Author:Denigoddess2001
Addy: Denigoddess2001@aol.com
Saga: Angels Amongst Us
Episode: Enquiring Minds Want To Know
Rating: PG-13 (Mild Profanity and Adult Situations)
Characters: Dominique Denise Destine, Lennox Moray MacBeth

Summary: Dominique and MacBeth play twenty questions. Dig out the fire extinguisher . . . It gets hot and bothered quite fast! Does it get personal!!!

Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. No infringement is intended. All original characters belong to Denigoddess2001.

Author's note: this story is very meaningful to me. I want to inform the readers that I have briefly mentioned the WTC bombing and 9/11 in this fan fiction. I am not trying to make light of such a saddening time in our country's history. Please understand, gentle readers, that it is only my attempt to explain how it happened in the realm of my fan fiction. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones in that tragic event. My thoughts are with you.

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"Unfulfilled yearnings live within the most contented soul. What might have been, what might one day be if only things were different? So when's life's struggles weigh heavy, there is the temptation to only see the happiness in other lives. But, this is folly, for each life contains it's own burdens, though they may forever be hidden to all but the one who carries them."

-Goliath's Soliloquy
"The Goliath Chronicles: For It May Come True"

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

February 1, 2006
Star City University
Scott Cunningham Hall
Room 205
Metaphysics 101

Dominique studied the water stains on the ceiling above her. She drummed her pencil impatiently on her desk as she waited for class to start. She glanced at her watch with glowing indignation: her professor was late! The young woman glanced at the clock on the west wall and noticed that it was five minutes slow. According to it, class hadn't started yet. Bored, she rose from her desk and meandered into the corridor. She eyed her options for an interesting diversion: buy a paper or get a soda.

It wasn't a difficult choice. Cola was the perfect breakfast food.

Dominique had ridden with Professor MacBeth to the university. He talked very little to her and he had acted tense and impatient. He was indeed a strange mansion-mate with his Scottish brogue, Continental bearing and mysterious past. The good Professor and Demetrius shared much in common with their ancient pasts. He and Timron engaged in much ethical and philosophical contemplation of various issues. Dr. Stephenson's overtures of amity toward the Scotsman caused him to probe her arcane nature respectfully and discreetly.

[I would do so as well, but she seems harmless.] Dominique shivered with horror as she remembered Tina's confession. Tina wasn't only immortal; she was a Sanguine. [A politically correct term for 'Vampire.']

Professor MacBeth seemed at ease with Wren. They often spoke in some dead language called Gaelic. [I think they do it just so I won't understand them.]

[Why is MacBeth so nervous around me?] She asked herself the question for the thousandth time. [What have I done that has made him feel uncomfortable? What did I say?]

She took a dollar from her pocket and carefully inserted the crumpled bill into the soda machine. It buzzed and hummed as though it was deciding whether the dollar was worthy. She gingerly made her selection after as the machine was empty of her favorite soft drink. Resigned to drinking diet, Dominique retrieved the twenty-ounce bottle from the dispensing slot.

Her mood improved immensely when a strapping figure striding down the corridor with a brief case in hand caught her eye. Dressed in a forest-hued sweater and gray wool slacks perfectly tailored for his frame, he was the very essence of what Dominique considered "hot." He was six feet of purely sensual masculinity. A full, well-trimmed beard contoured MacBeth's strong, square jaw. Chestnut hair brushed the edge of his collar. Green eyes widened in surprise when they found Dominique in their sight.

"You should be in class, Ms. Destine." The Scottish lilt smoked with a baritone timbre. "Attendance is most your grade."

"I was, but you were late and I was bored. Besides, where were you?" She bit her lower lip in contemplation. "Lead on, MacDuff."

He stiffened. He cast her a dubious glance but said nothing. Professor MacBeth stopped before and opened the door. He stepped back and nodded slightly in the direction of the classroom. Dominique returned his stoic gaze and took her place at her desk. She watched the proud warrior walk to the podium and take out a folder. MacBeth opened it and silently scrutinized the class. His eyes stopped when they fell on the ravishing redhead sitting front and center. The Professor raised a querying brow for only an instant and then assumed a stoic demeanor.

