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Saga: The Hades Wave
Title: Confrontations
Crossover: Gargoyles/ X-Men
Genre: Drama/ Mystery/ Angst
Rating: PG-13 (Mature Themes and strong language)
Characters: Wren, Demetrius, Demona, Scott Summers, Jean Grey-Summers, Remy LeBeau, Logan, Professor Xavier, David Xanatos, Goliath
10/29/01 1:19:14 AM


DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN GARGOYLES. THEY BELONG TO DISNEY. I DON'T OWN X-MEN. THEY BELONG TO MARVEL. I AM DOING THIS ONLY FOR LOVE AND NOT MONEY. PLEASE DO NOT SUE.

[Bracketed words indicate private thoughts or psionic communication.]

2:00 CST
Monday October 31, 2005
Samhain
Flight 613 Xanatos Airlines


Elisa fidgeted uncomfortably in her airline seat. Even flying first class aboard her employer's airline did little to relieve her avid fear of flying. The enclosed space of the airline cabin reminded her of being inside a broom closet without light. She shuddered when recollection of her last trip of this particular route came to mind. The flight remained a ghastly reminiscence Wren wished taken from her mind. Whether by design or decision, Wren found alternative routes from Linoma to NYC after 1997. Usually, she flew via Minneapolis or St. Louis. She often found the train to her liking. Anyway was preferable other than through the air.

Demetrius' excited grin reached ear to ear as he eagerly stared out the window. He had asked for the window seat and Wren gladly let him have it. She knew he seemed childlike when taking in the miracles of modern technology. He reveled in the height, the speed, the sky, and the simple magic of riding above the clouds. "Wren, the view is beauteous, You don't know what you're missing."

"Oh, yes I do." She muttered through gritted teeth. "I detest flying."

"Aye, I also did when I first came across the Ocean to find you. Waking at sunset wedged in the cargo pit of Xanatos's jet was less that pleasant."

"It was a fourteen hour flight." She whistled in amazement. "How did you manage?"

"I was stone, Beloved." He flashed her a flawless smile.

[Stone. How long has it been since you turned to stone?] Her mind's voice reached out along the bond of their empathic bond.

[It has been many moons, Milady.]

Wren recalled how on Caledon Isle how she raced eagerly from her office to the castle parapets shortly before Sunset. Her ebony warrior stood stoic and proud in Kiarite stone. His majestic stance inspired a tad of fear as she observed him. Awe always claimed her as she watched him break free of his stone skin to greet the night. Wren felt warm waves of sentiment as she remembered how it pained her when he assumed his pose to greet the dawn.

Her greatest sadness came when he left her for slumber. Demetrius often spread his wings and curve his talons. She remembered how he assumed a pose unique to him. He leaned forward with gabardine wings unfurled to their full length. Talons curled in anticipation of combat. His massive frame dwarfed the other Gargoyles beside him. His tail lashed furiously in anticipation. Fangs borne gave him an air of wildness that caused Wren's heart to flutter.

[I loved to watch you while you slept. You were magnificent.] She took several deep, slow breaths to steady her rapidly beating heart. She watched his eyes fall to the floor; the feelings of awkwardness regarding his physical handsomeness brought out his humility. [Demetrius, do you miss your stone sleep? Do you miss being truly Gargoyle?]

[I appreciated the regenerative factors. Fear not, Milady. My being by day is Human. My essence remains truly Gargoyle, I assure you. I am glad of the exchange so that we can be as one.] He turned to face her. She stared at the chiseled cheekbones and took in his ebony eyes. Micro braids framed his features. Dressed in a turtleneck sweater and fashionably baggy jeans, Demetrius had drawn more than his fair share of appreciative glances from several ladies. Wren pondered the possibility that he might be dodging her question.

[I do not lie, Milady.] She turned and found eyes of coffee searing a hole into her soul. [I am still truly Gargoyle. Appearance and vessel matter not to me.]

[I know that your heart leads where your head should on occasion. Come on, Demetrius, have you ever truly considered what you've given up in the name of love?] Wren found herself unable to return his intense stare. [You've chosen a Human as your mate. That isn't exactly Gargoyle protocol. You've trekked halfway across the globe to a strange land. You've left your clan back on Caledon Isle. Again, this isn't typical Gargoyle behavior. What about the form we now share being neither human nor Gargoyle? It wasn't exactly your choice. We could talk to our Puck and see if he could reverse it. All in all, Demetrius, has it been worth it?]

