Disclaimer: they do not belong to me. I only borrow them and return them when I am finished.
A great THANK YOU to Little My for editing this story!!!

and reviews are greatly appreciated!!!

The day after Kristin's death had passed in a blur.

Outside it was already starting to get dark when Nick realized they had not heard
from Philip since his departure from the catacombs. He thought about calling, but
decided against it. They could not talk freely on the phone, and talking to Philip
suddenly seemed very important. He quickly checked on Derek, telling him
where he was heading, and left the hotel.

It was cold, the wind blowing fresh air into his face and through his mind. The
shock of losing Kristin was still painfully fresh and all of a sudden he wondered
how Philip was feeling. He had hardly known Kristin but she had saved his life,
sacrificing her own.

The church was silent; he could see the lonely figure of one priest slowly walking
the aisles.

"Philip?" he called out softly, hesitant to raise his voice inside a church. The man
turned and the ex-Seal realized he was not his friend.

"I'm looking for Father Callaghan."

An expression he could not identify flickered over the priest's face as he heard
the name.

"Father Callaghan? I'm sorry, but he is no longer with us."

For an instant Nick's insides froze, until the true meaning of the words registered.

"He left?" Even to his own ears the astonishment was audible.

"I'm sorry, yes. But you can talk to me instead…"

"No, no, I'm not here for confession or anything. I'm a friend of Father Callaghan,
do you have any idea where I can find him?"

The priest hesitated for a second before he answered. "As far as I know he is in
his room, getting ready to leave. I can show you there."

Nick followed him in silence, his mind whirling. Why would Philip leave his
parish? Only a few hours ago he had been content to be here.

Then he remembered Derek's words about the secret archive where Philip had
taken him, and the broken seal. None of them had thought about the
consequences Philip might have to face. Until now.

"It's the third room on the left," the priest told him, then disappeared. Nick
continued on his way, worried what state he would find his friend in.

He reached the door and knocked, waiting for an answer. As none came he
knocked again and opened the door. The room was lit only from the last rays of
sunshine coming through the window. A bed, a cupboard, a table, but no Philip.
The room was cleaned out; no trace left of the man who had lived here for almost
a year. A sudden wave of bitterness and sadness overcame Nick. Philip had
found his peace here, but again the Legacy had interfered.

"He's outside, in the garden."

Nick jumped at the voice and turned. An old man was standing in the doorway,
smiling sadly at him. Nick remembered his face; he had seen him before when
he had come to visit Philip here for the first time, a lifetime ago.

"Thanks," Nick murmured and the old man stepped aside to let him pass.

"Take care of him." The words floated after him as Nick made his way back to the
door he had noticed leading to the garden.

The garden was huge and by now night had fallen. In a sudden hurry, Nick
walked the paths, anxious to find his friend. When he spotted the silent figure
sitting on one of the benches he slowed down. In the dim light he could make out
the bowed head, the rigid set of shoulders. His feet made a sound and he could
see Philip straighten and turn his head.

A few quick steps brought Nick to his side.

"Hey there." All of a sudden he was at a loss for words.

"Hey there," came the soft reply. Philip was looking up at him, his face not clearly
visible in the darkness.

For a few seconds, Nick pondered what to say. He wanted to ask what had
happened, but somehow it did not feel right. A sudden urge to take Philip away
from here as quickly as possible made him ask, "You're ready to go?"

"Yeah, I think so." The words were softly spoken, with a hint of sadness but also
determination in them.

Philip stood, and now Nick saw the two bags standing at his feet. Automatically
he reached for them before Philip could, lifted them and turned to walk back the
way he had come, Philip following him.

As they stepped out into the light of the street, Nick turned to his friend. Only now
did he realize that he was casually dressed in jeans and a sweater, without any
sign of his priestly state. It was the first time he had seen him like this since he
had come to Boston. Somehow it made him look younger, less solemn. He was
not wearing a jacket, but Philip seemed oblivious to the cold.

"Where to?" Nick asked.

Philip shrugged. "I haven't thought about that yet. Guess a hotel or something
would be right."

Nick nodded and led the way to his car. He put Philip's bags on the backseat and
slid into the driver's seat.

They drove in silence until Nick stopped in front of his hotel.

"Derek is going to London tonight. You can stay with me if you want."

