Turning Point by TalgoM
She could hear voices out in the hall but was unable to make out what was being said. The sentences were short and curt, whomever it was they were fighting as well. She rolled over in her bed hoping that her mother chose to leave her alone. She didn't want to look at any of them right now. She didn't want to sense the atrocities that they had committed which for the first time she noticed hanging around them. Something darkening spirits that Kat had once seen only light and goodness in. She had been a na´ve child when she accepted that as the truth. Age was granting her more wisdom into the world she was living in the shadow of and it showed her that it was not a place she wished to be.
Sleep came easily to her now that the fear of the dreams had left her. The sensation would still be horrible and she hated to face it again but there were things to be learned from it. If this was a glimpse into the souls that they didn't let her see she needed to know about that. It was time for Kat to make her judgements of if the Legacy was really where she wanted to grow up.
She entered the world with tight hands gripping her throat and denying her the benefit of air. The face in front of her held an expression that it had never mastered before. A soulless being left only her anger to feel anything with. Kat doubted that the thing looking at her could ever understand the concept of love and therefore wasn't acting out of grief. The force driving the woman was something more feral, more like an instinct to protect the pack.
"What did you do Kat, what the hell did you do?" Kat's throat could not offer an answer, as it was being crushed not that she believed Tangye deserved one. If this had been the Tangye whom Kat had known she would not have needed an explanation for the actions. She would understand that Kat stopped Nick for the greater good they all professed. But this was not that Tangye and Kat realized that the end was probably close for her.
Kat's eyes wandered over her attacker's shoulder noticing movement in their direction. She didn't expect it to be any help for her. She knew in her stomach that she was the enemy in this world and she was hopelessly outnumbered. "Release her." Kat knew the voice instantly. His face was covered in the dark shadows of the cloaks they all wore until he brushed it back from his brow. He looked older to her somehow and dead inside. Tangye's hands begrudgingly released Kat as she stared into the eyes of a man who had played a fatherly role in her life for so many years.
"Derek " The word was forced out sounding broken. She could feel herself dying. Not from any physical harm but only because everything she had given faith to was so changed. They had changed, become the very thing they vowed to fight and that truth left Kat adrift.
"What were you thinking Kathryn?" Derek asked evenly kicking at the hand lying at his feet. He didn't even look down to see the ring on the finger, not even registering a sign of mourning for his fallen friend of so many years. "You know how useful he was to me. Why did you do it?"
"He was going to hurt the child." Kat reasoned but knew that explanation would get her nowhere.
"And we came here to hurt what exactly? These little urchins steal shouldn't they be judged for that?" Kat stepped back in horror with that statement. "We have to clean out the weak flotsam or we can never succeed. If they can give in then "
"Shut up, shut up." Kat screamed cutting his words short. Tangye and Derek both just stared at her marveling over her behavior. She could almost feel their anticipation over killing her for the betrayal. "This is wrong and you can't justify it."
"The Legacy was built to protect, what are we doing?" Kat couldn't believe that he would even try to make such a claim. Could he not see what he was doing? What he allowed what she knew were good souls to become? Derek was still their leader in this madness and he had marched them all into this world. Their mistake was listening to him and accepting whatever truth he proclaimed. "We are protecting them from the demons that could come and get them."
"You can't make those decisions." Kat argued desperately. His points didn't even make sense and he didn't appear to be trying to make them. He didn't feel that she deserved an explanation, she should just be following the orders as she had been raised to.
Derek's cold face formed into a brief smile as he stepped closer to her. He leaned in close and she could feel his soft exhale against her neck. She wanted to run away from him and find some sane corner of the world to hide in but she was also compelled to hear what he wanted to say. "We have the power Kat, we can make whatever decisions we like. Why else would the Legacy want the power?" Derek stepped back smiling at the secret. "Kill her." He sentenced and before Kat could react they were all there. Her friends, her mother all were surrounding her ready to take her down.
The fear of death was real but she woke calmly. She had the answer she had gone to sleep seeking. When she was trapped in the dream she had no idea that it wasn't reality but when she returned to her bedroom on Angel Island she could see it as the warning it was intended to be. She felt older in the dream. Older and more powerful, capable of killing with a single blow. The images she was being haunted by had to be a warning of what the future could hold.
She squirmed out of her bed and over to her desk picking up the chair in front of it. She carried it over to the door of her room and jammed it under the doorknob. She stepped back and kicked the leg a few times to make sure it was held there securely.
The same damn dream chased sleep off for a second time but this time he wasn't fortunate enough to be roused in the early morning. He picked up the clock off the nightstand and issued an annoyed moan to see that it was only a little after three in the morning. He draped his arm over his eyes wishing the return of the comforting dark. He was surprised that the dream really hadn't bothered him so much. It was a strange memory and it had ended painfully but Nick had never given the incident much thought after the fact. He knew the images were only haunting his mind because of the discovery of the music box a few days ago and he was certain they would pass. There were definitely worse dreams that he could have been having so he was willing to accept this option.
He tossed the sheets off of himself feeling the return of the headache he had finally vanquished. For a moment he considered going out for his run but then decided it was too early and everyone would have questions about why he was up. He wouldn't even classify this experience as a nightmare, not this time. That part would have been easy to explain anyway, it was the staying awake that he would have had a harder time justifying. He just didn't want to go back to sleep and take the gamble on dreaming of something worse. If he could fight off the nightmares this time he would finally be in control of them and they would loose their power. If he just accepted that they were going to happen then they would win.
