Desecration by Deb. T - click here to mail her

  Part Three

The call came as Lissa and Philip headed back to the car. Philip had been right...the ocean air had cleared Lissa's head, and she felt better after their walk. Her cellular rang and Lissa reached inside her jacket, flicking the phone open. She said, "Lissa Reynolds."

"Lis, it's me. I have some news for you about Jason Daugherty. It might help when you talk with his brother's widow," Alex said. Lissa caught Philip's eye and the priest leaned closer as Alex began to relate what she had learned from the Legacy computer data base about the young man.

Rachel waited patiently as Derek organized his thoughts. At last, he said, "I see a dark-haired little girl wandering aimlessly in the months after her mother's death, shocked by her mother's death and the revelation that she is my child. I see a little girl slowly coming out of her shock, and bringing a young boy out of his shell as she heals. I see Lissa on her first date. Philip isn't quite sure the boy is good enough, but keeps his reservations to himself."

"What else? Do you see Lissa as a woman? Is she a police officer, or does she have other training which benefits the Legacy?" Rachel asked. Derek frowned thoughtfully, his eyes narrowing.

"I don't know...I see her as a college student, home from England for the holidays, and trying to matchmake. 'My father is too young to spend the rest of his life alone,' she says. There are times when she reminds me more of her aunt than of her mother," Derek said with a half smile. Rachel cocked her head to one side...she knew little of Alicia.

"How so? You've never really told me what Alicia was like. I know what she looks like, of course...you showed me the picture of you, Alicia, and Randolph Hitchcock. But you've never really told me what she was like. Does thinking about her still hurt so much?"

"Sometimes," Derek admitted, "sometimes, when I look at Lissa, I see Alicia. Like the day she returned...after she unpacked, she went outside to play with Kat and Maeve. I glanced out the window and saw Lissa laughing, with the wind in her hair. She was Alicia all over again."

"She must have been very special," Rachel said softly. Derek nodded sadly, and Rachel continued, "So tell me more about what you see." What she really wanted to ask was, how would being Lissa's father have changed your life?

Alex told Lissa and Philip that Jason Daugherty had had several brushes with the law, mostly petty thievery. They also learned that Mitch Daugherty had been intrigued by the occult in high school and college. Lissa suppressed a shudder, remembering the fascination her hallmates had in Ouija boards in boarding school. She asked as she hung up, "Why this morbid fascination with sick things? Why do kids get such a kick out of playing with fire?"

Philip replied slowly, "You know, I've asked myself that in the past as well. And it was nothin' like Ouija boards, though those things scare me as well. Several months ago, I helped Monsignor Gray, who was a mentor when I was in the seminary. Three boys at his school, St. Athanasius, had conjured up a demon to solve their problems with bullies."

Lissa winced and said, "Ow. Poor kids. I've heard Bishop Douglas speak of Monsignor Gray." The young priest flinched and Lissa put her hand over his, saying, "I'm sorry. I know you feel as if the bishop betrayed you...I feel the same way. He knew all along that I was Derek's daughter, and he did nothing about it. And Mama did not tell him about me during confession, Philip."

"He didn't betray me, Lissa, not exactly. But what he did to you...he allowed that man to abuse you. That's nearly impossible for me to forgive. We are supposed to protect the innocent and the helpless," Philip answered. He glanced at her quickly, and Lissa smiled faintly.

"True. But...you were telling me about these boys at St. Athanasius. They performed some kind of ritual, and summoned up a demon?" the young cop asked, starting the engine as the cars ahead moved forward. Philip shuddered, and Lissa guessed it had something to do with what happened at St. Athanasius months earlier.

"Yes...the 'Hand of Glory.' It summons up a spirit called..." the young priest began, but Lissa was already nodding grimly. Yes, she knew about the 'Hand of Glory.' As she drove the car off the ferry and onto the dock, Lissa shuddered, remembering the stories she had heard.

"The Warden, yes. I'm familiar with the ritual from my boarding school years," she said, "On Friday nights, some of the girls would sneak out of their rooms and hold a seance, or something equally spooky. My roommate was one...she liked to hold those things in our room. Obviously, she was a far cry from Alex. Sorry. I keep interrupting you."

"No need to apologize," Philip replied, looking worried, "anyhow, after their chief tormentor was attacked, the boys realized they were in trouble. Monsignor Gray had called Derek and asked for my help. My relationship with Derek was strained...I figured it was his way of keeping me in the Legacy." He added, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

"Why not?" Lissa asked as she drove toward the Daugherty house. Philip was silent, and Lissa continued, "Philip, I have a good memory...I know what Derek can be like at times. He has a good heart...but he can be a jerk who needs to be smacked. You don't need to protect me."

"Sorry," Philip sighed, "old habits die hard." Lissa laughed. Philip smiled, then continued, "So, yes, I do understand what you mean about the fascination which the dark side holds for teenagers. These kids...they felt powerless, and the dark side feeds on that. With everything you went through as a child, I'm surprised..."

"That I didn't take part in the seances? I was drawn to it, which is why I never told the sisters about what my roommate and the others were doing. But I was too afraid of what I would find. I suppose there are some advantages to being a coward," Lissa replied and Philip shook his head.

"No, just a child who knew that some lines should not be crossed. Your roommate put you in a terrible position," he said. Lissa made no answer...they had arrived at the Daugherty house. As she pulled into the driveway, the door of the house opened. Lissa shuddered, suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of doom. She was aware of Philip's concerned look, but didn't allow herself to think about it.

Philip knew something was wrong. When Corinne Daugherty opened the door, Lissa had stiffened, as if she had been struck. However, he said nothing as they got out of the car and walked to the house. Mitch Daugherty's widow, a small, dark-haired woman, said softly, "I am Corinne Daugherty."

"Hello, Mrs. Daugherty. I'm Officer Lissa Reynolds and this is Father Philip Callaghan, from St. Bartholomew's. I'm so sorry for your loss," Lissa said gently. The composed mask cracked for a moment, and Philip saw soul-wrenching anguish. Lissa continued, "I know this is a difficult time for you, Mrs. Daugherty, but Father Callaghan and I work with the Luna Foundation. Might we ask you a few questions?"

The widow nodded and replied, "Of course. I still don't understand why...how this happened. Why was my husband in the cemetary last night?" Her voice cracked and Lissa took her hand. Corinne brought her emotions under control, and she said, a slight French accent now noticeable, "Forgive me, Officer Reynolds...Father Callaghan. I am neglecting my duties as hostess. Please, come in and sit down."

She led the pair into the house and gestured toward the sofa. Lissa smiled as she sat down and said, "Thank you... there is nothing to forgive. Father Callaghan and I are trying to discover the answers to your questions. Was your husband close to his younger brother Jason?"

"They were very close when Jason was small, since Mitch was so much older than Jason...the poor boy went through a difficult time after their parents died, then they became close again recently. Jason has been having a difficult time for the last few years. As a gendarme, Officer Reynolds, you know about Jason's past," Corinne replied with a deep sigh.

Lissa nodded and said, "Yes. I must caution you. Some of our questions will seem bizarre, but we must investigate everything. As a student, your husband was fascinated with the occult. Did that fascination continue into the present?"

"Non! Mitch once told me that something happened to him in college, something so terrible that just mentioning it made him shake. No, Mitch stayed away from the occult, Officer Reynolds. He was a good Catholic, went to Mass every Sunday with the children and me," Corinne replied. Tears welled up in her eyes and Lissa squeezed her hand gently.

"I'm sorry," the young woman repeated softly, "I'm so sorry, perhaps Father Callaghan and I should go now. I know this is very difficult for you, Mrs. Daugherty." Corinne shook her head, squeezing Lissa's hand in response. The dark-haired officer continued, "Are you sure? We can come back another time, when you don't feel so fragile."

I wish I could take Lissa with me, Philip thought, when I visit wakes. She's good at this. Corinne managed a weak smile and replied, "That will be many years from now, Officer Reynolds. And knowing why my husband died...perhaps that will ease the grief. No, ask your questions. But before you continue, let me ask you a question." Lissa nodded, glancing at Philip, and Corinne asked, cocking her head to one side, "You have lost people dear to you, no? Both of you?"

"Yes," Philip replied softly, speaking for the first time since the beginning of the interview, "my parents were killed in a plane crash when I was seven, and my brother died a few months ago. Lissa...Officer Reynolds...lost her mother when she was ten." Corinne nodded wisely.

"I thought as much. I see great pain in your eyes. And Officer Reynolds is very gentle...the other officers try, but she understands," the woman said. Lissa and Philip looked at each other, and the priest could see the astonishment in his friend's eyes. Corinne sighed, then added, "Well, my question has been answered. You have more?"

Lissa and Philip exchanged another look, and Lissa started to speak, but was interrupted by a dark-haired little boy running into the room. Philip guessed that he was about nine or ten; about the same age as Lissa was when Fiona died, he realized with a pang. Corinne tended to her son, whom she introduced as 'Stephen,' the older of her two children, then the little boy went running from the room once more. Philip and Lissa exchanged another look, then the officer asked, "Mrs. Daugherty, we know that your husband was an Egyptologist, a professor at the university. Did he have a particular specialty in his field?"

