They Wouldn't Believe You

Disclaimer: I don't want them, I may have once before but I have learned my lesson... Seriously! ... Oh don't look at me like that – I'm not joking! ... What!

AN: Sorry if I have messed up on protocol in all the hospital parts - I personally avoid hospitals like the plague and have never even sat down to watch a full length hospital drama or film. I am not a fan of hospitals lol.

AN 2nd: Wow! Lol, you people really know how flatter a girl, don't you? You have no idea how much of a moral boost your reviews have been... still, on the flip side it doesn't half make me worry that every new chapter I post wont live up to expectations! Talk about motivation!

Last but not least, thanks to Ananke Adrasteia, who helped me though a couple of dodgy spots in this chapter.

Chapter 9: Purge

Brianne watched the trees and fields go past as the little car flew down the road. She wanted to be able to make her mind go blank and just think of nothing but she was plagued by memories of the vision. The first part really had felt like a vision but the second part, most of it anyway, had felt more like a memory - not one of hers, or even one of Raziel's, therefore it had to have been what the boy, Peter, remembered.

Brianne was still puzzling out what it all meant in her head, Raziel wasn't a dream eater - and he had definitely absorbed Peter's soul. Vaguely, Brianne tried to call up a memory of something she had read in a book, something to do with dreamers wandering about the spirit world... she made a mental note to look it up when she got home - if she ever got home...

As the trees flashed past, she made a determined effort not to think about what might happen next - if she thought about that too much, she feared she might work herself into a panic. Yet that did not stop her thinking about the past and everything that had already happened. Not surprisingly, in regards to the last few of days, it was the topic of Raziel that caused her the most confusion. To begin with, he had been by far the most friendly towards her, between him and Kain. Then, things had shifted with him in the insanity after his encounter with the shade, Sesdoras, and now this... That vision, the later part, had planted a deep-rooted terror in her heart, of what he was and what he was capable of and she feared that it could make things much more difficult for her later. It was the kind of fear that danced a knife's edge away from blind, uncontrollable panic; even just sitting here with him was taking a fair measure of self-control for her to not open the door and jump out of the moving car, just to be away from him. And yet... Contrary to all that was the memory of how he had treated her thus far, the consideration he had shown for her welfare – not to mention the bizarre, if slightly disturbing, 'episode' in the forest after his memory of the Reaver had resurfaced...

She sighed softly to herself: confused didn't even begin to cover her feelings towards him. She glanced down at where his head rested in her lap and froze, staring dumbly at where her hand come to rest gently among his soft black hair. It was soft, silken even, and certainly the only part of him that could ever be described as such... yet there was something odd about it, the feel of his hair, that she couldn't put her finger on... metaphorically speaking that is. She watched her hand as though it were not her own – its long fingers wound slowly through his ebony locks, the dark strands slipped easily around them, flowing almost like water...

Like water?

The car jumped slightly as it went over a pothole in the road and Brianne was jolted out of her daze. She gasped and pulled her hand away as though shocked. She quickly turned back to the window, her eyes wide and brought her hands up in front of her chest, one rubbing harshly over the other where she had touched him. The feel of him still echoed softly in her skin.

Her eyes flickered quickly to the front of the car where Kain sat disguised in human form next to the driver. If he had noticed anything amiss then he certainly wasn't showing it. She fixed her eyes on the window again, adrenaline playing havoc with her breathing as she felt something akin to a sob threaten to well up within her and she fought to keep it down.

Breathe, just breathe... breathe...

It was a few minutes before she was able to calm herself down again.

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The town had just come into view as they crossed over a hill when Kain spoke up for the first time since they had started on the road.

"Why now? Why here?"

"W-what?"

"Raziel was not troubled by this in Nosgoth - I would have known if he was. So why now?"

"I don't kn-"

" -you know more then you think," he said, turning round in his seat to look at her. "In matters relating to Raziel, as he now exists, you may even know more then I do, and I have spent centuries learning all I can in preparation. So why now?" Brianne glanced at their driver, uncertain if it was appropriate to talk like this. Kain saw her look and said, calmly, "He is not listening. What do you know, Brianne?" he pressed, "What could have caused this?"

