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Discussions - Chapter 14

 
 
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  Discussions - Chapter 14

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: mild violence and language

Notes: 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: 08/10/08

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Sunday, December 21th 1997

Early Morning – Destine Manor, Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island

Dominique moved carefully so as not to disturb the sleeping woman next to her, stretching her arms above her head, extending her legs fully, and even pointing her feet as she lay in bed. There was a smile upon her face as she did so, for today was Solstice day. Her new beginnings had actually begun three weeks ago, the night she had gone into the spirit realm for the first time and learned what had happened on Avalon, but today was the day to celebrate the fact that her life had changed so radically. She turned her head and looked into the peacefully sleeping face of her mate, and so wonderfully.

Of course, there were some not so wonderful things that she had to worry about as well, the redhead thought, turning her gaze from Kendra back to the canopy over the bed, the smile on her face fading. Such as when the Weird Sisters would come after her and Macbeth, and what the Quarrymen would do next. She didn’t trust Jon Canmore’s seeming retreat last night at all; she would be highly surprised if he didn’t try something against her soon. Then there were the still unknown reaction of Robert’s aunt and uncle to last night’s events, they hadn’t been watching the news, and thus were completely unaware of the Quarrymen’s attack on the group when Sharon and Margaret had escorted Robert to the door.

The arm around her waist tightened briefly, “What’s bothering you so early,” Kendra’s soft voice asked, surprising Dominique for she had thought the black haired woman was sleeping.

She turned her head to the side, met Kendra’s blue eyes, “The Weird Sisters, your cousin and his Quarrymen, Robert’s aunt and uncle,” she responded frankly.

Kendra breathed out a long sigh, “Ah.”

“Yes,” agreed the redhead, “Ah.”

A crease etched itself between Kendra’s black eyebrows as she frowned thoughtfully, “I guess a visit to the spirit realm is in order for this morning then. We can ask the Ancient One to give us an update on what the Weird Sisters are doing and ask him and the Jaguar about what, if anything, can be done about my cousins.”

“Go after we’re done with breakfast?” Dominique inquired.

Kendra sat up, the sheet falling from around her shoulders to her waist, “I wonder if Azarel has brought over that contract for you to sign yet.”

Dominique took a moment to admire her lover’s body, the soft fullness of her breasts and the tautly muscled stomach, before admitting, “I had forgotten about that, we can go after I sign that and breakfast is done.”

“That sounds like a plan,” Kendra responded, leaning over to kiss her lingeringly on her lips before rolling out of bed, “dibbs on the shower,” she said as she strolled into the bathroom.

“You’re both rather popular this morning,” Rachael greeted them as they entered the kitchen, a newspaper in her hands. She looked at Dominique, “You so slightly more than Kendra.”

The redhead glanced warily at the spread out stack of newspapers in front of the Cree woman, Rachael sorted through them for a second before laying the front page of the NY Times on the table. “Quarrymen Attempt to Murder Nightstone CEO in front of the Majestic Theater,” read the front-page title, below it was a picture of Kendra and she surveying the unconscious Quarrymen lying on the wide sidewalk in front of the theater.

“The Times stayed rather tame,” Rachael noted before pulling out the NY Daily News. They had a picture of Dominique, her leg fully extended as she kicked the first Quarryman that had attacked her, underneath their headline. “The Daily a bit less so and then there is the Daily Tattler,” her tone was amused as she found and laid down that newspaper on the table. “Dominique Destine Decisively Handles Attacking Quarrymen!” read their headline, and underneath it was a picture of her slamming a Quarryman’s hooded face down upon her rising knee. The rip in her dress clearly showed the top of her stocking hose and the garter’s holding them up.

“And they all sprung for color printing,” Kendra noted dryly, looking at the papers on the table. She smirked, and glanced over at Dominique, “Somehow I don’t think my cousin’s attempt to distance his organization from the attack worked very well for him.”

Rachael chuckled, “With this type of press,” she tapped the picture on the Tattler, “hardly, last night’s altercation was entirely too sensational for the newspapers not to make the most of it. They all buried Castaway’s statement toward the end of their articles.”

Bemused, Dominique picked up the Daily Tattler and started reading the article. By the time she finished, she wasn’t certain whether to burst out in incredulous laughter or call her lawyers to see if they could sue the newspaper for libelous speculation about what it indicated about her personal life that she wore garters and fought so expertly. She handed the Tattler to Kendra who was staring at her curiously.

“I guess it could be worse,” Kendra noted after she finished reading the Tattler’s article. Dominique raised her eyebrow at the black haired woman, wondering how the newspaper article could have been much worse. Kendra shrugged, “They could have titled the article “Mistress of Nightstone Whips Quarrymen into Submission,” she commented with a smirk, her blue eyes dancing with amusement.

A startled snort of laughter from Rachael coincided with Sharon asking in a surprised sounding tone from behind them, “Which paper said that?”

“None of them,” Dominique replied, shooting a reapproving glance at Kendra, who was now laughing aloud, while trying to stifle her own amusement, that had pretty much been the insinuation made by the paper.


Morning – Destine Manor, Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island

The amount that Azarel Mayer wanted for a week long service contract had been surprisingly reasonable, Dominique had read over the contract and immediately signed it. Now, an hour later, she and Kendra were sitting together on the living room couch, the black haired woman supported by pillows behind her back and the arm of the couch, and Dominique resting against Kendra’s chest. “Ready?” she asked quietly, the redhead nodded, closed her green eyes and transitioned into the spirit realm.

Before they could orient themselves and go searching for the Ancient One, the great stag spirit appeared out of the mists around them, stepping into the shadowy reflection of Dominique’s living room. He came to a halt in front of them and looked around at the decorated room, “You have brought more nature into your home,” he observed staring at the red and gold decorated Fraser fir dominating one corner of the room.

“It seemed like a good idea,” Dominique commented, looking around as well, “and I like it,” she admitted hesitantly. She felt rather reticent about admitting such a thing since she couldn’t really point out any concrete reason why and she had never felt the need to have living plants around her before.

“Not surprising,” the Ancient One responded his head swinging her way, “even when you are not actively looking at it you are aware, even if not consciously yet, of the energy that surrounds you.”

That was news to Dominique, though it did explain why she felt more comfortable both here and at work since she had the potted plants delivered. “I didn’t know that,” she commented, staring at him curiously.

“The awareness is part of the same ability that allows you to see and manipulate life and nature energy,” the spirit explained further.

The redhead considered that for a moment before nodding, it did make sense she guessed, “Is it something I can develop further?”

“Might be a useful thing to know without having to look,” Kendra commented, “you might not have time to check someday.”

Dominique glanced over at the black haired woman, that thought had been on her mind as well.

