Precious Cargo by TalgoM

"Well that was very nice of you." Claudia said, not allowing the child's mood to affect her own. "I'm amazed your mom is up this early, we went to bed really late. Stayed up talking about the old days." Rachel couldn't help but smile over how nice Claudia was being even if Kat wasn't receptive to it, the effort was so genuine. Kat had hardly known Claudia five years ago, meeting her only on rare occasions, but she had appeared to like the woman back then. This reaction was new and Rachel attributed it to the fact that Claudia and Raymond were invading their weekend together.

"She does that a lot, they all do." Kat pushed her eggs around her plate without looking up.

"Their work keeps them up late? You must not like that much, it makes the adults sleep in and then you don't have anyone to play with in this big house." Rachel saw Kat roll her eyes at the condescending manner she was being spoken to in. Kat was growing more and more adamant about making a point of the fact she was no longer a baby and shouldn't be treated as such and whenever she was she did little to hide her dislike of the attitude.

"They still wake up, and I don't need playmates, I can entertain myself." Kat informed her.

"I'm sure you can. What sort of games do you like to play around here?" Claudia continued.

"I make them up, you wouldn't know them." Kat looked up away from her food. "Mom can I be excused?" She asked, her voice annoyed. Rachel sighed and nodded not wanting to lecture Kat in front of anyone knowing how much that would displease her. She would be more receptive to anything Rachel said if it was done in private. Kat slid away from the table and started to leave but Claudia reached out and took her hand forcing her to stop.

"Maybe if I'm around later Kat, you could teach me one of your games." Kat lowered her eyes but managed to fight off the urge to jerk her arm away from the woman.

"You don't need to entertain me, I'm not a baby." Kat answered her voice just harsh enough to make Claudia let her go. She ran towards the door to the room but just as she got to it Nick stepped in and scooped her up off the floor in one fluid movement tossing her easily over his shoulder. Kat looked up unable to fight her giggles now and saw Tangye standing just behind Nick.

"Who's calling you a baby, Kitty Kat? I'll take care of them." Nick teased causing the girl to laugh all the more. Rachel took in the scene giving in to the smile she felt. Nick swung her back down to the floor and put his hand on her head to guide her back into the room.

"It's no big deal Nick." Kat shrugged, feeling much more at ease with her friends present. At least she could talk to them rather then be forced to talk to her mom's friend.

"If you say so Kat." Tangye said as she poured two cups of coffee. She joined the others at the table putting one of the cups down in front of Kat. "It'll get your juices flowing." She joked but Kat only scrunched her nose up at the offending drink that she couldn't imagine the adults enjoying so much. It may have smelt good but it looked gross in her opinion. "That'll pass." Tangye said with a wink in Rachel's direction as Kat pushed the drink towards Nick.

"I didn't expect to see you up this early." Rachel commented, sure they had been up most of the night.

"We didn't either, but three hours is better then none and we have work to do." Nick answered rubbing at his eyes that still didn't want to stay open. They had taken the first shift so to avoid having to sleep for a short while and then wake up again in the middle of the night. Not that their plan had worked out any better since Derek had stopped by on his way to bed to make sure someone was awake who knew what was going on and would watch the guests.

"Couldn't your research have waited until morning?" Claudia asked. Both of the new arrivals looked up at her unable to do much to hide their leeriness of her after what they had learned the night before. She played the innocent part very well and most anyone would have bought it, but she wasn't dealing with a group of particularly trusting people. The Legacy had taught them all to jump to the conclusion first rather then do so too late. To an extent they were all naturally on edge around strangers and if that lesson had started to wane Liz Cannon had done all she could to beat it into them again.

"Could of." Nick answered quickly. "Didn't."

"Well I'm sure after so many hours you know plenty about the artifact." Claudia smiled pleasantly.

"Enough." Nick nodded, staring the woman down to see how she would react, if she would give anything away. She didn't, she just looked at him surprised by the attitude she was getting from him. Rachel watched the interaction shocked. First Kat decides to behave rudely to her friend and then Nick joins in on the attitude. Kat she could understand, there was at least a logical reason for it, but Nick had no motivation that she could think of. Not that it mattered to Nick; frequently enough he just made up his mind to assume this kind of demeanor with people. As if he wanted to put them off.

