O6/04/01
Denigoddess@aol.com


DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN GARGOYLES. THEY BELONG TO DISNEY. I DON'T OWN X-MEN. THEY BELONG TO MARVEL. I DO NOT OWN HERCULES; THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, THEY BELONG TO RENAISSANCE PICTURES. ALL ORIGINAL CHARACTERS OTHERWISE MENTIONED BELONG TO DENIGODDESS2001. I AM WRITING THIS BECAUSE GREG WEISSMAN IS LIKE A GOD FOR CREATING GARGOYLES. I AM JUST THE DENIGODDESS REEKING HAVOK IN THE DENIVERSE. I DON'T DO THIS FOR MONEY, BUT FOR LOVE. SO, DON'T SUE ME.


Saints In the Night Part IV and 1/2

Suchlike Cherished Destiny Befalls Hallowed Hearts


NO CHASM TOO DEEP

Wren sighed heavily as she wrote the last check for the final utilities bill. She stared at the empty walls of her loft apartment. She let her fingers trace a path along one of the many boxes packed with belongings. She tried not to shed tears as she left the final remnants of her old life behind her.

[It is a new beginning from some other beginning's end.] She mused as she thought of the song by Semisonic.

There was no more Xanatos Enterprises, no more Clan Wyvern and Clan Caledon. She looked outward to watch the movers load the Gargoyle statue onto the dolly. She prayed to the Powers-That-Be that they didn't break the statue while moving it...him.

She'd given the movers specific orders to place it in her U-Haul. She calculated that she'd be in Western Pennsylvania by the time sun set. She wanted to make sure that no unnecessary eyes watched Demetrius wake from his stone sleep. She dared not believe that she and this Gargoyle were something more than friends and much less than lovers.

Demetrius marked Wren as his mate without her knowledge or consent. She berated herself for encouraging false hopes and entertaining outlandish fantasies. What was between them was unnatural and not meant for them to know. She'd never lay eggs. He'd never be human.

He was so different from her; four talons instead of five fingers. His skin was the color of dark hematite while hers was almost pale with a hint of tan. He lived to be twice her age. He had wings. She had mutant abilities. He was alien and exotic to her regimented existence. Demetrius managed to tear her world asunder with his striking magnetism and beguiling ways. She knew that there was little substance from which to form a permanent bonding. It sliced at her soul and pierced her heart. The pain threatened to start a fresh flow of tears.

She had told him only a month ago that she wasn't interested in being his mate. He respected her need for propriety and conducted himself as a gentleman. Yet, the underlying current of attraction danced between them as sparks do around dry kindling. Only one kiss or one innocent touch she knew was enough to ignite the passion between them. He would survive unscathed. She knew that she would be utterly consumed by flashfire. So many times, Wren wanted to feel his lips on hers and his wings and arms around her. She knew it was dangerous having him her in her home and in her life.

Yet, she couldn't let him go. She was too frightened to be his mate and terrified to lose him as her friend.

"You always were a coward, Summers." She chided herself aloud.

She longed for companionship. She craved affection. That had to be it. That was the only reason she seemed so wanton for the creature perched on her balcony. Maybe it was safer to love someone inaccessible. It was a coping mechanism.

[Hell, it just may be that I'm slumming.] She gave a bitter laugh, but she knew better.

There was no cure other than abrupt separation. Yet, Wren couldn't bring herself to deny his physical displays of his lo- of his affection for her. For better or worse, Demetrius' presence had entranced her mind and captured her heart. He raptured her soul. He was her private incubus.

He held her hand or snaked his tail around her waist. He brought his brow to hers or stroked her hair. Secretly, she reveled in being touched. She felt alive with sensation and joy as he found new ways to make her smile. Once he asked her to teach him to dance. Wren thought it amusing that she was waltzing with a Gargoyle in her loft apartment. She thought he swallowed his pride when she taught him the Electric Slide. Yet, he knew how to charm her when they did the Country Swing or the salsa. He was as light on his feet as he was in the air. He was downright dangerous doing the lambada.

She had reciprocated somewhat with rented movies he found interesting. Demetrius loved Gladiator and A Knight's Tale. He adored Dragonheart and it's sequel. He watched Nightbreed several times over. Wren had baked him her infamous Peach Cobbler. She introduced him to homemade lasagna. He knew that each night brought him a new facet of Wren.

Yet, she couldn't bring herself to kiss him or to touch him of her own volition. Fangs, claws, wings, and talons seemed far too bestial for her gentle sensitivities. She had watched Demetrius take to wearing human clothing; spandex shorts, denim overalls and tank tops. Nothing changed the fact that he was a member of an ancient race descended from a primeval dragon. Nor could Wren alter the fact that she was a blunt eared hairless simian.

She looked again at the statue and felt tears sting her eyes. [Why did he have to kiss me? Why did he have to mark me? Damn it! Why didn't I just leave instead of taking the walk on the beach that night? Now, I have a Gargoyle that's rooted in my life and won't let me go. I don't want him to, yet this isn't going to work. We're always together and forever apart.]

Recently, she had seen the ad for a researcher and translator position listed in the New York Times. Star City University in Linoma Bluffs Metroplex advertised an opening for a Paranormal Researcher for the Linoma Museum of Ancient History. Given her skills and previous employment, she was a shoo-in. At $220,000 a year starting salary, it was a dream come true. Wren sent her resume and a cover letter to the curator of the museum. Wren was immediately hired.

She remembered the night she told Demetrius about her decision to move. She needed that final step of separation to heal from her aching heart. She wanted equilibrium restored. Her constant state of flux because of Demetrius ate away at her orderly existence.

She had secured transportation for him through Xanatos Enterprises. She had packed his belongings. She had written him a lengthy explanation of why he would be finding himself in the middle of a jet's cargo bay. The plan was simple. The men from Xanatos would arrive during the day and haul him away before he knew any different.

Wren wasn't a cold-hearted bitch. She never was able to make the call for them to come and get Demetrius. She unpacked his things and burned the letter. She sat in the loft and stared at him for hours. Then, she decided to simply tell him and let him decide his fate.

