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Dreams

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Dreams by KarenK

Dreams

By KarenK

A Poltergeist the Legacy/Charmed crossover fanfic


Rating: PG-13
Focus: The team
Status: unfinished
Special warnings: violence, possible death

Disclaimer: This story is an original work of amateur fiction, and is written purely for the private entertainment of P:TL fans This story is no way affiliated with Trilogy, MGM Worldwide Television or The Sci-Fi Channel. The characters are their property, and this story is not meant to infringe upon the copyrights of MGM, Trilogy, or anybody else who owns an interest in 'Poltergeist: The Legacy'.

Episode spoilers: Episode Title from Season 3 a small scene from 'Fallen Angel'.


PART 1

A creaking sound, like the sound of someone walking, startled her awake. She held her breath and listened as she reminded herself that it was an old house and old houses creaked. She tossed the covers aside and just then a shadowy figure came hurrying at her. In it's outstretched hand it held something that gleamed in the moonlight. She opened her mouth to scream but the figure immediately clamped its hand onto her mouth. She struggled, but Karen couldn't move or scream. She was completely helpless as the blade came slashing down towards her, 'No!' she shrieked as she bolted upright and looked around. Bright sunlight spilled through her bedroom windows as she caught her breath.

She rose and walked to the dresser and looked at herself in the mirror. There were deep shadows under her eyes and her stomach felt very queasy. She took a few unsteady steps and sat down on the bed so she wouldn't fall down. Ever since whatever had hit her a week ago, she'd been having horrible nightmares and feeling nauseous. She could usually control her dreams, or at least tell herself that it was just a nightmare, and she wouldn't be afraid of it anymore. These nightmares were just that, nightmares, and completely uncontrollable.

Her head was actually throbbing so bad she had vision problems, the walls started to feel as if they were closing in and she felt a desperate need for air. She took great gulping breaths as the panic rose in her but it didn't help. She raced blindly for the bedroom door and her hand fumbled with it as she tried to open it. Her fingers finally clenched the knob but no matter how she pulled or yanked the door refused to open.

Finally, to her relief, the door flung open and she found herself face to face with a startled Derek. 'Are you alright?' he asked in a concerned voice at the look of that had been on Karen's face before she managed to cover it.

'Nightmare,' she replied casually as if it weren't anything to worry about.

Derek still felt as if something was being left unsaid but decided not to push it for now.

'I'm hungry, want to join me?' she asked, but didn't wait for an answer as she rapidly strode away from her bedroom as if the devil himself were in the room just waiting for her return. Derek fell in step with her rapid pace and said nothing about the incident as they headed for the kitchen. He knew that she would tell him when she was ready but he was concerned that she would let her pride keep her from asking for help when she really needed it.

They arrived at the kitchen and Derek insisted on seating Karen before heading over to the refrigerator to raid it. He placed some things on the table and turned to retrieve the plates and silverware. He turned back to see Karen absentmindedly munching on a slice of cheese. He sat down next to her and placed his hand over hers causing her to jump. 'Are you alright?' he asked again, growing more concerned by the moment.

'Fine,' she answered. 'Really I'm fine,' she responded to his disbelieving look.

'Oh really? Then I guess it must be your mascara running,' he smiled gently as his hand cupped her cheek and his thumb stroked under her right eye gently. Karen turned her head away and then turned back to meet his gaze.

'I'm just tired. Whatever it was that hit us hit me hard. I think maybe I should take a vacation.'

'You?! A vacation?!' teased Derek, he'd never known her in all the years they'd worked together to take a vacation or to even want to take an vacation. She hadn't even wanted to discuss taking one; like Derek, she was a workaholic immersed in her job.

She swatted at him. 'Very funny, Rayne. Keep it up and I'll be forced to hurt you,' she threatened playfully.

Derek was glad to see a little of the old 'Caddy' back. 'I understand and you just let me know when and an emergency contact number where you can be reached and I'll help you pack your bags personally.'

'That anxious to get rid of me huh?'

'Actually maybe we can make it a vacation for two,' Derek murmured before he began to nuzzle her neck.

'Uh huh. You have the paperwork that ate Cleveland to do battle with, remember?' Derek gave her a sullen little boy pout that made her laugh because it certainly worked with the look of mischief in his eyes.

'We eat and then I handle the killer paperwork while you nap.' As Karen was about to protest Derek held up his hand to delay any protest. 'Do I know you or do I know you?' he teased. 'You need to be well rested for that vacation of yours don't you?'

'Which vacation would this happened to be Valentino?' she teased.

'Unfortunately, a vacation for one unless we want to lose Columbus,' he teased.

She seemed to be thinking this over. 'No great loss.' she said playfully as Derek put a sandwich he'd made on her plate. They ate silently, Karen forcing herself to eat because she really didn't feel like it but she hadn't wanted to worry Derek any further. After they'd eaten and Derek disposed of the dishes and cutlery, he walked Karen to her bedroom.

'Sweet dreams,' he told her as he hugged her close and placed a kiss on her nose.

'Then I'll dream only of you,' she answered before blowing him a kiss and entering her room, closing the door quietly behind her.

The room seemed back to normal and no lingering effects from whatever it had been earlier. She breathed a sigh of relief and started over towards the bed. Her legs suddenly became weak and she stumbled into the side of the bed to collapse onto the bed. She climbed under the covers and drew them up to her neck as she let out a large yawn. Whatever was happening, she couldn't solve with a muddled head and so she'd take a nap and think about it later.

It wasn't long though before the nightmares began again. Hands closed about her throat jerking her backwards, she let out a strangled cry as she struggled to fight with the hold on her neck and against an attacker she couldn't see. The hands locked around her throat were ice cold and inhumanly strong.

'Please!' she said in a barely audible voice, it was as if she were being slowly smothered. Unable to speak anymore she silently begged for help from the others. Can't they sense what is happening to me? 'Please!' her voice shrieked in her own head and then a roar sounded in her ears as the world seemed further and further away until finally the world went black.


PART 2

'He's gorgeous!' sighed Melody Parker.

Phoebe Halliwell looked to see who was this week's crush for Melody. She had to admit Melody was right, the object of Melody's lust was a man who appeared to be in his forties. He was over six feet tall with graying brown hair cut short and bottomless hazel eyes. For a man of his apparent age he was in excellent condition. 'There is a god!' Melody excitedly whispered to her as the man in question turned and started towards them. As he was about to pass them Melody dropped her books and she hurriedly bent to pick them up as she blushed furiously.

Phoebe bent to help and as she did she realized so had the man they'd been ogling. Her hand brushed his and Phoebe was hit by a vision of a young black woman holding the man. She had fear in her eyes as she said 'He's dead!' very quietly to a man crouching near her. She realized as she returned from the vision that the man was holding her hand to steady her.

'Are you alright?' he asked with a slight European accent.

Phoebe didn't know what to say. 'I'm fine,' she squeaked and then quickly cleared her throat as he helped her stand up. His eyes arrested her attention because they held power and authority that seemed to radiate from him like the sun.

'Shouldn't you ladies be going to class?' he asked, and Phoebe awakened from her trance looked quickly at her watch and gasped.

'We're late!' she grabbed Melody and issued a hurried goodbye as she dragged Melody behind her towards their class. They arrived and settled in their seats as Phoebe noticed the stranger from the hallway entering the classroom. 'Class today we have a guest lecturer, Doctor Derek Rayne.' The class clapped politely to welcome him as Derek took the podium. He told the class that he would give his lecture and then they would have a question and answer period. Phoebe was fascinated by the information on the supernatural that this man knew.

At the end of the lecture he asked if anyone had any questions and a girl raised her hand. 'Yes?' he asked.

'Are you married?' she asked in a flirting manner.

'That doesn't have anything to do with the subject at hand,' Derek answered amused.

'It does when you're supernaturally gorgeous.' The class laughed and then they moved onto other questions that were on the subject. Phoebe did notice though, that he never answered whether he was married or not.

As the class filed out Phoebe headed over to Derek. 'Doctor Rayne, I'm Phoebe Halliwell,' she introduced herself to him.

'A pleasure to meet you Miss Halliwell. What can I do for you?' he asked.

'You seem to know so much about the supernatural. I was wondering if I could....you could....um....maybe steer me to something that would help with my studies?' she asked.

'I work for the Luna Foundation and we have a library you could use. Call and set up an appointment and I'll show you around,' he replied as he handed her a card.

'Hiya sweets,' said a woman's voice and Phoebe turned to see a woman smile at her warmly.

'Miss Phoebe Halliwell, I'd like to introduce Ms. Karen Roarke,' Derek said.

'It's a pleasure to meet you, Phoebe,' Karen said warmly.

'It's nice to meet you too, I'll give you a call and set up that appointment when I know what my schedule is,' she told Derek before saying her goodbyes and leaving.

'I know someone who's got a crush on her teacher,' Karen teased him.

'I do too,' responded Derek before leaning in and nuzzling her neck.

'Derek, stopped that before we get into trouble for teaching biology without a license.' She playfully swatted him. She picked up his briefcase and headed for the door; Derek swatted her playfully on the rear.

She gave him a look of outrage. 'You can't play with Nick anymore because he's a bad influence on you,' she chided and then headed towards the classroom door. He took a moment to enjoy the sway of her walk before he followed.


'Phebes, have you seen my dayplanner?' asked Prudence, 'Pru' Halliwell, the eldest of the three Halliwell sisters.

'Earth to Phoebe,' Pru said jokingly when her sister didn't answer her. Pru and Piper, Phoebe's other sister, exchanged glances. Pru took the card that Phoebe had been staring at. 'Doctor Derek Rayne, Luna Foundation,' Pru read out loud.

'He was a guest lecturer at my class today and I had a vision of his death. It had a supernatural feel to it and I'd hate to see a nice guy killed because of some weird thing from the dark side. Besides, he could be helpful to us since he's an expert on the supernatural. He could definitely help us find out things that aren't in the Book of Shadows,' explained Phoebe.

The Book of Shadows was a witch's bible and the three Halliwell sisters were just that: witches. In fact they were called the Charmed Ones. Pru, the eldest, could move things with her mind and astral project, Piper the middle sister could freeze time. Phoebe's powers were the ability of sight or to have visions of the future and or sometimes present and past. She could also levitate, which when the power kicked in gave her quite a fright as she was in the middle of a karate kick and suddenly found herself going higher then she expected.

When they'd been very young their mother, Patricia Halliwell, had the girl's grandmother bind their powers. Their mother had been killed shortly after Phoebe was born and they'd been raised by their grandmother.

It wasn't until a short time ago that they had accidentally unbound their powers and now they were struggling to learn to handle them. They're grandmother had died before she could tell them about their heritage. Their powers had brought the sisters back together and now they dealt with learning their powers while fighting evil.

'I'd like to meet this man,' said Piper.

'He did offer to show me the foundation's library if I set up an appointment,' Phoebe responded.

'Do you think he'd mind if you brought guests?' asked Piper.

'Only one way to find out.' Pru handed her cell phone to Phoebe. She talked on the phone and set up an appointment to see the library. Phoebe was surprised as she hung up the phone that her body almost seemed to vibrate with anticipation. Derek Rayne had agreed that she could bring guests and given her directions to Angel Island where the Foundation was located. Slightly behind Piper a glow of lights appeared and coalesced into a young blond man who reached down and kissed Piper's cheek.

'Leo?!' she exclaimed as she jumped in surprise. Leo Wyatt was a White Lighter who'd been assigned to watch over the Charmed Ones. Leo and Piper however had ended up falling in love.

'Leo, do you know anyone named Derek Rayne or anything about a place called the Luna Foundation?' asked Pru.

Before Leo could answer, Inspector Andy Treadeau entered the kitchen with Phoebe. 'Rayne? He has an extensive file as well as his colleagues,' said Andy. 'He and his colleagues always seem to be involved with weird stuff. Unexplained deaths and such, but since the Foundation has connections no one has ever really pushed it. It also helps that they help out on police cases involving serial killers and so forth.'

'This gets more interesting by the moment,' said Pru.

'Why are you asking about Rayne?' Andy asked.

'Phoebe got us invitations for a tour,' explained Piper.

'Is it possible for me to come along as well?' asked Andy.

'Well, I did say I wanted to bring others but I didn't mention how many, so I guess it's possible,' Phoebe answered.

'I'll be coming as well,' said Leo. Andy looked about to argue, but Pru's hand on his arm stopped him. Ever since finding out that the woman he loved was a witch, his life had turned upside down. Andy and Pru weren't dating anymore but they were still friends.

'Get your things and let's go then,' said Andy.

The three sisters and their escorts took Andy's car to the ferry. When the ferry arrived at Angel Island they drove up to the house that Derek's directions said was the Luna Foundation. Phoebe whistled as they approached the house that looked like a castle transplanted off the coast of San Francisco. 'Nice house,' said Piper jokingly. They reached the door and Andy knocked and a few minutes later an older gentleman answered the door.

'Yes, may I help you?' he asked.

'I'm Phoebe Halliwell, and I spoke to....' she began.

'Yes, Miss Halliwell, Doctor Rayne told me that you would be arriving. Please follow me Miss.' He gestured the group into the foyer.

The man lead them into a room that was full of books, each wall had a built-in bookcase that held books from ceiling to floor. 'Wow!' was all Phoebe could say as she spun slowly taking in the room.

'My name is Dominic, Miss Halliwell. If you make yourself comfortable I'll inform Doctor Rayne that you and your friends have arrived.' Dominic informed her before excusing himself.

'This Foundation gets more interesting by the moment,' Leo commented.

Just then a tall lovely graceful black woman entered the room. 'Hi, you haven't seen a book....' Alex began. She picked up a book, 'Nevermind.' She smiled sweetly at them. 'I'm Alex Moreau,' she introduced herself as she offered her hand. Andy shook her hand and then caught her as she wobbled slightly.

'Are you ok?' he asked.

'Yes. I just....you lead a violent life, Detective,' Alex responded.

