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Discussions - Chapter 16


  Discussions - Chapter 16

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: 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: 09/06/08


Tuesday, December 23th 1997

Just after Sunset - Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

Brooklyn headed toward Xanatos’ office instead of toward the kitchen, as the rest of the clan was after waking up. He knew Broadway wouldn’t be finished with dinner for at least thirty minutes, and that would give him plenty of time to ask if Xanatos had found out where the young man in the wheelchair, Robert, lived.

The reddish gargoyle couldn’t get his mind off the young human. He remembered only too well what it felt like to have Demona’s attention and approval, the feeling that you were special, unique, worthy above all the others. The way he had felt as a young gargoyle because the clan’s second in command was paying more attention to him and his training than she was to his other rookery brothers and sisters. He had reveled in her interest in him, looking to her first for approval whenever he did something correctly and feeling as if he had let her down whenever he failed.

He had been overjoyed to find out that she had also survived the centuries when they had awakened in this time. His mentor and teacher was here in this time, she hadn’t been killed along with the others. Only it had all been a lie from the very beginning, she had never meant any of it. She had betrayed him, used his naivety and his trust in her to first have him steal the Grimorium from the castle, and then lure Goliath into a trap so that she could cast a mind control spell on him. She had actually thought that he would allow her to take control of the clan like that, but she had been wrong. Her hold on him hadn’t been so strong that he would betray his clan for her.

That hadn’t been the end of her manipulative attempts, she had lured Goliath into thinking there was a chance for reconciliation between them to get the other half of the Phoenix Gate and go back in time. She had tricked them all with her supposed capture and imprisonment in the Labyrinth so that she could steal DNA samples from them. And then there was what she had done to Angela, tricking her own daughter into helping her in her attempt to kill Goliath and take over the clan. He couldn’t understand why Goliath and Angela were forgetting all of that, why they were falling for her current scheme. Sometimes he felt as if he were the only one who remembered the past, who remembered that Demona had proved over and over again that she wasn’t capable of anything but being manipulative and deceitful.

Brooklyn paused outside Xanatos’ office when he heard the sound of voices. “What do you think Goliath will think of the Tattler headlines today?” it was Xanatos.

“I don’t know,” Owen replied evenly. “I find it interesting that Ms. Destine would choose to have Ms. Kenmore escort her to a corporate function. I would think such an astute business woman as she would have known that such a public action would start such rumors.”

“In other words she doesn’t care, or she wants everyone to know,” Xanatos commented thoughtfully, “interesting point you bring up Owen.”

“Yes, sir, also sir I have located the young man in the wheelchair, his name is Robert McKenzie. Both of his parents died in the same accident that left his legs paralyzed. He currently lives with his aunt and uncle, Nancy and Edward Collins in Union City, New Jersey.”

“Did you find his address and phone number?” Xanatos asked.

“Yes sir,” Owen replied promptly, and Brooklyn heard what sounded like paper. He gritted his teeth together, he needed that information. He had to warn Robert or someone who cared about his safety to stay away from Demona and not to trust her no matter how caring and interested she pretended to be. The beaked gargoyle wished that someone had warned him before Demona had lured him into trusting her, that someone had saved him from the disillusionment and pain of finding out that her attention had all been a carefully designed pretense. No one had though; no one had realized what she was truly like until it was too late. He could do for Robert however, what hadn’t been done for him. He could warn the young human not to trust her, and maybe in some way it would salve the still stinging pain of that betrayal and his anger at himself for being so foolish as to trust the scarlet haired gargoyle.

Of course, maybe he didn’t need to see that piece of paper, Brooklyn thought as he remembered Lexington getting a phone number just from knowing the name and place where the person lived. He quietly turned away from the open doorway and made his way back down the hallway headed toward Lexington’s computer room.

“Press one if you would like to dial this number,” as he took the phone away from his ear and carefully pressed the one key. Brooklyn was feeling fairly proud of himself for having managed to do this without any help.

“Collins residence,” an older sounding male voice answered the phone.

The beaked male paused for a second; not having really thought out what he was going to say. “Mr. Edward Collins?” he asked deciding quickly that the first thing to do was verify that he had the right house.

“Yes,” the man was starting to sound suspicious.

“Does Robert McKenzie live there?” the gargoyle was feeling hopeful.

“Who are you? One of those damn reporters?” the man asked angrily.

“No, no I’m not a reporter,” Brooklyn rushed the words out; afraid the human would hang up on him before he could explain why he was calling. “I’m calling to warn you about Dominique Destine, you can’t trust her.” The room seemed brighter to him as his eyes glowed, betraying his rising emotions.

There was silence on the other end of the phone before the man demanded, “Who is this?”

“Who I am is not important,” Brooklyn responded, “You have to protect Robert from her. She’s leading him on, making him think she cares about him, but she’s only capable of caring for herself. She’s planning on using him for something, that’s the only reason she would have anything to do with him. You have to protect him, keep him away from her,” the reddish male implored the human.

The last thing he expected was what he heard, a derisive chuckle. “So what, you’re some past guy she used to get what she wanted? Of course she’s using him. She needs some handicapped guy to make her employment record look good,” the humans tone was dismissive.

Brooklyn gaped; he hadn’t expected this reaction, but then this human thought that Dominique Destine was just another businesswoman. He didn’t know that she was actually a human hating gargoyle. His thoughts darted around, seeking something, anything that would cause Robert’s uncle, the young human’s equivalent of a clan leader, to halt any contact between Robert and Demona. He remembered Xanatos’ comment about rumors starting of Dominique Destine being Kendra Canmore’s lover. “She’s gay,” he blurted in desperation, remembering that a lot of humans didn’t approve of homosexuals.

“What?” the human’s tone had changed, this he was taking more seriously.

The gargoyle felt a twinge of discomfort over doing this, but he had to protect the young human. “She’s gay,” he repeated his words, “she and Kendra Canmore are lovers.” He knew it wasn’t possible for it to be true, but this human didn’t know that.

“You mean that Tattler article was right?” the human sounded angry, “We thought it was just another publicity attempt by them when none of the other papers reported anything like that.”

Brooklyn had no idea what the article in the Tattler was about, but it didn’t matter to him right now. This was sounding like it would work, “Yes, it was right, they’re lovers, they go home every night together,” he said remembering what had caused Fox and David Xanatos to bring up the suspicion to the clan.

“God damn it I knew there was something wrong, a successful woman like that being interested in a crippled boy” the human snarled, “but then she seemed so reasonable and business like. A damn pervert, god damn it. Did Robert know he was inviting perverts to our home?”

Brooklyn was feeling increasingly uncomfortable with this, the human sounded really hateful, but he had to keep Demona away from Robert, he couldn’t let her do to the young human what she had done to him. “I’m sure they hid it from him, but you can’t let him be around her there’s no telling what she would try and persuade him to believe is right.”

“Damn it,” the human cussed again, apparently not paying attention now at all to Brooklyn, “I bet he did know, always thinking he’s so much smarter than his aunt or I because he’s always got his head inside those books and computers. Damn faggy acting kid…” the man’s voice trailed off. “God damn it,” the humans voice was suddenly very loud in the beaked males ear, “if that’s it, if he’s a little fag, no damn way I’m having a damn fag living in my house.”

No,” Brooklyn said alarmed at the sudden turn in the conversation, “I’m sure he’s not like that, he’s normal, he’s not gay,” there was no response from the other end. Desperately the reddish male tried again, using the human’s own words, “Robert’s not a pervert.” There was no response and Brooklyn was starting to suspect that the man had hung up the phone already.

