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|FULL CIRCLE by Susan Foley aka "IrishEyes"|
Phillip sat back, looking at the letter but not seeing its words. He didn't need to see it anyway, he knew the wordsand he knew the emotion behind them. He sat up and called his assistant in. He had promised her he would be there for her. He had to make sure everything was covered at the monastery while he was gone. Two hours later he was on the next plane for San Francisco.
Derek Rayne touched one piano cord and then another, distracted. He had woken up that morning knowing that something or someonewas coming. It wasn't a bad feeling, just one that told him that, who and what ever was coming, was going to change his lifeand those of the House. He had even gone to the point of asking Dominic to ready a room.
He touched another key.
"You sit and wonder what the future holds," a familiar, musical voice sounded behind him "One will come, a chosen, into the fold."
Another Legacy member? Derek straightened on the stool and then turned to look at Christine.
" Who? " he asked.
"Family, she is." Christine answered " Family forever she will be. A member -of the Legacy."
And with that, she was gone. Derek blinked.
"Doctor Rayne?" Dominic came in and looked at his employer quizzically.
Derek looked at him, "Yes?"
"The room is ready. Will there be anything else?"
Dominic was to have the weekend off. A weekend he had more than earned.
"No," Derek answered with a slight smile, " that's all. I don't know how we will get along without you."
The butler just smiled, knowing Derek was merely teasing him.
"I don't know how you will either, Doctor Rayne. It's a wonder the cave men made it past the rock ages without their own aid."
Derek laughed. He would miss Dominicespecially his wry humor.
"Take care of yourself," he said, the older man smiling in answer before giving his employer a slight nod and then leaving.
Derek turned back to his thoughts. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen soon.
"Derek?" Doctor Rachel Corrigan came in just then, her daughter following.
Derek frowned "What are you doing here?" He asked, curious.
Rachel looked at her daughter, a little mystified herself. "Kat said she had to come. That she was meeting a friend here."
Derek looked at the little girl and she shrugged. "I saw her," the eight year old explained, "in my dream. She's coming today, isn't she?"
Derek looked at Rachel. So, he wasn't the only one expecting the stranger. Then his cell phone rang. "Hello, Derek Rayne." He answered his phone. "Phillip! Where are you?" (PAUSE) "Really?" (another pause as he listened, then and with comprehension dawning on his face) "I knew someone was coming, but I didn't expect her. Yes, a room has already been prepared for her." (A short pause and quick glance at the two that still stood next to him) "Rachel and Kat are here. Nick and Alex are on their way back from Florida. (Another pause, and then) We'll see you then."
Rachel looked at him, waiting for him to explain the conversation.
Derek looked at her, his thoughts mingling with their conversation as he remembered the young woman.
"Our visitor will be Sara Logan." He said "I've (he paused as he looked at Kat) been expecting her for some time."
Rachel frowned, absently stroking her daughter's hair before asking, "Is she a Legacy member?"
"Not officially, but she has been linked to many Houses as a kind of aide."
Kat looked at them both. She knew the two wanted to talk more, but would not in front of her. Adult stuff, she figured.
"I'll go make myself a sandwich," she said.
Derek just smiled and winked at her. "Smart girl. We'll let you know when she gets here."
Kat smiled at them both and left. She'd know if the one in her dreams came. She wouldn't need them to tell her.
Rachel looked after her and then turned back to Derek. "She's too smart for her own good," she noted only half seriously.
Derek smiled and sat back down at the piano. "She's also growing. Both psychically and physically. Even I didn't know our visitor would be a woman."
Rachel left that comment hang, not really wanting to discuss the subject.
Derek wisely decided to stick with the first subject and turned to their pending guest.
"Dominic has already gotten a room ready for her. I'm sure yours are ready also, if you plan on staying."
"Oh," Rachel grinned wryly "I don't think Kat has any other plans than to meet this mystery woman. I wouldn't mind meeting her myself. I must admit to being curious as to who exactly could, without never having met any of us with maybe the exception of Phillip, have us all anxiously awaiting her arrival."
"Does Nick or Alex know yet?"
Derek shrugged " I haven't told them. Want to play a few tunes?"
Twenty-eight year old Sara Logan looked up at the tall structure that was the San Francisco House the place that, even now, she wasn't really prepared to face, much less enter.
But, she thought to herself without mercy, you have to. You can't avoid this any longer. She didn't know why she couldn't, that part of her that acted like she didn't care whispered, she had done a bang up job of it for the past four years.
She closed her eyes and sighed; weary of the time she had spent hiding. It was time to face the proverbial music it was time to face the past.
She stepped away from the rental car she had used to get there and walked up the stone driveway.
Within moments, she was ringing the doorbell.
The front door opened.
"Sara." Phillip was there and taking her into his arms.
She suppressed the need to shudder as she crossed the threshold of the San Francisco Legacy House.
Phillip slowly took a step back, his gaze filled with concern.
Sara tried to smile and halfway succeeded.
" I'm okay," she said, just loud enough for him to hear as she became aware of the others slowly coming toward them " Thank you, Flip."
Phillip grinned at the use of her pet name- one that used to drive him to distraction but now actually gave him some hope.
Sara turned to the others, her gaze meeting that of the infamous precept Doctor Derek Rayne.
"Long time, Derek." She greeted him solemnly.
Derek smiled softly and came forward with a gentle hug.
"Too long," he whispered into her hair before stepping back to introduce the others.
"Miss Sara Logan," he spoke formally " Doctor Rachel Corrigan and her daughter, Catherine Corrigan."
