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Quite frankly, the way Philip
looked when he walked into the library made even Nick's eyes
open in shock. Now Alex would have noticed if anyone so much
as broke a nail, but the ex-SEAL had a tendency not to heed
such things. The fact that his priest friend was verging on
the living dead, did, however, make it through the thick skin.
Philip's face was pale, he had bags under his eyes, and he didn't
seem to have any energy. Nick began to think that maybe their
latest case was getting on top of the young man.
"Maybe you should just
turn around and go back to bed," the ex-SEAL said as his
friend sat down. "I know we're supposed to have a meeting,
but you look awful."
He was caught by a pair of
eyes that for just a second seemed to stare right into his soul.
"No, I'm fine," the
other man said and broke the spell, "it's just a headache
that kept me up most of the night."
Nick was thinking that even
sleepless nights didn't make people look the way Philip did
this morning, but he said nothing. They had research to do and
it could have been just the priest's overactive need to help
everybody, that caused his appearance. There was a small girl
at the centre of their current case, and Philip had developed
a rapport with her. The fact that she'd tried to kill both her
parents and a doctor, distressed him immensely, especially as
it seemed to be a case of possession. It was Derek's very long
reach which had kept the police out of the case so far, but
if they didn't find the answer soon, someone was going to get
hurt and then there would be no choice. The state was not known
for it's belief in possession, so the child would end up in
a mental hospital.
The house felt very cold when
Nick and Philip arrived with a new idea to try. They'd gained
all the permissions required to take Caroline, the centre of
the mystery, back to Angel Island, and it was almost as if the
building knew. You didn't have to be psychic to realise that
something was going on in this ordinary suburban residence.
"I'm really beginning
to hate this place," Nick said as the white faced mother
left them to climb the stairs alone.
"You and me both,"
his companion returned, and his voice sounded slightly strange.
His colour seemed to have improved
as the pair of them had decided on yet another course of action
that morning, but as Nick turned to his friend, he was shocked
to see him as pale as a ghost. The ex-SEAL had to fight down
the urge to reach out and grab him, as his skin took on a ghastly
"Are you all right?"
he asked quickly.
"I'll be fine," Philip
returned, but he was obviously far from it.
The throbbing headache which
had kept him from sleep all night was back, and it had become
a pounding inside his skull that made it almost impossible to
think. He was beginning to believe that maybe he would have
to give this case up to someone else, and let Nick continue
up alone. One minute he had been fine, and the next he could
barely put one foot in front of the other, it was ridiculous.
The pain was clogging his ability to think, and if he wasn't
careful he felt like he was going to pass out.
They had stopped halfway up
the stairs and he looked at Nick sideways. He was no good to
anyone like this, and denying it really wasn't doing anything
useful. His knuckles were white on the banister, and he was
at the point of admitting defeat. Then suddenly, the cacophony
in his ears rose to deafening proportions, the pain increased
so much it made him wince and an image flashed through his head.
He'd never felt anything like it, but he didn't even hesitate
"Caroline," was all
he said, and much to Nick's surprise the young priest went charging
up the stairs.
With his companion only a few
feet behind they both burst into the bedroom, and found out
why the house was so eerie. The room was in silent turmoil.
Furniture floated inches off the floor, books opened and closed,
toys moved, a wind whipped at everything, and all without so
much as a sound. At the centre of it all sat Caroline, on her
bed, holding a large brown bear. Yet what looked out of the
child's eyes was in no way human.
"Too late," it said
with her voice, "I am here and she is gone. Sweet Caroline
is no more, and I can do what I like."
Now the scene horrified Nick,
but his reaction was nothing to Philip's. To look on his face
was to see complete and total fury, there was no room for fear.
There had been other cases, other children in danger, but Nick
had never seen his companion like this. It was almost as if
he was a different person, and the ex-SEAL never had a chance
to stop Philip's next action.
Philip was a priest, he prayed
for people's souls and went up against evil with his faith,
but not this time. Without even so much as a word to the Almighty
he charged straight in. He reached for the child and as his
hand connected all hell broke loose. The silence became a maelstrom,
and the demon let out a fighting scream.
"Leave her," the
command literally shook the room.
Nick was having a hard time
believing what he was seeing. He was pushed firmly against the
wall and all he could do was watch as his friend wrestled with
pure evil. When Philip had suddenly decided to swap roles, the
ex-SEAL couldn't exactly say, but somehow it seemed to be working.
"Your puny faith can't
hurt me, priest," were the words that came out of the girl's
mouth, "you're God cannot touch me."
"It's not my faith you
have to worry about," those had to be the strangest words
out of the young man's mouth, but they happened to be true.
On the stairs something very
profound had happened to Philip: he had been invaded. The headache
was his defence against something that had been trying to get
into his head for the past two days, and by showing him the
truth it had finally succeeded. A power he had no way of understanding
was using him, and this demon was no match for it.
The combatants stared into
each other's eyes, and suddenly Philip had Caroline by both
shoulders. It was like watching someone peeling a mould away
from a cast as the young priest pulled the girl away from the
entity which inhabited her. The child moved, but there remained
a perfect replica in transparent red. The copy screamed, long
There was no time to stop and
Philip scooped the girl into his arms and turned to his companion.
The ex-SEAL found her thrust upon him as he stared into a gaze
he barely recognised.
"Get her out of here,"
the priest virtually commanded, "before it breaks free."
Since he was virtually bodily
thrust through the door, Nick had little choice. Caroline's
parents were on the landing, and the Legacy member all but forced
them down the stairs. He had every intention of returning once
they were at a safe distance, but the front door slammed with
a very final sound behind him. Nick had no way to explain what
he had just seen, or how his companion had done what he did,
but as he turned he knew the outcome. As they all watched, the
house burst into flames.
The whole bedroom was ablaze
and the thing on the divan oozed to it's feet. Priest faced
demon, and both knew their time was over. The power inside Philip
kept the entity from fleeing the house, and he realised that
he had to be here to the end. He was staring his death in the
face, and with a victorious smile, he walked towards it.
The flames burned until there
was nothing left, not even the fire department tried to explain
it. It was as if the site was turned to ashes that blew away
in the wind, all that was left was a hole in the ground, blackened
around the edges. Not once had the flames touched anything beyond
the walls of the house, and all that Nick could do was watch
Derek was alerted by a phone
call from the parents, not from his operative, and the head
of the Legacy house found his young friend just standing in
what was now darkness. He hadn't moved, and the only person
who had tried to make him was nursing a black eye. The ex-SEAL
just couldn't accept what had happened, and it was as if he
was waiting for his companion to miraculously walk out of the
"It's time to go home,
Nick," Derek said quietly as he walked up beside the younger
man. "There's nothing you can do here."
"It wasn't like him,"
his companion replied slowly, "he was almost like another
person. I'm the one who plays at being a hero, not him. Why
did he have to go and do it?"
There was pain in his voice,
he didn't want to believe the truth.
"Why did he have to go
and get himself killed?" Nick's tone was accusing, but
as he finally looked at Derek there were tears in his eyes.
It was difficult to loose a
friend, and the grief was beginning to brim over in the young
man. He had looked into his companion's eyes and seen a power,
that he was dead was inconceivable. Just now Derek could not
let himself show that he had similar feelings as Nick, he had
to be strong. They would all grieve, later.
"I had to sedate him eventually,"
Rachel said as she walked into the study to find Alex and Derek
waiting for her, "he just kept saying that he should have
been the one to die. It's more than just grief, he must have
The other two looked at her
and they drew strength from each other.
"He told me that Philip
was not himself when he saved the child," Derek told them
both. "That he didn't seem normal all day. I think he blames
himself for letting Philip go today."
Analysis may have helped them
forget the centre of the matter, but Alex couldn't help but
bring it straight home. She had been playing the calm efficient
researcher ever since Derek brought Nick home, and she couldn't
do it any more.
"I can't believe Philip's
gone," was what she said and the tears began to roll down
Rachel went to her immediately,
it was going to take a long time to get over this one. Philip
was a researcher, their spiritual advisor who left the physical
exploits to his better equipped colleges. That he had sacrificed
himself in such a way was unthinkable.
The psychiatrist let her fellow
Legacy member cry herself out, as Derek remained calm and aloof.
His anger and pain showed in his eyes, but he would not crumble
and let the house fall around him. He was the corner stone and
strong he would remain. It was as Alex was finally drying her
eyes that Kat walked around the corner.
Rachel and her daughter were
staying at the house tonight, and the girl was in her pyjamas.
She was the only one who had not been told what had happened,
but as usual, she knew that something was going on. She walked
up to Alex and put a gentle hand on her arm, and smiled sweetly.
