Chapter Twelve:

"And where will you be when all this is coming down? With time to kill where will you be? When all this is coming down, you're a necessary evil." -The Devlins, "Necessary Evil"

"Marjory Murphy was 18 and lived with an aunt," Philip said. He shook his head. She was just too young to die. "None of these people should be dyin'," Philip muttered angrily.

"And the other victims, let's see, the first was Geraldine McGill, 40. Then her husband, Rory, who was 40 as well. Then Jimmy O'More, 20," Alex read off the paper.

"Then Moira Boland, she was 28," Philip said.

"She was your age, did you know her?" asked Galina.

"I knew of her, and might have talked with her once or twice, but she wasn't a friend of mine," Philip said sadly. He would have liked to have gotten to know her.

Alex continued, "After her was the previous doctor, Gerry O'More, Jimmy's father, then Maude Slattery. And now Marjory Murphy."

"There doesn't seem to be much of a pattern," Nick concluded. "He hit all ages, people who lived alone and people who lived with others."

"You're assumin' there is just one vampire here, boy," Father Davitt said. "There might be more."

"No, I think Nick is right, Father, there's just one," Philip said.

Sloan looked at Derek. You didn't tell any of your people about Lorcan Walsh? Sloan thought. Derek spoke up.

"And Dr. Walsh helped you to stake all of these victims?" he asked.

"Right, we had to do it just after burial, t'make sure if they had been changed or not. Vampires don't always change their victims," Father Davitt said. You have no idea, Derek thought. Lorcan hadn't fed off of him nor changed him. He killed Isabel, and didn't change her but left her body by the roadside where the two of them had been attacked. Derek's jaw tightened painfully when he thought of her. The two of them had run out of gas and tried to walk to the Legacy House in Florence, Italy. All Derek remembered was being hit from behind and lying on the ground helpless as he heard Isabel's screams. When he awoke, he was in an inn and Lorcan Burke was standing over him. There was another man there, he was older and a mortal. They actually helped him, binding the wound on the back of his head so he wouldn't bleed to death. Lorcan killed Isabel then went so far as to save his life. He would kill Lorcan now if he had to, even though he owed the monster his life. He did not owe him Alex's life, however, and Derek knew he would protect her and the others. No matter what.

"It's dusk now, we should get t'the morgue and make sure Marjory's body doesn't awaken," Philip said. "I'll call Dr. Walsh and have him meet us over there."

"You do that," Derek said. Alex wanted to leap for joy that she would see Lorcan again but was thrown off guard by the venomous tone in Derek's voice. It angered her. What could Derek possibly have against Lorcan? Unless he was jealous. Alex quickly dismissed that thought. There was something else that was bothering Derek and, as usual, he wasn't telling anyone about it. Sloan, on the other hand, was a different matter. She saw the way they looked at each other. They were both hiding something. Her senses screamed to her to watch herself carefully.

Chapter Thirteen:

"Wait for me by the banshee tree. Let me be your wailing companion." -Shawn Colvin, "Suicide Alley"

When they reached the morgue the sun had been down for almost two hours. Only Derek, Sloan, Father Davitt, Philip and Alex walked to the morgue. Nick was feeling dizzy so he and Galina stayed behind. When they got to the morgue however, Philip's friends were there.

"This is our home," Magnus said. "These are our people and we want t'be a part of bringin' this beast t'justice." Derek saw he couldn't argue, Sloan didn't even try lest he end up like Nick with a face full of bruises.

They waited quietly at the morgue for Dr. Walsh, who was late getting there. Dr. Walsh walked in and Alex held back the urge to run to him and throw her arms around him. When he saw Derek his entire body slammed to a halt. The two men stared at each other for what seemed like hours on end. Alex thought she could see the hairs bristle on the backs of their necks.

"There you are, Doctor," Father Davitt called out. Alex was grateful to the old priest for breaking the tension. "Shall we go in?"

Lorcan walked forward only after Derek and the others walked into the ME's room. As he passed Alex he smiled at her and it sent pleasant shivers running through her. She followed him in but stepped too close and almost walked right into his backside. She blushed severely. Philip smiled at her reaction. He did not smile at Derek's reaction to the fact that Marjory Murphy's body was missing.

"Well, it would seem someone got to her before we could," Derek spat out, looking at Lorcan.

"The fiend must 'ave taken her!" Father Davitt yelled. Philip's friends began to mutter both curses and prayers.

"Yes, it must have," Derek said, still staring at Lorcan. Alex became incensed at his behavior. Derek glared at Lorcan with such rage, and Alex could feel it as well as see it. Lorcan excused himself and left. Alex waited until Philip led Father Davitt and the other Irishmen from the room before turning on Derek.

"What's your problem?" she asked angrily.

"Nothing," Derek said.

"Like hell," Alex snarled. "The one time in my life I meet a man that I am comfortable around and like being with and you treat him like he's got the plague. How dare you!"

She turned and walked out with Derek and Sloan following her. "Alex! Wait a minute," Derek said.

"Don't tell me what to do! I am not your servant nor your subordinant. Stay the hell out of my personal life," she blasted. Alex took off down the road.

"Dammit!" Derek yelled into the air. Sloan walked up behind him.

