* * *
by Edmondia Dantes
Disclaimer: Gargoyles ain't mine. They are never going to be mine. I wish they were, but they aren't. That makes me sad. Oh well, whatcha gonna do? Another thing that makes me sad is that I'm not making any money off of this story.
AN: Hello everybody! I must be insane, trying to write 2 fanfics at once, but this idea got stuck in my head and won't go away. And me leaving for a trip in 9 days! This is the sequel to "Musings" and "Conversations". You should probably read those first. Remember: if you hate the fey, this is the wrong story to read! That said, let's get it on!
* * *
- Chapter One -
This was just great. Faboo.
He felt like kicking something, or, better yet, turning something into a furry vermin that he could squish. He manged to derive a moment's amusement from the thought before the heat got to him. Stupid human body. At least everyone else was suffering too. He stared intently. Was it his imagination, or was Demona's hair actually starting to wilt?
Puck sighed inwardly. What was wrong with the air conditioning? And the speaker just wouldn't shut up! He pursed his lips and glanced down at the pad of paper in front of him. What the heck, maybe drawing would relieve him of the boredom. He muffled a snort. Not bloody likely. Oh well. Let's see, what would that annoying human look like as a skunk?
His fingers twitched, and he almost unconciously prepared himself for a quick spell. Ooh, but the thought was tempting. Better yet, a rat. He could feel a crafty grin forming on his lips and forced it down. Now, if only daddy Oberon hadn't restrained his powers! He tugged lightly at the bonds that held him, and muttered something that Davy wouldn't like him repeating around Alex.
~What would you do, hmm?~
His response was instinctive, perfectly natural. ~Dunno, but it'd be fun finding out!~
Puck blinked as he felt Oberon withdraw. Then he shook his head, silently cursing himself. How could he have forgotten? How?
The familiar knot of resentful sadness resettled itself in his stomach as he frowned. Old habits died hard. Very hard, even in the face of mutual betrayal. He couldn't forgive him for this. He wouldn't.
But...damn it all! Oberon was still...his lord, if he could admit it to himself. And more, if he was honest about it. Oberon hadn't given him an answer last time either.
He wasn't sure if he wanted one.
If the answer were yes...he didn't know what he would do. Throw a party? How did one celebrate the fact that their.....what the hell was Oberon to him anyway? It used to be so clear...
All he knew was that he would do anything to win whatever it was back.
He looked over at Xanatos, who had already decided to ignore the whole thing and was sound asleep. Fox was on the verge of falling asleep, and Demona looked homicidal. Not, he thought wryly, that that was any different than how she looked normally. Vogel appeared on the verge of collapse, though not outwardly. He kept casting envious glances to the rather clever junior executive who clutched a handheld fan like a lifeline.
Almost anything, then.
He closed his eyes.
* * *
He closed his eyes in resignation.
He wished he didn't have to think about him. It would be infinitely easier to continue on as if Puck had never even existed, if none of this had ever happened.
For too long, he had been his shadow, for too long had he whispered to his servant his schemes and plans. The Puck had been just as surprised with the flippant answer as Oberon himself was.
Not for the first time, he cursed Mab for making his life difficult.
Titania was *extremely* surprised when he appeared before her with a bundle of cloth in his arms. She peered curiously down at the baby, stroking aside an icy white lock of hair from its face with a smile.
"Who is he?"
Oberon shrugged. "Mother said he was a present, but what kind of present is a baby?"
"I don't know." Titania frowned, "I hope it won't cause trouble. He looks sweet, he probably won't be a problem."
Looking down into the baby's clear blue eyes, Oberon found himself doubting that very much.
Oberon felt like hurting something.
* * *
Fox was down for the count, and Vogel was fading fast. Even the blasted speaker was showing signs of slowing down. Deciding that Owen Burnett probably shouldn't leap up and start dancing, he settled for an internal cheer.
Then electricity sparked, and the room went dark.
There were several shrieks, and he was amused to note that both David and Fox had shot out of their seats and were going for the hidden weaponry in their clothing. Demona was growling low in her throat, and looked ready to strangle the next person who touched her.
Being fey, the darkness didn't bother him at all, though he imagined the humans were having a rough time of things.
The door splintered open.
He groaned, reaching for the laser gun that was convieniently tucked in his waistband.
They were terrorists, which surprised him. He took a cautious sniff. No magic, neither mortal nor fey. Regular humans? Why?
Six entered the room, guns held high. The fools.
This time, he let himself grin. This just might be fun after all.