[Wren, you confound me. What I have done is no sacrifice] He took her hand in his. Dark mocha skin contrasted sharply with fair alabaster. [I am still a member of Clan Wyvern. I have also regained my rookery brothers and sisters. I have the love of clan, but also the love of a woman that has shown me grace and gentleness. Not many Gargoyles can know that kind of rare love. It is a human treasure habitually taken for granted I never thought to know love. It eluded me. Neither dame nor woman tempted me until we met. Now, I am ruined for any other than you. I have gained everything.]

[Why, Demetrius?] Wren dared to meet that dark gaze with probing hazel eyes. [Why do you love me?]

Wren heard the sharpness of his words in her mind. She felt his deep emotions of bewilderment and hurt wrap around her heart. [Wren, when we met, you touched me in ways I never thought possible. You gave me direction, purpose ...meaning. Though I seemed a beast in your sight, you bravely reached out to me with your kindness and compassion. You gave me insight into existence. You have brought stillness to the infernos raging within me. I found true friendship and devotion when I met you. Wren, why ask this now? I thought we had long since moved beyond this doubt.]

"Demetrius," She spoke softly breaking their telempathic conversation. "New things have come to light about me. I'm no more human than you are. I know that and I have to face that. We both know that I have ...issues regarding my mental health. I don't want you to feel obligated to remain me because of promises made in the heat of passion."

"Woman, you vex me thus." He growled. "Be you Daughter of Gaia or Child of Oberon means little to me. You are Wren Summers. I adore all that you are in this life. Our devotion is unlike anything I have previously known. We love completely and well. I still love you fiercely and without reservation. I shall never leave you.

A large hand gently cupped her cheek and framed her delicate face. "Hindrances are but a part of life, Wren. We can confront them and find wisdom in the good fight. Or, we can succumb to fear and doubt and wallow in pity. Whatever life heaves in our path, we shall move beyond it. I have faith in you and in our love."

"I just wanted you to know that if you felt ...trapped, that you have an out. I don't expect you to stay with me with everything that's going on inside of me. I don't want my personal battles putting you at risk, Demetrius." [There, I've said it. I actually had the courage to do the right thing. Funny, I don't feel very wonderful at the moment.]

"Gargoyles mate for life. Wren, I am no fool enslaved to tradition, duty or protocol." He reminded her with rare ferocity. "I may be Human by day and Nightkind in evening, but my heart and soul remain true to the Gargoyle Way. Only death shall separate us, Wren. Make no mistake; you are my mate until time's end. I am your mate until I draw my last breath. My heart will not allow me otherwise. It loves you too much."

Wren's shame filled her. She berated herself for questioning the one true constant in her life. Not once had Demetrius left her of his own will. He never shirked from obstacles while she wanted to run and hide. [He never gives up and he never gives in.]

"How can I love you when you barely love yourself?" The ebony Adonis sitting next her asked in a baritone that nearly undid her in her seat. "It isn't difficult if only you would let yourself see it. Now, shall I call for a life-preserver?"

"I'm wallowing, aren't I?" She gave him a wry look.

"Up to your eyes, Milady." He chuckled. "You said that these dreams are the spirit of Elisa Maza reaching across the Realms to speak with you. It is my guess that the flashback you recently suffered was a side effect of Elisa's attempted communications."

"I've thought about that. These communications might have triggered things inside my mind as a way of dealing with the intrusion. I guess that Professor X will know."

"Is Xanatos still meeting us at the Xavier Institute?"

"I think so. Goliath will be there as well." She flipped through her organizer. "We'll be meeting Mr. Xanatos shortly before sunset. Given that we change about that time, we're cutting it close. We'll be landing at 5:30. Sunset is at 5:45. Let's hope we're not late or we'll be commanding too much attention.

"Is it not Halloween?" Demetrius rubbed his chin in contemplation. "We will just be dressed for the occasion."

"You try explaining your wings and tail to Airport Security." She hushed him.

Her breathing grew increasingly shallow. Her fair complexion became ashen. Demetrius felt nervousness become alarm inside her mind. He noticed that small pearls of perspiration adorned her pale brow. "Wren, you fear flying?"

"I have since ...well, since that flight with Armand." She watched him nod in understanding.

"Think of all that we will do in Salem Center: we will reunite you with old friends. We shall travel to the city and take in the marvelous splendors; opera, musicals, Central Park, Castle Wyvern."

"It's going to be interesting." Wren clenched the armrests of her seat. She hated flying! "From what Goliath tells me, there's no love lost between him and one of the X-Men. Somehow, he knows them. I know it's through Adrienne. He doesn't think much of Wolverine."

"What will I think of your former teammates?" Demetrius drawled.

"I want you to meet one of my friends from school. I think you'll like him." She grinned her best Cheshire cat smile. "He's really quite cute."

Demetrius's brows almost flew off his brow. "HIM????"