'How did you....?' Andy began and then stuttered to a stop. 'My apologies, I'm just so used to my associates acceptance that I sometimes forget.' She smiled sheepishly at Andy.

'Alex has the gift of vision, Detective,' said Derek as he strode into the room. Dominic entered behind him with a tray holding a pot, cups and sandwiches. He placed the tray on the table and excused himself. He passed a man on his way out. The man and Alex were the ones in Phoebe's vision and she found herself increasingly nervous by the fact. The young man in question promptly sat on the table and picked up a sandwich. He took a bite before Derek swatted his leg and motioned with his head. The man got up from the table and Alex pulled a chair out for him. Phoebe got the feeling that he often sat cross-legged on the table and had done it out of habit.

'My associates, Nick Boyle and Alex Moreau,' Derek introduced his colleagues.

'Well, it's been lovely meeting you but I really have research to finish,' Alex said before she started towards the library door.

Derek cleared his throat. 'Come on junior, time for your nap,' Alex teased Nick as she grabbed his jacket.

'Only if you tuck me in mommy,' he quipped as they left.

'My apologies. It's rather informal here and I'm afraid Nick is the worst when it comes to discipline,' Derek explained.

'Derek!' a twelve-year-old girl raced in and hugged him tightly.

'Katherine, I heard you were joining us for the afternoon,' he said with affectation.

'Kat, come away, Derek's busy,' chided a blonde woman in her forties. She gave a look of embarrassment to him in the way of apology.

'It's alright, Rachel, I was just going to show Miss Halliwell and friends around.' Derek made the introductions of Rachel Corrigan and her daughter as well as Kristen Adams and her brother Ethan who arrived a short time later. After they left Derek offered to give them a tour. Pru kept up a steady conversation concerning the antiques they saw during the tour. She was fascinated by the wide variety and age of the antiques. Derek seemed happy to help and readily answered all of Pru's question. He seemed to in his element, which Phoebe figured was he was being a teacher and Pru offering herself as a ready student. Soon enough they returned to the library, which amazed Phoebe because of the sheer size of the house she'd thought it would take longer to tour it.

'I'll leave you here to do your research and if you need anything, just call for Dominic. He'll more often know where I am and let me know you need me,' said Derek. He said his goodbyes and excused himself leaving Phoebe and the others to explore the library.

'This place is amazing,' said Piper as she ran her hands across the backs of the books on the shelf before her.

'You're telling me. The antiques in this place could keep me busy for years,' said Pru.

'Leo are you alright?' asked Piper.

'There is an aura in this house....' Leo began.

'Oh, don't start that please,' Andy begged. Ever since he'd learned Pru was a witch he'd been coping but he hadn't really accepted it yet.

'No, he's right, there is a sense of evil. In fact, it's a strong sense of evil but there's also a sense of good just as strong, if not stronger,' Phoebe said.

'More so then anywhere else I've ever known. I'm also quite sure that not only is Miss Moreau a strong psychic there are at least two more currently in this house. The child Katherine is a talent in training. As for the other psychic....that one is very strong, in fact the strongest I've ever felt,' Leo replied.

'The Anointed One.'

They all turned to see a young woman in a flowing white dress. 'Who are you?' asked Pru.

'Better yet, witch, who are you that you disturb the sanctuary of the Anointed One and his family?' the woman asked.

'Um.... you know we're witches?' asked Piper.

'Hard not to miss the mark of a witch, little one. At least it's not Lucifer's mark.'

'Actually, since we regularly kick his minions....I mean,' Phoebe stuttered to a stop unsure how to continue.

'White witches are always welcome at the home of the Anointed One.' The young woman strolled towards Leo and walked right through him. 'My apologies kind sir, I tend to forget to go around. Most mortals are....freaked out by that.' She smiled mischievously at Leo. Leo knew she knew he wasn't mortal but was playing along just in case the others didn't.

'Are you a ghost?' asked Piper in a frightened tone.

'No child, I'm Daria,' she responded. Before anyone could say anything Karen Roarke entered the library.

'Daria? Why are....' she started and then stopped when she realized they weren't alone. 'Miss Halliwell, I believe.' Karen smiled warmly at Phoebe.

'I've come to visit you my dear sister.' Daria replied with a saucy wink at Karen who let out a frustrated sigh.

'Get off of the table Daria, and while you're at it, leave Nick alone or you'll have to fight Alex for him,' Karen teased.

'Oh pooh!' Daria replied with a wicked grin.

'Daria....' Karen wagged a finger at her.

'I'll leave the child alone,' she reassured Karen. 'Of course, now I'll have to check out your Anointed One.' She giggled at the glare she received from Karen.

'Hands off sister!' she said in a tough New York accent in jest but Daria knew that it was a marking of her property and she would protect him whatever came her way.

'What is this Anointed One stuff she keeps mentioning?' asked Pru.

Karen gave Daria a look that said 'see what you've done now?'

'Oh, go on sister and tell the witches what they wish to know,' Daria answered stressing the word 'witches'.

'You're witches?' asked Karen with a look of curiosity.

'And your boyfriend is the Anointed One,' said Phoebe.

'Derek has been blessed and given an important job and that's what the Anointed One phrase means.'

'Cut the crap, lady,' answered Andy and Karen knew that he hadn't believed what she'd said.

'Ever hear of grey angels?' she asked, when no one answered she continued. 'Grey angels are one of three forms of angels, White angels or White Lighters are angels of God and are the good guys. Black angels or Black Lighters are Lucifer's minions and enjoy causing death and destruction,' said Karen.

'Nothing I didn't learn in Sunday school,' replied Andy.

'Yes, Detective, but what your Sunday school failed to teach you is about grey angels. Grey angels live with one foot in the dark and one foot in the light hence the name grey angels. The light doesn't like us for the darkness in us and the darkness doesn't want us for the light within us,' Karen explained.

'Whoa, us?' asked Phoebe as she slowly lowered herself into a chair. Those who live in this house are grey angels, Phoebe.

'We fight on the side of light and destroy evil where we find it or help lost souls find their way home. If you believe it, we even helped an angel find her way back to herself. She had died due to a car crash caused by her boyfriend who ended as a one of Lucifer's. He'd told her he wanted to go into the light but it was a trick to bring her into the darkness. If it hadn't been for Derek, she would have turned,' Karen replied.

'Derek?' squeaked Piper.

'Yes, it was fought right here in this room; the battle for Elyssa's soul. Derek helped her realized that she couldn't make Travis her burden or she'd never fly again. Travis didn't like it too much because he zapped Derek and killed him.'

'Killed him?!' Piper squeaked even louder.

'Don't worry he was revived and it's not like it was the first time he's been dead,' Karen replied and then swatted Daria who was having giggle fits at how pale Piper looked.

'Was one of those times here?' asked Phoebe quietly.

'Yes, Alex held him while Nick tried to take on Travis. I heard about it later as Nick and Alex were the only two of our team that was here at the time,' answered Karen.

'My vision!' Phoebe exclaimed.

'Vision?' Karen asked puzzled.

'Yes, the little witch brushed hands with lover boy and contacted a vision of the past or more precisely the encounter with Travis,' responded Daria.

'Do you mind? We don't exactly make it public knowledge that we practice witchcraft,' said Pru sarcastically.

'My apologies, sometimes Daria....well she's Daria,' said Karen as if that explained it all. Daria gave her an insulted look and faded out like the Cheshire cat. 'Oh bother, now she's pissed and I'm going to be on the receiving end of it.'

'I'm sorry,' Phoebe apologized.

'It's all right, it's just Daria's a tad jealous about my connection to the team, and especially to Derek. I used to spend my time with her and Mara and lately all I seem to be doing is begging off these days so she feels left out.'

'I know the feeling,' said Pru, and gave a knowing look at Piper, then Leo.

'Leo and I got a little too wrapped up in each other and left Pru and Phoebe feeling like orphans,' Piper answered as she blushed. Karen suppressed a laugh at the looks her sisters gave her.

'My team knows me as a member of the team but that's all, and Daria uses doors and stairs when she is in their presence,' Karen said in a firm tone.

'I understand the group you're with fights evil and they might....' Leo began.

'They fight evil, but I'm not evil, just living my life as a human. I was born to human parents and I grew up as a human. My ancestors on the other hand weren't exactly human, and because of that I have certain gifts. I don't use my gifts in front of the others or unless it's absolutely necessary to use them,' she replied.

'Your concern is that they'll treat you differently or hunt you if they find out about your ancestry?' asked Piper.

'No, they would never hurt me and accept me, but I know they would feel pain at my deception. I want nothing more then for them to never feel pain, especially not from me. My gifts don't come into it since I don't use them. I live my life like a normal human and that's the way I wish to be known.'

'What exactly is Daria?' asked Andy.

'Human. Or at least as human as you are just evolved in a different way. Centuries ago an elder named Tarok, or as we know them today, elves, met a human woman and fell in love. Generations later I'm the result of that union. Daria is from a civilization of people that Tarok's mate was from. They've withdrawn from the rest of the human race and wish to stay that way.'

Pru placed the book she held back on the table. 'Then how are you here?' she asked.

'An ancestor had the seven year itch and left the group to explore the outside world. He and his spouse settled in New York and raised their children as anyone else in the community would. They just happen to also teach them to control vast talents, it was train or die since the untrained were a bigger threat then those who knew how to use your talents. As in your case, as a novice witch, you were a danger to yourself and others. You luckily didn't cast a spell that blew up your neighborhood accidentally,' said Karen.

'That was thanks to Grams, our grandmother who raised us, was also a witch. She bound our powers when we were young and we didn't know until recently that we had the talents,' explained Phoebe.

'Your grandmother never told you that you were witches or gave you any training?' she asked.

'Grams died suddenly and didn't have the time to let us know what we were but we do have her Book of Shadows to help us,' said Piper.

'Maybe you could help us too?' exclaimed Phoebe.

'Now I've heard everything, witches who didn't know they were witches.' Karen shook her head.

'Well, from the looks of it, Phoebe was right and we did come to the right place,' Piper said.

'You came here for witch lessons?' Karen asked in an unbelieving tone of voice. 'I'm sorry but we fight witches we don't teach them.'

'Fight?' Pru asked, beginning to feel she wasn't going to like the answer she got.

'We've been around since before the Druids, Miss Halliwell, and we have one rule that we follow no matter what. That rule is fight evil in every way, form and to sacrifice our lives if necessary.'

'We're not evil though,' Piper replied.

'Then you have nothing to fear because we only fight evil.' responded Karen.

''We'? And just who are 'we'?' asked Andy.

Karen hesitated unsure of how to reply. They knew a great deal and yet what would they do if she told them of the Legacy? Dominic entered the room just then giving her time to think.

'Ms. Roarke, Detectives Karmack and Royce and here,' he informed her.

'Thank you, Dominic.' She waited for Dominic to leave before turning back to the others. 'Look, we have been secret since our inception, and because of Daria we are at risk of exposure. You have to keep this knowledge to yourself.'

'We'll keep your secret if you keep ours,' offered Pru.

'You still haven't answered my question of just who is 'we'?' Andy pressed.

'Our name is only known to the initiated. If you wish to join, Detective, I'd be happy to tell you,' she offered and smiled at Andy's sour look.

'I hope I never have to interrogate you about a crime, Ms. Roarke.'

'Do you often meet with cops?' asked Leo. Karen stark appraisal of Leo shook him, which is something Leo hadn't felt in a long time and definitely not since he'd become a White Lighter.

'Frank and David have worked with us on cases since before I joined the team. Frank met Derek when Derek saved him from something not quite....human,' replied Karen. 'David met the team when he asked Rachel to work with him on a murder case in which men were last seen with a woman before ending up corpses with an interesting look. It turned out she was a succubus we'd dealt with before and who had a fixation on Nick.'

'Succubus? Things not quite human?' Andy sat down as he tried to take in this information, which warred with everything he knew about the world.

'Detective, the reasons vampire, werewolves, demons, etc., are old wives tales is because of the group I work with. We protect humanity from things that would harm them.'

'You're kinda like parents for the world,' Phoebe responded energetically, ignoring the frowns her sisters threw her way.

'Well, actually it's just San Francisco and the surrounding area but occasionally one of the other teams do request our help.'

'Other teams?' asked Piper.

'There's at least one in every major city in the world.'

'Paris?' asked Phoebe.

'Paris, London, New York, Cairo, Sydney. You name it we have it, we even have teams in Moscow, Beijing and so on. We each put aside our patriotism and such to protect the only people that matter....humanity.'

Piper sank down next to Andy as she tried to sort through all the information that had been bombarding her since she woke up this morning.

'Look, maybe I can help you by finding someone....there has to be a person or organization that we've stumbled across that teaches white magic and can take on students,' Karen offered.

'We don't want to be a problem,' answered Pru.

'You're not. And trust me, if you were I'd let you know,' Karen teased her.

'Why don't you see what you can find here in the library, and when I'm done with the detectives I'll check our archives.' She put a comforting hand on Piper's shoulder but avoided to the best of her ability touching Leo. He had a feeling she knew exactly what he was and avoided contact out of courtesy. Grey angels were useful but not particularly accepted by White Lighters and most avoided a grey angel's company if at all possible.

'Why don't I attend to the good detectives and in the meantime you can begin checking out the books we have on witchcraft. I believe the Wiccan section is over there.' Phoebe followed Karen's gaze to a tall bookshelf that was flush with the wall and held more books then she cared to try to count.

'I only hope that the myth about witches living a long time is true because it's going to take centuries to go through all that.' Karen smiled, despite herself she liked the young witch.

'I'll be back to help as quickly as I can,' she promised before turning and starting out of the room. They were so intent on working their way through the books they didn't notice Karen stop. She raised a hand to her mouth palm up and fingers pointed towards them. She blew gently across the palm as she thought the spell that would erase from their minds Daria's visit and her revelations. She hated doing it because Phoebe seemed really worried about the vision of Derek she had. She'd forget that it was the past and that there was no need to worry but it was best to keep certain secrets secret. Each of them stopped for a moment in confusion as if they weren't sure where they were but it cleared quickly and they returned to their tasks.

