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FICLET: Gargoyles of Gotham (gen)

Title:  Gargoyles of Gotham
Characters/Pairings: Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Bruce Wayne
Rating: G
Summary:  The gargoyles of Gotham remember.
Disclaimer:  DC owns them all.
Word count:  800

The gargoyles of Gotham watch over the city, stone figures of fantastical shape leering and looming from buildings everywhere.  Everyone has seen them.  But not everyone knows that each of them have names, the names given to them by special people.  Not everyone knows that each gargoyle holds a memory and a moment in their minds, a voice they hold on to forever.

Beaker is a hippogriff on the First Gotham Bank, his rearing horse's body giving way to an eagle's head, stone wings curving upward.  His memory is of a girl in eggplant-purple who pretended to ride him to make a silent, dark-haired girl giggle.  One night she came to him in different garb, brilliant green and red.  He holds the words she said to him as she bowed with a flourish:  Nice to meet you, I'm Robin!  A handspring off his back and she fell into the night, her laughing words drifting back:  I'm Robin!

Sapienta is an owl on the Gotham Cathedral.  In her claws she clutches a scroll with Hebrew letters on it.  She remembers a solemn boy in black clothing, a camera and binoculars around his neck, who sat next to her night after night, scanning the city, keeping a lookout of some sort.  Every evening would start with him leaning against her and whispering, How's he doing tonight?  He never left without saying to her, Keep an eye on him.

Old Scaly Bastard is a demon on the church near a graveyard.  His claws grip the gutter as if he were just about to launch himself from the building, eternally frozen in the moment before flight.  He remembers the boy who named him, his laugh and his scowl, the quick dash of his motions.  For a time, the boy was gone.  What Old Scaly Bastard saw happen in the graveyard below him one night no one else knows, and when he heard a heavy boot tread next to him months later, a rough kick to shake the snow from his back, and a voice:  I'll make them all pay.  All of them, his stone heart rejoiced.

The leering skeleton on top of the Gotham Courthouse has a name, but it's not one that can be written down.  It is instead a certain posture of body, a certain glance of the eye, given to him by a silent masked figure.  She gives it to him anew each time she comes to him to touch his empty eye sockets, his gaping teeth.  If it could be translated into English, it would be something like "Always Remember."  His memory of her is the time she came to him and, clearing her throat, said hoarsely, Pretty.  Then she was gone into the night again.

Gloomy Gus is a human figure with an exaggerated weeping face, wringing his hands from the roof of a theater in the arts district.  He remembers the first child to grace the roofs of Gotham, the acrobat's spring of his movements, the joy in his leap.  But what he remembers most is that the boy always stopped on patrol to pat him on the head and to whisper, Cheer up, it's not that bad, before hastening on.

Kermit is a grinning frog with bulging eyes tucked into a corner where no one can see him, where no one could reach him without a grappling hook, some sculptor's personal joke.  His memory is of a fire-haired girl who laughed when she came across him, a laugh of pure delight and surprise.  She came by almost every night after that to scratch his head and plant a quick kiss on his snout.  I don't think anyone knows you but me, she whispered to him once.  You're my special secret.  Only me.  She stopped coming years ago, and Kermit doesn't know what happened to her.  He waits for her in the cold Gotham rain, but she never comes back.

Quasimodo is a human figure with bat-wings, brooding out over Gotham.  He is the first one to hold a memory, and his is of a young man in a cloak and cowl like shadows, stopping to crouch next to him in the fog on his first night patrolling.  The man traced his webbed wings, his sad face.  Sighing, he put an arm around the gargoyle's shoulders and looked out with him into the night, through the mist.  Don't ever let me become a monster, he said softly, then added with a touch of humor, No offense, my friend.

The gargoyles of Gotham are made of unmoving stone, frozen forever.  If they could, though, they would shake their marble wings and stretch their granite arms and lift voices like flint to the night sky of Gotham.  They would sing to their protectors, their friends and guardians, a song of blessing and benediction.  Be well.  Be whole.  Know thou art loved even as thou lovest.

