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Derek held his daughter close, startled by the strength of her embrace. During the last few days, as she grew more certain of her place in his life, the walls around her heart began crumbling. But there was something else going on here, and it had to do with what had happened in the crypt.
"Lissa, what is it?" Derek whispered at last and she pulled back. The anthropologist was stunned by the tears that streaked his daughter's face, and he lightly touched one of the tear stains, repeating, "What's wrong, Lissa? What happened in there to frighten you?"
The corners of Lissa's mouth lifted as she replied, "Those aren't tears of fright or tears of pain, Father, they're tears of relief. I was so afraid the third vision was of things to come, but it wasn't. Andreas is gone, my step-father is being returned to his grave, and you're safe."
Derek looked at Lissa keenly and asked, "What do you mean, I'm safe? What did you see in that third Vision, Elizabeth?" She looked around the crypt, shuddering, and Derek led her outside into the night, keeping a protective arm around her shoulders.
A few yards away, the Daugherty family continued its reunion, as Corinne fussed over her daughter and Philip. Alex remained at the young priest's side, who was still very pale. Derek decided to ask Philip what happened later. Lissa murmured, "I was so afraid if I told you, then the third Vision would come true. We were in the crypt, Philip and I. You were lying on the coffin, instead of Josee, and Reynolds/Andreas was standing over you. He was laughing at us...we were too late, we couldn't save you. He had in his hands your heart...and it was still beating. And the rage which I felt when I saw that..."
Derek drew his trembling daughter close, trying to comfort her, and Lissa continued in a faraway voice, "It wasn't just seeing you like that which scared me, it was my reaction. The strength of my feelings terrified me."
Derek didn't speak...he was afraid if he stopped his daughter now, he would never hear the whole story. Lissa was silent for several moments, then she continued, "You see, I had walled up my emotions, and the only people I let into my heart after I lost you and Philip years ago were Maeve and Xan. I ended up losing Xan...but in one fell swoop, I found all three of you again. For some reason, letting her and Philip back into my heart was easy."
"Alex had never left your heart, Elizabeth," Derek pointed out quietly, "and Philip is your priest. You let your guard down with him, without even realizing it. And that's how it should be. By the time you remembered your friendship with Philip from years ago, you couldn't have stopped that wall from coming down if you tried."
Lissa nodded and continued, "But it was different with you. My step-father hurt me, Derek, so much. And I was so afraid. I knew you would never hurt me deliberately. But if I allowed myself to care about you, to love you the way I did when I was a child...if something happened to you..."
Her voice trailed off and Derek finally understood what she was trying to say. He took both of her hands and said, "So when you had that Vision of what might be, the strength of your rage and pain frightened you. You realized that the old feelings were starting to return, and that would make you vulnerable all over again."
"Yes," Lissa replied sadly. She looked at him, asking, "Can you ever forgive me, Father? I couldn't face growing to love you as I did when I was small, only to lose you again." Derek cupped his daughter's face in his hands, overwhelmed by his love for her. This surpassed anything he had ever felt before...not even his love for Alicia had been like this.
Emotion thickened his voice as he replied, "There is nothing to forgive. But I want you to answer me truly. In addition to telling you that we didn't love you anymore, did your step-father threaten to kill Philip and me?"
Tears filled his daughter's eyes and she nodded, replying, "Yes. He told me on the anniversary of Mama's death if I ever tried to contact you or Philip, he would kill you both. He said that he would kill Philip first, slowly, and make both of us watch. And then he would kill you."
Derek controlled his rage with a concerted effort, as he said softly, "And because of that, your Vision terrified you all the more." Lissa nodded and Derek continued, "I'm alive, and so is Philip." He recalled what he had Seen and added, "And William Reynolds can never hurt you again."
"That's what I told him," Lissa said, blinking back her tears. Then her eyes narrowed and she said, "Wait a minute! That's what you Saw in your Vision, wasn't it? I remember, you said something about a decayed corpse, and that's how we realized that Andreas was looking for another body. But you didn't...you Saw that in your Vision! You Saw Philip and me confronting Andreas!" Derek nodded as they joined the others. There was no point in denying it.