Karen tended to Karmack and Royce's case and checked back occasionally on Phoebe and friends. Each time they were engrossed in the books they were reading and she got the feeling they wouldn't appreciate interruptions. She did however make sure that Dominic saw to it that they got something to drink and eat. Karen returned to the library after Karmack and Royce left to see if the Halliwell's needed any help but stopped when she heard a knock on the door. She opened the door and found a man standing before her. He had short brown hair and piercing blue eyes and gave off a confusing vibe to Karen. She couldn't tell whether he was a good guy or a bad guy and she usually had good instincts when it came to people.

'I'm Cole Turner, and I'm looking for Phoebe Halliwell,' he seemed nervous but he covered it well, which suggested he had experience in hiding his emotions.

'She's in the library, I was just headed there myself.' She motioned for him to enter and closed the door behind him. She led him into the library and Phoebe smiled as she jumped up and kissed him hello. 'I take it you know this gentleman,' Karen teased.

'I know him and trust me he's no gentleman,' Phoebe replied and then giggled at the look on Cole's face. 'I didn't know you were back.'

'I just got back and Inspector Morris told me where you were,' answered Cole.

'I called Daryl to let him know where we'd be,' replied Andy.

Karen suddenly grabbed the table in front of her as a look of pain crossed her features. Leo stood as Phoebe grabbed Karen's arm and was assaulted by visions that made no sense to her. The jumbled visions showed Daria amongst others and places that Phoebe wasn't sure existed on the planet. There were also visions of things Phoebe had thought only existed in fairy tales and felt that they should definitely be added to the Book of Shadows.

Suddenly, Phoebe was flung violently away from Karen by an unseen force and slammed dazed into a wall.

'Phebes!' exclaimed Piper and raced with Leo over to check on her sister as Andy and Pru tended to Karen who had just collapsed.

'What have you done?!' asked an outraged voice that carried a distinct Irish lilt. A brown haired blue-eyed man pushed Andy away and took Karen gently in his arms.

'Phillip?!' came Nick's voice as he raced into the library. 'Derek just....' he trailed off as he saw Karen. 'What happened?'

'That's what I'd like to know,' replied Phillip.

'She seemed to be in pain and when my sister went to her aid, Phoebe got flung across the room and she collapsed,' explained Pru.

'Whoa! What a ride that was,' said Phoebe as she came over with Piper supporting her.

'Are you all right, Miss Halliwell?' asked Derek and she turned to see him looking slightly grayish green and unsettled by what had happened. Phoebe explained what had happened as Rachel entered with a doctor's bag and knelt next to Karen.

'Let's get her to her room,' said Rachel, and Nick lifted her gently carrying her from the room.

Rachel stopped and gave Derek a cursory exam, but when he waved her off she followed Nick. Phillip came over to Derek and helped him to a chair in such a way that it wasn't apparent. Pru had the feeling it was important for this man to never look weak even if on occasion he felt it.

'Derek?' asked a concerned Alex as she entered the room looking as bad as Derek did.

'Are you all right?' Phillip asked her as he gently wrapped an arm around her waist and steered her to a chair.

'Headachy, nausea, and dizzy as hell, not to mention the ringing in my ears. But other than that just peachy,' replied Alex.

'Same here,' Derek answered.

'Kat?' Phillip said with great concern.

'She's fine Phillip. In fact, she seemed barely affected by it at all,' Alex told him.

Phoebe rubbed her ears and realized that she was having the same symptoms that Alex had described. 'Rachel, Nick and you seem to be the only ones unaffected,' said Alex. 'Kristen and Ethan are all right as well, but Katherine, Derek, Karen and myself had varying degrees of effects.'

'Karen's the worst apparently,' replied a worried Derek, but as he rose he slumped back into his chair.

'She'll be all right Derek,' said Phoebe, but she didn't know why she knew that.

'You have the sight,' said Alex as she assessed Phoebe with a trained eye.

'Yes, I have visions,' Phoebe responded guardedly.

'Derek, everyone who has a psychic talent was affected but the others didn't feel a thing.' Alex stood a little shakily but seemed to be recovering with each minute.

'Those with the greater talents were effected more then those with slight talent or none at all,' said Derek.

'A psychic call for help or something?' asked Phillip trying to sort out what had happened.

'Or an attack on those with psychic gifts,' replied Derek ominously.

'Why?' asked Alex.

'I don't know, but Karen seems totally healthy, just unconscious,' said Rachel as she entered the room.

'Aftershock of a psychic call or attack,' said Alex as Rachel looked her over.

'Why don't we check to see if we were the only ones affected and if this was the first time or if it's happened before,' said Derek as he stood and left the room quickly followed by Phillip.

'Rachel, check Phoebe, she was batted around a bit,' said a concerned Alex.

'I'm fine really,' answered Phoebe.

'Rachel's a doctor and much more qualified to answer that,' said Alex.

Rachel did a quick exam of Phoebe. 'No concussion, but you do have a nasty bump on your head.' Rachel probed Phoebe's head gently. Phoebe hissed in pain. 'Sorry,' Rachel apologized as she continued to check Phoebe for injuries. 'Dominic....' Rachel began.

'I've brought an ice pack for the young lady's head, Doctor Corrigan,' said Dominic.

Rachel gave Phoebe the ice pack as Dominic handed Alex a glass of water and some aspirins.

'Odd how he seemed to know what was needed,' said a suspicious Andy. 'S.O.P., sir,' responded Dominic.

'S.O.P.?' asked a puzzled Pru.

'Standard Operating Procedure,' said Rachel sarcastically.

'Maybe we ought to call it a day?' suggested Cole as he rubbed Phoebe's back.

'Have her take it easy when you get home for at least two days. Also, for tonight wake her every few hours just to be on the safe side,' said Rachel.

'But we're not done!' Phoebe weakly protested.

'You can come back anytime,' replied Alex as Cole helped Phoebe stand.

'Just call and we'll set up another appointment,' said Rachel.

'She's right. Besides, we've learned a great deal today as it is so it wasn't for nothing. We'll call tomorrow to set up an appointment,' said Pru. They said their goodbyes and Dominic saw them out before returning to the kitchen with the dishes.

'All right, I'm going to join Derek and Phillip in researching what just happened,' said Alex.

'Maybe you'd better take it easy too,' said Rachel in a concerned tone.

'You didn't tell Derek that,' said Alex.

'That's because he wouldn't listen and I learned a long time ago to stop wasting my breath on him.'

'He is a bit stubborn isn't he?' asked Alex trying to hide a smile.

'A bit?' Rachel pursed her lips but Alex could see the amusement in Rachel's blue eyes. 'I'll go see how Nick's doing.'

'Rachel, is Karen really all right?' asked Alex.

'Physically yes, mentally I won't be sure until she regains consciousness, but Nick is sitting with her in case she needs me. I'll check on her and then I'll be with Kat.' Alex and Rachel parted company at the top of the stairs as Rachel went towards the bedrooms and Alex headed for the control room.


The next morning the sun shone in the window and Phoebe groaned and rolled over so her back was facing the window. Then the birds started to chirp and Phoebe had a feeling that they weren't going to shut up anytime soon. She cracked her left eye open slightly and then winced at the pain the light caused. She gingerly sat up as her head and body reminded her of yesterday's adventure.

'Phebes?' said Pru as she knocked at the bedroom door.

'Come in, anything to stop the knocking,' said Phoebe with a rusty voice.

'Sorry about knocking on your door....' Pru began.

'Not the door my head,' responded Phoebe.

'Do you feel like coming down to breakfast?' asked a concerned Pru.

'Just a really bad headache, but otherwise okay. In fact it hurts a lot less then it did.' Phoebe smiled as she rubbed her forehead.

'I'll get you an aspirin. I looked through the Book of Shadows but I haven't found anything about psychic attacks. Leo is here and he's also come up with nothing so we thought we'd go back to the foundation and research. Since the attack struck the foundation maybe we can....' Pru trailed off.

'In other words, get showered and dressed and you can eat on the way,' said Phoebe.

'It's not like that, Phebes,' Pru protested.

'It's okay, I want to see if being in close contact to Doctor Rayne brings anymore visions. Maybe I can find a clue to keep him from being killed.'

'You really like him don't you?'

'He's been so helpful to a total stranger and there aren't many people these days that would just help a person without something in return.'

'He's one of the good guys and it's our job to protect the good guys.'

'It's more then that, it's....something indefinable but he makes me think knights in shining armor. I keep thinking he'd make a great hero for a romance novel,' Phoebe laughed.

'True, he is rather charming, intelligent....' said Pru.

'Sexy,' encouraged Phoebe and they both dissolved into laughter.

'Phoebe, Daryl and Andy are here,' said Piper from the doorway and looked at her sisters in puzzlement.

'I'll be down in a bit,' replied Phoebe as she stood and headed for the bathroom. Pru stood and joined Piper at the door, 'We were discussing Doctor Rayne's....attributes.' said Pru in response to Piper's puzzled look as they headed downstairs.

A few minutes later Phoebe joined her sisters downstairs in the living room. Andy Treadeau was sitting next to Pru as his partner, Inspector Daryl Morris, a tall good looking black man, stood looking out the window. Phoebe noticed that Leo had also orbed in and sat on the couch arm next to Piper. She plopped down next to Piper.

'What's up?' she asked.

'We did some research on Doctor Derek Rayne,' said Andy.

'It seems twenty years ago he was brought in for questioning on the shooting of a man named Reed Horton. He was later released without being charged, but the Boston police have had other run-ins with the good doctor,' said Daryl.

'Five years ago the Boston police had a serial killer and Rayne brought them evidence on a victim. A short time later he brought them photos of a female victim before the body was found and or the police were called in. The woman had been killed by the same killer....' Andy checked the file in front of him, 'that a Detective Longbow had been checking but he refused to explain how he got the photos of a murder victim before the police were aware of the victim.

'He also told Longbow that if he intended on following through on his threat to jail him for withholding evidence he should make a call before he arrested Rayne. The call was to the Chief of the Boston police department, friends in high places in other words.

'About a year ago, there was an explosion that destroyed the house that was rapidly rebuilt on Angel Island. A few months before that, Rayne's girlfriend, an investigative reporter was killed when her car was rigged with a bomb. A doctor that Rayne was a patient of died a short time later and Rayne allegedly appropriated evidence from the scene without telling the police on scene or getting their permission to leave with the evidence from a murder scene.'

'Doctor Rayne seems to get more muddled with each passing second,' said a worried Pru.

'He and or his people have been involved in numerous unexplained deaths, disappearances and so forth. Four years ago Phillip Callahan was involved and accused of murdering a young woman. Rayne called some people and Callahan was arraigned and released faster then usual despite his refusal to aid police in the investigation. Callahan was found due to an anonymous call holding the body of a nineteen year old girl he knew whose neck hand been snapped.

'There's a lot of violence and death surrounding both Rayne and his people,' Andy told them with concern in his voice.

'I know, Andy, but I feel he's one of the good guys,' replied Phoebe.

'If he's one of the good guy's then why doesn't he cooperate with the police?' asked Daryl.

'Probably the same reason we didn't despite knowing you and Andy so well,' answered Piper.

'No, you're not telling me that his people are involved with hooga booga?' asked Daryl who had found the concept of the paranormal a little overwhelming.

'Phoebe?' asked Pru as she took Phoebe's hand in hers.

'Rayne isn't evil, but he is surrounded by it,' she responded.

'Rayne is a biological anthropologist and a forensic expert. His people consist of Nick Boyle, who is a former Navy SEAL and now chief of security for the compound on the Angel Island. Phillip Callahan is a former Catholic priest and has been associated with Rayne and group on and off. Rachel Corrigan is a psychiatrist and a medical doctor who lost a daughter from a fall down stairs, and then years later her husband and son were killed when the car they were in went out of control on a rain-slicked road. Her daughter Katherine has had problems recently with ditching school but nothing more serious. Alex Moreau is from Louisiana and her only remaining family is a sister Tanya currently living in New Orleans. Her parents died when she was fairly young and her grandmother, who raised the girls, recently died from a quote, sudden and mysterious illness, unquote, according to the nurse that attended her,' explained Andy.

'People around them get hurt or killed, in short,' said Pru as she pursed her lips in thought.

'Well, the bosses upstairs just say that Rayne and people are good guys and shouldn't be interfered with,' said Leo.

'Oh, great, God is giving them the good housekeeping seal,' complained Daryl.

'Not exactly God....' began Leo.

'Maybe we should just ask them?' offered Phoebe.

'Oh sure, um Doctor Rayne are your people the defenders of mankind against evil demons and such?' said Daryl sarcastically. Before Phoebe could respond there was a knock on the door. They looked at each other and Piper rose, leaving the room to answer the door. She returned moments later followed by Derek Rayne and Nick Boyle.

'Doctor Rayne?' said Phoebe as she stood to greet him. She introduced him and his associate to Daryl before offering them a seat.

Derek sat down and Andy noticed that Boyle took up a protective stance over Rayne's right shoulder. If he didn't know better he would have sworn that Boyle was Rayne's bodyguard. He had noticed on their arrival at the house that it had state of the art security that he was sure was Nick Boyle's doing.

'I received a phone call from some friends who were concerned about someone calling around about myself and my associates. I assume that was Inspectors Treadeau and Morris and they were doing on your behalf,' said Derek.

'And if it was?' challenged Andy, he immediately noticed a change in Boyle's stance that suggested that if he got aggressive Nick would take him out with extreme prejudice.

'You only had to ask to get the answers you needed, Miss Halliwell,' said Derek, ignoring Andy's question.

'What about Megan Torrance?' asked Daryl, Andy saw something flicker over Derek's eyes before he recovered.

