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Discussions - Chapter 11

 
 
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Discussions - Chapter 11

 

By Kudara

 

Disclaimer: All the characters appearing in Gargoyles are copyright Buena Vista Television/The Walt Disney Company.  No infringement of these copyrights is intended as this is a not for profit fan fiction work.  All original characters are the property of the author.

 

Warning: none

 

Notes:   Events mentioned in the story are from the third season episode, “…For It May Come True.”  The wheelchairs mentioned in this section actually exist.  I thought they looked so much better than the regular everyday one’s we see that I decided Robert just had to have one, www.colourswheelchair.com.  Dominique Destine’s home, and the character’s Candice and Gregory are from ‘The Gargoyles Saga’ world and adapted for use in this story.

 

Rating:  Teen

 

Feedback: Always welcome, feedback is what encourages me to keep writing.  Please let me know what you like and what you dislike about the story.

 

Revision History: 07/15/08

 

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Wednesday, December 17th 1997

 

Early Morning - Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

Her mug of coffee in her hands, Dominique idly swung her chair around and looked out the glass that made up one wall of her office.  It was a clear winter morning and the sun was shining brightly off the sides of the buildings as it rose.

 

Last night had gone rather well, as soon as he had arrived, Wayne informed her that he had removed the enchantment on Robyn Canmore the day before.  From there, their discussion had moved onto Thailog.  Dominique still wasn’t certain if the Wolf’s chosen knew anything about the true nature of her relationship with the cloned male or not, Wayne’s questions had been limited to what she knew of Thailog’s properties and business interests and hadn’t strayed to anything personal at all.

 

After he finished asking all the questions he needed answered about Thailog, Wayne had inquired if he could investigate her history as Dominique to see if any the documentation proving her identity would raise any flags in an official investigation into her past.  She had been surprised by the request until he pointed out that all the immortal chosen would eventually have to pretend to die and then arrange for new identities to hide the fact that they were immortal.  Their old method of evading detection by moving to new locations where no one knew them would not work anymore, not with the way governments were keeping track of everyone these days.  Her identity as a human was to be their trial run so to speak, if they could make sure the identity she had created for Dominique Destine would stand up to any scrutiny, then they could use what they learned to make identities for other chosen.

 

Dominique wasn’t certain who the ‘they’ Wayne had referred to were; probably the other Wolf’s chosen she guessed.  She certainly didn’t mind them looking into the documentation she had created to see if it would stand up under scrutiny and taking care of what didn’t.  After all, in sixty or eighty years she would need their help to arrange for new identities for Kendra and herself.

 

The intercom line on her phone rang, she swung her chair back around to face her desk and answered it, “Yes, Candice?”

 

“Ms. Destine, Ms. Jackson is here to see you,” her secretary responded.

 

Dominique was surprised, Margaret had said yesterday that it wouldn’t take her very long to come up with a few suggestions, but she hadn’t expected her to have anything so soon.  “Send her in please.” 

 

She stood up and went around to the other side of her desk as the door opened and Margaret entered, today she was dressed in a plum colored skirt suit and was wearing three-inch heels.  The redhead raised one eyebrow as she stared down at the shoes for a moment and then back up into the tall woman’s face.  Margaret had a broad grin on her face, and her hazel eyes were dancing with laughter as she watched the redhead.  “Not tall enough?” Dominique asked dryly.

 

“A woman can never be tall enough,” Margaret responded cheerfully, “there’s nothing quite like standing next to a six foot tall man when he realizes he has to look up at you.”

 

The answer startled a laugh out of Dominique, she could easily imagine the scene Margaret was describing.

 

The tall woman chuckled with her then held up what the redhead assumed was the folder she had given her the day before.  “I’ve looked through these and I have some recommendations I need to discuss with your Administrative Division manager.”

 

“That would be Mrs. Merrill,” Dominique responded, “I’ll have Candice arrange for you to meet with her.”

 

Margaret nodded, “I suspected that might be who I needed to see, but I thought I’d stop by and let you know that I see no reason why Nightstone can’t eventually implement all of these benefits.  It will take a few months since there are quite a few legal documents you’ll need to file with both the local and federal governments and some administrative changes that need to be made, but you can definitely do this at a minimal cost to your company.”

 

Dominique stared at her surprised, “All of them?” she had hoped, but certainly hadn’t expected a favorable answer this quickly.

 

The tall woman smiled, “All of them,” she confirmed.

 

Dominique smiled back at her, “Good,” she said softly, “and thank you.”

 

Margaret chuckled, “Tell me that again after your Administrative Division finishes complaining about the changes I want them to make.”

 

The redhead smirked, “I doubt they will, I’ll make sure Mrs. Merrill understands that I expect her Division to cooperate fully with whatever changes you feel are necessary.”  The Bison’s chosen gave her a concerned look and Dominique chuckled, “Don’t worry, I doubt I’ll have to even raise my voice, I’ll just let them know that no benefits will be implemented until I’m certain that all of them can be,” her voice was light but her eyes were unyielding.  She had suspected they might have given up on finding a way to afford the domestic partner benefits too easily, and the fact that Margaret had found a way so quickly just strengthened her suspicions.

 

 

Late Morning - Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

A tentative knock on her door caused Dominique to look up from the market research she was doing, “Come in,” she called out in a raised voice, knowing from experience that she needed to be quite loud to be heard.  The office wasn’t quite soundproof, but it was close.

 

The door opened and Candice came in, “Sorry to bother you Ms. Destine, but you said last week you wanted me to arrange a Christmas Party.  I’ve come up with two options for you,” she handed the folder she was holding to the redheaded woman.

 

Dominique accepted it, placing it on her desk and flipping it open, the first sheet had a picture of a well-lit ship floating upon moonlit water stapled to it.  The vessel looked familiar and she lifted the picture to look at the sheet underneath, it was a cost analysis for four-hundred person dinner cruise on the Hudson River.  She raised her eyebrow and looked up at the mocha-skinned woman standing on the other side of her desk, “Not all of the dinner cruises are booked?” she was surprised, this close to the holiday she had thought all the usual corporate venues would be.

