The Important (for once) Note: Once again, I feel the need to mention the rating. Gore factor is high. This isn't really for sensative viewers.
The Not Important Note: You should know the drill by now: the first section is in the present, and everything else is still a flashback. ::shrugs:: If you've never seen this message before, go back and read parts 1, 2, and 3. This fic will make a lot more sense then.
August 31, 1998
Is naiveté a form of ignorance, or egotism? Not knowing how bad things could get, or just assurance that things’ll never be that bad in the “real world”? I think I fit both definitions. I thought that gargoyles meant the same thing as safety, and that bad as things could get, they touched other people, not me. Maybe people I know, like the Blonde Bitch incident, but not those I was close to.
Or maybe it’s just stupidity.
August 14, 1998
“I haven’t been back.”
Dominique Destine look over in surprise at the now familiar figure striding along beside her. The short haired teen was dressed in a conservative – and for Jay Stiles, extremely formal – gray pant suit that emphasized her solemnity that had lingered for a week, since the night Jay had shown up on her doorstep in shock and denial. “Back where?” She had her suspicions, but she preferred to hear it from the girl.
Jay glanced around, startling Dominique with a strange resemblance to Owen Burnett. It was ruined as seconds later, Jay licked her lips nervously and clutched her purse strap tighter. “To – to see the clan.”
She’d been right. “You should.”
Jay glanced over in obvious surprise. “Excuse me?”
“They’re your clan, your support system. Without clan, a gargoyle is nothing.” For that comment, she got a raised eyebrow and questioning look. Well, maybe she deserved it. “Clan defines us as much as the urge to protect.”
“Us. Gargoyles. I’m not sure I wanna be considered one anymore.”
“So you’ll stop protecting?” Hmm. I might need to talk with Sadie soon.
“I said I’m not sure, ok?”
“Demona!” a new, male voice demanded. The pair started, then stared at the man standing before them. He was dressed in black, including a facial mask with three diagonal slashes of red across the front. Dominique had enough time to notice the hallway was empty except for themselves before the man raised a gun. “Die, demon!” he yelled, then pulled the trigger.
The moment was etched in glass, moving in slow motion. The masked human squeezed the trigger what seemed like a fraction of an inch. The gun spat out the bullet, then bucked with recoil. The bullet moved lazily down the hall. Then Dominique Destine’s face exploded in red.
Time sped up. Ms. Destine collapsed bonelessly, the gunshot sounded, and screams echoed throughout the floor.
“NO!!!” Jay screamed, stunned by the violence. Then she turned back to the shooter, teeth bared in a snarl. “Bastard!!!” she shrieked, automatically pulling Tate’s gift from her purse and snapping off rounds. She took vicious pleasure in the way the man twitched and tried to avoid her shots, then snarled again, this time in victory, as he paused, swayed, and collapsed.
Satisfied with her victory, Jay dropped the gun and sprinted towards Dominique. She knelt by the woman’s side, trying not to puke at the gore. “Oh god. Oh, my god,” she moaned.
A faint sound stopped her panicked whimpers. She paused, then the sound came again. “Oh. Migawd,” she repeated, this time in shock.
“’E dead?” Ms. Destine croaked again.
Jay began to give off a faint, high-pitched whine from the back of her throat. “Ah, ah, uh, stay – stay still. The medics shouldn’t be long, they’ll get here in time, just don’t die, please.”
A sound like a chuckle rose from the mangled face. “ ‘M immortal, idiot. Can’t die. Argh! Hurts like hell, though.”
Jay let loose a sound that almost qualified as a frightened squeal when she looked closer. She lost it totally upon seeing that, underneath all that blood, her boss’s face was literally restructuring, muscles crawling across growing bone to reattach to each other like the mating of demented, gory worms. Jay stumbled away to the wall, where she vomited up the remains of breakfast and lunch. When she finally achieved tentative control, she moved back over to the prone body, refusing to look her boss in the face. “Se- security’s gonna be here soon.”
A gargled curse made its way out. “Hide,” Demona ordered. Demona, not Dominique Destine. No way could she handle thinking of this as anything but the ancient - immortal! - Demona.
“I... don’t think –”
“Help me hide.”
Oh yeah. Security finding the boss with her face half blown away and still alive would be a bad thing. Jay looked around, gaze bouncing frantically from option to option, finally settling on a conference room. Good enough. She gripped Demona’s arm and helped the immortal up, still concentrating on not looking at the face. They shambled into the room, then collapsed against the door. That’s one way to keep it shut. God, I’m taking this well. Must be shock? “What now?”
“Security. Argh, I hope Macbeth is enjoying this.”
Macbeth? Oh god. Jay stifled a hysterical giggle, attracting Demona’s attention.
