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Past Abandoned by TalgoM Past Abandoned
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"It happened right here, this is where I found them." Philip and Nick looked around the kitchen, stepping carefully over the broken glass. Nick picked up some of the items looking at them, finally finding the jagged piece of a plate covered in dried blood. He hid it from the woman and slipped it into his pocket. Derek might be able to get something off of it back at the house. "My husband said the room just suddenly went crazy, things flying everywhere, there was no way they could have avoided being hit by something. I should consider myself lucky they weren't hurt worse." She looked at the priest's frowning face. "Father Callaghan, I don't understand any of this. Why would this be happening?" She pleaded with him for an explanation he didn't have yet.
"I'm not sure Karin but hopefully we'll be able to find some answers for you." He placed a reassuring hand on her arm that was wrapped in a heavy cast.
"But this isn't possible. There is no such thing a ghosts." Nick grinned privately at that comment. Though, he didn't like to assume that these things we're always caused by the supernatural he had seen far too much in his time with the Legacy to ever dismiss anything as impossible. Ghosts were some of the more harmless things they had faced. These restless spirits were usually still around for a specific purpose and once they could figure that out they could usually guide them to peace.
"There are many things we don't see or understand." Nick noticed immediately that Philip didn't agree with nor dismiss her statement instead opting for a noncommittal response. "As I said we'll do what we can to find answers for you and stop whatever it is." She nodded, though, it was clear she didn't really believe any of this. She had sounded crazy to herself when telling the two young men about the rumors and secrets that she had heard around the neighborhood. Why should they believe she was anything but mad?
No one could possibly believe the stories she told about others on the street being attacked by something they couldn't see. About rooms no one was in suddenly being destroyed. She had experienced it and still couldn't believe any of it. But she had been able to come up with nearly twenty different incidents that she had heard about, things she wasn't supposed to hear from her neighbors, descriptions that just slipped out or were overheard. How many more would there be that had been better hidden?
No, it's all nonsense; there's a logical explanation for all of this. She commanded herself to believe it but still felt the cold hands pushing her last night. Hands that were not there. She still remembered her sons terrified voice as he related the story to her about the kitchen and how things had just suddenly started flying around and attacking them. Could she really deny those things?
"You hurt people last night." Tangye whispered, the woman only two feet away from her.
"They deserved it." Her voice came back cold and empty echoing in Tangye's mind.
"Why? What did they do? You have a power they can't counter, that's not fair." She tried to argue with the spirit but doubted that it would do any good. Why was it these creatures from the shadows seemed so decided about everything they did that logic hardly ever got through to them?
"You're young, you'll learn many things aren't fair." She wanted to scream at the woman. Tell her she had learned that lesson quite well and didn't need to be reminded of it.
"That's no excuse." She reached up and yanked the sunglasses off her face to stare at the woman. This time it was the woman who recoiled on seeing her unobstructed features. The tears were still hovering in her eyes, being held back only by her willpower. But it was something else that surprised the spirit.
'Annie.' The name entered Tangye's mind as a sad little gasp just before the woman vanished. Tangye had no idea what to do as she stood in the middle of the road searching around the street to see if the woman was still around. But the street was empty and the woman was gone.
Tangye's own pain was forgotten as she wondered whom the woman had been and why she had reacted to seeing her that way. Wondering whom Annie was.
In the stillness of the evening she heard the door open behind her and turned quickly to see Nick and Philip coming out of the house still talking to the middle aged owner of the house. She gave one more quick glance around to make sure the woman was gone and then opened the car door, sliding back into her seat. She didn't bother hiding her eyes any more and shoved the glasses into her pocket. They would only find it odd that she was wearing them at night, and for the time her tears were gone as she focused on a new puzzle.
Nick and Philip climbed back into the car in silence, knowing that Karin was still watching them from the house. Tangye wanted to know what they had found out, but she doubted that they would tell her. She wasn't sure either if she should tell what she saw. They drove down the block in silence and Tangye noticed for the first time the old church nestled into the neighborhood. It was a cold looking building; it didn't hold any comfort in it with the decaying wood. Really she didn't even think it looked like a house of God, except for the tall steeple. Evens when they were past it she found herself watching it vanish in the rearview mirror.
"I'm hungry, anybody else?" Nick asked, flashing her a quick grin that relaxed her immediately, Philip just laughed from his seat in the back.
