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FUTURE'S CHILD by Alyssa
from page one....
Derek shoved the three forward, so that they stood in front of the spiral which now stretched bigger than all of them. Derek stood in front of them, closing his eyes, flinging his arms out wide.
'C'thu hai maleoch!' he yelled. 'Tamarr seloch gamrai!'
The spiral surged forward, engulfing the four, and they found themselves hurtling downwards through a tunnel made purely of light and smoke. They screamed as they fell, the tunnel twisting violently around them. Then, suddenly, it disappeared, and they fell to the ground in a heap.
Late 23rd Century...
Untangling themselves, they got up to survey their surroundings. Derek picked up the box, which had fallen placidly beside them. He looked around, and was immediately greeted by a sight of horrific desolation; burning buildings, ruins, and everywhere, the stench of death.
'My God...' breathed Philip. 'What happened here?'
Derek, on the other hand, was ecstatic.
'It worked!' he laughed. 'I told you!'
Alex looked at him, nervous. 'Let's just find Nick and get out of here.'
Derek shook his head. 'Oh, he won't wake up for another six months yet.'
The others turned on him, stunned.
'Six months?!' yelped Rachel. 'We're here for six months?!'
Derek shrugged. 'It's all part of the plan. I'll send us back to an hour or so after we left once we've finished.'
'Well, I'm glad that's sorted out!' Philip retorted angrily. Derek just ignored him, and pointed to a cluster of buildings a few hundred yards away.
'We'll have to start there...'
Six months later...
Nick stirred ever so slightly as something soft brushed against his cheek. He waved his hand listlessly, eyes still closed, and his fingers connected with skin barely two feet from his face.
Nick's eyes shot open, and he saw Gregg leaning over him, watching him. The older man was bare to the waist, his torso slicked with sweat, gleaming in the firelight. Gregg's eyes glinted with an evil hunger. Nick tried to squirm away.
'Gregg? What is it?' he asked fearfully. Gregg smiled down at him nastily.
'Don't pretend you don't know, kid. I helped you, you do me a favour. That's how it works!' Gregg reached out, and tenderly stroked Nick's cheek.
'What a beautiful face.' he murmured. Nick drew in a short gasp, terror constricting his chest. Gregg's hand drifted lower, sliding down Nick's neck. The younger man tried to jerk his head away, and Gregg's face twisted in anger. He reached down and struck Nick across the face, hard.
'Don't move!' Gregg yelled. 'Don't you dare move!' Nick stared up at Gregg, shocked, and a sudden memory surfaced in his mind,
A man, so familiar...his father?...leaning over him, drunk, screaming, beating his fists and feet down at the small form lying huddled on the floor. And a woman, his mother, standing in the doorway, just....watching.
Nick tried to slide away from Gregg, but the older man held on to him fiercely, one hand clamped around Nick's wrist, the other leaning heavily on his hip. Gregg broke into a grin again, a wide, humourless smile.
'Just stay still, kid.' he whispered. 'It'll all be over soon.'
Gregg released his grip on Nick's leg, and reached up again to cup the young man's jaw in his hand.
'So beautiful...' he murmured. 'So childlike...'
Gregg's hand slid downwards, gently caressing...
'Nooo!' Nick let out a quavering yell. He brought up his knee, connecting with Gregg's groin. The older man let out a howl of pain as he rolled away from Nick, clutching at the rapid swelling. Nick scrambled off the hood. His sweater caught on the protruding, rusted metal, ripping through the fabric and cutting at his chest and stomach. Nick ignored the sudden pain, and just ran. Behind him, he could hear Gregg in pursuit, roaring in anger and pain.
Nick ran through the ruins, Gregg chasing him. People glanced up at them, then looked away. Nick saw that he was headed for the buildings he'd spotted earlier. He ran harder, desperate to find a hiding place. Then Nick let out a sharp cry as Gregg tackled him from behind, sending him crashing to the ground, pinned under the older man's weight. Nick felt his head connect with a lump of broken concrete and he had to fight to keep conscious. Gregg pulled him round so that Nick lay on his back.
'Don't you dare do that again!' Gregg yelled, face red. Nick looked up at him, pleadingly.
'Please!' he whispered painfully. 'Please don't hurt me!'
Gregg laughed, pinning Nick down, tearing at the rips in the boy's sweater, breathing heavily. Nick saw deep blackness swarm in front of his eyes, threatening to engulf him. He fought to stay awake, knowing he had to get away, now. Nick felt backwards, found the lump of concrete he'd hit his head on. He brought it up, smashing it into the side of Gregg's skull.
Gregg let out a small grunt and fell forwards onto Nick. The young man pushed the still, heavy form off and away from him, quickly scrambling a few feet away. Gregg remained still, lying on his back, eyes open. Blood ran freely from his head, pooling on the ground. Nick felt his own blood run down his face, mingling with Gregg's, which was smeared on his clothing and skin. Nick raised his hands to his face, shock numbing his body and brain. He looked at his hands, slick with blood. As he did, another memory pushed its way forward,
And he saw, in sharp flashes, himself, holding his hand as a screeching object, a ring, bit deep into his hand, blood coursing from the wound as he yelled, feeling the life draining from him.........