The Ancient One dipped his antlered head, “It is a simple sense to develop, simply focus on feeling the energy around you, and then verify the accuracy of what you sensed by looking at the life and nature energy. Once you become adept at sensing the energy around you, you should also be able to feel the health and sickness of the living things nearby and of the land as well.”

“That sounds interesting,” Kendra commented, intrigued.

“Indeed,” the redhead commented thoughtfully, “it does.” She could think of a few different circumstances in which that ability might be useful. She glanced over at Kendra, “Learning about that though, as interesting as it is, was not the reason for our visit today.”

The Irish Elk turned his attention to the young Jaguar as well, “You have something you wish to ask me?” he inquired of the black haired woman.

Kendra hadn’t expected to start with her question, it took her a moment to order her thoughts, “It was pointed out to me that my cousins, unlike Demona, do not know about what the Weird Sisters did to them or why it was done. Would it be possible to show them enough of the past for them to realize the true history of the Canmores’ and in the process hopefully persuade my cousin Jon to stop what he’s doing before I have to kill him.”

Dominique winced, she knew her mate was only being honest, but this was the Ancient One, not the Jaguar spirit, she was talking to.

“You fear he will force you into doing so to protect others lives,” the great stag spirit commented, staring at the Jaguar’s chosen.

“I’m almost certain that he will,” Kendra stated grimly.

The redhead stared at her mate, concerned; she hadn’t realized that Kendra felt she would eventually be placed in a position where she would have no other choice but to kill her cousin. She turned toward the great stag, “Margaret thought that perhaps you or other spirits had witnessed enough pieces of the Canmores past to persuade them of the truth.”

His massive head turned and he regarded his chosen thoughtfully before turning back to the black haired woman, “It might be possible,” he allowed, “I will need to speak with a few of the other spirits before I can give you an answer.”

“That’s better than an outright no,” Kendra replied, relieved. If the spirit was considering it, she suspected there was a decent chance something could be done, “Thank you.”

The Irish Elk’s gaze shifted back toward Dominique, “Was there something you wished to ask me as well chosen?”

The redhead nodded, “Do you know if the Weird Sisters have discovered that they no longer control Macbeth and I?”

He looked at her intently for a second before responding, “They do not appear to have,” he said slowly, while watching her keenly, “What has happened since the last time we met my chosen?”

Dominique immediately went up to him and looked into his eyes, steadying herself with one hand upon his great muzzle. A minute later, she blinked and pulled away, “I would be nice to know that I don’t have to worry about the Weird Sister’s right now as well as the Quarrymen,” the redhead commented.

The Ancient One swung his antlered head back and forth, looking at both of them, “They are being kept under constant watch by me, the Wise One, the Jaguar spirit, the Wolf spirit and the Horse spirit. You should not be surprised by their sudden appearance.”

The redhead let out a relieved breath; there were too many people around that needed to be defended if the three fey showed up. Besides Rachael and Sharon, she and Kendra now needed to also protect the security people guarding her home from the Quarrymen.

The Ancient One commented, “Is is good that you have been progressing with your tasks my chosen. You seem, however, to have stepped onto an ant hill,” he noted, his tone dry.

“I didn’t expect my donation to PIT to excite Kendra’s cousin like this,” she commented ruefully.

“Then he regards the actions of this group of humans as a threat to him and those he leads,” the great stag spirit noted.

The redhead’s green eyes narrowed thoughtfully, the spirit was correct, Jon Canmore wouldn’t be reacting this strongly if he didn’t feel that her donation to PIT was a threat. Perhaps she would accomplish more than she originally thought she would with her donation.

“Here they are,” the Eagle Owl commented as she came winging out of the mists. All of them, Dominique, Kendra, and the Irish Elk spirit, turned to look at her curiously as she landed upon the ground and turned her head around to look back the direction from which she had come. Dominique followed the Eagle Owl’s amber-eyed gaze, her eyes widening as she saw Robert appear from out of the mists.

The young man looked around at the shadowy image of the house and living room as he rolled his wheelchair closer, “Is this your home?” he asked the redhead, “It looks very nice.”

“It is,” Dominique responded, “and thank you.” She stared at him, her concern growing with every second he failed to say why he had been looking for them, “Robert is something wrong?”

He sighed, “My aunt and uncle read the paper this morning,” he paused, looking very unhappy.

“They don’t want you to have anything to do with me and they don’t approve of gargoyles?” the redhead guessed.

His eyes widened for a brief second and then his face fell, “I guess it’s not a surprise to you,” he said quietly.

Dominique stepped up his wheelchair and knelt on one knee, placing a hand upon the locked wheel to steady herself and stared into his face, “I had hoped I would be wrong, and they would only want you to stay away until it was safer, but yes that’s what I suspected might happen,” she said regretfully.

“No matter what they can’t stop you from working at Nightstone,” Kendra reminded him again, just as she had the night before, “you’ll be eighteen by then and an adult.”

Robert looked up at the black haired woman briefly; he didn’t want to wait five months before seeing them again, so that didn’t sound very encouraging to him. He returned his attention to the redhead kneeling before him. “I’ll try my best to make sure it doesn’t come to that,” Dominique said. “I don’t want to wait that long to see you again, but as I mentioned last night we need to let them calm down some and then I’ll try and talk them into letting you visit. Hopefully, the Quarrymen will cooperate and stop trying to attack me so directly.”

Dominique watched his face, the expressiveness of his grey eyes. He wasn’t happy with this and neither was she, but there was little she could do about it right now. She wasn’t even certain that she really wanted to; her main priority was to keep Robert safe, and if that meant that he had to stay away from her then that was the sacrifice she would make to protect him. “It would have to wait at least a month or so anyway, right now the safest place for you to be should be with your aunt and uncle, the Quarrymen shouldn’t pay any attention to you if you’re not with me.”

His jaw set as he drew in a breath to argue with her, and then he felt her emotions, the fear, the concern, and the fierceness of her determination to protect him. Over and above all of them, was the fondness she for him. The words he had been about to say stilled in his throat, he hadn’t realized she was so fearful that he would get hurt, and even though she had told him last night that she cared for him, he hadn’t realized that she cared this much. “Alright,” he yielded, “but I don’t want to wait until summer to see you again.”

“Neither do I,” she assured him.

He stared at her for a moment longer, “I need to go they think I’m taking a nap,” he said looking uneasy.

Dominique stood up, tousling his hair affectionately as she did so, “Kendra’s phone that she gave you has my cell phone number in it as well as my private work number. You can give me a call whenever you want,” she stated.

“I’ll text my new cell phone number to you as soon as I get the new phone on Monday,” Kendra added, “once you get that you can call me whenever as well. Don’t worry about the minutes either, I always have far more left at the end of the month than I use anyway.”

