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"Here we stand. Worlds apart, hearts broken in two. Sleepless nights. Losing ground. I'm reaching for you." -Journey, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"
"Did you know that the Legacy is on their way?" the vampire asked.
"I do know, but thank you just the same," Baethan answered snidely.
"They'll try to kill you, you know that," the vampire stated, remaining calm. He knew well the able capabilities of the Legacy even if Baethan did not.
"Are you worried for my safety?" Baethan asked. "Or for theirs?"
"They'll kill us both, Baethan. Don't underestimate them."
"I can kill them easily," Baethan laughed.
"Kill them? And have every Legacy member from here to China hunting down our kind? You're more of an idiot than I thought," said the vampire. Legacy members were off limits to the Undead, and with good reason. They were dangerous.
"Are you turning your back on your own kind, for them?" asked Baethan. Baethan's blood brother turned his back and walked away.
"I believe this is heaven to no one else but me. And I'll defend it as long as I can be. Left here to linger in silence if I choose to. Would you try to understand?" -Sarah McLachlan, "Elsewhere"
Father Philip Callaghan breathed in what was probably the sweetest smell on God's green earth, Ireland. The soil, the grass, the oak trees....the most intoxicating scents known to man. Or at least known to Philip. He walked in to the small castle, well ahead of the others. For if he knew Mrs. O'Grawney, she would be in the kitchen making his favorite dish. The aroma of baked scrod hit him the minute he walked through the doors. Ah, Philip thought, she baked it in cider, God bless her Irish soul.
"Wow, what is that I smell?" Alex asked, setting down her bag.
"Baked scrod in cider," Philip replied, smiling.
"What's that?" Nick asked.
"Cod fillets with mustard, bacon, an' tomatoes baked in cider and covered in bread crumbs," Philip answered.
"Sounds appetizing," Nick commented.
"Don't knock it till you've tried it, Nick. It's m'favorite dish an' no one prepares it like Mrs. O'Grawney," Philip said.
A petite, old white haired woman rushed into then room. "Buggy!" she cried and ran forward. Philip hugged the woman while the others were thinking one thing, Buggy?
"I see you've made me some scod, Mrs. O'Grawney," Philip told her.
"I have, an' I've also made you some Tipsy Laird, but don't be tellin' Father Davitt that!" she said.
"I won't tell. He'd be fit to be tied if he knew you were makin' a Scottish dish," Philip smiled.
"Tipsy laird?" Derek asked.
"Oh, wait till you try it, Derek. It's got raspberry jam, lemons, toasted almonds, and heavy cream. And the best part is the Drambuie liqueur," Philip said.
Mrs. O'Grawney looked at the group from head to toe. "Look at all of you! Never seen a more sorry bunch in m'life! You all are thinner than a blade of grass you are! Well, come with me. I'll fix you up right," Mrs. O'Grawney said.
Two hours later they were all stuffed beyond hope. Galina tried to life another spoonful on tipsy laird to her lips but her full stomach forced her to put it back down.
"Ah, there now, isn't that much better now? You girls need some meat on you, you're way too thin!" Mrs. O'Grawney commented. She looked at Galina and smiled.
"Your accent dear, where are you from?" Mrs. O'Grawney asked her.
"Russia," Galina answered with a smile.
"Ah, you know somethin'? I said t'myself, 'that cailin is as fresh as a daisy and as bright as a lily'. But not so! You're quite an exotic little flower, aren't you? You'll have t'teach me some Russian before you go, an' I'll teach you some Gaelic if you'd like," said Mrs. O'Grawney.
Galina smiled warmly at the old woman. "How do you say thank you?" she asked.
"Go raith maith agat," Mrs. O'Grawney answered. Galina repeated the woman's words.
Before Mrs. O'Grawney could respond, a tiny, wrinkled little man breezed into the room. "Woman! How many times have I told you! Don't be makin' tipsy laird! Go t'Scotland if you love your Drambuie so much!" the man cried.
"I have half a mind t'go and leave you alone to cook for yourself, you old dog!" Mrs. O'Grawney yelled. Galina started to get up but Philip grabbed her arm.
"It's al'right, they do this all the time," Philip whispered, smiling.
Galina nodded that she understood, even though she didn't. "You must be Father Davitt," Derek said. He held out his hand to the tiny priest.
"An' who the bleedin' hell are you?" he asked. Derek dropped his smile quickly, but the man grabbed his hand and shook it. "Hah! Just razzin' your brain, boy. I am Father Davitt. You must be Rayne, am I right?"
"Yes," Derek answered with a flustered smile. He introduced them to the rest of the group, leaving out Philip. Philip needed no introduction. He got up and slapped Father Davitt on the back gently.
"How are you, you crafty old man?" Philip asked.
