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It was a beautiful day on Angel Island and if anyone were in the area they would of enjoyed the moment. The birds sang and the sky was a perfect shade of blue but suddenly a small section of Angel Island changed. The birds were ominously silent as a small section of the meadow began to warp. A light began in the center of the warp and grew outward until it encompassed the whole warp. Then out of the warp stepped two figures, one a boy about eighteen years of age and the other was a girl of sixteen. Just before the warp closed a third figure leaped out, it was a blonde boy of about twelve. The girl placed a steadying hand on his shoulder as the warp closed behind them. The older boy glared at the younger boy but one glance from the girl and he stopped. She glanced at the older boy's left hand, "Chris...." He followed her gaze and noticed the ring, "Father's ring...."
He quickly removed the ring, "Mother's ring." he corrected her and the look on his face told her he'd never accept another answer. Ayla was tall for sixteen and slim with eyes so pale blue they were like ice. Her long almost silver blonde hair was in a braid that ended midway down her back. She could only hope they succeeded in their mission or heaven help Derek Rayne because no one else would. She followed Chris, a sadness seemed a regular staple in Chris eyes since the death of their mother when Chris had been six. Ayla could close her eyes and remember seeing her mother all covered in blood taking the chain that held the ring from around her neck. She had placed it on Chris neck and told him he'd have to keep it for his father now. Their father had been angry when he'd learned something about their grandfather. He'd taken the ring off and flung it across the room. Their mother had told them when their father was ready to stop believing lies she would give it back to him until then she would wear it.
Derek Rayne sat at his desk reading a letter that had come a few days ago from his old friend Melissa Conway. Melissa was the precept of the New York House and her letter requested that Derek allow a Christian and Ayla Reynolds to use the San Francisco House's library for research purposes. The children belonged to a couple recently killed while working with the New York House. They could be trusted to remain quiet about Legacy business and after the research was completed Chris was to begin his training to join the Legacy. Melissa believed his sister would soon follow his footsteps into the Legacy. Until then she could only ask for every courtesy be given the two teenagers. The doorbell rang and Dominic answered to reveal Chris, Ayla and their little brother. Chris explained who they were and Dominic led them into the library, then he left to inform Doctor Rayne of their arrival.
Derek entered the library and came face to face with the saddest pair of hazel eyes he'd ever seen. Before him stood a boy in his late teens with shaggy brown hair and hazel eyes. Next to him stood an ethereal looking blonde with ice blue eyes. They must be Chris and Ayla Reynolds, with them was a boy about twelve with honey blonde hair and baby blue eyes. "Hello I'm Derek Rayne." he offered his hand but Chris Reynolds didn't move. Instead Ayla stepped forward, "I'm Ayla Reynolds. This is my brother Daniel." She motioned towards the younger boy as she shook Derek's hand. "This...." she glanced at Chris like a disapproving mother, tis my brother Christian. If you'll just show us where we can get to work we'll do our best to stay out of your way." Derek smiled warmly at this competent young woman who had the ability to put anybody at ease. Derek glanced at the bags at their feet, "Of course I'll have Dominic bring your bags up to your rooms." he answered.
"If there is an inn nearby that'll be fine. We don't wish to inconvenience you." Ayla replied. "Nonsense there's plenty of room here. It's a big old house and it needs people to fill it up." Derek was about to continue but he saw the look on Chris face and turned to follow his gaze. Karen Roarke who had joined the San Francisco house a year before was entering the library. Derek didn't blame the boy, Karen Roarke had that effect on men. She was five foot four in a half and a hundred and twenty pounds of chestnut hair and hazel eyes. She looked like a small pixie china doll. She had a sensual way that was all her own and it was only enhanced by her denial that she was anything special. "Karen Roarke I'd like you to meet Christian Reynolds, his sister Ayla and brother Daniel." Derek introduced them and Karen as usual put them immediately at ease. She seemed quite happy to meet them, Chris on his part seemed enamored of her.
