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Sight and Shadows by TalgoM Sight and Shadows
|[page 2 of 4]
"Evidently I'm having my big apology week. Professor Winterburn, now Kristin." Something seemed to flash in front of Derek's eyes for a moment but Tangye didn't push, figuring he would tell her in his own time. "Would you like one just for the hell of it? I'm getting quite good." Derek couldn't help but smile at her. She had definitely shed off the protective shell completely now, seeming totally at ease. There was just something about her that seemed to infect him with a good mood. What exactly it was he couldn't say but it always seemed to capture him.
"I suppose it's just that seven years of goofiness is being allowed to come out." He answered trying to sound serious but not really succeeding. She burst out with a quick laugh. "What?" He looked at her surprised by her reaction but not offended.
"Sorry. See I am good, it just comes out now on reflex." She shook her head. "Just something about Dr. Derek Rayne, world renowned anthropologist, saying the word goofiness struck me funny." She explained getting herself under control. Derek nodded understanding what she meant. It was a word that he hadn't even realized was in his vocabulary but it also seemed the best way to describe her behavior. Not that he didn't enjoy it, the fact was he thoroughly did. There was something childlike about her that he didn't think he had even when he was boy. Derek Rayne had never been allowed much of a childhood and Tangye Gaarlihn seemed resistant about letting too much of hers go. Somehow that was a refreshing balance to the precept.
On the landing he remembered what he had pulled her aside to tell her and feared robbing them both of their good moods, his was already shattered but he didn't want to have to take hers. Still she would have to be told. Seeming to instinctively sense the change in the attitude of the man beside her Tangye reached out to stop him. "Derek what is it?" She asked concerned. He turned his worried eyes to her and immediately berated himself for letting himself be seen by her that way. He saw the look of panic that struck her. Her mind jumped to the most logical conclusion about what would have him so worried and almost fearful, what he would need to tell her alone. She swallowed harshly, forcing down the block in her throat constricting her breathing. "They aren't back?" She managed to force the words out and the scared child's tone he heard broke his heart. As strong as she might seem at times he was suddenly reminded that the wounds were still fresh and not entirely healed. He wasn't even sure they ever would be, it might always be that easy to bring her fear to the surface and he worried about that. Not only because of the weakness it presented but also the pain it could cause her.
"No. They are gone, you must believe that. You can't live in a shadow of fear, it's not you. Don't let them do that to you." He brushed her hair back gently surprised by the gesture and how natural it seemed to be to him.
"I know you're right, but the look in your eyes." She forced her voice to sound strong.
"Is something else entirely." He comforted. He put his hand on her shoulder and guided her the rest of the way to his office.
The creature lurked as far away from the invading light as he could. He had nothing to fear from the hordes that walked the street in the day but found it better not to reveal his position until he found the power to defeat them all.
And he had found the first on the path to such power.
He had been shadowing her movements for most of the morning. The dark skinned woman that seemed to draw looks from most of the men that passed her. He cared nothing for her beauty, he cared only for the power that existed within her. She probably had no understanding of the power, and even if she did she could not understand that it would feed him. She walked the city without a care in the world showing on her face, accumulating more packages that she dropped in the car she left parked on the street side. Despite her power she had no knowledge that she was being stalked by the creature just looking for the moment to strike. A moment when she was weak and unguarded. When he could savor the taste of her.
The creature sunk further back into the shallow shadows as she vanished within yet another store. His hunger was growing, he would not wait much longer, he couldn't endure it.
"Listen Father, maybe you don't understand, this is a crime scene I can't just let you in there." The police officer chose to ignore Nick entirely, seeing more logic in the eyes of the young priest. He didn't need to get in a fight with Nick Boyle, not only for his own reputation but the trouble it would bring. He was Derek Rayne's favorite son, that meant trouble. How they had even learned about the vicious murder he didn't know, and if there were a leak it would have to be dealt with. These Luna Foundation people just always seemed to turn up at the strangest times, like they had a sixth sense for the morbid.
"I understand that but as I tol' you we just want to gather up the artifacts and then we'll be out of your hair. Some of the things in that room are priceless " Philip argued, glancing out of the corner of his eye to where Nick was slowly creeping over to the doorway. They had done this tactic plenty in the old days when they were working side by side. Philip distracting hesitant police while Nick sneaked into crime scenes to gather information the Legacy would need. He knew the success rate was only about half but it was the best they could do. Even with all Derek's connections he couldn't always secure their right to see these places to gather their evidence, and it was proving even harder since the loss a year ago of Karmack. But Nick had his innocent routine down if he did get caught. Philip almost found it disturbing that his partner could play curious interloper so well.
"And they aren't going anywhere. If it was his intent that the Luna Foundation have the stuff, you'll get it. For now everything in that room is evidence though." The police officer snapped. He didn't want to yell or get forceful with a man of the cloth but he wasn't going to have his investigation thwarted because he wouldn't understand his place.
Nick ducked quickly under the police tape stretched across the doorway of the office giving one last look over his shoulder to make sure that he went unnoticed. Philip was still down the hall trying to get through to the cop, but Nick also knew that really all he was doing was stalling him. The police photographer had just left the scene and for now the room was empty. Nick gave the room a quick once over, ignoring the nausea that fought to overwhelm him at the sight of so much blood. Whatever had happened in this room it was not an end Nick was interested in meeting with, or seeing anyone else be condemned to.