Nick gasped, the memory remaining fresh in his mind, but with no knowledge of where it came from. He stared at Gregg's body, unsure of whether the man was still alive. Then Gregg gave a small groan and moved his head slightly, his eyes looking around, glazed. Nick pushed himself to his feet, and ran, as far away as he could, heading for the buildings.
Nick wandered amongst the shelled-out buildings, getting strange looks from people at his blood-streaked and dishevelled appearance. He ignored them, moving among the rubble. It was still dark, fires illuminating the buildings in dense, jumping dances of light and shadow. Nick saw a small group of people wander up to one large building and go inside. As they opened the door, arm light spilled out, accompanied by the sounds of several voices singing. Then the door swung shut, cutting them off. Nick approached the building, opening the door and walking in.
The building was a church, with vast, sweeping ceilings high above. Row upon row of pews filled most of the interior, a large altar dominating the end of the church opposite to where Nick stood. The front pews were filled with bedraggled people, but there were not many occupants in the back pews. The congregation was just sitting down, the young priest at the front coming forward to speak. He wore black jeans, and a black, dog-collared shirt. He had a pleasant, open face, and long hair. The man smiled as he spoke, his voice accented heavily with Irish. He looked up at the newcomer, and Nick thought he saw a flicker of emotion pass over the priest's face; but then he turned back to the congregation before him, speaking in soft, soothing tones. The people looked back at him, faces full of love and happiness, as if the non-descript young man in front of them was God Himself.
Nick had a curious feeling, as if he should know this man. Maybe he did....? At any rate, Nick felt completely safe here. He shuddered as he remembered the last person he had felt safe with, and sat down quickly on an empty pew as his legs gave beneath him. No one spared Nick another glance as he sank down on the wooden bench. He leaned back, listening to the comforting sound of the young man's voice until, safe and warm, he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
When Nick awoke, he was no longer at the back of the church. He was in a small room, lying on a thick mattress in the corner. Blankets, comforters and pillows surrounded him, embracing him in warmth and comfort. Nick sleepily rubbed at his eyes, wincing when his fingers brushed against bruises and cuts. He looked around the room groggily as his eyes slowly focused, feeling as if every bone and muscle in his body had just been run through a meat grinder.
The room was small, neat and tidy. Candles and flashlights illuminated it, showing off stone-flagged floors, a small power generator, a table and several cupboards. A wash basin snuggled in the corner, clean and white. Nick struggled to sit up, clutching at his head as it swam painfully. He closed his eyes, bowing his head, waiting for the nausea to pass. Nick was certain that Gregg had found him, had brought him here, where no one would be able to help him...
Nick heard a door open with a *snick*, and the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. He shook his head, desperately trying to shake off the nausea so that he could make his escape.
'Hey, c'mon.' said a soft voice beside him. Nick recognised it as that of the young priest, and he remained still, relieved that it was not Gregg, but wary nonetheless. Nick felt gentle hands manoeuvre the bedding around him, leaning him back so that he lay propped up. The nausea passed, his vision cleared, and Nick found himself looking into the priest's face.
'You gave me quite a scare, Nick.' the man said. 'Coming in like that, covered in blood and muck. What in God's name have you been up to?'
Nick frowned up at the young man.
'You know me?'
A look of worry flashed across the young man's face.
'Of course I know you! I'm Philip, your friend!'
Nick looked at him blankly. Philip sighed and moved over to the cupboard, pulling out a box and a mug, and busied himself making a cup of a steaming liquid. He brought it over to Nick, and held it out. Nick took it, sniffing the brown liquid suspiciously.
'What is it?'
'Just coffee.' Philip told him. 'Drink it, it'll make you feel better.'
Nick did as he was told, sipping at the burning, bitter liquid. He winced as the mug's handle brushed against his bruised face. Philip reached out and gently smoothed down Nick's hair.
'What are we going to do with you, eh?' he smiled.
That simple action, those words, reminded Nick so much of Gregg, that he quickly jerked away from Philip's touch, eyes wide and fearful.
'Nick?' Philip was worried. 'What is it?'
'Don't touch me!' Nick yelled. 'Keep away from me!'
Nick flung the coffee mug into the corner of the room, the handle breaking off, the coffee spilling everywhere. He pushed at Philip, hard, sending the young priest sprawling on the floor. Philip fell hard, winded. Nick clambered up from the makeshift bed and ran for the door. He flung it open, running out into the main area of the church he had wandered into before. Several people, who had been sitting on the pews, jumped up, surrounding him threateningly. One young woman ran into the room Nick had come from. He heard her ask,
'Are you okay, Father?' and a murmur of affirmation. Then Nick found himself seized from behind by a pair of burly arms. He cried out, twisting against the iron grip. One arm snaked around his throat, cutting off his air.
'Let him go!' Philip commanded, coming into the church, rubbing at a bruised elbow. The arms released Nick immediately, and he fell to his knees, gasping for oxygen. Philip knelt down in front of him.
'Come on back.' he said tenderly. 'I promise I won't hurt you.
Nick looked up at him, seeing the love and honesty in his eyes. He nodded slowly, allowing himself to be helped up and back into the small room.
A few minutes later, Nick was curled up on the bed again, another mug of coffee in his hands. He looked apologetically at Philip.
