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Blood Ties by TalgoM
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"Never having met her I really can't make a judgement, but from what he said about her I would probably agree if I had to have an opinion. She was a smart child, she understood what was going on with the doctor and why, she knew she could put an end to it if she just hid the truth. But then I also have insight that most don't by working with the Legacy." Rachel's voice held a hint of her skepticism. She understood that there were evil forces and spirits but she did not believe that a child's imaginary friends should be assumed to be such things. Perhaps Tangye was just a normal child, but she couldn't deny the possibility of something more going on either.
"Are you saying you think maybe they weren't just 'imaginary' friends?" Alex asked softly from across the table, putting her napkin over her plate. Her appetite had slipped away as she got more interested in Rachel's words.
"I don't think it's wise to discount anything." She looked over at Derek, knowing she was giving him exactly what he wanted to hear, and part of her annoyed that she had to. He always made things more complicated then they should be, a little girl with imaginary friends should be just that, but to him it was inevitably something more. This time she had to take his side, though, she wanted to believe otherwise desperately. "He had one particularly interesting story."
Nick leaned forward slightly in his seat shoving his plate out of the way, his curiosity peeked. He didn't notice the look on Alex's face as he concentrated on Rachel's story. Alex had a difficult time falling asleep after encountering Nick in the control room the night before. She was worried about what she saw as possible growing obsession with the case in him. Sometimes Nick let himself get too involved in these things, and lost his focus so he failed to concentrate on the danger he could be in. It wouldn't be the first time he had let it happen and she couldn't help but remember the other times he got distracted by his emotions or desire to be a savior. The case with Emma was just one incident and on that occasion a woman had tried to offer his soul in place of her own, despite the fact he had been her only defender. She feared that this situation could develop into another one of those and could only hope that Derek would notice it and talk to him, get him to focus. But she also had to admit there was a chance that his concern would be just what was needed.
"What was it Rachel?" Derek asked softly, his voice gravelly from his long night.
"Well," She began hesitantly; "he told me that when she was seeing him as a child his mother had died, naturally he never told her about it. Two weeks after that at one of the appointments he asked her to tell him about one of her friends, a recent one. She said that she had just met one that she really liked but she had only been able to stay a few days. She told him about the way the woman told her stories of her childhood in Italy and about all the beautiful art works and old buildings there. She also said that the woman taught her songs. He decided to get her to sing him one. He was shocked when she started singing in Italian, but was even more surprised when he realized the little girl was singing the lullaby his mother used to sing to him. She had made it up for her son and there was no way that Tangye could have learned it, but there she was singing it. He asked the woman's name and Tangye told him it was Rebecca. His mother's name. On her way out she had given him a hug, something she had never done before, and told him his mom loved him dearly and was very proud of him. Evidently he never knew what to make of it, but it obviously disturbed him." She picked up her piece of toast and nibbled it at the end of her story while all eyes turned to Derek.
"I think that's the proof we've been looking for. Somehow the spirit of the doctor's mother reached out to Tangye, spent a few days with her for whatever purpose. Maybe so that she could pass a message along to her son. But whatever the reason the spirit came it's obvious that she wasn't the only one to visit the child." Derek put his cup down, steepling his fingers and tapping them against his chin.
"Actually her parents asked Dr. Berton about that in a way. Evidently shortly before they stopped taking Tangye to him her mother asked if the doctor believed in ghosts, and what the chance would be that a child could see them." Her face was concerned. The man that morning had made quite an impression on her. She could only remember a few patients over whom she had felt such protectiveness for as she had seen in Dr. Berton. She had concern for all of her patients but rarely did one inspire such a response as Tangye Gaarlihn obviously had in her doctor. His eyes had been sad the entire time she spoke with him, even when memories brought a smile to his face. It was obvious he was thinking about what could have been with the young woman and repressing guilt over his inability to help her.
"And naturally he didn't." Nick mumbled.
"It's not exactly a commonly accepted thing Nick. He really did try to help her, but I don't think she was cooperative." Rachel defended, knowing not long ago that she would have had the same reaction.
"How could she be? Everyone telling her that what she's seeing is just her imagination when she knows that it isn't. She probably couldn't have made them go away if she wanted to." Nick snapped to her defense more sharply then he intended.
Alex looked at Derek expecting him to jump in and somehow calm Nick's flair up with a warning, but was surprised to find her mentor merely nodding his own agreement. Suddenly she realized that perhaps her concern shouldn't only be directed at Nick getting himself too involved, that Derek seemed to be on the same path. She just wished she could understand why.
"Nick's probably right. Janet mentioned yesterday that she thought something had happened to Tangye that she had to face alone when she was a child, and that had forced her to be stronger then was common. If she was haunted since her early childhood I think we would be na´ve to assume that all of the visitations were gentle." Nick hadn't thought of that yet and his anger swelled in his chest. To think that she could have been hurt and no one did anything to help her when she was just a child, when those who loved her should have been protecting her. To think that something had made her become a guardian to children, one that she never had. He again had to fight the urge to run out of the house and go rescue her right now, rather then let her face this alone for another instant.
"And obviously this one isn't." Alex added, though they all had realized that by now. "Seven years locked in that house, without the support of her parents, right after they died." She shook her head sadly to think of one person enduring all that.
"There is a chance that whatever did this was waiting for just such a chance. Janet said they were a close family, and from her mother's own questioning of Dr. Berton we have to assume they knew what was happening, that she had the Sight. So whatever is in there probably waited for her parents to leave her alone so no one could help her or contact someone who could."
"But Derek why would a spirit be so interested in her to wait seventeen years?" Rachel questioned. She always felt that too often Derek jumped to conclusions in cases but after she had heard the descriptions of Tangye she didn't think he was necessarily wrong this time.