He shook off his unfocused thoughts and made his way over to the desk. He shut the two books lying on the top and recognized one as the text Derek had given to Tangye to let Professor Winterburn borrow. The other must have been what he needed to translate. It looked like that had been his final activity in life. Nick pulled his camera out and took a few shots of the book that still would need translating, knowing he wouldn't be able to remove it from the scene with the police being so closed off. He got only about four shots before a voice from behind snapped.
"Just what the hell do you think you're doing?" Nick recognized the police officer's voice that Philip had been talking to, and slid the camera into his pocket, making sure his body blocked the cops view of what he was doing. He turned and saw Philip behind the smaller man shrug helplessly. The man didn't give Nick an instant to respond, grabbing him roughly by the arm and dragging him out into the hallway. Nick felt his well-trained survival instinct start to kick in the minute the man touched him. "You listen to me boy, I could have you arrested for that stunt."
"I know sir, but I didn't disturb anything." Nick forced his voice to sound penitent almost causing Philip to burst out laughing beside him.
"You better hope not. I find your prints in there " The officer began to threaten him, having taken an instant dislike to Nick.
"Hold on, I knew the guy when he was alive, of course my prints will be in there." Nick remembered that he had touched both the books if nothing else. He hadn't had the time to put on protective gloves so he had already left evidence, he just hoped the cop bought the lie.
"I'll try to keep that in mind." The cop answered disgusted. How did he always end up dealing with the weirdoes? As if the murder wasn't strange enough now he had to try and keep an eye on these two intruders whose lives seemed shadowed by oddity.
"So what do you think happened? Any theories?" Nick asked, sounding innocent.
"You got to be kidding me. I'm not telling you anything. You leave now and I won't bring you in. I'd take that as the best offer you're going to get." The officer turned away going back into the office. He wanted nothing more to do with Nick or Philip and hoped that point was clear.
"Anything?" Philip whispered down to Nick. He needed to make sure Nick didn't let the anger boil over, the solider hated being dismissed in that way. The officer was right though, he had every right to arrest Nick and Philip had to make sure he didn't give him any reason to.
"Outside." Nick snapped and stalked off down the hall. Philip gave one last glance into the room before following his partner. It looked as if it could have been an animal attack from the destruction and spattered blood, but the fact the professor had been found pinned on the wall by his own leg bone quickly disproved that theory. Whatever had done this was a monster of some sort. The question the Legacy had to answer was if it was of the human variety or something born of hell. Philip was surprised to find he was hoping for the latter, he didn't want to think that man could do such a thing.
He found Nick leaning on his Mustang out front of the campus building that had shut down for the day due to the murder, the university officials deciding not to risk anyone else seeing the scene. The young student that had made the discovery would probably not sleep for weeks as it was if he got off that easily. Rachel had already agreed to talk to him in order to help but Derek had also been hoping that would provide them some way into the case but everyone at this point seemed unwilling to allow the Luna Foundation any information. He joined Nick at the car and leaned against it beside him. "So?"
"I didn't have much time to see anything, I got some pictures of the text he was translating. I didn't recognize the writing but I was only there a few seconds. You can give it a look back at the house. Other then that you saw as much as I did. A lot of blood." Nick said wearily.
"It sounds as though his body was left as some sort o' warnin'." Nick nodded his agreement. "Naturally we won' listen." Philip added trying to lessen the tension.
"We can't." Nick responded annoyed. Philip shook his head, he had been hoping Nick would be at least distracted from their personal problems but saw that would be asking too much. Nick always had enough energy to focus some of it on his anger. "I want to get back to the house. Show these to Derek."
'And get away from me.' Philip thought sadly. He climbed into the car as Nick walked around to the driver's side.
'Dammit, grow up Nick.' Nick cursed himself silently. 'He's your best friend, treat him like it. So he did something that you didn't like, so what? You've annoyed the hell out of everyone at some point or another.' Ever since the moment in the mountains when Philip had thrown himself so carelessly in between Nick and what they thought was an angry spirit, Nick had been faced with the truth that no matter what he did Philip was not giving up on him. He also couldn't deny that he had been terrified for his friend, he couldn't see Philip be hurt, not when he was gentle to a fault. Still he just couldn't seem to find it within himself to forgive him yet. It wasn't even that he was really angry anymore, if he ever had been, which he was beginning to doubt. Everyone always told him that his anger was his way of hiding the hurt he felt and as much as he tried to deny it he was beginning to face that as the truth. He wasn't mad that Philip quit the Legacy, just disappointed that he would leave their friendship. No matter how hard Philip tried to repair that Nick met him with obstinate anger.
He sighed climbing into the car, not sure what he could really do about any of it right now, but knowing that the time was fast approaching when he would have to force himself to find the words to explain to Philip or face losing him forever.
