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Unheeded Warnings by TalgoM Unheeded Warnings
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Jason couldn't have slept even if he had known it was well past midnight. He stood a vigil guard over his fallen friend. He still had no idea where it was they were and had begun to doubt that it really mattered. All he was sure of was that there was no way out. He had run his hands over every bit of the walls that he could reach and found nothing indicating an entrance and therefore no escape route. He had also found no tract of Greg but refused to consider what that could mean. He had come up with countless reasons they would be kept apart and all of them were better then the things that Sean had cried about.
His eyes had finally adjusted to the darkness and he no longer found it quite so imposing. In fact the place almost calmed him now. The stillness of the cavern, the rhythmic sound of both the dripping water and Sean's light breathing. At least all those things served to connect him to something and eased his worries that he was no longer real.
His childish mind couldn't help but wonder if he had already passed over to the place of the spirits and if this wasn't all a lingering dream of his life. But the awakening adult in him refused simple defeat. He was prepared to fight for his escape and that of his friends; first he would have to figure out what to fight against. He had already screamed himself hoarse trying to draw attention to them, trying desperately to taunt their keeper out of hiding. It had done nothing though, his cries merely echoing back to him from the stone walls.
He wished he could have offered his sleeping friend some hope but he had none to give. He remembered with a chill the face of their abductor. The way his hand reached out to him and lightly touched his arm. The grip had not been violent, just a soft pull and then the darkness of this place. And music. He recalled the sound of music from the record player in the next room over and a shift, slight as it was in the man's face. Like what? Jason tried to figure out what it had been, hoping perhaps that knowledge could give him the answers that he needed for their escape.
It wasn't anger or malice, but not kindness either, nor fear. No it had been something else. He strove to picture the man in the clearest detail he could and for some reason ended up picturing Sean instead. His face right after Greg had vanished into the attic, when their eyes had met for just a moment. He had been terrified but Jason had also seen the sense of urgency there for them to escape. The same urgency that had filled the man's eyes when the music had started.
He stood up carefully laying Sean's head down so not to wake him and crossed to the other side of the room. He knew he would find nothing new but he couldn't control the hope that something would change, that salvation would suddenly step forth from the darkness and bring with it light. "Why did you do this?" He spoke to the man he was sure could hear and see everything in their prison. "We didn't mean any harm, it was just a game. Please let us go, please." For the first time his hope and voice both shattered and the tears came down his young face, working lines through the dust he didn't even realize was there.
He didn't even notice the figure that had joined him in the cave. The man watching in silence but seeing no choice for his actions. His slightly twisted face holding onto a numb expression, betraying no regret nor enjoyment. He merely watched as the boy begged the stone wall for salvation that could not be delivered.
Alex had settled down into the counselor's room of the small cabin over an hour ago and sleep had fallen over her with ease. After a day of traveling and the general stress of the situation she was completely worn out. The night chill crept into the room and she pulled the covers tight around her thin shoulders. She had spent more then an hour on the small beach lingering with Gilby and enjoyed every moment of it. He was a smart man, deeply compassionate, and witty. Alex knew there was a chance that she may never be granted the opportunity to see him again, but at the same time she felt she could hope. She had been watching the beginning of the uncertain relationship forming between Nick and Tangye. Seen them taking those tentative steps to get to know each other, afraid of scaring the other off. Alex missed those feelings in her own life. The adventure a new romance held, and the reward offered.
Perhaps nothing would ever develop between her and Gilby Mayhew but in his own way he had given her a reminder of the things she was missing. The long talks, romantic locations, lingering glances. Alex decided it was perhaps time to consider a little more just where she wanted to be in the next few years, maybe start to focus a little more on her own life instead of the Legacy. And Gilby certainly wouldn't be a bad starting point, with his dark blue eyes, golden hair, and vibrant smile, not to mention an ideal physique. More then any of the physical though the psychic had found herself attracted to the person she saw within him. The kind gentle soul desperate to make a difference and offer happy memories into these children's lives. As her dreams replayed their long conversation a smile found it's way to her lips, and she snuggled down deeper into the sheets.
She had no idea in her peaceful slumber that she was being watched.