They duo found their luggage and made their way through the numerous security checks. Wren found herself unnerved by particle disrupter sidearms and laser rifles. They were all in the name of Project Indigenous Wellbeing. Since the Brotherhood of Mutants had announced responsibility it's newest intent to subjugate Humanity by any means, security was at an all time high.

Wren and Demetrius were ready to pass through the Genetic scanner, the latest addition of new security measures set up as part of Indigenous Well-being. She knew the routine. The guard would scan her. Her genetic anomaly would appear on his scanner. He would ask her to step aside and ask for her papers. Papers presented and interrogation given. She knew the routine too well. Once, it was decided that she was no threat; they might allow her to pass along with further harassment. She paid taxes. She was a loyal American. Only in America would she be held under suspicion because her genetic signature matched a few radicals.

"When the guards scan you, Demetrius. Smile and just cooperate."

"Why would I not?"

"They're going to ask about my Mutant status rating. They're going to pull me aside. They'll ask me where I'm traveling. Then, they'll ask why. I'll be requested to present papers and identification. Afterwards, they'll ask me how long I plan to stay in the area. If the guards STILL aren't satisfied, they'll detain me and do a background check to see if I'm a member of any subversive Mutant radical group. I should be fine when they find out I'm a Delta class mutant with non-combative capabilities."

"Why will these guards detain you, Wren?" She found Demetrius' naïveté refreshing. "Simply not just because you are a Mutant?"

"That's precisely why they'll detain me." Wren's scowl did nothing to alleviate Demetrius' growing concerns.

"But what of this Mutant Amnesty Act of 1999?"

"President Goldberg saw fit to give all camp survivors amnesty, however she failed to remove many of the Gene Crow laws that are still in place."

"Gene Crow?" Demetrius seemed truly at a loss by her words.

"Until the 1950's, African-American dealt with 'Jim Crow' laws. They couldn't eat with Caucasians; they couldn't use the same facilities or drink from the same fountains. They weren't allowed to be educated with them... just because of a color concept. Gene Crow laws are similar ilk, but made for Mutants." Wren spat. Her anger boiled as she thought about the sheer hypocrisy still canon in most states.

"How can a nation legislate Humanity?" Demetrius exclaimed. "Simply because of one chromosomal anomaly-"

"That's all it takes. We're considered different. Because we are not common and not understood, we are feared."

"And you are kept from being part of society because of your genetic status?" He shook his head in disbelief. "Surely you jest."

"Not at all, Demetrius." He watched her pale face flush with barely contained resentment. "We're not allowed the same civil liberties as normal humans. Insurance companies won't insure us because we're high risks. We aren't allowed in certain professions or in the military because we're considered security risks. We're scanned, detained, profiled for whatever reason suits the local law establishment. In prison, we have a higher mortality rate because we're denied due process, medical attention...you name it!"

"Barbaric. Have Humans learned anything in the last millennium?"

"Not much." She gave him the harsh news. "We're not welcome despite of the supposed progress we've made. So, most of us stay quiet about our disposition. We find jobs that don't do genetic screening. We do what it takes to get by in this world."

"It is unfortunate."

"Yeah, but that's life." She sighed. "Okay, I'll get off my soap box now and quit wallowing. But, I just wanted you to know what to expect."

They waited patiently in line as two guards used hand-held scanners at the security gate to scan each individual. She saw a person in line ahead of them detained and taken to the side for further questioning. The person didn't look any different that anyone else. He was a young man in his early twenties with blonde hair and light eyes. [I wonder what his mutation might be? ]

She abhorred those damned mutant scanners. They upset her bioelectrical balance and caused her extensive headaches and hot flashes for several hours after each scan. It was an inset defense to encourage Mutants not to fly. She often flew on private jets rather than commercial airlines. Because of the urgency to meet with Xavier and Xanatos, she and Demetrius were forced to book commercial flights.

"Hold out your arms, please." The guard instructed her.

She did as she was asked and Wren felt the cold radiation of the Mutant Detection Scanner seemingly slice her to the bone as it passed along her body. The guard began at her head and slowly brought the scanner down the length of her body. She quirked a brow in disbelief when the scanner didn't beep and blip in excitement.

"You're fine, Ma'am. Go on through." He smiled.

Befuddled at this strange turn of events, she mutely nodded and walked through the gate. She gathered her purse and other luggage from the security check and patiently waited for Demetrius. She glanced at her watch: 5:22. Sunset was less than a half-hour away and she didn't feel like sprouting horns and a Tail in LaGuardia International Airport.

Wren watched as the guard scanned Demetrius. To her relief, the buzzer remained silent. The young man thanked her lover for flying Xanatos airlines and wished him a pleasant evening. Her hazel eyes became the size of saucers but she kept her wits about her. Demetrius soon joined her side and he easily shrugged.