"We don't know how long it was waiting Rachel, or why, or even if, it's just a guess." Derek shrugged, not ready to face that question yet. First they had to learn what was holding her, then figure out why.
"Derek, Janet said that when she wrote the letter she didn't know why she was doing it, that she felt compelled by something. Could something have stepped in and offered help indirectly?" Nick remembered the woman's words from the day before, the way she had looked so confused to think that she had even written the letter in the first place.
"That's right. And the whole guardian angel theory fits with that." Derek nodded his agreement.
"But why wait seven years to try and save her? That doesn't seem very guardian angel like." Alex prodded, confused.
"Possibly it couldn't do anything until then. All we know about that is that Tangye believed she had someone watching over her, but perhaps it was just occasional. Some of the spirits visiting taking a particular interest in her safety, or it could be that whatever is holding her is powerful enough to stop the one who chooses to guard her." He paused, no more certain of answers to those questions then any of the others. "What have you been able to find out, anything new?"
He turned to the woman beside him, reading the same concern in her eyes that he felt ever since first getting the letter. He could see that she was worried about Nick and himself, she just seemed to be overlooking the fact that she felt just as compelled to act on the behalf of the girl. None of them had maintained objectivity to this, feeling the girl's pain in their individual ways and not being able to fight it off. He felt in his case it was due to the descriptions he had listened to the day before. They had all been so full of love, showering her with praises even when pointing out her faults. He felt an intense need to help someone who could elicit such emotion in people.
He wondered why Alex seemed to feel the same need he did without the information they had but decided not to pursue it. Maybe the concern was just what they needed. The urgency to do something now rather then wait and take their time and too many precautions. Perhaps the situation was more dire then they realized, though after seven years he had to wonder what could have changed.
"Plenty about the family, but nothing that seems helpful. In the late 1800's her great-great-great grandfather came to New York from Ireland. The family name was changed at that time from Gaarlihn to Porter. He stayed in New Jersey working on the docks, as did his son. Her great grandfather was born in San Francisco, so his father must have been the one to move the family here. Charles, that's the great-grandfather, is the one who both built the house and changed the family name back to Gaarlihn." She read off the notes in front of her.
"Charles?" Derek cut her off; something about the name struck him familiar.
"Yes. He was a history professor, other then that there's surprisingly little information on him. I assume he built the house just by the date of construction and the fact that it was in the name of Gaarlihn not Porter. His father was buried as Neil Porter; thus Charles must have been the one to change the name back. He was an only child, and had only one son Eric. I have detailed histories on both Eric and Neil, but Charles didn't leave much of a mark really. I only came up with the fact he was a professor because of " Alex let her voice trail off realizing that her mentor wasn't hearing her, his eyes stared straight ahead, searching for something that wasn't written on the wall. "Derek, what is it?"
"I know you've done it but run another search through the Legacy database, check journals, anything that you can for the name Charles or Gaarlihn. Something about Charles Gaarlihn sounds very familiar to me, like it should have some significance." He spoke, his voice far away as it searched to find the memory that he attached the name he knew he had heard before to.
"Maybe you just saw a picture of him at the university? Or read a paper he wrote?" Alex said hopefully but Derek didn't seem convinced.
"Perhaps but check for me anyway." He insisted gently.
She nodded. "As for the house, it was built in 1922, it's stayed in the family since that time. There are no events on record that suggest hauntings in the past, but if this is all focused on Tangye rather then the location that makes sense." She looked up; sure they didn't want to hear every detail of the lives of Tangye's ancestors that she had managed to gather.
"Nick what about you?" Derek shifted his attention.
Nick rubbed his chin glancing at the sheets in front of him, then absently gestured with one hand to indicate nothing he found was very important, finally resting his cheek against his hand. "Nothing new really. Hauntings are usually in small numbers, one or two spirits, staying around until exorcised or convinced to leave. Except, and you know this from personal experience, those with the Sight. Even then, though, the visitations are fairly quick or infrequent." He said, his voice bored by the regurgitation of facts they all knew. "I did check to see about this supplemental education she seemed to be receiving. There were plenty of cases of people being possessed and suddenly speaking in different languages, but in one case a teenage girl was taught Latin by what she called a spirit. Years later she found an urn with writing along the side in Latin. Since she'd learned the language she recognized that it said the urn held a curse on it. Eventually it landed in Legacy hands, but the woman said she never touched it because of the warning on it, which she wouldn't have been able to read without the help years earlier. Too bad you never had that type of tutor with your Latin, huh?" Nick grinned at the precept who chose to ignore the jab at his less then exemplary Latin skills.
"Okay, I think we have general idea about what's going on, but we are still missing two important pieces to the puzzle." Derek's voice was serious.
"The who and the why." Rachel nodded.
"So you decide to join us for breakfast finally?" Tangye had barely gotten down the steps when the spirit stepped in front of her. Her dark hair was wet still and brushed back from her face, though a few of the more uncontrollable strands hung down into her eyes. "How many times do you have to tell you not to walk around the house with wet hair?"
'Thousand more should do it.' She brushed passed the spirit. The whole morning had been spent focusing on her anger, allowing it to feed her strength. Maybe if she could get them in enough of a fury they would slip up, allow for a chance of some type that she normally wouldn't be given. She knew it could cost her dearly but she was fortified against the pain.
"Excuse me?" The woman's form grabbed at her arm forcing her to stop her approach to the kitchen.
'I'm sure you heard me, but if you'd like I could say it out loud, but then the neighbors might hear and who knows what else I might yell.' She locked her eyes down, and the woman was surprised to find not even an inkling of the fear that had always been in the back of them, even up until the night before. She was amazed at how hard, unforgiving her eyes had become.
