Chapter 7 "Some Enchanted Evening"

Miranda was surprised to see Fox at the door when she arrived at the Xanatos penthouse the following evening.

"Don't you have servants to do these things?" she cracked nervously.

"David and I are very minimalistic that way," Fox said with a smile, "and right now he's convincing Owen that he has to join us for dinner."

"Doesn't want to, eh?" Miranda's nerves seemed to wind even higher.

Fox's smile grew sly, "He believes we're having three dinner guests and I guess he doesn't want to intrude."

Miranda rolled her eyes, "Please let me get through this night," she sighed.

"Relax, would you - you look terrific, by the way - you're going to knock the poor boy dead."

Miranda smiled in appreciation at the other woman's compliment. The dress was one of her few splurges in her wardrobe, a black crushed velvet off the shoulder number with a full tea-length skirt that made her small waist look even thinner. She put a nervous to her bare throat.

"Thank you. I know it needs something at the neck, but all my jewelry is of the costume-variety and I wanted everything to be real tonight," she admitted.

"Quit worrying, would you," Fox assured again.

"Right, right," Miranda nodded, thinking she had never felt stage fright even remotely this nerve-wracking. Trying to take her mind off her nerves, she re-directed the conversation to a safer subject.

"And how is the little prince this evening?"

Fox beamed with motherly pride; "He's wonderful as ever. Care to go to the nursery with me to check on him?"

Miranda readily agreed and was amazed to see the room was fully restored, with no trace of the previous evening's events. A small gargoyle with webbed-wings was leaning on Alexander's crib watchfully. He looked up when they entered and smiled at Fox.

"He's all right, but he doesn't seem to want to sleep."

"Probably hoping for another adventure," Fox commented dryly reaching into the crib and pulling out the happily fussing boy, "Lexington, this is Miranda - Miranda, Lexington."

Miranda shook the gargoyle's hand, "pleased to meet you."

"You're the lady who saved Alexander last night?" he asked.

Miranda half-laughed, "I wouldn't put it that way - but I guess I helped a little."

"I'm pleased to meet you, too," he declared.

Miranda smiled in acknowledgement and moved to mother and child.

"Please go to sleep," Fox was crooning, "this is very important to Mommy."

The unrepentant boy was tugging at his mother's earrings and showing no signs of drowsiness. Over his head, she winced and then rolled her eyes at Miranda.

Miranda smiled back and then asked hesitantly, "Do you mind if I try singing to him?"

Fox's eyes widened, "are you kidding? I'd love it if you'd sing to him - even if it doesn't work!"

She handed her son over, smiling again at how well Alexander took to Miranda. 'It's almost as if he knew before anyone else that she belonged with us,' she thought.

"So what do you want to hear," Miranda asked Alexander earnestly. She tilted her head in consideration for a moment before smiling with satisfaction.

"Got it," she said, taking a moment to clear her throat before beginning her lullaby.

"Stars shining bright above you,

Night breezes seem to whisper 'I love you.'

Birds singing in the sycamore tree,

Dream a little dream of me.

Say nighty-night and kiss me,

Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me.

While I'm alone and blue as can be,

Dream a little dream of me.

Stars fading, but I linger on, dear,

Still craving your kiss.

I'm longing to linger 'til dawn, dear,

Just saying this -

Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you,

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.

But in your dreams whatever they be,

Dream a little dream of me."

After running through the song, Miranda began to hum the tune watching semi-triumphantly as Alexander settled and his eyes began to blink, ever so slowly staying closed longer than they were open.

Unobserved in the doorway, Owen watched as well. He had meant to interrupt the song and call the ladies in to dinner, but that idea was swept away the minute Miranda began to sing. Mr. Xanatos had mentioned her talented voice, but hadn't realized how powerfully moved he would be. He watched as she enchanted the baby as neatly as she had him. Moving out of the doorway and into the hallway he leaned against the wall and admitted it finally. This woman had enchanted him, with no effort at all. She was magic. He had seen it in her azure eyes, as pure as the skies and seas in Avalon; and he heard it now in her velvet voice, weaving its spell in the nursery. More than that, this bewitching woman of the mortal world had invested herself in his family. It was obvious in the way she held Alexander - she would give her life for the boy. How could he not be completely captivated by her? Not that it mattered, like his own magical powers, this magical woman was denied him, except in fleeting moments like this one, which were as agonizing as they were enjoyable.

In the nursery, Miranda began to softly sing the words again, pushing Alexander over the edge into sleep.

"Stars fading, but I linger on, dear,

Still craving your kiss.

I'm longing to linger 'til dawn, dear,

Just saying this -

Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you,

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.

