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Heaven Sent by Sophie
This is a sequel to another story which can be found at :
Innocence and Justice


Part 7

A moment lasted a hundred years as Richie watched his goddess collapse and his soul screamed. As her slender form crumpled towards the ground, he saw the death of Mortality and it cut him more deeply than any emotion he had ever experienced. Life would return, but something was being stolen by the blast that rang in his ears in the seconds following the shot and Richie knew he was helpless to stop it. The grief that ran through his being was as poignant as it had been for Tessa's death, it was a devastating feeling, cold and angry, but at the same time forming a numbness in his soul.

The horror that sounded in his cry was only the surface of the jumble of emotions which descended onto the young Immortal as he witnessed the assassination, and for a few seconds they held him immobile. Yet, as Naomi's beauty slumped onto the ground, he reacted in body as well as in soul. The stick fell from his hand and the youth skidded to his knees beside the stricken form. Breath still came from between clenched teeth, and the girl whimpered as her lover touched her, but there was blood all over the left side of her shirt and she was weakening with every heart beat. Richie followed his instincts and swept the light body into his arms, she cried, half in fear, half in pain as he held her close and climbed rapidly to his feet. No one could have stopped Richard Ryan as he ran into the house and straight through into one of the bedrooms. His face was dark with the anger that Hill's actions inspired, but he ignored the perpetrator of the crime as his love's plight possessed his mind. Even as he knew he couldn't he wanted to stop the coldness of death touching the delicate body he held protectively in his embrace, and his helplessness seared through his sanity.

The young man's actions were barely controlled as he sank to his knees and laid his burden onto the bed; he didn't know what to do as he stared at the life-giving fluid pouring from the fatal wound - thought escaped him as his emotions flooded in as the blood flowed out. Richie just knelt beside the failing body, unable to offer his aid, and terrified. He knew the feeling, it was the same as that which he had experienced at the moment the bullet had taken his own Mortal existence away, and the repetition shocked him. The parallels were too great to overcome, and he felt the numbness running through his body as if death was coming to him as well. The youth could only stare at the staggered rising and falling of the dying breaths, his eyes wide and fixed with the ghosts of his dread.

Richie started as he felt a brush of fingers against his arm; he blinked back the mist that was forming in front of his vision and glanced wildly down at the contact, a hand, contorted by pain and effort was being held slightly off the bed out to him. The young man responded immediately, taking hold of the trembling palm and then facing his darling's gaze. Naomi's eyes were half closed and clouded when he met them, and she echoed his own fear - then he felt selfish. His own anguish shifted to the back of his mind as he considered how scared his love had to be; this was her first death, it was a moment of doubt, a time when she would wonder if all that she had been told was true. It was his roll to offer comfort, reassurance; he smiled sadly at the pain he saw and squeezed the cooling fingers. There was no need for words, all his intention was conveyed in action as the young man lent carefully over the girl and lifted her head to him. The young woman's free hand wrapped itself around him and gripped hard as she gasped at a spasm of pain. Richie rocked her gently, trying not to aggravate the wound. She was light in his arms, even the desperate grip gentle in his experience, but he felt it slip away.

Naomi became still in his arms, limp, a broken doll and Richie let back in his own anger. This was wrong, she should have had years of safety, free from the Game, changing, living as a Mortal - the shot had been an injustice, a thief of normality. The loss was as strong as if she were gone forever, and the Immortal held the lifeless body to his chest, trying to hang onto what was no longer there. The moment was endless as the sense of his beloved drifted away from him and he knew that nothing could be the same. The consideration enraged him to a point where he was petrified by the strength of emotion within. His grip was savage as he squeezed the unresisting form into his own flesh, trying to find some remnant of life to keep with him until Eternal power brought a new existence.

It was in that static position that he was disturbed; the shift of his body told him that kin stood close by, but it was the slam of the door which broke his furious trance. The blond head turned sharply and glared at the body which entered into his anger - his face blackened further as he recognised Tarant. The man was holding a first aid box, and the glare he received said `what the hell do you think you're going to do with that?'. The scorn and disgust was obvious and the older Immortal's first look said that he understood, then it hardened to a task and observed, "I take it you don't want Hill to know that she's one of us?"