"It must be fascinating to deal with such artifacts." Claudia made another attempt redirecting her attention to the woman instead, but Tangye just glanced up for a moment and then back down at her mug.

"Yeah you mentioned that last night." She responded, sounding bored.

"So have you discovered anything interesting about it?" Claudia pushed for more information but her demeanor was so innocent that it didn't really seem she was overstepping her bounds by asking. She was just curious which was natural enough. Only Nick and Tangye both knew the reasons for her curiosity and knew that it was not as innocent as it appeared. She wanted to know if they were on to her yet, if they had managed to uncover her reasons for being in the house, but neither would say.

"It's old." Nick supplied in the way of an answer without committing himself to any more.

"Well of course, if it weren't I doubt you'd be interested. Do you know where it came from?" She continued ignoring the look he threw at her. His tight-lipped scrutiny that was meant to put an end to this line of questioning.

"Here." Nick said, looking over at Tangye for a moment.

"American in origin, interesting. I'm a bit of a history buff myself; do you know what it's made of? That might help you learn more about who made it and for what purpose."

"It's a piece of jewelry." Tangye explained trying to make it sound insignificant by dismissing it.

"But it could be more then just that, viewed as a greater treasure. Are there any symbols to suggest something like that?" Claudia gave it one last shot, but it was already one step too far.

"You're just chock full of questions aren't you?" Tangye looked up, meeting Claudia's eyes with an icy stare. Rachel knew that look of determination all too well having been on the receiving end of it when Tangye decided that the doctor was pushing for information that she did not want to give out. She knew exactly how uncomfortable it could make anyone feel to have those bright blue eyes go cold on you and stare as if looking beyond a veil to something hidden that she had no right to. She didn't believe for a moment that Tangye would actually use her talent, in fact after talking with Derek she doubted Tangye would ever use it in such a way, but still it was just the look that made a person recoil.

"That's enough. Can I talk to the three of you outside?" Rachel stood up tensely, scolding all of them with a mother's demanding tone that she had mastered while raising an often times very willful child. The three shared a quick glance, knowing that they had let their attitudes go too far and that Rachel was really mad not just annoyed anymore. Slowly they each stood and walked out to the hall without bothering to apologize for their behavior to Claudia. She watched them go carefully, wondering why they had been so reluctant to tell her any detail that might guide her towards what she was looking for. Raymond was hopeful but he couldn't be sure they had finally found what they sought until he saw it or had a description of it. She had got nowhere with the youngest members of the house.

As soon as Rachel had them out in the hall and away from the door she let her anger show on her face, raising her voice just a bit to let each of them know she was serious. "I'd like to know what the hell your behavior was all about. You succeeded in making a friend of mine feel very unwelcome."

"Rachel, there's things you don't know right now. Derek will talk to you about it…" Nick began to explain for the first time feeling ashamed. Not for the way he had treated Claudia but for how he had upset Rachel. She shook her head cutting off his words.

"Derek will talk to me about it? Of course he will, he always does, doesn't he?" She snapped, sure now that Derek had formulated another one of his theories. She wondered for a moment why anyone she met immediately warranted suspicion while all of his friends were given faith first.

"Rachel, you're being unreasonable. At least listen to us." Tangye struggled to get the situation back under control. "We know something, we aren't just jumping to conclusions."

"I'm sure you do. Derek always does have the proof he needs when he wants it." Rachel turned away frustrated that Derek had managed to get them both so paranoid.

"Derek didn't start this, we did." Nick defended the absent precept. "Did you tell her anything about the amulet? Do you know anything about it?" Nick asked, remembering Alex's comment that there was no way Claudia had obtained the information she let slip in the hall from Rachel.

"I haven't seen it yet and like the good Legacy girl I didn't mention it." Rachel answered not sure what that had to do with anything.

"Then how did she know we found an amulet yesterday and that it had carvings on it with a message?" Tangye questioned; sure they had Rachel on that point.

"She didn't know, you just told her. I heard the conversation in there, all she knew is you found an artifact and I did tell her that much." Rachel's voice rose a notch in her anger.