"Would you like me to get him, and you can flaunt this attitude to him?" The woman's voice threatened, hoping to scare Tangye back under her control. Yet the young woman did not back down.
'Go, ahead.' She sent the words slowly, to emphasize each of them, hoping the woman took the hint, she was not going to be pushed around today. The woman's eyes glared at her, trying to get her to step down but Tangye had prepared herself for anything they might try. No one else was going to be hurt because of her, and if that meant she got hurt that was fine, but no more innocents.
"Go eat your breakfast." She gave Tangye a shove in the direction of the kitchen.
'Not hungry.' The girl turned to make her way to the living room, grinning to herself. Now if she could just get him to make an appearance she would get them both too angry to focus their powers over her. If this plan didn't work she really felt that she only had one option left. One that she had considered many times before but had never been willing to accept. But if the two men got themselves in danger of the spirits wrath it would have to be done.
"Do you amuse yourself?" The man appeared in her path this time.
'Terribly.' She bit off the word angrily.
"What do you think you're doing?" He grabbed her and shook her harshly.
'Fighting back. Go ahead hit me, I don't care any more but I will not let you hurt another living soul. Maybe I can't defeat you, or get rid of you, but I sure as hell can control you.' She responded defiantly.
"Did your friends teach you that?" His jaw was tight, his face straining. She just grinned at him all the more, certain her plan was working.
'Nope, but I'll teach you that.' He tossed her aside, stalking out of the room. She turned from her place on the floor to look to the spot he had vanished from, a crooked little grin on her face. Indeed this would work, he fed off of her fear, and she wasn't giving him any. That gave her the upper hand.
"How's it coming, Alex?" Derek asked as he stepped into the control room, glancing only for a moment over to where Nick was packing up the equipment that they would take them today to the Gaarlihn house. He didn't fail to notice that Nick wore his shoulder holster, but he also didn't comment on how useless the gun would be yet again.
"Nothing much new. I really can't expect to find that much though on a seventeen-year-old girl. I was just about to go through the journals we have here on record, see if I could find any references to Charles Gaarlihn." She turned her eyes up at Derek, not able to hide her concern. "You will be careful won't you?"
She was worried about them, didn't like this whole thing. She felt sure that they were moving in too quickly, with too little information at their disposal. They still had no idea what it was they might be facing, or what it might be capable of. She didn't know how to express her worry though, or how to get through to them. Derek and Nick were both impulsive by nature, throwing themselves into situations they didn't always understand if they believed that they'd be able to help someone. It could be an admirable trait, and worrisome. Now it served to be the latter.
Earlier she had been hoping that Derek would talk to Nick, use logic to get him to focus on the case rather then the obsession that she had seen in him the night before. Now as she studied him she saw that approaching him on the subject would do no good. She was sure she saw a similar reflection in his eyes as had been in Nick's. He wasn't even really thinking, moving on instinct alone now.
"Come on Alex, it's us." Nick shot her a grin that only helped to add to her anxiety.
"That's exactly what I'm worried about." She sighed heavily. "Rachel's going back to talk to Dr. Berton, she wants to see if he remembers any of the names of Tangye's friends. Hopefully we can find out who some of them were, and maybe that will help." Derek nodded.
"You ready, Derek?" The older man again just nodded his response as Nick slung one of the equipment bags over his shoulder. Derek placed a gentle hand on Alex's arm hoping to reassure her, but it did little good for the researcher.
"I really appreciate your help in this matter doctor." Rachel said as she settled into the chair in the conference room with the files spread out before her. The man in his late fifties stood over her shoulder holding the picture in his hands.
"Time passes too quickly, ten minutes ago this little girl's parents first brought her to see me, now she's nearly twenty five years old." Rachel smiled slightly at the affection in the man's voice, though she knew just how he felt. "It's hard to let them go sometimes."
"Yes, it can be." Rachel agreed as he handed the picture to her of the then ten year old, sandy blonde haired girl. "Do you have children of your own?"
"All grown now, another thing that happened too fast. What exactly do you hope to find here Dr. Corrigan?" He took the seat beside her.
"I'm not sure, but there has to be a reason for her seclusion, maybe an outside set of eyes will see it. I don't doubt that you did everything that you could..."
"You don't have to do that, I'm a psychiatrist too you know. You won't belittle me by saying that I need a fresh perspective, that maybe I wrote her off too quickly. I would never forgive myself if that were the case." He smiled that sweet, unsure smile. "I guess I'll leave you alone."
"Okay, equipment is ready." Nick turned his hazel eyes to Derek, but the older man hardly seemed to hear him. He stared intently up at the house, looking for what though? He wasn't sure what he expected to see; after all it was still just a house. Made of wood almost eighty years ago, it served as shelter nothing more. The threat was not a part of the eggshell house but within it. Brewing just within its walls, permeating outward onto the street, he felt the evil of this place. Yet he sensed something else as well, whatever evil existed within the place had not yet defeated all points of light. There was still something in there fighting, forcing it to know that it would not yet give up.
He knew exactly what that thing was too. A young woman just short of her twenty-fifth birthday. A woman who had once been a child in this place before the evil had entered into it; a child who he was told was bright and loving. A child threatened by forces beyond understanding or her power, whatever that might be. He had no idea what she was capable of but he was certain that the warning he felt to leave yesterday had come from her. His dream last night had only enforced that belief.
He had seen her face once again, the face from his vision, not the pictures they had been given. She had been calm as she looked at him, her light eyes locking with his as she tried to force him to understand. "Go away, please just leave, you can't imagine what they'll do to you." He had heard her speak the words to him in the dream, the verbalization of the feeling he had yesterday that made them leave the house. She had been full of desperation, urgency to make him understand how important it was that they leave this place. But he could not heed that warning, not when he had seen her face. Full of the sad hopelessness that it could not hide. She had gripped his hands in the dream, trying to make him listen. He heard her words clearly now in his mind but he needed answers, he had to help.