Philip nodded at the question in this statement. He was not sure if he wanted to
meet Derek right now, but staying with Nick sounded good to him. He did not feel
like being alone, and his friend's presence soothed some of the pain deep inside.

Nick seemed to sense his reluctance towards meeting Derek.

"I'll take your bags up and tell Derek. What about you staying here and thinking
about a place to get something to eat? I'm starving."

A smile crossed Philip's face and Nick took it as assent.

He took the elevator upstairs, wondering how a complete life could be packed
into only two bags. Somehow that thought hurt. Philip did not deserve this.

Derek looked up as he stumbled into their suite. His own bag was packed; he
was getting ready to leave. Surprised, he watched as Nick set two bags down in
the middle of the room.

"Been busy?"

Nick sighed. "They are Philip's. He's staying with me tonight."

"What happened?" Derek's voice was concerned.

"We happened, the Legacy happened. Philip 's out." Nick could not hide the
bitterness in his voice.

He could see the questions in Derek's face and added, "I don't know anything
specific. Philip's waiting for me in the car…"

Derek nodded. "I'm leaving in an hour. There are a few things to be settled in
London but I hope I'll be back for…" His voice faltered at the words but Nick
knew what he had wanted to say.

Kristin's funeral.

"Take care of Philip," Derek added as Nick left the room again, anxious to get
back to his friend.


The pub was loud and full of people, somehow not a place he had imagined
Philip would pick. But the food was good and so was the beer.

They had hardly talked, each of them lost in his own thoughts. Nick wondering
what was going on inside Philip, and Philip… well, what he was thinking about
only he knew.

The priest had hardly touched his meal, but already finished his third beer,
ordering another pint. Nick was still nursing his first and shook his head as he
received a questioning glance. One of them had to drive the car.

He watched as Philip took a gulp from his Guinness and put the glass down on
the table, staring into it. He finally reached out and touched his friend's hand.
Philip looked up.

"Wanna talk?"

"What about?"

Nick gave a frustrated sigh, that got lost in a sudden burst of laughter from the
table next to them.

All of a sudden Philip got up, pushing back his seat.

"Let's go!"

It took Nick a few moments to make his way out of the crowded pub, wondering
how Philip had managed to disappear so quickly. His friend was waiting for him
outside, leaning against the wall, a rueful smile on his face.

"Sorry, I just wanted to get out of there…" His voice trailed off, his eyes avoiding

"That's ok. Want to go back to the hotel?"

Philip only nodded and pushed himself away from the wall. All of a sudden he
looked exhausted. Nick wanted nothing more then get him to talk, to let it out. But
it was obvious Philip was not ready for that.

So they drove back in silence again. Nick could feel the events of the last days
catching up with him. A tiredness settled in his body that made every muscle
hurt, and he was truly glad when he finally parked his car near the hotel. They
had been away for almost two hours and he knew Derek was gone by now. He
led the way to his suite, unlocked the door and let himself sink onto the couch
with a sigh.

Philip closed the door behind him, locking it again, and took a look around.


"Yeah. You know--only the best for Derek Rayne."

A tired grin appeared for a second on Philip's face. Then he turned and walked to
the small bar in the corner of the room and opened the fridge.

"Want anything?" he asked while he checked its contents and took out a bottle.

"No, thanks."

He watched as Philip closed the fridge and came to sit down across from him. He
waited until his friend had taken a gulp from his coke and made himself
comfortable, then he asked, "Wanna tell me what happened?"

For a few minutes Philip did not answer. He stared at the wall next to Nick. Then
he let his head fall back against the cushions and said in a low voice, "When I
came back last night, there was a message waiting for me that there would be a
meeting the next morning. The monsignor was not amused, I can tell you."

He sighed, and got up, walked back to the bar and got two glasses, carrying
them a little bit awkwardly with his bandaged hand. He put them on the coffee
table and looked around.

"My bags?"

Nick looked around, too.

"Maybe Derek put them in your bedroom," he suggested and pointed at one of
the doors.

Philip disappeared and Nick could hear him rummaging in one of the bags. He
reappeared with a bottle in his hand and retook his seat. Without asking he
poured both glasses and offered one to Nick.

He took it, his eyes on the bottle.

"You still have this one?"