"She knew last night when we found her snooping around upstairs. She said she wanted to get a look at the amulet and that it must be exciting to be the first to read the message it contained." Nick raised his voice along with her annoyed that she was refusing to listen to them. "How'd she know that?"

"She could have overheard something you didn't know you let slip at the party. Tangye was telling Kat about it, weren't you?" Tangye looked away feeling caught, knowing that she had done just that, but she wasn't convinced that Claudia had in fact stumbled onto the information. She couldn't deny her guilt about the discussion. "That's what I thought. But no, of course that's not how she knows. She is naturally someone bent on evil, coming for the amulet for some dark purpose. I'm going to go talk to Derek. If any of you go back in there I expect you to behave like hosts to my friend. Understood?"

Each of the three looked away knowing they weren't going to get anywhere with Rachel, hoping that Derek might have better luck in his encounter with the irritated woman. Rachel turned and stormed off in the direction of the stairs. "Is that how she always is when she's mad?" Tangye asked softly looking at Kat.

"She doesn't like it when we jump to conclusions or make ghost stories." Kat shrugged. She knew she had been caught in her mother's anger towards the other two, though some of what her mom had said was directed at her. She didn't know what Tangye and Nick were alluding to about Claudia's purpose in the house but she didn't trust the woman either. It was just a feeling Kat had, a quiet warning of danger that the woman carried with her.


Raymond was privilege to the argument between Rachel and her colleagues from his spot on the stairs but managed to stay out of view so none of them saw him listening. He cursed Claudia for letting information slip that they never should have been privy to. He still felt that they could fulfill their purpose in the house. Even if they had discovered what the amulet was there was no way they could have figured out what Claudia and he needed it for so quickly. He knew the means of the Legacy were just short of endless, but with what he knew he had taken special care to hide the truth. They would surely realize the truth in time but he felt certain that he could move things along quickly enough that any discovery they might make would come too late.

He returned to his bedroom to wait and wasn't surprised when mere minutes later Claudia knocked on his door. He called her in and recognized the nervous expression on her face immediately. "They know why we're here. What we came for." She stated without waiting for a greeting.

"They wouldn't of course if you hadn't let it slip." Raymond responded annoyed.

"I didn't know they would confer so quickly." Claudia defended herself quickly.

"What did I tell you they would do?" Raymond returned, leveling his angry eyes on her. If her inadvertent slip cost them the amulet it was all over. She would have damned them both to months of suffering and he doubted that she understood how bad it was going to get. "I asked you to get information out of Rachel about the security. I didn't want you to go to the others, I told you how they would react."

"They caught me." She cried desperate for him to loose the harsh tone.

"Where you shouldn't have been. If they found out I knew about the Legacy as I planned I could have got to the amulet. Now that is more difficult to do, more people will get hurt." He took a seat by the window, energy draining from him quickly with his intense emotions. He watched her close her eyes tightly, willing away the tears she knew he didn't want to see.

"What are we doing." He sighed exasperated at that question, the same words she had said to him a hundred times but now held more desperation. Why was her fear growing when it should be vanishing this close to the prize?

"Saving ourselves as anyone would. We're going to live." He stated flatly.

"At what cost?" She pleaded for an answer that would satisfy the disgust she was feeling towards herself and her actions. She would never have thought that she was so selfish. That she would have it in herself to walk over anyone that stood in her path and even leave them dying in her wake. She didn't know when the transformation within her soul had taken place that made it possible to hurt people who had so much to live for, to rob a friend of someone she loved so much.

"Life or death, Claudia. I thought you said you wanted to live, that you wanted to see Charlotte become a woman and have children. I offered you that chance when God wouldn't. Are you willing to throw that away now? Even after everything I've shown you about how little they have?" Raymond asked the questions once again, the same arguments he had used on her every time she started questioning their acts.

"Don't you use my daughter against me." She warned, fire heating her eyes when she looked up at him.

"I need to know where you stand. I don't care but I need to know. Do you want to live or die?" He put the question forth and without a word he knew her answer. She just couldn't turn away from the chance at an extended life, not when she believed she had so much to live for. No matter who stood in her way she would go forward, probably with further doubts, but none of that would stop her.