She remembered his volatile reaction when she delivered the news. Demetrius' response was a combination of rejection and betrayal. His eyes glowed and he growled. He was furious that she chose to leave New York rather than reconcile with Xanatos Enterprises.

"We have to move on with our lives." She explained to him. "You're a Gargoyle. I'm a Mutant. We're different species. Anything more than friendship isn't a viable option for us."

"Do I have not eyes such as you, Wren? Do we not share hearts, emotions, fondness, and longings? Do we not break bread together and eat of the same plate and drink from the same cup? " He stood in front of her as an imposing figure cloaked in black velvet wings and crowned with an argent crown. "Neither of us is immune to a bullet, blade, or blugeoning. I grow ill as you do when health suffers. Do I not see the same stars and make wishes upon them as you do?"

"We're not the same." She said firmly. "Our ...emotional devotion is headed down the wrong path. Gargoyles and Mutants aren't meant to be mates any more than lizards and monkeys."

"Pierce us, and blood flows from our wounds. Amuse us and we chuckle. If we share these things, Wren Summers, then we are kindred spirits. I ask only the chance to win your heart. Now, you choose to work elsewhere far from here...from the clan...from me." He turned away from her and cloaked his wings. "Do you not want to know what it is that dwells between us?"

"I know what it is and I know it's futile." She told him. "Dem, don't you get it? We can never legally marry or have children. You can never be with you during the day and we always have to be careful at night. What kind of life is that for you and for me?"

"I only know that hatchlings belong to the entire clan. I wish that you and I could have one of our own. I long for a child to call ours. I have known a sunrise with you and I shall treasure it always. I will live in the darkest places if it means a chance to be with you."

"I can't protect you during the day." She exclaimed. "I'm not a warrior. I'm a researcher. I'm not meant to play the hero."

"You are brave, yet your fear of loves leaves you cowering behind doubts and scenarios." He growled. "Woman, you vex me! "

"You don't love me." She said in a small, quiet voice. "Not after a few months."

"A Gargoyle knows his heart well. We protect. We seek justice. It is who we are and what we do." Demetrius walked forward and clasped Wren's tiny hand in his large ebony talons. "We also love fiercely, wisely, and well. I know you to be the beat of my heart and life of my soul."

"I think that you just missed the last Mating Moon." She scoffed.

"You're a young Gargoyle. If you go by your species' aging process, you're six years younger than me. I'm twenty-eight and after a woman hits thirty, chances for marriage decline drastically."

"Wren, I truly have faith that the Goddess meant for us to be one mind and one heart." He offered her. "Can you not feel that bond between us? Once I understand this heartmagick, this empathic ability, given to the clan upon its resurrection, we can enter a bond that will last a life time."

"You're young and you're horny." She scorned his romantic notions. "You're also a virgin. Letting your raging hormones control your thinking is a dangerous thing."

"And you are also untouched to my knowledge!" He bellowed. His snarl and eyes aglow made Wren remember that he was anything other than human. Unconsciously she stumbled backwards and held her hands to ward off his onslaught.

Demetrius' heartmagick felt her fear as if it were his. His keen senses smelled her fear. He almost tasted it in the air. Her wide eyes struck him. He never thought to see such disdain. Yet, he knew deep beneath the denial there was something deeper for him in her heart.

"Milady, I mean you no harm." He offered her his hand. She looked warily at him and slowly allowed him to help her to her feet.

"Look, if you went back to Caledon during October, there's a Mating Moon then. Maybe you and Atalanta or Valkyrie or some other Dame might hit it off-"

"Stay your tongue, Wren." He interrupted her. He pressed to black talons to cease further comment from her. "I know you to be my One. I know you to be treasure that brings my heart wealth and joy."

"You're living off of romantic notions." Wren said bitterly.

"I know the strength of my heart." Demetrius placed her flat palm against his chest. "It holds your name in its essence."

"I may never be able to love you like that." She said softly. "If I can't then what will you do?"

"Methinks you already do, Milady. Fear not, if I am wrong, then you shall know me only as your closest friend." He replied. "I shall take love in whatever form it comes to me."

"Why me, Demetrius and why now?" She cried.

"When you named me, I knew that I was yours." He brought the back of her hand to his lips. It felt as thought liquid joy surged throughout he body. "I once had a dream where I knew that she who named me was my mate. She completed me and I fulfilled her."

"Are you willing to risk your life moving half way across the country to be with me?" She asked him. He silently nodded. "Do you know what that means? There are no Gargoyles in Linoma Bluffs. Quarrymen are everywhere. It's still unsafe in New York for you. You will be without any clan and you will be alone."

"I will have clan. I will be with you. You are my clan."

"No, no no, Demetrius." Wren exclaimed in exasperation. "Linoma Bluffs is known for it's large preternatural population and paranormal activity. But, I've never heard of Gargoyles there. I've heard about mutants and vampires socializing openly in the coffee houses. But Gargoyles? No way."

"Do you wish me to remain behind?" He lifted her chin to meet his intense lavender gaze. "Do you wish to live your life without me in it? Do you long to not know my touch or kisses? Can you walk away and say you feel nothing?"

She said nothing.

"Lie to me now, Wren Summers and say you don't feel romantic sentiment for me. Deceive me into believing that you crave not my touch when the moon is high above this city. Tell me you never dream of our kiss on that beach. Convince me that the taste of our mingled sweetness no longer lingers in your memories or haunts your thoughts. Is it no longer upon your lips?"

Again, she remained silent.

"You hope against hope that come what may we shall overcome our divergences. You silently yearn, as I do, that we can speak that sacred word between shame and us without fear. You pray to your God as I do to my Goddess it will be acceptable to all for us to love one another. That which you can not leave behind always remains with you, Wren." His eyes flared with lavender fire. "I made my vow to you and I can no more break it than I can desert you. Where you go, I go."