Derek explained why they were here and Karen offered to help them get started. Derek smiled as he watched Chris try to stay close to Karen and knew the boy was in for a heartache because she just thought of him as a nice young man. Chris Reynolds, however, had completely different ideas about the thirty year old that he followed like a puppy.
The next morning Derek came to breakfast to find his whole team present and actively in a conversation with their guests. Chris was animatedly telling a story until he saw Derek then his face went cold and distant. The others noticed he'd stopped and followed his gaze to Derek. Derek noticed that even though the conversation started again there was a distinct feeling of tension in the air. Derek had learned something since the Reynolds arrival, for some reason Chris Reynolds hated him. He could feel the anger from the young man in waves and one didn't need to be psychic to feel it. He didn't get a chance to ask why though because Chris got up and left minutes after Derek arrived. He saw Ayla cast him an apologetic glance and then fling an angry glare at Chris receding back.
"Nick have you seen Chris Reynolds?" asked Derek, "No but his sister and brother spent the day in the library. Chris left after breakfast and I haven't seen him since." he answered. "I can...." at that moment Chris came in the front door. He stopped briefly to glare at the two men before he started past them. Before he got very far Derek grabbed his arm, "Chris we need to talk." Chris savagely yanked his arm from Derek's grasp. He strode purposely away, Derek couldn't understand what it was that made the boy hate him so much. He had every intention of finding out what it was though.
A knock on his door brought Chris head up, "Come in." The door opened and Ayla entered the room. "Chris your acting like a buttwipe." He grinned crookedly at her, "Okay don't give me that I'm just a growing boy grin. Do I look like a brain donor to you?" she asked. "Ay just get the chewing out over with and take a hike will ya?" he asked. "You've got to stop blaming him, he was just human and he did what he had to...." she began. "He killed her Ay! Her killed our mother and you want me to just forgive and forget?!" he asked angrily. "Mother died because she chose to be in the Legacy! She knew that one day she might die! He didn't know when he brought her that she was going to die! Damn it Chris Derek Rayne is your father! Chris face took on a bitter look, "A biological accident." he answered coldly. "Well he's my dad and Daniel's anyway. Our job here is to save our parent's lives Chris."
He shook his head in denial, "I'll protect mom but I'll have nothing to do with him!" Ayla could tell that she wasn't about to change his mind after twelve years of hating. She stood and ruffled his hair, he pulled away irritated because she had done it since she'd been able to. She left him to his misery knowing that it was all she could do.
Later that day Ayla was helping Alex Moreau catalog some artifacts because she needed a break from the research. "Ayla...." her head came up and she looked into the warmest chocolate eyes she'd ever seen. Alex Moreau was a classical beauty with her curling brown hair and brown eyes. She could have been a model with her looks and Ayla wondered why she chose the career path she did. "I don't know if this is any of my business but your brother Chris seems to have it in for Derek." Ayla put down the artifact she'd been holding, "I don't know Alex. I used to know everything he was thinking but these days something seems to be eating his soul. He won't talk to me about it and it has me worried. After my mother's death Chris had a hard time of it but he's withdrawn into himself even further these last few days and nothing I say seems to work." Alex took the young girl in her arms as she began to cry and held her.
Derek pushed Chris into his office and closed the door behind him. He tried to leave but Derek stepped in front of him. Aside from beating the older man to a pulp there was nothing Chris could do. Not that the idea of beating Derek to death wasn't tempting, "Sit!" Derek ordered and Chris plopped down in the nearest chair. "I want to know what your problem with me is?" Derek asked. "I don't have any problem with you." Chris answered, Derek frowned. "Listen son...." Chris shot up out of his chair. "I'm not your son! I would never be your son!" he yelled at Derek. "Take it easy...." said Derek, "Don't tell me what to do! Don't you ever tell me anything! You murdered my mother and for that I'll never forgive you!" Chris raced from the room leaving behind a stunned Derek. He heard a noise and looked up to see Daniel standing in the doorway. Tears streaked down his face as he stared up at Derek with eyes that begged it not to be true.