The man stood in the corner of the small room, a darkened figure of little more then shadow. Had there been light in the corner one would have seen the distorted smile that tried to crease his face. He felt her comfort, her ease and warmth and took pleasure in it. The serenity she found in her night's rest gave him enjoyment for whatever reason it might.
Then as suddenly as he had invaded her space, he jerked his head to one side as though he heard something, and vanished, leaving the night to its stillness.
She suffered from no nightmares, oddly she never had. Sleep was an escape from all the evil that too often found it's way into her life. When she slept she was left only the moments of joy from her past. Once those had been countless now she had a great many less to retreat to. Still, when sleep fell over her she never saw any of the events that would hurt her; they existed then in the quiet corners of her mind that could not be heard from here. Tonight she dreamed of the days when she herself had come to a camp so like this one, the moments when she had felt she was the most a child amongst children. The spirits that followed her to that camp had not come to teach her, but to ensure her enjoyment of the experience, and for the most part they left her alone to play. She had been carefree and young, no expectations made of her and there was nothing extraordinary or peculiar about her then.
The face again tried for a smile, feeling the peace this one had found as easily as he felt it on the other woman. Yet within this one he sensed the struggle, the deep fear that he recalled too well. His hand reached out to touch her from the shadows; his grime covered hand nearing her soft brown hair.
Her dreams were peaceful and she fell into them happily. Until she felt the stirring near her.
She shot up out of sleep and from under the covers in the same fast reflex. The darkness of the room didn't bother her or limit the sight she used to search. She was sure that a moment ago she had not been alone, that another mind had been close. She was certain she had felt the coolness closing in on her, a coolness she was all too familiar with. The touch of the dead, a spirits caress.
Whatever it was, whoever, was gone now. Gone the moment her mind had snapped awake. She pulled her covers tight around herself and sunk back into the bed. She found herself hoping that her living nightmares were over, but no longer feeling so certain.
Nick noticed the light shining through the windows of the cabin at the bottom of the hill in the predawn hour as he returned from his run. His internal alarm clock had woken him before sunrise and knowing that no one else would be awake he decided to head out for a run through the mountain roads. Ten miles later he was returning just as the sun was making its appearance over the horizon. He wasn't really surprised to see the light on considering everything the man inside was going through and decided to take advantage of the undisturbed morning hours to speak with his old friend.
Gilby Mayhew had been someone he really hadn't thought of in years. Nick wondered absently why that was. Could it be he had been afraid of what might have become of him, or what would if Nick decided to reestablish those ties? He had watched nearly everyone he ever cared about be put into the ground over the past few years and he wasn't prepared to face the possibility of losing anyone else. Often times the young man wondered if it would be better to not just step back from some of the relationships he allowed to form. Would he be able to protect people that way from the curse that seemed to follow him through life? But he had never really been able to do it. Not only due to his own instincts but the people he got involved with just didn't seem willing to allow it.
He thought of Alex and her never ending patience, the way she endured his every outburst and could so frequently make him laugh during them. Rachel and her doctor's desire to heal him, her soft voice that pulled him out of his own shell. Derek and his quiet concern, the supportive gestures that seemed outside of his control but were pure instinct. Even Philip and his accursed forgiveness. None of them would allow him to alienate himself from them, even if he tried. He knew that they got frustrated with him, and even angry at times, but still they would not abandon him.
He found himself grinning at that thought, and wishing could do that for someone else. Alex had once asked him if he would turn his back on her if she were to mess up on assignment one day. He didn't want to believe he would but he couldn't deny his own history. He had been taught that only perfection was good enough, and had a difficult time accepting any less from himself. He had thought for a long time that it was something only he believed until he came to the Legacy. Derek and he were more alike then either would probably like to admit, taught by their fathers to always be the best and accept nothing less, pushing themselves beyond endurance in all things. Then he had met Philip, a young Irishman just beginning Seminary school, who always felt his efforts were far from good enough, never able to see the good he could do. Nick knew that was one of the reasons that he was angry with Philip, his constantly self-deprecating attitude of inadequacy. Nick also knew it wasn't so different from his own opinion of himself. He refused to show weakness because he was terrified that was what he was, he refused to admit defeat because he would have to face all the times he had failed.