"Welcome to Metaphysics 101. This class is called 'The History of the Preternatural Community' and I am your professor." He went to the board and quickly wrote his name in legible, flowing script. "I'm your instructor for this course Professor Lennox MacDuff."

Dominique raised a brow. He stared at her as he misspoke his name. A slight smile came across full, red lips. The Professor hastily cleared his throat. "I mean, MacBeth."

Students looked at one another in confusion at the odd behavior of their Professor. He called roll and handed each student a syllabus. MacBeth explained requirements for passing his course. Dominique found him to be strict. He demanded almost perfect attendance. Three ten-page papers were due throughout the semester and an approved topic of choice. A final oral presentation consisted of 3 percent of the final grade. Three tests also comprised part of the final grade: pop quizzes, midterm, and final.

She groaned inwardly in exasperation. [This isn't a simple General Studies course.]
"The first group that we shall be studying today will be Gargoyles." He wrote the name on the board. "Who can tell who or what is a Gargoyle?"

Dominique remained attached to her seat. His words stupefied her. She desperately searched her syllabus. [Since when is this part of the course work?]

A young man in dreadlocks sitting next to her raised his hand. MacBeth nodded in acknowledgment. He glanced down at the class roster. "Tariq."

"Not Terr-rick. TEH-REEK." The young man briskly informed him.

"Yes, Tariq." MacBeth deftly returned to professorial mode. "What do you know about Gargoyles?"

"They're water spouts on cathedrals." The young man with the dreadlocks and the Bob Marley tee shirt was perfectly serious. "The word Gargoyle comes from the middle French word 'Garguille.'"

"True. You've done some pre-emptive reading. There is so much more to them than we know. Let's move on. People who else are they?" MacBeth scanned the class. He pointed to a young woman sitting in the back. He looked at the list of students before him. "Gretchen?"

"Weren't they the ones that bombed the World Trade Center?" Dominique thought she saw MacBeth visibly cringe when Gretchen responded with the provocative query.

[Why do these people think the worst of Gargoyles?] Dominique was aghast by the ignorance of the woman's question. [Why would Gargoyles want to bomb the World Trade Center?]

MacBeth shook his head. "No, it was the Quarrymen who bombed the World Trade Center in 2001. However, Gretchen, you're close. They bombed it because they suspected alleged sympathizers had offices in the building."

He leaned forward on the podium with steepled hands and studied the class. "Yes, Nathan?"

A young man with a magenta Mohawk and several body piercings eagerly answered. "Are they Mutants?"

"No, lad, not mutants." MacBeth turned his back to the class and began writing on the board. Without turning around he queried, "Yes, Dominique?"

"Aren't Gargoyles the creatures whose existence was revealed to the world by the Quarrymen in 1996?" She felt rather proud of herself for listening to Wren's brief history of the race.

"Correct, Ms. Destine." He continued writing on the board and said nothing more to the young woman. "Tell me what else you know about Gargoyles."

"According to all accounts, they are proud warriors who defend their protectorates. They are a noble, proud race with impeccable nobility and character." She turned to Gretchen. "They have never bombed any building where innocents were located. They risk their lives night after night to protect a world of humans who don't appreciate their sacrifice."

"Hey, I just asked!" Gretchen sniffed haughtily.

MacBeth's inner voice screamed, [diffuse the potentially volatile situation]. "Hmm....you've brought up some very valid points, Ms. Destine. You've brought up some essential terms that are part of our discussion. Let's also discuss some things that Gargoyles have accomplished that have proved their merit."

"Didn't they stop a runaway train a few years ago?" Asked a young exchange student from Canada.

"Isn't there an organization started on their behalf?" Another young woman named Sarah. chimed. "It's called People For Interspecies Tolerance."

"Yeah, there is." Nathan turned and faced the woman behind him. "There's a chapter here on Campus. They do the whole gambit: Gargoyles, Mutants, Elves, Orcs, Trolls, Dwarves..."

"My roommate and I belong to P.I.T." The quiet young bookworm with the thick glasses tentative raised his hands. "It's an organization dedicated to the peaceful coexistence of Humans with Gargoyles. Once the anti-mutant organization, Friends For Humanity joined with the Quarrymen, we expanded our agenda to include all sentient races of non-Human origin."