"Can you blame her? If you don't let your people in on sensitive and crucial information, then they begin to trust you less and less. Worse than that, they lose respect for you. In the future I'd make certain not to do that again. The House that keeps secrets from each other is the House most likely to fall," Sloan warned.

"Go to hell, Sloan," Derek snapped.

"I've already been there, why don't you go? You could use the vacation," Sloan retorted. He walked off to catch up with Philip and the others.

Chapter Fourteen:

"If I could stay...then the night would give you up. Stay then the day would keep its trust. Stay with demons you drowned. Stay with the spirit I found. Stay and the night would be enough." -U2, "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"

"Lorcan?" Alex called out. She was standing on his porch. There was no answer when she had knocked on the door.

"Looking for my brother?" a voice called out. It gave her the chills. She turned around to see a tall man of medium build. With his dark red hair and blue eyes, he looked nothing like Lorcan.

"Brother? Dr. Walsh is your brother?" she asked. For some reason, Alex felt the sudden urge to scream and run far away from him.

"A minute ago it was Lorcan, but now it's Dr. Walsh?" the man asked. Alex didn't like his tone of voice. She said nothing so he stepped forward and offered his hand. "I'm Baethan, his brother. We're twins, actually, born on the same night."

"Really? How interesting, you don't look anything like him," Alex said. Lorcan! her mind called out, where are you?

"No, I don't," Baethan asked, noticing that she hadn't taken his hand.

"What do you think you're doing?" Lorcan asked, walking out of the shadows. His voice was as smooth as ever, but Alex thought she heard a low growl deep within it.

"Meeting your lovely friend, brother," Baethan said. He smiled at Lorcan who did not smile back.

"This is your brother?" Alex asked, stepping closer to Lorcan and farther away from Baethan.

"Yes," Lorcan answered. Alex studied his face. His eyes were completely locked on Baethan's and she felt the same rage and hatred coming from Lorcan that she had felt from Derek. "Baethan was just leaving, however," Lorcan stated.

"No, I wasn't," Baethan said smugly.

"Yes, you were," Lorcan ordered. Baethan lost the smile and nodded his head at Alex before turning around and walking back into the darkness of the streets. Lorcan whipped his head around and looked at her. "What are you doing here? You should have stayed with your friends," he said. His voice had softened and Alex was relieved. She liked him much better this way.

"I came to apologize for Derek's behavior, it was rude and I'm sorry. He can be very hard on people sometimes, even though he doesn't mean to be," she said.

"Including you?" asked Lorcan. If Derek was causing her any grief he would have to have a severe talk with him. She deserved to be treated better than that.

"Oh, I can take care of myself," she said.

"Yes, I can see that you do," he replied. Lorcan thought back to the nightmares he witnessed in her mind. The things she had seen at her young age were more ghastly than the things he had seen in a hundred and eighty years of life.

"Do you want to go for a drink?" Alex asked suddenly. She hoped beyond hope that he would say yes.

"No, I don't think so," he answered. He felt her disappointment and asked her, "Would you like to come inside? I can make you some coffee."

"Sure," she answered. That would be even better, she thought.

Chapter Fifteen:

"You're all right. There's nothing wrong. Self-sufficience please! And get to work. You're on your own now. We won't save you. Your rescue squad, is too exhausted." -Bjork, "Army Of Me"

"You really are something, you know that?" Nick asked angrily. His head pounded but it he ignored it. He was simply too angry to pay any attention to his wounds. Derek had told them all about Lorcan. "And now he's got Alex!"

"Look, I don't feel the need to explain myself to you right now, that's not the issue," Derek said.

"The hell it isn't," Galina said vehemently. She felt horrible that she had told Alex to show her interest in Lorcan. If it got her killed, Galina would never forgive herself, nor would she ever be the same, and Derek knew about Lorcan yesterday and could have said something.

Nick pulled out his gun and checked it. "What are you doing, Mr. Boyle?" Sloan asked.

"I'm going over to Walsh's, or Burke's, whatever he calls himself, and I'm getting Alex out of there," Nick said.

"No, you're not," Sloan ordered.

"Excuse me?" Nick asked.

"She's not in danger from Lorcan," Sloan said.

"And just how the hell do you know that? Derek just told us about him-" Nick began.

"He's not the one responsible. I have the sight like Derek, Alex and Galina. The only problem is all three of them are emotionally preventing their sight from helping them any. Derek is blinded by his hatred for Lorcan, Galina is emotionally upset at your little mishap in the bar, and Alex, well, she may be involved with Lorcan," Sloan said.

"All the more reason to get the hell over there right now," Nick said.

"Mr. Boyle!" Sloan snapped loudly. "You're not listening. There is someone here in this town that is killing the townspeople and it isn't Lorcan Burke. If anything, he is trying to stop this. I felt no evil or malice when I met the man. If anything, Alex is safe with him. Right now we should be concentrating our efforts on finding this creature who's really responsible for what's going on here," Sloan explained.

Chapter Sixteen:

"I play dead, it stops the hurting. I play dead, and the hurt stops. It's sometimes just like sleeping, curling up inside my private tortures. I nestle into pain." -Bjork, "I Play Dead"

"You know, they have a sayin' around here. Don't give cherries t'pigs or advice t'fools," Father Davitt said. He sat down next to Derek at the kitchen table. The two were alone. "But I don't think you're a fool, boy."

