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Sight and Shadows by TalgoM Sight and Shadows
|[page 4 of 4]
Tangye had called with the information an hour ago. The monitoring of police stations and hospitals had provided no evidence of Alex yet but there was something else that they should investigate. As Nick pulled his Mustang over to the side of the road the scene in front of the alley was hard to miss even on the busy street. There was police tape across the mouth of the entrance and four cruisers pulled up on the curb to block the area off that much more. Nick immediately saw the tall officer that he had encountered the previous day at Professor Winterburn's office and sighed not wanting to have to deal with him again.
Derek climbed out of the car and Nick joined him on his side, both staring across the street for a moment trying to get a handle of the situation. Nick knew Derek well enough to know that he was working on figuring out who was in charge so he could approach him. Nick turned with his back to the scene. "Derek, I should maybe hang back here. The cop from yesterday is over there and I don't want to "
"You must be really sick junior, you enjoy these scenes?" The voice came from behind Nick, who slowly turned his eyes with a more noticeable sigh.
"I don't want trouble, we're just trying to help you." Nick tried to explain to the clearly annoyed look on the officer's face.
"Really? I remember the last guy you tried to help on the force, he's dead now isn't he?" Derek flinched slightly at the reminder of Karmack. A man who had been his friend for years and ally. He had still not forgiven himself for not having prepared him better for the temptation of power, for not keeping him outside of their whole world in the first place. Karmack would always serve as a reminder for the need of the secret that they were forced to keep.
"Officer we might be able to offer our assistance if you'd only be willing to listen." Derek's voice remained calm and professional.
"Nope Dr. Rayne, I'm not. You and your little sidekick here need to get off this street." Derek saw Nick tense at the officer's words, straightening to his full height, which still only brought him up to the much larger man's shoulders. "You got a problem little man?"
"Yeah I do. We aren't doing anything wrong here." Nick growled back, his natural defensive nature springing up in his eyes and stance. Derek gently placed his hand on Nick's shoulder telling him to stand down. He wanted to see the scene in the alley but wasn't willing to let Nick get in a fight with a police officer in order to do so.
"So you've got him trained?" The officer looked at Derek, pushing Nick for a reaction and justification to bring the man to the police station. Ever since the sudden and inexplicable death of Frank Karmack he had been suspicious of the Luna Foundation, they were hiding something and he wanted to know what it was. Getting Nick Boyle in a closed cell long enough might get him the answers he hoped for, if nothing else it would give him leverage over Derek Rayne.
"Officer none of this is necessary. We have an idea of the type of man that you are looking for, we will provide you with any information we have, but to be certain we need to see the scene." Derek explained, ignoring the officer's efforts to antagonize them.
"That's not going to happen Rayne, now clear out of here. Remember your little friend here already trespassed on a crime scene, obstructing justice would look bad on his record." The officer gave them both one last threatening glance then turned and went back to the alley.
"So bossman, what do you want to do?" Nick turned to Derek, forcing himself to relax.
"We can't get in close but we can at least see the location." Derek indicated the building to one side of the alley. Nick nodded and crossed to the ramshackle, boarded up tenement. He waited until the officer stepped into the mouth of the alley past the police tape and then kicked the door in allowing them access. He looked around the street once more then stepped in through the door. The halls of the old building were dark, the dirt and dust on the windows filtering the light outside. Nick took in the scene seeing the stairs despite the gloom just as Derek stepped up beside him.
"Better vantage?" He whispered, not wanting to disturb the place. Derek nodded and let Nick lead them up the flight of steps with his small flashlight. In the room upstairs Nick used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the dirt off the window. They had a perfect view of the alley below. They saw the blood spattered around the brick walls, many of the items were overturned or destroyed completely. The body had been removed as soon as it was discovered, but the carnage went well beyond that. Derek placed his hands on the windowsill studying the scene intently. His vision suddenly shifted and he clearly saw the figure that had been left by the creature. Discarded in a dumpster, drained of everything vital that once provided life. He gasped and stepped back from the window drawing a surprised stare from Nick. "I know what we're looking for." He mumbled fighting nausea and fear at the sight of the shadow attacking.
Tangye slipped out of the room and into the library, checking on Kat one last time before she left. She was sleeping soundly on the floor of the control room for the second night in a row and seemed to find it just as fun as the sleepover she was supposed to have gone to. She and Tangye had brought in several pillows, a sleeping bag and some blankets so the wood floor was as soft as a bed. She had a doll pulled close to her chest and didn't even notice that she was left alone.
Her dreams were not pleasant and warm like her makeshift bed. She saw the shadow again, still wandering the city streets staying as hidden as possible. She sensed the evil about the creature as soon as she saw it lurking. It wanted to destroy, to hurt as many people as it could. But first it had to find something. Kat's dream shifted its focus and she once again saw Alex. Now though her face was lost to tears and a man Kat didn't know was attempting to comfort her. He held her close to himself, she was saying something that Kat couldn't understand. She tried to figure out where Alex was but the room around her was not familiar. Kat tried to reach out to her but when her dream form finally managed to get her friend's attention, Alex looked at her and didn't seem sure that she knew who she was seeing but began screaming anew. She fought to get as far away as possible from Kat's form as though she were a threat. Alex was her friend though, she would never hurt her, she couldn't.
Still the eyes that Alex looked at her with were the eyes of the stranger, there was no real recognition. Her dark eyes held none of the fondness that had always been there when she looked at Kat. She knew just by looking in those eyes that this was not the same Alex she knew. Something had happened to her, something terrible that robbed her of herself.
Kat sat up in her makeshift bed looking around quickly for support and seeing Tangye's form on the other side of the hologram pouring herself a cup of coffee. Suddenly the woman put the pot down and looked over her shoulder in the direction of the control room. She left her mug on the table and came back into the control room. "Kat what are you doing up?" She crossed and crouched down by the girl.
"I had a bad dream." Kat answered with a shrug.