'What about Ms. Torrance?' Derek asked with a quiet but deadly edge to his voice. A chill ran down Andy's spine as he realized that Rayne could be a dangerous enemy.

'She's dead due to a car bombing,' said Andy.

'Yes, the man was after me and thought murdering the woman I was involved with would cause me distress,' answered Derek.

'Why would someone wish to harm you or a loved one of yours?' asked Leo.

Derek smiled gently at him but yet there was something about the smile that suggested a dangerous predator. 'I've worked with the police on several occasions due to my skill in forensics and have put a number of people in jail. Some weren't very happy about it and saw to repay me for my skill at solving their cases.' Derek answered a little too smoothly for Andy.

'Doctor Rayne, I believe your life is in danger,' Phoebe blurted out. She explained her vision and was surprised by the gentle, almost parental, look he gave her.

'Miss Halliwell, I understand that you're a gifted young woman in many ways but I assure you there is no cause for alarm.'

'My sister tells you that you may die soon and you act as if she told you the scores of the latest baseball game,' said a puzzled Piper.

'Actually, if it had been the latest scores the boss would have been more upset than if you told him he was going to drop dead,' teased Nick with amusement in his eyes.

Derek's lips quirked slightly upward in a small smile before picking up Phoebe's hand in his. 'Miss Halliwell, I assure you that your vision is from the past, not from the present or future.' Phoebe began to relax slightly. 'A young woman was brought to us by her priest due to a violent ex-boyfriend attempting to force his way back into her life. We helped the young woman end the threat and the young man is paying for his multiple crimes, which include murder. He was the one who, as you put, it struck me down and killed me.'

'I had some trouble with my vision, but one thing I do remember, Doctor Rayne....' she began.

'Derek, please.'

'Derek. Then I remember that there was definitely an aura of the paranormal about the attack. I also remember you facing it down as if it were something you did everyday,' replied Phoebe.

Derek took a deep breath and looked directly at her with eyes that seemed to read her soul. 'Surely you don't believe in things that go bump in the night?' asked Derek in an amused tone, and yet his eyes held no amusement at all. Pru and Piper moved closer to Phoebe in a protective way as if they felt she was threatened. 'Miss Halliwell, with all due respect there is no such thing as the boogey man, and visions aren't always the clearest or the exactly to the point especially for an inexperienced....'

Phoebe stood angrily. 'Mr. Rayne, I'm not all that more inexperienced in handling my visions than you are!' she responded angrily. She was tired of this attempt to treat her like a child who'd had a bad dream. Derek raised an eyebrow and Nick let a lazy grin spread across his face almost as if he were proud of Phoebe for standing up to Derek. Even though Derek showed only amusement, Nick felt sure he was notching Phoebe Halliwell up on the ole' respect meter.

'Miss Halliwell, you're welcome to return and preview the books in the library provided that you call ahead first. As for things that go bump in the night, I prefer to believe the boogey man doesn't exist except in the human mind. If you'll excuse me, my associate and I have a meeting to attend.'

Pru saw Derek and Nick out and returned to her sister. 'Well, what do you make of a man who earns his living checking into things that go bump in the night but refuses to believe they exist?' she asked.

'He's lying,' Phoebe said to no one in particular, but Pru could see she truly believed that Derek Rayne and associates had something to hide.

'Don't worry about it, Phebes, whatever Mr. Rayne is hiding won't stay hidden for long,' Pru promised her baby sister.


PART 3

Phoebe tossed and turned in her bed as she tried to rid the sight of Karen Roarke being murdered over and over again from her dreams. For the past week she'd been having horrible dreams that involved Roarke's death and she hadn't been able to do a thing about them.

She had called and received the news from a strangely accented woman that Ms. Roarke was on vacation and she would forward her message to her and that it was up to Ms. Roarke to call Phoebe. A knock on the door caused Phoebe to bolt upright as her heart raced threatening to burst from her chest.

'Phebes?' came Piper's voice as the door cracked open and her sister came in.

'I'm up, I'm up,' said Phoebe in a cranky voice.

'I'll come back later,' Piper replied and started out the door.

'No, come on in, it's just that I haven't slept very well,' complained Phoebe.

'Still having the nightmares?' she asked worried for her sister.

'Yep, and Karen Roarke hasn't called back yet,' said an equally worried Phoebe.

'Phebes, Piper!' called Pru from down the hall in an excited voice. Both sisters exchanged a look and then went out into the hall to see what had gotten into Pru. 'We've finally got an appointment to see the Foundation library,' said Pru and the sisters knew this gave them a chance to snoop some more at the Luna Foundation.


Karen came into the library as she worked her neck and stretched her back. A large crack echoed across the room and caused Nick to shudder. 'Could you please do that elsewhere?' he asked.

'My apologies, oh queasy one. I didn't think you'd be upset by a little muscle popping,' she teased.

'Come here you,' he growled as he lunged for her. Karen let of a little shriek of glee as she ducked out of the way of Nick's grasp. Suddenly, she stumbled and fell, she saw the table heading towards her but she could do nothing to stop her head-first fall. She felt the impact of the table and heard Nick gasp in fear.

He grabbed the hem of his shirt and drew it off as he immediately pressed it to her forehead. 'Are you all right?' he asked in a terror-laced voice.

'Yes, Nicky, I've always had a hard head according to my parents, so you needn't worry.'

'I'll get Rachel....' he began but Karen stopped him with a hand on his arm.

'I'm all right.'

'Hold this, I'm getting Rachel.' His worried tone was obvious proof he didn't believe her. After she made sure Nick was gone she removed the t-shirt from her forehead and passed her hand, which was glowing, over the cut. She shrank its size and caused the bleeding to stop and replaced the shirt just in time as Rachel and Nick entered the room.

'Karen?' asked Rachel.

'I'm fine Rach, but ole mom hen there won't believe me,' chided Karen. Rachel removed the t-shirt and gently brushed away some blood.

'It's already stopped bleeding and it doesn't look like you'll need stitches,' tsked Rachel. 'Let me bandage it and then you can get back to your work.'

'Rachel, I think I can manage a band aid,' said Karen.

'A little more then a band aid.' Rachel placed a bandage while Karen sat throwing a frustrated glare at Nick.

'Nick, you better rinse that shirt or you'll never get the blood out,' cautioned Rachel.

'Good, serves him right,' Karen stuck her tongue out at Nick, who responded by crossing his eyes.

'Children, if you can't behave you won't get any ice cream tonight,' said Rachel as she put the equipment back in her doctor's bag.

'See what you did now,' complained Nick in a playful tone.

'Don't blame me, Mr. Tattle Tale.'

Derek stopped as he entered the library. 'Should I come back later?' he asked and then he noticed the bandage and strode rapidly over to Karen and began to fuss. 'Are you all right?' Karen looked as if she were about to scream.

'She's fine, she and Nick were playing a little roughly and she fell,' explained Rachel.

'Yeah, just got a boo boo, poppa, so don't get your knickers in a twist,' Karen answered.


PART 4

The low chant filled the night as a black robed figure huddled around the fire. The chanting continued to grow louder and the flames cast flickering shadows on the figure in the black robe. "The blood is power," he dipped his fingers in a chalice. The smell of blood became stronger as he withdrew crimson fingers from the chalice. He flicked his wrist spraying the blood into the flames causing it to crackle and jump. He tilted his head back and raised his arms towards the sky as the flames seemed to reach out of the fire and embrace him.

"Master?" said a voice and the hooded man turned to see a fragile woman.

"What is it?! Can't you see I'm busy, woman?!" he roared at her and she whimpered as she shrank in on herself.

"A message," she said and held out with a trembling hand a paper to him. He snatched the paper from her hand and raised his hand as if to strike her and she let out a startled cry before scurrying rapidly away. He read the message and lost the self-satisfied smirk that his face held. He crumpled the paper violently in his hand and flung it with anger at the flames. He watched as the flames greedily devoured the paper.

"Soon precious one, soon," he murmured to himself, he couldn't wait until Karen Roarke's dreams weakened her enough and then he could take her.


Karen lifted her head and shoved her hair from her face. Forcing her eyes open, she blinked as she let her eyes adjust to the light. She forced herself to her knees, dizziness swept over her but she managed to stand, albeit on wobbly legs. Bits of memory flashed into her mind, footsteps, someone standing over her. She whirled as she searched for whatever it was that had unnerved her so. Karen turned and took off running, her eyes focused on the house and praying for the sanctuary it offered. When she reached the house she shut the door behind her and locked it before finally allowing herself to relax against the door.

She took deep breaths as she tried to calm her heartbeat determined to pull herself together. She steeled herself and wished for strength because she knew that tears wouldn't solve anything. She had to look out for herself, she couldn't chance the others involvement because she'd never handle knowing they were hurt or worse yet killed because of her. She had to leave on that vacation soon so she could handle these without becoming a threat to the others. She took the stairs two at a time as she headed up to her room. When she entered it she stopped immediately feeling as if something was out of place. Someone had been in her bedroom and it hadn't been one of the team or the staff.

She reached into the closet and pulled out a duffel bag, which she rapidly filled with clothes and other items she felt she'd need for her trip. A knock on the door caused her to jump.

"Ms. Roarke?" came Dominic's voice through the door. She flung open the door and was immediately sorry when she saw how she'd almost given the poor man a heart attack.

"Yes Dominic?" she asked apologetically as guilt washed over her.

"There is a phone call for you," Dominic answered and Karen sighed.

"I'll be down in a minute," she responded.

"Yes ma'am, I'll inform your caller," he answered and then left. She closed the door and leaned up against it, she really had to get away from here before she caused someone an injury. She released the breath she'd been holding and headed out into the hallway. She made her way down to the library where Dominic handed the receiver over to her. She nodded to him as he left and took a deep breath before she placed the phone to her ear.

"Ms. Roarke?" said a woman's voice.

"Yes, this is she."

"I'm just calling to confirm your plans, the cabin is ready and all you have to do is stop in town and pick up the key," the woman told her.

"Thank you, I should be up your way sometime early tomorrow morning and I'll pick up the key then." After making a few last minute arrangements she hung up the phone and turned to the man beside her.

"It's all set," she told the man who'd worn the hooded robe.

Karen looked around and took a deep breath as she tried to shake a sick feeling. She headed back up to her bedroom and zipped up her bag before slinging it over her shoulder. She picked up the photo of the team on the dresser. "It's for your own good, especially yours Derek," she said quietly to the photo before replacing it and heading out the door. She found Dominic in the kitchen and told him to tell the others she'd left on her vacation and she'd be back in a couple of weeks.

She headed out the kitchen door and tossed her bag in the back of her jeep before getting into the driver seat. She drove towards the ferry and once on the ferry she impatiently tapped the wheel while she waited for the ferry to reach San Francisco. Once in San Francisco, she spent the night driving into the mountains and hoping that the air would clear her mind. She thought back on awakening in the garden confused and dizzy. She would have thought it caused by her head injury if the blackouts hadn't been happening since the dreams had begun. Something was trying to do her in, and she wasn't going to let it happen if she could do anything about it. She stopped early the next morning and met the woman who'd called just as she was unlocking the office. She took the key and headed up to the cabin feeling better already.

Derek entered Karen's room and found the team's photo on the floor near the dresser. The glass was smashed as if someone had stepped on it. Derek placed the photo back on the dresser and cleaned up the glass before standing. As he turned towards the open door he saw Dominic going past. "Dominic," he called.

The butler stopped. "Doctor Rayne, I hadn't realized you'd returned. I felt for sure you would be going with Ms. Roarke."

"Where is she?" Derek asked.

"Don't you know?" A puzzled frown crossed the butler's face. "Ms. Roarke told me she was going to start her vacation early and to tell the others."

"She didn't tell you where she was vacationing?" Derek asked.

"No, sir, she made no mention of it but she did receive a phone call shortly before she left," he told his employer.

Derek thanked him and dismissed him before heading to the control room and checking the phone logs for where the phone call had come from. The phone call had come from a small town some miles north of San Francisco but when Derek redialed it he received a message stating that the number was no longer in service and that there wasn't a new one. Why would someone disconnect their phone after calling the house to speak to Karen Roarke?


Phoebe and her sisters followed Dominic into the library and then thanked him. He left and then the sisters settled in trying to find out what was going on. Both Darryl and Andy had gone in to check the department's files and Cole had gone to check on what the District Attorney's office had. Even Leo had headed up to his bosses to check with them on Rayne and his associates. Phoebe held items in an attempt to induce a vision that might help them in their investigation but so far she'd had no luck.

"Argh!" she said in frustration as she replaced the book she'd been holding.

"Take it easy, Phebes, we'll find something," reassured Piper as she patted her sister on the back gently.

They searched through the library finding interesting and strange items but nothing that 'spoke' to Phoebe. The mystery of Derek Rayne was getting stranger and stranger but she had a feeling he liked it that way. Finally, she lifted a locket with a broken chain out of one of the drawers and the vision struck her with such force she gasped and paled as her legs crumpled under her forcing her to sit.

Phoebe sae Derek holding Karen Roarke and there was no doubt in her mind that Roarke was dead. She was frustrated because all the visions had shown her dead but not how to stop her death. No clues, and if she didn't get some soon the vision would become reality!


PART 5

Karen arrived at the cabin and stepped out, stretching and taking a deep breath of air. "I feel better already," she said out loud. Liar, said a small voice in her mind; she quickly got out her bag and headed into the cabin. She settled in and made herself comfortable before the fireplace. She sipped the coffee she'd made as she tried to make plans for what to do tomorrow. Unfortunately, her mind kept drifting back to Derek. Finally when she realized that the sun had set and it had gotten cold while she daydreamed sh rose and set about getting ready for bed.

A knock on the door startled her and she felt her heart began to race. Then she told herself how silly she was being. It probably was just the realtor checking on her to make sure she settled in all right. When she opened the door though she received a shock because instead of the realtor, Derek stood on the porch. "What are you doing here?" she asked startled.

"Well I can always leave," Derek started to turn.