 

“No Ms. Destine, that one’s available for the night of the twenty-second,” Candice responded promptly.

 

The redhead nodded, she set the paper with the ship attached to the side and read the second sheet, it was for a catered party at Nightstone.  Surprisingly the costs for the two events were about the same, Nightstone would pay the entire cost of the catered party, while the cruise cost would only be partially subsidized by the company.  The actual cost of the cruise would depend on how many of the seats were sold.  Dominique tapped the employee cost for the dinner cruise with her fingernail, “Would the other employees be willing to pay this to go on a dinner cruise?”

 

Candice nodded confidently, “Oh yes, this cruise line is known for having really good dinners, and that’s just under half the price it would be if you bought tickets to one of their regular dinner cruises.”

 

Dominique leaned back in her chair, “I guess since the dinner cruise is on top that’s the choice you would prefer?”

 

Her secretary’s dark eyes searched her face nervously for a moment before what she saw there apparently reassured her, “I worked with Mrs. Merrill as you suggested, and we asked Mr. Burns and Ms. Wright for their opinion, the dinner cruise was what they preferred as well.  It’s more…”  Candice’s voice trailed off, Dominique just stared at her, waiting for her to finish, the redhead was curious as to why the dinner cruise would be preferable to having a social gathering at Nightstone.  “Well, it’s more fun to get dressed up and go out on a cruise for dinner and dancing than to get dressed up and come back to work,” her secretary finally admitted.

 

The redhead nodded thoughtfully, put that way it did make sense, “Very well, make the arrangements and let everyone know the date and time.  Hopefully enough people will be interested that I won’t end up paying the maximum amount,” she added dryly.

 

“Oh, I’m sure that won’t be a problem,” Candice assured her.

 

Dominique stared at her for a moment, the woman seemed very confident about that, which seemed odd considering the event hadn’t even been announced yet.  Candice started shifting uneasily under her stare and not quite meeting her eyes, which made the redhead suspicious, but she couldn’t fathom what her secretary would be hiding about a dinner cruise of all things.

 

“Is that all you needed Ms. Destine?” the woman finally asked.

 

The redhead stared at the woman for a moment longer, watching her secretary become ever more nervous before finally responding, “Yes, that’s all I needed.”  Her green eyes narrowed as she watched the woman leave and could have swore she heard a relieved sigh just before her office door closed.  Clearly, there was something going on, she looked down at the picture of the ship on the river bemused, and it had something to do with this cruise.  She shrugged as she returned to her work; whatever it was Candice was hiding about why she was so sure the dinner cruise would be well received couldn’t be that important.

 

 

Noon - Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

Dominique smiled, uncertain as to what exactly was so amusing, but Kendra’s unrestrained laughter was infectious.  “What is it?” she asked, “Candice was acting rather oddly about this dinner cruise.”

 

The black haired woman snorted, “I bet, this was the unofficial Nightstone Christmas Party,” she said, “before you decided to have an official one.  That sent everyone into a real tizzy trying to figure out what to do since the Division managers had already put down a payment on the cruise.  I guess they decided to cross their fingers and hope you chose it over the banquet.”

 

The redhead stared at her, no wonder Candice had looked so odd when she first brought up the idea.  She frowned starting to feel rather irritated that this unofficial party had been arranged behind her back and then they had tried to deceive her by presenting it as something they had just arranged.  Then there was the fact that Kendra had not mentioned it to her either, that hurt.

 

“Dominique,” Kendra said softly, the redhead glanced up at her, “before you get angry about this, ask yourself if it’s really worth getting angry over.”  She reached over and tapped the picture of the ship, “This says that your employees thought enough of being part of this company that they wanted to get together to celebrate the holiday season like all the other companies were doing even if you didn’t officially sanction it.”  The redhead frowned down at the picture but before she could respond, Kendra continued, “What would you have done if you were one of your managers and you went through the trouble of arranging this for the people under you and then suddenly your boss, who you never thought even acknowledged the holiday existed except to annoy her by making her give everyone yet another paid day off, suddenly decided at the last minute that she wanted a corporate Christmas party?”

 

Dominique scowled at her; Kendra took another bite of her sandwich and stared back, one eyebrow raised.  Finally, the redhead blew out an irritated breath, “Probably the same thing they did,” she admitted reluctantly.  “That doesn’t mean that I’m pleased they tried to slip this past me though,” she said with a scowl.

 

Kendra nodded, she finished her bite of food, “Understandable, personally though I’m planning on enjoying the cruise since I happen to know that it was too late for them to arrange something like that when you first mentioned it.  Have you thought about getting tickets for Rachael, Margaret and Sharon yet?”

 

The redhead stared at her, “No though I guess I should, shouldn’t I?”  Now that it had been brought up that actually sounded like a good idea, they would probably enjoy cruising down the river and seeing the city by night.  She frowned at Kendra, “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” she finally asked, her voice betraying her emotions.

 

Kendra’s eyes sharpened on her and then softened, “I hear bits and pieces of a lot of conversations with my hearing, it was only this morning that I heard enough bits and pieces to put everything together,” she said softly.  “Do you really want me tattling on your employees to you for every little thing?  They’ll eventually realize it could only be me telling you and then I’m not likely to be too popular after that,” the black haired woman paused letting that sink in.  “I didn’t think that this was important enough for me to rush in here to tell you about it an hour or so ago, should I have?”

 

“Yes,” Dominique snapped, the black haired woman’s brow rose, but before she could say anything the redhead growled out grouchily, “No.”  Dominique did want to hear about everything, but she knew that what Kendra was saying was correct.  Kendra continued to stare at her with a concerned look on her face, and finally the redhead admitted what was really bothering her.  “I used to be feared by all of my employees, before this last month I doubt they would have dared to even try this,” she observed, annoyed and slightly worried that she was losing an essential element of her control over her employees.  She didn’t want them to be terrified of her anymore, but they should respect her and fear her wrath if they did something wrong.

