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Discussions - Chapter 6

 
 
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Discussions - Chapter 6

 

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:  Sexual content

 

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:  Mature

 

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: 06/05/08

 

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December 8th, 1997

 

6:45 pm Macbeth’s Castle – North of Manhattan

 

Macbeth looked up from the paper he had been grading as he heard the castle’s automatic defenses activate; he suspected he knew who had triggered them.  A grim smile curved his lips as he set the half graded paper aside and waited, he had set the targeting system to ignore gargoyles, if the turrets didn’t activate then he was right about who was arriving.  When the turrets didn’t fire, he picked up the paper and began grading it again, no reason to waste his time while waiting for his uninvited guests to decide to come in.

 

It was several minutes before he heard the sound of the door opening.  “Usually guests call before they drop by,” he said without looking up from the paper as he corrected yet another grammatical error, the paper was starting to look like someone had bled all over it, it was so covered with red marks.  Only a quiet, annoyed sounding rumble answered him.  Macbeth set the paper aside and looked up at the big lavender male standing a few feet away, the other members of the clan clustered behind him.  He stared for a moment at the young female with the long brown hair.  He remembered her from Paris; this was Demona’s daughter, Angela.  His eyes shifted to Goliath, “It’s a good thing for you that Demona predicted you would drop by this evening, you would have gotten a rather warm welcome if I hadn’t set the targeting system to ignore gargoyles.”

 

Goliath’s head went up at that statement and his eyes narrowed, but it was the brick-red male with the beak whose eyes flared white at the mention of her name.  “She probably asked you to set them on high,” the younger male growled sourly.

 

Macbeth eyed the beaked male coolly, “You couldn’t be more wrong,” he replied, unaware of just how much conviction his voice carried.

 

The listening gargoyles stirred uncertainly, but before anyone else could speak, Goliath took a small step forward, silently claiming his right as clan leader to speak for them.  “Elisa told us that you met with Demona today and from the manner in which you greeted one another you appear to no longer be enemies.”

 

“And you want to know why,” Macbeth said rising from his chair, “there’s a simple answer,” his eyes flared with his hatred, “We learned who our real enemies have been all this time, and that it wasn’t each other.  From the very beginning it’s been the Weird Sisters.  They were the ones that schemed and manipulated events so that both of us were desperate, her to protect what little remained of her clan, me to protect my family from Duncan, that we would let them cast that spell on us.  Little did we realize then that it was all a lie, they never intended to allow us to protect either, for they had already determined that both would end up completely destroyed.”  He stared at the gargoyles that were looking back at him wide-eyed at this.  “They pretended to tell the future, that I would be king after Duncan, that Luach would follow me and then Canmore, and then they set about making sure that their prediction would come true no matter what the cost to any mortal, after all our lives meant nothing to them,” he snarled.  “In order for Canmore to end up king as they had said, Demona had to betray me.  It ended up being harder than they thought it would be, for over the years she had become close to us.”  He turned and walked away from them, not wanting them to witness his pain as he remembered Demona crying out his son’s name in anguish as her memories were restored to her, “Even with what she overheard, even with her fear that I would listen to Bodhe’s suggestion, she wasn’t willing to put my family in danger.  She would have stayed with me so the Weird Sisters cast a spell on her to take her memories of them from her and forced her to betray us.”

 

“I do not understand,” Goliath’s confused voice had the immortal king turning back toward him, the large lavender colored gargoyle was sitting back on his haunches, his face puzzled, worried, “Did they speak of these things while you were with them on Avalon?”

 

Macbeth sighed, “Not exactly, though they spoke of many things that caused us to suspect the true extent of their perfidy and how little they valued any mortal life.”  He walked over to the sideboard and poured himself some scotch from a crystal decanter there; he took a meditative sip of it before turning back to the gargoyle clan.  “This would probably make more sense if I started at the beginning with Demona’s kidnapping and her trip across Canada with Kendra Canmore.”  Macbeth started telling them the carefully edited version of the truth that he and Demona had agreed that it was safe for them to take back with them to the castle and Puck.  “Somewhere in her journey Demona caught the attention of a powerful wilderness spirit, one with a great dislike of the fey, and one who for reasons of his own had been watching the fey in general, and the Weird Sisters specifically, for a very long time.  Both Demona and I began meeting with the spirit in our dreams, he returned our memories of Avalon and then he showed us both what he had observed as he watched the Weird Sisters.  We started at the very beginning, the confrontation between the three Sisters and the Magus when he reflected the spell they were casting back upon them and turned them into owls.”

 

Macbeth took another drink, his attention focused on the young lavender female, “You weren’t even born then, you were one of the eggs in the three boats they had with them before the two women left in one with the Grimorium,” he said to her.

 

Angela’s eye slid over toward her father, but he appeared lost in thought, “I know this story, but can you tell me more about what you saw?”

 

The former king smiled, “Want to see if what I saw was the actual past and not just some dream do you?  Very well,” the young female looked embarrassed at being found out so easily, but she also didn’t glance away from him.  Macbeth started once again, this time with the first appearance of the three boats out of the mists.  He told of the confrontation, the flying away of the three fey, the decision by the Magus to give up the book into the care of the two women and then finally of the three humans with their cargo of gargoyle eggs proceeding onward to Avalon’s shore.

 

“I’ll assume from your expression that what I just told you agrees with what you heard?” Macbeth commented, amused at Angela’s surprised look.

 

She nodded slowly, her expression troubled, “the Magus, Princess Katherine and Guardian Tom told us the exact same thing.”

 

Macbeth nodded, “Then let me tell you the part you don’t know, what happened immediately after the two boats landed on Avalon.  The Archmage appeared,” at the sound of the name Goliath straightened, focusing his attention on Macbeth once again, “and reversed the spell upon the Weird Sisters turning them into fey once again.  The three of them were not at all happy with being bested by the Magus, but they could not pursue him because of Oberon’s decree that no fey were to step foot on Avalon’s shores.  When the Archmage offered an alliance so they could get their revenge upon the Magus and the rest of you, they were more than happy to accept.”

