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Innocence Returned

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Innocence Returned by KarenK

Innocence Returned

By KarenK

A Poltergeist The Legacy/The Sentinel fanfic

Rating: PG-13
Focus: Team
Status: unfinished

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".

Summary: The guys get into an interesting mess and the ladies need to save them.


PART 1

Alex Moreau entered the San Francisco Legacy House wondering how she was going to explain this one. She held the door open for three little boys who were with her. She closed the door behind her and kneeled in front of the boys. "Stay right here and don't move, I'll come and get you in a few minutes," Alex said. She gave one last look and took a deep breath before heading for the library. Kristen Adams and Rachel Corrigan looked up as she entered.

"Hey Alex how's it going?" asked Rachel cheerily. When Alex didn't answer Rachel frowned and stood coming over to her. Alex looked nervous and stepped over to the door motioning the three little boys into the library.

"Your friends are cute, Alex, but where are the guys?" asked Kristen.

Alex cleared her throat. "These are the guys," she answered as her voice broke.

Rachel laughed. "Very funny, Alex. Where's Derek? I have to talk to him."

"This is Derek....and Nick and....Phillip," answered Alex with a croak.

Rachel looked with disbelief at the six, eight and ten year old boys standing before her. The ten-year-old had brown hair and hazel eyes meaning he was Derek but he didn't have the old weariness and pain that the Derek she remembered had. The eight-year-old had shaggy brown hair and blues eyes making him Phillip. The small chubby cheeked six-year-old with short brown hair and green eyes had to be Nick.

Rachel sat down, stunned, and her legs were unable to support her weight any longer. Nick came over and crawled up into Rachel's lap and promptly fell asleep. Kristen tried to suppress a giggle as Alex returned Rachel's confused look.

"Why don't I get Dominic to take the boys to the kitchen while I explain what happened?" offered Alex. Once Dominic had Derek and Phillip in tow and Nick slumped on his shoulder they headed to the kitchen leaving, Alex to explain.

"You go out to stop a witches coven and return with...." Rachel waved her hand unable to continue.

"A shrunken precept and sidekicks," said Kristen.

"Thank you Kristen. What happened?!" she asked.

"Well.... we got the coven but the leader managed to get a spell off before we defeated her. The spell missed me but hit the guys and they ended up as you see them," explained Alex.

"Is it permanent?" asked Kristen in a worried tone and Alex shivered at the idea.

"I don't know, but I brought the spell book with me in hopes of finding something to reverse the spell." Alex pulled the book from her bag.

"Why don't Kristen and I get started and you go check on the....guys," suggested Rachel. She realized Alex needed to wind down before she'd be any good to anyone. Alex nodded and hurried out of the library headed toward the kitchen. Rachel and Kristen exchanged bemused looks.

"I'll check the database and you handle the spell book," offered Kristen. Rachel nodded her agreement and Kristen headed off for the control room. Rachel sighed and set the spell book on the table before checking for books on witchcraft on the shelves. She found a few and brought them over to the table to read all at once. Grabbing a pen and a pad she settled down for what she felt was going to be quite a while.

Alex entered the kitchen and ducked just in time to avoid a spoonful of mashed potatoes that Nick had flung her way. "Nick stop that!" she admonished as she grabbed the spoon from his hand. He scrunched up his face and began to pout. "Don't you dare young man!" she disciplined him.

"My apologies, Ms. Alex, but Mr. Boyle, whatever size he may be, is quite the hellion," said Dominic.

"I'm sorry, Dominic, I'll do my best to keep him out of trouble."

"That would be most appreciated, Ms. Alex."

Both Derek and Phillip sat quietly watching all that transpired between Alex, Dominic and Nick. "Are you guys all right?" asked Alex. Both boys nodded but never said a word, she realized they hadn't spoken since before they had been shrunk by the witch's spell. "Can you guys speak?" she asked as she took a hold of Derek's shoulders as she looked him in the eye. Both boys stared at her without answering as Nick made art out of his food.

Suddenly, Alex felt a wad of potatoes smack the side of her face. "Nick!" she said with a frustrated growl. "All right young man, you're going to bed right now." She took Nick's hand and dragged him upstairs to the bathroom. She started the tub and then realized she hadn't thought about giving Nick a bath and what it meant.

"Um, Nick, sweetie, you can bathe yourself right?" she asked. He shook his head vigorously and finally Alex had to grab him to stop him before he got sick from the motion. "All right can you undress yourself?" Nick started to shake his head again but she stopped him before he could. She undressed him and set him in the tub before she bathed him.

It wasn't until after she had him out of the tub and was drying him off she realized that everything Nick had was too big for a child to wear. The only one with clothes small enough would be Kat, but she doubted that Kat would have anything for a boy to wear.

"Ms. Alex," Dominic knocked on the door and when she opened it she found him standing there holding a pair of child's pajama's. "I had Lydia go to the store and purchase varying sizes of clothing for Doctor Rayne and the gentlemen," he said apparently unfazed by what had happened.

"Dominic, you're a saint!" she squealed and gave the butler a quick kiss and hug.

The flustered man cleared his throat. "Thank you Ms. Alex, and now I shall return to my duties."

"Dominic! Where are Doctor Rayne and Phillip?" she asked in a sudden panic.

"Miss Katherine has arrived and is most willing to aid me in the childcare ma'am."

Alex got Nick dressed and turned to empty the tub only to find when she turned back that Nick had escaped once again. "Nick?!" she called in a panic as she searched the hallways,

"Are you missing something?" Alex turned to see Rachel holding Nick by the hand.

"You are as much trouble as a kid as you are as an adult," complained Alex. She lifted him into her arms. "I'm sorry Rachel but he's a fast little bugger," she laughed nervously.

"I've always known that to be true about Nick Boyle. I'm still looking for any references but I haven't come up with anything yet," Rachel said slightly frustrated at not being able to find anything to help.

"I'll get Nick to bed and then come help you and Kristen with the search." Alex suddenly laughed.

"What's so funny?" asked a puzzled Rachel.

"I just said, once I get Nick to bed and I realized how weird that sounds because I'm putting my six-year-old boyfriend to bed. It gives a whole new meaning to robbing the cradle." They laughed and Nick looked form one woman to the other trying to decide whether or not they were crazy. They parted and Rachel returned to work as Alex went to Nick's room and settled him into bed. She turned and was about to leave when Nick started to cry. Alex rushed over to see if he was all right as she took him into her arms to comfort him.

"Stop! Put that down!" yelled Kat as Rachel and Kristen met at the door to the library. They entered to see chaos was reigning as Kat tried to control two young boys that had no intentions of listening to her. Rachel grabbed Derek as he raced by and Kristen dived for Phillip as he scurried past her. Rachel grabbed a hold of Derek's shoulder with one hand and with the other she snatched Phillip by the belt. Kristen gave her a smile of thanks as Phillip struggled in midair trying to loosen Rachel's hold on his belt.

"What the hell is going on?!" a familiar voice asked and they turned to see Karen Roarke, Derek's partner, as she placed her bag on the floor next to her. Rachel handed the boys to Kristen and told her and Kat to take them upstairs. She led Karen over to the couch and sat her down before explaining everything as well as she could.