Nick and Philip both hungrily ate down the stacked burgers in front of them while Tangye absently picked at her salad in the small diner. They were all avoiding talking about the woman they just visited instead telling stories from the past. Philip was surprised by the enthusiasm Tangye showed for his stories about Ireland, wanting to hear every detail about his homeland. She told them that her family had never done a lot of traveling so she hadn't been able to see the places they told her about. She also enjoyed the stories he told about the parishioners in his church, impressed by how much concern he showed for them.
"You are excellent on the pulpit Philip, I can see why they would get so excited. I really enjoyed Mass today." She shot him a bright smile.
"I wish I could get everyone excited to be there." Philip said with a grin. He hadn't failed to notice Nick shifting uncomfortably throughout the mass. "I'm jus' glad most everyone stays awake."
"With all that singing and bells I don't know how anyone could sleep." Nick shot back at his friend. Tangye enjoyed their banter. She had sensed a certain discomfort between the two that she didn't understand but right now they seemed more like squabbling brothers then anything else.
She reached up and brushed a few loose strands of hair back from her face hooking it behind her ear. When she turned to look at Nick it fell back down defiantly. She had been thrilled to get the haircut earlier and had no complaints about it. It hung just barely to her shoulders with long layers in the back; the bangs were long cut on a slant the longest just reaching her chin. She looked back down at the salad in front of her that she had hardly touched.
"Will the woman be alright?" She asked the question softly not sure if it was the right thing to do but feeling she had to. She hadn't mentioned to them what she had seen, and she really had no excuse for not doing so. She didn't want to get involved but having seen the woman and talking to her, however briefly, she felt she already was. Now her bigger concern was just handling the situation without anyone getting hurt. She understood that both Nick and Philip had faced more dangerous things during their time with the Legacy but still she felt that she could protect them. That she owed it to them to do so.
Nick glanced at Philip nervously, not sure if they should be saying anything. The young priest just nodded, assuming that if Derek didn't want her to know anything he would have had them go back to the Island to drop her off. "I think she'll be okay, but whatever attacked her and her family has been active for awhile. There were rumors around the neighborhood, but people don't like to sound crazy talking about ghosts. We've been investigating the disturbances, still don't know what's causing it." He put his hand over hers.
"We should get back to the Island, continue to try to figure out what or who it is." Philip put down the rest of his sandwich missing the look that crossed Tangye's face.
Derek wasn't sure it was the best idea to have her sitting at the table while they discussed the case, but at the same time she already knew what was happening. He could only imagine Jackson Parker's reaction when he found out that they allowed a non-initiate to find out so much about the Legacy and about a case. He hadn't really been happy himself when he found out how much Nick had told her but also knew now that he would at least make the offer to her in due time. First, though, they had to make sure she was comfortable in her new surroundings and that she was past what had been done to her. He put all those thoughts aside for now, particularly those of the head of the Ruling House, and focused on the task at hand.
"Alright, so from everything that we know right now whatever is causing these incidents is focused on the entire what, nine blocks?" Derek looked at Nick who just nodded. "Alright, Nick, Alex I want you to continue to research the area, find out anything you can about other incidents. Philip I want you to continue the translation. I want to make sure that the scroll isn't anything we should also be worried about. Tangye, if you could help him it would be appreciated." She nodded but seemed to have something else she wanted to say. She wasn't sure it was her place though. "What is it?"
"Um, well I was thinking, I could help find this spirit, or whatever it is." She added not wanting to give her secret away yet.
"I'm not sure that's a good idea." Derek answered hesitantly, fidgeting with the piece of glass Nick had taken from the house that provided him no vision.
"You don't know what you're looking for, or where you'll find it but I'd be able to see her or him." She regretted speaking, realizing by the look on Derek's face that he was suspicious of her because of the slip.
"Let us see how our investigation goes, if we need your help I'm not above asking for it. For now concentrate on the translation." She nodded avoiding further eye contact.
Philip stared at her shocked as she read off the scroll, hardly stumbling over any words. She looked up at him, her eyes clearly showing how pleased she was. He smiled back at her.
"I don't understand, where did you learn that?" He asked amazed.
"I had a lot of tutors." She shrugged indifferently. "They saw to my education. Ancient Sumarian really isn't that bad." He knew the language well enough to know that was an exaggeration. "Though this isn't their typical written form, once you understand the differences in it, reading it isn't hard. You should have seen me learning the Aztec form of writing, I thought my teacher would strangle me a number of times."
"Just how many languages can you speak?" He sat back in the chair knowing their work was done, and indeed the scroll hid no threat.