Robert glanced between the two women, “Thank you,” he said softly. His eyes widened abruptly and he sat up straighter in his chair, “I think someone’s in my room, I’ve got to go, bye.” His body disappeared in the next instant. Dominique stared at where he had been, unsettled with the suddenness of the young man’s departure.

“You are very fond of him,” the Wise One observed after a moment.

The redhead turned toward the Eagle Owl, nodded, “He reminds me of Luach,” she confessed softly. “He looks at me the same way Macbeth’s son did.”

“How is that?” Kendra asked, curious. Dominique had told her quite a bit about Luach, but the redhead had never mentioned that Robert reminded her of him.

“He has that same sensitivity, the same deep seeing eyes,” the redhead reflected, “I never had the feeling that Luach saw me as anything other than who I was without any other thoughts of what I could do for him or what he wished I actually would be.” Her green eyes met Kendra’s sapphire blue ones, “You look at me in somewhat of the same way,” she said with a smile.

Kendra grinned, “Well I would hope there would be a few differences in how Robert looks at you and how I do.”

“A few, yes,” Dominique agreed, her smile extending to her eyes. Turning to the Wise One, the redhead said, “Once I think it’s safe, I will try and change their minds.”

“Hopefully, as you said, things will calm down soon. Their attack last night does not seem like the most sensible course of action they could have taken,” the Eagle Owl noted.

Thinking of the newspaper articles she had read this morning, Dominique could only agree with the owl spirit, “No I don’t think it was.”


Sunset - Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

Angela greeted the Solstice Day sunset with a roar, when she turned around to jump off her perch she was surprised to see Xanatos and Owen, holding a small package and letter, waiting for her instead of her father. “A package and a letter were delivered for you today,” the blonde haired man said, “from your mother.”

“What!” said Brooklyn, his eyes flashing white and sounding alarmed, “did you check them?” Several eyes swung his way, none of them sharing his level of concern.

“Of course,” Owen replied stiffly.

“Mother wouldn’t hurt me,” Angela said angrily, stepping down from her perch.

“Right…” Brooklyn drew out the word, staring at her in disbelief as he wondered how she could so quickly forget that her mother had almost gotten her killed while trying to have Goliath assassinated only a month ago.

“Brooklyn enough,” Goliath rebuked him gruffly. “Did you find anything suspicious?”

Owen hesitated, “I am not certain,” he finally admitted sourly, as if that fact offended him. The reddish male straightened and turned toward his clan leader with a gleam in his dark eye though he did not say anything. “There is some type of magical energy within the gift Demona sent, but I do not recognize it,” Owen continued.

“Sorcery,” Brooklyn finally blurted out, unable to keep silent.

“I would recognize sorcery,” the blonde man replied curtly before Goliath could, though the look the big lavender male turned on his second was enough to discourage the younger beaked male from any more outbursts. “Whatever type of magic Demona used to make the item is completely unknown to me,” the words sounded forced out of the fey.

Hudson took a few steps toward the two humans, “Make it?” he asked curiously.

Xanatos spoke for the first time, “From what Owen can tell, it seems that Demona used magic to create the item. When examined under magnification, it becomes apparent that she certainly didn’t use any conventional means to make it. It’s too detailed and there’s no mold marks on it at all.”

Exasperated with the fact that they had opened her gift and examined it before she had even seen it, Angela took a step forward and held out her taloned hand, “It’s my gift and my letter. May I have them?”

“Angela,” Goliath took a step towards her, eyeing the small box warily as Owen handed it to his daughter.

Xanatos commented reassuringly, “Owen and I have both handled it without harm.”

“The magical energy I sensed does appear to be left over magical energy from whatever process Demona used to construct the item,” the blonde man stated to Goliath.

Broadway frowned, “But you aren’t sure,” he asked in concern as he watched the lavender female open the box.

“Without being familiar with the type of magic used, no, I cannot be entirely certain,” the blonde man reluctantly admitted.

“Oh,” Angela breathed out in admiration as she lifted the gold dragon charm by its chain from the box. She held it up so everyone could see it and examined it closely, “It’s perfect,” she said after a moment.

“Indeed, it does appear to be,” Owen agreed, “that is what caused me to examine it more closely.” Angela turned her attention away from the charm to frown at him, confused. The blond man sighed, “It will be easier for you to understand if you allow me to show you the charm under magnification.”

“Very well,” Goliath said, Angela looked over at him sharply, but she didn’t argue as she was curious now to see what Owen meant as well.

Normally the gargoyles wouldn’t enter this part of the Eyrie Building, but it was Sunday night and the laboratory areas were completely deserted. Owen had Angela place the charm under the lens of the digital microscope and pulled the magnified image up onto the large monitor hanging from the ceiling above it. “If you will notice the fine detail of the hide and scales,” he paused for a moment letting them notice the realistic way each scale was etched even down to the ridges in each single scale. Rotating the lens, he focused on the charm’s side, “The level of detail extends to the wings.” He gave them a minute to appreciate the fact that the only place the wings touched the body were the wing joints and one place where they rested against the body of the golden dragon, but were not attached to it. “The feet,” he moved the lens once again so that they could see the detail of each foot with its taloned toes. Owen rotated the lens around once again, this time so that it magnified the detail of the dragon’s face, “If you will notice that the charm’s mouth is anatomically correct, teeth, gums, lips and tongue, all exactly as you would see if you had the misfortune to be looking into a real dragon’s mouth.”

“It’s not actually a dragon is it?” Broadway finally had to ask hesitantly.

“No, it is not a real dragon Demona has shrunk down to miniature size and then turned into gold,” Owen assured the teal colored gargoyle dryly.

“So mother used magic to make this,” Angela said looking down at the dragon charm underneath the microscope, fascinated with it. She understood now why it had attracted Owen and Xanatos’ attention; the detail with which it was made was extraordinary.

Goliath turned toward his daughter, his face stern, “You will not wear this until Puck can guarantee that this strange magic on it is not a danger to you.” Angela’s head wiped up, and she stared at him outraged. “No,” he growled before she could begin arguing with him, “You will not change my mind about this. You will not wear Demona’s gift until we understand more about this new magic and are completely certain that it does not present any danger to you.” His face softened just slightly as he took in his daughter’s hurt and angry expression, “Hopefully it will not take Puck long to determine whether it is or not.” His instincts for once were telling him that the gift was not a trick, that there was not a spell on Demona’s Solstice gift to her daughter. That Puck was right and it was just left over magic from how the gift was made, but this talk of Demona casting a new unknown type of magic unsettled him, and he would rather be certain the gift was safe before letting Angela wear it.

Brooklyn nodded his head, fully in agreement with the clan leader; at least Goliath wasn’t forgetting what Demona was really like. He gave the golden charm a suspicious look; there was no telling what Demona had done to the thing or what it was supposed to do to Angela. Maybe even try and control her daughter’s mind like the ancient gargoyle had tricked him into helping her do to Goliath.