"No!....I mean, no you can't drive mountain roads in the dark. I don't want you to end up a hood ornament on a redwood."

Derek smiled and she struggled to keep her insides from melting. She knew that she had to be strong and see Derek off in the morning for both their sakes. "Want some coffee?" she offered as she closed the door behind him. Derek placed his bag on the floor as he looked around the cabin, assessing it.

"Trying to keep me or yourself awake?" he asked quietly, and she turned stunned. "We may not be sleeping together lately but that doesn't mean I'm not aware of your nightmares," he told her. "Want to talk about them?" She shook her head knowing that she couldn't make sense of them in her head how was she going to describe them. Derek took her hand and led her to the couch and settled her onto it before sitting next to her. "Karen, I'm here if you need me," he told her and she knew she was in trouble.

Derek kissed her and her brain halted all function, too caught up in the moment. She knew it wasn't wise but she didn't care about what was wise, only about how she felt in his arms. He could drive her mad with a kiss. She slid her arms around his neck. His chest was rock solid against her and she could feel his heart beating just as rapidly as hers. He kissed her again possessively, then cradled her face in his hands. "I love you," he told her and before she could answer he kissed her again as he lifted her into his arms. Her softness against his hardness made heat race through her.

Karen pulled her mouth away from Derek. "There," she pointed to the door to the bedroom. Derek kicked the door opened and then carried her through only stopping to kick the door shut behind them. He carried her over to the bed and laid her gently on it. He kissed her neck as he began to work on removing her t-shirt and she stroked his hair, too far gone to care whether this was right or wrong.


The next morning Derek rolled over to be met by empty bed, he fumbled around half asleep but found only sheets. He raised his head and ran a hand through his sleep tousled hair. Tossing the covers off, he dressed before heading out into the living room. He found her in the kitchen making coffee and wrapped his arms around her while he nuzzled her neck. She stepped out of his arms and poured him a cup, handing it to him. She took her own cup over to table and sat down.

He gave her a slow sexy smile that made her temperature rise. She loved him, Karen didn't have the slightest doubt about that. It didn't make her any less frightened, it only made her desperately want what she was afraid to reach out and take. He sat down next to her and reach out taking her hand in his. Karen pulled her hand from his and tucked it in her lap. "We can't have a repeat of last night," she told him.

His smile vanished. "What? You aren't serious?"

"I'm so scared," her voice quivered and she hated herself for it.

"I know," Derek answered.

"It's....losing the people I have....it was harder then I can say. If I let myself get....if I lost you."

"If you don't try, you'll lose me for sure."

"I know, but it wouldn't hurt as much," she responded as she dashed the tears away with the back of her hand. She rose and headed rapidly for the door, Derek following, took her by the arm.

"Isn't it better to have what time together then to loose me without ever having had the time together?"

"The memories make it harder because if I don't know what I'm missing I can't grieve for it," she answered and started out the door. Derek followed and stopped when he saw the men dressed in black with weapons. He stepped back quickly but obviously not quickly enough.

"Uh-uh, boyfriend, get out here," the guy motioned at Derek with his gun. Derek joined Karen and to her horror one of the men handcuffed them together. Derek drew her closer and she could feel the tension in his body.

"Boss wants the lady alive but doesn't care in what condition. You, on the other hand, friend, are just a bonus or problem. It's up to you to decide which," he threatened.

Before Karen knew what was happening Derek took off racing and because they were handcuffed together she was forced to run with him. They dove into the woods followed by a hail of bullets as Karen tried to keep pace with Derek's longer legs. Coming out of the woods on the other side, they found themselves on a cliffside. The men had followed and were closing in from all sides.

He drew her closer to him and she realized with horror what he was intending to do. He got a death grip on her hand and leapt off the cliff. She screamed as they plummeting through empty air, flailing to get purchase where there was none. She belly flopped into the cold dark water and fought it with all she had as it blinded her and began to choke her.

She felt herself jerked roughly upward and her head broke the surface, causing her to gasp for air. The current dragged them along. "What the hell is it with you and cliffs?!" she demanded sputtering.

"Look at it this way, nobody lives forever," he quipped.

"Gee thanks, that makes me feel a lot better," she answered sarcastically.

"What now?" she asked.

"You've got me, but if you've got a suggestion I'm all ears. Look on the bright side, we're not dead yet."

"'Yet' being the important word here," Karen answered.

"Regular little optimist aren't you?" he replied with a mischievous grin.

"Ever hear of curiosity killing the cat?" she asked him.

"Curiosity is going to have to get in line," he responded playfully.

"Look, I'm scared out of my mind, freezing, hurting in places I didn't know existed and sopping wet so if I were you I wouldn't mess with me," she threatened. Finally they came within a few yards of the shore and swam for it.

She was grateful by the time that they reached shore that they'd been handcuffed together because she was exhausted by having to keep her head above water, even though Derek had been helping. He stood and helped her out of the water and they made their way through the woods. After a while, they came upon a clearing that had a cabin in it.

"Maybe someone there has a phone," Karen said and started forward only to jerked backwards because Derek hadn't moved. "Derek?" she asked. "Let's check it out before knocking." She knew he was right it could have been where their kidnappers had been intending to take them. They made a through search of the outside of the cabin and found that outside was deserted with no signs of life. Peering in he saw that no one was inside, in fact the cabin appeared to have been closed up. He raised his elbow and turning his face away he smashed the door's window and reached in for the lock.

He turned the knob and opened the door. "Watch yourself," he warned as he entered the cabin with her following. He headed into the kitchen and opened drawers until he came to what looked like a tool drawer. Taking out a screwdriver and a hammer he brought the hand with the handcuffs up.

Karen jerked her arm back. "What are you going to do?" she asked.

"First unsiamese twin us, then dry clothes and food hopefully." He placed the screwdriver and struck it with the hammer causing the handcuffs to pop open.

"You're a god!" she exclaimed.

"Yeah I know," he responded with a wicked grin. After he'd freed himself they began to search the cabin. Karen came out from the bedroom with some dry clothes as Derek found some cans and powdered foods in the pantry.

"Dry clothes," she told him holding the clothes up. Derek headed over to the fireplace that had wood and matches, grabbing some wood he set about making a fire. Once the fire was going he motioned her over to the fireplace.

She came over and he took the clothes from her and placed them on a chair. He reached for her t-shirt. "What are you doing?!" she exclaimed as she slammed the heel of her hand into his shoulder. Derek stumbled back grunting with pain as he felt the sharp pain streak through his shoulder. He was dimly aware of her answering grasp as she shoved his leather jacket and t-shirt aside. He stared down at the t-shirt, vaguely aware of a spreading scarlet stain on it. Karen ripped the hem of the t-shirt up and Derek's hands came down on hers stopping the t-shirt halfway up his chest.

She shook off his hands and pushed the t-shirt the rest of the way up. It was a bullet wound and it was inches from his heart. "Go into bedroom and take off your jacket and shirt," she ordered.

"But I...." he began.

"Said move and I mean it!" she barked like a drill sergeant. Karen placed her hand in the small of his back and gave him a push. By the time she returned with the first aid kit he was sitting on the bed. "Didn't I tell you to get undressed?" she chided. She helped him get his jacket and t-shirt off and opened the first aid kit. He placed his hands on hers. "Don't, Derek," she whispered as she shook his hand off and continued readying the things she needed.

She checked his wound and was glad to see it was a through and through. The bullet had gone in one side of his shoulder and out the other. She cleaned and bandaged the wound as gently as she could.

"We have to talk...." he began.

"Derek, there isn't anything to talk about."

"We have to discuss on how to get out of here unless you've seen a phone?" he told her.

"Oh," she said quietly. "No, actually I haven't seen a phone but then even if we had with our luck it wouldn't be working," she responded.

"Are you always this cheery?" he asked sarcastically, frustrated with acting like strangers.


PART 6

'We need to start for town, we can probably catch a ride to San Francisco from there,' said Karen.

'Is that what you want?' asked Derek.

She gave him a puzzled look and then grew angry. 'No, Derek, it isn't. I enjoy being in the middle of nowhere with goons with guns hired by some psycho chasing me,' she answered sarcastically.

'We should start now that way we'll get further along before dark,' said Derek as if he hadn't heard her reply. She felt an irrational urge to rip the map out of his hands and beat him with her fists. Instead she turned and picked up the duffel bag she'd found earlier and headed to the kitchen. She began to toss bottles of water and assorted items they could use including the first aid kit. Then she remembered she'd left the scissors on the table in the other room and dreaded having to get them for fear of having to face Derek.

Wuss, she told herself before turning and heading back to the living room. She'd just entered the room when she saw Derek laying sprawled on the floor unconscious. She rushed over to him and as Karen bent down she felt an arm wrap around her throat in a choking hold as someone yanked her hair, forcing her head back. She scrambled for purchase as he drew her up and her hand settled on the scissors on the nearby table. She clutched the scissors in her hand and as hard as she could she drove the scissors into the leg of the man behind her. The man swore vehemently as he released her to tend his injured leg. Karen turned and slugged the man in the jaw; he went down like a ton of bricks. She checked him to make sure that he wasn't faking before hurrying over to Derek's side. He was beginning to regain consciousness as she reached him.

She checked his head and he hissed loudly as her hand tested the bump on his head. 'Sorry,' she told him as she continued to inspect the bump with more care. Derek stood and stumbled over to the unconscious man and began to rummage in his pockets. 'What are you doing?' Karen asked.

'He had to have a way here. Maybe his car is parked somewhere nearby.'

She hadn't thought about the possibility of the attacker's car being somewhere near by. She was grateful that Derek had and after finding the keys they finished gathering what they'd need before leaving in search of the car. Derek hadn't liked spending the time it took for Karen to tend the stab wound in the man's thigh but he knew she needed to do it. He was grateful when she was done and they could search for the car. Derek had been right, the car was parked a few yards down the path so he'd have the advantage of surprise over them.

Derek got into the driver's seat and leaned over to open the passenger side door for her. Karen tossed the duffel in the back seat and got in, he started the car as she put on her seat belt. 'Full tank,' Derek said as he glanced from the dashboard to her and then back to the road. The silence was deafening as they drove towards the nearest town on the map. As he drove around a turn he pressed the brakes to slow the car and that's when he realized they didn't have any brakes. Beneath his foot the pedal felt like mush. 'No Brakes!' he told her as he deftly turned the car to avoid the edge of the mountain road to keep the car from going over.

'We've got to jump,' she told him.

'No good, you have sheer cliff on your side.'

'Derek, that would be a duh! You jump clearing the way and I'll slide out the driver's side once it's clear.'

He realized she was right and took a deep breath before opening the car door. He gauged the road as he alternated his attention between steering the car away from the edge to deciding the best spot to jump. Derek jumped and tumbled in a barely controlled fall down the bank of grass. He sat up once he stopped and looked around him to see if Karen had jumped.

Fear gripped him as he realized she was nowhere in sight. He saw the car plummet down the embankment and he stood, stumbling towards the edge of the road. He scrambled down the incline and dropped to his knees outside the car. He peered inside and his heart stopped. Her face was deathly pale and her eyes were staring straight ahead. Panic knifed through him and then the sound of her voice nearly caused him to faint.

'Derek?' she asked unsure as if she wasn't quite positive if he was real or something her imagination had come up with.

'Do you hurt anywhere?'

'That's a really dumb question right now.'

'Can you move?' he asked her and saw her stretch her legs and arms slowly.

'Yeah.'

'When are you going to learn to follow orders?' he chastised her.

'Maybe in my next life,' she teased. He shook his head and slowly and gently helped her out of the car. He lifted her in his arms and carried her up the embankment back to the road. As he set her down on the road they both looked over in time to see the car explode and rain debris for yards. Derek was glad he'd set her down because he suddenly began to shake uncontrollably and couldn't stop. She drew him into her arms and crooned quietly as she kissed his forehead.

'It's all right dalshaymaya.' He knew the word was Russian and it meant my little soul, it was used as an endearment between lovers.

A car pulled up and out stepped a man; Derek tensed wondering if it were another of the unknown 'boss'' men. 'Are you folks okay?' he asked and that's when he realized the man was in uniform. 'I was just headed into town for duty when I saw your car crash. I radioed for an ambulance and a fire crew,' the young deputy told them.

Soon they were bundled off into an ambulance on their way to the hospital. Derek dealt with the doctor who tended to his bumps and scrapes and asked questions. He answered the questions of who the president was, what day it was and so on. Then he told the deputy the brakes had failed and what had occurred leading to the accident. Finally frustrated and mad, he demanded to see Karen. The shock had finally worn off and all he cared about was whether or not she was all right. The doctor tried to keep him on the gurney but he pushed his way past him and the nurse.

Finally, the nurse on the doctor's orders, led him to another exam area where he found Karen struggling with a doctor over a needle. 'It's a simple pain killer,' he told her exasperated.

'I don't care if it's happy juice, you aren't sticking me with that thing!' she replied furiously. Derek put a hand on the doctor's shoulder and he threw Derek a look that said he washed his hands of her before angrily striding off. 'That quack isn't keeping me here is he?'

'Got something against hospitals?'

'Only when I'm in them. Do you think you could take me home now? If I get poked one more time I'm afraid I'm going to have to get violent,' she pleaded.

'She has a concussion, some bruised ribs, but otherwise fine,' the doctor who'd tended Derek said looking up at them from the clipboard. She grabbed her jacket from the side and slid off wincing slightly at the pain the jarring caused.

The doctor saw to medication for her aches and pains and gave him signs to watch out for before finally releasing them. They checked in at a boarding house the doctor had told them about under assumed names. Perhaps it would slow down whoever wanted Karen.

'Here,' Derek said as he brought her a glass of water with one of the pills the doctor had prescribed. She shook her head and stubbornly refused to take it. Derek gave up after a few minutes of trying to coax her into taking it. 'Do you want to tell me what's going on?'