He suddenly shook off the thoughts he was having. He had been over this all in his head a thousand times before and it never resolved itself. Instead he stepped up to the door of Gilby's cabin and gently knocked. "Come in." The familiar voice came back. He pushed open the door and found Gilby sitting at his desk looking over some papers with blank eyes, clearly trying to distract himself from his own thoughts but not succeeding. He glanced at Nick with a small grin and dropped the pen he had been pressing in between the palms of his two hands.
"Saw your light on. I don't think anyone else is up yet, figured I'd stop in and say hi." He hung back by the door, not sure if Gilby really felt like company.
"Thanks." He shifted his jaw averting his eyes out the window. "You can sit down Boyle. I have some questions for you." Gilby's voice was trying to be stern but for the most part it just didn't seem to be a part of his makeup. Gilby Mayhew enjoyed life too much to ever capture the emotion well.
"Such as?" Nick hesitantly took a seat wondering what he was going to have to answer, or what he would even be able to.
"Don't worry, Alex has made it clear that there's things going on here I'm not supposed to know about. Just curious where you've been, what you've been doing. After all it has been eleven years. You said you were in the Navy four years?" Gilby sat back in his chair seeming more comfortable. His eyes were now focused and had the hint of mischief in them that he had always been known for.
"Yeah, actually I was a SEAL. Like I said though, that was a long time ago." Nick answered, never really feeling comfortable talking about his time in the SEALs, he was sure the question of why he left would always come up and he hated talking about that.
"So what do you do now? Work for the Luna Foundation doing what?" Gilby attempted to bring him out in another manner.
"Research and security, some archeological digs." Nick again realized that he didn't really want to talk about this area either. He hated lying about what he did, he knew it was necessary to protect the secret of the Legacy but he trusted Gilby. Gilby Mayhew was just the dependable type, he had a wild spirit but loyalty and responsibilities were more important to him then anything.
"Okay, didn't know you had an interest in any of that. I definitely saw you more as the Navy type then researcher. Not all archeology can be Indiana Jones after all." He said lightly.
"No definitely not." Nick laughed. Gilby's grin managed to bring down the walls of years that had been built between the two men and helped forge a bridge between childhood and manhood. Gilby really hadn't changed too much. He still took certain things too seriously, but that did not include himself. His easy attitude was just comforting; he could bring out the laughter with just a grin.
"So I know you didn't want to follow in your dad's footsteps, why'd you join?" Nick's face froze. "He wasn't exactly your hero Nick. You hardly seemed to have two words for the guy most of the time." Nick realized that this wasn't Gilby's attempt to get him talking about his abuse, and he doubted Gilby had even made that connection. All his friend knew was that his father and he didn't get along, share many interests or have much to talk about. But he clearly had no idea why that gap existed.
"Um, actually it's difficult to explain." Nick answered slowly. He hated ever being reminded of his father. Even now that he knew more about the man and why he behaved the way he did. Still none of that information erased the pain from his childhood.
"Okay so that's one of the things I don't get to know about." Gilby made the deduction from Nick's effort to come up with the right words. He couldn't deny that the curiosity was getting the best of him but if these people could help he was not about to offend them or overstep his bounds. "No past, no present, what can we talk about?"
"You? How long have you owned this place?" Nick asked grateful to be away from his own past. It would certainly be easier to talk about him rather then Nick's own secretive life.
"Four years. I'm in debt up to my ears but it was worth it. This was all I ever really wanted to do." He answered; again remembering that it was all over now. There would just be no way for him to come back from these misfortunes or the possible tragedy still waiting to be found.
"I remember that. How excited you got every summer when you'd go away to camp, I was always jealous of you for it too." And he had been. Gilby wouldn't talk about anything else for weeks before he left meanwhile Nick had always known exactly what he would be doing over those summers. Spending them with his father and his tests. Tests meant to teach Nick lessons but that had been nothing but cruel. Then, year after year, Gilby would return and regale all his friends with his stories from the summer while Nick remained silent about his vacations. Nick realized that too much of his life had been spent in silence, hiding his father's abuse, hiding the Legacy, hiding his Navy activities. For no particular reason he suddenly remembered the woman he had felt compelled to share it all with for the past weeks.
