On Angels Wings
Written by Donald E. Fleming II
Story concept by Donald E. Fleming II
Disclaimer: All Gargoyles characters are the property of Disney and Buena Vista Studios and are being used without their consent or permission. Other Gargoyle characters are the property of The Gargoyle Saga (TGS) writing staff and also are being used without their permission. The X-Men and related characters are the creation and therefore the property of Stan Lee and Marvel Comics and likewise are being used without their permission. I am receiving no reward for this story other than the satisfaction of being able to share it with others as it is intended solely for my own entertainment and the entertainment of Gargoyle fandom everywhere.
Demona swooped low to lose her pursuers without success. She looked back over her shoulder and snarled as they closed the gap between themselves and the azure gargess.
I should have just stayed home tonight, she thought ruefully. Blasted Quarrymen and their jetpacks. She quickly dived towards street level, less worried about revealing herself to the Parisians below her than she was losing the Quarrymen chasing her.
"Why is it every time I come to Paris, something always goes wrong?" she snarled. "All I wanted was a quiet stroll down the Champs Elysee before going to Notre Dame to visit Valjean. Was that so much to ask?" The last time she'd been in Paris on business, she'd discreetly made arrangements to erect a memorial for the Parisian clan that had died during the Revolution. That was little over a year ago and she wanted to visit it to make sure it was done properly. The Quarrymen had been there waiting for her.
She took a laser through the wing as she passed over several buildings and another found its way to the small of her back. She screamed in pain as she fell from the sky.
He used to love visiting Paris. Now it just brought back painful memories. Why had Betsy acted that way? Warren wondered. It wasn't as if he invited that woman into his arms. He still winced when he remembered Cherie jumping into his lap at that cafe by the river, kissing him deeply and totally ignoring Betsy Braddock who was sitting at the table with him. Betsy had left in a huff and had taken the next available flight back to the States. She still refused to return his calls. If it wasn't for the fact he still had important business matters that needed his attention, he would have followed her back and begged her forgiveness. But now...
The sound of weapons fire drew his attention skyward. He looked up to see a dark shape with wings pass in front of moon, followed closely by what was obviously three humans wearing jetpacks.
"Maybe a little action would make me feel better," he said. Taking a quick look around to make sure no one was watching, he turned towards a darkened alley and began removing his shirt and the special harness he wore that kept his large wings concealed.
Demona hit the roof with a thud and struggled to regain her feet. She looked up just as the Quarrymen landed around her.
"Now we've got you, demon," she heard one of them say. He charged up the hammer and brought it down.
Demona dived out of the way, but one of the Quarrymen tripped her up as she made a break for the edge of the roof. The masked Quarryman then pulled out a blackjack and struck her across the back of the head. She went down with a grunt.
"Now we've got her," the lead Quarryman said. He reached down and grabbed her by the hair, jerking her up. When he made sure she was unconscious, he let her go. "This time, we put an end to her once and for all." He brought the hammer up for the killing blow.
Suddenly, the hammer was yanked out of his hand. He looked up just in time to see it go over the side of the building.
"Now that's no way to treat a lady," they heard someone say. They turned to see a bare-chested, blue-skinned winged human land on the roof.
"It's another demon," one of the Quarrymen said.
"A demon?" Warren said. "Hardly. The name is Angel." He spread his wings and leapt towards them.
The three Quarrymen backed up, which was what he hoped they'd do. He swooped low and grabbed Demona as he passed over her. He then flew off into the night. He laughed as the Quarrymen tried to follow, but he quickly lost them in the Paris night.
She regained consciousness slowly, and when she did, she became aware of the fact that someone was carrying her. She looked down to see Paris passing under her, then looked up and saw her rescuer.
He looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place the face, especially considering it was light blue, just a shade lighter than her own. He looked down at her as he felt her move in his arms and smiled at her.
"Who are you?" she asked in wonder.
He turned his head to look behind him and that was when Demona caught sight of the wings. "Just a moment," he said. He gave them a flap and started to gain altitude. After a few minutes, he started down again, realizing he had finally shaken their pursuers. He looked down and spotted a promising place to set down. After he landed, he gently set Demona down.
She stepped back slightly to look at him. "Are you a gargoyle?" she found herself asking.
"No," he said. "I'm a mutant. My name is Angel."
"How…who did this to you?"
Warren seemed stunned by her question. "No one. I was born normal, but my abilities became evident when I reached adolescence, like all mutants."
