Despite the small size of the island, Avalon still holds unexpected secrets. Goliath would have preferred not to discover any of them- he aches to be back home, with his clan, instead of surrounded by what should have been his clan-children grown up without him- but after the first few trips back and forth through the mists, Elisa had put her foot down about getting a proper bath and rest after every few days of searching for Manhattan.
Thus Goliath is on the island, woken from a day of stonesleep to find that Elisa is not ready to launch their boat once more at all.
"Where is she?" he asks, as soon as it's made clear that Elisa isn't simply in another part of the castle.
"Elisa left after midday," Tom tells him, a frown of concern starting to grow on his face. "Perhaps she lost track of the daylight?"
Goliath takes a steadying breath and shifts his weight uneasily, claws clicking against the stone beneath him. The island is small, but crawling with Oberon's Children as they answer the call to return. It's hardly someplace he would wish for Elisa to spend her time, at least not without any backup.
"I'll help you look," Angela says, and he nods sharply, shaking out his wings.
He sends Angela with Bronx to the East, and takes the West side of the island. The winds coming off the sea are strong, and if nothing else, he can appreciate how being in the air above the island blends the division between gliding and truly flying.
A splash of red in the moonlight catches his attention, and Goliath pivots midair, honing in on the color. It's Elisa's jacket, distinct and unmistakable.
He dives for it, feet sinking into the loamy soil of this part of the island with the force of his landing. The jacket bears no rips or tears, no stink of coppery human blood. Goliath picks it up carefully from where it's lying draped over a low shrub, but even with his nose pressed to the worn leather he can't smell any trace of blood, or gunpowder from Elisa's weapon.
His tail lashes behind him as he picks his head up again, scanning the area for any more clues.
"Elisa?" he calls. "Elisa!" but there's no answer, save the distant chittering of some small animal in the trees.
Goliath has to force his hands to relax on the jacket, lest he tear the sturdy leather with his claws. His wings wrap around his shoulders, a slight comfort as fear rises in him. That Elisa could have simply taken off her jacket and left it behind is an unsatisfactory answer for why it's lying discarded like this- especially because he knows that the night air is cooler than humans prefer, and she would want to be warmed by it.
He considers the area around him and notices a footprint in the dirt, small and flat- a human footprint. There's another, and Goliath doesn't hesitate to begin following them. They might be Elisa's, or they might belong to someone who can tell him where she is.
The footprints waver, as if the person who left them had trouble walking, but Goliath still can't see or smell any traces of blood. He follows the trail, but it's not until he finds a shirt bunched up under a tree that he confirms that it's Elisa he's tracking.
The shirt is definitely hers, saturated in her unmistakable scent even if it wasn't also completely different from what anyone else on Avalon would wear. He picks it up and inspects it quickly for tears, any sign of a struggle- but there are none.
Why would Elisa take off her shirt? Her jacket he can understand, it's an outer garment meant to be removed at will, but a shirt has the function of preserving modesty.
Goliath digs his toes into the earth beneath him, tail sweeping behind him. He wants to run, to climb a tree and start gliding again, the better to find Elisa quickly. But the trail he's been following is too inconsistent, weaving through the undergrowth with no sense of a straight path. He could so easily move right past her, and she might be hurt, injured or sick, she might need him and he could pass by inches, unaware-
He snarls to himself, dismissing the images from his mind. The trail picks back up a couple of yards away and he takes off at a clip, eyes scanning for any sign of what could have happened to Elisa.
By the time he picks up her scent, Goliath has found her boots one after the other, and sturdy trousers, all left by the wayside. He dutifully picks up each article of clothing as he finds it, checking it for clues and finding none. At least, none if he doesn't count the way her scent seems stronger than he's used to, even though it's clinging to her discarded clothes instead of her skin.
He calls her name periodically, his throat growing tight with alarm when there's never an answer.
Then the scent of her he's started following surges abruptly as the wind changes, and he can't resist the urge to run any longer. He ignores the weaving path and plows through the undergrowth, visions of what might have befallen her tormenting him.
He hears Elisa before he sees her, a pained moan in what is undeniably her voice cutting him down to his marrow. Goliath bursts into a clearing, wings flaring wide behind him almost before there's room in a show of intimidation, eyes glowing and teeth exposed in a snarl.