One tear fell, and then another and another flowed freely from her. A quiet sniff became a quiet whimper. Tremors threatened to wrack her slender body as she covered her face in her hands. The futility of feeling so much for the wrong person overwhelmed her. Pride refused Wren the freedom of tears in front of the Gargoyle warrior.

She hastily turned away from him and solidly squared her shoulders. Demetrius rushed forward and wrapped his wings about her. He comforted her in his strong arms. He held her close to him and rocked her gently. He nuzzled her honey brown hair and whisper soothing words. He planted comforting kisses on her brow.

"It's immutable, Demetrius. We are what we are and we can't change." She wept into his broad shoulder. "Why can't you just let me go and let me not feel like this anymore?"

"I can not do so anymore than you will let me go and permit this affection for you within me die." He told her. "I am unable to distance myself. Without you, my life is hollow and lifeless."

"But what about the clan? I thought Gargoyles were all about clan." She retorted. "They need you."

"You need me more." He inhaled her sweet scent of lilacs and lilies. "You have no clan. You have so much love in your heart and have not an inkling as to how to convey it."

"You belong with your kind." She sniffed as she held her chin high in defiance. "I belong ...alone."

"A clan can not capture my heart as you have. A clan does not inspire longings new to my mind and flesh. A clan doe not bake Peach cobbler as well as you do, Wren."

"Aren't we a sorry pair, just like the couple in Ladyhawke?" She mused in the irony of it all.

"Always together and always apart, yet in the end their love moved beyond Magick, space and time." He held his songbird closed to him. "I have faith in you and in us, Wren Summers. I have faith in this growing affection deepening between us. I know that we feel love."

"I just can't. This is just too much." She backed away from him. Anguish crossed her delicate features. "I can't believe the old cliché, I don't believe it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, Demetrius."

"We will find a way to be together in this life without tragedy, I so swear." Demetrius longed to lose himself in the sweet vortex of her kiss. Yet, he knew that was more than Wren could handle at this point.
"Let me come with you to Linoma. Tell me that you wish to be without me."

"I never wanted to be different ...to be a mutant." She lamented. She stared at Demetrius with soulful eyes. "I never wanted to fall in lo- I mean, fall for a Gargoyle. I just wanted a simple kind of life."

"Fate is to what we resign ourselves, Wren. Destiny is, unquestionably, our greatest aspiration." Demetrius' wings unfurled with the intensity of his words. "You have tamed me, Milady. You have brought me to heal and my heart is yours. Fear not the beast that adores you Wren Summers. Embrace me and find gifts within I long to share with you."

"Do you really think you and I could be something other than ...friends?" She asked, hoping against hope. "Don't tell me yes just because you long for it. Tell yes only if you truly believe in your heart of hearts, Demetrius, that it will be done."

"I believe, Wren." He told her quietly. "I believe in our hearts and our depth of feeling for one another. I know that we can find happiness together for all our lives."

The time for decision arrived. [Do I reach for a star or dig into the earth? What do I do now? Help me, please, Powers-That-Be! Give me a sign to know what is right] She pleaded to whatever deities might hear her.

She stepped forward and her foot sent a videotape scurrying across the floor. Demetrius picked up the tape and handed it to her. She read the front of the box and it said "What Dreams May Come."

They had watched the movie recently about the good doctor who defied heaven and ascended into hell to be with his wife forever damned in her own private hell. Rather than return to heaven without her, he chose to remain with her. At that point in the movie, Demetrius had whispered where Wren barely heard him, "Where you go, I go. I shall never leave you. I will always be with you, Milady."

She knew her answer. His expression remained a mask of dispassionate indifference. She handed the tape to him. He read the title and his lavender eyes looked deeply into amber and jade. "Henceforth?"

"Come with me, Demetrius." The words escaped her before she thought of anything else. She begged him. "Linoma Bluffs is a city built upon the unusual and the Metaphysical. Magick is a way of life there. If we can find our answer, then we'll find it there."

"Do you wish to be without me?" He pressed. "Can you tell me that you feel nothing other than friendship?"

"No, damn it." She said through gritted teeth. "I can be alone in this world. But, I can't be alone in this world without you."

"Where you go, I go." He told her for some countless time. "I shall never leave you."

"I know." She whispered. Wren was thankful. "I'm beginning to believe that."

Now, with her loft bare and her belongings loaded, Wren picked up the final box of mementos to take to her moving van. In the box were a few shards from Demetrius' stone sleep. There were a few Polaroids of him during the day in his granite repose. There were dried roses that he had given her just a few weeks ago. There was a stone pendant cut from his chest in the shape of a heart. Somehow, he had mounted on a silver chain. "My heart shall always be near yours."

Demetrius had little use for possession, but his shared that same box. He had the snow globe that said, "I love Linoma Bluffs." There was the Saltdogs baseball cap that Wren had bought him. There was the greeting card that told him he was growing on her.... like a fungus. They were just small things, but mementos and keepsakes of great sentimental value to the Gargoyle.

She looked forward to her new job working for Professor Xorbo at Linoma Bluffs Museum of Ancient History. She looked forward to the Victorian mansion safely nestled away in the countryside away from the city so that Demetrius would have a place to perch and roost during the day. She looked forward eagerly to the sunset she'd see in Western Pennsylvania as she drove toward the Metroplex and her new life.

[No, that isn't right.] She corrected herself as she turned the locks on the deadbolt for the last time. [Our new life... Skylaris was right.... take love in whatever forms it comes to you. Yet, are we doomed to this purgatory; less than lovers but more than friends?]



HOUSE RULES


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Linoma Bluffs Metroplex in 2005 consists of Council Bluffs , Omaha, and Lincoln, Nebraska. The population of this mythical midwestern megalopolis consists of approximately eight million individuals. Places may or may not be based upon actual locations. Any similarities to actual people, living or dead, may be intentional. If so, names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Linoma Bluffs lies upon Magickal lay lines only recently confirmed by Science. Linoma Bluffs, consequently, is home to the large preternatural population in the world; vampires, lycanthropes, the Fae, various other preternatural creatures seeking haven in an otherwise harsh, unforgiving world. If you want more information about this great city, there are several sites upon the Internet that tell about this region's hot spots.