Rachel stormed down the hall, making as much noise as she could. She couldn't believe that he had just dismissed her in such a manner, not listening to a word that she had to say. He told her he was going to bed and that they would discuss it later and that was it. Where did he get off thinking he could just order her around in such a way? She cursed herself for actually giving in and stepping down in the face of his drained expression. She had let herself feel sorry for him in his exhaustion, even when the reason he was so tired was because he spent a night looking into her friends which she had explicitly requested he not do. He knew exactly how she would react to him sending her away, she would give in and cool off in the time between now and their talk. She planned to surprise him for once and give him every bit of her anger that was running through her system now.

She left the house needing to be away from the people inside for awhile. Life in the Legacy was always this way. Derek checking on everyone all the time, refusing to allow her a life beyond the walls of the San Francisco house. As hard as she fought to build her own separate existence she was always pulled right back in. The Legacy invading every corner of her life in ways she couldn't explain. It was always there, in the shadows just behind her, watching her every move. Approving at times but more often stepping in to set her on what it felt was the right course. She wondered why she had allowed that to happen. Why had she stood by and let them take her life out of her hands.

She turned and took a look at the house, knowing that answer all to well. Infuriating as they might be she loved those in the house. Interfering as the Legacy was it was where she was meant to be; it was one of the few places in the world that she knew with certainty that she was doing something good. She had entertained thoughts of leaving this life behind more times then she could count yet she stayed because she knew it was where she belonged.

She wandered the gardens behind the house thinking over all those old arguments that made so much sense. Those telling her to leave and forge a new life for herself and Kat that did not involve the horrors of the afterlife. To take Kat someplace where she could have a normal upbringing instead of the supernatural one that she was thrown into. Yet that road was never taken. Rachel and Kat stayed because the truth was they had no where else left to go now. There was no normal for them anymore, it wasn't an option. Not only because of Kat's sight but also just as much because of Rachel's dedication to the purpose she had found here.


Raymond had made his position perfectly clear. Either Claudia helped him or she walked off now and died in a matter of months. A painful death that he had explained to her in detail. She would be alone when she finally passed on because she had made up her mind years ago that Charlotte would never learn of her illness. She just couldn't put her daughter through that. If she stayed Raymond would be there for her if anything did go wrong. She would at least have someone there to offer comfort in those last moments. But if things went according to his plans there would be no end to fear.

When he had first come to her with his information about the amulet it was impossible. They had left San Francisco to get away from family and friends that would recognize the signs of their deterioration but years later Raymond claimed to have discovered a cure that medical science could not master. A new life for them both in young strong bodies not inflicted with a disease slowly eating at them from the inside. Now it was something much darker eating at them. Their bodies would still die, taking with them different souls that were cheated out of their lives they should have had. She wondered if the slow degeneration she was allowing to occur to her soul by being a part of this plan was not a worse sort of death. When she pictured the face of her child all that slipped away. She wanted to see her daughter's life unfold, even if she would be forced to do so from some unseen corner.

For that reason alone she cooperated with Raymond's demands. She found the young girl in the library upstairs with several books out in front of her. Claudia's mind flashed back for a moment to a see her daughter sitting at the kitchen table in their small apartment years ago. Studying hard to make sure there would be a scholarship in her future so her mother wouldn't have to work so hard. Charlotte had always put her mother's needs before her own enjoyment. She was a diligent, well-behaved student and child and Claudia couldn't help to see a bit of that in this girl before her.

"Hello Katherine." Claudia spoke from the doorway, then crossed to take a seat at the table. "You have homework for the weekend?"

Kat looked up and her instinct told her to get away from this woman, but she remembered her mother's anger over her earlier behavior. She sighed, answering the question with a nod. She would be as nice as she could to her mom's friend to make her mom happy.

"That can't be too much fun." She looked down at her hands trying to find a way to get the little girl to open up to her. "Kat, I wanted to apologize to you. I know you had planned on spending the weekend with your mom and you feel like I'm taking that away from you. I didn't mean to do that, it's just that I haven't seen your mom in a long time."

"I know." Kat replied softly. "I should apologize to you too. I was rude this morning." She knew it was true but she also felt for some reason she was justified in it.

"That's okay, you were upset, I knew that." She smiled; hoping that helped a bit. Hesitantly Kat returned the grin. "You and your mom must not get much time to just hang out, with her patients and her work here." Kat shrugged. "I remember when my daughter was your age, she used to get so upset when I had to work late or I had to cancel plans that we had."