"That buzzer always goes off when I go through there." She whispered. "Why not now?"

"Did you use your luckmagick to alter the reading?" Demetrius asked in a hushed tone.

"No, that's a class one felony. Tampering with Security equipment like that with my mutant abilities would get me thirty years to life without parole in Ryker Island Mutant Holding Facility. No thanks."

"Perchance Puck's change of us gave you shielding from the guard's scanner?"

"I don't know. Let's not second-guess our good luck. Let's find our chauffer and get to Salem." She glanced nervously at her watch. "We don't have much time. Let's hope they fulfilled our request for tinted windows."

As they walked hurriedly toward the area for limos, Demetrius spotted a sign that read 'Sojourn and Champion." He silently pointed it out and they walked readily toward the person holding it. Wren stopped in mid-stride when she saw the person holding the sign. Wren stopped abruptly in her tracks and Demetrius crashed into her.

"I don't flamin' believe it." She groaned as the ravishing redhead waved to her. "Of all people to sent to greet us. Xanatos has a very perverted, twisted sense of humor."

"Wren, what ails you?" Demetrius laid protective hands on her shoulders.

'No way in HELL am I going to ride with her." She hissed.

"Wren, your anger fills my mind as a flood." His Scottish lilt weighed heavily upon her ears. "What vexes you?"

"The woman holding that damned sign is Dominique Destine."

"Who is Dominique Destine?"

"You don't want to know." Wren growled. Her eyes flamed a brilliant emerald as they met with the green eyes of the ravishing redhead near them. She saw the quick look of surprise in those green eyes and then a knowing smile crossed her full, scarlet lips. "I can't believe Xanatos did this! Her, of all people, should NOT be greeting us."

"What grievance have you against this woman?"

"She's no woman. By day, she is a human and by night she's a Gargoyle."

"She is Nightkind." He exclaimed happily.

"Not even close. That wench played a pivotal role in having your clan smashed to Smithereens. She was an accomplice to murder. She hunted Goliath and the New York clan relentlessly. At night, she's Demona."

"Demona? Surely you jest." He replied sharply. "Demona is of another realm."

"No, do you remember Goliath's second-in-command from the time before you were... well?"

"Aye, I know of whom you speak. She was his Angel of the Night and a brave warrior."

"Brave, my ass. She conspired with the man-at-arms in Castle Wyvern to turn you and your clan to gravel. Now, she's here masquerading as a Human and expects me to ride with her. Like HELL!!"

"Wren, still your tongue. People are listening." He warned her. She noticed that her ranting caught several stares.

"She made a truce with the clan after Elisa's death and she works for Xanatos now, but I don't trust her farther than I can fly."

"But, you can not fly."

"Give the boy a gold star." Wren smirked. Her lover's eyes widened in sudden understanding of her acerbic annotations. "That tells you just how much I trust Dominique Destine."

"You do not."

"Bingo."

"Wren Summers?" A melodious voice flavored with a Highland lilt addressed her. Wren fought hard to choke back the venomous response she longed to give the redhead in the flawlessly tailored business suit. "Demetrius Nightkind?"

"Yes." [Be polite, Wren. If it kills me, I will be polite.] "Dominique, this is definitely ...a surprise."

"David thought it best that I greet you." Dominique replied warmly. "I'm sure you must be tired from your trip. Our limousine awaits."

"Lead on." [Does this woman have a clue just how much I dislike her?]

Demetrius laid a hand on Dominique's shoulder and stayed her. She turned and looked at him oddly. "Is something wrong?"

"Rookery sister, do you not know me?" His question caused Dominique's brows to rise.

She looked at him with a blank expression. She surveyed Demetrius' tall, powerful form from head to toe. Then, her green eyes noticed his lavender gaze. Her green eyes widened and her audible gasp brought a barely contained smirk to Wren's face. Dominique's next question came out barely more than a horse whisper. "By the Dragon, you were one of Goliath's lieutenants, weren't you?"

"Aye, My Lady. You and I fought many battles together. We saw many patrols."

"How can this be? Weren't you ..." Her words caught in her throat.

'I take it you have not spoken with Xanatos or Goliath as of late."

"I usually don't speak to Goliath at all." There was no mistaking the regret on Dominique's face. "But how?"

"By means of sorcery, Clan Wyvern knew resurrection this past year." He viewed Dominique's stunned response. He watched her swallow away the lump in her throat. She trembled visibly for a few seconds. Somehow, her voice lost its suave confidence and barely came out more than a hoarse whisper. "All of them, alive?"

"But who?"

"It matters not." Demetrius said gravely.

"I wasn't told."