Sara smiled and nodded to Rachel, her attention caught by the girl's enthusiastic expression and almost anticipation.
" Cat," she murmured, not knowing why.
The girl smiled and nodded.
Sara looked at Cat's mother.
"It's her nickname," Rachel explained, silently wondering how the woman could know such a thing.
Phillip stepped up to them, casually putting his arm about their visitor's waist as she answered.
"Cat's got the Gift." Sara said for lack of anything else and knowing it to be true " It's not uncommon for Sensitives to sense others like them. Can we--?"
"Oh," Rachel came to herself and stepped back to let the woman proceed her into the formal sitting room "please come in."
Sara and Phillip entered first, with the others following behind. The first thing Sara saw was the ornate urn sitting on the fireplace.
Phillip looked back at Derek.
Sara touched his hand and stepped out of his embrace to take a closer look.
She knew whose it was, knew whose ashes had presided there. It was the reason she was there.
She turned to Derek.
"I " she started, only to stop and ask hesitantly "Are her things still here?"
Derek nodded, deciding not to acknowledge Rachel's uneasy expression.
Sara did not. She looked at the other woman and told her point blank who she was.
"I'm Julia Walker's sister, Rachel. She's why I'm here."
Rachel looked at Derek and then at Phillip. It was obvious both men knew the younger woman and that, even with everything the Legacy members had been through together, had kept her and her relationship with a deceased member a secret.
"I made them swear to keep it secret." Sara read her expression correctly, making no other excuses for their secretiveness. No other was needed. "No one within the Legacy, except for one other person, knows. Both Julia and I thought it best that way."
Rachel looked at her. "Why?"
"Because of the line of work we were both in and frankly," Sara answered honestly, "we both needed to prove ourselves by ourselves."
Rachel nodded. She understood at least part of what Sara said. She couldn't say she understood all of it though - - or whether she really had a right to.
Sara looked at Derek, needing to start at least part of what she had come here to do.
"Do you still have her things?"
The precept nodded. He had promised her he would keep Julia's things and he had.
"Phillip can bring them to you if you'd like. How long are you going to be staying?"
Sara found herself looking at Kat, unable to answer. There was something inside of her wanting to delay that answer, therefore, she left the question unanswered. Derek seemed to understand and did not ask it again.
"Do you mind if I start now?" she asked him, still looking at the young girl.
Kat smiled and extended her hand " I can show you where your room is." She offered " Dominic showed me which one he fixed for you. It was Julia's."
The adults each started, each with their own thoughts. Derek wondered if it were some kind of twist of fate. Phillip wondered if it were the right thing to subject Sara to. Rachel wondered about her daughter's ease and knowing with the subject at hand and the woman holding Kat's as she allowed the girl to lead her upstairs.
" I'll be right back, Mom," Kat called back to her " I'm just going to take her there and let her be alone with Phillip."
In other words, Rachel thought with some degree of parental patience, stay there and her daughter would return to her.
Sara leafed through the first box, noticing Phillip's equally, hesitant expression.
"Will it ever get easier?" she asked him with a sigh, only to frown and stare at a particular stack of letters wrapped in a pink satin bow.
They were unopened, five of them, and addressed to her in her sister's handwriting.
Phillip shook his head, his tone quiet and sad
She gripped the bundled envelopes to her suddenly pounding heart.
"But," he added gently, " I am here for you."
Sara met his gaze and even reached over to touch his cheek.
" You lost her too, Padre." She reminded him just as softly and with a tremulous smile " And I know this isn't easy "
"What the hell?"
Both of them jerked, startled by Nick's angry voice.
"Nick " Phillip started to stand and explain.
Nick ignored him, his glare for the woman on the floor rifling through Julia's things.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" he demanded " and what are you doing with Julia's stuff?"
His friend started to advance on him in warning but, with a handful of papers in one hand clutched to her chest the woman caught the priest's pant leg and stopped him.
" Don't." She urged him, seeing the pain the other man was obviously if not unwillingly in.
Then, as calmly as she could, she answered the man's question.
" My name is Sara." She said " Julia's sister."
Nick Boyle took a shocked step back, his expression hard.
And as quickly as the look of pain on his face was there, it was gone, replaced by a cold mask of indifference and sarcasm.
" I've never heard of you." He accused her, sparing Phillip a quick glare " Where have you been?"
"Nick " Phillip started again.
"And by the way," Nick added sarcastically before either of them could interrupt him " You're about four years too late!"
He took quiet pleasure as the accusation hit home and she flinched. He kept it with him as, without another word, he whirled around and left.
He didn't even bother to acknowledge Phillip's equally shocked and even angry expression.
He just didn't care.
"You can't blame him for his anger."
Phillip looked at her " Ye think not?"
"He doesn't know, Phillip. How can he?"
He sat down, facing her with the quiet truth.
"You can tell him."
Sara shook her head, almost vehemently "No."
Phillip caught her head between his hands, touch and tone gentle as he tried to comfort her.
"Ssshhh," he murmured " It's all right. It was a thought is all."
She sniffled but refused to do anything else that betrayed the very raw fear she felt at having to relive it.
" I'll talk to him." She said instead, only to look at Phillip knowingly and repeat her plan of action in a way that told him he was not to interfere or go talk to Nick on his own.
Phillip raised his hands as if in surrender and let the matter drop. He'd let her talk to Nick first.
Nick saw her stop in front of the holographic but realistic wall that housed the Legacy's secret Computer Room and, unsurprised, pass right through it.