He pulled a pair of sweatpants on as he got out of bed. He wasn't exactly sure what he was going to go do to occupy himself but he didn't just want to sit here. He opened the door to his room as quietly as possible and slipped out into the hallway. The house was still, which he always appreciated more then the others. His main responsibility was to keep the house secure and when it was quiet like this Nick felt that he was accomplishing his job. Too often that was not the case. He did the best he could he knew. There were just some things that the best defense in the world could not possibly hold at bay.
He went down the stairs deciding that a beer and something to eat might settle his active mind enough that he could return to a stress free sleep. He was surprised to see the kitchen light on and his hand went around to the base of his spine just as Kat had accused him. There was nothing there though and Nick cursed himself for the instinct. 'People do live here, how many times do you have to draw a weapon on the others to learn that?' Nick asked himself relaxing the tension in his body so whoever it was wouldn't notice his reaction to their presence.
He pushed the door open and stepped into the kitchen with an air of calm. Alex sat across the room at the table looking out into the night with a cup of tea in her hands. "Alex, what are you doing up?" Nick interrupted her thoughts. She turned to look at him with a quick grin.
"I could ask you the same." Alex answered.
"Then forget I asked." Nick laughed back, both agreeing that they didn't want to discuss the topic. He went over to the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle from the door and then a tray of sliced turkey. Tucking the beer under one arm he grabbed a bottle of mustard. He joined Alex over at the table and she watched in silence as he began eating, dipping each piece of meat into the bottle of mustard.
"I can't believe you can do that." She said, amazed that he could be so primitive about his manners.
"You really wouldn't believe what I do when no one's around." He teased tearing off another bit of turkey.
"Remind me to buy my own food." She loved it when he let himself smile like that. His eyes would wrinkle up and the laugh lines around his mouth would grow deep. Silence feel between them as Nick enjoyed his snack and Alex's eyes wandered back out to the darkness on the other side of the window. She didn't really ever make the decision to ask him; the words were just suddenly there. "Nick have you ever had the feeling that something is lurking in the bushes waiting for just the right moment to attack you?"
"No Alex, tell me what that's like." Nick answered her sarcastically opening his beer. She turned to look at him and seeing his face remembered that it was not only something Nick had experienced it was the way Nick was trained to live. Even when he knew that nothing was there Nick was ready for the attack because he never let himself really believe that everything was safe.
"Right." Alex nodded her understanding. "How do you live with it Nick? How can you be scared all the time?" Nick sat back in his chair noticing how seriously she appeared to be in pleading with him for an answer. Something was going on around him that he didn't know about. It was the first time the thought had hit him but all of it fit. Kat and Rachel's odd treatment of him the past days could not be dismissed like he wanted to. Coupled with Alex's concern about something without knowing what Nick knew that he had to give credence to what was happening. His mind returned to his thoughts from a few minutes earlier about how much he liked the stillness of the house. That enjoyment left him as he looked at Alex.
"There's a big difference between fear and readiness." Nick explained. "I'm not afraid all the time, I'm alert." He didn't take offense to what she insinuated with her comment knowing Alex well enough to know that she meant no harm.
"But are you ever just relaxed and comfortable?" Nick paused to think over how to answer that question. He was at times but he wasn't sure that it was a sensation he let go too deep. He thought about his most peaceful moments but knew that even then he was listening just beyond the moment for what was out there.
"To an extent." Nick nodded taking another drink of his beer to wash down another piece of turkey. "What's going on Alex?"
"I can't really say, Nick and it isn't anything you should concern yourself with." She stood up not wanting to worry him more then she foolishly already had. She went over and kissed the top of his head. The action surprised them both but Alex hadn't been able to control the urge to do it. "I'll talk to you in the morning. Don't leave any turkey that you've touched." She chided him.
"Don't plan on leaving any." Nick smiled but it wasn't one of the ones she liked. He was forcing it past his concern. She could tell him not to worry but it wasn't possible to keep him from doing it. She knew that as soon as she was gone he would go up to the control room to check everything out. Tomorrow he would claim he needed to do an annual diagnostic on the whole system. It was predictable behavior from him that he didn't think anyone noticed and while she was sincere that she didn't want him to worry it made her feel better to know someone would be doing something.
Kat wandered the hall in a daze. She hadn't seen anyone but she had a good idea where they all probably were so she went in the opposite direction. She didn't want to see any of them. She didn't want to look on their faces and have to question who they were. She meandered her way back to the rear of the house without really choosing a destination. She crossed by the pool to go to the adjacent sauna room, which lead out to the garden.
"Kat don't come in " Nick cried out just as Kat stepped over the threshold. As soon as she did Kat heard the sudden cry of the houses alarm system. "Here." Nick sighed finishing his thought. He jumped to his feet and past Kat to the control box on the other side of the wall. He put his thumb up to deactivate the alarm and grabbed the phone with the other hand. "Derek? Everything's fine, the system was tripped by mistake I know Derek Thanks for the confidence boss." Nick said with mock appreciation before hanging up the phone. "Derek says next time I do this to give him warning so he won't be here." Nick informed Gilby as he stepped back into the adjacent room. Kat took a spot in the corner watching the interaction, curious as to what it might show. Her heart still cried out to her not to believe in any of the things that she was feeling. She knew Nick; the monster from his dreams could never be him.
