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"Derek! How ar yoo lad?" the giant man boomed. With a massive hand that was attached to a gargantuan arm, he slapped a smiling Derek on the back. Derek winced in pain as soon as the Scot had turned his head.
"Stewart MacDougal, it's been almost five years, hasn't it?" Derek said. He pointed to his friends and said, "These are my colleagues, Alexandra Moreau, Nick Boyle, Galina Perovskaya, Rachel Corrigan, her daughter, Kat, and Father Philip Callahan."
"Ach! So meny Irish! Well, welcoom yoo are, come on in!" Stewart bellowed. "This is th'MacDoogal Cahsle. Pryde of th'MacDoogal Clan. My famley and I act'shually live across th'moor in Edinburgh, boot we had th'place prepared for yoor arrival."
The giant Scottish chieftain led them into an impressive castle that, Derek had to admit to himself, put his Legacy home to shame.
"The staff must have their hands full with this place," Alex commented in awe.
"Not really, Lass. We 'ave a few wimin hew come en to straytin' th'place oop unce a wake," Stewart said.
Alex looked at the man and smiled. She whispered to Philip, "What the heck did he just say?"
"He said he has a few women who come in to straighten the place up once a week," Philip told her. She smiled again and the two of them laughed quietly. "And you thought my accent was strong," Philip whispered to her. Alex resisted the powerful urge to laugh out loud.
"I hiard a fool staff to take caire uf yoor needs hare, but thair unly heer dewring th'day. They leeve ufter seexe o'cluck. Ach! Heer come me dahters," Stewart said.
"He said he hired a full staff t'take care of our needs here, but they're only here durin' the day. They leave after six o'clock," Philip said quietly to Alex.
Two young women of the same age walked up to the group. "Theese ar me dahters, Eln and Mergret," Stewart said. Philip walked forward.
"Ellen, and Margaret? Pleased t'meet you, I'm Father Callahan," Philip introduced himself.
Rachel could hardly believe her eyes. Ellen MacDougal was a very pretty girl with vibrant red hair that shone like a ruby and eyes like emeralds. But her twin sister, Margaret, had a pale complexion with brassy, copper-colored hair and dull green eyes. Ellen introduced herself exhuberantly, paying quite a lot of attention to Philip, while Margaret seemed to hide in the background. It was something that did not escape Kat's notice.
"Hello," she said to Margaret, "my name's Kat, but Margaret is a pretty name. Do you have a nickname? Kat is really my nickname 'cause my real name is Katherine," the little girl rambled.
"D'you think I care?" Margaret snapped. Her accent was not as strong as her father's. Rachel put a protective arm around her daughter.
"Mergret MacDoogal! How dere yoo shame me with yoor ruhd beehavyor!" shouted Stewart.
"It's okay, I'm not mad," Kat said to the infuriated giant.
To their surprise, Stewart's other daughter, Ellen, spoke with a strong English accent. "It's just like you to do something this awful, Margaret," she said.
Margaret said nothing, but ran from the room and out the door.
"Blast'd gurl!" Stewart said, "I'm surry to yoo fore hur beehavyor," Stewart said.
"It's quite all right," Derek professed. "She's done no harm."
"Well, let's goo an eete! Yoo moost be hungree!" Stewart said, as he led them all into a dining room hall that was almost bigger than the front yard.
"I don't know about you guys, but I can't understand a word he's saying," Rachel murmured to Derek and Nick. Kat lagged behind.
As Ellen MacDougal passed her, Kat said, "You should be more nice to your sister."
Ellen bent down low to Kat and replied, "And you should mind your own business you little brat!"
Philip walked up behind them. "What did you say to her?" he asked Ellen.
"I said I wonder where Father Callahan is at, and here you are. You can sit by my side if you like, Father," Ellen said, sweetly.
Alex grabbed Kat by the hand and said, "I heard what she said. What a witch."
Kat said, "With a big 'W' ."
Alex laughed, "That's right, baby doll, with a big, BIG 'W' !"
"What are you two mumbling about?" Rachel asked as she sat down next to Kat and Alex at the table.
Kat looked at Ellen and said, "Witches."
"Yeah," Alex said, also looking at Ellen, "mean and nasty witches."
"Well, don't go and give yourself nightmares, Kat," Rachel told her daughter.
Kat grinned at Ellen, who waited until no one was looking before giving Kat the nastiest look she could muster.
After dinner, Kat and Philip went outside for a walk. They came across Margaret with an armful of heather. Philip looked and saw that the heather trailed all around the borders of the castle.
"What are y'doin' Margaret?" he asked her.
"It's gude luck, t'circle yoor home with heather," she said.
"We'll help you, come on Philip!" Kat said, running forward.
"NO!" Margaret yelled at her. Kat froze in her tracks. Philip stepped in front of her and faced Margaret.
"She meant you no harm. She was just going t'help," he said to her. Margaret's features softened a little, but her tone did not.
"I don't need any wun's help," she said and stormed away from them.
Kat looked up at Philip and said, "She's really lonely."
"Yes, Kat, she is," Philip said.
"Why? Why is she like that?" asked Kat.
"I don't know," Philip said.
"I bet it's her mean sister. Well, I'm going to be Margaret's friend," the little girl beamed. Philip smiled at her and patted her on the top of her head.
"I know you will, " he said proudly.
"Darek, I thank yoo fur this. Yoo dunt know whut a lood it eese off me mind," Stewart said to him. Derek registered the words in his head and tried to decipher what Stewart was saying.
"The Boof of Dubh Eaglais is a very powerful, and very dangerous thing and must be locked away. I'm very humbled, and very honored that you chose me to do so," Derek said. The Scot smiled and turned around, grabbing three glasses and a bottle of Scotch.