Richie blinked at the matter-of-fact tone, his animosity lessening, but his anger remaining; the slightly lost set to his visage said anything his voice could not, and he was unresisting as his companion moved in to take charge. The young man was numb, his diva was gone, for however short a time, the feeling of desertion it gave him was cold. He sat back on his heels as Tarant prized him gently from the corpse and watched blankly as he went about patching a wound that had already served it purpose and was healing itself.

A few minutes later, the young Immortal was more compus mentis as he sat at the head of the bed, his darling's upper torso cradled in his lap. There was still no life in her body, healing the deep wound was taking a long time, but the terrible deprivation was lessening as his more logical mind came back into play; yet, patience was a hard pill to take as he stroked the soft locks he adored, waiting for breath to return to her lips. Tarant stood by the window, watching in silent contemplation as his companion came slowly to terms with the world. Eventually, the youth lifted his gaze from the bandage that had been wrapped around Naomi's chest and levelled it on the calmer Eternal. He no longer felt any anger for the Immortal, who now stood taller in the privacy of the bedroom where his presence of mind had been needed. Tarant was two men, more so than any other of his kin he had met, and the man made him curious; the youth preferred the interest to the remnants of his other emotions, so he chose to fill the waiting with questions.

"How did you end up with that monster?" the young man asked quietly, his manner subdued.

Tarant smiled at him, an odd, ironic gesture, but answered in the same pragmatic manner he had used earlier, "I was put in a cell with him."

The disclosure was unhelpful, and the look he received told the man so; Tarant just shrugged at the flare of frustration in his associate's eyes and continued evenly, "I may be a drunk, Richard Ryan, but as you found out, I can still handle myself. I took a head two years ago, but I didn't disappear fast enough. They caught me and sent me down for murder. I ended up with Hill as a roomie, and he soon found out my little weakness for drink. I talk too much when I get drunk, and he plied out all the information he wanted until it was too late. I was planning on dying to get out, but Hill had other ideas - either I helped him and his mob escape, or I wouldn't be leaving with my head attached to my body."

"Have you ever considered going on the wagon?" the young man raised an eyebrow as his sarcasm was made plain.

Tarant frowned, the first sign that there was any emotion below his mask of level-headedness and there was pain in his face.

"No," was all he responded and Richie knew better than to pry further.

There was a lot more to the older Immortal than met the eye, and the youth considered the phantoms he'd collected in his short time on planet Earth; Tarant had a lot of years behind him, and scaling up chances for disaster, the young man decided that whatever had turned this Eternal being to drink should stay in the past. There was an awkward silence as youth couldn't find anything to redirect the conversation and age dwelt on whatever unspoken agony was in his soul.

Richie's heart leapt and warmth came back into his soul as a shocked gasp moved the body next to his. Naomi's face screwed up and she brought her arms around her in self-protection as the remainder of her healing continued. Her lover reached quickly for her hand and let her fingers close tightly around his own.

"Easy," he soothed, as the girl turned into him and moaned, "try and relax, the pain'll go away soon."

As if obeying his command, the young woman sighed and her grip loosened on his hand as the hurt eased. Her paramour could do nothing more than stroke her hair and let his darling recover in her own time as she breathed hard and came to terms with the resurrection. He remembered his own shock - dying was never pleasant, but it was something to which every Immortal became accustomed. Relief flooded through his being as his soul moved to accommodate the presence of another of his kin. The feeling was bitter sweet, his love was back with him, but also the new aspect to her spirit told him that things had irrevocably changed. Yet, that was put to the back of his mind, and he smiled as with a cough, Naomi sunk away from the protective ball into which she had begun to curl and gazed up at her lover. There was a look of stunned amazement in her eyes as she took in the monumental power that had re- animated her.

Another time, another place, considering the intense emotion that was running through his being, Richard Ryan would have taken his love to him, but circumstances left them with a gentle embrace which reassured their bond. Naomi was shaken by her experience, but the presence of her lover stilled a trembling that possessed her limbs. Tarant remained a silent statue, ignored by the couple as they recovered their union as best they could. Yet, there was no time for indulgence, and the Immortal eventually interrupted the closeness with a polite cough. The youth glanced up at him, a momentary annoyance in his gaze, but the look disappeared almost as soon as it had been seen. Naomi glanced across at the man of whose presence she had had no idea, and her cheeks coloured as she considered the intimate nature of her attire. She took hold of the sheet which had been paced over her in replacement for the shirt which had been destroyed by the gun shot. Tarant smiled at her, he was not about to be bothered by the sight of her brassiere which he had revealed while tending her wound.