"About?" Tangye gently asked. She had felt the emotions from Kat clearly enough in her own mind, something had her terrified.
"About Alex and the shadow. Something awful has happened." Kat began just as Rachel entered the room and swept down on her. Tangye averted her eyes with guilt that Kat was awake at such an hour of the night, not even attempting to explain the reason.
"Honey, are you okay?" Rachel questioned concerned.
"I'm fine, Tangye's been looking out for me." Kat reassured sounding painfully old with her logic. Rachel stood back up and held her hand out to her daughter. Kat wished she had more time to explain her dream to Tangye, too often her mom dismissed these things as merely dreams but she was sure that Tangye would understand and believe her.
"Okay. I think you've slept in here long enough, how about we go upstairs, you can stay with me if you like." Kat quickly nodded her approval at that idea, not wanting to be alone. She let her mother guide her out of the room and looked over her shoulder with a meek smile at Tangye. Thanking her and in a way promising that she would be fine. Even if she didn't feel like she would. Not when something had hurt Alex so badly.
Tangye sighed as soon as they were gone pushing her hair out of her face. She checked the monitor as she slid back into her chair, it still had provided no new information. Irritation and frustration were both building to a head inside of her. She wanted to be doing something, something that provided some sort of results but Derek was keeping her holed up in the house. She knew he wanted her out of the line of fire but she would have preferred that position to the waiting. She hadn't slept since the moment she realized that Alex was gone, she couldn't. She couldn't escape the emptiness that had settled over her when she searched for her friend's presence and found nothing. She would not let herself consider the fact that Alex was dead but it was clear that something had happened to her. As more hours crept away her fears only seemed to grow.
She heard someone enter the room behind her and knew immediately who it was just by the distinct sense that he carried with him. Something both strong and vulnerable, something she desperately wanted to learn all the intricacies of. "How's it coming?" He asked softly putting his hands on her shoulders and attempting to rub away some of the tension.
"Well let's see, I could maybe feel more useless if I stopped moving around so much." She answered Nick sarcastically. He stepped back from her surprised by the tone in her voice directed more at the world then at him.
"Wow, next time dance around the point a little for me." He pulled a chair up next to her fighting the urge to brush the hair away from where it hung in her eyes. He silently reprimanded himself for the constant desire to be touching her, knowing it would move things faster then even he was prepared for. There was just something about her that he couldn't force himself to resist no matter how hard he tried.
As if in response to his thought she reached up and pushed her hair back, holding it in place while turning to look at him, cheek resting on her wrist. A smile played at the corner of her lips. "I'm sorry Nick I didn't mean to get snippy I'm just tired and sick of getting nowhere." She apologized.
"Maybe you should take a break, no one would fault you a nap." He said supportively. He didn't want her to think that she was unimportant just because Derek was keeping her outside of the investigation on the streets. Nick wasn't really sure why the precept had made the decision but he was also glad he had. Thinking about Alex in danger and missing was enough for any of them. So far Tangye had displayed a bit too much of the heart first approach to cases, never acknowledging the danger she was in. Who knew what kind of trouble that could lead to this time.
"Alex is missing Nick, I can't. Ever since I got here you've all been great I don't like thinking anything could happen to you." 'You, in particular.' She admitted to herself. "I have to do everything that I can from here if Derek won't let me help in any other way. At least that frees the rest of you up to search for her."
"Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be doing that much good either." He admitted his own frustrations. He stood up and began pacing the confines of the control room wondering how she had dealt so well with being cooped up in here all day. He had no idea what was happening and regrettably his imagination was providing plenty of disturbing possibilities. He had hoped to come in here and for a few moments escape that barrage of thoughts by just enjoying Tangye's humor and general good spirits. Instead he met with an irritability not very different then the one he had been feeling all day. He needed to get out, find a distraction, and he saw the same thing in her face though she was trying to deny it. Or maybe she just chose to ignore it. "Listen, give me a half hour. Just get some fresh air and then we can come back and refocus."
She tried to argue with herself that she didn't need it but the fog in her head seemed to choose that moment to make itself most known. She couldn't even consider staring at the computer screen another minute right now, in fact for the past hour she hadn't been able to. She had already come up with about fifty ways to destroy a computer just to punish it for not providing her anything like a solution. Reluctantly she agreed with a nod. "So where do we go for this air?"
"I don't know, someplace with a little clarity." He strained to think of a place. Normally he would go for a run but he didn't want to take that kind of time out.
"Oh there." She said with a grin, responding to his vagueness. Then she dawned on the perfect place. "Got it, let's roll Boyle." She jumped up and grabbed his hand, dragging him along with her. She pulled him up the spiral staircase in the library and immediately he knew where she was taking him, but he didn't remove his hand from her. She was suddenly like a lifeline to him, something to hold onto when he felt so many things slipping away.
She opened the door to the rooftop terrace and realized she hadn't even considered the fact that the night air would hold such a chill. As high up as they were the wind also joined in the onslaught to freeze the exposed skin and warm blood. Nick instinctively wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close as they crossed to the wall of the castle. The night was clear, stars bright and the moon seeming brighter then either could remember it being in a long time. It was the perfect night and everything around them was still, refusing to infringe on their moment.
"Clarity." She whispered staring up at the black canvas of night speckled with stars. He looked down at her upturned face, the moonlight seeming to favor her and embrace her features.
'Yeah, clarity.' He thought with a smile. 'No point in denying it Boyle. You love her.' It had been too long since Nick felt so certain about anything in his life and he was surprised how good it felt to know something so completely. After so many losses the man saw something that he could win at. He could win Tangye Gaarlihn, her heart, if he just played things right. No battle seemed more important to him at that moment.
"Want to know something? Something stupid?" She looked at him now, diverting her attention from the night onto his handsome face instead.
"Of course." He grinned, he wanted to know everything but didn't state that thought.
