Author: Denigoddess2001

Addy:

Date: 02/05/02

Saga: Angels Among Us

Title: Fortune's Child 9.0

Rating: R (Strong language, implied violence, m/m slash (NOTHING GRAPHIC), dark humor)

Characters: Dr. Tina Stephenson, Selene, Orion the Hunter, Demetrius Nightkind, Wren Summers-Nightkind, Lennox Moray MacBeth, Dominique Denise Destine, Phoebe

Summary: Selene wreaks havoc for those at the Summerlands estate.

Author's Note: I dedicate this story to my Muse, Puaena, for her insight and creative inspiration. Thanks to Demelza, Todd and Lily for challenging me to do my very best. Hugs to Christina Marie for writing in my little Deniverse. Mucho thanks to Joe Muse. Also to all the other people who read and support fanfiction...THANK YOU!!! Send all adoring praise, flamboyant flames, constructive comments and questions to Denigoddess2001@aol.com.

Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. No infringement intended. All original characters belong to their Deity, Denigoddess2001. No skillets or Fae were harmed in the making of the Fanfic.

When words appear in these triangular brackets, they are in Gaelic

[Words bracketed in this fashion are usually private thoughts or psionic communication]

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

No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever. -- Francois Muriac

Demetrius eyed the large tan hunter bandaged and bewildered in his kitchen. Lavender eyes almost soared from their sockets when he stared into eyes that he had not seen in more than a thousand years. The Nightkind mutely sat at the table beside the other Gargoyle and they simply gazed at one another for what seemed eternity. Tina finished applying the last of the salve the wounds on the Hunter's shoulder's and abdomen.

"You'll be ready to ride when the sun comes up." Her cheerful demeanor took away some of Demetrius' tension. The tan Gargoyle stared at her and said something in a language that almost sounded familiar.

"Did he just say `thank you?'" She shot a questioning glance at Demetrius. "Either that or he just said in Gaelic, `my mother wears neon green combat boots.'"

"Aye. He did." Demetrius saw Tina give him a quizzical stare. He quickly amended his vague words. "He said Thank you, Good Lady."

"I hope so. My Gaelic's a bit rusty, but I think I can pull it out of storage." She mused. Tina had seen many things in 450 years. Time travel and Magick were new to her, but not unexpected. She cleared her throat and searched for the right words. Tentatively, she held out her hand.

"How do you feel?" She watched the Warrior as he struggled to move from the table to the chair.

As if the entire castle fell upon me." Tan talons rubbed a rather nasty bump on his head. "By the Dragon! Where am I?"

He looked at the hand in front of him and did nothing. Instinct was all the Gargoyle had to guide him through this bizarre vision surrounding him. He clasped her hand in a Warrior's greeting.

Wren stared at Demetrius. [What do we tell him, that he's a thousand years in the future, that I'm a future incarnation of him?]

"Gods' Teeth, Wench! Ye needn't shout!" The Hunter turned to Wren.

"You heard me?!" Now it was her turn to sink bemused into the kitchen chair.

The Hunter shrugged and mumbled in Gaelic. "Whatever devil's tongue ye speak, I can nae understand ye. But, ye rumble like a scullery maid."

Wren flinched at his words. The Highland lilt was thicker than chocolate syrup. The syntax was undeniable. The Hunter spoke fluent, tenth century Gaelic. Yet, when he spoke, it resonated in Wren's mind like a harsh echo. Her ears rang and her heart pounded. She forced herself to recall the language she loved and so rarely spoke. "I didn't shout, Hunter. But, you heard me?"

"As surely as me tail is connected to me bottom. Ye said, `what shall we tell him, that he is a thousand years in the future-"

"I get the point." She longed for the natural immunity that Gargoyles possessed against psionic links and probes. As she brushed against the Hunter, cool metal touched her skin. She cast her gaze down to see a very familiar mithral circlet hanging on the Hunter's belt of his loincloth. Wren opened her mouth to say something but she saw Demetrius shake his head.

[It is proof enough. I will explain everything later.] His deep soothing voice touched those thoughts that were filled with worry. [Remember, the Annulus is bloodbound to you. It has always been with you.]

Before she could take in all the information, she felt tan talons shake her shoulders.

"What witchery have ye cast upon me?" His eyes glowed as he glowered at Wren.

"The Magick wasn't my doing, Hunter. You can thank that one over there." Wren contained a giggle when she pointed to a very unhappy Child of Oberon sitting in the kitchen corner. Selene, the black-haired Fae of the Weird Sisters, sat unceremoniously on her keister. She wasn't pleased to find iron chains wrapped around her and a ball-gag in her mouth.

"Aye, I know the hag. She's done more than a spot of business with the Archmage." The Hunter grumbled. "What is yer part in this?"

"Me? I tried to stop the spell. I found out it doesn't work that way. I altered her Magick and I became its target. So, instead of the spell hitting Dominique...your second-in-command, it hit me.... in the end, it brought you through time and space here."

Dominique watched the two engage in their exchange of some unknown language. She looked at Timron and he shrugged. She shook her head in confusion. She knew she was going to be up for the rest of the night, she went to the cupboard and reached for the can of coffee. "Anyone up for Java?"

"Please, Lass. I'd do well for a cup." MacBeth made his way toward her. He eyed the Tan Hunter and the Fae with growing mirth. "I'll be happy to help you make it."

Selene struggled furiously against her iron restraints. She made muffled protests against the ball-gag. Wren begged The Hunter's pardon and turned to study Selene. Verdant fire gleamed in the Wren's eyes as she glared at the raven-haired Sister sitting in her kitchen. She rose from her chair and went to the wall. Above the center island of the kitchen hung several pots and pans. Wren gave a wicked smile to the group and grabbed the cast-iron skillet that Demetrius loved to use for cooking. With great determination, she handled almost as it were a prized heirloom.

