Author: Denigoddess2001
Date: 1/12/02 4:28:04 AM
Saga: Angels Amongst Us
Title: The Surreal World 2.0
Rating: R (Sexual content, profanity, adult themes, violence)
Genre: Angst/ Romance/ Humor/ Drama …it has a bit of everything

Characters: Wren Summers-Nightkind, Demetrius Nightkind, Timron of Avalon, Professor Lennox MacBeth, Dominique Destine, Dr. Christina Hansen-Stephenson A.K.A. Tina Stephenson

Summary: This is what happens when you bring five diverse individuals together to live in the same house. Look out for dark humor, angst, latent sexuality, and just simple madness. Please buckle your seatbelt to avoid whiplash from plot twists and turns. Chill well and stir before serving.

All adoring praise, constructive comments, flamboyant flames and incoherent babblings may be sent to: Denigoddess2001@aol.com

Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. Professor Kevyn Xorbo is a concept inspired by Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Herc are property of Renaissance Pictures. Professor Charles Xavier is property of Marvel Comics. All original characters are the creations of their deity, Denigoddess2001. No infringement intended. This is written for fun. Please do not sue.

[Bracketed words are thoughts or psionic communications]

See notes at the conclusion of this story.

****************
What has gone on before between Avalon Wars 4.0 and Angels Amongst Us 1.0…

Wren and Demetrius returned safely from the celestial city, Olympus, to the Avalon's peaceful shores. The harrowing trauma burdened the couple with inexpressible mortification. After enduring such horrific humiliation, the twosome wasn't entirely prepared to accept Dominique Destine into their home. Wren clandestinely approached an old colleague from previous acquaintance, Dr. Christina Hansen-Stephenson, to stay with Dominique at Xanatos' New York state retreat, Xanadu. Wren convinced the hesitant Tina to run several tests on Dominique, Demetrius and herself. Wren decided that it was time that a specialist in Gargoyle Physiology to emerge. The young Fae's designing intellect conceived a plan to protect Gargoyles forever, Mutants and other beings needing sanctuary.

She additionally advocated Dr. Stephenson's befriending the young Dame and assisting in her education foregoing her arrival at Summerlands. This gave Wren the needed time to recover spiritually and emotionally from her trials with Ares. Regrettably, Demetrius didn't fare so well. The physical, spiritual, and psychological scars of his servitude to Ares remained. Wren searched desperately for a demonstrative and ingenious way to mend their fractured nexus. That is mentioned in Angels Amongst Us: Beloved 1.0

********
January 25, 2006.

Wren sat in her office staring at an office memo sent directly to her from the New York Office of Xanatos Enterprises. She blinked once, and then twice to make sure she was reading it correctly. The hot mug of coffee in her hand threatened to spill while she held it. She digested the contents of the memo as she reread each line. When the indisputable significance became known, a trembling hand guardedly placed the steaming cup on her desk. The young Fae readjusted the thin gold wire frames that rested easily on her nose. Several deep breaths brought perspective the addled burgeoning conjurer.

Wren,

Dominique Destine has completed her treatments and research with Dr. Hanson-Stephenson at Mr. Xanatos' Xanadu retreat. She and the doctor shall be flying via corporate jet to Linoma to join you at Summerlands. Please be at Linoma Bluffs International Airport at 2:45 this afternoon to intercept them.

You neglected to inform Mr. Xanatos or me of Dr. Hanson-Stephenson's unique condition. We have made special arrangements for her accommodation to be shipped as cargo on Ms. Destine's flight. In the future, when you refer specialists to us, please disclose all information known so that we can more easily facilitate their needs. She has informed us that the cargo MUST not be exposed to daylight.

Another cargo shipment will also be accompanying Ms. Destine on her flight. It is from our Scottish office. Please have your office provide proper transportation for this particular item. It will be marked as fragile. Mr. Xanatos wishes for this particular cargo to remain in your constant and vigilant care. Timron of Avalon sends his regards.

Professor Xorbo and Mr. Xanatos have continued their professional association. However, due to recent professional conflicts and personal reasons, Professor Xorbo has resigned as curator and administrator of the Linoma Bluffs Museum of Ancient History. Lack of funding has forced the Professor to put the relics up for auction. The Xanatos Foundation has purchased the building and all contents therein. It is now the duty of Research and Development to help acclimate the new administrator to his new surroundings. Please show him the utmost hospitality.

The new administrator is Professor Lennox Moray MacBeth from the University of New York. He will be taking a professorial position at Star City University in Literature and Classics. He is currently without lodging and we respectfully request that you see to this particular detail. He will present to you his credentials at the time of his arrival. He is to be given the greatest courtesy.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Owen Burnett
Senior Vice President
Xanatos Enterprises
New York Office

[What exactly does this mean?] Wren was bewildered by the nebulous document. [What about Tina's 'condition?' What the hell is that supposed to mean?]

Wren took a sip of her coffee and made a dour face. Bitter goo filled her mouth as she sipped her morning pick-me-up. [Someone forgot to make fresh coffee this morning. I really need to get a secretary that makes good java.]

She scanned the paragraphs following the comments regarding Tina Hanson-Stephenson. Wren had recommended her to do the testing on Dominique because of Tina's background in Mutant Physiology. She knew that no doctors knew anything about Gargoyle anatomy and it was an excellent opportunity to learn. Tina had been a dear friend when friends were few; she had kept Wren safe during her times in the Mutant Relocation camps.

[Another time and another place. That's somewhere that my mind doesn't need to go.] Wren refused to dwell on the horrors of those times. She had been ecstatic when she found that Tina had accepted Xanatos' offer of employment with the corporation. Yet, Owen's memo made little sense to her. She knew by the precise, formal tone of the document that his orders and requests were not to be questioned.

[The last time I questioned Owen, I found myself filing tax returns for a month.]

[So, what is he shipping me? Two large crates and a lot of mystery. This isn't like him.] Wren mused. [Owen is usually rather up-front with me …unlike his alter ego. Typical fairy. I think I liked him better when he was Robin Goodfellow. At least then he didn't speak in these damned riddles.]

[What is going on with the museum? Why is Kevyn Xorbo deserting it? He knows that those relics need proper protection. Only a god is strong enough to keep all of those things from falling into the wrong hands. Who in the nine hells is Lennox Moray MacBeth?] Her curiosity demanded that she find the answers as soon as possible.