"What is your name?" Dominique turned to study the young man. He was a rather plain face with short blond hair and nondescript brown eyes.

"Thomas Sage." He pushed his tape-held glasses up the bridge of his hawkish nose. "We hold meetings every Wednesday here in this room at 7:00PM. We're supposed to have one of the Manhattan clan speak via videophone this Wednesday. Everyone's invited."

"Do you have daily meetings?" She asked quietly.

"Saturday afternoons at 3:30 in the Student Union." Thomas seemed lost in Dominique's beauty. He hastily scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it to her. "If you want more information. Give me a call. That offer's good for everybody here."

"All right, people. That's all well and good. Thomas, thank you for bringing P.I.T. to our attention. Now, we need to return to the subject matter at hand." MacBeth continued with his lecture. He explained briefly that Gargoyles were considered Humanoid and proven sentient creatures. He talked about their roles in History and their place in modern society. The students continued debating the virtues and vices of Gargoyles interacting in the contemporary age. Meanwhile, one student focused her studies on slightly different subject matter.

Dominique appreciated the broad width of those solid, muscular shoulders. The contours of his hunter-green sweater left nothing to the imagination. His arms were large with untapped strength and his stomach (from what she had seen in the front) had been flat. What caught her most devout attention were the tailored slacks he wore. They hugged his powerful thighs and fit sleekly over narrow hips. The redhead leaned forward better to study the subject matter in front of her.

"Gargoyles, gentlemen and ladies," MacBeth cleared his throat and began walking about the classroom. "Are a humanoid species of extraterrestrial origin originating from a place in the Draco constellation. Like us, they are warm-blooded creatures having hair and mammary glands. They are communal creatures with strong ties of family and clan. In the next several minutes, we're going to debunk several misconceptions held regarding this individuals."

It was a question and answer session for the next hour. The class learned that Gargoyles were not primitive Neanderthals, but an ancient race that sought only to protect. They learned about the terms clan leader and second-in-command. He pointed to several points on a world map of currently known clans such as Manhattan and London. They talked about the uneasy tension in Human/ Gargoyle relations.

"So, Professor, if they're smart and so noble, then why were they hunted?" Nathan scribbled furiously in his notepad.

"Excellent question." MacBeth leaned casually on his desk. "Humans fear what they can't understand. How would you feel if a creature with the strength of ten men lived next door to you?"

"It depends on whether he was friendly." MacBeth looked at each student in turn. "Each Gargoyle has at least the strength of three humans. They have a life span double our own. They have eight talons instead of ten fingers and wings akin to those of bats and long slender tails.

"Gargoyles look like dinosaurs." Gretchen commented.

"Yes, to some they do." MacBeth agreed. "In Medieval times, they were thought to be little more than animals, beasts or even demons."

[DEMONS.] The word rang in Dominique's mind. [Is that what I am, a demon?]

"Thus, they encountered great prejudice and hatred. Mobs hunted down their clans and murdered them." MacBeth stated coldly. "Until a few years ago, Gargoyles were thought to be extinct. Now, we know that there are several clans thriving worldwide. We know now that they are individuals only interested in peaceful coexistence with Humanity. They simply wish to live in this world as much as we do."

He returned to his desk and laid his hand on a tall stack of spiraled books. He took several and told the first row to ensure each person had a copy. When Dominique received hers, she read the title on the front cover. It read 'The Tome Of Tacitus' written by Tacitus Ceruleus of Clan Septimus. Translated by Adrienne J. Westfall and Wren Summers. [This is the holy text of the Gargoyles! What is he thinking giving away their...our secrets like this?]

"This document was recently found dusty and hidden amongst moldy tomes in a private collector's library. It hasn't seen the light of day in almost two thousand years. Within the past two years, two linguists have translated this document. You will find that Gargoyles are not animals, beasts, or demons. In this volume, you will learn more about them that you ever thought possible." MacBeth went to the Library and wrote briskly on the board. "Your assignment is to read this book. In two weeks, your first paper will be on anything mention within these covers."

He placed the spiraled text on his desk. "Also, I want you to read pages one through fifty. Next time, we'll discuss contributions made by Gargoyles to Western Society, their role in law enforcement in their protectorates and comparisons and contrasts in Human and Gargoyle social structure."