"Thank you, that's nice to know," Derek said. "And I'm not a boy."

"I'm ninety-eight years old," Father Davitt said. Derek's eyes widened. "Everyone's but a boy or girl t'me." He handed over a flask of whiskey to Derek and said, "What whiskey won't cure, there's no cure for."

"Thank you again," Derek said. He took a big swig of the drink and surprised himself when he coughed and wheezed.

"Hah! It's 100 proof!" the old man laughed. Father Davitt looked at Derek for a while and then said, "A secret can be a weapon and a friend. But in this case I'd say it was neither. I've learned in my long life that a man can be his own ruin. I wasn't always a priest you know. Buggy's grandfather and I fought with Michael Collins for our Irish independence. I've killed many men, mostly English. And I learned that when it came down t'the end, the fact that they were English meant nothin', they were men, just like me. With families and loved ones. I realized that although I wanted our independence more than anythin', although I would die for it, I wasn't willin' t'kill for it. Some called me a coward and for a while, the only person who would even speak t'me was Buggy's grandfather. I became a priest t'make up for the things I had done. Moved out here t'Ballysidhe in 1944."

Derek was touched that this old man shared his life with him so openly. "Why do you call Philip, Buggy?" Derek asked.

"Well, now. When he and the boys were a'growin' up, Philip used t'play with bugs. He was a real terror, that one. Always putting a spider in Mrs. O'Grawney's bed an' such. Scarin' all the ladies of the town that way was his thing," Father Davitt explained.

Derek laughed out loud. The funniest thing was that he could just see Philip doing that. He stopped laughing and said, "I should have told my people the truth."

"It wasn't that you were tellin' them lies, boy. You just didn't speak at all, and that can be the death of you. They're hurt but eventually they'll get over it. No war is as bitter than that between friends, but it never lasts long. But as their leader, their rock in times of trouble, you must take care and never, ever take sides. They have another sayin' here in this land, tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are. Well, I only have t'look at them t'see you're a great man," Father Davitt explained. "By God, you count Philip among your friends, don't you? An' he's the best I've ever seen."

"Yes, well, it appears I'm only great some of the time, Father," Derek said.

"They won't be mad at you for long, boy. But it hurts just the same when a friend turns their anger on you. The coldness of a friend is worse than the sweetness of an enemy. Miss Alexandra will come 'round," Father Davitt said. Derek looked over at him. "Don't be tryin' to tell me different, she's the one that's got you hurtin'. The others have been mad at you before and you've survived. But it's when she's angry that it really hurts, isn't it?"

"You're a wise old fox," Derek smiled. "She's my best friend. I don't want to hurt her anymore than I have to. But this man is dangerous," Derek said.

"That is something she has t'learn for herself, boy. There are some things you simply can't help a friend with," the old priest said.

Chapter Seventeen:

"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun. My hunger for her explains everything I've done." -Sting, "Sister Moon"

"You have the longing, of a broken heart. Shined your light in a room, that was frozen dark." -The Devlins, "Crossing the River"

"I don't want to lose this feeling. And if I could choose a place to die it would be in your arms. I don't want to fade away. In your heart I want to stay." -Eric Clapton, "Bell Bottom Blues"

"This is a nice house," Alex said. They were sitting in the living room. Lorcan made her a cup of coffee. "Aren't you having any?" she asked.

"If I do I'll be jumpy all night," he said.

"Sensitive to coffee, huh? That's a shame," she laughed. "I need coffee like I need to breath. Don't you have a food or drink that you just can't live without?"

"Uh, no, not really," he answered. Alex stared at him. She was frightened that she relied so much on his presence. Especially in the darkness of the world that she and the Legacy had come to know so well. This was a world where hope was the only thing you could rely on, the only thing you knew would still be there tomorrow, and the day after that. Alex was suddenly quite aware of her addiction to Lorcan, knowing full well the withdrawals she would experience if his body wasn't within her general vicinity. He pulled over a timeworn chair for her to sit down.

Damn it, he should just tell her who and what he was. If she was repulsed, all the better for his feelings for her had grown to an overwhelming love. She would be better off without him.

"Alexandra, I-" he started to say.

"Lorcan, how old are you?" she suddenly asked him.

"Thirty," he replied. It wasn't exactly a lie. He'd been thirty when Samantha had changed him.

"A few years older than me. But when I look into your eyes, I see such an older soul," she said. She was reaching forward and before she knew it her hand swept over his cheek. He closed his eyes tightly. The hunger was building, he hadn't fed that night yet. He pushed her away and excused himself. He went into the kitchen and pulled out a blood bag and drank it down hungrily. He hated cold blood but had gotten used to it for it was all he ever drank anymore.

Alex was putting her coat on when he walked back into the living room. "I'm sorry, Lorcan, I didn't mean to offend you."

"You didn't, where are you going?" Lorcan asked.

"Back to the castle, I've intruded enough," she said.

"You can't leave!" he said. The emotion in his voice startled her. "It's too dangerous out there. Now that Marjory Murphy's body is missing, there are two vampires on the prowl instead one. Stay with me."

"Do you want me to stay?" she whispered.