"Daniel...." he whispered, Daniel turned and raced up the stairs and moments later Derek heard a door slam. Daniel had looked completely stricken as if someone had stolen his heart and soul from him. Derek strode into the living room intent on interrogating Ayla about her brother"s behavior. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw that the girl was crying in Alex's arms. Alex looked up at him and shrugged. Derek turned and exited the room before Ayla noticed him. Her sobs were heartrending for him but he knew the girl trusted Alex. He strode back into his office feeling a growing sense of frustration and unable to explain why he felt it was important for him to change Chris mind. Suddenly he realized he wasn't alone and spun to face Daniel whose eyes were red from crying. "Sir, I know Chris didn't mean what he said because he was just upset." Derek laid a comforting hand on the boy's shoulder, "Daniel would you explain to me why your brother seems to think I killed your mother?"
"I'm not supposed to say but I guess I better since it'll only help Chris. I was only a baby when mom died but Ayla has told me stories about her." Derek wrapped his arm around the boy's shoulders to support him in his troubled state. Suddenly a question struck him as odd but necessary. "Daniel when were you born?" he asked, "June 4, 1997 in San Francisco, California." he answered. Derek's mind reeled because a child with that birthdate would only be five months old and not the handsome twelve year old sitting next to him. Somehow though he didn't believe the boy was lying. "Daniel what are your parents names?" Derek asked, the boy hesitated. "My father's name is Derek Myles Rayne sir." he answered. Derek gasped at the implications of the boy's answer. "Who is your mother?" he asked, "Danny, Ayla's looking for you!" Christian's voice cut the boy off and without another word the boy left.
"Interrogating my kid brother isn't polite!" Chris rebuked, "I wasn't interrogating him but your earlier behavior hasn't helped his state of mind." Derek retorted. "My brother"s state of mind isn't your concern!" Chris snapped. "My son's is!" Derek shouted angrily and Chris stood in stunned silence at Derek's revelation. "Why bother? You didn't for me." Chris answered bitterly, "Chris." Derek said softly. The boy said something too soft for Derek to hear, "What?" he asked. "You always called me Christ." he answered as his shoulders began to shake and Derek took him into his arms. He held Chris until the boy was cried out, "You weren't like this when I was a child. I remember a cold and distant man who cared for no one but himself." The boy stood by the window like a wolf waiting for his prey. `How did he become at eighteen such a dangerous man?' Derek thought.
He wondered what he'd done to his son to make him like this. "Mother loved you from the moment she met you. She never said anything though because she thought it was for the best. When she came into our lives she loved us, she never doubted once that we were hers. I'd never felt love like that before. Someone who cared that much about me and didn't want anything from me in exchange was a blessing. I grew up with a madman who wanted soldiers to conquer the world. Those who weren't the best were simply never seen again. When I was six my mother entered my life and I loved her the minute I saw her." Derek didn't know what to say to this boy who was older then any child should ever have to be. Chris was lost in a memory that seemed to painful for him to bear. The grief and sorrow in his eyes tore at Derek's heart and soul. As suddenly as the sadness appeared it was gone.
"Christ...." he started, "I've got to go or I'll miss my chance to jog." Derek followed Chris out of the room. Nick was coming down the stairs and sensing the tension between the two he smiled warmly, "Hey Chris I was just going out for a run . Want to join me?" ask Nick. Chris just nodded and headed towards the door. "I'll keep an eye on him Derek." he gave Derek's shoulder a gentle pat before following Chris. Nick and Chris jogged in silence for a while before Nick motioned Chris to stop. "I know it's none of my business...." he started. "Your right it isn't," Chris answered and turned to leave. "Hey! I know what it's like to be kicked when your down. Derek's not just my boss heFs my best friend. I owe him my sanity, body and soul more times then I can count." he replied. "Listen Nick I'm glad your such good friends but let's face it you don't know what I'm going through because your not me." He jogged off before Nick could stop him.