He had told Tangye more about himself in the first hours that he had known her then he had told people who had known him for years. He had been trying for days to resolve his feelings for the attractive and spirited young woman but had come no closer to conclusions. He barely knew her; she was hardly even settled into the house much less their lives, yet he was sure that she belonged in both. He thought about the traits that had come forth in her first. Her inner strength that he respected immediately, her ability to triumph, her compassion that was spoken in tiny gestures more then words. Tangye Gaarlihn was not about to be defined by the bad things that had happened to her, she would make sure that she was known for the bright spots in her life. Her quick sense of humor and sarcasm, her daring spirit, these were the traits she would be known for throughout her life. As well as that bit of fire in her that allowed her to do the impossible, to triumph without flinching, because of her belief in herself and her desire to do some good if nothing else.
He brought himself back to the present with the realization that his own friend could be a bridge between them. Gilby knew the girl and teenager that Tangye had been, and just learning about the years that had made her into the woman she was now would satisfy Nick. "So how long did you know Tangye?" He asked, trying to sound casual.
"I was waiting to see how long that took." Gilby smirked.
"It's not why I came in here, but " Gilby nodded, understanding. Nick obviously had secrets to keep and that made just talking about the years that had passed difficult.
"She first came to camp when she was, eight or nine. Stopped going when she was sixteen. She told me that summer that she was going to come back as a counselor but never did. Then she shows up here yesterday with you, weird." Gilby shrugged.
"Tell me about her, what was she like?" Nick leaned forward slightly in his seat. He didn't try to explain what it had been that kept her from returning, knowing Tangye would have preferred fewer people knowing.
"I'm not making it that easy on you, Nick. I'll show you something but if you really want to know her you got to do the work for yourself. Trust me, you'll enjoy it." His voice was thick with his own memories of that learning period and fondness for it. He went over the filing cabinet in the corner and pulled out a dark blue photo album. Flipping to about halfway through and past a few pages more he found what he was looking for. "There's our girl." He said with a smile as he handed the book over to Nick.
It was undeniably the child the woman, who had been dancing her way through his thoughts for two weeks, had been. She had the same bright eyes full of mischief, the same little grin that made one wonder just what it was she was up to. These were traits he was just getting to know in her but they intrigued him. This, though, was still clearly a child's face, holding innocence lost over the years. Her hair was a few shades lighter then it was now, and considerably longer. Her clothes were covered in mud and a few spots had splattered up onto her rounded cheeks. But she looked happy, painfully happy. Nick wondered if her face now would ever manage to mimic that expression of joy. "How old is she?"
"Ten, maybe eleven." Nick imagined her at Kat's age. So young and full of a promise that no amount of horror in her life would ever completely destroy. But then the promise was fresh and untainted. It wasn't an effort to prove that she could triumph, she just did. He thought about her at the age before pain had been introduced to her sweet face, when nothing yet was capable of hurting her. Except the small gash on her right cheek, leaving a tiny line of blood below it.
"She told me about this." He touched the photo then turned his eyes up to his friend.
"She was so happy at the camp. I always got the feeling she like it better there then anywhere else, like it offered something that she got no where else." Gilby paused in thought for a moment. "I'll tell you this Nick, she is one surprise after another. She'll say things that completely disarm you, and she's willing to do anything." Nick thought about Gilby's words and realized what Gilby couldn't possibly know. Tangye's gifts allowed her insight others didn't have, and at the young age she was when he knew her she probably lacked much control over those talents. Derek had been working to get her to control it after she had been taught her whole life to just let it go. Back then though she probably didn't even realize she was doing it and was bound to slip up with indications of things she shouldn't know.
Thinking what Gilby had no idea existed in her, after all the time he had spent with her, made the realization dawn on Nick about the fact that he really didn't yet know her either. He was intrigued by her, attracted without question but still there existed countless blanks to be filled in. And Gilby was right, he would enjoy the time it took to do just that.