"Well as can be expected I guess," Father Davitt answered. "I'm still tickin'. And there is the little problem of a vampire runnin' around, which is why you're here, right boy?"
"You bet," Philip answered.
"You've been in America too long," Father Davitt commented.
"Tell us about the vampire, Father," Philip said, smiling.
"Well, first it was just animals that were endin' up dead. A few rats, a few dogs and the like. Then he changed and started killin' innocents. Just last week it got Maude Slattery," the Father said.
"Maude Slattery?" Philip asked. He crossed himself and said a silent prayer for her.
"That's right, Sean's wife. We've been goin' crazy tryin' t'keep up with this fiend. We're almost takin' daily trips out t'the graveyard. That's where I was last night, Dr. Walsh and I had t'stake Mrs. Slattery before she rose from her grave t'feed on the rest of us!" Father Davitt said.
"Dr. Walsh?" Philip asked. Last time he checked, Dr. O'More was Ballysidhe's resident doctor.
"Sure, he is the town doctor now. The vampire fiend got Dr. O'More two months ago," Father Davitt said, crossing himself. "Poor bastard, there wasn't hardly a drop left in him."
"Well, Philip should go have a talk with him. Maybe you could fill me and Galina in on the other victims?" Derek asked. The priest nodded and Derek motioned for Philip, Alex and Nick to go on ahead to the village. After they left Derek called Rachel back in San Francisco.
"How's Kat feeling?" Derek asked.
"She's fine. Almost rid of the chicken pox altogether," Rachel answered. She hesitated, then asked, "Is it really Galina?"
"Yes," Derek answered.
"How wonderful. Nick must be overjoyed about it, although I think it would take a lot of getting used to," Rachel said.
"Not as much as you would think. Galina's sister looked just like her, just with blonde hair instead of brown. It's just been accepted without much confusion. Galina is still a little upset being in her sister's body, the same sister that tried to kill Nick and Philip. She's angry about that still, but she knows that her sister is in hell where she belongs and that she is alive and here with us. With Nick. She's back, and that's all that matters," Derek said.
"What about the town, is there really a vampire there?" Rachel asked. For some reason, all Rachel could think of was Frank Langella running around in a black suit and cape. She stifled a giggle.
"I don't know. We just got here," Derek said. "But I will let you know if anything comes up."
"If you ever get close to a human and human behavior. Be ready to get confused. There's definately no logic to human behavior. There's no map to human behavior. They're terribly moody, then all of a sudden turn happy. There's no map, and a compass wouldn't help at all." -Bjork, "Human Behavior"
"I thought you grew up in Belfast," Nick said.
"I did, sort of. When I was twelve, I was too much for m'grandmother t'handle so she sent me t'stay here in Ballysidhe. She and Mrs. O'Grawney were nurses t'gether durin' the second world war. They both went t'England and volunteered their services. Well, Mrs. O'Grawney was a bit younger than m'grandmother and in better health. The castle has been run as a youth house for years. All of m'friends and I grew up in that castle," Philip explained.
"It's beautiful here," Alex commented. "I always thought Ireland was just green for miles and miles. But just look at all the colors!"
"What does 'Ballysidhe' mean?" Nick asked.
"Bally stands for town," Philip said. "And the Sidhe are the Good People. The Shinin' Ones. The Shadow People."
"Wow, what are they?" Alex asked.
"The Fairies," Philip explained. "And not the tiny little winged ones that dance around mushrooms, either. These are very powerful creatures. The major legend is that they were the Tuatha De Danann, the ones who fought the battle at Moytura."
"Oh, them," Nick said. He shuddered remembering how close they all had come to being eternally damned to hell by the Devil and his brood.
"The Tuathans were a great race. But when the Milesians conquered Ireland, they drove the Tuathans underground t'live. They are the people that live under the mounds. That is why this town was named Ballysidhe. It literally means 'town of the sidhe'. If you noticed when we flew in the area is surrounded by lots of hills and mounds. They say this is where the Sidhe live," Philip said.
The town of Ballysidhe was located a few miles from Galway. The rich, fertile soil was host to thousands of different flowers that popped up everywhere they possibly could whether it was on the side of the street or up between cracks in the sidewalks. The sights and smells were like nothing they ever experienced. Even Philip, who had spent most of his teen aged years in Ballysidhe, had to admit it was as if he was seeing and feeling the town for the first time. He always felt strong when he touched Irish soil, like there was an invisible root that sprung from the earth and grew up into his body. Walking in Ballysidhe gave him the strength and confidence of long gone heroes that spilled their blood for this land of love and passion. There was no substitute for home. No matter how fond he grew of the magic and beauty of San Francisco, it would never come close to the mystical, emerald country of his birth.
They rounded the corner and a tall, lanky, red-haired man stepped in front of them. "You must 'ave been absent when they handed out sense. I thought I told you never t'show your face around here again!" he snarled at Philip.