Alex leaned over and whispered in Derek's ear, "Looks like you answered that well, how did you know what he was saying?"
"I didn't," Derek smiled at her. "Sometimes I just have to make an educated guess."
"I know that yoo weren vary happy aboot th'party weer havin' t'morrow. Boot thare are a loot of peeple that know aboot th'Loona Fowndashun, an a loot of peeple donate theer mooney t'keepin' this cahsle afloat an thay'd bee vary ensulted not t'bee envited ohver . An thars noothin' wurse than a Scot with a woonded eegoh!" Stewart told them. He broke out into laughter. Derek and Alex, not wanting to insult the man, laughed with them even though they had no idea of what he was saying. "Well, then," Stewart said, standing up. Derek and Alex stood up with him. "I know yool bee wantin' to get to slape soon, I'll take me dahters and bee off, see yoo en th'mornin'!"
Derek went to shake the man's hand but was greeted instead by a bear hug in which Stewart lifted Derek up off the ground. He turned and kissed Alex's hand and left the room. They could hear the giant Scot as he said goodbye to Nick in the same way. "I think I would rather him kiss my hand," Derek said, rubbing his rib-cage.
"He's a giant pussy cat at heart,"Alex smiled.
"That's because you're not the one with your ribs crushed, Alex," Derek laughed. Nick wandered into the room, holding his stomach.
"Gotta love that guy, but at a distance. I wish I knew what the heck he was saying all the time. His daughters aren't that bad, that one talks like a Brit," he said.
"Ellen was educated at Oxford," Derek said.
"What about Margaret? Poor thing, it's like she's always in the background," Alex said.
When Margaret had finished laying out the heather, she pulled the ancient, worn book out of her knapsack and planted herself in the dewy grass. Her father would be so angry when he found out the Book of Dubh Eaglais was missing, but what did she care? He would never know it was her that had taken it. Finally the people of Edinburgh would respect her and fear her, like they had her father. She would be in the spotlight instead of her hussy of a sister. It would be her turn to shine.
Margaret waited until her father left and the lights in the castle went off one by one. She looked at her watch and surmised she could wait a little longer. Her father was probably off to the pub anyway, he wouldn't notice her absence even if he was at home.
Margaret turned the pages of the old book to the spell she wanted and recited it, "I call on th'blood of Celtics dead. Heed my call as I 'ave said. In a ring o' heather all are prone. Their bodies switched and not their own." Margaret watched as a faint blue glow surrounded the castle for a few minutes and was gone. She turned and threw the book back in her knapsack and hurried off on her bike.
Nick opened his eyes. He could feel Galina asleep behind him and reached a hand over and laid it on her face. After a few seconds of post-sleep haze, Nick jerked his hand back. Since when did Galina's face have a five o'clock shadow? He turned over in the bed and found himself face to face with a sleeping Philip.
"PHILIP!" Nick screamed. Philip jumped up out so fast that he fell backwards off the bed. Nick sat there, stunned at how feminine his voice had sounded. Philip looked up at him.
"Alex! I'm sorry, did I sleepwalk...wait a minute this is my room!" he said. Nick looked at him strangely, why the hell did he call him Alex?
"You're room?" Nick said, he stopped. There it was again, he wasn't speaking with his voice. Philip stared at him in amazement. Nick realized that Philip seemed shocked at his voice as well when he grabbed at his throat. Nick stood up and said, "Look Philip, this is my...damn! Why the hell do I sound like a woman, what the hell is-" Nick stopped and stared forward into the mirror. "Holy God!" he shrieked. He was looking in the mirror and the reflection he got back wasn't his own, it was Alex's. "This isn't happening, this isn't happening, wake up Nick!" he shouted to himself.
Philip got up from the floor and ran over to the mirror. He screamed and put his hands over his mouth when he saw himself in the mirror as well. "I don't believe this! I do NOT! Nicola! Nicola, where are you?" Philip shouted, running for the door. Nick stopped and looked at Philip, only Galina called him Nicola. Nick's jaw dropped to the ground.
"GALINA?!" he shouted. Philip turned towards him.
"Oh my GOD! Nicola!" Philip shouted. He fell forward into Nick's arms and fainted.
"Holy shit!" Nick exclaimed.
Rachel rolled over and gasped, "Oh! Galina? What are you doing in here? Where's my daughter?" She stopped and sat straight up in bed. "Why do I sound like Derek?"
Galina sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes and cried, "Mom?" She looked over at Rachel and asked, "Derek? Where's my mom?"
Rachel gasped again. She threw the covers off her bed and looked down at her legs. The nightgown she was wearing was gone and replaced by a dark olive colored set of pajama bottoms. She stared at the large, masculine feet sticking out the bottom of them and breathed in a deep breath. She looked back at Galina and then back down at her legs. Galina jumped out of bed.
"Wow!" she said, "I'm so tall! Derek look at me! I'm a big girl!"
Rachel whirled around and and cried, "Oh, Kat!" She got out of bed and ran to the large, full-length mirror across the room. She put her hands to her head and exhaled sharply. Galina came up behind her and looked in the mirror. "Kat," Rachel said, "it's mommy!"
Kat looked at the reflection of herself as Galina in the mirror and then at Derek's. "Mom?" she said, "what's happening?"
"I have no idea," Rachel said. She grabbed Kat's hand and led her towards the bedroom door.