Nick looked back up from his musing to Gilby's amused face, remembering his comment from the day before. "Yesterday you said that something said something that doesn't make sense." Nick tried to think of a better way of stating his question but the camp director merely laughed.
"I know what I said." Gilby nodded, his smile showing his satisfaction that Nick recalled the comment.
"What did you mean?" Gilby seemed to hesitate for a moment but couldn't keep the smile back "What?" Nick demanded.
"You called her 'Tan'. That's all." He answered finally getting control of himself.
"So?" Nick was now thoroughly confused as to why a nickname was so amusing.
"Tangye Gaarlihn goes by one thing only, Tangye. It was always quite clear that was how she wanted it and no one ever called her anything else. When you called her 'Tan' though she didn't even flinch. More then that she stopped me from saying anything about it." He sat back in his seat, feeling at ease with the conversation finally.
"And that means?" Nick prodded him on.
"She doesn't want you to stop it. That's what said something." Nick nodded and couldn't help but grin himself.
"I didn't even realize I was doing it really." He said back.
"Listen Nick, I watched her as a sixteen year old girl, watched as she captivated guys with a turn of her head. Whatever it was that did it then is still in her now, if anything it's even more pronounced." He took the photo album back and put it away.
"Don't I know it." Nick nearly whispered then looked up to Gilby's back. "What about you, did you ever have anything for her?"
Gilby seemed about ready to laugh again but kept his face serious as he answered. He knew Nick well enough, or thought he did, to know he could have a jealous side, especially when things were so new and tentative. "She's beautiful, I'm not going to deny that. There's a mystery in her that wants to be solved. I think that's what really does it. She draws you in with that mystery; you want to know what it all means. But to answer your question, no, I never had those sort of feelings for her." He paused for a moment as if reviewing some memory to be sure. "When her parents first brought her to camp I overheard the director talking to them. It was on the recommendation of a shrink that they take her to camp. Something about taking her out of a comfortable environment, forcing her to deal with reality, to make real friends. I did just that for her, gave her that friend. I was a big brother not romance." Nick thought about that, how hard it must have been for her even as a child. Being told she had to make real friends when those she had were just that, and all the while her parents knew the truth but fostered the belief in her that something was wrong with what she saw and could do. He had been angry with them for hurting her in the first place and now this seemed to give him more fuel to dislike them with.
"She did it, you know?" Gilby asked with a chuckle.
"What?" Nick returned from his musing.
"She got you." He answered.
"I guess she did. But, it's new. I mean I only met her two weeks ago." Nick responded sadly, wishing he had known her longer, that things weren't so tentative still.
"That doesn't matter, all it takes is an instant. Don't worry Nick you did it right back. I've saw the way she looked at you yesterday, and never forget she lets you call her " The door to the cabin opened suddenly and Nick turned quickly, looking guilty.
"Tan." Gilby outright laughed this time at Nick's blurted out exclamation.
"Yeah." She said slowly, eyebrows raised. Then she studied their two faces, finally letting her smile loose. "I think you've had enough girl talk for one day, Derek wants to talk to you Gilby." She said with that smile they both enjoyed so much, the one that made her single dimple jump off her face.
"I'll see you both at breakfast, don't wreak my office." He grinned wickedly at Nick and edged his way past Tangye who stepped clear of the door for him. He let the screen door fall shut with a bang that caused Tangye to jump slightly. She moved over to lean on the desk, surprised by how she suddenly felt very secluded with Nick in this place. They had spent enough time alone together that this shouldn't really bother her, but it made her feel awkward all the same. Still, she didn't want to leave.
She hung her head down, staring at the thumb she was using to absently pick at the edge of the desk. She brushed her hair back but a single group quickly rebelled and fell right back to hang just below her mouth. Nick smiled seeing that for some reason, even her hair had its own defiant ways, refusing to be tamed. "So what were you two talking about?" She asked, seeming to gain some courage.
"Nothing really, it's hard to talk and keep the secrets at the same time, especially with someone like him." He answered, wanting so badly to pull her close, to just hold her and make it clear she didn't have to be hesitant with him. All the while wondering if she wasn't behaving this way because of something he had done, some signal he had missed sending.