But in your dreams whatever they be,

Dream a little dream of me."

She handed the sleeping boy over to his amazed mother.

"I have to admit, I hardly hoped you would be so effective," Fox whispered, placing her son back in his crib.

"That was amazing," Lex agreed in hushed awe.

"Thank you," Miranda smiled, "I've always wanted to sing a baby to sleep. The ultimate audience, so to speak."

"Well, I'd say you got rave reviews."

In the doorway, a composed Owen cleared his throat quietly.

"Dinner is ready, Mrs. Xanatos," he announced.

Miranda's throat went dry and she hoped there wouldn't be call on her to sing again that night.

"Thank you, Owen," Fox was saying, "we'll be right there."

She turned to Lexington; "We'll just be in the dining room. Call us if there's trouble," she instructed.

"Don't worry - I'll take care of him," Lexington assured her.

Fox turned to Miranda, "Come on, it's just dinner."

'Then why do I feel like I'm headed to an inquisition?' Miranda wondered.

Xanatos held her chair for her in the dining hall, "Won't King Arthur and Merlin be joining us?" he asked in well-feigned surprise.

Miranda allowed the actress in her rise to the occasion,

"No, they decided to go to Macbeth's fortress. Wart's

been staying there and he felt he owed Macbeth

something. I guess the old Scot is gaga to meet my

grandfather for some reason," she shrugged.

Xanatos chuckled and insured everyone was settled before

seating himself.

"I think a lifetime of exposure gives you an interesting

perspective on your grandfather's popularity. Still,

Macbeth is something of a sorcerer himself, and that's

probably where the interest lies."

"Well, I'm all to happy to avoid an evening of spell

swapping," Miranda said with a laugh.

Xanatos raised his eyebrows in surprise, "Oh? You don't

share your grandfather's talents?" he asked.

"Actually," she admitted modestly, "According to

Grandfather, I do have a certain amount of latent

ability. He's taught me a few minor incantations; but

his first lesson to me was to never rely on magic and I

learned it so well I haven't let me teach me much of

anything else. Whatever talent I have magically mostly

manifests itself in amazing luck..."she hesitated and

her eyes shifted surreptitiously to a silently brooding

Owen, "...in most things anyway."

"How have you been unlucky?" Fox asked.

Miranda looked startled for a moment - she had been

thinking of her love life, but didn't feel that was the

proper course of the discussion just yet. Thinking on

her feet she laughed.

"Mostly my career. CATs was my big break, really - even

if I was just one of the Kitty Chorus. I guess you can

look at it a couple of ways. It was a professional

disaster when the theater burnt down - but lucky in

other ways."

"What about the call backs you told us about?" Fox

asked, while Miranda tried to see if her final comment

had an effect on Owen.

Bringing her attention back to the conversation, Miranda

answered, "Oh that was a long-shot to begin with - I

never expected to get it, it's progress just to get

called back."

"Ever think of giving it all up?" Fox asked curiously.

"Oh sure, and I know I will someday. Grandfather was

against it from the start - he thought I was talented

enough to get really famous - he said it would interfere

with my higher purpose."

"Higher purpose?" Xanatos asked, eyebrows raised.

"Some obscure destiny he feels sure is in store for me,"

Miranda explained.

'Future Queen of England, no doubt,' Owen was thinking

miserably, though he kept his thoughts to himself.

"I see," Xanatos pondered the information, "but if

Merlin was against it, how is it that you pursued the

career anyway?"

Miranda chuckled, "Well, it was the one time I defied

him. I guess I just charmed him into agreeing. What

can I say, he's my Grandfather, I naturally have him

wrapped around my finger."

Xanatos grinned in response, "I suppose considering the

past week's events you'll be giving your career up

anyway."

It was an opening, Miranda realized and she took it, "I

don't think so. Grandfather's in perfect health and

he's got the Arthur-thing well in hand now. It's back

to the cattle-calls for me."

Aside from a slight hesitation while cutting his meat,

Owen showed no signs of paying any attention to them.

Miranda sighed and continued, "Not that I relish it

any."

Xanatos exchanged a glance with his wife before asking

the next question, "Have you ever considered

television?"

Miranda blew air out of her mouth disparagingly and

responded with a resounding, "No."

She glanced at Fox then apologetically, "Not that I

don't enjoy watching it. I don't mean to sound like a

snob, but there's something about performing on a stage

to a live audience that I don't think ever translates,

even with a studio audience."

"Don't worry, I'm not insulted," Fox said with a

sophisticated smile, "I told David you would never

agree."