* * *
Xanatos shook his head as Fox finished off the last one. They *really* didn't have a chance. He looked around. Everyone else, save Demona, himself, Fox, Owen, and...Vogel? was looking around in confusion and terror.
He smirked. They were obviously mercenaries, but not working for the Illuminati, Demona, or anyone else. For terrorists, they were pretty pathetic.
He tossed a gun to a surprised-looking accountant. "Distribute these and be on the lookout for more of them. We'll take care of whoever is out there."
* * *
She slammed her foot into the ugly one's stomach. He flinched. He flinched more when she snapped his left arm and then threw him into the wall. He made a satisfying 'crunch' when his head met the polished wood.
Another body flew by her, courtesy of one Owen Burnett. She paused as she took aim at the little one coming around the corner. Waiting for him to come into range, she cast a quick glance at the trickster-turned human.
Judging by the bewildered look on the terrorist's face, he hadn't expected a stone fist to slam squarely into his side. He also hadn't expected his opponant to be smirking devilishly. If she hadn't known, she would have thought the normally stoic Burnett was a bit on the unstable side.
She fired off a shot, and the short one went down, clutching his arm.
It almost made her laugh as she ran down the corridor in unison with Owen. She felt so...free. Her senses seemed sharper, clearer than before. Fox inhaled deeply. She felt so...alive!
And there was a lilt to his voice, something that told her he felt the same way.
"Is this what it's like?" Blood pounding, awareness amazingly intense, the scent of battle intoxicatingly sweet all around her...she loved it.
"Little one, this is just the tip of the iceberg." She believed him. She flung out her hand, *felt* the door snap, and plunged headlong into the frenzy.
Oh, but she had missed this!
* * *
Much, much later, when they were explaining why the terrorists were all unconcious, he smelled something.
What on Avalon was it?
He snuck out the back when they weren't looking. Humans weren't the most observant creatures in the world. Treading with extreme caution, he opened his senses to the fullest they could be in his condition.
He followed the elusive scent, padding silently through the endlessly winding corridors of the building. Until he smacked headfirst into someone.
He backed away, murmuring apologies. The other man did the same, bowing his head as he started to shuffle away.
Puck blinked as the man looked up, meeting his eyes. His mouth nearly fell open in shock. No pupils. And...he took a careful sniff. Another Child?
The man seemed to be in a similar state, his blue eyes wide and the expression on his pale face confused. He had an angular face, and a medium build, dressed in a mismatched suit. Puck frowned as he regarded the other. I don't know him...I thought I knew everyone on Avalon.
"Are you...?" the man said in a soft, musical tone.
Puck nodded. He knew he was practically radiating power, all of his senses open as they were. No true human could even imagine doing such a thing.
"Who are you?"
"My name is," he blinked, looking puzzled, "I don't know what my name is."
"You're one of us, and you don't know your name?" he asked, incredulous. "And what are you doing in the World, anyway? The Gathering has already begun."
"Didn't you feel the summons? Lord Oberon-"
"Oberon? I know that name...who is he?"
He gaped. How could this Child not know his own king? "The king of Avalon and our lord...sound familiar?"
"I think so," the man's brows knitted, "I think I hate him, but...I hate someone else more."
"Who?" he questioned, feeling intensely curious.
"I think...his name is...or is it a title?"
"The master trickster. Oberon's little pet." the unknown fay sneered.
Despite himself, he growled.
The man's eyes widened with a look of dawning recognition as he brushed a tendril of sour-tasting magic against his own. Puck cringed. Eew. That was...disgusting. It felt...warped, misshapen. But still...
"You mean little old me?" Purposefully speaking in his normal voice, he straightened himself, adopting a slightly mocking and very disdainful pose.
The man retreated several steps, looking both surprised and angry. "You?!"
He dropped in a low bow, lips curling. "I am the Puck," he stated flatly, "And you have just insulted me."
The other just stared in horrified amazement before teleporting away.
* * *
He was not in a happy mood. He was, in fact, quite ticked off. And the blasted gargoyles weren't helping.
Lexington was babbling incessantly about some new computer program he was supposed to be helping to create. Puck tuned him out.
And that damned scent had been tickling his senses all day. He wrinkled his nose in disgust and growled again. Pet indeed! You didn't throw your pets, or Children, out into the World and act like nothing ever happened.
Well...that was unfair. Oberon had shown slight, very slight, remorse when they had last spoken. But still...he wished that...somehow...
No! He would not forgive this. But could he forget it? Maybe, he thought wistfully, just maybe...
"Owen! Are you listening?"
He startled, then focused his gaze on a frustrated looking Lexington. For a moment, he forgot himself.