"Yeah, he does seem to see past all the nonsense." She wondered once again to herself if she would ever forget the feeling of his lips on hers, his strong arms pulling her so close while her hands gently rested on his thin cheeks? She let out a sudden sigh, and just slightly shook her head. "Listen Nick I don't know what to say all of a sudden." She finished the sentence giving up on trying to find the right way to bring forth the thoughts that were so rapidly crashing around her head.
"I hate this." Nick mumbled.
"I can leave, if that's what you want " He looked up suddenly, jerking his head so harshly it caused her to break off another sentence. She bit down on the tip of her pinky finger, keeping her eyes averted. Something about the sight of her suddenly, looking so shy when he knew just how sure of herself this young woman was, caused him to inadvertently laugh. She turned her eyes to him slightly, just enough to catch his face out of the corner of her eye. "What?"
"You're " He wasn't sure what to say, what would go too far.
"I should go." She started to move toward the door.
"That's the last thing I want. I meant, I hate feeling awkward with you." Nick rubbed at his jaw, nearly covering his mouth with his hand. "And I wanted to tell you that, you're beautiful. I've been meaning to bring that up for days now actually." He turned to see her reaction. She had stopped her progress to the door and now stood looking at him with her head tilted ever so slightly. Her hand had come to rest on her cheek, frozen in mid action of brushing her hair back, her lips were pursed into a smile. All over again Nick was hit by it. How her every pose was the work of an artist in his eyes. How she so deeply struck something within him without even trying or knowing. "You really are." He nearly whispered.
"You're certainly no circus freak." She laughed. Nick stood, sure that the walls had come down with her joke. "Sorry, but you know what I mean."
"Yeah, my looks wouldn't scare small children." He closed the gap between them and Tangye's face took on a more serious expression, her blue gold eyes finding his hazel. They both felt the tension of the moment and enjoyed the electricity it seemed to cause.
"Nick, listen " She struggled for her words again. Did he have any idea the effect he was managing to have on her by just standing so close? Did he realize how badly she wanted to wrap her arms around him? Let her lips find his once again?
"Hey, I'm not pressuring you here, take it slow, that's fine." He shrugged, wondering if he was granting that for her or to protect himself.
"Truth be told a big part of me isn't too interested in the take it slow notion. A part of me feels like this is moving agonizingly slow, wondering why I'm dragging it out." She sighed and averted her eyes for just a moment. "Then that other, annoying part, reminds me it's only been two weeks since I met you. That I might be trying to latch onto the first thing I found too hard. That I'm, rushing, pushing to make up for lost time. When I look at you though, I think that sides pretty much an idiot." She smiled, her dimple creasing her cheek, her eyes alight.
"Hey, just because you have split personality doesn't mean that both sides don't make sense. We take it slow, until we can't take slow anymore. Right now that's probably best for both of us." He found himself already wondering how long he could take not feeling her in his arms again. He had felt so right every time she found her way there. How long could he ignore the desire just to kiss her again?
"You got a deal Boyle. We should, um, go get some food." She nodded to her own idea.
"Right, food." They both just stood their ground, staring into each other's eyes. "Come here." Nick pulled her into his arms, just to have her near, gently kissing the top of her head. He let himself think for a moment how good it felt once again, then concentrated only on holding her. There were so many questions left to answer for them both about everything and until they were resolved they couldn't go forward.
She wondered if he would ever know how good the sound of his beating heart made her feel, how complete?
"All right, Nick, Philip, Alex and I will be going back up to the cabin today with the equipment, see if we can get any readings. Then I want to search the mountains in the surrounding area. The boys have to be somewhere and I doubt they have been moved off the mountain. Meanwhile, Rachel, I want you and Tangye to go into the town and see what you can dig up on the house and its owners. Also find out if anything like this has ever happened before now. Call me with anything that you learn." Rachel nodded her approval, occasionally sending a leery glance in Gilby's direction. She still didn't trust him, and hoped an afternoon with Tangye would provide her with some fuel for her suspicion. There had to be a reason she mistrusted him, something that she sensed that the others refused to, she just had to figure out what.