“What did you just do,” the cold voice from behind Brooklyn startled him and he whirled around to stare at Lexington, the phone still held in his hand. The smaller male’s eyes were burning brightly white, and the look on his face held no friendliness at all.

“I had to save him from Demona,” the reddish male explained, shocked at Lexington’s display of anger.

“What did you say, why were you telling someone Robert wasn’t gay?” the web winged gargoyle demanded.

Brooklyn almost answered, but then he began to be irritated at the tone Lexington was using, he was the clan second in command. “I don’t answer to you,” he snapped back.

The smallest member of the clan hesitated only a second before responding in a chilly tone, “Fine, then let’s take this to Goliath and see what he thinks.”

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

“So when are you two going to come up and visit me?” Rachael asked as Gregory packed her bags into the trunk of the limousine. Sharon had left this morning on a flight back to Arizona, and Margaret would be staying to work with Mrs. Merrill until after the New Year.

“Either spring or summer,” Dominique responded glancing over at Kendra, “we haven’t discussed a specific time yet.”

“Is there a time you would recommend?” the black haired woman said, looking inquiringly at the Cree woman.

Rachael responded immediately, “Spring, in early April.”

Kendra’s cell phone rang interrupting her reply; she slipped it out of its holder and looked at the number. “It’s Robert,” she said with a frown flipping the phone open. “Robert?” She listened for a few seconds, her body tensing and her jaw clenching, “Don’t hang up the phone, hide it somewhere close so I can listen and make sure you’re ok,” she ordered, her words coming rapidly one after the other.

“What is it?” Dominique asked sharply.

“We need to get to Robert’s house; something’s going on, his uncle just came into his room and is yelling about us being gay.” She listened to the cell phone for a moment longer, her hand over the microphone, “He’s demanding to know if Robert’s gay and that’s why you offered him the job.” She pulled her keys from her pocket, “We need to get over there,” she said to Dominique urgently, “he’s calling Robert names and telling him he won’t let a fag live under his roof.”

“I’m coming with you,” Rachael stated, “There’s no way I’m leaving right now.”

Kendra shook her head impatiently, “My car won’t fit three and the limo can’t move through traffic fast enough.”

Dominique frowned at the two of them, they didn’t have time for this, Robert needed them, “We may need to bring him here if his uncle is serious.” She turned toward the man standing uncertainly near the trunk of the limousine, “Gregory can you see if you can get the other vehicle?”

“Yes Ms. Destine,” he responded, immediately pulling his cell phone out of his coat pocket and turning slightly away from them.

“We need to go soon,” Kendra said urgently, having brought the phone up to her ear to listen once again.

“I’ll go with Gregory,” Rachael said, not looking happy at all with this, “you two go ahead.”

She and Kendra were on their way less than a minute later. The black haired woman had handed the cell phone over as soon as Dominique fastened her seatbelt. “God damn it, you’re a damn fag aren’t you?” Edward had asked the question several times, each time getting louder and angrier sounding and completely ignoring Robert’s continued denials. In the background, she could hear Robert’s aunt trying to calm her husband down, it wasn’t working.

“Why would it matter if I was?” Dominique heard Robert snap angrily, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.” Her green eyes widened in concern, the younger owl’s chosen had kept his temper until now. This wasn’t good, and she couldn’t help but remember what had happened to those two women in the woods so long ago.

“Robert!” the redhead heard the aunt’s appalled response to his statement.

Edward growled loudly, “Damn pervert, I knew it. I’m not having a damned faggot living in my home.”

“Fine, I’m gay then, and I’ve never wanted to live in your home,” Robert’s tone was harsh with anger and pain, “I wish my parent’s had never died. I wish I had never had to come live where I’ve never been wanted, where you’re always telling me that I’m a cripple and a burden. Dominique’s never told me that, she’s never treated me like a cripple or like I’m stupid because I’m handicapped, or like she doesn’t want me around.”

Her hand gripped tightly around the phone, Dominique didn’t know quite what to think upon hearing Robert’s declaration. She didn’t really think that Robert was gay…surely he would have said something before now. As for the other things the young man had said, her heart ached for him that his aunt and uncle had made him feel that way, even as she was pleased with the fact that Robert knew she didn’t think that way about him.

“She’s a goddamn gargoyle-loving pervert is what she is,” Edward yelled.

“She’s kind and tolerant, and you’re a hateful bigot,” Robert replied, his voice almost as loud as his uncle’s.

There was an incoherent yell, the sound of flesh striking flesh followed by a pain-filled cry, and then frighteningly the sound of a crash and a loud thump followed by a groan.

“Edward!” Nancy Collin’s upset voice spurred Dominique into action.

“What is it?” Kendra asked as the redhead opened her cell phone while still holding Kendra’s up to her ear.

“How dare you talk to me that way you damn fag.”

As she hit three numbers on her own phone Dominique snarled, “Robert’s uncle hit him; I think Robert fell out of his wheelchair.”

“Edward stop this instant, don’t you dare kick him,” Robert’s aunt actually sounded threatening, and the redhead was relieved to hear it even as she was alarmed to hear the reason for it.

“911 Operator, what is your emergency?”

Her voice terse, Dominique began explaining what was going on and the fact that she was currently listening to it via a second cell phone. All the while, she was praying that Robert’s aunt would continue to keep her husband from attacking the young man. She knew only too well how violent some humans could be against gays.

Early Evening – Library, Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

“I had to do something to keep Demona away from him,” Brooklyn defended himself. He didn’t like the disbelief in Goliath and Elisa’s faces, or the way they looked at him as if they couldn’t believe what he was saying.

“You told him that Demona was gay because you suspected he would react to that information with anger and in the process you jeopardized Robert’s safety,” Goliath growled at him.

Elisa glanced over at Goliath briefly before demanding of Brooklyn, “What information did you use to find Robert’s number?”

“His parents are dead, he lives with his aunt and uncle in Union City, New Jersey,” the reddish gargoyle responded, taken aback by how she was acting.

“Their names?” Elisa asked tersely.

“Edward and Nancy Collins.”

She turned to Goliath, “I’ve got a friend on the police force there. I’ll give him a call and have him go check up on Robert. If he’s really prejudiced…” she shook her head, looking apprehensive, “There’s no telling what might happen,” she said as she headed toward the library door. “I’ve seen situations like this get violent before,” she said as she left the room.

The reddish gargoyle stared after her, feeling more uncertain and upset by her response than Goliath’s disapproval. It was clear that she thought Robert was in danger, and he was the one that had done that to the young human. That thought caused his heart to sink. He had never meant to harm Robert.

Brooklyn glanced over at Lexington; his web-winged rookery brother had refused to talk to him on the way here. Even now, the smaller green male wasn’t looking at him. Instead, he was staring out the library window, his arms across his chest.

“You will not make any further attempts to contact Robert or his aunt and uncle,” Goliath’s command had him whirling around to face his clan leader his eyes wide.

“But…” he protested.

Goliath cut him off, “No,” he growled, his irritation and anger clearly apparent. “Nor will you take any action or attempt to contact Demona or Kendra Canmore or anyone associated with them. If anything needs to be done, Elisa or I will be the ones to make that decision and we will be the ones who make the contact.”

The reddish male gaped at him open mouthed for a moment in disbelief, then he said bitterly “Why don’t you just make her clan second then.” He couldn’t believe the clan leader was doing this to him.