"Milady, what are you doing?" The worried tone in Demetrius' strong timbre alarmed Tina. She quietly stepped behind the Dark Warrior to assist of Wren became a handful.

Wren walked over to the struggling Fae. She languidly knelt down and poked her in the chest with the spade of her tail. "Listen to me and listen well. I'm not happy with you. You've trespassed on private property. You tried magickally to alter my friends without their knowledge and consent. Don't fuck with me, Selene. I'm holding a cast iron skillet."

Selene's pristine sapphire eyes widened in fright. "Now, you're getting the picture. Good girl. Iron and Fae don't mix. Because I'm mixed, it just neutralizes me and no harm done. However, if an iron weapon is used on a Child of Oberon, not only does it weaken the Child.... it also can be quite fatal."

"Demetrius, what's so horrible about a skillet?" Tina whispered discreetly in Demetrius' ear. "What's she going to do, conk her over the head?"

"Iron is the Bane of the Fae, Good Lady." He explained. "I know not what Wren plans, but it disheartens me much. From hence our return from Olympus, my Wren has become a raptor. She is not the Songbird that I know and love."

Hatred came from those Selene's blue eyes. Wren smiled gleefully. "Be good, little girl, and don't cause any trouble. Otherwise, I'm going to have the extreme pleasure of sending Hades a new occupant. Do you understand the rules?"

Selene remained still. Her eyes glittered in baleful defiance. Wren's eyes gleamed brightly and an ominous growl resounded throughout the kitchen. The Tan Hunter looked at Demetrius. Tina tensed and took another step in the young Fae's direction. The Ebony Warrior laid a hand on Wren's shoulder. "Milady, I beseech you to show this Child mercy. Violence only begets violence."

Wren gave him a look with brows raised that screamed. `you-must-be-joking.' She took the flat bottom of the skillet and pressed it gently against Selene's alabaster cheek. She held it there and the Fae strained frantically to move away. Wren counted slowly from ten to one and then withdrew the skillet. A definite red patch marred the Selene's fair skin except for the part covered by the extent of ball-gag that covered her cheek.

"That's just a hint of what this skillet can do, Selene." Wren's tail snapped within only a few feet of the Fae's face. "Fry up the bacon and turn you into a patchwork quilt. The mark will itch and burn for a day or two, but no permanent damage has been done. If you continue to give me trouble, I'll happily mar that unblemished complexion of yours and send you back to Oberon BALD."

Selene hastily scooted away from Wren. "Now, Selene, let's try this AGAIN. Nod if you understand. Shake your head if you don't. Are you going to continue causing trouble?"

Tendrils of black hair vehemently shook `no' in response.

"Are you going to be good while you're in my custody?"

Tresses shook a very adamant `yes.'

"All righty, then. You're going to send Orion back from whence he came. Then, I'm taking you to Avalon. I'm going to give a full account of your actions here. Then, you can face Oberon's wrath. But I warn you, if you give me so much as a hint of trouble, I'll kill you. I have no qualms about it. Now, behave yourself."

Tina joined Wren. She forced her voice to remain soothing and tranquil. "Wren, put the skillet down. You've made your point."

"I know." She gave the Sanguine an innocent smile. She eagerly handed her the skillet. "I just wanted to make sure that the point was driven home."

MacBeth felt the tangible tenseness in the room. He withdrew several mugs from the cupboard. He found more bravado and cheerfulness than he knew he possessed? "Coffee, anyone?"

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

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

Within the hour, the Hunter felt well enough to walk. He rose gingerly to his feet and cloaked sienna wings around him. He stared at the Dark Warrior that seemed so much the stranger. There were a few changes about him...the strange loincloth he wore called a kilt. He noticed the argent band that adorned the ring talon of his left hand. The Hunter drew in a breath of shock and disbelief when he saw that his Dark Angel had five talons on each hand and feet akin to a Human.

The Human...Fae...whatever the vexing lass was called him Demetrius. It was not the Gargoyle Way for clan members to take names. A vicious stab of jealousy pierced the mighty Hunter's heart. Demetrius, as he preferred to be called, shared a unique closeness that he denied most humans and many of the clan. Atalanta would have bitten her tail for such intimacy. The Hunter pondered these things with great deliberation. To what extent did that intimacy extend to the female called Wren?

He wanted a chance to speak with Demetrius alone. He and the others conversed in a strange tongue. They offered him a hot elixir that carried bitterness in its taste. Yet, it warmed his weary bones and gave him the vigor drained from him by the strange meeting with the falling star. He watched his Dark Angel take lead with the others. Why was not Goliath's mate doing it? Was she not second in command? Where were the others? Why were Goliath's closest friends allied with these Humans? Demetrius considered them folly and Goliath's Angel considered them filth.

"Walk with me, My Hunter." Demetrius offered his hand to his innermost heart. "Let us talk of things that trouble you."

Blue eyes lucid with affection met the lavender depths that beckoned him. They strolled among the orchards of Summerlands. The cold night air and the banked snow did nothing to deter their promenade. Orion found his voice had no will to speak as he held his lover's hand tightly. He knew there were questions that demanded answers. His thick, rolling Highland lilt filled the night air.

"I have missed you, my Hunter." Demetrius said simply to the warrior walking beside him. He drew him to his ebony chest in a powerful embrace. The Dark Warrior smelled the fresh, lingering redolence of spice and sandalwood. How glorious it felt to feel his Hunter's wings and tail ensnare him in an embrace. Demetrius wondered if the Fates had blessed or cursed him. For the moment, nothing mattered. He felt joy explode within him as he felt golden tresses of his Hunter tickle his cheek.

"And I shall always be with ye, Dark Angel." The Hunter ran talons through argent braids. I've never seen yer hair in such a fine way. It becomes ye."