The group all stood and headed out of the cabin in their separate directions with Derek's expectations laid out for them. Rachel noticed how Tangye lingered behind to talk with Gilby but was too far away herself to overhear their words. She just watched as she put a gentle hand on his back and smiled up at him, her face holding so much comfort.
"Hey, it'll be okay. They're out there, and they'll be found. You trust me don't you?" She made sure to keep her voice low enough. She did have absolute faith in her friends, they would never give up until the boys were found, and she refused to believe that they were dead. She wondered why that was. Was she just not ready to deal with another round of bad things or did some other part of her know better? A part that she had never fully understood despite the lessons she had received. She had to admit that she didn't grasp the scope of her own gifts and perhaps in some quiet way they knew they could reassure her.
"You, without a doubt." He said confidently, amazed by the woman the child he knew had become. "But I don't think it's a good idea to be just blindly confident. Bad things do happen, and I need to prepare myself to deal with that." He answered back, ruffling the back of her hair. She struggled away from the hand, and ran her hands through her hair to free it from the mess it became.
"I don't need to be told bad things happen to good people. I learned that all on my own." She wasn't sure that he would even hear her comment she kept her voice so low. She started to move off.
"Tangye?" She turned to look at him, his eyes full of questions he wasn't sure he should ask, that she hoped he didn't. It was nice to be around someone for awhile who didn't know her past. Someone that didn't get the look of pity in their eyes whenever they looked at her. With Gilby around she felt free for the first time in too long. Something about her face must have told him that she wasn't yet ready to offer explanations for the changes the years had put her through. "I'm glad you're here."
"I just hope I can help." He wanted to tell her that she already had, that just by being there he felt more sure of himself then he had since the boys first went missing. There was something about her, the defiance, and the refusal to give in, which made him feel a bit stronger. But without the words uttered she smiled knowingly and climbed into the car with Rachel.
Jason couldn't remember falling asleep, but he regretted doing so the minute his body started to wake up again. His legs were sore, his arm tingling with sharp pins and needles from being pulled under his head for so many hours. He slowly sat up, his back popping as he did so. He looked around their prison but saw nothing again. His eyes having lost their advantage over the dark, he began to fumble around hoping to locate Sean. He ran his hands along the wall and the soft carpet of moss under him, feeling his way around the room like a blind man. He had no idea where he had finally fallen asleep, or if there were a reason for it beyond exhaustion.
Finally as he crawled across the floor his hand landed on clammy flesh. "Sean, are you awake?" He whispered and the response that came back surprised him from coming behind him.
"Yeah, just." Sean's haggard voice answered. Without thinking Jason threw himself back from the leg he had been touching, knowing it wasn't his friend and not wanting to think that perhaps their newest companion was dead. The skin he had touched had been so cold, but in this place that didn't really seem peculiar. Still the boy wasn't comfortable with even the possibility of touching the dead. "What is it?" Sean prodded when Jason landed nearly on top of him.
"Someone's here." He forced the words out. They heard movement in the direction that Jason had just been and both boys moved closer to the wall, trying to escape whatever it was. Jason felt Sean's sudden tight grip fall onto his arm, nearly crushing it.
"Is it him?" Sean whispered struggling to get the three words out between his clattering teeth.
"I don't know." Jason snapped back, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. For a few moments the only sounds in the cavern were their ragged breathing. Then came the new sound, something that Jason had been surprised he hadn't given in to yet.
The sound of sobbing.
"Oh my God." Jason mumbled, realization dawning upon him. He propelled himself forward and to the other body. "Greg? Greg is that you?"
"Jace?" The slightly older boy gasped out the name between his tears.
"Yeah it's me. Are you hurt?" Jason cursed the dark in his mind, wishing he could see his companion's face to get some indication of his condition.
"No, I don't think so." Greg continued to sob.
"How did you get here?" Perhaps he would have the answer they needed the most.
"I fell. I was sleeping, and I must have rolled over. I think I knocked myself out in the fall." He tried to wipe away the tears but found they were continually replaced by new ones.
"Fell, from where?" Jason asked urgently.