"Yes. But we'll discuss that later...I think there are a few phone calls which you need to make. Namely, to Chief Markham," he replied. Lissa rolled her eyes and started to answer, but red lights and sirens filled the cemetary. Derek frowned...who called the police?
A police car came to a stop behind the Range Rover and Dennis Markham got out of the car. The chief asked Lissa anxiously, "Kid, are you all right? The guy at the answering service told me that you sounded a little on the panicky side." Derek looked back at his daughter in amazement... when did she have time to call the police?
"I'm sorry, Chief, but everything was happening at once. I know, I should have waited for back-up from you, but there was no time. This wasn't your ordinary hostage situation. Josee Daugherty would have died if we had waited," Lissa explained. She told Derek, "I called Chief Markham while Philip was upstairs, trying to find Stephen."
"It's okay, kid, under the circumstances. Just don't do that to me again, all right? You, of all people, know the importance of having back-up," the chief replied. Lissa flinched, but nodded. There was a brief silence, then Markham asked, "So, what happened?"
Lissa sighed and answered, "Do you want the real story, Chief, or what I'm gonna put in my report?" Derek almost laughed at the man's expression, but restrained himself. His daughter continued after a moment, "I'll tell you the real story, then you can help me figure out what to write up."
"I'm goin' wi' you," Philip said firmly. He was still pale, but looked determined. Lissa started to speak, but Philip repeated, "I'm goin' with you, Elizabeth! I was there, too, remember?" Lissa glowered at him, and Derek could no longer control his smile.
"If you were there, padre, then you're more than welcome. Although, by the looks of you, maybe you should head to a hospital. Looks like you might have a few cracked ribs, the way you're favoring your side. But if you're sure, then by all means, come along," the chief replied.
"We'll see you back at the House, Derek," Philip said, "this might take a while." His former ward was smiling impishly, and gasped as Lissa lightly hit him in the ribs. Philip continued, "Assumin' your daughter doesn't put me in the hospital first." Derek nodded and watched in silence as the pair headed to Lissa's car.
The chief said quietly, "Lissa has been crying...is she all right?" Derek nodded in affirmation, and Markham continued, "I'm glad to hear that. Look, I'm gonna warn you about this right now, Dr. Rayne, since you're her father. Lissa is really hard on herself. She can do the best anyone can do under the circumstances, and she still blames herself if something goes wrong. This case is a prime example. Aside from going in without backup...and Father Callaghan doesn't count as backup...she did the best she could."
"I agree. Lissa didn't have all the facts at her disposal until she read Mitch Daugherty's journal. Yet, she still blames herself for Josee's abduction. Perhaps there was something more she could have done, but she did her best with what she knew at the time," Derek replied.
The chief nodded in satisfaction and said, "I hoped you would understand. I need to get back to the station. With any amount of luck, Lissa and Father Callaghan will be home within a few hours. Although, I will advise her to take him to a hospital. The kid looks terrible."
Derek inclined his head in response, and the chief walked back to his own car. Nick joined him and said quietly, "You would have been really proud of Lissa, Derek, with the way she stood up to that monster. She wasn't gonna let him win." Derek smiled faintly and the younger man continued, "I hope she isn't punished for the actions she took. This case was way beyond the police department's capabilities. There was nothing they could have done."
"The chief seems to be a fair man...and from what I've read, Lissa doesn't have a reputation for being a maverick. I'm certain that Internal Affairs, or whoever decides these things, will understand there are extentuating circumstances," Derek replied. I hope.
Two hours later, Lissa and Philip were on the ferry and headed for home. At the young officer's request, Philip was driving her car for the second time that day. She was still in shock from the events at the police station, and from the phone call they had received from Derek before they left.
Philip glanced over at his friend and asked gently, "Are you all right, Lis?" She nodded and the priest continued, "Sorry, I know that's the third time I've asked that since we left the police station...but you've been so quiet. Unnaturally quiet, at least for you."
Lissa grinned suddenly and asked, "Are you trying to tell me that I'm a blabber-mouth?" Philip shook his head, laughing, and Lissa continued, "Good...that would not be a wise move on your part! No, I was just thinking about Jason Daugherty. Man, that really blows my mind!"
"I can understand that. I wish I could have seen Rachel's expression when she and Nick went back into the crypt, and found Jason on the floor!" Philip chortled. Lissa laughed aloud and Philip continued, "I'm sorry, that's terrible. But I can just imagine her face."