This class cleared the room in seconds leaving Dominique and MacBeth. She packed her notebook and the Tome away in her backpack. "Won't this class stir Humans to hate us...them?"

"Lass, one thing you will learn is that ignorance breeds bigotry." He tapped his temple. "If these lads and lasses are informed about what they currently don't' understand, their precepts of such beings will be altered. Humanity as a whole is a curious, ambitious species. Unfortunately, there are those few who are the worst of the lot through choice and lack of information. It is the goal of this class to decrease their numbers through educations and exposure."

"How are you going to do that?" She laughed derisively. "Bring one in for show and tell?"

"Precisely." He grinned. "It might do you well to read some of those pages. Not only will you learn about your clan, you'll also learn about yourself."

"Do you think we're demons or beasts?"

"Anyone with malice and hatred in their heart is a demon or beast, Dominique." He reposted softly. "Right now, does either trait reside there?"

"No." She whispered quietly. "Should they?"

"Pray that they never do." His sharp words gave the oddest sense of foreboding. "I think that you are inquisitive and clever. When put to good use, those are admirable traits. If used wrongly, they become ambitious greed and cunning."

"What do you think of me?" She dared pose the question.

Silence hung in the air. MacBeth took one delicate wrist in his hand and stared at her watch. "Well, my dear, it's almost half past twelve. I think that you're getting hungry. Am I right?"

Her stomach growled in mutiny. Her answer from him would wait a while longer, she supposed. She nodded yes to his question.

"Then, let's see what kind of food that their Professional Food Service offers in the cafeteria." MacBeth grabbed his coat and briefcase.

"Why haven't you spoken with me before?" She wanted an answer for his elitist behavior. "Why is it that you avoid me like the plague?"

"My Dear, I've been trying to figure out what to make of you. You are quite the enigma. I think that you a woman...a Dame of great potential. You have a quick wit and an inquisitive mind. Properly channeled, you'll do well in this course and in your life. I want to make sure that I'm a part of that."

"Why?"

"Always the questions, Dem- Dominique." He coughed as thought air fled from his lungs. "Let us see if we can dine and enjoy ourselves."

She followed him to the cafeteria and thought the entire exchange odd. He hadn't spoken more than ten words to her for the better part of a week. Now he was inviting her to lunch.
"Who's buying?"

"I will." He patted his back wallet. "I think I will today.'

[Maybe there's more to MacBeth that a great voice and a cute ass.] She mused. [I hope so. I know I shouldn't, but I really like this guy. He's my Professor and I live with him, for God's sake. What a mess! What a wonderful, heart-flopping mess.]
MacBeth felt a sudden elation overtake him. He felt Dominique's pain when in close proximity. Yet, he never experienced emotions. He knew that familiar tingling along the back of his neck. It resulted from their mystical connection. [You are just full of surprises, Demona. I almost believe them when I was told you no longer were your old self. I almost believe you when you say you have no memory of your life before three weeks ago. But, I'm not to be played for a fool. I shall find your truth, Demona. I shall find it..whether you are lying or truthful, I shall find it.]

They went to lunch.

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

Dominique delicately picked at her salad. She watched Professor MacBeth ingest an entire dinner with contemplation for seconds. They chatted about superficial things such as Campus history, social life and activities. The young woman wanted to cry out in frustration from being unable to learn more about the enigmatic man sitting across from her. She had adroitly discerned that he cared little for idle small talk. He was a man of substance, rapier wit and keen intellect.

[WHAT is it about him that drives me completely crazy?] Dominique studied her perfectly lacquered nails. [He's almost like that itch that I can't scratch. Arrgh! It's annoying, but I like it.]

"So, have you ever been married?" Dominique decided to forego subterfuge and try the direct approach.

"Aye." His curt reply implied that he wasn't interested in that line of questioning.

"So, what was her name?" The purr in her voice did nothing to distract MacBeth from his meal.

"Gruoch, if you must know." He placed his fork down on his plate.

"Was she beautiful?"

He breathed in exasperation. "Why must you plague me with questions about my personal life? It isn't up for discussion."

"I want to know about you." Came her blunt reply. "There's something about you that totally cool and gets me going."

"What did you just say? I don't speak 'jive'." He cast a sardonic glance in her direction.