Mutants, she thought. Demona had heard about them, but she had never actually seen one until now. In fact, the only thing resembling him she had ever seen were the Mutates down in the Labyrinth.
She became aware of his eyes on her, just as she realized she was gazing at him. She blushed as she looked away.
"I take it you've never seen a mutant before," he said.
"No," Demona admitted. "And I guess you've never seen a gargoyle either."
"Just the ones that don't come to life," he said. "Although I have heard about the ones that are living in New York."
"My clan," Demona said.
"Are they all like you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Are they all as lovely as you?" he asked.
Demona gasped and blushed even brighter than before. "I…I…" she fumbled, trying to get herself to speak without sounding like a total fool, when she caught sight of the approaching dawn. "I have to go," she said quickly. She turned to get away quickly, but felt him grab her hand. She looked back at him.
"At least tell me your name," he said.
She looked at his hand, then into his eyes, noting the warmth there in his gaze.
"It's Demona," she said. When he let go of her hand, she raced across the roof and glided off into the early morning sky.
Dominique Destine sat at her desk, dimly aware of the voice of her secretary as she filled her in on the day's schedule.
"You have a meeting with the bankers at ten, and Mr. Stokland is supposed to be here at one to go over the fiscal reports for next month," Candice said.
"Fiscal reports, right," Dominique said, not really paying attention.
Candice noted the faraway look on her boss' face. "And you wanted me to remind you about the dragon that's supposed to be scaling the Eiffel Tower later today, and your luncheon with Captain Picard aboard the Enterprise at noon,"Candice continued.
"Mm hmm," Dominique muttered. "I really don't think I'll be able to make…" She stopped herself when she caught sight of Candice's smile. "Oh, very funny," she said.
"Okay," Candice said, suppressing the urge to giggle. "Who is he?"
Dominique quickly stood up and turned towards the window to keep her secretary from seeing her blush. "I don't know what you're talking about," she said.
"Oh, come on, Ms. Destine," Candice said. "I've seen that look before. What's his name? And does he have a brother?"
By the Dragon, is it that obvious? she thought. Her reflection in the glass told her that her cheeks were now a deep crimson. She turned to look at Candice after she had gotten control of herself. "I don't know his name," she admitted. "I…really don't know that much about him."
"Uh oh," Candice said. "Cupid's arrow hit you, but not him?"
"I don't think it did miss," she said, remembering how Angel had looked at her. "He did say…" She stopped. "Never mind what he said," she finished.
"Boy, have you got it bad," Candice said, smiling. "Maybe you should take the rest of the day off, go see the sites, take a cold shower."
"I don't think that will be necessary," Dominique said. Although that idea about a cold shower… "I'm fine now." She took a quick deep breath and sat down again. "I believe I have something scheduled for this morning."
"Right," Candice said, looking at her watch. "A Mr. Warren Worthington III. He should be here shortly."
"Warren Worthington," Dominique said. "Warren Worthington. I should know that name." She picked up a pen and began tapping it between her fingers.
"Worthington Industries," Candice said. "They've hit some legal and financial problems ever since it became known that he's a mutant."
The pen went flying across the room. "What?" Dominique said.
"He's a mutant," Candice said. "He goes by the name Angel."
The shock was clear on Dominique's face. "He's Angel?"
"Yeah," Candice said. "Gorgeous as hell, even if his skin is…" She stopped when she saw the expression on Dominique's face. "You mean that…Oh, now that's not fair!"
A knock on the door snapped her back to reality. Candice quickly turned and headed for the door.
"Hello," Warren said as he entered the office. "I'm here to see Ms. Destine."
"I'll just bet you are," Candice said as she recognized the visitor. She was taken aback by the fact that his skin wasn't blue. Maybe it's just part of his costume, she wondered.
Dominique stood up as he entered the office. "I'm Dominique Destine," she said.
Warren crossed the office. "I'm Warren Worthington," he said. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Likewise," Dominique said. As she sat back down, she saw Candice smile at her before retreating into the outer office. Oh, this is going to be interesting, she imagined she could hear Candice thinking. She turned her attention back to her visitor and realized just how interesting it was actually going to be.
Demona sailed across the Paris night sky, reveling in the freedom. She had to admit that this was the first time she felt this good in a long time. And all because of a human. No, she reminded herself. Not a human, a mutant. Warren's a mutant. An incredibly handsome mutant at that.
