Story Type: hurt/comfort, angst, supernatural
Fandom: Poltergeist: The Legacy
1Title: TRAPPED IN AMBER
Author: Olivia Sutton
Disclaimer: Poltergeist: The Legacy is owned by MGM, and possibly others. This fanfic is written for fun and for the enjoyment of other fans and no profit is made from this fanfic. No infringement of copyright is intended.
Author's Note: This fanfic was originally published in the paper fanzine "Ouch! #6" edited by Cinda Gillilan and Jody Norman, copyright 1999. I have obtained their permission to post it here at The original story was published under a different name, but it IS my story! Set during second season. Enjoy and don't forget to review!
Summary: When Derek receives a strange package-- an ancient Russian book, he realises that it's a case for The Legacy-- but the book holds dark secrets that threaten each member of the team and Derek's own sanity.
Trapped in Amber
By Olivia Sutton
Doctor Derek Rayne knocked on the door of the church rectory, trying to decide what he would say to whoever opened the door. There was so much that had happened, and he knew that it felt right to be here, to seek out Philip, but he still felt, nervous, at the same time. And if it wasn't Philip that answered the door, how would be explain who he wanted to see and why?
A few minutes later, the door opened revealing Father Philip Callaghan. "Derek?" He said, surprised, "Wha--Why are you here?"
"Philip, I need to see you, in your official capacity." Derek's accent was thicker than normal, revealing his emotional turmoil.
Philip looked at him quizzically--then opened the door wide, "Sure Derek, come in. My office is this way."
Derek followed Philip into the rectory. They silently walked down the hall to Philip's office and Derek shut the door after they entered.
Philip looked at the deadly serious expression on his friend's face, and said, "What is it, Derek?"
Derek swallowed, "Philip, I--I wondered if you'd hear my confession."
Philip stepped back, towards his desk. But Derek continued, "Philip, I feel a need for the sacrament. And you're a member of the Legacy too--I wouldn't be breaking that vow."
Philip nodded, still shocked. He opened a desk drawer, took out a purple stole and placed it around his neck. He never thought it would come to this, even with everything he had seen Derek go through over the last few weeks. For some reason, he never thought he would act as a priest to Derek. Derek sat in one chair, Philip in the other and Philip formed the sign of the cross, mumbling, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit".
Derek also made the sign of the cross, then said, "It's been two or three years since my last confession. Maybe more." Then he stated, unemotionally, "It started about three weeks ago, at the Legacy House on Angel Island. We received this package..."
The messenger brought the package early on a Monday morning, one of the servants answered the door and brought the package in, then set it on Derek Rayne's desk in his study. The package was a US post office priority mail envelope with no return address, clearly addressed in plain black block letters:
Dr. Derek Rayne
Derek came downstairs early that morning and decided to take his coffee in his office, while getting an early start on correspondence and the business of being a percept. He entering the room, bringing his coffee with him, and set the saucer and cup on the side of the desk then sat down in the worn leather chair behind the mahogany desk.
The first thing Derek noticed about the room was the new package on his desk, the red, white, & blue envelope gleaming in the early morning sunlight. On top of the package was a brief post-it note, signed by the butler, explaining the arrival of the package by messenger. Derek set aside the note, took a sip of coffee, then proceeded to open the package.
It was a book, a very old one, handmade and bound by metal bands. The cover was tooled leather, with carved letters and symbols. In the center was a large oval of amber, set in a starburst pattern whose rays spread to the four corners of the book. It's beautiful, thought Derek. As Derek's hand accidentally brushed the amber stone he pulled back sharply as he was struck by a vision, in black and white glimpses, he Saw Nick, falling to the ground, blood pouring from his shoulder, Alex crumpled, her neck crushed, and he Saw Philip shouting out ritualistic words as he sprinkled holy water. Then the vision was gone. A sense of dread overcame Derek. He knew his people were in danger--a danger connected to this book. His coffee forgotten, he carefully picked-up the book, using the envelope, like gloves, to avoid touching it directly, and brought it to the control room. He placed the book in the hermetically sealed chamber on a table, then left the room.
That morning he announced to Rachel, Alex, and Nick that they had a new case.
"I want you to find out everything you can about the book." He stated, glancing at each of his people in turn.
"You got it, boss," wise-cracked Nick.
"And be careful. I had a vision from just barely touching the stone." Derek stated.