"I used to be afraid of the night. Not the dark, just night." She added with a small laugh. "It just seemed so empty, it swallows everything into it somehow."
"What changed?" He asked quietly, interested that she would feel compelled to tell him about this for no obvious reason.
"I grew up. You learn things as you get older, that of course being obvious." She again laughed at herself realizing the foolishness of needing to make the point. "I got older and saw that it wasn't so empty, you just have to look harder for what's there." She turned back to the dark sky. "I gave it a little effort and learned just how alive it could be. In a lot of ways more so then day." She said her voice seeming far away with thought.
"That's not so stupid." Nick consoled.
"That wasn't the stupid part, the stupid part was being afraid of it in the first place." She paused for a moment thinking something else. "Anyway, what's so bad about something that can swallow everything? Something able to take the bad things into it and away from you?" She sighed wishing she hadn't said it, wishing she hadn't allowed herself to remember.
"Doesn't work." Nick answered distantly. She wished she didn't have to listen to that kind of pain in his voice, wishing it hadn't been her rambling thoughts that brought it on. 'Lot of wishes Tangye, too bad you're lacking in the genie department.' She thought ruefully.
"Nick I'm sorry, I didn't " She started put stopped her words when he shook his head.
"Don't be, you were being honest. I'm not going to fault you for that." He let a comfortable silence fall as they both looked out over the bay and to the city in the distance. He didn't fail to notice that she snuggled in closer to his chest. She now stood directly in front of him, both of his arms wrapped around her protectively and just to feel her there. After several minutes she leaned her head back against his chest with another sigh. He noticed the distinct smell of apples attached to her hair.
"Tan?" He asked back playfully. She smiled hearing him call her that and at her own lack of annoyance at his insistence in using that name for her.
"Can I call in something you owe me?" He nodded his chin against the top of her head. "Tell me a memory, something when you were purely happy." She felt him flinch. As close as they were she couldn't have missed it.
He hadn't meant to react to her simple question that way but he couldn't control it in himself. He wondered if he did have a moment that didn't wear the shadow of all the hurt he had experienced. Again he caught the scent of her hair and realized he did. He shifted her in his arms so that her exquisite childlike face was looking at him. Her light eyes seemed to sparkle in the moonlight and it just clarified the thought he was having.
"Right now." He answered surprised by the overwhelming sincerity in his own voice. The smile broke across her face like that had been exactly what she was hoping he would say to her.
"A memory is usually something from the past." She reminded playfully, her voice low.
"I thought I won you over with that one." He grinned back at her. He concentrated on pulling such a time up from his mind. Finally he located one after shifting through all of the agonizing moments, the pain that lingered in so many corners of his life. He wasn't sure he should say it but at the same time didn't want to hide from her. He let his arms fall away from her and took a step back, he didn't want her to feel trapped if she was insulted by what he said.
"There was this time that I went riding on my bike up in the mountains. I " He paused, running a hand through his hair, taking a few more steps away from her. He noticed how she wrapped her arms around herself to ward off the chill but just didn't feel right holding her right now. "I needed a break from the Legacy, from Derek. It was right after Philip was ordained and I finally understood that he wasn't coming back. He'd made his choice and it wasn't us." She didn't correct him that Philip had turned from the Legacy not the people in it. It wouldn't do any good. More so she wanted him to go on. "I think I was driving everyone crazy. I needed to be somewhere else and they needed it too. I thought a lot about leaving the Legacy but then I wouldn't " He didn't finish the thought. She knew what he was thinking though, then he wouldn't have anyone to be mad at but himself. He would have let everyone down the same way he believed Philip did.
"Julia." Nick couldn't keep the pained smile from his face and turned to gage her reaction. Her face was serious, intently listening without judgement. He wasn't sure how much she knew, if anything. He trusted her completely not to invade his privacy but didn't know what anyone else had informed her of. From the look in her eyes it was enough that she understood how hard this was on him. "Julia decided to get me out. We went up to the mountains, found this little side trail. She didn't make me talk about anything, we just sat there all-day and waited out the sunset. I was at peace then. I didn't even really think about Philip, the Legacy, none of it. She knew just how to distract me from "
"The noise?" Tangye provided as he struggled to choose the right word. He nodded.
"Yeah, that's the word she would have used." He turned back to look out at the city. "She knew me, in ways I hated to admit. I can't believe I lost that time. I loved her so much and I let all my anger overshadow that." He winced. "I shouldn't have let her memory become something painful."
She didn't know what to say, or even if she could go to him. He looked so far away to her, so small. It seemed so different from the way the man she felt that she already knew normally appeared.
"She'd be so annoyed with me right now. That I let her be just another thing that hurt me when all she ever meant to do was make me happy. Why can't I let myself have that?" Nick shook his head. Silence fell between them again.
He realized that this moment wasn't so far from being like the one with Julia all those years ago. It was a moment of peace despite the memories he was facing. He felt he had finally put them in their proper place, where Julia would have wanted her image to remain in his mind. Someplace that he could draw both strength and happiness from. Someplace detached from the pain.
"Are you okay?" He turned to look at the young woman with him, afraid what his words may have done to her. She couldn't have missed the longing in his voice that he couldn't disguise. How must that make her feel?
"Me?" She asked surprised then seemed to notice how serious his face was. "I'm fine Nick." She averted her eyes.
"What is it?" He asked closing some of the gap between them. He couldn't go on trying to fight the desire to be near her, it was obviously where he belonged he admitted to himself with relief.
"Something you said." She whispered feeling very uncomfortable now, not wanting to ask him but needing to know. "I don't I don't remind you of her do I?" Her voice was uncertain.
"Because you chose the same word?" He asked with a regretful smile. She nodded shyly. "No, you two are totally different. You aren't just a replacement Julia. You share some traits but you're different in as many ways. Don't worry about that." He lifted her chin to look at him. "I had my Julia, I may have handled it badly but that means you get a wiser Nick." He grinned down at her.