[Gee, I wonder why.] Wren longed to speak her thoughts aloud but knew better to keep her council.

"How is it that you are alive and well after all this time?" Demetrius asked. "My mate says that you were part of our clan's destruction."

"Your MATE?" The squeal in Dominique's voice was perfectly in sync with her eyes turning to Wren.

"I see we have much to discuss."

"Yes, we do." Dominique agreed.




Once in the limousine, Wren watched in fascination as Dominique and Demetrius grimaced. They're astounding metamorphosis was identical. Skin changed dramatically in hue. Fingers melded and became sharp talons. Leaning forward, wings burst majestically from their backs. Eyes flamed with Gargoyle passions. Roars and Snarls filled the limousine. Tails slithered from behind them. They stretched as if waking from a long sleep.

Wren was glad that her transmutation carried the element of subtlety. She felt the itching sensation on her brow that alerted her horns sprouted. A heated sensation let her know her ears became delicately pointed. Gum sensitivity informed her delicate fangs descended. A tingling in her hands meant that she possessed ten talons. The uncomfortable lump she sat on caused Wren to shift her wait. A slender prehensile tail of five feet burst free. She chose to tuck it cleverly by her side making no mention of it.

She sat less than four feet away from an azure demon with scarlet tresses. "Well, Human, I see that you aren't all that you appear."

"First of all, I'm a Mutant." She took pride in correcting the Dame. Wren hid her laughter as Demona drew back stunned by the revelation. [I'm not lying; I'm just not letting her know the whole truth. For the most part, I'm still human.]

"A minor technicality." Demona said with drawling sarcasm. "You work in Research and Development."

"Yes, I do." Wren managed to be civil. The tension between the two Dames mounted. The silence hung between them as an impenetrable veil.

"So, you are the young Warrior's mate?"

"I am."

"She has fire, Young Warrior." Demona turned to face the Sire next to her. "You've chosen well."

"Don't you still hate the Humans?" Wren asked.

"I have come to find them both a blessing and a bane to our kind." Demona purred. "If there were fewer of them in this world I would be quite satisfied. But, they serve their purpose. With Xanatos as an ally, I accomplish far more than I did alone."

"What do you think of Mutants?"

"They garnish some sympathy from me." Emerald eyes became crimson with the strong emotion behind those words. Wren sensed sincerity coming from behind jaded eyes and cynical voice. "One or two have helped me in times of need."

"I'm surprised that you don't considered we mutants more of a threat because of our unusual abilities." Wren's silky reply caused Demona to raise a sardonic brow.

"You of all know what it is like to be abandoned by your own kind without family or clan beside you." Came the smooth rejoinder. "Mutants and Gargoyles share much in common, Young One."

"I wished that all humanity realized that Mutants are human." Wren carefully studding the stunning redhead sitting near her. [Could I have been wrong about Demona? How can she feel any concern for humanity when she supposed hates the lot of us?]

"Consider your kind the betterment of your species. If Mutants are meant to inherit the earth, then don't question your good fortune." The Dame cloaked her wings about her. "I know your kind have no desire to hunt Gargoyles."

"Well, at least you're honest." [So much for there being any innocence in her soul.]

It was nearly an hour's ride from LaGuardia Airport to Salem Center. She made sure the panel was secure between them and the driver. Dominique explained Mutant concealment Technology. She rode across from them in the back brandishing a small device that looked suspiciously like a cell telephone.

"It's a wonderful little device devised by Nightstone LTD, better known as a "mask.'" She handed the device for both to examine. "It sends out a high ionized wave that interferes with the energy emission given off by mutants at a chromosomal level."

"Genetic manipulation." Wren said in understanding. "Clever."

"Precisely. It also transmits a particular frequency that often interferes with most scanning equipment." Dominique smiled a knowing smile. "Thus, what appears normal is actually a malfunction."

"How does it work against Sentinels?" Wren warily studied the small device she held.

"We haven't tested it yet against Sentinels, but we know it works on Gargoyles in addition to mutants." Wren gave her a nod of grudging respect.

Demetrius no longer took interest in idle chitchat. "I must ask, sister. Is it true that you plotted our clan's destruction?"

"NO!" She snarled and eyes blazed scarlet. "Who told you such lies? " Her eyes veer toward Wren.

"I was told you collaborated with a human to let the Vikings take the castle whilst we slept. The damnable Norsemen took Wyvern and murdered the clan as they slept. Is this true?"

Wren remembered the Demona of the alternate dimension. She remembered her slyness and cunning. The young mutant knew Demona possessed the attributes of charm and guile. She knew that the vixen was a creature with a malicious nature and an insane mind. Wren observed the tension mounting between the two clan siblings. She knew confrontation was imminent. [How will she wiggle out of this?]