Everyone nodded. Rachel stopped at Derek's side before leaving-- "Derek-- Do you want to talk about it?"
Derek shook his head.
"Are you sure?" She placed a hand on his shoulder.
Derek sighed, then answered her. "No, Rachel-- I can't." He looked at her, nearly said something, then stopped. Rachel nodded, and left.
Derek returned to his office and called St. Patrick's rectory, Philip's home since leaving the Legacy House. After two rings a soft Irish lilt answered.
"Philip, it's Derek." Derek said.
"Derek-- Good to hear from ya' How is everything?"
"Philip, I was wondering, could you come back to us-- for just a little while?"
Philip sat quietly for a minute on the other end of the line, then said, "What's wrong?"
Derek decided to trust the priest, and from the glimpses in his vision, knew he would need his help, he talked about the book, and told Philip of his vision.
"When I came to my senses again, I had the strongest feeling of dread I've had in awhile, Philip." Derek's voice and accent became stronger with his distress, "I'm afraid-- I very afraid I'll lose someone 'dis time, if we aren't prepared, 'dat is."
Derek's soft "th's" and pleading voice told Philip the man was truly worried. "Okay, okay. Look, I have a parish council meeting at ten this morning-- but I'll be to the Island by lunchtime. Don't worry Derek, it will be all right."
"Ja, see you soon." Derek answered.
"See you soon." Philip parroted, then set down the receiver. Philip strode from the rectory into the church and said a brief prayer for his friends, and a special prayer for Derek. Then he returned to his office to prepare for his meeting.
Meanwhile, Derek busied himself in his own office on Angel Island-- he had no desire to go to the control room and see what progress his team had made with the book.
The legacy team was gathered in the main dining room for lunch.
"Have you made any progress with the book?" asked Derek.
"Yes," announced Alex, "It's 18th century Russian. The amber centerpiece is Baltic amber. The metal is silver, and the cover is leather. The letters are Cyrillic, but we haven't completed the translation."
"Very good-- have you found out anything else about it?"
"Not yet, but we're searching the database to see if there's any references to the piece. It's quite unique, something should turn-up soon," said Rachel.
At that moment, the group heard the door, and a few minutes later, Philip entered the dining room.
"Philip!" said Alex and Nick at once.
Philip smiled, "Derek called, he said you needed me."
Alex looked quizzically at Derek, but he sat quietly at the head of the table. "Good to see you, Philip."
Nick rose and walked over to Philip, "Philip, I...Glad you came, that's all."
Philip nodded, and sat at the table. He looked at Derek and could see the man was starting to look a little haggard. The vision he had told Philip about was obviously still on his mind.
"Philip, do you think you could help us to translate the book?" asked Nick.
"I don't know-- Do you know the language yet?"
Philip looked at Derek again, "Russian isn't one of my languages, Nick. But the computer should be able to translate it."
Alex and Nick looked at Derek-- something was up. Why had he called Philip, if Philip had no more special knowledge than the rest of us, Nick thought. Alex was thinking about the same thing.
The group caught up on each other's gossip during the rest of lunch, then Alex, Rachel, and Nick went to the control center to continue studying the book. Philip went to the library for the same purpose, and Derek went to his office.
That evening at dinner, the team told Derek they had found out little new information about the book. Derek asked them to continue working on it after dinner. He decided to finish up a little paperwork in his study and make an early night of it.
It was three in the morning and the Legacy house was completely still, except in Derek Rayne's bedroom. Derek tossed and turned in his bed, tormented by a nightmare. Suddenly, he woke-up. He looked around the room but all was calm in the dim room lit only by the moonlight streaming in the window. Derek got out of bed, and put on his robe and slippers. He quietly went downstairs to the control room.
Derek entered the control room and walked over to the sealed box that held the book. He opened the box and took out the book. Something, something I missed-- I've got to see it again, he thought. Derek lifted the book, and without any knowledge of what he was doing, rested his palm squarely on the amber stone. "No!" He screamed, but he was already caught-- Derek's soul was swallowed-up into the stone, and his body crumpled onto the floor.
At that moment, Philip awoke, and went downstairs. As he entered the control room, he spotted his percept lying on the floor, the antique book in his hand. "Derek!" Philip screamed and ran to the man's side. He crouched down at the older man's side, and felt his neck for a pulse. It was barely there. Philip mumbled to Derek, "I'll be right back, Derek, I swear it." Then he ran back upstairs to get the others.