Tangye sat on the table in the library with Derek, her legs pulled up close to herself. She had handled the news of her professor's murder well, but now seemed disinterested in training. She wanted to start to work on the case but they couldn't do that until Nick and Philip returned with some information to give them direction. He in fact wasn't intending to let her help this time. He reminded himself that she was not a Legacy member and for now it did not look as if they would need her special skills. He expected she would react poorly to the news that she would not be able to participate in the investigation but she would have to learn that he made these decisions and she had to follow them.
"Who's in the house right now?" He asked, his voice even and professional.
She leaned her head back, stretching out the kink that had formed in her neck. "Dominick, Kristin, and Melissa." She answered. Derek nodded having already known the answer. He was interested in seeing just what she could do, how far she was able to stretch her mind. He knew in many ways distance shouldn't be a barrier to her, the plane they were discussing was very different from the physical. For now asking her to look for people she was familiar with seemed the best way of testing her boundaries.
"Nick and Philip?" He prodded.
"Close but not in the house. I'd guess ferry or docks." She shrugged, removing a loose string attached to her sweater. He remembered that she had told him that she did not have the makings of a good student, that she often felt there were things that she would rather be doing. Up until this day she had been tolerant of the demands made on her learning to use her gifts, now she seemed to be showing the trait of a distracted student daydreaming.
"Kat?" Derek asked knowing this would be harder for her to do.
"School?" She guessed by the hour alone. Derek shook his head at her answer. "Well she is, not my fault I don't need a gift to know that." She defended herself trying to lighten the mood but Derek wasn't giving in to her argument.
"Can you feel her?" He pushed.
"Yep. But Kat's easy, you understand that." He nodded, knowing exactly what she meant. Kat's gifts made her stand out as a beacon to any looking for her. It would make her a target throughout her life but her gifts could also prove more substantial then any of the others in the house. He had known Kat was special since the first moment he saw her in his vision of the child in the red baret. In the following years he had watched that trait just grow more dominant in her.
"Rachel?" He asked returning his thoughts to the task at hand.
"Don't know." Tangye answered with an indifferent shrug.
"Would you mind at least trying. I just want you to get a sense of her." He sank in the chair wearily. She sighed and closed her eyes, seeming to concentrate hard. He was glad to see that she was actually putting the effort forth.
"Got her." She answered after a long pause. "Clueless as to where she is though."
"We'll focus on that later." He had to gain everyone's permission for that experiment since it meant she would actually have to enter their minds.
"Derek I don't know that I'll ever be able to do that. The further someone is the harder it is to get a hold on them." She rubbed at her eyes.
"But it shouldn't be. The barrier of distance is in your mind only." He explained, knowing that she was placing these obstacles on herself.
"That's where all of this is actually." Her voice again went for humor. She shifted positions on the table so she was laying back with her legs dangling over the edge. She draped one arm over her eyes. They hadn't been working for long but he could already see the exhaustion in her. Perhaps it was harder then he was allowing himself to acknowledge. He certainly didn't want to push too hard, not sure what the effort could do to her. He realized that he needed to do some more research into her abilities before they continued their training sessions. He would have to find a case history of similar work done so he had a better knowledge of what was expecting too much out of such a mind, fearful that it could break easily.
"Find Alex and we'll call it a day." He gave in both to her obvious desire to finish and his own worries about the risks.
She grinned at that suggestion. "My other beacon, easy." She paused for a moment. Derek watched her concerned. It had only taken her a moment to locate Kat, and she considered Alex in the same manner. Someone that stood out on the plane she was searching. As seconds ticked away he recognized that it now taken her even less time to find Rachel. Finally she turned her blue gold eyes to him, her concern obvious in them. She still didn't answer, fighting to locate that which she knew was out there.
"What?" He asked about the look on her face that seemed to be bordering on fear. She held up her hand to quiet him. She forced her mind forward despite the fact the effort was now causing her head to throb in protest. It shouldn't be this hard, she knew that, and that knowledge made her nervous. 'If it shouldn't be, then why is it?' She wouldn't give up though, Alex was out there she knew that, the meaning of not finding her was something she just wasn't prepared to deal with. The psychic had been so kind ever since Tangye had first come to the house, always making sure the younger woman felt comfortable and needed. She couldn't be gone. "Tangye what?" Derek asked as tears poured from her tightly shut eyes.
"Derek." Tangye whispered finally looking at him again. "She's not there, I can't find her."
Alex exited the bookstore letting the afternoon sun shine down on her and warm her face. It was a beautiful day to be out and about San Francisco and she was thankful that nature seemed to be cooperating with her day off. She had one last errand to run and then she would be free to occupy herself anyway she chose for the rest of the afternoon. She decided to stop by the travel agent then go back to the car, rather then drop the bag off now. She had bought her grandmother a heavy book about San Francisco, full of pictures covering the decades of it's growth and a detailed history. She wanted her to know all about the place that Alex now considered a second home. She had also decided to take a few days to return home to deliver the gift in person. Her time off had infected her with the desire to have more and she was sure that Derek would allow it. He was always telling her that she needed to get out more and though he probably didn't mean for her to go nearly a continent away he wouldn't be able to deny that she had earned it.
She froze suddenly sensing something close to her that didn't belong. Something dark, deadly. She looked around herself at the blank faces that passed her and none of them seemed to promote the feeling that she was having. She wanted to shrug it off as her own over active mind looking for something bad to happen just as she was feeling so good but couldn't force herself to believe that explanation. It seemed so close, so real that it caused her flesh to chill. She let her mind and sight home in on the sensation and realized that whatever was causing it originated in the alley a few feet off from her.