"Next time you do this I'd like the same." Gilby answered.
"What are you doing here Gilby?" Kat asked softly. Gilby grinned at her then looked over at Nick.
"It's a male ego thing. Nick knows I can beat him at anything with a real winner so he asked me over here to one up me about things I don't know. Impressive isn't he?" Gilby looked down at the little girl.
"I'll show you something I can beat you at and you'll end up the pool." Nick lightheartedly threatened his friend with a glance as he returned to his work by the doors. "I'm testing the security system, accept we keep tripping it. Derek's in his office so he's not too happy about my timing."
"Why are you helping him Gilby if you don't know about it?" Kat directed all her attention at the blonde man. He had never appeared in any of her dreams and she was still comfortable with him. She knew that he had not been a part of what she had seen. He was free of the Legacy and therefore had never been willing to accept that they had done. She guessed that in her dream he was probably already long dead.
"Because he asked."
"Wrench." Nick requested reaching behind him. Gilby dropped the tool into his outstretched hand and returned his attention to Kat.
"And every good surgeon needs a nurse, that's my role."
"Couldn't find you Kat or I would have asked you to help." Nick informed but the girl didn't even acknowledge him.
"Gilby when are you going to take me horse back riding, you said you would?" Gilby nodded at the enthusiasm for the idea. He didn't miss that Kat was entirely ignoring Nick who had pivoted on the balls of his feet to watch the interaction.
"You name the time Kat." Gilby looked over at Nick helplessly. He didn't know what was going on between the two and hated what he saw. She was clearly mad at him about something. Gilby knew kids well enough to know that they frequently ignored people who had upset them. "Right now though we need to get back to work." Kat nodded knowing a dismissal when she heard one. She didn't even bother to look at Nick as she walked by him though she could feel his eyes on her. As soon as she was gone Gilby looked back down at the dejected Nick who had turned away from him. "What the hell was that about?"
Nick stood up lifting the floor level panel into place with his foot. He kept his eyes on the floor knowing the answer too well. He wiped his hands on his jeans and went over to the toolbox he had out, dropping the wrench into it and slamming it closed. "She found out I've had to kill before and she hates me for it." Gilby was taken back by the statement. He had known that for years but whenever he thought about it he just dismissed it as part of war. Like those didn't count in the grand scheme of things. He had wondered about why Nick had dropped out of his mother's life and questioned now if this was part of the reason. Did he fear what her reaction might have been to knowing what her son was doing? Gilby rarely thought about Nick that way but wondered what type of effect it all had on Nick.
Derek entered the control room with a stack of papers in his arms. "Alex, are you busy?" Derek questioned carefully knowing Alex was not going to like the job he was about to assign her.
"If it has to do with financial reports yes I am. We made a deal that you would do them this time Derek." She turned away from the computer screen diagramming the maze of tunnels that the Los Angeles house had discovered. They were downloading her pictures so that she could compare it to some notes she had on file about local tribal cultures.
"It's not. Jackson asked me to send these pictures we haven't scanned in yet to him. He's evidently using Kristin's visit to interview her about our work." Derek dropped the pile to him. "I've written up the annotations."
"By hand." Alex groaned looking over to the photos and the accompanying sheets with Derek's scrawled writing. "I thought you were going to take a few days of rest, why are you here?"
"Nothing important." Derek answered quickly moving back in the direction of the door. He paused when he reached it thinking about Rachel's harsh words. "Alex do you ever doubt the work you do here? Do you ever question the goals of the Legacy." Alex knew the answer without thinking about it.
"Not the goals, but sometimes the means. That's only natural." She said honestly. "Derek, only recently we basically had Kat kidnapped by Nick and Tangye. I know doing that to Rachel was wrong but if we hadn't I'd hate to think what might have happened."
"That's true of course." Derek nodded in submission to that. He may have made the decision without seeming to concern himself with the damage it could do but it had ate at him. He knew that Rachel's faith in the Legacy could sometimes be a very fragile thing and that he was risking it with his decision. He had to make the choice look easy so that the rest of his team could have confidence in it. And Alex had been there to back him up with absolute assurance in his abilities. Just as she always was. Alex might question his methods but never the man behind them like Rachel clearly did. "Why don't I help you get this project going?" Derek returned to the seat by her side.
Alex looked over in his direction careful not to be caught doing so. She didn't know what brought this urge of helpfulness on but she wasn't going to reject it. She smiled to herself content to have a day to work beside the man she respected so much. Perhaps she could even get him in a good mood and make him issue one of his rare laughs.
"You're her hero, it's hard to resolve those two things." Hours later Alex and Derek were interrupted in their work. They had finished the project for Jackson hours ago but remained in their seats and found other work to be done. They both tried to ignore the conversation behind them not sure that they were meant to be hearing it. "Every kid has someone they look up to that they see as perfect, when you first find out that maybe they aren't any better then the rest of us that's a hard moment." Derek looked up from his work catching Tangye in his eye wondering if she would say anything more on the subject.
"But she doesn't even see me as that, she sees me as worse." Nick puzzled. Everyone could both tell that this hurt him more then he was showing.
"It'll pass Boyle." She instructed him confidently. "She'll figure out how it all works together but you can't force that." Tangye joined Derek at his terminal with a grin. "What's going on in here?" She looked down at the pages he was working from.