“That is a thought,” the lavender male responded coolly. Goliath’s words had Brooklyn staring at him in alarm, taking in the seriousness of his expression. “You are letting the past cloud your judgment of what is happening today. Elisa has just as much if not more reason to hate and distrust Demona, yet she is not letting her emotions cloud her reasoning.”

“It’s another scheme of hers,” the reddish male said desperately, “Hasn’t Demona proven time and time again that she’s not capable of anything else?” He had to get Goliath to see this, to stop being taken in by the treacherous gargoyle’s latest attempt.

The lavender male stared at him for a long, silent moment, “This is the blindness I was referring to. You refuse to consider that there is another possibility behind her actions,” he frowned, looking disturbed.

Brooklyn said incredulously, “You can’t believe this tale about spirits?”

Goliath scowled, “Did you hear nothing of what Puck said?”

“She found out about that incident from somewhere and is using the information to pull this off,” the reddish gargoyle responded immediately. He had already considered an alternate explanation for the tale Macbeth had given them. A sound from behind him reminded Brooklyn that they were not alone in the library, he glanced around, but to all appearances, Lexington was still ignoring him.

“Do you think I have not considered that?” Goliath rumbled.

Brooklyn turned back to his clan leader, his spirits rising, “Then you don’t believe this tale of Demona’s,” he said his voice rising in his relief.

The big male shook his head disapprovingly, “I am considering all possibilities. That is why your behavior concerns me; you will not consider the possibility that everything we have heard is the truth.”

The reddish male stared at him, not quite certain how to respond. He was still convinced that he was right, that this was another of Demona’s schemes.

Elisa strode into the room, “Robert must have called Demona right after Brooklyn’s call,” she informed them in a hurried tone, “Dominique Destine called 911 on Robert’s behalf. The local police are already headed to his address along with an ambulance. The dispatcher’s notes mention that Dominique’s listening to what’s happening on an open cell phone connection and she heard Robert’s uncle hit him and knock him out of his wheelchair.” She grabbed her red leather jacket from the chair back it had been hanging upon and put it on, “I’ll head that way, see if I can’t find out some more of what’s going on and how badly Robert was hurt.”

Brooklyn stared at her aghast. He couldn’t understand how his effort to protect the young human had turned out so badly. How had what he said to the young man’s uncle lead to the man attacking Robert? Then to make matters worse, Demona was headed there. “You have to keep her away from him,” Brooklyn said urgently, taking a step toward Elisa.

The dark haired woman turned toward him, she frowned and her eyes were concerned as they rested upon him, “Brooklyn you need to talk with someone about how Demona hurt you when she used you to place that spell on Goliath.” Her voice was soft with her concern for him, and the reddish gargoyle could only stare at her numbly, his mind grappling with the fact that she thought he was the one with the problem. “You’re letting that event color everything Demona does. I was doing the same thing with Demona using Angela to get to Goliath. I let my anger over that cloud my judgment, and it was only Matt pointing out what I was doing that got me to stop and look at what’s been going on with Demona in a less emotional manner. I don’t know if this is just another scheme by her or not, but I’ve got to wait and withhold judgment until I get enough evidence to prove it’s one or the other. Right now, the evidence is all pointing toward it not being a scheme, but you won’t even consider that possibility will you?”

Brooklyn’s hands clenched, “It’s another scheme by her, why can’t you see that?”

The frown on her face deepened, and her eyes grew less sympathetic, “You’re starting to sound just like Demona with her ‘humans will always betray’, only with you its ‘Demona will always betray’.” The reddish gargoyle rocked back as if she had slapped him. “Don’t let yourself become as embittered by the past as Demona did Brooklyn.” She looked at him for a moment longer before turning to Goliath, “I need to go.”

Goliath nodded, “Be careful Elisa, if Demona is still human then she will likely head there as well.”

“Already thought of that big guy,” the dark haired woman assured him, “there will be a lot of cops around, she won’t try anything.” Elisa glanced toward Lexington at the window with a concerned frown before shaking her head and leaving.

The reddish gargoyle stared after her, still shaken by her comment. He was nothing like Demona, he wasn’t, he told himself.

As if hearing his thoughts Goliath commented, “You are beginning to sound like Demona.” Brooklyn turned toward his clan leader, his denial dying on his lips as he saw the concerned, thoughtful look on Goliath’s face. “If you will not talk to me, you will talk to Hudson about this. I will not let you go down the same destructive path she did, I do not want to lose you to bitterness and hatred as we lost her.”

Brooklyn couldn’t believe what was happening; nothing had gone as he had planned. Instead of saving Robert, he had put him in danger and now Goliath and Elisa were telling him that he was acting like Demona. “I didn’t mean for Robert to get hurt,” he apologized quietly.

“I’m sure Demona didn’t mean for the Vikings to smash our clan along with driving the humans away from the castle either.” The cold, hateful tone of Lexington’s voice was as much of a shock to the reddish male as his words were, “Why don’t you place the blame for Robert’s uncle attacking him on Demona too, that way you will really sound like she used to.”

“Lexington,” Goliath rebuked the web-winged male, his tone appalled.

The reddish male stared into his rookery brother’s eyes, seeing the hurt and anger in them. Lexington was almost never angry, and had never said anything purposefully hurtful to him before this. “I didn’t mean for Robert to get hurt, I didn’t know his uncle would react that way,” he repeated, confused as to why the smaller male was so angry with him. “I’m not like her; I know Robert got hurt because of what I did,” he said emphatically. As if the words made everything more real to him, Brooklyn felt his guilt intensify, no matter what he had intended, his actions had lead to Robert getting hurt tonight.

Evening - Collin’s Residence, Union City, New Jersey

The blue lights of the five police cars and the red lights of the ambulance cast a garish light over everything, including the black Jaguar pulled up in front of the Collin’s residence. Elisa slowed her red and white Fairlane and pulled up next to the curb on the opposite side of the street. Activity around the door of the house attracted her attention as soon as she stepped out of her car; the ambulance crew was carrying someone out on a stretcher. “Oh no,” she whispered to herself, it didn’t take much to guess that it was Robert. Her eyes widened as she recognized Demona in her human form and Kendra Canmore come out of the house following them. Somewhat bemused she took in Demona’s casual attire, black jeans, a cream-colored sweater and a black leather jacket. Elisa had never seen Dominique Destine wearing anything so casual looking before.

Not wishing them to see her just yet, Elisa darted over to the ambulance, letting its bulk hide her. She edged toward the back of it, and peered through the thin gap between the open door and the body of the vehicle. The stretcher was getting closer. She stepped back a bit, not wanting anyone to see her standing there.

They were very close now, she could tell by the sound of the footsteps. “Wait,” a young male tenor voice said from very close. “Dominique.”

“Robert?” she heard Demona respond, her tone soft, concerned.

“I don’t want to live with them anymore,” Robert said, his voice shaking slightly.

It was a moment before Demona replied, “Is there any danger in giving me a few moments to talk with Robert?”

“No Ma’am, this is pretty much just a precaution to make sure he’s not been hurt from the fall he took. We can give you a few minutes to talk to him,” one of the EMT’s replied.

“Thank you,” Demona replied. Elisa pressed against the side of the vehicle ready to turn and walk away nonchalantly if she heard steps coming her way. Luckily though, they headed in the other direction.

“I’ll probably have to take legal action against them to prevent that, they’re your legal guardians for another four months,” Demona commented quietly after a few seconds.