Her eyes gleamed with crimson fire. "I just want to get to know you better because I think you're interesting. I've never met anyone like you and that has me curious."

"Dominique!" He said in a harsh whisper. "Your eyes!"

"Well, if you'd just answer my questions, then I would become annoyed."

"It's one thing to discuss Gargoyles in an open forum. Just remember people in Linoma aren't quite prepared for the revelation that a growing clan is living in their midst."

"Angels Amongst Them?" She quipped. "Guardians of the night?"
"Angels Amongst Us." He replied gently. "And yes, lass, Guardians of the night."

"They don't appreciate what Gargoyles can do." She seethed. "I'm not so sure that I like that."

"Dominique." His hand covered hers. She felt a bolt of warmth course through her arm and into her fluttering heart. His perfect smile and twinkling eyes sent waves of delight through her. "Not all humans think of Gargoyles as demons or beasts. I, for one, certainly do not. With this class, we can introduce Humans to this new addition to the Preternatural Community. It's my intention that the Gargoyles' debut in Linoma Bluffs Metroplex be met with goodwill and not with malevolence. This class is the ideal medium to lay bare the truth about your noble race. The open dialog regarding Gargoyles will foster understanding and hopefully acceptance. It is a superlative environment for to further friendly relations between our peoples."

"You're an idealist." Dominique realized. "You are an absolute utopian. You think that one class discussion is going to change the world."

"Let me ask you this." He knew he must tread carefully. "I offer you a challenge. You may ask me twenty questions. I will answer them honestly. Write down now on your napkin five words you think describe me. At the end of those twenty questions. Do the same again on a napkin and then compare the two. If you find that your perception of me remains unaltered, then you've proven your point. However, if it changes, then you must...." He paused. What could he do to help circumvent her old ways from rising anew. He desperately searched for an inspiration to aid him in his quest to foster this fledgling Gargoyle's tolerance for his species.

His eyes wandered to the bulletin board in the middle of the Cafeteria.

P.I.T meeting in the Student Union.
Saturday Afternoon at 3:30PM
Guest Speaker is Dr. Lydia Duane,
Best-selling author of
"Angels Amongst Us: Gargoyles in History and Modern Society."
*******
Potluck dinner following meeting


"Ahh!" He breathed more easily. "If you find that those five words alter, you must attend the P.I.T. meeting with me Saturday Afternoon at 3:30."

"Why would I wish to attend a meeting of a bunch of misfits and dreamers?" She yawned. "They've been hit by the Quarrymen more times that I can count. Just from what I've read these past three weeks is enough to make me distrust Humanity."

"What about Elisa Maza?" MacBeth asked. "Didn't you stay with her and Goliath for a night or two?"

"How do you know about that?"

"I know many things." He parried her comment. "Was she so horrible?"

"No, not at all. She was a great hostess."

"And Fox?"

"Fox, definitely!" Dominique's eyes widened with a smile. "We had the greatest time. We went shopping, got matching tattoos. She's the coolest to hang with. We kicked it back at that crib of hers. We got our groove on and hit the hottest nightclubs. She was the bomb! She gave me all these neat clothes."

"Dominique, please translate that gibberish into English." He was flabbergasted at the young woman's quicksilver personality changes. One moment she was the vengeful and cynical Demona he knew too well. Then, her speech and demeanor assumed innocence long lost from this Dame. Her youthful exuberance tugged oddly at his heartstrings. No matter the form or the century, Demona continued to baffle him.

"She's fun, MacBeth. She took me dancing and showed me a good time."

"Was she kind to you?" He asked pointedly.

"Oh, yeah, without a doubt."

"Is she your friend?" He pressed.

"Well, duh! Yeah, of course."

"She's human, isn't she?" Silence fell between them. Dominique decided sheepishly to study the remaining shreds of lettuce gracing her salad plate. She finally stared at MacBeth and he gave her a smile. "What is the word...gotcha?"

"Okay, okay!" Dominique recognized her defeat. "Those are just two Humans, but you're right! They're great."

"What about Mr. Xanatos?" He continued. "Didn't you care for him?"

"He's so slick." She stuck out her tongue in distaste. "He's always scheming about how to acquire this company or beat the stock market. He's almost heartless when it comes to business. Why would I like somebody like that?"

