Part 22 |
Rachel declared that all casualties
were suffering from nothing more than exhaustion, cuts and bruises,
so it was decided that calling in the paramedics would be an
overreaction. Hence, those in a fit state left their friends
to sleep and tried to come to terms with what had happened.
It wasn't easy, but with the arrival of the daytime staff, and
the sudden, unexplained return of the telephones, they managed
somehow. They had little idea of what exactly had happened,
but there was enough physical evidence to suggest the truth,
and the three adults did a great deal of talking. Kat for her
part remained strangely silent, but she did tuck into any and
all food offered to her, so no one was too worried.
As soon as the phone lines
came back up they received an excited call from Rhyanna. It
seemed that something remarkable had happened at the circle.
At the exact same moment the new entity had disappeared from
the Legacy house, the damaged trees had gone through a remarkable
generation. Nothing could have saved the two that were destroyed,
but those which had had their name designs removed were whole
again. This news even managed to raise a smile from Kat.
It was a little after lunch
when Alex decided there had been enough talking and she needed
to do something. Banging around in her own room seemed like
a bad idea, so she began to tidy the hallway outside where Guardian
had overturned furniture. She'd just placed a broken chair in
a black sack when the sound of a door opening distracted her.
The expression on her face was a picture when she saw that it
was her bedroom door which had made the sound, and Holland was
standing there as naked as the day she was born. The young witch
didn't even seem to notice the psychic, she just calmly walked
down the corridor to Nick's room and went in.
Now some urges are irresistible,
and Alex just had to see what was going on. Holland didn't seem
to care about leaving the doors she passed through wide open,
and the Legacy member made it to the gap to see the witch reach
the bed where Nick was sleeping. The woman lifted the cover
in one hand and quite slowly, climbed in. Her bed companion
moved to let her lie down and wrapped her in his arms before
they both lay still, obviously totally asleep again. Alex just
closed the door quietly and decided not to think about it too
Rachel wandered down the hall
about half an hour later, a smile on her face. She'd just been
to check on Philip and Jasmine and she obviously found something
amusing. She went to go into Alex's room when she noticed the
door was already opened.
"They're both in there,"
the psychic offered helpfully and indicated Nick's room.
"Them too," Rachel
observed with a grin. "I was just making sure Jasmine was
okay and Philip walked right into the room and climbed into
the bed. He didn't seem to even notice me."
Alex had to smile back.
"I'm glad it's not just
me who's suddenly invisible," she said lightly. "It's
not everyday you see naked women wandering around these halls."
"At least Philip had some
clothes on," her companion returned with a laugh.
It was just before dinner that
the first of the sleepers finally emerged. Derek, Alex, Rachel
and Kat had just moved into the dining room when Philip appeared
round the corner. He looked somewhat ragged around the edges,
but at least he was awake.
"Welcome back to the world
of the living," Derek greeted as his friend sat down, "feeling
"Well I think I could
sleep for a week," the ex-Priest returned in his gentle
Irish lilt, "but it was a battle between that and my stomach.
Hunger won out."
The young man retained dark
patches under his eyes, but his tone was cheerful enough. When
it came time to serve, however, everyone told him to stay put
and just passed him his plate. It was as the group began to
eat that it became clear there was some confusion as to what
exactly had happened that morning.
"Sorry if this isn't the
time," Philip started slowly, "but I'm curious, how
did you recast the binding spell?"
Everyone looked at him as one.
He stopped, his fork halfway to his mouth as he noticed the
"We didn't," Derek
explained, "we assumed you had something to do with it,
along with Nick and Holland."
Now Philip's memory of events
was a little patchy, all he recalled clearly was the initial
push to prevent the sigil from cleaving in two. The admission
from the others brought a vague thought to the surface of his
mind, something to do with Jasmine. He frowned slightly, trying
to bring more of the memory to the front of his ruminations.
"What happened after we
left?" he asked finally, hoping that something would jog
The other three adults gladly
explained their part in the proceedings. The appearance of Guardian,
Nick's possession, the shooting, James, and then the appearance
of the new being. Their companion listened in silence, but there
wasn't anything that seemed to help.
"I'm very hazy on just
about everything," the ex-priest admitted as he was filled
in on the second side of the story, "I remember going down
to the basement and trying to slow down the division, but after
that I get very vague."