"Didn't have too much opportunity to enjoy it."

He did not ask further, but answered Philip's toast and took a sip, savoring the
smooth taste. He looked at Philip, urging him silently to go on.

"What can I say--of course they knew about me bringing a stranger to our most
secret archive, about the broken seal. And the monsignor found out about my
breaking into his private quarters."

Nick raised an eyebrow at that. It was the first time he heard about it.

"You can imagine their reaction."

"They fired you?" Nick asked.

"No, they wanted an investigation of the whole incident. They wanted to know the
whys and wheres. The involvement of the Legacy would have been discovered,
and my involvement in the whole thing. I could not let that happen and offered to
leave the parish immediately. I guess the monsignor suspected something bigger
was going on, 'cause he agreed."

Philip's voice trailed off and he emptied his glass.

"Why? I mean, why did you leave? Your involvement in the Legacy can't be that
big a secret…"

"I kind of broke my vows when I let Derek destroy that seal. I put the Legacy
before my responsibility to the church. I broke the trust they had in me; how could
I have stayed after that?"

Nick did not know how to answer this. He finished his own drink and put the glass
down on the table. Philip refilled both of them.

"You know what?" he suddenly added, his Irish accent more prominent now--the
only sign that he was feeling the influence of the alcohol. "I can't even feel sorry
for doing it. I know I did the right thing."

Nick nodded and for a few moments they both stayed silent.

"What are you planning to do now?" Nick finally asked.

Philip shrugged. "Don't know. I was thinking of going back to Ireland for a while."

He did not miss the flicker of disappointment that crossed Nick's face. Somehow
it made him feel better, and his next words easier to say.

"Or I could go back to St. Bart's… Father Anthony said I'd always be welcome
there. I don't know if that's still valid, but…"

A strange feeling of hope welled up in Nick. Was Philip thinking about coming
back to San Francisco? The thought made him smile. He had missed his friend.

"The kids would be happy. The soccer team hasn't been the same since you left.
They lost quite a few games in the last month."

Philip shook his head. "Don't know if I'd be a great help there. I'm a little bit out of
practice myself."

Shocked surprise registered on Nick's face. "You don't play anymore?"

"The kids here are more into baseball and table tennis. I didn't have much time to
play on my own," Philip answered, looking down at his bandaged hand with an
almost sad smile playing around his lips.

Nick felt a soft pang inside. Philip had always loved playing soccer. He
remembered a few afternoons spent together playing merciless matches, most of
them won by Philip. The last one had cost Nick the bottle of finest whiskey that
was standing right in front of him now.

He took a good look at his friend, wondering what these last months had really
been like for him. He remembered his words, '…I missed my friends…'.

Philip leaned back and closed his eyes for a few seconds, missing the look Nick
gave him.

'He's lost weight, too,' Nick realized, looking at the sprawled figure of his friend.
He remembered Philip's habit of skipping meals when he was working, never
liking to interrupt what he was doing. But the staff at Angel's Island had always
taken care of the Legacy members, replacing skipped meals with snacks that
seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Obviously no one here took care of him that way.

"You'll be back in shape in no time," he said, not wanting to let Philip off the hook.

Philip smiled as he opened his eyes again, realizing what his friend was doing.

"I haven't made up my mind yet. And as I said, I don't know if Father Anthony will
still take me back… I'm afraid I don't have the best recommendations right now."

There was a hint of bitterness and sadness in his voice. The relaxed posture had
vanished again, the tightness back in his body.

"You did what you had to do," Nick said softly, feeling the turmoil of emotions in
his friend behind that calm façade he tried so hard to show.

Philip shook his head. "I made a mistake, Nick. Again. I was so determined to
keep the Legacy out of my life that I didn't see the signs of evil in my own parish.
If I had listened to Jane or to Derek sooner…"

He sighed and downed his drink. Before Nick could say anything he continued.
"My stubbornness again cost lives, Nick. Including Kristin's." The pain he felt was
clear in his voice.

"It wasn't your fault Philip," Nick said gently, but he did not seem to be heard.

"She came to talk to me a few times, Nick. Did you know that she wanted to
leave the Legacy? She wanted to live a normal life, marry, have kids…"

"I didn't know," Nick whispered, something closing around his throat.