Her meeting with him had gone extremely well. Worthington Industries was struggling to keep up, both technologically and financially, but her financial advisors had said that there was an advantage to helping them out. She knew that they had access to so-called "off-world" technology that would put Nightstone Unlimited ahead of the rest of her competitors, including Xanatos. She smiled to herself when she imagined the look on his face when he found out she was ready to unveil the next generation of reusable spacecraft, capable of orbiting under its own power without the need of booster rockets and external fuel tanks.
Now she just wanted to spread her wings and glide on the night currents. Her path took her over the Champs Elysee again and she looked around, expecting to be ambushed by the Quarrymen again. When they didn't come screaming out of the night sky, she relaxed. She shifted her wings and headed for the Seine.
Betsy still wasn't returning his calls. You certainly made a mess of your love life this time, Warren, he thought. Why is it this always happens? At least his day hadn't been a total loss. The deal with Dominique Destine promised to add a half billion dollars to Worthington Industries assets, although he was still unsure about allowing Nightstone access to Shi'ar technology. Probably just being overly cautious, he thought. Although I'd hate to be standing on the business end of a Shi'ar based, Nightstone built plasma cannon.
He looked out the window. Night had fallen. Maybe she was out there, he thought. The flame-haired female gargoyle he had rescued from the Quarrymen last night. For some reason, she was starting to occupy his mind. What is it with you and exotic women? he thought. Why is it you can't find a normal, everyday girl like Candy or Dominique Destine and settle down? Why do you always seem to fall for the odd ones?
He took off his shirt and tossed it on the bed. The harness quickly followed and he put on his costume. When he went back to the window, he saw a shape pass over the River Seine. Smiling, he took off after her.
"Hello again," she heard someone say. Looking around, she caught sight of Angel coming up on her right side. She smiled.
"Hello yourself," she said.
"I take it you're feeling better," he said.
"Much," Demona replied. "I don't think I thanked you for saving me from those bastards last night. Thank you."
"It was my pleasure," he said. "Believe me, I know what it's like to be hated just because of what you are, rather than who you are."
"I can imagine," she said. "I've lived with it every day of my life."
"I find that hard to believe," he said. "Someone as lovely as you..."
"Flatterer," she said. She looked ahead and caught sight of Notre Dame. "If you don't mind," she said. "I originally came here to say good-bye to someone."
"An old friend," he said.
"Yes," she replied. "Someone I knew a long time ago."
"I understand," Warren said. "I've lost my share of friends in my time, too." He started to pull away from her. "Perhaps we can see each other again sometime," he said. He paused long enough to reach over and give her hand a gentle squeeze. She looked back at him.
"I would like that," she said.
He let go of her hand and left her to say good-bye to her friends.
Candice came into Dominique's office, carrying several files. She carefully set them down on the desk and stepped back to look at her boss, who had her back to her while she looked out the window at Paris.
"So, what's he like?" she asked.
"Hmm," Dominique asked. "Who?"
"Who, she says," Candice remarked. "Who do you think? Warren Worthington. I tried to call you last night and you didn't answer, so I figured you two were out somewhere. What did you do, go for a glide over the Champs Elysee?"
That snapped Dominique out of her trance. "What?" she asked, clearly startled. How did she...how long has she known…
"So he did take you for a glide," Candice remarked, misunderstanding the shock on Dominique's face. "That must have been something. Him holding you in his arms while he flew across the sky."
Dominique relaxed a bit. Thank God, she thought. For a minute, she was afraid that Candice was in on her little secret. Although, I wonder what gave her the idea that Warren would do anything like that, not that it didn't sound like fun.
"Actually, no," Dominique said. "I was out visiting an old friend," she said. "Someone I lost a long time ago."
Candice blanched. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Ms. Destine. I didn't know."
"That's okay," she said. "Just don't let it happen again."
"Yes, Ms. Destine," she said. "Will there be anything else?"
"No," she said. "We've just about gotten everything back under control here. You can go back to the hotel and start packing for the trip back to New York."
Candice quickly left while Dominique looked out the window again.
I've got too many secrets, she thought. Far too many. Sooner or later, I'm going to slip up. She turned back and grabbed Warren's business card, which had his Paris number written on the back.
Perhaps, it's time I let go of a few of them, she thought as she dialed the number.
Chateau de Destine
Dominique stood on the terrace, waiting for Warren to show up. What is taking him so long? she wondered. It was almost sunset and she wanted to reveal her secret to him. If he doesn't show up soon, I may have to…
The sound of wings drew her attention skyward. She looked up and caught sight of him.