"It's her job and it's important." Kat sat back in the chair looking at the woman more closely. Her face was sincere, and Kat thought she saw a certain amount of sadness to it but she wasn't sure why. "Anyway, I like coming here. It's fun."

"You really like the people your mom works with don't you?" Kat nodded vigorously at that statement, for the first time loosening up. "They do seem very nice." Kat scrunched up her nose, even if she had been in on it she knew that no one had been particularly nice to the woman besides her mom. "Well, Nick and Tangye were a little rough this morning, but I understand that they were very tired. I think they're also very protective of everyone here, having strangers in the house must make them edgy."

"Sometimes people try to take things from the Luna Foundation and they want to be sure that doesn't happen." Kat explained evasively. She meant something very different but the comment both explained the other's attitude and hid behind the idea that there had been robbery attempts for the artifacts housed in the Luna Foundation house.

"That's a good trait to have, don't you think?" Kat nodded once again. "So you don't mind that your mom brings you here?"

"Why would I?" Kat asked.

Claudia leaned in whispering to let Kat in on her secret. "Well to tell you the truth, the house is a little scary. It's so big, kinda creepy with all this really old stuff around. I was actually a little scared last night, kept waiting for things to start going bump in the night." She laughed slightly but the look Kat shot her gave her the answer she had come looking for. The little girl had seen things in the house, just as Raymond claimed she could. "But that's just my irrational fear of ghosts, which aren't real."

"Whatever." Kat mumbled looking back down at her work.

"That type of stuff doesn't scare you?" Kat looked back up feeling cornered. She knew better then to say anything that would give away the secret but also felt this woman already knew something. Her mom hadn't mentioned that Claudia would know about the Legacy or her sight, but somehow she did anyway. "I'm sorry Kat, I shouldn't say stuff like that. I used to love ghosts stories when I was your age even if they did make it hard to sleep at night. You have nothing to worry about, there's no such thing as ghosts." Claudia stood back up to leave. "I'll let you get back to your work." She said as she left. Kat stared after her a moment then turned back to her homework. Her mom's friend was definitely weird but the others already looked to know that and she hadn't learned anything from what the woman said so she didn't go searching for anyone to talk to. People around this house were always behaving strangely, she just couldn't decide if it was about the Legacy or just something adults did.


Alex had been caught just about to leave the control room when Claudia entered the library and started to talk to Kat. Alex overheard their conversation and it sent her mind working faster putting together the bits of information that they had learned over the course of the long night. Claudia had veiled her comments enough not to rouse too much suspicion from Kat, giving the little girl attention that she probably deserved more of. Alex would have enjoyed the scene if not for what she had known about the visitor. As it was the words that Claudia used, the questions she subtly put forth spoke of something very different then a sincere effort to get to know the daughter of her friend. She turned back around to where Nick and Tangye were working in the control room. "Guys, I think things just went from bad to worse." Her voice was heavy with doom as her mind made the dreaded connection.


Her walk in the garden did help to lessen some of the anger she left feeling, she just hoped that no one decided to provoke her again. Of course this was the Legacy she was talking about and there was always someone there waiting to talk, to try and force her to see things their way. She came up to her bedroom door to find Tangye sitting on the floor beside it clearly waiting for her return. She sighed ignoring her, opening the door without comment.

Tangye wondered what the she had been thinking volunteering to be the one to make an attempt to talk to Rachel now. She saw this quickly developing into a shouting match between two hot tempers. Yet she also felt she had already been down this exact road with Rachel once before and could perhaps use that experience to her advantage. Of course that time their positions had been switched and in the end the friend had turned out to be the good guy Tangye believed him to be. This time was much different, the friends weren't innocents caught in a bad situation, they were making it for themselves.

"Rachel, can I talk to you?" Tangye stood up from her cross-legged position on the floor, following the doctor into her room.

"Honestly I don't feel like talking right now." Rachel bit off the words, hoping to make her position clear but Tangye didn't retreat. Not that Rachel had really expected her too so easily. She was as hard headed in her own right as Derek was and when she wanted to be heard she would make sure that she was somehow.

