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by Edmondia Dantes
Disclaimer: Gargoyles doesn't belong to me.
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- Chapter Two -
"What is going on?" Xanatos demanded, glaring at Avalon's queen.
Titania favored him with a Mona Lisa smile, and Fox elbowed him in the stomach. He 'oof'ed and handed Alex over to his mother wordlessly.
"Mother, what is going on?" she said coolly. David frowned. Why did she get to say it and not him?
Emerald eyes flickered in his direction, and he flinched. He had no desire to spend the night on the couch and wake up to see Owen, complete with raised eyebrow, bearing breakfast. He just *knew* the trickster was snickering behind the mask every time that happened.
The queen chuckled musically, and his attention swiveled back towards her.
"It is as I told you before. There was an attack. Oberon noticed that there was something wrong, and we were concerned."
"I find that hard to believe," Fox said, sounding annoyed.
"We do have hearts, child."
"Evidently. Mind explaining that little scene with Owen?" he asked tersely.
The fey regarded him calmly for a moment, before inclining her head regally.
"In the past, Oberon was very fond of Puck. Why should he feel differently now?"
"Who?" Xanatos asked, scowling, "Oberon or Puck?"
"That's not an answer, mother," Fox snapped, coming to stand in front of the green-skinned queen.
"Fox, if you really wished to know how the Puck felt, why did you not ask him?"
Xanatos mulled over that. It was practically impossible for him to reconcile the Owen/Puck personalities in his own mind. When Owen was Owen, he was...well, perfect, and probably his best friend. When he was Puck...quite frankly, he hadn't the faintest idea what the fey would do. It was more than a little unnerving when the blond man would just...drift away, not really changing, but becoming something that was so completely different it was frightening. And he was sometimes human, making the distance even more eerie than when he actually transformed. When Puck went all mystical, it was easy to shrug it off as a fairy thing. When Owen went all mystical, it was creepy.
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The Puck stared at his king, all amusement gone from his gaze. He felt...angry, confused, betrayed...it hurt. And it drew his mind back to that horrible night, the pain as his powers were stifled, the shock that Oberon would even...the same feeling was multiplied a hundredfold...
He wasn't even aware that he was withdrawing until Oberon tugged gently at the bonds that connected them both, beckoning him back to his master's side.
And should I refuse your summons again, my lord?
Puck stood his ground, putting his hands on his hips and fixing his face into an accusing expression. This...this was insane! Literally!
"We are displeased with your reaction, Puck."
Oh, going all royal on me now? Two can play at that game, lord.
"We are unimpressed by your summons. Why should we heed them this time?" Ah, it had been ages since he had played at royalty. Never mind that he was practically a prince, for Oberon would never admit that the playful trickster was considered by most to be his only son.
Well, except for that loony who was trying to kill me, I guess he counts too, Puck thought sourly.
Oberon was glowering. Puck snorted. He'd been on the recieving end of that glare for millenia, and it hardly bothered him anymore. Actually, Oberon should have realized by now that he didn't particularly care.
~You disobey yet again, I see.~
"Did you know that psycho boy went cukoo because of his banishment?" he replied, incensed, "Were you hoping I would do the same?"
Hmm...offended look number 43...and that meant...
The temperature in the room dropped ten degrees. Puck pointedly summoned a blanket and wrapped it around himself, making sure to give Oberon injured look number 12. And...BINGO!
The king sighed and relented, the temperature returning to normal. Puck let the blanket fall to the ground, stepped closer, and waited.
Puck was more than a little surprised when Oberon suddenly was in front of him, tilting his chin up to meet the much taller lord's eyes. He blinked, confused at the unexpected gentleness.
"If I had known, I would not have thought that you would succumb to insanity as well," one large hand stroked his cheek, "nor that you would be so angry."
His voice was much softer than he meant it to be as he replied, "Oh, come on, you know I can't stand lonliness."
"You wished to stay."
"I didn't want to go back and be bored! These mortals are the most fun I've had in ages!"
The hand dropped. "Evidently."
Puck bit back that growl he'd spent so much time perfecting lately. "Can you blame me?"
Oberon folded his arms and glared down at the smaller fey. Puck mimicked the pose, knowing that it would throw Oberon off balance. He smirked. When he was ticked, Oberon didn't like to be reminded of how similar to one another they were. Surely enough, the king's brow furrowed, and he abrubtly turned away. Silence reigned for a long moment before he spoke.
"Did you wish to know about your attacker?"
Typical. Can't win a fight so he changes the subject. Kings were rather annoying that way. "Yeah."
"He was banished long ago."
"For what?" Puck asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
Oberon turned around, flashing a fanged smile towards his ex-servant. "For trying to kill you."
He was inordinantly proud that he managed to keep his jaw from dropping.