 

“Ah,” Kendra responded, relaxing immediately.  Dominique frowned; she was quite serious about this.  “Don’t worry,” the black haired woman assured her blithely, looking down at her lunch, “I’m certain that they’ll royally mess something up and give you a really good reason to rip their heads off and hand them back to them sooner or later.”

 

Dominique stared at her, shocked, then Kendra glanced back up at her and she saw the devilish amusement in her sapphire blue eyes.

 

At her desk Candice glanced up startled by the sound of laughter coming from Ms. Destine’s office, she smiled uncertainly wondering what was so amusing that it would get Ms. Destine to laugh like that.

 

 

Afternoon - Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

Dominique smiled satisfied as she read the email from her R&D Division manager, Mr. Pierre, their application for a patent on the battery technology had been accepted by the patent office.  Her eyes narrowed in thought, now they just had to develop a cheaper way of manufacturing them.  She smiled crookedly, if it weren’t for the fact that she would have to explain how she did it, she was fairly certain that after a few tries she could figure out how to guide the carbon nanotubes to form in a straight line within the cellulose matrix.  She suspected it wouldn’t be that different from some of the things the Irish Elk had her doing already.

 

 

Night – Destine Manor, Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island

 

Demona sat down at the bench where she usually metal crafted, in front of her, on a sheet of fire safe ceramic, laid a bar of gold.  She altered her vision so that she could see nature magic and examined it, looking at the rigid structure of the gold molecules that formed the bar as the Ancient One had taught her last night.  He had also taught her how to do what she was about to attempt now for the first time in the living realm.

 

She summoned the free nature magic in the area to her and then carefully directed it into the gold bar.  As the energy levels rose inside the bar she could see that it’s rigid matrix like structure was beginning to weaken.  She slowed the energy transfer to a trickle; the spirit had warned her it was possible if she wasn’t careful at this point that the structure could break apart all at once, resulting in the metal exploding into molten droplets.  That would be rather painful and was definitely something she didn’t want to experience.

 

A little more, a little more, she thought to herself, watching the bonds between the molecules, the bar deformed and then a second later melted entirely into a hot puddle of liquid metal.  She smiled, pleased with her accomplishment.  Of course, this was the easy, if dangerous, part; the next thing she needed to do would be much harder and would require her full concentration.

 

She closed her eyes and painstakingly formed in her mind the image of the miniature dragon she wanted to make, the faceted eyes, the tiny scales covering its skin, the wings folded and resting against its back, and the talons on its clawed feet.  Opening her eyes she cupped her hands above the molten metal feeling the heat radiating off it, and called more nature magic to her.  She then willed the magic into the shape of the image she held in her mind.  This step was what the spirit had her practicing for almost a full hour the night before, forming a detailed image in her mind and then willing the nature energy to take that shape. 

 

Now for the final step, she summoned the cooling, but still liquid metal up into the mold formed by the nature energy she had shaped.  Holding the metal in the magical mold, she began drawing energy from the molten liquid, re-solidifying it.  Pulling her hands apart, she stared down at the tiny gold dragon complete with a loop on its back for her to thread a fine chain through.  It was complete, but there was one more thing she wanted to do to it, gold was soft, the dragon charm would be too easily damaged the way it was right now.  Once again she examined the bonds between the gold molecules, this time when she summoned nature energy she overlaid it on top of those bonds, altering the nature of them slightly and in the process hardening the gold so that it was less easily damaged.

 

She picked up the charm, placed it on her palm and took a moment to examine it, from its uplifted front paw to its curled tail it looked just as she had imagined it.  She had done it, and on her first try.  She smiled broadly, feeling proud of herself until she remembered for whom she had made this as a gift.  The smile on her lips faded, she sighed, rose, and left her workroom.  Kendra was sitting on the couch in the living room listening to music and reading a book.

 

The black haired woman looked up, “You’re done?  How did it go?” she asked eagerly laying the book face down on the coffee table and standing up.

 

Demona’s mood lightened at seeing her lover’s reaction, the smile returned to her face and she held out the tiny gold dragon for Kendra to examine.

 

The black haired woman accepted it carefully, turning it around and around as she examined it from every angle.  “Oh Demona this is exquisite,” Kendra said in a soft, awed voice, “the little tongue in his mouth, the scales, the wings.”  She shook her head, “If Angela doesn’t love it she’s nuts.”  She held it back out to
Demona.

 

The flame haired gargoyle accepted it, a melancholy expression on her face, “Do you think it is too soon?  Will she even open it or read my letter?”

 

“I don’t know,” Kendra responded gently, “but do you lose anything by taking the chance?”

 

Demona stared at her, “No, if she doesn’t accept it then I’ll know she’s still angry with me,” she finally responded.  “If she does, then she’ll know I’m thinking about her, even though I told her to stay away.”

 

“Come here,” Kendra opened her arms, and Demona stepped into them, feeling them wrap firmly around her.  She buried her face in her lover’s black hair, breathing in the scent of it as she wrapped her arms around Kendra in return.  “I love you,” Kendra whispered, stressing each word individually.

 

Demona’s arms tightened, “I love you too,” she took in a shaky breath, “Sometimes I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you and the Ancient One,” she admitted. 

 

Kendra pulled back far enough to stare into the gargoyle’s eyes, “You are stronger than you think,” she stated firmly.  “I watch how hard you’re working at Nightstone, the new benefits for your employees, the fact that you halted Nightstone’s weapons development research because you’re keeping not only just the word, but the spirit of your promises to the Ancient One.  Every day I’m amazed and impressed at how strong and smart you are, I know learning about what the Weird Sisters did to you and Macbeth was hard, and I know that something’s been really bothering you this week and I suspect that it has to do with Thailog and how he treated you.”  The gargoyle stiffened in her arms, but Kendra continued before Demona could respond, “but you’re not letting any of it stop you from doing what you need to do to take your life back and live it.  You’re not letting them stop you from smiling and laughing, from loving or from hoping.”