Miranda frowned at the pair, puzzled, "Agree to what?"

"I thought we might work up a show for you at Pack Media

Studios," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand.

Miranda gaped, "What?"

"I wouldn't want you to do anything you didn't believe

in," he commented smugly.

Miranda laughed suddenly, "Oh boy, did I ever put my

foot in that. There's probably not a chorus-girl alive

who wouldn't kill to have an opportunity like that drop

in her lap."

Then she waved her hand as dismissively as her host,

"Not that it matters, I would never accept the offer, it

would be taking advantage of your friendship."

Xanatos sighed with world-weariness, "How did a

scoundrel like me ever manage to surround himself with

so many highly moral people."

Fox smiled affectionately and patted his hand, "It's all

right, dear, I love you anyway."

Miranda smiled and watched as Xanatos took his wife's

hand and looked up at her with a mischievous and adoring

smile. Her chest felt a twinge of envy and she lowered

her eyes to her plate, afraid she would never see such

devotion in the ice-blue eyes at the end of the table.

And so the evening progressed. Xanatos, in annoyance,

finally directed a couple of questions at Owen in an

effort to draw him out. The man stubbornly answered in

as close to monosyllables as he could. Miranda found

her own mood growing increasingly sullen and edgy by

dessert.

Finally with a sigh, she gave in. The night was almost

over and she might as well admit it.

"Well, Mr. Xanatos, Fox, it's been a lovely evening. I

love the rooftops and always wanted to know what it

would be like to stand on top of all of New York."

"You're not quite there yet," Xanatos said, his double

meaning clear to her, "To really feel you're on top of

the city, you need to go up into the castle."

"I'd love to, but I don't want to put you to any more

trouble."

"It's no trouble at all," Xanatos said simply, "Owen

will take you."

Miranda's eyes widened and she realized that this might

have been Xanatos' plan, or at least his back-up plan,

all along. She nearly jumped across the table to hug

the man.

Owen, meanwhile, was protesting, "Mr. Xanatos, really,

there are a few items of business that should be

attended to..."

"I'll take care of it myself, Owen. You show Miss

Templeton the castle. With your extensive knowledge of

its history, I'm sure you'll be much better able to

answer any questions she may have than we could."

His tone brooked no argument, and Owen realized that his

vow of a lifetime of service prevented any real debate

on the matter anyway.

"Very well," he capitulated, pushing back his chair and

looking at Miranda expectantly, "shall we go?"

If she had been surer of herself, Miranda would have

insisted he hold her chair; but for now she just pushed

it back herself and scurried to follow him out the door.

She glanced back briefly to see an encouraging wink

from Fox.

"This really is the top of the world," she commented

once they had arrived and she was looking over the edge

of the castle into clouds, with peeks of the city lights

below.

Owen barely grunted in response. Miranda decided to try

another tack, looking at him out of the corner of her

eye as they walked side by side.

"I feel as if I could close my eyes and transport myself

to the castle's heyday. I wish Grandfather could see it

- I love to see him reminisce about the old days. Of

course, I suppose this castle is considerably younger

than he is."

"Considerably," Owen agreed.

It was a single word, but progress in Miranda's eyes.

She continued her subtle attack on Owen's armor.

"It's just as well he took Arthur elsewhere tonight. I

was beginning to worry that poor Wart was getting the

wrong idea," it was an out and out lie, but it did the

trick.

Owen stopped in his tracks. Miranda paused too.

"Wrong idea?" he asked.

Miranda hoped the smile she was suppressing wasn't

dancing wildly in her eyes.

"Well, you know - I really felt like it was my duty to

help the King connect with Grandfather; but the old

wizard was stubbornly refusing to meet him. So I was

spending a lot of time alone with him. I thought he

might be getting the idea that I had romantic feelings

for him."

As she trailed off, Miranda continued walking, not

pausing or waiting for Owen to catch up. He did in a

moment, with quick strides, she noticed.

"One can see where that might happen," he said with

caution in his voice.

"Mmm," she agreed, "especially when a man hasn't been

around women for more than a thousand years. I needn't

have worried, though. Now that he's found Merlin, the

King's perfectly happy with the old wizard."

'The more fool he,' thought Owen; but said nothing.

They walked on in silence for a few moments. Miranda

growled inwardly with frustration. Apparently knowing

she wasn't involved with the King was not enough of an

opening for the stubborn idiot.

"Can I ask you a personal question?" she finally

queried.

His eyebrows raised, but before he could respond, she

continued.

"Well, I guess it could be considered a scholarly

question about the historical accuracy of dramatic

literature - but you might consider it a personal

question."

