by tarotgal
Rating: G
Fandom: Gargoyles
Spoilers: Takes place at the very end of Season 1, during the last few minutes of the episode 'Reawakening'
Disclaimer: Greg Weisman and Disney own the Gargoyles. This is a harmless, just-for-fun fanfic I've wanted to write for many years
Author's Notes: The beginning bits of dialogue are lifted directly from 'Reawakening' to put this into context, though I reinterpret a few lines for sneezefic purposes. I actually wrote much of this story in my head ten-odd years ago, back in the days before I was online or knew that my 'interest' in sneezing was actually a fetish. I frequently wrote sneezing plots into TV shows and this was just one of the many. The idea fit so well that I couldn't resist actually writing it down and using it for the mood 'Rejuvenated' in the Sneezefic132 Moodset Challenge.

Dripping wet, freezing cold, and beaten in more ways than one, Goliath took a few steps forward. The snow crunched underfoot. "He was not a monster," he answered Elisa. "He was family. And now he's gone." After coming out of his thousand-year sleep, he had mourned deeply the loss of his fellow gargoyles. But to have his brother brought to him and then taken away again was almost more than he could stand.

Elisa could see this, as Goliath made no effort to hide his pain, and she spoke softly. "I'm sorry."

Goliath took a long look at her, black hair and white scarf blowing behind her in the cold winter wind. Then he looked over at the others, the handful of gargoyles that remained and had been at his side through everything. They all looked equally sorrowful about his loss.

He sniffed hard, his nose running. And while he still looked saddened, he found some peace here amongst his friends. "Let's go home," he said, watching them smile up at him. Feeling the need to shiver, Goliath instead unfolded his wings and caught a breeze off the side of the bridge towards the town. He knew the others were following him, carrying Bronx and Elisa.

Goliath watched over the snow-swept streets of New York as he flew, seeing the few people still up at night, seeing his new territory as though for the first time again. His shadow cast by the moon fell upon everything beneath, but it suddenly looked as though it belonged there.

The wind crashed against him as he soared through the air, freezing his already damp chest and making his arms feel heavy. He needed a rest but had hopes to make it all the way home. But as he felt a tickle grow in his nose, he decided to land on the edge of a tall building for a moment, not sure he would be able to glide properly and sneeze at the same time.

As he landed, his feet crunched in the fresh snow. Humans rarely set foot upon the tops of buildings like this, where gargoyles naturally rested. It was a welcome change after the more public events and battle of earlier that evening.

Suddenly, his pale yellow eyes closed and he pitched forward. "hahhh-CHAHHHH!" He straightened up and sniffed hard again, the sound completely covered by his friends landing in the snow to either side of him.

"Goliath?" Lexington said, looking hesitantly up at him. Apparently Goliath had not been the only one to have been thinking over their existence that night. "You told Coldstone that gargoyles protect."

"Like we breathe, Boy," Hudson answered for him. "You know that."

Brooklyn cocked his head and gave a half shrug sort of gesture. "But what do we protect?"

"The Clock Tower," said Hudson automatically.

Goliath shook his head, his voice still sad and deep. "No. That is merely where we sleep." He looked around again at the city, which no longer seemed strange and new to him. The skyscrapers were not unlike towers, and the windows and buildings still held people who needed their sort of protection. "This island, Manhattan, this is our castle."

To the last, each of them brightened with smiles at his words, looking about for themselves at the vast city.

"From this day forward," Goliath continued, "We protect all who live here— human and gargoyle alike." He felt the surge of purpose racing through him, filling the void Coldstone's death had left, filling the void of the ages, but unable to solve all his problems.

Goliath straightened, chest inflating, eyes closing. And, with a hand up to his face, he lurched forward. "HAHHShuhhh!" He shivered as he rubbed his nose against his wrist and forearm.

Looking up at him, Elisa narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. "I thought you said Gargoyles weren't bothered by the cold?"