Alex heard a lot of shouting and commotion coming from out in the hall and jumped from bed. The first thing she noticed was the boxers and t-shirt she was wearing. What the hell, she thought, I was wearing a nightgown last night, wasn't I? She thought she heard Kat's voice cry out in the hall so she darted forwards and froze in her tracks as she passed the mirror by her bed. Her first thought was that Nick was in her room. But as she walked forward, her jaw dropped to the ground. Alex put out her hand and touched the glass. She pulled it back quickly, as if she had been hit with an electric shock. Alex took three steps back and screamed at the top of her lungs.
Nick was barely able to revive Galina when he heard what sounded like a million screams coming from the hallway. He guessed that what had happened to him and Galina had happened to the others and for a split second he smiled in wondering who was going to be who. He and Galina ran out into the hall and ran into Kat at full speed.
"Kitty Kat! I'm sorry, honey!" Nick said. Kat looked at him strangely and pushed him away.
She said, "Don't call me honey. Which one of you is in there?"she asked.
"It's me Nick, and that's Galina," Nick said, pointing to Philip's body.
"I wondered who had gotten me," Philip said, walking up in Rachel's body. Derek walked forward.
"Philip, you got my body?" Rachel asked.
"RACHEL? You're stuck in Derek's body?" Nick busted out into laughter.
"I'm a big girl, look at me!" Kat said in Galina's body. Galina came forward.
"Well, thank God for that!" she said.
Nick came tumbling out of Alex's room. She stared at all of them and before she could speak, Nick said, "Alex?" Alex looked relieved that she wasn't the only one affected and nodded. "Wait a minute, which one of us is Derek?" Nick asked. The six of them looked over at Kat's little body. Nick broke out laughing. It wasn't long before Philip and Alex were laughing as well. Nick leaned against the door, holding his stomach.
"I don't see what's so damn funny!" Derek said.
"Oh, you sound so cute, it's like Kat's talkin'!" Galina choked. It only prompted the others to laugh even harder.
"All right, enough!" Derek yelled in Kat's little child voice. "We have to figure out what happened here if we're ever going to get our bodies back, all right? Okay?!" he yelled. "We are in grave danger, if our enemies ever found out about this there's no tell-" Derek had to stop for the roar of laughter deafened his ears. He turned around and stalked down the hall.
Kat looked at her mother and asked, "Why's he so mad? Doesn't he like being me?"
"It's not that sweetheart," Alex said.
"Maybe if I let him play with my Diaper-Me-Daisy doll, he'll feel better," Kat said. Nick hit the floor with a loud thud, wheezing and gasping for air, his laughter was throttling him. Philip could barely control his laughter as he slid down the wall, his shoulders heaving.
Rachel stepped forward, "Come on you guys, knock it off. We can't stand here laughing and giggling all day."
"Now there you go, that's more like Derek," Alex smirked.
"No," Galina said, "Rachel is right. Kat, I know you like being a big girl, but I have t'say that the thought of being stuck in a priest's body for the rest of my life is not appealin', I want my body back." She added, "No offense, Father."
"None taken, Galina," he said. He turned back to Rachel and said, "As much as I care for you Rachel, I don't want to be stuck here either, let's go figure out what's happened, okay?"
The six of them looked at each other. Galina said, "I guess we should go into the others' rooms and change clothes, right?"
Her comment annihilated Nick's laughter. He bellowed, "Wait a minute! No one is dressing MY body." He looked at Galina, "Well, except maybe for you." He started to whisper in her ear when Alex slapped him on the back.
"Hey! That's my mouth your dirty-talking with mister!" she said angrily.
"All right, we can't stay in our pajamas all day, we have to get dressed somehow. All the girls in one room and all the guys-" Rachel began.
"No way!" Nick said. "I'm not having a bunch of girls ogle at my body."
"It's not anything I haven't seen before, darlin'," Galina said. Everyone looked at her and she blushed, realizing how it must have looked to have those words come from a priest's mouth.
After forty-five minutes of arguing about what to do, and another half-an-hour to get dressed, all seven of them were seated down in the dining room.
"I don't think," Derek began. He stopped and looked at everyone's expressions, waiting to see if they were going to start laughing again. When he was certain they wouldn't, he started speaking again, "I don't think we should let anyone else know about this. As I said, it could be dangerous for us. We're in the middle of securing the Book of Dubh Eaglais and it wouldn't look good to Stewart. God knows how he would react and-" Derek stopped speaking again when a feminie giggle began from the other side of the table. He glared at Nick in fury and slammed his small hand on the table. It made a tiny little popping sound and Nick erupted into hysterical laughter again. "NICK!" Derek yelled.
Nick jumped up from the table and shouted, "I can't help it man! If you could just see yourself-" Nick wasn't able to finish his sentence as he broke out again.
"Stop it, DAMMIT!" Derek yelled.
"Hey! Don't use bad words with me!" Kat yelled at him. Derek threw both hands into the air and screamed in frustration.
"All right, all right, that's enough guys, let Derek talk," Galina said.
"Thank you, Galina. Like I said, not a word of this to anyone! Do you all understand? Not until we find out what's happened," Derek told them.
"I think it's pretty obvious what's happened," Philip said. "Someone has gotten their hands on the Book of Dubh Eaglais and used one of it's spells. I remember there was a spell the ancient Celts used to use where they would swap all the bodies of their enemies. It was a sure-fire way to cause mass confusion and therefore weaken them," he explained.
"Dubh Eaglais, isn't that Gaelic for 'Dark Church'?" Alex asked. Philip nodded and winced.
"Well, then, we just have to find out who took the book. Rachel, since you're me, you're going to have to call Stewart and see if you can cancel the party he has planned tonight for us. There's no way we'd ever survive through an entire night of hundreds of people roaming about the place," Derek told her.
"I'll see what I can do," Rachel said.