Without hesitation, Wren picked up the telephone and proceeded to dial Kevyn's office number. She tapped her foot impatiently as the phone rang once, twice, thrice. Impatience taunted her with each telephone ring. There was no answer. She snorted and gave a wry chuckle. [If you can't get the god, go for the avatar…]

Nimble manicured fingers deftly dialed the phone extension of Kevyn's executive assistant. She knew Kevyn's assistant to be a man with keen intellect, rapier wit and meticulous mind. Considering their association, she knew that he would gladly answer her questions. Again the phone started its incessant ringing. Once, twice and then a glorious sound filled Wren's ears.

"Linoma Bluffs Museum of Ancient History, Administrator's office." A deep smoky baritone touched her soul from the other side of the line. "How may I direct your call?"

"Demetrius, it's Wren." She rose from her executive office chair and carefully shut her office door. "Do you have a minute?"

"Milady," His professional detachment quickly vanished in favor of his expressive Highland lilt. There was a pause on the end of the line. "It is good to hear your voice. My thoughts were of you just but a moment past. I always have time for you."

A pretty stain of rose colored her cheeks. Enthralling words brought a rush of warmth to her heart. His sincerity of devotion caused her pulse to quicken and her throat to constrict. She shook off the alluring spell that Demetrius had over her. "Hey, Lover. It's good to hear you on the other side of the line. But, unfortunately, this isn't a social call. I just received a memo from Xanatos Enterprises. What is going on over at the Museum with Kevyn resigning his post and putting the relics up for auction?"

"Aye, ye hear rightly. I received the news only today. I am interim curator until my replacement arrives." Demetrius gave a heavy sigh. "Kevyn's records are a clutter of disorganized files and papers. It will take me well-nigh a month to set all things right."

"Funny you should mention that. You won't have to wait long for your replacement."

"What do you mean?" Demetrius' bewilderment meant that he hadn't heard the news yet.

"I just received a memo from Owen's office. Dominique is arriving this afternoon with Tina. The new administrator is going to be on the same flight and his name is Lennox Moray MacBeth."
"Tell me more." Even her mate wasn't immune to good gossip. She could almost see the eager expression on his face. That brought a small smile to her lips.

"He's a Professor. He taught Literature and Classics at the University of New York." Wren offered. "He's accepted a teaching position at Star City University. Other than that, that's all I know."

"Really?"

"Positively." Wren's mocking seriousness wasn't lost on her Significant Other. "I've been told by Owen plainly that we are to provide Professor MacBeth with proper entertainment and hospitality. I'm interpreting that as we give him lodging until he finds a place to live."

"Milady? Is that wise? He knows not of our ways as Nightkind."

"I'm going to give Owen a call and see what he has to say about that. I don't think that he would put us at risk." Wren managed to take a sip of the steaming black java. She carefully replaced the cup on its coaster. She briefly glanced at her watch and saw that it was almost 1:45PM. "Would you like me to swing by and pick you up? Then, we could both meet your new employer at the airport."

"Milady, I anticipate your arrival."

*****

Wren parked her car and hurriedly made her way up the stairs of the Museum's front entrance. She worriedly glanced at her watch as she sprinted to Demetrius' office. A silent prayer filled the air as she begged the Powers-That-Be that she wasn't late. She dashed through his office door with speed befitting of a runner and landed adroitly in a chair before his desk. Panting heavily from her swift jaunt, she almost collapsed in the overstuffed cushions of the antique leather chair.

Behind an antique oak desk sat the man she called her betrothed. He was very much the consummate professional as he typed speedily on his laptop. Long braids were carefully tied in a queue at the nap of his neck. Silver wire spectacles adorned his strong features as he looked through them while typing his memo. He wore a banded white shirt and a tailored suit of the finest gray virgin wool. His face sported a black mustache and goatee. A delicate silver hoop adorned graced his left ear while a small diamond stud bedecked the right lobe. He reminded her of an amalgamation Lenny Kravitz, Keith Hamilton-Cobb and Prince. She knew that his preference for trend and fashion predominated his wardrobe. Wren knew that if she looked, his slacks were low-riding on his hips and flared at the ankle. She bent over to see if he wore the stylish black boots he had admired in the mall just that previous weekend.

[Oh, yes. I know what I'm getting him for his birthday: a subscription to GQ.]

[Do Gargoyles have birthdays?]

She subtly looked over the rims of her glasses to visually devour the handsome man with coffee eyes and mocha skin. A warm haze of adoration, feminine satisfaction and titillation
teemed through her. Demetrius continued typing but obsidian eyes smoldered with unspoken avarice. [Milady, you vex me thus with your candid admiration. Inciting you is not my intention, but is indubitably a pleasure.]
Wren's hazel eyes quickly averted to the growing pile of paperwork to the right of his desk. She berated herself for such gauche appraisal of her mate's sensual attributes. She knew her psionic defenses were normally weak around him, but having none was thoroughly dangerous.
"I guess you just have a way with me."

Demetrius quit typing and gently closed the laptop. He gracefully pushed it aside and leaned forward on steepled hands. "You need only read my mind, Milady. You will know that you have captured my desire and have enraptured this heart."

The heated flirtation brought a flux of warmth through her nether regions. She fiercely extinguished the compulsory predilection augmented by their psionic bond. She quickly shrank in her chair and demurely clasped her hands in her lap. It was as though they were back on Caledonia playing a heated game of cat-and-mouse. The tantalizing man behind the desk adroitly leapt over it with the grace of a Gargoyle warrior. In either form, he was agile beyond mere human ability. He knelt before her and took her warm palm and held them. Tapered fingers gently guided Wren's face so that she met his dark gaze.

"Wren, nae be chagrined by the gloriousness of a Dame's passion for her mate." His fingers brushed along full lips dew-laden in the soft color of coral. "It is my confirmation that you find me worthy."

"Demetrius . . . " No more words came out he pressed a long and gentle kiss upon her lips.

"Tonight, you'll know a Gargoyle's need. Today, you shall know his heart." He pressed another kiss to the back of her hands. "Be patient, Milady. Night shall fall soon."