"Does it look like I'm listening, mortal?" he snapped.
Lexington appeared very taken aback as he stormed off.
* * *
A week later, and he had finally figured out why the man had been in the building. It made such perfect sense that he felt the fool for not realizing it earlier.
The terrorists had been hired by the man, but they had never met him. They couldn't have, they didn't smell like magic at all. The man was obviously deranged, and had tried to get rid of him. Even though he hadn't known who Owen, or rather Puck, was at the time.
He cringed in remembrance of the feel of the man's magic. The other hadn't known exactly what was going on, but somehow must have sensed the magic that he himself was the source of, however distorted it was by the human body he wore.
That disturbed him. Not even Oberon had been able to tell that he wasn't mortal. He had thought his disguise to be seamless. He stared glumly into the mirror in front of him.
A human face stared glumly back.
* * *
His nose twitched.
Something was rotten in the state of New York. He tried valiently to keep his face from betraying himself.
Owen Burnett would not not choke and run for a gas mask, no matter how badly it was needed.
He settled for gagging in the most inconspicuous fashion possible and looking for the nearest exit.
Until Angela noticed him.
"Owen, are you all right?"
Of course he was! He was wonderful! That was why he was looking for somewhere nice and quiet to deposit his breakfast!
He settled for snarling a curse in a language that probably hadn't been heard for at least a millenia and shooting her a glare that conveyed his utter disbelief at her stupidity.
He smirked as her expression changed from concerned to angry. Has a lot of her mother in her, after all, he thought smugly.
His head snapped up and he spun, the rancid taste in his mouth suddenly familiar.
The odd fey stood in the middle of the courtyard, looking curiously at the gargoyles, who in turn were giving him wary looks.
Puck pulled himself up, letting every bit of feigned mortality drain away until it was clear even to the gargoyles that the only humanity was in the body, nothing more.
"And how did you find me here?" he questioned, folding his arms, flicking a glance at Goliath, who stared back before straightening, realizing something decidedly peculiar was going on.
He gave a strange smile. "You're the only other one, aren't you?"
He stepped back, eyes narrowing as he extended his senses. If *only* he could use his powers! But Alex was with his mother, visiting his grandfather.
"Your magic is nice. Clean," the man murmured, stepping closer, "not like mine. You don't like mine."
He shrugged nonchalantly, raising an eyebrow. "It reeks."
He could feel the gargoyles tense. Good. Maybe they would help if the psycho decided to attack.
"Can I have some?"
He recoiled, feeling disgusted. "Sorry, you're not my type. Maybe you should go for one of the three. I'll bet Luna would like you."
The loony stiffened. "That wasn't nice," he snarled, "you may be strong, but you are mean."
He retreated again. The horrible feel of the man's magic was making him nauseous.
A dark expression twisted the fey's handsome countenance. "I don't like you, cousin."
He sighed airily, tensing for an attack. "Nobody ever does."
He grinned savagely, and Puck shifted lightly on his feet. He was all too aware of the mortality of the body he wore, and could only hope the gargoyles recognized the threat the man was giving off.
"Someone can't use his powers," he said in a singsong voice.
Then he lashed out. He gaped for an instant at the amount of power in the blow before he was knocked head over heels into Broadway.
Blinking sweat out of his eyes, he strained to flip the way he was used to and nearly succeeded. He landed awkwardly, wondering how much he could strain this body before dodging another blow.
Damn again. He couldn't fight like this, he needed his powers!
He ducked as Brooklyn came flying towards his head. Oh well, at least they were *trying* to fight.
He punched the catch on a concealed panel, pulling out a projectile gun and flinching. He was loathe to use iron on another of his kind...but this particular Child seemed more than a tad homicidal.
Oh well, he thought as he was sent hurtling towards a wall, at least I can aim...
Except when the bastard teleports away before the bullet can hit him, he continued darkly.
He hit the heavy stone with an unpleasant sound he recognized as bones breaking.
Triple damn, he thought, and passed out.
* * *
Something was wrong. Very wrong. One of the Children...? He extended his senses over the island, felt nothing amiss.
If not here...
~Puck?~ he questioned cautiously.
There was a horrifying silence.
~Puck?~ he repeated, feeling something akin to worry for his wayward Child.
Again, there was nothing.
He jumped as she took his arm. "What is the matter?" Titania asked softly.
"Where is the Puck?"
He watched as she cast her senses out into the World, felt the same emptiness. A frightened expression stole over her face. If they couldn't feel Puck, what about her daughter and grandchild?
They teleported away in a near panic.
* * *
Oberon nearly gagged as he appeared in the courtyard of Castle Wyvern. That stench! It was...