In real life, Nebraska does not have mountains. But, this is Gargoyles and I can terra form the world anyway I want. I say that in this world, Nebraska is a forested state with tall mountains of indigo and wine. I'll call them the Omaha Mountains.


HERE WE GO....

Three days of constant interstate travel left Wren empty of energy and drained of enthusiasm. She traveled the long hours of the day so that she and Demetrius would arrive in Linoma Bluffs by Sunset on the third day. She took catnaps at shortly before sunset in the rest stops along the way. She saved her nights for traveling with Demetrius, for conversation, companionship, and his driving lessons.

She turned off exit 299 and drove toward a very exclusive area of Linoma Bluffs known as the Highlands. She recently emptied her coffers to purchase a small estate secluded on choice land. She remembered the isolated acreage from her childhood. Surrounded by a mature forest of oak, maple, sycamore, pine, and walnut trees, the Victorian Mansion set back a quarter mile from the gated entry. She had decided rather cheekily to name the small enclave "Summerlands."

She spent one evening at Harvey's Riverboat Casino along the Missouri river to recoup some of her recent spending. With a bit of "induced luck" via her mutant powers, she collected back $8,500 of the $450,000 she recently spent on the property. She thanked the Dragon that living expenses were much lower in Nebraska than New York State. She also knew the property taxes would eat her alive.

[Demetrius will have privacy to glide and spread his wings. The orchard will provide us with some perks that were unheard of in New York. He can roam and have freedom that he never knew. I just hope that he doesn't find it stodgy or boring.] Her anxiety grew as she came to the walled acreage. With ramparts scaling fifteen feet high, a state-of-the-art recently installed security system, and access-code entry gates; she knew that prying neighbors would not be a problem.

She fought the urge to bite her nails. It was one nervous habit that refused submission. Wren's heart beat quickly with anxiousness and joyous anticipation as she punched in her code at the security box at the front gate. The silently opened and she drove the U-Hall inside the estate. She watched in the rearview mirror with great satisfaction as the tall wrought iron gates closed behind her. She grinned as she saw the two grotesques gargoyles statues atop each side of the gate stand in silent vigilance.

She looked to the Western sky. The horizon was ablaze with crimson hues blending with hints of deep amber and traces of lilac. The sun was a flaming sphere sinking slowly beneath the mountainous horizon. The jagged peaks of indigo and wine stood stark against the crimson sky. She drove the last quarter mile west to pull into the circular drive in front of the three-story Victorian home.

Painted midnight blue with white trim, it was a grand and glorious tribute to Victorian architecture. White shutters adorned the stained glass windows. A porch swing added a bit of nostalgia to the long wrap-around porch. The white trellis was heavy with red and yellow roses. It was lovelier in person that what Wren had seen when she spotted the property on the Internet.

[Home. Paradise.] She thought with great pleasure. [Mine... ours.]

She marveled at the bird fountain in the middle of the yard, the oak and wrought iron bench next to it and irises that grew nearby it. She watched a robin drink from the fountain and fly away for the night. She basked in the songs of the nesting birds and the chirping of the crickets. [So different from the smog and the harsh mechanical hustle and bustle of the city.]

She stepped out of the moving van and grabbed a silk scarf that she purchased the evening previous. It was silver Lemay with black metallic threads running throughout. She went to the back of the van and opened the door. She took the dolly and removed the large statue from the moving van. She set it facing to the East. She knew that Demetrius would soon awaken. She sat on the thick verdant grass at the side of the drive and waited.

Wren watched in awe as the last bit of Sol sunk beneath the mountains. She turned her attention to the icon standing majestic fierce and watchful before her. She knew what to look for as she focused her hazel eyes upon the stone eyes of the statue. She watched them come alive with a brilliant white fire. Then, she listened for the growl that soon erupted into a resounding roar. She watched the stone skin surrounding Demetrius crack and fracture as from the center of his chest and extend outward to the tips of his lengthy wingspan. She marveled at the fragments and fractures that occurred within his stone skin. She let her eyes fall to his tail as it lashed furiously. She almost backed away as his wings flexed to their full length.

Wren covered her eyes as the stone fragments flew like shrapnel. A few landed near her feet but came no closer and did no harm. She observed that Demetrius stretched like a sun-basking feline shaking away the last remnants of heavy slumber. She drank in his ebony beauty and perfect physique. No man looked that good. It was almost a shame that it was wasted on a Gargoyle. Almost. At least, it was a Gargoyle she knew.

Demetrius' astute gazed darted around to take in the unfamiliar surroundings. He crouched on all fours in a defensive stance and sniffed the air. Wren never felt comfortable when he displayed the more bestial side of his species. Sometimes, she forgot that he wasn't human when they drank tea and played Scrabble or watched re-runs of Star Trek or Beauty and the Beast. It was easy to overlook his bizarre exquisiteness when they debated politics or discussed their preferences in Music and other things.

"Demetrius, did you sleep well?" She asked concerned that all was well with him.

"I dreamt good dreams." His eyes never left hers. He offered her an extended hand. She placed her small hand in his and he helped her to her feet He wrapped his arms about her and whirled her around as though Wren were a small child.

"Have I ever told you that your hair catches the gold of the sunlight in its strands?" He asked her as he brushed away a stray strand.

"You used to think my hair was the of dirty dishwater." She retorted warmly.

"I also thought in the tenth century that the world was flat." His dry confession was followed by his brow gently touching hers. "I know that sometimes my words are harsh without thought or consideration. I know that I can also be wrong."

"Close your eyes, Demetrius." She gently urged him. "Bend down."

"What are you doing?'

"Blindfolding you." She smirked. A rare streak of sauciness took hold of her better judgment. "Do you like being blindfolded?"