"Welcome back," the man murmured, his tone warm; the girl's stare was hostile.

"Naomi, this is Russ Tarant," Richie introduced.

"You two were fighting," the young woman returned, her voice unsure of the lack of animosity in the room.

"Not by choice," the dark man told her evenly.

The girl looked to Richie for confirmation, and he nodded with a grim set to his features, the loathing about the conflict still with him. The disclosure only confused the young woman and she asked plaintively, "What's going on?"

"A long story," her lover answered, "but right now, the guy that tried to kill you thinks we're trying to stop you bleeding to death."

"He won't wait much longer to find out how we did," Tarant continued and his face was grave. "When he comes in, you had better be `unconscious'."

"Then, when he's gone, I make a break for it," Naomi nodded as the idea came clear in her mind.

However, as much as the thought suited the younger two Immortals, their companion did not welcome it.

"No," he countered in a warning hiss, "don't do anything to antagonise Hill. We're be gone tomorrow morning."

The look Richie gave him was condescending and showed a disbelief at the man's naivete.

"Do you really think that he's gonna leave us in any fit state to tell our tale?" the youth scoffed, his hatred of the oppressor in his face. "Maybe if we weren't his pet hate there'd be a chance, but not now."

Tarant's features were set in a way which said that his younger kin was only vocalising the nasty idea which had occurred to him some time earlier. His grimace was the last communication the group had, as a hand on the door signalled an entry. Naomi shifted quickly back down into a crumpled lying position while her soul-mate slid into a chair by the side of the bed. As Hill opened the door, all he saw was a quiet youth leaning over an unconscious body and his tame Immortal stood on watch at the window. Richie glanced over his shoulder at the intrusion and let his anger show; the Mortal before him had destroyed too many parts of his life for him to display anything but rage. The young man's loathing seemed only to serve as fire under a pot which had been boiling over for some time. The convict was seething as he descended upon his nemesis.

As a hand grabbed his arm, Richard Ryan fought back; he had had enough of the brutal adversary, and with a shout of fury, he pushed the man away from him. The youth gained his feet and followed his defence with an attack of his own, his glare ablaze with indignation. Hill backed out of the room, his eyes scanning for the weaponry he had left outside, pursued by a wild Immortal. There was fear in the Mortal's eyes as he witnessed the rage, and his composure failed him as his soul caught a moment of understanding which terrified him.

The young Eternal stalked after his quarry, no concern for those about him; he felt a shadow behind him as Tarant moved to stop a would-be calamity, but he ignored him, intent on Hill. The escapee had pushed the youth to his limits, and the anger within the ageless body was uncontrolled, instinctive. The Immortal was at his most savage as he raised his hands to strike. The Mortal continued to back up, aghast.

Richie cried out, his rage animalistic as his path was thwarted by two large bulks. Guinea and Carter each grabbed for the maddened creature, pulling his arms away from the attack. The young man howled and swore at his captors as with a great deal of effort they brought him to a rapid halt and aimed him at the wall away from their leader. The Immortal struggled and spat curses anew as he thudded into the barrier, but he was not strong enough to fight off two men at once. His muscles complained as his hands were whipped up behind his back, but he still managed to push himself a little way off the rough surface. Carter called to his companions for help as the storm of vehemence flexed himself off the wall and shrieked half spoken threats at his oppressors. Pitbull moved in with a solution from his own experiences; Richie's snarl caught in his throat as cold steel cut into his wrists in the urgency with which a pair of handcuffs was applied. He complained hotly, but the manacles were already in place and cooled his fire a little. Defeated, the youth sank into the shove that slammed him once more into the wall.