"I thought you were still to be in bed?" Derek pulled the papers back not wanting her to get involved in the work he was doing knowing that she would push herself too hard if she tried to work so soon.
"In a purely technical sort of way I am supposed to be." Derek nodded slowly. "C'mon Derek I've been in there for days, I'm going crazy." She pleaded her case with wide eyes. She was growing ever more antsy being locked in her room for such a stretch of time.
"Not a big journey." Nick quipped walking behind her. "She hasn't been staying in there anyway, she just waits till no one catches her." She sheepishly grinned at that and took a chair, which appeared to appease them all to an extent.
"Can't you just throw me a translatable bone? Something to do?" She again went for the papers but Derek's hand caught them before she had a grip.
"What were you just talking about?" Derek redirected the conversation and with that action sent her a clear 'no.' He turned to look at Nick who's grin at the exchange fell upon being the focus of everyone.
"Kat's just realizing some things and " Nick rubbed at the base of his neck not wanting to tell anyone else about this. He knew he had to say something to Derek but he did not like admitting how much Kat's treatment of him hurt. He had gone to Tangye because he felt she might be able to help. She had in her own way but the lingering offense was still there.
"And she's angry with you?" Alex looked up from the article she was reading. She had been the recipient of Kat's strange anger just the other day. She knew how uncomfortable it could make you feel. She had thought it had just been a momentary lapse by a child who was being faced with adult issues. She just couldn't understand what she was learning and grew frustrated that it didn't make sense like she felt it should. But if Nick had endured it as well that meant it was on-going.
"Pretty much." Nick nodded.
"When did this start?" Derek asked taking a moment to look at them both.
"Two days ago. She asked me some questions about World War II. She didn't understand how sending soldiers over made us any better then him. She got upset and just told me that she thought it was wrong, when she looked at me though " Alex felt cold just remembering the look.
"It was colder then you thought Kat was capable of?" Alex nodded in agreement with Nick's statement. "That must be what started this then. Learning about the war. She's mad at me because she thinks I'm a soldier, she knows I've been in battles. So it's just a normal kid thing?" Nick looked a bit more at ease then he had earlier. If it was just a stage like Tangye claimed that could be fixed. If he had been right and the feelings ran deeper he wasn't sure how to remedy that. Nick started to move across the room to finish his work with the security system.
"Has she mentioned the Legacy in any of this?" Derek spoke to no one in particular. He had not mentioned Rachel's latest outburst about the Legacy to any of them yet but it sounded similar to Kat's new attitude. It would be one thing if it was just the child growing up but when Rachel was also involved he feared it might speak of something worse.
"Not to me, Nick?" Alex turned to look at Nick whose eyes were downcast.
"She never said the word, but yeah." Nick sighed that he had to admit that. Kat had made the connection between the war she read about in history and the one the Legacy fought and that was a dreaded realization to them. It would still be difficult to resolve for Kat what they did but now they had little choice. "She said that she knew what I did then and now. She also said that she was afraid we were trying to make her and Rachel forget what they knew was right." All of the eyes in the room fell onto Derek.
"Rachel said about the same thing to me yesterday. She thinks the Legacy has too much power over people. Even for Rachel it sounded strange. I know she's prone to getting upset about the Legacy but this was different. It wasn't the Legacy, it was me." Derek remembered the feeling of directed hate, no image had accompanied the Sight but the feeling had washed over him.
"Exactly." Nick nodded. "So what's it mean?"
"I'm not sure. It could just be that Rachel is still upset about how we handled the situation with Kat and the relocation. Kat could have just hit a stage." Derek theorized without much conviction.
"Could be, but not?" Tangye asked from behind Derek. He moved his head slowly affirming her statement but not offering another choice.
Derek had Melissa send the message around the house that he thought it would be nice if they all gathered for dinner. Everyone knew that was less a request then an order. He didn't want to use his authority in such a way but he needed them all together. He wanted a chance to judge the behavior of all of them in case the effects were more wide spread. It could be caused by anything and interaction was a key. Now they all were around the table and silence was being maintained.
Kat appeared to be the most uncomfortable in her seat across from Nick, keeping her eyes locked on her plate and answering questions in the shortest means possible. She had also not allowed her eyes to settle on Derek once which told him he was part of her problem as well. "Katherine what have you been occupying yourself with? I haven't seen you much." Derek asked pleasantly.
"Homework." Kat answered bluntly while pushing her potatoes on her plate. Alex shot Derek a knowing look that said that this was exactly what she had seen.
"You must be pretty far ahead by now." Derek smiled at her not that she looked up to see it.
"I had a lot."
"Well perhaps if you have some free time tomorrow " Kat slammed her fork down suddenly breaking off a piece from the edge of her plate.
"I don't want to help you do anything, ever." Everyone in the room was taken back by the sudden outburst.
"Katherine I didn't mean "
"Don't try to pretend Derek. I know. I know what you are." Kat stood up from her chair causing them all to jump when it crashed into the floor behind her. "And I hate you for it." She turned and stormed out of the room. They all sat for a moment awaiting the next eruption, which was bound to come.
"What in the hell were you doing? Why did you push her like that?" Rachel demanded but did not wait for an answer. She turned out of the room going after Kat. Again they sat in silence staring at the side of the table where the Corrigan's had sat.