Brianne racked her brains trying to think - something about the way Kain was looking at her made her distinctly uncomfortable and if answers would stop him looking at her like that then she would do all she could to get them for him.

"Well, there is the Reaver..."

"No, it's not that."

"How would you know?" she asked, making damn certain that her tone was as far from offensive or arrogant as possible - simple curiosity, nothing more.

"Trust me. What else?"

"Er..." What else was there? Kain was right in that something must have triggered whatever had happened to Raziel - why attempting to feed on one soul would do this to him. Could it simply be because he was in a different world now? No, that was too simple - and she had seen it in the vision; the closer to Raziel that Peter had gotten, the more like the spectral realm of Nosgoth everything had become. Feeding... something to do with Raziel's feeding...

Brianne's head hit the back of the seat in frustration and concentration - she did know something, something she was missing, something so obvious that she would be kicking herself about it later for not remembering...

Basics, Brianne, look at the most obvious... Raziel tried to feed on a soul but something went wrong... It was like... like an overload! Yes, like he had been overwhelmed by it! But an overload... too high a dose... from one soul? There was nothing particularly powerful about Peter, was there?

She knew the answer to that from her vision - Peter was just an ordinary boy. Yet Raziel had absorbed the souls of powerful vampires and demons in the past; there was no reason for him to be knocked out by a simple boy...

Ok, ok, so what about Nosgoth... Come on Bree, you know this... Right, so Raziel feeds on souls... Duh, yeah, state the obvious! ...What else?

A little thought, a collection of snippets of memory from the games niggled at her...

It can't be... can it?... Oh... Oh!

"The Wheel!" The Elder God, it has to be! Seeing Kain's expression, she quickly added, "The Oracle of the vampires!"

"What?" it was a statement of anger as much as it was a question, "what about it?"

Brianne scrabbled to gather her thoughts and come up with a respectable explanation. "Well, you see, in all the games - er, that is, since Raziel was resurrected at the bottom of the Abyss - right in the lap of that thing too - it kept insisting that Raziel was his 'good servant' like it owned him."

"Manipulative posturing perhaps..." Even Kain sounded uncertain of that.

"Maybe, but some of the things it said... In Def- er...well there was this one part, after Raziel learned about the Reaver, in the Underworld before he escaped he was refusing to feed and the Wheel – the Oracle – it kept saying things... saying how Raziel must devour the lost souls... the same things it had been saying from the start really, 'reave their souls and let the wheel of fate turn'... but Raziel, the things he was saying in return, calling it a 'voracious parasite'... saying that, not only would he feeding himself, but that he would be feeding it, too."

"Feedingit?" Brianne flinched at his almost growled statement - she didn't need to look at Kain's eyes that burned fiery red in a still human face to know he was angry at that revelation. As red faded back to gold and then to cold blue, he turned his troubled gaze down to where Raziel still lay, his head pillowed on her lap. Eventually, after a troubled and - for Brianne at least - uncomfortable silence, he said softly, "And now, without the influence of the Wheel... He has simply bitten off more then he can chew." Kain chuckled. Then, he suddenly grew serious again, "But how is he to feed?"

"He – well, with Sesdoras, he just took a wisp of her energy. And... I think he had done that before, with the humans in the Citadel..."

"Hm..." Though Brianne could still see signs of anger on his face, now he seemed more... contemplative? Sad? Before she had a chance to decide, he turned back in his seat, hiding his face as they finally reached the town.

Brianne looked back down at Raziel as the first houses whipped past. He still terrified her. She had seen and felt, second-hand admittedly, what it was like for the victims of his dark hunger - the experience had touched something deep and primal in her, so that while she had once almost started to enjoy his company, now it felt like she was sitting next to death itself. She hoped that this feeling would not last; he did seem to like her - why he might like her, she had no idea. Then there was what she had seen and felt before she had learned about Peter - the way Raziel had called to her in her vision, the way he had looked at her, pleaded with her...