MacBeth promptly spit out his sip of water. He choked readily on the liquid. [If she only knew... for her sake, I hope she never does know her true history.]

Dominique promptly patted him on the back. "Professor, are you all right?"

"Aye, I will be." He rasped. It took him several deep breaths to compose himself. Dominique felt a rather odd tickle in her throat and the urge to cough, but she ignored it. "Write down your five words, Dominique that describe me."

She leaned forward on her elbows and studied the unknowable hunk sitting in front of her.
"Okay. I agree to your terms. But, I want you to do the same of me afterwards."

"That wasn't our agreement." He stroked his beard in consideration of her request.

"But, you seem to avoid me like the plague." She lamented. "I'm tired of it. I don't know why and I feel like you're not telling me why. I want the same chance that you're getting. I want you to know about me before you decide you think I'm bad karma."

[Damnation! She's right.] Guiltily he admitted that he'd been judging Dominique by Demona's merits and crimes. She was surely doomed for failure if kindness and compassion weren't part of her redemption. Yet, to let go a millennium of hatred, strife, murder, and duplicity wasn't an easy task. It required a miracle. It necessitated a leap of faith where angels had yet to tread. It demanded a choice.

"Agreed." [The simplest of choices are often the most difficult ones made.]

Without hesitation, Dominique wrote five words on her napkin that she felt aptly portrayed Lennox Moray MacBeth. She chewed on the end of her pen as she pondered each word with great deliberation. With finality, she dotted her last sentence and laid down her pen. She folded her napkin and tucked it away.

1.Mysterious
2.Idealistic
3.Stodgy
4.Sexy
5.Captivating

MacBeth reached for it and Dominique playfully slapped away his hand. "I don't think so! You can't see them until we're finished with your twenty questions. Otherwise, my words might influence your answers."

"Fair enough." He acquiesced. "Ask your questions."

"Give me some time to think of them." She glanced at her watch. "Do you have any other classes?"

"Not until 4:00PM." He assured her. So, we have the better part of the afternoon. Yourself?"

"I don't have any more classes today." She grinned. "So, you're stuck with me."

"So it would seem." He chuckled. "Think of your questions. I must find the men's room and I'll return shortly."

She watched as he left the table. Anticipation and exultation battled within the young woman. [He's playing me and I don't care. At least, now he's willing to give me a chance before writing me off! That's a start.]

He returned looking much more at ease. He took his seat and she smiled triumphantly. "Are you ready for your interrogation, Professor?"

"As ready as one is ever for torture." He chuckled. She batted him on the arm in mock outrage. He held up his hands in defeat. "Yes, Ms. Destine, ask away at your convenience."

"Okay...I won't pull my punches." She warned him. He nodded in understanding. "Question number one: How old are you? Be COMPLETELY honest."

[How much of the truth does she need? The most innocuous question appears deadly. When does Evasion become Dishonesty?] Already he felt trapped by the trap he had inadvertently set for himself. Then, he decided their association required another miracle.

"Physiologically, I'm thirty-three. Chronologically..." He leaned forward and whispered. "I'm one thousand and one years old."
"Shut up!" She exclaimed. "No way!"

"Oh, yes." He made no attempt to veil his amusement at her stunned response. "It's true. I've been alive for over a thousand years."

"Okay. I'll bite." She scribbled out her next question and hastily wrote in the margin of her paper. "How did you get to be so....well, don't take this the wrong way, Professor...so old?"

He chortled at her awkward question. "Magick."

"Magick?"

"Magick." He confirmed. "That's all I'll say on that particular matter for now. Ask about it no further and I won't tell you lies."

"Fair enough." She felt a cold stream of apprehension slither up her spine. "So, are you human?"

"Of course I'm human." He patted her gently on the arm. "VERY human. I'm just very old."

"Are you immortal?" Dominique couldn't let the subject go. She found it strangely intriguing to know that she was speaking to a man that had been alive during the Middle Ages.

"Aye, Lass. That I am." A Dark haze covered his features in an impenetrable mask. She noticed that his grim words conveyed sadness.

"Are you lonely?"