"Speak? I think at last count it was eleven, I can read over twenty-five though. Those allow me to struggle through a lot of others. Granted I'm not really fluent in that many but I get by." She put the scroll down and went to refill her coffee cup. "My art teacher thought it was amazing. She'd put up these slides in class and start talking about them. I used to love to read the little engravings on them just to make her wonder about me. She always had to check the book to see if I was right. Of course I could never tell anyone how I knew what I did." She looked at him with a wicked little grin on her face, her eyes dancing. He found himself liking the girl more and more as he spent time with her. She was so casual about herself, never seeming to take any of it too seriously. She knew what she did was unusual, if not remarkable, but to her it was just fact so she didn't really seem to dwell on it. Or perhaps she just didn't want to seem like she did. He had to wonder about her true feelings.
"It must be nice to have it out in the open." Philip said as she handed him a fresh cup of coffee.
"And to put it into use. Not like there's a lot of call for a sixteen year old to be able to translate lost languages while she can hardly pass psychics." She sat down beside him.
"But you did pass." She looked over at him, her eyebrows raised. "I saw your transcripts."
"Okay, yeah I did end up passing. Another tutor, but I hated that class so much. I was more of a history buff, never much for the physical sciences." She said with a grin.
"I'm assuming you're done?" They turned to find Derek standing in the doorway to the library. Philip held out the notepad he had copied Tangye's translation onto.
"Quite. You have an excellent translator here Derek, she puts me to shame I'm afraid." Philip didn't hide how impressed he was by her skills.
"I doubt that, but together I'm sure you'll make an excellent team." Derek didn't miss the uncomfortable look on Philip's face at that comment. He just couldn't help but say it, he knew this was where Philip belonged.
Derek looked over the notepad relieved to see that nothing said seemed to impose or imply a threat to them. In fact it looked like just what Alex said, a code of laws. That out of the way he decided to deal with the other problem. His eyes fell to Tangye causing her to look away nervously. "Tangye, I'd like to speak with you if possible in my office."
She knew it wasn't a suggestion just by his tone. She pushed her chair back and started to follow Derek out of the room, looking back at Philip who only nodded his support. Once in his office Derek motioned for her to take a seat while he went around behind his desk. She looked around for some type of support, feeling very much like a caged animal in front of this man. Derek had shown her nothing but kindness but she could also tell he was a man who took his job very seriously. There was no one there to help her so she forced herself to face the situation.
"You saw her didn't you?" His voice was even, his tone holding only his characteristic seriousness. Tangye thought about her options but realized that Derek Rayne wasn't likely to fall for anything she might attempt to pull over on him.
"Yeah. While Nick and Philip were in the house. She walked by the car." She tried to sound innocent but Derek didn't buy into it.
Derek nodded. "I thought so. Did you talk to her?"
"Briefly. She asked why I could see her, I still can't really explain that one." She gave a sad little laugh. "I asked why she hurt people, she said they deserved it and that many things in life aren't fair. Then she called me Annie and vanished. I'm sorry I didn't tell you about it, and I don't have an excuse." She looked down at her lap, clearly ashamed.
He sat back in his chair. "I was hoping to keep you out of all of this for awhile but you don't seem willing to allow that." He studied her face and decided that she didn't really need his protection, but if she was going to fight that he had to at least set the ground rules. "Let me make this clear to you though, I am in charge of this Legacy house and you are a guest in my house. You had information that could help us, the next time this happens I expect to be told. Your skills could be a great asset but they could just as easily make you a target. We need to know when you see things so we can protect you and ourselves." She nodded; surprised that he had taken it so calmly. Then again this was not the angry spirit of her father, prone to outbursts and abuse. Derek was a calm man, used to handling a diverse group of individuals trying to work as a team. "What we do here can be very dangerous as I'm sure you realize and we need to work together. Is this understood?"
"Yes, and I'm sorry. I'm just used to keeping these things quiet, it might take me some time to adjust to being able to tell people." She explained.
"Well you do need to learn it, you don't have to face this alone. Now I want to ask you one other thing." He noticed the way she was biting down on her bottom lip nervously. "Don't worry. I want to ask you for your help. You were right, we can't see her and you can. With her roaming such a wide area it will be hard for us to locate her. Would you mind helping us?"
"No, not at all." She answered her excitement obvious over anything that might distract her.