Brianne shook her head and looked back out of the window, confused to the point of feeling upset by it.

They didn't have long to wait before they reached the hospital. Brianne half-expected to stop by the door but they parked a short way away instead. Kain was out of the car before their driver had stopped the engine, striding over to the door next to her. He pulled it open, nothing too dramatic but the movement was sharp enough to make her flinch.

"Get out."

Brianne lingered only long enough to make sure she didn't knock Raziel more then necessary. As soon as she was out of the way Kain lent down and began to gather the prone wraith in his arms.

"Kain, we can't let people see-" she cut off abruptly when Kain stepped back from the car and turned round to face her carrying not a ragged blue corpse like creature but a handsome looking man. A very good-looking man, in fact. Brianne gapped at the figure in Kain's arms; his head was pillowed in the crook of Kain's neck, near-black locks stood up next to the brown hair that Kain currently sported. The well-balanced features of his face rested as though in sleep. His skin was pale, but not unnaturally so.

"But, but, how - what? He-"

Kain only shot her an angry look, which immediately silenced her.

Right, just an illusion...

Kain started to make his way to the hospital entrance, ignoring the car and its still open doors, the disguised Raziel in his arms. Brianne started to follow but a sound from the driver of the car made her stop and turn round. He was ghostly white, his eyes, now bright with awareness bulged in their sockets. While one hand clutched at his chest, the other was still gripping the driving wheel in front of him. His whole body convulsed as he slowly slumped forward.

"Kain!" she called back to the vampire, not quite knowing why as she watched helpless.

She looked back towards where he had been walking toward the hospital - he stopped, looked her way and said, sharply, "Leave him."

"But he-"

"Is of no further use."

"What? No further..." she suddenly felt cold again, "Did you...?"

"The control had been maintained too long, he was dead even as we entered the town. Now come."

"What! You can't - you can't leave him- you can't -"

"I already have."

"But-"

"Enough - it's too late for him. I can not maintain a dual illusion indefinitely, now move."

Brianne looked back at their unknown driver. His eyes were already becoming glassed - the hand that had gripped the wheel grew slack and slipped - a glint of gold caught her eye as it fell.

"Brianne!"

She turned away from the car, her eyes burning and vision blurring; looking at the two before her, in that instant all she wanted to do was run, far and fast away from this nightmare.

She had just watched a man die - watched a man be killed. A part of her, another part of her innocence perhaps, felt as though it had died with him.

"We have to finish what we came here to do, Brianne." Kain said, less sharply now but still just as urgent. Then, softer still, a different note entering his voice, he said, "He needs you."

Did he? Why? Who was she that made her so important? She was nobody.

"Raziel called to you in your vision, didn't he - and you answered him, Brianne. Are you now going to abandon him? Leave him to be torn apart from within?"

As he had torn others, destroyed others, innocents who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brianne didn't want to listen but Kain was still talking, still watching her intently, that persuasive tone in his voice wormed its way inside her head and made her listen, pushing all the right buttons.

"So much has been taken from him so that History could receive its due - yet he has never lost hope, not truly. Hope in revenge, in justice, in his quest for answers, for victory and in the end, for the future of our world. Such a precious and terrible thing, hope, even when it is so small – and one of the few things he has left. Are you going to be the one to finally take that from him, Brianne? Will you strike the blow that will finally make him fall?"

For a long moment all she did was look at them. Raziel had called to her - what made all this worse was how the memory of his voice was still burned into her mind, how it clashed horribly with what she had seen after -

"...Help me..."

As though she were watching it from afar, she saw herself take a step towards them and another... Kain watched her, then turned back towards the hospital and she, like a puppet on a string, followed.

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Brianne followed meekly behind Kain as he strode confidently through the doors of the small hospital, the human-looking Raziel in his arms. Brianne could feel the eyes on them the instant they set foot in the lobby. Kain stopped in front of her and looked back and she stepped forward at his subtle command.

When did I become the good little servant...?

"Where is the boy?" Kain asked, quietly next to her.

"I," she gulped, bracing herself, "I don't know, exact-"

" - what!" He hissed, eyes becoming sharp and dangerous.

