THIS MEANS WAR Part Two

CHAPTER FIVE

"Where are we now?" Davy asked for the hundredth time.

Micky grinned and ruffled the foot-tall man's hair as they continued their flight. "Over Colorado, Peter said. We should make the Mississippi by dawn."

"Then we catch a few hours' sleep before we start again," Peter said.

Micky chuckled. "Hey Pete? What d'you think of a 52 year old man sounding like a little kid?"

The dimples shone as Peter smiled. "No harder to believe than six fifty-ish people looking in their twenties!"

All three laughed. Their flight was smooth for the next hour or so.

Peter heard it first. He pulled up short, holding up a hand. When Micky pulled up short, bracing Davy as he did so, Peter hissed, "Hear that?"

"Hear what?" Micky whispered. "Bout all I can hear is Ken's breathing, here!"

Davy twisted from his perch on Micky's shoulder and extremely gently swatted his neck. "Don't call me Ken!"

"Hush," Micky suddenly ordered. "Pete....that high-pitched wail?"

"That's it," Peter said, glowing blue eyes scanning the sky. "We're not alone, guys."

Davy peered into the blackness. "That hurts...."

"Scatter!" Peter screamed, throwing himself higher into the air. A pair of taloned feet barely missed him.

Peter and Micky whirled to find three females glaring at them. They had huge wings on their backs and clawed hands and greyish-blue skin. Their eyes blazed red. The only difference in them was one had silver hair, one red, and one blonde. "What in the world..." Peter hissed.

"Gargoyles!" Micky gasped. "But the legends say most are friendly to humans!"

"Obviously we've met the exception," Davy sighed.

With a screaming hiss, the Gargoyles charged. The aerial battle was fierce and long, and seemingly at a draw.

Micky flew evasively, struggling to avoid the pursuing Gargoyle. He made a too-sharp, unexpected mid-air turn, and Davy found himself plummeting!

Suddenly the foot-tall man found himself cradled in a pair of warm, grey hands! He gasped as he gazed up into Gargoyle eyes.

All fighters froze in mid-air, staring at the silver-haired Gargoyle who held Davy, looking down at him with a totally unreadable expression.

Slowly, she reached her cupped hands to Micky, who just as slowly took Davy from her. "Thank you."

Her head dipped in a silent nod.

"Wait," Peter said suddenly. "If you truly meant us harm, you would have hurt him while he was helpless! What's going on here?"

The trio did not answer. Instead, they looked at each other -- and vanished.

Peter blinked, then shot a look at his watch. His eyes widened. "Holy cow --- they've delayed us by two hours!"

Davy whistled. "Hey guys... you think that's what they were after?"

Peter met Micky's wide eyes, his own narrowing in anger. We've been the victim of a delaying tactic! he sent to Mike, and received a wave of pure anger in return.

"Let's go, Monkees!" Peter cried, putting on a burst of speed, heading toward New York nearly too fast for Micky to keep up.

CHAPTER SIX

Mike woke to hear a cracking noise. His sleep-fogged brain didn't immediately process what it was.

When he remembered his new friends and their unique manner of sleep, Mike climbed the stairs and watched the rock fly from the Gargoyles as they roared and stretched.

"Awesome sight, isn't it?" a rich baritone asked. Mike turned to see a ponytailed, goateed man smiling at him. He tilted his head toward the gargoyles as they woke fully. "Watching them wake. Stirred my heart the first time I saw it, never fails to do it."

Mike smiled. "I know what you mean."

The man executed a formal bow. "David Xanatos at your service, your majesty."

Mike rolled his eyes and threw up his hands. "Please, Mister Xanatos! I'm not your king! And the only reason I let them call me that is because of protocol! I hate being called 'your majesty'! I would greatly appreciate it if you'd call me 'Mike'."

"On one condition." Xanatos stood up and held out his hand. "You call me 'David'."

"It's a deal!" Mike shook his hand.

Goliath walked over. "Your friends?" he asked Mike.

"Not here yet." Mike sighed and closed his eyes. After a few moments, he opened his eyes and checked his watch. "They're crossing the Appalachians now. They should be here by one." His eyes darkened as he scowled. "If they don't run into any more delaying tactics."

When he told of the others' run-in with the three female Gargoyles, Goliath's eyes narrowed and flashed white with anger. He turned to Xanatos. "The Wierd Sisters."

"Agreed," Xanatos nodded grimly.

"The who?" Mike frowned. "Who are they?"

Xanatos crossed his arms. "Selene, Luna and Phoebe of---"

"---Avalon," Mike finished, his eyes narrowing and his hands balling into fists at his sides. "We've.... met." He told of their encounter in Faeryland.

All the Gargoyles growled, and Xanatos nodded. "That fits. They ARE Oberon's messengers."

Mike's head tilted and he smiled. "Peter's discussed it with Micky and he's gonna fly on ahead. He'll be here within the hour."

"Good," Hudson nodded. "That'll add to our fighting strength."

