by Enola Jones
June 11, 1999
The red van pulled up outside 1334 Beechwood. Peter and Valerie got out and headed into the familiar beach house. Valerie stopped and lay her fingertips on her husband's chest. "Luggage," she said simply.
Peter rolled his eyes. "Oops," he said, grinning. He looked out to make sure nobody was seeing, then his eyes began to glow.
The van's side door slid open and their three suitcases -- his clothes, her clothes, and an overnight bag -- floated out and into the beach house.
Davy and Mike stood inside the living room, watching with amusement. Once the suitcases were inside and Peter's eyes stopped glowing, Davy said, "You don't have to stay here. I can take care of myself."
"Davy," Peter said firmly, "I've tasted your cooking, remember? We're staying."
"It's only for the weekend," Mike chided. "And we go through this every fifth week."
"We have ever since your divorce," Peter added. "Every weekend that Mike leaves, you protest Micky or me staying here."
Davy sighed. "Sorry," he said. "I still miss her, y'know?"
"We know," Valerie said, hugging her friend.
"Well," Mike said. "You're here... so I'm gonna get outta here."
"Have fun, Mike," Davy said.
"Talk to me," Peter said, referring to their mental link -- which threw into reverse when Mike was away.
"I will," Mike assured him, kissing Valerie on the cheek.
Then he stepped back and raised his right hand, chanting under his breath. His onyx ring pulsed, and a portal opened.
Mike stepped inside and waved at his friends, who waved back. Then he chanted again, and his clothes suddenly altered. Instead of a black t-shirt and blue jeans, he wore a dark blue robe, belted at the waist, and a small golden crown appeared in his black hair.
Mike now looked like exactly what he was -- the mortal king of Faeryland.
He turned and pointed behind him, and Faeryland could be seen at the other end of the portal. Mike smiled and pointed toward his friends.
And the portal closed behind him.
Peter swayed, a hand going to his head as the link threw into reverse. Can you hear me, shotgun? rang in his head. Unable to speak to Mike now in words -- which he could do when Mike was home -- Peter sent a wave of affirmation through the one-sided link.
"So," Mike asked Phyllis, "what's going on these next two days?"
"There's a banquet tonight," his wife informed him. "A visiting dignitary from a far-off kingdom called Avalon has a message he wants to present to the king of Faeryland."
Mike had taken off his robe and he now moved to hang it up. He wore brown leather breeches and a white tunic, though he still wore the crown. "The king of Faeryland," he said, touching the robe. "I don't think I'll ever get used to that."
Phyllis cuddled next to him, the folds of her green gown brushing his legs. "Mike, you're a good and just king. You rule your subjects with a fair and just hand. And they love you for it."
He smiled at his wife and kissed the top of her head, gently hugging her so as not to squash her gossamer wings.
"I bet I know what else you were talking about wondering what you'll never get used to," Phyllis said.
"Oh? What's that?"
For her answer, Phyllis reached behind Mike and ran her hand along the wings he sported in Faeryland.
Mike shivered as he felt her hands brush the nearly transparent things. "They're part of me now," he breathed, impressed.
"You'll have them in the other dimension after today, too," Phyllis said. "Only now you can make them very, very tiny until you need to fly."
"How can I do that?"
"I'll teach you the spell," Phyllis said, kissing him on the lips. "You know, you seem to have a definite aptitude for magic."
Mike smiled again. "It's just another power, Phyllis. I'm used to dealing with powers."
He kissed her again, and the thought crossed his mind that this was not the same Phyllis he'd left behind; this was the Phyllis of the dimension they'd lived in for the past thirty-two years.
I don't care, he told himself firmly. This is Phyllis. The only Phyllis I have.
"Phyllis," Mike said. "I'm king here, right?"
"And I make the laws, right?"
Phyllis looked sidelong at him. "Right."
"Okay, then. I hereby decree that no king, me or whoever is after me..." He flung the robe to the floor. "...has to wear this hot, uncomfortable robe unless he wants to!"
Phyllis smiled as Mike pulled on a powder-blue tunic and black breeches. "And you do not want to."
"Got that right." He looked her up and down as he slid his crown on. She wore her tiara crown and a shimmering yellow gown. "You look lovely, Phyllis."
"You look dashing, my king," she whispered, kissing him.