"We-we- have to get to the airport." Wren forced her concentration on the important matters at hand. "We need to pick up Demona. I mean that we need to pick up Dominique, the Professor, and Tina."

"Then, let us make haste." He nodded in agreement. "But there is one matter that requires my immediate attention."

"What would that be?" Wren asked.

He swept her into his lap so that she sat nestled over his generous endowments. "I believe that my Dame is in need of attention."

"Demetrius!" His name came out as a hiss when she discovered his hand slowly tracing a path up her thigh. "What in the nine hells are you doing?"

"You're wearing stockings rather than pantyhose." He purred as his fingertips encounter bare thigh. He traced a slow, teasing path until he met silk and lace. He bypassed the wispy material with adept ease. "I am glad that you rarely ware pants. I find them unbefitting of your beauty."

"Demetrius..." A small breathy gasp escaped Wren. Her brow fell to his shoulder. Her words teased the nape of his neck as he knew she fought for self-control. "I thought we agreed to wait until you were ready..."

"I shan't leave you suffering from want, Milady." He gave her a wicked grin. His fingers found the folds that he longed to feel brush against his fingers. "Every lily blossoms more fully when its petals are caressed. I ponder if you will do the same?"

Demetrius nipped gently at her neck as his fingers tenderly stroked her swollen folds. She froze as he felt her touch her so intimately. A deep, throaty mewl escaped Wren as her lover's touch sent an epicurean rush through her. His teeth bit more deeply into her heated skin as he felt her desire drench his fingers. He teased her mercilessly by brushing her innermost cleft and not claiming her. The harsh ragged gasps mingled with quick pants as he refused to assuage the burning need growing within Wren.

"Why do you do this to me?" She pounded her fist on his shoulder in frustration. "You know what you do to me. You don't ever have to doubt me."

"Do not misconstrue my overtures, Milady." A smoky baritone filled her ear. "I do this not because I wish to torment you. I do this to pleasure you. I do this because you long for me and I wish to appease you. It brings me peace to feel your delight surround me."

His finger glided upward and embedded deeply within Wren's delicate tender softness. Her fingers clenched tightly at Demetrius' shoulders until her knuckles shown white. Honey-hued tresses fell about her face as he deftly claimed her with each deep driving thrust. Her eyes met his and she saw that the hunger had captured him. She reached for him, but Demetrius stilled her hand as a second finger sheathed itself inside her to the hilt.

"I say thee, nay, Milady." His thumb expertly pressed against her sweet impassioned pearl. "Give me the sweetest bequest of your absolute surrender. Show me your love with your being's sweetest nectar and not merely with words."

"Oh, God!" A short gasp escaped her.

"Know that I love you in my innermost heart fiercely and well." Demetrius' deep voice resonated within her. Her body shuttered in that one pristine moment of fiery culmination. Her body obeyed his command to show her love as she arched against him. He captured her mouth and muffled her wild cries of release. His tongue gentled her frenzied moans and his hand brought about another wave of passion. "Without hesitation or hesitation."

She slumped against him. Demetrius planted a kiss to her glowing brow and quietly stroked her hair. For moments they sat in the overstuffed leather chair saying nothing. Wren forced herself to her feet and stared at her watch.

"Demetrius, it's 2:00. We have a half an hour to get to the airport and meet our guests." She looked in the antique cheval that stood in the corner of his office. She smoothed away the wrinkles of her brown skirt and ran her fingers through disheveled hair. Wren wiped the perspiration from her brow and readjusted her glasses. When she was satisfied that she was again the efficient corporate paragon, she assumed her formal demeanor. She gave a small smile to the man still sitting flustered in the chair. "I'll see you in the car."

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

Linoma Bluffs International Airport was a hustling bustling hub of travel. Guards stood everywhere with particle-beam sidearms and genetic scanners. She stared heatedly at the guards who stood ready to scan her for that X-factor that distinguished her from the rest of the human populace. One security officer ran his scanner over her and nodded curtly for her to pass. Demetrius was stopped briefly by a female guard and interrogated. When Demetrius had answered the guard's questions to her satisfaction, she let him pass. He grumbled heatedly in DeMahri as he looked apologetically at Wren. A grin crossed her face when she heard him growl, "Menash Kah!"

They walked along the length of the terminal in relative silence. Wren took in the man walking beside her. He was compelling, proud, and passionate about most things. "Demetrius, how do you feel about Dominique being in our home?"

He froze in place and turned to Wren. She thought his eyes gleamed dimly with lavender fire.
Barely restrained fury danced along their psionic arc. She also sensed fleeting compassion dance at the edges of her mind. "Demona murdered my clan, Wren. She did so as if she had picked up a mace and shattered each Gargoyle into dust. She took my life and condemned me to a murky purgatory between life and death. She murdered you, my Hunter. How can you not remember?"

The words, 'my Hunter,' struck Wren more forcefully than any blow. She remembered how she had vainly attempted to alter History and divert the Vikings from their plan. She recalled how, in the past, she beseeched Goliath to take his clan from Castle Wyvern. The helpless fury and agony surged again within her as she remembered the Viking's hammer shattering her mate to gravel. [I was waking, when the mace struck me. I was still in stone skin when I fell over the parapets. I remember trying to spread my wings and break free of my skin when the ground rose to meet me.]

[Those are someone else's memories.] Wren screamed inside her mind and furiously pushed the bloody carnage from her thoughts.

"It would be akin to inviting your concentration camp commander to lodge in our home." Demetrius' voice brimmed with disdain.

Wren closed her eyes to block the imagery of the mutant collars, the identification holograms burned into her brow by laser. She remembered how robotic sentinels lined mutants in long lines while other hapless mutants dug long trenches. In the chest of each robot was a particle beam array that blasted a beam so strong that the long lines were reduced to piles of ash within seconds. The mutants who dug the trenches then swept the ashes into the pit and then took their turn in line. [I guess that it isn't so different after all, knowing that people and clan were slaughtered.]

"I understand." She bit her lip to stifle the sob that threatened to escape her. "But Demona as we knew her no longer exists. Demetrius, her memories have been erased by the forgetful waters of Lethe.### In her place is an innocent without malice or malevolence in her heart."