So much for privacy, he thought angrily.
He turned back toward his computer terminal and the lack of information on the main screen on the wall before them.
So, Sara looked at the screen, he had been trying to check up on her. But, she noticed he had typed in 'Sara Walker' as the name.
" It's Logan." She offered him " Sara Michalla Logan."
He typed it in and then gave her an accusing glare as the system blinked ' secure files/data, encryption security code required'.
Sara looked at the words with a curious lift of her eyebrow.
" Computer," she spoke out loud " voice mode, scan and confirm."
" Confirmed." The Legacy's computer spoke back scant seconds later "Independent agent Sara Michalla Logan. Associated House, Cairo."
Independent? Nick thought, even more determined to find out about her than ever. And able to use Derek's house and Legacy equipment as if it were her own?
"Authorization to release personnel file requested." Sara went on tonelessly.
"Confirmation authorization required."
Sara went to the small panel against the wall and waited while the computer completed another retinal scan.
"Confirmed." The computer intoned.
"Derek gave me a tour." She explained her easy access just in case Nick thought she might have had access to every Legacy House " While I'm here Derek's allowed me some access. Tell me if you find anything interesting."
Nick turned to her, taunting "What, you're not going to stay?"
She shook her head, refusing to be baited.
"Why?" She asked with a sense of sadness "I'm not the one with something to prove. You're on the witch hunt, not me."
Nick silently watched her leave, unable nor willing to put fact her thoughts and his own thoughts in turmoil.
So, by habit, he turned back to the computer, only to stare up at the picture her file gave of her.
The others were in the living room and Sara watched as Rachel Corrigan played with her daughter on the carpet floor.
" Hey," Phillip murmured as he came up and wrapped his arms about her shoulders and arms " What are you up to?"
"About five seven." She gave him the usual reply, still looking at mother and daughter "She knew I was coming."
Phillip looked at Kat, knowing that that was who Sara was referring to "Aye, she did. She's a very special girl."
Sara smiled softly and agreed.
"That's how I started." She reflected thoughtfully "Recognizing others with the same Gift."
Phillip gently hugged her, knowing the subject touched on painful memories.
She reached up and put her hands about his, leaning her chin down on top of them.
"She looks so happy." She mused with a half smile.
Her thoughts immediately turned to Julia and the different childhood they had both led her with their mother, and Julia with just about nobody.
"Want to join them?"
She was about to shake her head but then, as if hearing Phillip's soft question Kat stopped in mid-motion and looked in their direction.
"Sara!" The girl's grin turned to include them.
Kat hopped up off of her mother's lap and trotted over to them, her hand extended for Sara to take.
"Come on Sara. Let's play."
No one saw the fierce frown Nick had minutes later as he quietly slipped out, the picture of Sara and Kat wrestling on the floor hot on his heels .
.And no one saw the dark mist grow and pulsed with evil light, just outside the Legacy walls. The demon, at the moment in a form of a cat, licked its jowls in anticipation. It had waited since the first defeat to strike again and it had to do it before the other one could strike.
Sara raised her face to the cool night air and enjoyed the light breeze that blew in from the bay.
She was waiting for Nick to come in and, somehow she couldn't reason, knew that he would be tracking her down when he did. Julia had always told her that Nick Boyle had had a temper but that he was fair.
She would soon find out.
It was already 2:30 am.
The branches rustled behind her.
"Waiting for me?" Nick asked her as he cleared the small trees that trailed the walk and entered the gazebo. He didn't bother to come near her, instead, leaned against the railing nearest the entryway he had used.
She sighed and shrugged.
A heavy pause fell between them, each wondering what and how things were supposed to be said between them.
Sara was the first to speak, thoughtful, and turned her head toward him to do so.
"You didn't read my file, did you?" She asked, already knowing the answer.
He mirrored her sigh and shrug and looked out into the night.
Something in his profile told her he had wanted to, really wanted to.
So, why hadn't he?
He looked at her just then.
"Because," he answered her unspoken question "I wanted to hear it from you. A file only tells me words."
She turned back around. There was no way she could let him see how much that one statement shook her up.
He was asking her to remember--to feel all it again.
She closed her eyes and breathed a silent prayer.
And then her shoulders slumped.
"All right," she murmured, so soft Nick almost didn't hear her and had to move closer to her the rest "Ask your questions and I'll answer them."
Nick sat on the bench across from her, needing to see her face.
Sara met and kept his gaze. Nick was actually the first one to look away, but only for a moment before he made himself look into her eyes.
"Why haven't I ever heard of you?"
"Julia never mentioned a friend in Egypt? One she wrote to twice a week and even went on vacation with in '92?"
Yes, Nick thought, remembering, she had. But not that she was doing any of it with a sister.
Sara saw his expression, the doubt.
"No one I work with knows I have a sister either." She said "Except Derek, Phillip and Sloan. And now the others in this House. No sister, no weakness."
It sounded cold, or more to the point, but Nick knew it was the truth. Working for the Legacy did leave your loved ones open for any crazy-enough psychopaths.
But, Nick had been Julia's friend.
"I can't tell you the reason for Julia not telling you." She told him sympathetically "But I can tell you I made Derek and Phillip swear the highest of oaths to keep my secrets, on of which included Julia."
Nick smirked at that, not because of Phillip's having kept the secret his friend was a priest and he more than suspected the confessional seal had something with it it was that Derek had kept the secret.
"What?" she asked, curious about his expression.