"That's not terrible, that's human. And I feel the same...finding a stark-naked young man lying on the floor of the crypt, a young man whom we all believed to be dead, must have been...a shock. Have you figured out what happened there? I mean, according to Derek, Grady Hendricks stayed dead after he and Mitch released Andreas the first time. Do you have any idea why...?" Lissa began.
"Why Jason came back to life? Rachel offered the theory that he never actually died...that it was Andreas' magic which led us to believe that Jason was dead," Philip replied. Lissa looked at him, a smile playing about her lips, and he continued, "But I like to believe he was given a second chance at life. In the end, it doesn't really matter."
"No, it doesn't. Judging from what Derek said about his conversation with Jason, it doesn't seem likely that Jason will squander that second chance. And that is the important thing. How do you feel? Any pain?" Lissa asked, her eyes darkening with concern. Philip shrugged and Lissa continued in a level voice he recalled from their childhood, "That's not an answer, Philip. Are you still in pain?"
"Not really, so please stop worryin' about me! I'm fine! I'm more worried about you," Philip replied. Lissa rolled her eyes and Philip continued, "I know, the meeting in the chief's office didn't go the way you expected. And that's what worries me...you're not actin' normal."
"What's normal, Philip?" Lissa asked ruefully. Philip glared at her, and she continued, "Look, I know I've been really quiet, but that came out of the blue. Out of all the things I was expecting...Philip, until the chief mentioned it, I didn't even remember taking my detective's exam!"
"Which makes it all the more surprisin' to find that you passed it with flyin' colors?" Philip asked and Lissa nodded. The priest continued, "And you're still angry wi' yourself for not seein' the connection between the feelin' you got at the Daugherty house and Mrs. Hendricks' story."
"Dammit, Philip, I should have seen it! It was right there in front of my face, and I didn't see it until it was almost too late! You could have been spared a lot of pain if I'd been smarter, and Josee wouldn't have nightmares!" Lissa retorted. Philip rolled his eyes. I will strangle this woman, he thought, if she blasts herself for not seein' that connection one more time, I will strangle her.
"Elizabeth Marie Anne...enough! One more time, if you start in on that one more time, I will throttle you with my bare hands! Do I make myself understood? I will not tolerate that nonsense comin' from you!" Philip retorted through tightly gritted teeth. Unexpectedly, Lissa laughed.
"Why? You do it all the time...what's the difference?" she challenged. Philip couldn't see her face clearly in the dark, but he was certain that her eyes were sparkling with mischief. She hadn't changed that much from when they were kids. After a moment, Lissa continued thoughtfully, "But, I'll behave. For now. There's something else that concerns me. What happened to you in there, Pip? Why did you call Josee 'Lissy' before you passed out?"
Philip was tempted to lie, to say that 'Lissy' and 'Josee' sounded a great deal alike. However, this woman had a habit of seeing through attempted subterfuge. And he didn't want the iciness of this afternoon to return. He replied quietly, "I was out of my head with pain, Lissa. I heard you scream my name, and when I looked up, instead of seein' Josee...I saw you, when you were five."
Lissa was silent for several moments, then said, "It wasn't Andreas' doing, I don't think. I wonder why it was that specific image that you saw. I don't suppose it matters that much...Andreas would have used another image to stop you. That one pushed you forward, in spite of the pain."
"I didn't want to let you down again, Lissa," Philip replied quietly. Lissa glared at him, and the young priest raised his hands, adding, "I know that you feel I didn't let you down. But I do. And it doesn't matter that I was twelve years old, it doesn't matter that Reynolds would have killed me...I should have protected you."
"He would have killed both of you, Philip. He would have killed you first, forcing Derek and me to watch, and then he would have killed Derek. I couldn't allow that to happen," Lissa said. She paused, then added, "And it matters to me. You...we were just children. There was nothing you could have done. Not for me."
They were both silent for several moments, as they walked to the car. At last, Philip said, "I was so angry wi' myself, Lissa...for not rememberin' you. And later, when I learned that you had been abused. I was angry, because I wasn't there to protect you. I didn't keep my promise."