Only as the smoke began to disperse did Hill regain his nerve enough to move in once more. He was holding the rapier again and his grip was brutal as he grabbed his captive's hair. Richie was not a submissive prisoner, however, and he pushed into his adversary with another murderous growl. The pair skidded through the door to the dining room as the momentum took them, and the young Immortal came off worse as he smashed into the long table, unable to slow his course. He grunted, but ignored much of the pain that ran through his ribs at the hammering. The Immortal showed no fear, only rage as he was grabbed more securely and spun onto his back over the edge of the counter. Even as the razor edge came close to his throat he only stilled the struggles which risked him slicing his own neck. His eyes blazed and his animosity was more than obvious. Hill paused, trying to instil some kind of humility into his captive with the hovering blade. Yet, Richie was too mad to heed the warning in his eyes. His tone was scornful and icy as he spat, "Not so easy is it? Not as detached as a bullet, you have to feel the slice."

The convict flexed his hold, the sword coming millimetres closer to vulnerable flesh, but he halted his movements once more, the truth of his victim's words in his mind.

"Go on!" Richie taunted to the terror of his companions who watched the drama unfold under the sights of guns which threatened them if they moved.

There was a flash of something in Hill's eyes which told the youth of the murderous capability within the Mortal. Very suddenly, he knew what was happening as sanity caught up with him. He flattened onto the table as the blade was raised in one hand while the other sat firmly on his chest, keeping him stationary. The world prickled around him as the sacred site tried to stop the violence once more, but this was a Mortal, not sensitive to the powers that ruled the Eternal world, and he was not about to be stopped by something which could not reach him.

Yet, help came from another source.

Hill protested angrily as a hand grabbed his wrist and stopped the descent of the blade. He released his helpless prey and turned on Tarant, whose intervention had not been requested. The Immortal cowered away, his well-practised submissive stance in firm place, but let a stream of words make a case for him.

"Killing him now won't do us any good," the man argued, raising his hands in protective defence.

The look that Hill gave him did not back up the observation; the man wanted blood. However, he did stop short of turning the rapier on his subordinate.

"Look," the Immortal reasoned as he was given breathing room, "that cop we shot, he's gonna be alright, we heard it on the radio," Richie wasn't sure whether the man was lying, but his face was convincing, "and the girl's gonna survive. As we stand now, we get out of the search area, we're just escaped prisoners, we'll go on some list somewhere. If we kill him, especially with a blade, its murder, and this search'll go on until they catch us, forget disappearing, you're face'll be on every cop's notice board."

The argument was hasty, a little confused, probably exaggerated, but then so were the emotions in the room, and it cut through the mad seconds which had led to the confrontation. The killer disappeared under the surface of Mr. Average, and Hill lowered the sword. There was still anger mixed with fear in his manner as he returned his attention to the youth, but it was no longer capable of murder. Richie was unresisting, well aware of the beheading he had narrowly missed, as his adversary grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him to his feet. They were eye to eye as the captor hissed nastily, "One more word, and you're history, freak."

There was no response, the young man just sank into a sitting position on the edge of the table as he was released. The pot of fury was gone, washed away by the power around him, and he was more than a little dazed by the possession that it had inspired. He blinked and watched his nemesis retreat from the room before his instincts got the better of him once more. Tarant's gaze on the youth held a clear warning as the elder turned to follow his commander - he'd survived by the skin of his teeth, there wouldn't be a next time.

The dining room door slammed as the intruders shut themselves off from their hostages. The sound echoed in the long chamber and hung in the ears as silence loomed. Agatha and Jon moved first, standing and hurrying across to the still figure at the end of the table. A hand on his arm brought him to look at his hostess and he recognised the same warning signals in her face as he'd seen in Tarant's. He just stared at her, confused by the lack of emotions he felt - there was only a strange calm inside where the rage had been quoshed by the atmosphere of the holy ground.

"How's Naomi?" Jon asked loudly as he worded the question that was in most minds.

"Okay," Richie murmured his answer as the man gently urged him to stand up and walk over to the window seat.

He sat down heavily and winced as the cuffs dug into his wrists; the sharp pain brought him a little further back from the shock into which he'd fallen. The gaze which he levelled on Jon was more alert as the Native American sat down next to him.

"Are you alright?" came the next enquiry.

The youth nodded.