What he sees, however, is not Elisa being attacked, or trapped or tied up, or seemingly hurt in any way. She's naked- he should have expected that, by the clothes he was finding in the forest, but somehow he hadn't connected the thought- and writhing in the ground, hair laid out like a waterfall, one of her hands covering a breast and the other- the other is buried between her legs.
Goliath stumbles backwards in shock, wings flapping futily to maintain his balance.
"Elisa!" he shouts in his surprise.
Her dark eyes open with a slow blink, unfocused and dazed. "Goliath?" she asks, her voice husky. She doesn't move either hand away from herself, and he shouldn't be looking, should be unsettled and disgusted to see a human like this, but it's Elisa and he can't tear his eyes away.
"What are you doing?" Goliath says, although what is pretty obvious. "Did something happen? Are you unwell?"
She laughs, and then takes her hand away from her breast to push herself upright, the other staying between her legs. This close now he can tell that the strange intensity to her scent he was picking up on was this, the way her body is so clearly- if for no reason he can figure out- calling out for a mate.
"I think it was..." Elisa says, and trails off with a sigh. He can hear quiet slick noises from the hand she still hasn't moved from between her legs. "I found this flower, made me feel all... Mmm. Made me feel good."
"Are you hurt?" he asks, torn between the intense desire to step closer to her, to reach out and touch the curves of her body limned with moonlight, and the urge to flee before he does something he- and more importantly, she- will regret.
"No," she says with a shake of her head, hair billowing out like a mane, tendrils snaking freely down her bare chest. "I can't, ah, make it stop, but it doesn't hurt."
"Can't make it stop?" Goliath says, finding his legs moving to take him a small step closer despite his good intentions. The movement draws awareness to the growing heat and tightness in his own body, arousal he shouldn't be feeling but has no control over.
Elisa's gaze turns sharp on him, and he nearly retreats backwards again. "Why are you so far away?"
He shifts his weight on his feet, unsure of what to do. He knows that Elisa sees him as a friend, a valued comrade, as clan, but surely she doesn't intend to torture him by requiring his presence as she... tries to appease her body?
"I'll go find a healer," he says, trying to force himself to take small breaths, the scent of her thick and heady in the air.
"No!" she shouts, and finally takes her hand away from touching herself as she attempts to get to her feet, lurching upright. She stumbles and begins falling immediately and Goliath is there without his being aware he'd moved at all, hands wrapping around her shoulders to guide her down gently to her knees.
Elisa sags into him as if she has no strength in her body- a contradiction to everything he knows about her, so dynamic and strong for a human- her head coming to rest against his chest, breath puffing out hot against his skin.
"Don't go," she says, and he shivers as her hands wrap around his upper arms, one of them still sticky, fingers restless as she traces his muscles. "It'll be worse if you leave."
"Worse?" Goliath asks, instantly alarmed. He moves a hand to the side of her face, flushed hot under his touch, and guides her head up until she's looking at him.
"Please just, just stay," she says, her eyes focused on his mouth, her own lips parted for the panting breaths she's taking. "Goliath," she says, and he's never heard his name said like that, drawn out and yearning.
Then Elisa is surging forward and her mouth is pressing against his, her breasts brushing against his chest, thighs pushing against his own.
He's stunned into stillness, recognizing the gesture but having no idea how to respond to it, knowing he should pull himself away- Elisa is clearly not in her right mind, whether it's the fault of the flower she claims is responsible or perhaps a trick by one of Oberon's Children- yet unable to make himself move.
Elisa shares no such hesitation, her lips and tongue shockingly mobile against his mouth, clearly practiced in this uniquely human form of affection.
Goliath forces himself to push her back gently when her hands find their way into his hair, the gesture combining with the feeling of her pressed hot and supple against his front too much for him to handle and still have a hope of maintaining his composure.
"Elisa..." he says, his voice rough even to his own ears.
"Goliath," she counters, red tongue peeking out to lick her lips, glistening in the moonlight. Her eyelashes flutter when she picks up one of his hands from her shoulder and nuzzles her face into it. "I need you," she says, and presses a kiss to the palm of his hand, heedless of how close his claws are to the tender skin of her face, so much more delicate than another gargoyle's would be. "Stay and help me."