"Why are you crying?"
she asked quietly.
Her mother stepped in here.
"Kat, darling," she
began slowly, "something happened today, something terrible,
and everyone's very upset. You know Nick and Philip were trying
to help a little girl named Caroline?"
Her daughter nodded solemnly.
"Well something went wrong,"
Rachel was trying to find the words to explain another death
to her child, "um, they saved the little girl, but the
house burnt down. Philip couldn't get out ... he's,"
But Kat didn't wait for the
next line, much to her mother's surprise she actually turned
back to Alex and patted her on the hand.
"You don't have to be
sad," she said with an angelic little smile, "Philip's
gone where he's supposed to go. He might even come back."
The adults in the room, just
didn't know what to say. It seemed like a childish explanation
of the way Kat saw the world, after all meeting dead people
wasn't exactly new to her. A stunned silence seemed to hang
over the room, but the girl either didn't notice it, or didn't
care. She kissed Alex on the cheek, then her mother, and finally
she went to Derek. It was her goodnight ritual and as soon as
she'd finished it she waved at them all and left the room. Nobody
seemed to feel like crying anymore.
It was warm, pleasantly so,
and the place felt almost serene. Those were the first thoughts
that went through Philip's mind as it slowly started working
again. He was afraid of something, but he couldn't remember
what, yet it kept him from trying to find out more about his
"You're quite safe, Keeper,"
a voice said very close to him, "you can open your eyes
The tones were soft and gentle,
but as he realised he wasn't alone, a terror he could not explain
welled up within him. Irrationally his mind decided that if
he could not see it, it could not hurt him.
"Please open you eyes,
Keeper," the calm voice continued, "there is nothing
to be afraid of. You have passed through the fire, you have
come home. I'm here to help you, but time grows short."
A hand touched his shoulder,
a soft, slender hand. The gentle pressure on his arm, and the
sweet tone finally had an effect. He was still afraid, but logic
said that what he heard and felt could not come from that which
had harmed him. He blinked into the soft light, and slowly a
beautiful face resolved itself, framed by a mass of long black
hair. She smiled at him sweetly and took hold of his hand.
He found himself sitting with
his back against what felt like a stone wall, but it was warm.
The woman in front of him slowly urged him to his feet, and
he found that she was no more than five feet tall. She was petite
to go with it, and he found himself admiring her curves. Somewhere
in his mind there was something that told him he should feel
guilty about this, especially as both he and she appeared to
be naked, but most of his thoughts ignored this.
the beautiful creature said cheerfully, "I am Jasmine,
will you give me your name?"
"Philip," the young
man replied quietly.
It was like some form of ritual
and as it concluded he felt almost calm. Looking around this
place, his fears were dissolving into insignificance.
"I've been waiting for
the next Keeper for over two hundred years," his companion
continued lightly, "and I have something for you."
Philip had no idea what was
going on, but somehow it seemed right, so he just let it continue.
Jasmine led him towards the centre of the room, towards a small
table. On it sat an intricate pedestal, nestled on the top of
which was a palm sized crystal. As they approached, it began
to give off a white light.
"This is the reason you
are here," the petite woman said calmly. "Your life
became such that the potential within you was harnessed, and
the crystal recognised it's next Keeper. You were born with
the innate ability to know it's power, your passion touched
it's hiding place, and it found you to be suitable. You've felt
it's strength when it fought the demon. It tested you and your
sacrifice made it possible for you to come here."
"What is it?" Philip's
voice was low, almost reverent as he beheld the light.
His companion smiled with a
far away look in her eyes, and almost stroked the edge of the
"It is a key," she
explained slowly, "a key which will open part of you that
you did not know existed. It is a gift and a grave responsibility,
but it is yours."
The young man stood in silence,
just looking at the glow. It was so beautiful and it sang to
him with a song he could not begin to comprehend. He had felt
pure evil and now he felt pure bliss.
"What if I don't accept
it?" he heard himself ask, even as he was captivated.
"Then your mortal body
will die," Jasmine told him honestly, "only the crystal's
power can heal the injuries you sustained in the fire. Your
soul will continue it's journey, and I will wait for the next
to be chosen. The wheel will turn, the universe will continue."
She spoke matter-of-factly
and made no attempt to cajole him into taking the stone. This
woman wanted him to accept the gift, she saw in him a life that
should not yet pass on, but it was not her place to prevent
him from following his own path.
A few more seconds passed,
and then with almost reckless speed, Philip's hand shot out
and took hold of the stone. The fire that exploded in every
nerve was an agony, but not one such as he had felt as the house
blazed around him. This was pain, but also the most exquisite
pleasure. It felt like his eyes were burning in his skull. He
saw things he had never dreamed, and knew suddenly that he was
not in his body. Almost instantly the pain he felt was not elemental,
but very physical. His skin hurt and his bones ached. Slowly
it began to ebb away, and gradually other sensations replaced
it in his experience. Philip Callahan found himself laying in
the long grass of a hillside, on a most beautiful spring day.
The sun was hot, and the long blades protected him from the
wind, but it was still a little cold to be sitting in a field
Now this bothered him, but
not as much as when he heard a cheerful laugh from beside him.
He turned to find Jasmine smiling at him, and he couldn't help
but watch as she stood up and stretched.
"It is wonderful here,"
she said lightly, "the house is this way. I have much to
teach you, Philip, and March is a little chilly for our current
state of undress."
There wasn't any arguing with
of Part 1
Time passed and wounds began
to heal as the memories dulled. It took weeks, but Nick seemed
to eventually accept that Philip's death wasn't his fault. The
young priest's name was added to a plaque of deceased Legacy
members, there was a beautiful memorial service for him, and
yet it seemed unreal somehow with nothing to bury. They should
have found somebody to take his place in the house, his expertise
was missed, but it was almost unthinkable to the other members.
As weeks turned into months,
Kat stopped trying to explain to people that Philip was only
somewhere else. It seemed to distress her companions whenever
his name was mentioned, so she decided to leave time to itself.
The only time she had tried to tell her mother that he wasn't
dead, the look that had entered Rachel's eyes was enough to
put her off. It had been somewhere between sadness and disappointment,
as if she had hoped better of her child. Kat knew that her mother
could not understand all the things she did, but when a similar
expression had appeared in Derek's eyes, the girl had decided
not to try and tell anyone else.
There was one good thing to
come out of all the mess as far as Kat was concerned, however.
In their grief, Rachel and Derek finally seemed to managed to
climb over their respective hurdles and actually admit that
they were attracted to each other. Why they'd never managed
this before was a mystery to the young girl: she'd seen their
mutual affection from almost the first moment she'd been in
The two, slightly older members
of the Legacy house began to spend significant amounts of time
in each others company, much to the delight of their companions.
When Rachel sat her daughter down and started the "I loved
your father..." speech, Kat knew it was serious. She had
listened with patience as her mother tried to explain what the
girl had already deduced, and then she'd solemnly given her
Cases came and they went. The
unit that was the Legacy house seemed almost strengthened by
their loss. They'd lost people before, but this death came at
a time that caused more than a little change in the people involved.
An outsider would have seen a close knit group, but they would
not have realised just what bound them together. They had always
been a kind of family to each other, but now they really were
kin. An uneventful spring turned into a glorious summer, and
then lightening struck a second time.
"God, I know getting myself
into these situations is reckless and stupid, but if you just
let me survive this one, I'll *really* try not to do it again,"
Nick's words were more for himself than any deity, he was in
It was huge, it was horrible,
and Nick had never seen anything quite like it. He'd dealt with
ghosts and demons, spirits and poltergeists, but this was in
no way similar to any of them. This thing was very real, very
ugly, had very big, extremely dangerous looking claws, and it
was coming straight for him.
Not so long ago, the slavering
beast had been a normal, loveable spaniel, out for a walk with
it's master who was a good half a mile away. That was before
reality had just changed so that the spot where Nick was standing
could be protected from intrusion. The forces at work here,
weren't exactly evil, they'd just been woken up after a long
time and started rearranging reality to suit themselves. The
effect was very localised, and it's beginnings could be traced
back to the removal of a talisman by a building team. That didn't,
however, stop Nick from being in very deep trouble.
Running was not an option,
the car was just too far away, reason wasn't a good idea either,
since the creature didn't seem to have any, and that didn't
leave many avenues. Derek was trying to locate and replace the
item which had been removed, but the man who had found it was
very difficult to track down. The research said that the talisman
was made of gold and gems, that made it very valuable to whoever
stole it. Even if the head of the Legacy house could retrieve
it, that wasn't going to help Nick just now.