"All right, I'm going to go over the grounds of the castle, see if I can come up with anything," Derek told them and left. Philip leaned forward and put his head on the table.
"What's the matter?" Alex asked him.
"Oh, nothing, I'm just tired," Philip said. He waited until the others walked away before pulling Rachel aside. "Rachel, I don't feel well at all, I have a, um, a cramp," Philip told her.
Rachel flushed bright red and said, "Oh, Philip, I'm sorry, I should have told you, it's, well, it's my, you know." Philip moaned. It was just his luck. "Do you need any, you know, kotex or anything?" Rachel asked him.
"NO!" he roared. He blushed slightly as he looked around the hall and saw everyone staring at him. He turned back to Rachel and said, "I don't think I need it right now, it's just a little PMS."
"All right, but Philip, if you need anything you can come get me, okay? I think I have some Midol in my purse upstairs," Rachel said in a low voice.
"Rachel, I am a priest, a man of God. A believer in non-violence. But so help me if you ever mention a word of this to anyone else I'll come after you!" Philip turned and slowly made his way to a small sofa along the wall and sat down, his shoulders hunched over and his arms around his stomach.
"Well," Alex said, "that's not exactly what I would have chosen for myself." She looked over Nick's choice of a baggy flannel shirt and jeans he had dressed in.
"What the hell did you expect I would wear, a dress? No way!" Nick replied. He looked at Alex, in a light peach sweater and tight blue jeans. "Besides, what the hell do you call that? What are you trying to do to me? I look like a giant God-dammed apricot!"
"Hey, peach is a good color on you, you should wear it more often," Alex said.
She brushed past Nick and heard him mutter, "I can't wait to get out of her."
Alex whirled around and said, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh come on, Alex. This isn't exactly how I plan to spend the rest of my life, being stuck in your body," Nick told her.
"What's wrong with my body?" Alex asked.
"Nothing, it's just no fun being stuck in a chick's body," Nick replied.
"Chick? CHICK?" Alex yelled. "All right big man, you want to see what 'chick' is like?"
"What do you mean? What are you going to do?" Nick asked, warily.
"Nothing, nevermind, just forget we ever had this conversation, okay?" Alex said, stalking off.
Alex walked back upstairs and into her room. She rifled through her carrying case until she found a bottle of nail polish. Oh yeah, Alex thought, bright red. She sat down on the edge of her bed and began to paint Nick's fingernails, giggling the whole time.
"Nick, just calm down," Galina told him.
"I can't, she's going to do something, I just know she is," Nick said, pacing back and forth.
"She was only kiddin' Nick. Alex wouldn't do anything to you," Galina said.
"Oh, you don't know her like I know her. She's up to something she's-" Nick stopped and stared past Galina. After a few seconds he screamed at the tops of his lungs, "ALEX! NO!" He ran forward.
When Galina saw her beloved's body she choked on her laughter. Not only had Alex painted his fingernails, but she had thrown on a few necklaces and some rouge and lip-gloss as well. Nick screamed in agony. "Get it off, Alex! GET IT OFF OF ME NOW!" he yelled at her. She laughed in his face and started to walk away.
"Now you really know what it's like to be a 'chick'," she said. Instead of blowing his fuse completely, which is what Galina expected him to do, Nick laughed.
"No problem, Alex. Two can play that game. How would little Miss Health Nut, little Miss Vegetarian, like some HAGGIS!" Nick said. Alex whipped around. "Oh yeah, ground up sheep parts cooked in a sheep's stomach. Mmm-mmm good!" he yelled and tore off for the kitchen.
"Nick!" Alex shrieked. "Damn him, he's not putting that crap into my body!" she screamed, running after him.
"Would you tell them to shut up?" Philip told Galina. "I have a really bad backache and my head hurts!"
Galina was about to answer when Stewart MacDougal breezed into the room. "Dr. Curigan, Fadder Calahand, how's theng's todaye?"
"Oh God," Philip murmured to himself, "I think I just discovered a new level of hell."
"Dr. Curigan, whet's th'maddar 'ith yoo?" Stewart asked. The big Scot walked over to Philip and laid a hand on his shoulder. Philip looked him in the eye and snapped.
"I don't feel well, all right? Does anyone have a problem with that? Is it too much to ask to be left alone?!" Philip yelled.
Stewart said, "Okey, Lassie." He walked up to Galina and slapped her on the back. She tumbled backwards a few steps and Stewart caught her by the collar. He said, "Looks lake th'doctor has a bet of crempin'."
"I do not have a bit of cramping! It's just a stomach ache, for God's sake," Philip cried. God, he thought, if this is a test of faith it's a damn good one. He got up and slowly made his way to the other room.
"Well then, ware's Darek?" Stewart asked. Galina's eyes widened.
"Uh, he's in the study, I think. Why don't I go and get him?" Galina turned and fled from the room. Irish are always weerd, Stewart thought. He listened as sounds from an argument traveled in from the kitchen. As he opened the door he swore underneath his breath.
"Give it to me, Nick! Give it to me!" Alex and Nick were dancing around a large wooden cooking island in the middle of the room. Nick held a plate full of haggis and was shoving bits of it into his mouth. They didn't see Stewart MacDougal enter the room.
"Whet en Good's name?" Stewart cried. The wee Lassie was stuffing herself with haggis and the Lad was covered in make-up and jewelry!
"Mr. MacDougal!" Alex cried. Nick turned and dropped the plate of haggis. He tried to swallow down what was left in his mouth.
"Mr. MacDougal, it's not what it looks like," Nick said, running forward. He pointed to Alex and said, "Nick's doesn't do this, EVER. He's just, just, uh, practising for a play he's doing back home. You know, um Tootsie! You've heard of Tootsie, haven't you?" Stewart smiled and nodded.