"Did Derek contact you?" Nick asked instead, leading to his point "About Julia's memorial?"
Sara nodded in fond yet sad memory "Yes. I was in Los Angeles at the time."
Nick made a mental note to ask her about the Los Angeles bit and then went back to his questions.
"Then, why did it take so long for you to finally come here? Why now?"
Sara wasn't sure she could put it all in words and chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully before answering.
"I- I just had to. The nightmares"
Nick's gaze narrowed on her, noticing a flash of emotion cross her eyes so quickly that he wasn't sure if he had imagined it or not, and he asked, "What nightmares?"
She lowered her lashes, unsure as to how much she had revealed, and she shivered.
"The ones about her death." She whispered almost to herself, the truth coming out despite her fear "When she called to me."
Nick frowned, repeating the word that struck a cord within him "'Called'?"
He saw her shoulders shake as she took an unsteady breath of night air.
"The night she died, Nick." She finally answered him, after a long, struggling silence "She called out to me. To try and help her."
It was all coming back to her as if it had ever gone awayand she found herself telling him everything that happened that fateful night four years ago.
"I was in New York," she started slowly, hesitantly "Meeting a couple of friends and celebrating over our latest find. I was on my second glass of Dom. Perignon."
She paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts as the memories assailed her senses, and then she went on.
"I remember the chandelier lights and Sam asking me if I was okayand then I heard her."
She opened her hands and stared at the feint scars still left from that night.
"She was crying and crying out my name. I couldn't hear her clearly and used the broken wineglass to focus on her.
"And then" her voice became a whisper "I was there; in her mind. I saw the rain, the lightning, the broken fence - - and that thing."
Nick shivered despite the leather jacket he wore. He heard that truth of what she was saying- what she was now reliving- and knew that he had hurt her more than he could ever have imagined.
He opened his mouth to tell her to stop.
But she went on, more to herself than anything else and finding that she needed to say it. The emotional dam she had built around her sister's death was beginning to crack.
"I figured that if I could distract it I could buy Julia some time, to let her escape. I even started to but she felt it and wouldn't let me carry it out. She- she gave up.
"The beast was following me back to my body and she let herself die to make sure it wouldn't get me. I lost her."
She blinked back the unshed tears and stood, her bleak expression stopping him cold.
"I've never told anyone that." She admitted dully, emotionally drained, "not even Phillip."
Nick stood, unsure of what to do or even if he had the right to.
Sara turned her gaze back to the pond and answered it for him.
"Just just leave." She told him after another long silence.
He stood there for a moment longer, not wanting to put a name to the emotions that were now churning within him. He definitely felt like a world class ass for putting her through it all again.
Sara turned as he was leaving, silently watching him walk away.
"Don't say it." Nick warned both men as soon as he cleared the front door. He had half suspected, and was proven right, that they would be waiting for him to show.
Derek looked at Phillip, saw the priest's determined expression, and left. His actions spoke louder than words and he knew that the younger man wasn't going to go as quietly or easily. Nick would get more than an ear-full.
"You hurt her, Nick." Phillip accused him as soon as the precept was out of ear shot, "you have no idea what she's been through-"
Nick's gaze and temper snapped as he met the priest's angry gaze.
"Yes, I do." He stated "And I know I hurt her, damn it! I didn't know!"
The priest's gaze narrowed on him.
"She told me." The ex-Seal admitted grudgingly "Everything."
Phillip stopped, emotional tirade and all, and looked at him thoughtfully.
The front door opened.
"Go to bed." Sara told them before she climbed the stairs to do the same. She wasn't up to refereeing the two if they decided to have it out and sure wasn't going to stay to see if they did.
She was tired.
The two men watched her go.
The lights overhead were bright, but they didn't burn.
Sara looked down at her hands.
"Sara!" Sam Wilson called out to her from across the room, in high spirits.
Her vision began to blur.
Her head exploded as the unforgotten Call sent her tumbling forward and her vision tunneled ahead.
"Julia." She heard herself murmur before the hotel's ballroom dimmed to be replaced by another scene.
Her sister jerked as she felt Sara's presence, weak but growing stronger as her sister focused.
The beast felt it too.
"No." She managed to whisper as, intrigued with a being that could possibly wield such power, its thoughts turned to capturing its intended prey.
Julia saw what her sister intended.
Sara focused on leading the beast toward herself and away from Julia. If she could only distract it long enough for the others to find and hopefully save Julia
"N-no!" Julia started to struggle once again, feeling her life force leaving her even as she fought to keep her sister safe.
She bucked against the crudely made crucifix and met the beast's red, burning gaze.
"Go to hell!" She moaned just as she surrendered her soul to God's keeping.
Sara cried out as, ignoring the glass deeply imbedded in her hands, she felt her sister's passing and the beast's reacting anger at it tore into the physical body that had once been Julia's. It did not like losing the one with the power-- and it sure didn't like the fact it was because of a mere mortal.
Sara heard her mental cry and jerked out of sleep.
She wasn't surprised that she was covered in sweat or that her heart felt as if it would pound right through her chest. She was surprised that the whole house wasn't ringing with the sound of her horrified screams or that the others weren't trying to pound down her door to see what was wrong.
She realized she hadn't made a sound.
She looked at the window and saw that it was morning.
She had two choices; she could stay in bed and spend the day feeling sorry for herself, or she could get out of bed and face the day.
She threw back the covers and got up.