 

“I don’t understand,” Broadway spoke up, “why were they angry with Princess Katherine, Guardian Tom and the eggs, they hadn’t done anything to them,” he said indignantly.

 

Macbeth smiled at him grimly, “Mortals didn’t deserve to live on Avalon’s fair shores, especially when Oberon was denying them entry.”

 

“Why were you and Demona chosen by the Weird Sisters to fight for them?” rumbled Goliath.

 

The former king’s grey eyes shifted to the clan leader, “They didn’t chose us, the Archmage picked us out so that he could have his revenge upon Demona for betraying him, and told them to guide us so that we would be there when he required us in 975 years.”

 

“Revenge,” repeated Goliath startled.

 

“Because Demona gave the Phoenix Gate to you instead of him, and because she helped you get the Grimorium from him,” Macbeth clarified.  “He wanted revenge for what he saw as her betrayal of him, so the Archmage gave the Weird Sisters a set of specific instructions for us.  Would you like to know what they were?” he growled.  “Unfortunately neither of us remembered them again until very recently, but now it’s hard for me to forget because of how much he gloated in satisfaction as he told her the last thousand years of her life were his punishment for her betrayal!”  He glared at Goliath. 

 

Without waiting for the large lavender male to respond, Macbeth continued, “The Weird Sisters were to make sure that we remained powerful warriors, that our lives were to be filled with bitterness and hatred so that we would be hard and merciless when the time came for us to fight for them.  They were to make sure we did not become contented with their immortality, or concerned with descendants or lovers that might make us soft or compassionate.  They were to make sure we remained alone, that we had no ties to anyone but each other, and that the ties that bound us together were ones of enmity.”  He stared hard at them, “For over nine hundred years if either of us showed the least sign of being too content or god forbid happy with our lives, they found us and ruined it,” he snarled.  In a fit of anger, he launched the thick crystal glass in his hand at the fireplace, watching it explode as it hit the stones, the flames flared high for a moment as the remaining scotch that had been in the glass fed them.

 

He whirled back toward the clan, ignoring their shocked looks he shook his fist at Goliath.  “And then you,” he growled furiously at the big lavender male, “you let them take us, and then to add insult to injury when we could have realized what they had been doing to us all this time, you allowed them to take our memories away.  You helped them keep us ignorant to the fact that we’ve been nothing but their puppets to play with and torment as they pleased for almost a thousand years, a thousand years that were the Archmage’s vengeance upon Demona for loving you more than she was obedient to him,” he roared.

 

Goliath actually took a step back from the enraged man, “I did not know,” he protested.

 

Macbeth clenched his fists and closed his eyes for a moment, when he opened them they were clearer, though no less angry, “And that and the fact that you killed the Archmage is why I let you come in here tonight without attacking you.”  He stared into the clan leader’s eyes with cold determination, “Make no mistake about this though, if you ever agree to anything the Weird Sisters propose in regards to Demona or I again, we will be enemies.”

 

 

Fifteen minutes later on the way back to the Eyrie Building from Macbeth’s Castle

 

Angela was not very happy.  Goliath had decided they should leave immediately after Macbeth made his threatening statement.  Since they now knew why Macbeth and Demona were no longer enemies, her father apparently had no further questions for the former king.  However, the questions she wanted to ask Macbeth only kept multiplying inside her head.  What had he meant when he said the Weird Sisters had made them desperate enough to accept that spell?  She could guess that the spell he was speaking of was the one that bound them together and gave them immortality, but how had they had been manipulated into letting it be cast upon them?  Why exactly had the Weird Sisters forced her mother into betraying Macbeth, and what did it have to do with Canmore becoming king?  What had been her mother’s relationship with Macbeth’s family if it were strong enough to keep her from betraying them, even when she suspected Macbeth was about to betray her?

 

She didn’t know when or if she would ever get these questions asked and some of the other things Macbeth had said made her feel sick inside when she thought about them.  She couldn’t get Macbeths words out of her head, that he and Demona been nothing but the Weird Sister’s puppets to play with and torment for almost a thousand years.  She had always thought that her mother must have been exaggerating when she told Angela that she had no idea what Demona had lived through while Angela was safe on Avalon.  The young female’s stomach did an uneasy flip, now however she wasn’t so sure about that, not after what Macbeth had said about the Weird Sisters making sure they never found contentment, much less happiness for very long before they destroyed it.

 

“Demona must have cast a spell on him,” Brooklyn spoke up suddenly.

 

“No!” growled Angela, glaring at him.

 

“Angela,” chastised Goliath.

 

She looked up at her father gliding above and in front of them, “Demona didn’t cast a spell on him, what Macbeth told us about the battle between the Magus and the Weird Sisters was how it happened.”

 

“You must have told her about it in the Labyrinth that’s how she knew,” said Brooklyn staring at her with a frown that said clearly to her that he had thought she was over defending Demona.

 

“I didn’t tell her about that,” Angela said, “I remember all of our conversations, and I never told her that story.”

 

Goliath slowed, came down to glide beside her, “You are certain Angela?  This is very important,” he rumbled.

 

She looked over at him, “I am certain father.  I never told her about it,” she frowned, “I don’t think I’ve told anyone here about it.”

 

Goliath looked around the clan, everyone was shaking their heads, they had never heard about the battle either.  He sighed deeply, rising and sweeping his wings to move him out in front to the clan leader’s position once again, in many ways he would have rather her answer been yes, it would have made everything much simpler to understand.  This tale of an intervening spirit showing Demona and Macbeth scenes of the past, showing them that Demona had been forced by the Weird Sisters into betraying Macbeth sounded like a tale out of a story to him.  As for the other part of what Macbeth had told them, that he and Demona’s immortality had actually been the Archmage’s revenge upon Demona for giving Goliath half of the Phoenix Gate and for helping Goliath and Hudson get the Grimorium from the Archmage to save Prince Malcolm’s life.  Goliath didn’t know what to think of that, he still remembered only too well the way Demona had deftly manipulated his emotions and tricked him into giving her his half of the Phoenix Gate during the wedding of Fox and David Xanatos.