The four legacy members returned to the control room together. Rachel knelt at Derek's side, and checked his pulse and breathing. "He has a pulse, and he's breathing. Alex, call for an air-ambulance, okay?"
Alex nodded and picked up a phone.
Rachel leaned towards Derek, saying, "Derek! Can you hear me Derek?"
The man was silent. His color pale.
Philip moved forward. The book was still in Derek's hand. He gently removed the book and placed it in the hermetically sealed chamber. At that moment, Derek's eyes fluttered opened.
He looked up at Rachel and Philip's concerned faces, and said, "What happened?"
Rachel looked at the precept. "That's what I'd like to know. Derek, you were out cold. Philip found you."
"I don't remember...wait, I, I had a nightmare, well, not a nightmare, something came to me in my sleep-- I had to see the book, I can't explain it."
"That's it Derek, you're going to the hospital."
"No hospitals, Rachel."
"Derek-- you were out cold. You didn't respond when I came in here. And I can't explain why you did wake-up."
"I said, no hospitals. I mean it." Derek's face was grim. Meanwhile, Derek's soul saw what was happening--Don't believe him, God Rachel, don't believe him! Philip, I'm here-- that's not me! Philip, Nick, Alex, please--over here, in this book!
"Okay, Derek, have it your way," answered Rachel, "But if you do this again-- the hospital for you, straight away. No questions, no complaints."
Derek's body, and the being inside of it nodded. "Right, now, it is the middle of the night. I suggest we return to bed."
Philip gave Derek a hand-up, and felt an incredibly cold sensation. He forced himself to not show his reaction, and quickly let go of Derek's hand once the precept was on his feet.
The next morning, Derek slept late. The rest of the San Francisco Legacy House members were up at their normal time and noticed the precept's absence at the customary breakfast/meeting. After breakfast, the group dispersed to their tasks. Philip stopped Nick as he headed towards the control room.
"Nick," said Philip, his hand on the ex-SEAL's arm.
Nick looked at Philip, and Philip let go. "I think there's something wrong with Derek."
"Why? Because he hasn't come down yet? We were up late last night, and something happened to him in the control room-- he needs rest, Philip."
"No, that's not it. Last night, when I touched him, I felt something."
Nick looked at him. It was well known in the Legacy House that Philip, like himself, did not have the Sight, as Derek called extra-sensory perception.
"I know," he nodded, reading the expression of doubt on Nick's face, "But I do feel things. And I'm telling you Nick-- I felt, cold, when I grabbed his hand to pull him up. Something's happened."
"Okay, Philip, I'll keep an eye out. Now, I'm going to try to get that book translated. Why don't you see what you can find in the library?"
Philip nodded. The two parted, and headed for their separate tasks.
Meanwhile, Alex was already researching the Russian handmade book in the control room. Rachel examined the book, wearing cotton gloves. Nick joined her.
"What did Philip say?" Rachel asked.
"Oh, he's just a little worried about Derek."
"I thought as much," she answered, then she said, "Wait a minute, the amber-- does it look a different color to you?"
"It's just the lighting, Rachel."
"No. Look, I'll get the scans from yesterday up on the monitor, then scan it in today." She performed the manipulation, "See, a full shade darker."
Nick looked at it, then looked at her. "You're right. I wonder what caused that? Should we wake up Derek?"
Rachel glanced at the clock on the computer screen in front of her, "It's 10am, yeah, we should wake him up."
"Okay. Alex, anything on the translation?"
"I'm working on it, it's slow going, Nick. I've figured out that it's a diary or journal, written by more than one person. There's a lot of poetry, and what might be incantations or spells too. It's going to take time."
Nick nodded at her, then left the control room. He walked out of the control room to the main stairs heading for the third level of the castle. At the top of the stairs, he turned, and headed for Derek's room. He knocked on the door, "Derek. Derek!" He called. When there was no answer, he opened the door. Derek was still fast asleep in bed. "Derek!" Nick called, as he moved towards the bed. He reached the bed, and tried to shake the precept awake. Suddenly, Derek awoke, and Nick swore for a split second that his eyes were golden-red and not their normal green. Nick shook his head, while Derek blinked several times.