"I thought I told you that the next time I'll be seein' you was when I plant m'fist in your face!" Philip retorted. Alex's jaw dropped down to her knees. Nick's went further and dropped all the way to the ground. Philip violent? Never in a million years. To their surprise, the tall man threw his arms around Philip and gave him an affectionate bear hug.
"Buggy! Where 'ave you been?" asked the man.
"All over the place, Archy!" Philip replied. Alex and Nick looked at each other. There was that Buggy name again.
"Well, who might your friends be?" asked Philip's friend.
"This is Alexandra Moreau and Nicholas Boyle," Philip said. "Nick, Alex, this is Archibald Healy. Or Archy as the lads call him."
"Speakin' of which, the lads are all at the pub. Come on, they'll be happy t'see you. It's been dull as ditch water since you left, Buggy," Archy said. Philip winced. Alex and Nick were never going to let him live that name down. He wondered why they were being so quiet about it.
They crossed the street and headed towards a quaint looking tavern. Nick felt he stepped into a James Joyce novel. Everything looked like it was right out of a movie. Once inside, a group of three men at a table in the corner screamed the name Buggy at the top of their lungs. Philip rushed forward. Brotherly hugs and slaps on the back ensued. The group fell silent when they spied Nick and Alex.
"It's al'right lads, these are m'colleagues and m'friends," Philip explained. The group broke into smiles and welcomed them. Philip pointed out his friends one by one and said, "That's Samuel "the Mule" Dunne, that's Magnus Gill and that sly devil is Niall Craighan." Nick and Alex shook their hands and sat down at the table with them.
Niall leaned over to Nick and asked, "You wouldn't be one of the Galway Boyle's, would you?"
"Uh, no. I'm a San Francisco Boyle," Nick replied.
"Huh?" asked Niall.
"America," Nick answered. The Irishman's eyes brightened but Nick could tell the man was a few screws short of a working machine.
"We 'ave some stories about this one," Magnus said, pointing to Philip.
"Mag, don't be fillin' their heads with blarney," Philip warned.
"Blarney is it? Remember Maleen O'Gettigan? Miss Get-it-again," Magnus asked. He turned and looked at Alex and Nick. "She was a loose lass, never knew which bed she was a'wakin' up in. An' Buggy, well one day he--"
"That's enough, Mag. You tell them an' I'll be tellin' everyone about the cricket and the can of spam!" Philip said. Magnus glared at Philip and then leaned back in his chair.
"Well, Maleen is married now. Has thirteen children, she does," Magnus commented.
"Really?" Philip asked. Magnus nodded. "What about Peggy O'Cavie and Brona McAnnis? And Jean O'Halloran?"
"Peggy's a nun in Dublin. Brona got married t'some archeologist and Jean's a teacher over in Galway," Magnus said. "Bet you still miss little Peggy, don't you?"
"A bit," Philip answered with a look that told Magnus to drop the subject or else.
"You've come for the vampires, right?" asked Archy. Philip nodded.
"Come with us," the Mule said, "and leave your friends here."
"Not a chance," Nick said, standing up. "We go where Philip goes."
The Mule looked over at Nick and said, "Don't let your tongue cut your throat, boy. Sit yourself down. We don't need any meddlin' from outsiders, no matter how Irish you might be, you're not from Ballysidhe."
Nick stepped forward, "I am only going to say this one more time before things get ugly, and that is we go where Philip goes. So you're going to have to do a hell of a lot more than threaten me, which, by the way, is a big mistake."
Alex rolled her eyes. Philip seemed amused. The man that Philip and his friends call the Mule grabbed Nick by the front of his collar and tossed him through the front door of the pub in a single motion. The Mule then walked out with the others behind him. Alex yelled at them to stop acting like children. They ignored her.
Nick scrambled off the ground. Philip saw that he was thoroughly incensed. Nick ran forward and rammed the Mule in the stomach with his head and shoulders. The Mule didn't budge. Nick looked up at the towering Irishman. He punched Nick right in the face. Alex yelled at Philip to stop them. Philip didn't budge either. He was actually smiling. Alex started to get in the middle to stop the fight but Niall grabbed her from behind and held her back. She was now the one who was incensed. There was no way Alex was going to watch Nick get himself killed by some cro-magnon man. She began to claw and kick to get away from Niall.
"Oh shit," Nick muttered. The Mule picked him up off the ground. Nick tried one of his SEAL training moves. It failed miserably. He then tried several of his best Tae Kwon Do moves. He tried several Karate moves and several other martial arts defensive strategies. Nothing worked and the Mule retaliated by kicking Nick in the gut. Nick fell at Philip's feet. He looked up and said, "Now I see why you guys call him the Mule."