 

He couldn’t blame Brooklyn for assuming this was all another deception of Demona’s, the way everything was falling into place to blame anyone else but her for what had happened in the past had all the markings of yet another one of her schemes.  It was much easier to believe that Demona had cast a spell on Macbeth to make him believe that these things were true than to believe the tale that he had given them.  However, Angela was right, the fact that Macbeth knew what had happened during the battle between the Magus and the three fey gave credence to his tale.  His head rose thoughtfully, that didn’t mean though that she hadn’t found another source for the tale, his ex mate seemed endlessly able to find out information that she shouldn’t know, such as finding out Angela was her daughter before setting herself up to be caught and imprisoned in the Labyrinth.

 

“Angela I’m sorry, but even if everything Macbeth told us was true, it doesn’t change the fact that Demona’s been attacking us ever since we first woke up,” Brooklyn said in a conciliatory tone.  “And it doesn’t change the fact that just a few weeks ago she deceived all of us and hired someone to kill Goliath so she could try and take over the clan.”

 

Goliath frowned, Brooklyn was right, but he didn’t want this to be the start of their arguing over Demona again.  That had been the one good thing to come out of Demona’s attempt to kill him; Angela had finally seen Demona for who she was instead of who she wanted her mother to be.

 

Angela didn’t respond for a long moment, and when she did the sorrow in his daughters voice tore at Goliaths heart, “I know, but doesn’t it explain why she’s the way she is?  After a thousand years of being under the Weird Sister’s control, of them following the Archmage’s orders to make sure she experienced mostly bitterness and hate for that entire time, is it surprising that she’s hateful and bitter?”

 

“She has a point,” Broadway commented to Brooklyn, earning himself a smile from Angela in the process, “if Macbeth is right wouldn’t you sort of expect Demona to be exactly the way she is?”

 

“Enough,” Goliath ordered, “We will discuss this more when we return to the castle and Elisa and Hudson can join us.”  The clan leader turned his attention back to watching out for any threat to his clan, but he could not get out of his mind his daughter’s words or Macbeth’s words that Demona had been punished for loving him.

 

 

8:05 pm  – Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building in Upper Manhattan

 

“Oh boy,” said Elisa, in the silence that followed Goliath’s recital of what he had learned from Macbeth.  There were only three of them in the room, Goliath, Hudson and Elisa, the big lavender male had sent the others out on patrol.

 

“What does that mean lass?” asked the elderly Hudson.

 

She met his eyes solemnly, “That either this is the cruelest thing she’s ever done to Macbeth or it’s the truth.”

 

Goliath sighed loudly, “That was my thought as well,” he admitted.  “Angela believes Macbeth’s tale, Brooklyn believes it is another of Demona’s schemes.  I had hoped one of you would see clearer what the truth might be, for it cannot be both.”

 

“I’m sorry Goliath, but I just don’t know,” Elisa admitted, “I don’t have enough information to make that call.”

 

“Then perhaps that’s what we need more of,” Hudson observed.

 

Elisa and Goliath stared at him for a second, then Elisa nodded, “You’re right, we need more information.  There’s no way we can decide which of the two possibilities is the right one with what we know.”  She frowned, “There’s just one thing that puzzles me…” her voice trailed off as a crease formed between her brows.

 

“What Elisa?” asked Goliath after a few seconds.

 

Her eyes focused on him, “Why she seemed to be so calm this morning.  We expected her to be furious over the kidnapping and ready to taunt us with how we couldn’t stop her from going after Jon Canmore.  She wasn’t, if anything I think she’s not even planning on going after him right now.”  She told them about the two cryptic answers Demona had given them this morning.  “If she guessed that we were going to ask if Jon Canmore kidnapped her, then that was a yes he did, and then the no was her answer to whether or not she was going after him.”

 

“You didn’t mention that earlier,” noted Hudson before Goliath could say anything.

 

The dark haired woman grimaced, “I didn’t want to bring up how she threatened to call the captain and mention we were there asking questions in front of Xanatos.  He would have found it entirely too amusing.”

 

“But you are a detective; you are supposed to question people when you suspect a crime has been committed,” said Goliath.

 

Elisa gave him a wry smile, “Yes, but unless we’re assigned to the case we don’t really have a right to go around asking questions just because we feel like it.  Demona’s never pointed that out before today, though I’m sure she’s been just as aware of it as we have.  She’s always taken the opportunity to glare at me and not so subtly gloat over us not being able to stop her.  This morning however, it was clear that she wasn’t interested in doing either and that’s what puzzles me.  Now I don’t know whether to think it’s because she’s in the middle of planning something big, or because she’s still reeling from shock at learning about the past and neither I nor Jon Canmore seems that important to her right now.”

 

“She has not been behaving as we expect ever since the kidnapping,” Goliath observed darkly.

 

Hudson observed dryly, “If she’s in shock that will stop soon enough.”

 

Elisa nodded, “And then she’ll be angry.  The question is will she be angrier with the Weird Sisters or with Goliath and I?”  She let that point hang in the air for a moment before continuing, “Of course, that’s only something we have to worry about if what Macbeth said is true and this isn’t the start of some big scheme of hers, in which case we need to figure out what she’s plotting.”  She sighed, “And in the middle of all this it’s time for me to go undercover and work on infiltrating the Quarrymen, so it will be up to you guys to figure out what’s going on with Demona.  I won’t be able to contact you for a week or so while I’m setting up my cover.  At least it seems like Demona won’t be in the middle of that trying to attack the Quarrymen for her kidnapping,” she noted ruefully remembering their concerns of just a few days ago.

 

“Be careful Elisa,” rumbled Goliath, more concerned now about her safety than about whatever Demona was planning.

 

Hudson added, “Aye lass, be very careful.”

 

“I will be,” she assured them, “now let’s call the others in from patrol, we need to explain things so Angela understands that we still need to be wary of what Demona’s planning no matter which of the two possibilities are true.”

 

 

8:15 pm Destine Manor – Forest Hills Gardens Long Island

 

“Are you sure you’ll be comfortable with me like this?” asked Demona, she was lying on the couch with her head resting in Kendra’s lap.