"I'm here, Ms. Destine," he said. "You wanted to talk to me about something?" He gave the bathrobe she wore a passing glance.
"Yes," Dominique said. "I wanted to talk about us."
"Is there a problem with the arrangements we made?" he asked, suddenly worried that the deal with Nightstone was about to fall through. "If there is, I can…"
"I'm not talking about our business deal, Warren," she said. "I'm talking about the two of us. You and I." Her hands drifted down to the belt of the bathrobe.
Warren stepped back, ready to bolt. "Listen, Ms. Destine," he said, guessing her intentions. "I appreciate the offer, but…I'm…seeing someone." He stammered, trying to get his emotions in check. She certainly is attractive, he thought. But he was growing quite fond of Demona. He didn't want to ruin yet another relationship on account of another woman.
"I know," Dominique said. She opened the bathrobe and let it fall to the floor of the terrace.
Warren's eye went wide. Dominique was wearing an exact duplicate of the costume Demona wore. "What is this?" he asked angrily. "Some kind of sick joke?"
"No joke, Warren," she said. "There's something…"
"Then what is this?" he continued, ignoring the softness in her voice. "Blackmail? You're going to let the world know about my relationship with a gargoyle if I don't sell out to you?"
"No, Warren," she pleaded. "It's not like that."
"Then what?" he snapped. "A quick roll on the floor then? If that's what you want, Dominique Destine, then the hell with your company and the hell with you!" He turned quickly to leave.
"Warren, please wait!" Dominique said, grabbing hold of his arm as she saw the sun start to slip below the horizon. "If you'll just give me a few minutes, I can explain everything!"
Warren looked back at her and she noted the anger in his eyes.
"Please. Just hear me out for just a moment."
"Very well," he said. "One minute."
That's all the time she needed, she thought. "This isn't going exactly as I'd hoped," she admitted. "I had hoped to better prepare you for this."
"What?" he asked. "What are you talking about?"
"I didn't want there to be any secrets between us, Warren," she said.
"What secrets?" he asked. "I don't…"
That was all he was able to say before Dominique took a step towards him and then staggered as the pain of the transformation overtook her. His eyes went wide as her skin changed color from pink to azure blue and her body started to contort. The last two fingers of her hand merged into one and her feet extended. He saw a long sinuous tail snake out behind her and two large wings burst from her back. She collapsed to her knees as the transformation ended and Warren took a cautious step towards her.
"No secrets," she said quietly. "No secrets."
"Domin..Demona," he said shakily. "I…I don't understand."
She looked up at him and he quickly helped her to her feet. "I can explain everything," she said.
"Please do," Warren said.
She moved to the railing and leaned against it. "This is my true form, if you're wondering, Warren," she said.
"I can see that," Warren said. "But I thought that gargoyles…"
"Turned to stone by day?" she said. "They do. I happen to be the sole exception."
"I assume you're familiar with beings of magic," she said.
"I've met a few in my time," he said, remembering Hercules and Johnny Blaze from his time with the Champions and his recent encounter with the Crimson Dawn while trying to save Betsy.
"Then you know of Oberon's Children," she continued. He nodded. "One of their number, a miserable little imp named Puck, cast a spell on me that enabled me to remain flesh during the day. He neglected to say that I would be changing into a human or that the change would be exceeding painful."
"How long have you been like this?" he asked.
"For about four years now," she said. "Before that, I spent my days in stone sleep, just like the rest of my kind."
"And your alter ego, Dominique Destine?" he asked.
"That takes some explaining," she said. "I realized long ago that in order to undertake certain 'projects', I was going to need a human identity in order to initiate them. So I created the identity of Dominique Destine and used the fortune I had amassed over the centuries to start Nightstone Unlimited."
"Centuries?" he said.
"I'm immortal, Warren," she said. "I can't be killed. Another 'gift' as it were, from a trio of harpies known as the Weird Sisters. I was born, or hatched rather, at Castle Wyvern in Scotland over a thousand years ago." She took a step towards him. "Warren, there's so much I want to tell you about my life. Unfortunately, not all of it is pleasant, and I've done some terrible things in my time. I want to tell you all about it, and if you want nothing more to do with me after you hear it, I'll...I'll understand."
Warren stepped up to her and placed his hands on her arms. "Why don't you start at the beginning," he said. "Then we'll decide where to go from there."