“I don’t want to hurt my aunt; she tried to protect me from him tonight,” Robert said, almost too quietly for Elisa to hear.

“I know she did Robert,” the listening detective’s eyes widened, not expecting to hear the understanding tone in Demona’s voice, “but I won’t lie to you, once everything comes out about your uncle, I don’t see how she won’t be caught up in everything.”

“You found something already,” the young man’s voice sounded resigned.

“The private investigator I hired did,” the redhead acknowledged. “Robert, your parents left you twenty million dollars, there’s no way your medical care over the past ten years has cost that much. Your uncle has obviously been stealing from your trust fund if there isn’t the money to send you to college anymore, and your social security checks are going into your aunt and uncle’s checking account. I’m even more certain that he’s been submitting fraudulent tax returns, and claiming you and your medical costs while taking everything for your care from your trust fund. The IRS will go after both of them if they filed joint returns and knowingly lied on them.” It was a tossup between which surprised the listening detective more, what she was hearing about Robert’s uncle or the protective undercurrent in Demona’s voice.

“Oh,” was the quiet response from Robert.

“Robert I promised you that I wouldn’t do anything without your permission and I won’t,” Elisa shook her head in disbelief at what she was hearing, “but your uncle definitely doesn’t deserve any of your compassion,” that at least sounded more like the Demona she knew. “Not after the way he’s treated you all these years, you are not a burden, you are a bright, intelligent young man, one that I would be proud to call clan.” Elisa couldn’t stop the disbelieving sound that escaped from her throat. Clan, the use of the word by Demona stunned her, not only that the, apparently now formerly, human hating gargoyle was actually extending that relationship to a human, but that it meant that Robert knew Dominique Destine was a gargoyle.

“There’s someone nearby,” Elisa froze and looked wide-eyed toward the edge of the door, as she recognized Kendra Canmore’s voice. Damn how had the woman heard that, Elisa thought, the detective started easing backward in the faint hope that she could still escape notice.

Elisa froze once again as Kendra stepped around the ambulance door, the woman’s blue eyes narrowed dangerously, “I guess you’ve never been told that it’s rude to listen in on other people’s private conversations Detective Maza.”

Demona stepped around the door next, “Detective Maza, what an interesting surprise,” the redhead said, her voice silky with threat. “I guess that answers the question of who called Robert’s uncle.”

Elisa’s dark eyes narrowed, “It wasn’t me,” she defended herself angrily.

“Then who was it,” Kendra growled, and the detective couldn’t stop herself from taking a step backward away from the blue eyed woman, her heart beginning to pound.

Elisa clenched her jaw and remained silent, not wanting to give the two women any information or put Brooklyn in danger.

“Brooklyn,” Demona stated quietly after a second, her voice carrying over tones of regret.

The detective cursed herself for the betraying surprised glance toward the redhead. Kendra made a small sound of understanding and glanced over at Demona, the two women shared a glance. Elisa’s eyes widened as she realized that Kendra needed no explanation as to why Brooklyn would have made the phone call, which meant she knew about the incident with Brooklyn, the Grimorium and the mind control spell Demona had cast on Goliath.

“The detective and I will step away while you finish talking to Robert,” Kendra stated firmly, staring at Elisa with a disapproving expression.

Demona nodded, “I’m going to invite Robert to live with me if he wants,” the redhead’s voice held a questioning note.

Kendra turned back toward the redhead, “I expected,” she responded gently. A faint smile curved Demona’s lips; she nodded once, and then turned and stepped back around the ambulance door. A frown formed on Elisa’s face as she stared at where Demona had been, to all appearances the gargoyle had just asked for Kendra Canmore’s permission.

“Detective,” Kendra’s stern tone drew Elisa’s attention back to the blue-eyed woman. She frowned, not liking being treated like a misbehaving child, but one look at Kendra Canmore’s steely expression persuaded her that it was probably just wiser to accompany the woman than to make a scene. The detective headed toward her car across the street, feeling reassured by its visibility and the fact that she could see several of the local police standing around talking.

Kendra made no attempt to talk to her as they stopped by her Fairlane, instead, the blue eyed woman stared back at the ambulance intently. That was fine with Elisa, she needed a moment to gather her thoughts and think about what she had heard and seen anyway. Was she right about Robert knowing that Dominique was Demona? Did Demona’s statement about clan really indicate that? The more Elisa thought about it, the more certain she became that it did, she simply couldn’t see any other reason for the gargoyle to make that particular statement with those specific words unless Robert knew the significance of them.

She drew in a breath, glanced over at Kendra Canmore briefly before focusing on where the black haired woman was focusing, on the rear of the ambulance. It was becoming very clear to her that there was a whole lot more going on with Demona than she or the clan knew.

Late Evening – Library, Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

“Elisa,” Goliath got up from the stool he was sitting upon as soon as the human female entered the room. His eyes scanned quickly over her to confirm that she was unharmed, before returning to her face and the frown etched between her brows.

“Hey big guy,” she responded softly.

“How is Robert?” he rumbled, concerned.

“They’re keeping him for observation at the hospital overnight. He’s shaken by his uncle’s attack of course, but he’s fine,” she replied.

The lavender male let out a sigh of relief, “That is good news, both for Robert and Brooklyn.”

Elisa nodded, “It is,” she replied, “I was concerned when I got there because they were bringing Robert out on a stretcher, but it turned out that they were only taking him to the hospital make sure he was alright.”

He took in her quiet, thoughtful demeanor, “What is troubling you? Did Demona do something?” he asked, his temper rising at the thought.

Elisa shook her head, “Not exactly, we did have a bit of a confrontation, but that was because they initially assumed that I had made the phone call. It didn’t take Demona very long to guess that it was Brooklyn after I told them that it wasn’t me.”

“Hmm,” Goliath rumbled with a frown, “Do we need to be concerned for Brooklyn?”

“I don’t think so,” Elisa responded slowly, thinking back, “Demona sounded more regretful than angry when she realized it was him.” The lavender male’s bony ridged brow rose at this statement. “I was surprised by her lack of anger too,” the detective commented, “but then she’s been surprising me a lot lately.” She thought back to the part of the conversation she had heard between Demona and Robert, “Before they noticed I was there, I overheard her talking to Robert.”

He frowned, looking at her curiously, “What did she say to him?” Elisa began relating what she had heard as she hid beside the ambulance.

Goliath shook his head, “Clan,” he repeated what Elisa had just said disbelievingly.

She gave him a wry grin, “I was so surprised that I made a sound and Kendra heard it,” she flushed slightly. “That’s when they found out I was there.”

“What happened?” he asked, concerned.

“Kendra told me it was rude to listen to a private conversation,” the flush deepened as Elisa remembered the moment, “that’s when Demona initially thought I was the one to make the call. I told them no, and that’s when Demona guessed it was Brooklyn. After that, Kendra escorted me to my car and Demona finished talking to Robert. Presumably, she told him he was welcome to move in with her if he wanted.”

He frowned and Elisa said, “I know, it concerns me too, but I would be more concerned if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t see why she would tell him he was clan to her if he didn’t know she was a gargoyle.”

The frown on Goliath’s face deepened as he considered what she had said, “Why would she tell him though? We are certain that she has killed humans in the past to protect that information.”

“Either she or Thailog, I was never really certain which,” Elisa felt compelled to correct him; after all she didn’t know which of the two had done the killing. Reluctantly he rumbled his agreement, she knew he didn’t like being reminded that his own clone could do such things.