“What?” the immortal snapped.
“I’m.... not taking this well at all. Not unless the natural reaction IS to run screaming through the streets flapping your arms like a demented chicken.”
“Considering you’re still here, I’d say you’re taking this very well.”
The door abruptly vibrated under the pounding assault of a fist. “Ms. Destine?”
“I’m all right!” she called back. Her face had finally regrown all the muscle tissue, but it had a soggy look that hinted bone was still restructuring. “My aide is slightly hysterical, so we’ll be staying here until that man is removed.”
“Right away, Ms. Destine.”
Jay ignored the sounds of busy people outside, pulling knees to her chest and concentrating on her shoes. “I so did not need this.”
Demona snorted. “And frankly, I prefer my face in one piece.” Jay flinched. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Demona spoke again. “You.... were concerned about me.” Jay shrugged. “Why? You know I’m immortal.”
“Yeah, well....” She shrugged again. “Guess I was thinking Highlander immortal, not... immortal immortal.”
“Um....” How to explain this one? “Basically living forever unless killed. Wait, that didn’t make sense. Able to be killed through violence, but not age.”
“No,” Demona sighed with a weariness even Jay could hear. “No, I am immortal.”
“Sucks,” Jay finally added.
“Yes. It does.”
There was another knock on the door, but this time more discrete. “Ms. Destine? It’s all clear.”
“Thank you. I’ll take your report in my office.” She tapped Jay’s shoulder, the human looking up on reflex. Except for the blood covering the front of her suit, Demona was back to normal. “Well?”
“You’re good. Shouldn’t give kids too many nightmares.”
“All right. You go home and rest.” Jay automatically geared up to protest, but Demona stopped her before she began. “You need down time. Go home. This isn’t a request.”
“....Okay.” Home. That did sound pretty damn good.
By the Dragon, that couldn’t be Jay. The child never had such a quivering, uncertain tone in her voice. Fear, yes; anger, yes; but never something like.... that. “Jay?”
“Yeah. How goes it?”
“Fine. I’ve taken care of things. Security has been reprimanded, and the papers have the rumor that an attempt was made on my life.” Demona hesitated, hoping she had done the right thing, and ignoring the quietly nasty voice in the back of her mind that was demanding to know why the hell she should even care. “You were kept out of all official and most unofficial stories.”
“Thanks. Um. The shooter.... what happened to him?”
Ooooh, shit. “He turned out to be a freelance assassin. A rather poor one, at that, hired by the Quarrymen. He was taken to the hospital, and we plan to press charges.” At least we would, if he ever woke up. No need for her to know he overdosed on that drug she gave him. Not that it matters or anything. Jay just doesn’t need to know everything.
“Okay. So, um.... I’ll see you Monday?”
“Of course. Monday. Have a good weekend.”
Well. Another thing to mark of the day’s checklist. Nice to know that was all settled.
Jay set the phone receiver down with excessive care, trying to control the trembling in her hands. Finally satisfied with the phone, she stood and moved to the bed, curling up around one of the pillows.
I shot him. I stood there and deliberately shot a man, and I enjoyed it. He tried to kill a friend –a clan member– so I shot him. If that had been a real gun....
Dear god, I would’ve happily killed him. She glanced over at the mirror, frightened to see the pale human face starting back at her. Too human, too... normal.
I never figured pacifists had the right idea, but.... jeeze. Ever since I changed, it’s been one violent encounter after another. I’ve never been bloodthirsty before. But.... She shivered, recalling her many times on patrol. There was always a primitive, feral edge to things, an urge to chase down the prey simply for enjoyment of the hunt. How long can I keep that under control? What if – What if I lose it? Like Tate? She stood and moved over to the mirror, searching the glass for answers.
Gargoyles are synonymous with violence.
So what does that make me?
In order to save space and time, all thanks and grovelings are being saved for the last section. The people who helped hopefully know that they are truly appreciated anyway. ::hands out some more cookies::
Let's try this again. Back to part 1, Graduation.
Wait, go back! Part 3, Flash Point!
So what's next?? Part 5, Frost!
Let me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home
I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive
All feedback is happily recieved at Norcumi@backtick.net. Actually, it's desperately wanted. Gore too much, too little, too bizzare....? Feel free to send all questions, comments, and opinions.
DISCLAIMERS: All characters except Demona 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 gargoyle race in general, Demona, Owen Burnett, Macbeth, the Quarrymen, the Hunter (mask), and a bit of gargoyle lore are owned by Buena Vista and therefore the Great Mouse, used with great reverence, respect, and without permission. Various random brand names and music selections are not mine, you'll know 'em if you see 'em.