"That is, I don't know where he could be in this building but I think he is here."

"You think?"

"He couldn't wake up this morning. Any decent parent would have had him brought to a hospital." An uncomfortable thought came to her then and she added, perhaps unwisely, "unless..."

"Unless, what?" He snapped.

"Unless he has already been moved somewhere with better facilities." she finished with a shrug and a wince.

Kain had his cold eyes fixed on her, "Then let us hope that is not the case," he said with a slight snarl. His calculating gaze slid back to the rest of the room and the people in it, some of them sending them sideways glances, some openly staring at them. His sharp mind and keen eyes did not miss a thing. "So where do we begin?"

Brianne looked over at the desk, where one of the people working there was watching them curiously. "We could try asking."

Kain's eyes followed her gaze to the desk, "We could..." he said slowly, thoughtfully. Suddenly, he was striding towards the reception and Brianne took a moment to catch up with him.

He stopped at the desk and addressed the nurse there, "Excuse me, perhaps you can help me...?"

Brianne almost did a double take - gone was even the slightest trace of cruelty, of arrogance or danger from his voice and his face. His whole demeanour had changed in an instant; now he seemed concerned, worried even, a slightly worn yet nervous energy showed in his eyes - it was only their intensity which remained the same. It was a shocking transformation that brought yet another layer to his skill and power and made Brianne respect and fear him all the more.

The nurse responded to his charade instantly, smiling in a comforting way, her eyes flickering to where Raziel lay prone in his arms. "Yes, what seems to be the problem?"

"You see, miss," his eyes glanced over her name tag, so fast his speech didn't even miss a beat, "Weaver, I was supposed to be visiting my brother this afternoon for a family get-together. When I arrived however he wouldn't answer the door. I knew where the spare key was kept, so I let myself in and went to check the house. I - I found him lying in bed, still asleep - but I could not wake him no matter what I tried. I waited and tried again but he still would not wake. Please, I don't know what is wrong, this - this isn't normal at all, I don't know what to do."

Brianne was fascinated. It was one of the most perfect displays of improvised acting she had ever seen - everything form the slightly higher pitch to his voce, the way he increased the speed towards the end, the pattern and depth of his breathing and the expressions on his face... even knowing the truth behind it all she still felt herself being drawn into his display.

If Brianne was fascinated then the nurse was utterly enthralled. Sympathy was written over every inch of her, "It's all right, sir, we will do what we can. What is your name, please?"

Brianne felt her nerves increase then, wondering what on earth he would say but she needn't have worried. "Grey. Simon Grey, and this is Michael. She is Natalie Fletcher."

Simon? And Michael? Well, It's a small world, after all...

"Thank you... Please, sit, I'll call ahead and get one of the doctors here. Sit, please." She gestured at the nearest bench in the waiting room.

Kain nodded to her, a fairly sharp motion that suggested nerves, utterly unlike his usual self. Again he took the lead, moving to sit down while she was still a few paces behind. He maintained the illusion of a worried family member, even as the nurse turned her back to go about her task. As Brianne sat next to him and glanced around the room again she understood why - those faces that had watched them with little more the curiosity before were sympathetic now.

Just when she was about to turn back to Kain and try to ask what he intended to do next, a woman stood close by and made her way over to them, hesitantly, as though she were unsure if she should be doing what she doing. Her face was lined with worry and her eyes were slightly red and puffy like one who had been crying. Her short brown hair was slightly mussed as were her clothes.

"E-excuse me?"

Kain's response was delayed and very human, "Oh, yes?"

"Um, forgive me for intruding, but I couldn't help but overhear what you said to the receptionist," she paused before blurting out suddenly, "Do you have any idea what happened? Any idea at all why he didn't wake?" Her eyes were wide with fear and worry and Brianne suddenly had an idea who this woman was.

Kain's voice was gentle, if a little guarded, "No, I only got to him just under two hours ago now, I have no idea what he was doing before then." The woman visibly deflated before them. Kain waited a beat, then asked, cautiously, "Why do you ask?"