“As to why she would tell him, I don’t know,” Elisa started pacing, “but my instincts are telling me there’s a lot more going on with Demona than we’ve been told, and whatever it is would probably make it clear to us why she’s been acting so different lately.” Abruptly she halted her pacing, turning to face him, “They only stayed with Rachael for two days, and then the woman’s visiting Demona for Solstice? She’s only known Robert for a month and she’s telling him he’s clan?” She brought up a few of the things that had been bothering her, “Something’s causing her to trust these particular humans so quickly and completely, but what is it?”

“Hmm,” Goliath rumbled thoughtfully. “Do you believe Kendra Canmore will tell us anything?”

“I don’t know, she and Demona appear to be rather close now,” Elisa frowned remembering the moment when it looked very much like the gargoyle had sought Kendra’s permission before telling Robert he was welcome to stay with her. “Honestly I don’t think she’ll tell us anything Demona doesn’t want us to know.” She watched as the frown on Goliath’s face deepened.

When the lavender male didn’t say anything Elisa continued, “In other news, Robert’s uncle was arrested for assault; they brought him out shortly after Robert left for the hospital.” She shook her head, “Demona and Kendra glared at him, but that was all. I believe she’s planning on going after him legally rather than physically. It sounds like she has enough evidence to at least get a court to look at how he’s been managing Robert’s trust fund and where Robert’s Social Security Dependant Survivor benefits have been going, as well as getting the IRS very interested in his tax returns.” She could tell that he didn’t quite understand everything she was saying. No surprise, she doubted he had come across these particular concepts in the last few years since the clan had awoken from their century’s long sleep.

Elisa’s eye fell upon the latest Daily Tattler lying upon a nearby table and she did a double take at the front-page headline, “Millionairess Match: Dominique Destine and Kendra Canmore a couple?”

“Owen delivered it a short while ago,” Goliath said following her gaze. He didn’t sound very interested in the article.

She picked up the paper, glancing at the picture of Demona in a long dress and cape walking with her hand on the arm of Kendra Canmore who was dressed in a tuxedo. Elisa stared at the picture, thinking of the interactions she had witnessed between the two women recently: the obvious concern and hug the night Kendra had been shot at by the Quarryman, tonight when Demona had asked Kendra’s permission before making the offer to Robert, the fact that Xanatos said Kendra spent her nights at Demona’s house, and now this. If it were anyone else and not Demona, Elisa had to admit that she would be wondering by now if maybe there was something between the two of them as well.

Late Evening – Lexington’s Computer Room, Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

Marvin has entered GayChat

Furrybear: hey Marvin

Marvin: hey Furry

Greywolf: long time no see, how ya doing tonight Marvin

Marvin: not too well actually

Furrybear: What’s wrong?

FireIslandBoy has entered GayChat

FireIslandBoy: hey everyone

Marvin: you know my friend I told you I liked

Greywolf: ya

Furrybear: yes

Marvin: I heard him tonight saying that gays weren’t normal and were perverts

FireIslandBoy: damn man that sucks

Furrybear: I’m sorry Marvin. I know you liked him, its hard hearing people talk like that especially one’s whose opinion matters to you

Greywolf: At least you know now how he feels, and didn’t like tell him and then get that directed at you. I did that once, not fun, not fun at all.

Marvin: yea there is that, I am glad I didn’t say anything to him

Furrybear: how are you doing?

Marvin: it hurt, I’m pretty angry at him right now

FireIslandBoy: not surprising

Greywolf: that’s understandable

Furrybear: is there anyone in your family that you can talk to?

Marvin: No, I know my dad doesn’t approve of gays. His girlfriends ok, but I know she would tell him

Furrybear: Isn’t there someone else you can talk to, maybe a school councilor? Someone who won’t tell your dad?

Marvin: Maybe

Late Evening – Battlements, Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

“Brooklyn?” Broadway called out searchingly. The reddish gargoyle huddled further back into the niche he had found, he really didn’t feel like talking to anyone right now. He was still too shaken by everything that had happened earlier. He was worried about Robert, troubled by what Goliath and Elisa had said to him, and then there was the way Lexington was acting toward him. As far as he knew the only clan members not currently upset with him were Broadway, Hudson and Bronx, and he wasn’t sure about Hudson if Goliath had spoken to the elder already.

He had never meant for what happened to Robert to happen. He stared out over the city, Elisa’s words running though his mind, ‘instead of humans will always betray its Demona will always betray’. He was nothing like her he assured himself. ‘You will not even consider that what we have heard is the truth’, Elisa’s other words ran through his mind. Brooklyn shook his head, “I’m nothing like her,” he whispered to himself desperately.

He could feel the doubt creeping in, he trusted Goliath and Elisa, and for them both to say the same thing to him… He couldn’t do what they were doing when it came to Demona. He couldn’t hold both possibilities in his mind at the same time and weigh them without his emotions getting in the way. Thinking of trusting Demona in any way filled him with a nameless dread, a chilling certainty that he was about to get hurt once again. He sucked in an unsteady breath through his open beak, he actually felt slightly ill to his stomach.

His wings, which were caped around him, tightened even further as he lowered his head to rest his beak upon his knees. Was this how Demona felt when she thought about trusting humans, he wondered, this fear that welled up so strongly and filled one with the conviction that things would go horribly wrong if you let down your guard? “I’m not like her,” he whispered again. He couldn’t be like her; he couldn’t, because he hated her for what she had done to him.

Close to Midnight – Destine Manor, Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island

“Mr. Henderson, sorry to call you so late in the evening,” Demona said. She assumed the lawyer was answering from his home, but she wasn’t sure since her call had been forwarded by the twenty-four hour call service the law firm employed.

“Ms. Destine,” the man sounded surprised, “how can I help you this evening?”

“I need to get custody of a minor from his current guardians. The young man’s uncle attacked him a few hours ago and put him in the hospital,” she responded, her tone curt. There had to be a way to make sure that Robert wasn’t released from the hospital tomorrow back into his aunt and uncle’s care.

There was a long silence from the other end following her statement, and then, “Would the young man be the one in the wheelchair I saw on the news with you a few nights ago?”

Demona sighed, had everyone watched that broadcast? “Yes, that’s the minor I’m speaking of.”

“I’m sorry to hear that he was hurt,” Mr. Henderson commented quietly, “I’m assuming the uncle is his current guardian?”

“His aunt and uncle, his parents died in the same accident that paralyzed Robert,” Demona corrected him.

“How old is the young man?”

“Seventeen,” she could hear him writing on a piece of paper after she spoke.

“And how many months from his birthday is he?”

“Four, his birthday is in April,” she responded promptly.

“Hmm,” the lawyer murmured, “Since he’s so close to his eighteenth birthday it might be easier to have him declared an emancipated minor than to challenge their custody of him. Then he could decide to live wherever he wanted to live.”

“Will that be enough to keep him from having to return to their home tomorrow?” the flame haired gargoyle inquired, “He’s only being kept for observation one night, he’ll be released tomorrow morning.”

“Why did his uncle attack him?” Mr. Henderson responded with another question instead of an answer.