The time was passed in storytelling -- sharing encounters and battles with Oberon. Mid-sentence, Mike rose to his feet. "He's here," he said, smiling. The wings shimmered into existence on his back, and he rose into the air, shooting toward a rapidly approaching speck in the sky.

Alarmed, the Gargoyles shot after Mike. They froze, however, seeing the blonde man quickly embrace Mike as a brother. Mike broke it and they glided to the Gargoyles. "This is Peter," he introduced the blonde with the brightly glowing eyes. "The others will be here by one or two." One by one, he introduced the Gargoyles.

Peter beamed. "Micky was right. Most are on our side."

"What you met, we call the Weird Sisters," Goliath said. "Not true Gargoyles."

"The same trio that paid me a visit in Faeryland," Mike added. "The ones that started this mess."

Peter nodded as they glided toward the castle. "That makes sense. They looked like Gargoyle versions of those women you told us about."

Mike nodded and opened his mouth to answer, but he never got the chance. A shock blast hit them from behind, knocking them all into the roof.

Goliath and Mike flipped over and glared where the blast had originated. Xanatos joined them, his face dark. As one, they ground out one word.

"Oberon."

CHAPTER SEVEN

Mike climbed to his feet and stood ramrod straight. The only visible signs of his anger were the set of his jaw and the glow around his balled-up fists.

The silver-haired fey hovered till he touched down, facing Mike. "So, False Fey, we meet again."

"That's right, Usurper," Mike growled. "We meet again." Before Oberon could respond, Mike went on, "The war isn' t going your way, so you resort to attacking children?"

Oberon stiffened. "Have a care, False Fey!"

"May I remind you," Mike pointed out, "You would not be in this position if you hadn't tried to take over my realm!"

"Why do you refuse me, then?" Oberon demanded.

"I have fought too hard to make my kingdom free. I will not hand it over into slavery!"

Oberon pointed at him. "Beware, Michael! I will have your land! I will unite the Fey under my leadership!"

"You've done such a good job so far!" Mike said sarcastically. "All that effort to gain nothing but hardship and defeat! We've defeated you again and again!"

Goliath stepped forward. "And you are so defeated you must steal mystical power from a baby and a half-powered Sprite!"

Oberon roared in frustration and attacked, shooting bolt after bolt at the Gargoyles and Peter and Mike. As they scattered, Mike called, "Where is Xanatos?"

"With his son!" Hudson growled as he blocked a bolt with his sword.

Mike fired back, lasers mingling with Peter's telekinesis in perfect teamwork. The Gargoyles fought alongside, scrambling Oberon's attention.

Soon, Oberon found himself losing this skirmish.

Abruptly, a beautiful green-skinned woman shimmered into view beside Oberon. "Ah, fair Titania!" he smiled, holding out a hand to his wife. "Give me the power!"

She took his hand. "Milord, I cannot. There is no power. There is death in Alexander's room. We have lost, milord."

He froze. ".....lost?"

Titania touched his cheek. "Let us return to Avalon, Oberon. There are other Fey. Let this band alone for now. Must we keep losing?"

Oberon glared at her for a moment, then lowered his eyes and sighed. "For now, wise Titania. There are other times." He kissed her hand, then pointed at Mike. "You are warned, False Fey! Much can happen in the five week period you are gone from your Realm!" And he made an elaborate arm motion.

They were gone.

Mike closed his eyes and trembled, sending up heartfelt prayers for protection for Faeryland. Peter lay a hand on his shoulder and added his prayers to his heart-brother's.

"It's over," Goliath rumbled.

"For now," Mike agreed as they touched down on the rooftop. Seeing Xanatos walk out onto the roof, he asked, "What did she mean, death was in Alexander's room?"

Xanatos smiled and held up an iron rod.

Goliath's jaw fell wide open. "Xanatos -- how could that be in proximity to Alexander without his being harmed?"

"It was in a lead box, with the lid open toward Titania. It was positioned over Alexander, and all she saw was the rod on top of Alexander. She assumed we'd sacrificed our son to keep him out of her clutches."

Brooklyn shook his head. "I don't understand. If the rod was in a lead box, how come she only saw the rod?"

"Easy," a familiar amused voice said beside Xanatos. Micky shimmered into view, smiling. "I made the box invisible."

"Wh...wha..." Mike's head swung so hard from Micky and Davy, who walked up behind him, to Peter that his bangs flew! "I thought..."

"So did I!" Peter gasped. "You weren't supposed to be here till one or two!"

Micky grinned. "Davy shrunk us both and we hitched a ride on your belt loops."

Davy nodded. "We figured you'd need us as a secret weapon."

"And it worked," Xanatos grinned. "My son is safe."

"As is your kingdom," Goliath smiled.

"For now," Mike nodded. "But he will be back. And we have to be ready."

"We will be, Michael," Peter said, squeezing his shoulder. "We will be."

"All of us," Goliath said, laying a massive claw on Mike's other shoulder.

Xanatos nodded his agreement.

"Thanks," Mike said. "I appreciate this --- as the king of Faeryland..." He took Peter's wrist and Goliath's forearm, squeezing them both as he finished:

"And as your friend."

The End



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