She knew that Derek and Nick would be furious that she investigated alone but she didn't feel this was something that could wait on backup. If whatever lurked in the shadows there was as evil as it felt then it was an immediate threat to everyone on this street. She tried to seem natural and not draw suspicion as she closed in on the alley. With one glance inside she saw a dead end at the other side but nothing else. Of course whatever it was could be hiding any number of places, behind the large dumpsters, behind discarded boxes. She carefully stepped into the alley preparing herself.
The creature realized that he had turned into the hunted when she abandoned the light of the street to step into the darkness with him. Her intent mattered little, there was nothing that she could do to stop his attack. It would be quick and merciless and no one could provide her aid. He lunged his large and deceptively quick body at her but the woman managed to side step the brunt of the attack and fell against the unforgiving brick wall head first. The contact made an audible noise that might have shattered the skull if not for the fact she caught herself at the last moment. He smelt her blood the moment it began to flow and the hunger began to overwhelm him. It had been so long since he enjoyed the sweet taste of power's life.
He barreled down for another attack but her instincts were well honed and she rolled away from this one, allowing him to merely graze her arm and spill more blood. She staggered to her feet in retreat. Animalistic survival skills kicked in and she ran for the opening of the alley only feet away. The journey was harder then it should have been and she stumbled due to her injuries. The creature was about to grab her back and drag her to the shadows for her death when he sensed a new touch on the scene. Not physical, not even near but there it was.
A whisper searching for something that was alluding it. He looked at the fleeing woman and knew that she was the subject of the fruitless search. Whatever looked for her could not locate her. Before he realized it she stepped back into the daylight and was out of his grasp. He disappeared back into the shadows to wait for another opportunity and to consider what he had learned.
She was not alone, there were others like her and they were a part of her world. She could lead him to more power if he gave her the time, possibly enough to sustain him in the beginning of his crusade of destruction. She would prove more useful then he dreamed.
"I'm sure you're just tired." Derek tired to console her anxiety but the look she shot him told him clearly enough that it wasn't going to work. "I pushed you too hard. In the future you need to let me know when you're tired, otherwise how can I know when we've gone too far?" She slid off the table and began to nervously pace the library.
"But I'm not. Wasn't." She corrected herself. The effort of searching for Alex had left her drained and with a terrible headache, but that had not been the case before. She ran her hands roughly through her hair seeming annoyed that it would not cooperate and stay out of her light eyes. Her frustration over her lack of success was quickly building to a boiling point and Derek realized that this was the first time he had seen such an emotion in her. She had gotten worked up before but never showed such an aggravation at herself. "Derek, I know she's out there but I can't see her, feel her. You have any idea what that means?" She didn't offer a suggestion and seemed to look at him to provide a solution that she would be willing to accept. He didn't know what it meant though and had no desire to even consider what they both knew was probably the most logical solution.
"It could be anything." He again attempted to comfort her to no avail.
"Call her." She suddenly blurted out the idea. Derek nodded, finding that he also needed some reassurance. He went to the phone and quickly dialed Alex's cell phone number. They both jumped when they heard a ringing behind them. Derek put the phone down, allowing the connection to stay open and went into the control room with Tangye on his heels. They quickly located the source of the sound. Alex's phone lay beside her computer terminal on the table. "Things that make me feel no better for a hundred." Tangye turned her shining eyes at Derek.
"She wanted a day off, this is obviously her way of ensuring that she got it." Tangye nodded sinking into one of the chairs. "This doesn't mean anything Tangye. She was fine when she left, we know that." Derek insisted, hating the desperation in his own voice.
"Right, I'm not arguing that." She nodded casually. "Just means we can't check on her." She mumbled under her breath. Derek shook his head and left the control room and Tangye sitting in front of the computer. He hung the phone up in the library rubbing at his eyes. He fought to convince himself that what she felt didn't mean anything. She just was jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst was always what was happening, that bad things followed her. He grimaced to himself when he got nowhere in convincing himself that what he wanted to be the truth, was.
Alex had to be all right.
The phone he had just hung back rung breaking into his thoughts. He grabbed it quickly hoping that it would be Alex somehow just knowing that he needed a little reassurance. "Luna Foundation, Derek Rayne." He anxiously answered, noticing Tangye stepping clear of the hologram behind him.
"Derek?" Kat's unsure voice came over the line and Derek couldn't help but sigh.
"Katherine, shouldn't you be in school?" Derek shook his head for Tangye. The young woman crossed to the table and slid up to sit on it in front of him.
"I am, but I needed to talk to you. I had a dream Derek, only it felt different." She sounded so old describing her experience, Derek hated to think that such a sweet child would lose so much because of her gifts. He wanted Kat to get to enjoy her childhood in ways he never had.
"How so?" He paced the room with the phone.
"Like something was coming. Something bad. I don't know what but it's going to hurt people. I knew I had to tell you it was out there." She hurried her words and he wondered if she was even supposed to be on the phone from school.