His curiosity piqued, Owen inclined his head and agreed,

"Perhaps you had better ask."

"Well, from what I've heard, Macbeth is not very much

like his character in Shakespeare's play - and I was

wondering - how accurately he portrayed - well, YOU for

one, and Oberon and the rest..."

"In what way?" he asked.

"I mean," Miranda went on to explain, "The play is

obviously one of my favorites - probably because I knew

it could all be real. For example, I always thought

Puck put the juice of the flower in the wrong Athenian's

eyes on purpose just for the fun of it..." she looked at

him expectantly.

"Well," his answer was evasive and his eyes shifted in

obvious discomfort, "you have to admit that Oberon's

instructions weren't very specific - it was a man in

Athenian garments after all."

Miranda gaped, "Oberon had no way of knowing there was

more than one Athenian couple in the forest - I'm right,

aren't I - you did it on purpose!"

He didn't answer, but it was obvious by the guilty look

on a face that rarely registered emotion of any sort.

He marveled at it. No one could possibly read that play

and make such assumptions about Puck without a great

deal of knowledge of his nature - or incredible

instincts.

Miranda scolded him lightheartedly, "That was a horrible

thing to do. Didn't you know the kind of heartache a

person can go through loving someone who doesn't love

them?"

Her joke struck a chord, she saw. He looked stung, and

his color may have drained; though it was hard to tell

in the moonlight.

"I didn't," his response was back to the solid dry calm

characteristic of Owen Burnett; but Miranda found

suddenly that she could read between the lines. He

didn't then, but he did now - or at least imagined he

did.

She rolled her eyes and sighed, "Lord what a fool this

mortal be!"

"I beg your pardon?" Owen asked, wondering if, given a

chance, he would ever get used to her random spouting of

Shakespeare.

She squared off in front of him; "You still don't get

it, do you?"

"What?" he asked.

Miranda threw up her hands, "That I'm in love with

you...you big Fool!" she exclaimed.

The shock registered.

"Oh yes, I know it sounds ridiculous," she acknowledged,

"we barely know each other and we're ostensibly nothing

alike, though you have to admit there's more to you than

meets the eye. Anyway, I knew by the time you put your

coat on my shoulders that first night and I've been

thinking of nothing but you ever since. Not that it

matters because apparently nothing registers with you!"

She reeled away in disgust and fear, but didn't get a

pace away before a hand grabbed her wrist and reeled her

back. She found herself nose to nose with the man.

"Say that again."

There was a strange sort of urgency in his voice. She

decided it was combination of a demand and a plea.

Reflected in those cold eyes, she thought she saw a

unique blend of doubt and hope. It was then that she

knew her gambit had paid off. She relaxed a bit and

shook her head in denial.

"It doesn't work that way, my dear Puck," she said,

punctuating her final three words by poking his chest

with a finger of her free hand.

Then, rather than quote from Shakespeare again, she

spoke the title of one of his plays, "Measure for

Measure."

Her meaning was clear to him. He released her wrist and

she stepped back enough to give them both some air. She

waited patiently - there was all the time in the world

now.

She didn't have to wait long.

"I love you, Miranda."

It wasn't the most passionate declaration she had ever

heard. He didn't even seem the least bit surprised by

it. In fact, he stated it simply - as if he were

quoting a fact from a computer. It was perfectly Owen.

Miranda loved it. She grinned at him impishly.

"Was that so hard?" she asked teasingly.

He raised an impatient eyebrow and said just as simply,

"Please."

For less than an instant, she considered the idea of

toying with him further. She dismissed the idea as

counter to her own purposes and smiled at him fully for

a split second before throwing herself into his arms.

He caught her up as naturally as if they were born to embrace each other.

"I love you, too, Robin Goodfellow," she declared before

pulling his head down for a kiss.

In his office, David Xanatos found his view of the

embrace suddenly blacked out. Looking to the doorway he

saw Fox dangling a remote.

"Really, David, I think we have to talk about these

voyeuristic tendencies of yours," she chastised

teasingly.

"I was only making sure everything turned out all right.

Owen was beginning to worry me," he commented.

"Yes, well - who put the idea that Miranda was in love

with King Arthur into his head?" Fox asked with mock

accusation.

He had the grace to look sheepish, "All right, darling,

you were right and I was wrong. Are you happy?"

"Aren't you?" she asked him.

He looked at the blank screen for a moment and then said

in wonderment, "Merlin's granddaughter."

"Yes, I know," Fox agreed.

"And she's ours," he said.

Fox laughed, "Owen's actually."

Xanatos looked slightly embarrassed and amended his

word; "You know what I mean. She's with us."