"Enough of that," he said, laughing as he hugged her carefully. "Or we'll be late for the banquet."
As with many things in Faeryland, the banquet was in a building magically set in the clouds. Mike and Phyllis did fly in on time.
The dignitary turned out to be three identical women with different colored hair. "Your Majesty," they chorused. "We are Selene, Luna and Phoebe of Avalon."
Dealing with dignitaries over the last few months, Mike was familiar with protocol. He kissed the back of each of their proffered hands, then said, "Welcome, dignitaries from Avalon. I am King Michael of Faeryland. You are welcome in my realm."
They seated themselves at the table and passed the time with meaningless small talk. Until at last, Mike asked, "What brings you ladies to Faeryland?"
"We bear a message to you, Your Majesty," they chorused, "from Oberon, Lord of Avalon."
"And said message is...."
The three rose to their feet and intoned, "It is Lord Oberon's wish that all races of the Fey be united under his benevolent leadership. To which end, Lord Oberon of Avalon bids King Michael of Faeryland to surrender the lands and people thereof to immediate annexation by the Crown of Avalon. Lord Oberon awaits your answer, Your Majesty."
The banquet hall had grown deathly silent. All eyes were on Mike. He let the silence stretch on as he thought about his subjects, about their welfare.
Then he stood up. "My dear ladies, return to Avalon. Tell 'Lord' Oberon that he will annex Faeryland and its people..."
The sisters smiled. The people were stunned. Mike leaned on the table, his wrists glowing as he finished:
"Over my dead body."
The smiles vanished as the people began to cheer. "You have made a grave mistake, King Michael."
"It's Oberon who has made the mistake, ladies. Now get out of my sight."
The three formed a circle and vanished.
Mike sat, trembling. Peter, he sent. Gather the others. I'm gonna need you.
As fate would have it, however, the Monkees never got to go to Faeryland. The teleport spell had been restricted to one person only at a time. Mike planned alone with his soldiers and set up training camps for the entire limit of his visit there.
For five weeks, Mike fretted at the Malibu beach house. When he went back, he found the war going. He fought alongside his soldiers. He set up more strategies and formed a network to keep him informed during his stay in Malibu.
The next two five-week cycles went the same way. Then, the tide of the war turned in Faeryland's favor. Christian, Mike and Phyllis's half-faery son, arrived and took command when his father was forced to return to where the atmosphere wouldn't slowly poison him. With Chris in charge, Mike's subjects had a leader there all the time. They began to fight more fiercely ---
And they began to win.
Word soon flowed that the battle would be shifting onto American soil. Chris told Mike of a group of friends that might be able to help, as they had had dealings with Oberon himself before. Phyllis changed the destination spell slightly, and Mike fired off the location to Peter.
In seconds, he got an affirming answer. "They're on their way," he said as he kissed Phyllis. "Keep safe."
"Godspeed, Michael," Phyllis whispered.
"Good luck, Dad," Chris added. "I'll send word ahead of you."
Mike nodded and stepped into the portal. His last sight of Faeryland before it closed was his son embracing his mother with both arms and wings.
Then Mike stepped out into the smog of a city and chanted the alteration spell. Wings tiny and 20th century clothing in place once more, he began to walk to where he would find Chris's friends.
October 22, 1999
Manhattan Police department. Two hours before sunset.
Detective Elisa Maza had just come in to see what messages she had before she went to check on her special friends. As she pored through the piles, her phone rang. "Maza!"
"Elisa? Hey there, it's Chris!"
Elisa blinked. "Chris?" She laughed, remembering the plucky half-fey who had helped her and her friends on more than one occasion. "What are you doing calling me?"
His warm chuckle was music to her ears. "Would you rather I teleported into the middle of the station?"
"No, this is fine!" She laughed again. "So what's up?"
"Trouble. For your friends."
At the mention of her friends, Elisa's fingers tightened on the receiver. "What... kind... of trouble?"
"Oberon." At her involuntary gasp, Chris went on, "I see you understand. Look, my dad is coming your way. He knows a little magic and has other... talents... that could prove useful."
Elisa looked across the crowded station, noting the usual perps, pimps, and prostitutes. A tall man walked in and right up to one of the officers, who pointed her way. The man smiled and began walking toward her. "How will I know him?" Elisa asked.