"Meaning?" She whispered, her voice hoarse with emotion.
"I'm ready for " He didn't finish the thought, his face breaking into a pleased smile at the reaction he clearly saw in her eyes.
"Just so you know Boyle, you did win me over with that comment earlier." She stated back to him, keeping her voice low and sounding seductive to his ears.
"I know." He whispered confidently. Slowly he leaned down and their lips met for the first time since the moment just before her release in her house. The kiss was gentle, unsure at first but after a few moments both gave into it. Tangye found her hands against his cheeks, just at the edge of his hair. His arms snaked around her back and pulled her closer. His hands came up to rest under her hair, pulling her that much closer to him. Her form fit against him snuggly, both bodies quickly shedding the cold the night air tried to attach to them.
Gradually he removed his lips from her but continued to kiss her face, her neck, enjoying the taste of her soft skin, the heat it seemed to exude. He felt her let out a deep sigh, or possibly a shudder, he thought, pleased with the reaction he was getting, not able to deny the reaction having her so close was causing in him. He gently kissed her ear which finally drew her back to reality, seeming to jerk her there suddenly as though she were trying to fight something off.
"I could maybe feel worse about myself now." She mumbled, her breath slightly labored.
"What?" Nick asked surprised by the admission.
"Oh, God not that. That " She fought for the right phrase. "Said it all Nick. Everything I've been meaning to mention but couldn't." She paused again. "But Alex is and we're "
"Gotcha." He nodded, hating to let the moment go but understanding what she was saying. Reluctantly he let her go. She had gotten it exactly right. The moment captured every emotion he had felt building inside of him, it was the only way he had that could clearly seem to communicate the thoughts. Somehow the kiss went beyond anything physical into something that Nick hadn't felt in far too long. Probably only ever really had once in his life. Now he had the chance to do things right, he was not going to make the same mistakes twice. "Let's go find Alex."
"Then I can tell her all the dirty little thoughts I seem to be having for her friend." Tangye added playfully, her eyes full of mischief. Did she even realize how easy it was for her to endear herself to him?
She wanted all of their faces to leave her dreams alone, she wished they would just vanish with the rest of her confused memories. Despite that they lingered on, a part of her holding on to them trying to make her see how important they all were to her. She saw the younger man tied up wearing a large coat, his hands bound behind his back. She knew she was the threat to him at the time as she circled her prey taunting him. Yet he looked at her with his kind hazel eyes and sincerely forgave her for her actions. She was planning to kill him and yet he proclaimed his love for her. Then Dr. Rayne, sitting under the point of a sword also declared his love for her. She saw herself sitting by a hospital bed, begging for Rayne to wake up, pleas he did not respond to. She saw the younger man being thrown around a room filled with computer monitors, a beating that should have killed him, but heard his voice demand that she stay back. She saw the child crying her name, looking for a guardian in someone she trusted, she felt the child fall into her arms. Finally she saw Rayne again, accepting her into his arms, relief evident on his face as she found them. There was a pain in his eyes as he looked at her, a fear that she might have been lost.
Sounds woke her from her dreams, sounds that were too loud to be Barry Alger roaming his apartment. Her eyes fought to focus against the dark until she realized that it was dark she should be seeing in front of her. She felt the hot breath covering her face, smelt the decay. Her scream came before her conscious mind could prevent it.
Barry ran into the room with the piercing cry and flicked the lights on. Something in the room swallowed up a portion of the light and remained dark. He saw the figure towering over the couch Alex slept on, a black inky figure larger then any man Barry had ever seen. He saw the form of black talons on each of it's elongated arms. This was what she described as having attacked her in the alley, but a creature such as this could not exist, Barry would not believe it. Still it remained standing in his living room even when his mind tried to wish it away. "Holy "
The creature turned hearing the mumbled curse and saw the defenseless man in the entranceway. He looked at the horrified woman on the couch and realized she was little threat to him now, perhaps he could give her a reminder of the place she needed to return to.
Barry knew he was now the focus of the creature the minute it's empty eyes faced him, he could sense a purposefulness about the monster. It had a definite reason for being here and he could only guess what it was. He waited until the creature made the first move in his direction before crying out. "Alex run, get yourself out of " His words were cut short when the talons he had noticed were torn across his chest. The pain rushed through him but he kept his eyes in focus long enough to see Alex gather herself off the couch and make a dash for the door. He knew what he was sacrificing for her but he had promised to protect her and would not betray that vow.
The creature sliced at him again, tearing open his arm before noticing that he was losing his true prey. He wanted to kill the little man now but was not going to lose the woman again. It had taken hours for him to locate her and he was not going to waste that time again. His power was lessening, if he did not find a worthy meal soon he would not maintain his grasp on this world. He had to keep her in view, for she could provide enough power to sustain him for awhile.
He turned and started after her but the little man was not willing to be ignored. He grabbed at the demon's back and held on tight, distracting the monster long enough for Alex to leave the apartment. The demon howled it's rage and tossed the man aside carelessly. He wanted to kill the interloper but she was making a hasty retreat and he didn't have the time to waste. He lashed out one last time, tearing the man's leg with one hand and stomach with the other. He watched the precious blood spill with pride. That would surely kill the interfering man.
Barry Alger's eyes tried to deny the man's desire to have them open. The pain felt now detached from him, a distant memory of worse times. When his eyes finally did focus he realized that he was not in his apartment nor was he alone. After all that happened he wasn't really surprised to see Dr. Derek Rayne standing beside his hospital bed, flanked on either side by a person. Seeing the anthropologist there gave him final confirmation for what he had not wanted to believe. As crazy as Alex's story had been, it had also been the truth.
"Mr. Alger, good to see you're awake. My name is Dr. Rayne." Derek began to explain what he was doing in the room, already having prepared an evasive answer.
"I know who you are." Barry answered him dryly.