"Ayla." said a softly accented woman's voice, Ayla spun around to face her visitor. "Cassandra!" she ran into the woman's arms with a wide grin on her face. "How's my little sorceress?" asked the woman as a smile lit her face that reached her cat like green eyes. She brushed a strand of reddish brown hair back over her shoulder. "Angel you don't have much time if your going to save your parents. You must save them before it's too late." Ayla pulled away from her, "I'm trying but Chris is so stubborn. The only difference between Chris and a mule is the mule's more agreeable!v she complained angrily. "Don't give up on your mule of a brother yet. He'll find his own way and we can only hope it's in time. Have faith my angel." Cassandra faded from view, "Easy for you to say." Ayla whispered.
Chris tossed in his sleep trying to ran from the dream he was having but it wasn't to be. He hadn't had the dream in years but lately it had come back with a vengeance. He was six years old again and watched as a man was about to shot his father. His mother raced towards the man and he swung towards her. He fired directly at his mother and Chris watched as she slumped to the floor. The man fired a few more shots into her before he turned back to finish Chris father. He had run to his mother's side and held her head in his lap as she coughed up blood. "Mother!" he pleaded, barely able to see from the tears that ran down his face. "Keep this for your father. When he's ready to stop believing lies about your grandfather give it back to him." she whispered as she placed it around his neck. Chris woke with a scream, Derek who'd been passing by, burst into the room.
He took in the boy's sweat soaked and terrified appearance, "Chris!" he called but the boy fought. Nick grabbed his other arm and he slowly became aware of his surroundings, he stopped struggling. "Sorry it was just a bad dream. I didn't mean to wake you." he said apologetically. "It's okay because we're used to it. I've had some pretty good ones." Nick smiled and Chris smiled back. "Get some sleep we'll talk tomorrow." Derek stood and left the room, Nick followed but stopped at the door. "Don't mind him he's always like that but I wouldn't have anyone else backing me up." Nick closed the door after him and Chris settled back in bed hoping he'd get some sleep tonight.
Derek drove as Karen slumped down in the passenger's side trying to hide a yawn. "Tired?" he asked, "No I'm usually up before the sun. Is there any reason we had to do this at the crack of dawn?" she asked. "Yes." he answered but when he didn't continue she slouched back and closed her eyes. "Let me know if I drool or snore, also I talk in my sleep so if you hear anything interesting let me know." As they arrived in Sonoma Derek nudged her awake and she was sitting up as he parked outside the warehouse. Karen noticed police cars parked in front of the warehouse and sat up straighter. When she saw a man exiting the building she jumped from the car and headed towards the man. "I'm sorry miss but this is a crime scene." said the officer who stopped her at the barrier. "I'm Derek Rayne and this is Karen Roarke of the Luna Foundation." The officer looked like he was about to deny them access, "Hey Cade, about time you showed up," called Charlie Mcgee.
"Let them pass," he told the officer, "I'm Special Agent Charles Mcgee Doctor Rayne. We spoke on the phone earlier." He offered his hand to Derek, "Derek Rayne and I take it you know our Miss Roarke?" Charlie laughed, "Since I was two years old." He led them into an empty warehouse. "We got a tip from a local that there was a lab here. Apparently the lab workers heard about the tip because as you can see the place is cleaner then a hospital." Suddenly Karen stumbled and Derek grabbed her arm to hold her upright. "Sit down here." her led her to some steps and she sat quietly. She had never felt so weak before as if something was drawing the strength from her. She looked up into Derek's concerned face but as she started to speak his face faded from her view. Images assaulted her and she felt overwhelmed but as suddenly as they had begun they stopped.
