While he had the usual brow ridges, he didnít have a sign of horns. Gah, I know that sounds like way too gaudy, excessive babbling, but.... Itís important later (much later) on, okay? Bear with me here, folks. Or more likely, folk, but - Back to what happened.

He stared at me, eyes wide and mouth agape. The walking stick he carried clattered to the floor as he gawked.

"My god," he whispered in a trembling (but still very pleasant tenor) voice. "Megan? I donít believe this." Suddenly he sat down, a look of extreme pain crossing his face.

"Umm, here." I handed him his walking stick, remembering how much Sadieís leg hurt her on occasions. If the male carried the cane, it was probably a "souvenir" from a wound gotten in battle.

He caught my arm after taking the stick and stared into my face, pulling me closer. His eyes darted over my form as if looking for some sort of flaw, a sign that I wasnít me (or maybe a Made in Taiwan label, I didnít know), or simply trying to commit every feature to memory. His other hand, trembling like a leaf, slowly reached up and traced down my cheek. I shivered at that. It felt like he had done it a thousand times before, but I could honestly say Iíd never seen him before.

Suddenly he pushed me away, standing and turning. He was silent for a moment, then turned back. His face was a mask. "Iím sorry, itís just... you - " he took a deep breath, and the mask cracked for a second, showing (oh boy, another (feel free to gag) poetic moment) bone-deep pain. "-Your future self didnít warn me."

I could only stare at him in confusion. My emotions were doing an impression of a whirlwind, along with my gut, and my brain was too rattled to give any help. "Warn you?" I repeated. "About what?"

A high-pitched shriek, followed by a stream of giggles warned me and Goldie in time to move away from the doorway. A hatchling, probably around ten years old or so (thatís five if youíre a human) raced in and hid behind a couch, a twitching, red tail the only sign he/she/it was there.

"Lynn!" an exasperated, and frighteningly familiar voice exclaimed from out of sight. Another gargoyle came in, this one female and dark blue, although age had lightened the shade. Her hair was still short, but white instead of brown. She crossed her arms and muttered in a stage whisper, "Now where did that little - " She finally saw me, and her jaw dropped. She stared at me, eyes wide and frozen. "Holy - " she started, then glanced in the direction of the hatchling. Then she glared at the male. "What are you doing?" she hissed. "Have you completely lost it?"

"Hi. Nice to see you too, Jay," I snapped.

"Sheís time traveling," Goldie informed us as Jay picked up and cuddled the hatchling, who stared at me with wide eyes.

"Love? Did you catch her? I think she ran off in.... Megan. How...?" Another gargoyle joined the Open-Mouthed Club in the library. He was a dark green, roughly the same age as Goldie and Jay, with long gray hair pulled back into a pony-tail, like heíd done before he got diagnosed with cancer.

I gave him a sickly smile and a weak wave. "Hi Tate. I take it Iím dead?"

There was silence for several moments, along with pained looks, then Tate sighed and gave me a careful hug. "Thatís my sister. Yes, you... are dead." He shook his head and blinked. "Did that sound as strange as I think it did?"

"Yes," Jay informed him, then managed a smile. "Uh, I take it then that you havenít met Lynn yet, have you?" At my blank look, she held out the hatchling. This time I got a better look at her. Lynn was a cute little thing, a light red color, with auburn colored curls.

"Donít tell her I said so," I stage-whispered to Jay, "but sheís adorable."

Jay bit her lip, somehow managing to smile and nearly cry at the same time. "I... Iím not making any promises. And thanks. Sheís our granddaughter."

Lynn finally decided I was okay, because she took her talon out of her mouth and leaped from Jayís arms into mine. "Gramma Meg!" she declared, snuggling close.

"What, kiddo?"

She looked up at me with a serious puzzled look. "Gramma said you werenít coming back. And you look different."

"Well, thisíll be the last time I do come back. How do I look different?"

"Less wrinkled!" she declared proudly. The other three tried to keep from laughing, but not very well. I put on an offended look and sidled over to Jay.

"You need to raise this kid with manners," I told her.

She just laughed and shook her head, taking Lynn back. "Nope. Tate and I - " they shared a loving look - "already did that. Now, itís our job as grandparents to spoil her rotten."

"Speaking of which," Tate added with a hand on Jayís shoulder and a significant look at me aní Goldie, "we should leave them alone. Iím sure they have a lot to discuss."

I waved to Lynn and stood watching the doorway for some time. "Itís nice to see them happy," I told Goldie quietly.

"You always called them the Love Birds for a reason."

"Was I... will I be... that happy?" I had been going for less then 24 hours, first the night of Sadieís death, then my little magical side trips took at most six hours, but I was already homesick. Huh. Itís kinda strange in a way. Here I was, seeing things most people would give their right arm to see, but... all I really wanted was to be home, in my real time.