The widow was silent for several moments as she considered Lissa's question. Philip took that time to look around the house, as he hadn't had a chance earlier...it was a pleasant little cottage, with toys strung out all over the floor. Philip found himself thinking of his brother Michael's widow Shelagh, and of the house where she lived with her five children, and the young priest winced.

"Not really...although he did have a hobby that was related to his field. It was actually quite bizarre. I told you that terrible experience he had in university. His hobby came out of that experience. Mitch was quite fascinated by urns. Especially Grecian urns, but there were other kinds which interested him," Corinne replied at last. Philip's heart dropped when he heard the widow's answer...Grecian urns? Oh-oh, he thought, things are fallin' into place!

To Rachel's disappointment, Derek shared no more of his would-be Sights. Instead, the phone rang, interrupting their conversation. Rachel jumped, startled by the ringing, and Derek picked up the phone and said, "Derek Rayne. You're on your way back already, Lissa? Really? Oh, I agree. Are you sure you're up to it? All right...and Philip is with you. Yes, it does make me feel better."

There was a long silence, then Derek laughed with delight. He said, "Lissa, now that I know you're my daughter, I will do my best to be a good father to you. Put Philip on the phone, so I can tell him to look after you properly." There was another long silence, then Derek said, "Thanks, Philip, I know you will. Let me know what the two of you turn up. Thank you. 'Bye."

"What are they planning to do?" Rachel asked, growing concerned. Lissa had fully recovered from her year-long coma, yes, and she was back to full strength. The young woman's complete recovery, however, did not prevent Rachel from worrying about her.

"They're going to the cemetary...Lissa and Philip have a lead. That's not quite true...they've come up with something interesting, but they need to return to the cemetary. I don't like the idea, but...you know Lissa," Derek answered with a sigh. Rachel suppressed her smile.

"Yes, I do know Lissa...she's stubborn and willful, just like someone else I know! Well, she can't get into much trouble with Philip around. On the other hand, she is her father's daughter!" Rachel teased. Derek smiled, but that was replaced by a melancholy expression. Rachel asked softly, "What are you thinking, Derek? Did you see another part of your life that might have been, if you had known all those years ago that Lissa was your daughter?"

"No...I was just wondering if perhaps I knew in my heart that Lissa was mine. It seems almost too easy, Rachel. All those times I held her, silently wishing that she was mine...and she is! She is my child. But she's an adult, and I don't know if I can be a proper parent to a grown woman. I...I don't know how to treat her," Derek replied.

The admission touched Rachel deeply, and she replied, "The best thing you can do, Derek, is to love her. You're both hurting, because of things left unsaid between you and Fiona. But Lissa must know that you're angry with her mother, not her. Make sure she knows it's not her fault."

"None of this is her fault, Rachel...not the abuse, not Fiona's lies, any of it!" Derek exclaimed. Rachel struggled to find the words, but Derek sighed, "Not that it matters. There's still a little girl inside Lissa who believes her step-father's lies...damn him for what he did to her!" The suppressed rage in his voice shook Rachel.

"He's already dead and buried, Derek...cursing him won't help Lissa. You know that. Aside from rage toward Fiona, what was your immediate reaction when you learned from Philip that Lissa was your daughter? Were you pleased... sad...hurt?" Rachel asked quietly. Derek didn't answer immediately as he considered her questions.

At last, he said, "All of that. And I was so proud. Even though I had very little to do with her upbringing, I was so proud to say, 'Lissa Reynolds is my child.' Then I was sad, that I had lost so much time with my daughter... hurt that Fiona never told me the truth. Especially when I think of what Reynolds did to them both." Rachel nodded.

"Do you think you can learn to love the grown-up Lissa? It's different than the situation with Philip, I think... from the time he was seven years old, you had a direct impact on the man he became. You met Alex and Nick when they were adults for the first time. But Lissa's different...a lot of things have happened to her since she was a child. Mostly bad," she said, choosing her words very carefully.

Derek nodded and said softly, "It will sound odd, I know, but I'm falling in love with her already. I do not mean, 'falling in love' in a bad sense. I...I don't know how to explain it." Rachel smiled, understanding what he meant. He didn't need to explain. Her husband had fallen in love with Kat as soon as she was placed in his arms.

"It's ok, Derek, you're supposed to fall in love with your daughter in the sense you mean. I know you didn't meet Lissa until she was five...but I'll bet she captured your heart as soon as she smiled at you," the psychiatrist said. Derek laughed, his eyes sparkling. As ever, his smile took her breath away and Rachel wished he would smile more often.

"Yes. She was very solemn when I first met her, but when she smiled...I suppose I did fall in love with her. How could I not?" he asked. Derek paused, then continued, "But I cannot overreach...I don't want to frighten her."

"You won't frighten her, Derek. In the first place, she doesn't scare easily. And in the second, Lissa doesn't hesitate to tell anyone what she's thinking...have you ever known her to mince words when she's unhappy about something?" Rachel asked and Derek shook his head with another laugh.

"No...Fiona was the same way. She never hesitated to let me know when she was unhappy about something. Usually, Randolph pushed her too far, but on occasion, I got on her nerves. Can't imagine how that would happen," the Legacy precept said with a rueful smile, and Rachel laughed. Derek continued, "I see so much of Fiona in Lissa...but only at certain times. Usually, when she laughs or smiles."

"I never knew Fiona, but I do see a lot of you in Lissa," Rachel replied. Derek looked at her questioningly and the psychiatrist continued, "Not just a physical resemblance, but I do see that as well. No, she's very determined and very smart, and God help the idiot who hurts someone Lissa loves. She's very dangerous when pushed too far. Yes...she's very much like you."

"God help her!" Derek said with a rueful smile. Rachel laughed, and Derek continued, "I suppose you know that she fainted in the cemetary." Rachel nodded, her smile fading. Derek continued, his eyes growing distant with the memory, "I remember, when she screamed, I froze. I couldn't move. Then she collapsed, and I could move again."

"Your child needed you, Derek," Rachel replied, stepping closer to the man, wanting to comfort him, "and that made all the difference in the world. Never mind that she's a young woman of twenty-six...for that brief time, she was a little girl, and she needed her father."

Derek lowered his eyes briefly, then asked, "Would you believe that I've gone into Lissa's room late at night, when I know she's asleep, and just watched her sleeping? I...I want to make sure that she's all right. Rachel, I haven't done that since Philip first came to live with me."

Rachel laughed and replied gently, "Derek, you're behaving like any new father! Just because the child in question is a grown woman, rather than a baby...well, we won't tell Lissa about your nocturnal visits. I imagine that would bother her...make her feel that you don't trust her."

"Yes," Derek agreed. He shook his head, walking away from her, then asked, "So you don't think I'm behaving strangely?" Rachel shook her head, touched by his uncertainty, and Derek finally relaxed. He murmured, "I'm glad. I suppose...I take it minute by minute?"

Rachel nodded and said, "That's the best thing. I know you don't want to push, but don't be afraid of her. You said it yourself, Lissa is sensitive to the moods of others... she will pick up on it. Just follow your heart, Derek... that's all I can tell you. And stop pushing her, and the others, away. Let us help you!"

Derek smiled sadly and Rachel said more insistently, "I mean it, Derek! Ever since Philip brought Lissa's birth certificate here, you've been pushing all of us away. Damn it, we care about you! And I don't know if you've noticed the way Philip and Nick and Alex...yes, even Lissa, Maeve, and Kat...the way they watch you. They're afraid for you, Derek. Don't shut them out. For their sake and yours."

After phoning Derek with the information they had learned from Corinne Daugherty, Lissa and Philip headed for the cemetary. They talked very little during the drive... neither young person was in a mood to talk. There was one thing, however, which Philip asked more than once.

"Are you sure you want to do this, Lissa?" he questioned anxiously as Lissa drove through the gates of the cemetary and drew her car to a halt near the crypt. It was the third time in the last fifteen minutes he had asked that, and Lissa responded with an annoyed look.

"Philip, if you ask that one more time, I *will* hit you! Despite what you and Derek think, I'm not made of glass. I've survived worse, and this time, I'm prepared," the young cop replied. Philip smiled ruefully and Lissa sighed, shifting into park, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't snap at you. I'm not thrilled with this situation, but I don't see any other option. Just be there for me, all right?"

"I won't let you down, Lissa," Philip promised as she turned off the engine and rolled up her window. Both young people unbuckled, and Lissa responded with that sweet smile, the one that never failed to wrench Philip's heart. The priest added, trying to ignore that sensation, "Where do you want to start?" Lissa made a face, and Philip laughed.

"Well, the open graves are on that side, so you walk over there. I'm sorry, I know I sound terribly childish, but I really don't like being near open graves. I'm kinda superstitious. Well, more than a little," Lissa admitted with a sigh. Philip nodded and walked on her right hand side, shielding her from the sight of the open graves.

"We all have our fears, Lissa...we all have our nightmares. When I first went to live with Derek, he put me in a room not far from his, so I wouldn't feel alone. But, I woke up every night because I could hear him crying out. He would have nightmares about his father and about your aunt," Philip replied. Lissa's dark eyes grew very sad.