A few minutes later, in a secluded place up on the castle battlements, Angela found a place to be alone from the other gargoyles. She couldn’t ever remember being so angry with her father as she was now or at Brooklyn who had looked pleased with Goliath’s ordering her not to wear her mother’s gift. At least her father hadn’t mentioned anything about her mother’s letter, she thought, opening the envelope and pulling out the single sheet of paper within.

Angela,

I wish you a very happy Solstice night, and I hope you like the gift I sent you along with this letter. May the following year bring you and those you care about happiness, fulfillment and continued well-being.

I spent a long time trying to think of what you might want, only to realize that I really didn’t know what you might like as a gift. I spent so much time during the times that we spoke together, trying to make you believe as I did, that I didn’t really listen to you when you spoke. I regret that very much now. Because of it, I have to acknowledge that I don’t really know you that well except to know that you passionately believe that humans and gargoyles can learn to coexist. Perhaps sometime soon, when it is much safer, and of course, only if you wish it, we can speak again. If that happens, I promise that I will listen to you.

I have so much to ask forgiveness from you for, from the very first moments we met until only a few weeks ago, I look back on the past and can only wish that I could change all of it. But I cannot, I can only apologize for my actions, for all the ways that I hurt you, and hope that someday you can forgive me for them.

Keep yourself safe, and obey your father for he does have your safety in mind. Once everything has settled down with the Quarrymen and the Weird Sisters have been dealt with I hope that you will consider letting us begin to get to know one another. Though I must confess that in so many ways, I feel as if I am just beginning to know myself now that I am free of the Weird Sisters enchantments. I hope that you will find the person I am becoming to be better than the one you knew.

I love you my daughter,
Your mother

The lavender female drew her wings up around herself and rested her forehead upon her arms, the letter from her mother tight within her hand as she wept. Angela wanted to go to her mother, to reassure Demona that her daughter could forgive her for what she had done in the past.


Night – Destine Manor, Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island

“I’m sure she got it,” Margaret said reassuringly to Demona, “I delivered it directly to the fey there.”

“I hope she likes it,” the flame haired gargoyle said softly, placing the last china plate down upon the ivory tablecloth. The two of them were in the dining room, setting the table for the Solstice dinner, which had been delivered by the catering service only half an hour ago.

“I’m sure she will, it was very lovely,” the tall woman assured her. Dominique had given her the box containing the charm and her letter on Friday and asked her to deliver it sometime during the day today. The Bison’s chosen glanced over at the gargoyle, noting the melancholy expression on her face. The longer she knew the newest chosen the more admiration she had for Demona, what the gargoyle had learned about her long past and the things she had done because of the Weird Sisters enchantments’ on her would surely have sent a less strong person into a deep depression. Margaret suspected that without Kendra’s love and encouragement the gargoyle might have done just that, and watching the two of them together was proof enough of how powerful love could be in a person’s life. She had seen Demona watch Kendra with a look of awe and thankfulness enough to know that the gargoyle was certainly not taking what she had with the Jaguar’s chosen for granted.

“That’s a lovely china set,” Rachael commented as she entered the room from the kitchen bearing a covered sterling silver serving dish.

“Thank you,” Demona replied, looking at the set table with satisfaction, the silverware and crystal glasses glittered underneath the dining room lights, while the white bone china with its ruby and gold design around the rim shone with a more subdued reflection. The two sideboards on the left of the room already held the soup and vegetable dishes for the dinner as well as a selection of breads and two different red wines breathing in decanters. The main course, Chateaubriand, which Rachael was placing on the table, and its accompanying béarnaise sauce were among the last of the dishes they needed before sitting down to the meal.

Demona sat down at the head, Kendra on her right and Rachael on her left and then Margaret and Sharon. She knew she was expected to say a few words, but she took a moment to look at her mate and friends, absorbing the fact that she was celebrating Solstice once again after so very many years of resenting this night because her life had been empty of anything to celebrate. “Tonight is the longest night of the year, the night when my race is awake for the longest time. For my clan and many others, it marked the beginning of the New Year and the night when we gave thanks for the good fortunes of the past year.”

The flame haired gargoyle took in a breath, “I have so many things to be thankful for this year. The Ancient One choosing me to be his first chosen, his freeing Macbeth and I from the Weird Sister’s enchantments and returning my memories of the past to me.” She looked over at the black haired woman on her right, meeting her sapphire blue eyes, “For Kendra persuading me to spar with her that day we first met and for the love that has grown between us since.” Her voice faltered slightly as she continued, speaking directly to the woman she already thought of as her mate, “Your love means so much to me, whenever I’ve been tempted to falter you’re there supporting me, giving me the courage to continue. Of all the things I have to be thankful for this year your love is the gift I’m most thankful for,” the blue eyes staring into hers mirrored the love she was feeling. After a second Demona continued with a smile, “Followed very closely by being the Ancient One’s chosen.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t mind taking second place to that,” Rachael commented, watching the two of them with a warm expression.

“No I suspect he doesn’t,” Demona agreed, looking over at the Cree woman. “Meeting and getting to know you,” her eyes went to the other two women at the table “Margaret, Sharon and Robert is another thing I’m thankful for this year. In less than two months, I’ve gone from being completely alone and estranged from my clan, to this,” she indicated the table and the people around it, “thank you for being here and celebrating this Solstice night with me.”

“No need for thanks Demona, it has been a pleasure visiting with you and Kendra and getting to know Robert, Sharon and Margaret better,” Rachael assured the redhead, “that’s what I’m thankful for.”

“I’ll second that,” Margaret said, “it has been wonderful getting to know all of you better, and especially you,” she said to the gargoyle, “and Kendra. Though it has been somewhat more of an exciting trip than I anticipated,” she commented with a smirk.

Sharon grimaced slightly at the tall woman’s comment, and the gargoyle gave her an apologetic look. To Demona’s surprise, the news of the attack had been carried on the national networks and the younger woman had received a rather upset phone call from her father and mother this morning. The brunette saw her expression and shook her head, a determined expression crossing her face, “Even with last night I’ve really enjoyed myself, getting to meet everyone and finding a place to live and a stable for Brie that I’m happy with…” She stared directly at Demona, “I’m looking forward starting working for you in a few weeks.”

“We’ll see,” the gargoyle responded firmly, not sure whether she was more exasperated or pleased by Sharon’s persistence.

A quiet snort drew her attention back to the one person who had yet to speak; Kendra was watching the interaction between her and Sharon, amusement brightening her blue eyes. The black haired woman raised an eyebrow at her, “I guess it’s my turn?”