"How are you feeling?" Derek asked, not bothering introducing his companions, probably assuming Barry also knew them. But Alex had not been able to recall their names, he knew how she described them though. The young woman was the one Alex claimed was a telepath, which accounted for her presence, probably using her abilities to see into his mind. The other was the man Alex said tried to be angry but was driven by the wrong things in it.
"I've seen better days." He responded seeming bored with the conversation.
"If it's not too difficult I'd like to ask you some things about what happened." His voice was so even, hiding any fear he might have been feeling. This man was a definite professional at the weird.
"Why would it be difficult? I was almost torn to shreds, well smaller shreds," he added indicating the bandages, "by a demon, naturally I want to talk about it." He saw the shock on Rayne's face that he had correctly identified the attacker. Even if he weren't being literal he would have chosen that term to describe a person that did this to another, but in fact what had attacked him was born of hell.
"The doctor's said that when you were brought in you were asking for someone named Alex." Derek moved to stand closer to the bed, trying to ease the man into talking.
"Don't play dumb doctor, you know who she is." Barry snapped, not wanting to play games.
"Yes, I do. We're very worried about her. This thing that attacked you might be going after her." Barry rolled his eyes at that.
"Try is." He replied remembering that the creature had in fact seemed to view him as no more then a distraction. He had been after Alex and left Barry to die when she ran.
"Listen buddy, we want to help her. So drop the attitude and talk." The younger man stepped up, threatening in his stance and demeanor.
"I don't know what to say. I just know she ran." He fought to sit up, not wanting to seem weak in the face of the young man who seemed to carry such strength.
"That's enough Nick." Derek warned his associate. "Tangye?" He turned to the young woman.
"Right." She nodded. "C'mon angry man, walk time." She pulled at Nick and despite his resistance he slowly followed her out of the room.
"I know what you do." Barry turned to Rayne as soon as the other two were gone. Derek seemed shocked at first but he was a man very accustomed to adjusting to the situation at hand and handled the knowledge in stride.
"Then you understand how important it is we find her." Barry couldn't miss a concern in his voice that went well beyond the professional. He knew the look on the face in front of him. Derek Rayne didn't want to find her, he had to. There were obviously things that he had to tell her. He nodded, beginning to see how wrong Alex had been about these people, they were not a threat to her, and they couldn't be. They all loved her too much.
"You're right, Tan. I'm just tired of dead ends." Nick mumbled as they wandered outside after being ejected from the hospital room by the precept.
"Join the club, I'm founder." Her response came back in hushed tones. They turned the corner of the hospital to the side yard, which was a wide field of grass bordered by trees. Tangye's eyes wandered the area anxiously the tension from the past few days getting to her. Off near the distance she saw the sudden movement, a form far to large to be human. "Nick?"
Something in her tone drew his attention to the spot she was staring at and he too immediately noticed the form. "We're not alone. What the hell is that?" He tried to make out some details against the shadowy backdrop of trees but it was no use. Whatever it was seemed to join with the shadows around it to obscure any features that it might possess.
"Nothing far as I can tell." Tangye whispered. Nick glanced at her quickly not wanting his attention diverted for long. Something about her expression worried him instantly.
"What do you mean?"
"It's not there, not a trace, I get nothing at all." She spoke cautiously but her voice clearly stated the worry she felt over the new experience.
"That's not good." Nick answered back.
"Crap." She knew they had been noticed. "Nick, I can't emphasize run enough." Without further discussion they both turned and ran just as soon as the creature they had been observing began to lumber across the field toward them. They ran back to the front of the building for a moment considering seeking refuge there but both knowing they couldn't. In the same instant they saw Nick's distinctive red Mustang in the parking lot and made a dash for it. They hoped in the convertible and Tangye checked over her shoulder for the creature's progress while Nick fought to get his keys out.
"Wanna be a martyr?" Nick asked as he shoved the key in the ignition.
"No but I'm not a murderer either, go." He slammed his foot down violently on the gas and the car shot forward throwing them both back into their seats.
Derek heard the screech of tires outside and something within him told him he knew the source. Nick and Tangye were making a fast retreat for some reason. His nerves were completely worn after the discussion with Barry Alger who had many more questions then he was willing to provide. The last thing he needed was anyone else walking into trouble. He went to the nearest window and immediately saw the Mustang recklessly driving down the street. Then his eyes settled on the dark black form pursuing him, existing in a shadow not natural just as Barry had said the creature was. He swore lightly under his breath in Dutch praying that the car would prove fast enough.
He yanked out his cell phone and hit the speed dial for Tangye's phone. "Derek, hi. Nick felt the need for a sudden drive." Tangye answered trying to disguise the fear in her tone with levity.
"Where do you plan on going?" Derek asked, focusing on the danger. He knew Tangye would attempt to put him at ease with her humor but he refused to allow himself to acknowledge it.
"Away from innocent victims was the extent of our plan. You have a more elaborate suggestion we'll listen." She pressed hopefully. She wanted him to provide an answer. He wanted to be able to give that to her but his silence told her he couldn't. "Listen we'll figure something out."
"How far back is it?" Derek pushed not wanting to allow her to console him.
"Not enough." She answered quickly over the sound of screeching tires.
"It hasn't been stopped by public attacks, it's not looking to hide." He thought out loud. "It's hungry for something." There was a prolonged pause as Derek struggled for the answer. He knew he had it, someone had already told him. "You." He cried suddenly.
"Derek that offer is way lacking to me." She said refusing to consider what he was saying.
"No, it's looking for something in you, something you have that's rare." He struggled to get his words to make sense. "You said the text translated that this thing had destroyed those who saw things that are not true . What you do is not seen as typically truth. The creature is after your power, which explains why it was drawn to Alex and continues to hunt her. He needs her, he wants something from her."
"So I'm the next best thing?" Tangye asked surprised by the suggestion.