Demona grimaced; she hadn’t had the opportunity to ask Robert why he had said what he had said to his uncle. “Someone called Robert’s uncle and told him that I was gay, that apparently was enough to cause Edward to accuse Robert of being gay and start swearing at him and calling him names.” She paused; knowing from the way the room was glowing in her vision that her eyes had gone red with her anger. She drew in a calming breath, before continuing, “For some reason, and I honestly think it was because Edward simply would not accept Robert telling him that he wasn’t gay, Robert eventually told his uncle that he was gay. The situation disintegrated from there with Edward yelling he wouldn’t let a fag live under his roof, and Robert replying that he never wanted to live there anyway. That was when Edward struck him and knocked Robert out of his wheelchair. Robert’s aunt, Nancy, stopped her husband from attacking him further, from what she said when she told him to stop, he was going to kick Robert.” The room was glowing bright red again as she thought about hearing Robert’s aunt telling her husband to not kick Robert. She badly wanted to hurt Edward Collins for what he had done, but she couldn’t, not without hurting Robert.

The lawyer on the other end of the phone made a distressed noise, “I’m glad that didn’t happen. How do you know about all this? Did the police discuss it with you?” he sounded confused.

“Robert called us as soon as his uncle started yelling; Kendra told him to hide the cell phone and keep the line open, which he did. While Kendra drove us there, I listened to what was happening and called the police when Edward struck Robert.”

“So the uncle has been charged?” the lawyer asked.

“Yes he has,” Demona replied with satisfaction.

“Good, that will definitely help our case; at the very least we can get the state to take custody of him rather than sending him back into his uncle’s home.” The redheaded gargoyle frowned; she didn’t like the idea of Robert going into some foster care situation instead of coming here. “Are you gay?” the lawyer’s next question caught her completely by surprise.

“Does that matter,” she responded in a steely tone.

“Not if we go after getting him declared an emancipated minor instead of being released into your custody,” he responded readily, “but I don’t like to be blindsided by the opposition and that could be used as a diversionary tactic.”

Demona frowned, what Mr. Henderson was saying made sense, he needed to know this. “I wouldn’t say that I was gay, since I’ve had relationships with men in the past,” she responded.

“You and Kendra Canmore are in a relationship then?”

She raised her chin slightly as she answered firmly, “Yes we are.”

“Congratulations Ms. Destine, she’s a very beautiful woman,” he sounded sincere.

The flame haired gargoyle hesitated for a moment, completely surprised by his response, “Thank you,” she managed to respond finally.

“I’ll get someone out to get the police report and then I’ll start the paperwork tonight,” Mr. Henderson’s tone was entirely professional once again, “we’ll have this on the Family Court docket first thing in the morning Ms. Destine.”

“Wait,” she didn’t want him to hang up yet, “That isn’t all you need to know, I’ve had a Private Investigator looking into Mr. Collins. Robert has a trust fund left to him by his parents, it began with twenty million dollars and now Robert’s uncle is telling him that he doesn’t have enough money in it to pay for Robert to go to MIT. Also, his parent’s Social Security Survivorship payments are going directly into the aunt and uncle’s checking account while they give Robert an allowance of fifty dollars a month.”

There was a moment of quiet with more scribbling on the other end as the lawyer presumably wrote down this information. “This will certainly give us what we need to make sure that Robert doesn’t stay in their care, and it should help our case for him to be allowed to decide where he wants to live. I think we should get that settled first and then ask the court to order a review of how Robert’s guardians have been using his trust fund. I’ll need to get the exact language of how the trust fund was set up and what if any safety measures his parents put on it.”

“Good,” she replied, feeling more confident that she would be able to keep Robert away from his aunt and uncle as he had asked her to.

“Don’t worry Ms. Destine, I’m certain that with this information we can persuade the judge that Robert’s aunt and uncle are not suitable guardians for him.”

Wednesday, December 24th 1997

Family Court, Union City New Jersey

“All rise for the Honorable Judge Taylor,” the bailiff declared as the woman in black judicial robes entered the courtroom from her chambers and walked swiftly to her seat.

Dominique and Kendra rose from their seats behind the table where Robert and Mr. Henderson and Mrs. Pallin were seated. The redhead glanced over to her right, watching as Nancy and Edward Collins rose along with their lawyer. Robert’s aunt looked confused and tired, no doubt from her long night at the police station trying to persuade them to release her husband.

The judge sat down, stared at Robert for a moment, undoubtedly taking in the large bruise forming upon his face, and then briefly glanced over toward Edward Collins. She didn’t look very pleased as she gave everyone permission to be seated. The woman glanced down at the papers on her desk and began scanning through them. Apparently finding the document she was looking for among them, she looked up once again and focused upon Robert. “Mr. McKenzie, I understand that you’re asking for this court to declare you an emancipated minor so that you can live elsewhere instead of with your current legal guardians.”

Robert glanced briefly at Mrs. Pallin beside him before hesitantly answering, “Yes, Ma’am I am.” Dominique stared encouragingly at the young man’s back, wishing that she could reach out and reassure him. He needed to be more confident, show the Judge that he was capable of making his own decisions.

Judge Taylor gave him an encouraging smile, “I understand your eighteenth birthday is in four months, you can’t wait until then?”

“I don’t feel safe there anymore Ma’am,” he responded quietly.

“Where would you feel safe,” she asked him, just as quietly.

“With Ms. Destine Ma’am,” he replied promptly. Dominique’s lips curved upward in a pleased smile at his words, she felt Kendra shift beside her and briefly squeeze her hand between them.

“Let the little fag live with that dyke,” Robert’s uncle snarled, “I don’t want him living in my home.”

“Edward,” Nancy Collin reproved him, her low voice revealing her embarrassment.

The redhead whipped her head around; Edward was staring at her, his eyes full of loathing. She gave him a narrow green-eyed stare in return, letting all of her dislike for him show and her determination that he would pay dearly for striking Robert. She heard an almost inaudible growl from Kendra beside her and guessed that the blue-eyed woman was glaring at him as well.

The Judge’s gavel came down on its sound block, interrupting their glaring match, “One more outburst like that Mr. Collins and you can add contempt of court to the charges you’re already facing,” Judge Taylor declared, giving him a stern, disapproving look. He glared back at the Judge, looking as if he would like to respond, but chose not to say anything more.

Seeing that she had regained control of her courtroom, Judge Taylor turned her attention to the redheaded woman sitting immediately behind Robert. “Ms. Destine are you ready to have Mr. McKenzie live with you? There will be a few modifications that will need to be made to your home for him.”

“I’m aware of that, and I already have people putting in a ramp and modifying my downstairs room for him,” Dominique responded promptly, “they should be finished by this afternoon.” It had taken her almost an hour to get a call back from a company willing to get the modifications done today in exchange for almost three times the normal amount they would charge.

“You managed to get someone to come out today?” The Judge looked surprised.

Dominique shrugged, “I’m paying them well.”

The redhead met the Judges measuring gaze calmly, “I understand you bought him the wheelchair he is currently using.”

The question caught Dominique by surprise, she hadn’t expected this type of inquiry and wasn’t sure where it was leading. Her glance went to the wheelchair; she had managed to persuade one of the police officers to deliver it to the hospital last night. “I did, and the second one I placed on order is being delivered to my home today.”

“And the clothes he’s wearing,” the woman’s brown eyed gaze went back to Robert, examining the black slacks, blue oxford shirt with a black and blue pinstriped tie and black coat that the young man was wearing.

Robert responded before Dominique could, “Ms. Destine, Ms. Canmore and Mrs. Wabanago brought them for me this morning.”

Judge Taylor nodded, “You haven’t known Mr. McKenzie for very long Ms. Destine,” the woman’s sharp eyes returned to the redhead.