"Aye, Milady. I know this to be true." A heavy sigh of resignation escaped Demetrius. "By the flame of Skylaris, I vow to best my demons and be chivalrous to Dominique Destine. She showed honor when she assisted us in the Underworld. I will not forget her brave deeds."

"Will you give Dominique a chance?" Wren turned to Demetrius with grim determination written on her face. "Can you find it within you to show her kindness and compassion?"

"I would gladly capture the stars and give them to you." He bowed. " T'would be a simpler task than what you ask of me, Lady Wren. But, I shall be your champion in this cause. What you ask so shall I bequeath thee. I shall find a way."

"Now, that sounds like Demetrius." She felt relief wash over her. "We need to wait for the pilot of Xanatos' jet to escort the her and MacBeth into the terminal."

Wren took a seat beside the gate that they were supposed to meet the ingénue and the Professor. Demetrius sat beside Wren and studied her intently. She seemed rather silent since their passionate loving in his office. He reached along the silver skeins of their psionic link and found that her defenses were steadfastly in place.
[I have, again, forced her beyond her boundaries. Now, she prevents me passage to her heart. Wren, open for me. Let me inside your heart and mind.]

He felt utterly alone with his thoughts. Demetrius found that he hated the sensation. "Milady, what ails thee?"

"Nothing." She said too quickly. Chestnut tresses masked her face from his scrutiny.

"Wren, I know thee as truly as I know every rock at Wyvern." He spoke quietly to her. "Speak to me your thoughts."

"Gee, where do I start?" She cast him a cold glance. "Bringing up memories of your murder isn't the best way to make your point...but it is effective. Then, I remembered the camps. I still have the bar-code hologram emblazoned upon my forehead. President Goldberg granted mutants amnesty, but we still face discrimination from all sides. I can't seem to get past being part of a persecuted, disenfranchised minority."

"How so?"

"In one life, Demetrius, I'm smashed to bits will I'm taking a concrete catnap." Wren scoffed bitterly. "In this life, I barely survive modern-day genocide. Did you know that mutant extermination was given the sterile term genetic Catharsis. On the news, it didn't sound any worse that receiving an enema."

"I have studied this world's history." Demetrius spoke with reservation. "There were the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust."

"Yes, all true." Wren spat. "Just so people would understand, we mutants aren't holocaust survivors...we call ourselves apocalypse survivors. Everyday, people fight for legislation for equal rights. We mutants want the right to vote, to hold whatever job we so choose, to adopt and to marry. We barely have the right to procreate. Even with amnesty, we have to live in fear of being betrayed by friends and family. I just hate remembering those grim facts of life. And that's why I understand your hatred of Demona. Your people were treated with much the same disgust as Mutants. Same shit, different century."

"Milady, I am attempting to diffuse the hatred within me for Demona-"

"I know Demetrius, I know." Wren laid a hand on his shoulder. " A thousand years ago, Gargoyles had no safe place as sanctuary or haven. Mutants don't have it either except one tiny island in Africa. It's just WRONG, Demetrius."

"Quell thy voice, Wren." He placed a hand over her mouth. "Security's attention is upon us."

Wren saw two guards staring at them with heightened interest.

"I have a plan." Wren whispered. "I have a plan to change all of that."

"What is developing in that clever mind?" He asked slowly.

"There was America in 1620. There was Liberia in 1823 and Israel in 1948. We shouldn't have to be genetically scanned because a mutant is naturally perceived to be a terrorist." Wren felt anger brim within her. "What, just because one of my chromosomes makes me a little different, does that mean that I am subhuman and inherently evil? I don't think so."
"Wren, you are ranting like a madwoman." Demetrius placed his hands on her shoulders. "My most sincere apologies for thoughtless references that have wounded you. But, your words draw attention to us that we do not need. Please, still thy tongue, Milady before it slays us with angered words."

"You're right." Her shoulders sagged. "I went off on a tangent. I guess that seeing the guard scan us brought back very unpleasant memories. They're memories of Wyvern and the camps; thing that I'd rather not remember. I am sorry, Demetrius."

"Milady, there is nothing to forgive." He pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "Only discretion must be heeded."

"Agreed."

Wren glanced again at her watch and saw that it was almost 3:00. "They should be here by now. Let's see if they've arrived."

"Lead on, Milady." He offered her his arm and they walked to the gate.

They weren't disappointed. A young titian-haired woman walked toward them pulling her suitcase behind her. Long scarlet ringlets fell about her shoulders. Large green eyes were framed in dark auburn lashes. Her features were highlighted with a hint of rouge, dark mascara and crimson color upon her lips. Dressed in low-riding flare jeans and a short top, Dominique Destine appeared very much the modern young woman. Wren's conservative nature almost fainted as she saw the butterfly soleil tattoo surrounding Dominique/s navel. Wren couldn't miss the naval ring that shone brightly in the center. Demetrius found it amazing that Dominique managed to walk easily in her five-inch platform clogs.

"That's not the Demona I remember." She nudged Demetrius gently in the ribs. "I knew that Lethe's waters took off some years, but she doesn't look a day over twenty."

"Indeed." A smile haunted Demetrius' handsome features.

Wren gulped as she stared at Dominique's cropped little tee shirt. It was black satin and emblazoned upon it in rhinestones was the phrase, "Sweet and Innocent."

Wren waved to the young woman head toward them. A bright, genuine smile graced Dominique's features. She jaunted over to them and impulsively threw her arms around Wren. "Oh, I've been waiting weeks to see you. I missed you so much. I've been so lonely."

Wren looked at Demetrius with bewilderment written on her features. He shrugged wordlessly. Wren returned her attention to the young woman. "Did you enjoy your time at the Xanadu estate?"

"Definitely!" Dominique readjusted the heavy backpack hanging from her shoulder. "Fox took me shopping. She bought me all these really fabulous retro clothes. She and I have matching tattoos."

Dominique pointed to the blazing sun that surrounded her navel. "She told me to embrace the bright life!"

"The bright life?" Demetrius asked rather confounded by the phrase.

"That's what Fox says that you two and I do. We're not stone by day like the other-"

Wren clasped a hand over her mouth and whispered harshly. "Hush! We don't talk about that here."

Dominique's vivid green eyes fell to the floor. Her zest was obviously dampened by Wren's harsh chiding. "I'm sorry."