"Yes," he answered. Baethan's voice crept into his mind. Good Lorcan. Keep her there. Because if she leaves, she's as good as dead. Lorcan ran forward so fast that Alex blinked. One minute he was standing across the room and the next he was holding her tightly. She held him back. He pulled her down onto the couch with him, not letting her go.

"Lorcan?" she murmured breathlessly.

"Shhhh, just let me hold you, all right?" he said. She melted into him and closed her eyes. She saw her house again, her mother and father and she was so happy. Her memories flooded through her. Anything and everything that she had ever loved in her entire life she saw. Every happy instant, every joyful occasion. She fell asleep in that happiness and in Lorcan's arms.

Baethan walked into the room. Lorcan instinctively and reactively pulled Alex tighter against his chest. They spoke without words.

Get out of here, Baethan, now.

Come now, brother, we can share her.

I will kill you Baethan, I swear I will.

You can't watch over her all the time.

Baethan turned to leave but before he did he waved his hand over Alex. As he fled into the night, Alex began to scream. She fought against Lorcan and tried to pull away. He grasped her even harder and would not let her go. "Alexandra! It's just a nightmare!" he told her.

She opened her eyes and began to cry. She felt embarrassed. "I'm sorry, Lorcan. Just old ghosts, that's all," she said. She was shaking and trembling under his arms. Lorcan damned Baethan under his breath for disturbing her peace of mind.

"You don't have to explain, love," he said. He held his breath. She looked up at him. Did he just call her love? He bent down and kissed her. She kissed him back but before things got too involved, he stopped it. "Alexandra, we can't do anything."

"No, you're probably right," she told him.

"Don't think I don't want to, I do. I just...can't, I wish I could explain it to you in a way you'd understand," he said. She looked at him and picked up feelings of fear and nervousness. Oh, Lorcan, she thought to herself, you're afraid you'd be a disappointment to me.

Lorcan read her thoughts and almost laughed out loud. She thought he was being shy and withdrawn. Well, he was afraid, but not of being a disappointment. He was afraid he would kill her by accident. He made the decision to give up feeding on humans almost the very night after he had become a vampire. He fed on animals mostly, and with the invention of blood banks, he switched to donated blood altogether. He stayed away from mortals socially, except for Justin. He helped them when he could. He had been a doctor in his mortal years as well. Lorcan had never been with a woman since his mortal wife died. He wasn't sure what would happen if he couldn't control the lusting hunger in him.

"If only you knew what you meant to me," Lorcan said. "If only I could show you."

"I love you," Alex surprised them both with her words. When the hell had this happened? When did she have time to fall in love with this man?

"I love you, Alexandra," he whispered back. He knew she was confused at her feelings. He had fallen in love with her when he saw her walking down the street. He was angry knowing that nothing could ever come of it. If she ever found out who and what he was, he knew she would understand, for that was her nature, but she would never go with him. She would never let him change her, and he never would take away what he loved about her.

Chapter Eighteen:

"They said the sky would be burning bright and all the angels would begin to fight. Over the reason why there's no seasons and there'll be no day and night." -The Devlins, "I Knew That"

Alex woke up in the morning and Lorcan was gone. There was a note that he had some business to take care of in Galway. She let herself out and walked back to the castle. She was elated. She was in love and Lorcan was in love with her. Life couldn't get much better. Alex didn't know that it wasn't going to, in fact, it was about to get worse.

She walked in and everyone was waiting for her, except for Philip and Father Davitt. They looked relieved when she walked in the door. Galina ran forward and gave her a hug.

"What's all this?" Alex asked.

"We were worried about you," Galina said.

"Alex, you and I have to talk," Derek announced. Philip and Father Davitt walked into the room.

"In the car," Philip said.

"Where are we going?" Nick asked.

"Well, Alex, Derek, Mr. Sloan and I are goin' t'the see the Sidhe, you are stayin' here. Sorry, Nick there just isn't enough room and you need t'rest anyways," Philip said.

"What? Oh come on," Nick groaned. He looked at Galina and she shrugged her shoulders.

"Don't worry, you get t'stake the next vampire we meet," Philip said wryly.

After they left, Galina brought Nick some aspirin. "Are you okay with this?" she asked him.

"No, I should go with them. I hate being left behind. Besides, something could go wrong and they might need us," Nick told her.

"That's not what I was talking about," she said. "I was talking about me. In Klaudia's body. It's only been a few days and we really haven't had a chance to talk about it yet."

Nick looked at her intently. Was she really serious? He didn't care how she looked on the outside, she was Galina in the inside and that was all he cared about. "Lina, you're alive. That is the only thing that matters. Do you hear me? The only thing."

"She tried to kill you and Philip, she hurt you terribly," Galina moaned.

"Yes, she did, and now she's burning in a pit where she belongs and you're here with me. And if you don't mind, I'd really like it if you wouldn't die on me again," he smiled at her.

"No problem, I'm here to stay," she grinned. Her smile faded when she thought of Alex. "I just wish Alex could find someone special like I have."

Chapter Nineteen:

"You thought you were dreaming. You could wake up dead. And you'll never know what's real." -Shawn Colvin, "Suicide Alley"

"You're lying," Alex stated. Yet, deep within her she knew Derek was telling her the truth. Besides, he would never lie to her. He might not tell her everything and he may keep secrets, but he would never lie. For some reason, she wasn't ready to face the fact that Lorcan was a vampire. Philip winced at Derek's revelation even though he already knew beforehand what it was.