Karen raised a questioning eyebrow and then began laughing uncontrollably. "That was Derek and Phillip?!" she asked between gasps and Rachel nodded. Finally Karen subsided to a few giggles. "Well....We're going to have to something about it. Have you notified the London House yet?" she asked.

"I thought it was better to see what we could do before letting London know," Rachel answered.

"Good, because knowing Sloan, he would of come in and taken over everything and made it three times as hard to figure out how to return them to normal," Karen replied.


The next morning Alex entered Nick's room and couldn't find him. She searched and finally found him in the bathroom just off the bedroom. He was drenched and holding a toy car over the toilet, he looked up at her as she came in. She groaned at the mischievous look in his eye.

"Boat," he said.

"That is not a boat and it doesn't belong in the toilet," said Alex.

"Boat," Nick insisted stubbornly.

"Car," corrected Alex.

He watched her for a long moment and she could almost see the wheels turning in his mind. She crossed the room but before she could reach him he dropped it into the toilet and yanked down on the handle. With a delighted giggle Nick watched as the car circled the bowl for the last time. Alex reached the bowl and tried to catch it but it was no use. The car was gone, along with her patience.

"That was very bad and you won't ever do that again," scolded Alex.

He nodded. "Very bad," he said shaking his finger at Alex. She grabbed Nick by the arm and drew him back into the bedroom, firmly closing the door behind her. She made a mental note to remember that for the time being to close doors more often.

"Kristen!" she called and she winced as Kristen practically leapt out of her skin. "Could you please take this aspiring plumber to breakfast?"

Kristen looked at Alex as if she'd lost her mind. "Sure, I was just heading to the kitchen anyway."

Alex brushed a hand through her hair and blew out a frustrated breath. That's when she heard that suspicious noise that sounded like a disaster in the making.

Alex entered the bathroom and watched as the water rose until it began to flood over the rim. Giving a little screech she grabbed some towels and tossed them on the floor before searching for the plunger. Nothing seemed to stop the torrent of water. Rachel appeared at the bathroom door with Phillip and Derek. The floor had at least an inch of water on it and it had started to seep out into the hallway.

"Do something!" Alex pleaded as she tried to mop at the water on the floor.

"Water!" cried Phillip and patted his hands on the floor.

"Alex make a mess, clean up," Derek said with a little disapproving frown which would have been adorable if it hadn't been for the situation.

Rachel was attempting to avoid laughing and told Kat to take Derek and Phillip down for breakfast before turning to help Alex. Working together they finally dislodged the toy car from the toilet and watched as the water lowered back to normal. Rachel held up the car to Alex with a questioning look.

"A major traffic jam?" Alex said in a sheepish tone and then she and Rachel laughed. "God, this is enough to have me want to get my tubes tied." Alex plopped down exhausted on the side of the tub.

"I'd forgotten how bad I had it with Connor," Rachel replied.

"I've just had a horrible idea! If Nick was this bad as a child what are his kids going to be like!?" she said in a panicked voice.

"You can always hope they turn out like you," was the only solace Rachel could offer.

"I need a drink," Alex replied and Rachel helped her up and gave her a little nudge towards the door.

"Hey guys!" said Karen as she entered the kitchen and just in time dodged a well placed spoonful of oatmeal that Nick launched at her. "Junior, you better knock that off before I have to start returning fire," she taunted Nick who dove behind Alex's back before peeking around her at Karen.

"I think I may have found something," Karen said as she spread a scroll out on the table. "There is a mention in this scroll about a person who was transformed into a kid. There isn't a mention of how he was cured just that he was. Maybe further research can give us the answer."

Kristen looked over the scroll. "I think I've seen some of these symbols before. I'm going to check the database and see if I can find them." Kristen took the scroll with her as she left.

"Well, I've got to change and head to the hospital to check on my patients. Kat, go get your book bag," Rachel said.

"Your not leaving me alone?!" Alex asked in a concerned voice.

"What am I chopped liver?" Karen tilted her head at her. Alex released the breath she'd been holding.

"One thing though, you're getting William Tell there," Karen pointed to Nick who was peeking out from behind Alex as he sucked his thumb.

"Torture me why don't you." Alex responded. Just then all three boys groaned and suddenly were surrounded by a glow. They watched in horror as all three boys began to stretch and grow. By the time it ended Derek, Phillip and Nick had all grown at least two years. Derek was a handsome twelve-year-old who even in his awkward stage was showing the man he would become. Phillip looked leaner and Nick looked taller which was apparent as he was heading out of the kitchen at top speed.

"Nick, get back here!" Alex demanded as she looked at Karen and Rachel for help.

"He's all yours," Rachel answered and earned herself a glare from Alex.

"I'll help you Lex," Karen said and headed after the fleeing eight-year-old.

"Kat, get my bag," Rachel called to her daughter.

"Let's go get Genghis Kahn," Alex laughed as she and Rachel started from the kitchen. They stopped as they suddenly realized that Derek and Phillip were staring at them.

"Don't worry, Ms. Alex, I'll tend to the gentleman until you return."

Alex gave Dominic a quick kiss on the cheek, "Dominic you're a saint."

The man blushed. "Really, Ms. Alex, I'm not a saint....just an angel," he replied mischievously. Alex smiled as she and Rachel headed towards the crashing noise that they heard coming from the living room. They arrived in time to see Karen crouching near Nick trying to coax him to her and as he came closer she lunged for him only to land on the floor as the air rushed out of her. Nick scurried past Alex and Rachel and was quickly followed by a loud crash from the hallway. They raced out to see Nick staring down at the vase that had until a few minutes ago adorned the table that now laid on it's side on the floor.

"Oops!" Nick said and giggled before making for the stairs, Alex started after him and then stopped suddenly causing Rachel and Karen to crash into her and all three tumbled into a pile on the floor. Nick giggled at the women.

"Wanna give us free warning next time Moe?" Karen teased Alex.

"Nick spoke," Alex said with a surprised look.

"So?" Karen asked frustrated at Alex's reason for stopping.

"Today is the first time any of them have spoken since they were shrunk."

All three looked at each other realizing that maybe now Nick could tell them what they needed to return all three men to normal. Karen lunged for Nick as Rachel and Alex tried to untangle themselves. Karen missed Nick once again. "I'm beginning to feel like the fourth Marx brother!" she said with a frustrated growl before racing after Nick. Alex stood only to slip and crash into Rachel. dragging them both back to the floor.

"What's going on out here?!" Kristen asked.

"Nick the tornado has just blown through. Keep an eye out for him will you?" asked Alex.

"One kid did all this?" Kristen asked disbelieving.

"Yep," Rachel answered just before Alex grabbed her with a quickly tossed "Come on Rach", and a "Goodbye" for Kristen tossed absentmindedly over her shoulder. Rachel and Alex rounded a corner and couldn't decide which way to go until they heard a scream from the left corridor. They rounded the corner and Nick collided with Alex. Alex grabbed a hold of Nick.

"That little....! He bit me!" Karen said angrily as she strode towards them. Nick whimpered and raced behind Alex to peek out fearfully at Karen.