“No I haven’t,” Dominique admitted, there was nothing else she could do, it was the truth, “nonetheless he is welcome to live in my home for as long as he needs.” She met the Judge’s searching gaze steadily, feeling rather certain that the woman would at least not send Robert back to his aunt and uncle. The judge seemed to be taking her role very seriously as she considered what was best for Robert.

“I understand you have an internship at Nightstone Unlimited this summer?” the judge returned her attention to the young man.

“I do,” Robert replied, his voice livening, “I’ll be Ms. Canmore’s intern.”

Dominique saw the brief smile on the Judge’s face as she heard the excitement in his tone. “And what will you be doing for Ms. Canmore.”

Robert sat up in his chair, squaring his shoulders slightly, “I’ll be learning how to evaluate new technologies and the companies that have developed them to determine which ones Nightstone is interested in pursuing either as joint ventures, investment or acquisition targets.” His voice deepened slightly as he spoke, making him sound older than he had so far and giving a hint of the confident man he would become if Dominique had anything to do about it. “I’ll also be representing Nightstone along with Ms. Canmore when she goes to visit those companies that have been selected.”

Judge Taylor’s brown eyes widened slightly, betraying her surprise, “That sounds like quite a lot of responsibility.”

“I know,” Robert sounded his age once again, “But as Ms. Canmore pointed out to me, I’m not the one making the decisions about the companies, she and Ms. Destine are.” Out of the corner of her eye, Dominique noticed Kendra grin at this comment.

This time the smile on the Judge’s face stayed, “True.” She turned her attention back to Dominique, “I suspect you work late most evenings Ms. Destine, what arrangements have you made for Robert should he need any assistance during the afternoons?”

“Mrs. Wabanago is staying until after New Years to help Robert, after that I will hire a nurse to assist Robert and work on his physical therapy with him,” the redhead replied promptly.

The judge nodded, and then she turned her attention towards Robert’s aunt and uncle. “Mr. and Mrs. Collins do you have anything to say to the court to show why Robert should be allowed to stay with you despite what occurred last night?”

Edward Collins just scowled fiercely at the judge, his jaw jutting out slightly in his anger. Nancy stared at him for a moment her countenance distressed, before turning her attention to her nephew. “I’m sorry Robert…”

“Don’t you apologize to that little fag,” Edward snarled, interrupting her.

Nancy Collins didn’t look like she liked her husband very much at the moment, “Or what? You’ll hit me too?” He looked shocked, whether at the fact that his wife was standing up to him or what she had said or both, Dominique couldn’t decide. She turned her attention back to her nephew, “I’m sorry we made you feel unwanted and that you were a burden on us…”

“That’s cause he was,” Edward mumbled rather loudly interrupted her again, crossing his arms across his chest.

Nancy glared at him, but he wouldn’t look at her, instead staring steadily in front of him a mulish look on his face. Her expression changed to one of tired despair and she looked over at Robert sadly, mouthing ‘I’m sorry,’ silently before turning to the Judge and shaking her head as she sat down once again.

Judge Taylor stared at her for a moment longer before turning back to Robert, “Mr. McKenzie I’ll consider your petition to the court to be declared an emancipated minor. In the meantime, I’m declaring you a temporary ward of the state and releasing you to the custody of Ms. Destine. As to the other matters brought before me, Ms. Destine you need to open a bank account for Robert’s Social Security payments, once your lawyers tell me that’s done I’ll instruct that Robert’s Social Security benefits be deposited there.”

Dominique nodded, feeling very pleased that things were turning out the way she had wanted, “I should be able to get that done on the twenty-sixth.”

“What?” Robert’s uncle broke his silence abruptly.

The judge ignored him, “Also, since allegations have been raised that Mr. and Mrs. Collins have misused the funds from it for their own use instead of solely Mr. McKenzie’s care. I’m ordering a hold on any withdraw of funds from Mr. McKenzie’s Trust Fund while a full audit and review of its management is conducted. After the review is completed, I’ll decide whether the Trust Fund will be turned over to Mr. McKenzie or his lawyers for management.”

“You can’t do that!” Edward protested as he rose abruptly from his seat.

“Mr. Collins sit down,” his lawyer hissed at him urgently.

“Incorrect Mr. Collins, I certainly can do that,” Judge Taylor snapped, her temper clearly at the end of its tether with him.

The man paled, and Dominique smiled in vindictive satisfaction as she watched him realize that no Robert meant no Social Security payments and no Trust Fund for him to steal from for his own use. Her smile faded as she noticed the shocked look on Nancy Collin’s face, it was obvious that the woman had no idea that her husband had been doing any of this.

“Judge Taylor,” Mr. Henderson spoke up, he waited until the woman nodded to him before continuing, “Mr. McKenzie’s clothing and the computer he uses for school is still at the Collin’s residence.”

“Wait a second that’s our computer,” Edward immediately complained.

“No it’s not, you specifically said you bought it with money from his trust fund,” Nancy retorted, as she stared at him with a disillusioned expression. It brought him up short, he looked worried for the first time and it occurred to Dominique that he had hid what he was doing from his wife for a reason; she certainly wasn’t looking as if she approved of his actions.

Judge Taylor looked at the couple for a few seconds before turning to Mr. Henderson, “Child Social Services,” she nodded toward someone sitting in the seats behind Dominique, “will go with you to obtain his belongings from his former residence. Mrs. Peterson can that be done today?”

The redhead turned around in her seat, curious to see whom the judge was referring to, “It can,” a salt and pepper haired older woman sitting a few seats away responded.

“Good, then I believe we are done for today. Mr. McKenzie I’ll see you and your lawyers on the fourth of January, I’ll have my decision for you then on your petition for emancipation.”

“Thank you Judge Taylor,” Robert replied. Dominique couldn’t see his face, but she could tell by the tone of his voice that he was pleased.

Dominique stood up and turned toward the aisle, intending on stepping around the wooden railing that separated her from Robert. As she did so her eye fell upon a familiar face, “Lennox,” she said, her surprise clear. She stared at him curiously wondering why he was here, it certainly couldn’t be by chance, he had to have known about the hearing today.

“Dominique,” Macbeth replied, “I thought I might like to meet the young man you’ve been telling me about.”

Her confusion cleared, of course, she had mentioned to him that Robert reminded her strongly of Luach.
“Robert I’d like you to meet someone,” she said as she stepped around the wooden railing.

The young man’s eyes grew wide as he realized who was there, “Mac..Duff,” he caught himself quickly.

“Professor Lennox McDuff,” Dominique said firmly, it was enough of a reproof to have Robert blush slightly, “I’d like you to meet Robert McKenzie.”

“Pleased to meet you Robert,” Macbeth said as he stepped forward and shook the younger man’s hand.

Kendra stepped up beside her and Dominique looked over, giving her a warm, happy smile, things were going very well. Robert would be staying with her and this was an opportunity to bring Macbeth into Robert’s life. She was certain that the young man would only benefit from knowing her old friend; Macbeth was everything Edward Collins was not. “Would you like to have dinner with us tonight?” she asked him. Macbeth gave her a wary look, and she smirked realizing that he thought she was matchmaking again. She hadn’t been, but her invitation would serve that purpose too, she thought her eyes sliding briefly toward Rachael.

“I think I’d enjoy that,” Macbeth finally responded looking at Robert and the young man’s face brightened.

As they left the courtroom, none of them paid attention to the blonde woman hunched over a pad of paper and furiously writing away along with the other reporters seated nearby. Elisa risked looking up as the group left, her eyes still showing her stunned surprise. She had heard the abrupt correction; Robert knew that Professor Lennox McDuff was actually Macbeth.