So she told him. Everything. She told him about the Archmage, the Massacre, and her years on the run from the Hunter, her alliance with Macbeth and then her betrayal of him to Prince Canmore. The death of Valjean and his clan. Her deal with Xanatos to reawaken her clan. The Steel Clan Robots. Her seduction of Brooklyn. Her attempts on Elisa's life. Coldstone. The Mirror. The so-called 'Lost Night'. Thailog. Her attempt to destroy humanity…
Sometime during her tale, she felt Warren wrap his arms around her. She'd been afraid he would reject her after all she'd done; she hadn't expected this reaction.
"I understand," he said when he looked down and found her looking up at him imploringly. "You've had a hard life. You've learned to expect betrayal from every side. But have you ever once tried to find happiness?"
"Yes," she said. "I have tried, but…" She looked up at him. "Every time I try, something goes wrong. Goliath, Valjean." She paused for a minute. "My daughter, Angela. I end up hurting everyone I get close to, or I end up losing them." She felt fresh tears well up and she hung her head. "I gave up on finding true happiness a long time ago, Warren."
"What about the other night?" he asked. "You seemed happy then."
"It was a fleeting moment," she said. "And even if it wasn't, I know it won't last."
"But that's the whole point of life," he said. "You have to find those moments and hold on to them for as long as you can. You think you've had it rough? I know what it's like to have happiness snatched away from you." He let go of her and moved towards the railing. "Several years ago, I was attacked in the Morlock's tunnels. My wings were crushed and I ended up losing them. I was devastated and I attempted suicide. Apocalypse saved my life and altered my body, making me one of his Four Horsemen. It took me a long time to recover from that, and I had help from someone I cared a great deal for, but I ended up losing her. It was a long time before I allowed myself to feel that way about someone else. And I ended up ruining that relationship, too."
"What happened?" Demona asked. "Did she…"
"No," he said. "Betsy went back to the States last week. We'd been having problems with our relationship and I brought her here to try to patch things up and…I ran into an old girlfriend."
"Ouch," Demona said. "Have you…"
"She won't even talk with me," he said.
"Then perhaps it's time you moved on," she asked. "Is there someone else…"
Warren turned and looked at her. "There could be," he said.
Demona walked up to him and placed her hands against his chest. He covered them with his own and bent down slowly to kiss her on the lips.
Destine Manor, Manhattan
Two weeks later
The sound of someone landing on the balcony caught her attention. Demona ran to the door and opened them quickly, expecting to see Warren.
"Hello War…" She stopped when she saw who it was. "Angela, what are you doing here?"
"We were going to have dinner together, remember?" Angela said.
Dinner? Oh, damn! "Angela, I'm sorry. I forgot," she said. "I…I've made other plans."
"Other plans?" Angela was upset. "But I was looking forward to this. We haven't seen each other in over two weeks."
"I know, Angela," Demona said. "I promise I'll make it up to you. It's just that…I have a date tonight."
"A date?" Angela asked, totally surprised. "With who?"
The sound of wings caused her to turn. She looked and saw a winged figure land on the balcony.
"Good evening, Dominique," Warren said. "Who is this?"
"Warren, this is my daughter, Angela," she said. "Angela, this is Warren, my date."
"I see beauty runs in the family," he said. He stepped forward and took her hand, kissing the back of it gently.
Angela blushed brightly. "Thank…thank you," she said after he released her hand. He certainly was pleasant enough, she thought. Not to mention handsome. She found herself studying him closely and realized he wasn't a gargoyle.
"Mother, he's…he's a human," she said.
"Actually, I'm a mutant," he said. "There's a difference."
"I can see that," Angela said. "But still…"
"I'll explain later," Demona said. She quickly went to Warren's side and took his arm. "I promise."
Angela watched as they turned and jumped from the balcony, disappearing into the night sky.
"…And then they flew off together," Angela said. She had returned to the castle and told Goliath what had happened.
"And you're certain this person was not a gargoyle?" Goliath asked.
"Positive," she said. "I mean, he did have wings and his skin color was different, but he didn't look like any gargoyle I've ever seen."
"Did ye happen to catch his name?" Hudson asked.
"Mother said his name was Warren."
"Warren," Fox repeated. "Angela, was this guy blonde, about six foot tall, with a body like a Greek god."
"Yes," Angela said.
"You know this person?" Goliath asked Fox.
"Not personally," she said. "But I do know who he is. Warren Worthington III." She smiled. "I'll say this for Demona, she certainly landed herself a prime catch."
"Why do ye say that, lass?" Hudson asked.