"Easy," Rachel said soothingly as she put out a hand to stop her approach.

"At least we know his teeth are healthy?" Alex joked weakly.

"Not for long!" Karen answered in a snarl as Nick curled closer into Alex's side for protection. Karen took a deep breath to relax and then looked from Rachel to Alex. "Look, I'm sorry but I'm working on a few hours of sleep, concern, etc so it's not easy...." she began.

"Get some sleep and let Kristen research the scrolls while Alex and I take care of the boys....um I mean the guys," Rachel responded.

Karen smiled mischievously. "Thanks Rach, I can barely keep my eyes open. I should be back in about two hours."

Rachel rounded up Derek and Phillip and Alex took them outside to play as Rachel called a friend at the hospital to cover for her with her patients. She then called Emily, who watched Kat when Rachel worked late or went out of town, to meet Kat at the ferry to drop her off at school. When Rachel joined Alex, she saw Phillip and Nick wrestling on the grass. She sat down next to Alex. "Anything from Nick?" she asked.

"His name is Nicholas Martin Boyle and he is eight years old. Other then that, not much of anything worthwhile, he apparently doesn't remember the night it happened except as half remembered blurry images and fear," Alex replied. Both Nick and Phillip arrived giggling and stopped a few feet away from the two women.

"Present," Nick said and held up his hands towards Rachel and Alex.

"For me? Thank you." Alex smiled as she held her hands out for whatever Nick wanted to give her. Nick promptly dropped in Alex's cupped hands a very slimy frog. "Oh, thank you, Nick," Alex said as she tried to keep the smile on her face. Nick smiled and then he and Phillip raced back to play. Alex held the frog away from her as far as she could.

Rachel laughed at the look on her friend's face; Alex held the frog out to Rachel. "No thanks!" she responded as she leaned back away from Alex and the frog.

"I will take that, Ms. Alex," Dominic retrieved the frog from her outstretched hand as he placed a damp towel in her hands. She smiled gratefully at Dominic for his aid as she wiped her hands on the towel. Karen headed towards them with a frustrated frown on her face.

"Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!" In frustration, she waved the papers she held. "Why is it I can find what I need when I don't need it?" she asked angrily.

"If you could, then the universe would be fair and it couldn't be that now could it?" quipped Alex.

"Rachel, Alex!!" Kristen screamed frantically. They all ran towards the house to find Kristen bending down by a small lump on the floor. The lump turned out to be Derek lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs.

"Derek?!" Karen cried and raced over to him to see if he had a pulse. She breathed a sigh of relief when she found the pulse strong and steady.

Rachel knelt next to her with her doctor's bag. "What happened?" she asked with a look of concern.

"I heard a loud thud but I didn't hear a scream or anything. When I came out here I found him like this."

"Let's get him checked out at the hospital." Rachel replied and Karen lifted Derek into her arms. Alex got the door and then the car door as Karen sat in the car hugging him tightly to her. Rachel got in the driver's side.

"Don't worry we'll take care of Nick and Phillip. Just make sure Derek's okay," said Alex. Karen rubbed her face against Derek's curls as her mind raced with all the possibilities.

Rachel pulled up in front of the ER and Karen opened the door as Rachel came around and helped her out. They rushed into the ER and Rachel called for a gurney and had Karen place him on the gurney. She looked worried as the ER nurse came over to her. She watched Rachel ordering around the orderlies and a nurse as they headed into the ER itself.

"Mrs....?" came a voice and Karen turned to see a clerk. "We'll need your insurance information."

Karen let out a sigh and filled out the papers for the woman using her insurance because there would be too many questions if she used Derek's insurance. Karen paced for a time, unable to sit still with worry for Derek. Finally she decided to do something about it. She looked for a restroom and entered it, luckily it was unoccupied and she was able to create a vortex before stepping through it and stepping out in the Ancient One's throne room.

"Shamar Sistal!" exclaimed Daria and hugged her. Karen saw Mara just behind her with a smile in greeting. "What brings my favorite sister?" asked Daria. Mara made a noise behind Daria.

"I need to see the Ancient One, it's an emergency." Daria and Mara came with her to the Ancient One's quarters.

The Ancient One greeted her and she hurriedly explained what had happened and pled with the Ancient One for aid in helping Derek, Nick and Phillip. The Ancient One frowned and began to pace her quarters.

"I will look into this matter, meanwhile perhaps old Galb will have some herbs or something. Daria, take her to Galb and let him know Rayne's symptoms and then return with her to the outside world."

"I always enjoyed babysitting and besides Nick's cute," she teased in an attempt to make Karen smile.


PART 2

"Nick, you need a nap?" Alex asked nodding.

"Nope," he exclaimed with glee and raced away.

"I know I need a nap," sighed Alex before chasing after Nick. Kristen stopped suddenly, barely missing running into Alex.

"Can't stop now, gotta catch a natural disaster named Nick." Alex called over her shoulder as she ran by. Suddenly Nick stumbled and fell groaning to the floor as he clutched his stomach in what was obvious agony. She recognized the signs from the last time they'd had a growth spurt. She approached Nick as it ended and it looked as if he'd grown another two years.

Kat skidded to a stop near Alex. "Phillip just had...." she trailed off at the sight of Nick.

"How old is Phillip?" Kristen asked.

"He's twelve," answered Kat. Alex got her cell phone out and dialed Karen as she helped Nick up off the floor.

"Hello?" Karen answered.

"Caddy, it's Alex. Nick and Philip have just aged another two years."

"I haven't heard anything about Derek growing, " Karen replied. "I'll check with Rachel and call back."

"I'm hungry," Nick complained.

"You're always hungry, bottomless pit," said Alex good-naturedly as she ruffled his hair and got a scowl in return.

"Feed him and maybe he won't be so hungry next time I see him," Karen said jokingly, referring to Nick biting her earlier. Karen hung up before Alex could answer and turned to Daria. "Nick and Phillip are growing two years each growth spurt. Derek isn't showing any signs of growth though."

"Rayne always did have a gift for causing trouble, that's nothing new," teased Daria. She had difficulty keeping up with Karen's pace. "Derek will be all right." Suddenly she slammed into Karen's back as she stopped without warning.

"I still can't help but worry. Worry feeds of itself and creates all kinds of havoc." Tears brimmed in her eyes but she refused to let them fall. She remembered how Derek had looked and how she should have been to see Galb an old friend.

The wizened white haired old man seemed older then the Ancient One. He'd listened to Derek's symptoms and then muttering to himself, he puttered about his lab gathering the things he needed. He had tsked and ahhed when needed and then finally he'd handed the bottle of blue liquid to Karen and told her how to use it. He insisted on having her repeat it back to him twice to be sure she had gotten it correctly. "Young folks don't listen anymore, " Galb had complained and Karen smiled despite herself. She knew he'd never admit it but the cranky grumpy persona was all an act and he really liked people.

Daria created a vortex and they stepped through it into the thankfully empty ladies room at the hospital. Stepping out into the hallway she spotted Rachel. "Rachel?" Karen asked concerned as she and Daria headed over to Rachel. "He's stable." she told Karen to released the breath she had been unaware she'd been holding.