 

“Kendra,” Demona broke off and just stared into her lover’s blue eyes for a moment, she swallowed over the huge lump in her throat, closed her eyes for a moment and thanked whatever was out there that had brought them together.  Two single tears slipped out as she opened them again, “You are the source of so much of that strength, whenever I falter I think of you, how you treat me, how you love me, and how much I love you, and then I know that my life is and can be better than it has been in the past.”

 

 

Thursday, December 18th 1997

 

Morning - Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

Dominique’s gaze shifted from the newspaper that she had been reading to the corner of her desk where the small box that held the gold dragon charm still rested, she would send it soon she decided, but not today.  She glanced once again at the newspaper in her hand; it was a local paper, one of the ones offered for free at the metro stops.  In it was an article and advertisement from the People for Interspecies Tolerance denouncing the activities and lies of the Quarrymen group.

 

She couldn’t be near her daughter right now, but she could do something, even if she wasn’t certain it would be that useful, to protect her and the rest of the clan.  Funding PIT in their efforts to persuade their fellow humans that gargoyles weren’t the monsters that the Quarrymen claimed they were, seemed like a rather weak effort, but one never knew, and the group had been surprisingly effective with the small amount of funds they currently had available to them.  It was something she had been putting off for too long anyway, she decided.  The redhead picked up the phone and dialed the number of the law office that handled her personal legal business.  Fifteen minutes later, she placed the phone back in its receiver; her lawyer would be sending papers for her to sign later today.  Now she would see how the group did when they had the money to advertise in something besides the local city papers.

 

 

Very Late Night - Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

 

Elisa waited impatiently for the elevator to reach its destination; she had to know how Goliath was, if he had been injured.  Some of the shells from the anti-aircraft guns the Quarrymen had obtained had come so terrifyingly close to him.  There had been several times that her eyes had searched the dark clouds from the explosions frantically, almost certain that she would see his body falling from them.  After the weapons had been destroyed by the falling tower, and Castaway and the Quarrymen with him arrested, there had been the paperwork she had to fill out, all the while pretending that her thoughts weren’t with Goliath and the clan wondering if any of them had been hurt.

 

Finally the doors opened, revealing the hanging tapestries of the main gathering room of the castle and the sound of familiar voices.  She stepped out quickly, and followed the sound of the conversation into the dining hall.  The clan was gathered around one of the tables whose wooden surface was almost completely covered with platters of food.  She breathed out a sigh of relief; Goliath was there, a heaped plate of food in his hand.  Her eyes swept over him, he seemed to be uninjured.

 

He turned his head, looking toward her; his dark eyes met hers, and warmed in welcome.  “Elisa,” he rumbled a greeting.

 

“Hey big guy,” she responded, she smiled at the rest of the clan as she approached but her eyes kept coming back to the lavender male that led the clan.  “Are you alright?” she asked as she drew nearer, “some of those shells…” her voice trailed off, her tense face telling its own tale of her fears.

 

“I am uninjured,” he responded, his deep voice soft.

 

She stopped a few feet in front of him, gave him a crooked smile, “Good.”

 

“Hey Elisa, did you want something to eat?” Broadway’s hopeful voice broke the silence between them.

 

For a moment longer she looked into the lavender male’s dark eyes before turning and smiling warmly at Broadway, “Sure,” she responded and was not surprised when a heaping plate of food was pressed into her hands.  She looked around the room, and frowned, “Is Lexington alright?  I thought I saw you and Brooklyn carrying him at some point?”

 

“Yea,” Broadway answered, “I think he went to get some more coke to drink.  He got knocked around a bit, but he’s better already.”

 

“That’s good,” she responded, “I wasn’t expecting the buy to be military anti-aircraft guns.”  Her gaze went to the lavender female standing off by herself looking out one of the windows.  “What’s wrong with Angela?” she asked him, concerned.

 

Broadway followed her gaze looking unhappy, “Demona told her to stay away because she’s expecting the Weird Sisters to attack her and she doesn’t want her to get hurt by them.  Well she said the clan, but we all suspect she really meant just Angela.”

 

Elisa stared at him, “What?” she said somewhat loudly.

 

“Oh…,” he uttered, his eyes glancing over toward his clan leader, “that’s one of the things that’s happened while you’ve been undercover.  Maybe you ought to ask Goliath,” he finished.

 

Her dark eyes narrowed, “I think I will,” she agreed.  What in the world had the clan been up to while she was gone, she wondered to herself.

 

Elisa stared at Goliath, trying to order her thoughts and fit in everything she had just learned into what she thought she knew about Demona and Macbeth.  There were spirits out there that didn’t particularly like the Fey, and had acted to protect mortals from them in the past.  And while she couldn’t agree with the lethality of their methods, she found herself thankful that something out there was keeping an eye on what the Fey were doing and preventing their worst excesses.  That had been one of her problems with believing Macbeth’s tale, believing that such spirits actually existed, but it seemed as if they did, and it was very likely that one of them had chosen to intervene in Macbeths and Demona’s lives just as the immortal king had claimed.

 

As for what Xanatos and Owen had learned when they visited Nightstone, the detective didn’t know quite what to think of the fact that both Demona and Kendra Canmore were immune to being enchanted by the Fey and that all of the fey enchantments on Demona had been removed.  Both facts were however, pieces of evidence pointing toward the fact that the spirit that Demona and Macbeth had met was one of the same types of spirits that Owen had described.  She wasn’t certain that she believed that the gargoyle had actually given up her obsessive hatred of humanity.  That she was currently focused on the Weird Sisters, yes, she could believe that, but Demona had hated humans for centuries.  Even if the ancient gargoyle had decided to give up her vengeance against humans, how long would it take for the Quarrymen or another gargoyle hating group to persuade her to change her mind once again and decide that she had been right all along and humanity was a threat to her race’s continuing existence?