"Gott Nick, wha--what time is it?"
"It's after ten. We let you sleep, thought you needed it." Nick sat on the corner of the bed. "Rachel found something on the book."
"Ten?" Derek looked at Nick, incredulous, then looked at the clock on the bedside table. It's glowing red digits read 10:08. "What did she find?" Derek slid his legs over to the side of the bed. As he went to get up, he stumbled.
"Derek?" Nick got up, and moved to steady the precept.
"It's nothing. Must be coming down with somet'ing." Derek stood up, and walked over to his dresser to pull out some fresh clothes. "I'll be down in a few, Nick."
Nick clearly heard the tone of dismissal in his precept's voice. "I'll see you in the control room."
Nick left the room, but he headed towards the library rather than the control room.
"Over here," answered his friend.
"Two things. First, Rachel found something on the book. Second, I believe you about Derek. Something is definitely wrong."
Philip looked up. "Tell me about Derek, first." His tone was somber.
"Well, I went to wake him up, to tell him about Rachel finding something, and he needed to come down to the control room. I knocked, I yelled his name, no answer. So I went in. I said his name, and he woke up, but, god, Philip. I have never seen, any like it. His eyes, they weren't human."
"When he woke up. His eyes, they were red--for a split second, his eyes were golden-red."
Philip looked at Nick.
"Really. That's what I saw. Then when he went to get out of bed, he stumbled, like his legs were weak."
"Or like he wasn't used to 'em?"
"I think Derek's been taken over by a demon, or spirit. To be precise, I think Derek's now inside the amber piece on the book, and the spirit that was captured in the amber is inside Derek."
"Wait a minute..." Nick looked at Philip.
"Look at this." Philip dragged a old book from the library desk. The book was hand-written and on one page was a drawing of the book. The drawing was done by hand, but included precise measurements. "According to this, a demon tried to take over Czarina Catherine II, known as the Great, of Russia in the 1780s, but a Legacy member at the Russian court was able to trick the demon and trap it in the amber piece which was sealed to this book. The book was placed in a monastery, where it apparently stayed safe for hundreds of years."
"But then something happened?"
"Exactly!" Philip answered. "A monk named Rasputin found the book, and being power-mad, thought he could use it to influence the Czar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria. But the demon..." Philip smiled, an ironic smile, "...naturally, took over the monk, then influenced Alexandria and through her Nicholas II. Rasputin was killed in December 1916, and the demon once again trapped in the amber piece. There's no information on the demon escaping after that."
"So how do we get Derek out of there?"
"Well, if we do it right, we can get this demon back inside and Derek out."
"But what about those stories about it being virtually impossible to kill Rasputin?"
"Those were legends, only."
Nick looked at Philip, as if to say, in the Legacy we meet "legends" all the time.
"Besides we're dealing with a demon," continued Philip, adding, "Granted, a dangerous demon, but one we can capture."
"According to this, if we can capture the spirit in the amber, Derek will be displaced, and then his soul will return to his body." Philip took a breath, "The ritual is right here."
"Let me see." Nick looked at the book, then pushed it back at Philip. "I can't read that."
"It's Middle English. But it was written by an American scholar in the 1930s. I think he wrote it in Middle English to keep the information secret."
"So, you understand it, right?"
Philip nodded. "Now, what was that about Rachel?"
"Oh no. I forgot. She found out something about the book, the amber's changed, it's a different color."
"Then I'm right."
"Yeah. Maybe. But I told Derek I'd meet him and the others in the control room."
"Then let's go."
A scream echoed through the Legacy House. Nick and Philip took off at a run for the control center. They both stopped dead at the hologram and waited impatiently to be scanned-in. In the control center, it was chaos. Alex was hunched over, breathing heavily. Rachel moved over to her, rubbing her back to ease Alex's heavy breathing.
"What the hell?" Said Nick, rushing towards Alex.
Philip turned and poked his head through the hologram, but Derek was nowhere to be seen. Alex gulped, and started trying to explain, but she could barely catch her breath. Rachel shushed her and said, "That's okay, I'll tell them. It was Derek. We were working on the amber piece, I was showing Alex the scans which indicated a color shift, and Derek came in and started squeezing Alex's neck. I don't know why, or what, but I yelled at him, well, screamed, actually, and then he took off."
"That wasn't Derek," said Philip.