"Too bad, I only asked to be nice." Tangye shrugged leaning against the door she had closed, effectively blocking Rachel's one route to leave by.

"Did Derek send you in here?" Rachel asked annoyed that she was being forced into this situation.

"No Derek didn't send me in here. I don't do things just because Derek tells me to. I came in here because I wanted to discuss this with you." She informed Rachel, showing that she was a bit offended that Rachel would allude to the fact that she was some trained lackey, only acting on the precept's command.

"Discuss? Right. You mean tell me what I should think." Rachel came back bored with this already.

"No, I meant discuss this with you." Tangye insisted. "I want to know why you won't listen to any of us? Why you take their word over ours?"

Rachel turned to her with a short laugh. She stepped up to the younger woman, not quite answering the question but making her opinion known. "You're fairly new here, but let me warn you. It is always like this. No one trusts anyone, everyone is suspect. That's what being here means." This was clearly something that had been bothering Rachel for awhile, just by the look in her eyes it was something she had never been able to accept about her life in the Legacy. In Tangye's mind that wasn't so much a downfall of the life.

"Good. That's better then being blindsided. Trust me blind faith only ends up kicking you in the ass." Rachel let her sympathy for the girl win out for a moment. Tangye only ever alluded to her past anymore, but the marks it had left could still be read in her eyes and some of her comments. Rachel shook off that compassion, not wanting to get side tracked. She was being forced to defend her friends and she would do so no matter what she felt for Tangye.

"Yet you have it for Derek. He says Claudia and Raymond are here for the amulet and you just agree." Rachel threw up her hands walking across the room. She hated the irrational tone in her voice, the frustration that she was allowing to rise to the surface but these situations and demands of the Legacy just brought it out in her instinctively.

"Actually I think the comment came from me first. I'm the one who started this whole 'let's not trust them train' so stop blaming Derek." She knew that wasn't entirely true. She, Nick and Alex had all boarded together but that wouldn't help to say right now so she bent the truth a bit. At least then Rachel would focus on her.

"Then tell me why you're doing this. Justify it to me." Rachel's voice rose a bit.

"Because we found her looking for the amulet, because she knew about it. I know you think I let something slip but I didn't. The only time I was near her was when Kat and I came upstairs. If I didn't say it then, then she didn't hear me." Tangye informed her voice tight. She had expected better from Rachel, she had thought the doctor would at least consider the possibility.

"What? Were you watching her the whole party?" Rachel snapped back.

"No." Tangye balled up her fists at her side in frustration. "If you would let me get past that…"

"Why should I? So you can create you story based on nothing. You have to get past the first point." Rachel demanded with the same intensity Tangye's manner had taken on.

"It's not important, what is important is that they have spent the last two years tracing the amulet. Trying to find it. Going to every site where it might have been left. And then when it is found they show up here. Innocently enough but the timings just way too good." Rachel stared at her not sure where this information came from but having nothing to say in response. "We know what it is Rachel, the translations done."

"So what is it? What dark power are they planning to gain from it." Rachel asked harshly.

"Life." Tangye answered simply. "It can allow a person to switch from their body to another healthier one. We have all the evidence we need of that and that your friends were looking for it by all indications."

"Indications, great? So a few flukes and you decide…" Rachel picked up her argument again but Tangye cut her off.

"Not flukes Rachel, they've been to every location that shows evidence of the man who stole the amulet in the first place. He left warnings about the thing all over the place. She might be an amateur archeologist but you would think at least once she'd go somewhere he hadn't if she really just liked history. But she hasn't, she's followed signs of this guy." Tangye explained, knowing that if Rachel would give her enough time to explain everything in detail she would have no choice but to see their side. Rachel wasn't willing to give that to her though.

"She has an interest in some pattern and that's odd?" Rachel asked. "Derek did the same thing to find the sepulchers, people take interest in a subject, maybe this one is of interest to her."

"Not your best argument Rachel, from everything I've heard the sepulchers were just a bad idea. And my point is that the amulet is of interest to her, but not for historical value." Tangye responded.

"Then why?" Rachel demanded an answer.