"Rachel, this is Daria Bu De Champs," she introduced Daria to Rachel.

"Why don't you visit with Derek, and Daria and I will get acquainted," Rachel offered.

"Thanks." Karen smiled in relief and after Rachel gave her directions to his room she left Rachel and Daria to talk. As Karen entered the room she noticed that Derek was asleep and that he was still ten years old. Unlike Nick and Phillip he hadn't grown at all and that worried her. She brushed the curls from Derek's face and smiled to herself at how adorable he looked. Derek's eyes opened and he smiled up at her weakly.

Karen preformed the ritual as Galb had instructed her and then looked him over to see if there was any sign of improvement. To her disappointment she couldn't see anything apparent. What if Derek never grew up? she thought to herself and shuddered at the thought of losing not only the man she loved but the Legacy's greatest weapon against the dark side.

Rachel took Daria's jacket as they entered the foyer of the house. "I'm thankful that you can help us Miss Bu De Champs," said Rachel.

"It's Daria, and Karen and I go way back so when she came to me I was grateful to help in any way I could." They entered the library and found a twelve-year-old Nick and a gangly fourteen-year-old Phillip. "My, how you've grown," said Daria teasingly and smiled as both boys stopped to stare at her.

"Kristen Adams, Alex Moreau, and my daughter, Katherine, this is Daria Bu De Champs," Rachel introduced them.

"Your last name is French?" asked Kat.

"Why, so it is my little kitty, thank you for telling me," she teased Kat playfully. Rachel noticed that Kat seemed to accept Daria's presence as if she'd been in Kat's life since the day she'd been born. She wondered at the effect Daria had on Kat but dismissed it for now.

"Daria has a spell that may help us," said Rachel.

"Couldn't hurt," Daria shrugged and grinned mischievously.

After getting Nick to sit on the couch next to Phillip with a threat from Alex that she'd tie him down if she had to and a "kinky" from Daria, the women stepped back and let Daria perform the spell. Rachel didn't understand a word of the spell but she knew it had to old because the language had an ancient feeling to it.

A bright light enveloped Nick and Phillip and when it faded in the place of the boys sat the fully-grown men. Rachel squeaked and flung a hand over Kat's eyes as Kat struggled to see. Alex and Kristen giggled quietly as Daria appraised both of the men.

"Is it cold in here or is it just me?" Nick complained. He looked down and realized why it was cold, both he and Phillip were only wearing their birthday suits. They were both as naked as the day they'd been born. With an outrage noise, Nick grabbed a pillow and placed it in his lap as Phillip wrapped himself in the comforter. Nick rose and turned to Phillip.

"Nice!" hissed Daria and Nick realized his backside was waving in the wind. He grabbed another pillow and sidled out of the room followed quickly by Phillip. Moments later the women broke into gales of laughter.


PART 3

"I've never seen anything like it before. He just started to improve as rapidly as he was degrading?" said the puzzled doctor.

"When will he be able to go home?" asked Karen.

"Today, if the tests keep coming back as good as these," he motioned with the hand that held Derek's file. The doctor excused himself and Karen looked back at the sleeping Derek.

"Well little man.... " She winced at the endearment, she hadn't thought of it before she'd said it. It brought back memories of an old friend whose mother had called him that. "Hopefully, you won't end up the way he did," she murmured to herself. He had died choking on his own blood caused by a severe chest wound. He had died saving two lives but it hadn't hurt any less losing him.

"Well, if you grow up naturally at least I don't have to worry about resolving the issue of us for a few years yet," she said to herself. She knew it was the coward's way out but better a live coward then a dead hero as someone had said once.


"Nick?" Alex said as she knocked and then opened the door to his room. Nick had a pair of jeans on unbuttoned and was pulling a t-shirt and work shirt out of his dresser. She watched the way his back muscles flexed for a minute before reigning herself in. Down girl! she mentally chastised herself.

"Alex, I'd like to hear an explanation for why I was naked in the living room," demanded Nick.

Alex shook herself from her lustful reverie as she realized Nick was staring at her. She cleared her throat and fidgeted as she tried to think of how much she should tell him and should it include the bath. "What do you remember?" she asked knowing that it was the sneaky way to go about it but better safe then sorry.

"We were taking care of a coven...." he trailed off as a puzzled look came onto his face. Alex led him to the bed and settled him down before telling him everything that had happened, including the bath. She couldn't in good conscience leave it out.

"I was a real brat," said Nick sheepishly after Alex had informed him of his alter ego's rampage.

"Hey, if it's any help, I had to have lost a few pounds just chasing after you."

"You don't need to lose weight. You're perfect the way you are." He drew her into his arms and kissed her gently.

"I missed this," Alex murmured quietly.

"I missed you," answered Nick as he stroked her hair back and curled it behind her ear. "I love you," Nick said and Alex sat up straighter in shock. She knew Nick loved her but she also knew that it was hard for him to say those three little words because of how he grew up so she left it alone and didn't ask him to say it. Knowing he felt it was enough for her.

"Better finished getting dressed," said Alex as her voice choked with emotion.

"Not exactly the answer I was hoping for but it doesn't matter."

"I love you too," Alex answered.

"I have a better idea how about we undress?" asked Nick as he begin undoing Alex's blouse and followed each button with a kiss to the newly exposed flesh beneath.


Phillip descended the stairs dressed and feeling slightly less exposed then he had earlier. Rachel had met him in the hall and explained everything that had occurred. He was going to tell Nick, but when he went to knock, he heard some soft sighs that sounded like Alex and a groan that was definitely Nick, so he figured Nick knew what had happened already. He decided against interrupting and headed for the library to see if there was anything he could do, needing to be busy at the moment so he wouldn't go crazy.

"Any news about Derek?" Phillip asked of Kristen who, blushing furiously, refused to make eye contact with him. He gave a frustrated sigh and hoped this would go away with time.

"Karen called and said that Derek's still a kid but that he's doing well and the doctor should release him sometime today," she answered while staring at her shoes.

"Well, let's see if we can do something about his child status," answered Phillip as he settled at the computer.


She had signed all the necessary papers and gotten Derek dressed and to the car where she'd buckled him in. Now she sat with both hands on the steering wheel mentally trying to order her thoughts and found out how she gotten here where she was with a lover who was ten years old and a team depending on her for everything. God only knew what Sloan would do if he found out. She drove to the ferry and then to the house after the ferry arrived at the island.

If she'd only known the visitor, they would be relieved though she might have run in the opposite direction as fast as her legs could take her. As Karen pulled up in front of the house William Sloan, precept of the London house, stepped out of a car. Karen cursed her luck, all of it bad of course, as she unbuckled to go face the music. Derek unbuckled his seat belt and raced from the car, past Sloan and up the stairs. Karen had lunged for him but he'd gotten away and she'd only felt a whisper of fabric on her fingers for her effort. She sighed and got out of the car.

"Where's Derek?" were the first words out of Sloan's mouth.

Karen rolled her eyes. Why me? she silently asked the heavens. "Derek is out," she replied.