He started to say something else but a pair of rough hands hauled him backwards. Samuel spun him around and started a volley of punches. There were some that Nick was able to block, but most of them landed their mark. Philip's friends began to chant "Mule" over and over. Alex looked at Philip before she started chanting Nick's name as loud as she could. Nick decided the best thing he could do was kick this Mule in the groin. The giant dropped to the ground on his knees. No sound escaped his lips but his face turned blood red. The cheering stopped. Nick looked around at the astonished Irishmen. "Come on!" he yelled. "You want some of this? Let's go, come on!"
"Get this man a pint of Guinness!" shouted Magnus. The bartender ran out to the street and handed Nick a glass filled with ale. The men cheered and slapped him on the back.
"You passed the test," Philip said, genuinely pleased.
"That's right," Archy said, "and so did she." Niall Craighan was a bloody mess.
"She fought like a shelilagh, she did!" he exclaimed. Alex started smiling, despite herself.
"An Irishman is never happy unless there's a fight somewhere," Magnus said. "An' we had t'see if you were truly loyal t'Buggy. The way you fight, boy, you're a true Irishman." A group of men were trying to lift the Mule off the ground. Magnus looked at Nick and said, "You're al'right, boy. You're al'right."
"I've fought worse than the Mule," Nick said hoarsely. "Although I have to say, even the worst of beasties I've seen didn't put up such a fight."
"Now I know the business of the heart. And it'll get you anyway it can. You need someone to walk with in the dark. Well, I'm your man." -Shawn Colvin, "Trouble"
"Imagine two complete strangers who suspect they were meant to be. Both in need of love and affection yet their suspicions prevent something heavenly." -Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Fear"
Three hours later the group of men, not including Philip and Alex, were completely drunk.
"We'd better get them all home," Alex said. "Derek is not going to like this at all."
"Don't worry, Mrs. O'Grawney won't mind them stayin' at the castle for the night. She'll give them hell in the mornin'. And it's not Derek I'm worried about, it's Galina," Philip said. He grinned.
The men got up and stumbled to the door with Philip leading them. Alex lingered out on the street. "I'm going to go see if I can catch Dr. Walsh before his office is closed," she said. "His office is on Shannon street, right?"
"Alex, I don't think that's a good idea, it's almost nightfall," Philip told her.
"I'll be fine, Philip, I promise. Just get them home," Alex said. She turned around and walked off before Philip could protest any further.
Alex reached the doctor's office but it was too late. He'd already left. She read the name on the door, Lorcan Walsh, M.D.. She turned around and noticed with apprehension that it was already dark out. The street lights lit the town well enough for her to see, but it was still night. Alex hurried her step, unaware she was being watched.
In the darkness, the vampire watched her make her way down the street. None of the townspeople were out that night. They had learned to stay inside after dark. The vampire could smell her fear. She was afraid, yet not afraid. He followed her onto the main street, trying to listen to her thoughts. She was afraid of being attacked, but she was not afraid of him. She had faith that whatever happened to her, she would be all right in the end. He was attracted to that inner light. She radiated the strength of a pure and courageous heart. At that moment he decided that she was to be protected at all costs.
"Lovely, isn't she?" Baethan asked from behind him. He whirled around. "Don't you want to take a drink? Just a little sip?" Baethan asked.
"No," the vampire answered.
"Well, I do. The blood of a Legacy member is quite tasty, and I should know. You could have shared that treasure with me, instead you chose to take the other one away and hide him from me before I could get to him. Do you know he's here now? He came with her," Baethan said. "Wouldn't it be something if history repeated itself. I kill a Legacy woman and you save the day yet again for that man, although this time I don't think he'd just let you go. He still believes you killed his woman."
The vampire winced. He remembered that man well. Even though he had saved the mortal's life, his eyes had flashed with hate and anger. He wished he could have saved the man's lady as well, but Baethan got to her first. So he took the man away from Baethan. Killing Legacy members was a death sentence to his kind, and the man he had saved was one of the most powerful of them all.
"Stay away from them," the vampire growled.
"You're protecting them? The Legacy? How many of our kind have they killed?" Baethan spat out. "What are you going to do? Fight me? You wouldn't, your sense of honor and loyalty to Rebecca would never permit it," Baethan snarled.
"I'm warning you, Baethan," he snarled back.
"I want her, just try and stop me," Baethan sneered. He started off towards the woman but was caught and roughly flung backward. The vampire decided the only way to keep Baethan away from the young Legacy woman would be to keep her by his side.
Alex heard something behind her and whirled around. A man emerged from the darkness. Her heart started to beat rapidly. She hoped it was a man and not something else. When he got closer and she could see his face, her breath caught in her throat. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen. He wasn't gorgeous, but definately attractive. He looked so Irish that he could be Ireland's poster child. His dark hair and almost black eyes immediately hooked her.