"Sure as hell looked like him," cracked Rachel.
"No Rach," said Nick, "Derek's been possessed, by a 18th century demon that was trapped in the amber piece. According to Philip's research, the last time this thing was free was in 1916 in Russia."
The color had returned to Alex's face, and she was looking much better as she managed to ask, "As in the end of the Romanovs?"
"Got it in one," responded Nick.
"So what do we do?" asked Alex.
"First we find Derek and get him back here. Then I have a ritual which can displace the demon from Derek and return it to the amber prison," answered Philip.
The Legacy members all looked resolute, and began to form plans to find their missing precept, and return him to the Legacy House.
Nick, Philip and Alex left Rachel at the House in case any calls came in about Derek or in case he returned. Derek's Land Rover was gone from it's customary spot in the garage and Nick observed that Derek/the demon would probably head for the mainland. The trio took another car to the ferry dock. When they reached the dock, one of the employees confirmed Nick's suspicions by telling him that Dr. Rayne had indeed taken his car on the previous ferry across. The three took the next ferry.
Once in San Francisco, the trio split up, and began to search. Philip went with Alex, and Nick struck out on his own. No one found anything. After several hours of fruitless searching, Rachel called Nick.
"Boyle, here," said Nick, as he answered his cell phone.
"Nick, it's Rachel. Listen, the SFPD just called wanting to speak to Derek. Apparently they want to question him about a homicide."
"That's what the officer said. He said, a man answering Derek's description was seen at the scene."
"What, tall, dark hair? Rachel--that's half the city."
"I know, I know. But the police want to talk to him. I put the cop off for now, but I thought you should know."
"Where was this homicide?"
"Got it. Thanks, Rachel. Did you tell Alex yet?"
"She's next on my list."
"Well, tell her and Philip to meet me there. And thanks."
Nick clicked off the phone, then headed towards Fisherman's Wharf. He found the crime scene. A man had been strangled. The police officers present had no suspects, however, and were surprised to see someone from the Luna Foundation arrive so suddenly.
"So," Nick said to the uniformed officer, "you didn't call the Luna Foundation and ask for assistance?"
"No, sir," said the cop.
"And no one's made any complaints against Derek Rayne or other members of the Foundation in relation to this murder?"
"Uh, no sir--Are you saying, you're involved?"
"No, definitely not. No, it must have been a prank. Someone told one of my associates that, well, never mind, it was a prank. Sorry to trouble you."
Nick spun on his heel and began walking back to his car, dialing his cell phone as he did so. When Alex answered, he said, "Alex, is Philip with you?"
"Yes, do you want to talk to him?"
"No, listen, we've got to get back to the House right away. Something's going on. I was just at that homicide scene and they don't know anything about Derek, or any calls to the Luna Foundation for assistance either. We have to get back to the house. I'm going straight to the ferry, you meet me there."
Nick opened the front door of the Legacy House. He knew Philip and Alex were just behind him. As he opened the door, he heard a scream. "Damn," he muttered, and flung open the door and ran. The noises of a scuffle came from the control room.
Nick entered the room, Rachel was backed into a corner and Derek stood in front of her. As Nick entered the room Derek turned to face him. Nick saw it was not his precept standing there. Nick felt Philip and Alex arrive behind him. Derek's eyes were glowing red, and his face was filled with anger, deceit and madness.
"Rasputin, I presume?" Said Philip, as he edged towards a cabinet which held the things he needed.
Nick just stood, shocked, then turned to face the thing possessing Derek. Nick began to move towards Derek and Rachel. The being within Derek had other ideas and he slipped a semi-automatic out of his pocket. He raised the gun and pointed it at Nick.
"No!" Screamed Rachel.
Derek grabbed his left hand with his right and tried to push his hand down. The green returned to his eyes for a second, but then the arm shot up and the gun exploded. Nick tried to duck to avoid the shot, but he wasn't prepared for his friend and precept to actually shoot at him, even if he was possessed. The bullet took him high in the shoulder, and the recoil knocked him back. Then he fell.
In a guttural Russian-accented voice, without trace of a Dutch accent, the being in Derek said, "Anyone else want to try that?"
But during the fray, Philip had time to get what he needed. He sprinkled holy water on Derek, and chanted in Latin.
"Nyet!" Screamed the being in Derek.