"Philip, were you even born when my grandfather was killed?" she asked and Philip nodded. Yes, he had been about a year old when Winston Rayne was killed. He did recall hearing his father and mother talk about Winston Rayne... not always in a favorable manner, though never around Derek.

"Yes, but I was very small at the time...just a baby. Why do you ask? Is it idle curiosity, Lissa, or something else?" Philip replied as they walked toward the crypt. Lissa was silent for several moments, but Philip didn't try to push for an answer. He saw the way her eyes darted around the cemetary, and how rigid her body was.

At last, she replied, "I'm curious, yes. Winston Rayne, a man I admired when I was a teenager, is my grandfather. Was, whatever. You know what I mean. But Alex told me that he wasn't exactly the warmest person in the world. I can't ask Derek...he kinda shuts down when my grandfather is mentioned. I thought maybe you knew something."

"Nothin' first-hand. And that's what you really need, Lissa. Not the impressions which a little boy got from hearin' his parents talk. Not even Derek's perception of his father. My parents...well, my mother always thought that your grandfather was terribly cold. Not that she ever said anythin' around me, of course...there are certain things you don't discuss with a seven year old," Philip replied.

Lissa nodded, answering, "Yeah, I know what you mean. I remember how that drove us both crazy when we were kids. You know, that's something else. When I was reading Mama's diary last night, I found out that 1975 wasn't the first time we met. It almost seems as if our lives are destined to connect, over and over again. That's...I don't know if that frightens me or not." Philip smiled ruefully, understanding which prior meeting she meant.

"You mean that very, very first meeting...when you and I were still toddlers? The one in which I gave you your nickname?" he asked and Lissa nodded with a smile. Philip continued, "Derek told me that story when I was twelve...it was right after your mother's funeral. I remember, I missed you so terribly, I was nearly sick with it. Literally. For the longest time, I would just sit in my room and stare out the window. I didn't think the pain would ever go away. I didn't think I would ever stop missin' my best friend."

Philip paused, then went on, "Derek told me that we had met for the first time in 1971, when I was three and you were just a year old. We sat on the blanket together, and I couldn't quite get my tongue around 'Elizabeth.' The best I could do was 'Lissa,' and you've been 'Lissa' ever since. After he told me the story, he added that fate would eventually bring you back into my life...and it did."

By now, they had reached the crypt and Lissa turned her attention to the stone shelter. The young woman swallowed hard as they walked into the crypt. Philip took her hand, an instinctive reaction...for a moment, they were children again, getting ready to explore a new, frightening place. Lissa murmured, "Philip, I can still feel it. The power which came from that urn...it's overwhelming."

Philip nodded. He was no psychic, but he could feel it, too. However, he said nothing...there was nothing to say. Lissa sighed quietly, then nodded to a spot a few yards away. She said, "That's where Mitch Dougherty was standing. He was standing there, looking over Jason's shoulder. Jason's hand touched the sigil, and it turned him into a skeleton. Mitch ran out, terrified, and right into the path of an oncoming semi-truck. Okay, that much has been established. The easy part has been taken care of."

"Which leaves us to do what?" Philip asked. Lissa was starting to make him nervous, with the way she was drifting around the crypt. She had a faraway look in her dark eyes, and Philip continued as Lissa put her hands on a concrete shelf, "What are you tryin' to do, Lissa? What are you pickin' up on?" Lissa was un-naturally still.

She had never reacted like this before...not even when she Saw something as a child had this happened. And those Visions had been scary. It was like Lissa wasn't even really there. Philip didn't know where she was, where her spirit had gone...but he really wished it would come back. As in, immediately, if not sooner. He tried to lick his lips, but found that his tongue was dry...as was his throat.

The closest she ever came to doing something like this, Philip thought, was when we were about Kat's age. In fact, he remembered, it had been a few hours after her step-father had struck him. He and Lissa had been in her room, playing checkers, when she went into a trance. Philip, then nine, had been so frightened, he ran for Derek.

Returning to the present, Philip remembered what Derek had said, and murmured, "Lissa? Are you there? If you can hear me, if you can hear my voice, then let it guide you back." There was no answer, and Philip swallowed hard. What do I do now, he thought, how do I bring her out of it without hurting her? Touching her was out of the question.

After a moment, the young woman said in a soft, distant voice, "Rage against dying...then acceptance. The light is so welcoming. Except one. Can't die. Won't die. Will find a way to return. A vow made that must be kept. No matter what the price...too many years." Lissa fell silent again, and Philip moved quickly to her side, but stopped just short of touching her. Take it easy, he told himself, stay calm.

For the first time, he realized that Lissa's palm rested against the surface where the urn had rested only the day before. A cold finger trailed down Philip's spine...how had he known that? There was no shadow...nothing of that sort. And yet, Philip knew that Lissa's hand now covered the place where the urn had been sitting. He asked softly, "Lissa, how many years? How long has this urn been here?" The young woman shook her head dreamily, her shoulders lifting, then falling to indicate a lack of knowledge.

"A better question is, what the hell are the two of you doing in my family's crypt?" a voice demanded from behind them. The interruption broke Lissa's concentration and she staggered. Philip moved quickly to catch her, and for the first time, he saw the newcomer...a man in his late fifties. The man frowned as he looked at Philip and asked, "More to the point, why is a priest interested in my family's heirloom? Where is that urn, anyhow?"

Philip returned the stare, cradling the dazed Lissa in his arms. She looked up at him, confused, and murmured, "Pip? What happened?" That question frightened him even more than her earlier trance. What are we dealin' with, what kind of thing escaped from that urn, Philip thought uneasily, when Lissa doesn't even remember what she just told me, when she doesn't remember what she said?

He didn't like any of the answers: which included the possibility that his old friend was possessed by whatever had escaped from the urn. Oh no, the young priest thought as he helped his still-dazed friend to stand upright, Derek won't like that possibility one bit! Lissa shivered and Philip resisted the urge to draw her closer...that is askin' for trouble, he thought, and we have enough of that!

Part Four

Lissa was still wobbly from returning to herself so quickly, but she managed to reply, "I'm Officer Elizabeth Reynolds, of the San Francisco Police Department, and this is Father Philip Callaghan, of St. Bartholomew's. There was a murder and an accident here last night. We're also with the Luna Foundation. And you are?" . "Marius Hendricks. I don't understand...why is the Luna Foundation involved in this? I can see how the church would be concerned, and the police department, but the Luna Foundation?" the man replied. Lissa studied him briefly, then decided to give him part of the truth. . She replied, "My father is also in the Luna Foundation. When he learned of this incident, and that both the Church and the department were involved, he suggested that the Foundation get involved. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you a few questions." The man nodded, still looking slightly stunned, and Lissa continued, "Thank you. Mr. Hendricks, did you know Mitchner or Jason Dougherty?" . "No...although I've heard of Mitch Daugherty. He's an Egyptologist at the university, isn't he?" Hendricks asked and Lissa nodded. It seemed that the Daugherty brothers were better-known than she had realized. After a moment, Hendricks added, "Your father must be pretty high-up in the Foundation to be able to make suggestions like that." . "He is," Philip replied, and Lissa silently thanked him for saying no more about it. The young priest smiled at her and continued, "You asked about the urn. It's a family heirloom, is it?" Hendricks nodded and Philip went on, "It's currently in police custody. Somehow, it's linked to the death of Dr. Daugherty's younger brother Jason. Apparently, Dr. Daugherty saw his brother murdered here in this crypt, and it horrified him so completely that he ran out in front of a semi-truck." Lissa kept her face expressionless, though she was proud of the way Philip was handling things. Not really lying, but not the total truth. Hendricks gaped at them. Lissa didn't blame him...it was a weird situation. . "My God...is there something I can do to help?" Hendricks asked and Lissa hesitated. However, Philip nodded, his pale eyes narrowing, and Hendricks continued, "I don't know much about the urn, but I'll tell you what I can. Do you think the Daugherty kid was trying to steal it?" . "We think it was more likely that he had asked his brother to evaluate it. Mr. Hendricks, do you know of any family legends surrounding the urn? Please don't be afraid to tell us any legends, no matter how outlandish they seem to you," Lissa replied. She hoped she would be forgiven for the lie she had told the man, but she honestly didn't see the point in telling him the truth. Jason Daugherty was dead. . "I don't know of any, but my mother might. She's at the Webster Retirement Home. Mother has been in the infirmary the last few days...she's eighty-five years old, and feeling her age, but her mind is as sharp as ever. I'll call the infirmary and tell them that you'll be over tomorrow. Will that be all right?" Hendricks asked and Lissa nodded. . "That works very well, Mr. Hendricks. I'm sorry for frightening you, but Father Callaghan and I were trying to get as much information as we could from the scene of the crime. We've been unable to find any information about your family," the young woman said. . Hendricks waved his hand and replied, "There's no need to apologize, Officer Reynolds, you were only trying to do your job. However, I *must* apologize for my rudeness... it's not every day you find a young priest and a pretty cop in your family's crypt. It's a little strange, since you're both so young. However, now I'm being even more rude, and I apologize again. My mother's name is Thalia Hendricks... she's in Room 243, down the hall from the nurse's station." . "Thank you, Mr. Hendricks. Officer Reynolds and I should leave now," Philip said and Lissa nodded. The priest continued after a moment, "Is there anythin' else you can tell us...like why the urn was in here?" . "That's something else you'll have to ask my mother, Father Callaghan. I asked her about it once, and she said the urn belonged among the dead, rather than the living. That was all she would say," the man replied. Philip nodded in thanks, then he and Lissa departed the crypt. . As they walked back to Lissa's car, she said very quietly, "Philip, that's what Mitch Daugherty said just before Jason died. He told Jason that the urn belonged among dead things, that it had no place among the living." . Philip looked at her quickly, and Lissa saw his concern. However, he just said, "We should get back to the House and tell Derek what we've learned." Lissa nodded and Philip murmured, "That's odd. I'm very interested in what Mrs. Hendricks might have to say about the urn." They reached the car and Lissa unlocked Philip's door first. He asked softly as he glanced around the cemetary, "Are you all right?" . "I'll be fine once we get away from this place. As weird as it sounds, I'm half-afraid one of those caskets will pop open. I suppose I've seen too many horror movies," Lissa answered wryly as she circled her car to unlock her own door. Philip nodded in understanding as they got into the car. Lissa started the engine and backed up just enough to turn around, then drove out of the cemetary. . Derek was in his office when Philip and Lissa returned, but he opted to stay put until he knew what they planned to do. Nick had seen Maeve lurking anxiously, and Derek wanted to give the sisters time to talk. However, his curiosity overwhelmed him after twenty minutes and he went downstairs. . The girls were in the study on the davenport, he discovered. Lissa was holding Maeve's hands tightly between her own and she said, "Sweetheart, I appreciate what you're trying to do, really. But did it ever cross your mind that maybe I needed you as well? That I needed to know that you understand how very much I love you, and always will? Yes, I have my true father now, and I am so grateful for that, but you will always be my sister. Always, Maeve Philippa!"