She hesitated, then seemed to deflate even more. She sank into the seat next to Brianne. "Th-this morning my son, Peter, he didn't wake either. No one knows what's wrong, the doctors say it's as though he has gone into a coma but I don't see how - he was exactly the same this morning as when I saw him last night, I -" She paused again, her head in her hands like she was fighting tears. "I'm sorry, I just don't know what's wrong."

Startlingly gentle eyes regarded her as Kain said softly, "I'm sorry. Where is he right now?"

The woman waved her hand towards one of the doors, "He's upstairs, Blue wing, room three D something or other, the doctors are looking at him now - again!" the woman said the last word with something like a sob, her concern for her son written all over her. She turned her large hazel eyes towards Kain again, a new worry showing through. "Hay, you don't suppose that this could be some sort of disease do you? Some sort of infection? Where does your brother live?"

Kain was saved from answering when a white-coated doctor entered the room, his eyes fixing almost immediately onto them before he started to make his way forward. The woman next to them rose from the seat quickly and took a couple of steps towards to doctor, her expression almost begging him to be the herald of good news. He pulled her aside quickly and said something to her, too quiet for Brianne to make out. The woman nodded, her expression still worried and resigned. She glanced back at them briefly before she returned to her original seat.

The doctor came over to them, "I am doctor Parsons, and you are?"

"Simon Grey, and this is my brother, Michael."

"I see, and you are, miss?" the doctor asked then as the turned his decidedly neutral, and Brianne thought somewhat patronising, gaze towards her.

Brianne was just was just about to speak up when Kain answered for her, "This is Natalie," then he added, pointedly, "She's his fiancee."

I'm his WHAT!

Fortunately, the doctor didn't seem to notice her mouth working up and down like a water starved fish as she gawped at Kain, dumbfounded. He simply acknowledged Kain's words and turned his attention to Raziel, briefly, before he said, "I see. Follow me, please."

His detached manner irritated Brainne as they followed him through a set of double doors and she hoped he wouldn't be accompanying them for long.

"Lie him down on here please, sir." An assistant nurse said, gesturing to one of those beds on wheels Brianne had seen in hospitals before.

"No." Kain's frosty refusal, much more in keeping with his usual self, was enough to stop anyone in their tracks and the poor nurse that had addressed him looked like she had suddenly come face to face with a wild tiger.

Doctor Parsons turned to them and said in the infuriatingly even tone of his, "Now please sir-"

" - won't he just be transferred to another bed when we get there anyway?" Brianne interrupted - she had only just met him and she was already sick of him.

"Well yes -"

" - then why not let K-Simon carry him till we get there? It's just a couple of floors, right?"

"That's besides the point; on the trolley we can begin to examine him - we can't do that while Mr.Grey is carrying him."

"He is unconscious, not bleeding to death - there is little you can do here," Kain snapped.

The doctor sighed; he knew a losing battle when he saw one, "Fine, follow me." He took off down the corridor, leading the way towards a lift. Kain, who was still carrying Raziel, and Brianne followed behind.

As the lift door closed behind them the doctor finally paid some real attention to Brianne. "What's wrong with your hands?"

"What?" She looked down at where she had nervously been wringing her hands in front of her, rubbing her fingers over her palms in an almost angry fashion, "Oh..."

As the lift doors opened again onto the next floor and a nurse stepped in, the doctor took her hands and began examining them. "What happened?" He asked, almost sounding surprised.

"What do you -" she finally got a good look at them and gasped; the palms of her hands looked burned. The skin was red and covered in tiny blisters, from the heel of her hand, covering her entire palm and stretching right up to the tips of her fingers and thumbs. Nasty, dark purple grazes crisscrossed the skin. "Oh my... I... I don't know..."

"Doesn't it hurt?"

"No, no, it just itches, kinda..."

The doors opened again and they all stepped out of the lift, including the concerned-looking nurse who had joined them at the first floor.

"It looks like it's infected... Samantha, could you get her seen to, please?"

"Certainly -"

"- she stays with me," Kain interrupted them.

"Now really sir, that infection looks severe, if it were to spread..."