Philip and Father Davitt had finally decided it would be time to ask the Sidhe for help. They were the Shadow People. They knew and saw everything. They knew where the vampire's lair was. All they had to do was ask, but even that wouldn't be so easy.

They arrived at the Sidhe mounds only one hour before nightfall. The sun was still shining brightly but they need every hour that daylight could spare. The others remained in the car while Philip walked to the mound. He knew the Sidhe preferred to come out during the darkness, but he had no choice but to ask for their help now. He hoped they would remember what he had done to stop the evil forces that they themselves had fought so long ago near Moytura.

Derek watched as out of the mound a man and a woman emerged. It was as if the mound was made out of water and they just walked through it with no difficulty. The man and woman were somewhat normal looking. They certainly didn't appear to be the fairies that Derek had read about. For one thing they were the normal size of human beings. Derek somehow pictured them being like little elves and only an inch or two tall. Yet they were beautiful, as most fairies are reputed as being. He watched as Philip got on his knees before them. It was only a few seconds before the male Sidhe pointed to a direction off in the east and the female Sidhe helped Philip up off the ground. If they saw Derek, Sloan and Alex waiting in the car, they gave no notice. Philip turned and headed back while the two Sidhe disappeared back into the mound.

When he got back into the car, Philip was breathless. "Did you see that?" he asked them. "I have t'say that was the single most exhilaratin' experience in my life, other than meetin' the archangel Gabriel, of course. I mean, Lord Almighty, I just met the Sidhe."

Derek and Alex smiled. Philip was like a little kid who had just met his hero. "Did they tell you where to find the lair?" Derek asked him.

"Yes, it's over that way," Philip pointed the way.

"Well, Philip, what else did they say to you?" asked Alex.

Philip blushed. "They said I was considered a great hero among the Sidhe. They know what happened before, with the Devil. They said they have been watchin' me since I was a child. I'm a chosen one," Philip said.

"A chosen one of what?" Derek asked.

"I don't know, they didn't say," Philip said.

They reached the lair with only minutes of daylight left. They found a way inside and were immediately attacked by a snarling Marjory Murphy. She was strong, and gaining strength as the sun fell lower and lower. Sloan was finally able to get an open angle and staked her. Her body fell to the ground and shriveled up. Derek looked at Sloan and Philip and asked, "Where's Alex?"

They walked into another room and found Alex standing over a sleeping Lorcan. Derek stepped forward and Alex screamed at him.

"Stay where you are! I won't let you hurt him," she yelled.

"No one is going to hurt him, Miss Moreau," Sloan said softly.

Derek turned around and looked at Sloan. "We have a chance to get him now," he said.

"No!" Alex yelled again. "If you want to kill him, you're going to have to kill me first."

"Derek," Sloan said. He stepped in between Alex and Derek. "Leave him be, he hasn't hurt her. He won't hurt her."

"Alex! He's a monster! A vampire!" Derek yelled.

"He may be a vampire, but he is NOT a monster!" she cried. Something stirred behind her and she turned and saw Lorcan standing behind her. Their eyes locked together for a few moments and then Lorcan rushed forward and seized Alex. In a blink of an eye they were both gone. Lorcan had carried her away.

Derek looked as if he would spew fire from his mouth. He roared in anger and grabbed Sloan by the collar. "I could have had him if you hadn't gotten in my way. If anything happens to her, YOU will pay for it!"

"Stop it!" Philip yelled. "We have to find Alex, killing each other won't do it! Don't you understand? It's night now, the other one will be back for his newborn undead and when he finds her really dead, then God help us all. Let's get out of here," Philip commanded. Realization hit Derek and Sloan and the three men scrambled out of the lair in record speed.

Chapter Twenty:

"Tell me what you feel. Tell me every little thing. Tell me all that you are now. And tell me what it's like to see from your own heart. Now I've got you....alone in the dark. The shadows fall all around. There's no one to harm you here, nowhere to be found. And it seems like we've been lost in the world of our own thoughts." -The Devlins, "Alone in the Dark"

"Where are we?" Alex asked.

"I usually keep my lair in my home, but I have this one for a reserve, in case of trouble," Lorcan said. He was quiet for several moments.

"Did you kill Derek's friend?" Alex asked bluntly.

"No, it was Baethan," Lorcan said.

"Baethan. He's the one who's been doing this. I had completely forgotten about him! He's not your brother, is he?" Alex asked.

"He's not my mortal brother, but he is my blood brother," Lorcan said. "Rebecca was the vampire who created us. A truly beautiful creature. She came to us 180 years ago, in 1847. That was a terrible year. The potato famine was in it's worst stage. A million people died, including my wife. I was a doctor in Connemara. Baethan McNamara was my best friend, his brother was married to my sister. But people were starving and being thrown from their lands when they couldn't pay the rents that the Landlords constantly were raising. My wife was caught in a riot on the street between the people and the landlords. Baethan's brother and my sister were also killed. The next night Rebecca came to us. She offered a new world to Baethan and I. We both knew full well what we were getting into, Rebecca told us what life as a vampire would be like. I went into it knowing exactly how it would be and so did Baethan," Lorcan explained.