If Goliath were better, stronger, he would pull himself away from her. He'd coax her into her clothes, and carry her back to the castle, or at least hurry there himself and bring back help.
But faced with the reality that is Elisa naked and rubbing against him, the smell of her perfuming the air, her lips a hot promise on his skin- he can't deny that he's longed for her, thought about having her.
"What do you need?" he asks, dipping his head down to brush his nose against her sweat-damp hair, hating himself for his weakness, for taking advantage of a bad situation for his own benefit.
"You, Goliath," Elisa says immediately, closing any trace of distance between them. "Oh god, please, touch me."
He runs a hand down the length of her spine, the gesture uninterrupted by wings that she doesn't have, nor able to continue down a tail that she likewise lacks. It should be off-putting, touching a human so intimately, but Goliath can only concentrate on the supple curve of her spine, the hollow strength of her ribcage, the flare of her hips. "Like this?" he asks, voice barely more than a hoarse whisper.
She lets out a frustrated whine and tugs at him, moving to lie back on the earth as he first found her and taking him with her. His wings flare out for balance, one hand reluctantly leaving her skin to support himself as he crouches over her, her legs spread shockingly wide to make room for him between them.
Goliath runs his free hand down her front, careful, so careful, not to scrape her with his claws; her skin is thinner than a gargoyle's would be, soft and fragile.
Elisa tips her head back and lets out a breathy moan, breasts rising and falling as she breathes, nipples drawn into tight peaks.
He lowers his head and licks over one of those nipples, a burst of salt and the taste of her on his tongue. The action causes her to gasp and grab for his hand planted on the ground next to her; he darts a look up at her face, and sees nothing in her expression but pleasure.
"What do you need?" he asks again, nuzzling his mouth into the hollow between her breasts, opening his mouth just enough for the flats of his fangs to rest against her skin. He's throbbing between his legs, cock heavy and erect behind his loincloth, but he'll ignore it if it's not what Elisa wants, needs.
She moans inarticulately, but shows no hesitation in lifting up one of her legs, hooking it around his hips. "Please," Elisa says, eyes open just as slits, mouth a slick red shape as she pants for air.
Goliath looks down at her, at the differences between their bodies. She's not small for a human, but she's so much smaller than he is, so delicate compared to a gargoyle. Just the shape of his still-covered erection looks absurdly large against her frame.
"I don't want to hurt you," he says quietly, knowing he could never touch her so intimately with his fingers tipped with claws, his mouth full of sharp teeth. Shame burns through him at his selfishness- what can he offer her? She'd be better off with another human, someone to match her rounded edges.
"You won't," Elisa says with confidence. One of her hands reaches for him, grabs hold of his shaft and strokes through the rough fabric of his loincloth. "Ooh," she sighs, not with apprehension, but with anticipation.
"Elisa," he says as he tries to force his hips not to thrust forward into her touch, even muted by the cloth between them. His tail finds its way to the leg she has thrown over his hip, and he doesn't feel as intensely from that limb as he does his hands or wings, but he can still feel how soft her skin over the muscles of her thigh is, how hot her body is running compared to the cold night air.
But he doesn't stop her when Elisa's fingers start to scrabble at his belt buckle, nor when she gets the buckle open and shoves away the fabric, exposing him utterly for her to view.
"Yeah," she says, fingers skating with a barely-felt touch up his shaft, circling around his leaking head, "Yeah, knew you'd be big, huh, Big Guy."
Goliath groans and presses himself closer to her, wings curling around to hide her from the view of anyone but himself, an ancient instinct.
"Are you sure?" he asks when she positions the head of his cock against her entrance, the folds of her glistening and reddened from her earlier touching.
"Shut up and fuck me," Elisa snaps, sounding completely coherent, like she's giving an order under normal circumstances.
He's helpless but to obey, hips hitching as his cock grinds against her, pressing where her hand is guiding him. It won't work, surely it won't work, he can't possibly fit his erection inside her body- and then she squirms and bears down, and the head of his cock enters her.
Elisa lets out a sound like a squeak, and Goliath freezes completely, even as his instincts are clamoring at him to shove himself in the rest of the way. Stars but she's tight around him, hot and slick and almost impossible to resist.
"Are..." he rasps, and swallows heavily before trying again. "Are you okay?"