 

Then there was the last thing Goliath had told her, she took in the big male’s drooping wings his troubled expression.  She reached out and touched his arm, “That’s only Puck’s theory about what happened; we don’t know that he’s right.”

 

He looked down at her, and she was surprised to see shame in his eyes, “For a moment I thought about remaining silent,” he admitted, “and letting Macbeth end both their lives, end the threat she was to the clan.”

 

The detective sucked in a surprised breath, “But you didn’t,” she pointed out in the next moment.

 

“I did not,” he grimly agreed, “but Puck was correct, after seeing what Demona had done, I did want them to take her away and I did not care what they did with her.  If that was indeed their intent, then they succeeded, and upon Avalon they succeeded again when I agreed that they should erase Demona and Macbeth’s memories of the events there.”

 

Elisa rubbed her forehead; she was getting a raging headache from trying to think about all of this.  The idea that that entire night, all the people that had died either smashed by Demona or shattered when their cars wrecked or they became stone as they were walking up stairs or on an escalator, had been planned by the Weird Sisters solely so they had a reason they could present to Lord Oberon for why they had enthralled the two immortals was almost unbelievable.  And yet Puck had implied that if it was true, it was not the first time they had done something like that.  The sheer callousness of it horrified her.

 

If it were all true, Demona and Macbeth had spent almost a thousand years under their control at the behest of a vengeful Archmage.  Elisa almost wished that she was still convinced this was all a plot by Demona, that was much easier to think about than to consider what life must have been like for the gargoyle.  What was it Goliath had said Macbeth told him?  That the Archmage had ordered the Weird Sisters to make sure they stayed alone, bitter and angry?  Demona had even stayed that way after her plans to release the clan had succeeded, the first thing she did was to betray and attack them, and she hadn’t stopped with just that.  Elisa’s eyes widened…surely not, her headache redoubled as she considered whether all those wild, angry attacks had somehow been the Weird Sisters doing. 

 

The detective rubbed her forehead, she still wasn’t certain that this wasn’t somehow Demona’s most elaborate and successful scheme yet.  The evidence was starting to weigh overwhelming in the favor of it not being one of Demona’s schemes, that Macbeth had told them the truth, and, as odd as it seemed, that Demona for once was actually telling the truth.  The last was almost too much to believe and one of the reasons for her persistent feeling that this spirit story just couldn’t be true.

 

Elisa shook her head, she gave up on figuring this out for now, “We still don’t know if she’s mad at us for what happened on Avalon,” she pointed out wearily, “and I’ve got news to tell the clan about Jon Canmore.”

 

 

Friday, December 19th 1997

 

10:45am – Destine Manor, Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island

 

 Gregory pulled into the garage and parked the limousine.  He had barely gotten out of the driver’s seat before the passenger doors opened and the women inside began getting out.  He hurried forward to assist, only to halt abruptly as Kendra Canmore got out and turned around to help Ms. Destine.  The two women’s eyes met and he had the feeling at that moment that the rest of the world didn’t exist for them as the redhead accepted the offered hand and let the black haired woman assist her out of the vehicle.  Five minutes later with all the luggage of Ms. Destine’s guests unloaded from the trunk and placed inside the house he backed the limousine out of the drive way.  He was due back here in two hours, this time with the handicapped accessible vehicle so they could pick up young Robert.

 

Standing in the kitchen, Dominique indicated the first door to the left in the hallway, “Rachael that will be your bedroom and Sharon yours is on the second floor above it, the easiest way there from the kitchen is to use the stairs in the utility room,” she indicated the doorway behind her.

 

“I’ll show Sharon her room,” Kendra offered, picking up one of the suitcases the younger woman had brought with her.

 

“I can get them,” Sharon protested, snatching up her other bag before the black haired woman could claim that one as well.

 

Kendra just chuckled at her as she opened the door to the utility room, and Dominique watched as the two of them bounded up the stairs to the second floor.  “Well it looks like those two are getting along,” Rachael observed from beside her.

 

Dominique detected a hint of dryness in her tone; she smirked and shook her head.  Even during the short time she had observed the brunette, it was apparent that the Horse spirit’s chosen was an independent young woman, and Kendra had immediately begun doing things to tease her about that, such as what she had done just then by picking up one of Sharon’s bags.  At least the brunette didn’t seem offended, and Kendra was making it fairly obvious that she was teasing her.

 

Rachael picked up her garment bag, “I’ll gratefully accept help with my bags,” she commented with a grin.  The redhead raised an eyebrow, the only bag left was a rather large suitcase, thankfully it had rollers.  “Oh Dominique, this is lovely,” Rachael said as they walked into the large first floor bedroom.  She looked around at the dark wainscot and the cream-colored fleur-de-lis patterned wallpaper above it, the dark red Persian carpet on the floor, and the heavy looking dark red drapes tied back from the windows.  The only non-Victorian piece of furniture in the room was the comfortable looking queen sized bed.  The room was spotless, the furniture and even the wood panel wainscot gleamed from being freshly polished.

 

The redhead smiled, the cleaning company she used had descended upon the house a few nights before with an entire cleaning crew to prepare the guest bedrooms for use.  She had never let so many strangers into her home before, but she had gritted her teeth and allowed it, she didn’t have the time or inclination to do the necessary cleaning herself.  She had even been so impressed with how hard and efficiently the cleaning crew had worked that she had given their manager a sizable tip to distribute among them, earning herself a, “Have a Merry Christmas, Ms. Destine,” from them as they left.  She didn’t even scowl at them for it since she was feeling entirely too pleased at the thought of not spending this Solstice alone.