Wren eased away from the younger woman. "Forgive me, Dominique. It's been a stressful day and I overreacted. Please, accept my apology."

"Like, no problem." The redhead picked up the handle of her luggage. "So, what's for lunch? Airplane food completely sucks."

[Milady,] Demetrius' voice echoed in her mind. [She speaks not like the Demona I remember. Her accent sounds different.]

[She's talking like she's from California.] Wren surmised. [There's none of the eloquence that Demona possessed. In three weeks, she's gone from vengeful Gargoyle to Britney Spears wannabe. I need to have a talk with Fox. Whatever she put in this girl's head has thoroughly corrupted her.]

"Dominique, this is my fiancé, Demetrius." She tentatively watched her mate silently studied the young woman standing before him. Wren silently begged that Skylaris influence her son to behave kindly.

"A pleasure, Fair Lady." He crooned. He took Dominique's hand in his and clasped it gently. "Wren has said many kind things about you."

"Oh, Wren! Where'd you find him?" Dominique bubbled as she was taken in by his sleek charm. "Are you Scottish?"

"Aye, Ms. Destine, from the points of my horns to the tip of my tail." His lilt became heavier as he spoke each word.

[Demetrius, you are such a rake!]

[You said be kind and compassionate, Milady!] He gave her a sly wink.

[I didn't say sweep her off her feet!] Wren resisted the urge to elbow him in the ribs. [Just remember, you're MINE.]

[Without doubt!] He promised. He turned his attention to Dominique. "Nay, Milady. I shall carry your bags.

"Can I, like, as you a personal question?" Dominique eyed him as he picked up her bag.

"But, of course."

"If you're Scottish, then, why are you... well... Black?"

Wren resisted the urge to chuckle. That same thought had crossed her mind when she had woke up in bed with a very human Demetrius beside her. She remembered telling him that she thought he'd be more.... Scottish. She had long since appreciated the alternate dimension's Puck and his wild sense of humor. Now, she couldn't picture Demetrius any other way.
" 'Tis the way I was made." He flashed her a brilliant smile of perfect teeth. "Why aren't you blue?"

"Well, I don't know." She shrugged. "I guess I'd draw attention if I were the same color all the time."

"Too true." Wren agreed. "Now, we need to find Lennox Moray MacBeth." Wren looked around to see who might fit the description of a Professor. She remembered how Professor Xavier was completely bald and distinguished. Professor Kevyn Xorbo had been pure golden beefcake right down to the sun-kissed highlights in his sandy blonde hair.

"That would be me, I believe." A voice cut in on Wren's reverie. Wren spun around to see a tall, statuesque man towering over her. He stood proudly with regal bearing. The Highland brogue was impossible to miss. He extended his hand to her. "Are you Wren Summers?"

"Yes, I am." She returned his handshake. "Wren Summers, Head of Research and Development for Xanaword, a subsidiary of Xanatos publishing."

"Aye, I've heard much about you." He smiled. She studied the broad-shouldered man standing in front of her. She guessed him to be in his early or mid-thirties. His chestnut hair was similar to Wren's in color. Strands of silver graced his temples and added an element of distinction to his already genteel demeanor. He had the build of an athlete.

[That voice! He sounds like Sean Connery!] Wren sensed the charisma that emanated from MacBeth. Wren loved Demetrius, but she wasn't immune to the Continental charms of the dashing Professor. She thought she heard a disapproving growl. She turned to see Demetrius staring at her with eyes gleaming faint amethyst in broad daylight. [Never come between a Gargoyle and his girl. Yikes!]

[You are MINE, Milady.]

"I'm just appreciating the view." She spoke aloud.

"Excuse me, Ms. Summers?" MacBeth didn't understand her comment.

"Never mind." She dismissed her comment with a wave. "You'll be staying with us for some time."

"Only until I find a suitable flat. I don't mean to impose-"

"It's not an imposition, trust me." Wren assured him with a smile. "It'll be nice having more that just me and Demetrius in the house. Let me introduce you to another housemate. Lennox, this is Dominique Destine."

His face became a grim mask as he stared at the woman who appeared young enough to be his daughter. He was silent for several seconds as he stared at her. He nodded slowly and stiffly extended his hand. "Xanatos has told me so much about you."

"Really?" Emerald eyes of fascination met emerald eyes of cynicism. "He never told me anything about you, Professor MacBeth. I hope that we can be friends."

"Only time will tell." He replied coldly. "What brings you to Linoma?"

"Well, it's a long story." Dominique twisted an errant strand of bright scarlet hair. "I, uh, recently hooked up with Wren and Demetrius. I'm somewhat a lost soul and they said I could crash with them for a while."

"Really?" MacBeth's brow furrowed.

"I was recently in an accident that gave me permanent amnesia. Because I was working for Mr. Xanatos, he's agreed to all pay for all of my education. He wants to make amends for the injuries that incurred on the job. So, he sent me here to start a new life. I'm enrolled online to take classes at Star City University and I have an internship at Xanaword starting Monday."

"Since when?" Wren squeaked. "I wasn't told about this."

"Well, Mr. Xanatos thought that I should 'earn my keep' as he put it. So, he thought that I could pay for my education and rent by working as an employee."

"We're not going to charge you rent, Dominique." Demetrius declared. "You are clan...family. We take care of all our rookery brothers and sisters."

"Yeah, but, he says that I must learn how to function in the daytime." She lamented. She returned her gaze to the handsome Professor standing next to her. "So, like what do you do?"

"I ...teach at the University."

"Really? What department?" Dominique's piqued interest wasn't lost on the Professor.

"History, Literature, and Celtic Magick."

"Whoa! That's a coincidence!"

"Why is that, Young Lady?" He asked.

"I'm majoring in Social Science with an emphasis in History. I'm also getting a minor in Magickal and Metaphysical studies." She chimed. His green eyes widened to the size of silver dollars at her words. She pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from her backpack. She pointed enthusiastically at it. "I have a class with you. 'Meta Sapiens in Modern Magick.' Oh, this is too cool! I can't wait until I tell Fox and Goliath."

"You, er, know Goliath?" He asked.

"Do YOU?" Her brows almost flew off her face.

"Yes, tall, dark hair, rather large wing span."

