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Cold Speculation

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This story is No. 13 in the series "20 Minutes with". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: 20 min w/ Darla - one cold night at a tavern, Darla hears an interesting tale...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Cartoons > GargoylesLucindaFR131865011,1974 Apr 044 Apr 04Yes
author: Lucinda

rating: pg/pg13

main character: Darla

also featuring: MacBeth from Disney's Gargoyles

Disclaimer: Darla is the creation of Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. MacBeth was created by Disney's Gargoyles.

Distribution: Paula, Jinni - anyone else please ask first.

note: 20 miutes with Darla response, set WAY before the Buffy series starts. Also well before the Gargoyles were awakened.

Darla shivered as the wind howled outside. Granted, she was a vampire, she couldn't freeze to death as a mortal could, but... She felt cold. And it was cold enough that she was wondering if it was possible for a vampire to freeze through, to turn into a giant icicle that would burst into flames at the dawn. She really doubted that the moment of warmth before turning to ash would be welcome.

There was a tavern ahead, and she headed towards it, leaning against the bitter wind. It would be welcome to sit inside, hopefully in a place warmed by the fire that was spitting fitful smoke out the chimney. She might even be able to find someone to eat in there.

The door stuck slightly, and she slipped inside, pulling it closed behind her. The lack of wind made her stumble, and she headed towards the fire. It was slightly smoky, and the air was filled with the scents of wet wool, smoke, and burned bread, as well as cheap ale and unwashed bodies. But it was warm, and for that, she could forgive all the rest.

She settled on a corner of a bench, beside an older man with a gray grizzled beard and a mug of mulled ale. He glanced at her, and there as something different about his eyes.

It took her a few minutes to figure it out. He had time in his eyes, years turning to decades to centuries in a way that should have been impossible for a human. And he looked at her in an assessing way, not just wondering what she'd look like under all of the layers of clothing, but as if he was considering her as a possible danger. It was altogether quite surprising.

"Hello." She smiled, trying to look cold and harmless. "I'm Darla."

He chuckled, and Darla had the impression that he wasn't quite fooled by her efforts to look harmless. His words had a pleasant Scottish roll to them as he murmured. "Call me MacBeth."

"The night is cold." He sipped at his mug, and his eyes took on a slightly distracted look, as if he was remembering something. "The night is ill suited for man, beast and all else."

"Indeed." Darla smiled, privately wondering what he might mean other than man or beast. "Cold enough to freeze a demon's heart."

MacBeth twitched.

He glanced around, eyeing her warily. "An odd thing for such a pretty lass to say."

"I've been called odd before." She shrugged, wondering just what was prompting his questions, why the man was so wary.

"Such a pity then. A pretty lass such as yourself..." He shook his head. "The cold can't be very welcome, even for someone from the wild Americas like yourself."

"And here I'd heard that Scotland was a wild place." She smiled, glancing up through her eyelashes. "But perhaps it's simply that the places have different risks?"

"Aye, I would imagine so. The New World... it's supposed to be without the same dangers as the Old. And Scotland is very much part of an older world."

"Is there anything that I should try particularly to avoid in this older world?" Darla smiled at him, shifting her knee close enough to touch his.

"Hmmmm." He paused, sipping at his mug. "Avoid the Fae, they're quite real and twice as tricky as the legends paint them."

"The Fae... pah." The words were spat from a shriveled old man with a pipe. "The Fae are just stories. Beware those night demons. With glowing eyes and those wigs.... Flapping through the air like giant bats, out to steal men's souls and devour the crops and cattle."

"What?" Darla blinked, not quite certain what the old man could mean. She glanced at MacBeth, and tried to look helpless and worried. "What does he mean?"

"He's meaning Gargoyles, lass." MacBeth's voice was low, roughened by memories. "Not the fancy waterspouts, but real creatures made of flesh and blood and passions."

"What sorts of passions?" Darla was curious and fascinated. "And... do they... do they attack people?"

"Not often, Darla. Most of them are content to avoid humans, and ye dinna see very many now." He tried to sip at his mug, frowning when it proved to be empty. "But they have as many passions as any human, and some... some of them know how to hate."

Darla caught the eye of a passing waitress, and got two mugs of the mulled ale, handing one to MacBeth. "Are they dangerous?"

"It all depends on which one, lass. It all depends on which one ye run into." He downed a large swallow of his ale, and smiled weakly at her. "I think that I've talked enough, surely you would nae be interested in hearing more of an old man's tales."

Darla watched as MacBeth left the common area, heading up the stairs. She smiled, wondering if she might be able to make some use of his words. If these gargoyles might be useful. And why it seemed as if he felt guilty or responsible for some of that.

end Cold Speculation.

The End

You have reached the end of "Cold Speculation". This story is complete.

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