Richie dozed lightly - the hour was late and there had been no further disturbances of the warm night. The teenagers were curled up together, sleeping fitfully from exhaustion while their chaperones watched them and each other. Kathleen was sat with Emily, her arms protectively around her daughter, Jon and Agatha sat together, Annie between them. The young Immortal sat alone on the hard window seat. The discomfort of the handcuffs stopped him from drifting off completely, and his mind ran over and over the strength of the holy ground around him. Twice he had felt its power, both times its attempts to stop the violence had been almost physical in their manner. The land was troubled, it prickled inside his skull, speaking to the Eternal in a language he barely understood. There was a movement in his soul as the atmosphere spoke to his anger and sense of injustice, trying to soothe them away. It was a feeling he couldn't fight, it came from within, an instinct which told him that Heaven Sent was sacred land and could not be defiled - as he sat silent, his eyes half closed, the young man wondered sadly why the serenity of their surroundings couldn't reach everyone.

The shout of fury which cut the night sliced through sleep; the room was wide awake, terror returning as the door slammed open and light from the kitchen poured in on unprepared eyes. Richie squinted at the maddened silhouette in the doorway and he knew his last chance had gone. Hill charged across to the Immortal, his face black with rage; he grabbed hold of his prey and shoved him across the room. The youth fell to his knees and collided heavily with the door; he managed to turn and face the body which once more attacked him.

"She was one of you!" the man screamed and the reason for the anger came clear. "You've played your last card, freak!"

The young man started as a hand crossed his face and he groaned heavily as a boot contacted with his groin. The world danced with bright spots and nearly faded at the momentum the kick had been given, and the bound youth curled over himself. He was saved from another strike by a body coming between him and his oppressor.

"Leave him," Tarant intervened, no pretence of subservience in his manner this time.

Hill chose to turn the fury on the dark man.

"You betrayed me, Tarant," the man hissed nastily. "I warned you what would happen if you betrayed me. You let her get away, you never told me she was one of you."

"Lets leave before the police get here," the man still tried to reason with his maddened associate.

"Don't tell me what to do, freak!" Hill yelled and threw his fist at the Immortal. "No, Tarant, you don't get away with this one. Boys, its time to get rid of our pair of curiosities."

There was a grin on Guinea's face as he bent down to right the fallen youth; he was still reeling from the savage kick and gave little resistance to the hulking man. Tarant was a different matter - he chose to attack before he was reached. Both Carter and Pitbull took hold of him and used their second pair of cuffs in efficient haste. Once the second Immortal was held, Carter broke off and turned his gun on the rest of the assembled company. There was anger on many a face, and only the pistol kept them in place.

"Keep them covered, Carter," Hill approved, "make sure they don't try and interfere."

Richie began to gather more of his situation as he was pulled out into fresh air. He complained and struggled against Guinea, but the man was large and he was bound. Still, he managed to slow the progress they were making out round the side of the house.

"This is holy ground!" he yelled righteously, feeling the build up of tension once more. "You can't do this!"

A wind whipped his words away and the youth's breath caught in his throat. The gust had come from nowhere, the night was calm, and as it ran over his body, Richard Ryan shuddered. He glanced wildly at Tarant, and the man's face showed that he had felt the sudden touch of electricity. Both Immortals looked up simultaneously and what they saw chilled them to the bone. The evening had been clear, there were clouds above them now, highlighted in the silver grey of the moon which fought through them. Another blast of wind cut through the men, and each faltered in their step. Yet, the Mortals felt nothing, only the air running past them, and they gave no indication that they recognised the forces around them.

The feeling of dread which engulfed Richie made him struggle again, and he screamed wordlessly at the intent of his captors. He couldn't fathom the power around him, but the storm within echoed the storm that was growing without. A rumble came from on high, a warning to the Mortals too deaf to their senses to hear it. Only the Eternals responded; Richie with the fire of the young, kicking and shoving his holder, Tarant with a stillness as he tried to obey the will of his surroundings.

Hill turned on his captives as he reached what he considered a suitable spot, and he laughed at the two opposite reactions. He took Richie's opposition to be panic and the merciless scorn showed in his face. Tarant's pale complexion he considered to be fear.

"Stop this!" the younger Immortal warned heatedly, "you don't know what you're doing!"

The laughter was cold and unresponsive, but the words told the pair all they needed to hear, "I know exactly what I'm doing, freaks, something I should have done hours ago."