He would not be able to hide his condition from the detective. Regretting that he had to admit it, "Let's see any of your kind take two long swims beneath the ice in the river and see if they can emerge completely unscathed." But neither his voice nor his eyes showed anger. On the contrary, he smiled good-naturedly, even as he felt another vicious sneeze coming on. "hahh-H'GUHSHHH!" This time he sniffed hard and lowered his arm with a sigh. "It's only a bit of a head cold, though. Nothing to worry... over... huhh-HRRSCHHHH!"

Elisa took a step closer, looking up at him with gentleness once again. "Are you all right?" she asked. Then, feeling that he might not wish to answer that directly, she asked. "Is there anything you need?"

"Yes," he said softly, looking down at her with a smile. "I need a detective." She smiled back with affection, understanding.

Hudson walked over, reached up, and laid a hand on Goliath's shoulder. "Perhaps, Lad, we should head home right away."

Goliath considered, his eyes narrowed and his face twitching and contorting to give into another sneeze. "hahhh... hahhhCHIISH!" He scrubbed and sniffled.  "You are quite right," he said. Then he stretched out an arm and Elisa went to him, pressing herself to his strong, blue body. He lifted her up in his arms as he spread his wings again and lifted off. His great wings caught the wind currents as he headed to the Clock Tower above the police station.

"Goliath?" Elisa said, once he'd put her down. She put a hand on his arm in concern. A snowflake fell and melted upon her gloved hand, and she looked up at the sky covered in dark grey clouds. "Maybe you should go inside where it's warm... and not snowing."

There were no beds in the Clock Tower, as gargoyles did not sleep in such a way. But Goliath still deliberately ignored the armchairs and television set, and perched right out on the landing. The others headed inside for some food, leaving Elisa alone with Goliath outside.

"No," shaking his head again, Goliath spoke in a tone that made it clear this was not a topic open for debate. "I will be all right," he told her, putting a hand upon hers and patting reassuringly.

Then his nose twitched and he made a face of annoyance, showing his sharp teeth. He turned his head down and to the side, away from Elisa, and he raised his arm again, pressing his lower arm against the bridge of his nose and hiding the lower half of his countenance behind his wing. "hah... hahSCHHHH! HEH-KSHUHhhhh! Uhghh..." He groaned, lifting his head and his arm along with it.

"Here..." Elisa dug a tissue out of her pocket and stuck it in Goliath's hand. When he simply blinked at it with confusion, she took it back. Then she gently eased his arm down and rubbed the tissue at his nose.

He snorted, partly with congestion and partly with surprise, then he nuzzled into the tissue and her touch. "Thank you, Elisa," he said as he finished. He glanced up at the clock face, which silently echoed what he felt in his bones; dawn was approaching.

As the snow began to fall again, she shivered and she saw Goliath do the same. Elisa stuffed the tissue into her coat pocket the disappeared inside for a moment. She returned in no time with a large, grey army blanket which she draped over his shoulders before he could make a move to stop her. "You know, I think it's very noble of you to want to protect the city," she said, pulling the sides of the blanket together in the center of Goliath's chest.

Goliath rubbed at his nose, trying not to move much so that the blanket stayed in place. "I only hope that I will be able to protect my friends as well. I hope that I will do a better job than I did tonight with my brother." He knew that had not been entirely his fault. Demona had deceived Coldstone with lies of Goliath's treachery. But when he came down to it, Goliath did feel partly responsible for their current circumstances as well as for the deaths of so many a thousand years ago.

"Not everything is your fault," she told him, knowing his brooding look by now. "And you're not alone in this any more." She hoped he would start believing that sooner rather than later. "You will be a great force of good here."

"Hahhh-UHRSChhhhh! H'CHUHHH!" He lurched forward, and he sniffled as Elisa rubbed the tissue at his nose again for him. He sighed, feeling cold, run-down, and ready for sleep. His voice was tired and deep with congestion. "I'm certainly in no condition to protect anyone tonight."