"Alright then. Let's run a scan, see what kind of reading we can get." Derek started to approach the house with that resigned gait that told Nick that no one would stop him now. He was glad to find that his precept shared in his desperation to do something in this case. To think only yesterday he had believed that nothing was going on here, nothing supernatural at least, and now all he felt was an intense need to act on her behalf.
"Are you okay?" Nick asked gently.
"Fine, let's just do this." Derek said, his voice locked with his determination to act.
"Dammit they're back." Tangye looked up from where she sat on the couch reading, still carrying the air of defiance from that morning. She looked at the haze above her, his face a mask of pure fury. He grabbed the back of her head and pulled her head back by the hair just as the woman had done the night before. "I thought you said you made them leave."
'I did, yesterday, but what do you want me to do? You told me not to reach out to anyone.' She sneered out the words in her mind. He slapped her once for good measure on the back of the head.
"We have to get rid of them." The woman spoke desperately.
"That's just what I plan to do." Tangye's memory flashed back and she winced with pain from the image in her mind, fighting it back. She knew that tone, that exact threat in fact and she knew what both meant. Her breath came faster, her heart thumping away rapidly in her ears.
'Let me handle it.' She tried to stay calm, but the fear now could not be hidden.
"I will deal with it Tangye, you be a good little girl and behave." He started toward the door with the woman. She bit down hard on her bottom lip, her mind racing with more thoughts then she could register. She had to do something, stop this somehow.
"We're getting some fairly strong readings Derek, something is definitely in there." Nick stated as he stared at the register on the equipment, now spiking. Derek came up and looked at it with him.
"We knew that already. Dammit." Derek turned away, looking up and down the street, lingering on the house next door. He couldn't hide the annoyance, even anger; he felt thinking that woman inside had waited so long to do anything. How could she watch this go on in silence when she claimed to love the girl so much? Just then he heard a phone in the car start to ring, remembering he had left his cellular on the seat he quickly made his way over to the door with Nick right behind him. He leaned into the window and picked up the phone.
"Derek, we have some more information. Some names, I think you two should definitely hold off on going in." Alex's voice came over the line.
"You know who's doing this?" Derek asked quickly, for the first time in two days feeling like they were making some progress, he waved off Nick's questioning look.
"No but...Derek this isn't right, you shouldn't do this without knowing what you could be facing." Her voice was full of fear, worry for her friends.
"Alex, we can't be sure we can wait." Derek again waved Nick off as the younger man grabbed at the arm of his jacket.
"Listen to yourself Derek, you could be putting her at risk too you know." He hadn't wanted to think that, to face that truth. She was right though. If they managed to annoy the spirit that had hold of her it could just end up hurting her to get revenge, and they may not have a way to fight it.
"Derek, look." Nick forced the scanner in front of Derek. The precept's eyebrows rose on his brow to see the way the readout was now spiking.
She vaulted over the back of the couch and dashed for the stairs, sure for once that their attention was completely distracted from her. Now or never, she thought to herself as she took the stairs two at a time. She turned at the top and ran back to what had once been her parent's room. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed the portion of the drywall on the far wall that was crushed inward, the spot on the carpet not far from there that was charred from a long ago fire. She forced herself past that memory, and the pain it recalled. She yanked open the door in the corner and lunged up the stairs to the attic.
Scanning the room quickly she saw the bag amongst a stack of boxes. Without taking so much as a moment to look behind her - not that it would matter, they could appear anywhere - she grabbed the bag and dumped it's contents onto the floor. She snatched up one of the steel tent posts and ran toward the window, swinging hard with the makeshift crow bar. She continued slamming it against the boards over the window until they finally splintered. She dropped the pole and started desperately yanking at the wood, tearing the planks away easily once she had a handhold. With the last piece in her hands she finally swung it into the glass that now stood as the only barrier between her and the outside world.
They heard the breaking glass from the street and both quickly turned to the house, at first nothing looked different, then Nick gasped, his eyes directed upward. One of the windows on the third floor had been broken and in it they saw the figure of the woman that had been the focus of their thoughts for nearly twenty-four hours.
Her eyes met theirs only for a second, though they could not see her exact features clearly, they sensed her desperation. Derek was suddenly sure that this act was for their benefit and not her own. She wasn't trying to save herself, but them. And she was risking everything in the effort.
She wasn't even sure what she was planning to do, would her voice even work, it had been weeks since the last time she had used it just to make sure that it still was there, or had it been? Not that any of that mattered, she had gotten his attention.
"You little bitch." His voice boomed behind her, she felt his first pull on her before it even became a manifestation of his power, still only in his mind. She reached out quickly, grabbing the edges of the window hoping to hold on and get some quick warning out. Instead she only managed to cut the palms of both of her hands on some of the remaining glass, but she would not let go without a fight, despite the pain. "What the hell have you done?"
She managed only a strangled scream before he succeeded in tearing her away from the window and tossed her into some of the boxes across the room. She landed by the contents of the tent bag she had so recently seen as a means of hope for the men down on the street. She found one of the poles in her hand by reflex alone, though it would serve no purpose for her against the haze. He didn't give her a chance to act though. He gave her no opportunity to try any more desperate and hopelessly futile actions. He merely wrapped unseen hands around her neck and choked her until she passed out in a heap on the floor, the pole sliding uselessly from her slack fingers.
"I've had just about enough out to you Tangye Mauveen, you are definitely in need of another lesson. A reminder of your place in all of this. Your new friends are invited in now, by your doing. And they will suffer for your obstinate behavior, your insubordination, and mostly for your stupidity. I am the master of this castle child, and you shall never again forget that fact." His haze faded away, grinning to think what he would do to the interlopers, leaving her still form alone in the dark attic.