"Aye, that I am." He looked at her with soulful eyes. The poignant glance carried an emotional intensity that unnerved Dominique and yet touched her deeply. She saw heartbreak and sensed an unrequited longing that was almost tangible. For a minute, she thought she felt the pangs of unreciprocated affection lurking in the back of her mind.

"Do you have any family?" She urgently diverted the question to a safe and neutral topic.

Again, he met her eyes with a guarded expression. Dominique truly felt remorseful for her personal questions. For most, she realized, this would be small talk. For Professor MacBeth, they tore away at his emotional armor and stroked his innermost soul. "Aye. My first wife left this world and as did my son long ago. I have no one whom I call family."

"Did you ever remarry or start another family?" Dominique quelled the urge to hug the uncanny Professor sitting across from her.

"I did." He replied darkly. His eyes left hers and stared out the window at the desolate winter landscape of the Campus. "Ten years ago, I resided in Paris. I met a woman of passion and charm that beguiled me. She won my heart with her capricious spirit and riveting intellect."

"Where is she now?" Dominique murmured quietly.

MacBeth remained mute for what seemed an eternity. He stroked his full beard as if deliberating how to answer. "Dominique, to my knowledge, the woman I married not the same woman now. She is lost forever in the sea of memory. I have chosen to leave her in my past and to look ahead to my future."

"Do you still love her?"

"She and I had a relationship that went from rapture to enmity." He took a sip of his water and attempted to compose his thoughts into some answer both truthful and nebulous. "Do I still love her? A part of me will be eternally linked to her being. I suppose that I will always carry a deep...affection for her. However, I also hold great fondness for the woman she shall one day be."

"Let's lighten this up a bit." Dominique forced a laugh. She flashed Professor MacBeth a bright smile. "Where were you born?"

"I was born in Castle Moray in Scotland." His green eyes signaled a silent gratefulness for the lighter turn in question.

"When did you come to America?"

"I first came here in 1901." He replied.

"What is your current relationship with the Gargoyles?" Dominique wanted to know more about the man of today sitting across from her. Who was he now?

"I am friends with Goliath and Elisa. Goliath is an ally and brother in this modern age. The others? In the past there was animosity between me and his clan, but no longer. Today, we are close friends and amends have been made for past conflict."

"I see." Dominique chewed thoughtfully on her pen as she digested his answer. Now, she wanted the true down-and-dirty dish on the Scottish hottie sitting in front of her. She looked at him through veiled lashes. "Do you have a girlfriend?"

"Nay, Lass." MacBeth smiled sadly. "My life and schedule don't allow for one."

"Then how do you get laid?" She asked innocently.

"God's Teeth, Woman! Have you no decorum?!" He blasted with outrage. "How can you ask such a tactless question?"

"No, I have absolutely none." She purred in victory as she knew she had hit a sore spot. "How can I ask? Because, MacBeth... I CAN. Now, according to our agreement, you have to answer twenty questions. Otherwise, the deal is off. Now...let's try this again. HOW DO YOU GET LAID?"

"I shouldn't dignify such a crass inquiry with an answer." He huffed. "I'll play your game, Dominique Denise Destine. I'll tell you. I often engage the services of reputable escort agencies. Their discretion and variety allow me the means available to assuage such baser instincts."

"Really?" She pouted prettily as she scribbled down the information. "So do you have a preference for blondes, Brunettes, or redheads?"

"Redheads." Was the curt reply. "Gruoch had hair that was a halo of flaming glory."

She grinned with pure feminine satisfaction. "What about your second wife?"

"Her hair was scarlet as the poppies that grow on the Moors and Highlands of Scotland. Speak no more to me of her." He demanded.

"Do you find me attractive?" She asked in a low voice. She damned herself for asking so soon. Yet, a part of her yearned to hear the answer whatever it was yea or nay.

"Too much, I'm afraid, Dominique." He ran callused fingers through chestnut hair. "Listen well, Lass. You feel it as I do, don't you... this attraction between us?"

She silently nodded.

He continued urgently. "Make nothing of it, Dominique, I implore you. To do so would render heartbreak and disaster upon us both. It's against my principles for a Professor to be involved with a student. I would lose my position and my respectability in the academic community. You're far... too young and innocent at this point in your life to be involved with a man such as me. You need to ...find yourself."