"But how!?" Dominique dropped her paper. She was stunned mute by MacBeth's revelation that she remained still as he knelt and retrieved the class schedule. He found her astonishment amusing. He gallantly handed her the paper. "Thank you. That sounds like him. So, do you know about ME?"

He looked discreetly past Dominique to Wren and Demetrius. The couple shook their heads no. He nodded in understanding and returned his attention to Dominique. "No, I only know you from today."

"Well, you must have lived an exciting life." She gushed. "I envy you."
MacBeth coughed abruptly. She rubbed his shoulder and patted him gently on the back. Concern crossed her features. "Professor MacBeth, what's wrong?"

"Nothing." He croaked hoarsely. "Air down the wrong pipe.

"I'll be right back." She patted him carefully. She returned shortly with a container of bottled water. "Here, drink this."

He nodded in thanks and gulped the cool beverage. "That was quick thinking on your part, Dem- Dominique."

"Anything to help." He gave her a wry glance and she shyly smiled. "I hope that we'll get to know each other."

"I think we have much in common, Young Lady." He chuckled darkly. "But first, I must attend to matters with Wren and Demetrius. We'll have a better opportunity to talk with one another at dinner this evening."

"I can't wait." Dominique bubbled as the dashing Professor gave her a Cheshire cat smile.

Wren looked at Demetrius and shook her head in amazement. "What have we gotten ourselves into? I'm going to kill Puck. He knew about this."

Demetrius said nothing as he rolled his eyes and shrugged. He knew it was going to be a long night.

*********
The odd menagerie made their way to the cargo terminal. She hungered to get a look at MacBeth's 'credentials' and find out more about the enigmatic man sitting next to Dominique. The two were chatting as though they had known each other all their lives. Wren raised her brows in a querying stare at the eeriness of the situation.

[Demetrius.] She felt her mind reach out along the delicate silver skeins of their prescient nexus. The quiet familiarity of her lover's mind made the psychic connection strong and tangible. [What do you make of those two?]

[MacBeth's conduct perplexes me. My heartmagick declares his hatred for this woman. Yet, it's entwined with obsession. His longing for her battles his amusement of the situation. He is at odds within his mind and heart regarding the enigma. This much is true, Wren: MacBeth knows Dominique.]

[He knew Demona. This is getting more curious by the moment. Why is it that Puck and David would put them on the same flight and not tell MacBeth about it? Why did they neglect to mention that these two knew each other? Why didn't they at least give us a hint or inkling?]
Wren fumed as she cheerfully imagined strangling one exceedingly annoying Child of Oberon.

[Stay thy hand, Milady. All will come to its natural conclusion in its proper time.] Demetrius longed for tails and wings to soothe his Beloved's simmering vein of temper. This new Wren was quick to anger and slow granting amnesty to transgressors. Her resourcefulness was boundless while her temerity revealed its nature daily. Her cunning occasionally left a chill upon his heart. Yet, nothing diminished his abiding adoration for his Beloved Songbird.

Airport personnel wheeled in two large wooden crates on two hand trucks. They were both unadorned and bother were stamped "FRAGILE" in red bold block letters. The first crate was square in appearance. It stood as tall as Demetrius and about three feet wide. He watched the attendant scan the bar code on the side of the crate.

"Can you tell me what is inside here?" Demetrius knocked on the wooden box.

"Well, according to this bar code, it's a water spout." The attendant shook his head. "It's a really large water spout. It's all the way from Scotland."

"Really?' That caught Demetrius' attention. One brow rose in scrutiny as he studied the large crate. "From where it Scotland came it hence?"

"Huh?" The attendant looked dumfounded. "Whatdidya say?"

"By the Dragon, man! Can you not speak the King's tongue?" Demetrius abhorred it when his native tongue befuddled these modern humans. The serfs of Wyvern knew more than the knaves that tended to this new and strange world. He forced his mind to remember the lessons Wren taught him in the modern tongue. She remembered that she mentioned simplicity was commonplace in this current age. "Where in Scotland was its point of origin?"
"Oh! You're Scottish!" The attendant's grin widened in enlightenment. He scanned the bar code again. "It says here . . . Caledon Isle."

"Thank you." Demetrius studied the ambiguous crate sitting before him. He noticed that it was almost 4:00. He turned to his mate and gently tapped her on the shoulder. "I think it wise, Milady, that we hasten this parcel's delivery henceforth to our home."

"Why?" She cocked her head prettily. The simple gesture was the very essence of a Gargoyle to him. "We have plenty of time."

"I think not." Demetrius glanced nervously at the sun hanging low in the Western sky. "We've but only an hour, perhaps two, before darkness befalls us."

"I see your point." She watched as a forklift brought a second crate and set it on the floor before them. That particular crate was rectangular. It ranged roughly seven feet in length and three feet in width. The attendant bent over the package and scanned the bar code.

"This says that these are the remains of Dr. Tina Stephenson." The attendant handed Wren a clipboard and tapped it with his pen. "Ma'am, I need you to sign here and here to claim responsibility for these two crates."

"Tina's DEAD?!" She shrieked. "Saints preserve me. What happened?"

She studied the attendant and spoke harshly. "Wait a minute, I'll be right back!"

"Lady, I got other stuff to unload."

"It can wait!" She waved her hand in a dismissive motion. Sparkling verdant orbs escaped her fingers as she strode purposely toward Dominique. Only Demetrius saw the sparkling orbs dart and dance around the attendant for several seconds before they burst like soap bubbles.

"Yeah . . . " He replied tonelessly. "It can wait . . . "

She knelt down in front of Dominique. Her voice was more of a hiss than whisper. "What in the Nine Hells is going on, Dominique? I spoke to Tina just last night and she was fine."

"Nothing's happened to Tina!" She exclaimed and shrugged helplessly. "I haven't seen her yet, but Mr. Xanatos told me that Tina required special traveling accommodations. That's all I know, I swear."

"This situation is absolutely FUBAR!" Wren spat in disgust. "I cannot believe this!"

Wren threw her hands in the air as tears of rage and grief filled her eyes. "Fine! I'll sign for the damned remains."

She snatched the pain from the dazed cargo attendant and scribbled furiously on the clipboard. Wren shoved the clipboard at him. "There! I've signed. Happy?"

"Uh . . . like, yeah." A euphoric grin graced his blemished features. "Duhhh!"