"The last time I saw her… after Ethan's death, after she scattered his ashes in
the sea… "

His voice faltered, his composure finally breaking as he remembered…

'… I hope didn't break one of your vows?… '

' … No, but it'll have to last the next ten years…'

He curled up, trying to keep the pain inside as he saw her face again, the look in
her eyes during that one brief moment when he had been sure she was going to
kiss him.

"Why did she do it, Nick? Why?"

There was so much anguish in his voice, that it made Nick cringe. He had no
idea what to say. Helplessly he looked over at his friend, feeling his pain himself.

"I don't know, Philip." He wanted to say more, but the right words did not come.
What can you say to someone who lives because someone else died? What can
you say to ease the guilt?

So he sat and watched as his friend struggled to regain his composure, refilling
their glasses again.

Philip's hand was shaking as he took his glass.

"I'm sorry, Nick," he whispered. "I know she was a good friend to you, and I only
knew her a few days, but…"

"Yeah, she was a good friend. But somehow I have the feeling you knew her
quite well yourself. Must be your famous collar…" He had meant it as a joke and
had not expected to see a flicker of pain in Philip's eyes.

"That day … she asked me if I ever wondered what I would be now if I had not
become a priest…" Philip's voice was so soft, it was hardly audible. Nick leaned
forward to hear him better, noticing his slightly flushed face. For the first time a
suspicion entered his mind.

"I told her I never thought about that… I lied, Nick… I thought about it, often…
after Ravenwood, after my leaving the Legacy, many times... but I never
regretted the decisions I've made… until now."

Nick stared at him in shock. "You can't be serious!"

"Don't get me wrong, Nick, I don't regret being a priest, certainly not. Nor my
decision to leave the Legacy. But I do regret my stubborn refusal to help when I
was needed. It cost the lives of some of my parishioners and it cost Kristin's life.
It's hard to accept that she's dead and I'm still alive."

"I don't think it would have changed much… you couldn't have done more than
you already did."

Philip did not answer. It was something he would never know for sure, and he
would always carry the doubt with him.

"It's not going to happen again," he said.

He met Nick's scrutinizing glance.

"I was wrong to think I could run away--it's like Derek once said, maybe it's
destiny, but the Legacy always caught up with me. I guess it's time to stop
running, before even more people have to die. I swear to god, Kristin will be the
last one to lose her life because of me."

With these words he downed his drink. It sounded like a vow, and Nick was sure
it was meant that way.

His mind reeled; he was not sure what exactly Philip had just said--did he mean
to come back to the Legacy? He held his glass towards Philip, who was busy
with the bottle again. When the glasses were refilled, the two men looked at each
other and with surprise Nick realized that the mood had changed. Maybe due to
the alcohol, maybe because Philip had been able to let it all out, but somehow
the atmosphere seemed a bit lighter.

It still hurt, but the darkness that had settled over them had lifted.

A few more drinks and a lot of talking later, Philip finally fell asleep. Nick watched
him for a while, thinking about what he had been told during these last hours. At
some point Philip had told him everything about his meetings with Kristin. It
confused Nick; the Kristin he had known had always acted reserved and
sometimes even cold towards strangers. It was unusual for her to get so close to
someone in so short a time. But she and Philip had been very alike in many
ways, not at least in their attempts to leave the Legacy. Maybe that had been
what drew her to the young priest.

But still… from what he had heard, it seemed that her feelings for Philip had been
even deeper.

Deep enough to die for him?

He shook off his thoughts--no use in going there.

He retrieved a blanket and covered his friend, feeling a sudden wave of emotion
hit him at the thought of maybe having him back in San Francisco, back in his


Waking was painful. Really painful.

Groaning, Nick pushed himself upright and stumbled out of his bedroom, trying to
keep the hurtful light out of his eyes. His determination to get an aspirin and a
cold drink lasted until he reached the empty couch, then he decided to stop and
take a break, his legs suddenly wobbly.

"Morning!" an annoyingly fresh voice said, and someone pushed a glass and two
tablets into his hand. He swallowed them quickly, trying not to move his head as
he emptied the glass.

"More," he ordered and held the glass back out in the direction it had come from.
A soft laugh answered and it was taken from his hand.