The only weapon the young man
had been able to lay his hands on, was a piece of wood that
had fallen from a near by tree. It looked rather puny compared
to the creature coming towards him, but there wasn't anything
else to hand. He'd only been trying to find the spot where the
talisman had to be replaced, his gun was in the car. So far
reality had just been bent in harmless ways: a crane had become
a tree, a hut a stone shrine, this creature was in a different
The spaniel had mutated into
something that was halfway between the wolf man and a dinosaur.
It's teeth were long and pointed, very close to the T-rex from
Jurassic Park. Any horror movie actor would have been proud
to don the claws, and the beast stalked him on two legs. The
dog's big brown eyes had become red, reptilian slits, and there
was no way to escape them. When the thing finally charged, there
was little Nick could do.
The first time he hit it the
wooden shaft splintered and broke into a thousand pieces. The
shards did more damage to his unprotected hands than the blow
did to the creature. None of his martial arts training or SEAL
expertise seemed to do him any good, it was just too big. He
landed several heavy blows, but the thick brown hide just absorbed
anything he could throw at it. It slashed at him and the claws
raked straight through his clothing and into the flesh on his
ribs. It hurt like hell and the ex-SEAL tried desperately to
He was given a few seconds
respite as he ran for the cover of the small stone building
to his left. Hope sprang in his mind as he heard the distant
sound of an engine, and he prayed that help was coming. Hiding
was no good, the beast had a better sense of smell that any
human could hope to evade, so the young man had to keep moving.
As he'd dashed inside the small structure he'd lost sight of
his enemy, and all he could do was hope it was even more stupid
than it looked.
The back entrance of the `shrine'
was in front of him and he dared not wait too long in anyone
place. With the distraction of the new arrival it was possible
he might be able to reach the car and at least buy himself some
time. As he ran out the other side, however, he was far from
lucky. The creature had not been as dumb as it seemed and with
wolf-like cunning it had circled him. When he left the building,
he crashed straight into it.
"Put the talisman back
where you found it," Nick heard Derek's voice somewhere
behind him, but he looked into the face of the monster.
A huge, taloned hand connected
around his chest and he felt an icy pain as claws sliced effortlessly
into his flesh. Muscle and sinew were no object and there was
no protection. The thing threw it's victim through the air and
into the nearest tree. Nick collided with the hard barrier and
there was the sickening sound of bones crumbling under the strain.
He never had a chance to see a man run to a small hole in the
ground and drop a wrapped package into it. He also missed the
creature fading slowly back into the dog from which it had come.
There was nothing in Nick's world, nothing but blackness.
The wind was talking about
many things: a storm in England, a clear day in the Canadian
Rockies, and rain in Kenya. It was a beautiful, if somewhat
muddled song, and Philip lay on his back, in the grass listening.
He was completely content, normal cares just did not have any
meaning in his mind. It had been relatively the same since he
had first woken up on the hillside. He spent his days learning
and enjoying himself in Jasmine's company, and nothing beyond
that mattered. He had memory of who he was, who his friends
were, but in this environment those thoughts had little meaning.
It was as if the real world was behind a wall of fog and connective
emotions couldn't get through it. It was all still there, but
it had no relationship to Philip. He was actually on a farm
in Ireland, miles from anywhere, and totally at peace.
On a sunny day in August, a
little under seven months after he had arrived, the calm shattered.
Slavering jaws, lethal talons and a dear friend's pain lanced
into his mind. The bubble of protection that he had needed to
heal evaporated around him, and reality came flooding back.
His life, his friends, the people he loved, all the meaning
Surprisingly, he felt no guilt
for the way he had been living over the past months. His disconnection,
his recently kindled love for Jasmine, he felt no regret for
any of it. He had changed over the last few months and although
his old life came back, his new one slotted in tightly. There
was no time for guilt, no time to repent that he could no longer
be what he had been. He had to go home, and quickly.
He stood up and took one last
look around the green landscape. He had been happy here, but
it was time to return to the real world. With haste in his step
he walked back towards the house to find Jasmine, and arrange
the journey to San Francisco.
It seemed barely possible,
so much tragedy had befallen one Legacy house in under a year.
Philip was dead and now Nick was hanging on by no more than
a thread. Whenever Derek or the others enquired about their
friend's condition, that sad, sort of resigned look appeared
on people's faces. They never said it outright, but Nick's injuries
were so serious no-one thought he was ever going to wake up.
The creature's claws had damaged several vital organs, the impact
with the tree had cause head and spinal injuries, and he was
slowly slipping away.
There was one of the Legacy
with him every moment they were allowed to be there, but in
seventy two hours he had shown no signs of knowing they were
there. He lay deathly still in the cold white room, swathed
in bandages, with tubes feeding him food and oxygen. A heart
monitor showed a slow, weak rhythm, but his breathing was barely
perceptible. Even the flowers and cards couldn't chase away
the atmosphere of gloom.
It was moving on for ten p.m.
and Alex had been virtually thrown out of Nick's room and told
to go home. She looked up briefly as she walked out into the
night, feeling something in the air, but unsure of what it was.
It held her attention only a moment, and then she found her
car keys and slowly made her way to her transport.
Philip watched from the shadows,
unwilling to show himself yet, but feeling a kinship with her
"He'll be fine, Alex,
I promise," he whispered quietly, and waited until she
Nobody challenged him as he
took the elevator to the correct floor, and strolled past the
nurses station. One look in his almost hypnotic eyes put most
minds at rest, and a peaceful smile calmed any others. Even
the nurse who had just checked Nick's condition, greeted him
as he entered the room, and then left without a comment.
"Hi, Nick," the young
man said warmly, as if talking to someone who could actually
hear him, "you're not looking too well, my friend."
He wandered up beside the bed
and just looked at his companion's pale features for a moment.
"Not contemplating dying,
were we?" his Irish accent was strong in his light tone.
"Now we can't have that."
He reached out his hand and
placed if on Nick's chest. The small smile that had been playing
at his lips dissolved immediately.
"Let go of the pain, Nick,"
Philip said slowly, now very serious, "you don't need it
The young man's mind delved
into his friend's body, finding every hurt, every injury, and
then with a deep breath he began to take them away. The heart
rate on the monitor sped up a little, but at first that was
the only outward sign that anything was happening. Philip's
eyes closed slowly as his brow knitted in concentration. Over
time the truth of the situation became apparent as trickles
of blood began to show through Philip's shirt. He was taking
the injuries into himself, and there he could heal them.
The young man was shaking by
the time he finally opened his eyes once more, and his features
were pale and weary. Where he looked worse, however, it was
impossible not to notice that Nick appeared much improved.
"Sleep deeply, my friend,"
Philip said slowly, "you're going have to field a lot of
He removed his hand slowly
and tried to turn, but his legs didn't seem to be working properly.
Even miracles took time, and the healing was exacting a price
on Philip's body. The young man managed to pull his coat around
him to conceal the slowly spreading blood stains, and stumbled
as far as the door, but he slowly slid down the frame. The laws
of nature were working against him, and the Mother would not
be beaten this time. With a small, resigned sigh, he let himself
slip into healing sleep: the only thing he could do.
They found him on the two o'clock
rounds. By five he was sleeping in another room, having been
totally oblivious through a thorough examination, and the phone
was ringing on Angel Island.
"Derek Rayne," sleep
was not an option for the head of the house just at the moment
and he answered the call immediately.
"Dr Rayne," the voice
said on the other end, "My name is Dr Collwood, I'm ringing
about your colleague, Nicholas Boyle."
Derek's chest seemed suddenly
tight and he had to take a very deep breath.
"Go on," he instructed
with absolutely no emotion in his voice.
"Something quite remarkable
has happened," the physician on the line said with a strange
excitement in his voice. "Mr Boyle appears to have made
a full recovery. In fact, when we tried to examine him, he woke
up and, dare I say, demanded to know what we were doing."
He was about to suggest that
maybe Derek should come to the hospital, when the question was
revealed to be pointless.
"I'll be there in twenty
minutes," was all the head of the Legacy house said, and
then the phone went dead.
Speed limits were not on the
psychic's mind as he drove from the castle, and he made it to
the institution in a little over seventeen minutes. Even as
he walked up the hallway, he couldn't quite believe what he
"Look, all I want are
my clothes and I'll get out of your hair," it was Nick's
voice and he sounded impatient.
"Mr Boyle," the physician
from the phone was obviously in the room, "you appear to
have made an excellent recovery, but may I remind you that yesterday
you were dying. We'd just like to make sure you remain in good
"I'm fine," the ex-SEAL
insisted firmly, "but I don't like hospitals."