"I know that, out where?" asked an exasperated Sloan.

"He didn't say," said Karen. It was only a small white lie since she really didn't know where in the house he was at the moment. She entered the house and saw that Sloan had followed.

"I need to speak to Derek," said Sloan. Karen saw Daria hurriedly motioning to her from behind Sloan's head.

"Excuse me," she excused herself and headed out into the hall. "What is it?!" she hissed at Daria.

"The spell returned Nick and Phillip," Daria said. Karen breathed a sigh of relief at the news.

"We have a problem though."

"What's new?" said a frustrated Karen.

"I tried the spell that returned Nick and Phillip to normal on Derek."

"And?" Karen asked.

"It didn't work."

"What didn't work?" asked Sloan as he appeared in the doorway of the library. Just then ten-year-old Derek showed up by sliding down the banister. "Who is this child?" asked Sloan.

"I'm Derek Myles Rayne," Derek introduced himself and Karen groaned as Daria looked as if she were going to be sick.

"Derek?!" answered a shocked Sloan as he seemed ready to faint. Karen saw him to a chair in the library before he fell down and hurt himself. "Are you going to tell me what happened?!" roared Sloan as he recovered his senses.

Karen winced. "Nothing we believed we couldn't handle ourselves."

"Obviously not!" he bellowed at her and then regretted it. "I'm sorry, it's just...." he trailed off, confused on how to continue.

"Alex, Nick, Phillip and Derek went to take care of a witches' coven. Alex avoided the coven's leader's revenge but the guys weren't so lucky. They were transformed into children and we've been trying to find a way to return them to normal."

"We found a spell which has restored Nick and Phillip to what passes for normal. Unfortunately, the spell apparently hasn't worked for Derek. The good news...." she began.

"So there is good news in all of this?" asked Sloan sarcastically.

She ignored his sarcasm. "Yes. Nick and Phillip are returned to normal with no apparent problems and Rachel says that Derek left alone will develop normally as anyone would. He'd literally have a second childhood but he will grow up."

"So we wait what? Eight years before he can retrain as a Legacy member, that's suggesting that he'd want to rejoin the Legacy," complained Sloan.

"Derek, the man or the child, is drawn to the Legacy, he'll rejoin," she answered matter-of-factly.

Sloan looked at her strangely as if he was looking at her in a new way. "Would you be willing to take over as temporary precept until this is settled?" Karen looked as if she were about to object. "Since you're doing the job already you might as well hold the title."

"Derek's going to want his job back," Karen said.

"With luck, soon. Without it, about twenty years from now," Sloan responded. She winced at his words and prayed for the former rather then the latter.

"If it turns out that Derek will have to re-grow naturally we'll have to inform Barbara and Ingrid." Karen had wanted to avoid trying to explain to Derek's mother and sister what had happened. It was bad enough that they'd have to live with the possibility of his dying for the Legacy but having to relive his life all over again. If he were dead they could mourn for him but this way they were mourn anew each day for the Derek they'd known and was no more.

"I'll take the job on one condition: Derek gets it back the moment he's returned to normal."

Sloan nodded in agreement. "If he doesn't return to normal but has to grow up naturally then he works for the position like everyone else," said Sloan.

"Agreed," she responded and put her hand in her hair brushing it back out of her eyes.


Derek raced after the ball, trying to avoid Kat as she raced towards it too. Alex watched as they played soccer and smiled sadly. Derek never got the chance as a child to be a child, so maybe this time around, however briefly, he would get a chance to be a "normal" child.

The others, with Daria's help, were trying to find a way to return Derek to normal. Part of her hoped they succeeded and returned her mentor, friend and precept to her and yet part wanted Derek to have the chance that this misfortune offered him at a normal childhood. Karen had once said, "'Out of all this evil some good must come." She'd been right that when two enemies had a common enemy they would become friends even if just for a brief time and in the process come closer to the possibility of being permanent friends. Her mind strayed back to memories of Derek and when she looked up again she saw Kat playing by herself.

"Kat where's Derek?" she asked and Kat just shrugged in response.

She frantically looked around and saw no sign of him. She headed over to Kat and taking her by the hand, looked around the garden for Derek. She couldn't find any sign of him and her fear began to rise quickly, threatening to almost choke her. By the gate leading to the cliff side, she spotted a hint of blue and went over to the open gate. By the gate was the blue baseball cap that Nick had given Derek before he'd gone out to play with Kat. Did this mean that Derek had headed for the cliff?! Alex was terrified at the possibility.

She took Kat by her shoulders. "Kat, go to Karen and tell her what's happened." Kat nodded and ran off towards the house looking as scared as Alex felt. Alex raced along the path to the cliff's edge frantically looking for Derek.

"Yoohoo," a male voice called from her left and Alex turned to see Reed Horton with a hand on Derek's shoulder. "Does seem as if I have the upper hand here," Horton said as he smiled evilly at Alex.

"Let him go you monster!" exclaimed Alex, frantic for Derek and what Reed had in mind for the young boy.

"Now that's a bit harsh don't you think?" he asked smiling nastily at her.

"Derek come to me," ordered Alex, but as he tried, Reed tightened his hold on Derek's shoulder preventing the boy from obeying Alex.

"I don't think so," he said as he drew Derek closer to him. Karen arrived and snarled at Horton savagely.

"Down girl, did you have your rabies shot?" he asked amused by her reaction to him.

"I'd love to put you down," she responded viciously and stepped forward a few steps before stopping and clenching and unclenching her fists at her side.

"Uh huh, you wouldn't want to harm the child now would you?" he asked sarcastically. "Just like a coward, to hide behind a child," she snapped at him.

A flicker of rage passed over Horton's face before he regained control of himself. "Then I won't," he replied and promptly vanished with Derek.


PART 4

"Come on!" ordered Karen. Alex was glad that in moments like this Karen made a drill sergeant look weak. They headed to the house to find Sloan and the others in the library.

"Kat told us what happened," said Rachel.

"Not everything," said a worried Alex. Karen filled them in on Reed Horton's appearance and kidnapping of Derek.

"That's it, I'm taking charge of this shambles!" bellowed Sloan.

"Not if you want to live to regret it!" Karen hissed at him and caused William Sloan, head of the Legacy and Precept of the London Ruling, house to step back in fear. Karen barked orders to the others and they quickly headed off to do what they were told. Sloan started out of the library and Karen placed a restraining hand on his chest. "You and I need to talk, Mr. Sloan," she said in a tone that brooked no argument.

She gave him a slight shove and he fell backwards into a chair. She took a hold of a chair arm with each hand and hovered threateningly over Sloan. "This is Derek Rayne's and Derek Rayne's house only! He may tolerate your interference but I won't, so keep your opinions to yourself unless they help find Derek."


Detective Jim Ellison of the Cascade Major Crimes division held his gun ready as his blue eyes scanned the surrounding area. He'd been called by a snitch about a meet, but there didn't seem to be anyone at the warehouse where the meet was supposed to occur. He was beginning to regret not bringing backup, or at the very least his partner, Blair Sandburg, along.