 

“Oh yes,” replied the dark haired woman with a smile as she stroked through the gargoyle’s thick red tresses, “My computer’s right here and I have a drink, I’ll be fine for the hour to ninety minutes that you’re going to spend in the spirit realm.”

 

Kendra’s hand brushed lightly against Demona’s ear, sending tingles down throughout her body, it was all the gargoyle could do to resist the impulse to roll onto her back and invite her lover’s touch on more than just her hair.  It had however, been days since she visited the Ancient One for a magic lesson.  With the clan aware that something had happened, and very likely on their way to Macbeth tonight to find out what, it made it even more urgent for her to learn as much as she could, as quickly as she could, before the Weird Sisters realized that their puppets had cut their strings and came looking for them.

 

“The sooner you go the sooner you will be back,” Kendra said softly, and with a knowing glint in her eyes.  Her hand settled on the gargoyle’s shoulder, and she shifted her attention on the laptop sitting on the side table as if to say that she wouldn’t offer any further distractions.

 

Demona stared up at her lover’s profile for a moment longer, admiring the strong planes of her face, the dark sweep of her brows over the sapphire blue eyes, the soft fullness of her lips.  She tore her eyes away from Kendra’s face and focused on the fireplace instead, looking at her lover was definitely not getting her any closer to the spirit realm.  Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and focused.

 

She felt the shift in realities and opened her eyes looking around her in fascination at the shadowy outline of her house.  She could see her body lying upon the couch with her head in Kendra’s lap; her lover was staring down at her still form with a tender expression upon her face.  Here Demona could safely say what her heart had been telling her for days, “I think I’ve already fallen in love with you,” she whispered to herself.  She watched for a moment longer until Kendra turned back to her laptop, and then she turned around and started with surprise as she saw the massive form of the Irish Elk spirit.

 

“Chosen,” he greeted her.

 

Demona stared at him, wondering if he had been there long enough to overhear her, “Ancient One,” she responded.

 

His massive head turned as he surveyed their surroundings, “This is your home?”  The gargoyle nodded, looking around and wondering what the spirit thought of it, though she rather doubted he thought much about the show of wealth and power it represented given his nature.  “Let us go outside,” the Ancient One said, “there is enough nature and life magic there for us to have our lesson.”  She frowned slightly looking around the room once, he was right there was very little life or nature energy inside her home, perhaps she should do something to correct that, the possibility certainly existed that she might need it someday.

 

The gargoyle watched in surprise as the great stag strode though the shadowy wall of the house before following.  She turned back and looked at the wall thoughtfully after she had passed through it; she hadn’t realized that such a thing was possible.

 

“This is but an image of the living world; the things you see here are only as solid as you believe them to be,” the spirit commented drawing her attention. 

 

Her green eyes narrowed on him, “So why did we always walk around the trees?”

 

“It is easiest to treat the things we see as solid,” he replied calmly, “unless there is a reason not to.”  The two of them stopped once they were out in the large yard surrounding her home.  The stag spirit turned his great head and looked at her, “Has anything of note occurred since our last meeting?”

 

Of note, Demona considered his question, there had been many things that had happened since they last spoke.  “Many things,” she replied, “For one, the clan is undoubtedly seeking out Macbeth tonight to ask him why we aren’t enemies anymore.”

 

“Chosen,” the Ancient One interrupted, staring into her eyes.

 

Of course, the gargoyle realized, there was a much easier way to do this rather than relating everything aloud.  She met the Irish Elk’s brown eyes, and thought about what she wanted to share with him.  Demona wasn’t sure how many minutes had passed when the connection between her and the spirit ended, she was only certain that she had shared more with the great stag spirit than she had originally intended.

 

“You are correct in thinking that your body feels young again my chosen,” the Irish Elk said, confirming the gargoyles thought, for she had certainly not intended to share the difficulty she was having controlling herself around Kendra.  “If you will recall when I transfused some of my life energy into you to attune you to the energies of life and nature and to grant you immortality?” 

 

Demona was embarrassed, but now she was also curious, for it sounded as if the Ancient One knew of a reason for what she had been feeling.  She nodded in response to his question; she didn’t think she would ever forget that moment when she had shared awareness with so many creatures and even with the planet itself. 

 

“Your physical body was renewed as well in that instant,” the great stag spirit stated.

 

“My body wasn’t being kept young by the fey enchantments?” She asked with a frown.

 

The Irish Elk shook his antlered head, “Not in the same manner.  Your physical appearance did not change, but I suspect you had been noticing for some time that wounds hurt more than they had in the past, and perhaps took slightly longer to heal.  You very likely felt the many years of your existence as well.”  He looked over at her inquiringly.

 

Demona had noticed that the years seemed to be weighing on her more heavily; knowing about her daughter had helped the feeling, but had not caused it to disappear entirely.  “Yes, I did feel that way,” she paused, realizing that the past tense of her statement was appropriate, she didn’t feel that way any longer, “but not anymore,” she said feeling slightly shocked.  No wonder she was feeling as if she were a young gargoyle, apparently she was one again.

 

“As for the other matter of which you are concerned,” the Ancient One said, gazing directly at her, “your conduct in, and feelings about, driving the human out of your domain.  I am satisfied that you never seriously considered attacking him, the impulse was fleeting and arose more out of your anger that he was scorning you and your chosen mate.  The fact that his words showed that he was not a suitable choice for the position which he filled in your domain also angered you, though I believe some of that anger was at yourself for not noticing such an obvious failing in him earlier.  If I understand his…job in your company correctly, his responsibility was to protect those in your domain from unfair judgments based on their characteristics not on how they carried out their duties?”

 

Demona nodded; relieved that the great stag wasn’t displeased with the way she had acted.  She had been almost certain that he would be disappointed with the vengeful way she had driven the human from her company.  After all, during the entire time she was finding the information needed to fire the human and arranging for that process to take place, the thought that Mr. Samuel Cleveland had any inherent worth had hardly crossed her mind at all.