'Sorry about the mug.'
Philip waved his hand dismissively, sitting down next to Nick, back against the wall, with his own mug of steaming liquid.
'What's that?' Nick asked, nodding at the mug.
'Herb tea.' Philip replied. 'You don't like it.'
Nick fell silent, watching the steam rise from his coffee. Philip looked at him.
'So,' he said, softly. 'What happened to you?'
Nick remained silent, staring into the distance.
'Hey, c'mon, something happened.' Philip pressed.
'I don't want to talk about it.'
Philip knew better than to pry when Nick didn't want him to, so he just left it.
Eventually, Nick turned to Philip, and said,
'Eh?' Philip was puzzled.
'Well, you seem to know all about me, so I'm assuming you know how I got here. Tell me.'
'How much do you remember?'
Nick frowned. 'Not much. A man with grey hair, funny voice...'
Philip laughed. 'That's Derek! He's Dutch.'
Nick shrugged. 'Doesn't mean anything to me.'
Nick reached into his pants pocket for his wallet, wanting to see the photographs again, and for the first time noticed that his bloodied and torn clothing had been replaced with clean, new ones; oversized green sweater and black jeans.
'Are these yours?' he asked.
Philip nodded. 'Sorry they aren't a better fit, but you're kinda on the short side.'
Nick smiled at this, his face brightening at the humour. Relief flooded Philip. When he had found Nick at the back of the church, he had been worried that the young man might not make it. Philip could tell that something awful had happened to Nick in his brief time since waking, but he could only guess as to what it was. Philip wished that Rachel or Alex were here to help him draw Nick out, but the thought of the two women pained him so much....
Philip pushed that train of thought to the back of his mind as he reached into his own pocket and brought out Nick's wallet.
'This what you're looking for?' he asked. Nick nodded, taking the wallet from Philip, and setting his mug on the floor. He opened the wallet, taking out the photographs again. Then he realised why Philip had seemed so familiar when he had first seen him; there Philip was, sitting in the photograph, arm around Nick. Philip looked over at the picture, making a face.
'I never did photograph good.' he complained. Nick stared at the photo a while longer.
'What happened to me?' he asked, quietly. Philip sighed deeply.
'Does the word Legacy mean anything to you?'
Nick nodded. 'They're the ones that brought me back. Bad guys. Screw everything up.'
Philip laughed. 'Not always! Sometimes we do the right thing.'
Nick looked at Philip warily. 'You're from the Legacy?'
'So are you.' Philip replied. 'But in our time, the Legacy are the good guys.'
'So what happened to it?'
'For thousands of years, the Legacy has fought against the dark side, all your basic ghouls, demons and such. But in this time, the Legacy has turned, fighting for the dark.'
'You keep talking about times.' Nick questioned. 'What do you mean?'
'This....' Philip hesitated. 'This is the late 23rd century. We...are from the late 20th century..'
Nick just looked at him blankly.
'You had an accident.' Philip explained. 'You were so badly hurt, you would have died.' He spoke gently, so as not to alarm Nick any more than was necessary. 'Your body was frozen, so you would be woken when technology was advanced enough to heal you...or that's what we thought.'
Philip noticed that Nick had moved away from him slightly, pressed back into the corner.
'Nick, this is all true.' he promised. 'I've never lied to you; I'm not about to start now.'
'Okay,' Nick said slowly, still not moving any closer to Philip. 'Assuming this is true, how did you get here?'
Philip told him the whole story, of how the box mysteriously turned up at the church, how Sloan called him in, all the way up to when the four of them arrived in this strange time, Nick's eyes growing wider and wider as he continued.
'I was given the job of finding you.' Philip explained. 'I set up this church. Most of the congregation have been reanimated by the Legacy. Many of them are confused, scared, have no memories. My staff and I help them.'
'What about the others?' Nick asked.
'They tried to infiltrate the Legacy.' Philip said, his heart heavy with emotion. 'But only Derek was successful. The other two slipped up in some way or another. They're being kept somewhere in the Institute. Derek said, when the time was right, he'd send word. We have to rescue Alex and Rachel, and return the Legacy to its rightful purpose.'
Philip finished, and looked at Nick, who stared at him a moment, then,
'You don't really expect me to believe all this crap, do you?!' Nick exploded. 'Just because I can't remember anything, it doesn't mean I'm totally stupid!' Philip was confused.
'No!' Nick was angry. After everything he'd been through, to be fed this...this lie, was too much! He stood up, stuffing his wallet into his pocket.
'Thanks for the clothes.' he said, curtly. 'See ya around.'
He began to walk purposefully towards the door, Philip left dumbfounded behind him. Then Luck played a cruel trick on Nick, and he tripped over a loose stone in the floor. He sprawled on the floor, as Philip got up and ran to help him. Nick's anger had dissipated as quickly as it had appeared, and all he felt was embarrassment. He rolled over onto his back, meaning to apologise to Philip, when a memory exploded into his mind, quickly followed by another, then another.
He lay on his back in an open grave, looking unsteadily up, hearing the sounds of fighting; standing in a room, attacking a sepulchre with a blowtorch, Philip coming in, then arguing; playing aeroplanes with Kat, and being embarrassed at catching a look of jealously on Rachel's face; being soaking wet and tied up in a cave, a ghostly team of men appearing in front of his eyes......