Her breathing is a little fast, a little shallow, but not enough to panic him. Yet. Her hands clutch at his arms, nails digging in against his skin, eyes tightly closed.
She takes a deep breath, deliberate, and when she lets it out her entire body relaxes. It's not enough to make her feel any less tight around him- almost painfully so- but her grip on his arms lessens, some of the tenseness in her legs leaves her.
"That all you got?" Elisa asks, cracking her eyes open again, a challenge in her expression.
Goliath lets out a breath of his own, and dips his head down to nuzzle against the line of her neck, the salty skin over her beating pulse. He holds himself in place as long as he can manage, focusing on the skin under his mouth, the way her flesh dimples under the slightest press of his teeth only to spring back, whole and unharmed.
When he can't stand it any more he presses his hips forward slightly, rocking back and forth on his heels to work himself inside of her.
Elisa gasps and moans as he moves, hands clutching his arms, his shoulders, the base of his wings. Her walls are so tight around him he's sure she'll tell him at any second to pull out, but she doesn't, keeps encouraging him in deeper with little twitches of her hips up against his.
It's nothing short of a miracle when he feels himself bottom out inside of her, buried in her to the root. Goliath stays there and finds himself panting, every inhale of her heady scent driving his desire- no, his need- to move higher and higher, almost past the point where he can resist.
"Come on," she urges, one hand buried in his hair now, fingers curved around his skull. "Goliath, come on."
The sound of his name on her lips while he's joined with her like this is something he never thought to have, and he can't do anything but obey her when it's what they both want.
He draws himself back out slowly, and pushes back in just as slow, the way barely any easier than the first time he entered her. Elisa moans and arches up under him, and he drops down to his forearms to press himself close to her, covering her body entirely with his own.
He isn't so much thrusting as he is grinding, slow movements aided by both of them. It's enough to feel overwhelmingly good, every move inside of her like liquid fire down the length of his spine, pooling just between his balls and the base of his cock.
"Ah, ah!" she gasps out, voice strained. "More, I need-"
She breaks off to moan, and Goliath doesn't know what she needs but he can guess. He increases his pace, the slide inside of her almost easy now, her body welcoming him. She writhes under him, both legs wrapping around his waist, trying to hold him close.
"I've got you," he breathes into her ear, barely able to remember that this is for her benefit, that he's not just being selfish.
Elisa reaches her peak with a strangled shout of his name, body going so tense that he can't move against the grip of her walls, has to just grind himself against her hips. The clench of her around him brings him over the edge as well, far sooner than he would have wanted as he roars his release.
For a heartbeat or two neither one of them moves, save the continued twitches of their bodies, and then she grabs a fistful of his hair and yanks his head down to kiss again.
Goliath is no more practiced at it than he had been the first time, and he barely has the presence of mind to try and copy what she's doing with her lips and tongue before Elisa is falling back with a satisfied sigh.
He's still buried inside of her, not yet going soft, but it will soon become uncomfortable for him not to retreat. He shifts his weight slightly, wondering if he's allowed to gather her into his arms to keep holding her, to extend the illusion that she wants him for more reasons than because she's been spelled to, or if the moment has already passed.
"Well," Elisa says, not yet moving away from him except to lower her legs from where she was clutching him close to her. "I can't say this is what I thought would happen when I stopped to smell the roses."
Goliath goes tense all over, skin prickling between his wings. He pulls his hips back until he can slip out of her, trying not to listen to the quiet hitching noise she makes, trying not to dwell on how her fingers instantly move to her entrance which he can't see from this angle but can imagine easily, puffy red and dripping with his seed.
"Are you better?" he asks carefully, neutrally as if they aren't still entangled, the sweat of their skin and more intimate fluids mingling between them.
"If I say no, do I get a repeat performance?" Elisa says, and they're shocking words to hear her say, but her voice sounds like herself again, steady and in control.
Goliath reins himself in against the urge to lay with her until the sun starts to rise, the urge to keep her sheltered in his wings. With great reluctance he moves himself off of her, nostrils flaring as he smells the way their scents combine, how heady and enticing it is, how right it seems.
She stays lying down for another few seconds while he fastens his loincloth around his waist again, then heaves herself to an upright position with an awkward sounding laugh.
"Did you happen to find my underwear on the way over, by any chance?"