Technically he didn't mind
hospitals, it was just being a patient that bothered him, but
who was to know?
It was at this point that Derek
walked through the door, and Nick's features lit up. The younger
man was sitting on the bed with a sheet wrapped around his waist,
and discarded bandages in a pile next to him. Any and all equipment
which had been attached to him was pushed to one side, and he
was cornered by the consultant, his junior and two nurses.
"Thank god, you're here,"
Nick said as soon as he saw his colleague, "please could
you tell them to let me out of here."
The psychic just stood there
looking vaguely stunned for a moment. When the doctor had mentioned
a miraculous recovery, Derek had expected Nick to be awake,
but weak and ill. Quite frankly he was looking totally healthy.
Yes there were the slightly pale patches under his eyes, and
the deep rifts in his torso looked a little painful, but they
were nearly just scars.
the first word that passed the psychic's lips.
"Well?" Nick seemed
a little impatient as support appeared to be lacking.
That snapped Derek out of his
"I suggest a compromise,"
the doctor of Philosophy said with an uncontainable smile. "Nick
let these good people examine you, and as long as they don't
find anything life threatening, I'll drive you home."
There was a moments silence
as the two sides of the argument reviewed their options.
"I'm willing if they are,"
the ex-SEAL finally agreed.
The consultant breathed a sigh
of relief and nodded his own acceptance.
"Dr Walsh will examine
you," he said calmly, "and for now, I'd like to borrow
Derek was kind of surprised,
but he had no objections, and the two men walked into the corridor.
The senior physician seemed somewhat excited about something
and he began to talk.
"There's more to this
than I had a chance to tell you over the phone," he said
animatedly. "We found a man in Mr Boyle's room just before
we realised the change in his condition. The man was unconscious,
and when we examined him we found traces of the exact same injuries
on his body as Mr Boyle had, but they were healing at an incredible
The doctor was slowly leading
Derek down the hall. The physician knew that the Luna foundation
was not quite what it appeared to be on the surface, he had
seen enough cases pass into their hands. He knew that this would
interest the man beside him almost as much as his colleagues
recovery. He had several more bits of information to pass on
before they actually reached their destination.
"That was not the only
thing remarkable about the young man," the doctor continued.
"There was something I noticed on close examination. This
patient has the most unusual eyes, Dr Rayne, quite unlike any
I have seen before. The irises were almost white, but not mat
white, they gave the illusion of being almost like glass before
a white background. They were ringed in so deep a blue that
it was almost black, and small flecks of the same colour gave
the eyes an almost faceted quality."
With that he opened the door
they had just reached and ushered in his companion. Derek's
reaction would have been greater except that the bed was empty
and the window open. All that was left to show there had been
an occupant was the rucked up sheet. The fact that they were
three stories up and the only route down was a tree did not
escape the attention of the head of the Legacy house.
"I don't believe this,"
was all the doctor could say, "he's gone."
"So it would appear,"
was Derek's only comment.
He walked over towards the
bed as the physician turned to call anyone he could think of
to explain the disappearance. Just at that moment, Derek was
far from interested in what the other man was doing, because
as he placed his hands on the crumpled sheets he gained a very
clear impression. His mind literally screamed Legacy at him:
this man had some connection with the organisation, the Precept
was left with no doubts.
of Part 2
"So you think this guy
saved me and then ran off?" Nick said as his friend drove
them both home at a much more sedate pace than his previous
journey. "But if he was from another Legacy house, why
would he leave?"
"I didn't say he was from
another house," the older man said as he watched the road,
"I just said he was connected to the Legacy. I have no
idea why he ran, and what is more disturbing is the fact that
I know of no reports that mention those apparent abilities."
He had a detailed description
of the man in question, in a note book, but the general characteristics
could have fitted several people. The significant parts on the
other hand, fitted no one Derek had ever met. This kind of ability
would have been on file, and it was not something that would
have been ignored. Unless the Legacy had gained some new members
very recently, this man should have been easy to find. The disappearance
also begged the question, why would a man who has so obviously
saved a life, just leave? Sympathetic healing was a very rare
gift, no house had a member possessing those skills and the
files only contained a few reported cases in the entire world.
It was a puzzle, but a welcome one since it seemed to have brought
Nick back to the group.
Why he had fled was not something
Philip could explain to himself just at the moment, let alone
anyone else. Maybe he just hadn't been prepared, but as soon
as he'd sensed Derek's presence he'd had to escape. Quite frankly
he was afraid to see his friends again, so much had changed,
and he hadn't had time to completely accept it himself, sharing
it with others was a frightening thought.
Jasmine had been waiting for
him outside, and with her help and the tree he had made it to
the ground safely. Sitting in the shadows with his companion
the young man now felt a little stupid.
"No need to look like
that," Jas said with half a smile, "you do have a
right to be nervous."
"Yes, but climbing out
a third floor window rates up there with a little more than
nervous," was the annoyed reply.
The young looking woman just
grinned and pecked him on the cheek.
"Let's get you to the
hotel and into a nice comfy bed," she said lightly, "you'll
feel much better in the morning."
If the truth be told, Philip
did rather feel like he'd been through a mincer. His ribs ached,
his body was sore just about everywhere, and he was dog tired.
Jasmine's suggestion did not go unheeded.
The next morning was a fabulous
day and the castle looked beautiful from the drive. His heart
was beating like there was no tomorrow, and he wasn't quite
sure what to do, but at least Philip had made it that far. He
was wearing jeans, a blue shirt, a suede jacket and on his nose
was a pair of tinted shades. The most unusual thing about him
had there been any casual observers, was the fact that he had
a black cat sitting on his shoulder.
"You wouldn't reconsider
and accompany me in human form, would you, Jas?" the young
man asked slowly.
The cat just looked at him
with her big yellow eyes: they'd discussed this before.
"Okay," he said under
her gaze, "I'm going."
It was a Saturday and as he
walked into the gardens he found the one person who he knew
he would have no trouble with. Kat looked up from where she
was playing and her face broke into a wide smile.
"Philip, you're back!"
she cried with glee and literally charged across the lawn to
He bent down and swept her
into a hug. Jasmine obliged by descending to the ground. The
man and child just squeezed each other for a while and then
Kat pulled back.
"So how have you been?"
the young man asked under the delightful scrutiny.
"Fine," the girl
replied quietly, "but I had to stop telling them you weren't
dead because Mom was upset."
Philip smiled at that, he had
had no doubts that Kat would see the truth.
"Yes, well sometimes us
adults can't see what's in front of our faces," he responded
"No kidding," Kat
responded with a grin.
Then she turned serious.
"Where have you been,
Philip?" she enquired earnestly.
"I was in a strange place
for a while," the young man told her truthfully, "but
mostly I was in Ireland. This is Jasmine, she's been looking
He indicated the black feline
and the girl beamed at her.
"Pleased to meet you,"
she said without the hang-ups an adult would have talking to
an animal, "I'm Kat."
Jas rubbed her back along the
girl's leg and the pact was made: they were friends.
"So who's in?" Philip
"Mom and Derek went to
the hospital earlier," Kat explained, "to find out
some things, but Alex is in the computer room and Nick is upstairs
asleep. Alex said he tried to make it seem he was all better
last night, but he's been sleeping all morning."
"Best thing for him,"
her companion returned with a smile.
The young girl's face became
serious again for a moment or two.
"How did you do it?"
she asked in a direct fashion.
"Do what?" was the
"Heal Nick?" Kat
obviously knew exactly what was going on.
"Oh," Philip said
slowly, "I'm not one hundred percent sure. I can just do
some weird things now. It's like asking how do you see spirits."
The girl nodded sagely, she
understood. Her curiosity satisfied she took her companion's
hand and smiled.
"Let's go find Alex,"
she said with mischief in her voice.
Jasmine performed a feat of
acrobatics and leapt onto Philip's shoulder once more. She curled
herself around his neck securely and settled in for the ride.
The young Legacy member let
himself be led, and Kat took him into the house. A warm feeling
of familiarity fell like a blanket around him as soon as he
stepped over the threshold.
"Home," he said without
realising he spoke aloud.
"Of course," was
his companion's reply.
They walked up to the hologram
wall together, but just in front of it, Philip stopped. Alex
had been his closest friend and the thought of seeing her again
brought back all the trepidation. The hand in his squeezed and
he looked down to see an understanding smile on Kat's face.
She saw a lot more than a child her age should understand, and
her presence was a comfort.
Since Alex was inside, when
the intruder stepped over the threshold all that happened was
the computer beeped. Philip's retinal scan was still on file,
but he was listed as deceased. At the warning, the Legacy member
in residence turned in her chair, then she froze.