The memories came faster and faster, flooding his mind, each one hitting against, and pushing through, a mental barrier that was slowly breaking down. Each new memory hit him hard, hurting more than any physical pain could. He cried out, curling into a fetal position on the cold, hard floor. Then Nick began to cry as he remembered that final, terrifying battle in the church, the sight of the demon, the memory of the pain.
Philip fell to his knees beside Nick. He gently pulled Nick up, manoeuvring him around until the younger man's back was against his own chest. Nick leaned against Philip, sobbing, while Philip just held him, wanting so much to make the pain go away.
They stayed like that for hours, Philip gently rocking Nick, the candles burning low around them. Then Nick's eyes drifted shut, and he leaned a little heavier against the older man. Philip gently picked Nick up and carried him over to the bed. Nick made a soft protesting noise, then was silent. Philip carefully tucked Nick in among the bedding, then went around the room, blowing out candles, turning off lights, until only one flashlight remained. He carried it over to the bed and sat down beside it.
In the dim glow, he watched Nick sleep, and not for the first time wondered where his friend had gotten the bruises from. Philip vowed that, priest or no priest, he would do some serious damage to whoever had hurt his friend. Philip watched over Nick through the night, until the pale sun lit up the cold, frosty world outside and a new day dawned. Philip could only hope that it would bring good news to them so they could just go home and be done with this nightmare.
Philip awoke with a start, immediately cursing himself for falling asleep. He glanced at the bed beside him. It was empty. Philip looked frantically around, but he couldn't see Nick anywhere.
Philip ran out into the main body of the church, stopping short when he saw Nick kneeling before the altar. Nick, if he heard Philip, did not look up, head bent in prayer, hands steepled under his chin like a little kid. Philip heard his words clearly,
'Mizmor l'David: Adonai roi, lo echsar. Binot desche yarbitzayni, al may m'nuchot y'nahalayni. Nafshi y'shavev, yancheni v'maglay tzedek i'maan shemo.'
Philip smiled. 'Hebrew?' Nick turned, flushing.
'Guy I did my SEAL training with taught me it.' he explained. 'Used to say it like some kind of mantra, anything to get through the day.' He gave Philip a sharp look. 'I'm not gonna be the hurt guy any more. I'll get Alex and Rachel back for you, and I'll help you right the Legacy.'
'Nick, it can wait a while. You need to rest....'
'No!' Nick said, vehemently. 'Don't you see? If I don't do something now, everything I've been through, everything that's happened ...Philip, I'll go crazy!'
Philip looked at Nick, surprised by the sudden show of emotion from the young man. Then he sighed.
Presently, Nick and Philip stood outside the vast, metal structure that was home to the Legacy. It towered high above them, cold and unfriendly. All the journey, Nick had glanced about nervously, as if afraid someone was watching him. Philip wanted to know what was going on, but he kept quiet, following Nick.
They looked up at the building, squinting against the winter sun that burned directly overhead.
'Nick, give it up.' Philip complained, after they'd walked around the building for the third time. 'Look, there's no way in. And Derek said he'd send a message when we were to come here.'
'Maybe I was the message.' Nick muttered. He walked up to the side and banged loudly on it, creating a hollow, booming sound.
'Hey!' he yelled. 'Hey, is anyone there?!'
There was no answer, and Nick made a disgusted noise.
'Come on.' he said, turning back and heading for the church. 'We'll have to think of something else.' Philip followed him, wearily.
High above them, in the window-walled room at the top of the building, Derek watched Nick and Philip walk away again. He stared at them, looking until they'd disappeared from sight. Derek's breath fogged the cold window, as he wished he could just go, let them in. But he couldn't, he had to keep up with his pretence. Alex and Rachel had failed, he had so much to do. Derek had wanted to try to keep Nick in the building when he'd woken up, but his wishes had apparently been ignored. He turned as someone came into the room behind him, and shuddered at who he saw. Michael Chase, distant predecessor of Father Chase, the old priest's exact double.
'I thought I told you to keep the boy here.' Derek said, his voice low and dangerous. Chase shrugged.
'I didn't see any reason for it.'
'There was evidence he was a member of the Legacy!' Derek exploded vehemently. 'He would have been useful! You had no right to let him go!'
Chase strode forward, until he was face to face with Derek.
'You forget your place, Derek. I am the Precept here, not you! I could cast you out, right now, and it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference!'
Chase stepped away, and smiled at Derek.
'Anyway, we have you now! What would we need with him, when we have you?!'
Derek forced a smile. 'Yes. Yes, I suppose you're right. I'm sorry, I just thought...' he trailed off.
'Derek, it's my job to think. You just....do.'
Derek nodded obediently, and Chase bid him goodbye, before walking out the room. Derek took a deep breath, alone once more. He hated this, with no control over events.
'By the way,' Chase said, sticking his head around the door. 'You don't have to worry about the kid. I sent Gregg after him.' Chase left again. Derek stared at the closed door, a cold feeling inside. He wondered what the Hell had happened when Gregg had come across Nick. Derek knew all about Gregg and his sadistic tendencies, and he shuddered to think about what may have gone on.