She blinked rapidly but didn't utter a sound. Why couldn't she just let it out and be done with it? Why did she always need to be so tough? he wondered. Her vulnerability called out to his instinctive need to protect and yet at the same time her strength demanded his strength. He wrapped his arms around her trembling shoulders and pulled her to him.

'I'll let you know when you can return to work,' he told her quietly. He felt her tense.

'I don't accept those terms.'

'I don't believe you!? I took a chance on you and you've lied to me and made a fool of me,' he said angrily.

She pulled away from him. 'Not much of a stretch for you, Rayne!' she snapped. She turned and laid down, refusing to answer him when he called her.

'Fine!' he said and turned out the light before settling into the bed on the opposite side. It took a while because he was so angry, but finally exhaustion won out and he fell asleep. They didn't speak the next morning as they got together the few items they had and headed out to check out of the boarding house. Total silence accompanied him all the way back to the house and then after coming into the house she slammed the door and raced up the stairs. He followed, concerned that she might be packing another bag in an attempt to run.

He found her in her bedroom punching her punching bag aggressively as if she wanted to kill it. She couldn't believe she'd fallen headlong for a guy who couldn't handle her career choice. A too strong, too proud, too overprotective man who'd never be able to tolerate her love of her work. Who would never understand her and try to control her under the guise of keeping her safe.

'Roarke,' he said angrily. He knew he was spoiling for a fight with her but he didn't want to suppress or avoid it this time.

'Back off!' she told him as she shoved the punching bag and it struck him on the shoulder. He pushed the bag back at her hard enough to knock her off balance. Her temper flared and she lashed out, her fist glanced off his jaw causing him to back step slightly. Regret knotted her stomach the instant she hit him. Anger flashed in his eyes and she barely saw the blur as he reached her.

He took her down quickly; straddling her he pinned her arms at her side. 'Don't ever hit me again!' he growled at her.

'Let go of me!' she demanded.

'Not until you explain to me what the hell is going on.'

She lurched beneath him trying to topple him but he was too heavy and the struggle was a futile one. 'I'll take him out however I see fit,' she snarled.

'I'm not going to let you do it.'

'Why do you care?'

'Call me a damn fool but I don't want to see you get hurt. I care about you.'

'You don't have the guts to care for me,' she responded nastily.

'I think you've got me confused with you.'

'Go to hell!' She tried to get up but he kept her pinned.

He wanted so badly to grab her and shake her. 'You've got five minutes to pack a bag. If you're not ready by then I'll handcuff you and force you to come with me.'

'You wouldn't dare?!' she exclaimed, outraged at his suggestion.

'You know I will.' He grinned at her wickedly. She swore at him fluently in at least six separate languages. Some of the stuff she suggested he didn't think was humanly possible. Finally, when her tirade ended she slumped back, looking so tired he almost felt sorry for her. Derek didn't allow his emotions to weaken his stance because if he did she'd slip through his fingers and get herself killed.

'I don't know who he is but I have some strong suspicions. I've made my share of enemies,' she told him.

'Which of your enemies do you think it is?'

'Petersen, Malcolm Petersen.'

He rose and offered her his hand. 'Tell me?' he asked in a tone that sounded suspiciously like an order.

'He's a bigot who's gotten it in his head that I'm an abomination to be done away with. He and James Horton took it upon themselves and began ridding the world of abominations.

'I knew a man in Paris called Darius, he played chess and had a herbal garden. He made herbal teas and herbal remedies to heal the injured. He was quiet and generous of soul. A man you would have liked a great deal, Derek. One day Horton and five men strolled into his church and declared he was an abomination; a disgrace and an insult to man and god according to their twisted ideals. They murdered him in his church.' She was steadily sounding angrier as her tale progressed.

'Darius refused to harm another, even if it meant he'd lose his own life. I disagreed with him about that because it didn't seem right that a man like him who gave everything wouldn't be here to continue while men like Horton and Petersen....' Her face twisted in anger as she spoke their names. 'He made sure a poor woman could bury her dead son. He helped a woman when she was falsely accused of murdering her husband. He hid her from the man who did kill her husband who was an obsessed ex-boyfriend.

'He did nothing but good, yet Horton considered him a cancer that needed to be sliced out and destroyed. Anyone who was friends or lovers of those they marked as abominations were tainted and also to be destroyed. Derek, he made Hitler look like an angel!' she exploded vehemently. Derek reached for her but she shrugged him off.

'I wanted to kill Horton for murdering Darius, the man was so brave when he had the weapon on his victim but when the victim had the upper hand like most of his kind, he turned and ran,' she spit out bitterly.

'Where are Horton and Petersen?' he asked.

'Petersen I don't know; but Horton is dead.' She said it as if she took great pleasure in the fact that Horton had died. 'Horton broke a woman out of prison who was there for murder. She was a sociopath, and in trade for a new identity she agreed to work with Horton. Horton made her over with plastic surgery to look like Tessa Noel.

'Tessa and Duncan had been living together for twelve years when Horton fell into their lives. A man who was one of Horton's hunters kidnapped Tessa to use her as bait. She was killed and Duncan grieved deeply for her, and about a year later when he was at her gravesite and saw Tessa in the distance not realizing she was a creation of James Horton's....' Karen sat on a chair and roughly tossed her hair out of her face.

'He used her to weaken him to make him vulnerable to be killed,' said Derek quietly.

She nodded in response. 'Unfortunately for Horton, Mac had Richie, Joe, and other friends who cared deeply for him and refused to let him fall into the belief that Tessa had risen from the grave and returned to him. Mac confronted her and found out the truth. He told her that Horton would never let her go, that after she helped kill him she would join him in death. Whatever he'd said persuaded her to help him and they faked her killing Mac for Horton's benefit.

'Horton arrived to see the deed done and wanted to take Mac's head as a trophy. Mac fought back, but Horton took the fake Tessa hostage. Mac told him he couldn't hide behind her forever, he said he didn't intend to. He shot her fatally and tossed her into Mac's arms before running away. Mac caught up with him and Horton was forced to fight. Mac stabbed him fatally, cursing Mac to damnation before he died. We cut off the head, but that didn't mean the body wasn't still alive, and well, out there seeking vengeance. I'm not just going to walk away from this,' she told him.

'Yes, you will walk away and let the right people deal with this.'

'Don't let your philosophy about females cloud your mind.'

'What is that supposed to mean?'

'Your misplaced sense of honor that cringes at the thought of a woman in a tight spot. Admit it, for all your enlightenment there's a part of you that thinks a woman shouldn't be involved in the dangerous aspect of Legacy work.'

'Call me a caveman if it makes you feel better and helps justify your need to make amends with your friend and conscience. There is a difference between courage and risking your life needlessly just because you have a score to settle with a dead man.'

'Don't,' she squeaked out.

'Don't what? Not stand by and watch you kill yourself? Not worry about you? Watch you do something you'll regret?'

'I already have.'

'Don't kiss you?' he said as if he hadn't heard her answer, he leaned in and kissed her gently. Karen allowed herself to surrender to the kiss for a few moments before she pulled back.

'Derek, I need to see this through,' she whispered as she tried to put space between them. He caressed her cheek and stood and left without a word.

Rachel entered and placed a cup in her hands. 'When's the last time you had a good night's sleep?' she asked.

'I don't remember.'

'Drink up,' ordered Rachel. Karen didn't feel like it but she didn't want to hurt Rachel's feelings so she drank it.

She regretted it moments later as the world seemed to sway in front of her. 'What's?' her tongue refused to work.

'Just something to guarantee a few hours of uninterrupted sleep,' Rachel answered as she caught the glass as it slipped from Karen's fingers. She gave her a gentle shove backwards to keep her from falling off the bed. Rachel gave a satisfied smile as Karen's breathing deepened. She pulled off her shoes and threw the covers over her before leaving. She headed down to the control room with a stop off to deposit the glass in the kitchen. She saw Alex look up as she entered. 'Karen's going to be down for the count for the near future.' Rachel grinned wickedly. 'I dosed her drink and she's going to get a full cycle of sleep whether she likes it or not.'

'I'd hate to be you when she wakes up,' said Nick.

'I'll deal with it when it comes. I've dealt with demons from hell so hopefully I'll be able to handle an enraged friend,' she teased him.

'Do you have any idea what's going on between her and Derek?' asked Alex.

'I overheard part of their conversation and it seems someone is out to get Karen. She doesn't know who or why but she's running through past enemies.'

'I'll check the whereabouts of any enemies out there that could be involved,' Nick said and started a search on those who felt Karen had crossed them.

'Can we talk?' asked Alex. She and Rachel headed out leaving Nick to his work. 'I'm worried about Karen.'

'I know; she does seem to be exhausted and concerned. She seems intent on handling this herself. She and Derek just had a big argument about it,' said Rachel.

'This doesn't sound good at all,' said a worried Alex.

'Miss Alex Miss Halliwell and her sisters are here to see Miss Roarke,' said Dominic. 'Karen's down for the count for a few hours so why don't you tell them to come back tomorrow,' said Rachel.

'No,' Alex said, taking Rachel's wrist. 'Send them in Dominic.' The butler nodded and left, bringing Prue, Piper, and Phoebe into the library a few moments later.


PART 7

'Miss Halliwell, I'm afraid Karen's unavailable, but can I help?' Alex said trying to appear as gracious as possible.

'I was here earlier when Mr. Rayne and Miss Roarke were out according to your butler,' said Prue, throwing them a look that suggested she didn't buy the act for a minute.

'My sister is concerned for Miss Roarke's safety,' said Piper. Phoebe looked tired with large shadows under her eyes and she appeared to be thinner then when they'd first met.

'Miss Halliwell....Phoebe, there is nothing to be worried about. Karen just got home and she's upstairs sound asleep because she's exhausted. Rachel was just with her a few moments ago,' Alex reassured them.

'She's in a great deal of danger and so are you and your friends,' Phoebe told them quietly. 'I'm sure....' she began, but before she could finish Phoebe's eyes widened. Alex and Rachel swung around to see a man behind them and backed up to where the sisters stood.

'Who are you?' asked Alex.

'Where is she?!' the man demanded as he came towards them menacingly. Prue waved her hand and the man went flying through the air and slammed into the wall.

'How?!' asked Rachel.

'Later!' said Prue as out of nowhere more men appeared. Piper raised her hands and one of the men froze in place for a few moments but again began to come towards them.

'Prue, my freezing isn't working!' Piper panicked as Prue continued to wave and flung the men away from them. Phoebe was kicking and karate chopping at them then suddenly flew upward out of the path of one of the men. Alex wouldn't have thought much of it, but she'd flown up to the second floor landing. Nick came out of the control room and started firing at the men. Phillip had entered from the hallway and was invoking a prayer to expel the unwanted visitors. Whether it was the prayer or a combination of things the men disappeared as suddenly as they'd come.

'What the hell was that?!' asked a stunned Nick.

'Better question....what the hell are you?' Alex asked Phoebe and the Halliwell sisters threw each other nervous glances.

'We're witches,' sighed Prue knowing that the truth was the only answer.

'Witches?!' exclaimed Rachel.

'Good witches!' sputtered Piper.

Prue explained about their grandmother had bound their powers and had died before she could tell them. How they had gotten together at their grandmother's Victorian home and Phoebe had found the family's Book of Shadows in the attic. Phoebe messing around had unbound their powers and forced them to get over the bad feelings they had and work together. They learned they were the Charmed ones and meant to work together to protect innocents from the forces of evil.

'And I thought my life was weird,' said Nick.

'No, your just plain weird,' Alex teased.

'It's a good thing I love you, do you know that?'

'Hello? Anybody want to find out who the zombies were?' asked Phoebe.

'Well we can get to work on the books we have here. Something here should be able to tell us something,' said Rachel.

'Meanwhile I'll check the Book of Shadows,' said Prue. She sat down and slumped forward seeming to have lost consciousness.

'It's one of her gifts, astral projection,' said Piper.

'She's back home in San Francisco looking through the Book of Shadows,' said Phoebe.

'I'll get mine,' said Rachel and started towards her room.

'Excuse me?! Yours?' asked Piper in a squeaky tone.

'Yes, I chose not to accept the magic but my family has a long history of witches.'

'Oh brother,' said Phoebe as she slumped into a chair.

'So what are your gifts?' asked Alex.

'Prue, so far, can astral project and telekinesis. Piper speeds up or slows down time, meaning she can blow things up or really make your life slow down,' said Phoebe.

'Like you did earlier but it didn't last very long,' Nick said to Piper.

'Yes I've gotten to the point where I can tell how long a freeze will last but this guy, although I could freeze him overcame it quickly somehow.'

'I can levitate and have visions that are sometimes future and sometimes past or present,' said Phoebe.

'That's why you were affected by whatever hit us earlier. Your'e like Derek and me, a psychic,' said Alex.


Karen woke and had a strange feeling someone had been calling her. She walked out of the house and down towards the cliff edge. 'Karen! No!' the scream of terror seemed to come to her through a fog. She felt herself being pulled backwards as a face flashed in front of her eyes. At the same instant she felt an overwhelming sense of evil, she could feel the blackness rushing towards her. It exploded past her and she raised an arm to protect herself. By that time though it had already flown past her. She felt a stab of pain and then a wave of dizziness, she swayed as everything seemed to darken. The next thing she knew she had fainted, a while later though she regained consciousness.

'Just lie still,' she heard someone say as if from a great distance away. It was too much trouble to move or open her eyes so she obeyed the voice. Derek helped her sit up and she found she could finally open her eyes but with a great effort. She felt as weak as a kitten and clung to him to steady her as he helped her to her feet. Something drew her attention to the house.

She saw an eerie red glow surrounding the house. 'Do you see it?!' she asked in a panicked tone. They all turned to look where she was.

'See what?' Derek asked her gently. Karen pushed away from him and rushed to the house. She felt a definite sense of evil from the glow and adrenaline kicked in, allowing her the strength she needed. She rushed into the house and saw a woman lying on the floor in front of the fireplace. She started toward the woman when she realized there was something else there.