The psychic forgot to breathe,
her heart leapt into her throat, and all coherent thought fled.
She could not be seeing the person in front of her, but Kat's
smiling face said otherwise. As for the centre of her attention,
he wasn't doing so well either, and he just stood there.
"You could talk to each
other you know," the only active member of the group said
lightly, "you must have heaps to say."
Neither of the other two looked
particularly ready to break the silence.
"Well I can't do it for
you," Kat told them cheerfully, "I'm going to see
if Nick is awake."
Her disappearing back finally
galvanised Philip into action.
"Kat, wait ...,"
was what he tried, but the girl paid no heed.
That left he and Alex alone:
the silence was beginning to become awkward.
"Philip, is that really
you?" it was the only thing that would coalesce in the
"Last time I checked,"
the young man returned with an attempt at lightness.
He'd never been very good at
that sort of thing, and it fell flat.
"You're alive," this
conversation was predictable.
The female member of the Legacy
house stood up very slowly. She still couldn't believe what
she was seeing, there were some strange vibes coming from her
companion's direction. What he did next could alienate her further,
but the truth was better from the outset. With one hand he reached
up and took off his glasses.
The gasp and the step back
caused him pain, but they were to be expected. His eyes had
changed the moment he had touched the crystal, and he could
not go back. At a quick glance they could be passed off as pale
blue, but under scrutiny their true colour was obvious. Nearly
white eyes, rimmed with deep blue and criss-crossed by tiny
dark lines, was not something you saw every day.
"What happened to you?"
Alex had seen many seemingly good things go bad in her time
with the Legacy. She was not taking anything for granted.
"I was given something,"
the young man returned, "something that was waiting for
The fact that she wouldn't
come near him was tearing him apart. He could bear the look
on her face, but the fact that she seemed afraid was almost
"Look," he said slowly,
"I could try and explain, but it would take forever. Just
touch me Alex, then you'll know the truth."
He had no intention of hiding
anything and his companion's Sight would show her what she needed
to understand. It would be vague, but at a fundamental level
which would allow her to at least believe who he was. He reached
out his hand and just waited. There was obvious trepidation
on Alex's face as she could not reconcile her thoughts with
what she saw. Finally, however, with a slight frown, and a little
bit of faith, she reached out.
As their fingers touched, images
and emotion began to poor into her mind. Philip was just a little
over enthusiastic in his relief, and he was doing a very good
job of projecting things at her. It was all a bit much for the
young psychic who was not prepared for any such thing, and in
self-preservation, her senses just shut off.
"Alex," Philip almost
yelped as his friend crumpled into a heap.
Jasmine leapt off his shoulder
onto the table as the young man moved instantly to help.
The young woman opened her
eyes slowly and found some very worried, upside-down features
looking down at her. A few seconds past before reality made
itself plain, and then she realised she was lying on the floor
with her head on Philip's knee.
"Alex," he asked
hesitantly, "are you okay?"
She'd been out for a good five
minutes and he had been getting very worried. A smile appeared
on her face at the tone in his voice.
"Yes," she said slowly,
and with his help sat up, "I'm fine. That was quite an
"Sorry," he said
The situation slowly resolved
itself in the woman's mind and what was actually happening made
it through. Suddenly she was very animated and she threw her
arms around her friend.
"My god, Philip, it really
is you," she said a bit too loudly next to his ear.
This time he was very careful
to make sure all his mental barriers were in place. The hug
was purely on a physical level.
"What happened to you,
where have you been, why didn't you contact us?" all the
questions came out in one mad rush as Alex pulled back.
Her companion really didn't
know what to say.
he managed eventually.
With perfect timing the black
cat took her cue, and Jasmine leapt off the counter and wandered
over. An unsure look came over Alex's face as the creature brushed
against her. She did not resist as Philip helped her to her
feet, but she didn't take her eyes off the feline on the floor.
"That's not a normal cat,"
she eventually said with doubt in her voice.
"No, that's Jas,"
her companion supplied with half a smile, "she's ... she's
The peculiar being blinked
at them with her big yellow eyes.
"You know, it would be
a lot easier if you'd just introduce yourself," Philip
said as she curled round his legs.
Slowly, she wandered away from
him and into a space in the room. Her outline glowed blue for
a moment and then she appeared to dissolve into a light mist.
The fluid leisurely flowed into a vaguely human shape and the
woman began to form. Each feature moulded into place and a mannequin
like shell appeared, which quickly became very real flesh. She
smiled at both of them sweetly, and Alex couldn't help but laugh
even through her amazement, as Philip turned a gentle pink and
tried to keep the admiration out of his features.
"Ah, Jas," he said
quietly, "you forgot something."
The woman looked down at herself
and then grinned.
"Oh, yes," she commented
amiably, "polite company."
Another small mist enveloped
her and a light silky green dress appeared around her petite
form. For all the good it did, she may have remained naked.
This may have been a small woman, but she had legs that went
all the way up, and curves in all the right places. Being able
to change shape may have given her an advantage, but she certainly
knew what she was doing.
"Hello," she continued
brightly, "it's nice to meet you."
"Ah, hi," Alex returned,
not quite sure what she was looking at.
It didn't take a genius to
notice that the way Philip looked at Jasmine was not at all
innocent or priestly. It wasn't just his eyes that had changed.
Several questions about the future jumped into Alex's mind,
but so did lots of other things. The most prominent of which
was the answer to the question Derek had had her chasing all
"You were the man in the
hospital, weren't you?" she said slowly, and looked back
at her friend.
Philip just nodded.
of Part 3
"Why did you leave?"
Alex put the question to her friend gently as she saw the confusion
cross his face.
The young man looked more than
a little awkward, and the first thing he did was shrug.
"I really don't know,"
he replied honestly, "I felt Derek coming and I panicked."
The way he said it was so matter-of-fact,
but those words out of ordinary, down to earth, Philip's mouth,
just caught in Alex's mind.
"You felt Derek,"
she repeated to herself as if examining the idea in her mind.
Her male companion half smiled
as he realised how it must have sounded. The way he saw things
had altered so much, and these were the moments when it showed.
"I've changed, Alex,"
he said quietly. "Plain old me has woken up and caught
a glimpse of the bigger picture."
His friend had to smile at
the way he described it, she'd been thinking the same thing.
"Big time," was all
The computer beeped behind
her, and she suddenly remembered that she'd been carrying out
"I've been trying to track
you down," she said as she turned back to the machine,
"of course I've been looking in completely the wrong place."
The researcher was about to
save the information and shut off the screen when the article
it had found caught her eye. She couldn't help but let her eyes
track over it as her behind found it's way back into the chair.
The document on file was an old manuscript, and to one side
of the monitor a plain text version of the hand-written paper
in the image was given. It was dated 1714.
*We thought Aaron lost, but
he has returned to us. The man has come through death and he
is more than a little changed. Father Reynolds had to be convinced
that he was not the work of the Devil, but our returning sheep
soon showed this house his true colours. Put aside the fact
that the lad looks on the world with the most peculiar eyes,
and exhibits more than a few of the gifts, we have Aaron back.
If those outside saw him talking to the bird he carries just
about everywhere they would call him Witch, but we have protected
those with the Sight for many years.*
That was as far as Alex needed
to read. The events recorded were almost an exact match, and
she couldn't help but turn to her friend in amazement.
"The last Keeper,"
Jasmine said as she caught a glance of what was on the screen,
"many have had connections with the Legacy. Like draws
like, and it is difficult to fight for mankind alone. When the
Legacy began other powers noticed it, and fate has a funny way
with these things. Aaron DeFey was a Scotsman with a French
father, living in Aberdeen a little over two centuries ago.
He was supposedly killed when his Legacy house came up against
a ghost who brought death to all who saw him. He sacrificed
himself to save one of his friends and then he became the Keeper.
He died in 1764, a father of eight and the leader of his house.
Before him was Jessica Paul, before her Peter Woods, back through
the mists of time. Until this day and age it would have been
impossible to find any link between the line, but if you trace
them back you eventually reach the first Keeper of them all.
The only common ancestor they all share."
Now this was news even to Philip,
and he was gazing at the young woman intently as she finished.
She just smiled at him sweetly.
"The topic just never
came up before, love," were her light words.
Alex was also giving her quite
a hard stare.
"You seem to know just
about everything there is to know," the researcher said
slowly, "were you there?"
The peculiar creature turned
her innocent eyes to the woman.
"No," she replied
honestly, "I am Philip's guide to the crystal, the others
had their own. I am now as firmly tied to this world as any
of you, and I will be `til the day the keeper passes."