If he got out of this with his head attached, Simon Banks, his Captain, would probably be glad to remove it for him. Hell he'd probably remove it just for the hell of it. Jim smiled and then jerked straighter as he thought he heard something. A noise off to the right caught his attention and Jim focused on it.

It was only a few years ago that Jim had found out he was a Sentinel. He could hear whispered conversations taking place at the other end of the block and see for a mile or more. Blair had been doing a graduate study on Sentinels, and when a nurse tipped him off to Jim Blair, he had come to the hospital. He'd pretended to be a doctor, but Jim had to admit he did keep his word about helping Jim learn to control his abilities.

The sound that his regular hearing had thought it heard his Sentinel hearing heard as a small child crying. He followed the sound, worried that a kid playing in the area had fallen and hurt himself. He came upon a room where a boy of about ten years sat crying as he struggled with the ropes that bound his hands.

Jim checked the surrounding area and saw no one so he headed over to the boy. He could see that the boy hadn't been aware of his presence as he drew back with a gasp and fear filled his eyes. Jim holstered his gun and started for the boy only to have him flinch away.

"It's all right," he crooned quietly, keeping up the reassuring words as he took hold of the boy's bound hands. Breath hissed through his teeth at the sight of the raw skin and blood on the boy's wrist. He must have been struggling for a while to get loose. He pulled out his knife from his boot and the boy flinched again. He crooned quietly to the boy as he sliced threw the ropes and then followed with the ropes around his legs. He put his knife away and after an inspection of his wounds, Jim picked up the child and carried him to his truck.


He paced the halls of Cascade Memorial hospital only stopping when he saw Simon and Blair arriving with Megan Connor, a curly haired brunette who was an exchange officer from the New South Wales police in Australia. He and Blair, when they had first met Megan, had mused over a few ideas about putting her and a demented kangaroo into a room together and let them have at it. Since then though, she'd managed to grow on them as well as the others.

"Jim, are you all right?" asked Simon.

"I'm fine, but I found a young boy about ten with brown hair and hazel eyes tied up in the warehouse where I went to see about a supposed drug meet. He's been there for a bit because his wrists and ankles were raw from his attempts to get loose. He hasn't answered any questions I've asked so far, but maybe he will for Megan."

"The maternal bit? Ellison, I thought better of you, obviously you aren't as intelligent as I was beginning to suspect," she teased. She headed into the exam room to talk to the boy and left Jim to explain to Simon and Blair, and also to hear Simon discipline him for going in without backup.

A few moments later they joined Megan to find she wasn't having any luck either. Jim pulled up a chair to the gurney and sat down. "Hey buddy, how are you?" he asked and took the kid's bandaged hand in his. "I can't call your mom if I don't know her name."

"Barbara," the boy answered quietly.

"Where do your parents live?" he asked.

"Mom is in Amsterdam, my dad died in Peru."

"Peru?" said Sandburg.

"He was murdered and I stopped the killer, but not before dad was hurt really bad. I couldn't get him help fast enough and he died." The boy began to cry and Jim held him as he sobbed out his anguish over his father's death.

After his crying subsided, he sat back and wiped angrily at his eyes as if he were ashamed of crying in front of them.

"It's okay buddy, can you tell me your name?" Jim asked.

"Derek Myles Rayne."

"Rain?" said Jim questioningly.

"R-A-Y-N-E," he spelled slowly for Ellison as the detective wrote it down.

"Where do you live?" asked Blair.

"San Francisco," he replied and Ellison was glad to see him coming out of his fear-imposed shell.

"Your mom on a business trip or something?" Jim asked.

"No she lives in Amsterdam and I live in San Francisco."

Ellison picked up on a slight accent the boy seemed to have. "Where were you born?"

"San Francisco, but I've been going to boarding school in Amsterdam."

"Explains the accent," said Simon. "Can you tell us what happened?" Simon asked him gently.

"A man....he came into the garden where I was playing soccer with Kat. Kat is the daughter of a friend, she's twelve years old," he said as if that might suggest Kat was a wise sage. Megan couldn't help grinning. "I went after the man when I saw him head for the cliffs. I wanted to warn him that the cliffs were there so he wouldn't fall. He grabbed me when Karen and Alex came out looking for me. He threatened them and Karen seemed really angry and I thought she might get hurt," Derek said.

"Who are Karen and Alex?" asked Blair.

"Friends...." he answered with a puzzled frown. "Karen's been taking care of me, and the man seemed to take pleasure in making her as angry as possible. I don't remember anything after that."

"Traumatic amnesia probably from the kidnapping," explained the doctor.

"Can you tell me a phone number where they can be reached?" asked Jim. Derek rattled off some numbers and Jim saw they included a San Francisco area code. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed, after a couple of rings the phone was answered.

"Hello?" said a male voice.

"Yes, is Karen there?" Jim asked.

"She's rather busy at the moment. Can I take a message?"

"It's about Derek," Jim said in response.

"Derek?! Is he all right?!" Jim could tell even without his Sentinel hearing that Derek meant a lot to this man.

"Yes, he's fine?" Jim answered.

"Do you work with Horton?" the man practically growled at him.

"No, I'm Detective Jim Ellison of the Cascade P.D. in Cascade, Washington."

"Karen!" he heard the man call.

"What is it, Nick?" he heard a woman answer.

"Derek," was all Nick said and she took the phone.

"Hello, Derek?! Are you all right?!" she answered in a fearful tone. Jim explained who he was and what had happened. "I'll be there to pick him up."

"I'll need to release him to a parent," explained Ellison.

"Then I'll get Barbara and be there before the end of the day, Detective."

"You can get a plane that fast?"

"We have a corporate jet," she responded. "I'll call Barbara and have her meet me in Cascade." Karen made arrangements to meet with Ellison and hung up after a short talk with Derek which seemed to quiet him a lot.

"I don't see any reason for the boy to be held in the hospital, and we don't really have the bed space for him, so I'll call child welfare until his mother can arrive," said the doctor.

Ellison flinched. "No, I'll take him into custody, the kidnapper is still out there and may return for him."

"Whatever you think is best, Jim. I'll put you on restricted duty until you turn him over to his mother," responded Simon. The doctor said he'd see about Derek's release and left the room. Simon and Megan said their goodbyes and left as well.

"Well, buddy, I guess it's Blair and me until your mom arrives."

"I don't mind, you're better then that guy that took me," he answered. Jim gathered the kid's things up and helped him off the gurney.


"Barbara?" asked Nick as she hung up the phone.

"Don't worry about it Nick, I'll handle it."

He grabbed her arm. "We're all worried about him," Nick said and she could tell he was having a hard time accepting that Derek might be on his way home. He'd been kicked in the teeth too often to believe right anything away.

"He needs Derek's mother to turn him over, but I'll handle it."

"I'm going," Nick said matter-of-factly.

"Nick, I need you here looking for Horton and a way to revert Derek to normal."

"Derek? Normal?" he chuckled. "If Horton is after him you'll need protection."

"I've got the best protection possible, Nick. Please, just keep looking and I give you my word of honor Derek will be returning with me."