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"Mother?" Fox asked, sudden apprehension in her tone.
The queen smiled at her daughter. "Nothing, child. My husband just startled Puck."
"What?" David asked suspiciously, his hand hovering over his laser again. She looked at him placidly.
"As I said."
"Did you." Came the icy reply.
Titania chose to ignore it.
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As he watched, Puck visibly staggered. More concerned than he ought to be, he reached out a hand to steady the trickster. Oberon frowned. Though he had been nearly deafened by the incredulous shout, the Puck was still weak from the attack, though he would never admit it.
"Now how did I miss something like that?" Puck wondered aloud, losing his balance and nearly falling over until Oberon caught him by the toga and hauled him upright. He wobbled unsteadily in mid-air for a moment, then straightened.
Oberon replied dryly, "You were a child at the time."
"How big of a child are we talking about here?"
Oberon paused. How young *had* he been? Very, when he was small enough to be held comfortably with one arm. Probably the human equivalent of five or six.
"Very young, barely into your hundreds."
Puck whistled. "Geez, I was young." His pale brows furrowed. "Soooo.... why'd he wanna kill cute little me, if I was just a kid?"
Oberon frowned. "I have no idea."
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Titania muffled a sigh. "He was banished for trying to kill Puck," she repeated patiently. That made it twice in as many minutes that she had felt as though she would go deaf.
"When? How long ago was this?" Fox asked, suddenly concerned for her own son.
"Many millenia ago, when the Puck was little more than a babe."
She could tell her son-in-law was incredibly worried about the entire situation. He didn't seem to understand the relationships between the fey...or who Puck/Owen was. Though she knew without a doubt that the businessman cared much more for the trickster than even he knew.
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"You mean you haven't got a clue?"
"Perhaps you annoyed him?" Oberon questioned off-handedly. "At any rate, he appears to be making a second attempt."
Puck rolled his eyes. "Joy. Oh, by the way, just why did you show up to save Goliath and co's collective behinds?"
Oberon raised an eyebrow. "The child would be without a tutor were you dead."
"Aha, so you didn't want another kid running around Avalon. Makes sense, though I doubt 'Tania would mind."
Oberon ground his teeth, no mean feat considering he had such pronounced incisors. Truth be told, Puck had been hell to raise, and he had no desire to rear another boy as his own. The three had been much less trouble. And the first...was not his son.
~So what was he?~
Listening in to the thoughts of others was an annoying habit Puck had apparently picked up from Titania. He grimaced. Oberon did not like eavesdroppers.
~He was...estranged. Neither Titania nor I raised him.~
Puck drifted closer, curiosity lighting his almost delicate features. ~Then who? Wait - not Mab?~
The trickster rolled onto his back, folding his arms behind his head. ~Well, that explains his looniness. Some of it, anyways.~
~Indeed,~ he replied dryly, ~Some of it.~
~Still, why'd he wanna kill me? There are a lot of other fey on Avalon he could have decided to go postal on.~
~He didn't like you. I can't imagine why.~
~Sarcasm, my lord? No really, how come?~ he questioned, bobbing closer.
~I do not know, other than your propensity for creating chaos wherever you go.~
~That's an endearing sort of personality quirk,~ he disagreed, a careless smirk tugging at his lips.
Oberon smirked back. ~Indeed.~
~So what's his name?~
~Monsieur Fruit Loops.~
~Don't you remember?~
Puck looked up, his weariness plain on his face, his movements sluggish. ~Does it look like I remember anything other than my name and serial number?~ he questioned slowly.
The king briefly touched his hair, and Puck's eyes drifted half-closed, the lashes drooping heavily over the sparkling irises. ~You are exhausted.~
Puck muffled a yawn. ~Just a tad...~
~Sleep.~ It was an oddly gentle command, laced with more than a bit of magic.
~Cheater...~ was Puck's last coherent thought.
Oberon picked him up carefully, holding him awkwardly. It had been millenia since the child had actually fallen asleep in his arms, and it felt more than a little strange now that he was fully-grown and something of a traitor.
He stared down at the slim body of his Child, curled with a messy sort of grace in his arms. He looked even more delicate in sleep than normally, and strangely vulnerable. No one would suspect the devilishly clever mind that hid behind the youthful facade. Well, except those who had seen that blasted play, though Oberon had his own ideas of how that English git had learned so much about the family squabbles. As he watched, the child grinned devilishly in his sleep. Could he *still* be eavesdropping? Stubborn little thing.
Oberon settled him on the couch, frowning a little. It was not the most ideal place, but Puck probably wouldn't have noticed even if he were put on a bed of iron nails. He felt remorse stirring, and squelched it down. Puck deserved his punishment. That was all there was to it.