 

“Then clearly he was unfit for that position, as he was one of the ones from which your employees needed protection,” the Ancient One pointed out, “therefore you were correct in driving him away from your domain.  As for the feelings you felt while doing so, and your concern that I would disapprove of them, chosen I did not mislead you when I said that seeing the inherent worth in others was something you should strive toward.  I could tell from your thoughts that part of your difficulty in seeing the inherent worth in him was because it became obvious to you that he did not respect or see the worth of you, the young jaguar, or others, only himself and those like him.”

 

“You’re right,” Demona agreed after a moment of silent thought. “That was most of what was fueling my anger toward him.”  She paused and stared at him, a frown forming upon her face, “How do you know so much about my company and about business in general, it doesn’t seem like something you would have spent time observing.”

 

He gave her what she thought was an amused look, “Chosen you did invite me to be with you this morning, and you shared your thoughts with me, between the two, I have learned much about your domain from you today.”

 

The gargoyle opened her mouth as if to say something and then closed it again, staring at him in rueful embarrassment, “Of course, I should have realized that,” she finally stated.

 

“We should begin your lesson,” the Ancient One said after a few seconds, “what I have to teach you tonight is very different from what you have learned so far.  Tonight you will learn how to shield yourself from the elements and from magical attacks.”

 

An hour later, Demona took in a deep breath and stirred on Kendra’s lap; she opened her eyes and blinked against the brightness of the room.  A hand appeared, blocking the light, “Hey, welcome back,” her lover whispered softly.  Demona smiled, before she could say anything Kendra asked, “Hungry love?”

 

The smile on Demona’s lips grew at her use of the word, “I’m starving,” the gargoyle admitted, “We did a lot of magical work tonight.”  Learning how to shape the shields out of the available nature energy had taken up most of her time with the Ancient One, then he had started lobbing magical spheres at her that she had to block with them.

 

“If you’ll let me up, I’ll start heating water for your noodles,” Kendra offered.

 

The flame haired gargoyle sat up, and swung her legs around and stood up, “That’s alright.  I want to tell you about what I learned tonight.”  The two of them set off for the kitchen with Demona explaining rather animatedly to her lover how the Ancient One had taught her to pull together the free nature energy in the air and earth to form a transparent lattice like shield to block magical attacks.

 

Once Demona had eaten, and they had put the dishes they had used into the dishwasher and started it, the gargoyle turned toward Kendra, reluctantly she said, “I need to work for about an hour and then I’ll be done for the night, I can get most of the rest of it done on the way to Nightstone tomorrow.”

 

Kendra looked at her in surprise, the redhead had already worked some after they finished dinner.  She hadn’t realized that Demona had yet more she needed to get done tonight.  “I can use the time to work out,” she offered.

 

The flash of an image went through Demona’s mind of the last time Kendra had worked out, her lover lying on the free weight bench wearing just a white sports bra and very low riding sweat pants, every muscle taunt and outlined as she bench-pressed the weight bar.  The gargoyle cleared her throat, “That sounds good,” her tail twitched briefly as she realized how much of her current thoughts her voice had given away.

 

Her lover’s blue eyes sharpened on her, Kendra turned her head slightly to the side and stared at the fiery haired gargoyle for a moment before a smug looking grin curved her lips.  “Good then, you know where to find me when you’re done with your work,” the black haired woman’s voice was a husky, sensual purr.

 

Demona stared after the black haired woman as she turned and sauntered down the hallway.  Somehow, she didn’t doubt that Kendra was going to change into a similar outfit to work out in as the one she had wore on Sunday.

 

Forty-five minutes later the gargoyle shut down the computer in her study.  The constant low level of arousal she had felt the entire time from knowing that Kendra was waiting for her upstairs didn’t trouble her so much tonight.  The information the Ancient One had shared with her, that her physical body had been renewed as well in the moment the spirit chose her, explained exactly why she had been feeling as if her body were young again and slightly out of her control.  She paused in the doorway of her study as an odd thought ran though her mind, just how old was her body she wondered, and was it possible that she and Kendra were now physically close to the same age?  She shook her head bemused, she wasn’t even certain it was relevant what her physical age was, after all she still had the experiences of living for over a thousand years.

 

It only took Demona a few minutes to make her way up the stairs and to the open door of the workout room.  Instead of a white bra and navy sweat pants, Kendra was wearing a black bra and black sweat pants tonight.  The gargoyle paused in the doorway to watch her lover.  She smirked, she had arrived just in time, Kendra was doing bench presses.  The fiery haired gargoyle’s eyes drank in the sight before her, watching how the muscles in her lover’s arms and shoulders bunched and strained as Kendra lifted the heavy set of weights on the bar.  The muscles of her bare stomach were taunt and hard from the strain; sweat caused the dusky olive skin to glisten slightly in the light making their flexing with every repetition easier for the watching gargoyle to observe.  Finally, the black haired woman set the weight bar back on its supports and locked it in place.

 

“No stay there,” ordered Demona softly as she entered the room, forestalling Kendra’s movement to get up from the bench.

 

“I’m sweaty,” Kendra warned her breathily as the gargoyle approached the black haired woman.

 

“Yes, I can see that,” the gargoyle said as she stood over her lover and carefully ran her hand over the dusky skin of her bare stomach.  She watched intently as the muscles underneath her touch bunched and tightened and she heard Kendra exhale in a long breath as her hand drew closer to the waistband of the low riding sweatpants.  Her tone almost conversational except for a certain huskiness to it, she asked, “Do you know what I wanted to do Sunday, but I couldn’t because Gregory was coming by to pick us up?”  She slipped her taloned fingers just underneath the material of the sweatpants and looked up to meet Kendra’s darkening blue eyes.

 

“Not exactly,” whispered Kendra, watching her intently.

 

“This,” Demona said, slowly pulling down the sweatpants, her eyes never leaving Kendra’s even as the black haired woman lifted her hips slightly so that she could remove them.  Once they were down below Kendra’s hips, the gargoyle looked down at the small strands of black lace and the triangle of fabric that shielded her lover’s intimate softness from her view.  The gargoyle smirked, “Somehow I doubt this is what you usually wear under these while lifting weights.”

 

Kendra grinned, her tone mischievous, she teased, “I guess you’ll just have to keep checking to make that determination.”