Derek stared up at the house a look of horror on his face, from both the images he saw and the knowledge he felt. Nick stood beside him frozen, which surprised the older man somewhat, usually seeing something like that would have thrust Nick into unconscious action. He had felt the girl's, no she was indeed a woman, eyes fall on him and knew that she was trying to warn them away. Yesterday it had been a silent message somehow sent into his head that he hadn't even known was there, but that compelled him to leave. Now she had made a second desperate effort.
He had turned just in time to see the last of the large shards of glass fall to grass underneath the window. He had seen her standing there for no longer then a moment or two, just long enough for their eyes to meet, for him to again feel the swell of urgency in his chest. The unspoken, but now clearly heard, warning to leave. He heard her strangled scream. Then she had been torn away from the window, she tried to fight, grasping onto the edges of the frame but her strength had not been enough. Derek couldn't tear his eyes away as he watched the darkness that passed without cause in front of the window. There was no light from the room she was in, only from the outside. Whatever was in there should have been clearly illuminated, not merely a silhouette, and Derek knew that what he saw was too dark to be a mere shadow anyway.
"Oh my God." Nick whispered, his eyes unable to tear away from the dark spots left behind on the pale blue shudders where Tangye had been holding on. Her blood shed in an effort to... to what?
"She's trying to warn us away." Derek mumbled realizing suddenly that he had never really explained to Nick why he had insisted they leave yesterday. He wasn't sure by looking at the expression on Nick's face he would even be able to explain, or get through whatever was running through the younger man's mind.
"Well we sure as hell aren't going to listen." Nick pulled out his gun by instinct alone and started up the walk to the house, his strides sure and full of strength. Derek fought his own instinct to follow and instead reached out grabbing Nick's arm. The ex-SEAL spun around, his irritation at being stopped on every line of his face.
"No we aren't but now is not the time." Before Nick could form his argument Derek pressed on. "Alex made a good point, if we go in without knowing what is there with her we could not only be putting ourselves at risk but Tangye as well. Especially now, Nick. Whatever has her is obviously angry about what she just tried to do..." Derek was surprised to find that he wasn't even convinced by his own words. It was perfectly logical but he was more interested in helping right now then being rationale about the situation. But he had to focus, think about Nick's safety, if not his own. Nick Boyle could be both irrational and impulsive, jumping into situations too early and despite Derek's desire to follow him this time he knew it would be a mistake.
"And what will it do to her in that anger?" Nick snapped, his face mixed with both anger and pain. For the first time Derek seemed to notice that even for Nick he was behaving oddly. His concern was overwhelming him, pushing at him and clouding his logic. Not that any of that was too odd, but usually Nick reached a certain point and then managed to step back, military training kicking in reminding him to never go in without all the information. This time that instant had not happened and just by the look in the younger man's eyes he knew that Nick was dealing with more then this situation alone in his head.
"Whatever it is has not killed her in seven years, I think it needs, wants her alive for some reason. But Nick, it may be angry enough to slip up right now if we push it. We need to step back, let the situation calm, get some more information, Alex said she had some names. In the next twenty four hours we learn as much as we possibly can about her, try one more time to figure out why she would be held in there..."
"And then?" Nick snapped.
"Then?" Derek turned to him, his eyes holding a similar expression as Nick's iron determination. "I don't care what we know or don't know, we go in. We grab her and get her out of there."
"Rachel, I'm really worried about both of them. They can be so impulsive at times." Alex looked up at the older woman, her beautiful face creased with the lines of her concern. Rachel could only offer her a weak smile and a pat on the shoulder, neither gesture seeming to do much good at all.
"I'm really not sure that you shouldn't be from what you've said about the way they're both behaving. But this is Nick and Derek we're talking about, sometimes their hearts get a little ahead of their heads." Alex couldn't help but laugh at that accurate description, though she knew neither man would ever admit to it. Derek was better at controlling the instinct but Alex could still name plenty of occasions when he had gone in heart first. But at the same time it was the trait in both men that had so frequently saved lives. When they moved on instinct alone sometimes they pressed forward against their better judgement early and ended up averting disaster. Maybe she was being too skeptical this time; perhaps she should just step back and let them do what they did best?
"Okay, we need to focus. I don't think we'll be able to control them much longer. What did you find out?" Alex fortified herself to get the work done, hoping the men didn't go in today so when they did she would have some solid information for them. First she had to find that information though.
"That she was just what everyone said. A charming but troubled young girl. Painfully aware of the fact that she was different then everyone else." Rachel thought of her own daughter. Kat had the Sight and it had always terrified Rachel to think that her daughter might feel like a freak because of her gift. What she had read in the journal that Dr. Berton had Tangye keeping had brought that worry back to the forefront of her mind. The way the girl dodged ever making direct reference to the things that she saw, saying that she knew a part of her parents feared her for being what she was, that her friends could never understand just what was out there. "Dr. Berton had her keep a journal for the year he saw her. She was to use it to tell about her friends, and she did a fairly good job but in most cases she only gives first names. Except one."
Rachel flipped open the notebook to the page she had marked. "I know what death is like. Dorothy explained it to me. She said it's scary but it doesn't have to be. You just have to decide what you're going to make out of it. She said she was happy because she has someone waiting for her when she got there. She wasn't scared, just a little sad because she was going to have to leave so many things that she loves behind. She says it hurts because you never feel like you get enough done before it's time to go, and you don't always get to say goodbye. She said she worries to, that things weren't going to be okay when she left, that she didn't teach enough things. She worried about me. I told her not to be silly because I'd be looked after, I always have been, but I lied. I didn't want her to go. But I would have been mean if I didn't let her. She really wanted to see someone in the other place again, but also keep seeing the people here. That's what death is, all mixed up." Rachel flipped the book closed and met Alex's eyes. She saw the sadness in them immediately and remembered feeling the same way when she had first read the passage. Obviously, it was written by a child indicated by style alone but it held a knowledge no little girl should have. She pursed her lips together waiting for Alex to formulate her reaction.