Nick knew she'd never broken a word of honor so he hoped she could deliver what she was saying or she'd be crushed. He stepped back, surrendering to her wishes but silently prayed and wished her luck with every fiber of his being as she left.

"So who do we play now?" asked Daria who'd popped up next to her.

"You come with me and get to play Barbara Rayne," Karen said, taking her ID out of her purse. She cloned her ID and replaced the originals before holding the cloned ID's in her hands, which glowed. After the glow lessened and faded she handed Daria the ID, which was now for Barbara Rayne, Derek's mother, but the photo was that of Daria.

"Nice. I could have used that talent when I was younger," she teased.

They got into Karen's car and drove to the airport. "Vortexing would be quicker," complained Daria.

"And also open too many questions we're not willing to answer," Karen replied. Daria slumped in the seat and made faces until they reached the airport. When they arrived, they were greeted by the pilot who told her they were ready to go whenever she wanted to. They boarded the plane and began the necessary preparations to take off; Karen fidgeted in her seat feeling antsy about the flight. She wanted to be there already but she knew this would give them time to get things worked out so there wouldn't be any problems in getting Derek back.

Daria placed a restraining hand on Karen as she was about to get up and pace the plane's cabin. "It'll be all right," she reassured.

"Yeah, I bet Custer said that just before the battle at Little Big Horn."

Being Karen's friend meant indulging her love of history, and Daria knew Custer and the 7th Calvary had been massacred at Little Big Horn. "We'll handle it," she told Karen firmly.

They arrived at the Cascade airport and immediately grabbed a cab to the police department. On arriving, they were directed to the Major Crimes division.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for Jim Ellison," she asked a good-looking dark haired detective.

"Ellison is out at the moment, but that's his desk." He pointed to a cluttered desk where a young man with long brown hair sat. He led them over to the desk. "Hey Sandburg, where'd Ellison go?" he asked.

"He took a trip to the men's, Rafe."

"Sandburg will take care of you until Jim returns," Rafe said before saying his goodbyes and leaving.

"Can I do anything for you?" asked Blair.

"I'm Karen Roarke, and this is Barbara Rayne."

"Derek's mom! He's a great kid and knows a lot. I've never met a kid who speaks fluent Latin," said Blair.

"Winston....my late husband, insisted on it among other courses of education," said Daria. "He found it very important for Derek to be immersed in everything possible, and encouraged Derek whenever he found something of interest. I try my best to continue his plans for Derek."

"Yeah, Derek told us how his father was murdered in Peru," responded Blair.

"Yes, he was on an archeology dig and the cave held more then old bones," Daria said quietly.

"Derek was on vacation from his boarding school and spent it as usual with his dad," explained Karen. Derek arrived with Ellison and Karen spelled with her left hand that was hidden from sight between her and Daria.

Derek raced straight for Daria. "Mom!" he hugged her legs tightly nearly bowling her over. She felt bad about spelling to Derek but it was necessary if they weren't going to raise Sandburg and Ellison's suspicions.

"Jim, this is Barbara Rayne and Karen Roarke," Blair introduced them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Detective Ellison," said Karen.

"It's good to put a face to the great voice on the other end of the phone," replied Ellison.

"Do you always flirt with every woman you meet?" she asked teasingly, grateful for the tension breaker.

"Yep, because it always puts them at ease, not to mention the phone numbers I get," he smiled at her mischievously.

"I get the feeling you and Nick would have a lot in common," said Daria.

"No doubt, the Nick on the phone?" Jim asked.

"Yes, he's very territorial too," said Daria. Jim looked at her questioningly before returning his gaze back to Karen.

"Don't mind her, she's just finding it hard to believe Derek's back and safe," explained Karen.

"Yes, I have a special place in my heart for this one," said Daria as she rubbed his shoulders.

"Well, if we can have some ID we'll get the paperwork done and get you on your way," said Ellison.

"Your son said Horton apparently didn't like Ms. Roarke, and that's why he kidnapped Derek," said Blair.

Daria and Karen exchanged a look that puzzled Ellison and made him wonder just who was Horton and what was going on.


PART 5

Ellison took care of the paperwork and then motioned Blair over from Derek and the two women. 'Yeah?' asked a puzzled Blair.

'Shh, Chief, I'm trying to hear,' hissed Ellison. He trained his hearing on the two women.

'I don't like this,' said Karen.

'Don't worry we'll have Derek home soon. He'll be home with family and we'll find a way to help....his condition,' the woman claiming to be Barbara Rayne answered.

'Jim?' asked Blair.

'I did a check on the kid. The only Derek Rayne that was close I could come up with was Derek Myles Rayne born to Winston and Barbara Rayne in San Francisco.'

'Yeah, him.' Blair nodded at the boy.

'This Derek Rayne was born in San Francisco, July 17, 1950,' Jim replied.

Blair rocked back on his heels stunned by the revelation. 'That would make him a fifty-one year old kid?!' Blair squeaked.

'I know, Chief, which means just who is he and who is this woman who claims to be Barbara Rayne?' he nodded over at the trio.

'We shouldn't let them leave until we can confirm who they are.'

'I like the way you think, but we can't keep them here forever. So we let them go and we follow them,' said Ellison as he gently cuffed Blair. The two men returned to his desk and handed over the copies that went to the women. He then offered to walk them out.

'It's really not necessary,' said Daria.

'Oh it's no bother since we're headed that way anyway,' Blair reassured them. Karen shot Daria a glance that told her to go along for as long as needed. They walked them out to the front of the building and then to their car. As Karen turned to say good-bye four men approached and attacked the two women while a fifth tried to snatch the boy.

Jim and Blair started to fight the men and Jim was impressed to see both women were more than capable of holding their own. Roarke was punching one guy as she kicked out at the man who held Derek. He dropped the boy, but as he reached for him again the kid latched onto his leg with his teeth and the man howled in pain. As suddenly as they had attacked they ran away with the boy in pursuit until Roarke grabbed his shoulder. Suddenly he cried out in agony and slumped to the ground.

'Call 911 Chief,' Jim said as he reached for the boy.

'No!' said Daria, Ellison looked at her confused and then turned back to the boy. As he reached for him the child's body was infused with a white gold light and his limbs looked as if they were stretching in a way no human body was meant to.

'What the hell?!' asked a surprised Ellison. A few minutes later, lying on the ground was a boy that was older than the boy he'd originally rescued. He looked to be twelve or fourteen. 'What the hell is going on here?!' he demanded as he noticed that Daria had snatched Blair's cell phone from him.

'It's a long story and maybe better not known,' said Roarke.

'You're not Barbara Rayne?' said Blair.

'Smart boy. I am Daria Du Beauchamps, and we're bringing Derek back home to his family. The problem is Horton doesn't want that.'

'Tell me what the hell is going on!' roared Ellison. He was angry enough as it was and now they thought they could play him. 'Chief, you take their car; they're going with me in the truck.'

'Detective....' Daria began.

'Miss Du Beauchamps, come with me or I'll throw you into a cell,' he threatened.

'I'd like to see you try!' she hissed menacingly.

'Daria,' Roarke said with a tone that stated no arguments were allowed. 'Where can we go to speak privately?'