"Don't worry," Rachel
said with a smile and patted the back of his hand, "it'll
probably come back to you later. I don't suppose you remember
your walk to Jasmine's room either, and after we tucked you
up in your own so nicely."
She couldn't resist it, and
she and Alex grinned at each other as Philip went a beautiful
shade of pink. Even Derek couldn't contain his smile, the ex-priest
did embarrassment so well. He'd had to face innuendoes ever
since it became obvious that he and Jasmine were sleeping together,
but this rather put the icing on the cake.
"Oh," was all he
started to say, and then his cheeks coloured even more as a
The reference had jogged his
muddled thoughts and he suddenly recalled some of the very impure
ideas that had been going through his mind that morning. A snapshot
of the whole tidal wave that had happened formed in his mind
and he couldn't help but be a little hot and bothered. The others
were looking at him expectantly, and his eyes flicked to Kat.
"I'll explain later,"
he said, and tried to concentrate on his food.
He and Derek disappeared soon
after the meal was over and they only resurfaced half an hour
after that. Now the Precept was beginning to get a fuller picture,
and things were becoming clear. They sat down in the living
room and firmly turned the conversation away from the morning's
activities which would be saved for another time. The high back
chairs were very comfortable which turned out to be Philip's
downfall. Within five minutes of sitting in one he was asleep
again. Alex woe him with a gentle nudge and suggested he go
back to bed, he didn't argue.
Nick woke very suddenly, something
had moved beside him, something warm and soft. His eyes shot
opened and looked to the right, Holland smiled at him.
"Sorry," she said,
"I didn't mean to wake you, it's just that my arm has gone
The ex-SEAL just looked at
her as his thoughts feel over themselves to explain this. He
moved slightly and the fact that he was wearing jeans in bed
made itself apparent. Everything fell into place, the circle,
the library, the bedroom. The bit between the library and the
bedroom was a blank, but he definitely remembered the bedroom.
He sat up rapidly as the memory of thoughts that weren't quite
his raced through his mind. He recalled what he'd done and how
he had done it: he was appalled.
voice was gentle and reassuring as her arms snaked around him
from behind, "it's all right."
She knew exactly what was going
through his head, it was written in every muscle of his body.
He tried to pull away, but she wouldn't let go.
"No," she said, "you
can't leave. If you get out of this bed now, you'll never get
back into one with me, I can feel it. I don't want that."
Her words stopped him, she
was right. There was part of him that loved her dearly and was
thrilled at the closeness of her body, but there was another
part that was afraid. Afraid of what he had been when he first
touched her, of the way he enjoyed hurting her.
"We created a new being,"
the witch would try anything to keep him, "it was what
we were supposed to do. There was no other way, Nick."
"But I ..." he started,
and turned to face her.
"No," she said firmly,
"we did it together. Whatever we did, we did it together."
He remembered her scream, the
blinding light and he couldn't help looking down. He saw the
sigil and the pounding of his heart slowed just a little. His
hand reached out and touched the sign gently, and Holland knew
she had pulled him over one barrier. It was time to break the
"You have one too,"
she said quietly, and put her hand on his chest.
It was difficult, but as he
looked down at himself he could just about see it.
"Another scar for the
collection," he said in a half resolved tone.
"You may have another
one to add as well," Holland admitted with an apologetic
smile and pointed to his shoulder.
The bite marks were obvious
in all their glory and Nick had to laugh, or he would have cried.
He still couldn't look her straight in the eye, but at least
he wasn't trying to run away.
"I don't know about you,"
the witch said with a sly grin, "but I kind of enjoyed
The ex-SEAL obviously wasn't
sure whether to look totally scandalised or relieved, he eventually
went for something somewhere in-between. The fact that his partner
had found anything but complete revulsion in the experience
was a shock and more than a little weight off his mind. His
moral side felt that he had done things that were inexcusable,
but the creature he had been when they happened clearly found
the events fulfilling and engaging. He was beginning to realise
that the same might be true for Holland. When she ran a finger
over his chin he finally smiled back at her. It was a tentative
smile, but it was real.
"I don't know about you,"
she said shortly afterwards, "but I need a shower and some
food. If my stomach makes itself known any louder they'll pick
it up on the moon."
She kissed him firmly on the
lips and then bounced out of bed.
"Do you have a robe around
here?" she enquired brightly. "I can just see Derek's
face if I bump into him in the hall wearing nothing but a smile."