"Excellent. Alex and Nick will continue the research for tonight, hopefully we can get some ideas of why she's doing this. Tomorrow I want to go to the neighborhood to find her and put her to rest. We'll be searching separate areas so I'll need you to carry this." He slid the portable phone across the desk to her. She picked it up hesitantly but could see by his expression that he was serious. She slid it into her pocket.
"I want you to check the name Annie for being connected to the neighborhood." Derek said entering the control room where both Alex and Nick sat at terminals.
"Where'd that come from?" Nick asked, surprised by the new development.
"Tangye spoke with the spirit while you were visiting Mrs. Welsh." Nick's eyes grew wide. He had seen a change in her behavior after they got back but would never have contributed it to that. "Evidently the woman called her Annie."
"What do you think it means?" Alex asked.
Derek shook his head unsure. "I'm not sure Alex. Tangye didn't seem to have any idea either. The woman told her that those she had hurt deserved to be punished, that life wasn't always fair." Derek answered her.
"I don't think that came as news to her." Alex spoke softly, remembering the anguish so present in Tangye's eyes from earlier. The lost look when Tangye had realized just how much the people once her peers had changed when her life was held in a standstill. "So what do we do?"
"I want you to continue checking on the neighborhood, add the name Annie into the search. Tomorrow I think we should go back, see if we can find this woman. Tangye has agreed to help us on that end." Derek added the last part as a warning, so no one would seem shocked when she came along.
"Do you think that's a good idea?" Alex asked worried.
"I think it's our only option. We won't be able to see her unless she allows us, but Tangye will. If we intend to stop her before she hurts anyone else we must use all we have at our disposal." Alex nodded though she still felt uncertain.
"Wake up Karin, wake up. We need to talk." Karin Welsh struggled to open her eyes hearing her name being called. The room was engulfed in darkness but she was certain no one was there with her. "Karin what have you done?" The voice, little more then an insistent whisper came back to her.
"Who are you? What do you want of me?" Karin demanded into the dark.
"How did you do it? I saw her, how did you bring her back?" The voice was growing angrier now insisting to know more. Karin had no idea of what the voice spoke, though. Who it was talking about.
"Who? Who did I bring back?" Karin sat up in the bed wishing she understood what was happening to her, feeling a little more then crazy. The two men from the Luna Foundation that day had seemed to readily accept everything she had said and that had helped to make her feel a little better. This, though, talking with no one, was just too much. She could feel her mind slipping away from her.
"Annie, you returned her here somehow and I must know how." The voice demanded, more angry now.
"I know no Annie. And I haven't brought anyone back here." Karin called into the emptiness of the night.
"If you lie to me you shall pay, as have the others." Karin Welsh had the sudden need to flee, feeling very real danger close to her. She struggled out of the sheets and went running out of her room. She nearly lost her footing on the stairs but caught herself on the railing. She turned once to look behind her, despite the fact she saw nothing she knew she was not alone. "You must be punished." The voice cried out to her, pushing her forward into the night.
She made it out onto the street when the church bells from half a block away began to ring loud and true. Successfully they covered the screams that tore through the night.
Nick exited the control room rubbing his face, wishing for the first time he had gotten a little more sleep the night before, but not regretting what he had sacrificed it for. He glanced down at his watch and was a little shocked to see it said two thirty. Alex had gone up to bed hours ago but Nick had insisted on staying up and trying to gather more information. He had quite enough of going into situations blind for the time being. They had let themselves believe they knew what was going on in the Gaarlihn house only because they were desperate to do something. He wasn't about to do that again, thinking how close he had come to being killed, and how close Tangye had come to killing herself to prevent that.
He decided to go up and grab a quick shower then come back down and continue the research. That, and maybe he would drink down an entire pot of coffee. He heard the soft shuffle of paper behind him and whipped around, instincts kicking in and putting him on guard. For far from the first time in the past week he found his heart in his throat just seeing her.
She sat curled up in a chair by the window, book in her lap. The soft glow of the lamp showered down on her, making her hair shine lighter then it was. Her hair was hanging down to cover her features but he could see the soft line of her jaw and chin. She reached up and in a vain effort brushed it back. It didn't seem willing to cooperate, falling back in its previous arrangement. For that moment he was privileged to see her profile. The form of her lips and nose, both with an upsweep he found more endearing then he realized at first. He saw the shadowy form of her eyes, the smooth forehead, all of it captured in his mind.
"Tan?" He whispered, hoping not to startle her. She turned to him smiling and he noticed immediately the dimple on her left cheek. She wasn't anything like the women he usually found himself attracted to, not glamorous in anyway. Her beauty was more subtle; it sneaked its way into one's heart. She was an accessible sort of beauty and he found he liked that even more. The innocence of her looks, and how each piece was working together to create the picture stuck in his mind.