The blanket was doing its part to keep the snow off his shoulders and back. But the warmth it brought made him feel drowsy. Likewise, when Elisa stood beside him and gave him a half-hug, he felt good and warm. "Well then," she said, resting her head against his blanket-covered upper arm and side, "Tonight I'll just have to protect you, all right?"

"huh..." He nodded and smiled weakly for a moment. Then his face screwed up and another tissue was pressed to his nose. "hurk'CHAHHHH!" He tilted his head to the side, resting it atop Elisa's, and closed his eyes as he waited.

He was greatly relieved when the other gargoyles joined him on the ledge a minute or two later. Like he, they could all sense the sunrise and they all got into their positions. Goliath tried to maintain a look of reassurance, to counter Elisa's worried expression. But his nose twitched with tickles and no matter how he fought, it wasn't enough. "hehhh..." His eyes closed. "hah-hahhhhhhh..." His face screwed up. "HAH!" He lifted a hand to cover his nose. The motion caused the blanket to slither down his back and pool at his feet.

Elisa reached down for it, expecting to hear a sneeze at any instant. Instead, and she paused to wait another few moments, she heard nothing but silence. She straightened up, blanket in hand, and saw the sunrise out of the corner of her eye. Surrounding her now were six stone statues, the largest of which wore an expression that just screamed ‘I'm about to sneeze'. She chuckled and folded the blanket over her arm as she headed down to the precinct to file a report, wondering how she was going to explain this night's events without mentioning any specifics about her friends.

Elisa had been trying to shake her partner for the last hour, ever since their shift ended. But he had insisted upon staying and helping her with paperwork. Finally she told him she was heading to the locker room for a shower, which was somewhere he could not possibly follow. Then she ducked up the far staircase and raced up the four floors.

She reached the ledge just as the last rays of the sun were disappearing over the horizon, behind the tall buildings of the cityscape. Looking up at Goliath, who looked miserable and stuck in mid-sneeze, she expected him to finish the sneeze as soon as he woke.

However, when the stone cracked into a million pieces and fell away along with, his face returned to normal in an instant. He, just like the others, gave a powerful stretch to shake off the last bits of stone and snow that had fallen upon him. After a few moments, when he'd relaxed again, his eyes fell upon her. "Elisa!" he said cheerfully, "I am glad you're here."

She eyed him, not trusting the fact that his voice sounded normal again. "You're... not sick any more?"

He shook his head. "My sleep during the day has rejuvenated me." He put a hand on her shoulder to let her know that brightened mood was not due solely to a day of rest. "I told you I would be all right."

Smiling, "I'm glad I didn't go all out and spend the time cooking chicken soup and shopping for gargoyle-strength cold medicine, then."

Broadway bent forward, looking past Lexington and Goliath towards Elisa. "Did you say something about cooking?"

She laughed, and Goliath did the same. He looked around at all his friends, then at the city stretched out before him. Responsible or not for them being there, he was determined that their presence should be one humans and gargoyles alike could benefit from. "We will eat soon. First there's a task that requires our immediate attention."

"All of us, Lad?" Hudson asked, rubbing the back of his neck and yawning.

Goliath nodded. They would put on a show of strength, and there was nothing now stronger than the six of them. Except, perhaps, for the seven of them. They were his family, true, but they weren't all he had left any more. Coldstone had died protecting them, and Goliath was not about to waste that gift now. "We'll be back in a few minutes," he promised her as he approached the very edge of the building and spread his wings.

She nodded back. "Stay safe," she ordered. "And keep out of the cold river this time."

He smiled and took off. The others followed without any further questions, and Elisa watched them soaring away with a sneaking suspicion of where they were headed. She lifted up the side of her coat and switched on her walkie-talkie hanging from her belt to listen to the dispatch with anticipation.

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