"How old was she then?" Alex asked softly.
"Around ten. Dr. Berton said she often talked about this woman Dorothy, that she was one of Tangye's favorites, but that she had been gone for years. But he had a last name on her, Brandman." Rachel said triumphantly, checking her notes to be sure that she got the name right.
"Dorothy Brandman, probably died in the late seventies, early eighties?" Alex turned to the computer terminal and typed in the commands to run the search. "Well that's one, any others?"
"We can try running any of these names but without last names we won't really know what we're looking for. She gave histories on some of them, tried to make them sound made up but they were a little too accurate for imaginary friends. Kids just don't usually go into as much detail as this." Rachel answered with less enthusiasm. Dorothy had clearly been a favorite, and probably spoken about prior to her realization that she could end her doctor's visits if her friends didn't seem so vivid to her.
"Well, we can assume most of them died around the time she knew them or there was no reason for them to be drawn to her if they were kept here by something else. But they could have been from anywhere possibly, or maybe just the area." Alex realized that as soon as she presented an idea she was just shooting it down. She was again hit by the fact that they had no real idea what they should be looking for. "She never explained her gifts?"
"I don't think she wanted to risk it. Reading this I get the feeling she thought it was something to be hidden." Rachel put the book down, rubbing at her temples.
"I understand that. It's hard growing up with the Sight, kids can be cruel and if her parents had her seeing doctors about it that certainly couldn't have helped her feel comfortable about it." Alex said, remembering her own childhood and they way she had been teased at the smallest sign that she was different. Tangye didn't seem to merely have hints though and she clearly had no one around that understood as Alex's grandmother had.
"Oh yeah, there was another doctor. Evidently her parents were ordered to take her to him after the incident with the teacher. He's not being quite so cooperative though. I got the feeling he was a little afraid of her." Rachel added.
"She was a child." Alex protested, surprised by her own defensive tone.
"One who had shown violent tendencies. Kids can be very dangerous Alex." Rachel answered calmly, with that 'doctor's tone,' as Nick called it. The one she used to sooth people, relax them into talking to her.
"Sorry, I know that. I guess Nick and Derek are just rubbing off on me. Did I tell you I found Nick down her in the middle of the night last night just staring at her picture?" She decided to distract herself and get Rachel's opinion on this matter that had been nagging on her since it happened.
"No. Did he say anything?" Rachel asked distracted for the moment from the case and instead to the young man who had become such an important part of her life.
"Actually yeah." Alex halfway laughed, recalling his words and the sincerity behind them. "He asked me if I had ever seen someone's face for the first time and felt like I had been looking at it for a thousand years."
"And have you?" Alex playfully hit Rachel's arm, knowing exactly what she was implying. "I must admit it's strange but only because it's from Nick. If Derek had said it I doubt we'd think anything of it. Well, maybe something. Listen Alex; she's a beautiful young woman, in grave danger, that naturally gets to Nick. I don't think you need to worry about him." Rachel attempted the sadly empty reassurance.
"That's the funny thing. When he said it, and when I looked at him, I wasn't worried. Nervous that he would get himself into a situation in the house he couldn't handle but not really worried about his feelings for her. Part of me felt like it was right." Alex was cut off from explaining further when the computer beeped indicating its search had panned out. She typed away and displayed the article on the large monitor for them both to read. "Dorothy Brandman died in a car crash October 12, 1981, Tangye would have been just past her sixth birthday. She was a widow, fifty-eight years old, survived by one son Geoffrey. He would be in his early forties by now."
"Okay, we'll go talk to him. Thank you, Alex. Rachel." Derek hung up the phone. They had spent the last hour waiting on word from the women by talking to some more of the neighbors, even visiting her old high school to talk to teachers. Nick stared out the window as they drove down the streets of San Francisco trying to resolve what was going on in his head. Why did he feel so compelled to do something for her, to be the one to rescue her? Why did he want to look at her picture again so badly? Why did he want to go to sleep again only because there was a chance to dream about her? What the hell was going on with him?
He wasn't like this. He was supposed to have been hardened beyond this type of reaction. He felt a smile begin to form at the corners of his mouth as he remembered her vividly from his dream. The way her eyes looked up at him, her mouth forming that wicked grin, and then she had turned away from him trying to act coy. But it was just a dream, a fantasy of his own making nothing more. Still it felt right to him.
If everyone would stop describing her with the words they were perhaps he would be able to focus his thoughts again. If they didn't all get that look of such sadness in their eyes when they talked about her, maybe some of the uncontrollable urge he felt to help would be reigned in. But they all did it anyway.
She was a sweet girl, loved everyone, jumped to the protection anyone she thought might need it, but hardheaded, adventuresome, sometimes too much for her own good. She had a dry, sardonic sense of humor, sometimes blurting out the most inappropriate things, she could aggravate anyone with her stubbornness but it was always displayed when she felt something deeply. Mainly though they just said she was so loving that you could forgive her all her faults. Look beyond whatever it was that made her stand just a bit farther away then she needed to so you wanted to scoop her into your arms. They said she tried to keep herself at arms length but it didn't really work, it wasn't her nature. She drew people to her somehow, and Nick knew just what they meant.