He glowered at Philip as he returned, handing over the glass and sitting down
across from him with careless good humour. Or he tried to glower as much as
was possible without making his head hurt again.

"I'll never get it," he grumbled. "You can drink twice as much as I do and still be fit
in the morning. Not fair."

Philip grinned at him, laughter in his voice as he answered, "That's the luck of the
Irish, Nick…"

"Yeah, your blood is partly alcohol from birth on… no wonder a bit more doesn't
make a difference."

Philip laughed, a sound he had not heard for so long it lifted the dark mood
brought on by the hangover.


Nick groaned, his stomach flipping at the thought of eating anything. He had
never understood how Philip could still eat even with the biggest hangover.

"Thought so…I'll go down and have some."

Only now Nick realized he was already dressed in fresh clothes, shaved, his hair
still damp from the shower. His eyes wandered over to the clock, noticing it was a
few minutes past ten.

"Breakfast's till 10.30," he mumbled.

"Yeah, I know. You're sure you don't want anythin'?" Philip teased, knowing very
well Nick's hangovers and food did not get along.

Nick groaned again. "Go, get out and let me die in dignity!"

With a snigger Philip got up, and Nick could hear him mumble something about a
real hardened soldier giving in to a simple single malt.

"Hey, I heard that!" he yelled after his friend who quickly slipped out of the room.
He could hear him laughing on the other side of the door.

Nick closed his eyes, a grin on his face despite the pounding headache. It had
felt good, just like old times.


Nick's eyes wandered over to Philip. He was dressed in black, but not wearing
his collar. He was not here as a priest, but as a friend in mourning. His face was
pale, his eyes far away. Nick wondered if he even heard a word that was said.

Derek was standing in front of the small assembly, saying his last words of
goodbye, as a precept, as a friend. Like Ethan, Kristin had wanted her body
cremated and only a few days after her brother's death her ashes would join his
in the wide depths of the ocean.

She had not wanted their company when she scattered Ethan's ashes, but now
he knew that Philip had been with her. Again he looked over at his friend,
wondering where his thoughts were; hoping the guilt he felt for Kristin's death
was not eating him up inside.

The last words were spoken and Derek looked at Nick who stepped forward,
taking the urn. As the ashes slowly flowed down, meeting the water and floating
away, he found himself praying that she had found peace.


Seven weeks later…

The airport was as loud and crowded as ever. Nick glanced at his watch for the
tenth time, silently cursing himself for having been here so early. The flight was
delayed of course, and watching people was only entertaining for so long. Alex
had already called twice, checking if everything was all right.

She had missed Philip, too.

The flight had finally landed almost fifteen minutes ago and Nick was getting
restless. He hated waiting.

As the familiar figure finally appeared, he almost jumped and waved. He got
himself under control but could not hide a big grin as Philip spotted him and
pushed his cart in his direction. With a strange satisfaction, Nick noticed that now
Philip had three bags with him.


"Hi! How was the flight?"

Philip rolled his eyes. "Delayed. Stormy. Loud. Long. Boring."

"Ok, ok, I get it… How's your family?"

Nick had been to Ireland with Philip once and had met the whole Callaghan clan

Philip smiled. "They're ok. I need to call them; they'll think I got lost somewhere.
You would not believe how much the kids have grown…"

Nick listened to him as he ranted on, a smile on his face, knowing very well how
much Philip loved his family and especially his brother's kids. They adored him
and hardly ever left him alone, but he never seemed to mind.

Nick knew Philip had left San Francisco and gone to Belfast only to be with them,
after Michael had died. As much as Philip loved his family, he hated Belfast.

They had reached the car and Nick unlocked it, opening the trunk to load Philip's
luggage in. He grabbed the first bag, the new looking one Philip seemed to have
bought in Ireland. He lifted it and gasped at the weight.

"Philip, what did you put in here? Couldn't keep your hands off those old stones

The young Irishman laughed at him. "Take care of this one, Nick, you might like
its contents…"

Nick's face lit up. "It's not what I think it is, is it?"

His friend only grinned and Nick knew. He put the bag very carefully in the trunk,
arranging the other bags around it.

He closed the trunk. "Ready to go?"

"Guess so."

Only now did he detect the slight tension in his friend. He seemed almost
nervous and Nick wondered why. They were all happy to have him back finally,
although it was still not clear if he would resume his work for the Legacy, or if he
would stay the 'simple parish priest'.