"So, I was right." She almost growled.

"Absolutely right." He snorted. "You're a perceptive, shrewd young lady. There are things about me you don't know and I pray you never learn. I want you to have an opportunity to come of age free and unencumbered by the burdens I might place upon you."

"What are you talking about?" Now, he spoke nonsense. "You're sounding odd, Professor."

"As long as I am your instructor and your housemate, it is dishonorable and unethical for us to pursue a romantic relationship. I'm not blind, Dominique, but neither am I dense. Flirting with me is dangerous. I am asking you to cease and desist in this matter."

"It means that much to you doesn't it... you really stick to your principles?" She asked reverently.

"I've lived a long time, Dominique." MacBeth looked weary at that particular moment. It appeared as though the weight of the ages weighed heavily upon his heart. "You and I are new to this association. I ask you to grant me this request."

"I'll ask you a question...a counterproposal." Her thoughts designed a suggestion that caught her by surprise. "For the remainder of this semester, I'll honor your request. We become friends and we get to know each other. At the end of this semester, you will no longer be my instructor. You probably will have your private residence. Then, let's sit again and consider pursuing this attraction. What do you say?"

"I'd say that was your twenty-first question and I don't have to answer that." His eyes twinkled merrily. "But, I'll say this. Don't tempt me beyond my code of honor and I will, as you put it, 'consider pursuing this attraction' at semester's end."

"That's fair." Dominique closed her notebook. She looked at the tall icon of masculinity standing next to her. [How am I going to wait eighteen weeks?] She stared plaintively at the noble warrior before her.

"I know what you're thinking, Lass." He sighed. He took his hand in his and gently brushed a kiss. "I can't resist the small luxury of an innocent kiss. Learn about me, and learn about yourself these next few months. You may find me as interesting as paint drying on a wall by the time semester ends. This will teach you honor, restraint, control and discipline. If you can adhere to this challenge honorably, then I know that I will truly consider pursuing this attraction ...and growing affection...to its LENGTHIEST extent."

"What do you mean?" Her breath caught in her throat at his illicit and heartfelt words.

"That's question twenty-two and I don't have to answer that either." He smirked. "Now, Lass, write down five words you think aptly describe me."

She nodded in compliance and hastily wrote five words on the other side of the napkin.
1. Sentimental
2. Noble and possessing integrity
3. Honorable
4. Loyal
5. Still sexy-as-hell

"Here they are." She handed him the napkin. "You win the bet. You and I are going to that P.I.T. meeting on Saturday. But, do you think that's wise after everything we've discussed?"

He studied the first list for a moment. His eyebrow rose in question as he read each word. Then, he turned the napkin over and considered her second list. He nodded slowly and a smile came to his face. "Aye, Dominique, it's wise to know one another better. It's perfectly suitable for friends to engage in social outings. You won't be attempting compromises on my virtue, will you?"

"No! I promised!" She said aghast. Then, she saw his barely concealed mirth. The damned Scotsman was teasing her. "No, not at all, Dude."

"Then, I shall escort you to the meeting Saturday night." He picked up his briefcase. "I must apologize for my abrupt departure, but I have to speak with the Chancellor about some matters. Am I giving you a ride home?"

"Sure!" She answered glibly. "When does your last class let out?"

"Five." He called over his shoulder. "Meet me her at 5:15."

"You're on." She yelled to him as butterflies danced around inside her heart and soul. "You're on."

"Lass," His voice was a subtle caress that caused shivers of joy to electrify her skin. "I'll be asking you twenty questions tonight. After you do your reading assignment and start on your homework."

Dominique smiled widely and went to the library to research her term paper. She silently thanks Thomas Sage for his serendipitous contribution to her burgeoning love life.

TO BE CONTINUED..........







"Forsaken languishings abide amidst each truly gladdened heart. What perchance Fate deemed to pass, they had but conjured her whims in our souls? When the mortal onus demands contemplation and measure of worth, there is only longing for blissful innocence. Temerity abounds in this contemplation. For all know hardship, albeit such things may remain unknown save the one who bears such travail."

-TACITUS CERULEAUS, FROM THE TOME OF TACITUS
(WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM DENIGODDESS, HIS EVER-FAITHFUL MUSE)