"Wren?" He asked not quite understanding. Then, she remembered, he was pure in heart AND in body. He referred to it as unmated. She preferred the term "sweet, innocent, and uncorrupted."

She whispered in his ear just the innuendo that she meant. She stifled a giggle as his tail lashed furiously once the implication became obvious. "You tempt me, Vixen. A Gargoyle need is not one to be tested."

The walls of segregation rebuilt themselves in seconds, the affinity between them severed. Wren's eyes narrowed and looked away. They fell to the ground and a slight frown crossed her features. "Yeah, you're right. What was I thinking?"

"Wren!" Demetrius realized that his impetuous tongue once more got the better of him. "I think I would find it most entertaining if you were to blindfold me."

Fear crossed her mind for an instant. She knew what he spoke was truth. The tale of Goliath and Adrienne's amorous couplings were legend on Caledon. (Author's note...read "X and the Single Gargoyle Series" for more info on that couple). Stitches from talon slashes and tetanus for bite marks Wren didn't consider romantic. Did Gargoyles rut like beasts? Did their passions overtake them and turn them into ravishing monsters?

Demetrius' heartmagick told him of the evolution of her emotions. He sensed her joy die away and become rejection. He sensed Wren's hurt feelings transmute into trepidation. He longed to not lose they joy they shared at this new beginning.

"Milady, I beg your forgiveness for my rash words. No harm will come to you by my hand. Be you my mate or no, my affections shall always be tender and assuredly gentle. No brutality shall transpire in my affections for you. It is not the Gargoyle way."

She hated the fact that he could read her like yesterday's newspaper. Wren knew better than to deny his acute insight. She wanted to recapture the happiness of the moment. "Let's try this again. Close your eyes and kneel down."

"I do your bidding with joyful obedience, Milady." Demetrius knelt before her.

Wren carefully tied the scarf around his eyes and drew him to his feet. She carefully guided him up the walkway until they stood only ten yards from the house. "Take it off."

Demetrius removed the blindfold. His eyes widened as he took in the grand structure standing before him. "By the Dragon! I never imagined such a place."

"Do you like it?" She asked eagerly.

"It is more than I dreamed possible." He gasped. He impulsively embraced her and drew her close.

He looked down at the jade and amber eyes wide with elation at his pleased reaction. [So simple it would be to bring her lips to mine and know her secrets. Only one simple turn of the head and I would savor Wren's sweetness.]

"Are sure this is what you want?" She whispered.

"I have dreamed of this from the day I met you." Demetrius' reply came out barely more than a hoarse whisper. "How I have longed for this moment. It is a castle of our making and of our dreaming."

"Then you like the house?" She asked. In that instant, he realized Wren was taking his words to mean his opinion of the house.

"Aye, Milady. It pleases me greatly." He replied resolutely and carefully set her upon her feet. He vowed to steal no kisses and play not tricks to seduce the young woman in his arms. His pride bade him to wait until she approached him. His regard for her demanded that he honor her desire to not engage in another kiss with her. Yet, he gave into the desire to touch her. He brought her hand to his lips and carefully brushed his lips along her hand.

He watched her shiver. He purred. Her scent changed from lilacs and lilies to roses and musk. He growled with pure masculine satisfaction knowing that he incited her baser delights.

She led him inside and they took the grand tour. He admired the four fireplaces with mahogany and Italian Marble hearths. She leisurely ran her fingers along the velvety textured wallpaper. Demetrius appreciated the ornate chandelier in what he gathered was the parlor. Wren gave into the urge to dart up the spiral staircase. Demtrius joined her on the second floor and surveyed each of the five bedrooms. He noticed that two had an adjoining door.

"Have you decided upon your bed chamber?" He asked innocently.

"This one." She motioned to the room they were in. He looked at the ornate designs on the plaster ceiling tiles. The room's walls and wallpaper were in delicate shades of lilac, rose, and robin's egg blue. The white marble fireplace added an element of charm to the large hexagonal room. The bay window provided a view of the gardens and orchard in the back half of the acreage. He noticed the French doors also led to a large balcony.

"Let us see the room adjacent to this one." He suggested as he led her through the door. She nodded excitedly in agreement and they passed into the next room.

His jaw practically scraped the hardwood floor beneath their feet. The walls were painted a deep hunter green rather than papered. One wall had a dark walnut fireplace and a large painting of Castle Wyvern hanging above the mantle. Also along that same north wall were several rows of matching walnut bookshelves. He walked forward and noticed several of his favorites, Ten Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Around The World In Eighty Days, The Time Machine, The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, Bullfinch's Mythology, Le Morte' de Arthur, The Mists of Avalon, Lord Of The Rings, Sex Signs, and The Rules. Each classic was leather-bound in hunter green, burgundy, or indigo with gold leafing. The painting he recognized from Wren's office in Scotland.

"This will be your den?" He speculated.

"I thought that this might be ...[cough]. uh your...what I mean. Am I hoping that you'll choose this room." She blushed several shades of crimson as she rushed the final words.

Elation surged through Demetrius. A purr of pleasure rumbled deep within his chest as he nodded his appreciation. He knew that her trust was growing daily. He realized that she was trying her best to reach out to him. While she might not be able to say the words or admit them, her heart knew well its regard for him and his love for her. "This room will make a fine bed-chamber."

"It has a balcony like mine and is shielded by trees. You can come and go as you please." She told him gleefully.

"How were you able to provide for all of this?" He asked amazed at the home around them.

"Ninety percent of my income each year consists of my winnings from Atlantic city and a few trips to Vegas." She explained. "You have to remember that luck manipulation has its uses."

"And your job with Xanatos?"

"Was a way for me to be somewhat productive and adventurous." She finished.

"Wren, this is nothing short of paradise."

"It's not the castle." She shrugged.

"It's much warmer." He moved closer to her. He cupped her face in both his large ebony hands. His eyes glowed faintly with lavender fire. He felt his blood singing her name in his veins. His vow of honor was swiftly longing to be broken. He bent his head just a bit closer. He moved slowly as to not frighten her.