"Yes, dear," Fox agreed and lowered her voice sultrily,

"now, come to bed."

Xanatos smiled appreciatively and followed her to their

bedroom suite.

On the castle, Miranda leaned against the outer wall and

watched the shadowy figures of the gargoyles returning

to the castle.

"'O brave new world, That has such people in't!" she

breathed.

Beside her, Owen looked down with fond amusement,

"Quoting yourself this time?" he asked.

She laughed and smiled up at him.

"I suppose as a virtuous woman raised on an island by a

wizard, I have something in common with Shakespeare's

Miranda; but I think that's where the similarity ends.

In fact, I would have much preferred my parents named me

for one of his stronger female characters - like

Beatrice or Rosalind or even Kate the Shrew. Instead

they choose the naïve and vacuous Miranda."

"It's a beautiful name, with a musical and magical

quality," he declared, "It suits you."

Miranda felt her breath catch in her throat and gazed

more deeply in his eyes. It was there, that look of

adoration that she had longed to see - open and for her.

She smiled at him joyfully.

Owen thought the brilliance of her smile might very well

turn the gargoyles to stone. He pulled her into his

embrace.

"If you say so," she said, twining her arms about his

neck, "I won't complain about it again."

Their kiss was cut short by the fluttering of gargoyles

landing around them. As they pulled away from each

other, Miranda couldn't help feeling like a teenager

caught making out in her parents' living room. She

grinned privately at Owen, whose manner was back to his

public stoicism, but his eyes glistened with answering

humor.

"Miranda?" the voice was a familiar one, and obviously

incredulous at what it saw.

Miranda smiled at the red gargoyle, "Hello, Brooklyn. I

was here for dinner and Owen was just..uh... Giving me a

tour of the castle."

She almost burst out laughing at herself.

"Uh... Right," Brooklyn nodded half knowingly and half

bemusedly.

The awkwardness was rescued by the large stately

gargoyle who approached with authority.

"You are Miranda Templeton?" he half-asked.

Miranda nodded and extended her hand, which he grasped,

"and you're Goliath. I'm very pleased to meet you."

"Thank you for your assistance protecting the castle

yesterday evening," he declared.

Miranda flushed with embarrassment, "Really, I didn't do

anything."

"Lass, I was there, it was your actions that saved the

babe, t'be sure," the old gargoyle interrupted.

"I must agree," Owen said, a hint of pride creeping into

his voice.

Miranda cast him a brief smile before turning back to

the gargoyle, "Hudson, right?" she asked extending her

hand, "thank you. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to

meet last night."

Hudson shrugged off the comment, "'Tis to be expected in

the heat of battle, lassie. I've got the feeling

there'll be plenty of opportunities to get to know each

other."

"I hope so," Miranda agreed.

Goliath continued the introductions; "this is my

daughter, Angela."

"A rose among thorns," Miranda declared and the female

gargoyle smiled shyly.

"And Broadway..."

Miranda grinned and declared, "my favorite street in

Manhattan."

"And of course, you know Brooklyn."

"My own personal Gargoyle-knight protector, I think,"

Miranda said with a wink at Brooklyn who smiled widely

in return.

She returned to Owen's side and was surprised and

pleased to feel his arm come about her waist.

"So," she asked the gargoyles in general, "was the crime

scene in the city unusually quiet tonight that you're

all back so early?"

"Early?"

"Lass, it's near dawn."

"What?" Miranda's eyes widened and she looked at Owen

sheepishly.

He checked his watch, long ago forgotten, and nodded to

confirm the gargoyles' words.

"Oh, brother," she sighed and turned apologetically to

the gargoyles, "I guess it's true what they say about

time flying. It's been a pleasure meeting you; but I

know you need your sleep and I have to get going."

She found herself dragging Owen towards the stairs. He

kept pace with her easily.

"Is something wrong?" he asked.

"I've got to go home," she told him.

"Home?"

"Yes, home. With any luck Grandfather and Wart stayed

up all night at Macbeth's. Still, he'll be expecting

me."

She looked up at Owen and laughed at his bemused

expression.

"What did you think, that we love each other and that's

the end of it?" she asked.

His face went blank as he realized how simplistic the

idea was.

Miranda put her arms around him lovingly.

"Darling, Owen," she said assuringly, "it's not the end.

It's just the beginning."

(An: I am thinking of making a sequel to. But I first want to see what you guys or girlsthink of this story. So if you want me to make a sequel. Type a simple yes or no and tell me what you think about the story. If you want me to give ideas on howto proven the sequel pm your ideas or post them with your review)