"It is true I collaborated with a human to allow the Vikings into the Castle." The Dame folded her hands in her lap. "But, I swear to you that I never knew that the Vikings would destroy us. I have spent a thousand years lamenting that night, Young Warrior. It has been a heavy burden on my soul that I can never remove. I found forgiveness only four years ago. I have paid the price of my crimes for a thousand years. Would you also damn me further? Would you take that forgiveness from me?"

"I trusted you, Second." He growled. He gripped her chin and drew her forward. "I shall find out for myself if Goliath speaks the truth of you. I shall know if Wren's words are true. You can not hide your true emotions from me, Second-In-Command."

Wren felt Demetrius using his empathic abilities to rip past Demona's Gargoyle Immunities. She watched the Dame writhe in pain as he battered his way past her psionic defenses. Her choked gasps revealed the agony she experienced at the cruel intrusion of her mind. Green eyes locked with Lavender.

"Demetrius, stop it! You're hurting her." Wren grabbed his arm to halt his assault. With an effortless shove, he pushed her back into the seat. "Don't use your powers like this! This is wrong."

"I shall have the truth, Demona." He growled as his tail snaked around her waist. He brought his lips down to hers in a kiss that was meant to steal her mind rather than fan her passion. Wren stared on with mouth agape as her mate behaved in such a cruel and bizarre fashion.

Wren felt the onslaught of pain, fear, rage, fury, anguish, guilt, and regret course through her body. Images of smashed hatchlings mingled with furious onslaughts against human settlements. A cowled hunter bearing talon scars across his face combined with a thousand years of hatred and plotting. The smells of death and the sight of such bloodshed was more than what Wren understood. Air seemed thin and the pain grew with each passing second. In a desperate attempt, she wrapped her tail around Demetrius' wrist and gave a pull that nearly wrenched his arm from his socket.

"I..know...the ...truth." He panted. His ridged brow was covered in a thick sheen of sweat. "They speak the truth about you, Demona. I also ....know that you are remorseful for your crimes...the truce holds truth."

"Demetrius, what in the HELL do you think you were doing just now?" Wren shrieked. "Killing her isn't exactly the smartest thing you've ever done."

"Still your tongue, woman." He roared. "It is my right to seek truth regarding my clan's demise. I find it to be true and I find her words to be true."

"Stll my tongue! This isn't the tenth century, this is the twenty-first!" Wren glared at her mate. "Try that again and I'll use whatever means I have to stop you. What you did, Demetrius, is beyond wrong. What you just did with your empathic abilities is rape of the worst kind. It's heinous. Skylaris would never want you to use your gifts that way."

"Don't worry about me, Young One. I am well." Demona sat upright as if nothing had happened. "He was a young and impetuous as a hatchling. Little has changed. That's why Goliath made me Second-In-Command instead of your rash, quick-tempered mate."

"Now we are even." Demetrius folded his arms and looked out the window.

The remainder of the ride continued in silence. Wren attempted to process the bizarre turn of events. The exchange between Demona and Demetrius went beyond rational thought. He confronted his murderer in the backseat of a limousine. Then, cleaved her psychic defenses in two to discern her sincerity regarding her remorse over her actions. Wren's temples throbbed with a massive migraine that demanded immediate relief.

[Demetrius is gentle and loving. How could he be so violent? How could he be so cruel?] Wren stifled a sob. She subtly scooted away from him. His actions made her feel dirty and violated. Yet, it was Demona that suffered the effects of his horrifying act of violation. Wren's heart clashed with her mind. Part of her wanted to rend the Ebony Warrior limb from limb. Another part of her empathized with her mate.

"Demona, is there anything I can do?" Wren found herself asking the azure dame who looked worn and fatigued. "Is there anything you need?"

"Nothing you can give me. I don't need your pity."

"I wouldn't insult you that way." Was the contrite response. "Demona, you have my concern and my compassion, but never my pity."

"I am alive and well." Demona turned her attention to the wet bar and proceeded to make herself a strong vodka martini. "Thank you."

The limousine made its way to the driveway of the Xavier Institute. Wren watched warily as the wrought-iron gates swung open seeming of their own accord. Wren knew that she had passed through the gates of her past as the limousine entered the Xavier estate. An eerie trepidation gripped Wren's heart. It seemingly squeezed until her blood longed to explode from utter consternation.

She stoically gathered her wits about her and forced herself to look at the mansion throw the passenger window. The Dutch colonial mansion stood proud and stately as a tribute to a bygone era known for it's intricate architecture. Framed by several mature hard oaks, there was a feeling of mystery and something almost clandestine in the air. She watched Demetrius brooding over Demona's cutting remark about why he wasn't chosen as Second-In-Command. Demona remained pallid and ailing from the dark warrior's brutal empathic assault.