She awoke in her room with a start, sitting up too rapidly, her body still tense and alert from her last moments of consciousness. As soon as she realized that situation was evidently long over though she let herself relax a tiny bit. She looked around the room glad to find that it was empty. For now this would be as good a safe haven as any of the other false ones she had been offered.
She sunk back into the bed, kicking away the sheets that she knew the woman had covered her with. She wanted to make it clear that she would refuse even the simplest things they might offer her. She tried to focus on a single thought but found it too difficult. For so long there had been nothing but monotony in her life. Every day she was held prisoner, and every day she remained silent about it. Now that had all changed, she couldn't just let events proceed without at least trying to control them in whatever tiny little way she might be able to affect things.
Reaching up to brush her hair away she flinched when her fingers came in contact with the bruise on the side of her face. It was the man's way of reminding her of both his control and her role. 'Smart move, absolute brilliance Tangye. What would they all say to you now?' She wondered in the din of her mind.
"It was, nine years ago, I think that's right. She, the girl in the picture, showed up on my doorstep one day out of the blue. She couldn't have been more then fifteen or sixteen years old at the time. I had never seen her before in my life, but she just shot me this innocent little grin, and even though I knew there was something behind it, I had to let her in. Crazy in this day and age, even when it's just a young girl in question, but I did it. She introduced herself to me as Tangye ah, Gaar.." Geoffrey Brandman struggled over the name as he sat with Derek and Nick in the living room of his high rise apartment. He was an average man with kind dark eyes and nearly black hair. He had let himself go somewhat over the years, though not reaching anything unattractive.
Derek was still slightly surprised that he had even let them in. At first he had seemed ready to send them away but once they had shown him the picture of Tangye he stepped out of the doorway and admitted them. Now he seemed willing to talk to them, to tell them what he knew. Derek also got the feeling, though, that Geoffrey was hoping that perhaps they could provide him with some answers in return.
"Gaarlihn." Nick supplied the name, the man nodded.
"That was it. Anyhow, she said that she had something that she had been needing to tell me for almost ten years. I didn't really take her very seriously, not at first. She was still a child; she would have just been a baby ten years before that. And I didn't know her, so what could she tell me? Then without too much tact she just told me that she had been there when my mother died. I don't know how I expected her to tell me something like that, but she was so casual about it, yet it seemed rehearsed." He slowed down at the end of his words, thinking them over but offering no explanation for the comment.
"Geoffrey, if you don't mind me asking, how did your mother die?" Derek asked, his voice soothing.
"In a car wreck. It was on a main street of town, there were plenty of people around to witness it since it happened in the middle of the day, but... Well I couldn't believe that someone would stand idly by as a child walked up to the wreckage. She didn't have much of an answer for that. But she swore that she was there, and that my mother had told her to someday pass a message to me." Geoffrey felt the sting of tears in his eyes, remembering so vividly the look on the girl's face the only time he had ever seen her. She was so sincere, her eyes seeming to share his grief over the woman she shouldn't have even known. It had pained her to deliver the message but she had made a promise and intended to keep it ten years later. Her voice had broken several times during the short message and he remembered how he had gathered her into his arms when she was done. Both taking comfort in her and offering it back.
"She said my mother told her to tell me that she loved me very much, more then I could ever know and if there was one thing she regretted it was every moment we had spent apart. She had loved to watch me grow but it caused her great sadness as well to know with time I would be the one protecting my own children and no longer needing her to stand guard over me. She said she told her that she would miss me, hoped I would find happiness and always know that she would be watching over me, and waiting for me. But she also had told her that I shouldn't be too sad, because now she was getting the only thing she had ever asked for in her life other then to be with me, she got to return to the side of her heart." He paused remembering his own shock at hearing the young woman say those words. "I didn't believe her until she said that. It was what my mother always called my father. Whenever she would talk about him she always said death wouldn't be so bad because she looked forward to standing beside her heart and watching down on me." He finished with a fond smile, remembering his mother's love so clearly.
"I know this is hard for you." Derek calmly spoke, noticing the fret on the man's face. Geoffrey looked up at him grinning though.
"Ten years ago if you had come here asking about my mother it would have bothered me, but nine years ago that changed. This girl changed that. She gave me the chance for my goodbye. I really never knew much about her honestly, except that when she left I knew she wasn't lying to me, and also that she hadn't told me everything." He looked at the picture again; she was about the same age in it as she had been when she had shown up out of nowhere on his house's front steps. When with a few words and those startling eyes she had put to rest a piece of his past.
"What do you mean?" Nick asked, sitting on the edge of the chair, riveted by all he was hearing
"If you had seen her eyes you would know. This wasn't just a girl delivering a message she had been carrying for ten years. The accident certainly didn't carry for her any of the horror that it should have. She would have been five, maybe six when my mother died. It would have been the type of thing to give a kid nightmares for years, but she was so calm, sad but calm. Like I said her speech was rehearsed, she found the easiest way for me to hear the message and used it." Geoffrey shrugged.
"I don't understand." Derek looked at him skeptically. A part of him did. Geoffrey was right. A child that young would probably suffer flashbacks to what she had seen that day. Derek was sure of that fact because of the severity of the accident that both Geoffrey and Alex had alluded to. It wouldn't leave her easily, if she had seen anything at all. If she was calm when giving such a message, then ... Derek shook his head, unable to resolve all that he was thinking.
"I'll make this simple. My mother did give her the message, somehow, but it wasn't in the car that day that she did it. My mother died instantaneously in the wreck." Derek had expected as much, but Geoffrey's willingness to accept what that meant surprised him. "She knew my mother, not just from a few moments that couldn't have existed for them, but from somewhere else. My mother would have told me about this child if she had known her before she died. My mother told me about all of the neighborhood children that she played grandmother to, someone like Tangye wouldn't have ever been forgotten. She's not a background type, not someone you forget to mention." He paused refocusing his thoughts to the question.