"You'll know," Chris said. "I've gotta go now. See you when I see you." And he hung up.
Elisa put the phone back in its cradle. The tall man reached her desk and asked, "Detective Elisa Maza?"
"Who wants to know?"
He smiled and held out a hand. "I'm Mike Nesmith. I'm Chris's father."
Elisa took his hand and rose to her feet, jaw unhinging in surprise. The man before her had jet-black hair and piercing dark brown eyes. He wore blue jeans, boots and a denim jacket over a dark blue plaid shirt. "Forgive me," she said, "but there's no way you could be Chris's father! You're Chris's age!"
"Can we go somewhere a bit more...private? I need to explain some things before I meet your.... friends."
Her eyes narrowed. "What makes you think --"
"Your friends have experience fighting Oberon. Mine don't." He got a faraway look for a moment, and Elisa thought she saw blue in his eyes. Then he smiled. "And my friends will be here in two days. They're leaving as we speak, flying in from California."
She frowned as she took his proffered arm and they walked out of the squad room. "It doesn't take two whole days to fly from California to New York!"
He dropped his voice. "It does when you do it under your own power."
Elisa gaped at him and he smiled at her discomfiture.
They walked to the castle atop a penthouse, where a butler named Owen led them to the TV room. As he took Mike's arm to steer him, Mike looked at him with sudden recognition.
Owen managed a small smile. "Yes, your majesty. I, too, am Fey. A cursed Fey, bound to this house and my infant charge till he is grown."
"Your name, please," Mike said.
"In my other form, I am known as Puck."
Mike rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Oberon. Puck. Lands, I feel like I'm battling a bad restaging of Shakespeare!"
Owen's smile grew. "The Bard was privileged to meet us. We were unaware he would write of us when he did. And he wasn't too far off of the mark on your race as well."
Mike grinned at him. "Lord, what fools these mortals be?"
With a bark of laughter, Mike sat across from Elisa and began his tale once Owen departed. For her part, she sat stunned as the tale flowed. A plane ride some thirty years earlier.... radiation changing him and his friends forever... quests for an ancient relic... rediscovering his wife two years ago and finding her a faery -- what they called Fey ... himself king of that faery branch.... her head was spinning!
But as she listened came the growing realization that this was no fantasy. Outlandish though it was, the tale had the unmistakable ring of truth.
When he fell silent, she began carefully, "You haven't told me why you look so young. And what this has to do with Oberon and my friends."
He nodded. "Phyllis -- my wife -- cast a youth spell on me and my friends, to return us to the height of our abilities. We have to grow old the normal way. Again." This with a quick, small smile that faded as he sighed. "As for Oberon...." He ran a hand through his raven hair. "Well, Oberon's coming here is partly my fault."
"Your fault? How?"
"The faeries I rule are not those of Avalon. We -- they-- are not Oberon's children. Oberon can't accept this. He wants every faery of every realm under his leadership."
"So he threatened your land."
"And you resisted."
"Of course. I will not sacrifice my subjects' freedoms to that power-mad megalomaniac!" His fists clenched and Elisa could almost swear she saw a faint glow surround them. "I will protect my kingdom -- and my friends have vowed to help me."
"That is the mark of a wise and good king," a deep voice growled behind Mike, "and of good and faithful friends."
Mike stood and turned, steeling himself. After all, Chris had described these friends to him. But the sight of six real-life Gargoyles, wings and all, and a gargoyle dog-like creature still rocked him. After a moment, he managed to get out, "You must be Goliath."
The tallest, most massive Gargoyle inclined his head slightly. "You have me at a disadvantage, your majesty."
Mike chuckled slightly. "None of that, please. I'm not your king. Call me Mike."
"He is Chris's father," Elisa supplied.
"Ah..."Goliath nodded in friendly acknowledgement.
The oldest Gargoyle stepped forward, scanning Mike with his one working eye. "Aye," he growled after a moment, "This one wears the mantle of leadership.... and he has power inside of him..." He stepped back. "I be Hudson, lad. The red one be Brooklyn. The fat one --"
"Hey!" the indicated one bellowed.
The smallest one bounded forward. "I'm Lexington! He's Bronx," and he indicated the dog-creature, who was snuffling Mike's hand.