"Oh, it's alright, Alex," Alex said, "you don't have to cover for me anymore. It's become a burden, living with this secret. It's time I came out of the closet."
Nick stared at her for a few moments and then realization slapped him in the face. "NO! No, no, Nick's not in any closet, Stewart! He's just kidding! He's pulling your leg!" Nick cried. Stewart's smile faded as he began to back away towards the door.
"Don't be silly," Alex said, "I've been like this for a long time. It's a little refreshing to have the secret out." Nick was dancing around the room in anger.
"Nick Boyle is not gay!" he screamed.
"Alex, I know it's a hard thing to accept, especially when I know you have feelings for me and all, but-" Alex started to say.
"WHAT? NO! Cut it out!" Nick began chasing Alex around the table, neither one of them had noticed that Stewart had left the room. Finally Alex stopped.
"Stewart's gone, I guess we scared him off," Alex chirped.
"What are you trying to do to me? What the hell was that all about?" Nick growled at her.
"That was for making me eat haggis!" Alex snapped.
"That's only because you put make-up on me!" Nick snapped back at her.
"Yeah! Because you called me a chick!" replied Alex. "Look, Nick, now we're even all right?"
"Oh no, sister, we're not even close to 'even'. You're gonna get it big time," Nick said and stalked off.
"Derek!" Galina shouted, running across the lawn. "Stewart MacDougal is here! He just got here a few minutes ago."
"I know, I saw his car drive up," Derek said. He turned and brushed one of his pigtails out of his eyes and walked back towards the house. Galina followed him, trying not to giggle. When he had difficulty getting the massive door open, Galina shoved her fist into her mouth and bit down hard. She didn't think Derek would last through another hysterical outburst.
"Rachel," Derek said, walking into the hallway, "Stewart MacDougal is here. You'll have to be me!"
"But Derek, how can I? I have no idea what the heck he's saying all the time," Rachel said.
"It's alright, I'll be there," Derek said. Derek motioned for them to be quiet as Stewart bounded down the hallway.
"I dun't know whet th'hell kend of peeple yoo have workin' for yoo," Stewart bellowed. "Are yoo all mad?"
"I assure you, Stewart, my friends are good people," Derek said. Stewart looked down at Kat and blinked.
"Right, well, th'partee's tunight. I hope yoo'll all be rehdy," Stewart said.
"Of course," Rachel said, "The uh-"
"Party," Derek cut in. "Speaking of which, Derek was wondering if we might be able to postpone it for another day?"
Stewart again looked down at Kat and blinked, saying, "D'you always let en ate-yeer-old do yoor talkin' Darek?"
"No, no of course not, I didn't mean anything by it, but like I said, Derek was wondering if we could postpone it until later," Derek said.
"Surry, but no. I have a lot of peeple comin' an I cannot despleese them. I'll be goin', see yoo latar," Stewart said.
As they watched him walk down the hall, Derek said, "Terrific, now we're going to have a castle full of people here and we still don't know who took the book!"
"Well so much for me being you!" Rachel cried. "Do you know how insane that must of looked to have an eight-year-old girl making business suggestions to a Scottish chieftain?"
"I'm sorry, Rachel, I couldn't control myself, all right?" Derek said. He looked around him. "Where's Galina? She was right behind me?"
Galina slumped down a wall around the corner and tried as hard as she could to stop laughing at Derek. It was just too much to handle, to have Kat's little body and Kat's little voice give directions like Derek did. She leaned back against the wall and wondered what her beloved was up to.
"NICK!" Alex screamed at him. "Just what do you think you're going to do, huh?"
"I don't know, Alex, I'm sure I can think of something wicked enough," Nick answered.
"All right, all right, truce? Okay, Nick? Can we call this off now?" Alex asked.
"No way," Nick said, "you told Stewart I was coming out of the closet! It will probably be all over Edinburgh by tonight and then it will get back to the Legacy House there and then-"
"Nick! Alex! Knock it off, we've got a problem," Rachel told them when she walked into the room. "Stewart MacDougal is having a party tonight in our honor, either we find the book and reverse the spell or we suffer through an entire evening with-" Rachel stopped, noticing all the jewelry and make-up Alex had dressed Nick's body into. She started to giggle.
"Don't even start, Rachel," Nick snapped at her. Rachel choked down her laughter and waved a hand in the air.
"Don't worry, I won't say anything," Rachel said.
"I will," Philip said, limping down the hall, "What in God's name have you done to each other? You think this is all a big joke?"
"Look, he started it-" Alex began.
"I did NOT!" Nick shouted.
"Oh both of you SHUT-UP!" Philip screamed. The room fell silent and everyone stared at him. "I can't even get one minute of rest! Is it too much to ask to get a little PEACE AND QUIET?! HUH? You're all so dammed selfish! It's always me, me, me! Well I need a little attention too! After everything I've done for you guys, and this is how you treat me? I work and I slave over your dammed translations. 'Philip come get this demon' and 'Philip what does this say I need it by tomorrow morning'. And what do I get in return? Nothing! Just peace and quiet, just a LITTLE peace and quiet is all I ask!" Philip yelled at them.
After a few minutes of silence Rachel said, "Philip, we're really sorry. Stewart MacDougal is having a party tonight here in the castle and if we don't find the book by then we'll have to improvise our way through it."
"Party?" Philip gasped. "No way, I an't possibly make it. I'm not going," Philip said.
"Oh come on, Philip, it won't be that bad," Alex said.
"No, forget it. I'm too bloated and achy . I feel ugly. I don't want to go," he told them.