She fell forward and Derek caught her, "Are you all right?" he asked. "Yes I'm fine," she winced at how weak her voice sounded. He tried to talk her into going to the hospital but she refused so vehemently that he refrained from mentioning it. Her stubbornness and phobia about hospitals was going to kill her one day. He watched her for the rest of the day as Charlie informed them about the unusual activities surrounding the lab. They had started back to San Francisco and stopped for a dinner break at a diner. After dinner Derek tried to start the car but the car wasn't cooperating. "What's the matter?" Karen asked, "The car refuses to start. I'll go in and call a garage." He got out and headed into the rest stop. He asked what the nearest garage was and used his cell phone to call it. When the mechanic got a look at the car he told Derek to see about getting a room for the night.
The mechanic dropped them off at the nearest motel and they found there was only one room left. They registered and when they got to the room Karen plopped down on the bed. "I'm exhausted." she said as she kicked off her shoes. "You take the bed and I'll take the floor," said Derek. "Nonsense we'll share," Derek started to object, "Hey, we're both adults and we can share a bed without hanky panky. Besides I know your not used to sleeping alone." She smiled at him mischievously. "All right but only if you promise to be a good girl." She laughed, "I'm always a good girl, scout's honor." She headed for the bathroom while Derek called the others to tell them that they'd be heading back early in the morning. As he hung up he heard a scream from the bathroom that made his blood run cold. He leapt up and ran into the bathroom to find Karen trying to turn the sink off.
He turned it off and looked at her with a grin, "Your supposed to take your clothes off before showering." he said. "Very funny Rayne!" she shook water at him, "What am I supposed to do now?!" Derek took off his shirt and handed it to her before leaving the bathroom. She quickly stripped and dried off before donning Derek's shirt. He looked up as she exited the bathroom, her hair hung in heavy damp strands as it tumbled down her shoulders. His shirt was modestly buttoned but below the hem he got a good look at shapely, firm legs. Derek swallowed hard and found it difficult to form a coherent thought. "Ready for bed?" he asked and cleared his throat as he tried to remain cool. She bounced onto the bed and slid under the covers, he hesitated. She patted the bed next to her. "It's either this or fight the rats for the floor." He laughed and relaxed, "Okay if you promise not to try anything. After all I'm not that kind of fella." She laughed, "Don't worry I think I can restrain myself."
The next morning Derek woke to find Karen snuggled against him in a fetal position. He stroked the hair from her face and smiled. Suddenly Derek jerked back as if scalded, she had murmured the name Eric in her sleep. For some crazy reason Derek felt unreasonably jealous of this Eric. He turned back and saw she had awaken and was smiling innocently up at him. "Was it good for you?" she asked, "Never mind what's for breakfast? I'm starving." He laughed, "I knew it your only with me because I feed you," he answered. "Hey! Feed me and I'll follow you anywhere." She tossed aside the covers and stood, she stretched and Derek became very nervous about how his shirt rode up her legs. There was a knock on the door and Derek found himself grateful for the distraction. He rose and opened the door to find Alex and Nick. As they entered the room Karen could see them taking in the scene before them.
"I'm going to change," she strode to the bathroom and closed the door behind her a little too hard. "It's been a long night," said Derek in response to the look on Nick's face. Nick wiped the smile from his face when he realized Derek wasn't in the mood for joking. "You wouldn't believe it! First a dead end then the car died. We had to share a bed because the rats weren't into sharing the floor," Karen said throwing up her hands in defeat. "You poor thing." Alex said as they headed out the door. "Don't Nick! She mumbled the name Eric at me in her sleep. We had to deal with a surly faucet which soaked her and the only piece of cloth big enough was my shirt." Nick frowned, "Who's Eric?" he asked. "Your guess is as good as mine but from what I gather his name was said with great affectation." They joined Alex and Karen outside and Derek was glad to see his car. Alex tossed him the keys, "We ready if you are?" she asked. They drove back to San Francisco but Derek couldn't help noticing Karen had gone with Alex.