“It was tradition for us to mention a few things that we were thankful for before beginning the night’s meal, but it’s not required,” the flame haired gargoyle responded hesitantly.

“I want to,” Kendra assured her quickly, “I have quite a few things to be thankful for myself,” she said her eyes fixed steadily upon Demona. “I had started to wonder if I would find someone to love as much as my mother and father loved one another. I had even given up looking for it, and then I met you.” Demona’s eyes widened in surprise, she knew that Kendra had stopped dating for a few years before meeting her, but had never known it was because her mate had given up on finding someone to love. The black haired woman’s expression lightened, she grinned, “And as I remember,” Kendra said, “I left your office in a hurry so you didn’t have time to change your mind about us sparring that evening.”

Demona was glad she was in her true form, it was much harder for anyone to notice that she was blushing, “I do believe that I was trying to figure out how I let a Canmore talk me into sparring with them,” she admitted.

Kendra continued, her expression more serious, “I’m thankful that you didn’t, and that we got kidnapped and trekked across Canada together. That we got to know one another and fell in love, and that we have what we do now,” Kendra reached out and took Demona’s hand in hers, and stared into her love’s eyes trying to convey wordlessly how thankful she was that they had found one another. After a moment, she turned towards the other women at the table, the smile on her face returning, “I’m also thankful that Jaguar finally decided to tell me what I was so I could meet the rest of you.” Laughter broke out around the table in response to the quip.

When the laughter died down Demona looked around the table, “Does anyone have something to add?” she inquired. When no one replied, “Then let’s eat.”

After dinner, Demona stared pensively at the burning Yule log in the living room fireplace, her thoughts going to Macbeth and wondering what he was doing this night. She had no idea if he even celebrated Solstice anymore or if he only celebrated the modern human holiday.

“What are you thinking about so seriously?” Rachael inquired, coming over to her.

“Macbeth,” the gargoyle responded, looking over at her friend, “I was wondering what he was doing tonight and if I should see what he’s doing tomorrow night.”

The Cree woman gave her a quizzical look, “What’s stopping you from inviting him?”

“I don’t know how to explain your, Margaret and Sharon’s presence with me,” Demona admitted frankly. She knew that Macbeth and the clan had probably seen the news of the attack by now, and were undoubtedly wondering who the humans were with her. Kendra’s presence she could explain, but the others…she could think of no plausible reason for them to know her well enough for her to have invited them to stay with her. Even explaining that they had stayed with Rachael in Canada, didn’t fully account for why she and the Cree woman had become friends so quickly.

“Tell him a small part of the truth,” Rachael suggested, “everyone’s already seen all of us together, so there’s no use anymore in hiding the fact that we know you. If you explain that we have all been touched by the spirits that gives a reasonable explanation for how we know one another without revealing the full truth.”

Demona frowned in concern, “But that’s so close to the truth,” she protested.

Rachael shrugged, “The only ones who can figure it out are Macbeth and your clan, as well as the one fey, Puck.”

“And the Xanatos’,” the flame haired gargoyle said darkly.

The Cree woman stared at her, “Do you think Macbeth would share that information with them?”

“No,” the flame haired gargoyle responded immediately. She hesitated, thinking about her answer and why she had given it so quickly. Macbeth had always kept his own council and secrets well, it had been one of the reasons she had been so willing to believe that he might follow Bodhe’s advice that night. “No, he would not if we gave him a reason not to.”

Rachael smiled at the gargoyle conspiratorially, “Then let’s find that reason, because I’m actually rather curious to meet him.”

Demona’s eyes widened in surprise, she didn’t think that the Cree woman had actually seen Macbeth either of the two times he was in the spirit realm. She gave her friend an inquisitive look, wondering whether it was her old ally’s history or something else that interested the other woman.

“What?” Rachael asked, seeing the expression on her face.

The flame haired gargoyle responded, “I was just wondering why you would say that.”

“His history sounds interesting,” the Cree woman admitted.

Demona regarded her for a moment longer before nodding, “We should ask Margaret and Sharon’s permission as well.”

Five minutes later, after the other two women gave their permission and admitted an interest in meeting the former king, Kendra suggested, “Why not the same one we gave him for not telling the clan everything before, we don’t want the fey to find out because it could endanger all of you. It has the benefit after all, of being the truth.”

The gargoyle thought about it for a moment, turning it over in her mind, her lover was right it did have the benefit of being the truth, if not the whole truth, and thus easily believable. She slowly nodded her head, “He will certainly understand the need for caution so it should work.”

“Merry Solstice night my old friend,” Demona said when Macbeth answered the phone. She had moved into her study to make the phone call, everyone else was in the living room listening to Margaret relate a story from her time as a Yeoman during the Second World War as a member of the WAVES.

“Demona,” he replied, recognizing her voice, “It’s been awhile since you said that to me,” he said, a hint of wistfulness in his voice.

“It’s been 940 years since I said that to anyone,” the gargoyle replied softly, “I haven’t celebrated Solstice since that last winter’s night at Moray.”

“That long?” he commented sadly.

“I haven’t had anything to be thankful for until now,” she said with a sigh. “Tonight though,” her voice deepened with emotion, “tonight I have many things to be thankful for,” her voice lightened, “and one of those is that we are no longer enemies, but friends once again.”

“Aye that is something to be thankful for,” he agreed his voice stronger, “Merry Solstice to you as well Demona.” He paused a second, “I saw the Quarrymen attack on the news.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hide the fact that I can stay human at night from you,” she said before he could say anything else, “though I was hiding it from the clan and Puck. I should have told you that day in my office, but honestly, my mind wasn’t on it,” she finished ruefully.

His responding chuckle sounded slightly incredulous, “Are you saying you have more important things on your mind these days than the fact you can remain human at night?”

“Honestly…yes,” she replied with a chuckle, “I was more focused on the change in our relationship and how to limit the information revealed to the clan and Puck than the fact I could remain human appearing at night. And then I was thinking about how you would react once you found out that Kendra and I were involved.”

“Alright, I can understand that,” he sounded bemused, “but it’s hard to believe that the fact you can remain human at night isn’t significant to you.”

Demona’s mind went back to that night that she had remained human simply because it was more convenient, and the insight she had gained, “At the beginning, yes it was,” she confessed to him, “but honestly I don’t think much about it now. After all, it’s just a change of form not a change in who I am.”

There was silence from the other end of the line, “That very statement shows just how much you’ve changed,” Macbeth finally responded.

“Yes, I guess it does,” the gargoyle responded, amused by his reaction. “I didn’t just call to wish you a good Solstice though, are you busy tomorrow night?” the flame haired gargoyle asked, feeling a slight flutter in her stomach, despite their preparation she really didn’t know how this was going to go.

“No,” Macbeth sounded puzzled.