Comments

( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
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loqia
Nov. 21st, 2007 08:57 am (UTC)
This. Is. Beautiful.
jij
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thank you! It's not often I write the whole clan and I kind of liked the oblique approach here...
nightfall_0
Nov. 21st, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
Woa...that's wonderful!
I like the way you describe with few words each character of the batfamily through Gargoyles' eyes and memories
jij
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was working on an almost prose poem feeling, kind of odd for me...glad to hear it worked for you!
jbramx2
Nov. 21st, 2007 10:46 am (UTC)
I'm going to go and cry now...that was...so beautiful. *sniffles* wow...gargoyles are awesome...and...this...waah, is so beautiful! The dick grayson one is sooo in character! The frog one makes my heart hurt, as did the first one, (waah steph!) but wow...just wow. This really brought tears to my eyes. It's so moving!
jij
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, I don't often make myself water up while writing, but the Steph and Barbara ones made me sniffle every damn time I looked at them, lol...I'm glad to hear I could share some of that around, I'd been thinking about this one for a long time and enjoyed writing it!
chameleongirl79
Nov. 21st, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
I loved this, is was beautiful and adds perfectly to Gotham's character.
jij
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I love the Gotham/Bats relationship--definitely an OTP. :)
yamheads
Nov. 21st, 2007 11:42 am (UTC)
Guh. I loved this. Simple, sweet ... just right. Don't tell me, you took inspiration from that B&W Batman story with the Gotham gargoyles?
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
*grin* I so did! Thank you so much for those scans! Though frankly I couldn't improve on having Bruce's gargoyle named "Clark." :)
greeneyelove
Nov. 21st, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful. One of the best I have EVER read. Such a great insight to the characters from a very interesting POV.

Naturally, the mentions of Cass and Steph really got to me.

Wonderful!
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
Eee, I was hoping you'd like the Cass and Steph ones! They were fun to write. :) I have a little ficlet with Kara and Cass almost ready to go too, but it'll be a bit between wrapping up Fuji and the holiday rush. :)
dragonbat2006
Nov. 21st, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
Excellent!
snake_easing
Nov. 22nd, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
Icon love!
(no subject) - jij - Nov. 23rd, 2007 12:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
I want to cry for Kermit. Really a lot, and tell him what happened to his fire-hair.

*sniffles* I don't often get weepy writing fic, but that one and Steph's just made me water up every time I looked at them.

I'm thrilled you liked this! I had fun with the sort of prose-poem feeling of this one--like Filly says, it feels kind of like an octodrabble. :)
cmer
Nov. 21st, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
EEEE! This was so awesome! I really enjoyed this because I'm such a big Batfangirl and I really appreciated all the characters you used, especially Steph and Cassie. I really liked reading about all these different gargoyles and the people they've "met" during their existence. And I matched them all too to their respective characters. It was too easy... :D Thanks for sharing, Jen! Reading this was so much fun!
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
I think this was the first time I've ever written Steph and Cass, so I was really happy with the results! It was a lot of fun to focus just on the Batfamily...glad you liked it!
zoe_chan
Nov. 21st, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
This was unbelievably lovely, and utterly unexpected. Just... wow. I don't even know how to express how much I enjoyed this fic.
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 06:51 am (UTC)
What a beautiful icon! And thank you so much for the comment, I rarely write the full Batclan but they're too wonderful not to...
starsandsea
Nov. 21st, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
Eeeee!!! So much love for this fic, Jen!! :D

Not everyone knows that each gargoyle holds a memory and a moment in their minds, a voice they hold on to forever.

*glomps the gargoyles* ... okay, that sounds weird. LOL

One night she came to him in different garb, brilliant green and red. He holds the words she said to him as she bowed with a flourish: Nice to meet you, I'm Robin! A handspring off his back and she fell into the night, her laughing words drifting back: I'm Robin!

Steph!!! *sniffles a bit*

Every evening would start with him leaning against her and whispering, How's he doing tonight? He never left without saying to her, Keep an eye on him.

Eeeee!!! Timmy!!!!!

What Old Scaly Bastard saw happen in the graveyard below him one night no one else knows, and when he heard a heavy boot tread next to him months later, a rough kick to shake the snow from his back, and a voice: I'll make them all pay. All of them, his stone heart rejoiced.