"Miss, you shouldn't be walking out on the street at night, it's dangerous," he said. Alex felt like melting. His voice was like a beautiful serenade. She fought to control her emotions. What in the hell was happening to her? She felt faint and backed up a few steps.
"I know, I hoped I could make it back in time," she stammered.
"What is a young, American woman doing in Ballysidhe?" he asked.
"I'm here with a friend. You might know him, Father Philip Callaghan? Uh, his friends call him Buggy for some reason I haven't figured out yet," Alex said. Great Alex, she thought, you sound like a dork.
"Sorry, I don't know him. I've only just moved here myself," he said. He walked forward and extended his hand. "I'm Dr. Lorcan Walsh."
"I got to trouble like a magnet. That's where I'll be. Trouble is just a place to sing. It's what you need." -Shawn Colvin, "Trouble"
"You've been fighting and drinking?" Galina asked. Nick winced and bowed his head down the way a dog would when caught doing something bad. Philip mused that if Nick did have a tail, it would most definately be down between his legs. Still, he was amazed at how calm Galina and Derek were. Neither one had yelled, but Galina was too upset to yell seeing Nick so beat up. His face was a mass of blood and bruises. Galina looked at Philip. He suddenly felt like a dog as well. "I suppose you tried everything you could to stop them?"
"Lina, they're grown men. Or at least they are physically," Derek said. "I'm more worried about Alex," he said. Galina's face softened.
"You're right. I'm sorry, Philip. I never meant to imply you were responsible," Galina apologized. "I just want to yell at someone and Nick is too out of it."
"Don't worry, it's all right. You get this one up to bed," Philip said. He waited until Galina half-dragged, half-shoved Nick up the stairs. Philip felt somewhat sorry for Nick. She was going to wait until tomorrow morning to let him have it.
"Where did you leave her?" Derek asked, snapping Philip at attention.
"She was going to go see Dr. Walsh," Philip said.
"All right, let's go. I don't want her out there after dark. I don't want any of us out there after dark unless we're all together and properly armed," Derek said. His voice was short and Philip understood he was a bit angry at him for leaving Alex out so close to nightfall.
"Seems like I've gone off the side of a mountain. Couldn't be sure I was even alive. Falling from the icy heights. Landed with a broken cry. In this valley of shadows and sorrowing sighs. Can you save me, baby?" -Eddi Reader, "Nobody Lives Without Love"
"Now I'm standing here, offering a stranger my heart." -Eddi Reader, "Nobody Lives Without Love"
"Where are you from, originally?" Alex asked. She probed him continuously, asking questions about him and the town. Anything to get to hear that voice of his.
"County Mayo originally," Lorcan said. "And you?"
"New Orleans, but I live in San Francisco now," she answered.
"Ah, both lovely cities," Lorcan commented.
"You've been to both of them?" Alex asked.
"I've been to New Orleans, but I've only seen San Francisco in pictures," he said.
"Oh, you have to see it. It's a very magical place. Haven't you ever heard that song 'Lights'?" she asked. He shook his head and she sang, "When the lights go down in the City, and the sun shines on the Bay. I want to be there in my City."
Lorcan smiled. She had a lovely singing voice. Baethan began to speak to him telepathically. Take her, Lorcan. Can't you feel her heart beating? Her blood pumping through her veins? If you don't take her I will. Lorcan's reply was a low growl that only Baethan could hear. He spotted the castle up the drive. "Alexandra, your friends are waiting for you. You'd better get going," he told her.
"You're not coming in?" she asked. She didn't want him to leave. He was intoxicating her. She figured she'd be just as drunk as Nick was when she got to the castle even though she hadn't lifted a drink to her lips.
"No, I'd best be getting home," Lorcan said. "Don't worry about any vampires, I can handle myself." He smiled at her and waited until she got to the castle door before turning around and threatening Baethan with the most primative of growls.
Alex put her hand on the door but it opened from the inside. Derek and Philip stood in front of her.
"Alex! We were just going to come look for you," Derek said. Alex walked in and hung up her coat. "How can you be so calm? Do you have any idea how much danger you were in?" Derek asked.
"I'm all right, Dr. Walsh walked me home," she said.
"You found him? What did you find out from him about the attacks?" Philip asked.
Alex frowned, slightly embarrassed. "I forgot to ask," she said.
"You forgot?" asked Derek.
"Don't worry, I'll go over and talk to Lorcan first thing tomorrow morning," Alex said.
Philip smiled and said something to her but the words didn't register to Derek. Lorcan. She said his name was Lorcan. So it was Lorcan Burke. He was the one of the vampires attacking the townspeople. Derek turned and left the room.
"I got to trouble like a light or like a dare. Trouble is just a friend to me, I know it'll always be there." -Shawn Colvin, "Trouble"
"We have a problem," Derek said over the phone.
"And that is?" Sloan's voice asked in return.