Nick and Philip returned to the church in order to come up with what Nick termed a "plan of attack". He pressed Philip, 'Tell me, what else do you know about the Legacy turning to the dark side. Derek must've told you something!'
'Yes,' Philip answered. 'But...I'm not sure how to tell you.'
'Tell me what?' Nick was getting irritated with Philip. Yes, it was just like old times after all! When the priest didn't answer, Nick said, 'Look, how am I suppose to help you if you won't tell me everything you know? Obviously, Derek expected me to be able to help or he wouldn't have asked you to "find me".'
Seeing the logic in Nick's words, Philip relinquished. 'Alright, but I don't wantcha getting upset on me and taking off without me, ya hear?' Nick nodded and Philip continued, 'Well, shortly after arriving here, we learned who was responsible for turning the Legacy to the dark side -- Michael Chase!'
'CHASE!' Nick exclaimed. A flood of memories rushed back to him....
Entering the church, calling out to 'Father' Chase (who was suppose to have met him there), the demon approaching him -- knowing all about him....
'Chase was behind all this?' Nick was stunned. 'But I thought he was Derek's friend?!'
'Obviously, so did Derek.' Philip watched as the young man began to pace. He still wasn't convinced giving all this information to Nick at such a vulnerable time in his recuperating was such a wise idea, but he also felt as though he didn't have much of a choice. He continued, 'Anyway, Chase is the one running things and he has Derek doing his bidding now. Alex and Rachel....well....as I said, they're in what would resemble a prison in the Institute. Now you know as much about all of this as I do.'
Nick was shocked. But what did all this have to do with him, he wondered. Why did Chase attack him; want him to come to this Century (knowing that he would); what was really going on here?
Philip watched with unease at the paleness that had come over Nick. He walked over and placed a gentle hand on his friend's shoulder. Nick shrugged it off and turned on Philip, 'So where do I fit in this picture?'
'I don't know,' Philip answered honestly. 'And I don't think Derek knew either. Somehow, I think that....'
'I was the bait.' Nick finished quietly. His heart sank as the realization came to him. Chase had revealed his demon form to him in the church all those years ago, knowing that Derek's only recourse would be to have Nick put into a state of cryogenic sleep rather than allowing him to die. He must've also known that the "good" part of the Legacy would one day follow Nick to this Hellish world. Now here, he could destroy the only remaining "good" of the Legacy once and for all.
'I can't let this happen,' Nick shouted suddenly, shocking Philip. 'I can't be the cause for the end of life as we know it!'
'What're ya talkin' about, Nick? None of this is your fault!'
'That's where you're wrong,' Nick stated sadly. 'This is all my fault; but I'm gonna fix it...somehow...I've got to fix it.'
Chase walked in, angry at what he had learned. He glared at the man on the table getting his wounds tended to. 'I thought you said you could handle him,' he said sarcastically. 'Now, two of them have teamed up!'
'I can handle him,' Gregg answered as he watched the silent doctor as he wrapped the wounds inflicted by Nick. 'He's just a little tougher than I thought he'd be...which I actually find far more appealing as it turns out! Don't worry, Chase. Nick Boyle is MINE! It doesn't matter if he's with the Priest or not, the kid's not gettin' away from me that easily.'
'Maybe we should go ahead and destroy the women. I don't want anything left to chance here.'
'And it isn't,' Gregg hissed. 'I can handle Boyle...and I will kill the Priest if he tries to interfere with my plans. I guarantee it.'
'All the same....'
'No!' Gregg spit. 'We had a deal. You would bring me a challenge -- this young, viril man -- and Satan would grant you a wealth of power to destroy the Legacy. Well, the Legacy has turned to the dark side, but I still don't have my prize catch yet. I may need the females to lure my young prey to me.'
Chase nodded agreement. 'All the same, we can't allow them to return to their own time. It is cruicial to history turning out this way. Are we clear?'
'Crystal.' replied Gregg as he put on a new shirt and headed into the darkened night to find his victim.
Philip was awakened by a bloodcurdling scream. He looked over at the origin and saw Nick suddenly bolt upright, drenched in sweat. He moved slowly toward his young friend and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. Nick jumped, shocked by the touch and Philip had to quickly duck a flying fist. When realization dawned in Nick's eyes, a look of shame spread across his face.
'Sorry,' he mumbled. 'Still having major jet lag, if you know what I mean?'
Philip nodded that he understood. 'Are ya alright? Anythin' I can get for ya?'
Totally embarrassed, Nick shrugged off the offer. 'I'll be fine. Go back to sleep. I think I'll just do a real quick perimeter check.'
Philip stopped Nick before he could rise. 'We're in this together, my friend...remember?! You pressed me, and I told ya all I knew about our being here. Now it's time for you to tell me what's happened to you here.'
The memory of Gregg touching him, chasing him, rushed into Nick's mind and he shook his head violently to dispel the images. 'Nothing.' he lied. 'At least nothing that I'm gonna talk about.' He finished.
Philip knew that he would get nothing more from Nick on the subject now, but he also knew that it wouldn't stay buried -- not forever -- he just wouldn't let it. He laid back down, keeping a watchful eye as his friend paced the room the rest of the evening.