Eeeepps! Jason!! That the gargoyle witnessed him coming back to life... it's just perfect.

She gives it to him anew each time she comes to him to touch his empty eye sockets, his gaping teeth. If it could be translated into English, it would be something like "Always Remember." His memory of her is the time she came to him and, clearing her throat, said hoarsely, Pretty.

Cass!!! *flails*

But what he remembers most is that the boy always stopped on patrol to pat him on the head and to whisper, Cheer up, it's not that bad, before hastening on.

Dick!! *squees* Such a Dick thing to do. LOL

She came by almost every night after that to scratch his head and plant a quick kiss on his snout. I don't think anyone knows you but me, she whispered to him once. You're my special secret. Only me. She stopped coming years ago, and Kermit doesn't know what happened to her. He waits for her in the cold Gotham rain, but she never comes back.

Babs!!! Oh... *feels sorry for Kermit*

The man traced his webbed wings, his sad face. Sighing, he put an arm around the gargoyle's shoulders and looked out with him into the night, through the mist. Don't ever let me become a monster, he said softly, then added with a touch of humor, No offense, my friend.

Oh Bruce... *huggles him*

The gargoyles of Gotham are made of unmoving stone, frozen forever. If they could, though, they would shake their marble wings and stretch their granite arms and lift voices like flint to the night sky of Gotham. They would sing to their protectors, their friends and guardians, a song of blessing and benediction. Be well. Be whole. Know thou art loved even as thou lovest.

*squees* Oh, Jen, this was wonderful!!! :D I love it so much!!!
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:00 am (UTC)
I think glomping gargoyles sounds perfectly sensible! But then, I am crazy...

The Steph one made me sniffle rather unexpectedly! She's such a powerful and complicated symbol...

They were all fun to write--all this time and I think this is the first time I've ever written Steph and Cass into a story, can you believe it? It's such a shame, but I'm very focused, I guess...

Glad you liked it! *glomps you for your wonderful comment*
saavikam77
Nov. 21st, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
Awwww.... O_O *is speechless*

This was so beautiful, so bittersweet. Just gorgeous.
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! "Bittersweet" is a good word for the tone I wanted, I think. Glad you liked it!
(Deleted comment)
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
I like OctaDrabble! Maybe I can go for a Millidrabble... :)

I really enjoyed coming up with a little bit for each of the wonderful characters! Glad you liked it!
stalinglim
Nov. 21st, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
DAMN it! DAMN IT! (I apologize for the swearing)

I SERIOUSLY have a story about the gargoyles just waiting for a last rewrite! DAMN! (sighs)

Yours is better. :D I loved it, especially Cass's, Barbara's and Bruces... ok, I love them all. :) Great job!
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
But...but...more gargoyle fic is good! There needs to be more gargoyle fic! I'll be looking for it, okay? *puppy dog eyes*
arch_schatten
Nov. 21st, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
;.; I almost cried at school! Aww, man, warn a gal! This was great, Jen. You did a wonderful job out of everyone's little quirks and personalities. I want to say Kermit is my favorite, but Quasimodo! Old Scaly Bastard! Always Remember! aughhh!! and stalker Tim! ...I love them all, is hard to pick one.

Kermit's really, really got to me. And Quasimodo put a sad smile in my face, because... well, who knows. Might be a losing battle.

And the end! mrow! the gargoyles singing! it's such an eerie, wonderful image, very gothic and romantic. They would sing to their protectors, their friends and guardians, a song of blessing and benediction. I just adore the idea of them signing for their protectors. I love the old magic feel Gotham has, and the gargoyles are so perfect to voice it! this has a perfect rhythm and a wonderful lyrical quality, like a fairy tale. Thank you for writing this! *snuggles the gargoyles and the wandering kitten*
jij
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
I warned you I had a gargoyle fic! Does that not count? :p

Kermit got to me toooo! *kisses his snout* I had a lot of fun imagining them all...I went and did research on real gargoyles and everything! And I got to indulge my love of liturgical language at the end. :) *dances and hugs you*
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