EPILOGUE

It had been almost a week since Gwen had watched the flames claim her family home. Much had changed in those seven days, yet much had stayed the same. Derek had offered her and her family sanctuary in the Luna foundation mansion which was his home, at least until other arrangements could be made for them. Gwen had accepted his offer with relief, as she had not particularly looked forward to crowding three more people into her small apartment. It had not, in the end, been necessary. The rest of the family had chosen to move back to Wales. Ann and her mother-in-law had not become fast friends but, to Gwen's relief, they had ceased to try to make each other's life miserable. They were united in their efforts to help Laurel, who still suffered from the emotional trauma of seeing her house destroyed and hearing her father's ghost tell of her unintentional involvement in his death. The child was under the care of a therapist that Rachel Corrigan, the only member of the San Francisco house who had not been there that night, had recommended. Laurel was young and her doctor held out much hope for a completely normal life for the child. But Gwen had her doubts.

"She's only ten. What's going to happen when she hits her teens?" Gwen asked, perching on the edge of Derek's desk. "What happens if she can't learn to control her responses to stress before her hormones kick in?"

"Your aunt and Laurel's mother know what they're dealing with now. If they work together, they can make things right for the child and not add to her already precarious emotional state." Derek leaned back in his chair and looked up at the petite red-head. "At least now they've put aside their personal agendas for Laurel's sake."

"For now."

"Have you talked to your precept in London?" Philip asked, walking in from the library. He sat on the desk beside his friend with a smile.

"No. I haven't really decided whether I'll go back yet."

"You belong with the Legacy." Derek replied solemnly.

"I used to believe that. I'm not so sure now," Gwen responded, mildly depressed. "For all my gift of the Sight, for all my training and experience with unusual phenomena, I still couldn't stop the destruction of my family's home. Or see that my cousin and his child needed help before it was too late. What good are my gifts if I can't even take care of my own?"

Derek didn't respond, his mind flashing back to his father's death in South America. He knew exactly how she felt. Though he had seen in a vision the demon which ultimately killed his father, he had been too late to stop the attack. It had taken him years to convince himself that Winston Rayne's death had not been his fault. Even now, there were times when the guilt colored his outlook on the world. He glanced away from the pair on his desk, willing himself to regain his composure.

"Why don't you stay here, with us? I'm sure this house could use another member, couldn't we Derek?" Philip looked anxiously at his precept, hoping the other man would agree. He was not surprised at the pain he could see in the depths of his old friend's eyes. Gwen's heartache was so similar to Derek's own.

"Yes, I think that would be best." Derek agreed, rising to stand before the young woman. He gently lifted her chin, looking deeply into her eyes. "A fresh start with a new house will help you get back on track. That is, if you want to return to the battle against the darkness?"

Gwen found herself unable to tear her eyes away from his. "He has the most beautiful eyes" she thought, her spirits beginning to lift. "But so much pain! I wonder why?" She brushed his hand away gently then straightened her back with a sigh. "If you wouldn't mind having me, I would like to be part of a house again. Though I suspect my Precept will scream bloody murder at the thought of someone poaching one of his own." She rose and started out the door, then turned and flashed Philip a grim smile. "I guess once a Legacy member, always a Legacy member." She turned and left, leaving the two men with their thoughts and at least one with his ghosts.