Philip ignored the screams, and continued, switching to Middle English. Alex moved slowly towards Nick. She pillowed his head in her lap, and took her folded scarf and pressed in on his wound. From opposite sides of the room Rachel and Alex watched Derek and Philip. It seemed like the being possessing Derek was getting weaker. Philip was moving closer and closer to Derek.
The gun, thought Rachel, god Philip, remember the gun. She was about to yell out a warning, but then Philip held up the book that they had all been examining for the last few days. There was a glow, and Rachel swore she saw two spirits in the air for a minute. Then Derek collapsed to his knees.
"My Gott, what happened?" Derek said, his voice returned to it's normal Dutch-accented tones. He moved his hands to his face, then saw the gun. He dropped it. Then he looked around the room-- Nick on the floor, with Alex sitting next to him, and Philip in front of him, the Russian journal in one hand and his holy water in the other hand.
"What happened? What have I done?"
"Derek, it's okay," said Philip. He wiped his hand across his brow. "Ye have been trapped inside this book. A demon possessed your body."
"Trapped?" Said Derek.
"Yes. The book is the journal of Rasputin. The amber piece in the center has the power to trap spirits. Your soul was trapped. When previous occupant was released, and it took over your body. But somehow, you tried to prevent the demon from doing any real harm."
"Prevent? Philip, I shot Nick. My Gott, Nick!"
"It wasn't you, Derek!" Said Philip. But Derek had gotten up, and was at Nick's side. Rachel also moved to check on Nick's condition.
Derek looked stricken, glancing at the San Francisco Legacy House members.
Nick was conscious, and sat quietly, while Rachel had moved away to get the first aid kit, then returned to dress the wound.
"Derek, it wasn't your fault," said Nick, "Philip explained to me in the library what he had surmised happened to you. You were possessed. It wasn't your fault. If Philip and I had moved a little faster, none of this would have happened."
Derek moved to the younger man. "Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine. It's just a scratch."
"It's more than that," said Rachel, "But nothing a few days in the hospital won't cure."
Alex looked at her, nodding, and went to call 911 and request an air-ambulance.
Derek sat down next to Nick. He put his face in his hands. Nick moved a little bit, placing a hand on his arm. Philip moved over to Derek as well, then drew the older man into a quick hug.
"It's okay, Derek. It's over."
Derek nodded, and allowed the members of his house to comfort him. After the hug, Philip mumbled that he better put the gun and book away. He put the book in the hermetically-sealed study chamber, and the gun in the safe. Then he returned to the rest of the Legacy members and helped them to the living room to await the arrival of the paramedics. "What do we tell them happened?"
"Same creative BS we always do," said Rachel.
The five Legacy members concocted a quick story. Nick had been shot while cleaning his gun. After all, Derek was head of the Luna Foundation, and the local paramedics had learned to never ask too many questions about "accidents" on Angel Island. Philip stayed at Derek's side the entire time, giving him silent support, and hoping the man would turn to him for solace.
"I knew what was happening. I saw it all, Philip. But I couldn't control it," said Derek, sitting across from Philip in the rectory office. He looked at Philip and continued, "I tried to control it, but I was powerless. I had to watch what was happening. And now I feel like it's all my fault. I was barely able to warn Alex, I nearly strangled her. She's still, I don't know, not trusting of me. I killed that man on the Wharf. And I shot Nick. My Gott, Nick, he had enough problems trusting me before."
Philip nodded, encouraging his friend to continue.
"My Gott, Do you realize that if you hadn't intervened? If you hadn't figured it out, and gotten me free? I would've continued..." his voice softened and he said, "...until I killed every member of my own house."
Philip broke in, "Derek, it's not..."
"No, let me finish." Derek interrupted the priest. "I feel guilty, deeply guilty about everything that happened. About all of it. I know up here," he pointed to his head, "that I wasn't to blame, my soul was trapped in the amber, I wasn't even there, technically. But in my heart..." he leaned back in the chair, and continued, "And in my nightmares-- I see what I did," he paused, "Philip, I can't continue like this," he finally said, his head in his hands.
A cold feeling settled over Philip's soul. "Derek..." he leaned forward and touched the man's arm. "Derek, what are ye sayin'? I know about the guilt you're feeling. I've been there, too, remember. But, Derek, you can't be saying..."
Derek answered simply, "No."
Philip sighed in relief, "Then what?"