"It's not as serious as it looks, she has had it before." What? Kain, what the hell are you playing at? She sent him as sharp a look as she could muster from where she stood the other side of the doctor, whom surprisingly enough she happened to agree with - the marks on her hands looked nasty and worried her. "Besides," Kain continued, regardless, "can we not at least get her betrothed, my brother, settled before you have her whisked off to another part of the building? Surely a few more minutes..."

"Alright! Alright..." the doctor sighed, clearly growing impatient with the lack of cooperation, "This way..."

Kain sent her a look that said 'behave', loud and clear, as they followed after the doctor again. A couple of doors along Kain addressed the doctor again, "I spoke to a woman in reception. She said her son hadn't woken up this morning either, do you think there could be a connection?"

"We won't know until we have examined him," the doctor sent them a pointed look then but continued anyway, "but so far their stories seem to match."

They turned around another corridor, past more doors and more people.

"Where is he?"

"The boy? He is in the room at the end of the corridor, next to the one your brother will be in until they are moved to more permanent location. I can't allow you to see him though - not that there is anything to see. For all intents and purposes he is in a deep coma - almost no activity at all, he is basically a vegetable."

Brianne felt her dislike for the doctor deepen. Kain may not have cared less but if his ruse had been true, if they had been a real family, then that comment would hardly have inspired hope and joy.

Suddenly, as though in defiance of any connection to the hapless boy the doctor was talking so carelessly about, Raziel started to stir.

It wasn't much, a slight twitch of his hand which had been hanging limp and a soft moan so quite Brianne only just heard it.

Her eyes widened and she glanced at the doctor ahead of them but he didn't look back. Beside her Kain tensed, his face had transformed back into his normal cold mask, the appearance of the worried family member cast aside while his narrowed eyes fixed on the doctor walking ahead of them.

No, no, please Kain, don't hurt anyone, please, no more...

With every step they took, Raziel seemed to become more animate; his hands clenched into fists, his lips pulled back from his teeth in a grimace, his breathing quickened... he looked like someone caught in a nightmare.

As they rounded another corner into a short stretch of corridor that ended in a dead end, the doctor, who still hadn't looked round at Raziel, said "I'm afraid I won't be able to allow you inside the room until after we have finished initial examinations -"

At that point Raziel finally made himself heard, crying out loud enough to startle both the doctor and Brianne. Brianne scuttled back away from them, pressing herself against the wall while the doctor span around, wide eyed, just in time to see Raziel convulse. A surge of energy washed over him in brilliant blue, forcing Kain to drop him - the instant contact was broken the illusion vanished and Raziel the wraith was visible again, his blazing eyes snapped open before he even hit the ground.

The doctor gaped at them consumed with horror, confusion and disbelief. Kain - who was still maintaining his illusionary appearance - darted forwards before the stunned doctor could utter a sound, backhanding him on the face, sending him slamming into the wall. A slight smear of blood marked the dented wall as he fell to the ground.

Meanwhile, Raziel was frantically trying to claw his way forward, his while body glowing as spikes of uncontrollable energy darted all over him. His eyes were completely wild as he finally found his feet and staggered past Kain, gaining speed. Kain followed him instantly, but made no move to stop him.

Brianne hesitated. Her eyes were fixed on the fallen doctor. The entire thing had taken seconds and Brianne was frozen to the spot in shock and fright.

"Brianne!"

She looked just in time to see Raziel disappear into one of the rooms, his claws leaving a sizable mark in the wood of the door frame, visible even from this distance.

Suddenly, a shout sounded back the way they came - all the commotion had not gone unnoticed. To Brianne it was like a kick start and she suddenly found herself racing down the corridor and into the room that Kain and Raziel had entered. She skidded to a stop as she entered just in time to see Raziel lurch towards a bed containing a young boy.

Brianne gasped - it was Peter, looking exactly as she had seen in that vision earlier.

Raziel's body was almost completely consumed in energy now and as he finally closed the space between him and Peter, it was as if a storm filled the room - excess energy spiked out to lash at the curtains, tear at paper and overload machines. His clawed hands latched onto the bed, shredding through the sheets and mattress as he fought to maintain upright.