"Saints Preserve Me." She whispered aloud.



The driver opened the door for the Gargoyle trio. Wren watched Demona saunter from the limo to the porch. Demetrius warily stepped from the care and scrutinized the area. Wren slowly emerged and stood still in the middle of the driveway. She walked each step to the main doors and remembered doing the same action she repeated so many times.

[I remember coming here with Remy after the camps. He carried me up these steps in his arms. We walked through the doors and he took me to Xavier's office.]

Wren realized that no one was there to greet them. She found it odd that the Professor had neglected such a common courtesy. She remembered that Professor Xavier meticulously observed social protocol. "Follow me, we need to go to the Professor's office."

"How do you know that?" Demona eyes the apparent wealth articulated in the 18th century home with its marble floors and high plaster ceilings.

"I used to attend school here at the Institute." Wren slowly made her way to the front door. She pushed the latch and found it to be unlocked. Intuition screamed that all was amiss. Her hand went instinctively to her annulus hidden beneath her coat firmly attached to a key ring hanging from her belt. Her tail lashed nervously as she slowly pushed open the door.

The voices and lights down the hall brought her much relief. She breathed more easily and walked through the vestibule and down the corridor to the first floor recreation room. She quietly motioned for the others to follow. They looked at one another uncertain of what to do next, but they followed. Wren stopped in the doorway of the recreation room. "Hello?"

Faces turned that she knew well. Faces sported stunned expressions as they saw her standing in the door. She saw several people sitting around a table each holding cards. She knew each person there had his or her stake in a game of five-card stud poker. The one closest to her had broad shoulders, sandy brown hair and wore designer red sunglasses. The lady next to him had a mass of titian hair tumbling over her shoulders. On the other side of the visor-wearing man was a stocky, hairy individual smoking a thick cigar. The last individual sitting next to him had chestnut hair, eyes of crimson and sported a tan leather duster.

"Belle." He whispered. She cringed at the heart wrenching irony that he called her his French pet name that meant "Beauty." "You came home."

"Oh-oh." [This isn't the response I was expecting.] "Hello, Remy."

"Wren." The visor-wearing man laid down his cards and rose to greet her. "It's been a long time. It's good to see you. You've ...changed."

She worked hard to hide her amusement at his reaction of her altered appearance. "Scott, it's good to see you too. Are you still team leader?"

"Yeah. You remember everyone here, don't you?" He motioned to the redhead.

"Wren, it's good to have you here." Scott's wife warmly replied to her.

"How could I forget Jean?" [Truth being, I never knew her very well.] Wren wryly remembered. She turned her attention to the bane of much her existence with the X-Men. "Logan, you haven't changed a bit."

"Usually don't, Darlin'." He puffed a hearty cloud of smoke from his cigar. He spoke without taking his eyes off his cards. "You sure as hell have."

"You could say that." Her deadpan response inspired a small "humph" from Demona.

"You have horns and a tail. You look like one of those damned hobgoblins." Logan folded his cards slowly and set them down on the table. His steely blue gaze slowly rose from his cards to meet hazel eyes. "What's up with that, Wren?"

"Long story."

She watched Logan put out his stogie in the butt-filled ashtray in front of him. "You hangin' out with em' too, now?"

"Hanging out with whom, Logan?"

"Those damned Goblins?"

"You could say that."

"Figures." He carefully slid back his chair.

Wren felt his disapproval grow more tangible with each sentence. She half-expected him to pop his claws and used them to skewer her in front of everyone. She chose to ignore his surreptitious comments and turned her attention to her biggest joy and heartache. She cursed the fates for blessing Remy with suave manners, sexy voice, and devilish good looks.

He rose from the table and his crimson orbs met shy hazel. For an eternity they stared at one another in silence. The entire world faded from sound and memory and it remained only she and the man across the table from her. Wren bit her lips to keep heartfelt words from pouring forth. Remy slinked around the table with the grace and speed of a bayou cougar. With arms wide open, he gave Wren a tight hug that seemed to squeeze her breath from her.

"Mon ami, it's good to see you." He patted her heartily on the back. "Remy wonder when you gonn' come home."

"It's been awhile." Her cryptic reply was an understatement.

"Girl, let me look at you." He held her away from him. He eyed one slow sensuous inch at a time. "You change da hair, you lost weight and you don' age a day. Life bein' good to you, non?"

"Life is very good." She gave him a sincere smile.

He wrapped his arm around her. "What bring you here to da Institute?"

"Business." Wren grimly replied. "We have business with Professor Xavier."