. "Lissa, I know that! But you've been separated from your other family for so long...from Philip and Derek. I know you've only known that Derek's your father for a few days, but I think you should consider changing your name to 'Rayne.' No, don't say anything...I know you've been 'Lissa Reynolds' for twenty-six years, and I know that you would keep it only out of respect for your mom. But I really think you should reconsider that," Maeve said.

. Derek was stunned when Lissa answered, "I will change my name when the time is right, honey. I mean, Derek is very young to have a grown daughter! And until he feels secure in publicly acknowledging me, I won't change my name. Now, the chief knows that I'm Derek's daughter, but that's different. So, out of respect for Derek's desire to protect me, I can't change my name, not yet. I'm in danger on the streets, but Derek feels he must protect me. How can I argue with that?"

. Derek quietly slipped away from the door before either could see him, but he ended up colliding with Philip, who had been standing behind him. The young man smiled faintly, and Derek murmured, "How long have you been standing there? Never mind, don't answer that. Let's go to the library." Philip nodded and the two men walked to the library. Derek said simply as they sat down, "I was worried."

. "I thought as much. I'd only been there a few minutes, but just long enough to hear Pippa...I mean Maeve...to hear her suggestion. The kid works fast, doesn't she?" Philip asked wryly. Derek laughed in spite of himself and the younger man continued, "Lissa is a very bright lady."

. "Yes, she is. It's only taken her three days to learn how..." Derek began. He shook his head and sat down at the table. Philip sat down beside him, sighing quietly. Derek looked at his young friend and asked softly, "Are you all right, Philip? You look a little tired." . "I've been dragging him around town all day, of course he's tired!" Lissa said. The two men rose to their feet as she joined them. She continued, "Maeve is playing on her computer. In case you're wondering, everything is okay. Has Philip told you about what we found out, Derek?"

. "No, I was waitin' on you...we were always more coherent when we explained things together. And I knew you and Maeve would work things out once you talked," Philip replied. Lissa grinned and the trio sat down. He grinned back and continued, "Well, do you want to tell your father what we learned, or should I start?"