"Tell me exactly what you saw." He asked calmly hoping to ease some of the fear that he clearly heard in her voice. Her life was hard enough just knowing what she did, why did she have to be assaulted by dreams to just make it worse?
"There was a shadow. At first he was held by something and then he got free. I saw an old man reading a book. Then the shadow was in the street. It was like he was hunting. It's evil Derek I know it." Kat said desperately. "Please be careful. You have to do something."
"Katherine is there something more that you aren't telling me?" Derek felt it more then heard it in her voice. She wouldn't have been this worried if there wasn't more going on. He couldn't have imagined the pain that the next words out to the little girl's mouth would cause him.
"Alex, I saw the shadow following her." Kat admitted sadly.
"Katherine Corrigan what are you doing young lady?" Derek heard the voice over the line. An older voice, stern and commanding.
"Derek please, you have to protect her." Kat pleaded before the line went dead. He stood frozen in place with his back to Tangye. He gripped the phone tightly in his hand. Now he had every reason to believe that Alex was in danger as much as he wanted to believe otherwise. Kat's Sight had warned her and now Tangye's telepathy was unable to locate the psychic. He wasn't sure what was going on but dread settled over him. Alex was more important to him then he was ever willing to admit, he could not lose her. She had been one of the rare bright spots in his life for so many years now, just her smile made the hardest moments of his life easier. He doubted he could ever face the tragedy so much a part of the Legacy without her light to balance it all out.
"Derek, are you okay?" Tangye's question broke into his musing. He turned to her surprised that she was even still there. He didn't know what to tell her, afraid of worrying her anymore without solid information. But the foreboding was now part of him as well. She slid off the table and crossed to him, placing a gentle hand against his arm. "Derek, we'll find her, nothing can stop us."
He nodded, not believing the promise but holding onto it anyway.
Derek and Tangye had alienated themselves away from everyone else for the majority of the day, remaining suspiciously quiet during the evening meal. Kristin had no idea what they had been up to but couldn't help but give in to the skepticism she was feeling. She knew nothing about the young woman despite Derek's insistence that Tangye was not dangerous to them. She wondered why he had thrown in that last clause. Why did he feel it necessary to make a special point that she was not dangerous to them? In what way then was she dangerous? How could they be certain she wouldn't become a threat? She was obviously keeping something from the rest of them right now and had somehow managed to involve Derek in the conspiracy.
She searched the house for one person that she was sure she could get some skepticism from. She had studied the interaction between Nick and Tangye for awhile earlier in the evening. It had been the only time in hours that she had come out of her silence and Nick seemed more at ease then Kristin could remember him being in a very long time. She had watched how he was constantly reaching out to touch her in subtle little ways, allowing his hand to brush against hers on the table, standing unnecessarily close to her. She had seen the way his eyes lingered on the spot she left the room from. It didn't take any special Sight to see what was going on there. Nick, who instinctively seemed not to trust people, would provide her no support in her growing suspicion.
Rachel on the other hand was the perfect backup. The doctor may want to trust but had learned the hard way that it was not always the best course of action. She sat in the kitchen peeling an orange while looking over a stack of reports on the table. Her face was serious and showed some traces of her weariness. "Rachel, shouldn't you be home by now?" Kristin regretted the opening sentence the minute it was out of her mouth, Rachel quickly shooting her a look that informed the younger blonde not to tell her how to run her life. Rachel may have tried to get past her bad first impression of Kristin from a year ago but didn't seem capable of doing so.
"Kat's at a sleep over. I thought I'd stay here and get some work done." She answered quickly and returned her attention to her work. Kristin lingered in the doorway for a moment then finally made her way to take a seat at the table. Rachel glanced at her quickly wondering why it seemed Kristin would want to talk to her after so many months of indifference between the two. It wasn't that she didn't like the woman, Rachel just had been unable to figure out what her place was amongst them, having her hanging around seemed unnecessary when her skills could be so useful somewhere else. They had experienced some close moments, usually when Nick left himself open for playful attacks, but for the most part they chose to steer clear of each other rather then have a conflict.
"Oh, that makes sense." Rachel always felt there was too much sarcasm to Kristin's natural tone. She didn't mind Nick's because it only appeared when he was joking, with Kristin it seemed to hang there with every word she uttered. Rachel stood up and crossed to the trashcan behind Kristin to throw away the orange peeling, not sure how to deal with the situation. "You trust her don't you?" Kristin asked suddenly, breaking the awkward silence but just making it worse in Rachel's opinion.
Rachel was surprised by the question but at least it explained why Kristin would join her. She was looking for an ally. She didn't even need to ask who Kristin meant, that much was obvious. She had seen the way Kristin had studied Tangye's actions during dinner, not the way she should behave if she was suspicious. "Yes, I guess I do." She answered after thinking her response over, not wanting to seem too quick.
"May I ask why?" Kristin turned to the psychiatrist in the chair, her eyes wide.
"Sure. I just don't know how good I can do at explaining it." Rachel leaned against the counter, giving careful consideration to her words. "She's passionate, sometimes I think overly so. She lets herself get into situations before giving them a moments thought. She acts on instinct rather then thought. Ruled by her heart." Rachel nodded knowing that was exactly it. "Yet despite that she can let go of it all. She can still enjoy life and laughter. Simply put, I haven't really seen any reason not to trust her."