"Oh I see, something weird is going on." Tangye stated with mock understanding, stepping into the room. Derek looked up at her from his seat. He had expected the dinner to be short from all that he had heard in advance and he thought it would have been even shorter if they had seen Tangye. If something were controlling them like he was beginning to suspect it might know that its ability to hide would be destroyed by Tangye's presence. Instead he had asked her to monitor the situation from the next room. If whatever was doing this didn't see a reason to protect itself it might be easy for her to read the change in them.
"You think?" Nick asked sitting back in his chair.
"Shot in the dark." She said sliding into a seat beside Derek. "That was them Derek, not some thing that hates you acting through them. No one is in there." She hated to tell him that part of what she learned. "That doesn't mean that something isn't working from the outside to push the necessary buttons."
"No thoughts on what?" Alex asked.
"Nothing very helpful. They're both picturing some sort of horrible war scene but I didn't see it. Just felt it." She shrugged not sure that she could do much more good. The contact had been brief and only when each was at the height of their emotions. She wasn't even sure that she could have delved further if she tried to do so, already her head pounded away from the strain she had put on it. She had been nervous when Derek asked the act of her but she hadn't been able to say no to him.
"More war?" Derek considered that but only ended up adding it to the bits of the puzzle he had. "Nick why don't you look into that? Tangye you should go back to bed. Alex you were headed out?" Alex nodded standing from her half-eaten dinner. A part of her was relieved to know that she was no longer alone in her feeling of foreboding. At least now they had an idea of how it was coming at them. Somehow turning them on one another. Unfortunately there was little they could do until they knew that how. "We'll call you if we learn anything at all."
"You better." Alex regretted that she had to leave but Gilby had worked hard to get the tickets to tonight's show and she didn't want to blow him off when there was a chance nothing was going to happen here. She moved out of the room slowly watching them all as she went a part of her desperate to run and embrace each of them.
"Nick, I'll meet you in the control room in five minutes."
She was at the mercy of them all but there was one face she could not allow herself to look away from. The features of the woman who had been there for every moment of her life were staring down at her with the face of a monster. Her mother had been swept into this darkness and there was only one thing to blame for that destruction of a person. The Legacy was to blame; they robbed her of the mother she knew. Somehow they managed to kill the morals that were the foundation of Rachel Corrigan leaving behind only the husk. Her mother could still move and act but Kat knew she couldn't possibly have been capable of free thought or long ago she would have left this.
She saw her mother's arm raise above her head clutching a thick stone. She would almost be relieved when it was all over.
"And like that you're dead." The voice broke into the action of her murder. Kat felt the pressure against her arms and legs suddenly released, freeing her for movement. She rolled over to her side seeing the feet of the another person. Her eyes moved upward to find a face untouched by the world around him. "You never would have dreamed it would go this badly." He stepped away from her as she climbed to her feet. He went over and crouched down beside Nick's discarded from pushing him onto his back and then removing the hood from his head.
"This isn't real?" Kat asked softly not sure if she should risk trusting this man. She had never seen his face before in her life but in this cold world it was the kindest thing she had been able to locate.
"It will be." The man answered absently reaching out to cup Nick's chin in his hand. "He had such promise once." He said with a sigh then pulled the robe back down over Nick's face. Kat couldn't bring herself to look at it knowing what she had done to someone her heart still told her that she loved. The man moved over to another body pulling back another hood. "She was trouble from the start." He shook his head when the woman's face was revealed. "You could sense that couldn't you?" He turned his brown eyes to study Kat for the first time. Kat looked down at the frozen expression on Tangye's face. She wanted to deny it, to proclaim that Tangye had been her beloved friend when she was a child but she couldn't find the words or emotion to back them up. "It doesn't matter." She still couldn't admit what she had to be able to see from this world. "You know who was behind it all don't you? You know that he has to be stopped before this can come to pass. You do know that?" He stood up still placing himself a few feet from her. Their eyes locked and something within Kat warned her to turn away but she couldn't. "Like dominos it will all fall into place. One event leading into the next but slowly over time so you don't even notice what's coming until it is on your doorstep. You know now, though, and you can stop it now when it can still be prevented. You know who caused this." He wasn't asking her questions, he was telling her what her mind admitted to already knowing.
Kat felt her head weakly give in to the nod. He was right. She had been given this warning of things to come for a reason and the only one that made sense was she was meant to stop it.
"So have you come up with anything?" Derek asked when returning from the kitchen with a fresh cup of coffee. He looked up at the images on the screen that Nick had managed to pull up.
"We don't even know what we're looking for." Nick groaned while rubbing his eyes. "I've found out plenty about wars but what exactly do we need?"
"I'm not sure. Any reports of incidents out of the ordinary." Nick shot Derek a tired look.
"I'm not going to get very far with that." He informed Derek. Derek knew that but wasn't sure what else he should say. They didn't know much and it was late. Perhaps if they could clear their heads some they would be able to view the situation from a fresh perspective. "I'll look through what you have here for awhile, you should get some rest." Derek patted Nick on the back to motion him out of the chair. Nick nodded appreciatively and stood.
"You sure you don't mind?" Nick said.
"It's fine, I probably won't stay up long. We'll try again first thing in the morning." Nick gave in and turned to leave the precept alone. Derek began scrolling through the articles Nick had only started to compile. He studied the forms of the ancient carving depicting battles and more recent photographs. He read some of the brief descriptions that went along with some of the images but little was to be gained from either. Desolate battlefields did not change much with time. He just wished he had one thing to link them all to an answer.