"So tell me about him?" Alex fidgeted barely able to control her curiosity. "Who?" she answered, "Whoever it is that makes you smile like that." Alex answered. "There's no one in particular," Karen said evasively. "It isn't Derek is it?" Alex asked, Alex heard her sharp intake of breath. "No! His name is Eric and he's just an old friend that seems to be more then an old friend lately." She knew Alex wouldn't let her get away with leaving it at that so she readied herself to tell Alex about Eric. Suddenly Alex became alarmed as Karen's eyes widened and she seemed to be gasping for breath. "Rachel!" Alex screamed as she tried to think of what to do to help Karen. As suddenly as it started though it stopped. Rachel checked her out, "She's as healthy as one can expect to be," Rachel said to Derek. Alex still looked worried from where she sat holding Karen's hand for support.
"Karen are you okay?" Derek asked, "I don't know what just happened. Suddenly I panicked and couldn't breath...." she trailed off as she began to calm down. Alex stroked Karen's hand and it seemed to help. "Have you ever had a psychic incident before?" asked Derek. A look of shock mixed with terror crossed Karen's face "No!" she almost yelled. "I'm sorry I mean, nothing like that." she answered, "But you have had them haven't you?" Derek asked. "I've had a dream that has come true on occasion or a feeling that was right but it's more likely that it's just a coincidence." She backed away from the look on Derek's face. "I know you believe in the ability and I also know that you show signs of one or more of the talents. I'd say at least empathic and precognitive," he answered.
"I've never had a vision." Karen answered in a surly and hostile tone. "But you've said yourself that you've had precognitive dreams." he answered. "A regular Cassandra of Troy!" she yanked her hand free from Alex violently and stalked from the room. At Rachel's questioning look Alex said, "Cassandra of Troy was Paris sister and she was given the power to foretell the future. On one condition and that was that no one believed her.
Derek knocked on Karen's door and when he received no answer he entered the room. "Where are you going?" he asked, "Home!" he took her arm and turned her towards him. "I thought it would be at least another week before your apartment was ready?" Derek asked. "Then I'll go to a hotel!" he grabbed her by the shoulders, "Karen what's wrong?" She pulled away from him and turned her back on him, "Karen?" he took her arm. "Leave her alone!" Chris yelled as he raced into the room and punched Derek, knocking him down. "Chris stop it!" Karen tried to pull Chris off of Derek, at the sound of her voice he seemed to have regained his senses. The boy still looked as if he could kill Derek but he was behaving. "Derek please leave. I'll deal with Chris." He knew that neither of them would be willing to listen until they were ready but maybe in the meantime they could help each other.
Karen sipped her juice as she watched the sun rise. She saw Phillip Callahan enter the room out of the corner of her eye. He pulled up short as if he were trying to decide whether or not he should get involved. Obviously he had decided to get involved from the set of his features. "Hello Phillip." she said, cutting off what she was sure was a good intentioned lecture but a lecture nonetheless. "Morning." Phillip answered, "Want to talk about it?" he asked. She shook her head and was glad when he decided not to push it. "You know Philly your a great friend to have when one is in need." She hugged him tightly and kissed him on the cheek before leaving. Phillip blushed a little at her enthusiasm. The phone rang and Phillip answered it, Charlie Mcgee was calling for Derek. He left a time and place for a raid that he thought Derek might be interested in.
At times Phillip believed that Belfast was quieter and safer then this house. Maybe Nick was right and they should asked for combat pay.
Derek headed towards the door as Karen came down the stairs, "Freeze Rayne! Your not leaving without me." He smiled as he turned to face her, "I'll be with Agent Mcgee during the raid and it would be better for you to stay here." he replied. "Knock off the white knight routine!" she answered angrily. "I'm not a poor little thing that has to sit in the library knitting while the knight in shining armor goes off to war! I'm a street rat from way back that can take care of myself! Besides I don't even know how to knit. Besides if I need help Charlie and you will there." Derek started to protest and then decided it wasn't worth the fight. "Stay with me and don't do anything reckless." Derek replied, "Okay daddy, me reckless?" she grabbed her jacket and headed out. Derek followed her as he shook his head.