"I can't explain how, I'm not sure I want to try to but she grieved my mother at some point. She loved her, and I think my mother loved her back. She was someone that mom would have fallen for, there was something just there, something a little rare, something a little... new." He explained knowing he still couldn't really justify why we felt this way. "Not just that but I saw my mother's hand in her. Sometimes you just know when someone was raised by a person because of the way they turn out. Mom was written all over that kid." He grinned at the memory of the afternoon with the girl. "Maybe whatever they had didn't last long but it was still with her and for me it was like seeing a piece of my mom again. As much as the message, that helped."
Derek noticed the way Nick kept fidgeting uncomfortably in his seat but chose not to point it out. He wasn't sure what was going on in his younger associate's head at the time but he could clearly read the agitation on his face. That locked expression that he always got when he stopped listening to people and pressed forward despite everything. Derek respected part of that stubborn resolve but also couldn't always fight off the concern he felt for Nick's well being.
"You feel like you know her don't you?" He suddenly turned his hazel eyes on his precept. Derek was surprised that Nick asked him that when he was thinking much the same thing about his young friend.
"In a way, but it's more like she should have been there all along and something just set that off course." Derek wanted to say more but just then his cell phone rang. Nick grinned at him as he turned it on. "Derek Rayne."
"Derek, its Alex. How'd it go with Geoffrey Brandman?" She asked full of hope that they had learned something of value from the interview.
"Fine, we're just left there. What did you find out?" Derek was sure she wouldn't have called if she hadn't finally made some headway. He felt Nick's eyes on him, waiting to overhear anything of interest.
"Well I finally got in touch with the parents of the kindergartner that Tangye protected all those years ago. It took some prying but get this, he was being abused." Her voice was full of pride.
"By what?" Derek asked, instantly robbing Alex of her moment of glory. She had spent almost fifteen minutes just trying to explain the situation to them, begging them numerous times not to hang up on her. Then it had taken at least another thirty minutes to get them to grasp that she would understand whatever they had to tell her. A full hour on the phone not to mention the two it had taken just to track them down, all that and Derek seemed to already know what she had to tell them.
"They weren't sure really what but they said they witnessed the bruises forming once and they were all alone at the time. So it was some sort of spirit." Alex's voice betrayed her disappointment at not being able to surprise him with her news.
"She got rid of it?" Derek did it again, beating her to the news. How did he always seem to have such a good sense of what was going on around him?
"That's exactly what they seemed to believe. They said that after that day during school when Tangye had stepped in on behalf of their son it all just stopped. They guess she made it clear that the little boy wasn't going unguarded anymore, that there was someone who would protect him." Alex let go of her frustration that Derek always seemed one step ahead.
"That fits. We just talked to Geoffrey; Tangye delivered him a message ten years after his mother's death from her. He was under the impression that she had spent a good deal of time with his mother but also seemed certain that Tangye hadn't known her while she was alive." Derek informed her but didn't go into all the details that they had learned. He recalled the look of loss in the man's eyes as he spoke of the girl, and the release that her message seemed to bring him.
"Derek, what does all this really tell us? She sees spirits, we gathered as much. But we still have no idea what is holding her prisoner." Alex didn't even try to hide her feeling that they weren't really making any forward progress despite all the new information. She was tired but kept pushing just in the hopes that she could protect her friends and do something for the girl that they were all beginning to feel they knew. The parents of the child Tangye had protected had told Alex to send her their thanks for her actions and they had been so sincerely grateful. They truly believed that her efforts had saved their child but had never had the chance to tell her how much they appreciated her selfless behavior. It was just another point that made the mystery of Tangye seem to shine a little brighter then others.
"No we don't, but we do know that she managed to fight off another spirit when she was much younger, but now she can't. Whatever has her must be more powerful. Alex I really don't know what to say, but " Derek let his voice trial off. He had seen the concern so alive in her eyes early and didn't want to worry her by expressing his intense desire to go into the house now even though they knew so little.
"You both want to save her, I know." She finished for him, trying to hide her concern. "Just give me until tomorrow morning, please Derek. By then maybe we'll have some ideas." Derek didn't want to submit, he knew Nick wouldn't be happy about it, but decided that Alex seemed to be the most focused of them right now and it was best to trust her judgment.
"Fine, but first light Nick and I leave, and we don't come back without her." He didn't really understand his own tone.
"Oh and one other thing. I did find the name Charles in several of the case logs from the twenties, up until the early fifties, actually only a few weeks before you were born was the last reference. Though his last name was never mentioned it's definitely the right time frame. It was weird but when I was reading it some of them read funny, like parts of the logs had been removed by someone." Derek thought back, struck by the realization that whoever this Charles was his own father had probably worked with him and the fact that Tangye probably did have ties to the Legacy. But then why would someone try to hide that?
"Unfortunately, whether or not they are the same, does not matter too much right now." Derek said regretfully.
"Derek, it could be someone trying to get revenge on him through his relative." Derek tried to fight off his frustration. He was sure waiting was not going to help them come up with more answers, at least not any to help the immediate situation. He just reminded himself of his own logic earlier with Nick. Whatever held her was angry for her attempts to warn them earlier, they needed to give the situation time. He could not risk pushing the spirit into acts Derek was sure it didn't desire to commit. No, for some reason the spirit that held her wanted her to live, she served a purpose to it. But they had no way of finding out what that was. Better to not push while it was still in a fury though, not to risk the girl's life.
His mind flashed back to the image of her the night before in his dreams. Her young pretty face looking up at him with such desperation. "Please leave, you can't imagine what they'll do to you " For the first time he realized what she had said.
"Alex, there's more then one." He blurted the proclamation out.