"Gee, look at the time." She exclaimed as she suddenly pushed him away. She took a large step back and glanced purposely at her watch. "Demetrius, what shall we have for dinner. If I don't go to the store soon, we'll be going hungry for the night."

"Wren, I-" He reached for her and shrugged helplessly.

"So what will it be, Dem? Do you want Chinese, Italian, or Mexican?" She asked brightly.

He realized the futility of pursuing the moment any further. He knew it was lost for now. Resigned to that notion he considered his palate's cravings. "Chinese, I think."

"I'll be back in awhile." She left him a digital phone. "Happy housewarming."

"This?" He held the compact unit in his hand.

"If you need to get hold of me, day or night, call me on that." She waved as she dashed out the door. "I'll be back within the hour with dinner."

"I shall eagerly await your return, Milady." He bowed gallantly.

When she left, he studied the room in greater detail. He went to one of the bookshelves and picked up the leather-bound copy of "The Rules." He had found it with the front cover removed in the back alley of a bookstore's garbage dumpster while in New York. Wren had celebrated their month anniversary in the Big Apple by having each of his books bound in expensive Italian leather.

How she befuddled him. The woman vexed him.

[Never engage in combat without proper weaponry.] He sat on the floor and opened the book. [Fortune favors the prepared Gargoyle.]

He decided to play by the house rules.

6/07/01


Author's Note: YES, I KNOW THAT THIS ISN'T THE PROPER SPELLING OF THE ACTOR'S NAME...THAT'S THE IDEA. The character "Kevyn Xorbo" is based upon the earthly incarnation of Hercules from the show starring the actor by the same name. Watch the Hercules episode "Yes, Virginia there is a Hercules."

INTERLUDE

Sitting in front of a warm fire, Demetrius held a drowsy Wren close to him. After their food, they talked of how they wanted to decorate the house. He insisted that they test the new balcony and tempt the currents of the wind. It led in a nightly glide that allowed them to look over the Linoma skyline.

It's colors were softer than that of New York. The ambiance held a feeling of joyful expectancy in the air. Demetrius almost tasted the magick on his tongue. Wren relished the new mood she sensed from this city. They agreed that it suited them better to live here.

He looked to the west window. In a few hours, the sun would rise and he'd become stone. He chose to do something that few Gargoyles knew how to do; he placed a pillow under his head. He cuddled Wren close to him and kept her safe with arm and warm with wing. He closed his eyes and let his mind drift. He felt a pleasurable languor settle over his limbs. His mind caught itself between lucidity and consciousness.

[Gargoyles protect.... Gargoyles do not sleep....]

ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Wren woke to an unpleasant hardness against her chest. She found herself under stone arm and wing. With all her dexterity, she managed to wriggle from underneath the granite appendages. She sat up and stared at her watch. It read 7:30. She had to be to work by nine o' clock. She looked over at the stature lying beside her.

She inspected Demetrius' stone form more closely. She found that his eyes were closed and that he wasn't posed in his usual fierce pose. He seemed to be a statue of a sleeping Gargoyle. She shook her head in disbelief. What would possess Demetrius to fall asleep? Gargoyles only slept when kept from stone hibernation or serious injury during the night.

[Was it possible that he simply let his guard down?] She pondered the possibility. Demetrius was unlike many Gargoyles with his swashbuckling, flirtatious ways and unanticipated mood swings. She gave into an urge and planted a chaste, lingering kiss against his lips.

"Sleep well, my Champion." She whispered with great emotion. "Until Twilight descends, I'll be trying not to think of you."

With that she rose to greet the morning and ready herself for her first day of work.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch (excuse me! MUSEUM, that is...)

Professor Xorbo looked at his desk and the clutter piled upon his desk. Since his administrative assistant resigned, he'd been left to his own devices. He noticed in his appointment book that translator and researcher, Wren Summers, started work there that day.

He detested not being everywhere at once. At that moment, Ares was a constant thorn in Kevyn's side. Ares recently caused a ground war in the sovereign state of Mahkherstan. He released three chemical agents in Iraq. Ares called and gloated the previous on the successful slaughter of 1800 men in battle in Dublin. Kevyn barely thwarted him in his attempt to launch nuclear warheads on Canada.

Kevyn, alias Hercules, realized he was in desperate need of help in battling a god.

Aphrodite was the only original major Olympian remaining. She chose not to take sides between her constantly warring brothers. She preferred spending her time jet setting in Hollywood. Her latest interest seemed to center on Hugh Jackman, the latest James Bond.

[And I have to stay here to guard the relics my brother desperately wants to increase his power.] He shook his head at the irony of it all. Kevyn became curator of the Linoma Bluffs Museum of Ancient History because of its world-renowned collection of mystical holy relics from the all around the world. Within these walls, they remained safe as long as Kevyn didn't leave. Yet, the price was Ares traveling the world reeking havoc amongst innocent people.

He heard the melodic sound of wind chimes behind him. He turned around to see a buxom blonde scantily clad in a vinyl neon green mini-skirt and matching bustier. Her slender legs were crossed to lend Kevyn a healthy view of his sister's natural attributes. She gave him a pretty pout and fairy dust dance about her while his cluttered piles of paper flew everywhere.

"'Dite!" He sighed in exasperation. "What are you doing here?"

"Bro! Lighten up." She pursed her lips together and applied her candy apple red lipstick.

"Sorry...but, it took me three days to get those piles sorted the way I wanted."

"This mortal lifestyle is such a drag. It's totally so.....three centuries ago." She put the lid on her lipstick and placed in the matching vinyl neon green handbag. "But, like, I know you're doing the 'greater good' bit."

"Somebody has to, Aphrodite." His heavy gaze stared sternly at her. "You didn't pop in for just a social visit did you? If you did, I can't talk right now-"

"As if!" She placed a piece of pink chew bubble gum in her mouth. She hopped off his desk and stood before him. Even in six-inch platform neon green heels, he was still a good head and shoulders over his 'little' sister. "I just wanted to tell you that a bit of luck is coming your way."