She stared at the creature bending over the woman; it was burned, black and hideous. It's skin looked hard and cracked. It had the shape of a man and when it looked up at her she had terrifying impression of a skull shining through the blackness of its face. Nick rushed forward at the creature and it swept an arm out causing an unseen force to fling Nick into the wall. Alex rushed to Nick's side as the creature held out its hand to Karen. She felt an irresistible urge to take his hand. The library door swung open and Kristen entered, followed by Daryl, Andy, Cole and Leo. The creature looked at them, then back at Karen before letting out an unearthly howl and fading away.

Karen bent down to check on the woman. 'Her pulse is thin and thready,' she told Rachel who arrived and crouched next to her as she opened her doctor's bag.

Derek grabbed her arm and pulled her up. 'We have to get you out of here.'

'Are you saying this had something to do with me?' Karen was shocked at the thought.

'Get your bag,' he ordered and something about him made her obey without a question. She met him at the bottom of the steps. He motioned for her to go out the front door and he held the car door for her. Taking her bag, he slammed the door after she got settled and tossed her bag in the back seat before getting behind the wheel.

'Derek?' she said quietly.

'Don't,' he warned her in a tone that said he wasn't in the mood to discuss it. 'We're going to your apartment to pick up whatever else you need and then I'm taking you somewhere safe.'


They arrived at her apartment building and took the elevator to her floor with Derek looking for any threat to her safety. 'I'm sorry,' she whispered.

He wrapped an arm around her waist comfortingly. 'It's not your fault. It's whoever is after you; in our line of work we're targets and I had forgotten that,' he reassured her. They walked from the elevator to her apartment. She reached for the knob and Derek heard a click, he yanked her and threw her none too gently away from the door before he landed on her, covering her body with his. The door to the apartment exploded outward and she felt a wave of heat as debris rained down on them. After the debris stopped Derek still hadn't moved.

'If you are through, you can get the off of me. This is seriously undignified,' she told him.

'You're going to have a few repairs on your apartment.'

'Just can't take you anywhere can I?' she teased him. He rose and helped her up, she started towards her apartment and he took a hold of her arm stopping her.

'There might be more booby traps,' he told her; she hadn't thought of that. 'You're a walking problem.'

'Kiss my ass,' she hissed at him.

'All right,' he replied as he walked over to her before bending down and laying his lips on her butt. Derek began working his way up her back.

'If you think your getting sex pal think again.'

'I'm doing a lot of thinking,' he answered in a sultry tone.

'When this is over remind me to kill you,' she answered playfully and then groaned.

'I look forward to it in the meanwhile.' He reached down and began unbuttoning her shirt.

'Pervert.'

'Thank you, and I hope we'll get to the perversion part of our program shortly.'

'Why do I have to be naked?' she asked with a smile.

'I like you when your naked.'

'You're bad.'

'Redeemed by the love of a good woman,' he replied with mischief.

'Don't make me hit you.'

'First you hurt my feelings, now you insult me. I don't know why I put up with this abuse,' he murmured. He moved fast, grabbing her and hauling her against him, crushing her mouth with a kiss so hot she wondered if her lips were smoking. 'Oh yes, that's why.' He grinned wickedly at her.

'Bite me.'

'I already did. That's what you get for bedding down with bad companions.'

'Heard about that did you? Well that's enough sloppy stuff. I've got work to do,' she told him as she pulled away.

'When it's done, why don't we get really sloppy?' he asked grinning at her.

'I can get behind that,' she kissed him quickly as she rebuttoned her blouse.

'Well, I for one am glad, nothing against beautiful naked women, but I'm not into voyeurism,' said a blonde man of about thirty. She turned and found herself face to face with cat green eyes.

'Peter!' Derek cried and greeted the man.

'I take it he's friend, not foe?' quizzed Karen.

'I hope dear lady to always be your friend,' he answered.

'I'm glad you could come,' said Derek.

'Derek, I would fight all of hell to reach your side if you needed me, you know that.'

'You sure do talk pretty, Mister,' she teased and Peter grinned at her.

'This is Peter Doyle, an old friend and the man I asked to keep an eye on you.'

'Does he....?' she asked Derek.

'Legacy member in good standing since 1990 at the Los Angeles house. Looks like you've had an explosive good time,' Peter quipped.

'Tsk, tsk, that was a bad one,' she told him with a chuckle.

A noise brought their attention., 'Cops,' Peter said in a hushed tone.

'Get her out of here,' Derek said as he took her arm and moved her towards Peter.

'Back way,' Peter told her as she was pulled along by Doyle towards the staircase door.

'Derek?' she asked.

'Go!' he told her and turned back to head off the cops so Peter and Karen could get away. The sun was setting as they exited her apartment building. It burned that she was being ferried around like a weak, defenseless, fainting, delicate flower. She didn't complain about it though knowing it would worry and distract Derek more then he already was. They got into Peter's car after a brief stop to retrieve her bag from Derek's car. Her heart felt as if it would beat out of her chest as Peter drove out of the parking lot. They drove for a while as he turned and twisted through the streets to throw off any tail.

Of course that was any human tail, not necessarily inhuman tails. She was glad when they finally pulled into a motel parking lot. He stopped briefly to get a key from the office for a room he'd rented earlier under a false name in anticipation of something like this. As they got out of the car Karen had the distinct feeling they were being watched, even hunted.

'Peter, we have to get out of here. If I tell you to run, do it, and don't look back, no matter what.'

'Stay behind me, I've got a bad feeling about this.'

Karen cried out in warning a second before something hit Peter hard in the chest, driving the air from his lungs. He grunted and his chest felt as if it were on fire, feeling like a ton of bricks had crushed him. Peter's eyes locked onto Karen's and he could see the terror there.

Something enormously strong caught at him and jerked him backward as it wrenched his arm from its socket, snapping his bones like twigs. She whispered his name as she covered the distance between them and flung herself at his attacker. He struck a blow across her face so hard that she was flung away like a rag doll. She twisted agilely and landed on her feet but her head was ringing as sparkly lights danced in front of her eyes.

Before she could fully recover, the beast attacking Peter sank its fangs into his throat and she saw red eyes glowing at her evilly from the dark. With a slow, venomous hiss the creature carelessly tossed away Peter's body, which landed a few feet from them. Blood formed a thick pool beneath his body, spreading slowly across the asphalt. The beast lifted its head and turned toward her.

She stepped back as her heart began pounding in fear. 'What do you want?' she hissed at him, putting all the loathing and contempt she was capable of into her voice.

'You will pay for that disrespect.' He lunged at her. A dark shadow moved out of the night and glided in front of her like a shield, forcing her behind him. The other creature looked at the man in front of her and hissed loudly before taking flight. Karen ducked under the arm of her protector but no matter which way she twisted or turned, no matter how fast she ran or dodged he was with her every step of the way as if he were playing with her. His arm curved around her waist, lifting her completely off of her feet and locking her to him. Then without warning, he launched himself into the air with her body pressed tightly to him.

One moment they were soaring through the sky, the next they were plummeting back down to earth. He landed and brought her into a building, depositing her in a room. 'So this is to be my prison,' she said unemotionally. He didn't respond but instead turned and left, locking the door behind him. She felt alone, vulnerable more then ever aware of the responsibility she had foisted on her when she took on the job of being the Champion for the Ancient One. At the moment she was shaken and distraught about Peter's death. She didn't feel up to the job before and now Peter's death and her capture just brought the fact home all the more. She sat down on the bed refusing to give into the tears that threatened to fall. Instead she tried to calm herself and meditated a little in a further attempt to calm her jangled nerves.

She finally managed to calm herself enough to believe she could attempt contact. She leaned back against the headboard to get comfortable and then closing her eyes she took deep breaths. She let her mind wander in attempt to find someone, anyone, who was familiar to her. She finally found a mind that was familiar and surprised herself when it turned out to be Phoebe Halliwell. Phoebe? she sent out the thought to her and felt the girl sense her.


'Roarke?' said Phoebe and the others looked at her as if she were strange. 'Roarke is contacting me,' she told them, and Derek's eyes lit up.

Phoebe are the others there? she thought.

'Yes, the others are here. We're in the Luna Foundation house.'

Take Derek's hand, she told Phoebe, she reached out her hand and grasped Derek's hand in it.

Derek? Karen thought and felt Derek's mind react to hers

'Karen?!' he asked surprised and glad to hear her.

Yes. Listen closely, I've been taken captive and Peter is dead. Phoebe paled at the news.

'What's going on?' asked Piper.

'Peter's been killed, but Karen's all right,' said Phoebe.

'Peter?' asked Prue.

'Peter Doyle from the Los Angeles office,' Derek said.

Derek, I haven't found out who's behind it yet but there is definitely something going on here, she thought to them.

'Where are you?' asked Derek.

I'm at.... Suddenly both Derek and Phoebe clutched their heads as they felt Karen being ripped out of the link. Nick grabbed for Derek as Cole caught Phoebe.

'Peter's dead and Karen's being held hostage by someone who tore her from the link,' Derek explained. He shrugged off Nick and stepped over to a map that was displayed on the table.

'She's right here,' Derek said pointing to a section of the map a few miles north of San Francisco. 'Get together as much information on the area as you can Nick, and get together some supplies we'll need. Alex I need you to call Sloan and tell him what's going on. Kristen, I need some research into Satanic cults. Rachel....'

'Already on my way to check my medical supplies and get ready to travel,' she said as she went out the library door.

'Mr. Rayne, if your associate has been kidnapped, my partner and I are the best to handle it,' said Andy.

'You'll be out of your area, Detective,' replied Derek.

'And we'll be right at home,' said Nick, who was laying guns and explosives on the table.

'Do you....' Andy began.

'Got a permit for use and license. Not to mention my training as a Navy SEAL for experience,' answered Nick.


Karen lay on the bed, she had recovered from the mental assault but she was still concerned about what the backlash had done to Derek and Phoebe. 'You can't hate him as much as I can. No matter how hard you try. You'll never reach my measure of it. But I can't live on hate and I'm damned if I'll die on it. Will you?' said a feminine voice softly. Karen looked over at the door to see a young woman with mousy brown hair and blue eyes.

She sat up. 'Who is he?' she asked the girl because girl was a better description then woman. 'How old are you?' she asked, the girl drew herself up as if she'd been insulted.

'I'm eighteen and more than capable of avenging my family.' She tried to hide the tears in her eyes but wasn't very successful.

'What did he do to your family? Answer my questions!' she barked at the girl.

'He slaughtered them,' she responded with bitterness. 'He has this mad need for power and my family were victims to his choice of getting that power.' She angrily swiped away the tears that were rolling down her cheeks. 'We have to stop him from succeeding in his insane plan to release a demon.'

'Who?' she asked.

'I'm injured, you've forgotten me,' a man said as he motioned for the guards to take the girl hostage.

'Xavier!' Karen hissed and restrained the urge to launch herself at his throat. Xavier Parshom was a minion of Caros; in fact he was Caros' favorite.

'We're planning a little party that will be hell on earth.' He chuckled evilly. 'You, my dear, will be a really great addition to our little group,' he told her with malicious amusement.

'I won't be joining you.'

'Don't be too sure, my dear.'


Derek felt the misgivings as he brought not only his team, but the Halliwell sisters and their friends. They crept up on the small group of buildings that were owned by an Xavier Parshom, who had a record of being involved with the occult. The problem was all his involvement confirmed Derek's worse fears that Parshom was on the wrong side.

They hadn't managed to get barely within a few yards of the buildings when they were struck by something. What, he couldn't say, only that it was painful and he saw the others fall as they couldn't stand it anymore. Derek saw in front of him a man even though his vision was swimming. He laughed evilly as he watched Derek struggling to stay conscious. Finally, Derek lost the battle with whatever it was that had attacked them as he slumped onto the ground joining the others in darkness.


Derek woke and found Karen smiling down at him. 'How ya doing, sailor?' she teased him.

'I'm....' he said as he started to sit up but groaned and fell back against the pillow.

'Take it easy, cowboy, you were hit pretty hard by Xavier's mental assault and need time to recover. Unfortunately we don't have that much time.'

'What do we do about it?'

'The only thing I can think of is to become soul mates.'

'It involves joining us mind, body and soul, we have the body part covered so all we need to do is the mind and soul. Derek, if you do this it's not reversible. We can't go back....ever.'

'I don't want to go back,' he murmured, then leaned in to kiss her gently.

'Then do exactly as I say and we'll see if it will work.' She helped him sit up and kissed him gently. 'Place a hand on either side of my face.'

Derek touched her face hesitantly as if he were afraid to touch her. He lowered his face toward Karen, as his fingertips slid up either side of her face, cupping it like something delicate and breakable. She'd never felt him so tentative, so unsure around her. Then his lips touched hers and she stopped thinking. Karen's hands rose and covered his hands as they cradled her face. She ran one hand down the side of Derek's jaw, tracing the shape of his face, ever so gently. He shuddered under the light brush of her hand and the feel of him trembling under her hand brought a soft sound from low in her throat.

'Open your mind to me,' she said. He did and his love for her poured in like the breath of life itself. She separated her consciousness, letting one part of herself to respond to his caresses and guiding the other to probe his thoughts.

She felt a yielding in his mind, almost an embrace. She glimpsed a vision, like the blinding light of a supernova -- a vision of unity with another soul such as she'd never known, far beyond any mere joining of two bodies. The light pulled at her, seductive, demanding. Her eyes half closed and her breathing became shallow. Derek felt calm and peaceful, he felt a strange and comforting warmth, there was nothing but acceptance. He saw a million stars and Derek felt as if he could reach out and hold them in his hands. They danced about him, whirling faster and faster until one of them filled his vision becoming as vivid as a human soul. Just then he tumbled free into the vastness of space. She exploded into his mind as their minds locked, linking together. There was nothing but sensation. He felt a cool, shimmering wind that was his aura, touch hers.