The lone female stepped forward. Goliath lay an arm across her shoulders. "And this is Angela. My daughter."
Mike acknowledged each introduction with a nod. He then gave Bronx a light swat. "Back off, boy!" he chuckled.
With a snuffling bark, Bronx did as he was told. "So Oberon is after your kingdom," Elisa said. "What does that have to do with us?"
Mike sighed. "We have reason to believe that Oberon is going to attempt to kidnap young Alexander Xanatos, to try to add his power to Oberon's own."
"He will not succeed," Goliath growled.
"That's the idea," Mike nodded, "to prevent him from taking the boy. My friends are on their way here now. They'll be here sometime tomorrow night. Let's hope and pray Oberon holds off till we're up to full fighting strength."
"I don't understand," Angela said.
So Mike retold the part of his tale about the powers, leaving nothing out. When he had finished, Broadway let out a low whistle.
"An impressive tale," Brooklyn said. "But how can you prove it's true?"
Mike raised his hands --- and pure white light shone from them. He then walked to the doorway and shot a laser beam, blowing one of the parapet stones to bits. He lowered his hand and turned to Brooklyn. "Proof enough?"
Goliath shook his head, amused. "I'm very thankful that you are on our side, your maj--- Mike."
"Chris said you patrol the city at night," Mike said. "May I join you?"
"Which of us would carry you?" Lexington asked.
"None of you," Mike said. He changed an incantation. His onyx ring pulsed and delicate appearing gossamer wings were visible on his shoulders. Mike beat the wings, and rose into the air. "Shall we?"
"Y'know, I am a little surprised," Mike said conversationally once they were airborne and had split up into patrolling teams.
"Oh?" Goliath asked.
"You don't even know me, yet you trust me enough to help me."
Angela smiled at him. "Your words ring true, Mike. Your abilities bear out your tale."
"Tell me your tale," Mike said.
So Goliath told of a time one thousand years ago, when the group of Gargoyles, the Clan, had been betrayed and turned to stone for a millennium. He told how David Xanatos broke the spell and attempted to use the Clan for evil purposes. He told how the Clan escaped and fought Xanatos for three years. He told of their own Quest to aid the people of Avalon, of how he had found his daughter on Avalon before Oberon had betrayed them, of how Xanatos had reformed and was now a staunch ally and protector of the Clan --- all but part of the Clan.
Mike nodded slowly. "I know people can change for the better," he said. "I've seen it myself." He did not elaborate, but his thoughts turned to Ronnie Farnsworth.
Farnsworth had been the bane of Peter Tork and the rest of the Monkees' existence for nearly fifteen years. It seemed as though he could not accept that Valerie Cartwright -- who became Valerie Tork -- preferred Peter over him. So, both as Ronnie and as the half-bird Falconman, he had attacked them repeatedly.
However --- and they were never exactly sure what brought on the change -- by the mid-eighties, Farnsworth began to use his resources and Falconman abilities to help instead of harm. He and the Monkees often fought side-by-side. Farnsworth's last acts were heroic, and he died in Valerie's arms.
Mike pulled his thoughts back to the present, embarrassed to discover Goliath had asked him a question which he had completely missed. "I'm sorry," Mike said, "could you please repeat that?"
With a fanged smile, Goliath repeated, "I was wondering where you went to. You suddenly became very lost in thought."
He smiled gently. "Not thought, Goliath. Memories."
The gargoyle nodded. "I am often guilty of that," he chuckled.
Mike joined in the laughter, then he blinked. "Goliath, look!" He pointed.
Goliath followed Mike's gaze. "Let's go!" The gargoyles and Mike swooped down. Within an hour, the cat burglary ring was history and Elisa and her partner Matt were on the way to arrest them.
The fliers then took to the air, unaware they were being observed. Selene, Luna, and Phoebe of Avalon emerged from the shadows. "King Michael is with them," Selene said.
"He mentioned friends who were on the way," Luna said with a nod.
"Sisters, our duty is clear," Phoebe finished.
As one, the three intoned: "We shall detain his friends and keep the fighting strength down. Our Lord Oberon shall have the upper hand over the Gargoyles and King Michael."
That decided, the sisters joined hands and intoned a spell to locate Mike's friends.
Seconds later, the place where they had stood was bare, with only wind rushing where they'd stood serving to mark their passage at all.