"Hi, couldn't sleep. This library is amazing." She looked around.
"I didn't scare you did I?" Nick crossed the room carefully and sat in the chair across from her. He reminded himself of his decision to take things slowly between them despite his more active desire to pull her into his arms and just hold onto her.
"No, you don't have to worry about that. Part of the talent, I know when someone else is near." She said casually, seeming amused by that fact.
"How?" He asked, interested in anything she was willing to tell him about.
"It's like a whisper in my ear. Nothing specific, just a sense of a presence. Surprise parties were always a disappointment for me." She smiled at him, that smile already so much a part of him. A smile that hurt him because of the hesitancy he saw in it. He looked her over once more, surprised at how small she could seem. He remembered her in the house. In the moment when she had turned her talent on her father, she seemed to exude strength then. How could someone that looked so small one moment seem so large and powerful in the next?
She was barefoot despite the chill in the house and wearing a stunning set of deep purple satin pajamas with gold piping. He knew she wasn't wearing any makeup but still her skin was as smooth as the fabric she wore, totally free of imperfection, or anything that he saw as imperfect. He noticed a small white scar on her forehead above her nose and a very light discoloration from another scar on her right cheek. They were very easy to overlook but with as much as he had been studying her he had to wonder how he had missed them before. He found himself wanting to know where they had come from, what had marked her so.
"How's the work coming. The name helping at all?" Nick shook his head pulling himself back to the present. She bit down on her bottom lip stifling the laugh.
"Um, yeah. I mean " He paused to choose his words, realizing he was stuttering. "There have been like six Ann's in the area in the past fifty years, we still don't know which it is."
"Wish I could help more." She wrapped her arms around herself.
"You will." Nick nodded confidant in his words. She relaxed, letting her feet slide down to the floor and putting the book aside. "Mind if I ask you something rather, strange?"
"Only if you'll answer me if I ever decide to do the same." He laughed at that, his eyes growing small, his own version of dimples showing. She liked his smile, how natural it seemed for him to do so. It put her at ease somehow. Really, she realized, there was little about the face before her that she didn't like. The strong lines and even the tired ones now under his eyes, told her so much about him. His murky color eyes that showed the depth of his soul and tried to hide the pain buried there. She was fascinated by his face and looked forward to getting the chance to learn what each expression that crossed it meant.
"Where'd this come from?" He reached out and touched the small white line on her forehead. When she didn't pull away from his touch he was relieved, he had been afraid he'd bring back a painful memory. This one didn't seem to bother her though. Her skin was warm and smooth under his finger, and he didn't even feel the raised skin that he knew had to be there from the scar.
"Cat. When I was three I found a stray cat in the yard. This was it's warning to me that it didn't have much interest in being held." She touched the spot.
"And this one?" He touched her cheek with his thumb, letting his hand linger there. She reached up and took it in her own. Her slender fingers intertwining with his strong ones. But she didn't try to move his hand away from her.
"Thorn bush. I was eleven, running through the woods at camp, not paying much attention to where I was going. Shouldn't have left a scar but I didn't get it treated, just let it heal on it's own." She moved her hand down to the table not letting go of his. He looked down at them and noticed a small round spot on the back of her hand slightly darker then the rest of her skin.
"Last one." He rubbed the spot.
"Cigarette, sixteen. I was at a party and walked into someone's cigarette. I seem to have a bad habit of not looking where I'm going. What about you?" She turned her eyes up to him.
"I try to pay attention." He answered lightly.
"I meant scars Nick." She chuckled.
"I was a SEAL, and I've been in the Legacy for years, I have plenty." She leaned her head down resting it on their hands. He was glad she didn't pull away, he liked having her this close. Letting their contact linger felt right. "So you went to camp?" She nodded. "I never did, except boot. You enjoy it?"
Her eyes flashed for a moment, seeming to look away at something then back to his face. She knew he had things he had to do, if nothing else it was clear he needed to get some sleep, but he seemed more interested in staying and talking to her. She decided not to waste the chance to get to know him. "Yeah I did. Sports all day, hiking, swimming, totally my element. Then at night we'd have one big camp game. Capture the flag, commando type games in the forest, it was great." She laughed at a sudden memory. "They would tell ghost stories every night around a fire. I never really liked them though. I knew what I saw was ghosts and I knew what they really could be. Hurt and lonely, searching for peace. The ghosts in their stories were always so angry and violent. I realize some are, but I don't like to focus on that." He knew she had learned that lesson too well, but her smile returned suddenly.