Demetrius wondered if his blush could be seen against his black skin. "I am glad that you like it."

Demetrius treasured each word of the Hunter as though it were sacred. It had been a thousand years since he had heard words of Highland Gaelic no longer spoken amongst the clan. "What is this alien place? I have never seen such things? Where is our clan? I was above the walls of Wyvern with ye and then I find meself in this nightmare. Why are ye limbs like a human? Who is the Fae that ye hover so near?"

Demetrius pressed two talons to halt the rush of questions. He took the two large tan hands in his and held them to his heart. "This place is the haven of the Fae of whom you speak. It is also my haven and sanctuary. You aren't where, my Hunter, it is when. It is the year of our Lord, 2006. It is February eleven and you are on a large isle and very far from the shores of Scotland."

"What chicanery is this?" Orion broke his hands free of Demetrius' grasp. " Have not the offerings of milk and honey been of satisfaction the Fair Folk? Have we crossed their sacred circles or trampled their gardens? Why have they cursed me as such?"

"It is not a curse, Love, but a blessing." Demetrius felt it difficult remaining steady on his feet. His body quavered dangerously so close to his first love. He looked into those wise eyes of Spring Blue sky. He saw the same gentleness and quiet ways that graced him in the cool, refreshing hazel depths he knew so well. "Our clan...is waiting for you in your proper place and time. By Magick you have been brought, Love. So, you shall be returned. It is Fortune's way of giving us a few moments forever lost in time."

"Fortune...the one you call Wren?" His brows narrowed as he spoke the Fae's name.

"Aye." Demetrius was at a loss for words.

"Ye and the one called Wren?" The Hunter gazed at the distant silhouette standing on the porch. "She never leaves yer side."

"She is clan." It was the only truth that Demetrius could speak. "She is ally and friend to Goliath and all of our brother's and sisters."

"Why does she wear a betrothal torc?'" The Hunter challenged. "Why do ye have one that matches?"

"I am in her debt." Demetrius searched for honesty amongst duplicity and found himself wanting. "When our clan was returned to life, I was alone and without you. I beseeched the Goddess to let me join you in death if you were not with me in life. Within a sennite, Wren came to clan. I knew that she was the blessing my life needed. She named me and gave me respect. She instructed me in the ways of writing and ciphering. She is closer than clan and dearer than life to me."

"Do you love her?"

Demetrius couldn't meet the intent stare of his mate. Tan talons gently captured the Dark Angel's jaw and guided him to meet the Hunter's gentle scrutiny. "Ye love her, don't ye?"

"With all that is in me." Demetrius could not deny the bodings of his heart. "She is the other half of my soul."

"And nothing of our vows mattered?" Hurt and betrayal hurled themselves from the Hunter's words.

"Have you not heard anything I have said this night!? It has been a thousand years!" Demetrius bellowed. "I walked in the Shadowlands of Hades searching for you. I wandered the Elysian Fields calling your name. My feet burned and blistered as I journeyed through Tartarus trying to find you. Lady Persephone told me your soul knew many lives.... Gargoyle, priest, knight, wife, mother, warrior, baker, thief, ranger, and now mutant. I begged her to release from Death's arms so that I might rejoin you in life. Yet, it was not the way for me to be she told me. When a Kiari rose from the clan from the dead, my heart cried out with jubilation and my heart rejoiced. I was alive again and that meant we could be as one. I searched for you, My Hunter, in the eyes of all I met. Yet, I found that my answer seemingly lay with the fragile waif named Wren. She is the Hunter reborn. I cried enough tears to fill Lethe for an age. Of courses our vows mattered. Our souls are entwined. Our hearts
and bodies know only each other."

"Yet, you love the Fae called Wren?"

"She is you a thousand years hence." He said tersely. "I have not betrayed my vows to you, Orion of Wyvern."

"I told ye ne'er to call me by the Humans' name." The Hunter turned away from Demetrius. His tail lashed for several seconds. He paused as if contemplating what came next. "Ye say, lad, that the wee lass in there is ... me in this strange, new age?"

"Aye, it is a different vessel than the one you have. Yet, it is, indeed, your soul." Demetrius wrapped his tail around Orion and drew the tan Warrior to him. "Every shard that comprises our broken hearts is bound within the diminutive woman on the porch. She is you in the age to come."

"This is but a hex place upon ye by the Weird Sisters." Orion turned away from Demetrius. "Once born is the Gargoyle Way."

"Nay, Hunter. I offer you proof of this. We will be together in your age and all the unseen ages yet to come. Our love is strong and eternal. Never have you left me. Always where you have fearlessly tread so have I followed without hesitation and reservation. We still love fiercely and well. Never doubt that."

"What proof have ye to offer me of this alleged truth?"

"She bears the Annulus as her own." Demetrius let the words fly from his mouth. "As you carried it. From Oberon's will to the hand of the Magus so did his scepter fall. In 980, the Magus had it crafted for the Archmage by Atalanta. Yet, the circlet chose you when you cooled its molten metals in the cool refreshing Spring waters brought forth from Avalon. When you cut yourself upon it's blade and it knew your blood, Excelsior...the Raven's Ring, the Annulus of Avalon chose you, Orion of Wyvern. It has chosen you again as Wren Summers."

"Show this if it has truly come to pass." Orion's head reeled from the sudden onslaught of information. All that he knew gone with the casting of a spell. All that he held dear now was in the hands of another: his beloved Excelsior, his lifemate and his Hunter's souls were bound to the body of one Fae.

It didn't take the duo long to make their way to the porch. Wren watched fretfully as the two approached. She forced herself to push away the doubts that crept inside of her mind. They were dark thoughts of Demetrius in Ares' bed. They became thoughts of The Hunter and the Dark Angel engaged in a mating flight. Two sets of wings unfurled; sable above ebony....flowing argent tresses mingled with the soft spun gold of Orion's mane.