"Ah," Derek met her at the base of the stairs an hour later "I see that you're up. Why don't you grab something for breakfast and join us in the Computer Room."
She shrugged. Why not?
Derek smiled and pointed to the sliding doors that led into the informal dining room "Breakfast in there. See you then."
They both went in their separate directions.
It took all of three seconds after Sara opened the doors to fully realize the precept's not-so-subtle planand that he was a willing accomplice.
She stood there, uncertain.
She wasn't the only one.
"Look," Nick finally said, hoping she would give him time to do what he had to do "I just need a minute."
She shook her head, heading toward the coffeepot.
"No, you don't," she told him without heat "You don't need to apologize or try and be my friend or even be civil"
" Yes, I do. I was wrong."
Well, that stopped her. Not his apology or that he was admitting to being wrong.
It was the sadness she heard in his tone and, when she turned to him, in his eyes.
"I had no right to come off so judgmental," he said "And I went to a lot of trouble of bribing Phillip into telling me what your favorite food was-"
Sara grinned, forgetting about the coffee for the moment. Phillip would have done a double take at that one. Sara never forgot about herwas one of those persons that couldn't function without it.
Nick mirrored the expression as, again, he wiped his palms on his jean pants leg and looked at the chairs placed around the table.
"Bad habit of mine." He admitted, about his sitting on the table "But I feel more comfortable up here when I'm about to tackle a big project."
Sara raised a brow. She was obviously his project and couldn't wait to see what it involved.
"And this would entail?"
Nick lowered his gaze, unsure, and then back up at her. No guts, no glory.
"Youand breakfast. And hopefully my not botching an apology that needs to be said."
Sara folded her arms and waited.
He cleared his throat and started haltingly "I'm sorry. For everything. I know I was wrong, and an ass for how I treated you-"
Her expression stopped him in mid-sentence.
She was going to except his apology.
But, she wasn't going to make it easy for him and regarded him quietly.
"If that's a cappuccino you have there," she smiled softly after a long pause in which she kept him waiting on the proverbial hot seat "All will be forgiven for sure."
Nick grinned and took the lip off of the Styrofoam cup.
"Phillip told me you would say that."
She climbed up onto the table and sat across from him as she accepted it.
"What else did he tell you?" She asked him half jokingly
He uncovered the plate he had had sitting next to him and offered it to her.
Chocolate chip muffins.
She smiled and accepted one, touched by his gesture and the fact he had been as unsure as she had been. Her smile turned into a full-fledged grin as she bit into the muffin and watched him do the same.
Maybe coming here hadn't been such a bad idea after all.
"Do you think they're waiting to see if we're speaking to each other?" Sara wondered as they approached the holographic wall that led to the Computer Room.
Nick chuckled and waited for her to proceed him.
"Are you kidding?" He said " I guarantee either Alex or Rachel will come right out and ask you if I did enough groveling.
" I did do enough," he asked her in an aside, just as the hologram allowed them to pass "didn't I?"
She smiled softly, letting that be his answer. She then turned to the others and ignored their curious gazes as she took the stool next to Phillip and continued to drink her cappuccino.
Nick followed suit and sat at his computer terminal to finish the morning FYI report.
"Fine," Rachel was the first to speak "We'll just assume all went well. After all, Nick doesn't look like a bear anymore."
Nick ducked his head as the others chuckled and wondered how much of their teasing he'd have to take.
"All right, children," Derek settled them down as he turned their attention to the information on the main screen "Let's get to work. We have a haunting to prove or disprove."
All in all, after that, it was a typical, routine day.
"Well, that was fruitful." Nick rolled his eyes as he fell back on the couch several hours later.
Sara and Phillip agreed, equally as tired from having come against so many dead ends as he.
Nick watched their easy camaraderie, wondering if it was envy he was feeling, then turned his gaze away.
The other Legacy members were coming in and he didn't want them to catch him staringwas lucky Sara or Phillip hadn't done so yet.
He felt bad about feeling the way he did about their relationship but he couldn't ignore the pang of loss. He had had a similar understanding with Julia.
"Any luck?" He asked Rachel and Alex as they sat in their own chairs.
Both shook their heads.
"So you think this latest haunting's a joke?"
Alex shrugged "Probably. So far, it points in that direction."
Everyone else agreed.
"Do me a favor?" Sara got up and excused herself "Let me know what Derek decides with this case. I'm going to turn in early."
Nick sat up and stood "Mind if I walk you up?"
"Not at all." She told him "Good night, everyone."
"So," Alex turned to Phillip as soon as the two left "tell us."
"About what?" the priest asked, all innocence.
Both Alex and Rachel gave him a mock-frown, making him laugh.
He knew exactly what they were referring to.
Nick shook his head and looked at Sara. They had stopped to listen to the others on the other side of the door.
"I've never know them to be so nosy." He said with a measure of amazement.
Sara gave him a sympathetic smile and the reason for his friends' 'nosiness'.
"I think it's because Derek's asked me to join this House."
"Are you?" he asked her.
They turned to the staircase and started up.
"I don't know. I told him I'd think about it and not to mention it to you."
They made it to their floor and started down the corridor.
"Why?" he asked.
She regarded him frankly.
"Because," she answered "I wanted to discuss it with you first."
They stopped in front of her/Julia's bedroom door.
"We've been able to make such headway with each other" she went on to explain "And I wasn't sure well of how you would react to the news."
Nick licked his lips nervously, taking in what she said and what it could mean to him.
Sara looked down at her toes and admitted even more.