"Oh, snap out of it." Wren waved her hand in his face and walked away.

Demetrius made the final arrangements and a padded U-Haul moving trailer pulled to the loading zone. No one seemed to think it odd that MacBeth and Demetrius had little trouble moving the crates from the floor twenty feet to the truck. MacBeth made certain that both crates were securely strapped down in the truck. He gave the younger man a nod of confirmation.

"Ladies shall we make our way home?" Demetrius opened the door of the truck. "Wren, I shall meet you in the parking lot and follow you home."

"Not a problem." She fumed.

"I think not is all as it seems." He reassured her. "I fail to understand the bizarre turn of today's events, but I am certain all will soon be revealed."

"Let's hope you're right."

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

The two crates sat unceremoniously on the back patio of Summerlands. Wren's impatience grew as they waited for the setting of the sun. She paced relentlessly as each moment slowly passed. Demetrius fetched a crowbar from the tool shed and MacBeth stoically bided his time. Dominique donned her usual attire of white halter-top and loincloth. Gone was the headpiece that once adorned her brow. In its stead was a simple silver circlet with a flowing Celtic design.

"Where did you find that?" MacBeth asked. "It's quite lovely."

"It was a farewell gift from Goliath and Elisa." Her fingers lovingly traced the slender band. "One of the Gargoyles of Caledon made it for me."

"Most likely Atalanta." Wren murmured. She glanced at the Western sky with relief. The sun was nearly beneath the horizon. She walked to MacBeth and pulled him aside. "We'll keep your secrets if you keep ours."

"You have my word." He vowed solemnly. "When the sun set, we shall know much more about each other."

At that moment, Demetrius returned with the crowbar. The last golden edge of the sun vanished in the West. The warrior felt the familiar pleasant tingling sensation. It never ceased to astonish him as he watched the transmutation begin. He held his hand before him and watched five slender fingers become four powerful talons. Mocha skin darkened to ebony. He felt a mild tickling sensation surge between his shoulder blades. His muscles contracted tightly and cramped. He felt his wings appear and unfurl to their full length. Human feet became Gargoyle and a tail slinked from beneath the sarong he now wore. A roar echoed throughout the countryside and eyes burned with white fire as Demetrius felt the vivacious thrill of simply being Gargoyle.

Wren loved watching her mate change into his truest, best form. His lavender gaze held her fast as her light skin darkened slightly to a healthy golden tan. Her chestnut tresses deepened in hue to a deep sable. A slithering white streak adorned her hair. Fingers became talons and an agile prehensile tail curled from beneath her clothing. Eyes gleamed with verdant brilliance as a snarl escaped her. She knew the transformation was complete.

Dominique and MacBeth watched in mute fascination as the duo transformed into other forms. The painful burning sensation streaked across Dominique's back and she bent over in agony. Every muscle in her body cramped as her bones remolded themselves into talons and claws. Wings broke through her skin and expanded from her back. The harsh groans of agony were in perfect syncopation with MacBeth's bellows of pain.

Wren and Demetrius observed that MacBeth was feeling pain along with Dominique, but he remained the same while she became Gargoyle. Dominique cloaked mauve wings about her and joined the others. She noticed that the Professor staggered backwards into a lawn chair. His complexion became pale and ashen.

"What's wrong?"

"I'll tell you later." He promised and waved her away. "Leave me."

"As you wish. Are you sure you're all right?" She pressed.

"Fine, now just go." He muttered through gritted teeth as he worked his way through the bolts of agony.

Within a short time, he joined the others and appeared perfectly fine. He silently handed a folder to Wren. "This explains everything about me . . . my past, my history, and my connection to Dominique."

"Dominique?" [Won't this day of surprises come to an end!?]

A cracking of wood was heard behind the foursome. They turned to see pieces of wood fly outwards from the crate. A resounding bellow filled the night air as slivers showered the group. Argent fire lit the darkness as the roar faded. It came from a towering crimson Sire with hair of raven's wings and wings of platinum. Blue eyes the color of the North Sea twinkled with merriment as he studied the quartet near him.

"Well met!" He saluted the others with from the chest. His cheery exclamation caught their attention. Wren turned around to recognize the lively voice.

It took only seconds for her to rush to the Gargoyle warrior and give him a tight hug. "Timron!? What are you doing here?"

"Milady, I have longed to see the world beyond Avalon's orders. Veda gave me leave to come and visit you. I wanted to keep it secret so that I could surprise you."

"Well, you've certainly done that. It's the first pleasant surprise I've had today." She admitted.

"I'm also here as Ambassador from Avalon to see to Dominique's education. Oberon doesn't want her reverting to her old ways. Veda also feels that it's necessary that a feeling of clan be instilled around her."

"I can't disagree." Wren motioned to the others. "Let me introduce you to everyone. Dominique, this is Timron. He is from Clan Caledon ...a close clan to Clan Manhattan." Wren berated herself for almost saying Clan Wyvern. [How much should I keep from her? What if we slip? Then, all the peace she's longed for will be for nothing. I don't want to lie, but I have to be more careful. She doesn't need to know that this is one of the eggs that survived the Wyvern Massacre.]

"Hi." She heartily shook the Gargoyle's hand. He stared at her as though she had grown a second tail. "Have you been on the outside long?"
"Outside?" His head quirked to the side in confusion. "I don't know what you mean?"

"If you're from Caledon, you haven't had any contact with the outside world." She explained. "Goliath told me that Clan Caledon is isolated from the rest of the world."

"I'm not originally from Clan Wy-" He caught the harsh look from the dark warrior. He quickly amended his choice of words. "Clan Caledon. I was hatched and raised by humans on Avalon. I travel between the two isles as an emissary and ambassador between the two clans."

"Wow! That's neat!" Dominique cooed in awe.

"And I am hear to help you understand the closeness of clan." He smiled at the azure Dame. "I look forward getting to know you."

Wren tapped him on the shoulder. "Timron, there's someone else that I'd like you to meet. This is Professor Lennox Moray MacBeth. He'll be staying with us for a while."

"I'm honored to make your acquaintance, Sir." Timron bowed slightly.


"And I, yours, Timron." MacBeth replied pleasantly. "I haven't seen anyone bow like that in centuries. You have impeccable manners."