Suddenly, just as Brianne was about to retreat out of the room and try her luck with the hospital staff, the storm died down and everything went unnaturally, disturbingly quite.

Brianne glanced questioningly at Kain, who stood a little further into the room, staring transfixed at the scene before them.

The energy flowing through Raziel exploded. Brianne was caught completely off guard and knocked back into the side of one of the beds. She looked up just in time to see a brilliant, ghostly humanoid shape, wreathed in energy, hovering above Raziel as he slowly sank towards the ground.

Peter...

The ghostly figure sank down towards the bed, the brilliant energy fading until, near invisible, it sank back into the body of the boy on the bed.

Brianne pulled herself to her feet and stepped closer to where Raziel was sprawled next to the bed. Despite her fear of him, she could not help but feel for him a little in that moment; far from the crazed and overpowered entity that he was but a couple of seconds ago, now he seemed almost vulnerable slumped there. Everything about him seemed diminished, from the subtle glow that always surrounded him to the blazing fire in his eyes - even the blue of his flesh looked slightly drained. In a word, he looked exhausted.

Outside the room, the commotion was building as hospital staff came across the unconscious doctor and raised the alarm.

"We have to leave, now." Kain said next to her, echoing her thoughts exactly.

Raziel made an effort to climb to his feed but it proved to be in vain as he collapsed again before he was even half way. Another moment of unspoken communication passed between him and Kain, though Brianne suspected that it had something to do with the fact that they would have to flee without him.

On the bed next to Raziel, Peter moaned in pain, his arms curling around his midriff in a protective gesture. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open and he screamed - but just as the first note passed his lips, he began to choke, the air around his throat and chest shimmering as though it were hot. Brianne watched in horror as Kain constricted the air around the boy, his expression cold as the air shimmered around his outstretched hand. Brianne ran towards him - he couldn't kill Peter! He was just a boy!

"Stop!"

Surprised, Brianne faltered mid-step as Kain released Peter, who gasped for breath where he lay. Slowly, painfully, using the bars and supports close to the bed, Raziel pulled himself to his feet. "Leave him, Kain. Just go." His whole body shook and his speech was weak and unsteady as he fought to remain upright. Next to him, Peter's cries were gaining volume again.

The sounds in the hallway were louder and closer now. With a final look at Raziel, Kain suddenly turned his telekinesis against the window which exploded outwards, taking a fair section of the wall with it. Kain grabbed Brianne's arm, pulling her to him. Brianne looked at Raziel as she was hauled past him and for a moment their eyes locked.

The next few seconds were a blur as Raziel finally collapsed, his exhaustion overcoming him at last as his body dissolved into nothingness. Kain swept Brianne into his arms and took a huge leap from the building, making Brianne yelp at the sudden movement. He cleared an impossible distance in a single bound, landing on a building the other side of the road that ran past the hospital. As soon as his feet touched the roof he ran across, then dropped down the other side into an alley between buildings.

He let her down onto her feet and waited while she regained her balance. When she could walk again, he began to lead her slowly down the alley, keeping her arm looped around his. When they reached the end, he turned them away from the hospital and put his arm around her waist, looking for all the world like a man out for a casual stroll with his fiancée.

It was a couple of minutes before he spoke, the sound of sirens some way behind them.

"We will need a place to stay." Kain said at last. Brianne didn't answer - she could only think of one place they could go, yet that was also the last place she wanted either Kain or Raziel to be. When the silence dragged on too long he stopped, turning her to face him and said in a slightly sharper tone, "Brianne?"

"My home," it was as though the words had been forced from her mouth, "I could take you to my home."

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TBC

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AN: You can blame Ananke Adrasteia for the little Simon/Michael in-joke lol. Yes, I originally had Raziel with the Michael alias but it had nothing to do with the voice actor! It was during her read through that she picked up on the name and pointed it out to me and I couldn't help but go along with it - I think she was right in that Brianne needs an "I know something you don't know" even if it is over something so trivial.