 

“Mmm,” Demona murmured with a soft chuckle as she knelt at the end of the bench and pulled the sweatpants the rest of the way off Kendra’s legs and dropped them on the floor, “I’ll have to keep that in mind.”  The gargoyle rose to her taloned feet once again and ran her hands back up along her lover’s powerful thighs to the thin black bands of lace.  “Have you been thinking of me?” Demona asked inhaling deeply of the rich fragrance of her lover’s arousal as she lifted the thin band and began running her finger slowly back and forth underneath it along the dusky skin of Kendra’s hip.  They both knew that the slightest pressure of her talon would easily slice the fabric in two.

 

“Can’t you tell?” whispered the black haired woman.

 

Demona looked up, met Kendra’s eyes and inhaled again, “Yes,” she ran her tongue teasingly over her lips.  The flicker of blue eyes downward briefly and an indrawn breath rewarded her, her eyes wandered up her lover’s body, coming to rest on the black bra.  She left her play with the strand of black lace, smirking at Kendra’s disappointed sounding sigh and slid her hands up her lover’s side.  She hooked her fingers underneath the thick fabric of the sports bra and lifted and pulled it upward, releasing the soft swells with their stiffly budded tips from its confinement.

 

Demona continued sliding the bra upward and over Kendra’s head, she stopped before pulling it all the way off, pinning Kendra’s arms over her head with it instead.  The scarlet haired gargoyle stared silently for a long moment with hungry eyes at the sight of her lover, her arms stretched out over her head, her lithely muscular body with its feminine curves bare to her gaze except for the small triangle of black fabric.  When Demona next moved it was to bend down and claim Kendra’s full lips with hers in a passionate, hungry kiss.  When their lips parted, the gargoyle said in a low, intent tone, “This isn’t going to be stable enough for what I want to do to you tonight, let’s move to the bedroom.”  She released the fabric of the bra clenched in her fist and moved a step back from the bench.

 

Kendra stared up at her for a moment before sitting up and bringing her arms down, the sports bra still around her wrists, “And what might that be?” she asked gazing at the gargoyle with intrigued eyes.

 

Demona just smiled mysteriously and took a step back toward the door.

 

The black haired woman cocked her head to the side, she rose from the bench and held up her wrists, “Did you want this left on?” she asked with a smirk, “I wasn’t sure if you weren’t getting in touch with your inner dominatrix there for a second or not.”

 

The comment caught the gargoyle by surprise and she stared at Kendra for a moment before she smirked, reached out and grabbed the proffered fabric once again, “What an interesting suggestion,” she purred.  The brief widening of her lover’s sapphire blue eyes almost caused her to chuckle, Kendra obviously hadn’t expected Demona to take her up on the offer.  “Come along,” she said tugging lightly on the impromptu bonds.

 

Kendra studied her intently for a moment before moving, they were almost to the bedroom door before she tried again, “So not even a hint?”

 

“Patience,” Demona counseled her, leading her over to the bed.  She turned Kendra around so that she was facing her and leaning back against the mattress.  She pulled the bra from around her lover’s wrists, dropped it on the floor, and then knelt in front of the woman.  She ignored Kendra’s questioning utterance of her name as she started lightly biting and kissing along the taunt muscular thigh in front of her, tasting the sweat of Kendra’s exertions and testing the tautness of the muscles with her teeth.  Sunday night this had almost been enough to make her come; she hoped her lover’s legs proved to be as sensitive.  “You are so beautiful,” she whispered against the dusky skin, “so strong and powerful.”  She drew her teeth and lips back up along the line of muscle to her inner thigh, close enough to easily smell how aroused Kendra was, “I ache to claim you, to mark you as mine tonight,” she whispered. 

 

It was close enough to what the black haired woman had said to her Sunday night for Kendra to realize what the gargoyle wanted to do tonight.  “Oh yes,” Kendra whispered she reached down and cupped the gargoyle’s head, pressing her lips harder against the dusky skin, “Please.”  The sweet mixture pleasure and pain of the hard suckling of Demona’s lips and teeth against her skin was almost like a small mating bite.  Kendra arched against it feeling it radiating into her groin and dragging a loud groan from her lips, “Oh yes my love, yes, yours.”

 

Demona shuddered at the words, after a moment her hard suckling softened into gentle kisses across the reddened skin, and with her hands, she urged Kendra to move onto the bed.  Demona felt almost hot and fevered with the desire to lay claim to Kendra, and yet at the same time she felt an overwhelming need to show her lover how much she loved and cherished her.  She followed Kendra down onto the bed grasping and holding the woman still as she explored her stomach with her mouth.  She ignored the efforts of her lover to squirm away as she hit ticklish spots, though she left those quickly, not wanting to annoy Kendra instead of arouse her, and slowed over the places that caused her lover to make sounds of pleasure.

 

Finally, she let Kendra turn over, but only because it allowed her access to her lover’s backside.  She had noticed before that though Kendra did not have wings nor wing joints, the black haired woman’s back was wonderfully sensitive, especially when one gently bit along the muscular area on either side of her spine…

 

 

December 9th, 1997

 

Morning Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

“Jean,” Kendra greeted the muscular ebony-skinned man warmly as he rose from behind his desk, “how are you doing these days.”

 

“I’m doing well,” he glanced meaningfully at the open door behind her.

 

Casually, Kendra took a step backward and closed it behind her, before going over and accepting his brief hug.

 

“It’s been a few years since Andre and I have seen you out,” he commented as he sat back down in his chair.  “He misses you,” his wide grin was very white.

 

Sinking down into the comfortable looking chair on the other side of his desk, Kendra commented, “You may see me out again sometime soon.”  Though it wouldn’t be before Dominique stopped working so hard, she thought to herself, they hadn’t even time for dancing lessons right now.

 

“With Ms. Dominique Destine?” he asked shrewdly.

 

Kendra raised an eyebrow, “Well that was hardly a subtle fishing attempt.”

 

“Did I need to be subtle?” he inquired, looking slightly amused.

 

She stared at him evenly, “I’m not answering that question.  Inside this building she’s both your boss and mine.”