His eyes locked on the slender young man who was casually flinging bolts of purple energy at several gargoyles, including Goliath, who had Owen Burnett slung over one shoulder.
Beside him, Titania snarled.
The fey looked up, a terrified expression crossing his pale face. He teleported away an instant before he could be vaporized.
* * *
Goliath looked up and nearly staggered in relief. In any other situation, the presence of the royalty of Avalon would be most unwelcome.
In any other situation...
He handed Burnett to Titania, and collapsed.
* * *
Titania smiled at her daughter as he moved back, clutching Alexander tightly to his chest.
She sat quite calmly on the couch, her finery looking very strange in the comfortable shabbiness of the gargoyles' common room. Oberon hovered nearby, scowling unpleasantly.
Xanatos slid one hand down to hover over his laser gun. It might not do much good, but it could distract them while they went for the iron weapons.
"There is no need for that." Oberon said pointedly, giving him a bland glance. He stiffened, taking a step back and glaring. The king ignored him, taking a seat to the left of Titania and disregarding the room as a whole.
"What happened?" Fox asked, stepping closer.
At least *she* was able to deal with her parent. David felt much less secure, stroking Alex's sleeping head and whispering to him to relieve some of the uneasiness he felt.
"A rouge member of our race attacked tonight," Titania said softly. "He is no longer present here."
"What was he after? Alex?"
"No," Oberon said unexpectedly, "Not the child."
"So what?" Xanatos asked, allowing himself to relax.
"I believe he was after Puck," Titania offered.
"Yeah." came a new voice from the doorway. He turned, along with everyone else. The voice was Puck's, but the body was Owen's. Oberon made a slight gesture, and then it was only Puck, standing on the ground for once, eyes bright and wild, long hair tangled and stringy. He looked as if he were about to fall over.
An uneasy feeling began to grow in the pit of his stomach. He didn't like this at all.
Titania started out of her seat, but Puck shook his head and walked unsteadily over to where Oberon sat, face impassive and yet somehow very intense. Twin ice-blue gazes locked on one another, and for a long moment David couldn't breathe, throat choked with tension and worry for whatever the hell was going on.
Then Puck dropped to his knees, folding an arm over his chest and bowing his head. Somewhere behind him, he heard Titania suck in a breath, but he was too fascinated by the spectacle before him to even notice the fey queen.
Oberon stared down at Puck for what seemed like forever. Then, very slowly, almost hesitantly, he extended his hand.
What are you doing, Owen? Xanatos wondered, staring. For a half of a second, his glance flickered in his direction, before the Child tilted his head over the outreached hand.
Titania sighed softly, and he looked over at her. A full, rich smile curved her mouth as she met his gaze. One slim finger directed his attention back to the king and his trickster, who had moved slightly.
It was the barest of touches, he could tell from even where he stood, but it was infinitely tender. Puck leaned into the caress, and the harsh look on Oberon's face melted several degrees. He half-smiled down at the white-haired hobgoblin, and Xanatos was suddenly very, very worried, though he had no idea why.
He was barely aware when Titania teleported them away.
* * *
He stared down at the bowed head with detached fascination. He looked a mess, the poor thing. The boy had really done a number on him... a certain downside of taking human form was that you also took on human frailties.
~Weren't expecting that, were you?~ he said softly, faint amusement coloring his tone.
~No. Did you not say you hated me?~ he inquired archly.
The familiar blue eyes opened as he gave a breathy sigh. ~Indeed. I still do, y'know.~
Oberon shrugged slightly, brushing several errant strands of hair out of his face. ~As I am sure you are aware, your feelings are reciprocated.~
~So you DO still love me?~
He dropped his hands. Puck flinched, but Oberon knew he would never back down.
~As much as I hate to repeat myself...well, my lord?~
~Enough.~ It came out harsher than he'd intended, and he watched as the child absorbed the hurt, his eyes glimmering with reawakened anger and resentment. The Puck faded back a few paces, dropping wearily to sink cross-legged to the floor.
~Who was that?~ he asked softly, leaning his head on a slim hand.
Oberon tried not to sigh. "My...offspring."
Puck leapt to his feet in surprise. "Huh?"
Oberon favored him with a raised eyebrow. "You did not think that the three were the only children of myself and my queen, did you?"
He blinked. "Guess I never actually thought about it. So, why's he," he tapped a finger against his head, "a loony?"
Oberon shrugged. "Apparantly, his banishment caused him to go insane."
The crystal eyes widened. "And what about me and my banishment?"
He stared back at the trickster, at a loss.
* * *
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