[It's all insecurity and speculation. He won't bed Orion. He won't leave me for him. He can't. Not after everything we've known and seen this past year. Oh, Skylaris! Please don't take my Dark Angel away from me.... Not again.]

"Wren, fetch your Annulus." Demetrius said darkly. There were no pleasantries. For the first time in his life, he issued a demand and a command to his mate. He prayed that she would obey him without question if only just this once.

Wren was stricken by the harshness of her mate's charge. She nodded mutely and went inside the house. She returned shortly with an ornate box crafted of mahogany and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Demetrius remember when she had the box crafted for her most precious possession. She slowly opened the box to reveal the sparkling Mithral circlet lying on a bed of crushed red velvet. She grasped the weapon knowingly and held it high for them to see. The finely honed blade caught the moonlight and shown brightly.

"Wren, give it to Orion."

"No." She defiantly told her mate. "Anyone but you or I touches the Annulus and they get seared by blue sparks. No, I won't do it."

"Prithee, Milady." Demetrius beseeched her with great urgency. "Question me not this night. Do as I bid thee."

His voice carried the rolling, articulate lilt that appeared thickest when he was under duress. His eyes darkened to deep, rich amethyst. There was no denying the tremulous quaver in his deep voice. It was as close to begging as she had seen him come. Demetrius was pride incarnate: he did NOT beg. Slowly, as if giving away her soul, she silently handed the bladed circlet to the Hunter.

He grasped it knowingly. There were no azure flame or cobalt bolts of Magick. There was no searing of flesh or the screams of pain. He held it before his eyes and turned it slowly in hand. He knew well it's weight and it's measure. He nodded to both of them and offered the Annulus back to Wren. "Milady, the blade knows ye well. Ye've done right by it."

"Is the Annulus intelligent?"

"Aye, it'll speak to ye when it's good and ready." He released a hefty sigh. "She tells me that you and I are one. Ye're, indeed, the rightful bearer of Excelsior and Demetrius' proper mate. Who ye are so shall I be."

"Can I ask you a question, Orion?" She spoke in a hushed tone.

"Aye, Lass."

"Show me all you know. Help me remember the love you share. Teach me to be brave."

"Lass, I can nae help ye to do that. It comes from within the heart and the soul." He laid a gentle hand upon her shoulder. Spring blue eyes looked into the cool, refreshing summer depths. "Ye soul is eternally Gargoyle. Ye're heart is human. The vessel ye bear is but a way to an end. Do nae worry about what was... your heart will tell ye soon enough. Live for the moments that ye have with our Dark Angel. Love him fiercely and well. Be strong for him and let him cherish ye. His loyalty knows no limits or bounds. His love will undo yer mind and befuddle yer soul."

"Too true." She giggled. "Did he ever tell you that you vexed him thus?"

"Always, Lass." Orion gave her a knowing wink. "A thousand years changes nothing."

"Please, share with me. You seem to know so much." Wren implored the Hunter. He looked over her shoulder in silent question to Demetrius. The Ebony Warrior nodded in concurrence. "I am nothing like you. I'm not brave. I'm not a warrior. I have so much to learn."

"You and I are one, Lass." He tweaked her nose. "Even now, a part of me is in ye. Do nae look backward, look within. Ye simply have to be willing to embrace it without hesitation or reservation. It's-"

"The Gargoyle Way." She finished with him in unison.

Demetrius thought it oddly comforting as he watched the Hunter and the Songbird walk through the snow-covered orchards of Summerlands in the dark of night. He smiled as their figures slowly melded and merged as one in the increasing distance between them. He folded his gabardine wings and sat upon the porch swing that he knew so well. He and Wren shared many summer nights simply swinging, watching the sunset, and speaking their hearts. This night, she was finding out about hers for the first time.

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

MacBeth watched a shaken Dominique cloak herself in within her wings. It was a defensive posture that was innate to Gargoyles. He marveled how those primal instincts came alive within her. Her tail wrapped around her feet in an unconscious demonstration of self-protection. He watched her make her way into the den alone. He called out to her but she seemed not to hear him.

"Dominique." He swiftly followed her into the next room. He rushed to catch up with her. He laid two large hands on her shoulders. Her wings fluttered and he knew she was shaken. He gently guided her to turn and wrapped his arms around you. "Tonight has been confusing and traumatic. Are you well?"

"I just don't understand everything that's going on." She lamented. She buried her flushed face in his shoulder. "If I understand everything that's went on, that strange Fae meant that spell to be for me. I'm just glad that Wren was there."

"Aye, Lass. Wren is friend and part of your clan" He pressed a kiss against scarlet braids. He held her close and looked to the Heavens for a sign as how to comfort the Dame in his arm. She was like a small child frightened by a thunderstorm. She needed someone to soothe and comfort her. He looked over her shoulder and saw his reflection in the window. He chose to make his own destiny. He was her mentor and protector. She would not be left alone and deserted while he knew her... while he loved her. He gave her a playful punch on the jaw. "You are resilient and weather all things well."

"Why would that strange Fae want to cast a spell on me?" Dominique's eyes widened into large verdant pools of confusion and bewilderment. "What have I ever done to her?"

[How much do I tell her? It stabs at my heart to lie. Yet, I will not be responsible for innocence lost.] He studied the young Dame intently. He knew that she was fiery and passionate in everything that she said and did. He knew that to lie might cause the Dame to embrace her old ways of bitterness and Hatred. To tell the truth might well do the same. He braced himself and chose his words delicately. "She is one of the three that bound us together, Seraph."

"You mean a thousand years ago!?" She shook her head in amazement. "I can't believe I've been alive for that long."