"I was turning in early so I could catch you on your nightly run; so I could talk to you about the offer then."
"Do you run?" he asked her.
She shrugged "Some."
"Still wanna catch me?"
She looked up at him and nodded with a slight smile.
He tapped her door and returned the grin "Meet you here then. Ten o'clock."
She nodded again and opened the door.
He waited until the door closed behind her and then headed toward his own room. He had a lot to think about.
Sara heard her cry and could have sworn she heard both the demon's and Julia's cries echoing with her own as she slowly became aware of her surroundings.
Her bedroom door slammed open, making her jump.
Nick's gaze swept the room, tense and ready.
Sara ran her palm along her damp forehead and neck.
"Sorry," She stuttered nervously "I I had a nightmare."
Nick relaxed and turned to look out into the hallway. Thankfully, no one else had heard the noise. The only reason he had was because it was 10 o'clock and he was right outside her door. He wondered if she had had any other nightmares since she had arrived here.
He turned back to her, watching her as she jerked back the covers and got up.
"Have a seat," she told him as she went to the closet and got what she needed to change into for the run " I'll be ready in five seconds."
She went into the bathroom and closed the door, not pausing as she practically tore off her pjs and changed into her gray sweats and running shoes. She quickly stuck her shoulder length hair into a rubber band and was back out the door. She had to get out of the house she felt as if something were chasing her.
Nick got up as soon as she entered, having straightened up her bed, and looked her over.
She was nervous. So much so, that he would even call the emotion in her eyes fear.
"Ready?" He asked her. He thought it better to let her broach the subject of what just happened and guessed she would probably do so once they got outside or hoped she would.
She nodded and looked at the bed.
"You didn't have to do that." She said by way of thanking him "Thanks."
"I know. Let's go."
The left the room and the house, going out the back way so they wouldn't disturb anyone.
Neither of them heard the low growl that sounded behind them, or saw the glowing red eyes that flashed at them from the darkness.
"Do you think I let Julia die?"
They had finished warming up and had just started their jog when she had asked the question and Nick missed a step before catching up to her.
"Why would you think that?" He asked incredulously.
About four running steps, a pause as she thought, and then she answered, her tone reluctant to give voice to her inner most fear.
"Because," she finally said, "I do."
Nick stopped this time and she stopped with him, unable to meet his gaze as she went on.
"I was there Nick," she tried to explain her reasoning, "I was there."
"So was I."
She shook her head, still unable to look him in the eye.
"No, Nick. I was in her head. I saw what she saw, felt what she felt I even started to lead that thing away from her!"
Oh, lord, she thought, she was getting hysterical.
Nick grasped her arms and made her face him, needing her to believe what he was saying.
That's when the still night erupted and winds blew at them from all directions, suddenly and violently. The both looked all around to see what could have caused it.
Sara started to lose her balance and would have fallen had Nick not pulled her to him.
"We better get back to the house." Nick yelled to be heard over the gusting winds.
Sara pulled away and shook her head vehemently. She knew that the storm surrounding them wasn't natural and wasn't about to put anyone else in danger by going into the house where the others were.
"We can't!" She yelled back at him, just before another gust of wind hit her full force and sent her reeling back.
"Sara!" She heard Nick's scream as she landed hard on the ground a few feet away and lost her breath.
Oh, God, she moaned, it was coming back!
"Sara!" Another voice cried out in the house, waking the others.
Rachel was there at her daughter's side, trying to calm her as best she could before the others scrambled through the doorway.
"Sara's in trouble!" Kat cried to them in desperation "She's with Nick!"
"Where?" Derek stepped forward with his usual calm demeanor.
The girl's head whipped toward the window, just as a few tree branches hit against its side "Out there. It wants her now!"
Rachel looked at Derek, fear evident in her eyes "What is 'it'?"
Derek's jaw tightened as he growled out the answer.
"The demon that killed Julia."
Phillip turned and ran. He wasn't going to lose her too!
So intent on getting to her, he didn't even hear the others' yells nor acknowledged the fact they were hot on his heels. He just knew he had to get to Sara!
The rain pounded down on them, making it hard to see and they knew fear.
"Sara!" Nick wiped at his eyes as he tried desperately to get to her. The rain was coming down so hard, it was stinging his skinand he couldn't see worth a damn.
Cold fear gripped his gut when, instead of her voice, he heard an ominous, low growl.
Sara was in trouble.
"Get up, Sara." Something hissed in her ear, making her stir and finally awaken.
She slowly sat up and groaned. There wasn't a part of her body that didn't hurt and she knew she was going to be sporting some heavy-duty bruises come morning.
"Wha--? Nick?" She tried to make out the shapes surrounding her as it continued to storm. She shivered as both the rain and wind whipped all about her, cooling her skin.
She couldn't see Nick and started to get up
And then remembered the voice.
The voice chuckled in response.
"No." She moaned as it started to move all about her, chilling her more than the wind and rain ever could.
"Yessss!" it hissed back, echoing all around her.
"Sara?" Nick yelled out to her, just off to the right.
"Sara?" the voice yelled back in perfect imitation before it laughed at both of them.
Nick ignored the fact that the voice he heard was his own as he continued to try and make it to Sara's side.
"Let him come." The voice the demon whispered to its intended victim "I can have his soul too."
Sara choked back a cry and whirled around, running for what she thought was toward the lake.
The demon laughed again and went after her. It didn't really care about the man or the others quickly joining him.
It just wanted her.
"Where is she?" Phillip was the first to reach Nick's side, eyes almost wild as he tried, without success, to see through the storm.