“Nightstone is having its Christmas party tomorrow night, a dinner cruise; I would like to invite you to go with us.”

There was a moment of silence and then he asked, “Tuxedo formal or suit formal?”

“Either,” Demona replied, surprised that he hadn’t commented on who else was going with her.

“What pier and when should I be there?” Macbeth responded.

The gargoyle offered, “If you want we can pick you up in the limo, that way you can meet everyone beforehand.”

“Everyone?” he sounded startled, “I thought you meant you and Kendra, who else is coming with us?”

That explained why he hadn’t commented before, Demona realized, “Everyone you saw in the news report except for Robert, which is unfortunate, since I would really like for you to meet him. He reminds me of Luach in many ways.”

There was silence on the other end for a long moment, before Macbeth finally spoke again, “Were those Kendra’s friends?”

Demona raised an eyebrow, his assumption did make sense even if it was inaccurate, “They are Kendra’s friends, but they’re mine as well.” She could easily imagine how much that statement startled him, “We all share something in common, including you.”

“Fey,” the response was a low growl.

Her brow rose even further, “Not in every case. The spirits involve themselves in people’s lives for other reasons besides the fey.”

Macbeth was quiet for a moment, undoubtedly absorbing what she had said, “Do they know about you?” he finally asked.

“Everyone but Robert is here, and I’m in my true form,” Demona responded, “and he knows as well.”

“Do they know about me?” she could hear the uneasiness in his voice.

“Some,” she responded, “They know who you actually are and how long we’ve both been alive. You don’t need to worry Macbeth, they’re trustworthy.” From Macbeth’s end of the call, there was a strangled sounding snort, and Demona started laughing in amusement, recognizing the inherent incongruity of her making such a comment, especially about humans. After a moment, the sound of Macbeth’s own laugher joined hers.

When they both calmed down, Macbeth said, “After hearing you say that I’m very curious to meet them now, when do you want to pick me up.”

“Six o’clock?” she responded.

“I’ll be ready.”

There was a beep on the line indicating that she had another caller. Demona frowned, she seldom had any phone callers. She pushed a button on the base station to get the identity of the other caller and her eyes widened as the display read Xanatos Enterprises Headquarters. “Macbeth someone from the Eyrie building is calling me, I need to go.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow at six,” he said just before he hung up the phone.

“Dominique Destine’s residence,” the gargoyle said in a crisp voice, expecting it to be David Xanatos or Puck’s human persona Owen Burnett that was calling her.

“Mother?” the hesitant voice on the other end of the phone belonged to neither.

“Angela?” Demona replied, her voice rising slightly in her disbelief.

Sounding more confident, the younger gargoyle on the other end of the line answered, “Yes, its Angela, merry Solstice Mother. I got your letter and gift tonight.”

The fiery haired gargoyle’s wings instinctively tried to wrap around her, but the fact that she was sitting in a chair prevented them. Demona sucked in an irritated breath, annoyed with her reaction. She forced herself to relax, “Merry Solstice daughter. Did you like the gift I made you?”

“Yes I do, it’s beautiful,” Angela replied, the immortal gargoyle frowned hearing the undertone of anger in her daughter’s voice, “but Father won’t let me wear it. Puck sensed magical energy on it that he didn’t recognize and Father and Brooklyn think you put some type of spell on it to harm me.”

The frown on Demona’s face deepened in confusion before she realized what the fey must have sensed, “I didn’t even think about him being able to sense that,” she said musingly, “it’s a good thing to know that he can though.” Her mind was already calculating the strategic implications of the information she had just gained and what the risks might be now that Puck knew she was learning a new type of magic.

“Sense what?” her daughter asked her confusion apparent.

“Hmm?” the flame haired gargoyle responded absently, her mind still occupied with evaluating the possible consequences. It took her a half second to realize what Angela had asked, and once Demona did, she began trying to estimate the chances of the Xanatos’ and Puck finding out the information if she told her daughter what she had done to the charm. Fairly high she guessed unhappily, and she’d really rather Puck learn as little as possible about how she had made the charm and what she had done to harden the metal. She believed him when he said he wouldn’t help the Weird Sisters in any way, but that didn’t mean that he would not tell other fey, perhaps even Lord Oberon about anything he learned about her, especially if she and Kendra succeeded in defeating the Weird Sisters.

If only she had chosen a less pure form of gold, one that wouldn’t have needed hardening this wouldn’t have happened, she thought, angry with herself for not realizing that the way she had hardened the gold would leave traces of nature magic on the charm. She had however, and now she needed to deal with the situation. Making a big production of keeping the information away from Puck would probably only draw more attention to the fact that she was being taught a new form of magic. Therefore, it was probably best to treat this casually, as if it was of no particular import and then be more careful in the future. Besides, she consoled herself, if she did have a big battle with the Weird Sisters, chances were the other fey would learn about her abilities anyway, so she was really just trying to keep that information from them for as long as possible.

“He probably sensed the enchantment I used to harden the metal daughter, the charm is almost pure gold and thus too soft. It would have gotten scratched and damaged too easily,” she responded calmly, keeping any hint of the grimace on her face out of her voice.

“If I tell Father that perhaps he will let me wear your gift,” Angela said, not sounding very certain.

“Perhaps,” Demona agreed, “if not I can always buy you something from a jeweler, I’m certain that would reassure your father enough to let you wear it.”

In the silence that followed her words, the door to her study opened and Kendra slipped in, giving her a questioning look, “It’s Angela,” Demona told her, a slight smile on her face. The gargoyle didn’t try to hide that she was talking to someone else in the room. She wanted her daughter to know that Kendra was here, celebrating the holiday with her; it would only help when the time came for her to tell Angela about their relationship.

Kendra gave her a concerned look, “I would have thought you would be happier about that,” she said quietly.

At the same time Angela asked, “Was that Kendra Canmore?”

“Puck detected some magic on the gift I sent her and Goliath won’t let her wear it until he knows it’s nothing harmful,” Demona explained what the problem was to Kendra. Then into the phone she said, “Yes, Kendra is here,” to her daughter.

“Ah,” her mate commented, crossing the room to lean on the edge of the desk where the gargoyle was sitting, “I didn’t think about that possibility,”

Demona looking up at the black haired woman, she shrugged, “Neither did I until Angela mentioned it.” She carefully covered the phone and whispered, “I figured it was best to treat it as if it weren’t that important, I don’t want to draw too much attention to it, but he knows it’s a magic he’s never seen before.”

Kendra nodded thoughtfully, “It’s not like they wouldn’t have eventually figured it out anyway.”

“That was my thought as well,” Demona commented before turning her attention back to the phone and lifting her hand away from the receiver. She took in a deep breath, “Did Goliath allow you to read the letter I sent with your gift,” Demona asked her daughter, her voice tight with her tension.