"I can, Dominique." A weariness assaulted his body. "It's been a very long time." [Too long.]

"MacBeth..." Dominique searched for the words for so many things she wanted to say. Her eyes glowed with the growing frustration she felt. "Don't leave me."

"Never, Dominique." He pressed another quick kiss to that regal azure brow. Curves and wings tempted the Warrior king far too much. "We'd better see to the others." He quickly rose to his feet and took his empty coffee mug to the sink. He concentrated on rinsing away every last trace of java.

"MacBeth!" Came the firm calling. He almost cringed because Dominique sounded very much like Demona with that tone of voice. She sauntered up beside him. Four talons lightly gripped his forearm. "You never struck me as a coward."

"What?" Those were the last words he expected to come from her pout red lips. His brows came together in an expression of perplexity.

"You kissed me well and then you ran away like a frightened boy earlier this evening. What did I do wrong?" She accused him. "I don't like it when people run from me. It makes me want to give chase."

"Those are a woman's words coming from a girl." He regretted the harsh tone in his voice. Softer words came from lips that remember the heartfelt affection of her kiss. "I won't trifle with you. That isn't my way. You did nothing wrong, Dominique. You just kissed me too well for my comfort."

"You always have honor." She gave him a sly grin. He wanted to scold and chide the lass for playing games meant only for adults. Her face became a somber mask. "MacBeth, what's going on here is more than just physical and it frightens me."

"Then run away, little girl, while you still can." He warned her. He turned away and set the clean mug in the dish tray to dry. "I play for keeps."

"What does that mean?" She dared to ask. She walked behind him and encircled his waist. He felt her chin rest on his back. "This isn't a game to me. This is very real to me. You're not just someone I want to slide with in between the sheets. It's more powerful than I am and I know that it tells me that I am supposed to be with you."

"I want someone by my side to be my wife, mate, and lover for all my days." He hung the dishtowel on the rack. "I don't want some Dame who's good for fifteen minutes and a quick toss. You are a babe barely out of the rookery and you've already set your sights on me. Go back to your clan and find a good mate there."

Each word sent a dagger through his heart. Sending Dominique away was slicing away at his soul. She ducked so that she jumped up right in front of him. He gasped as two slender, toned azure arms slinked around his neck. A slithering tail wrapped possessively around his waist and drew him close. Wings folded about him. He knew the significance of the triple embrace; the question was, did she?

"You lie badly, Warrior King." She teased. "I feel your pain and your joy. I feel your emotions through this damned link. You don't want me to leave any more than I do. So, here's the deal: I'll keep my promise until the end of the semester. I'll wait. But, in return, you can't lie or hide from me. Deal?"

"You don't know what you're asking." His body betrayed him as his arms went around her trim waist. Fingers itched to move just a few inches more and clutch curvy blue cheeks. He recited the Lord's Prayer in Gaelic to keep himself gentlemanly. "I'll keep my original promise if you'll just be honest with me. Please don't hold anything back."

"Don't give me that line of crap, Lennox MacBeth." She purred and gently pressed herself against his growing, heated interest. "This is one way I know I matter. It's a start." She untangled his arms from her neck and gently bent his head so that his brow pressed against hers. "Lennox, I know I have to matter here inside your mind."

"Aye, Lass. You do." He sighed in defeat. Her lips were too close and to tempting. He stiffened when Dominique gently suckled his bottom lip. Her delicate fangs carefully nipped and he gasped in surprise. Her smooth serpentine Gargoyle tongue took the opportunity to touch him and to know his taste. He tasted of dark Roast Colombian coffee, hazelnut and fresh, sweet cream. Temptation prompted her to bring her thigh so that it rested against his.

She laid a blue palm on his chest. She bent so that her delicately pointed ear rested just above his beating heart. "It's racing. Do I have a place there as well?"

"Aye, Dom. You do." She was a charmer and he was the cobra in the basket. "Why do you do this to me?"

"Because I can and because I must." She breathed in his scent. She shrouded herself in the redolence of dark earth and men's cologne. "I could easily fall in love with you given half the chance."

"Dominique," He found the integrity within himself to gently push her away. "You speak of things you don't know anything about."

"I already know that you're in love with me." She said with absolute confidence.

MacBeth stood stunned. His face showed amusement. "How do you know that?"

"You're eyes betray you. They shine brightly with unrequited love. You voice softens when I'm around you." She pressed a kiss against his lips. The sensually textured caress of his beard teased her skin. Her words were barely a whisper against the rounded shell of his ear. "I feel it in your touch and I see it in your actions. You work harder than any man I've met to always be on your best behavior. If you didn't give a damn about me, you wouldn't try so hard to behave."

"You've been reading too many of Wren's romance novels." He scolded. [Damnnation, she's right.]

"You breathing comes ragged and harsh and you start muttering Gaelic." She chuckled. "Whenever you're stressed or can't find the words you want to say... you spout off Gaelic. You've been doing it for the last week."

He was caught. She snared him again with her feminine wiles and acute observation. "And what would you have me do, Dominique? Would you have me throw away all that I am and give into this wildness?"

"No, I'd have you embrace it and savor every bit of it."

"When the time is right and you're truly aware of all your options." He firmly disengaged himself from her tails and wings. "This is no game. I'll not have you blame a broken heart or me for lost innocence. Make sure of what you want before you pursue me. You may well get me and it may not be what you want after all."

"MacBeth, I would never hurt you. I ...care about you too much." Her voice was small and contrite to his ears.

"I know, Seraph. I know." It took every ounce of determination not to return to those loving arms and welcoming wings. He forced himself to not look back and to leave her alone.

As he walked away, the young Dame's talons turned into fists. Her purr became a soft snarl of annoyance. Her tail lashed furiously at being put off again by the Warrior King and she unconsciously stamped her taloned foot. "Damn you, Lennox Moray MacBeth. Damn you."