"Do you wish things were different now?" Alex asked.

"No. This is who I am Alexandra. This is my life, I made my choice to become a vampire because in my mortal life I wanted to help people with my medical skills. I knew that while immortal, I could do much more to help them. That's why I chose. Some, I saved with my skills, others I was able to change into what I was," he said. "I never fed off of humans. That was my conscious choice. I fed off of animals, cattle and the like. Then later on I moved to blood donated in blood banks."

"You've made vampires?" Alex asked.

"They knew what was involved, I never lied to them. They went into it with open eyes, just like I did. Baethan wanted to be a vampire to get revenge on the men that killed his brother and my sister and my wife. But don't think that was what turned him into the evil that he is now, it wasn't. He was still a decent man. He still felt compassion for people. He thought he could better fight the cause by being immortal," Lorcan said.

"So what changed him?" she asked.

"One night, he came across a Druid witch. He was hungry and fed from her and the Baethan I knew became a monster. His blood is tainted. I should have taken care of it long ago, but Rebecca made us promise to take care of each other. We were, after all, her 'sons'," he told her.

"What happened to her?" she asked him.

"She was killed by vampire hunters. It was a long time ago," Lorcan said.

"I'm sorry," Alex said. She meant it. Rebecca meant a lot to Lorcan, she could feel it.

"I'm sorry you had to find out about me the way that you did, I wanted to tell you myself," Lorcan apologized.

Alex walked over to him and drew him into her arms. "It still doesn't change the way I feel about you."

"Are you sure? It would be one thing if you were an ordinary mortal, but you're not. You're Legacy. That isn't a problem for me, I would love you no matter what," Lorcan told her.

"The Legacy hunts monsters and demons. You are neither. So let's just ignore what you and I are. There's just you and me here. Our true selves and nothing more. No Legacy. No vampires. Just us," Alex reassured. She smoothed back the hair on his forehead and began to kiss him. He tried to pull away but she wouldn't let him.

"You don't understand, Alexandra, I might not be able to control-" Lorcan began to say.

"I don't care. If I die in your arms, I don't care," she said and kissed him again. Oh she loved this man. She knew him only for a few days, he was an enemy to her life's work and things would undoubtedly not work out for them, but she loved him anyway.

"How sickly sweet," Baethan called out from the darkness of the lair. He stepped out, his eyes flashing death. Alex instinctively trembled and Lorcan shoved her behind him.

"Get out of here, Baethan," Lorcan savagely hissed.

"She killed Marjory. The others, they meant nothing, just food for thought. I made them vampires against their will because it was fun. I didn't care that you and that priest staked them. But Marjory was mine, she was going to be with me but you took her away. Now I'm going to take away from you," Baethan snarled. He lunged forward and Alex screamed. Lorcan caught Baethan in mid air and the two struggled violently.

"Alexandra! Get out of here!" Lorcan snarled.

"No!" Alex cried. "I won't leave you!" Lorcan hated to have to force her, but there was no other choice at the moment. He willed his thoughts into her mind and overtook her will completely.

"Now, love, run to your friends," Lorcan said. Alex turned and ran from the lair into the night.

Baethan struggled with Lorcan around the lair. Lorcan flung him backwards but Baethan was up and on his feet within seconds and back at him. Baethan had been feeding on fresh blood for the past 180 years, Lorcan hadn't. Baethan tossed Lorcan down and grabbed a torch that hung on the wall. He held it above Lorcan's body and looked down. For a few moments, Baethan thought he heard Rebecca's voice, screaming at him to stop. Baethan ignored it as he thrust the flaming torch down onto Lorcan, who screamed in agony as the flames engulfed him. Baethan smiled and said, "So long, brother. Don't worry, I'll send your love down to hell to meet you real soon. And if she's a good girl, I'll send her friends too."

Lorcan howled in pain and anger as his body was blackened by the consuming fire.

"Sorry, Rebecca," Baethan called out. "But he just wasn't any fun anymore."

Chapter Twenty-one:

"Three o'clock in the morning. It's quiet and there's no one around. Just the bang and the clatter. As an angel runs to ground. Just the bang and the clatter. As an angel hits the ground." -U2, "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"

"Derek!" Alex yelled. She was running across the field and towards them. It had been almost an hour since she left Lorcan and she had been running the entire time.

"Alex! Thank God!" Derek yelled. He hugged her tightly as did Philip.

"Lorcan is in trouble, he needs help," she breathed. "Derek, it was Baethan who killed Isabel, not Lorcan. He didn't get there in time to save her but he did save you and now you've got to help me help him!"

She showed them the way to Lorcan's hidden lair and swore under her breath that it took then another hour to get there. It was almost morning. She ran into the lair and stopped. No one was there. She looked down at the scorch marks on the ground and felt her heart rip in two. Tears blurred her eyes but she did not want to cry in front of the others.

"Alex, there'd be much more than just scorch marks if either Baethan or Lorcan had been burned," Philip tried to comfort her. "There'd be some sort of remains left."

"Let's go, we can check his home in town, he might have gone back there," Derek said.