. "Well," Lissa began, "it seems that Mitch Daugherty was fascinated with urns, particularly Grecian urns. What makes that so strange is that his fascination grew out of an incident in college. Alex might have told you that Mitch was very interested in the occult when he was a college student. Apparently, there was an incident which frightened him into steering clear of anything supernatural." . "At least until last night," Derek observed and Lissa nodded. The psychic continued musing aloud, "So, we have an Egyptologist fascinated by Grecian urns. He was intrigued by the occult as a young adult, but was terrified by an incident which took place in college. What else have you learned?" . "After we left Corinne Daugherty's house, we went to the cemetary," Philip said and Derek nodded. The young man went on, "In the crypt, we met a member of the family, Marius Hendricks. He doesn't know anything about the urn, didn't even know about the deaths last night, but he directed us to his mother, Thalia Hendricks. Lissa and I will be talkin' with her tomorrow. She's at the Webster Retirement Home." . "Good work. Have you seen Alex yet?" Derek inquired. The two young people looked at each other, communication passing in that glance, and on a hunch, Derek asked, "So, what haven't you two told me yet?" Another glance passed between Philip and Lissa, and Derek saw the barest hint of a smile cross his daughter's face. . "A few things. When we arrived at the Daugherty house, I felt something. I don't know if it was a premonition, or anything like that, but something felt wrong. Once Philip and I reached the house, it was gone, so I don't think the danger was coming from Corinne Daugherty...but she and her children may be in danger," Lissa replied. Derek nodded and she continued, "There was also something when I touched the concrete slab where the urn used to sit. I don't know quite how to explain it...they were sensations more than anything else, and it was then that Hendricks walked in." . "I can tell you what she said, though...I don't think I'll ever forget that," Philip said with a shudder, and Derek shifted his attention to the priest. Philip closed his eyes and bit the joint of his thumb, a habit Derek had never been able to break, not even when Philip was small. Then the young priest repeated Lissa's words in the crypt. The psychic shuddered at Philip's description. However, he forced himself to keep his attention on the task at hand. . Out of the corner of his eye, Derek saw his daughter frowning, and he murmured, "We should bring Alex in...we may be dealing with a vengeful spirit taken from life too soon." Lissa, however, was shaking her head vehemently. Derek looked at her, asking, "What do you think?" . "Derek, this is not a spirit seeking justice or revenge. And I know better than anyone else how easily that line blurs, I see it every day I'm on the streets. I'd just as soon not give you examples. No...this is evil. Pure, undiluted evil. It kills because it enjoys it. I agree, Xan should know what happened, but make no mistake...this is no simple spirit seeking justice," the young woman said quietly. . "Few things are ever simple, Lissa," Derek observed and noticed Lissa rolling her eyes. Philip was struggling against a smile, and Derek continued, "However, I think your instincts are sound here. I remember this morning. You were right to ask Philip and me to come along." . "Don't remind me," Lissa muttered, then added, "I still don't understand the significance of the open graves, though. If whatever escaped from that urn is responsible for that, why did it tear up the cemetary?" Derek didn't answer. He suddenly felt dizzy and his vision grayed at the edges... . His daughter was standing in the crypt, a gun gripped confidently in both hands, and Philip stood to her right, in his Roman collar. A horribly decayed body reaching out for them. Lissa's voice echoing in his mind..."You have no power to hurt me! You can never hurt me again!" . Then he heard his daughter's voice again, but now it was filled with anxiety, rather than defiance. Lissa was saying, "Derek, are you all right?" Derek shook himself...Lissa was at his side, her dark eyes narrowed with concern. Philip was still in his chair, his expression curious. Derek took several deep breaths, still shaken by what he had Seen. You are losing focus, he thought, you can't allow that to happen! . "I'm all right. Lissa, I know why the cemetary was torn up like that...the presence in the urn was looking for a body, a host body. A living body...when Jason touched the sigil, the presence was too much for him. That's what killed him. Mitch ran out after Jason was killed, so he never even touched the urn. What I don't understand is why the presence didn't use his body after the truck hit him," Derek murmured. . Lissa had gone pale and she said, "My God, that's horrible! Philip, we should talk to Thalia Hendricks just as soon as she's awake. After I talk with Alex, I'll give the infirmary a call, and see what time is good for her tomorrow morning or afternoon. I think someone should call the cemetary, and have the graves checked." . "I'll take care of that. Derek, do you have any idea which graves should be checked?" Philip asked and Derek shrugged helplessly. Philip was silent for several moments, once more gnawing on the joint of his thumb. After a moment, he looked at Lissa and said, "Any ideas, Miss Liss?" Derek had to smile...that had been Fiona's nickname for their daughter when Lissa was a small child. . Lissa rolled her eyes and retorted, "You're not my mother, Philip. And no, I have no idea. I'm as in the dark about this as you are." Philip shrugged with a mischievous smile and left the library. Lissa turned her penetrating gaze to Derek and asked very quietly, "You Saw something, didn't you?" He nodded and Lissa continued, "What was it?" . "I'm not sure yet, Lissa. That is, I'm not sure what it means," Derek replied. His daughter sighed and sat down beside him. Derek put his hand on her shoulder, and was startled when she jumped. Lissa smiled weakly and Derek asked, "Still a little jumpy from the trip to the cemetary?" . "Something like that. I'll feel better when we get that urn from police headquarters tomorrow, though. Something like that belongs..." Lissa said. Her voice trailed off, then she whispered, "That's it. That's why it was put in a crypt, in a cemetary! I should have seen it before!" . Thalia Hendricks had been unable to sleep for the last day and a half. When her eldest son Marius came to the infirmary to see her that evening, she knew something was wrong. Not because he came to visit her...Marius was very good about visiting. No...she saw trouble in his eyes. . "Mother, something terrible has happened," Marius said, sitting down in the chair beside her bed, "a young man was killed last night in the crypt. The police think it has to do with the urn, the one you brought from Greece. A young officer is coming to see you tomorrow." . A cold hand gripped Thalia's heart. For seventy-five years, she had expected this day...and yet, hearing the words frightened her nonetheless. However, she allowed none of her fear to show, as she calmly asked her son, "Tell me more about this young officer, Marius...a girl-child?" . "Yes, Mother, a young policewoman named 'Elizabeth Reynolds.' She's also associated with the Luna Foundation. A young priest will be with her...Father Callaghan, from St. Bartholomew's. You know, the kid, kinda shy," Marius replied. Thalia nodded. She was familiar with the Luna Foundation...and knew they were the best hope. . "I hope you cooperated with them, Marius," the old woman asked and Marius nodded. She wasn't surprised...she had taught her son properly. Thalia continued, "Good. Good, I'm glad. I will be very anxious to speak with Officer Reynolds and Father Callaghan tomorrow. I'm sure they're both very nice children...though extremely dangerous." . "Mother, I can understand how you would consider Officer Reynolds dangerous. She's a cop. But Father Callaghan is a priest, and a very young priest at that!" Marius retorted and Thalia shook her head with a sigh. He would learn just how dangerous the boy was soon enough. . She had studied the young priest quite intently during Mass. Thalia missed the Greek Orthodox Masses of her childhood, but there was a comforting familiarity to the Roman Catholic Church. And as soon as young Father Philip arrived at St. Bartholomew, Thalia had known he was special. He works with the Luna Foundation, she thought now, that must have been what I was sensing! The child probably doesn't even realize just how special he is...and properly so! . However, Thalia was also intrigued by her son's mention of the young police officer who would be with Father Philip, Officer Elizabeth Reynolds. As a schoolteacher years earlier, Thalia had encountered a desperate young woman named 'Fiona Summers Reynolds.' The elderly woman wondered if this child Elizabeth belonged to Fiona. Questions, questions... . Alex had been running a description of the urn through the computer, but so far, she had come up with nothing. She hoped to have better luck the following day, when she could actually compare the urn against pictures. She was more than a little relieved when Derek summoned her to the library. . She found Derek and Lissa waiting for her...although 'waiting' wasn't exactly the right term for what Lissa was doing. The younger woman was pacing back and forth, her hands linked behind her back. Lissa was saying as Alex entered the library, "That's got to be it, Derek...it's the only thing that makes any sense at all!" . "It makes sense, Elizabeth...but it doesn't have to be it. However, I'm inclined to agree with you," Alex's mentor replied slowly. Alex listened to the conversation with a faint smile...it amazed her, how much Lissa's return to the castle as Derek's daughter had changed her mentor. He seemed so different now...so much more at ease with himself. . "Care to back up and let me in on the secret?" Alex asked. Lissa stopped pacing and grinned, and for a moment, it seemed as if ten years had fallen away, and they were college girls sharing secrets. Then they were adults again, and Alex continued, "What's gotten you so excited, Lis?" . "Sit down, Xan, this will take a while," Lissa replied. Alex sat down beside Derek, and the young policewoman took the chair opposite the researcher's. Lissa took a deep breath, then said, "You know that Philip and I went to the cemetary after we left the Daugherty house?" Alex nodded and Lissa proceeded to explain what happened afterward. . By the time Philip had made his phone call to the rectory about the cemetary and received a promise from the caretaker to check on the graves, it was nearly dinner time. He checked his watch and shook his head. It was crazy, how quickly the day had gone, but that happened a lot. . Philip wandered to the dining room. Rachel was already there, talking with Nick, and she gave him a vague smile. Nick looked up as Philip entered the room and asked, "Anything new happening with this Daugherty thing, Philip?" The priest sighed and shrugged. . "Yeah, but explainin' it is next to impossible. I'll leave that for Lissa to do after dinner. I would imagine she's still in the library, briefin' Alex about what happened today...if she's not doin' that, then she's talkin' to the staff at the Retirement home," Philip replied. . "She'll sleep tonight," Rachel observed and Philip nodded. Assuming she didn't have a nightmare, yes, Lissa probably would sleep well. And the priest knew his friend well enough to realize that Lissa probably would have a nightmare, given the events of the day. Rachel continued, "I don't suppose there's any way you can get her to take it easy, is there?" Philip smiled humorlessly at the question. . "Not likely...Lissa only listens to me, and Nick, and Alex up to a point. There is only so much advice she'll take," the priest replied. Rachel sighed, looking worried, and Philip added, "I'm sorry, Rachel, it's just been a very long day. I shouldn't have been rude." . "You weren't, Philip...I just worry about Lissa. I know, you take care of her as best you can, but I worry about her just as much as I worry about Kat," Rachel replied and Philip smiled wearily. Rachel looked at him keenly, adding, "You haven't been getting much rest, either, have you? The last few days have been difficult for all of us...but we didn't have to tell Derek the truth about Lissa. I know bringing that birth certificate here couldn't have been easy for you." Philip shrugged, and was spared the necessity of replying by the arrival of the others. . Alex wasn't really in a mood to eat after hearing what Lissa had to say about the goings-on at the cemetary, but that was of secondary importance. Kat and Maeve were the last to join them. The teenager said as she sat down, "So, what's new and interesting, Lissa? You, Derek, and Alex were in the library an awful long time." Lissa paused from her conversation with Derek just long enough to smile serenely, and Maeve laughed, continuing, "Oh, all right, I'll behave!" . "Yeah, well, there's a first time for everything!" Nick observed with a mischievous smile. He was seated to Maeve's right, and Alex heard the distinct sound of a shoe hitting someone's leg. The former SEAL grimaced with pain, then asked, "Okay, so I have to wait until after dinner to hear what the hell is going on with the Daugherty case?" . "Yes, you do have to wait until after dinner. And watch your language, Nicholas, there are children present," Lissa warned in an even voice. Alex couldn't help herself...she began laughing. It seemed that she had heard that phrase from someone else recently! Lissa looked at her and asked in a bewildered voice, "What's so funny, Xan?" . "Something that happened while you were in a coma, Lissa, the night you were moved here. Nick and Philip were setting up the VCR in your room, and things got a little giddy," Rachel answered, grinning. Lissa turned her attention to the psychiatrist, cocking a dark brow, then looked back at her father. Rachel said, obviously realizing what the girl meant, "No, Derek and I stayed out of it. We did, however, enjoy the giddiness." . "That surprised me," Maeve admitted, "up until then, I thought Derek was really weird and really serious. I didn't think he even knew how to really smile." Lissa stifled a giggle and Maeve added, "All right, so I still thought he was weird! Aren't you always telling me to appreciate the differences in people, Elizabeth?" Lissa nodded and caught Alex's eye, then winked. Alex stifled a laugh of her own. . "I'm sorry, Maeve, I keep forgetting that you didn't know Derek when you were small. If you could have seen him with Philip and me, you wouldn't have been so surprised by whatever happened while Philip and Nick set up the VCR," Lissa replied with a wistful smile. She glanced at Philip, who began laughing. Lissa asked, "Do you remember?" . "Vividly," the young man replied, his eyes sparkling with laughter, "but I think we should wait to tell Maeve the story." Lissa considered this, then nodded in agreement, and the conversation was turned to other topics. However, as they discussed the results of the DNA match, Alex found herself wondering exactly what Philip and Lissa meant. She wondered what Derek was like when he was younger, since Philip rarely spoke of those early years as Derek's ward. He wasn't inclined to talk about the past. . Now there's another one who has changed with Lissa's arrival in the House, Alex thought, Philip! She had never seen him so light-hearted as when he was joking around with Lissa. His pale blue eyes actually sparkled, as they only did for translations and Kat. In spite of herself, Alex felt more than a little envious of her former roommate for that. . Once dinner was concluded, the adults went to the study, while Maeve and Kat went upstairs to Maeve's room. As she had before dinner, Lissa outlined what she and Philip learned that afternoon, then the conclusions which had been drawn. Nick said quietly, "It sounds like this urn is cursed." . "For the moment, Nick, 'curse' suits our purposes. Now, if I'm right, then someone knew what would happen if the presence in the urn escaped...whatever this thing is, it's powerful enough to turn a young man into a skeleton. So, it's been placed in a crypt, in a cemetary...that's one way of protecting the living," Lissa replied. . "Which leaves another question," Rachel observed, "since the entity obviously has escaped, how do we stop it? How do we imprison it again?" Lissa gestured helplessly, lacing her fingers together around her knees. Rachel glanced at Philip and asked, "What do you think?" . "First, we need to speak with Mrs. Hendricks. At the moment, we are dealin' with way too many 'ifs.' Hopefully, she'll have some answers for us...if not, we're back at square one. But if Lissa is right about this...while we are talkin' about a possession, I have no idea if I can exorcise a presence from a dead body," Philip replied. . "That reminds me, Philip," Derek interrupted, "did you call the cemetary after our discussion in the library, about the open graves?" Philip bobbed his head in reply, and Derek asked, "What did you find out? Have they discovered any bodies missing from their caskets?" . "They said they would let me know when they found somethin'...I wish I could tell you more, Derek, but the staff is still pretty stunned by Mitch Daugherty's death, and the discovery of Jason Daugherty's bones this morning," Philip replied with a shrug. Lissa nodded...she had been expecting this. The young priest added, glancing at Lissa, "I hope you don't mind, but I gave them your cell number." . The cop started to reply, but her cell phone rang, startling her. Lissa rolled her eyes and withdrew it from her jacket pocket. She said, "Elizabeth Reynolds. Oh? Yes, of course, he's right here." She covered the mouthpiece and held out the phone to Philip, saying, "It's for you, Philip, it's Jeff from the cemetary." . The priest took the phone and said, "I'm here, Jeff, what have you found?" There was several moments of silence, and Philip's eyes widened. At last, the young man said, "All right, thanks for callin.' When I know what's goin' on, I'll let you know...but until you hear from me, keep your staff away from any strange people wandering through the cemetary at night. Yes, they might be very, very dangerous." . Philip handed the phone back to Lissa, who flicked it off, and she asked, "What did he tell you, Philip? I take it from your expression that the cemetary staff found a body missing from its casket." Philip nodded, sitting down again. . "Yeah, Jeff said one of the others found a body missin' from its coffin about fifteen minutes ago. He said it was the very last grave they checked. That figures. It's always in the very last place you check," Philip replied, running his hand over his eyes. Lissa glanced at Derek, who was in turn watching the young priest very carefully. . "Which grave was it, Philip? Did he give you a name?" Lissa's father asked and again, the young man nodded. His face was terribly pale, which worried Lissa. This was not like Philip...not like him at all. Derek started to speak, but Lissa saw Rachel put a restraining hand on his forearm. Her father fell silent and Lissa mouthed 'thank you' to the psychiatrist. Rachel nodded with a faint smile, though she looked as concerned as Lissa felt. . "Yes, he did. It's a name you'll all recognize, I'm sure," Philip replied, sitting down beside LIssa once more. His hands were clenching and unclenching in his lap, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. Lissa exchanged a puzzled, anxious look with Nick, who was watching Philip with an equally worried frown. The young priest buried his face in his hands and murmured something, which not even Lissa couldn't hear. Then he looked up at the others in the room and whispered in a hoarse voice, "The name on the headstone was 'William Xavier Reynolds.' The entity has taken your step-father's body, Lissa."