For an extremely logical woman she got herself into a lot of trouble. If it was someone else's safety she was cautious but when it came to her own safety it was leap before you look. Derek got into the car, "Derek stop worrying I'll be all right and besides I did promise to behave." He looked over at her and saw the silly grin on her face.
When they arrived at the address Phillip had relayed to Derek he parked and started to exit the car. Karen placed a hand on his shoulder, "This doesnFt feel right." she said. "That's Mcgee's car over there. Maybe the raid occurred early but we'll have to speak to Mcgee to find out." Karen slowly exited the car but stopped when she felt something dark and cold slither through her. It was the kind of feeling her grandmother used to say one got when someone tread on your grave. She pushed the feeling down and resolutely followed Derek.
Outside the building Ayla suddenly appeared with her brothers, they released their hold on her. "I'll never get used to that." complained Christian, "Hey I think teleporting is cool." Daniel answered. "It doesn't matter. We go this way." Christian followed Ayla after making sure that Daniel was following. Shortly before they reached the door Christian grabbed Ayla and thrust her behind him. "Ayla do you think you can do something about the guards?" he asked. "I can distract them." A glow began to appear around her hands and then a loud noise off to the side drew their attention. When the guards left to check on the noise they headed for the door. Christian tried the door and found it locked, "Here let me." said Ayla. "I can handle this." replied Chris, he reached for the lock and held it for a moment.
He released the lock and tapped in the center, the lock popped open by itself. He grinned at Ayla, "Show off." she pushed him aside and entered the building.
"Be careful Derek, something is definitely off here." warned Karen as they entered the building through the front door. As they walked down a corridor Karen suddenly came to a stop and grabbed Derek's coat. He stopped and turned towards, she pointed off in another direction then the one he'd been about to take. He followed her as she seemed almost to listening to something. They arrived at a door and she nudged it gently open to find a little six year old boy with a baseball bat. He held it in a threatening manner as he stood in front of a little girl and baby. When he saw who it was he lowered the bat and ran to her. He threw his arms around her legs and Derek could see he was barely holding back tears. She looked at Derek and shrugged before gently disengaging the child from her legs. She headed over and picked the baby up, taking the little girl's hand in hers.
She lowered herself to their level to have eye contact, "Now we're going to play a game. We'll see how quiet we can be as we leave okay?" The children nodded their agreement and she followed Derek as he led her back the way they'd come. "Hold it!" said a man who pointed a gun at Derek's head and suddenly Karen noticed they were trapped between two groups of armed men. "Come this way." the man said, "Derek looked as if he was about to argue but the nudge in his back from a rifle made him follow. They entered a room and the man in charge took Derek over to a table. The other men stopped Karen from following. "Sorry Rayne but your time's up. Your too damn nosy for your own good." He raised his gun, "Don't, it's over." Karen said as her voice trembled. He fired a bullet into Derek's shoulder and he fell to the ground.
He advanced and raised his gun to the level of Derek's head, "I can't tell you how much this pleases me." he gloated. Derek groaned as he tried to rise, "Get away from him you bastard!" The shooter looked up just in time to see Christian white faced with fury covering the distance between in a kind of all or nothing attack that only someone who was desperate would try. A sharp recoil rang out and Karen screamed as Chris slumped to the floor blood pooling on his forehead. Karen whispered to the younger Chris to take care of the children. She advanced on the man who was about to shoot the older Christian again. "Leave my son alone!" her voice was ice cold. He saw her charging him and he flinched back as his finger pulled the trigger. "No!" Derek cried as he watched her slump to the floor.