Tangye lowered her voice, calming it so it came out with sympathy, knowing that good or bad these were still people that Rachel cared for. "Because they're dying Rachel and amulet represents a way out." Tangye's eyes were so sincere that Rachel almost believed her but then she remembered how desperate they all were to get her to take their side. She didn't want to think they would lie about such a thing but it was the perfect line to win her over.

"I can't believe you'd say that." Rachel said disgusted.

"I'm not making this up." Tangye defended herself, unbelieving that Rachel would even accuse her of such a thing. She might be willing to stretch the truth at times but she would never take a lie that far.

"I would know, they would have said something to me." Tangye wanted to shout in her aggravation. Instead she just threw up her hands and crossed the room. Rachel watched her as she began pacing with the realization that she was losing this argument which made Rachel feel all the more certain that she was right to defend her friends. If Tangye was telling the truth there was no way she could lose, but she didn't have anything that would really convince Rachel what she was saying was not a story created to separate Rachel from people the others didn't want to trust.

"Rachel, listen to yourself. You're doing exactly what you accused me of doing with Gilby." Tangye finally turned back to the doctor.

"Exactly, and you didn't listen to me." Rachel returned logically.

Tangye gritted her teeth together, why was she being so stubborn about this? "But I always said I would if you had proof. I have proof, but you won't look at it, you won't even consider it. I wanted to trust Gilb as badly as you want to trust Raymond and Claudia but if at some point you had come to me with anything that proved he hurt those boys I would have backed you up. You couldn't do that though, I can. What do you need, Raymond to walk in the door and say…" Tangye's voice peaked again.

"Stop with that. Enough with the sarcasm." Tangye froze for a moment, her eyes wide as if Rachel had struck her physically.

"Fine you don't want that, then think about this." Tangye faced down Rachel, not allowing her to step away from her hard stare. Her body was tense as she thought over the idea that Alex had just formulated from what she had witnessed in the library between Kat and Claudia. Alex's words had filled her with more anger then any of the other information that they had discovered about the pair in the house and she could do nothing to hide that emotion. "Evidently they need some sort of human power conduct to perform the transfer. Alex just saw your 'friend' interviewing one. I read over the Legacy cases handled here. I don't understand it, how it works, but plenty of people seem to view Kat as just that and Raymond and Claudia are standing in that camp as well." Tangye had not wanted that information to come out in the heat of the moment or to use it to scare Rachel but it was now too late to take it back.

Rachel froze for a moment in shock over the implication of that statement but then shook her head in denial. "You're unbelievable." She couldn't accept that her friends would do such a thing. That was too much. If Tangye said anything else she might have been willing to listen but she had gone too far with Kat. Rachel knew Claudia; she was a mother she would never be able to hurt anyone's child. No matter what it might do for her it just wasn't something she had in her.

"You honestly think for a moment that I would make that up? I love Kat; I wouldn't use her to manipulate you Rachel. God, what do you think I am?" Tangye asked disgusted. She honestly liked and cared about Rachel but wondered how many of those feelings were returned if Rachel could think she would lie about any sort of danger to Kat. Rachel must have thought very little of her to believe such a thing.

"A very loyal Legacy member which isn't your best trait. You once said that when you were young you loved all the people that came into your life, that you would throw your arms around them and hug them without a moment's hesitation. What happened to that?" Rachel asked gently trying for the upper hand. Tangye winced and looked away from the doctor when her past was thrown back in her face.

"First of all, I think you know the answer to that." Tangye answered, her voice low. She then turned and looked up to Rachel, her voice even, eyes cold. "Secondly, I said I did that when my instincts told me it was okay. I don't get that from them." She annunciated each word to make her point perfectly clear. She knew she had hurt Rachel by bringing up Kat and Rachel had got her own blow in by bringing up Tangye's past. That could be forgiven but the initial reaction to the memories was too much to fight.

"The Legacy won't let you trust anyone. I refuse to become that way." Rachel informed her. She hated to think that Tangye give up some part of herself that was so innocent and pure but she saw it happening. She knew exactly when it began and the Legacy was merely feeding her new instinct to pull away from people, to hide away in this world rather then face the one beyond their walls.