"I have a lighter, I'll show you." He dug in his pocket and stood up flicking it on. It penetrated the dark better then either really expected and both boys stood staring up at the cavern where there seemed to be at least twelve different tunnels leading off, all well above the height of the adolescent boys. Still for the first time Jason felt a flush of hope, certain that they had been brought in through one of the tunnels and therefore it could provide and escape.
"Well this is beautiful country, I have to give it that." Philip said as the climbed the hills leading to the cabin. Nick shot the priest one of his annoyed glances but couldn't really argue with his opinion. This was a beautiful spot, with the morning fog slowly lifting off of the mountains, the sun pouring in and warming away the dew on the grass. As they came over the last hill, Nick, from his position in the lead, was the first to see the small dilapidated cabin in the valley. At first sight Nick was shocked by the chill that ran down his spine and froze him. After all that he had seen and done during his time with the Legacy he was a little disappointed to find that one house could effect him in such a way.
"That's it?" He looked back at his childhood friend, who merely nodded his response. "Then let's get on with it." Nick said, sounding confident as he started down the slope. Alex too was again hit by a sense of evil that seemed hard to explain upon first sight. Despite everything they had found at the house they had no proof that the boys were injured. A part of her felt that they were safe, another feared for them desperately. She just couldn't tell which side was right.
"I want the house thoroughly searched, Nick run the scans, we'll look for any indication of where the boys might be." Derek issued the commands as they reached the porch. Nick dropped his heavy backpack by his feet, and started pulling out the equipment while the others went inside. Gilby stopped looking at the small handheld scanner, with headphones that Nick was turning on.
"What is that?" He asked with raised eyebrows. He had never seen anything like the piece of equipment outside of sci-fi movies, which was where he was sure these types of things only happened. Yet Nick seemed so comfortable with all of it. He didn't seem amazed or shocked to hear about any of this and that clearly stated to Gilby just how much more was going on here then he was privilege to.
"Ah, it's a little hard to explain. It tests for energy signatures not visible to the human eye." Nick explained lamely, knowing the answer meant little.
"Right. Nick, I need to know something." Gilby came back down the steps as Derek finally crossed the threshold into the house. "Are we looking for a ghost?"
"We're looking for answers Gilb, whatever they may be." Nick hung the headphones on his neck and threw his bag over his shoulder. "I know whatever happened it's not your fault, we just need to figure out what to blame."
"Your friend Rachel seems to disagree with you." Gilby mumbled.
"Her opinion, not mine. Anyway she's stuck with Tangye all day now, I think she'll be forced to see you in a different light. Tangye isn't about to back down, not for anyone." She single handedly defeated two powerful demons with the power of her own mind, Nick thought. Those moments in the house had given Nick a rather clear glimpse at the workings of the woman he was just getting to know. Her convictions, her indomitable will, her ability to triumph over the impossible. Tangye was never going to beaten like she had been again, she had ensured that in the instant she forced her father's spirit away. He respected her for that and wished he could tell Gilby about it, but there was no way to explain. Now Rachel was stuck with that unyielding personality for the day, and Nick doubted any bad mouthing of her friend would be tolerated.
"Tangye certainly can be a little on the thick skulled side. I don't know if you've had a chance to see it in her yet, but she gets an idea in her head and it won't budge. Luckily she has pretty good instincts." Nick realized that many people would probably describe him the same way, and he was fairly certain that Gilby knew it. Obstinate sometimes seemed too light a word for Nick's stubbornness, and all too often Nick's instincts were overshadowed by his heart. At least Tangye had a latent telepathy to fall back on and to temper her more emotional reactions. She wouldn't be fooled by her heart when her head had such a loud voice of it's own. He shook off the thoughts of her, knowing he needed to concentrate on the case, and helping his childhood friend.
"Yeah, I've seen the start of that. We should get inside now." Nick stepped past Gilby onto the porch, patting him on his back as he went by.
"Nick, I notice you didn't answer my question." Gilby said suspiciously.
"And that should be answer enough." Nick shot him a grin, one that clearly gave the answer. Gilby felt suddenly cold, wondering what it was he was involved with now. He hadn't wanted to believe his own ghost theory, but formed it as a last effort to explain. Thinking it could be right unsettled him more then he would have thought.