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

Selene scowled at the Mireblood that had just entered the kitchen. Now the Weird sister knew exactly who had altered the spell cast be she and her sisters upon MacBeth and his Gargoyle bitch-in-heat. The little upstart thought she was something extraordinary simply because Puck's blood flowed through her veins. Selene decided in that cold frozen moment of clarity that Wren Summers was an abomination to the natural order of the Seelie Court.

Human blood mixed with the pure blood of Fae was intolerable. Bestial blood of Gargoyles tainting Fae purity was a reprehensible malediction that was intolerable! The Mireblood's luckmagick was just enough to annul the magicks of the Fae. Wren Summer was free of Avalon's hold and Oberon's will. She defied the Fates with random castings. She had changed history itself! [Once I free myself of these chains, I shall take great pleasure in ridding the world of Wren Summers. I must or she will usurp all that is good and just on Avalon.]

She cursed MacBeth's cleverness at gagging her. He knew her kind too well and the ways of their Magick. All her Magick required verbal components and hand gestures. Being gagged abated the most important element of her energies. The iron chain kept Selene weakened. The contact of the cool iron skillet drained her of all her energy and enchantment. She vowed that he would be one of the first to feel her wrath and to know the darkest agony of pain and torment.

She studied the crimson Gargoyle warrior that stoically stood guard over her. He was a young one: not more than sixty years old at most. From what Selene discerned, he had recently joined this clan and she recognized him to have been from Avalon. She knew those Gargoyles were under Oberon's blessing. However, she mused, there were always loopholes. He could easily perish in the line of fire. He still might prove useful.

Selene cast her calculating gaze upon the creature sitting next to him. She wasn't human, she was evil incarnate. The raven-haired Weird sister astutely figured out that the Titian-haired doctor was one of those creatures called Sanguine. That meant she should have been dead long ago. The fragrance of Thanatos abided with Dr. Hansen-Stephenson. The demoness was close enough to vampire for Selene to justify her death. Selene knew it best to simply bide her time with this one.

She returned her attention to Timron. He had a kind soul and a compassionate heart. He was no warrior, but a cerebral philosopher and the key to her freedom. This particular Sire was Selene's one chance at freedom. She watched the clock tick away until it read six. Finally, only she and Timron remained in the kitchen. She knew that sun would soon rise and her opportunity would be lost. She coughed against the ball gag. He turned.

She looked at the young warrior with wide, frightened eyes. She gave him a woeful glance that would soften the hardest heart. He would be easy prey this night if she had her way. She would be free by sunrise. She coughed again.

"Selene, are you well?" He leaned forward and guardedly scrutinized the Fae. Soulful blue eyes looked at him. She weakly shook her head. "The gag is too tight? Are you able to breathe?"

Again, the chained Fae shook her head.

"If I remove the gag, do you promise not to scream?" He asked gently.

[MacBeth, you just made your last mistake!] Selene's mind shouted in jubilation. [You never told the young knave about why you gagged me!]

She nodded meekly.

"Hold still and I'll loosen the gag." Timron assured her. He leaned over and worked to undo the buckle at the back of her head. It took some work with his talons, but he finally managed to release the fastening. Selene gasped deeply several times as though her lungs would burst.

"Thank-you." She heaved. She shook her tangled looks. With sparkling dust surrounding her, her raven tresses miraculously became smooth and untangled. She cast her attention to the bemused buck watching her. "I will not forget your kindness, Timron of Avalon."

"All deserve compassion."

"My throat burns from thirst." She pleaded contritely. "Could I trouble you for just a glass of water?"

"Of course." He turned to reach behind him and retrieve a glass from the cupboard.

As he filled the glass with water, Selene knew her time had come. Her lips moved and her words inaudible to most ears. Yet, the words came clearly enough to do their deed.

"Chains of iron that keep me bound

Turn to rust and fall to the ground."

The chains became vermilion piles of dust around her. Selene smiled with satisfaction. She almost felt sorry for having to do away with the young buck. She decided that his death would be quick and painless. [As I told him, I would not forget his kindness.]

She quickly rose from the tile floor until she levitated a few inches from the ground. She raised her hand and a fiery rose orb of energy formed in her palm. She took careful aim at the broad back of the crimson warrior. As he turned, his eyes widened in shock as Selene drew back her hand. She released the orb.

A sharp whoosh filled the kitchen and the clanging of hanging pots and pans filled Selene's ears. A blazing comet's tail of emerald cut across the path of the energy orb and collided with the ball of Magick. She screeched with a vengeance that would have made her sister Banshee proud. She turned and found a bladed circlet charged with luckmagick returning to the Mireblood's grasp. She also found a bow and arrow aimed at her.

"You'll pay for that, Wren." She seethed.

"Yeah, right. You and what army?"

"You are an abomination." Selene screeched. She pointed in accusation at the younger Fae. "You are a monster undeserving of life. Why Oberon allows you to live is beyond me, you are the very thing that upsets the natural balance of Magick in the world."

Just then, Tina walked into the room from the den. She became stock still when she saw the picture before her. Timron crouched in a defensive position and his eyes were bright with glorious white fire. Selene reminded the Sanguine of Linda Blair from the Exorcist floating in the air. She half-expected the Fae to spit pea soup or have her head turn in circles. Wren held her Annulus in hand while the Hunter aimed his bow at her.

[There isn't any way for them to get off a shot in time.] Tina realized as she edged toward the kitchen island. She knew she was still behind Selene's path of sight. [Wren, just keep her talking.]

"Why? Why don't I have a right to live?" Wren seemed to understand Tina's silent plea. "Tell me, Selene."