"No, he didn't," Alex said, leaning against Derek for support. "He's not home, I don't know where he is."

"Come on," Derek said, leading her out.

Lorcan was in much more pain than he could ever imagine. After Baethan left him, he laid there thinking it would be the end when he suddenly felt water rushing over him. It was Justin. Justin, who had always taken care of him just like his father and his father before him. The O'Toole clan had always taken care of him. Jacob O'Toole being the first to take on the task of being Lorcan's friend and confidant. Justin had no kin, he was the last O'Toole in a great line.

Lorcan didn't remember being lifted and taken away from the lair. He was in so much pain that he blotted it out with memories of his Alexandra. Lovely Alexandra, who shed so much light into his dark world.

"Lorcan?" a voice called to him, "can you hear me? It's Justin."

"Justin," Lorcan called out weakly. "Where are we?"

"We're in the basement of the belltower near the church. I couldn't think of anywhere else t'take you," Justin said.

"You...did fine," Lorcan moaned.

"Lorcan-" Justin hesitated.

"I'm dying," Lorcan said.

"You need to feed," Justin said.

"That won't do it," Lorcan stated.

"I don't mean blood bags, I mean you really need to feed, on fresh warm blood. It's the only way t'heal you, and the only way t'be strong enough t'beat that bastard, Baethan," Justin said. It took Lorcan a few moments to reason what Justin was saying.

"No, I won't do it," Lorcan said. "I'd have to take everything, every ounce of blood. No," Lorcan breathed. Although the flames had been extinguished, his body was still burning inside.

"You have to," Justin said. "My family has watched over and protected you, Lorcan Burke, for over 180 years. I'm goin' t'cut my throat, and if you don't feed then my death will mean nothin' and you'll die as well."

"NO!" Lorcan roared. "You will NOT!" He struggled to sit up but he was weak and in pain.

"I will give my life for my friend," Justin said. "Don't be a fool, Lorcan, take m'blood. Save yourself. Save your lady and destroy Baethan for good. I'm old and I reckon this body doesn't have much more life in it. I'm goin' t'die anyway, I'd much rather die for m'best friend, especially when it would save his life."

Justin took a knife out of his bag and before Lorcan could stop him he slit his own throat. Lorcan cried out emotionally and physically. Justin fell down at his side. Lorcan turned over and grabbed his friend by the neck and drank. He finally knew the real meaning of bittersweet. The warm, fresh blood healed his wounds and stopped the pain from the fire. It renewed him and made him stronger than he ever had been in his life, but it was the blood of his friend and confidant. It was an act that hurt him terribly. Lorcan laid his friend's body down. It was almost daylight, he would have to stay here for the day. He gathered up Justin in his arms and went to sleep thinking of all the ways he would make Baethan suffer.

Chapter Twenty-two:

"All the fear has left me now. I'm not frightened anymore. It's my heart that pounds beneath my flesh. It's my mouth that pushes out this breath. And if I shed a tear I won't cage it. I won't fear love. And if I feel a rage I won't deny it. I won't fear love. Companion to our demons, they will dance and we will play." -Sarah McLachlan, "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy"

At the castle, Alex waited through the day in absolute agony. She didn't think she ever wanted it to be night so badly before. Father Davitt came up behind her and laid his old, wrinkled hand on her shoulder.

"No matter how long the day is, night always comes. It's the only thing in this world that is sure to be. The sun rises and the sun sets," he said. Tears filled her eyes but she did not cry. She hugged Father Davitt and smiled at him.

"You're a very wise man, Father," she whispered.

"Nah, I've just been around a while, that's all," he said.

Chapter Twenty-three:

"How can I just let you walk away, just let you leave without a trace? When I stand here taking every breath with you. How can you just walk away from me? When all I can do is watch you leave." -Phil Collins, "Against All Odds"

"Someday love will find you. Break those chains that bind you. One night will remind you. How we touched and went our separate ways." -Journey, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"

Hours later the sun finally did set and Alex ran for the door. Sloan ran forward and tackled her.

"Listen!" he yelled. There was a terrifying sound that Sloan could only guess to be the triumphant laughter of a vampire. It sounded like a wild animal being flayed alive. "Don't go outside, this is our ground in here. Let him come to us," Sloan ordered. Alex put her hands to her ears when the sound grew louder. It suddenly stopped and the group looked at each other in wonder. A roar of anger followed and Alex knew it to be Lorcan's voice that screamed in the night. She broke free of Sloan and ran for the door.

"Alex, NO!" Derek yelled. No one could get to her fast enough and she was out the door. Nick got through the door and out to Alex before anyone else. He grabbed her and tried to drag her back in but they both stopped when they saw Lorcan. When the rest of the Legacy members ran out, Baethan laughed.

"Look, the gang's all here," he sneered. Lorcan ran to Philip and seized his bag out of his hand. He grabbed a cross from Philip's bag and although it burned his hand to hold it, he shoved it in Baethan's face. Baethan screamed angrily and ran off towards the belltower. Lorcan dropped the cross and grabbed at his hand.

"Lorcan!" Alex cried. She ran to him and held his injured hand close to her. He stared at her face to wipe out the pain in his hand. Lorcan's eyes locked on hers and for a few moments, he could see no one but her.