Seeing her moving as she tried to get back to the children though gave him some relief that she'd be okay. Ayla felt the rage building within her and stepped forward to face the shooter. "You want to die too kid?" she raised her hands and let fly with white-gold fire. The shooter only had enough time to cry out in surprise before he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Chris sat up holding his head, Derek was grateful to see that the bullet had only grazed his head. He turned his gaze back to Ayla and found her staring down at her hands. Each finger was outlined in a gold-white light and she clutched her hands tightly but the glow remained. Her hands felt warm and tingled with forces that she knew were just barely controlled inside her. Before Derek could say a word Ayla came over and hugged him.
A brilliant light blinded him to everything but the feel of her body against his. Once the light faded Derek sat up and realized that his shoulder didn't hurt. He looked at his shoulder and found his shirt held blood and a bullet hole in it but there wasn't any wound. He stared in stunned silence at his daughter as the younger version of Christian came over to them. He panicked when he saw the boy was covered in blood but was relieved when he realized it wasn't the child"s own blood. He spotted his father's ring on a chain around the boy's neck. Derek turned to see Karen was not moving and got to his feet quickly. He ran over to her, falling to his knees as he called her name. Then he carefully lifted her into his arms and pressed a trembling hand against her throat to check for a pulse. Derek pulled his hand away as if he'd been scalded.
"Ayla?" he whispered, "I'm not that skilled father." she answered. The older Christian's eyes met his father's and he flinched at the pain in his father's eyes. "Cassandra!" cried Ayla and Derek looked up to see a woman had appeared. She glided over to Derek and crouched next to him. She placed a hand on Karen's chest, suddenly Karen gasped for air and coughed. Her eyes opened and she looked up at Derek, she raised a hand to wipe his tears away and left a smear of blood on his face. "What's wrong?" she asked puzzled, He laughed and hugged her to him. "Time to go children." Cassandra said in a melodious voice. Ayla helped Christian stand as Daniel came over to where Cassandra stood. "Everything has been corrected now." she waved her hands in the air before her and the air took on a warped quality.
"Goodbye mom and dad." said Ayla with a sad smile before she jumped through the warp. Christian came over to them, "Sir I'm sorry...." he began. "You had every right to be angry." Derek answered as he put a consoling hand on the boys shoulder. Chris smiled, "Be seeing ya later I guess. Goodbye mom....dad." he turned and leaped through the warp. Daniel got ready to jump and then turned and ran over to them. He hugged both of them tightly and Derek was surprised by the twelve year olds strength. Karen kissed his cheek and squeezed his hand before he turned and leaped through the warp. "All will be well now." Cassandra said and then leaped through the warp. Then the warp seemed to close in on itself. "Why don't I get the children out of here." said Karen breaking Derek from his reverie.
"Let me help you up." he answered, he grabbed her arm when she stumbled and steadied her. "I'm all right." she said, "What about the shooter?" Derek settled her into a chair and headed over to check on the shooter. He checked the man for a pulse and then looked up to see the children. He shook his head to let her know that the shooter was dead. Karen took the children out to the car as Derek pulled out his cell phone and called Charlie Mcgee.
Derek walked in to the room that had been made into a nursery for the children. He found Karen leaning over the crib that Dominic had gotten out of the attic. Her hand rested gently on Daniel's back. She looked up to see Derek, "Just checking. I know it's silly but I can't help but feel this urge to make sure they were real." Derek laughed and hugged her, "It's all right. I understand that first time mother's always do just that." She leaned her head onto his shoulder. "Doctor's said I'd never be a mother and now I have three. What do we do now?" she asked panicked. Derek laughed and she swatted him, "This isn't funny Rayne! We have to think about the future of these very important people in at least my life!" she cried out. "Which you'll wake up if your not careful. Let's talk downstairs."
She nodded and exited the room, Derek followed her from the room. He stopped and scanned the room before he closed the door behind him. He drew from his pocket the object that Chris had pressed into his hand before leaping into the warp. He placed his father's ring on his hand and it was as if it had always been there. Destiny was a harsh mistress but now that he knew some of what awaited him he had no problem with the course of his life.