"And my mother didn't keep most of her promises. My aunt Alicia didn't keep her promises...they were both dead before I turned eleven. You were twelve years old, Philip. Twelve! Two years younger than Maeve is now...why is it that you have such a hard time forgiving yourself? Is it because of that old biddy of a grandmother?" Lissa asked.
Philip looked at her, surprised...that's what Fiona always called Grandmother Ryan! Lissa added, grinning, "I've been reading my mother's journals. She thought even less of your grandmother than she did of my grandfather. That's difficult to do, but your grandmother managed to royally piss Mama off. You didn't answer my question. You're a priest...you know the importance of forgiveness!"
"I'll make a deal wi' you," Philip said as he unlocked her door for her. Lissa cocked her head to one side, and Philip continued, "I'll work on forgivin' myself for not bein' the man or the priest I want to be...and you'll work on your feelin's about this promotion. Do we have a deal?"
Lissa smiled broadly and held out her hand, replying, "We do. Now, get yourself into the other side...we're docking in a few." Philip laughed and released her hand, then walked around to the driver's side. By the time he was in the car, Lissa had her seatbelt on. Philip buckled up as well, remembering her warning the previous day. He smiled as Lissa whispered, "We're going home!"
Alex was watching for Philip and Lissa in the foyer. Derek had told her about Lissa's promotion, and it touched her to see his excitement. In addition to the promotion, there was the party which would be held in less than a week, once everyone had a chance to catch their breath.
* * * * *
While Alex looked forward to most of the Luna Foundation functions, this one would be special, for the entire Legacy family. Lights appeared at the end of the driveway and Alex called over her shoulder into the study, "They're home!"
"Hey, aren't you ready yet? The party starts in fifteen minutes, and Derek wants us all downstairs!" Nick exclaimed, peeking into Lissa's room. He was rewarded with a pillow zooming past his head. Nick slipped inside, laughing, and continued, "You look terrific, Lis. No one would believe you're the same gal who kicked a sorceror's ass a week ago!"
Gone was Lissa's customary blue jeans and sweatshirt. Tonight, she wore an sapphire blue evening dress, and her long dark hair fell softly to her shoulders. Nick wasn't entirely certain whom this young woman was...just that it was a good idea to be wary of her. This was borne out a moment later as Lissa rose to her feet, her eyes twinkling.
"Well, you do know that I'm the same gal who sent Andreas back where he belonged...so keep that in mind, Nicholas! I'm a dangerous woman with this thing!" she joked, waving her brush like a weapon. Nick laughed and the young woman asked nervously, "Do I look okay? This is a really big night for all of us and I don't want to embarrass my father."
"I told you, you look gorgeous!" Nick exclaimed, taking both of her hands. Oooh, they're cold, he thought, and began chafing them to warm her up. He continued, his voice softening, "Are you all right? I know you're nervous about tonight." Lissa responded with a weak smile.
"This is totally screwy, Nick," she replied, "I'm more wobbly tonight than I was when Philip and I faced down Andreas. I mean, I was scared then, but my hands were actually shaking while I was brushing my hair. Shaking, Nick! I didn't start shaking last week until Philip and I got home from the precinct. Do you understand why I had to do that?" Nick released her hands and cupped her face, looking into the eyes which were so much like Derek's.
"Why it had to be you that took out Andreas, and not me or Philip? You know better than to ask that, Lissa! Of course I understand! Besides, Derek filled me in on your last Vision. I understand a lot now," he replied.
"I'm glad. I figured that if anyone would understand what I did, it would be you. You know, I've gone over what happened a thousand times in my head. Maybe I could have kept Andreas from hurting Philip...I know bullets couldn't have destroyed Andreas, but maybe a few more slugs would have slowed him down even more," Lissa said earnestly.
"Kiddo, you kept Andreas at bay until I got you the urn, and that's quite an accomplishment! That's something I still don't understand...why didn't he go after you? Why didn't he try to attack after Philip had rescued Josee?" Nick asked as he and Lissa sat down in front of her vanity. The young woman sighed, smoothing back her hair. She still looked nervous, but seemed calmer. Keep her talking, Nick, the ex-SEAL thought, and maybe she'll forget she's nervous.