Nick's own gaze was sweeping the area, cold and calculating. Then, he closed his eyes and concentrated.
"That way," he finally pointed to where the lake would be, instinctually knowing that that would be where Sara would go.
They started in that direction.
Sara half slid to a stop, lost, and gasped for breath.
Where was she? She wondered frantically, feeling a sense of de-ja-vu.
That was the first thought she had had when
--She froze and then dropped to her knees, the rain and wind forgotten.
There, with her hair tangled all about her face and in the same crucified position she had been in four years ago, was Julia and she was looking right at Sara.
"Sara-" she whispered again, her dead blue eyes pleading with her sister "-help me!"
Sara started to shake all over, down to the very recesses of her soul.
"Julia." Was the only thing she was able to whisper before, playing it out as it did four years ago but after Julia and severed the link with her sister and died Nick suddenly appeared and dropped to his knees and stared up at his friend, only to let out a painful yell that echoed throughout the field. Tears fell from Sara's eyes at the pain he was in.
Nick and the others came to a stop, with Nick looking at the others in confusion and worry.
"That's me." He said, remembering.
"I' the demon!" Phillip corrected him with a hard glint in his eyes "It's tryin' tea take Sara!"
"I'm so sorry, Nick." Sara tried to reach out to him, only to have him jerk away from her and glare at her accusingly.
Lightning streaked in the sky, showing the look of pure hatred etched in Nick's face for the one he considered having let Julia down.
The question she had asked him just moments ago whispered in her thoughts. Did he really blame her?
She shook her head, starting to stand.
"I tried to help her. You know I tried." She told him with a quivering voice.
The wind and rain pounded down on her, trying to knock her down again.
"Do I?" he asked her, still on his knees and as wet as she "You asked me if I thought you had let her die. Do you want to hear my answer?"
"My answer's no." the real Nick suddenly appeared, glaring angrily at the fake "I never blamed her for Julia's death!"
The fake Nick grinned slowly, pointing at the cross and the body that hung from it with his thumb.
"Aren't you going to say 'hi'?" it/the fake Nick asked him.
Pain flashed across Nick's face as he looked at Julia's image. He was rooted to the spot.
The fake Nick turned back to Sara.
"But, he did blame you for abandoning her." It was quick to point out in a pleased whisper "Said it took you four years to finally come around!"
Sara paled and took a step back. What it said was true.
Nick's gaze jerked toward them, his expression guilty.
"Do nae listen, Sara!" Phillip urged her, suddenly there with Nick. Both he and Nick started toward her, with Phillip in the lead. The wind picked up, obviously trying to stop them. But they wouldn't be swayed.
The fake Nick roared and threw out his hand, a red bolt of lightening exploding out of it and slamming into the priest's chest.
"Back off, Priest!" it warned him as, having taken the brunt of the attack, Phillip was thrown several feet back. Nick landed with a dull thud at the foot of Julia's cross.
"Phillip! Nick!" Sara cried out before she turned back to the demon, "Leave them alone!"
A white burst of light exploded from her own hand and engulfed the fake Nick in a sudden and unmerciful fire. It burst before her in flames, the only sound it could make being a pitiful wail as it died. Sara gasped and looked at the real Nick that was barely starting to rouse.
But it was Julia that spoke, her tone ragged and weak.
"You could have done that for me." She said "Why didn't you do that for me?"
Sara ignored the rain still pouring and even the two that finally made it to Phillips's side so far away.
She met her sister's gaze and began to tremble again.
"I tried to help you, Julia." She said yet again "But I couldn't. I couldn't stop it."
Julia looked to where the fake Nick had stood, gaze sad. She didn't have to say anything her look said it all. Sara had been able to destroy that one.
Nick was sitting up and glared at Julia "Leave her alone!"
Julia looked down at him. Then, as casually as someone just waking up from a restful nap, she stepped off of the crucifix and hopped gently down to the ground between them.
"I thought you had realized this great love you had for me, Nick." She looked at him with a raised brow "What happened, changed your mind?"
Nick averted his gaze, unable to answer her.
Julia then turned toward her sister "And didn't you say you would have gladly traded places with me? Didn't you in fact try to trade places with me that night?"
Some of the rain let up and, seeing what was happening, Derek left Phillip with Alex and stood.
"Don't let her touch you, Sara!" he yelled in warning.
Julia turned her head to look at him, her blue eyes glowing an even brighter blue.
"Come any closer, Precept," her thoughts reverberated through his mind louder than her voice could " and I'll kill you."
Alex pulled him back, at the same time urging Phillip to awaken.
"Come on, Phillip," she tried slapping his cheeks to get a reaction "Sara needs you right now!"
The priest groaned but finally stirred, pulling himself out of the darkness of unconsciousness "S-ara?"
"Yes!" Alex helped him to sit up "She's in trouble!"
Phillip started to stand, just as Nick did the same.
Julia turned back to her sister.
"Do you remember all of those nights, Sara?" she asked "You would curl up in a ball and even asked God why it wasn't you that was killed? How you would blame yourself for my death and how much pain you caused Phillip because you weren't able to help me?"
"Why didn't you cry for me, Sara?" she asked her after only a slight pause "You cried just now for the pain my death caused Nick when he first found me. Why haven't you cried?"
"Because," Sara admitted hoarsely "I don't deserve to. I let you down."
Julia started to hold out her hand toward her, her expression calm but sad.