Part Five

There were several moments of silence after Philip's quiet announcement, then Nick muttered, "Oh, shit!" Rachel silently agreed with him, and she looked at Lissa. The younger woman was very quiet and very still, then suddenly, her lips twisted, and she began shaking. At first, Rachel thought Lissa was crying. . .it shocked and concerned her when she realized the policewoman was actually laughing.

Philip took her hands and said softly, "It's all right, Lissa, you're with family." For the first time, Rachel realized that Lissa was laughing to keep from crying. Philip drew her into his arms and Lissa broke down sobbing. She clung to the young man, and for a brief moment, they looked almost like brother and sister. Rachel exchanged a glance with Derek, who looked as lost as she felt.

"Oh God, that's funny. . .an evil presence decides to inhabit my late step-father's body, a monster if there ever was one. Kinda poetic, don't you think?" Lissa asked through gasping sobs. She buried her face against Philip's shoulder, asking, "Why does it hurt so much, Pip? Why am I so angry with this thing for taking his body? That man hurt me!"

Philip didn't answer and Lissa said in a low voice, "I don't know why I'm so angry, so how can I expect you to know? This doesn't make any sense, Pip, I've known for a month that my step-father is dead, I've known for three days that he wasn't my real father. Everything is so clear to me now, the way he treated me, but dammit, why am I crying?" She was crying once more and Alex left her seat.

She knelt in front of Lissa, saying, "Because your step- father paid for his treatment of you with his life. Philip told me about what Mark said. . .how he was paid to kill your step-father. But he also told me what Mark said about doing it for free. He hated your step-father for the way Reynolds treated you. Reynolds' death doesn't make up to you for how he treated you, because your mother couldn't love him. . .but this desecration is too much. No one deserves this, not even a monster like your step-father."

"No one?" Lissa queried harshly. Alex squeezed her hand and Lissa continued with a sigh, "I'm sorry. But my anger would make sense if the entity had taken my mother's body! I've been angry with her the last few days, yes, but I loved her! And I know, in spite of everything, that she loved me. My step-father hated me, Xan. . .he hated me for having my mother's love, and he hated me for being Derek's daughter."

"But he also hated himself," Derek said, speaking for the first time, and Rachel looked at her companion. Lissa frowned and Derek explained, "Lissa, it's true. Only a man who hated himself could hate an innocent child for having the love of another. . .a man who believed that he was nothing without this love. Can you think of a better description of a man who hates himself than that?"

"Randolph Hitchcock hated me, Derek," Lissa replied quietly, "he hated me because I had a part of Aunt Alicia's heart which he would never have. Do you think he hated himself as well?" Good question, Rachel thought, one Derek can't answer. However, I'm not sure if anyone could. Lissa continued, "My step-father and Randolph Hitchcock were two of a kind, Derek. They were both cruel, obsessive men whose jealousy led to tragedy. . .Hitchcock's jealousy led to Aunt Alicia's death, and my step-father's to his own."

"What makes you say that, Lis?" Nick asked curiously, sitting forward once again. Lissa's dark eyes flickered from Alex to Nick to her father, then back to Nick. The young man pressed, "I mean, you must have some reason for thinking that Hitchcock's jealousy led to your aunt's death."

The cop sighed, sitting back within the protective circle of Philip's arms. She ran her hand over her face, then said, "Hitchcock. . .he was possessive of Aunt Alicia. He didn't want her to love anyone besides him. . .not even me. Especially not me." She paused, then continued, "The last time I saw her, she said that if Hitchcock didn't back off and give her breathing space, she would marry Derek. . . at least he wouldn't be jealous of a little girl."

Lissa stopped, smiled wanly, then continued, "Mama was listening, and she said something like, 'you should dump Hitchcock now, Lise, and go after Derek.' Then she said something, which I didn't understand then, but I do now. She said, 'Lise, I blew my chance with Derek. . .don't blow yours.' I was five, and. . ." Lissa's voice trailed off.

"And you had no reason to think that William Reynolds wasn't your father," Derek completed and Lissa nodded. Her eyes were very sad, but Rachel saw an even deeper sadness in Derek's eyes. He asked hesitantly, "Lissa, you say that your mother wanted your aunt to marry me?"

"Oh yes! That wasn't the first time she said something like that, Derek. From the first time she met Hitchcock, she didn't like him. . .and she told me that no good would come from his association with the Legacy," Lissa replied. She continued after a moment, glancing around the room, "So what do we do about this thing which has decided that it's so compatible with my step-father's body?"

The change in subject was sudden, but Rachel knew Lissa didn't want to talk about her aunt or anything else in her past. Thinking about what her life would have been like if Alicia had married Derek could only bring her more pain. Philip said, "There's nothin' we can do until you and I talk with Mrs. Hendricks tomorrow. Derek?"

The older man was evidently lost in thought, but he returned to them quickly, saying, "That's probably the best course of action." Nice, safe answer, Derek, Rachel thought, then the man continued, "Lissa, what time are you and Philip going to the nursing home tomorrow?"

"Retirement home, Derek, it's a retirement home. Don't ever let the residents hear you call it a nursing home. They won't hesitate to tell you off!" Lissa replied with a broad grin. Rachel cast a curious glance at the girl, who explained, "I worked at a retirement home one summer, to earn money for college. Not at Webster, though."

She paused, then continued, "I called the nurse's station in the Infirmary, and they said that Mrs. Hendricks was usually awake by nine am, so I was thinking that Philip and I should leave around ten or so. Maybe he'll finally tell me about those mysterious dreams of his!"

Philip blushed and said, "I'll make sure I'm ready at nine." He said nothing about the dreams, Rachel noted, and she knew Lissa had noticed as well. The young priest continued, "I'll call the rectory and let them know what's goin' on. Father Quinlan asked me to keep them updated."

"And I need to check on Maeve," Lissa said as Philip released her hands. Both young people rose to their feet and as Lissa started to leave the room, she turned back to her father and said, "By the way, Derek, the next time you want to know if Maeve and I are all right, just ask."