"I need forgiveness, absolution."
Philip smiled, "That I can give you. Are you truly sorry for what happened while you were possessed?"
The agonizing look in Derek's eyes sent daggers into Philip's soul. He was so intent on alleviating Derek's pain that he nearly missed Derek's whispered, "Yes. Oh, yes. I'm truly sorry for what happened."
Philip answered, "Then let me absolve you of this, Derek."
Derek knelt before him, and Philip performed the ceremony and gave him his penance. When they were done, Derek sat again and said, "There's something else."
"I've been thinking about my position in the Legacy. Don't get me wrong-- it's been my life's work. And my father's. But I can't go on risking my team's lives. This one was too close."
"I know. Derek-- no one blames you for this."
"Nick's still in hospital, Philip."
"I know. Derek..."
Derek sighed, then tried a different tack, "How'd you do it? After Ravenwood, I mean."
"I still have nightmares about it."
Derek looked up, "You do?"
"Of course-- but I know it wasn't my fault. Except allowing his ghost in my body in the first place-- and even then, I thought I could control him. Well, long enough."
Now it was Derek's turn to feel shock, "Long enough?"
Philip sighed, How could he explain? "My original plan was to jump out the window of my room. But Ravenwood took over while I stood on the ledge."
Derek looked at Philip, shocked, "But...But..." He couldn't say anything, couldn't acknowledge his friend's statement.
"I don't know Derek. Maybe it was Ravenwood's consciousness from the start. Maybe it was a lunatic scheme to get out of a bad situation."
"It's over." Philip shook his head, "But Derek, do you know? You couldn't know. I nearly killed Alex and Rachel, and Nick, and if you hadn't been there..."
"You are my friend, Philip-- I wasn't going to lose you."
Philip nodded. "Derek, you are our friend. We weren't going to lose you either."
The two men were silent for a moment. Then Philip quietly muttered, "I haven't told anyone."
Derek looked at him, "No one?"
Philip repeated, "No one. Except for you, now, no one. I take my vows seriously Derek. To the Legacy. To you. To the priesthood. I've decided this is my life's work. My calling. And the Legacy is yours. Which is why I brought up the mess with Ravenwood. Yes, I still feel guilty about it. I still have nightmares. What I did to Alex, Rachel, and Nick hurts me Derek. But it also strengthened my faith in a weird sort of way. My faith in God and in you my friend-- you saved my life and my soul. For that I am grateful. And now-- I can lay Michael to rest, too, and my demons. And the nightmares will disappear with time."
Derek nodded at his friend.
"But my place is here, Derek. A simple parish. At least for now. I won't break my vow to the Legacy. And neither should you. It's your life's work, like the Church is mine. I know my calling, Derek, and I know you know yours. You were born into the Legacy."
Derek nodded, wondering how his young friend could know so much. "Thank you, Philip. For trusting me with this. And for preforming absolution, it was something my soul needed. But maybe it would help you too."
"Who would believe I willingly let a ghost enter my body, in an attempt to stop him from killing more innocents? And how it went horribly wrong?"
"Another priest? Another member of the Legacy?"
Philip's eyebrows shot-up.
"Yes, Philip, You aren't the only priest in the Legacy's fight against evil."
"Then why do you bug me so much?"
"Because I like you Philip." Derek smiled. "You mean, you really didn't know? You've carried the burden of everything you've seen-- all these years-- alone? Well, no wonder you want a break. Look, he's a good man." Derek pulled out his wallet, extracted a card, and gave it to Philip.
Derek smiled again, the burden had been lifted from his shoulders and he felt much lighter for it. "Philip, you are my friend, I care about you. And after today-- I'm worried about you."
Philip mumbled, "Don't be." Then his voice strengthened, "I'm fine Derek. Really. Better than in a long time."
Derek stood, as did Philip. Derek reached out and patted the priest's arm. Philip smiled, then motioned Derek into a hug. Derek returned the hug, then he stepped away.
"Don't be a stranger okay? You're still welcome at the house."
"And you can call me if an assignment comes up that you need my help with."
Derek smiled. "Philip-- you can't know how glad I am that you made it through the whole Ravenwood mess. And how glad I am that you're okay."
Philip smiled in response. He led the Legacy percept out door of his office and out of the rectory. Derek walked quietly alongside the priest, his mood calmer and relieved.