“Yes,” Angela answered, “I really liked the dragon,” she said in a reassuring tone, “perhaps you know me better than you think you do.”

“But not as well as I should for all the time we spent talking in the Labyrinth,” Demona said sadly. Kendra leaned forward and placed a comforting hand on her forearm, and the gargoyle gave her a quick smile before speaking to her daughter again. “I meant everything I said in the letter, I do regret all the things I have done that have hurt you, and most especially I regret what I did last month. You don’t know the number of times since the spirit freed me of the Weird Sister’s enchantments that I’ve wished that Jon Canmore had kidnapped us a few days earlier, before all of that happened.”

Angela asked doubtfully, “Would that have made a difference?”

“Certainly,” Demona answered without any hesitation, “After learning what I did from the spirit, I wouldn’t have hired that human or tried to kill your father.” The flame haired gargoyle sighed, “So many things I thought were the truth turned out to be lies, and so many things that I thought I was doing for one reason were actually for another.”

There was a long silence from the other end of the line before her daughter asked, doubt clear in her tone, “You don’t want to harm father anymore?”

“Oh, I still think he’s putting the clan and you in unnecessary danger, but no, I don’t want to harm him anymore,” the flame haired gargoyle stated. She smiled wryly and added, “Nor Eliza Maza either. I wish them the joy of one another; maybe the detective can deal with your father’s hard headed surety that he’s always right better than I ever could.” A dark brow over the brilliant blue eyes watching her rose at her statement, Demona moved her free arm a little and when Kendra took her hand away, the gargoyle swiftly captured it with her hand and brought it to her lips, pressing a kiss into the palm while giving the black haired woman a reassuring look. One of the things the gargoyle truly appreciated about Kendra was the fact that she actually listened to her.

“You don’t want to lead the clan?” Angela asked in a bewildered tone.

“Oh no,” Demona shook her head, “I barely have time to do all the things I need to do each day, and I certainly don’t have the time to lead a clan. If something were to happen to Goliath, I’d suggest the clan ask Hudson to lead again until Brooklyn is older and a bit less hot headed.” The silence went on so long that she finally asked, “Angela are you alright?”

“Yes, I mean no…oh I don’t know,” her daughter replied, sounding exasperate and confused. “Mother you’ve wanted to lead the clan yourself and been angry at father for as long as I’ve known you.” The disbelief in her daughter’s tone was painfully clear to the blue-skinned gargoyle and Demona did understand, this was a radical departure from how she had acted in the past.

“Angela,” Demona paused, sighed, trying to figure out how to explain why she had been so angry with Goliath. “I spent almost five hundred years waiting for the proper time to bring Goliath out of his stone sleep,” she began. “In my mind, everything was supposed to be perfect once they were freed. Only it wasn’t because everything that made me miserable and angry was still there, humans had grown ever more powerful and the feys’ enchantments were still on me,” she said, “and then your father chose Elisa Maza over me. I had been faithful to him for nine hundred years and had spent the last five hundred years existing only for the time to come when I could free him and the rest of the clan. Five hundred years of running from the hunters and Macbeth, only to have Goliath turn his back on me and chose another to be his mate.” Demona explained, unaware of how tired she sounded. “Yes, I’ve been rather angry with Goliath. Yes, I wanted to hurt him, both for not being as faithful to me as I was to him and for not making everything magically right in my world when he awoke. And yes, I do know the last was unfair of me to expect of him, but it is how I’ve felt for the past few years. When I found out about you, I added being angry at him for not protecting you as well as I felt he could, to all of my earlier anger.”

Kendra’s hand squeezed hers, causing the gargoyle to refocus on the black haired woman. Her mate’s blue eyes were filled with concern for her. “I love you,” Kendra’s lips silently formed the words. A wide smile formed on Demona’s lips and she mouthed the words back at the black haired woman.

“How has what you learned from the spirits stopped you from being angry with father?” Angela asked. Demona could almost see her daughter’s confused expression as she struggled to understand what her mother was trying to explain to her.

“Ever since Canada and the spirits freeing me from the Weird Sisters, I’ve been happy. For the first time in over nine hundred years, I’m happy with my life and starting to be happy with myself.” Demona hesitated, uncertain whether to even bring up the past, but she wanted to be honest with her daughter. “I’ve hated myself for so long for what I did to our clan, for agreeing to Robbie’s plan and for being too much of a coward to tell the other’s when my temper finally cooled down enough for me to realize how dangerous it was to trust that one human could protect us from an army of Vikings. As Kendra has told me many times,” she was unaware of how her voice changed as she said her mate’s name, the warmth that briefly infused it, “there are several people that share the blame for what happened that day, but that fact does not absolve me from my part of it,” she finished in a harsher tone.

When Angela did not immediately reply, Demona continued, “I know you’re struggling to understand how what happened in Canada changed me so much. All I can say is that this past month has been a process of understanding things for the first time, accepting the truth of the past, letting go some things that I’ve been angry about for a long time,” she smiled up at Kendra, “and letting myself be happy and thankful for the gifts in my life.” Demona paused, thinking about how to phrase what she wanted to say next, “As for your father, I don’t care anymore what Goliath does with his life. I’m done with my anger toward him; I’m done with being concerned at all about whatever he does with his life.”

“Father’s calling for me,” Angela’s statement was unexpected, and Demona wondered with some disappointment how much of what she had just said her daughter had heard. “I want to talk with you again,” her daughter said hurriedly, making the fiery haired gargoyle suspect that her daughter hadn’t called her with her father’s permission. “I don’t really understand everything you’ve said to me tonight, but I can tell that you’ve changed, and I wanted to let you know that I can forgive you for what you’ve done in the past.”

Demona sucked in a startled breath, she had hoped that Angela would be able to forgive her, but she had feared that she had lost her daughter’s trust forever. “Thank you Angela, that means quite a lot to me,” she said, her voice thick with the sudden tears that filled her eyes. Kendra’s hand around her own tightened and Demona glanced up to see the black haired woman smiling at her in pleasure.

“I’ve got to go,” Angela said.

“I understand…I love you Angela.”

There was a moment of hesitation, “I love you too mother,” it was said quietly and with an underlying uncertainty that tore at Demona’s heart.

“I’ll try my best never to hurt you again,” Demona promised earnestly.

“Angela,” the flame haired gargoyle heard her ex-mates displeased voice in the background.

“Goodnight,” her daughter said quickly, and Demona barely had time to say the same before Angela hung up the phone.

She looked up at Kendra, “She said she can forgive me,” the tears that had been threatening finally slid loose.