Kat slipped into the room without making a sound. She had heard them all go to bed early tonight and since then the silence was undisturbed. She waited hours after that had happened to be sure that they were all asleep. Her movements went along with her namesake as she wandered the halls of the large house. Finally she returned to the living wing of the house with everything that she needed. The door had been left cracked open at some point in the night so there was no noise when she opened it.
Now Kat stood in the room staring at the sleeping figure across from her. She remembered the man's statement from her dream. 'Trouble from the start.' He had come to instruct her on how to prevent the future she had seen. He had no reason to lie to her. If he indicated that she was worse then the rest of them then it was necessary that Kat stop her early. She knew that it wasn't her main goal but it was better to be safe. Plus she was weak at the time, her body afflicted and drained.
She started to cross the bed when she heard sudden movement. Her eyes were locked intently on her and Kat knew that there had been no motion on her part. She waited to see if the sound would continue and when it didn't she resumed her progress. When she got up beside the bed she finally saw what had made the sound. Nick lying peacefully beside her, one hand against her back.
Kat stepped back in horror and feared for a moment that one of them might hear her. Neither figure moved again and Kat retreated from the room. The hand hanging beside her began to shake with sudden fear almost losing the grip on the knife that she wasn't sure how she had. A part of her reminded her that there was still a job to be done, that she had a duty to perform. It told her to wait until Tangye was alone but to do it soon. Kat would not be able to get to her if she was strong.
But the voice at the core of Kat's being demanded that she consider what her thoughts were telling her to do. She loved Nick, no matter what she knew about him Nick would always be her favorite. No one could ever replace him in Kat's mind. He was everything to her. Friend, playmate, confidant and her own real hero. Could she ever hurt Nick so badly as to take away something she knew that he loved so much?
Tangye entered the library cautiously not even realizing that she was being followed. Her mind was completely focused on the unfamiliar voice that had woken her by calling out to her. As soon as she entered the room she saw the woman. Short and full in build, old and lined with the wrinkles of years. When her voice spoke it bore into Tangye's memory immediately, something strange and unforgettable about the raspy timbre. Tangye watched the visitor hesitantly as she allowed herself to step closer until someone's hand shot out and gripped her arm to stop her.
"The past shall return seeking its favorite child.
Bring with it pain and make all wild.
Those not of blood he will look to touch.
You shall be left alone with no crutch." The woman's arm raised and pointed at the two figures in front of her. Shivers ran up and down both of their spines at the warning.
"Who are you? What do you want?" Tangye was surprised that she couldn't raise her voice above a whisper in the face of this rhyming creature.
"He shall come calling for one to show a new way.
He shall tear down the house to lead astray.
Strength you must find,
Or sacrifice your mind." As suddenly as they had found the intruder she vanished. For a moment there was silence and then Gilby shattered it.
"What was that all about?" Gilby stepped forward to the spot where the woman had been. Tangye just stared ahead of herself trying to figure out the nonsense poem. "Tangye did you know her?"
"You need to leave." She mumbled. Her eyes rose to meet with her friend's and he could easily see the urgency that they held. The air of self confidence nearing on foolish bravado was completely lifted leaving her frightened by something she didn't understand.
"What are you talking about?" Gilby looked at her shocked by the command.
"She was warning us of danger coming. You're the only one around here not of the 'blood.' Nick and Derek's fathers were both in the Legacy, Alex's grandmother knew about it, as did Kristin's father. Rachel's mother was killed by the Legacy. And my great-grandfather was a part of it. You're the only one not tied to it. You're in danger." Her words flowed out quickly as she reasoned through the poem in the way most acceptable to her. She would not allow any harm to come to him; he didn't deserve to be dragged in again even if he insisted that he wanted to help.
"But nothing else she said made sense for me. Why would I be the past's favorite child?" Gilby struggled against what she was suggesting, questioning the wisdom again of getting close to these people again. Their lives were obviously fraught with various kinds of dangers that deserved respect for the power they held. He had no way to protect himself from them and wondered if merely being careful would protect him in the long run. But these people were also his friends and he might not be the best suited to aid them but that did not mean he could ever just walk away from any of them.
"Who knows but I don't really want to find out the hard way. I'm not saying you have to leave forever just until Derek can figure this out." She pushed him hastily in the direction of the door unwilling to take any chances with him. At the doorway she turned to look back where the woman had appeared. Her riddles had made no sense but Tangye told herself it was logical that she meant Gilby. It gave her something else to focus on.
Something other then the fact that the women had clearly been pointing at her.
"Where did you wander off to?" Tangye jumped slightly when the voice broke into her actions of trying to get back into bed without disturbing the occupant. She wanted to tell Nick about the woman she had just seen but without knowing what she had meant she didn't want to worry anyone. She just wished that she could get the feeling of the woman's stare out of her system.
"I thought I heard something." She answered crawling back in under the covers. Nick adjusted himself so he was propped up on his elbow looking down on her in the little light provided.
"Nothing?" She hesitated ready to hate herself for the lie she was prepared to say.
"A woman, a woman's spirit anyway." She whispered the words surprised that they came out instead of her denial. Nick rolled over turning the light beside the bed on giving her his full attention. Tangye rubbed at her eyes for a moment adjusting to the invasive light. "She didn't really say anything specific, spoke in rhyme actually."
"You saw Christina?" Nick asked surprised, shocking her equally that he knew who the woman might be.