"It seemed like hours to us, Nick, but when I went over what happened, I realized that maybe thirty seconds passed between the time Philip passed out and the time you arrived with the urn. Besides, Andreas was still recovering from the slug in the face. Actually...and don't tell Philip I said this...I enjoyed doing that," Lissa replied.
"I won't tell Philip...but I think he'd understand," Nick replied. There was a knock at the door and Lissa called for her visitor to enter. Philip walked into the room, his eyes wide as he looked from one friend to the other. Nick burst out laughing and said, "You know, eavesdroppers never hear well of themselves, Philip!"
"I was not eavesdropping! Derek sent me to make sure everything was all right. You look lovely, Elizabeth," Philip replied indignantly. His voice and eyes softened as he looked at Lissa, and Nick smiled. Philip added more seriously, "But Nick's right, Lissa...I do understand. I don't condone violence...I saw far too much of it in Belfast, but I do understand how you felt."
Strangely enough, Lissa was silent for several moments, then she squared her shoulders and said, "Well, I think we've kept my father waiting long enough. It's time to get this show on the road. Shall we go, gentlemen?" Nick smiled and offered her his arm, which she accepted gracefully. They proceeded from the room, with Philip trailing behind.
Alex and Rachel were waiting for them at the foot of the stairs. Alex, dressed in white satin, smiled at the trio. She said, "I told you, Lissa. You look fantastic in that dress. Since when have I steered you wrong?" Lissa just smiled and Alex explained, "When Lis and I were in college, we went clothes shopping together. I was the only female on the hall who had any idea what Lissa's style was. The other girls wanted to dress her up in glitzy stuff, but Lissa hid in our closet when they came around. So we went shopping together."
"Do you blame me, Xan? I'd look ridiculous in some of the stuff they wanted me to wear!" Lissa exclaimed, shaking her head with disgust. The others laughed and the five went into the foyer. Nick and Lissa went first, followed by Alex and Rachel, then Philip. Nick heard Lissa swallow hard, and winced at the grip she maintained on his arm.
"It's okay, Lis," he whispered, "you'll do just fine. Just keep telling yourself over and over that you're Lissa's Rayne, and that you are your father's daughter." If anything, Lissa's hold on his arm grew tighter, and Nick winced. The new detective glanced over her shoulder at Philip, who smiled reassuringly. I won't even ask what that means, Nick thought, I probably don't want to know! Philip's uncanny ability to know exactly how to calm Lissa's anxiety was beginning to scare him.
"I do keep telling myself that, Nick, and it's not doing any good! It's making me even more nervous! I'm so friggin' scared, the friggin' butterflies don't have any room to move!" Lissa answered through her teeth. Nick patted her hand, and was alarmed to find that it was cold. Again. Just as long as she doesn't pass out, he thought, we should be all right. She stays conscious and on her feet, there won't be a problem. I hope.
Derek watched his daughter enter the foyer with Nick, Philip, Alex, and Rachel, and his heart nearly stopped. He had never seen Lissa look so lovely...or so vulnerable. Maeve, who stood at his side, said excitedly, "Oh, she looks so pretty, Derek! That's the other reason I look forward to Mass...it's the only time when Lissa dresses up!"
"We'll have to do something about that," Derek murmured as the rest of the Legacy assembled in the foyer. He strode forward to greet his family, noting with concern the way Lissa clung to Nick. She was more than just nervous, she was terrified. Derek himself was nervous...he had never introduced his daughter to the entire world before, but Lissa's fear was on a more basic level. My God, Derek thought, she's afraid of embarrassing me!
However, he didn't comment on her obvious terror... just took her hand and said, "You look lovely, Elizabeth. You would make your mother and your aunts proud of you. As I am." As he had hoped, Lissa's radiant smile appeared.
"I'm glad, Father," she replied very simply. The first of the guests were arriving, and Duncan slipped forward to answer the door. Lissa turned back to Derek, her eyes widening with obvious terror. However, her pride took over and she lifted her chin, saying, "I just hope you never stop being proud of me. I'm ready."
For a moment, Derek wished that Reynolds' corpse would re-animate itself...so he could kill it. Such pain that man had caused Derek's daughter! However, he replied only, "If you remain the woman whom you are, I will always be proud of you. Come, Elizabeth...let's welcome our guests."