There was no attempt to conceal
information, Jas' whole purpose was to teach, and that meant
to anyone who would listen. At the moment that was the young
researcher, and the beautiful shape changer would pass on anything
Miss Moreau cared to hear. Now there had been no mention of
stones or other worlds before: Alex was becoming a little confused.
"What crystal?" she
asked, sorting the information in her brain.
Jas returned calmly, "it doesn't have a name. It's alive
in a broad sense of the word. Not human, walking and talking
alive, but it has a consciousness and a will. It is a store
of tremendous power, which it lets into this world from time
to time, via a Keeper."
The Legacy member looked at
Philip for a second, and then rapidly turned her attention back
to her inquiries.
"Can I see this crystal?"
she asked both of them.
Her question brought an awkward
smile to Philip's face. This was going to be tough to explain,
and the young man took a moment to think about it.
started slowly, trying to find the right words, "it's not
a physical entity on this plane." He wasn't used to classifying
things like this, but he was pretty sure Alex would prefer it
like this. "It exists somewhere else, a different dimension
if you like, and it has a connection here because of me."
He hoped it didn't sound arrogant.
The discussion was becoming a little more complicated than Alex
had expected, and she decided that the others would probably
like to hear it as well. Repeating everything four or five times
would no doubt become tedious for all concerned.
"Okay," she said
slowly, "time out. Unless you want to explain this several
times, I think it might be a good idea if we wait until Derek
and Rachel get back."
Philip and his somewhat peculiar
companion had no objections.
"It's nearly lunch time,"
the young woman said amiably, "why don't I see if I can
arrange some food, then I'll give the boss a call. With lunch
time traffic they should be back in about thirty five minutes."
Now that definitely met with
approval, from all parties concerned. The living room was as
large and as comfortable as Philip remembered it, and very shortly
there were sandwiches, cake, tea and coffee, sitting on the
table, enough to feed five thousand. Alex made the phone call,
and carefully left out the details of exactly why Derek should
return. It would probably have made the journey a lot quicker,
but the researcher did not want her friend crashing the car.
The three conspirators had
just sat down when Kat came bouncing round the corner with a
half dressed, half awake Nick in tow.
"I had to push him into
the bathroom," the child said cheerfully, "but he
wasn't asleep, he was just lying there."
All the activity amongst the
adults had suddenly ceased. The first thing that caught Nick's
eye was the pair of bare slender legs perched on the arm of
a chair, which disappeared under a remarkably short skirt. It
was when he reached her torso, and noticed the person Jas was
sitting next to, that he woke up. Nick stared at Philip, the
paler man stared back, and the realisations could be seen wandering
across the ex-SEAL's face.
Shock wrestled with relief
on his features, clouded by just a touch of anger as questions
leapt into his head. It was clear he didn't know how to react,
and he took the quickest way out.
"Let me guess," he
said as he looked at his friend's peculiar gaze, "the guy
from the hospital."
He managed to keep most of
the bitterness out of his voice as his mind jumped to several
conclusions that he had no way of verifying. Nick always thought
the worst, but at least this time he managed to control it.
Philip saw the emotions pass across his face, and heard them
in his voice, and he felt grateful to his friend that he managed
to keep them inside.
"Guilty," the seated
man said calmly, and attempted a half smile.
Alex saw the tension building,
she didn't have to be psychic to see that neither of the two
men were going to be able to keep up this front for much longer.
She decided that diversionary tactics were necessary, and quickly
formulated a course of action.
"We were going to have
some lunch," she broke the slowly thickening silence, "you
could make it breakfast, Nick."
Kat in her usual direct fashion,
stepped over the social problem and dragged her companion further
into the room.
she cooed, and literally pushed Nick into a chair, "my
The adults left her to it.
"Hi Nick," Jasmine
said and hopped off her perch, "I'm Jas."
She grinned at him broadly,
knowing that she could distract just about any man from a train
of thought. It worked this time as well, and when she stuck
out her hand, the ex-SEAL shook the offered limb while trying
to keep his eyes off the shapely legs.
"Ah, hello," he managed
"I've heard a lot about
you over the last couple of days," she said lightly, "I
hope you're feeling better. You definitely have a better colour
Her cards played, she turned
and walked back to Philip's side. Nick was having trouble not
staring. Even with all the tension in the room, the other young
man had to smile, and he tried not to laugh.
[[You're doing it deliberately,]]
he thought at Jas as soon as her hand touched his shoulder,
[[stop teasing him.]]
[[He needs something else to
think about right now,]] was the unrepentant reply. [[Anyway,
your friend is very sweet when he's embarrassed.]]
Their silent conversation earned
them an intrigued look from Kat. She had no idea what they were
up to, but she'd obviously sensed that something was going on.
Jasmine grinned at her.
"So you like to make spectacular
returns from the dead, do you?" Nick finally found a relevant
thought in his brain. "You couldn't have just come by and
His tone was a little sarcastic,
but he was trying really hard not to sound bitter. The man in
front of him had saved his life, and bitching about the fact
that he seemed to have just allowed his friends to think he
was dead, felt a little ungrateful. The look in his eyes said
he couldn't decide if he wanted to yell and scream or have a
calm collected conversation. In the end he tried to smile, letting
the sudden relief from old grief buoy his spirit.
"Well, it seemed like
a good idea at the time," Philip returned, going with the
flow, "I'm not so sure now."
That actually brought a genuine
grin to Nick's face, and in an effort to do something, Alex
offered around the sandwiched. This conversation was very hard,
and there were certain things the ex-SEAL chose not to go into
just now. Instead, he went for a quip.
"So this sympathetic healing
thing," he said lightly, "it just something you picked
up after you burned to a crisp?"
"Sort of," was the
They just started at each other
for a moment. There was a lot between them, a great deal hadn't
been settled from before the `death', now it was almost impossible
to see the relationship that had once been there. Philip knew
they were going to have to have a long talk about this, and
soon, he did not want a friendship based on a misplaced gratitude.
Now, however, was not the time, maybe once the initial shock
had worn off.
The three females in the room
exchanged glances as they read the faces of their friends, even
Kat could see some of what was going on. They chose to intervene
and from there they diverted the conversation onto a lighter
note. They chatted idly about some of the things that had happened
in the prodigal's absence, and they demolished every last sandwich.
Idle conversation was much easier than deep discussions and
the group fell into it gladly. It was just over half an hour
later that they heard the front door open.
"Sounds like the boss
is home," Nick commented as they all looked at each other
like naughty children.
It was like being caught with
their fingers in the cookie jar, as somehow the little gathering
seemed almost covert.
"Crunch time," were
Alex's words and they all stood up.
The moment Derek walked into
the house he knew something was different. It was one of his
stranger premonitions as he suddenly felt a warmth around him,
and yet he was entirely confused. Rachel looked at him strangely
as he paused in the doorway and frowned. It was as Alex appeared
from the living room, looking a little unsure of herself, that
the psychiatrist knew that something not quite normal was going
on. As usual, Derek had told her nothing about being summoned
back to the house, Rachel thought he'd just decided to return.
"I found our mystery man,"
Alex said slowly, "or rather, he found me."
Philip had followed her to
the door, and he took his cue, shortly followed by Kat. The
girl ran to her mother with a very cheerful expression on her
"My god," Derek said
under his breath.
He, even more so than the others,
had great trouble accepting the apparition in front of him.
The battle of his emotions did not show on his face, he had
been controlling them for too long, but the influx of confusion
almost overwhelmed his inner self. Part of him wanted to laugh
with joy as the loss he had been carrying in his heart tried
to fly away, and yet the Precept part of him issued a warning.
He would have dearly loved to walk up to Philip and welcome
him back to the house, but as the two looked at each other,
they both knew that wasn't yet possible.
Rachel just stared at her daughter,
and then back to Philip. This defied any rational explanation,
and her experience with dopplegangers was too clear in her memory
for her to accept the current situation. Kat seemed to sense
her mother's apprehension, and so she just slipped her finger's
into Rachel's hand and squeezed.
The two other occupants of
the living room now walked into the hall as well. The petite,
bare foot Jasmine smiled at the newcomers with her most innocent
"Where have you been?"
Derek asked the most pressing question in his mind.
replied calmly, "well mostly."
He'd found out sometime after
he'd woken that he'd lost a good five weeks before meeting Jas
the first time.
"Why didn't you contact
us?" it was a common thought, but so far the young man
had avoided answering it.
Here and now he felt a little
guilty about the answer, but he didn't lie, and he was not about
to start now.
"At the time," he
said slowly, "it didn't seem important."