The power didn't just build, it exploded. For one moment he felt her inside him, through him, as if she were the wind; pure power pouring through him, like a low level current, a distant hum. Their bodies convulsed in perfect synchronicity. In time he was sure her mind would become like white noise in his. How he knew that he didn't know; at the moment he didn't care.

'Was it good for you?' she quipped as she grinned mischievously at Derek.

'You're trouble.' He grinned and stroked her cheek lovingly.

'That's why you love me.'

'That and much more,' he told her and bent down to kiss her. Suddenly all she wanted was to make love to him. The door slammed open and she was snatched up roughly as they pulled her away from Derek. She saw a vicious kick aimed Derek's way as she was dragged out of the room.

They dragged her to a stone circle where Xavier stood wearing a black cloak. 'The time has come! Bring in the prisoners!' Two men were brought into the circle. Chains rattled as they walked and their heads were covered with black hoods, but their clothes were all too familiar. He pulled off the hoods to reveal Nick and Phillip. They saw Karen and their eyes locked with hers. Xavier offered her a gun and she knew what she was being asked to do. Numbly she reached out to take the gun, it was heavy and cold in her hand.

She felt her heart lurch as she pointed the gun at Nick and her stomach churned. If the only way to save her family was to end their lives before Xavier could cause them more agony, then that's what she would do. A rage rose in her and she swung the gun towards Xavier. He grabbed the gun and they struggled, it went off so loud Karen was sure it had deafened her.

He wrenched the gun from her and she turned to see Nick staring disbelieving at the wound in his side and then toppled heavily to the ground. 'Nick!' she screamed and raced over to him crouching by his side to check his wound. She sensed a blackness at the same instant she felt an overwhelming sense of evil. A face flashed before her eyes and the sense of evil exploded past her, blowing her hair straight up and to the side. She threw out an arm to protect herself and gave a wild scream of terror but by that time it was gone.

It was then Karen felt herself bring pulled backwards. She felt a stab of pain as she struck the ground and then a wave of dizziness as she tried to sit up. She felt as if her arm was yanked out of its socket as someone roughly yanked her up. 'You will become my bride, my dear,' Xavier gloated.

'I'd rather be your executioner. On second thought, your torturer and then your executioner!' she snarled.

'There is no mercy in you, ma petite,' he purred.

'You say that like it's a bad thing,' she answered sarcastically. He looked at her and then placed a hand on her face that she tried to shake off. He backhanded her hard enough to cause her head to spin. Suddenly he dropped her to the ground with a look of disgust.

'You belong to another,' he snarled.

'Guess your too late bozo.' She smiled up at him maliciously.

He laughed evilly in a way that made her skin crawl. 'Not if I remove the rival,' he told her. 'Bring Rayne to me,' he ordered and two men scurried away to do his bidding.

'If you kill him you'll kill me.'

'Not if I bond with you before you die.' Now she really was going to be sick, she knew that if he bonded with her after ripping Derek from her mind....


Derek was dragged into the stone circle moments later. 'You can't, he's too weak!' she cried as she launched herself at Xavier. He flung her away from him and she landed with a grunt. Xavier knew Derek was still weak from the bonding and he didn't stand a chance. Xavier motioned for his guards to take her and then strode to a woman by the altar. He picked up two knives from the altar and walked over to Derek.

'If you want the woman you have to fight for her,' he told Derek. He handed Derek a knife and stepped back before taunting him to fight. Derek clutched the knife and started towards Xavier. Karen broke free and raced up to Derek, she reached for his shoulder and pulled him around with angry inspired strength. She drew his head down to hers and kissed him as she'd never kissed him before.

'Go, don't interfere,' he told her.

Derek held his knife in as he half crouched, balancing his weight on his right leg. Derek held his knife close to his body as he danced out of the way of Xavier's strike. Derek lunged forward thrusting at Xavier's knife arm. A red streak appeared on his arm and Xavier cursed before attacking again. His downward cut missed Derek's knife hand by several inches. Circling his opponent he nicked the man's shoulder and grabbed his knife wrist with his free hand.

Xavier used sheer strength to break free and made a clumsy inner slash at Derek's neck as he used his mind to tear through Derek's mind as if it were tissue paper. He lost his balance and fell as he stumbled to his knees. He wasn't prepared for the mental assault and wasn't able to defend himself when Xavier kicked the knife from his hand. Derek rose and staggered away from the attack as he covered his head with his hands.

All at once she was with Derek, in his mind as she wove strong, glowing fibers made of thoughts and will, creating a strong gossamer web. The web meshed around and about his mind until Derek could feel no difference between his mind and hers. They were one; together they gathered their strength and rose to face the opponent. Together they drove him from their minds and pushed hard until the opponent's will buckled and his face contorted in fear. They straddled him, the blade at the pulse beating hard in Xavier's neck. Karen left his mind, leaving him whole, lucid, and victorious. His senses were his own once again and yet there was a difference left behind.

Xavier surrendered and Derek stood and started to back away. 'Derek, no!' the words came to him through a fog, he swayed as everything seemed to go soft and gray around him before he fainted.


'You're safe now. Just lie still.' The voice seemed to come from a great distance, but it had a note of gentle authority. It was too much trouble to move or try and open his eyes and he fell back into unconsciousness. Derek was drifting between waking and dozing; he opened his eyes and gave Karen a fuzzy smile.

'Hello my love. How are you feeling?' she asked as she sat on the edge of the bed and ran her hand over his soft curls.

'Sleepy.' She laughed softly, he was quiet for the moment and she saw that he was drifting off again. She continued to stroke his hair back from his forehead, more aware than she'd ever been of how precious he was to her.

'Touching,' snarled Xavier, he motioned for the guards and they grabbed her up.

'I'm not going to lie down if you're going to kill me in cold blood, you're going to have to do it while I'm looking you in the eye.'

'I have no intention of killing you,' he told her before dragging her out of the room. Karen noticed Cole by the side of he building and he rose slightly but Prue grabbed his hand. Phoebe smiled at Karen reassuringly and she felt better as she was dragged away. She knew that as she was being taken away the others were rescuing Derek.

Prue entered the room followed by Cole, Phoebe and Leo. 'He's wounded,' said Phoebe concerned. Leo went over to the bed and placed his hands over Derek's body. A glow began and the wounds slowly began to heal. Nick, Phillip, Alex and Rachel joined them and then a few minutes later came Kristen, Daryl and Andy.

'Where's Caddy?!' asked a worried Alex.

'They dragged her out of here as we arrived,' explained Cole.

'We have to rescue her,' said Nick who was still a bit stunned by Leo healing the gunshot wound.

Derek sat up quickly. 'We have to get....' he swayed slightly and Leo grabbed his arm to steady him.

'He needs a few minutes to recover,' Leo told them.

'We can't wait,' said Prue. 'Cole, Phoebe, and Piper with me. Nick, Alex and Phillip will come in from the opposite direction. Rachel, stay here with Leo to help Derek. Daryl, Andy, and Kristen will come from a third direction. We need to distract these guys so we can take them out.'

'Prue, I don't think a spell will work,' said Daryl.

'There is magic here and we can de-spell it. After that they'll just be normal humans we can deal with. How long until your backup arrives?'

'They're about an hour away. Do you think we can stop the....the unnormal parts before they arrive?'

'Don't worry, the spell Phoebe came up with should de-spell the magic,' Prue reassured him.

They left the building and broke up to go their separate ways before finding a place to crouch down and wait for the signal. Nick bristled at Xavier, who was shaking Karen violently. She looked as if he'd struck her a number of times. Prue, Piper and Phoebe rose and began to chant the spell to de-spell the magic that the stone circles held. Karen whispered it under her breath to give it an extra boost. A scream and dark light rose off the stones and flung itself upward, dissipating into nothing.

'No!' screamed Xavier in a rage as the signal was given and the others launched their attack on the covens members. 'If I can't have you no one will,' he hissed through clenched teeth. 'I'm the only one who will own your gifts!' he demanded angrily. She started to pull away and Xavier drew forth a knife, he stabbed her in the chest.

Derek was at her side drawing her against him, only then did Derek notice the blood on her shoulder. 'Your bleeding,' he said with fear.

'I'm fine,' she replied and fainted into his arms. He lowered her reverently to the ground. He closed his eyes, opened his mouth and uttered a wail of despair that would have chilled the coldest of hearts. Pain bloomed within him and grew swiftly.

'No!' his voice cracked and he started to sob uncontrollably. Then he stiffened his resolve and stood with a need to kill someone, better yet Xavier.

'Derek!' Nick put a hand on his chest but Derek knocked him to the ground. Rachel and Phoebe came to Nick's aid as Leo tended to Karen. Derek continued like a man possessed towards Xavier.

'Don't! Trust me, this would be a very big mistake,' Cole told him. Derek tried to knock him aside as he had Nick and failed. Cole grabbed his arm and shimmered out, only to reappear by Leo. Alex gasped in surprise as Cole placed a restraining hand on Derek's chest.

'Derek?' said Karen and he turned to see her sitting up by Leo. He bent down and checked her shoulder only to find her healed. He hugged her tightly and it seemed as if he would never let her go. 'I'm fine,' she squeaked a little breathlessly.

'Sorry,' he murmured in her ear as he loosened his hold, she sent him through their mind link her overwhelming love for him and when he pulled back she could see tears threatening to break free from his eyes.

'Hey, where's the ruthless and relentless guy I know and love?' she asked. The police started arriving and began to take the coven members into custody as the Halliwell sisters and friends joined them.

'We owe you a great deal,' Derek told them.

'Then do us a favor and don't mention spell-casting,' said Prue.

'Or any shimmering,' Phoebe said and swatted Cole.

'Sorry, but I figured it was for the best,' he apologized to Phoebe.

'Are you all right, miss?' Karen looked up to see a police officer who looked as if he should still be in high school.

'Yes, I'm fine, just bashed around a bit.'

'You're a lucky woman that Inspectors Morris and Trudeau arrived when they did or you....'

She smiled. 'Yes, I know Officer....Chadway,' Karen said and he blushed and gave Daryl and Andy a firm nod before returning to the other officers and helping with the prisoners. 'How are you Gaia?' she asked Derek. She could see from his open shirt that his chest was a massive bruise from the shoulders down. 'Hurts to breathe, doesn't it?'

'A little,' he told her as he winced as she checked his chest.

'You're lying, anything more than a shallow breath hurts like hell,' Karen admonished him.

'Anyone ever tell you that your bedside manner needs work?' Derek teased.

'No, but you can give me lessons if we can get the hell out of here,' she told him with a sexy smile. She knew that now the danger had passed, the urge was on her again to take Derek to places he'd never been before. Facing death will do that to a person; make them understand how important life was and the need for a little human interaction. She planned on making it impossible for Derek to work right for at least a week.

Leo cleared his throat and blushed as Karen realized they had to be sending out signals, as the others looked a little uncomfortable. 'Sorry guys,' she apologized as he helped her to her feet.

'Maybe we can work together again in the future?' asked Alex.

'If you can help us with our powers we can help you with taking down the bad guys,' said Phoebe.

'Phoebe!' said Cole in a concerned tone.

'We're doing it anyway, so why not?' She giggled as she tilted her head mischievously at him.

'Wait until you met their sister, Paige,' Cole said with exasperation.

'Can we get a ride back to town?' asked Piper.

'Be glad to,' Nick smiled as he wrapped an arm around Alex's waist and kissed her on the neck. Nick tossed the keys to his motorcycle to Derek. 'I'll catch a ride back with the others,' he said before moving off to join the others who were headed back to where they left their cars. Derek wrapped an arm around Karen and led her towards the place where Nick had left his motorcycle. He got on it and then patted the seat behind him as he grinned at her in a manner she could only call wicked. She got on the seat and wrapped her arms around him before he revved the engine.

A short while later he pulled up in front of the cabin she had rented as a getaway when this had all started. 'Why here?' she asked.

'To pick up your things but also to show the bad guys they can't win,' he explained and then put down the kickstand and got off the motorcycle. He offered her his hand.

'What a gentleman,' she exclaimed playfully as she accepted his hand and let him help her off the motorcycle. They got to the door and Derek stopped, he grabbed her and swung her up into his arms. 'Me, Tarzan,' teased Karen.

'No, me Derek, you Karen,' he teased before planting a kiss on her that took away her breath. He kicked the door open and carried her into the bedroom before laying her gently on the bed. 'I've been waiting forever for this,' he whispered in her ear and his warm breath caused her body to shiver with anticipation.

'Would you care for a shower?' he asked, when she nodded he swept her off the bed and cradled Karen in his arms. There was something too innocent about him and she eyed him warily. Derek carried her to the open French doors and out into the rain that had begun as a drizzle when they arrived and only a few moments later became a downpour. She squirmed and wiggled as she laughingly pushed at his chest.

'You're a fiend! I can't believe you did this!' She buried her face in his chest. 'Run with me tonight,' she whispered against his neck. Karen lifted her head and looked into Derek's eyes and he was lost. The rain poured over them but he couldn't look away from those hungry eyes. He nodded; she focused on the necessary image. Her body began to contort, then her skin began to ripple as her skin transformed into fur.

Derek found himself staring down at a small she-wolf and then he began to see the same thing occurring to his body. Strangely he didn't feel afraid. The night called to her and she began to run, feeling wild and free. She was glad to see Derek keeping pace with her, she'd been concerned he wouldn't keep up or would have panicked at the transformation. They ran, reveling in the freedom of their new form. Finally, though she knew he was tiring and nudged him back towards the cabin. When they got back she changed back and Derek returned to normal at the same time.

'That was....' he trailed off unable to find the right word.

'I love you.'

'I worship you.' Derek grinned mischievously before nuzzling her neck.

'Why do I get the feeling this is only the beginning?'

'Because you're brilliant, sexy, et cetera,' he answered before kissing her deeply.

THE END

© 2000
Please send comments to the author!

06/18/2001
Parts 6 and 7 added December 09, 2001