"Lorcan Burke," Derek responded. The phone line was quiet for several moments.
"What's the problem, Derek?" asked Sloan. "Do you think Lorcan is behind this? He did save your life."
"But he didn't save Isabel's, he took it!" Derek yelled. He never understood why Lorcan had killed Isabel, yet saved him.
"Are you sure of that? You said yourself, you woke up in an inn far away from where they found Isabel's body. Did you actually see Lorcan kill her?" Sloan asked. At Derek's frustrated groan Sloan said, "Look, I just don't understand why he would knock you unconscious, kill her, then take you to an inn miles away and heal you. That doesn't make any sense."
"He's a monster, Sloan. Who said he had to make any sense?" Derek snarled. "And now he's set his eye on Alex. This will not go any further than it already has," Derek told him.
There was a sigh on Sloan's end of the line. He said, "All right, I'm coming over."
"I don't need your help, and you've got your own problems to worry about," Derek said.
"You have one legacy member who's been beaten by a pulp and dead drunk, another that has a habit of getting herself killed, and one who may already be drawn in by Lorcan. That leaves Philip and I'm not saying he's inadequate, but you'll need more than just one man backing you up. Besides, Devin Connors is more than able to take care of the ghost at Westminster. If she needs help, Clarianna will be there. So face it, I'm coming whether you like it or not," Sloan said. Derek hung up the phone and frowned. He wanted to take care of this his way, whether it was by the book, or not.
"Ever gentle, as it kills me where I lay. Who am I to resist? Who are you to fail? Got to get you out of my mind. But I can't escape from the feeling as I try to leave the memory behind." -Duran Duran, "Out Of My Mind"
"Alex," Galina said from the hall. "Who is he?"
"Who is who?" Alex asked, trying to keep an innocent look on her face.
"Please, you look the same way I did when I first met Nick. So tell me who it is," Galina grinned impishly.
Alex ushered her into the next room and sat down on the edge of the bed. She felt like she was at a slumber party and talking about the quarterback on the high school football team. "It's Dr. Walsh," Alex said. "Lorcan's is his first name, kind of nice, don't you think?"
"You caught up with him?" asked Galina.
"Yeah, but we didn't talk about vampires," Alex said. "We just talked about little things, like where we were from and-"
"Get to the good part, Alex. What does he look like?" Galina smiled and giggled.
"Oh God, Lina. He has those dark Irish looks, you know? The black hair and dark eyes. And he has the most wonderful Irish lilt, just like that Irish guy on that show, you know, the one on Showtime? The one about the paranormal team that goes around hunting demons? Only Lorcan's accent isn't so heavy, but it's definately there."
"I think I've seen that show once or twice," Galina replied. "Love those Irish accents."
"Don't I know it. And he just came out of nowhere. I was walking along hoping nothing would get me and he showed up," Alex said.
"From the looks of it, I'd say something did get you," Galina laughed.
"Night speeds so fast. It's easy now. I cut myself on these thoughts of you and I hear your voice. I'm running now into your world that takes me near the edge of real. My mind to steal each night with you." -The Devlins, "Until The Light Shines Through"
Lorcan watched her from the corner of the room. At first she went to sleep soundly, but now she was twisting with nightmares. He walked over and stood above her bed as she writhed around. He opened his mind and watched her nightmare through her eyes. He saw a grand castle on an island, reduced to rubble. Something was there, something evil. He pried into her mind further and what he saw frightened even him. No wonder she's not afraid, Lorcan thought, she's fought the Devil himself and survived. He bent over her and placed his hand on her forehead.
"Sleep soundly, Alexandra. Dream only of the things that make you happy," he whispered in her ear. She immediately relaxed and her face smiled slightly in her sleep. Lorcan stepped back and watched her as long as he could. Finally, the sun became dangerously close to rising and Lorcan left to seek his sanctuary.
"It's really hard to make your peace. So give me some credit for the hell I've paid. This world's a blessing and a beast everday." -Shawn Colvin, "Trouble"
At ten o' clock in the morning, Nick Boyle, woke up feeling like the Devil himself had beaten the living hell out of him. He walked to the mirror and jumped back in surprise. His face was purple. His nose had stopped bleeding and so had the cut above his right eyebrow. His two black eyes hadn't swelled up much at all, but they did look ghastly. Nick smiled, he had won the fight. His smile died quickly when Galina slammed the door to the bedroom loud enough to wake the undead.
Nick grabbed at the sides of his head. "Do you think you could keep it down, just a little bit?" he pleaded.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart, am I being too loud?" Galina said as loudly as she could.
"I take it you're upset," Nick moaned, looking for the aspirin.
"I passed 'upset' a couple of exits ago, but I'm just about to hit Angry City," she said. Yikes, Nick thought, I'm totally busted.
"Um, I'm sorry," Nick said. "It won't happen again."