"Alexandra, thank you for giving me the only real love I've ever known in my life. Thank you for letting me see light again after such a long time of living in darkness. We may be worlds apart, but for one small moment we were able to love more than anyone could in a lifetime. Be strong, this world needs you. I love you and I always will," Lorcan said. With his face full of anguish, Lorcan kissed the top of her forehead and in an instant he was gone, speeding in the same direction as Baethan.

"Lorcan!" Alex cried. She turned around and said "Derek, we have to help him."

Philip picked up the cross Lorcan had dropped and shoved it back into his bag. Nick and Galina cocked their guns. All of them ran for the belltower. By the time they got their it was engulfed in flames. Alex tried to run inside but Derek held her back.

"Let him go, Alex," Derek whispered against her forehead. Alex hadn't really cried since her mother and father had died, but she did now as the towering flames licked the darkened sky. Nick swallowed the lump in his throat. He knew what Alex felt and wished he could do anything to take it away. He reached over and hugged Galina closer to him, thankful that he still had the one he loved.

In the morning, the wreckage was sifted through. The remains of the two men were found in the rubble. Alex stayed in the castle, packing her bags. She wanted to leave right away. Derek and Sloan wrapped things up while Philip said his goodbyes to his friends.

"Well," Sloan said. He walked next to Derek back to the castle.

"Well," Derek repeated. "I feel...guilty," he said.

"Why?" Sloan asked. "For believing Lorcan to be a monster, when in truth he saved all our lives?"

"Yes, and for hating him so much when he really didn't kill Isabel. He did save my life and he did try to save her. But he made up for not getting to Isabel in time by saving Alex. For that, I will always be grateful," Derek said.

Chapter Twenty-four:

"Hold on, hold on to yourself. For this is gonna hurt like hell." -Sarah McLachlan, "Hold On"

"I remember too a distant bell and stars that fell. Like rain out of the blue. When my life is through and the angels ask me to recall, the thrill of them all. I shall tell them I remember you." -Bjork, "I Remember You"

"And when you cry I'll be right there telling you, you were never anything less than beautiful. So don't you worry. I'm your angel standing by." -Jewel, "Angel Standing By"

The plane ride home was silent until Alex leaned over to Nick and asked, "How did you go through that twice?"

"I'm not sure," Nick answered. He looked over at Galina sleeping on his shoulder and said, "I really can't tell you how to get through something like that. I had you and the others to help me, but it was just something I had to go through alone. And even though I've gone through it with Julia and I've gone through it twice with Galina, I can't tell you anything that will make you feel better and I can't do anything to make the hurt go away. I wish I could, Alex. I really do. But nothing will ever stop the pain from a wound that deep. I have Galina back and it still hurts that I lost her." He looked at Alex and wished to hell he could some way make her pain disappear. "I'm sorry, Alex. There really isn't anything I can say to you."

"I know, Nick, it's okay," she said. She started to cry and Nick reached his arm around and held her. She laid her head on his other shoulder and didn't move again until the plane landed in San Francisco.

When things were settled and everyone was back in their own rooms and asleep, Derek wandered outside for a midnight walk. Even though by Legacy standards they had been successful in their mission to stop a murdering vampire, Derek still felt like it had been nothing but a failure. He grieved for Alex. He knew what it was like to find that one person that was half of you, half of your heart and half of your soul, but Megan was already dead when he found her. Alex had the experience of being with Lorcan for those few short days. Derek didn't know what was worse, being together for such a short time only to be ripped apart, or to never have had that experience at all and constantly wonder how things would have been if Megan had never been murdered. If he had just run into her one day in the City, would they know instantly? Would they have been drawn to each other like soulmates always are? No, he certainly didn't know which was worse.

He started back in when the familiar feeling of being watched hit him. He turned around.

"Derek," a voice said. Lorcan emerged from the darkness and Derek's heart jumped.

"You're alive?" Derek gasped.

"Yes, Baethan is dead, you don't have to worry about him ever again," Lorcan said.

"But there were two sets of remains in the fire," Derek said.

"Justin O'Toole, my friend. He died in there as well as Baethan," Lorcan explained.

"We assumed he'd left the country after the fire, knowing you were dead. I'm sorry," Derek told him. "Alex is upstairs."

"I know," Lorcan said.

"You won't go to her, will you?" Derek stated.

"No, she is better off without me, let her think that I'm dead, Derek. You must never tell her I'm alive," Lorcan commanded.

"I won't, if that's what you want," Derek said. "Where will you go now?"

"Nowhere," Lorcan said. "I intend to watch after her. As long as she lives I will be in the shadows, keeping her safe. She'll never have another nightmare or another bad memory. I won't let her. I'll make her happy, but I'll do so without her ever knowing. I'll always be here."

"Lorcan-" Derek began to say.

"You owe me, Derek Rayne. Promise me you'll never tell her anything. She needs to believe I'm dead. Swear, swear by everything you believe in," Lorcan said.

"I swear," Derek said.

"Thank you," Lorcan said.

"No, thank you Lorcan, for giving her back to us," Derek said.

"I'm so sorry For the way it had to go But now I feel your presence In a way I could not know And I wonder Do you ever feel the same? In this spinning darkness, Do you ever hear my name?" -Duran Duran, "Out Of My Mind"

The End