"But has she given you reason to?" Kristin pushed but Rachel wouldn't give in.
"Kat does. I put all the faith in the world in my daughter's opinion. If she doesn't see reason to be leery of Tangye I don't." Rachel answered bluntly. Kristin had to admit that she had many attempts to get close to the child but there always seemed to be an underlying tension. She had a few scarce moments when she and Kat got along wonderfully, but more often she felt the little girl viewed her as a threat. To what she didn't know. She felt a small hint of jealously to think that Tangye had already formed a closer relationship with someone so resistant to Kristin. "She's full of potential, even without her gifts."
Derek had already explained their suspicions about Tangye and she couldn't deny that was probably what was causing some of her distrust. She just wasn't comfortable having someone around like that, someone who could invade her that way. "Can she really read minds?"
"All indications are that she can." Rachel answered with a shrug.
"Doesn't that make you uncomfortable?" Kristin just wouldn't let it drop, Rachel shook her head at that stubbornness, though it wasn't unfamiliar to her.
"Oddly no. Five minutes with her and I think you'll see that she has less interest in her talents then anyone else. Kristin, it's not something she goes around doing, it's something that she can do. Give it some time and I think you'll see what the rest of us do." Rachel explained.
"Which would be?" Kristin asked, prodding that much more. She recalled her five minutes with Tangye and remembered how she had jumped to the defense of her when she was floundering under Derek's slight irritation. She had done so on instinct but wondered if it was more now.
"That you don't have to worry about her, she's not a threat to us. She feels uncomfortable here, as if she's an intruder no matter how many times everyone tells her that's not the case. I would be more worried if she didn't feel that way. As it is she's hesitant about staying but does it because she doesn't have anywhere else to go, not to get something out of us." Rachel wished that Kristin would just let this drop, or at least give it some time before coming to these conclusions.
"And what about Nick, she seems to have him in the palm of her hand?" Kristin knew the doctor could be counted on to have several opinions in that matter. Her attraction to the younger man was obvious, even if neither would act on it.
"And vice versa. They get along, share a common bond. Nick needs that, so does she. She listens to him without questioning, pushing or judging. What's wrong with that?" Rachel asked herself if maybe this was the whole reason for Kristin's suspicion. Maybe she had feelings that she hadn't even acknowledged and Tangye was proving a threat to the validity of those emotions. Rachel knew that she had once had her own feelings for Nick but she would never have tried anything on him. Strong as he might seem at times she knew that was little more then a defense mechanism. She could never have had a relationship with him when she was constantly bouncing between feeling like a peer to him and sometimes like the only mother figure that he had left.
"So you'll defend her?" Kristin asked the final question, the one that would alienate her from everyone.
"Yes." Rachel was surprised by the certainty of her answer, she didn't need to consider that. After the short time she had known the woman in question she had clearly seen something rare in her, something that warranted her faith. "She would do the same for me so why shouldn't I?"
Kristin nodded turning away, disappointed that she was obviously completely alone in her feelings of hesitancy. "Because we don't know anything about her." She mumbled.
"Tha's where you're wrong. You don' know her, there's a difference." Philip's soft accented voice came from the doorway. He had only come in to hear the last few exchanges in the conversation but felt the need to jump to the defense of the woman not present for her own trial.
"And I don't know you either if you recall." Kristin answered quickly. Rachel was surprised that she was so annoyed by the tone in Kristin's voice to the priest. That just seemed completely out of line. "All I know is you supposedly left the Legacy, yet here you are Father." Philip shrugged at her tone, she tried to use his title to offend but she could never do so as well as Nick so it didn't bother him.
"Yes I am. You can't offend me Kristin, much worse has been said more often." Kristin shrunk back slightly at the tone in his voice. How could he say something like that and sound so forgiving at the same time? Philip crossed to the small refrigerator and pulled two bottles of Guinness out of it.
"Off to do a little drinking, how nice." She commented in her familiar sarcastic voice.
"Actually I'm off to try and repair something, to recapture a moment." He saw the knowing smile suddenly on Rachel's face.
"Good luck." She whispered, her tone sincere. Though they had never been very close he knew that Rachel clearly saw how much his personal difficulties hurt him and it just wasn't in her nature to want to see anyone hurting. He was meant to heal and wanted to see him get the chance to do just that. He stepped out of the kitchen with a nod in her direction.
"What was that all about?" Kristin turned bewildered eyes on the doctor.
"In some small way it proves that he belongs here. He has everyone's best interests at heart and just can't deal well with knowing he's causing anyone pain. He's a good man." Rachel answered patting Kristin on the shoulder as she sat back down at the table. "For a long time I was angry that he caused people I cared about any pain but I see now he didn't mean to. People just got caught in the crossfire. He doesn't want to sacrifice anyone else to that place."
"Who?" Kristin questioned not sure what the doctor was getting at. She often managed to forget just how much history all of these people had before she came along. They were a family and though they tried to make her feel like part of it she was still lingering just on the outside.