 

He gazed at her for a moment, then his lips curved in a grin, “That could be taken for an answer in and of itself,” he pointed out.

 

She shrugged, “Take it as you wish, but I meant it,” her voice firmed noticeably as her sapphire blue eyes met his.

 

He raised an eyebrow and held up his hands as if surrendering, “Understood,” he replied in a purposefully mollifying tone.  The two of them stared at one another for a moment before he settled back in his chair and asked, “So what’s this about Nightstone investing in fuel cell technology?”  he inquired, changing the topic.

 

 

Early afternoon Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

“What do you think of some of these proposed employee benefits?” Dominique slowed as she recognized the voice of her secretary, Candice.  Her green eyes narrowed as she waited to see if she could identify who the woman was talking to, Candice should know better than to gossip about this matter, it was not supposed to be general company knowledge at this time.

 

“Personally I’m hoping we can implement the child and elder care benefits,” the redhead relaxed as she recognized the voice of the Administrative Division manager, Mrs. Merritt, “My mother had a stroke four months ago.  She’s living with my husband and I right now, and I’ve got a nurse that comes in during the day to check on her while we’re at work, but I’d like to get her into one of those nice adult day care programs.  Right now we’re too short of money to do it because we’re paying two college tuitions, that’s the downside they don’t mention when they tell you to have your kids within a few years of each other,” she noted ruefully.

 

“Will the pre-tax fund make that much of a difference?” Candice asked.

 

By now Dominique was standing motionless in the hallway just out of sight of her secretary’s desk, she was curious about Mrs. Merritt’s answer as well.

 

“Oh yes,” the older woman answered, “Even with my cap for my salary I’ll still be able to put back enough each month to pay for the day care program I want to put her in, and the money I save in taxes will be just enough to allow us to do it.”

 

Dominique was almost about to begin walking again when Mrs. Merrill said, “What about yourself?”

 

When Candice answered, her voice had a shy, diffident tone that the redhead had never heard from the woman before, “Well my husband and I have been thinking about having a baby, but we just haven’t been sure we were in a good enough financial position to afford it with the cost of child care and everything.”

 

“Good child care is expensive,” agreed Mrs. Merrill in a knowledgeable voice.

 

“I know,” Candice responded, “and I don’t want to hire someone who might go off and leave my child alone during the day.  Don and I were taking last night and if Ms. Destine approves it, I think we’re going to go ahead and try.  I’d like to have my baby before I get much older, I’m already twenty-seven and I’m starting to get worried I won’t be able to keep up with a child if I wait too much longer.”

 

Dominique didn’t really want to hear any more, the idea that her decision whether or not to implement an employee benefit could have an effect on her secretary’s choice of when to have a child unsettled her.  She started walking again only to stop abruptly when she heard Mrs. Merrill say, “What do you think is going on with Ms. Destine?”

 

When Candice responded her voice was even lower than it had been, and Dominique had to strain to hear her words, “You mean the absence of the completely foul mood she used to regularly arrive at work with?”

 

The redhead eavesdropping on the conversation scowled at this.

 

Mrs. Merrill commented, “Doesn’t she seem almost…happy to you these days?”

 

The scowl faded into almost a bemused look, Dominique hadn’t realized her employees paid so much attention to her moods that they had noticed.

 

“My guess is it’s that really distinguished looking gentleman, Professor Lennox MacDuff, that came up to see her the morning she came back to work,” Candice confided.  “I thought she was going to kiss him she looked so pleased to see him.”  Dominique’s green eyes widened at the completely erroneous conclusion her secretary had drawn, while Candice continued, “Though those two detectives looked as if they’d seen a ghost when they saw Ms. Destine greet him, I can’t figure that, or the strange things they said, out at all,” she added in a puzzled tone.

 

“So you think she’s dating him?” Mrs. Merrill asked her interest obvious.

 

“Weren’t you the one who just pointed out that she looks happy these days?” pointed out Candice, “and I haven’t seen anyone else visiting that she could be seeing.”

 

Mrs. Merrill chuckled, “There is that, isn’t there.”

 

Sensing that the conversation was over Dominique began walking up the hallway once again, gazing at the reports in her hand as if she were reading them.

 

“Ms. Destine,” Mrs. Merrill said, the redhead looked up from the papers in her hand and raised an inquiring eyebrow at the chestnut haired woman standing by her secretary’s desk.  “I’ve got my Division’s report on instituting flexible working hours completed,” the Administrative Division manager held out a folder.

 

“Thank you, Mrs. Merrill,” Dominique replied as she accepted it, she glanced at the papers inside briefly before looking up again, “was there something else you needed?” she inquired a touch of coolness entering her voice.  She might not be in a completely foul mood anymore as Candice had put it, but that didn’t mean that she would suddenly put up with people standing around gossiping while she paid them.

 

“No Ms. Destine,” the chestnut haired woman promptly straightened, turned and headed toward the elevators.  The redhead looked after her for only a second before turning and heading toward her office.  Dominique put the report Mrs. Merrill had just handed her on her desk as she passed it by, and then she went to the window and stared out at the city for a moment, thinking of what she had just overheard.  She was still surprised that Candice would think that she and Macbeth were romantically involved; there hadn’t been anything lover-like, at least to her mind, in their greeting at all.  As for the first part of the conversation, it reminded her of the name of the Bison’s chosen Rachael had given her to call.

 

She walked over to her desk and pulled out her purse, searching for the thin address book where she had written down the information.  Margaret Jackson, she found the page with the name and a few numbers, she hesitated only for a second longer before dialing the number, not really wanting to examine too closely why being able to implement all the benefits she had set her Human Resources Division investigating had become more important to her.  As she listened to the dial tone, Dominique’s thoughts wandered to her daughter, and the redhead wondered how the young gargoyle was doing.  Despite the current situation between them, Dominique was grateful that she even had a daughter to worry about her relationship with, for it was a strange turn of events that lead to Angela growing up on Avalon with its much slower time so that the young female was alive in this time instead of being dead centuries ago.

 

“Hello Margaret Jackson speaking,” the pleasant alto voice on the other end of the phone jarred Dominique out of her thoughts.