"In case you missed it you're surrounded by people you can trust. Remember what Derek said, this is a family now, if you can't trust that…" Tangye turned away, conflict raging in her over one simple word that was meant to carry with it a sense of security. "Believe me, I'm not a big fan of the family notion but I trust you. All of you. I know you'll do your damnedest to protect me when I can't. That's what we want to do for you now."

"Well I didn't ask for it." Rachel informed her.

"That's the whole point, you didn't have to." Tangye stated, not willing to fight with Rachel anymore but hoping the message would manage to get through to her. Even if she didn't want their help, even if she refused to believe a word any of them would say to her, they wanted her to know they would do anything in their power to protect her from any sort of danger she couldn't or wouldn't see coming.


"Well that just went badly." Tangye announced walking into the control room where everyone was gathered to wait for her. They had hoped Tangye would come back with Rachel so they could show her everything that they had managed to compile about her friends. Instead only a tired looking Tangye rejoined them.

"She wouldn't listen?" Nick asked a bit surprised though he wasn't sure why he felt that way. Rachel was just as stubborn as the rest of them, if she didn't want to believe what they said it would take more then ten minutes to convince her. Still the fear he felt building in himself for Kat was making him crazy, if Rachel had even an inkling of that she would have to hear them out.

"Not to a word of it, but she's furious with me now." Tangye slid into one of the chairs, leaning her elbows on the table and chewing on her pinky finger studying the others. Rachel had managed to anger her back with the thoughtless words she had thrown out but Tangye did not want to get stuck in another conversation about that so she choose not to bring it up. Rachel had done it intentionally, wanting to hurt Tangye as she had been hurt by the accusations and Tangye was sure that Rachel already regretted that decision.

"If she won't listen we have to act on our own. We can't wait for her to come around." Derek informed them. He had heard Alex's opinion on what was happening and even if it was merely a possibility it was not something that he could afford to ignore. There was no way to be certain that Raymond had an interest in using Kat but Derek wasn't going to take a chance with the child, not when all signs indicated that he did view Kat as the bridge he needed.

"What are you saying Derek?" Alex inquired, knowing that look of planning on the precept's face as he reviewed all their options in his head and formulated a course of necessary action.

"I'm saying we have to protect Kat if Rachel refuses to consider the possibility she's in danger. We all know that she doesn't like it when the Legacy starts to interfere in her personal life. She feels threatened by that, like we're trying to take over. She'll resist this as long as she can." The others all watched him carefully, silently agreeing with that statement. Rachel may have stopped considering leaving but she had made it clear that she did not want her whole world consumed by the Legacy or Derek to constantly be turning her life into a ghost story. She refused to accept that, needing desperately to hold on to something outside of the society. She didn't want to be watched or have everyone in her life suspect simply because she kept up her involvement in the Legacy.

"How do you suggest we do that?" Nick asked, leaning back in his chair sure that Derek already had a plan of action but for some reason fearing he wasn't going to like it, he was rewarded in that instinct with Derek's next words.

"We need to get Kat away from here, somewhere that Claudia and Raymond will not be able to find her. Whether Rachel likes it or not we have to remove Kat from their grasp." Derek stated without hesitation but he saw clearly enough the reaction to his words on all of their faces. They were shocked by what he said which was exactly the reaction he had expected.

"Derek you can't be serious." Alex exclaimed.

"Actually I can." Derek replied evenly with a glance at her.

"What you're suggesting, isn't that basically kidnapping?" Tangye asked carefully, not wanting to get into another fight but resistant to the idea.

"It could be seen that way but we'll be doing it for the best possible motives." Derek explained.

"Whatever, she's not our kid Derek, we can't just take her without Rachel knowing about it." Nick argued, knowing how badly that would hurt Rachel. Imagining how horrible it would be for her to realize that they had taken her little girl away, even if Kat would be with friends that Rachel trusted.

"Would you prefer that they do it?" Derek asked showing a bit of his irritation. He knew that none of them would like the idea but he also expected them to be willing to do anything for Kat's safety, even if Rachel didn't like it. Each in turn turned away from him. "Nothing will come of it. She won't press charges, you all know that."

"But she'll hate whoever does it." Alex informed him. Rachel was one of her best friends; she hated the idea of betraying the trust between them in such a way. "And the rest of us for allowing it."

"Then we'll make her understand." Derek answered.

Continued on the next page...