"Well, not only is Mr. Worthington exceedingly handsome," she said. "But he's also exceedingly rich." Her smile seemed to grow. "Boy, David's going to go into conniptions when he hears about this."
"Can he be trusted?" Goliath asked.
"I think so," Fox said. "Why? Are you jealous?"
Goliath growled low. "Not in the least," he said. "Demona and I parted ways a long time ago, Fox. You should know that. I am concerned that Demona may reveal too much to this individual. I needn't remind you of the last person Demona fell helplessly in love with."
"Yeah," Brooklyn said. "Thailog. I sure as hell don't want to go through something like that again."
"Don't worry, Goliath," Fox said. "This one I know we can trust. Just remember, there were other heroes in this city long before you guys showed up. And take it from me, he's one of the good guys."
They cruised through the night, never straying out of sight of each other. I haven't felt like this in centuries, Demona thought happily. And to think I would have killed him with that virus and never known. She looked over at him. He was changing direction and she quickly followed.
They finally landed on the roof of the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building, which afforded them a view of the entire city. Of course, she was more interested in the view of Warren. She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"So what are we to do tonight?" she asked.
"I don't know," he said. "I thought maybe we'd just stay here and enjoy the sights. Unless you can think of something else better to do."
"Mmm, I think I could come up with something," she said. She pulled Warren into a long kiss.
"Yes?" he asked.
"What?" Demona said through the kiss.
For a moment, he wondered where the mysterious voice was coming from. Demona was still kissing him and that made it hard to concentrate, not that he was complaining.
"Warren." This time the call was more urgent, and he realized who it was.
"Yes, Jean," he said aloud.
"JEAN?" Demona said, breaking the contact. "Who's Jean?"
Oops, he thought. "Jean Grey," he said quickly. "She's my teammate."
"Is that who you're thinking of when we kiss?" Demona said indignantly.
Yikes, Warren thought. From bad to worse. "It's not like that," he said quickly. "She's a telepath. I've just received a summons from her."
"Did I call at a bad time?" he heard Jean say in his mind.
"Yes, you did, Jean," he said.
"Sorry, Warren," Jean apologized. "We need you back at the mansion. There's an emergency."
"I'll be there as quickly as possible," he said. When he felt Jean break the mental contact, he turned his attention back to Demona. "I'm sorry, Dominique," he said regretfully.
"I understand," she said. "Duty calls." She stepped back out of his arms, letting her hands linger on his chest. "You will be careful?"
"Of course I will," he said. "And I'll see you when this is over with." He gave her a long kiss and then turned to leave. Demona smiled as he dived off the roof and flew off into the night.
Nightstone Unlimited Building
Dominique Destine was depressed, Candice realized as she walked into the office, and she knew why. Her new boyfriend, Warren Worthington III, had not called her in over a week.
"Still no word, huh?" she said.
"Nothing," Dominique said. "I even tried talking to his board of directors. They haven't seem him either."
At least he didn't leave her high and dry like her ex-husband tried to do, Candice thought. "Did he tell you where he was going?"
"No," she said. "He did say that it was an emergency, but I thought he would have at least called by now to let me know he was all right."
"That's too bad," Candice said. "At least you had those two weeks in Paris with him."
Dominique sat back and remembered after Candice left. Two weeks, she thought. Two wonderful weeks of happiness. She hadn't thought it possible but it did happen. She finally found happiness. She recalled the night after their first kiss. They had flown all over Paris, something she had never taken the time to do before and she enjoyed every minute of it. She had even given in to her curiosity about Candice's question about him taking her gliding over the Champs Elysee and asked him to do it. He did and carried her to Notre Dame and back. Of course, it was even more fun the second time around, when he carried her while she was in human form. It was exhilarating.
Of course it was over too soon, and she had to head back to New York. He promised to meet her when he returned and he kept that promise. Of course they exchanged addresses…
Dominique sat up and grabbed her appointment book. She had given him the address to Destine Manor and he had given her an address where she could reach him if she had needed to cancel their date if he couldn't be reached at his penthouse. She found the address and realized what it was.
Charles Xavier Academy for Gifted Students
Dominique Destine drove up to the main gate and pressed the intercom button. She was aware of the security camera focusing in on her.
"Yes," came an annoyed, but noticeably imperious voice over the intercom.
"Dominique Destine," she said. "I'm here to see Warren Worthington."
There was a moment's hesitation before the imperious voice came back. "He's not here," the voice said. "We don't know when he'll be back."