 

“This is Dominique Destine; Rachael gave me your number,” the redhead responded.

 

“Dominique Destine?” the woman repeated sounding confused, then there was an, “Ohh…” of realization before Margaret continued, “sorry, yes, Rachael contacted me and told me you might get in touch with me about increasing the number of employee benefits you offer.  I believe it’s Nightstone Unlimited?”

 

“Yes,” Dominique replied, “Rachael mentioned that you might be able to assist us with choosing which benefits will offer the most gain within the limits of Nightstone’s budget.”

 

Margaret responded somewhat hesitantly, “She mentioned something to me about coming up and visiting the same week she was going to stay with you?”

 

“She did say something about you wanting to visit New York, but wasn’t certain whether…” Dominique paused searching for the right words.

 

Margaret chuckled, “You weren’t sure if Rachael was right, and I wanted to work for play tickets and a place to stay?”

 

“I’m quite willing to pay your usual consultancy fee,” the redhead assured her.

 

“That’s alright, I haven’t seen Rachael in quite a few years, and I’d like to meet you and Kendra as well, and even maybe young Robert if that’s at all possible.  So a working vacation in New York City doesn’t sound bad at all,” the Bison’s chosen assured her.  “What day is Rachael coming up?”

 

“The nineteenth,” Dominique replied, “we’re going to spend solstice together,” she hesitated only for a second to wonder if Kendra would mind and then decided that she wouldn’t, “did you want to celebrate solstice with us as well?”

 

“That would be wonderful,” replied Margaret warmly, “I could come up earlier in the week and get started on looking over your information.  It usually takes me about two weeks or so to get my recommendations together.”

 

“I already have my Human Resources Division doing a feasibility study, at least some of them should be completed by that time,” Dominique said.

 

Margaret responded, “That will help me out a lot, which benefits are you looking at?”

 

“Flexible working hours, telecommuting, pre-tax elder and childcare accounts, and extending the health care plan for spouses to domestic partners,” Dominique rattled off the list she had sent to Human Resources.

 

There was a brief moment of silence before the Bison’s chosen replied, “Well that’s certainly an excellent mix of choices that benefit both you and your employees as well as some that are very helpful to your employees.  The only other thing I would suggest would be seeing if you can arrange for company discounts at a few of the nicer accredited care programs in your area, but that can always be looked into later after you’ve decided whether to implement the pre-tax care plan or not.”

 

They had just finished arranging for Margaret’s flight when a light knock on the door drew Dominique’s attention.  The redhead frowned, “Margaret, I need just a moment, there’s someone at my office door.” 

 

She was still frowning when she opened the door only to see Kendra there, the frown turned into a smile as she motioned the other woman in, “I’m talking to Margaret.  She’s going to be flying in early next week and we were just discussing where she will stay while she’s here,” she said closing the door behind the black haired woman.

 

“That’s easy; she can stay in my apartment.  It’s reasonably close to here and convenient to everything in the city,” Kendra said as they walked over to Dominique’s desk.

 

Dominique looked at her thoughtfully for a second, “Are you sure?” she asked. 

 

Kendra gave her a warm smile, “I’m sure.”

 

The redhead smiled at her in return as she picked back up the phone, “Margaret, Kendra’s offering her apartment for you to stay in.  It’s on the 47th floor of the Galleria.”

 

Once it became clear that Margaret would accept the offer, Kendra asked, “Is she staying over solstice?”

 

Dominique nodded, staring at her questioningly.

 

Kendra looked thoughtful, “Why don’t we try and get tickets for all of us one night to something, hopefully we can get permission for Robert to go with us as well.”

 

“Phantom of the Opera,” Margaret said on the phone, obviously overhearing the suggestion, “Rachael’s been saying she would like to see that sometime and it’s on my list of plays that I want to see as well.  Robert should like it too, provided of course that we can manage to pry him away from his Aunt and Uncle.”

 

“I didn’t know you knew Robert that well,” commented Dominique, surprised.

 

Margaret chuckled, “You’re new, wait until you’ve been around for another forty or fifty years.  You’ll know everyone and their business by then as well,” she assured Dominique.  “Usually we only get new people maybe once every twenty or so years.  That’s the reason… well in your specific case one of the reasons,” Margaret sounded amused, “why everyone knows so much about you already, new people are rare.  You and Robert coming in within five years of each other is the most that’s been accepted in such a short time span that I’ve ever heard of and I’ve been around for… oh it feels like a hundred or so years.”

 

Dominique’s lips twitched in amusement at the coded way Margaret was speaking, still it was probably a good habit to get into just in case when one didn’t know who might be listening.  What the Bison’s chosen was saying did make a lot of sense, plus it went a long way toward explaining why it seemed like every chosen she met already knew so much about her.  It sounded to her that this was almost as bad as a gargoyle clan accepting in a new member, and she knew in that case any piece of gossip about the new gargoyle would make it though the entire clan in less than half of a night, and more likely only a quarter.

 

“I’ll keep that in mind,” she said lightly.

 

Having settled a few more details of Margaret’s stay, Dominique hung up the phone ten minutes later.  She turned toward Kendra with a smirk, “Guess what I heard Candice and Mrs. Merrill gossiping about this afternoon.”

 

“What?” asked Kendra curiously.

 

Dominique shook her head, “Between my relatively better mood and the way I greeted Macbeth yesterday, they think I’m dating him.”

 

Kendra looked at her incredulously, and then she shook her head, “People really do see what they expect don’t they,” she commented thoughtfully.  “However, that could prove useful if Macbeth doesn’t mind.”

 

The redhead recalled their conversation over the weekend, she smirked, “At least he has a beard,” she commented with a chuckle, “but I don’t know if he’s seeing anyone, or if he would be willing.”  Dominique hesitated a moment before she continued in a softer tone, “Then there’s the fact that I’m not really sure I want to do that.  I don’t want anyone getting the idea that I’m trying to hide our relationship as if I’m ashamed of it, because I certainly am not.”

 

Kendra’s expression gentled, “Then you certainly don’t have to.”

 

 
 
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