Lissa's shoulders straightened and she released Nick, taking Derek's arm. The others fell into place behind them, and the precept was aware of two things, aside from the coldness of his daughter's hands. Firstly, that Maeve was on her sister's other side, where she belonged. And secondly, that Nick and Alex were exchanging pleased grins with Rachel and Philip. He would speak with them about that. Later.
The guest list was impressive...most of the San Francisco Police Department's Vice division had been invited. There were senators, doctors, and lawyers, businessmen and women, leaders of the community. And, on a personal note for the Legacy members, the remaining members of the Daugherty family were in attendance, as was Marius Hendricks.
This last guest shook hands with Philip and Lissa, thanking Philip for the memorial service the young priest had performed for Marius' son Grady...as well as the funeral Mass for Thalia Hendricks, who had died only hours after the defeat of Andreas. The doctors said it was heart failure, but Lissa was certain that Thalia had died because she was free. Andreas' evil had been contained and soon, the Legacy would make certain that the sorceror would never return.
The other funeral Mass which Philip had performed in the last week was for Mitch Daugherty. Corinne said now, smiling fondly as her daughter clung to Philip's hand, "Thank you again, Father Philip. The funeral Mass for Mitch was perfect, thanks to you. And I thank you both, for saving my daughter. Losing Josee, so soon after losing Mitch...I don't think I could have borne it." Jason Daugherty nodded soberly. Whatever had happened to him, and it still hadn't been explained, it had changed him. Forever.
"My sister-in-law is right...thank you both. You'll be seeing a lot more of me at Mass now, Father Philip...I have a lot of penance to catch up on," the young man said, shaking Philip's hand. The priest nodded and Jason continued, "And thanks for Josee. She's a good kid."
"She's a wonderful little girl...take good care of her," Philip said quietly. Alex appeared in the foyer with a radiant smile, and Philip added, "Unless I'm very mistaken, the reason for this gathering is about to be explained." He looked at Lissa, who smiled nervously.
Alex didn't disappoint, as she said, "Ladies and gentleman, our host, Dr. Derek Rayne, is prepared to make the presentation...so if you'll all move into this next room, your curiosity about tonight's function will be satisfied. Thank you." She grinned and winked at Philip and Lissa, who ushered the crowd into the next room, where Derek was waiting. He was obviously nervous, but he smiled broadly when he saw Lissa. It's time, Philip thought. "The Luna Foundation was created for the preservation and study of ancient artifacts, which would illuminate the world," Derek began, conscious of his daughter's eyes on him. It will be all right, little one, he thought, ignoring his own anxiety, and went on, "Truly, during the last thirty years, the Luna Foundation has uncovered great treasures.
"Tonight, however, is a presentation of a different kind of treasure. The artifacts which you see in this house, and which can be seen at the Winston Rayne Hall of Antiquities in the museum, are valuable indeed. But there is another kind of treasure, the kind that is invaluable."
There was a stirring in the crowd and Derek glanced over at his family. Alex, Lissa, Philip, Nick, and Rachel all stood together, with Maeve pressed close to her sister's side. As if she would be anywhere else. Derek took a deep breath and continued, "I learned of this particular treasure only recently. Until ten days ago, it had been hidden from me for over twenty-five years."
Derek took another deep breath, somehow sensing Fiona's presence, as well as her approval. Thank you, my friend, he thought, in spite of keeping Elizabeth from me, your approval on this matter means a great deal to me.
"Therefore," he continued at last, noticing the smiles of the rest of the Legacy, "it is a great pleasure for me to introduce to you a new member of the Luna Foundation...my daughter, Detective Elizabeth Rayne, of the San Francisco Police Department! Lissa, please join me."
There was a stunned silence, then the entire room erupted into applause. Derek smiled and held out his hand to Lissa. Her smile now genuine, his daughter joined him, and Derek put his arm around her shoulders. A flash went off, and the paper for the following morning would show a picture of Derek Rayne, beaming proudly at his daughter.
But for now, the only thing that mattered to Derek was his daughter. He wasn't sure if the time was wrong...if he was rushing things, but it felt right. And so, as the cameras flashed and the rest of his family beamed happily, Derek pulled his daughter close and whispered, "I love you, Lissa." There was a moment of surprise, then a radiant smile lit up Lissa's face. Derek knew then, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that his daughter was home...for good.
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