"Right now probably better." Derek admitted. "From what Barry said Alex is weak, confused, she doesn't believe that her memories are real which means what she's seeing is probably terrifying her."
"Then why is shadow guy still hunting Alex?" Tangye blurted the words out.
"I don't know. It wants what exists in her but it's not as strong as yours is now. It needs more." Derek realized what he had just said and it all fell back into place. "It wants us, that's what it wanted all along. It wanted Alex to lead it to the rest of us. Think of the power it saw there." Derek focused hearing the tires high-pitched cry against the pavement. "You have to come back here. The stench of illness, weakness here should act as a deterrent." Derek demanded.
"Not happening Derek. I can't risk those people and I'm not leading this thing back to you. If it is after us then I'm not letting it have a two for one. I'm gonna run, and keep running. Mustang won't tire, it might. We'll work something out." She argued, as he knew she would, and she was right but he wanted to protect her not just let her risk her own life so soon after earning it back.
"Do whatever you can to lose it." It was a plea not an order and it pained her to hear it.
It was the last place in the world that she wanted to go. She knew it was the only place that she could go.
She stared out over the waters of the bay toward the island named for divine beings. She knew it was not a place of angels as it's name proclaimed, it was a place evil congregated. It attacked the world from the small patch of land. Yet she was certain that it was the only place in the world she could seek refuge. She wanted to believe nothing about the people in her head anymore. Her first instinct had been to trust them and then Barry had shown her the many reasons she shouldn't. Now she just didn't know what she was supposed to be thinking.
Barry was probably dead now because of her, and she knew this thing would never stop tracking her until she too was dead. She didn't want to involve any other innocents but somehow felt those living on Angel Island were not innocent. She didn't know if they were good or bad, but they were not innocent either way.
"You coming Ms. Moreau?" Her head jerked up to look at the young ferry employee standing in front of her who knew her name. Of course she would have ridden this ferry hundreds of times if she really lived on the mysterious island in the bay.
"Yes, thanks." She stepped over onto the ferry platform and took a seat by the railing trying to stay as unnoticed as possible. She recognized none of the faces in front of her but the lack of recognition meant little in her confused state. As soon as the ferry began to move dread settled in the pit of her stomach. Going to this island meant she had given up hope. She was willing to return to a life of fear if it saved her life, but couldn't help but wonder what she would sacrifice. What was it she was giving back that she had only one chance at with this new freedom? What dreams were dying by admitting defeat?
She didn't want to trust the people on the Island but knew this was their nightmare, and she was going to bring it right to their front door.
Nick had kept her on the phone the whole time she had driven his Mustang back to Angel Island, he needed to make sure she was still out there for him to listen to. They managed to lose the creature in the city streets and despite his concern that they had let the demon loose on the unsuspecting city he was glad to have it off their tails. He had grabbed a rental car and driven back to the hospital to retrieve Derek. Now they retraced Nick and Tangye's steps through the city hoping to find the creature where they had lost it.
"So she's fine?" Derek asked once more to just be certain.
"She got back to Angel Island. Everyone else is there with her. Philip's got the translation mostly done, she's helping him finish it up." Nick repeated his report from the last time that he had spoken to her just before picking Derek up. "Derek, what's it mean that she couldn't see anything from this thing?" Nick remembered her amazed tone as she said that as far as her mind was concerned the creature was not after them because it didn't exist.
"I'm not sure, it may be a limit to her talents, or something the demon is doing. It may be the fact that it's a demon. Her contact before has always been with ghosts, spirits of something once alive and human. This thing whatever it is, is very different. Unfortunately we can't test that theory without a demon and I don't try to keep them around." Derek attempted the humor in an effort to lighten the tense mood.
"Great." Nick mumbled, staring out the side window. He hated to think of her in danger, of such a strong spirit weakened by something that no one else could do either. Whatever the hell the thing was Nick vowed to himself as they patrolled the streets that it would not hurt her. They would find it and stop it. He wasn't going to lose her so soon after finding her in the first place. He wasn't giving up on the chance she personified to him no matter what hell decided to throw at him.
Night settled on Angel Island with an imposing weight. Tangye felt secure locked away in the control room but still hadn't shaken off all the fear at Derek's statement that the creature was after her in particular. She didn't like feeling hunted even if it wasn't a new emotion, which was exactly why she knew she didn't like it. She had been hunted often enough and wanted it to end. She wanted to remind the world that she wasn't some helpless animal.
She set to work as soon as she returned to the island, trying to learn everything that she could about the creature and growing annoyed by her continued lack of success. It didn't exactly help that on a five-minute basis Kristin kept appearing over her shoulder to check over her work and correcting her on any number of tiny things. She tried to accept the gestures as purely helpful but there was always too much sarcasm in the woman's voice as she pointed out avenues Tangye hadn't considered. Tangye reminded herself that she was the new one here but that didn't work either, not when Kristin seemed determined to be aggravating.
"Tangye maybe you should try doing that for the 1600's instead of 16th century." Kristin pointed at the screen's search criteria.
"Or maybe you could." Tangye snapped then quickly mumbled off an apology.
"What's wrong?" Kristin asked trying to sound innocent, as though, she didn't know exactly what she was doing. She was being antagonizing on purpose and couldn't hide that if she wanted to.
"Nothing." Tangye sighed standing up and pacing across the room to get some of the cramps out of her back. She also needed to get away from the hovering figure.
"Why don't you just take a break, get some sleep?" Kristin asked sounding satisfied to be able to point out the weakness. Tangye shot her a bored annoyed glance.
"Are you going to?" Tangye quickly retorted.
"I'm sure I can handle things here fine." Tangye shook her head at the clear dismissal, she wasn't giving up that easily. Kristin hadn't really made any secret of the fact she didn't like Tangye being here, whether it was because she felt threatened or something else Tangye didn't know.