Just after Sunset - Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

“Robert knew who Macbeth was, even though it was obvious that they hadn’t met one another in person before,” Elisa said, “and Demona invited Macbeth over for dinner tonight,” she finished telling them about what she had seen and heard during the court hearing.

“So not only does Robert know that Demona is a gargoyle, but it is likely that he also knows something about her past,” Goliath commented thoughtfully.

“Isn’t anyone at all concerned about Robert living with her?” Brooklyn asked harshly.

Elisa eyed him sharply, “Not really, especially since she was the one who told Macbeth about Robert and she invited Macbeth over for dinner specifically so that the two of them could get to know one another. Demona wouldn’t let Macbeth know anything about Robert if she was planning on doing anything underhanded to him.” Seeing that the clan’s second didn’t have an immediate reply to that she turned back to Goliath, “There’s something going on between Robert, Rachael and Demona that we don’t know, and the only thing I can think of that makes sense, is for it to be the same something that she has in common with Kendra.”

“The spirits,” the lavender male caught her meaning immediately, “that would indeed make how she is behaving toward these humans more understandable.”

“You think they’ve been victims of some fey and the spirits saved them like they saved Demona and Kendra,” Lexington stated, “and that’s why Demona is helping Robert.”

Elisa shot an apologetic look toward Angela before she responded to him, “Even with learning what the Weird Sisters did to her, I just can’t see Demona changing so much that she would suddenly make close enough friends with humans to be inviting them into her home. Having a shared grudge against the fey however, that might be enough for her to overlook the fact that Robert and Rachael are human, just like it’s been enough for her to overlook the fact that Kendra is human.”

“Hmm,” commented Broadway tapping his chin, “that would also explain how she knew about Robert or those other two women.”

Elisa looked at him surprised; sometimes Broadway could surprise her with his flashes of insight, “Exactly,” she agreed.

“I wonder how many humans these spirits have helped,” Lexington mused.

“Or how many humans the fey have hurt,” Angela said, her tone sharp as she pointed out the other side of his statement.

The detective grimaced, “I don’t know, given how many people died the night Oberon put the city to sleep and he’s supposed to be one of the better fey…” her voice trailed off.

“It could be many,” Goliath finished for her.

Night - Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

“Angela?” her mother’s tone was questioningly hopeful as she answered the phone. In the background, the lavender female could hear what sounded like carols playing, and the sound of conversation.

“Yes, mother its Angela,” the younger female replied.

“Are you alright?” the older gargoyle asked, concern coloring her tone.

Angela smiled, “Yes I’m fine. I just called to see how you were doing.”

“You did?” her mother sounded surprised and dubious.

The lavender female’s smile faded, “Yes I did,” she repeated firmly.

“I’m doing fine,” her mother answered, “I have a few friends here tonight and we’re having a small Christmas party.”

“That’s good,” Angela replied feeling rather guilty over hiding the fact that she already knew this. She really wished the clan would stop spying on Demona; it put her in a rather uncomfortable position.

After a moment, her mother commented coolly, “I guess Maza’s already told the clan I have a guest for the next few months before he goes to college.”

The younger female frowned, “Yes,” she replied shortly, “I didn’t call about Robert though,” she wasn’t aware of how much her resentment of the human was coming out in her tone.

“So you didn’t call to check up on him,” Demona said slowly, puzzlement in her tone.

“No,” Angela replied instantly, “Brooklyn thinks you’re planning on hurting him, but the rest of the clan doesn’t. We saw how you treated him the other night.” When the silence went on for a bit too long following her comment she inquired, “Mother?”

“Angela, are you jealous of Robert?” her mother asked hesitantly.

“Of course not,” the younger female winced; if she heard the lie in her own voice she knew her mother would hear it.

There was a long silence, “Angela you’re my daughter and I love you. You don’t need to be jealous of Robert, he’s not replacing you in my heart,” Demona said gently. “I’m very fond of Robert and I care about him, but that doesn’t in any way mean that I love you any less.”

Angela was embarrassed that her mother had guessed what was bothering her so easily, and reassured by her mother’s words. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s no need to apologize,” Demona reassured her.

Angela searched for something to say, “Is Robert alright, it must have been hard on him to have his uncle attack him that way. I don’t know why Brooklyn did something that stupid.”

“He’s doing very well considering,” her mother replied immediately, “and Brooklyn always thinks the worst of me, unfortunately I’ve given him plenty of reasons to in the past. Macbeth came over tonight though, and the two of them seem to be getting along really well.”

“You seem really pleased about that,” Angela replied bemused by the way her mother’s tone had changed from regretful to upbeat so quickly.

“Macbeth is a good elder male for Robert to look up to,” Demona explained, “much better than that uncle of his.”

“Demona you keeping all the rum for yourself?” Angela heard Macbeth’s voice in the background. The lavender female’s eyes widened as she realized by what name Macbeth had called her mother, Elisa was right Robert and Rachael knew her mother was a gargoyle.

“No, my daughter called me, the rum’s right here and another gallon of eggnog is in the fridge. How many have you had anyway?”

“Bah, I can hold my liquor woman,” he protested gruffly, “and tell Angela merry Christmas for me.”

“Macbeth says merry Christmas,” Demona repeated into the phone dutifully, and then without missing a beat she said to him, “Why don’t you stay the night, you can use the room Sharon was in.” Angela frowned confused by what was going on, she had heard her mother and Macbeth were getting along now but she didn’t think anyone realized they were getting along this well.

It was a moment before Macbeth replied, “I’ll consider it. At least you’re not trying to put me in Rachael’s room.”

“It’s too soon for that,” her mother replied calmly. The young female’s jaw dropped in surprise, her mother was trying to find Macbeth a mate?

“Interfering woman,” Macbeth grouched without any heat in his tone, “mind your own love life and I’ll mind mine.” Angela heard her mother chuckle in response, “I think we’re going to sing carols in a bit,” he said next.

“Bah humbug,” her mother replied evenly.

“Alright Scrooge,” Macbeth sounded amused.

“I’ve got to keep up what little of my old image is left,” Demona protested, “my employees barely twitch when I walk into a room anymore.”

Macbeth laughed, “You poor thing you,” he teased, “next thing you know they’ll be greeting you with welcoming smiles when they see you.”

The next thing Angela heard was Macbeth roaring with laughter, “And how many of these have you had?” he asked through his chuckles.

“Oh, get out of here,” her mother actually sounded slightly embarrassed.

Angela frowned, confused by the exchange, “I’m glad that you’re making friends mother,” Angela said after he left.

To her surprise, her mother didn’t get upset at the comment, “So am I,” Demona agreed happily.

Angela shook her head; her mother had really changed from how she remembered her. Her eye fell upon the clock and she realized how late it had gotten. “I need to go; it’s almost time for my patrol.”

“Take care daughter,” the concern was back.

“I will.” Angela stared at the phone for a moment after she hung up; Demona hadn’t tried to persuade her not to go or railed about humans not being worth protecting because they would only turn on you. If it weren’t for the fact that she recognized Demona’s voice, Angela might have wondered if she were actually talking to her mother. She closed the door behind her as she left the room and headed toward the TV room where she would likely find Hudson and Broadway. Her steps paused, stopped and her eyes opened wide as she suddenly realized something, Macbeth’s comment to her mother implied that Demona had a love life to mind.
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