"Philip, it will be okay-"
"I said I'm not going!" Philip turned and pouted his way up the staircase.
"What got into him?" Nick asked.
"Nevermind," Rachel answered, feeling guilty. Well, she thought, then again I'm not going through it and if I stay in Derek's body I'll never have to go through it again!
"Rachel?" Alex asked. "What are you smiling about?"
The clanspeople of Stewart MacDougal, along with several members of the socially elite community of Edinburgh, poured into the Castle. Stewart greeted his guests, friends and family. His two daughters were there as well. Ellen in the spotlight while Margaret huddled behind in a chair she pulled into the corner. Stewart watched as his friends from the Legacy descended down the staircase.
"Ah! Darek! Coome mate me fahmlee," Stewart said, grabbing Rachel's arm. Rachel turned and looked at Philip who mouthed, go meet his family. Philip hunched down and sat at the bottom of the stairs. He snapped his head up when he heard shouting coming from above him.
"Nick! You scum!" Alex yelled at him. Nick pranced by her wearing a leather skirt that he had cut down to size and a bright orange bandana he made into a top. Alex, dressed in Nick's tuxedo, was turning bright red.
"Hey Alex, paybacks are a bitch! You made Stewart think I was gay, and now the whole room is going to be whispering behind my back. Wait until they find out Alex Moreau is a 'lady of the night'!" Nick told her.
"I LOOK LIKE A HOOKER!" Alex yelled.
"Yeah, that's the point," Nick said and ran down the stairs before Alex could grab him.
Galina came down the stairs behind them, laughing. "Philip?" she asked, "are you feelin' okay? You don't look well."
"I want to die," Philip murmured.
"Is it what I think it is?" asked Galina.
"What? No! Absolutely not! Why? What did Rachel tell you?" he asked.
"Nothin', but you forget, I am a woman Philip, I can tell," she said. She leaned over and patted him on the back and whispered, "Don't worry, it only lasts 5 to 7 days and then it's gone, well, until you get it again next month that is." Philip moaned.
"I'm going to have to call every woman I know and tell them how sorry I am," Philip said.
"Rachel?" Alex walked up to the older woman. "I need to talk to you, I've got a problem."
"What, Alex? You and Nick still trying to outdo the other?" Rachel said.
"This has nothing to do with that, although I'm sure Nick will die if he finds out about this. Rachel, I have to, you know, I have to 'go'," Alex told her.
"Me too, Alex. But in no way am I going to. I don't care if I have to hold it until kingdom come, I'm not going into the men's room," Rachel whispered to Alex.
"Well, unfortunately, I can't hold it anymore, I've been holding it all morning! I have got to GO!" Alex said, exasperated.
"Go where?" Derek asked walking up behind them.
"NOWHERE!" Alex and Rachel said in unison. They turned and walked off leaving Derek bewildered.
"Derek?" Nick asked, "what's up?"
Derek turned around and gasped, "For God's sake, Nick! What the hell is the matter with you! If Alex sees what you've done to her body she'll-"
"She already freaked," Nick grinned, "cool isn't it?"
"No! I told you guys a hundred times, we have to behave as if everything is normal! You're dressed like a prostitute, Philip is practically passed out at the bottom of the stairs and Rachel and Alex want to leave," Derek said.
"Leave? Where are they going?" Nick asked.
"I don't know, they just said they had to go," Derek told him.
"Go? Go- OH MY GOD!" Nick shouted. The populace of the giant ballroom turned their heads to look at Nick. He smiled at them, and when they turned away, he took off running.
"Hay, Lassie!" Stewart was looking down at Philip. "Hare's a bit of a drenk for you," the man said, handing Philip a large bottle of whiskey.
"I don't drink, Stewart, I'm a priest," Philip said.
The Scot broke out laughing. "Yoor a preest? That's a gude one Dr. Curigan! Yoor a funny Lass, never herd of th'Irish turnin' down a drenk."
Philip looked up and thought, what the hell, when in Rome. He took the bottle and stalked off to find a quiet place to drink himself into oblivion. "Desperate times call for desperate measures," he said out loud.
"Ellen! Please! I'm a priest!" Galina cried. When she had walked into the other room to look for Nick, Galina had been jumped from behind by a very, very friendly Ellen MacDougal.
"Oh, come on Father, live a little!" she said, fumbling with Galina's belt buckle.
"Get off me, God-damn it!" Galina shouted. Ellen gasped.
"Oh, Father, shame on you! Taking the Lord's name in vain, you'll have to be punished!" she said laughing. She tore off Galina's jacket and pushed her backwards.
Philip had gulped down the entire bottle of whiskey and started on another when he walked in and saw himself being mauled over by Ellen MacDougal. "Holy Mother of God," Philip gasped. Ellen jumped up and Galina scrambled away from her.
"Don't you know how to knock, Dr. Corrigan?" Ellen sneered. Galina ran forward, grabbed Philip's arm and lead him out.
"Thank God you came in there when you did Philip!" Galina cried. She turned and stopped, "Philip, have you been drinking?"
"Jus' a lille, oops, I mean little," Philip said. He hiccuped and smiled. "Little, ity bity, tiny," Philip mumbled. He started to sing, "She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini." Galina rubbed the bridge of her nose and sighed.
Nick ran down the hall and grabbed Alex and Rachel by the arms. "Where do you think you're going?" he cried. "The bathroom," Alex said.
"Like hell you are," Nick said, dragging them down the hallway. He stopped when a man dressed in a tartan shoved a $50 bill down Nick's top and said, "Meet me upstairs in twenty minutes."
Alex stood in shock. Nick was grinning from ear to ear. She jerked away and started down the hall again.