"But I had this one spirit that came with me to camp one year and when they'd start telling ghost stories he would whisper ones in my ears for me to tell. His stories had the counselors shaking; they were so gruesome, so vivid. I learned years later that he was just telling me old folktales from different parts of the world. A lot of the great Irish tales. I didn't even know he was teaching me literature at the time but he did it subtlety. I remember all those stories to this day. I had the kids in that camp terrified to sleep for fear of what might come creeping out of the woods to grab them when they were sleeping. I think even a few of the counselors were wishing the place had locks on the cabin doors." Nick smiled listening to her as she told him stories of the camp, stories from her school days. He enjoyed every moment of his time with her, not even noticing as the night crept towards early morning.
Derek dreamed once again of the man who had come to him with instructions. He had sat up past midnight reading the journal entries of his father from his first year in the Legacy. The time when Charles Gaarlihn was still a member, or very active in their memory. Derek knew that eventually his father had turned to the dark side but in the early days his father still had been a noble man with the best of intentions. Winston Rayne seemed to hold Charles as an example of standards, though; he hardly had the chance to get to know him. His father had been present at the funeral for the ex-Legacy member and had described the anger on Eric Gaarlihn's face. He also read his father's accounts of how Charles had made the difficult choice to leave the Legacy in hopes of repairing a damaged relationship with his only son. A sacrifice that had come to naught. Eric was beyond forgiving his father's imagined sins against him.
Now as he slept Derek saw the silver haired man whose light eyes showed the slightest hint of those that would someday be his great-granddaughter's. Blue with a hint of gold, though his seemed to be more hazel, the two colors not as distinguished as they were in Tangye. His face was kind but troubled even in death. Derek wasn't sure why he was here in his dreams again but he really wasn't concerned, he had to tell the man something.
"I want to thank you Charles. For helping us help her. I'm sorry I didn't listen better." Derek said sincerely, glad to have this chance to pass his gratitude on.
"You did not know what to listen for. She is as dear to me as my heart but she is not ready to have me in her life again. I must watch over her in silence. She is stronger then you can guess, and more then I can as well. But she is tired now. Do not let weariness defeat her." His voice was full of sadness and more then a hint of fear.
"What do you mean?" Derek felt anxiety sweep over him to think that she might be in danger again. He couldn't help but remember that he agreed to let her help in the investigation.
"None threaten her but she is not out of danger. Remember she is yours now." Derek woke with a start, feeling helpless in the face of what he had just dreamed. But knew it had been a warning of something, he just didn't know what. He realized the phone beside his bed was ringing, and had probably been what pulled him so abruptly from the dream.
He answered it absently, still questioning the words of the spirit from his dream. 'She is yours now.' He had said that the last time, and seemed to think it was important to communicate that, but Derek didn't know what he meant by the words.
Tangye and Nick sat in the control room staring at the monitors intently when Alex entered the room early the next morning. She couldn't keep the pleased grin off her face at seeing the two sitting there so comfortable with each other. At first she had been worried about his near obsession with the young woman during the investigation of her imposed imprisonment. Now knowing the woman in question she saw there was no reason for her concern. Despite all her troubles Alex saw a good spirit inside of Tangye, a strong and caring soul that would be good for her younger friend. So often Nick got hurt by the people in his life and felt he couldn't really count on anyone. Alex believed that perhaps Tangye Gaarlihn would be able to prove that belief wrong, she was sure that the telepath didn't have it in her to hurt anyone unless necessary.
"Mornin' Alex." Tangye greeted her without turning around. Alex was about to question how she did that but decided against it. She had her suspicions and that was enough.
"How's it coming?" Alex asked joining them.
"Slow. We're gathering any information on Ann's that lived in the area, trying to find pictures of them, or their families. See if maybe Tangye recognizes something from the woman she met yesterday." Nick scrolled through a few more pictures but still got no reaction from the woman beside him.
"Just Ann's?" Nick nodded. "I was thinking. She called you Annie right?" Alex asked, hoping that her new idea would get them somewhere.
"Yeah." Tangye turned the chair to Alex.
"Couldn't that just be a nickname for any number of names? Annabelle? Anna? Or it could be a middle name that she went by." Alex took a seat at her own terminal.
"You trying to make this harder?" Nick asked with a suspicious grin.