Philip began laughing and Derek just smiled, answering, "I will." Rachel exchanged a mystified glance with Alex, who had returned to her own seat. . .obviously Philip and Derek knew what Lissa was talking about, even if no one else did. Lissa grinned, blew a kiss to her father, then left the room, with Philip only a few steps behind her. Derek smiled softly, then said, "I'll be in my office if anyone needs me." With that, he left the study as well.

After another long conversation with her younger sister, Lissa headed to bed. She was drained of almost all energy after the events of the day. She quickly brushed her teeth, then changed into a nightgown, looking around the room which had been hers ever since her awakening a month earlier.

"My room. . .my home. . .my father," she whispered to the room. Lissa sighed, allowing her mind to drift. Derek Rayne was her father. . .the man who had loved and comforted her when she was a child, though he hadn't realized she was his daughter. It hadn't mattered to him.

She had so many questions, so many things she needed to know. Despite her earlier question to Derek, Lissa knew she would join the Legacy at some point. It was part of her heritage, it really *was* her Legacy. Lissa closed her eyes, thinking of the Raynes who had gone before. The thought made her dizzy. The only remaining member of her mother's family was Aunt Molly, who knew little about the Summers family.

Yes, there was much Lissa needed to know, but she was hesitant about asking Derek about those things. She smiled as she recalled her childhood crush on him. She had loved dancing with him, loved his arms around her. . .she had loved *him.* The grown Lissa didn't give her love so easily. . . too much had happened in the last fifteen plus years. One thing hadn't changed, however. Lissa threw back the covers, sighing, and put on her slippers. She walked to the library, blinking at the dim lights. She made a face, but made her way to the spiral staircase. About halfway down the steps, she sat down, drawing her knees to her chest.

Lissa smiled. She had always found peace here, no matter what was troubling her. . .an encounter with her step- father or a rare argument with Philip. Derek said softly, "Now this is familiar." Lissa looked up with a smile, moving her feet so her father could sit down. Derek settled himself on the step below hers and asked, "What troubles you, Lissa? I don't think it's an argument with Philip."

"It's weird, Derek. . .I was so tired. I am still tired, but now. . .now, I can't sleep. I keep thinking about everything that's happened. Not just this urn thing, though that's always at the back of my mind. There's so much I don't know, so many questions I have about this family, and I'm not sure what's off-limits," Lissa explained.

"Nothing is off-limits, Elizabeth, not to you," Derek answered softly. He looked around the library and said, his voice growing distant as he glanced at a nearby chair, "When you were small, back before your aunt's death, I often found the two of you in here. You were usually asleep, and I would just sit here and talk with Alicia."

"I wasn't asleep, Derek. . .I just let you and Aunt Alicia think that I was!" Lissa replied with a mischievous grin. Derek laughed and Lissa continued, "I would listen to you, and think about nice it felt to be in Aunt Alicia's arms while you two talked. I would pretend that she was my mother and you were my father, that I had two parents who loved each other, and who loved me. I loved Mama, of course, but being with you and Aunt Alicia. . .well, it was magical."

Lissa sighed, then continued, "Then, Aunt Alicia died. And for such a long time, I couldn't make you smile. That upset me, because up until then, I could always make you smile. It hurt. You tried, I think, but you were in too much pain yourself. . .because of Aunt Alicia's death and then because of Thomas and Maeve Callaghan being killed in the plane crash. So I tried to comfort Philip instead."

"I'm sorry, Lissa. . .you know I would never hurt you deliberately," Derek said and Lissa nodded. Yes, she did know. After a moment, Derek continued, "That was something I wanted to talk with you about. . .your friendship with Philip when you were children. You made all the difference in the world after his parents were killed."

"I'm glad," Lissa said simply. There was nothing else for her to say. She was glad that she was able to help Philip through such a terrible time. Lissa remembered the agonizing weeks and months after her mother's death, and flinched. If Reynolds hadn't interfered, Lissa thought, Philip would have been there for me. The young woman turned her attention to what was really troubling her, asking very softly, "Would you tell me about my grandfather? Did he. . . did he know how to love something other than the Legacy?"

Derek smiled very sadly and replied, "Of course he did, Lissa. It was just that his greatest passion was for the Legacy. My sister and I looked out for each other. . .my sister especially looked out for me while I was home on holiday. Ours wasn't a particularly happy childhood."

Lissa stared at him in amazement and asked, "I have an aunt? I mean, other than Aunt Molly?" Derek nodded, smiling, and Lissa almost squealed from frustration as she exclaimed, "Well, why in heaven's name didn't you tell me? What's her name, what's she like, is she older or younger than you, does she know about me?" Derek laughed softly and put his hand over hers, giving it a gentle squeeze.

"I didn't tell you because you didn't ask. Her name is 'Marina,' and I would imagine that's where your mother got your middle name. Your aunt Marina is a nun. . .she's been living in cloistered convent for the last twenty-five years. Marina is four years older than I am, and no, she doesn't know about you yet. I haven't had a chance to tell her. We meet once a year, and our meeting for 1996 has already taken place. Anything else, Little Miss Question-box?" her father asked, still laughing. Lissa stared at him in amazement.

"Aunt Marina is a nun? Does she know Philip? Never mind, forget I asked that question. If she's been a nun for twenty-five years, then she probably has never met Philip," the young woman said, waving a hand. Derek laughed again, and Lissa said softly, "Mother didn't think too much of Grandfather. . .she made that really clear in her diary. That's why I asked about him."

"I thought as much. Your mother never knew him, but that never stopped Fiona from forming very strong opinions. A trait common among the Summers women," Derek commented. Lissa grinned and Derek added, "I suppose you noticed that, however." The young cop nodded and Derek said, "I think Marina will be pleased to learn she has a niece. She's usually pleased about anything that makes me happy." Lissa looked at her father shyly.

"And does it please you that I'm your daughter, Father?" she asked, using the word for the first time since learning the unvarnished truth. Derek froze briefly, then smiled, a genuine one. He touched her cheek very gently, and it took all of Lissa's memories of love to keep from pulling away.

"Yes, Elizabeth Marie Anne, it pleases me greatly that you are my daughter. I thought you knew that," Derek replied and Lissa looked away. Her father continued, "I loved the little girl who laughed when she danced with me, and I'm proud of the young woman she's become. I'm proud that Officer Lissa Reynolds, the policewoman who once saved small four children from a drugged-out sociopath, is my daughter."

Lissa blushed when he mentioned the children and lowered her eyes. Her dark hair fell in front of her face, and Lissa shook it back as she said, "I wish people wouldn't make such a fuss over that. All I did in that grocery store five years ago was what I had been taught in the police academy. That's it, I'm not a heroine." Derek smiled at her very gently.

"Haven't you learned yet, little one, that people take their heroes and heroines where they can find them? You, of all people, should know that, Elizabeth. To a boy who has grown up without a father, a young priest who takes an hour out of his day to play soccer with him is a hero. To four children who were held hostage at gunpoint, a rookie cop who stayed calm and shielded them with her own body when events spun out of control is a hero," he stated. Lissa rolled her eyes, though she continued blushing.

"If I'd been more on top of things, he wouldn't have gotten out of control. But I won't argue the point about Philip. . .I've seen him with those kids. They worship him, Derek. I would hate to see their reaction if anything ever happened to him," Lissa replied. She fell silent for a moment, then said, "You know, I was at soccer practice last week, before I read Mama's diary. Philip took a minute to talk to me, and one of the boys followed him. We weren't talking about anything special. . .just passing time."

Lissa paused, then continued, "After Philip returned to the others, one boy, Julio, asked me if I planned to take Philip away. I didn't understand what he meant until he said I would be very sorry if I hurt Father Philip the way that puta Ellen had. Somehow, those boys found out about Ellen's suicide, and they wanted to protect Philip. They didn't even know him when it happened, but they wanted to protect him."

"Philip has always had an extraordinary gift with youngsters. Just as you do," Derek commented and Lissa shrugged. He gently kissed her forehead and said, "Get some rest. I imagine Rachel will have some things to say to you tomorrow morning if you don't." Lissa nodded and Derek rose to his feet, then helped her up as well. He said after a moment, "Good night, then, little one. Pleasant dreams." Lissa nodded and followed her father from the library.

Thalia Hendricks was also having a difficult time getting to sleep. . .her mind wouldn't stop spinning. It had taken seventy-five years, but the promise had been kept. I should have known, Thalia thought, I should have known that somehow, he would find a way to come back.

Thalia had been a small girl of ten when the nightmare began, on her native soil of Crete. She had been like any other ten year old. . .filled with mischief and fun, but she had been a good girl. When her parents told her to stay away from the Great House, she did so. Even if the other children did go there, Thalia was too afraid of the village priest and what might happen if she did go to the Great House. And in that spring of her tenth year, in April of 1921, Thalia's caution. . .fear. . .had been rewarded.

That spring, she had seen and heard things that no child should ever see. For seventy-five years, she had been haunted by the screams and curses of the dying wizard. . .by his promise to return. A promise which had been kept. But Thalia had a promise to keep as well. . .and it would be fulfilled once she spoke with the two children, the police officer and the priest. It was symmetrical, actually.