"I always wanted to know what the men's room looked like!" she growled. Nick grabbed her arm again and jerked her back.
"Mom!" Kat said, running down the hall behind them. "I think I know who took the book," she said.
"Philip, sit there and don't move, I'm goin' to go and grab a waiter, you need some coffee," Galina ordered.
"Make sure it's Irish coffee, Galina," Philip grinned.
"No way, the last thing you need is more whiskey!" she barked at him. Galina walked away in search of a waiter. She could hear Philip singing, "Peg O' My Heart" all the way down the hall.
"Hey, you're a pretty Lass, you wanna dance?" a voice asked. Philip looked up at a huge man staring down at him.
"All you Scots are giants!" Philip said. He was feeling strangely calm and relaxed. His pain was gone and he felt like singing again. The man took him by the hand and led him to the dance floor. Philip stopped and turned around and around, singing, "Some enchanted eeeeeevening, you may see a straaaaanger! You may see a stranger, across a crowwwded room..."
"Kat, honey, who has the book?" Rachel asked.
"I think it's Margaret," Kat told her mother.
"Why Margaret?" Alex asked.
"Well, I don't know, I just think she did it, maybe I can talk to her!" Kat said, running off. Rachel was about to go after her but she jerked to a stop. She suddenly felt a buzzing in her brain and a peculiar feeling that was similar to static interference. She realized she was experiencing Derek's sight! When she realized what she was seeing, herself in a room full of hundreds of people singing showtunes from South Pacific, she screamed.
"What the hell?" Nick asked aloud after Rachel took off down the hall like a bat out of hell. Alex turned around and started to go in the opposite direction. "Oh no you don't! I'm not letting you out of my sight!" Nick growled and dragged her down the hall after Rachel.
Galina had finally found someone to make Philip a pot of coffee when she walked into the grand ballroom and froze. She noticed Rachel, Nick and Alex were frozen across the room. Philip had jumped up on top of a table and hiked his long velvet skirt up over his knees and was singing. Twenty of Stewart's clansmen were dancing in kilts around the table as Philip sang, "Gonna wash that man right outta my hair!"
"Nick!" Rachel snarled, "get him off of there!"
Nick pushed past the men, who whistled and leered at him dressed in his orange top and leather skirt. He grabbed Philip and pulled him down. Philip jerked his hand away and yelled at Nick to leave him alone. He turned around and began to sing "Bali H'ai" when Nick put his hand on Philip's shoulder. Philip turned around and punched Nick in the face. Nick stumbled backwards, and then lunged forward and grabbed Philip around the waist.
"Girl fight! Girl fight! Girl fight!" the Scotsmen were chanting. Nick and Philip wrestled around the floor. Rachel and Alex pushed their way through the circle that had formed around Nick and Philip and pulled them away from each other and led them both down the hall. The Scotsmen moaned and groaned, throwing their hands in the air.
"What's the matter with you!" Rachel yelled at them. She smelled the liquor on Philip's breath and gasped. "You've been drinking Philip! How could you! You're a priest!"
"Not in your body I'm not," Philip laughed. He fell backwards out of his chair and Alex propped him back up.
"It's my fault, Rachel, I left him alone to get a pot of coffee goin', I should have taken him with me," Galina said.
Derek marched into the room. "Do you know what it is like, to overhear a conversation where you find out that your people are singing showtunes on table tops while a bunch of drunken Scots are dancing around, to hear them say the, 'drunken shrink and the hooker' are fighting on the floor, place your bets! What the hell is wrong with you! Why the hell can't you just knock it off and act like normal human beings!" he screamed.
"Hey Derek, pink is really your color man," Nick said. The veins in Derek's head began to twitch and he started to shake with fury.
"Oh shit! He's gonna blow!" Alex yelled. The five of them were stuck in the door frame as they all tried to scramble away from Derek. As they ran down the hall they could hear him screaming obscenities in Dutch at the tops of his lungs.
They decided to go and look for Kat. As they walked back into the ballroom, the crowd erupted into cheers when they saw Nick and Philip. They noticed Kat was in a corner talking to Margaret, whose face was twisted in a mask of anger. She pushed Kat aside and ran from the ballroom and out the door into the night.
"Let's go!" Rachel cried. They ran out the castle doors and grabbed at Margaret who whipped by on her bicycle. They missed and Kat ran out after them.
"I think I know where she's going," Kat said. "Come on!"
Galina grabbed Philip's swaying body and dragged him after her as they all followed Kat into the darkness.
"Come on, Galina! Hurry up!" Nick called out. Galina stumbled trying to drag Philip up the moor.
"It's easy for you to sit there and give directions! You're not draggin' someone who's dead drunk," she yelled.
"Lay him down and leave him, Galina," Nick said.
"I can't do that to Philip!" Galina cried.
"He'll be okay, he's practically passed out. Nothing will happen to him," Nick explained.
"No, I'm not leaving him and that's final," Galina said firmly.
"Here, Galina," Rachel said, walking up behind her. "It is my body, I'll help him." Rachel put Philip's arm around her shoulders.
Kat caught up with Margaret near a giant tree.
"Get away from me!" Margaret screamed at her.
"It's okay, Margaret. Nobody is mad at you," Kat said. "Will you please help my friends?"
"I just wanted t'be somebody special," she started to cry.
"My mom says that everyone is special, Margaret. No matter who your Dad and your sister are," Kat told her.
"I wish m'father saw it that way," Margaret said.
"Did you tell him that he made you sad?" asked Kat.
"He wouldn't care," Margaret said.
"You don't know until you try it," Kat said. "Please, Margaret, fix my friends and give us back the book. No one will be mad at you, I promise. And if they are then I'll be mad at them."