"What do you mean?"

"You helped me out when that icky General of the Iberian army wanted to hook up with one of my favorite soap opera dears. So, I decided to give you a bit of help."

"What kind of help?" Kevyn asked warily.

"That's for me to know and you to find out." She popped a large pink bubble. "She looks like somebody's nerdy little sister, but she has cool friends! Her stud is like so totally beefcake. He's to die for. You'll see what I mean. Ta Ta for now."

"'Dite, wait!" He reached out only to find his hand empty except for fairy dust.

He heard a knock on his office door. "Now who?"

He opened the door and there stood a young woman in a brown pantsuit with a briefcase in one hand. "Professor Xorbo?"

"Yes?" He asked tersely.

"I'm Wren Summers." She replied cheerily extending her hand. "I'm your new researcher, translator, and administrative assistant."

"Oh, yes please, come in." He motioned for the young woman to sit down.

"It looks like you came just at ...the right time." He studied her carefully. "Coffee?"

"Yes, please." She replied.

Wren Summers was around 5'5 or 5'6" he guessed. Kevyn noticed that her outfit was classically tailored and in a dark shade of chocolate. He knew few women who wore brown these days. Her makeup was light, almost invisible. Her hair was a medium brown and hung straight and sleek about her shoulders. Gold wire-rimmed glasses framed large hazel eyes. The pictured completed itself with delicately arched brows shaped to perfection. There was nothing exceptional about her. Was this his good luck charm that his sister had promised?

Wren recognized his veiled gaze. He was sizing her up to see if she could do the job. Owen gave her the same scrutiny during her first interview. Xanatos had been no less kind when considering her to tutor the Gargoyles on Caledon. She thought her credentials were enough in this man's world. She waited patiently until Professor Xorbo satisfied his curiosity.

[Turn about is fair play.] Wren decided to do some browsing of her on. Professor Xorbo was rather tall. She thought he seemed more imposing in person than on his former television show. His hair was close in hue to hers but sun-kissed with streaks of gold adding color to the mane of dark honey. His skin was flawlessly golden. [Does he have tan lines?]

He wore faded jeans that hugged his sleek, muscular thighs and contoured his slim hips. His white tee shirt was a second skin that showcased his broad shoulders and sculpted physique. He had the handsomeness of Adonis and the body of an Olympian athlete.

[Uh-oh! I'm in trouble.] She realized. She hadn't counted on her new supervisor being able to confound her common sense. Her hazel gaze returned to find the corner of his mouth tugging at a smile. His eyes were warm and welcoming as they twinkled appreciatively of her candid examination. They were warm and inviting. The Professor's eyes were the deep, warm hue of t mid-afternoon summer sky. She knew that spark of mischief too well.

She had seen the same spark dancing inside lavender orbs.

Professor Xorbo proved positively stunning.

[Saints preserve me and have mercy!]

"It looks like I arrived just in time." She knew better than to indulge in fruitless fantasy. Her luck with men ran slim to none. "Where would you like me to start first?"

[Efficient. That's good.] He noted. "Well, Ms. Summers-"

"Please, Professor! Call me Wren."

"Then, call me Kevyn." He replied warmly. "I have a desk that has thirteen weeks of paperwork requiring alphabetization and proper filing. Are you up to it?"

"Trust me, it's not a problem." She exuded confidence at having something so elementary to do on her first day.

"I warn you, it's a big mess."

"Give me three hours." She told him. "You won't know this office."

"I take it you like a challenge?" Kevyn asked.

"Oh, yes."

Four hours later, every paper was alphabetized and filed. Six hours later, his entire office filing system was reorganized. By the end of the workday, trash bags had been changed, floors swept, Rolodex updated, computer software downloaded and plants watered. She moved swiftly throughout the office as if it were her own sovereign domain. She had warned him to stay out of her way on one occasion and barked orders like a drill sergeant. By the gods, she produced results as promised.

"You realize, Kevyn, we have to do this to the entire department." She explained as she closed the file drawer. "We also need to set up an e-mail account for you and update the rest of the database for the Metaphysical department."

"How much help will we need?"

"You and me, it'll take six to ten weeks." Her brow creased in contemplation. "However, if I could work late nights and bring in a friend of mine, I could have this department ship-shape within the month."

"Is your friend as talented as you?" He asked.

"He's a quick learner." She nodded. "He's good with computers. He and I work well together."

"Can I meet him? I'd like to interview him before I give the okay." Kevyn asked.

"That might be a problem. He's ... out of town right now." Not a complete lie. He's just outside the city limits by thirty miles.

Kevyn heard the slight quaver in her voice. She had worked diligently since 9:00 that morning. Perhaps, it had been as long of day for her as for him. "Well, for a job well done, would you let me take you to dinner?"

[Gulp!] She felt the lump move from her stomach to her throat. "Dinner?"

"Just as a thank you for doing so much in one day. Frankly, I'm amazed." Kevyn grabbed his blazer. He opened the door as she grabbed one box of papers to file at home.

"Do you like Greek food?" She asked.

"As a matter of fact, I do." His face lit the room with his perfect tan and brilliant smile. He knew that this was the start of a harmonious working relationship.

*************

DITTO

The next four weeks were a flurry of organizing files and reformatting databases to comply with new Museum filing system. With the vigilance of a Valkyrie, phone lines were updated, software was downloaded, mail was answered and bills were paid. Wren was not a brave soul nor was she a flamboyant one. However, Wren was invincible in an office setting.

Many nights were spent with Professor Xorbo attending charity dinners, fundraisers, and late-nights at the office. Behind the bronzed body and the fantasy physique laid the intellect of a brilliant man with a true passion for history and the paranormal. The favorite aspect of her job was cataloging the many ancient exhibits and relics in the museum's vaults.

One late night turned in two, then five, and eventually ten. She often didn't see her home until one or two in the morning. Demetrius' naturally cheerful nature deteriorated into one of moroseness and irritability. They rarely spoke when she arrived home. She often fell asleep on the sofa. Her enthusiasm for her work obsessed her.