"Evidently. Who is she?" Tangye sat up in the bed.
"I don't know much about it, she acts as a sort of spiritual advisor to Derek on rare occasions. Usually nothing good. What did she say?" Nick reached up caressing her cheek softly as she struggled to remember the proper words.
"Something about the past returning to seek its favorite child. That it would cause great pain and tear down the house to lead astray. That we had to find strength." She couldn't put the exact words together for him still too stunned by the woman to think entirely clearly.
"That's all?" Nick pressed wanting to be sure that he knew everything.
"She mentioned that whatever it was would come looking for 'one not of the blood.' Gilby was standing there with me I told him it might be a good idea to leave until we knew something." The hand rose and planted the finger directly to where she had been standing, the scene playing again to torment her. She knew that Christina had been warning her. It had been her name that she had been calling out. Tangye just grasped onto the hope that she meant Gilby because at least if it was outside of her she could fight it. She could protect him. She wasn't sure how much more she could take directly.
"Probably for the best." Nick watched her expression closely as she avoided meeting his eyes. There was something more that she had to say but she was withholding it for some purpose. He hated to think that she wanted to keep something from him, that she could think of a single reason to do so. They had made strides in their relationship and it was finally at what she called the 'comfortable stage.' They knew enough about one another that they weren't always trying to learn more. They were content to just let things happen in their own time but honesty at that stage was even more important. As she said it, he needed to tell her when what was going on because she didn't feel she needed to ask anymore, he should want to tell her. He wanted her to tell him now.
But she remained silent, keeping things from him even if it was obvious she was doing so. She had to realize that he could see it yet she still didn't offer. He leaned in kissing her gently on the cheek and brushing her hair back. "Nick, I love you." She whispered the words into his ear when he was close and that made him feel at least a moment of relief. She wasn't trying to manipulate him with the words it was her way of apologizing for whatever was being left unsaid.
"Me too." He kissed her once again. "I should go tell Derek about this." Nick started to get out of the bed but she caught his hand. He turned to see her blue gold eyes staring at him sadly in the moonlight. She didn't state her plea that he not leave her alone but it was heard. Derek should know as soon as possible but he couldn't bring himself to leave her when she was so obviously frightened. "It can wait a little while." He grinned at her moving back onto the bed where she quickly settled down into his arms.
She felt him kiss the side of her head a few times and allowed herself to relax in the safety he offered. "You did the right thing getting Gilb out of here." He spoke the words softly, the air brushing against her ear, a sensation she closed her eyes and tried to hold on to. She nodded her agreement but wondered if by doing it she damned herself.
"She was probably right." Alex stated again the next morning as she walked Gilby to the front door. "If we got a warning that direct then it is probably something you're better off not being involved in." Gilby didn't point out that Tangye said the ghost was talking about him. He hadn't believed that story when she had said it. He had been in the room, he could see who the woman was directing her words at. If it helped her in some little way to believe that though he was not prepared to take it from her.
"So instead I just pretend I don't know you might be in danger. How is that supposed to work?" Gilby stopped allowing her hand on his back to guide him. She took another step before realizing he wasn't with her any more and turned to him.
"We had a deal. I told you this from the start. There are some things you can't help us with. Self preservation remember?" Alex recalled one of their early conversations. She had made it clear to him that it made her nervous to get involved with someone knowing the kind of danger it could bring in or around their life. He had claimed to understand at the time and swore not to get involved if she told him one of those situations arose. If not for that promise she would not have allowed their relationship to go so far.
"I know all that but " He wanted to tell her, to say he had not been the subject of the woman's strange little rhymes but he held his tongue. Tangye would tell them when she could. It wouldn't help anyway. There was still something on the horizon and Alex still wouldn't want him around for it. He decided to let the argument drop and changed tactics. "Do you think I've been loafing around here too much, is that what you're saying?"
She smiled at that familiar hurt tone he used to take mock offense to comments people might make. "The last few days, yes." Gilby felt his face start to fall but caught it before she might notice anything.
"Okay. But you'll call me and come over to see me, right?" Gilby started to lean down to kiss her but paused to wait for his answer. She nodded with a fond smile and gave him a quick kiss goodbye.
"You call if anything, and I mean anything, strange happens, okay?" He nodded his shaggy blonde hair like an obedient child. She tried to be as casual as possible about this whole subject. She didn't want to give him cause to worry about his safety or that of the Legacy members if it could be prevented. She was just beginning to doubt more and more that whatever came of these signals was in fact something to be dismissed. She glanced over her shoulder in the direction of the house that held almost everything dear to her and the terror hit her. The empty feeling loosing any one of them might cause. "Please just be really careful for me." Alex wrapped her arms around him tightly.
"For you." He responded letting her go. He didn't say any more to her before opening the door and going out through it. He was glad she hadn't asked him to speak again. He glanced down at the watch on his wrist checking on the date for the first time in weeks. He had made himself forget what day of the month it was because he wanted to enjoy himself without distraction. He had been lingering around Angel Island more the past few days because it offered him just what he needed.
"I'll need to talk to her." Derek said as he and Nick walked down the hall. Nick nodded shoving his hands in his pockets. "So, what did she say exactly?"
"Not sure. Tan seemed pretty freaked out by the whole thing last night. She said Gilb was there though he might remember." Nick paused outside the door to the library. "Were you able to find anything out last night? Do you have something for me to go on?"