"You can't tell?" Rachel asked surprised, it just seemed so obvious to her ever since she had joined the house. "I'll say this. He lost one brother to the conflict in Ireland, he doesn't want to lose another to his own conflicts in life. He chose a path his brother couldn't understand and that he could never explain clearly enough why he had to take." Rachel said sadly.
"Nick?" Kristin dawned on the realization, surprised to hear anyone describe Nick Boyle in terms that made him seem so vulnerable. That certainly wasn't how she saw him.
"Very good." Rachel smiled at her humorously.
"So just because he wants to make amends you think he belongs?" Rachel wondered for a moment where the skepticism came from but decided not to worry about it. Not everyone needed her to figure them out and make sense of their emotions. Kristin had no interest in Rachel's thoughts into her personality so she would not give them. But she would do all that she could to try and detract from some of the suspicion she felt, it just wasn't good for the house.
"No, because he has to. After Michael died Philip didn't feel right with seeing Nick, like it was a betrayal of his lost brother. Now he has finally forgiven himself for the relationship he formed with Nick and needs him back. He's not a threat. Neither is Tangye, just give her some time. She'll win you over." Rachel stood and left Kristin alone in the kitchen wondering if that wasn't exactly what worried her. She remembered how she felt when Tangye had turned her smile on earlier, as if she were attempting to manipulate with that sweet look. She just couldn't trust someone like that.
Derek walked silently into the library. It had been a long day without any word from Alex, but they had forced themselves to give her until the last ferry before believing that the visions were anything more then dreams. It had not been an easy task to accomplish and he found himself tired already. He didn't notice at first the figure curled up in the chair by the window. She had her finger tracing lines in the dew that formed on the glass from the chill night air outside, a half smile on her face. He crossed to the shelves near her to get a book to take upstairs to bide his time. Just as he removed the book he heard the deep yawn, drawing his attention away from the stacks to her. "Tangye what are you doing up? You've been tired all day, I thought you were in bed."
She turned her face up to him and he was struck by a deep feeling of sadness both from and for her. Her bright eyes brimmed full with tears that were freely rolling down her round cheeks. Her face in that moment was that of a child. Derek knew in many ways she was fighting not to be just that anymore. She was caught in between the world of adults where she fought to be and that of children where her parents had strove to keep her. He clearly saw the traits of both still very alive in her.
Derek found himself at her side, unsure how to comfort her or what brought out the tears, but desperate to do something. He remembered all the times his instincts had made him reach out to support or comfort both Nick and Philip. How he felt it was his duty to catch them both when they stumbled. Little gestures that spoke the words he hadn't been able to form on his own tongue. For Philip it had always been because of his self-doubt, his loneliness that Derek wanted to support him. For Nick because of his unwavering bravado and the fact he had been failed so many times, Derek was trying to prove something to him, prove he could count on others to carry some of the load.
Now with Tangye he saw it coming out because of her quiet pain that she fought so hard to overcome or deny, and the disappointment in her eyes not frequently enough full of laughter. "What is it?"
"Nothing." She mumbled but clutched to his hand at the same time for support.
"I doubt that." He came back with a reassuring grin.
"How about it's stupid?" She offered with a half-hearted grin.
"Then you shouldn't mind telling me." He sat down across from her. She seemed to consider speaking for a long moment and just when Derek was certain that she wasn't going to she bit down on her bottom lip and whispered to him, her eyes finding his.
"I don't know if he told you but we kissed." Her voice was hardly audible. She didn't have to say whom she meant Derek had no doubt, there was no reason for it. He hadn't known but was not surprised to learn that it had happened. He had watched it building ever since they had first met. As though she sensed his line of thinking she quickly filled in the rest. "In my house, I kissed him." She looked down at her hands, unsure what his reaction would be. She knew she couldn't face seeing him be disappointed in her.
"Why would that make you cry?" He pushed gently but that was all it took so often with her. He knew she wanted to get it all out in the open but would never do it without being certain that she could count on the support of the one listening. If they showed no interest in learning the truth then it wasn't worth the time it took to confess it.
She sighed deeply. "Because I meant it as a goodbye kiss." She stood abruptly and started pacing. "Not to Nick, but to everything. I'm a realist Derek, I recognize the truth of things. I know that sometimes things are beyond explanation, impossible or whatever. Not many people believe in ghosts but I never had much of a chance not to. I know there's very real evil beyond that which man made. Despite all of that I'm still a realist. There are still things that are just impossible." She paused for a moment, her tangent had Derek confused, she could see that in his eyes.
"What does that have to do with the kiss?" He asked softly.
"Everything. My options had run out. I understood full well what my parents had become and that the only thing holding them to the earth was me. I was willing to do anything to rid the world of them when you and Nick came along. I would have done anything to end them. That fact, them existing, always bothered me more then my own pain." She wiped at her tears and turned away from him again. She could see in his soft eyes that he understood what she was saying. "I spent seven years there with them and for a long time I had tried to avoid what had become inevitable. With Nick in danger I couldn't take that risk anymore. I wasn't going to let him die for me. I kissed him to say goodbye because I believed survival had finally become the impossible." She turned her eyes to the floor.
"I'm sorry Tangye." His voice was so sincere it only managed to add to the hurt she felt. Why did she always seem to have that effect on people? Why did they just hurt more around her?