"You are one of the very creatures we fought against eons ago when this accursed DeMahri brought their bastard Simianites with them. Their Magick mingled with ours and created hideous creatures that almost destroyed this planet."

"Well, hang on! Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?" Wren asked as she saw Tina reaching toward the pots and pans hanging above the kitchen island. "I've never done anything to you."

"MacBeth and Demona were the means to gain control of Avalon and return it to its rightful rulers. Oberon and Titania are simply squatters pretending they are the rightful lords of the Fae. They're bastard elves with the Magick of the Kiari in their veins. My sisters and I are Mab's daughters and the rightful rulers of that isle. My brother's logic is flawed Wren Summers. Puck has always managed to wrap his grandfather around his neck and Oberon never knows differently."

That revelation stunned Wren into silence. She watched dumbly as the scorned Fae drew back her hand to let forth another burst of energy. The Hunter shot his bow. The young Crimson warrior launched his assault. Tina's hands grabbed the cast iron skillet and gave a mighty swing.

THUNK!

Selene faltered forwards. Her eyes widened in surprise as iron made solid contact with the back of her head. She slowly turned to look at the Sanguine still holding the skillet. A faint smile crossed Selene's full lips before she crumpled into a heap at Tina's feet. Tina hung the skillet and clapped her hands as if removing dust from them.

"She won't be going anywhere for a while." She smirked.

"We don't have much time." Wren came out of her stupor. "We have nothing to hold her. She turned those chains to dust. When she comes around, she is going to be very pissed and very powerful."

"What should we do, Lass?" Orion asked her. "We Fae have more chains to hold her."

"I believe I might be of assistance." A warm voice spoke behind them.

"Look out!" Tina yelled reaching for the skillet. "It's another one."

"Don't worry." Wren laughed. "Put that thing down. This Fae is one of the good guys. Everybody, this is Phoebe."

Tina very slowly lowered the skillet while Timron warily cloaked his wings. They eyed the Strawberry blond with skepticism. The all relaxed somewhat when Phoebe literally put her feet on the ground. "I see that my sister has caused you great grief and for that I apologize. I have come to collect her and I will make any amends needed to undo her damage."

"She's done quite a bit." Wren seethed. "She attempted casting a spell on Dominique. Instead, it hit me. The result was the Hunter." Wren pointed to Orion. "Me from a thousand years in the past . . . you can see we have a slight problem."

"So it shall be set right." The Fae promised. She turned to Tina. "Please hold the skillet still."

"Not a problem, lady."

Rose fire gleamed in Phoebe's crystalline eyes. She laid two fingers briefly upon the iron skillet and chanted softly so that she was barely heard.

"Iron binds all Fae in stride

So that our powers will be now denied

Let the essence of this iron be rearranged

Be thee now forged iron chains."

The skillet glowed so brightly that all covered their eyes not to be blinded. When Tina looked again, she found several feet of chain in her hand. Selene murmured and moved on the floor. "Wrap my sister quickly in those chains before she reawakens."

Tina had no problem in complying. Phoebe touched to fingers to her sister's lips and a rose band of energy covered her sister's mouth. "She will cause you no more trouble."

"What are you going to do with her?"

"She and I will return to Avalon. Oberon will learn of her antics and she will be properly chastised." Phoebe explained.

"Not yet." A wicked grin came to Wren's lips. "I made Selene a promise and I plan on keeping it."

"You can't kill her." Tina exclaimed. "That's just cold-blooded."

"You're right. Don't worry, that's not what I have in mind." Wren giggled. "Phoebe, when you were learning how to cast Magick, were you taught that visualization is the key."

"Indeed, and also is the spoken word."

"I'm not good at this, but I have to try it the Fae Way at least once." Wren knelt before the bound and gagged Fae. "Okay, you caused me trouble . . . paybacks are hell."

"Wren," Tina asked in a worried voice. "What are you doing?"

"Just this." She smiled with a newfound serenity. Orion's presence had been just the catalyst to shift the veil of amnesia from Wren's mind. She knew enough now to better control her abilities now that she had found something wonderful inside her soul. The Hunter's conviction swept through her being. Confidence overcame the Fae as she let her mind envision exactly what she wanted of the troublesome Fae sitting on her kitchen floor. It was certainly a flamboyant image that came to Wren's mind.

"Selene, you have caused me trouble

And we have proven your guilt

So let your skin be mottled like

A patchwork quilt.

Pink and green with dots of blue

Be your complexion now

Without further ado.

Your behavior this night

Has left me appalled.

So return to Avalon's shores

Colorful and BALD."

Wren gently caressed Selene's cheek. She watched the Raven-haired Fae shout in muffled protest as verdant energy left Wren's fingers. The young woman's smile went from ear to ear as Selene's alabaster complexion became a colorful mosaic of rose and emerald squares adorned with blue dots. A supple prehensile tail stroked the top of the Fae's head and wrapped itself around her thick main of ebony locks. With a poof of smoke and a puff of flame. Her scalp became smooth and hairless.

Tina covered her mouth to stifle the giggle that bubbled within her. Timron simply guffawed at amusing sight of seeing Selene properly humbled. A rumbling chuckle escaped the Hunter. Phoebe did her best to keep a stoic face, but a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. Wren clicked her tongue and wagged a finger in front of Selene's dappled features. "Tsk, tsk. I warned you. Do this again and I'll turn you into frog."

"I didn't know you could do that." Tina's smirk broke into a full-fledged grin.

"I didn't either until I realized that doing magick is like doing anything else: it requires faith and focus." Wren agreed.

"She'll be no trouble to you now." Phoebe reassured them. "Alas, I cannot ask you to unbind me from my sister. If she were allowed to run amok, she'd wreak havoc wherever she went. I must remain bound to her to maintain the balance."