"You can fix that, Sara." Julia murmured almost comfortingly, taking another step toward her sister "We can still trade places."
Nick roared and tried to charge them, only to be held back by an invisible force and unable to reach them.
"Don't do it, Sara!" He yelled as loud as he could to be heard over the wind and thunder. He extended his own are toward them and desperately tried to reach her "Don't let her touch you!"
But Sara couldn't hear him. She started to lift her own hand. The same one she had used to destroy the fake Nick.
"Sara Michelle Logan!" Phillip managed to make it to Nick's side before the same force stopped him "Do nae touch her, do ye hear me?"
Sara hesitated and started to look toward him.
"They don't know what they're saying." Julia's voice drew her back, urging her to listen "They don't know what's happening."
Sara looked at her "What is happening, Jewels?"
Julia smiled, happy.
"We're trading places. I can come back if you take my place."
The rain stopped, but the wind continued, moving away from but surrounding the two women.
"All you need to do is take my hand."
Take her hand. Sara closed her eyes and remembered all of those times she had seen or been the one in pain because of Julia's death. She raised her hand and started to open her eyes.
Gently, and to their right, a form began to appear. Julia's gaze shifted between it and Sara.
"Come on, Sara." She urged her "We can do this."
Sara took a deep, centering breath and sighed with release.
She touched Julia's hand and released the power within her.
"You can't have my soul." She told the demon she now faced, seeing through it's facade "And you're not my sister."
The thing that held her hand tried to pull away, only to realize the futility of trying to do so and releasing its own dark power to try and break it.
Sara gasped as it tried to overtake the light now radiated from her. She could feel a fine sheen of sweat form on her forehead. She looked toward the figure that now was visible and standing almost within touching reach.
Her sister smiled at her, peace radiating throughout her spiritual being, and then her hand touched theirs.
"Bye the Lord's Hand I cast thee out," Julia's soft voice stilled even the racing winds as she spoke "to never return nor do harm."
"NO!!" the demon began to screech and turn into its natural form "Saaraa's miiiiinnneeee ---!!"
A new light burst from their joined hands and exploded out into the night, so bright the other Legacy members had to cover their eyes and turn away so as not to be blinded.
When they turned back around, the demon was gone, the real Julia standing over her fallen sister.
Phillip was the first at Sara's side, barely sparing Julia a glance as he checked Sara out. Then he looked up at her, eyes filling with tears.
"I cannae feel a pulse." He whispered brokenly.
Julia knelt on the other side of her sister, facing him.
"Place your hand over her heart." She instructed him, placing her own gently on his cheek.
He did so, unable to look away from either women as he was filled with warmth. A tear fell as he immediately felt Sara's heart move beneath his hand.
"She's going to need you now, Phillip," Julia told him "more than ever. She still blames herself for what happened. She'll probably blame herself for this as well."
Phillip looked down at a still unconscious Sara, using the hand he had covered her heart with to gently brush the hair back from her forehead.
"I'll help her." He promised them both, Sara and Julia.
Julia smiled and nodded once.
"I know." She said before she looked at the others that stood behind him "And so will Nick and the others."
She met Nick's gaze, seeing everything he wanted to say in his eyes.
"It's okay," she told him before she stood up and seemed to float backward "I know. Make sure she mourns. Will you do that for me?"
Nick nodded mutely, watching her go. The others remained silent behind him.
Sara sat inside the small pavilion, the slight breeze ruffling her hair.
The nightmares had not been back.
The leaves rustled behind her and then Nick entered.
"Mind if I join you?"
She turned her head to look at him and shrugged "It's a free country."
They had met each other like this for the past three days, right before their morning run and now he sat, looking at the skyline that revealed the coming dawn.
He had kept his end of the deal, the promise he had made to Julia about helping Sara mourn he had even let himself mourn with her. Now he just enjoyed the times they were able to be together. Surprisingly, he found peace and even a calming satisfaction in them; one he thought he had lost with Julia.
He found himself remembering those times, those times with Julia, with less pain.
"Derek asked me to join the House again."
Nick grinned and settled into his usual seat.
"We never did have that talk, did we?" he asked.
The edge of her mouth lifted in a smile "Nope, we didn't"
Nick propped one foot on the bench he was sitting on and draped his arm over it.
"Well, we're here now." He shrugged before admitting his feelings on the subject "And I want you to stay. We'd be crazy to let you go."
Sara chuckled and turned back to look over at the water. She remembered when Julia had first asked her to do the same to join the Legacy -- and how she had practically thumbed her nose at the prospect and Julia's prophesy that she, Sara, would some day be back.
"I think Phillip might stay, too." Nick added thoughtfully.
Sara doubted that and said as much, as well as, "He has things he has to work out, too. But, he'll be there for us when we need him."
"And," she drawled as she turned and faced him "I suspect he'll deal with those sooner than he thinks."
Nick swung his leg down, placing his hands on his legs to lean close to her.
"Will he be okay?" he asked with concern.
Sara smiled, feeling the truth of her words in her heart before she chucked Nick playfully under the chin.
"Pip'll be just fine. He's got us."
Nick chuckled and stood, pulling her up after him.
"What do you say we save the run until tonight and go bug him for awhile?"
Mischief lit Sara's eyes at that prospect and she nodded.
"Kat'll want to be in on this, too." She added, "let's make it good."
The gentle wind followed them as, like children with a new toy, they sprinted toward the house.
Julia watched them go from the water's edge, smiling as she too remembered those words she had spoken to Sara long ago.
Sara truly had come full circle.