"Mrs. O'Grawney went so far as to keep your breakfast warm, I suggest you go down there and thank her," Galina said. Nick quietly walked out of the room and headed for the stairs. Galina smiled. Alex stood at the doorway. "I don't want to overdo it, or he'll know I'm not really that upset," Galina said.
"Nah, you're doing fine. Did you see the way he walked out of here? If he could have crawled, he would have," Alex said, grinning. She put on her coat.
"Where are you going?" asked Galina. "Perhaps over to Dr. Walsh's office?"
"Perhaps," Alex said. The two women smiled at each other and walked down the stairs. "You know something? For the first time in a year, I slept soundly last night. I dreamed of the house we had when we were growing up. My mom and dad were still alive and everyone was happy. Ethan and Tanya and I were playing in the backyard," Alex said. Her eyes teared up slightly. "It was nice," she confided. "It was really nice."
"Thought I could live my life as a stranger. Hide from the heartbreak that love always brings. Make it to the higher ground and try to turn the volume down. Couldn't stop the sirens from singing. Sing for me, baby." -Eddi Reader, "Nobody Lives Without Love"
Alex knocked on the door but there was no answer. She backed up a few steps and looked up at the covered windows of the two story house. Lorcan lived upstairs and had made his practice on the first floor.
"Excuse me, Miss, can I help you?" a voice asked. Alex turned around and saw the most pleasant smile and kind eyes peering out of the face of a tall, older man.
"Hi, I'm Alex Moreau. I'm looking for Dr. Walsh, do you know where he might be?" she asked.
"Lorcan is over in the next town givin' vaccinations t'the school children. He should be back by this evenin', though," the man said. He looked up at the window of the house and then back at Alex. "I'm Justin O'Toole, a friend of Lorcan's. I sort of look over things here while he's away."
"It's nice to meet you," Alex said.
"Are you here about the vampires?" Justin asked suddenly.
"Well, no I-" Alex began.
"Miss Moreau, there isn't a whole lot that goes on here that no one knows about. Words travel in small towns you know," Justin explained.
"Yes, I'm here about the vampires," Alex revealed.
"Are you goin' t'get rid of them?" Justin asked. Alex thought she saw a glimmer of fear in his eyes. Not of the vampires, but that she would destroy them.
"I don't know," Alex said. That was the truth. She had no way of knowing how this was going to end. Vampires were extremely dangerous creatures. For all she knew, her House might be destroyed instead. A war waged between the Legacy and the Undead for hundreds of years. A lot of Legacy members had been killed trying to fight them. "I'd better be going," Alex said. "Please tell Lor-, uh, Dr. Walsh, that I was here and that I need to ask him a few questions. He knows where to reach me."
Alex walked back to the castle, feeling disappointed that Lorcan wouldn't be back until later that evening. She wanted to see him now, not later.
Justin watched her walk away before going into the house and locking the door behind him. He walked up the stairs to the darkened rooms above. "Lorcan?" he called out.
Lorcan's voice answered him. "I'm right here, Justin," he said.
"Should I pack?" Justin asked.
"What for?" questioned Lorcan.
"She's here t'destroy you, her and her friends," Justin said.
"No," Lorcan replied. "She's here to destroy Baethan, not me. He's the one who is infecting this town with his poisonous blood."
"But Lorcan-" Justin began.
"No, Justin. We're not leaving. We can't just let Baethan have his way with the town" Lorcan said. Justin shook his head but ultimately the decision was Lorcan's, no matter how much he disagreed. He turned to leave but Lorcan's voice called out to him one more time.
"Thank you, Justin," he said. Justin nodded and left Lorcan alone. He sighed, realizing that he may have to do the unthinkable. Baethan wasn't always like this. There was a time when the two men were great friends. They were blood brothers. Rebecca had changed them both that same, mystical night that she came to them. Before she died she once said that they were to always be there for each other. To watch out for each other, like brothers do. No matter what Baethan had done, and no matter how much they hated each other, neither one would ever betray Rebecca's memory.
If only Baethan hadn't fed on that Druid witch that night so long ago. His blood was tainted now with darkness and evil. He'd never been the same. Lorcan knew that the Baethan that was once his best friend and blood brother had died that night. Only the darkness in him thrived.
"There are two of us talking in circles and one of us who wants to leave. Don't you know we're working with flesh and blood, carving out of jealousy." -Sarah McLachlan, "Circle"
Galina watched Philip's friends leave the castle one by one. Nick was still in the kitchen nursing a cup of coffee. Galina had given up her ruse. Nick felt bad enough. Besides the fact that every time she saw his face her heart twisted in pain. Galina didn't care that Nick called it a "friendly fight", it still hurt to see his face bruised and battered. She was still upset that he felt it necessary to pick a fight in order to be accepted by Philip's friends. All she could blame it on was that dammed Irish blood of his that loved a good fight so much.