No matter what, everybody had been happy to hear Philip was coming back to
San Francisco. But obviously the young priest did not know that.

The ride to Angel's Island passed quickly, Philip telling stories about his family,
especially his nieces and nephews. Once Nick's phone rang.

"Oops, that's Alex… I forgot to call her…"

Philip listened as Nick assured their friend that yes, Philip had finally landed, and
yes, he was fine and they were on their way.

Some of his nervousness had drained away after that, but Philip still felt some
queasiness in his stomach as the castle appeared in his view. As always, its
beauty took his breath away.

Nick brought the car to a halt in front of the building and grinned at him.

"Welcome home."

He had hardly left the car when the door to the castle opened and Alex rushed
out, a beaming smile on her face. Before she had the chance to say anything a
"Philip!" shrieking whirlwind passed her and jumped the Irishman, hugging him so
hard he could hardly manage to croak, "Hi Kat, nice to see you, too."

Derek and Rachel had appeared behind Alex, smiling at the young priest
swaying under the weight of the girl.

"I guess you should give him a chance to breathe, Kat." Derek said, amusement
evident in his voice.

Reluctantly Kat let go and Philip put her down, touched by her obvious happiness
at his being here. He had not been sure how welcome he would be--after all he
had left them twice, even avoiding any form of contact with the people he had
called his friends. But looking around, he could only see a warm welcome on
their faces and in their eyes.

He took Derek's offered hand and started to speak, but Derek beat him to it.

"It's good to have you back here, Philip. Stay as long as you want; you know you
would be very welcome to live here again."

Philip only nodded, not wanting to discuss this right now. "Thank you for taking
me in," he grinned, and the next second he was pulled into a hug from Alex,
being released only to receive another one from Rachel.

They laughed at his slight embarrassment at their enthusiasm and finally Kat
took over, pulling at the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

"I'll take you to your room," she said and started pulling at him. He rolled his eyes
and allowed her to drag him after her.

Smiling, they watched as he was dragged away.

"It's good to have him back," Alex whispered. The others silently nodded.

"Then you don't mind taking his luggage in?" Nick queried.

She laughed and shook her head. "That's what men are for," she grinned and
followed Philip and Kat inside. With a sigh Nick took the bags out of the trunk,
handing one to Derek but careful to keep the blue one in his own grasp.

Then he followed his friends into the house.

The staff had prepared Philip's room--the same one he had lived in before, the
one next to Nick's. Kat had spent half of the day decorating it with flowers and a
big welcome greeting.

Philip felt a slight tightening in his throat as he stepped in. He looked down at the
girl who was still holding onto his sleeve, looking up at him with expectant eyes.

"Thank you, Kat," he said softly, but she shook her head.

"Thank you for coming back, Philip," she said solemnly, and maybe for the first
time he caught a glimpse of how much he had been missed. Not as a priest or as
a member of the Legacy, but as a friend.

Seconds later the room was overcrowded with Alex and Rachel who had wanted
to see his reaction to the room, and Nick and Derek who brought his bags in. For
a few minutes the room was filled with laughter and entirely too many people until
Alex pronounced that dinner would be ready soon. Right on cue, Philip's stomach
rumbled and everyone burst into laughter.

He grinned, slightly embarrassed, and turned to Nick. "I forgot to mention the
unidentifiable food they served on the plane."

It made Nick laugh again, his eyes twinkling.

Derek noticed the slight change in Nick, and the interaction between the two
young men. Despite his closeness to Alex and Rachel, Nick had been lonely in
some way ever since Philip left. There had been some tension between them
during Philip's short return to the Legacy after Julia's death, and Nick had been
deeply disappointed when Philip had finally left again. Derek knew he had
missed Philip's friendship and companionship more than anyone else.

"Let's go--we don't want to let Philip starve on his first day here," Rachel said,
ushering them out of the room.

"Derek, I need to make a call, if that's alright?"

"Of course, Philip, go ahead, you know your way around here."

He made the call short, but by the time he had finished Kat was in tears of

"What's so funny?" he exclaimed, trying hard to keep a solemn face, knowing
very well what the source of her amusement was.