"It used to be on the
back of the wardrobe door," he told her with a grin that
just wouldn't be held back, "but looking at this room it
could be anywhere."
Guardian had not done quite
such a number on Nick's abode as he had on Alex's, but all the
draws had been opened and their contents dumped in various places.
However, Holland soon found the robe under her lover's upturned
gun box, and slipped it on.
"Now," she said with
a smile, "where's the bathroom?"
Nick's plan was to sneak down
to the kitchen, find something to eat, and hopefully get back
to his room without having to talk to anyone. He knew there
were going to be questions to answer, and he really didn't want
anything to do with them now. Holland, on the other hand, had
an entirely different idea about events. The ex-SEAL found himself
dragged in the direction of the living room, and he didn't have
a chance to object. He at least tried not to look too reticent
as the witch led him into the room.
It was quite late, and Kat
had been put to bed an hour or so previously, leaving the adults
to relax by themselves. Everyone, including Alex, looked surprised
to see Nick and Holland in the room.
"Evening," the witch
greeted brightly, "we were just on the way to the kitchen
with an attack of the munchies, and thought we'd say hello on
She looked a little ridiculous
in a pair of Nick's exercise shorts and sweatshirt that were
way too big for her, but something about her seemed to glow.
Whatever it may have entailed, Holland seemed to have come out
very well from her recent experiences.
"Well, you're looking
surprisingly awake," Alex chose a light note on which to
start, "we were going to enter you for the sleeping world
The banter continued between
the two women, but Nick wasn't really listening. There were
too many thoughts going around in his head for him to concentrate
on much else, and his awkwardness with the situation leant itself
to using the barrier to ignore it. Derek had obviously spoken
to him more than once by the time he realised that anything
had been sent in his direction.
"Nick, are you all right?"
were the first words that seeped into his mind, and he blinked
at his precept as he noticed him.
"Ah, yeah," he replied
and tried to reign in his rampaging brain, "fine."
He didn't elaborate, and all
his friends recognised the signs that said he really didn't
want to talk about it right now. It was late, there was nothing
that could be gained from questions now, so all three seated
people, calmly let the matter drop.
"If you don't mind the
company," Alex changed the subject quickly, "I was
thinking of heading down for a snack myself."
"Not at all," Holland
was not about to let Nick sour her mood, "but I don't guarantee
they'll be anything left if I get to the refrigerator first."
of Part 21
It was a fabulous day, the
sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and all of nature
seemed to be at peace. It had taken a good week to get the Legacy
house back in order, and they were still finding pieces of things
behind radiators and under furniture. The people, however, were
in much better condition.
Kat had come out of her silence
the day after the incident, and was back to her cheerful self.
Philip and Jasmine were what Nick termed `sickeningly happy',
and had discovered that they too now bore smaller versions of
the sigil they had been trying to save. The ex- priest's mark
was just over his heart, and his lover's was in exactly the
same place as Holland's. The two women seemed to enjoy this
fact. The person who had taken longest to bounce back was Nick,
but after the group had talked everything through, and Holland
had asked very nicely if she might be allowed to stay around
for a while, he had perked up considerably. Derek had quietly
asked the witch if she would like to become a member of the
Legacy, and the coven sadly let her go when she said yes.
All this and more had happened
during the week, and the San Francisco Legacy house had been
honoured when the SFU coven invited them to be present at the
restoration ceremony for the circle. They were all there, Derek,
Rachel and Kat between the south westerly trees, Nick with his
arms around Holland, one gap round, Alex, Philip and Jasmine
one on from that. The other spaces were filled with coven members,
and four of their number stood in the centre with two saplings.
There were no words in this
ceremony, but it was incredibly beautiful as Rhyanna and Sam,
Marie and Paul, took their assigned trees, and bonded the new
growth into the old. Under their care, and the power of the
reborn circle, roots reached out with incredible speed and burrowed
into the power source. It would be a long time before these
trees were as strong and as large as those they replaced, but
even as the small plants touched their new home, pale signs
appeared on their bark. They may have been juvenile, but they
could channel the same power, and as they bonded completely,
even Nick felt something in the surroundings shift. It was quite
a profound experience to feel life return to a place, and it
left all with the deepest knowledge that everything was back
where it should be. More than one person turned to their friends
and threw there arms around them.