Tarant responded evenly, his head held high, "You are pathetic, Hill. You can never be one of us, so you chose to destroy what you do not understand. Can't you feel the power here, Mortal? Are you so blind?"

The man's eyes flared with anger and he levelled the sword at his one time comrade. All his bigotry showed in the taut body as with seething rage he hissed, "You first."

Richie cried out, half in revulsion, half in shock as thunder broke from the cloud and daggered through his hearing. He convulsed at the warning his spirit was giving him, but he was powerless to help his companion as Pitbull pushed the elder forward. A hand was placed firmly over the protesting mouth as Hill commanded silence from at least the physical company. The youth's complaints were muffled and all he could do was watch as he was pinned close to his captor's bulk.

There was almost something serene about Russ Tarant as he was brought roughly to his knees by a harsh hand. He looked across at his companion and the sadness within was gone where the tumult that was growing around them touched his soul. The Immortal was resigned to his fate, there was no fear in his eyes only a calm which was not his own. Richie stilled as he met the gaze, confused, but held by the depth in the suddenly ageless eyes. The wind whipped through them both, but at that moment, even that dimmed as Immortal spoke to Immortal without words. They were close enough for Quickenings to pass between them, and the stare in the first pair of eyes offered his power to his younger kin.

Then those dark eyes closed and the sword sliced down. Richard Ryan ripped away from his captor and yelled, "No!", but it was too late, the steel glinted in the moonlight and its blade was stained red. The calm before the storm was momentary, a single glance from the sword to the Mortal holding it; Hill's mouth was hanging open as he felt the full extent of the murder he had committed. He stared down at the body and understood the connection between himself and the weapon he had used, his reaction was horror.

Then the consequence.

Richie felt his soul move before the first signs of power became visible. He started, and closed his eyes, waiting for the Quickening. He heard the exclamations of his captors and felt the first wave of energy run over his body; breath escaped through gritted teeth as the Immortal prepared for the exquisite agony of the Eternal rite. He heard the exclamations of his captors and knew that there had been somethings that Tarant had kept to himself. The youth was left alone as the ancient exchange began in earnest.

Ryan convulsed and opened his eyes as the familiar touch shook his body, and he cried out in release. The blue light rippled over his skin, flexing his muscles as he contorted against the strength. This feeling he knew, expected, but there were more forces at work in the vicinity. The tumult was not all Quickening, and the young man knew it within moments of its touch. The helpless Immortal reeled and collapsed to his knees as he felt the touch of holy ground. Ice sliced through his body as the wind howled around him and thunder rumbled ominously With a groan, Richie sunk to the ground and curled into a ball as he instinctively knew that the heavy wave was only the beginning.

Thunder cracked once more and a streak of blue daggered down from the silver clouds, straight through the unprotected body to earth. The youth's scream was drowned by the deafening tumult as he writhed against the power. A fire built inside him, intense, uncontrollable, threatening to destroy him, but there was no release from the wrath of the sacred lands. Richie's convulsions became an almost invisible trembling as his muscles tightened in a spasm inspired by the cocoon of light which engulfed his form. His cry was silent against the storm.

The touch lasted for an eternity that Richard Ryan could not fathom. His heart beat in an impossible rhythm, sounding its own turmoil in his ears which threatened his life. His blood could have been boiling oil as it seared through his veins digging needles into his every nerve. The light blinded the Immortal's pained vision, cutting at his retinas even through lids which he closed in torment. Breath came in short, jagged gasps so eventually he did not even have the strength to scream. Richie felt his body reaching its limits, and through the agony he expected death.

Yet, he was given release.

The powerless figure shuddered violently once more as the storm cracked a final blast from the sky and used him as the lightening rod. Then the influence was gone. The tempest did not abate, the wind still howled and thunder rumbled, but the agonising light disappeared as immediately as it has arrived. The calm was sudden, more definite than any Quickening the youth had experienced; there was no ripple of left over energy, no tingling in his body, just emptiness. The young man could feel nothing from his flesh as he collapsed uselessly onto the dry earth, not even thought drifted through his head. The supernatural exchange had washed away his mind and Richie's eyes were blank as they closed in total exhaustion.

End Of Part 7