Unbeknownst to Chase, Derek had followed him and heard what Gregg had said. He began to fear not only for Nick, but for Alex, Rachel and Philip as well. It was time to act, time to get away and re-join his companions. The visions he had been having recently told him it was time to return to his own time -- to the 20th Century -- and he must find a way...soon...if he was to save himself, his friends, and the world! He could only pray now that Philip still had the box...their only means of escape from this Hell!
Alex and Rachel had taken turns comforting each other, feeling desperate, afraid and alone at different times. They longed for news from Derek or Philip; wondered if Nick had been found and if he was truly alive; Rachel thought often of Kat and would cry for hours. The days passed into weeks as they waited for any kind of news, contact or freedom. All that transpired...day after day...was the door sliding open, a hideous food selection shoved in to the two women, and the door slamming shut. At least, they had been allowed to stay together...at least they had that.
Suddenly, the door swished open and they saw a man...evil incarnate they both thought...leering in at them.
'So, you're the two cupcakes Nick would risk his pretty look neck to save, huh? Well, if you ask me, you're not exactly a fair exchange for such a strong young buck such as our Nick...but, I suppose you'll have to do!'
With that, Gregg signaled the four men behind him and they quickly approached and bound Rachel and Alex's hands behind their backs. The women struggled, but to no avail. Once they were secured, Gregg approached them, sneering as he said, 'Now, let's go for a walk and see if we can't run into Mr. Boyle, shall we?'
'We won't be bait to help you catch Nick,' Alex shout at the evil man. 'He won't fall for it; and we won't help you!'
Gregg laughed at the spirited Creole woman. 'Ah, my dear, you're so wrong...and you know it!' With that, he jerked the two women out into the bleak sunlight and went in search of his prey.
'So that's how you got here?' Nick was shocked as he looked at the simple box Philip had taken from it's hiding place. 'It doesn't look like anything special.'
'Well, believe me. It is.' Philip tucked the box inside his shirt. Part of Nick's "plan of attack" was to have the box handy should they all be fortunate to make their escape. They had decided to first rescue Alex and Rachel and then, hopefully, Derek. Nick briefly told Philip that he had met someone -- the person who had "beat him up" shortly after regaining consciousness in this time period, and that he believed the person was working with or for Chase. Philip had to contend himself with those sketchy details...for now. They exited the safety of the church and headed toward the Institute.
'Ah, look at this,' Gregg sneered. 'My plan is working perfectly.' He moved the two women so that they could see what he saw. From their hidden spot in an alley near the Institute, they saw Nick and Philip approaching the sterile building. 'Here comes my intended now.' He laughed as he pushed the two further into the alleyway. 'Let's let him know we're here, shall we.'
With that, Gregg began to tear at the women's clothing, knowing that instinct would make them cry out. As intended, Nick and Philip heard the pleas of help and responded to it. Rounding the corner of the alley, Nick glared at Gregg. 'Leave them alone!'
'Whatever you say...Sweetie.' he replied as he pushed both women hard against the pavement. 'You're the one I really want anyway!'
Philip looked to Nick but saw that his younger 'brother' was absorbed with the man in front of them. He felt panic in his heart knowing this must have been the person who had so terribly terrorized and injured Nick! He started to approach the man with anger and hatred building within him, when he was stopped by Nick's firm grip.
'No.' he said simply. 'This between Gregg and I...isn't it?!'
'How right you are, Love,' Gregg slithered. 'How right you are!'
Nick turned to Philip. 'Listen and listen good. If you've never listened to me before, Philip, listen now! I'm gonna get 'im to let Alex and Rachel go. You take 'em and head toward the Legacy building...find Derek and get the Hell out of this Century!' He could tell that Philip was about to protest and replied, 'I'm not givin' up here, but I can't fight for all of us with you guys in danger. I'll catch up to you...I swear, Philip. You just gotta trust me know, Brother. PLEASE!'
Philip heard the truth and pleading in Nick's voice and though he greatly disliked Nick's thoughts of facing this man alone, he could come up with no other workable solution. He nodded sadly and placed a hand on Nick's shoulder. 'Keep your word, Nick and show up. I'm not leaving here without you!'
Gregg watched the exchange, wondering what they were conspiring about. Ah, no matter. Soon, he would have his prize! He felt a rash of jealousy though as he noticed Philip's tender touch and he spat out, 'Hands off the merchandise, Father, or one of your little lady friends here will pay the price.'
Nick glared again at Gregg and said, 'Enough. You want me, you know what you have to do...let'em go!'
'And what assurance do I have, Nicholas, that your gonna stay...and play.'
Nick shuddered but not enough that Gregg saw it; Philip, however, did. He spat back, 'You have my word and that's as good as it gets, Pal. You let the ladies go...and my friend here and I'll stay and...play. I just don't promise to play fair.'
'I wouldn't have it any other way,' Gregg commented. He turned to the women and said, 'Well, our time together ladies has come to an end. It's been a real displeasure, I must say.' He untied their hands and shoved them toward Nick and Philip at the entrance of the alley. 'Enjoy your freedom...while it lasts!'
