* * *
by Edmondia Dantes

AN: My first Gargs fic, but don't run away yet. It takes place after HM3 and ignores TGC for the same reason every other fic ever written does. A word of warning: I love Puck/Owen, so if you hate him, I wouldn't recommend reading this.

* * *

Why now? Why him?

He sighed, leaning forward and resting his arms on the stone parapet. Unblinking clear blue eyes gazed without seeing over the Manhatten skyline.

It wasn't so much the exile itself that grated on him. He hadn't been to Avalon in a thousand years, and long ago had resolved not to think of it. It was the enforced conditions of his exile, Puck mused, that really annoyed him.

He was leaning over the edge of the top tower, still wearing the form of Owen Burnett. The stone form of Goliath cast its shadow over him, shielding him from sight. He snorted. The gargoyle was smiling slightly. Apparently Elisa had been with him last night. Maybe he could give them a present tonight....

But no. He couldn't use his powers. And Alex was away with his mother.

He sighed and dropped his head into his arms, taking care not to brain himself with the stone hand.

The others didn't understand. He knew they couldn't. They were only mortal, after all. But that was the problem, wasn't it? he thought bitterly. Sure, mortals were fun to hang around with, but if you left them alone for a little while, they up and died on you.

And he could't have abandoned this particular game. He was simply having too much fun. If he would have gone, he would have only been able to watch, not to play...he did not relish the idea of being trapped in paradise.

So now he was here, trapped in the mortal world, with no visible means of escape. Whoo, sounds like a movie title. 'Trapped in the Mortal World', courtesy of Pack Media Studios, no thank you sir.

He chuckled into his arms. That reminded him too much of the particular character he was playing at the moment. A straight man indeed.

He flexed his fingers absently, reminding himself not to stick any other appendages into cauldrons containing liquids of an unidentifiable origin.

He banged his head on the wall in an attempt to rid himself of his frustrations. To his dismay, but not surprise, it didn't work.

How could I be so stupid? he wondered for the nth time. Why couldn't Obie be a bit more understanding and a bit less bullheaded? HAH! Like that would ever happen!

Stuck as a human, robbed of his powers, trapped in his own game!

He wanted to scream, but Owen Burnett would never do something like that.

Damn it all, he hated it!

In a fit of pique, he hurled his glasses off of the skyscraper and watched with twisted glee as they plummeted through the clouds, half hoping Demona was walking by in her human form...

Now if he could only do the same to all the other problems that seemed to delight in plaguing him.

The sudden thought of chucking Oberon over the edge of the building left him leaning heavily on the wall, laughing hysterically.

It was a good thing, he supposed, that nobody was around to witness his break in character. Well, almost nobody, he thought, tapping Goliath with his stone fist. After all, he had never laughed as Owen.

He guessed he could blame it on Vogel. Outdoing him in the dry department was fun, but at times even that failed to comfort him. Acting had its charms, to be certain, but at the moment they had very little effect on his...disposition.

Forget sunny, I feel like a hurricane about now, he thought sourly.

In his true form, he would have taken to the air long ago, letting the wind wash him clean of any doubts and fears.

Sweet Avalon, the skies!

The thought of never again soaring into the endlessness of the night, the utter freedom of being alone with the stars, the icy blast of wind that sliced through you, singing, freezing, letting you know you were alive!!...

The Puck would not weep. He would not.

Yet it was hard when the summer breeze ruffled the short blond hair of Owen Burnett, swirling the noise and smell of the streets up to greet him.

Mourning didn't suit him.

He knew that.

But apparently his heart did not.

His magic twisted inside him, seeking an outlet for his pain.

He closed his eyes against the urge, clenched his good hand at his side, and closed his throat to any betraying sound.

* * *

For an instant, agonizing second, everything froze. The hearts of every being on the planet contracted with a sharp, painful wail of grief that seemed to well up from everywhere and nowhere at once. And for a single moment, everyone mourned.

* * *

David Xanatos paused in the midst of a teleconfrence, profoundly disturbed.

With hardly an acknowlegement, he closed the call to the unsettled CEOs. He practically ran out to the courtyard, gently illuminated by the fading afternoon sunlight.

He paused in mid-step as he caught sight of his assistant. A faint chill ran down his spine.

Owen stepped down from his hideaway, tucked by Goliath's stone form.

Xanatos stared in fascination.

He carried himself lightly, with a smooth, flowing walk that seemed impossibly graceful for such a tall man. The fading sunlight bleached his pale hair to a near-white, casting a soft halo of light around him.

Owen halted in front of him, and he started.

"Mr. Xanatos?" his voice held a touch more velvet than ususal. It was disconcerting, moreso because his glasses had somehow vanished.

He blinked in surprise. He'd never noticed it before, but...he peered closer. Yes...those glasses hid more than he had thought...

He knew that Owen's eyes were pupilless, and was used to it...but he hadn't noticed their graceful upward slant, subtle but discernible, adding a strange, exotic tint to his otherwise bland features.

"It's nothing Owen. Carry on."

He inclined his head, and made his way to the doors of the great hall, David's enthralled eyes following him the whole way.

"Oh, and Owen?"

He turned on his heel and looked back with those eyes.

"Get a new pair of glasses."

A very faint smile tugged at his lips, and then he nodded and melted into the shadows of the castle.

Xanatos blew out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. He stared into the setting sun.

Sometimes, he forgot exactly who Owen Burnett was. Sometimes, he forgot what all that implied. And sometimes, he realized how alien he was to him. Somehow, he knew that he would never fully understand Owen...Puck. And somehow, that suited him just fine.

* * *

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Written 2000 by Edmondia Dantes