"Phoebe, you're always welcome here." Wren told her. "I kept my part of the deal. I stopped Selene. You've released me from my promise of freeing you from the triad. Honestly, I don't think I could have done so anyway. But, you told me that you had information about my bloodlines that would interest me. Will you still keep that part of our agreement?"

"Gladly," Phoebe's smile warmed Wren's heart. "You need only ask."

"Selene said something that intrigued me. Is Puck Oberon's grandson?"

"Oh, yes."

"Then, who are Puck's mother and father?"

Phoebe looked away from Wren. "Puck is the daughter of Tyche and Loki."

"You mean Tyche as in TYCHE from Greek myth . . . the goddess of Luck?" Wren asked carefully. "Is she a child of Oberon?"

"No, she is one of not. However, Loki is one of our own." Phoebe explained. "Puck comes from a long line of Tricksters. Loki is the prodigal son of our beloved Lord Oberon."

Wren braced herself against the kitchen counter. Mab was Oberon's mother. Oberon was Loki's father. Puck was Loki's son. Her mother was mortal. But, Wren herself was...

"Yes, Fortune's blood is indeed in your veins, Sweet Child." Phoebe knew her thoughts. "You have a heritage of Magick of which to be proud. "Tyche's Magick was no more powerful than that of Avalon, but it is still a force with which to be reckoned. Combined with Puck's natural chicanery, you are certainly nonconformist that deserves deliberation."

"Wow." Was the only word Wren was able to say.

"I leave you with a warning, Wren Summers." Phoebe gathered her sister. She beckoned for Orion to join her at her side. He looked to Wren in silent permission.

"Will ye be well, Lass?" He queried softly.

"I'll be fine." She assured the Hunter. They stared at one another for one fluid moment in time. He rushed forward and gathered the young woman into his arms and planted a firm passionate kiss upon her lips. He tasted of ginger and honey as he claimed her mouth for his own. A spiral of gamboling cotillions of iridescent light surrounded the duo. Her mind flew open as he coursed along the psionic arc meant only for Demetrius.

Within seconds, they stood inside her mind surrounded by rolling tors, highland mists and the scent of Scottish Heather. Wren noticed Castle Wyvern in the distance and the moon was still high. The Hunter cupped her face with one tan hand and guided her chin so that she met his gaze. "Wren, ye and I are one. This is my home and my time. They are yours too."

Images flooded her mind with such rapidity that they threatened to overwhelm her psyche. Use of the bow, the secrets of the Annulus, the love the Hunter shared for Demetrius, the memories of Goliath and other rookery mates as Hatchlings, tracking and countless other things the Hunter knew drove Wren too her knees. Images of Wyvern, the Tome of Tacitus, Ancient Greece, Armand's trial, the Mutant Camps were taken from her psyche as he joined her lips in another sweet kiss. All they both knew passed between them and the other. They were at last at peace with one another.

"Will I ever see you again, Orion?" Wren managed to ask.

"Aye, Lass. Every time you look in the mirror. Skylaris be with ye. Take care of our Dark Angel."

"I'll miss you."

"Ye can Fae miss yerself, Lass. But I know I have a bright future ahead o' me. Because of ye, I know that Demetrius and I will always be together. And I thank ye kindly for showing me that great hope come true."

Another flash of light blinded the young Fae. She blinked once and then twice to banish the spots from her eyes. She looked around the kitchen and saw sunlight streaming through the window. Demetrius held her in his arms. "Hey, Handsome, where did you come from?"

"I just came inside from the porch and saw you falling." He brushed a chestnut tendril from her hair. "Are you well?"

"I have one humdinger of a headache." She rubbed her throbbing temples. She looked around and saw that Orion, Selene, and Phoebe were gone. "I take it they left."

"Over ten minutes ago." Demetrius exclaimed. "You just stood frozen like a statue until the sunlight touched your skin."

"Did Tina make it to her sarcophagus in time?"

"Aye. And Timron is on the patio. All is well, Lass."

"What about MacBeth and Dominique?" She asked. "The last time I saw Dommie, she was one frightened Dame."

"Come look for yourself, Love." He spoke gently. "Can you stand?"

"I think so." She nodded. Demetrius carefully placed his ladylove on her feet. Her legs were wobbly and he steadied her as she regained her balance. Once certain that she wouldn't fall, he took her by the hand and gently led her into the den. The sight that met Wren's hazel eyes warmed her heart.

MacBeth held a very human Dominique in his arms as the slept on the sofa. A quilt was drawn about them to block out the cold. They looked undeniably natural and right together. Wren caught the sentimental look shining in her mate's eyes.

"Do you think they have a chance?" She asked quietly of her Dark Angel.

"That is up to them, Love." He placed an arm around her. "We craft our destinies from the choices we make, not the fate to which we resign ourselves."

As her mate held her, her mind struggled to assimilate the ancient memories long buried through the incarnations of time. She saw life and Demetrius through two perspectives colored by gender, species and time. He still remained the steadfast, devoted mate she longed for all her life. Nothing would ever change the blessing he was to her.

Wren kissed him and together they greeted the morning.

-Fini

INSPIRED
His voice is like the gentle Scottish Gale
Upon the hills of Wyvern
His eyes are blue as Highland skies and Heather
One of distinction, he is discerned.
So I have waited a thousand years
To see his face and form
To feel his touch upon my wings
For our love to be reborn.
I unfurl my wings and take to flight
The wind currents now I ascend.
With my last breath I whisper his name
With talon and wing shall I always defend.
So through mists of time and shadows of death
I walk through valleys far
And hold him unspoken, yet always loved, in heart
As I wish upon that same bright star.
As stars rain to earth and the skies burn bright
Upon Gaia do they cry upon.
I mourn for thee no longer, My Hunter
As I lie once more in the arms of Wren...and Orion.