"I'm trying to find this Annie. Tangye, did the woman's clothes suggest a certain time period to you? Her hairstyle?" Nick turned to her waiting for a response.
"Um, no actually. She was wearing all black and white. Full length, almost like a robe. Nothing really special about her hair though, just a common, middle age cut. Perm, shoulder length. I guess perms were big in the seventies and eighties right?" Alex nodded. Tangye rested her head in her hand as Alex typed.
"Okay, middle age woman in the late seventies." Tangye nodded. "Someone named Annie in her life, probably a relative or close friend." Alex repeated the things she was typing in.
"Things just got more urgent." Derek announced walking in the room. All three turned to look at him. "I just got a call from the police department. Karin Welsh was found in front of her house this morning, dead from what looks like a heart attack. She was found barefoot and without a coat." His voice was calm but his face showed his concern.
"You think this woman did it?" Nick asked though he already saw the suspicion on Derek's face.
"I don't see how we can't. This woman just went from dangerous to deadly, she has to be stopped." Derek's statement had a strong finality to it.
"Take a look at this. Annaliese Emerson missing since 1973." They looked up at the screen but only Tangye spoke.
"Oh my God." Though they weren't identical the similarity was enough that without scrutiny they could be mistaken for each other. Annaliese was slightly younger then Tangye, her hair a few shades darker, her face more elongated but the resemblance was there.
"Missing persons report list her as going by Annie. This woman, whoever she is obviously thinks you are Annaliese, back where she was last seen." Alex said triumphantly.
"Good work Alex." Derek congratulated. "I want to get to the neighborhood and talk to the police. Maybe one of the neighbors saw something that could help us. We have to find this woman." Tangye couldn't pry her eyes off the screen.
Nick sat slouched deeply in the couch of the sitting room waiting for the others to be ready to leave. He hardly glanced up when Philip joined him in the room. Hesitantly the priest made his way to one of the armchairs and sat down with the newspaper, sighing heavily. He knew the look on Nick's face well enough, and knew just what was coming. Thinking of how close they had once been it still hurt Philip to think how far apart they had fallen so quickly. Nick seemed determined now to keep everything on a professional level between them rather then letting their friendship rebuild. Philip unfolded the newspaper trying to draw as little attention to himself as possible, not that his friend didn't know he was there.
He could feel Nick's suspicious eyes on him, studying his every move, trying to write more into them then was there. But the awkward silence continued, driving Philip crazy. Just as he wished that Nick would get it over with he regretted that thought when Nick spoke. His voice was low, threatening even if he didn't mean it to be. "Got a question for you."
Philip folded the paper on his lap and looked at Nick, who still glared at him out of the corner of his eye without turning his head. "Alright."
"What the hell are you doing here, Father?" Nick threw the title in for spite, unsettling Philip with the amount of venom Nick attached to the single word. He sighed heavily, unsure of how to approach this. Yesterday things had seemed better between them then they had been in a long time. Nick was at ease, making jokes and teasing Philip as he used to. Now alone, with no one there to get stuck in the crossfire Nick seemed to let that ease slip away. His anger had found its way back to the surface after being alone with Philip for a few moments.
"Alex called me, asked me fer help." He answered casually, hoping not to give Nick any reason to get angry. He had been waiting for this discussion for days now and doubted anything that he could do would keep what had been boiling just below the surface from exploding. He had felt Nick's eyes on him enough since he had come back to the island but the younger man seemed to focus on his emotions toward the new visitor rather then his old friend. His distrust and anger were still there but he had allowed himself to be distracted from them. Nick only ever held things in for so long and the longer he did the worse the outburst usually was. Philip tried to steel himself for what was coming, not sure if he could face another verbal berating by Nick. No one could hurt him like Nick always did with his accusations.
"That was days ago, why are you still here? You quit remember?" He of course remembered, if not only for how difficult the decision had been for him but also how much pain it had caused those he cared about.
"Yes Nick I remember, but I'm still your friend, and I want to help you when I can." He answered slowly. Nick shook his head, an annoyed grin on his face.
"It's not that simple Philip. We risk our lives here; you running in and out when it's convenient just doesn't work. Anyway, Derek's called you plenty of times before and you've turned him down, what made this one so special?" Philip wasn't sure he could explain that, not in a way Nick would accept. He knew why he had come but had no justification for why he chose to linger. He remembered vividly the searing fear he had felt engulf him when he had gotten the urgent call from Alex as she hastily explained the situation at the Gaarlihn house. The horror of the idea that his hot headed younger brother could be in mortal danger. The idea of losing Nick was not new, in too many ways he already had lost him, and life in the Legacy was fraught with so much danger that they had all faced their mortality long ago. What had really terrified the priest was the idea that Nick had gotten himself hastily involved in a situation he didn't understand without having any idea how much Philip cared for him.