It was the plain truth, but
it sounded so harsh. The revelation was obviously difficult
for Derek to understand, even Alex looked a little askance.
`I couldn't face it.', `I didn't remember.' or anything similar
would have been easier to accept, but `It didn't seem important.'
was like a physical blow. It was now that Kat decided to put
her view on the situation across.
"Philip's been busy,"
she said as if it should have been obvious to everyone, "we
weren't important until we needed him."
"What a remarkable child,"
even Jas was impressed.
How she knew all these things
was beyond most of the adults, even the psychics. It was probably
that she had no preconceived ideas and therefore there were
no barriers to her gift. Kat saw and believed, never just putting
things down to her imagination.
"I want to come home,"
Philip said simply, before anyone else could speak.
It was a plain request, but
the young man did not expect a straight answer. There were too
many variables, too many dangerous possibilities, and he did
not expect Derek to welcome him until all questions were answered.
There was of course one puzzle who could reveal herself.
Jas said formally, "I am Jasmine, and I offer my services
to your house."
She had stepped forward and
she bowed her head slightly.
"May I be so bold as to
enquire what exactly you are?" Derek did not need to be
"I am the Guide,"
the woman replied, "and I will teach all that I know to
any who care to learn. Much of my knowledge is only of use to
the Keeper, but there are parts other may wish to understand."
"Do you ask anything in
return?" the head of the house knew that this was no ordinary
human being, and when it came to such offers, there was usually
"No," the reply rather
There were going to have to
be long discussions about all of this, and the hallway was not
the right place.
"Let's go into the conference
room," the older man said evenly, "we can talk there."
It was peculiar sitting at
this end of the table, away from his usual place beside Alex,
but Philip knew he was not yet a part of this house again. It
was going to take time, and a lot of convincing to put him back
in even a piece of the position of trust he had held.
When a meeting was going on,
this room was usually a place for just the adults of the house,
but today Kat accompanied them. She sat beside Rachel on a stool,
solemnly silent in her new found involvement.
"You realise that we cannot
just accept you at face value," Derek said slowly once
they were all quiet. "Too much depends on this house."
"We didn't expect open
arms," Philip responded with no sign of resentment in his
voice. "I will do whatever it takes to prove I am neither
some apparition, nor am I possessed."
From the look on her face,
Alex was already convinced, but the Precept of the house would
be far more difficult to pursued. The younger psychic was, however,
the next `witness' as she revealed what she had found in the
records. She gave them a professional, objective view of the
information concerning the previous incident in the files. Her
personal opinions would wait discussions she knew would come
later. Once Derek invited comments, she would explain exactly
what view she chose to take.
It was when the young woman
passed on the facts which Jasmine had provided that the attention
turned to the not quite human individual.
"You have told us you
are the Guide," Derek looked directly into the woman's
green eyes, "but what exactly does that mean, and where
do you come from?"
The peculiar young woman had
been prepared for that, in fact she was prepared for most things.
"I was human once,"
she replied calmly, "a long time ago, but I have never
before lived in the mortal realm. My mother died at the exact
same moment as the last Keeper, with me unborn in her womb.
The crystal's power claimed my form, and changed me. It taught
me everything, and as I was taught, so will I teach. I have
watched the world turn and I have waited, and then Philip came.
Now I will be where ever he needs me to be."
The fact that she was not even
a human being came as a shock to the non-sensitives in the room.
On the surface she looked normal, except maybe her sense of
dress. The fact that Nick had been talking to her for a considerable
amount of time and never noticed a thing, worried him slightly.
The way Philip didn't seem to find his companion remotely disturbing
was also off putting.
"Are you mortal?"
it was a valid question.
"Not exactly," she
replied honestly, "I am not immortal, but I will never
grow old. However, if you are asking, can I die, then the answer
is yes. It would probably take a great deal of effort to kill
me, but it is possible. My life-force is connected with Philip's,
he is the reason I exist in this world. When he dies, so will
She did not seem in the least
bit concerned about the situation. Jasmine had come to terms
with her existence a long time ago, and she was content. The
fact that the man to whom she was eternally connected was madly
in love with her, and she with him, was an added bonus.
With the mention of Philip,
all eyes turned back to the young man. All the scrutiny made
him a little uncomfortable, but he didn't flinch from it. He
had been telling the absolute truth when he said he was willing
to do whatever it took to regain the trust of his friends.
"What made you return
now," Derek asked pointedly, "how did you know what
The extent of his abilities
was a mystery, even to Philip, and as Jas constantly reminded
him, he seemed to be able to do things of which he should not
be capable, and yet the simplest things could often escape him.
The answer to this question, however, was not difficult.
"I saw it happen,"
the young man replied evenly, "I had a vision."
He was looking straight into
Derek's eyes, and he knew they understood each other perfectly.
The Sight affected people in different ways, but the way he
explained gave Rayne a clear picture of exactly what it meant.
Kat saw things, Alex had visions and seemed to able to empathise
with just about any situation, but Derek was the only one that
knew how violent a vision could be. He knew what it was like
to really see, to experience an event through another's senses,
and he understood what Philip was telling him.
"I've been living inside
a shell, protected," the younger psychic continued slowly,
"but that shattered. You could say my life began again
when Nick's nearly ended ... I couldn't just let him die."
"But you could let us
bury you, and watch your family mourn?" he was not going
to be allowed to get away with a short explanation, Nick couldn't
contain his anger anymore.
The accusation exploded from
the ex-SEAL's mouth before he could contain it, but he clamped
down in it very swiftly. Philip did not try and blame his friend
for the reaction, but he could not keep the hurt from momentarily
crossing his features.
"I didn't even think about
it," he responded as he tried to explain. "It wasn't
that I didn't remember, it was that I had no connection to what
He was having great difficulty
finding the right words, how could he make them understand what
it had been like?
"When you dream,"
the young man continued finally, "you can watch what happens
without caring what you see. My world has been a small farm
in Ireland, nothing else was ... was ... real."
He said the last word as if
it was almost a revelation to himself. He really didn't understand
what had been happening, all he could say was that it had, and
he couldn't bring himself to regret it. Now was now, and then
had been necessary - quite an attitude for a man who had never
before been able to leave his past behind.
"How did you survive the
fire?" Derek took up the questioning again, he was interested
This was more difficult to
"I don't know," it
was the only honest reply, "the last thing I remember clearly
before I met Jasmine, was walking up the stairs of that house.
The rest is a haze of emotions and flames. I woke up at the
end of March, I have no idea what happened in between."
He looked to Jas for clarification,
but she just shrugged.
"Philip was with me, but
not with me for a long time," she said quietly, she had
told him this before, "I could not touch him, but he existed
in my place. There he always looked as he does now, he did not
change, or even appear injured, but since it was not his body
that was with me I cannot say what happened to it. Once I could
reach him, I knew I had to wake him, it is as simple as that."
"Not his body?" Derek
wanted a cleared picture.
"The crystal is a power
which exists outside this universe," Jasmine was teaching
again, "it cannot truly be described by anything of this
universe, yet it's energy may touch it through the Keeper. Just
as it cannot exist there, no human could truly exist in it's
realm, they are not compatible. A representation is, however,
not a problem, and Philip's own mind created that when it was
required. Where his body was, I cannot say, probably somewhere
safe where it could be kept and healed."
The young man left these explanations
to his companion, he knew them, but she was far more qualified
to give the truth. This conversation was becoming a little surreal
for the more sceptical people sitting around the table. Since
Derek appeared to be digesting the information, Rachel chose
"You speak of this crystal
as if it were alive," the psychiatrist said carefully,
"but how could that be?"
"It is alive," Philip
took up the reigns with a quiet certainty in his voice, "just
not in anyway we can truly understand. We call it the crystal
because that is the closest we can come to a description. It
is not of this world, it cannot be placed in this context, but
we have to have some way of expressing it's existence."
He was adamant, and his tone
bore no argument. He looked vaguely surprised with himself as
he finished speaking, as did Rachel. Something about the way
she had asked the question had touched a nerve, and Philip was
somewhat shocked at his reaction. A vaguely apologetic expression
crossed his face, there were some parts of his psyche he hadn't
"What would you do if
we decided your presence was too much of a risk?" Derek
changed track completely and took everyone by surprise.
Keeping emotion from wandering
straight across his features had never been one of Philip's
strong points, and now was no exception. He almost flinched
at the suggestion, and it took him a good few seconds to recompose
himself. That was really the only answer anybody needed, but
he spoke anyway.
"I don't know," he
said slowly, never taking his eyes off the man who probably
knew him best in the world.