But that didn't mean...He brushed his fingers affectionately against the Child's brow, settling him onto the couch. He would sleep for a long while, at least until the night. As it stood, that would make for at least eight hours of sleep. That should be more than sufficient time for his magic to sort itself out.
~Let us depart.~
~One moment, my lord.~
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Titania smiled affectionately at her daughter. "Do not worry for Alexander. Puck is very protective, should he be in any danger."
Fox cradled Alex closer, leaning into David's warm embrace. A soft wind seemed to whisper as the queen reached out to kiss her forehead.
Titania pulled back, regarding her daughter curiously. "Yes, child?"
"Could Puck help me develop my powers?" she blurted without thinking. At her side, David flinched.
Titania smiled again. "Why are you asking me?"
Fox frowned as the fey's glance turned towards David.
"You should be the ones to speak to him, not Oberon and I. Be well."
Light stirred, swirled up around her willowy form, and she was gone.
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Brooklyn had walked into the common room when he felt his jaw hit his knees."What is *he* doing here?"
Broadway's eyes went wide as he did a double take. "Uh...looks like he's sleeping."
The heavy doors swung open silently, and their group increased in number by three. Xanatos stared at them all for a moment, before turning his gaze to his wife. "So, should we wake him up?"
They stood in a confused semicircle around the couch, seven gargoyles, two humans, and two not-quite humans. The object of their attention was one fey, long hair spilling off of the couch, pale head resting on folded arms, and glimmering with a faint iridesence in the pale moonlight.
Lexington paused. "Okay...yeah. Um, who wants to do the honors?"
"If we dumped cold water on him, he'd probably decide we go well with the decor and turn us into throw rugs," Xanatos mused aloud.
Despite himself, Goliath had to agree with the billionare. "Probably."
"So somebody wake him up," Elisa stated. She glanced around at the circle of wary faces and tense bodies and suddenly grinned. "Y'know, this is like dealing with a bomb situation."
"I don't think he'll explode." Fox sounded doubtful.
"So *you* wake him up," Brooklyn said with a snort.
"Um..." Fox paused. Her features lit in a radiant smile as she turned to her husband. "He's *your* best friend David, you wake him up."
Xanatos shook his head empathically. "He'll turn me into a turnip. Or a cabbage."
"Maybe we should let Alex wake him up." Angela's suggestion sounded more like a question.
Fox bounced her son in her arms, shaking her head. "He's in the same shape as his teacher."
Elisa frowned. "So do we poke him?"
"I wouldnae do that, lass. The touch of the fair folk is said to do strange things to us mortals. Would you risk it?" Hudson spoke quietly, and there was a still silence, broken by a rather petulant-sounding complaint.
"Great. What am I supposed to do if my assistant is out of commision?"
"What did you do before you had Owen?" Goliath asked slowly.
Xanatos looked poleaxed. "There was a time before Owen?"
Elisa muffled a snicker. "Back on the subject of waking him up..."
"Too late, you already did."
Everyone turned to stare at the slender fey, who was blinking heavily and shoving waterfalls of hair out of his face. He backflipped off of the couch, stretching in ways that should have been anatomically impossible, making more than one person wince.
"Nice to see you awake. Why were you asleep all day?" Xanatos started off the questioning, thoroughly irritated. Working without Owen was, quite frankly, absolute hell. He had lost his shedule three times, missed lunch, and nearly fumbled a merger with a smaller company. *That* had been embarrassing.
Puck rolled his eyes. "Daddy Oberon hit me with a big time sleep spell. Probably to give me enough time to recover. I take it he and 'Tania skipped out?"
"You could say that," Goliath replied.
The immortal huffed and folded his arms. "He didn't give me an answer again."
Xanatos perked up. He *wanted* to know what they had been talking about. "Answer to what?"
His face a study in nonchalance, Puck didn't respond. When a fey doesn't respond, people tend to drop the subject. Because if the subject is boring, the fey might decide to give the person a makeover. As a plumber. Or, as one unfortunate man discovered when Oberon was in a particularly foul mood, an accountant.
"Umm...so, what can you tell us about that guy last night?" Lexington asked hesitantly. He had spent the better part of the previous night with his entire left side coated in ice. It was hard to yell for help with half of your jaw frozen.
The trickster frowned. It didn't sit well on his pretty face. "He's one of us, obviously. And he was raised by Mab, which explains a lot."
"Wait, wait, wait. Who's Mab?" Elisa asked, looking around.
"She was mentioned in Romeo and Juliet, right?" Brooklyn questioned.
"Don't believe everything you read. Mab is Oberon's mommy. A total fruitcake, thankfully imprisoned for the last um...ten thousand or so years. You know," slim shoulders shrugged, "the old queen."
Puck blinked innocently. "Didn't you know about her?"
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Written in 2000 by Edmondia Dantes