"You Irishmen really have a way with the English language," Nick commented.
"It's hardly recognizable anymore… sounds to me like the babbling of drunk…"
He stopped himself and hit his forehead with the flat of his hand. "What am I
saying? It is the Irish, after all…"

With a burst of laughter, he narrowly escaped Philip's attack. Kat used the
moment to fling herself at Philip, catching him unawares and bringing him down.
Sitting on his back she stared to tickle him. With a yelp he tried to get away, but
was stopped by Nick who joined Kat in her attack. Within seconds they had him
begging for mercy. It was Rachel who finally saved him.

"When you're done, kids, you could join us… dinner is served," she commented,
trying hard to keep the laughter out of her voice.

The three looked up, panting and only slightly embarrassed. Philip used the
moment to get away. He almost bumped into Derek on his hasty way out of the
room, his face still flushed from laughter.

Shaking his head Derek watched the three exiting the room, Kat still giggling.

"I don't believe it," he sighed. "He's here for what --one hour?--and the whole
house is turned upside down… I remember him as a quiet and docile priest--what
did they do to him in Ireland?"

Rachel laughed at his melodramatic voice. "Maybe he was just around kids too
much. Not much difference here, if I look at Kat and Nick."

The Dutchman shook his head again and with a last sigh he followed her to the
dining room. Deep inside it felt good to hear laughter again. There had not been
much of it in this house during the last weeks.


Philip fell asleep on them shortly after dinner; lack of sleep and the long flight
finally catching up with him. Kat was the first one who noticed. She pulled at
Nick's sleeve and pointed at the sleeping form as he turned to her. He looked
over, and for a second a gentle smile crossed his face to be quickly replaced by
one of amusement.

"I guess the Irish are not as tough as they say," he commented. The others fell
silent, all eyes turning to the man in the armchair.

"Guess I'd better take him upstairs," Nick sighed and walked over to Philip,
kneeling down next to him. He gently shook his shoulder, startling the younger
man awake.

"Uhh… what…oh…" Philip drowsily blinked up at him.

"Come on, sleepyhead, time for bed," Nick grinned down at him.

Still half asleep, Philip struggled to his feet, mumbling something that sounded
like " 'ight".

A hand rested on his shoulder and directed him towards the stairs. After a few
steps he seemed to remember his ability to walk on his own because he tried to
protest. "I'll fin' m' bed o' m' own…"

He did not really understand the burst of laughter his mumbling evoked from
behind him. Nick ignored his statement and he was too tired to protest any more.
The way to his room seemed a lot longer than he remembered, and he was
genuinely glad when he finally reached his bed and collapsed on it.

The last thing he remembered was someone covering him with a blanket.


At six the next morning, Philip Callaghan was wide-awake.

Unpacking his most necessary things took half an hour; showering, shaving and
getting dressed another twenty minutes.

So it was shortly before seven that Philip made his way downstairs into the

The big house was silent, everyone else obviously still asleep.

He managed to get the coffee machine going and settled down at the breakfast
table, staring out of the window. He mentally went through everything he had to
do today. Father Anthony would meet with him in a few hours, giving him the last
details about his new assignment. Officially he was still a member of the Boston
Parish until the end of the month. He was not entirely sure how Father Anthony
had gotten him reassigned to San Francisco that fast.

The older priest had been pleasantly surprised when he called him seven weeks
ago to tell him he wanted to leave Boston and come back. He had not asked too
many questions, which made Philip suspect he knew about the whole incident.
He still wondered if Derek or Nick had something to do with it.

His thoughts wandered off, remembering his leaving this house, leaving the
Legacy. Twice he had done it and both times he had been convinced it was the
only right thing to do. Now he was back in this house, if only temporarily, and
although nobody had asked him until now, he knew they were wondering.
Wondering if he would rejoin them, be a part of the Legacy again. It was a
decision he had not made easily.

A sound made him turn his head, looking at Derek standing behind him.

"Good morning, Philip. Had a good night?"

Philip nodded. "Morning Derek. Yeah, slept like a stone."

The Dutchman smiled at him and got himself a cup of coffee, sitting down next to
Philip. The priest felt a little nervous, knowing very well it would be Derek who
would finally ask him.

"You're meeting Father Anthony today?"

"Yes," Philip answered, only slightly surprised at Derek's knowledge.