"He be watchin' re-runs of John Edwards in the upstairs recreation room. He said not to be disturbed/

"Crossing Over with John Edwards." Wren thought the world had surely gone insane. [Since when does Professor Xavier watch television?] "Riiiiiight..."

"No, I'm serious, Chere. He be watchin' his nephew on da Sci-fi channel."

"Small world." Wren nodded. "Can you let him know we're here?"

Remy held her close to him without saying a word. He cocked his head quizzically as he looked down at her. She shivered with long-repressed affection for the dashing Cajun holding her. She dared to return his gaze. He seemed bemused at that moment. He opened his mouth as though he wished to say something and then thought better of it. "Who your friends, Belle?"

"Friends?" She repeated blankly.

"Oui."

"OH! My friends..." Wren felt like an idiot for forgetting about the others. She nodded to the winged Dame. "Everyone, I'd like you to meet Demona. She's an associate for Xanatos. The handsome heartbreaker standing next to her is-"

"Your mate." Logan sneered.

"Yes, he is." She was impressed that Logan was so astute. "How did you know?"

"You have his stink all over you."

"Be careful, Logan." Her emerald eyes blazed and came alive with fire. "I don't take kindly to your talk."

Demetrius wrapped his tail possessively around his ladylove. "Milady, it is of no consequence that this one chooses to affront me. Mere words have little affect."

"No, let Logan say what he wants to say." She returned her attention to primal fury standing before her. "Go on."

"Yeah, Adrienne ran off with the Tinky-Winky." Logan derisive laughter sounded coarse and cruel.

"Adrienne married Goliath." Wren corrected the shorter man with a tone that warned him to cease and desist. "Comparing Gargoyles to Teletubies is like comparing you to someone with good manners.... Not even close."

"Oooh, da girl got it goin' on." Remy smiled, unaware of the contemptuous hostility brewing between Wren and Logan. "I always knew you had spunk."

"No, he's insulting friends of mine." Wren growled. "I'm not here to exchange insults. We have an appointment with the Professor. Television show or not, we have urgent business that requires his attention. Have Goliath and Xavier arrived yet?"

"They're in the den wit' da Professor." That Southern drawl was layered with just a touch of Continental lilt. It was enough to distract the angry woman from Logan's biting comments. "Come on, it's time."



Wren and the others finally united with Professor X, Xanatos, and Goliath. The palpable strain between all concerned parties left Wren feeling waned. Goliath and Demona curtly nodded to one another. Wren felt torn between her desire for Remy and her heartbreak regarding him. Demetrius seemed in full warrior and mate mode. He remained close to her. She smelt his distinctive scent of musk and vanilla permeated the immediate area.

[He's marking territory. Gargoyle jealousy is full overdrive.] She felt his tail entwine with hers.

They made their way to the War Room in the basement sublevels of the Mansion. Wren noticed little had changed in her three-year absence from the school. She took her place and noticed how everyone tried to avoid sitting next to people or Gargoyles they considered not trustworthy. Only Professor Xavier and David Xanatos seemed immune for the initial discomfort.

When everyone took their places, Wren scrutinized the individuals in the room. She found faces both dear and strange to her. At the head of the table sat the Professor with regal air and dignified delivery. Scott sat to his right followed by Remy, Jean, Kurt, and Hank. On the other end of the table sat David Xanatos. Next to him sat Goliath taciturn and forbidding with wings cloaked. His best lieutenant, Demetrius, sat quietly beside him. Wren felt cramped being sandwiched between her mate and Demona. The azure Gargoyle appeared the most tranquil of the entire group.

The briefing was concise. Wren reviewed her strange vision about the Space Shuttle Venture. She informed the group of how it crashed into a mysterious large river. She recounted the eerie prophecy of the canister that contained a substance that brought death to all in her dream: the humans, the fish, and the wildlife. She told the group how Elisa Maza told her not to drink the water or eat the food.

"And you're sure that it was Elisa Maza who gave you this information?" Inquired the Professor.

"Very certain." Wren said with absolute conviction. "She gave me information that only she and Goliath knew. I feel that somehow this Oracle is linked to this more than just as some sort of Spirit Guide sent to prophesy."

"Yet, she gave you no time frame, no other field of reference other than a nebulous prediction?" The Blue Behemoth codenamed Beast asked her. Wren nodded.

"Then we have our work ahead of us." Acquiesced the Professor. "Hank, I want you to work with David and find out about all recent and forthcoming space shuttle launches. Scott and Goliath, I want you to research the term Hades and all relevant information. Jean, I want you to work with Wren to reconstruct her dream in the Danger Room. We need every available scrap of information. Any questions?"

The room remained silent.

"Then we shall convene here tomorrow at 0800 hours."

To Be Continued...