"Can you at least tell me where he is?" she said. "It's important I talk to him."
Another hesitation; this one seemed to last longer than the first. "Come up to the mansion, Ms. Destine," the voice said as the gate started to open. She put the car in gear and drove inside. Now where have I heard that voice before? she wondered.
There was activity on the grounds as she drove up. She got more than a passing glance from several of the students. They probably think I'm just another parent trying to get her child into this place. For a moment, she thought about that. Angela certainly is 'gifted', she thought. I wonder if they would be willing to accept a gargoyle as a student.
She caught sight of someone on the porch waiting for her. A human, sitting in a wheelchair. Probably Charles Xavier, she thought. When she got closer, she realized that someone was with him. Someone she knew.
"Good day, Ms. Destine," Emma Frost said as Dominique parked the car and walked up the stairs.
"Ms. Frost," Dominique said. "A…pleasure to see you again." She had met Emma Frost when she and Thailog had started Nightstone Unlimited. Thailog had commented that Emma Frost was possibly an even colder bitch than Demona was.
"I understand you're looking for Warren," Professor Xavier said. "He hasn't been here for several days. May I ask what this is about?"
She considered not saying anything in the presence of Frost, but she was desperate to find Warren. "There are some business matters we need to discuss," she said.
"Have you talked to his board of directors?" Frost said.
"I have," Dominique said. "I couldn't get anywhere with them." She turned her attention back to Xavier. "Professor Xavier, I need to get in touch with him." She looked at Frost. "If we could speak alone, in private?"
"Of course," he said. He turned his wheelchair around and headed back into the mansion. Dominique followed quickly.
"From Emma Frost's reaction, I take it the two of you know each other," he said.
"We have had some business dealings in the past," Dominique said. "I'm the head of Nightstone Unlimited."
"Then you must be the Dominique Destine Warren has told us about," he said as they entered his office.
This worried her a little. During the two weeks they were together in Paris, Warren had told her about the X-Men, but she had asked him not to reveal her secret to his teammates until she was ready to meet them. The night he had left, she'd been ready to do just that, but then…
"What did he tell you about me?" she asked.
"Not a lot," Xavier said. "He told us that he met you in Paris, but that he didn't know who you were until he met you again at your company's office the next day. You fell for each other and spent the next two weeks in each other's company until you came back to New York." He looked at her. "I suspect there's more to it, though."
Perceptive, she thought. "Yes, there is more," she said. "But I'd rather keep it between Warren and myself for now."
"Is he aware that you're a gargoyle?" Xavier asked.
"What?" she asked, shocked. "How did you…"
"Ms. Frost is, like myself, a powerful telepath," he said. "But, unlike myself, she tends to be rather blatant in the use of her abilities. And she's not above letting rumors fly about her business rivals. I have tried to discourage her in recent years, and I had hoped putting her in charge of the school would help to rein her in, but…" He sighed. "I suppose I'm going to have to have another talk with her about invading peoples' privacy again." He turned his attention back to Dominique. "I guess then that it is true," he said. "You are a gargoyle."
"Only at night," she said. "A spell keeps me from entering the stone sleep during the day. Although the change from human to gargoyle tends to be painful."
"And Warren knows about this?"
"Yes," she said. "That's how we met. He rescued me from a group of Quarrymen in Paris who attacked me while I was a gargoyle. After that, I guess you could say Cupid took it from there."
"Paris does seem to have that affect on people," Xavier said. "No matter who or what they are."
"It does at that," she said.
He smiled at her briefly before a light started flashing on a monitor on the wall. He went over to it and realized that it was a call from the Blackbird. The X-Men were coming back.
Professor Xavier hit the button. "Go ahead, Cyclops," he said.
"We're on our way back to the mansion," the leader of the X-Men said. "And we're going to need medical assistance."
No! Dominique silently cried out.
"What happened?" Xavier asked.
"Angel's been injured."
Xavier and Dominique met the Blackbird at the hanger deck, with a medical team standing by. When the massive jet came to a halt, the side opened up and the X-Men walked down the ramp, one of them pushing a hovering platform.
"Cyclops, what happened?" Xavier asked.
"It was the N'Gari," Cyclops said. He paused when he caught sight of Dominique. "Who…"
"It's okay, Scott," Xavier said. "This is Dominique Destine. She's a…friend and business associate of Warren's." He looked at Angel, laying helpless on the platform. "What's this about the N'Gari? Who are they?"