 

“This is your bathroom,” Dominique opened the door, glancing in at the high backed soaking tub at the end and the old-fashioned looking toilet with its elevated cistern and decorative copper piping.

 

“My goodness I haven’t seen one of those in years,” Rachael commented as she came up to stand beside her and stared at the toilet.

 

The redhead smiled, “Don’t worry, it’s not that old, it just looks like it is.”  After helping Rachael hang up her the dress and suit she had brought with her, Dominique showed the Cree woman around the rest of her home. 

 

Tasteful garlands of fresh greenery were hung along the banister of the central staircase in the foyer; and seasonal centerpieces now decorated the long dining table in the dining room, the mantle above the fireplace in the living room, and the coffee table in front of the couch.  A six foot tall Fraser fir tree graced the corner of the living room, it was potted, and the decorator had warned her that it was not likely to survive to be planted, but she had been firm about not wanting a cut tree.  The woman had been right, the tree had already been in poor health when it arrived, but she had spent time with it last night healing what she could of its injuries and now it was in good condition.  The final piece of the holiday decorations she had ordered rested in the living room fireplace, a Yule log.

 

The two women were headed back to the kitchen when the rapid sound of footsteps down the main stairway heralded the arrival of Kendra and Sharon.  “Oh Rachael you’ve got to see Dominique’s bathroom,” was the first thing Sharon said as she came up to them, “it’s absolutely amazing.”

 

Dominique narrowed her eyes at Kendra in a glare, the slight curve to her lips however showed that she wasn’t that particularly annoyed.  The black haired woman came up to Dominique, a grin on her face as she pulled the green-eyed woman into a hug and pressed her lips briefly against her forehead.  “You did say we wouldn’t be hogging it to ourselves,” she reminded the redhead.

 

One eyebrow arched an elegant statement at her choice of words as her hands came up to rest on Kendra’s arms.  “Well no,” the redhead agreed, “but did it have to be the first thing you showed her?” she protested.

 

“It wasn’t, I showed her the workout room first,” Kendra said mildly.  Dominique stared up at her lover, of course, why hadn’t she guessed that she thought; she finally relaxed into the embrace and wrapped her arms around the black haired woman in return.

 

“You are terrible,” the redhead whispered almost inaudibly.

 

A roguish grin and an amused soft chuckle were her response; she glanced upward to see the mischievous glint in her lover’s sapphire blue eyes.  Kendra bent her head to whisper in her ear, “I thought you liked that about me.”

 

Her lover’s husky voice and the breath of an exhale across the shell of her ear sent aroused tingles racing throughout her body, her breath caught and she lowered her eyes to hide her reaction.  She felt the muscles under her fingertips tense in reaction as Kendra sensed her response.  Dragon, she lowered her head to stare at the strongly beating pulse in her lover’s neck, that only made it worse, she thought as she felt her body respond even more strongly.

 

“I think we’ll go get lunch ready,” Rachael said, after a moment.

 

“Thank you,” Dominique responded quietly, barely glancing over toward the Cree woman.

 

As the two women disappeared down the hallway toward the kitchen, the redhead noticed Kendra smirking.  “What?” she inquired.

 

Kendra shook her head; she didn’t want to admit that she had just heard Sharon whisper to Rachael.  “No wonder they stuck us on the other side of the house from them.” 

 

“Sharon’s just proving that she’s smart,” the black haired woman commented before she lowered her lips to the red ones of the woman in her arms.

 

 

1:00pm – Lower Manhattan, New York City

 

“I hope everyone doesn’t mind an unscheduled stop,” Kendra grinned, her eyes going to Robert, “Dominique found this rather interesting place and we thought we’d stop by to see what they had.”

 

Robert looked at the black haired woman puzzled, but she didn’t say anything more, instead settling back into the seat cushions looking smugly pleased.  He turned his head to glance over at Dominique, hoping that she would enlighten him.  The limousine was slowing, the redhead smiled at him and nodded toward the window.  He looked out; they were stopping in front of a medical supply store.  He frowned, confused as to why they would be going here, he didn’t need anything.

 

“Ah, Ms. Destine,” a store manager hurried toward them, as they entered the store, “as you requested we have a selection of wheelchairs for the young gentleman to try today.”

 

Dominique nodded, “Thank you Mr. Peterson,” she acknowledged and then inclined her head toward Robert.  She was not the one the human needed to be paying attention to right now.

 

The manager got the hint and turned towards the young man in the wheelchair, “Mr. McKenzie if you will come this way please.”

 

Robert stared up at him startled at being addressed in such a manner; tentatively he nodded his head and followed the man toward the back of the store.  His eyes widened as he followed the manager around a corner and he saw the three wheelchairs they were approaching.  These wheelchairs were as different from the one he was using as an inexpensive family sedan was from an expensive European styled sedan.  

 

The first was aggressively styled with three spoked black wheels chrome tubing and a bright blue seat.  The second was only slightly less aggressively styled, it also had three spoked black wheels with chrome tubing and its seat was black.  The last wheelchair was rather elegant looking considering that it was a wheelchair.  The main wheel had elegantly curved spokes and its hand rim was polished black, the seat and backrest were plush black cushions with black leather edges.

 

Dominique walked over to the elegant looking wheelchair and looked it over with sharp eyes.  She placed a hand on the backrest and met Robert’s eyes, “If these are comfortable and meet with your approval, I would like to purchase this one for you to use when we go out and for you to use when you start your internship.  Kendra pointed out that you would probably prefer something other than this one for everyday use,” she waved her free hand toward the other two wheelchairs, “so you may pick whichever of these other two styles suits you best, and I will purchase that as well.”

 

He wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of Dominique buying these for him.  He could tell by the way they looked that they were expensive and she was already buying him a suit today to wear to the play and out to dinner tomorrow night.  Rachael walked past him and up to the wheelchair the redhead was standing beside, “This is really nice looking, how in the world did you find it?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these.”