There was a pause. "You know I shouldnít tell you," Goldie said quietly.

"Yeah."

"Besides, this isnít a fixed future. The future never is."

I turned and looked at him. "Then this is...?"

"From what you told me, itís merely the most likely future."

"I never did like the time travel movies."

Goldie sat down again. "How much do you know about these time travel trips of yours?"

I joined him on the couch and shrugged. "I say the magic words, fall, and end up in different times. Time Trax, eat your heart out. And Sadie said that usually you end up going to get taught by your predecessor, to give a few words of advice to the sucker, ah your successor-" Goldie grinned at that one - "and sometimes your hatching."

"Ah." He shifted a bit. "You realize thereís sometimes a bit more then that?"

"Like?"

"You said... or will say, filling in holes in the timestream. Does that make any sense?"

I shook my head. "Not a bit. Um, I guess I oughta get on with my purpose here... How... good grief, I canít believe Iím saying this, but.... How - or rather, when - did I die?"

"April 18, 2124," he said quietly, examining his cane carefully. "You just... didnít wake up. Your... mate was very... hmm, howís the best way to put it..... Well, shocked, not to mention highly distraught, at that."

I stared at him. "My... mate?" I repeated. That was a shocker.

He sighed and stood, heading for the door at the fastest pace he could manage without running. He paused at the door. "I.... You learned what you needed to. I canít stay any longer without saying something I shouldnít."

"Wait!" I called after him as he left. Now that he was gone, there were a hundred questions I wanted to ask him. I didnít even know his name.

I sighed and pulled out the spell. I couldnít shake the feeling that there was more I was supposed to be doing here. Well, maybe it was better this way. Riiight.

I said the magic words again and the portal opened up beneath me.

This time, things were a little different. I fell for only a few seconds, and landed (still upright - Huzzah!) with a slight bump. I looked around, and I was still in the library. It hadnít changed much from last time. The rug had been removed, leaving a hardwood floor in its place. There were a few more books, and some of them... didnít look much like books. The sound of someone crying told me I wasnít alone.

The libraryís setup, on the other hand, had been changed since Iíd last been in it; there were more shelves standing around, creating little alcoves and niches with chairs and couches (and more of the little glowing balls), and I think it had moved outward to eat up a bit of what used to be the living room (and, heaven forbid, the armory too). I worked my way through the maze, constantly batting at one of the globes that decided it liked me emough to follow me around.

I finally found myself at the remotest spot in the library; a dead end at a window with a large window seat and an armchair. A female with red skin and auburn hair was curled up in the chair, crying her eyes out. Dťjŗ vu hit and hit hard.

"Lynn?" I asked quietly, still not sure if my guess was right.

She looked up like a startled deer. "Yes? Who - who are you?"

"Sorry, I didnít mean to intrude. Iím Megan."

"H-hi. Thatís all right, Iím not really..."

I pointed to the window seat. "You mind?" she shook her head so I sat down. "Whatís wrong?"

Okay, Iíd like to break from story time here and make my position absolutely clear. My thought on matchmakers is they are people with screws loose that ought to mind their own business and leave normal people alone. And my opinion of psychiatrists is pretty much unprintable. Paying good money to tell all your problems to a stranger then having him/her/it ask your opinion on them is... Ahem. A waste? Unfortunately, I also seem to have a sign (that only I canít see) that has "Wandering Confessional " written on it stapled to my forehead (thankfully, Kyla and Silicon also have similar signs). People like to make me their shrink. I donít know why, it just happens. In this case, I wasnít above taking advantage of it. Lynn obviously needed help.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

Lynn sighed, then shrugged. "Look, I donít want to talk about it, okay?"

I blinked. The sign never failed before. Well, at least she hadnít left. Maybe all I needed was the right opening. I took a moment and got a good look at her. Lynn had gone from an adorable hatchling to a beautiful young woman. I can honestly say Iíd kill for her looks. Then I did a double take.

Do you have any idea what itís like to see someone at ten years old, then literally turn around and theyíre older then you are by several years?

Nah, probably not.

But then it hit me. Lynn was probably thirty-nine at most. "Is it a boy problem?" Doh! Open mouth, insert foot!

But she didnít seem bothered by it. She examined her talons, then nodded.

"You can tell me about it," I wheedled, praying that the sign worked this time. "I promise I wonít tell anyone. Will you stop that?!?!" I screeched, flailing at the light globe that was hovering around my head at eye level like some strange (and very annoying!) moon.

She laughed as the ball scooted around the back of her head, peeking out from behind her ear. I snarled at it and let my eyes glow red. It ducked back behind her, giving her a halo.

"Itíll leave you alone now."

"Good," I muttered.

Lynn went back to chewing her lip, then looked up. "See, thereís this guy..."

Bingo! It worked! "Uh huh."

"And, well... weíve been talking for awhile."

"You like him?"