The phone rang late one evening.

[It is Wren.] He sighed with resignation. [Her job requires late hours yet again.]

He stared at the Pasta Primavera with Caesar salad and white wine. He thought it such a waste that this meal he prepared to celebrate her success was to find its way into the refrigerator. The fresh cut flowers from the garden would simply wilt and wither with time. The wine would grow warm and stale. Night after night sitting alone took its toll on his mind.

It was slowly breaking his heart.

[Gargoyles protect. That is who we are and what we do.] Goliath had told him once as a hatchling. [Gargoyles did not cook meals or be at the beck and call of vexing females.]

[I am not meant to wait about like a lovesick swain for some vain, spoiled princess.]

[Why do I persist in this senseless quest of her heart?] He shook his head and stared at the night sky. The stars and constellations were different than of his beloved Scotland. Here, the city's thick haze of smog and neon blocked out most of the heavens' celestial luminescence. [She cares little for me. This is neither my life nor my place.]

"Goddess, why am I cursed with such feeling for one human female?" His deep voice cried forth to the cosmos.

"My son." A voice whispered on the night breeze.

"Goddess?" Demetrius whispered in reverent awe.

"Yes, my son. I am always with you." The soft, soothing voice echoed on the edges of his mind. "She wounds your heart, does she not?"

"Aye. This is not the life for me."

"Agreed." The voice sang to him. "You are to protect. You seek justice. You love fiercely and well. It is the Gargoyle way."

"I have lost my way, Goddess." He bowed his head and shame. "I have fallen prey to single-minded infatuation."

"Nay, you're heart has simply assumed the role of your mind." She gently chided him. "Now, balance requires restoration."

"I wish to leave this place, Mother." He spoke into the night. "It was wrong of me to think she could love me."

"No, my son, you were not wrong." The voice became a mist around him; an ethereal violet mist that reminded him of the ocean spray from his beloved Northern Sea. "She is human. They love differently than we. They are a playful sort of folk. They scare easily. Yet, a human heart rarely gives quarter once devoted to its truest, best destiny."

"But, Mother Dragon, she does not hold me in regard."

"She is blinded by her limited experience. She is held prisoner by her fear of her feelings for you. Humans rarely find bravery to face the truth within them. She is knowingly proving unworthy of your love. She is fearful of loving you. She chooses rashness and selfishness as ways of keeping her feelings and yours at bay."

"But why?" He roared to the skies. "Can she not realize her goodness? Why does she refuse my affections?"

"Pure, simple fear my son." The answer came. "Once she faces and embraces her true emotions, she will come to you and love you fiercely and well. She cannot be pressured or coerced to do any other thing. It must be her choice."

"Have I no choice?"

"You may wait. You may leave. The path you chose will determine all."

"Goddess, I can not leave. I surely would die for want of her." His shoulder slumped a bit with those words. His wings cloaked about him like protective armor. His tail drooped.

"Then stay, and wait." The voice faded away into nothingness. "Gargoyles know how to wait."

RING.

He rushed to the phone and brought it to his ear. "Hello?"

"Demetrius, what are you doing right now?" Came her voice across the lines.

"I-" He looked soulfully at the exquisite dinner on the table. "I was waiting for you."

There was a long pause on the other end of the line. "I know. I'm sorry."

One night she didn't see the inside of her home until three. She found him brooding on the porch swing. The tip of his tail lashed violently against the wood with several successive thunks. She thought she heard him growl as she approached the front door. His eyes brightened the night with lavender fire.
One night she didn't see the inside of her home until three. She found him brooding on the porch swing. The tip of his tail lashed violently against the wood with several successive thunks. She thought she heard him growl as she approached the front door. His eyes brightened the night with lavender fire.

"I love you, Wren."

There! He had finally said the words that had held his heart hostage for several months. He waited with baited breath as another pause came across the phone. He felt a sting prick his eyelids. He wanted to roar and demolished the nearest wall. He felt rage simmer within because he felt so helpless ...so human.
Instead, his heart ached for her and he waited.

"I know." She whispered into the phone. "Ditto..."

"Ditto...?" He asked. "What is ...ditto?"

"Ditto...look it up in the dictionary." She replied cryptically. "No games, I promise."

"Ditto is the word?" He asked with reservation as he reached for the large volume. His tail easily wrapped around the large volume on the nearby shelf.

"Can you join me tonight at the office?" She eagerly asked him. "There is someone I'd like you to meet?"

"Is that wise?" He quickly flipped through the pages of the dictionary. "How is ditto spelled?"

"D-I-T-T-O." She spoke each letter slowly. "Yes, I've told Kevyn about my late-night friend. He knows about you."

"He knows that I am ...different?"

"He knows you're a Gargoyle." She explained.

"Then I shall meet you within the hour." He told her. "I look forward to meeting your Professor."

"Demetrius?"

"Yes, Wren?" His deep baritone caressed her it's seductive timber.

"Big Ditto." She whispered. "Bye."

"Good-bye. I shall see you soon." He cradled the receiver to his ear. His heart dropped into his stomach when he heard the final click and the line went dead.

He flipped fervently until he found the page he needed so desperately to read.

"Dithyrambic, dithyrambically, dittany, dittied... By the dragon, yes!" As his talon landed on the elusive entry 'Ditto.'

Demetrius sat down with the volume in his lap. His eyes widened as he read the entry aloud. "Ditto: the same; exactly as appeared or was said before."

The conversation replayed itself in his mind as the meaning became obvious...

"I love you, Wren."

"I know." She whispered into the phone. "Ditto..."


[Ditto.... the same...exactly as appeared or was said before.]

{...I love you, Wren...]

[I know, ditto.... big ditto.]

A roar filled the mansion from roof to cellar as one exuberant gargoyle rushed to the balcony. With one effortless leap, he caught the midnight breeze and rushed to meet his ladylove. He never realized words carried such great meaning or so deeply touched a Gargoyle's heart.