 

“I thought about it when I was looking yesterday afternoon for a suitable place to find a suit for him, I had to look through a few places before finding these.”  Dominique’s green eyes turned his way, as she looked at the standard wheelchair with its worn armrests and navy blue nylon seat and back, “what he has now…” her voice trailed off and she grimaced just slightly. 

 

Robert looked down at his wheelchair; he hadn’t really ever thought much about what it looked like.  It was just something he had to use to get around.  A warm hand on his shoulder caused him to look up, he leaned back slightly so he could meet Margaret’s warm hazel eyes.  He didn’t think he had ever met a woman as tall as the Bison’s chosen before.  She winked at him before turning her attention to Dominique, “Accessorizing with a wheelchair, what an interesting concept,” she commented.

 

The redhead arched one eyebrow and very obviously looked the tall woman up and down, the Bison’s chosen was wearing a wine red pantsuit, a heavy silver and onyx necklace hung in three loops around her neck and her long black coat looked almost the same as the one Dominique was wearing.

 

“I’m agreeing with you,” Margaret protested with a grin, “if we’re going for a suave and sophisticated look for him, then you’re right what he currently has just won’t do.”

 

As this was going on a quiet voice from just behind him whispered, “Let her,” he turned his head and looked into Kendra’s blue eyes, “she’s been thrilled about the idea of doing this for you ever since she saw these and found out that this place sold them.  Think of this as our Solstice gift to you,” the Jaguar’s chosen finished.

 

Robert stared at her for a few seconds longer, taking in the almost entreating look in her eyes.  He turned to look at Dominique, noticing for the first time the hopeful look she was giving him.  It stunned him, he didn’t really understand why this was so important to her, “Thank you,” he said to her.

 

Dominique smiled a warm pleased smile that lit up her face and lightened her eyes, “Good, if their advertising is to be believed, you should find this much more comfortable than the one you currently have.”  She continued looking at him for a moment longer and then glanced over at the manager, “I understand they need to measure you to finish this chair,” she said briskly.

 

“Yes, Ms. Destine,” the man pulled a measuring tape out of his pocket, “I need to measure him to see how large the main wheel should be and to determine the proper seat depth and height.”

 

As the manager measured him and tisked over the fact that he had outgrown his current chair, Dominique commented, “It is fortunate that with his skin tone silver goes very well.”  He glanced over at the redhead a bit bemused by her comment.  Rachael who was standing near her grinned at him and shook her head, he didn’t think she was disagreeing with the assessment, but making a comment on the conversation.

 

Margaret looked over at him, “He does have the right skin tone for silver, doesn’t he.” 

 

Sharon, who had been looking over the other two wheelchairs, glanced up at them looking surprised, “It comes in gold colored metal?”

 

The redhead raised an eyebrow, “It comes in gold electroplate,” she corrected mildly.  Robert and Sharon stared at her.

 

“For a small fee, I’m sure,” Margaret commented dryly.

 

Dominique turned her attention to the tall woman, she smirked, “Of course.”

 

Kendra came up beside her, “Now who’s being terrible,” she quietly asked with a grin.

 

The smirk on the redhead’s face grew, and now Robert could see the laughter in her eyes.  She had been teasing them all along he realized.

 

“Were you kidding about the gold electroplate?” Sharon asked uncertainly.

 

Dominique chuckled, “Actually, no I wasn’t.”

 

A few minutes later, as the manager was wheeling the elegant looking chair back to be fitted with the correct seat and the current wheels changed out for a size larger, Rachael walked casually over to him and knelt down beside his chair.  She leaned over and whispered, “She’s trying to give back to us in the only way she feels she can right now.”  The Cree woman turned to look at him, “She’s been alone for so long Robert.  She’s had no reason and no one to celebrate this holiday with for almost five hundred years.”

 

Robert turned his grey-eyed gaze toward the ancient gargoyle in human form; he really couldn’t fathom what it would be like to live alone for that long.  He often felt very alone though he had friends at school, they could do so many more things and go to so many more places than he could with his disability tying him to his wheelchair.  But not having any friends at all for centuries…

 

He rolled his wheelchair closer to the two women.  Dominique was talking with Margaret and as he listened to them, he realized with astonishment that they were talking about the different way’s the redhead could have one of her bathrooms modified for his use.

 

He watched them until Dominique noticed and came over to him, giving him a concerned look.  “Is something wrong Robert?” she asked.

 

He stared up at her, his grey eyes dark and intense, “You do know that I’d like you even if you didn’t have money,” he assured her earnestly.

 

Her face softened, “I know that,” she assured him gently; she reached out and ran her hand through his curly hair.

 

He didn’t have to spend long deciding between the two wheelchairs, he liked the looks of the more aggressively styled one with the thick black spoked wheels.  Then came all the questions, what color would he like the frame to be, the manager opened a folder and handed it to him with all the different paint choices.  Eventually he chose glossy black.  What color did he want the seat cushions to be?  He really liked the royal blue the demo model had on it.  The questions continued, what type of handrail, what type of wheel, what type of tires, did he want quick release cut to the wheel protectors on the side to make sure his clothes didn’t get caught in the wheel.  By the time he finished making his choices, his head was reeling.  The manager assured them that the wheelchair would be delivered to his home before Christmas; there were a few parts they needed to order to complete the customization. 

 

When they left the store, Robert was in the elegant looking wheelchair Dominique had picked out for him to use.  He was surprised at how much more comfortable it felt to both sit and ride in, each wheel had a shock absorber and they really did smooth out the ride compared to his old wheelchair.  The thick cushions in the seat and back felt much more comfortable than the seat on his old wheelchair, and instead of high armrests that rubbed against his arms when he rolled the chair, this one had cut to fit sides that followed the outline of the wheel.  Besides nothing being in his way when he rolled the chair, the new one just seemed easier to roll taking much less effort to move.