Silence descended as the others
almost expected him to go on. He did not continue, those three
words were his answer, the plain, honest truth and he was not
going to embellish it. Derek seemed to appreciate the simplicity,
and he was also quiet for a long moment. Then, suddenly his
gaze flicked to the stranger in the room, his focus of attention
"I would like to speak
with Jasmine, alone," he said evenly, much to everyone's
The young looking woman just
smiled as if she'd known this all along.
[[I'll be fine,]] she sent
in Philip's direction as his anxiety showed, and she patted
him on the hand.
There was no arguing when their
Precept was in his present mood, and everyone stood, slowly.
They left the room in silence, not quite sure what they should
"You present me with quite
a puzzle," Derek said calmly, rising to his feet and walking
towards Jasmine's end of the table. "Would I be correct
in assuming that Philip is in love with you?"
It would have been pointless
to deny it, so the young woman nodded.
"And I with him,"
she replied evenly. "It was as much a surprise to me as
it seems to be to you. I was created to be his teacher, I did
not expect anything else."
The way the man's eyes wandered
over her made Jas think of an enemy observing his adversary.
He was not exactly hostile, but his body language could not
be considered friendly. In a flash of insight, she realised
that he was worried about Philip: whatever he chose to show
on the outside, inside he was anxious for a friend. In this
equation, Jasmine was the unknown factor.
"Are you lovers?"
it was a plain enquiry.
"No," Derek was surprised
by her answer for the second time that day.
In another time and place the
reaction may have amused her, but at that moment Jas was being
"As hard as it is for
you to believe," she told the psychic calmly, "our
relationship is not consummated. We have kissed, we are very
close, but we have never gone farther than that. No matter what
he may think, Philip is not ready for that yet, and I will not
allow him to be hurt. You see me as an opponent, a player to
drag a spiritual man from his chosen path: I am neither."
They were only a few feet apart
and the tension was very apparent. The relaxed mask was gone
from Jasmine as she spoke the plain and simple truth. This was
very important to her and she wanted to make her companion understand.
"I would never do anything
that would cause him pain," she continued with complete
certainty. "If I thought it was best for him I would leave,
let him get on with his life, return to the person he was, but
we both know that isn't the right course of action. I didn't
tear him away from his vocation, and if it was what he wanted
I would let him go back to God. He's changed Precept, and he
does not want to be the same person anymore."
"How can you be sure?"
a very simple question from Derek's unwavering calm.
"Because he has told me,"
Jasmine replied her voice returning to a quieter level, "because
I have seen inside his heart. I know how he was hurt, and I
have felt his self doubt, which is why I would not let anything
physical happen between us. He could not make a complete decision
until he had his life back. Even I was surprised when it did
not change anything."
It was something she had not
told Philip, but she had been dreading the day he would feel
for his past again. She had known that is might mean his calling
would once again take over his life, and she had not wanted
to loose him. Jasmine would never be able to explain to anyone
how much joy she had felt when he had confided in her that he
would officially be giving up the cloth as soon as he had helped
Derek did not need the Sight
to see the real love shining in her eyes. He had kept his thoughts
about her as neutral as possible so far, but he could not help
empathising with her. When he had thought Philip dead a hole
had opened in his soul. The young priest had been part of his
family, the serious, yet kind and spiritual man who could ease
any turmoil except that within his own heart. When he'd first
seen him in the hallway, the relief had been incredible until
doubt had clouded it. Then there had been the appearance of
the elf like woman, and it was as if she were a threat to rekindling
what had been. She was the real stone in the road, not the fact
that Philip seemed to have become some sort of healer. Jasmine,
and the way the young man looked at her were the factors which
had truly threatened the house. With her there, it could never
be the same again. Yet sitting there, looking into her face,
Derek knew that he was not the only one who loved Philip.
With that thought in mind he
continued his task of finding out about Jasmine, but with just
a little more gentleness.
Rachel was clinging to Kat,
almost as if her life depended on it, and the girl seemed to
be accepting the action with calm understanding. The child smiled
at Philip, but it didn't help ease the fact that, when they'd
moved to the living room, everyone else had sat on one side
of the room and he on the other. The easy conversation which
had grown up amongst Alex, Nick and him, had ended the moment
Derek had returned, and Rachel's reaction had turned it into
awkward silence. Nobody seemed quite able to meet his gaze,
except Rachel who was not hiding her anxiety. It was like sitting
in a doctor's surgery, waiting to hear whether you were terminally
ill or not.
They must have been sitting
there in total silence for a good ten minute when finally Alex
"This is ridiculous,"
she declared loudly and proceeded to walk across the imaginary
line that had gone up.
Philip had sat on the couch
this time, and without another word Alex sat on the other half
of the piece of furniture.
"Hi, I'm Alex," she
said sarcastically, "we don't seem to have been introduced."
That brought a half smile to
Philip's features and Nick actually laughed, all Rachel managed,
was to turn her worried gaze away. The psychiatrist did not
seem pleased when Kat giggled.
"So do you think you're
the topic of conversation in there?" Alex continued with
a fake, covert glance towards the hallway.
"Well my ears aren't burning
anymore," the pale eyed man returned, so relieved that
someone was actually talking to him.
"A tried and tested method
for divining," it was Nick's comment, this was getting
better all the time.
"If it works, it works,"
was the light reply.
The ex-SEAL didn't cross the
`divide', but he did perch on the edge of a chair, facing his
friend. Maybe is was going to be all right after all.
"So what else can you
do," the young man asked with a grin, "besides perform
miracles that is?"
The ex-priest's face broke
into a full smile, Nick had a direct way of expressing himself.
Everything was very up front where the ex-SEAL was concerned,
and it was kind of refreshing.
"Is it just the Sight?"
Alex added in her two cents.
"Yes and no," Philip
told them calmly, "it gets complicated."
He gave his researcher friend
a look that said, surely you understand, and she grinned. It
was good to put people in a spot every now and then, and she
was enjoying this.
"More complicated than
repairing the human body," Nick was not backing down, he
seemed to need to know.
"Actually yes," his
companion replied after a short pause, "you could say that
with that I'm a natural, everything else I have to work at.
Last time I tried to move something I ..."
"Move something, like
how?" Philip had just made a jump in logic, Alex wanted
"Jas insists I should
be telekinetic," Philip did not have a problem with explaining
this, "but I can't get the hang of it."
Now even Rachel couldn't hide
her curiosity, she was listening closely.
"I seem to exact side
effects every time I try," the young man seemed oblivious
to the fact that he was talking about something even the Legacy
didn't come across very often. "Last time I set fire to
the Kitchen. Jas had me trying to move this spoon on the table
... she gets these ideas into her head sometimes ... and the
next thing I know the pile of runner beans she's preparing for
dinner are on fire. The spoon moved approximately a centimetre."
Nick found this very funny.
At first his mouth was vaguely slack with amazement at what
he was being told, and then the humour of the story super imposed
itself. His laugh was infectious and Kat quickly began giggling
again. The sound brought a smile to Alex's face, but she didn't
laugh until she heard Philip's next comment.
he said lightly, "that's what Jas did. She laughed at me
for three days."
Now his other friend couldn't
help herself, the idea conjured such pictures in her mind.
"Let me know if you want
to do anything like that again," she said between chortles,
"I'll warn the fire department."
Philip was in the middle of
explaining that it wasn't just fire he had a problem with, the
first time every fork in the house had tied itself in a knot,
when there was a noise from the doorway. Jas looked even smaller
when she stood next to the tall Precept. There was almost an
expression of amusement on Derek's face as he listened, which
vanished the moment people noticed he was there.
he said calmly as he gained the attention of the whole room,
"if you wouldn't mind we might like to observe the phenomenon."
The young man just nodded.
"I believe that actions
speak louder than words," Derek continued slowly, "and
you have earned at least that chance, Philip. You and Jasmine
are welcome here. As for your status as a member of this Legacy
house, if you prove to be what you seem, then we will be more
than happy to invite you back in."
It was more than Philip had
dared to hope for at this early stage, Derek seemed to have
just taken everything into his own hands and made a decision.
Most people in the room looked a little surprised, but no one
chose to voice their opinion.
"Now if you'll excuse
me I have some work to do," the Precept continued rapidly.
"If you have no objections, I would ask that you allow
Alex and Rachel to examine you for our files. We can arrange
for your things to be picked up from your hotel."
Then he was gone, disappearing
in the direction of his study. He left the rest of the house
to just get on with it. Philip looked at Jas, who smiled, then
to Nick, then to Alex. The young researcher smiled broadly and
threw her arms around him for the second time that day.
"Welcome home, Philip,"
she said warmly.
of Part 5