"I'm fine." She answered rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. If anyone else had been there with the suggestion she probably would have given in but she just couldn't let herself with Kristin. She let her eyes wander down to the security monitors while Kristin took her seat at the computer. The images in front of her kept switching from one viewpoint to another as they patrolled the yard. She didn't even register the things that she was seeing in front of her listening more to the quickly tapped keys behind her. 'Show off.' She thought resentfully.
Her mind finally acknowledged something on one of the screens but as quickly as she had done so the image changed to a different view. She quietly slid into the terminal serving as the main control for the system. She took control of one of the screens, typing in commands so that it would register cameras on a particular path. "Kristin, what if I told you I know where the little demon was right now?" Tangye asked her voice distant as she stared in front of her.
"I'd ask how?" Kristin answered absently not seeming to notice the tone.
"Cause I'm looking at it." Kristin spun quickly in her chair noticing immediately the thing that Tangye was speaking of in the monitor. "Hi, my names demon from hell and I'm in your backyard." Tangye said, switching to another view. "Actually, I'm heading for the front door." She turned to her companion. "Think he'll knock? Leave if we don't answer?"
"Dominick will, it's in his nature." Kristin jumped up heading out of the control room. She stopped short hearing Tangye following her. "You stay here." She saw the protest start to form. "Derek made it clear you're to stay out of the line of fire. You're powerless against that thing." Tangye didn't point out that Kristin was equally powerless as the woman stepped through the hologram.
"Dammit." She swore. She turned to look at the monitor hating that she would just have to wait to see how things played out but she couldn't risk distracting Kristin by appearing suddenly. "Stupid talent, would have to fail me when something really evil is involved." She berated herself. She scooped the phone up out of its cradle and quickly dialed Nick's cell phone number.
"Nick Boyle." He answered.
"Hi, we have a slight problem on the island." She responded without identifying herself.
"Which would be?" He asked, reaching out and drawing Derek's attention.
"Well there's this demon here trying to get in the house, I'm assuming not for tea, and Kristin decided to head off with it alone." She tried not to let her anxiety show but it didn't work. "Suggestions?"
"Stop her, we'll be there as soon as we can." Nick demanded.
"Boyle, I don't think we have that kind of time." Tangye argued.
"Tangye the text, it should have the answer to stopping that thing." Derek's voice came over the line issuing the order. "Get it to Philip and have him exorcise the creature. If that doesn't work find somewhere safe to stay until we get there."
"You're saying hide?" She looked down at the security monitor again but the creature was now gone having proceeded forward. She wasn't sure why she continued to watch the screen, it was as if she expected it to provide more information. Just then she saw the figure step up from the docks in one of the other monitors. Her breath caught harshly in her throat.
"Exactly. Go." Derek yelled at her but didn't shake her from her concentration.
"Alex." Tangye whispered and he wasn't even sure he heard her correctly. Before he could ask he heard the phone on the other end go dead.
Tangye turned and ran once the phone disconnected. She got to the library and searched for Philip but didn't see him. The book he was translating was still lying open on the table and she snatched it up as she ran out of the room. He was downstairs, she knew that. She focused on the lessons Derek had been giving her. The kitchen. She ran down the stairs two at a time, jumping off the last six. She gave a quick glance over her shoulder and saw the front doors standing open. Kristin was out there with that thing that spent the afternoon hunting her, which she had probably brought back here. And Alex was out there too. Scared and confused, not understanding any of the things happening to her. "Philip."
"What is it?" He called back stepping out of the hall from the kitchen. Tangye tossed him the book causing him to drop the plate he was carrying as he caught it reflexively.
"It's here, that thing. Kristin and Alex are outside with it." Philip didn't need to be told anymore, his life in the Legacy had taught him quick reactions. He knew what he had to do and dashed for the door past the young woman. Tangye stood in the foyer of the house with her back to the door, hating feeling so helpless. She had been clearly told to stay out of the way, not present herself as a target. Derek would be furious if she went with her instinct to do just that if only to stall the creature.
Tangye didn't notice the form of Kat Corrigan silently creeping out of the house. She had woken up feeling that something was happening. Looking out the window in her mother's room she had seen Alex making her way up to the house. After being so worried about her for so many days Kat couldn't control the impulse to go greet her and make sure she was okay.
Tangye jerked her head up realizing that something had just happened, someone had passed by her. She knew immediately who it was and where she had gone. She propelled herself in the direction of the door and got there just as Kat vanished around the side of the house toward the cliffs.
Kristin stalked the creature trying to formulate a plan of action but finding none. She had let herself move without thinking and now was trapped. She had no way to defeat the creature, no way to protect those inside and probably no where to run she admitted. She found herself near the stone wall on the edge of the cliff off to the side of the house.
The creature stepped out from the bushes staring at the woman hunting it. She did not have the power he was seeking but he sensed more on the island. They were trapped and powerless to stop it. She would be the first of his meals, and before dawn came he would have the power he needed to feed on humanity.
"Kristin, don't move." The creature turned and looked at the young man who had joined the scene. He recognized the book in his hands immediately, the text that had entrapped him for centuries at a time. Within that book he had the power to stop him. The man made the sign of the cross and began uttering the words that would force the creature to give up it's form and bind it back to the pages.
"Alex." The cry was that of a child and everyone on the scene looked to see her near the side of the house. The creature sensed the power hanging on this one, stronger then any of the others despite her tender age. He saw out of the corner of his vision that his subject for days had also joined them. He had known all along that she had returned her finally, he never would have found the place otherwise. After the man and woman in the mechanical construct had evaded him, he had been lucky enough to stumble back upon her. Soon enough she had boarded the boat and led him to his prizes.
"Kat." The final piece came running upon the scene. The woman no longer had her male companion, but her power was still obvious to the creature. The gypsy village had offered nothing like this.
Tangye Gaarlihn did not do powerless victim well, she fought even when she didn't realize that was what she was doing. Even when she was powerless she was never prepared to admit such weakness. Everyday of her life she had exhibited some type of control, even when it had been with her own death. Now something stood before her with more power then she could even imagine but she wasn't going to accept the knowledge that she could do nothing against it.