"Don't be. I hated facing it but I did. Realist." She said with a nod. "Problem is it was a more uncertain impossible, I survived. I want little more then to take that moment back, or to at least have it mean something else but I can't. I know why I did it and nothing I can do will " Derek nodded his understanding noticing that she was struggling for the right way to explain what she felt. "Stupid?" She turned to him, glad to have it said but not sure what good it would do out in the open.
"Not in the least. But I think there is a remedy." He stood up and placed his hands on her shoulders so she couldn't turn away from him. "You said goodbye to that world," he emphasized, "not him. Don't let the past rule the present, see what new world you can forge for yourself." She smiled weakly up at him.
"How'd you get so wise Dr. Rayne?" He laughed slightly at her comment. "Thanks Derek, and maybe you're right." He looked at her skeptically. "Okay you probably are." She laughed wiping away the last of her tears her eyes wandering over to the window. "Derek?" He looked over his shoulder following the direction of her eyes. "The last ferry just left." She whispered and they both gave in to the fear instantly that they had been fighting off all day.
Philip steeled his mind for what was coming. He knew the task ahead was not going to be easy, it was bound to draw forth a lot of angry words from Nick, but he had to do it. Derek was right, the last effort Nick had made had been met with resistance, he probably saw no real reason to try again and risk suffering more rejection. He had always hoped that Nick would come upon forgiveness on his own, that he wouldn't have to be pushed but the priest now saw a very different truth. Nick wasn't willing to gamble that he would not be hurt all over again if he did forgive. Philip wondered how many times his father had done just that to him. How many times had Robert Boyle come up with some activity for father and son to do together only to use the moment of weakness to further hurt his son?
He shook off those musings. This wasn't about Nick's father, this was about them, and he couldn't let it be about anything else. Some might find his need to repair things with his friend odd, out of place, emotions that were too strong but it was the only thing that made sense to Philip. He walked up to Nick's door and heard the distinct sound of Nick working out behind it. The weights lightly clanged together as he lifted them up and down. Philip held both bottles in one hand and raised the other to knock.
"Philip, good there you are." Derek's voice made him jump. He turned to see both Derek and Tangye coming down from the direction of the library. Tangye's face was slightly red and her eyes looked worn. She had clearly been crying very recently and he immediately began to wonder what had brought that about. She seemed to be doing so much better lately, why would she suffer a set back? Whatever it was had clearly been brought under control now. Her face was set. She looked worried more then upset.
"Yes, I was just " Derek nodded, having already noticed the two bottles that Philip held and the door he stood outside of. He was glad to see that Philip was finally taking an active role in the events of his life rather then letting Nick just decide everything, but unfortunately there was no time for it now. He hated to stop the moment, fearful of how long it would take Philip to work up the nerve to try again. He didn't want to think that he was interrupting for nothing even if he still hoped he was, but with so many indications that something was wrong his fear couldn't be ignored.
"I'll get Nick." Tangye whispered as she stepped past Derek to his door. She didn't bother knocking first and stepped beyond the barrier.
"Philip I'm sorry, but we have a problem. Where are Rachel and Kristin?" Derek's normally all business voice was thick with worry, Philip knew that tone well enough having often heard it directed at himself.
"In the kitchen last I saw them. Kristin doesn't seem happy about Tangye or I being here, Rachel was tryin' to convince her." Derek nodded and went for the stairs.
"We'll be meeting in the library." He said over his shoulder, explaining nothing but managing to worry Philip with his behavior. Philip gave one last glance at the door and the bottles in his hand. He sighed knowing that effort would have to wait for awhile longer yet.
The creature was annoyed that he had to let his prize go, but if she could led him to more power then the wait was well worth the hunger. He clearly recalled the small caravan during his last visit to this plane. They had been called gypsies and looked at with disdain from the townspeople. Their blood had given him the power he needed though to destroy the doubting town. He wondered if this woman was part of such a group. Humans more open to the world unseen. What she was a part of mattered little to the creature, as long as it brought him the power he sought.
He had felt it dance over the woman, seeking her out in a manner the creature couldn't even comprehend. The source had not been nearby and now it was completely gone. He had no idea where it had originated from so he had to depend on the woman to led him to it. Unfortunately she seemed to have no clue as to where she was going, wandering the streets aimlessly in her cloak of confusion. He still sensed the power very much alive in her but it seemed shadowed now. Something had happened to her, she didn't know where she was meant to go. She would have made an easy target at this time but the creature reminded himself of the greater prize.
If he could find the power for his campaign then the wait was worth the hunger and desire he felt building in him with every passing moment. So he hid away in the shadows keeping pace with her wanderings of the city. Night had fallen and she was growing tired, soon she would have to return to her own people to seek refuge. He wondered for a moment if she knew what he sought, if she was intentionally avoiding giving him his prizes. If that were the case he would have to find another way to find his way to the band holding the power. He would give her some more time first, see if she guided him there of her own accord. If not her hand would have to be forced.
He stepped further back into the shadows, his hunger making him weaker as the old man's blood ran it's course through him and stopped sustaining him. Soon he would have to feed or he would lose the tenuous hold he had on this plane. Even if it weren't the power, any blood would do at this point. Soon he would feed his hunger and then resume the search for the power.