Both Alex and Rachel rushed forward and threw their arms around Nick, holding him tight. They had noticed the bruised and bloodied markings still evident from his first encounter with Gregg, but all they could do was thank God that he was alive. The last time they had both seen Nick, he was about to put into the cryogenic state from which they were sure they would never see him again. Now, sorrow washed over them as they held him, once again, thinking this was the end for their friend.
He hugged them as tightly as his body would allow without too much discomfort and then he gently pushed them away and towards Philip. 'Stay with Philip. Find Derek and prepare to get out of here. I'll join you just as soon as I can.'
No one in the tiny group believed these words though all prayed that they would be truthful. Philip put an arm around each of the two women and began to escort them out of the alleyway. With one final nod to Nick, he said, 'Keep your word, Nick!'
Derek had watched from his vantage way across the street in another hidden alleyway. As he saw Philip emerge with Rachel and Alex, he said a silent prayer of thanks for their safety and a prayer of hope for Nick's well-being. As they came closer to the mouth of the cave, he whistled slightly for them. Seeing Derek, Alex rushed forward, throwing her arms around the Precept. He hugged her tightly and then embraced Rachel, so glad that his two female initiates were safe at last! Now, the only problem was to rescue Nick from Gregg's clutches. He turned to Philip as the young Priest smiled at Derek and said, 'I've got an idea!'
Knowing that Alex and Rachel were safe with Philip, Nick turned toward the slowly approaching image of Gregg. He noticed the bandages the other man was sporting and smiled at himself. Well, he thought, at least I wasn't the only one hurt the last time we tangoed.
'That was very noble of you, my young friend,' Gregg slithered as he approached. 'To sacrifice yourself for the lives of your friends. Personally, I think you were a bit short-changed. A man like yourself should die for something much more worthwhile than the lives of two useless females.'
'So,' Nick replied, coolly and with more bravado in his voice then he felt in his heart. 'What're ya waiting for? Let's get this over with, shall we?!'
'So impatient,' Gregg stood almost toe-to-toe with Nick, neither man touching, both solidly standing their ground. "But I like that about you, Nick. In fact, I like everything...and I do mean everything...about you.'
Nick couldn't help the shiver that ran through his body. This time, Gregg did notice and laughed maliciously. 'I see I can get to you after all, my young friend. Well, I must say...that's encouraging!'
He could stand no more taunting. Nick lashed out with his fist only to be blocked and thrown over Gregg's shoulder to the ground. How quickly he had forgotten just how strong his adversary was! But, he wouldn't give up. He tried to rise and found himself pummeled several times by kicks from Gregg's feet.
'Let's just keep you there on the ground a little while, shall we?' he breathed in his evil tone. 'As attractive as your toughness may be to me, I like you much better when you're flat on your back and helpless!'
'You sick Sonofabitch!' Nick spat as he once again tried to rise, only to be kicked harder...and this time, in the head. His head swam as he closed his eyes and struggled with consciousness. When he opened his eyes, he noticed that Gregg was on top of him, breathing his foul stench in Nick's face.
'You don't have to die, you know,' Gregg said, as though it might be some kind of comfort to his hapless victim. 'Chase gave you to me...you're my prize and I don't have to kill you if you just cooperate and join me.'
The awful thought of what this creature was proposing helped Nick regain his strength and he pushed Gregg off him, shouting, 'NEVER!' He rose and began to fight his adversary with every ounce of strength he had. As he felt himself once again losing ground, he thought of his promise to Philip. 'I'm sorry, Philip,' he said in a whisper as Gregg once again loomed over him. 'I'm not gonna make it after all.'
'Oh yes you are!' Philip shouted from behind him. Both Gregg and Nick looked, stunned to see Derek and Philip standing side-by-side. Relief and worry both flooded over Nick as he saw his two comrades. He noticed that Philip had changed...he was now wearing the robes he had seen Philip in when he first distrubed the church service all those days ago.
Suddenly, Philip began shouting an incantation...one that had assisted him so many times in the 20th Century...in order to banish this demon before him. He had correctly assumed that Gregg was more than just a man -- based on Derek's overhearing certain conversations -- and, as he shouted his incantations, he sprinkled the holy water he had been wise enough to bring with him.
To Nick's amazement, Gregg began to scream and writhe under the splashes of the holy water and the sound of the incantations. He struggled to his feet and watched as the man who was about to end his life, faded into a pool of red and brownish fluid. He looked in astonishment and Philip, and smiled through bloodied lips. 'Still keeping that holy water handy, eh, Philip?'
Without answering, Philip rushed to his friend and threw his arms around him. 'Now then,' he said, playfully, 'aren't you the one who told me to always keep it handy?' Both men laughed as they hugged. Before Nick knew it, he was surrounded in an embrace from not only Philip, but also Derek, Rachel and Alex.
'Together again,' Derek sighed. 'And I think it's about time we head home.'
The others noticed the look on Nick's face, but thought that it must be because he was uncomfortable. They went to the basement of Philip's church and Philip brought out the box. As they stood close together in a circle, Derek slowly began to crack the seal.
'Is everyone ready?' he asked. He watched the nods, but then, became a little distressed as he saw Nick slowly step out of the circle.
'What is it?' he asked. 'What's wrong?'
Nick looked at his friends, tears brimming in his eyes as he answered, 'I can't go back with you. Don't you see, if I return, this is all gonna happen again.'