“I heard,” her lover replied before pulling her up from the chair. Demona buried her face into Kendra’s neck as the black haired woman’s arms wrapped around her, one at her waist and the other around her shoulders above her wings, pulling her close against the reassuring comfort of her mate’s body. The gargoyle wrapped her wings around Kendra in return, wanting to feel as close to the black haired woman as possible. “I’m very happy for you; I know you’ve been worried that she wouldn’t,” Kendra said softly.

Demona drew in a shaky breath, “I have been, I am fortunate that she is so forgiving.” Her wings tightened around them, “Now to figure out how to tell her about us,” she said, her trepidation quite apparent.

“It doesn’t need to be done tomorrow or even this week,” Kendra pointed out, shifting the arm around the gargoyle’s shoulders so that she could stroke the fiery red hair. “And chances are with the way we’ve not been hiding it, you’ll be responding to her asking if we’re together.”

“True,” Demona responded, her lips twisting in a wry smile. They weren’t making much of an effort to be discrete, and she certainly planned on dancing with Kendra tomorrow night at Nightstone’s Christmas party, which she knew would set the company gossips into overdrive.


Night - Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

Goliath frowned as he watched his daughter hang up the phone and turn toward him with a defensive but determined look in her dark eyes.

“I called my mother,” she said before he could ask, “to wish her a merry Solstice night.”

His eyes narrowed, but he didn’t immediately say anything. He crossed his arms over his chest, “What did she say,” he finally asked.

“She wished me a merry Solstice,” Angela responded, eyeing him warily. She had expected him to be angrier with her.

“You did not speak with her about her gift?” the large lavender male asked, unable to believe that hadn’t been a major reason his daughter had called Demona.

“She said it was an enchantment to harden the gold because otherwise the charm would be too easily damaged,” Angela replied, some of her outrage over the charm creeping back into her tone.

“Hmm,” he considered it, it was possible, and he knew that gold was usually mixed with harder metals for just that reason. “We will tell Puck perhaps he can determine whether that is the case.” He ignored the glare she gave him. Angela could be as angry as she wanted with him, but he was not letting her wear Demona’s gift until he was certain it was safe.

Her mother’s statement about Goliath’s hard headed surety went through Angela’s mind as she saw her father’s expression; it was obvious that he would not change his mind about the charm. She frowned, there had to be a way to get her father to see how much Demona had changed, “Mother said that she would have never hired that human to kill you if she had met the spirit earlier.” She could tell by his expression that he was at least listening to her, “She also said that she doesn’t want to hurt you or Elisa, and she doesn’t want to lead the clan anymore.”

Goliath shook his head, “I cannot believe that, Demona has wanted to take over leadership of this clan ever since I refused to take part in her war on the humans.”

“But she no longer wants to do that,” Angela swiftly pointed out. “Mother said that she doesn’t have the time to lead a clan, that she doesn’t have time to do what she needs to do each day. She suggested that Hudson lead again if something happened to you, because she thinks Brooklyn is still too young.” She left out the hot headed comment, though personally she agreed, especially with the completely unreasonable way he was acting lately.

The lavender male stared at his daughter, disturbed by the fact that his ex-mates thinking so closely followed his own. Brooklyn was not acting like a proper second, the younger male was refusing to let go of the past, and was holding on to his distrust of Demona to the point that he was starting to lose the respect of his clan because of it. Everything they had learned pointed to the fact that something significant had happened to Demona in Canada, and they had Puck’s verification that these spirits Macbeth and his ex-mate were talking about were real. Brooklyn’s continued refusal to even consider that what they had heard was the truth was disconcerting, he had thought the younger male was mature enough to set his feelings aside long enough to consider the facts in a more reasoned manner.

“Father, why does mother believe that you and Elisa are mates and have been since the Magus’s spell on you was broken?” she finally asked. It had been something that confused her when her mother spoke about it, as far as she knew the two of them were interested in one another but were not mates, at least not yet.

“What?” Goliath responded, completely baffled both by the abrupt change of subject and the question itself.

“Mother believes that you and Elisa are mates and that you left her for Elisa,” Angela stated. Her mother had said a lot, but in all the talk of centuries of fidelity and waiting, Angela had clearly gotten the point that her mother was still rather resentful of the fact that she had spent so much time waiting to free the clan only to have Goliath leave her for Elisa.

He scowled, “That was not the case, Demona is the one who drove us apart, who broke our vows to one another. I kept trying to persuade her to give up her hatred and rejoin the clan until it became clear that she would not and I was not willing to join her in her hatred.” How dare Demona try and lay the blame on him for the fact that they were no longer mates.

“I know that,” Angela said impatiently, she had heard all of this before. “I’m asking why mother believes that you and Elisa are mates, and have been for a long time.”

Goliath had no idea why his ex-mate would think that, but some of the baffling things Demona had said in the past made a lot more sense now that he knew she thought he and Elisa were already mates. “I do not know,” he said gruffly, “I did not see Elisa’s beauty until the night Puck’s spell changed her into a gargoyle,” he admitted.

“Oh,” Angela was surprised, she knew about that night it was the same night Puck placed a spell on her mother so she would be human during the day. She hadn’t known that was the night when Goliath first noticed Elisa as a potential mate. “Mother thinks that you and Elisa make better mates than you and she did,” Angela decided to leave out the fact that Demona thought Elisa could deal with her father’s stubbornness better, from what she had observed of her father and Elisa’s relationship she would have to say Demona was right. The human woman was very good at getting her father to listen to her.

Goliath stared at his daughter nonplused; he couldn’t imagine his ex-mate willingly admitting such a thing. He had been even more convinced after she fell in love with Thailog that she still wanted him, she just couldn’t give up her hatred of humanity and she knew he would never take her back as his mate until she changed. Of course after a certain point, he had known that there was no love left in him for her anymore, she had hurt him, the clan and her daughter too many times for him to forgive her. At least that was what he had thought until he saw her protecting humans the night before. Now he didn’t know what to think, in less than a month Demona appeared to have changed radically since the spirits freed her from the Weird Sister’s enchantments. He settled his wings around his shoulders, “What else did your mother tell you,” he asked.

Angela stared at him for a moment, before sighing, “I didn’t understand a lot of it,” she admitted, “she said that things she thought were the truth turned out to be lies, and that she learned that the reason she did some things were not the reason’s that she thought she was doing them for.” She studied her father’s frowningly thoughtful face. “She also said that she’s hated herself for a long time for her part in what happened to the clan, for being too afraid to tell them what she had done when she realized that the Captain of the Guard couldn’t protect the clan by himself from the Vikings when they attacked the castle.”

Another piece of his mental image of who Demona was, crumbled away. Goliath had thought that his former mate would never accept that she and not the humans were to blame for what happened to their clan. Not only that, but from what Demona had said to Angela she had always known that she had been the one to blame despite all of her protests that the humans were solely at fault.

 

 
 
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