"They're a race of aliens that steal memories," Jean Grey said. "They'd been attacking Lilandra's people secretly for years, even before the Kree/Shi'ar War. Apparently, they feed on the memories and the emotions associated with them. They attacked Warren and tried to take his."
"Luckily, we stopped 'em," Wolverine added, taking a quick look at Dominique. His nose told him there was something off about her. "Unfortunately, not before they took a big chunk of Angel's life away from him."
"No!" Dominique gasped.
"How is he?" Xavier asked.
"He'll pull through," Cyclops said. "We managed to seize the device they used to steal the memories. Hank and Kitty are trying to get it work in reverse in order to restore them, but…" He hesitated as he looked at Dominique. "Most of his short-term memories are gone. Everything that has happened to him over the past few weeks, they're not there anymore. We might be able to restore a few of them, but it doesn't look good."
"Can I see him?" Dominique asked.
Cyclops looked at Professor Xavier.
"It's okay, Scott," he said.
Dominique waited until the platform was near before reaching out to grasp Warren's hand.
"Warren, can you hear me?" she asked, noticing the glare she got from one of his teammates. That has got to be Betsy Braddock, she thought.
"Dominique?" she heard him say. She took that as a good sign.
"How do you feel?" she asked.
"I feel…" he said, pausing as he looked at her. "I know you," he said.
She felt her heart start to sink. "Yes," she said. "We met in Paris three weeks ago."
"I remember…" Another pause. "We were discussing a business proposition."
Dominique's heart fell lower. "Do you remember anything else?"
"I'm trying," he said. "I saw a woman with blue skin. And wings." He looked back at her. "I felt…something for her. Do you know her?"
Dominique's lower lip quivered. He doesn't remember, she thought mournfully. "No," she said. "I don't, Warren. I'm sorry."
Warren sagged back onto the platform.
"We'll always have Paris," she said quietly as she released his hand.
Dominique stepped away from Warren as they took him to the school's medical wing. She turned to consider Psylocke.
"Warren told me all about you, Miss Braddock," she said. "He still cares very deeply for you, despite how close we became. You may want to think about that before deciding whether or not you want to leave him."
"I know how Warren feels about me," Psylocke said.
"Then I suggest you be there when he wakes up," she said. "I may have lost my chance with him. You still have yours. Don't throw it away."
Psylocke looked at her for a moment before leaving Dominique alone in the hanger.
Demona sat on the roof of the school, looking out at the night sky. She still wore her business suit, but it had been shredded by her transformation. Just like my life, she thought bitterly, quietly crying to herself. It was so unfair, she thought. Why was it every time she found herself getting this close to someone, she ended up losing them? Was it the curse of her existence, or was it just some cosmic joke the universe was playing on her?
She was aware of someone else's presence on the roof. She turned, hoping that it was Warren, fully recovered, but discovered that it was the blue-furred mutant from the hanger. Henry McCoy, she seemed to recall.
"I'm sorry," Hank said, looking around. "I was looking for Dominique Destine. I could have sworn…"
"You've found her," Demona said.
Hank was taken aback by that. This was Dominique Destine? he thought, surprised. He took a careful step towards the gargoyle. "Warren told me about you," he said carefully. "Apparently not everything, though."
Demona looked up at him. Hank could tell she was heartbroken. "How is he?" she asked.
"He's resting," he said. "He still can't remember everything that's happened to him. I doubt he'll ever be able to remember it all. But he can remember bits and pieces of what happened in Paris. He just…"
"He won't be able to remember the emotions that went with those memories," Demona said.
"I'm sorry, Dominique," Hank said.
Demona sighed heavily. "It's Demona now," she said. "The Dominique Destine Warren knew in Paris is gone forever."
"Demona," Hank said, sitting down next to her. "I know what it is to fall in love with someone, only to have that love snatched away by the fickle hands of Fate. We have all experienced it at one time or another." He carefully rested his hand on her shoulder. "And if you are the same Demona I have read about, then I know what a hard and painful life you've led. The point is to go on living, and hope that someday, somehow we can find love again."
"But I don't want to wait for love to find me again," Demona sobbed. "I want Warren."
"I know," Hank said. "And maybe someday, he will come back to you. But until then, if you need a shoulder to cry on…"
Demona looked over at him. Hank had his arms spread out, waiting for her.
"Jean always said I had the softest ones in the business," he said with a friendly smile.
Demona carefully fell into his arms and proceeded to let the floodgates open. Hank held her until Demona finally cried herself to sleep in his warm and comfortable embrace.