Seventy-five years earlier, the wizard had attempted to destroy Thalia's village by brutally murdering the village priest and a police officer who had sought to protect the children. Once Thalia had told Elizabeth Reynolds and Philip Callaghan her story the following morning, another police officer and another priest would be the tools of God's justice. Thalia found herelf immensely comforted by that idea, and at last, she drifted off to sleep.

The entity that had assumed William Reynolds' body ambled along the road, assimilating the dead man's memories. Not just of this strange foreign land, but of Reynolds' daughter Philippa and step-daughter Elizabeth. The entity shook its head creakily. . .Reynolds had been a monster, but if the police got in his way, he wouldn't hesitate to use the memories to hurt the step-daughter, who was a police officer.

There were many things he needed to know about this strange land. For too long, his essence had been trapped in the urn. . .not unlike a genie. He had grown up hearing stories about genies and other magical beings. . .it was those stories which led him to explore magic. First, it had been silly little tricks. . .and later, tricks to make people do what he wanted, tricks which eventually led to his death.

Another of Reynolds' memories flashed through, the memory of a young priest. The entity curled its fingers into fists at its sides. Here was another potential problem. . . in his previous incarnation, a priest and a law officer had caused his death. Here again was a law officer and a priest- both very young, certainly, but potentially dangerous.

Elizabeth Reynolds and Philip Callaghan, it thought, both strange names. But Reynolds' memory had provided another clue. . .his step-daughter's habit of staying away from the very young priest, and the way she looked at him. The policewoman was in love with the priest. . .and she didn't even remember that she had known him as a child. There was one other piece of information which the entity could use against the girl. . .the fact she didn't know Reynolds wasn't really her father.

On her way back to her room, Lissa heard Nick ask softly, "How long do you want to keep our first meeting a secret from Philip and Derek?" Lissa stopped and turned to face the former SEAL. He was leaning against the wall, just a few feet from the door to his room.

"I wasn't sure if you remembered me, Nick. I didn't remember you at first. . .I'm sorry. There were too many other memories fighting to make it to the surface," Lissa replied as she joined him. The young man nodded, his eyes filled with sadness, and the cop continued, "As to your question. . .can we keep it between us for now? I'm not ready to deal with the questions which Derek and Philip will ask when they find out that we met before, and about the circumstances of that meeting."

"I can live with that. And there's no need to apologize for not remembering me. I didn't remember you until you came back to the castle. . .remember, you pulled your hair back into a ponytail when you were unpacking. That was the same way you wore your hair that night," Nick replied. He paused, then added very quietly, "I guess that means you're not ready to talk about whatever. . .or whoever. . .hurt you."

"I'm sorry, Nick," Lissa replied and was alarmed to realize that her hands were shaking. The young woman closed her eyes, forcing herself to calm down, then went on, "I can't talk about that night with Derek and Philip, nor can I tell you what happened to me. But I promise, as soon as I can, I will. You deserve answers. . .you've waited long enough. I will tell you this. . .I would not have jumped. I would not have given. . .thank you for being there for me."

"It was your step-father, wasn't it?" Nick asked and Lissa looked away. The former SEAL added, "You don't have to say a word, Lis. Now, listen. . .no matter what, I'll always be there for you. All right? From now on, you're my little sister, and anyone who hurts you will answer to me. Okay?" Lissa nodded, smiling through the tears that stung her eyes. Nick pushed off from the wall and hugged her, adding, "Good. Now get some sleep. . .I'll see you in the morning." He released her and returned to his room.

Philip was awake by seven thirty the following morning. He lay in bed for several minutes, then got up. His shower lasted no more than ten minutes, just long enough to soap himself and rinse off. He dressed once he found his black slacks, muttering about being unable to find what he needed.

At eight, he went downstairs to the study, where he found Lissa sipping coffee as she read the newspaper with interest. Her head was bent, and he could tell that she had just showered. . .her hair was still wet. Dressed in her blue uniform, Philip noticed, with her damp hair pulled back into a bun. Or what looked like a bun. She looked up and smiled, saying, "Morning, Philip. Sleep well?"

"Well enough. What about you? Any nightmares?" he asked and Lissa shook her head with a puzzled frown. Philip continued as he joined her, "No nightmares, but somethin' is troublin' you." Lissa smiled ruefully as she poured a cup of coffee and handed it to him. Philip returned the smile, remembering his and Lissa's habit of sneaking drinks of coffee from the adults while they weren't looking.

"Sort of. I just had a hard time getting to sleep last night. . .was exhausted, but I couldn't sleep. I sat in the library and talked to Derek for a little while. That helped," Lissa replied and Philip nodded. The young woman was silent for several moments, then she said softly, "You know, it's really strange. We haven't seen each other in sixteen years, and yet, it's like we were never apart."

"Well, that's not completely true. I still get a shock when I look at you, and realize that you're my favorite playmate, all grown up. But I won't lie to you, Lissa. . .I missed you terribly. However, I've already mentioned that fact," Philip answered as they walked to the davenport and sat down together. Lissa smiled. It was a sad, sweet smile, and the young priest wondered what was wrong. He asked softly, "What's on your mind, Lissa?"

"I was wondering about something, Philip, and it might sound really stupid to you, but it's a real fear for me," Lissa said hesitantly. Philip put down his coffee cup and looked at her keenly. I hope she doesn't ask about those dreams again, Philip thought, I don't think I could take her reaction to hearin' about them! Lissa continued after a moment, "Do you resent me because Derek is my father?"

"Absolut'ly not!" Philip responded quickly, genuinely shocked by the question. Lissa cocked her head to one side, and Philip continued, "And I don't think it's stupid. You're a little unclear right now about how you fit in. For years, you believed that William Reynolds was your father. . .that a man who hated you for havin' your mother's love was your father. Now you have a father who genuinely cares for you, and you're not sure if you deserve him."

A faint smile crossed Lissa's face and she said, "You scare me sometimes, Pip. . .the way you know exactly what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling. Yeah, I do wonder if I deserve to be Derek Rayne's daughter. I don't know if I can love him the way I did when I was a child. . .I want to, God knows, but I don't know if that's possible. The only adults I loved more than Derek were my mother and my aunt. . .and they're both dead. I'm afraid to love Derek, Philip. . .afraid something might happen to him. Afraid that he'll hurt me."

"He will never hurt you deliberately," Philip stated and Lissa nodded, allowing Philip to continue, "In time, you'll be able to accept that, with your entire heart. As to the other issue. . .that will also take time. I know from experience. I did the same thing after my parents died. I was afraid to let down my guard with anyone besides Derek. And Michael, of course, but he. . .that was different."

"You let your guard down with me. . .but I must have driven you crazy, constantly shoving that bear of mine in your face," Lissa said, laughing. Philip laughed and shook his head. The young woman added, growing serious, "I remember, at first you wouldn't talk to me. You would talk to Bear. . .but you always got real quiet when you saw me. It hurt me at first, until Derek and Mama explained that. . . well, when they explained about your parents."

"I'm sorry, Lissa. I was just. . .I couldn't allow myself to care about you, not at first. But you had this way of gettin' into a person's soul, without even tryin' and before I knew it, you were my best friend," Philip replied.

"What can I tell you, it's that infamous Rayne charm. I get under someone's skin, and they can't get me out," Lissa replied wryly and Philip laughed. Lissa grinned impishly and said, "I knew it. . .I knew I could still make you laugh! Oops, it's getting late. . .you ready to go?" Philip nodded, still laughing, and they headed for her Taurus.

Nick felt like a first-rate ass, but he didn't see any other choice. He had to know what was going on. So he waited until Philip and Lissa left for the retirement home, then quietly slipped into Lissa's room. He glanced in both directions, not that he expected any trouble.

Kat and Maeve were outside playing. . .the last time Nick saw them, they were flying a kite which Lissa had bought for Kat before returning to the castle. Rachel had agreed to leave Kat at the castle while she was seeing her patients, since Maeve was happy to babysit. Alex was still checking on the urn. . .Lissa had said she and Philip would pick up the urn on the way home from the retirement home.

Nick had no idea where Derek was, just as long as he didn't walk in on Nick going through Lissa's stuff. The first thing the former SEAL noticed was the warmth of the room. Alex had told him about Lissa's room in the Reynolds house, how cold it was. Nick had no special psychic abilities, but even he could feel the warmth in this room.

She isn't inhibited here, Nick thought, she has a father who is already coming to love her, she has her childhood best friend and her college roommate under the same roof. She feels like she belongs here. This is her home.

It was then that Nick saw the box with Fiona Summers Reynolds' diaries. That was a good place to start to find out more about his new little sister. He sat down beside Lissa's bed and selected the personal diary for the year 1971. The first entry was for March 30, 1971, and according to the header, it was written in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"Belfast?" Nick muttered as he began to read. Fiona had taken her small daughter to visit an old friend, Maeve Ryan Callaghan, who had two small sons. Nick's eyes widened as he realized that he was reading about the very first meeting between Lissa and Philip, twenty-five years earlier.

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