"Hey!" Galina called out to Alex. The woman walked up the drive and smiled wryly at the passing Irishmen, each of whom bowed their head when they walked by her.
"I bet they all feel like a horse's ass," Alex said.
"Well, that's because they couldn't remember anything about last night other than the fight. So Philip told them that after they got drunk they all acted like a bunch of five year old boys and then added some things he thought would make them feel much worse," Galina said.
"What about Nick?" Alex asked, walking in.
"Oh, I couldn't go on with it. I told him there was really nothing he did to embarrass himself," Galina said.
"I'd have kept it up for a bit longer," Alex smiled. Galina laughed.
"So, did you see Dr. Walsh?" she asked.
"No," Alex sighed. "He's off giving vaccinations to school children from the next town."
"Aw! How sweet! A traveling doctor who goes from town to town and takes care of sick children. Kind of romantic, don't you think?" Galina asked.
"Lina, get a grip girl! You're enjoying this far too much," Alex said, smiling. "There's nothing going on, the man just walked me home last night, that's all."
"Yes, and protected you from a possible vampire attack in the process. Is it too much to ask that you let me hope for your sake that something comes out of this? I would like to see you happy, truly happy, with someone. And a handsome Irish doctor sounds good to me, I think you should go for it. Let him know you're interested," Galina said.
"Interested in what?" Philip asked, walking into the room. Both women blushed.
"Nothing," Alex said.
"We were just talking girl talk, you know, how every month we feel like-" Galina started to say.
"Uh, nevermind, that's all right. Have you seen Nick?" Philip quickly asked.
"He's in the kitchen," Galina answered. Philip left in a hurry and Galina grinned at Alex. "You only have to mention girl stuff and the boys just scramble away like scared rabbits."
"So I've noticed," Alex said.
A male voice blared from the staircase. "I think you find it a lot harder to get rid of me," Derek said. He was looking straight at Alex.
"Uh-oh," Galina said, "I think that's my exit line, talk to you later."
After Galina left Derek walked down the stairs and said, "So, where have you been?"
"Out in town," Alex said. "I went to find Dr. Walsh but he's over in the neighboring town administering vaccines to children." He stared at her uncomfortably. Alex said, "It is daylight, Derek."
"So I've noticed, but what was your excuse for last night?" he asked.
"Is there a problem?" Alex asked, a bit angrily.
Before he could answer Father Davitt raced in. His chest was heaving and his face was pale. Alex ran to his side and helped him into a chair.
"Marjory Murphy was found this morning, dry as a bone," Father Davitt said. He started to wheeze. Alex left the room to grab a glass of water.
"Father Davitt," Derek said, "What do you know of Dr. Walsh?"
"Good man, he's helped a lot here. Helped me t'stake the monsters that were once the good people of this town," Father Davitt said. Derek stared at him, confused as ever. If Lorcan was responsible, then why was he staking his victims afterwards? It was against their rules. Lorcan could be punished for it. There was a knock at the door. Derek left Father Davitt to answer it.
Alex walked back in and handed Father Davitt a glass of water. "Sip it slowly, Father," she said. She looked up when Derek let William Sloan in the door. Now what? Alex thought to herself.
"Miss Moreau, good to see you again," Sloan said. He looked at the old priest. "You must be Father Davitt, I'm William Sloan."
"Nice t'meet you Sloan," Father Davitt wheezed. Sloan bent down and placed a hand on the priest's shoulder.
"Are you all right, Father?" Sloan asked.
"They just found the body of another victim," Derek answered.
Sloan looked at Alex, then at Derek. Derek shook his head and Sloan turned and motioned him into the other room. "You mean you haven't told her yet about Lorcan, right?" Sloan asked.
"No," Derek said. He told Sloan what Father Davitt had told him about Lorcan staking the new vampires. Sloan was as confused as Derek. The Undead had a strict code among them. They watched out for their kind, and rightly so. They were always being hunted down. To kill their own before they could even spend their first night as the newly Undead was a serious crime.
"Could it be, that Lorcan is cleaning up the mess left by someone else?" Sloan asked. "Think about it, the only time a vampire is justified in killing one of it's own is when the victim's blood has been tainted. Remember, the case back in the 1300's? A vampire had fed unwittingly on a priestess of the god Ares in Greece. He went mad and began to kill indiscriminately and those he changed into vampires were just as mad and evil. Before the Legacy was able to take care of it, his kind had him and all his victims staked. They prefer to take care of the matter themselves, just like we take care of our own," Sloan explained. Derek just looked at him. He remembered the case.
"I want to know why he's so interested in Alex," Derek said. "Right now that is my only concern. My people come before the town. As heartless as that sounds, it's the truth," Derek said. Sloan nodded.