Nick Boyle was a lot of things, many were infuriating. Thick headed, stubborn, reckless, volatile, slow to forgive. But in Philip's mind one thing was most important. Nick Boyle was his chosen little brother. Full of life and humor, passionate, loving, sensitive. His little brother that had been kicked around by the whole world for so many years, who always felt that he was alone. Philip knew he loved all the members of his extended family in the Legacy but Nick was different. Even when he was trying so hard to alienate Philip Nick had been the most important member of his second family. No one in the Legacy needed Philip as much as Nick did, even if he would never admit it. No one in the Legacy was as hurt when Philip left as Nick and that spoke of Nick's true feelings. But how did he ever tell the man who was his little brother just how he felt when it was so clear that he didn't want to hear it?
"I was worried." He answered carefully. "Nick, you too often don't think things out before acting on them. I was afraid you got in over your head."
"Situations over, why are you still here?" Nick probably didn't even know how much it hurt Philip to hear him say that. Nick usually tried to keep him here, convince him that being a priest was wrong for him and the Legacy was right. Even when he had tried to push Philip away the words were said in such a way that Philip knew it was Nick's anger talking, his desire not to be hurt again. Now Nick asked it so calmly Philip wondered if maybe Nick hadn't finally just given up his efforts to try to keep him in the house and had decided he just didn't care anymore.
"Derek asked me to." Philip answered lamely.
"That's not a reason Philip. You've let him down often enough. We've gotten good at handling things on our own, he have to most of the time." Nick snapped, closing his eyes tightly. Philip almost sighed with relief to hear that anger though.
"Listen Nick " Philip started, but Nick wasn't about to listen to another round of excuses.
"Why?" Nick jumped up in a flash, his face giving into the anger just as quickly. "So you can tell me how much you care all over again? I've heard it Philip and every time you say it you still leave." Philip flinched at the mix of anger and pain in Nick's voice. Nick still hurt so badly, still felt that every time Philip walked out the door he was walking out on him.
"I left the Legacy Nick, not our friendship." Philip tried to explain once again.
"Bullshit Philip." Nick snapped back. "You don't visit, you don't try to stay in touch with us. The only reason we know what's going on with you is because Derek is always checking up on you. You don't think that's cutting off our friendship?" Nick's voice raised in his anger.
"Nick you haven't left a lot of room for us to work this out. You won't even talk to me." Philip felt his frustration building.
"I'm talking to you now." Nick pointed out with animosity.
"Guys, Derek's ready " Tangye stopped recognizing the tension in the room. Nick hardly seemed to notice her though, instead focusing only on his anger. All his mind kept saying over and over was that Philip left, he always left no matter what claims he made, what promises.
"C'mon Father, explain. Explain why you can't stick with one thing. Why can't you carry through on anything? So sure you're going to fail that you have to get out before you do?" Nick yelled the accusations. Tangye had been sure there was something that had happened between them but this was the first indication of what it was. Nick was hurt that Philip had left the Legacy and wouldn't forgive him.
"Nick please " Tangye pleaded with him, trying to get him to calm down.
"Come on Philip. They trained you at seminary to deal with people, let's hear what pretty words you have. Justify yourself." Nick's voice stayed low, warning everyone to just step back from him. Tangye didn't seem willing to listen though, walking up to him and putting her hand on his shoulder.
"I think that's enough for now." Her calm voice stopped him, surprising Philip. "Derek's ready to leave."
"We're not done here." Nick warned.
"A woman's dead Nick, and more could be. Now is not the time for this, you two can fight anytime." She slipped her hand into Nick's. Nick just kept his eyes locked on Philip, staring him down.
"I don't even care anymore. Nothing you can say will convince me of anything your actions won't." Nick pivoted on his heel and left the room. Tangye followed but she kept her eyes on Philip, looking at him with sadness and understanding. The young priest just sighed. He was so tired of this fight with Nick but was not willing to just give up. Nick meant far too much to Philip to just forget him, and if someday one of these fights brought about a breakthrough Philip was willing to endure them. He just hoped that someday Nick would find it within himself to forgive or they could at least start over somehow.
He sighed and followed them out to the car.