 

 

2:23pm – 5th Avenue shops, Manhattan, New York City

 

Sharon looked on with a faintly horrified expression while Dominique and Margaret pulled out various business suits and discussed their relative merits.  While she didn’t disagree with what they were saying, she couldn’t imagine herself wearing any of the dress suits they were setting to the side for her to try on.

 

Finally Kendra spoke up, taking pity on the younger woman, “Those simply won’t do for her, their all too femme looking.  You need to go with something more on the butch side,”  She flicked her eyes over toward Sharon, completely missing the look of surprise that crossed Dominique’s face, “Or maybe in this case baby butch instead of butch,” she teased with a sly smile. 

 

Sharon crossed her arms across her chest and glared at the black haired woman, lifting her head and sticking her chin out slightly in a silent rebuttal.

 

Kendra tilted her head and stared at her thoughtfully for a second before straightening, “Mewl,” Kendra made a kittenish sound.

 

A look of outrage crossed Sharon’s face, “Hey!” she protested loud enough to draw glances from the other patrons in the store.

 

“Ladies,” Dominique scolded them in a stern tone, the two immediately turned towards her, their faces taking on almost identical innocent looks.  She stared at them for a moment, ignoring Margaret and Robert’s chuckles, and then shook her head.  Turning toward the Cree woman she inquired, “Rachael?”

 

The Cree woman’s brow rose, “I did say I thought she would fit in well,” she said, and it was clear that she hadn’t expected this news to be a surprise to Dominique.

 

The redhead shot her an exasperated look.

 

“Is this going to be a problem?” Sharon asked her posture stiffening and a wary, if confused, expression crossing her face.

 

“No, of course not,” Dominique waved her hand dismissively, “It’s just that no one is going to believe that I’m not doing this on purpose,” she finished with a frown.

 

Kendra snickered.

 

Sharon frowned, glancing first at Kendra and then back at Dominique, “Not doing what on purpose?”

 

Dominique sighed, “Completely unintentionally,” she kept her voice low, not wanting to advertise the fact, “almost half of Nightstone’s senior management staff is homosexual or bisexual.”

 

Sharon looked shocked for a moment and then she smiled broadly, “Really?”

 

A crooked smile formed on the redhead’s lips, “Yes, really.”

 

“That’s so cool,” Sharon said, her voice rising in her excitement.  Dominique’s eyebrow rose, and the younger woman’s eyes widened as she realized what she had done, she straightened up and made an effort look more serious.

 

“I’m sorry, I really thought you realized already,” Kendra said apologetically to the redhead, drawing her attention away from Sharon.

 

Dominique gave her a wry look, “I probably should have,” she turned back to the clothes rack, “so pantsuits.”

 

Behind her Sharon exhaled a quiet relieved breath, making a mental note to herself to not become too informal around her new boss.

 

 

5:45pm – Peter Luger Steakhouse, Brooklyn, New York City

 

“Brendan,” Margot leaned over hissed to her husband, “Isn’t that Dominique Destine over there?”

 

Her husband followed her pointing finger, the redhead seated at the table with four other women and a young man in a wheelchair did look like Dominique Destine.  “I believe so,” he replied.  The hostess came back to her podium then, interrupting anything else his wife might have had to say as she showed them to their table.  He glanced over at the table again after they were seated; their waiter was in the process of pouring a new round of drinks for everyone but the young man.

 

“Well she looks like she’s out celebrating tonight,” his wife noted her eyebrows raising as her gaze followed the waiter as he removed an empty wine bottle, took the wine bottle he had emptied in refilling the glasses, and left a full one at the table.

 

Brendan’s eyes went to the redhead once again as she laughed along with her friends at something one of them had said, he hadn’t really realized the CEO of Nightstone was such a beautiful woman.  “Well it is the time of year for that,” he commented.

 

“I believe the woman sitting next to her is Kendra Canmore,” Margot commented, “I guess they became friends after their ordeal together.”

 

This was one case where he apparently knew something his wife didn’t, “I’d think so since she hired her to head up a new division at Nightstone as soon as they got back.”

 

“Really?” his wife’s eyes sharpened on him, “how interesting.  I wonder who the other people are with her.”

 

He shrugged, he had no idea, none of them looked familiar to him.

 

 

8:45pm – Movie Theater, Upper Manhattan, New York City

 

“Well, Ms. Destine, we seem to choosing the same entertainment this evening,” Dominique turned around to see who was addressing her and recognized the city’s Assistant District Attorney, Margot Yale and her husband.

 

“Mrs. Yale, how are you this evening,” she asked pleasantly, inside she wasn’t quite so pleased to have someone even remotely connected with Maza see her out at night.  Sooner or later the clan would find out, but she would rather it be as later as possible.

 

“I must admit,” Margot continued, “I was surprised to see you and your friends in the movie theater after seeing you at Luger’s.”

 

Ah so that was where she had seen them, thought Dominique.  She shrugged, “Quite a few of my friends wanted to see it.”  She saw the woman’s eyes sharpen upon Robert and the others, before Margot Yale could ask to be introduced, she said, “Well we must be going, we need to get Robert home before its late.”

 

“Of course,” the woman said her eyes going to the young man in the wheelchair.  As he went by, she said to him, “Very nice looking wheelchair, I don’t think I’ve seen another like it.”

 

The curly haired young man stopped, “Thank you,” he replied politely, “Ms. Destine bought it for me earlier today as a gift.”

 

Margot’s eyes widened, she hadn’t expected that, obviously this young man must be a close friend of Dominique Destine.

 

“Robert,” the redheads commanding voice summoned.  The young man gave her an apologetic smile and rolled his chair to catch up to Dominique.

 

After the group had passed, Brendan asked curiously, “What was that about?”

 

“Just curious,” his wife replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her at any of the big social functions since she started Nightstone, and then tonight we see her twice.”

 

 
 
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