The look she gave me was straight from a Disney cartoon. And man, that is frightening!

"Yeah."

"Does he like you?"

She went back to examining her talons. "Thatís the problem. He does."

What? I blinked. "Excuse me? The problem is... where?"

"Well, heís a human." Uh oh. Danger Will Robinson, danger! "And he doesnít know Iím not. And his parents are neo-quarrymen."

Ears to brain, it has now hit the fan! "Oh."

"Yeah." Lynn managed a faint smile. "Interracial marriage in the fifties has nothing on me!"

I had to chuckle. "Good point. And itís getting near the time for your mating flight?" She nodded. I cursed under my breath. Me and my big mouth (and the stoopid sign!). "Well, letís try dissecting the problem. Whatís the biggest hold back?"

"Um, heís human."

That was another surprise. "I wasnít expecting that," I muttered.

"Why?"

Augh! I did it again! "Well, your grandparents, for instance, Tate was half human; his father was human, for that matter, and Jay was born human and could change her form." I hoped I had the right tense; it would be unpleasant to have one of them walk in on us, especially since it would ruin my cover and probably kill them from the heart attack...

"Really? You knew them?" Gah! The eyes, beware the eyes (no, not of March). I swear, when I get back, I am going to destroy as many of those tapes as possible, especially Bambi, and am going to keep the house clean until my death!

"Yeah. We were friends." Whew. Right tense.

"Oh." She looked down at her hands. "They died when I was seventeen. It was kind of romantic, in a sick way, Tate went one night, then next..."

I held up a hand and managed a pained look. Yes, must destroy evil - Ahem. Guess I should be glad she never got into Barney. "I know." Not really, but I didnít want to know. "Um, look, about the guy... tell him. If that doesnít work, then ditch him. He isnít worth it."

"But - the flight - "

"Yer not gonna be the first to not have someone for that."

She chewed her lip and looked out the window. "I know but..."

I snorted. "Look, this isnít some Saturday morning cartoon, or an after school special, itís not even some fairy tale some twit wrote up on a rainy day for the hell of it! A mating flight is when the chances of conceiving an egg are best and your sex drive goes into orbit. That doesnít mean you have to go on a flight." I blinked and did a mental double take. Then I slammed my head against the window frame. "This is The Talk. Didnít you already get it?"

Lynn was giving me a suspicious, are-you-the-homicidal-type-loony-that-gets-vicious-at-random-moments? look. Then she stared and blushed. "You... you arenít serious, are you?"

I groaned and slammed my head again. "Lemme guess; you thought it was The human Talk about the birds and the bees?"

She blushed and nodded.

"Okaaay." I sighed and got up. "Well, I guess that means my work here is done. Iíd... better be going now." Lynn, still blushing, nodded and waved.

I got to the end of the alcove and stopped. My curiosity was nearly eating me alive. I knew I should just go, but I had to ask. "Did you ever watch Barney as a hatchling?"

Lynn looked up, puzzled, made a face, then grinned. "No. I couldnít even if I was interested. Grandma and one of her rookery sisters were kind of fanatic about it. I grew up hating the Purple Demon/Demon Dino."

"Fanatic?" I asked with a laugh. Jay?

"Yeah." For the first time, I got a real smile out of her. "Grandma would literally destroy any tape, stuffed critter, or merchandise she could get her talons on. Grandpa refused to go with her to the mall after the great K-B incident when she went ballistic. And one Halloween, Grandma and her rookery sister got a video, broke the case, and strung the film around the outside of the house like holly at Christmas. Then they burned it."

Ooo, that was a good one. I need to remember that. I got out my book, found the spell, and hesitated. "Which sister was this?"

She smiled again. "Aunt - well, great-aunt, but sheíd kill you if you ever called her that - Meg. She was one of the prettiest gargoyles I knew. But she died when I was ten."

My jaw dropped. Lynn was so caught up in her memories, she didnít notice. "I donít remember much except she had the most beautiful wings..." her voice trailed off and she turned to look at me, her eyes wide as saucers.

I smiled gently at her expression, inwardly still gaping. "You remember how I came back the night after I died? I told you I wasnít going to come back after that." I shrugged and grimaced. "Sorry Ďbout that. Looks like I lied. Iam tempus est rectus, tam capiet me per nocte, dum mia loci est rectus!" I intoned. The portal opened up beneath my feet, and I fell through, my last sight being Lynnís shocked face. The ride seemed bumpier then usual, sending me tail over teakettle (or however it is that saying goes), towards a circle of tiled floor....



The first entry Part 1

The previous entry Part 2

The next entry Part 4

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 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. I beleive Warner Brothers own the M.I.B. referances, but I'm not sure (well, it's not me, so don't sue). Same goes for Back to the Future. Disney owns Bambi, and I don't know or care who owns Barney, cause I ain't trying to make money off of it, so please don't sue!