Derek sighed shaking his head. He had stayed up a good deal later then he originally intended trying to locate a common thread in the past. Hundreds of stories of war were all so similar making finding a smaller line within them difficult. He knew it had to be there somewhere. An incident that was dismissed. Something that history was trying to forget. All his efforts had lead to further dead ends unfortunately. "Not yet no."
"I should have a fun day." Nick mumbled turning to go into the room behind him.
"Nick?" Nick stopped short to look over his shoulder at Derek. "Everything went okay with your tests of the system yesterday?"
"We're set, nothing that we have a hope of detecting can get in here." Derek and Nick both knew that left it open for visitors they might not be able to stop just because of the limitations to sensing systems. It had been the biggest downfall of the system since it had been put in. It worked wonders against human intruders or those that had a physical body to set off the system but when it came to spirits they had no sure fire means of warning. Nick had always considered the system working in hand with the three psychics in the house, hoping that all working together they could give him the warning that he would need.
Tangye knew that if she got caught she would be in for a lecture but she just couldn't endure the walls of her or Nick's rooms any longer. It wouldn't kill her to run down to the kitchen for herself to grab something to ease her worn throat. She assumed the others would all be working and she could make it here and back without anyone catching her. She gave a quick glance over her shoulder to check the empty hall again then pushed the door open. She was a bit disappointed to see Kat standing by the counter making herself a sandwich but decided Kat would probably not turn her in to her mother.
She also had to admit to having some curiosity about Kat's behavior and what her reaction might be. She wasn't setting out to intentionally upset the girl; she just wanted to know if Kat would have reason to explode on her as she had found motive with the others. She intended to get out of the room at the first sign of her answer rather then be the brunt of such an attack. "Hey, Kitty Kat." Tangye greeted her and was given only a bored look in return. Tangye did not want to push the issue so instead of saying more she just went over to the small fridge.
Kat watched the woman's closely. The effects of her current illness were still obvious from the way she carried herself. Her back slouched more then normal and she kept her hand on solid objects to protect her from loosing her balance. Kat studied her closely as she pulled a bottle of juice out and threw the cap into the garbage. She could hear the voice in her head repeating over and over, building the fear that Kat felt at just being in her presence. The guilt Kat had experienced the previous night was completely abandoned. All she could think was that guide from her dream had said Tangye was trouble from the beginning. Tangye would be a part of what Kat saw, probably helping to sway the rest of them when Derek finally changed. She had the power to do it. Tangye could have been the one making her mother capable of killing.
It might hurt Nick to loose her but in the end it would be better. She used their own arguments to help herself get over the moral hurdle of taking another life. Sometimes it was necessary for the greater good; sometimes one person has to sacrifice for many. Kat just told herself that her soul was nothing if she could protect all those dead in her dream. Nick would be proud of her in years to come for the choice she made as a child; he would understand why she had to act.
Her hand slipped around the plastic handle of one of the kitchen knives then she merely waited. Tangye would come to her. She had come this far even when she was supposed to be bedridden. Kat hadn't been able to do it last night not only because of the emotional damage it could do to Nick but also because of his presence. He would have defeated her right there and she would never have made it to the true source. Now Tangye was alone and weak, in some way possibly knowing that it was best she find Kat and meet her fate. Tangye would sense what was coming and want to stop it if she still could. Even she would thank Kat after the fact.
"What are you making?" Tangye rounded the island and looked down on Kat's concoction on bread. Her stomach lurched just to see the mismatched sandwich fixings in front of her. "Don't take offense Kat, but I'm probably never going to ask you to cater for me." Tangye started to pass behind Kat with one hand on the girl's head in a fond gesture. For a second Kat felt the threat of tears behind her eyes. Tangye loved her; Tangye had protected her before. But if what Kat saw was true, and she knew it was, Tangye had to die. It was the right thing. "I need to "
Kat spun around before Tangye's mind could even register what was about to happen. Only catching the glint of light on metal made her body retreat. She stepped back hitting her back into the row of cabinets behind her and preventing further quick retreat. Kat missed on the first swing but as she came back around she caught the tip of the blade against Tangye's side. The older woman felt fabric and flesh tear under the attack and desperation swim up into her heart. She had wanted to see how Kat would react; hoping to get a quick read and then leave. She had never expected that Kat would attack her and have her defenseless in an instant. She couldn't fight. Not only due to the risk of hurting Kat but because of her draining sickness. Her best hope was to get out of the way.
She edged her way along the counter stepping away from Kat who seemed paralyzed with shock for at least the moment. Tangye managed to get herself to the other side of the kitchen island before Kat looked back up. "You would thank me if you listened." Her voice came out sounding unfamiliar in its harshness.
"I'm not so sure." Tangye answered her moving closer to the door as slowly as she could. She didn't want to give Kat the chance to recognize her means of retreat and to make it there first. Kat took another clumsy swipe at Tangye from across the counter. Tangye was easily able to avoid it this time and allowed the step back from the knife to push her close enough to the outside door to grab the handle. Without wasting the second necessary to look over her shoulder she yanked the door open and propelled herself out of it on shaky legs.
Kat looked down at the knife in her hands seeing the hint of blood that it had carried away from her victim's body. She knew that it was bad that she let Tangye get away, now the others would know what she was after. Still she found a certain solace just seeing the blood of one of her enemies. It gave her hope that she could still stop them before their power changed them forever.