Margaret smiled at Kat. "You're a very nice little girl. I'm not used t'people bein' nice to me," she said. She looked around her and over the moors. Margaret picked up the book and began to flip through the pages.
"Damn it!" Nick cursed. He held his hand out in front of him.
"What's the matter?" Alex asked.
"I broke a nail," he said, genuinely upset.
"You mean you broke my nail," Alex told him.
"Who cares who broke who's nail!" Rachel said, dragging Philip along. He started to hiccup uncontrollably and soon all of them were hiccuping so badly that they had trouble breathing.
"Wrong one!" Kat managed to say between hiccups. Margaret fumbled through the pages.
"I'm sorry! Hold on!" Margaret yelled, "the Celtic writin' in this book is hard to read." She began to recite a spell and looked over at Kat.
"Ach! Wrong one again!" Margaret yelled when she saw that Kat had turned into an 80 year old woman.
"Something's wrong," Alex said.
"What?" Rachel lifted a wrinkled hand to her ear.
"I said something's wrong," Alex answered.
"What?" Rachel asked again.
"Wrong! Something is wrong!" Alex shouted. "We're all old!"
"You're wearing mold?" Rachel asked.
"No! OLD!" Nick shouted.
"All right," Margaret said, "I think I've got it." She recited a spell and looked over and asked, "Kat? Is that you?"
"No! It's Galina! I'm in my body!" Galina laughed and jumped forward, hugging Margaret.
"You're not mad at me?" asked Margaret.
"Well, I'm a little annoyed, but you did fix things after all," Galina told her.
"Hey!" Nick said. He ran up and Galina only had to look around to see that everything was back to normal again.
"You've got a lot of explaining to do, Margaret," Derek said, irritated.
"That can wait," Galina said. She stared him down and Derek backed away. The sound of hysterical laughter broke out behind them. Philip turned around and smiled.
"She's back in her own body," he said, pointing to Rachel, "an intoxicated one I might add."
"Oh dear," Alex laughed. Kat came running up with Stewart and Ellen MacDougal.
"Darek! What th'bloody hell is happnen?" Stewart boomed. Derek took Margaret's hand and led her and Stewart off to talk. Ellen smiled seductively at Philip.
"Oh don't smile at me," Philip said. "I wasn't the one you were tryin' t'seduce. Your sister recited a spell that switched our bodies. You were actually tryin' t'seduce Galina," Philip explained. Ellen looked from Philip to Galina and then back to Philip.
"That's a lie," Ellen said.
"Oh no it's not," Galina told her. "Does, 'oh Father, you took the Lord's name in vain, you'll have to be punished' ring a bell?"
"That's not true! You told her what happened!" Ellen shouted.
"Would I lie?" Philip asked, grinning from ear to ear.
"You might!" Ellen said.
"Maybe he did tell me what happened," Galina said, walking by Ellen. "By the way, the next time you are going to seduce someone, don't eat anything with onions beforehand, it's a real turn off," Galina said.
Ellen turned white and stormed off with a stream of profanities filling the air. Philip and Alex watched as Stewart held Margaret by the hand and they walked off together towards the castle with Ellen stomping behind them.
"Well, I'm glad that's over," Philip said.
"Yeah, didn't you luck out," Nick said.
"What do you mean?" asked Philip.
"Well, your first time getting drunk, and you don't have to go through the hangover tomorrow," Nick smiled, "Rachel does."
"Oh no," Philip moaned. "She's goin' t'kill me. Rachel?" Philip walked over to her and put his arm around her. "I'm really sorry, but I'm afraid you're goin' t'hate me in the mornin'" Philip told her. Rachel broke out in giggles again.
"Well, I'm going to go and change out of these damn clothes before anymore of those Scots get any big ideas," Alex said.
"Oh yeah, Alex, I'm sorry for all the rotten things I did, don't worry though, I didn't look when I changed clothes. You know, I kept my eyes closed and all," Nick said.
"That's funny, because I didn't," Alex said. She spun around on her heels and walked off.
"She's kidding, right?" Nick asked. "Oh hey! Alex! Wait!" Nick said, running off after her.
A week later, the Book of Dubh Eaglais was safely stored away in the Legacy basement. "Galina?" Philip asked, "are you all right?"
"Oh, sure, you know, just a little PMS," Galina said. Philip ran forward and grabbed a pillow.
"Here, put that behind your back, I find it really eases some of the tension in your lower back area. Oh, and I'll get you a heating pad, and would you like some tea? Lemon? Chamomile?" Philip ran around the house like a chicken with his head cut off.
"This is too much," Galina told Alex. "He's treating me like a queen!"
"Oh Lord!" Alex said, "Honey, if only ALL men could go through what Philip went through, the world would be a better place!" Alex and Galina sat back and started to laugh.
"I don't know," Galina said, "Philip has been nothing but sweet to me since I got here. And he was really good to Nick when I died, and when I came back he was even more wonderful towards me. Philip is a good man."
"Yeah, he is. But I know some other men that I wouldn't mind watching suffer through a little PMS," Alex said. At that moment Derek and Nick walked into the room and Alex and Galina broke out laughing again.
"What have you done to Philip?" asked Nick. "He's in the kitchen making tea for you, he won't even let the cook do it, says he wants to make sure it's absolutely perfect."
"I haven't done anything to him," Galina said.
"She has cramps and Philip was kind enough to-" Alex began.
"Whoa! The 'c' word," Nick said. He looked at Derek and the two of them left the room in a hurry.
"Typical," Alex said.
"Men," Galina said.
"Yeah," Alex said.
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