Derek looked at the younger man, noticing the rigid set of shoulders, the way his
eyes darted around. 'He's nervous', the precept realized.

"I talked to him a few days ago," he said aloud.

Philip only looked at him, then his eyes flickered away again.

"You are not going to commit yourself fully to St. Bart's?" There was more to this
question than the words said, and Philip knew he had to answer everything
behind it.

"No," he said in a low voice, looking out of the window.

Derek waited for him to go on, wanting to know what Philip was planning to do.
Finally the priest took a deep breath and turned to him.

"I made a decision, Derek. I don't know if it will be appreciated but… I can't
commit myself fully to a parish when I know that other duties might call me away
at anytime." His voice was hesitant at the last words.

A slight stab of shock nicked at Derek's heart. Not at the words he heard--he had
almost expected them-- but at the badly disguised fear in Philip's eyes. After all
those years trying to keep Philip in the Legacy, the priest still feared rejection
when he finally offered to return.

"Do I understand you correctly, Philip? You are back with us?"

He nodded, a shy smile on his lips. "Don't get me wrong… I still have my parish
and I will be there as much as possible, but whenever you need me… I mean
really need me…"

Derek reached out and grabbed Philip's hand, squeezing it. "It's good to have
you back."

Nick silently left his position in the doorway, returning to the control room. He had
heard enough; Philip was back with them. He sat down in his seat-- he could get
a coffee later. Obviously Derek and Philip had a lot to talk about.

He checked the security system, updating the few files where the name Philip
Callaghan had been removed. In most cases Philip still had full access--
somehow no one had had the heart to remove him totally from the system. It
would have meant to give him up completely.


"You're sure you want to live here?" Nick asked for the third time, still not getting
it into his head. He let his eyes wander through the tiny one-room-plus-bathroom
apartment. It was nicely decorated, a small kitchen in one corner, a big window
filling the room with light. Still he did not understand why Philip would prefer to
live here instead of on Angel's Island.

"I told ya, I need this," Philip explained patiently "I don't want to live at the parish,
it always raises too many questions when I disappear for a few days. And
Angel's Island is too far away in the case of an emergency."

"So is this apartment when we have an emergency," Nick commented.

Philip threw him a dirty look.

"You don't like it?" he asked.

"No, no, actually it's kind of… cute."

A pillow hit his head. "Hey! What was that for!"

"Cute, eh?" Philip's eyes sparkled and Nick had to laugh, suddenly flinging the
pillow back into his unsuspecting face.

Before a real fight could start, a knock on the door brought a stop to it. Philip
went to open it, looking down at the small, elderly woman standing in front of him.

"I found some things you might need, Father Callaghan," she said holding out a
box to him.

"Mrs. Gerth, that's really not…"

"No, no, I really don't need them anymore, and I saw you bringing only a few
bags. I'm sure you did not bring any plates and glasses, right?"

He had to admit she was right and she was so obviously pleased that he took the
box, thanking her once more.

He put it into the kitchen, trying to ignore the big grin on Nick's face.

"Guess you conquered another heart?" the ex-Seal could not help but tease his
friend. This time he stayed between the pile of pillows and Philip.

The priest had peered into the box, a sly smile appearing on his face.

"Well, maybe…, " he answered, looking at Nick. "But if you want any of the
cookies she packed in here, you'd better be a good boy."

"Cookies?" Nick's eyes sparkled at that.

"Yeah, cookies. Still warm. " He had wanted to tease Nick, but once more he
could not resist the big green eyes looking at him with the expression of a little
kid. The pillows forgotten, they sat at the small table, munching cookies, joking
and laughing.

It was a great relief for the young priest, who had been afraid his decision not to
live on the island would cause more problems with Derek and especially with
Nick. Derek had not been happy, but had accepted Philip's decision. And the ex-
Seal had even volunteered to help him move in. But part of him had still feared a
confrontation, another one of Nick's attacks.

But surprisingly, ever since he had met him in Boston, none of these feared
attacks had come. Nick seemed to have gotten over all the things that he had
blamed Philip for. The priest was more than grateful that he had allowed their
friendship to be rebuilt so easily.

He smiled at something his friend had said, feeling happy and content for the first
time in a very long time. Maybe this time his decision had finally been the right