'I don't understand,' Rachel stated. 'We won't let this happen. We'll make sure the Legacy never turns to evil. We'll write in our Journals against things like this happening, Nick. You have to come back with us. We came after you, for God's sake!'
'I know you did,' he replied, stepping further and further from his friends as the tornado effect began to rise out of the fallen box. 'But I was the catalyst for all this happening. I can't take the chance that I'll be the cause of it again. Chase still lives in our time...if I go back, we won't have changed anything.'
Derek nodded at Philip to begin the time-altering incantation. As Philip finished and the wind began to whip around them, Derek rushed out, picked Nick up forcefully and stepped back into the time warp.
LATE 20TH CENTURY......
The five Legacy members felt themselves flung through air and space and finally landed with a thump on the Control Room floor. They looked at one another to verify that everyone had arrived safely. Nick began to struggle in Derek's grip and he released him.
'What the Hell did you do that for,' he shouted at the Dutchman. 'Don't you get it...it's not over now!!'
Derek smiled a knowing smile at the ex-SEAL and said, 'But it can be. Look at the date on the calendar.'
Nick was stunned to note that the date wasn't the same as when he had gone to the church alone, but that it was several days before. 'I don't get it,' he said, confused, his sore head beginning to ache even more.
'This is the day that "Father Chase" comes to ask for our assistance, Nick,' Derek explained. 'So, if you think you're strong enough to finish this case, perhaps you can Philip can finish it together while I keep him busy.'
Nick smiled, wincing a little at the pain it caused in his bloodied lips and bruised cheekbones. 'Right, Boss,' he answered. He turned to Philip and touched his friend on the arm, 'Got any more holy water handy...Father?!'
Derek sat listening to the man he once considered a confidente with a sad countenance on his face. He had known "Father" Chase for a great many years, never suspecting his true nature. Now, he continued to engage his one-time friend in conversation as Nick and Philip made their quiet approach from behind him.
Seeing the nod of Nick's head, Derek quickly rose and grabbed Chase. Nick rushed in and helped him hold the struggling man.
Sensing that he was in mortal danger, Chase's shape and form began to return to it's original state...that of the demon Nick had encountered in Saint Luke's. Derek felt himself flung off Chase, but Nick would not let go! He held tightly as the talons that once were fingers began to rip at his unprotected skin.
'Do it!' Nick shouted to Philip. 'Do it NOW!'
Philip began his incantations to banish the demon, flinging holy water on him. Nick felt as the creature began to writhe and squirm beneath him. He could hear the screams of agony, but refused to let go of this demon, oblivious of his own pain, until it was completely destroyed.
Minutes later, Nick's wish came true; what remained of Chase were the reminents of his priestly clothes scattered on the floor in a puddle of fluid.
Derek and Philip both rushed to the injured Nick's side, propping him up as they all leaned to inspect the remains. Nick turned to his two companions and smiled, saying, 'Thanks...thanks...for everything.' With that, the young man passed out.
Days later, Nick opened his eyes to see his fellow initiates surrounding his hospital bedside. He thanked them again for everything...the time travel, making him come back...everything. He watched as they exchanged glances of confusion and worry.
'Nick,' Derek began. 'You got hit on head pretty hard during that exorcism at the church. I think you're hallucinating, my friend.'
'No,' Nick said, sure of himself. 'I died during that exorcism...or would have if you hadn't frozen me, Derek. Then you all came after me in the future and we came back and destroyed Chase...remember? He was the demon terrorizing Saint Luke's!'
Derek nodded his head. 'Yes, I know he was, Nick. And Philip and I arrived just as he was beating you into a pulp. Philip exorcised him and returned him to Hell. As the demon faded, the image turned into Father Chase. But, there was no "time travel", Nick. You've been out for days...we've been very worried about you.'
'Then I did dream it?' Nick asked, still feeling extremely puzzled and perplexed.
'I'm afraid so,' Philip replied. 'Although, your version of what happened sounds a bit more excitin' then the truth.' They all laughed at that until the door opened.
'OK, everyone,' said a friendly, but familiar voice. 'I think that's enough laughter and excitement for the first day my patient has been awake, don't you?'
They all reluctantly agreed and then leaned over to say their good-byes to Nick, assuring him they would be back tomorrow. As they exited the room, they also said a heart-felt thanks to Nick's newest doctor...the one who had given him the medication to help revive him.
Nick closed his eyes, thinking about how real everything had seemed to him. He opened his eyes and stared at his doctor, a look of terror coming over his face. He tried to squirm in the bed, to get farther away from this man.
The doctor pulled the younger man into the center of the bed. 'There's nothing to be afraid of, Nick. I'm your doctor...the name is Dr. Gregg.'
Okay, I've never done a disclaimer before, so I'll make it short. You guys know the rules, all the Poltergeist characters belong to Trilogy and MGM. Chase and Gregg are unfortunately products of my own sick mind, and belong to me. This is also to say a *very* big 'thank you' to Sherri, my beta reader and friend, who came up with *such* a wonderful ending when I had brain freeze! So, if ya don't like it, blame her *g*! This one is also in memory of Mellissa, taken too soon, we miss you, hon.