"Centuries?" Wren's voice cracked. She stared at the handsome man in dumbfoundment. She looked at him and then at Dominique. She recalled how they were in pain simultaneously during the azure Dame's transformation. He had made the comment during their introduction that he knew about her.

[Curiouser and curiouser.]

The breaking of wood sounded loudly behind the group. Wren turned and noticed that a fist rose from a hole in the crate. Wood exploded and splinters cascaded them. The crate fell in pieces and everyone's jaw fell to the ground when an ornate Egyptian sarcophagus appeared to them in all its gilded glory.

"Oh, joy." Wren replied in deadpan monotone. "We have a mummy."

There was a creaking sound of rusty hinges as the hand-painted lid of the sarcophagus slowly opened. Everyone stood stock-still half in fascination and half in fright. A silhouette unhurriedly rose in the first argent rays of the crescent moon. Wren found that her fright froze any scream attempting to escape her throat.

"Reveal thyself, monster before I slay thee." Demetrius growled.

"Hey, wait a minute! I'm one of the good guys." A feminine voice replied.

The dark Gargoyle flipped on the patio light. Sitting upright in the sarcophagus was a woman appearing to be in her early twenties. She adjusted her glasses that were held together by electrical tape. She nonchalantly threw one leg over the side of the ancient casket and stepped out of it. She stood a good head and shoulders shorter than Demetrius. She reminded him of the Celtic Humans from the Isle of Eire. Her hair shone the color of copper flame. Her eyes were the gentle shade of Eire's lucky clover. Her smile revealed dimples. She had womanly curves. She was heavy like the women of Wyvern. She was a good breeder; that he could tell by her full curves. She wasn't striking or pretty in the traditional sense. The word 'bonny' came to his mind. She was a bonny lass from the Isle of Eire.

"Tina, you're alive!" Wren cried happily as she ran forward and hugged her friend. "I don't understand, I was told you were dead."

"Oooookay." Tina exhaled slowly. "I take it Xanatos didn't inform you of a few lifestyle changes I've made in the past few years."

"Uh, no. What?" Wren felt panic rising in her at the foreboding comment.

"I think we need to sit and have a nice long talk." Tina spoke very quietly to the obviously flustered woman before her.

"It's been one of those days." Wren agreed.

"Let us sit and I shall bring mead and ale." Demetrius offered. "Timron, does your clan embrace the tradition of the Bonfire?"

"Aye!" Timron smiled at the mention of the familiar custom. "But shouldn't we make a quick patrol of castle . . . your home?"

"We have a security system." The dark warrior assured him. "We shall stretch our wings later. I think we are all in need of sharing our stories this night."

"Agreed."

***************
PROLOGUE

"Let me make sure that I understand your story correctly." Wren closed the folder as she and MacBeth sat apart from the others. "You were THE Scottish King MacBeth mentioned in Shakespeare's play. The Wyrd Sisters magickally linked you and Demona as part of a pact you made a thousand years ago? Correct, so far?"

"You are right, Wren." He assured her.

"Then, because of this pact, that made you both immortal. You were once allies and eventually enemies. You hunted each other for centuries until you two fell in love in Paris and married. Then, she tried to kill you and steal your wealth, right?"

"Right." He nodded.

"Now, after that, you went to work for Xanatos and gave up your mercenary career for one in teaching. You are the godfather to Goliath and Elisa's son, Darius. Did I leave anything out?"

"That's about the crux of it, Wren. Now, you understand why we discussed or revealed none of this until now."

"With the current Mutant scare, this would be the last thing anyone would need." She sagged back in the lawn chair. Her head ached with the sheer complexity of his long, elaborate saga. "I thought I had a complicated life."

"I don't covet your life, Wren." He took a hearty sip of his mead. "Mutant, Fae, Human, Nightkind.... concentration and Fae...gods and the Underworld...alternate dimensions and magickal weapons...dragons and evil wizards.... I prefer my life just as it is."

She held up her wine cooler. "A toast then! A toast to the Surreal World in which we live."

"Here, here!" They clinked their tankard and bottle together and began a good friendship.

Later that evening, Wren almost remained calm when she realized Tina was imbibing blood. Wren staggered several steps back as the good doctor told her that she was a Sanguine. Wren's hand unconsciously went to her throat as Tina explained exactly what Sanguine meant.

"You're a v-v-vampire?" Wren limply landed in her lawn chair. She didn't know whether she should laugh hysterically or regurgitate her wine cooler.

"Hey, it's not so bad. I live forever and I save thousands of dollars in plastic surgery because I'll always be young."

"Just how old are you anyway?" Wren dared to pose the question of her "old" friend.

"Not that old for a Sanguine." Tina took another sip of her Bloody Mary. "I'm only...." She set down her drink and counted for several seconds on her fingers. "This year, I'm 456 this year."

Wren gulped and became ashen. "Oh, that's not so old."

Wren gingerly set down her wine cooler and stumbled toward the house. Demetrius stopped her and gently caressed her shoulders. "Love, what ails you?"

"Oh, not much really." Came her reply in a singsong voice. "My friend Tina is a bloodsucking vampire. We're living with an immortal that's magickally linked to a murderer with permanent amnesia. We have a Gargoyle bigwig here to supervise Dominique's education. No, nothing's wrong. I think I'll go inside and go insane now. Good night."

She meandered inside and quickly made her way to bed. Sleep often restored her sanity.

It had been a long day. She sighed as sweet slumber claimed her. Somehow, Wren had found another grand adventure in her own back yard.

TO BE CONTINUED




**Glossary**

Bright Life- A phrase coined by Fox Xanatos. It refers to the existence Gargoyles experience if flesh during daylight hours.

Heartmagick –An archaic term for empathic ability.

Flat - British term for a small apartment.

Lethe- One of the rivers of the Greek Underworld. Whoever drank of its waters forever lost ALL memories of his or her previous life. In the final chapter of the Hades Wave, Demona asked for death. Hades refused and offered her peace through permanent amnesia.

Xanaword -a publishing house of various materials printed by Xanatos Publishing. It's a cover for metaphysical and Magick research. It also acts as a halfway house for mutants and other preternatural creatures in need of employment. Since his encounter with the Gargoyles and Fae eleven years prior, David Xanatos has developed deep sympathies and affection for them.