She closed the distance between herself and Kat easily, standing in front of the child pushing her away. Kat having seen enough of what went on around the Legacy obeyed the unspoken command and sought refuge. She disappeared near the house, under some stairs. The demon racked his claws across the bicep of the protector, tearing the tender skin away without effort. The smell of her blood fueled him but first he had to prevent the man from uttering the words that would trap him. He could finish his feast after that. He tossed Tangye away and she hit some trees with her back and settling to lie unmoving on the ground.
Philip began to yell the chant louder wishing them to possess the necessary power. The demon continued to charge down on him despite the prayer and Philip steeled himself for the attack but did not stop reading.
"Hey ugly over here." Philip knew the voice and prayed she had a plan. Alex stood by the stone wall at the cliff. Her dark hair whipped around her face, Philip doubted that she had ever looked so strong. "I'm the one you want." The creature's urge to destroy this one took over at long last. Nothing was more important then seeing her die.
She wasn't sure why she did it, when all her heart told her to do was run. Something seemed to remind her that she was not the type who ran. She faced life head on. Whether it be simple things or demons, Alexandra Moreau fought for what she knew was right. In a single instant her concerns about these people had been forgotten. The girl, Tangye - she suddenly remembered her name, had been willing to risk death to protect Kat. The truth came flooding back over her. These people were not the ones to fear, they were the last line of defense against the things she had feared for days. And she was one of them.
She had been in danger thousands of times but she had always survived, because she had these people supporting her. It wasn't a bond to be feared, it was to be rejoiced. Now where else in the world provided such a sense of belonging, completeness. The secret was hard to endure but it offered gifts unimagined. Things she had let herself forget even when her memory had been complete. She could not face this knowledge and stand by and do nothing.
The creature barreled down upon her but she didn't flinch, even when at the last moment Kristin jumped out and tackled her out of the creature's path. His momentum was too great and he could not prevent his form from falling over the edge of the cliff. The man, Philip Alex remembered, continued to read the prayer but she could not make out any of his words.
From the drop's edge a bright light burst forth just as he finished the words and rushed toward the book. He dropped it to the ground and as the last of the beam was absorbed into it he kicked the cover closed. His light eyes studied the scene. Kristin was getting back to her feet staring at him wide eyed. Alex was looking between the cliff and the book seeming confused. Kat emerged from her hiding place and rushed to Tangye, kneeling down beside her discarded form. Philip's stomach lurched seeing her like that.
"She'll be okay, won't she?" Kat asked sadly as Philip joined her. He looked Tangye over carefully before committing to an answer. Her pulse was strong, the cuts luckily were not that deep, and it was probably only the contact with the trees that stole consciousness.
"We'll do everything we can sweetheart." Philip answered hating that the words did so little to help.
"What was she thinking?" Alex's confused voice came from behind them.
"She told my mom she'd protect me." Kat answered simply, hating to think all this was her fault.
"What were you thinking?" Kristin turned Alex's question on her. She knew there was something very different about her friend, but wasn't sure what it was.
"I was following her example." Alex supplied, knowing that was the reason but not sure she could explain it any better. She saw Tangye's eyes gradually open, fighting for focus and couldn't believe how relieved seeing them made her feel.
"Miss Gaarlihn, I've had enough of this. You don't get to be a martyr." Philip said lightly in greeting while Kat stroked her hair back. Alex watched and saw the familiarity between them, they were a family and she knew she was a part of it.
"Thanks, no interest in the title." She forced her words and then looked down at her arm. "Blood, lot of blood." She looked up at Alex with a slight grin, for the first time in days sensing her glowing person in her mind. "I ever mention I'm not a big fan of blood, I have particular issues when it's my own."
Derek stepped into Alex's room where she was relaxing, he had never felt so nervous being in the confines of a space with her before. She told them about the lingering confusion that had been holding onto her, how she hadn't known what was real. She also told them how she had let herself be convinced they were out to harm her. Derek didn't provide her with any of the information the past days had made him see.
She watched as he lingered back by the door, his eyes seeming to nervously take in the room. His eyes fell onto her face and quickly turned away as though he was afraid of being caught about something. Alex grinned to herself, thinking there might be hope for him yet. "Alex, I thought I'd check on you. Are you feeling any better?" He asked, not closing any of the distance between them.
"Much. I feel clear now. I'm sorry I had you all so worried." He lightly laughed at that. "What?"
"How can you apologize for any of this? And of course we worry Alex, we love you." He seemed shocked to hear the words come out of his own mouth and stared at her to gauge her reaction. She didn't let her expression show any of the joy she felt just hearing him utter that, even when he wasn't saying it for himself specifically. He was included in the 'we,' and that was everything to Alex. She was certain the urge to run from the Legacy had passed. This was where she belonged. "I should go, let you rest."
She nodded mutely from her spot and watched as he slowly retreated. She sank back into the pillows and warm blanket, pulling her journal from the nightstand. She thought over the past few days, how scared she had been and how when she recalled her life here that had dissipated. With the Legacy she felt a new belief that she could face anything. She would always wonder what could have been without the influence of Derek Rayne and his Legacy, but those questions would never lead her away from this place. Her home.
She took her pen and realized that though she had lost nothing to the demon she had caused loss.
'He was a good man, with only my best interests at heart. He reached out to me when I didn't know whom to turn to, where I could run. In thanks I robbed him of any innocence left. I took something from him that he can never regain. Something I will never be able to apologize for. Derek promised he'd be taken care of but there is only so much his money can offer. He'll never free Barry from the nightmares, from the fact he will never believe himself truly safe again. He can never give back a peaceful night of sleep. I took that from him just by entering his life. I was looking for a life away from the Legacy and now doubt such a place exists. Can I risk what follows me from here to there?'
The End of "Sight and Shadows"