Ellison motioned towards his truck and Roarke tossed Sandburg the keys to the rental. She looked at Daria. 'I'm going with ponytail boy,' she said and then got in the car on the passenger side and sat down as if she dared someone to move her. Ellison nodded at Sandburg and held open the door for Derek then Roarke to get into the truck before getting in on the driver's side. He drove to the loft with Blair following behind, then he led them up to the loft that was his and Blair's home. He opened the door and motioned them in, closing the door behind them.

'We're alone,' was the only thing he said.

'Gruff for a fellow freak isn't he?' asked Daria.

'I am not a freak!' he answered angrily.

'Don't play me Sentinel,' she hissed and both Jim and Blair reacted in shock.

'Daria!' Roarke scolded her.

'I'm out of here.' Daria created a vortex and stepped through, closing it behind her.

'How?!' sputtered Blair.

'Don't mind the showoff,' said Roarke. A scream silenced anything Jim might have said as Derek slumped to the floor and began to grow again. A short time later before them lay an eighteen-year-old. 'That hurt him too much, something maybe wrong,' said Roarke not apparently noticing Derek's nakedness. Blair arrived with some of Jim's clothes and Jim gratefully took them to help the young man dress. Both he and Roarke helped Derek to stand. He slumped against Jim as his wobbly legs were unable to hold his weight. Ellison helped the boy over to the couch and got him settled before he turned to Roarke for answers.

'My name is Karen Roarke, and this is my partner Derek Rayne,' she introduced them.

'The only Derek Rayne born to a Barbara Rayne in San Francisco I could find was fifty-one,' said Jim.

'This is him,' replied Roarke, which caused Jim to toss her a disbelieving look.

'Jim, she maybe right. Some how he was reversed in age and now is returning to his normal age,' suggested Blair.

'That's insane,' said Ellison in shock.

'Not as insane as one would think, Detective. Derek and I are apart of a group that makes sure the unbelievable and insane remain just that. All legends have a basis in fact, and that includes old wives tales of the supernatural and paranormal. Our group makes sure they stay rumors and legends. My associate was helping to defeat a coven of witches and the head of the coven gave him a parting gift.

'Before she was destroyed, she cast a spell on him and two other associates so that they reverted to small children. Thanks to Daria we found a spell to return the other two associates to normal but it didn't work on Derek. We were forced to find other methods to correct his age problem.'

'You're expecting me to believe that this eighteen-year-old is really a fifty-one-year-old under a spell?' Jim asked in shock.

'I don't expect you to believe anything, Detective. We work in the shadows for the safety of our members. If the public knew the truth they would panic and your job would be tougher. It also helps to keep our identities secret because the bad guys aren't sure if we are or aren't the enemy.'

'You guys work out of San Francisco chasing ghosts?' asked a stunned Blair.

'Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, et cetera,' Karen replied. 'You, Detective, are a Sentinel, which in itself is a thing of legend and myth.'

Blair chuckled. 'She's got us there Jim.'

'Your life is as weird as mine,' said Ellison.

'Weirder,' she answered and winked at him with a grin.

'Your friend Daria, she's....' Blair trailed off.

'She is a champion of the Ancient One. Centuries ago a place called Atlantis existed, but something forced them to go 'behind the veil' as they call it. They're still there just unseen by our eyes, at least for now.

'They have a person called the Ancient One who tends to both Atlantis and the outside world. Sometimes the champions are from Atlantis and sometimes they're from the outside world. Sometimes they are from both and work together to defeat the evil that tries to darken the world. Daria is from Atlantis, like the other Champion, Mara. There are three champions for the Ancient One to form a protective triad for their people and the outside world.'

'Whose the third?' asked Blair who seemed more interested in exploring this new mystery then in dealing with the fact that the information was so off the wall a normal person would have trouble dealing with it.

'I am,' she answered quietly and looked at Derek who was quietly sleeping on the couch curled up in a fetus-like position. 'I was born in New York and raised there, but my ancestors are from Atlantis. I was visited by the Ancient One because the blood runs true in me and she chose me as a Vala.'

'Vala?' asked Jim.

'It's Latin it means 'chosen one',' explained Blair.

'We all have our destiny, Detective, and yours was as a Sentinel; mine is a Vala.'

'You're saying we both fight evil in our own way. Is your Ancient One responsible for Sentinels?' he asked.

'I don't know, I could ask but that doesn't me I'd get an answer, or for that matter a truthful answer.'

'I know the feeling,' said Jim with a grin that said he may have not dealt personally with the Ancient One, but he had dealt with others like her. Karen laughed and put a hand on his shoulder, she rubbed it in affectation.

'I'm late, I promised Professor Davis that I'd take her class today,' said Blair looking at his watch. He hurried about as he gathered the things he'd need. 'Will you be here when I get back?' he asked her eagerly.

'Yes, Blair, I'll be here,' she responded with a warm smile that reminded Jim of his mother when she was amused by something he or his brother did.

'Want to tell me about Horton?' asked Jim and he noticed she seemed hesitate to meet his eyes.

'Reed Horton. He was a member of our group about twenty years ago. He was turned and started working as a hit man for the other side. He used his travels for our group to kill a number of our people. Derek grew suspicious, and since Derek brought him in he felt responsible for the deeds Reed had done. He set up a sting with his boss in San Francisco and the boss in the Boston office. It was leaked that the Boston office had information on our killer and Derek was to be sent to retrieve the information since it couldn't be trusted in the usual routes. Derek arrived early and waited for the killer to take the bait. Reed waited for Jane, the head of the Boston office, and was about to kill her when Derek called his name.

'Reed fired at Derek and he returned fire, the only difference was that Reed's shot missed and struck the gate next to Derek. Derek's shot was true and struck Reed in the chest. He killed Reed, but about two years ago an operative we only know as Ms. Darkside brought him back. He was to cause problems for Derek and his team. He failed, but Reed has an obsession with making Derek pay for the time Reed lost with his wife and daughter. It didn't matter to Reed that it was his fault that he was in Boston and was killed. He saw Derek as the enemy because he was unable to accept his own guilt. He's made it his personal job to destroy Derek in anyway he can.'

'Sounds like the guy has a real problem and needs a check up from the head up,' joked Ellison.

'His train was derailed years ago and I doubt anyone can help him.'

'What do we do with your friend here?'

'We wait and see what happens. I don't know anything about age spells, especially those that witches' covens use, so as long as he is growing he's fine even if it's painful. It's when he starts to reach his own age that worries me, will he stop on his own or keep aging?' She frowned and Jim could tell she was concerned. She lovingly stroked the curls out of her partner's eyes and he knew she felt the same way about Derek the way he felt about Blair. The one person they could trust with their soul; and if they lost them, it would most likely destroy them.

'You look exhausted maybe you should get some sleep,' he suggested.

'I should tell the others....' she began.

'I'll do it,' he told her and took her hand as he led her towards his room.

He searched in his dresser and drew out a T-shirt and boxers. 'Here you can wear these, and there is a new toothbrush in case of visitors in the bathroom. I'll call your associates and tell them you and Derek are safe.'

'Thank you, Detective, but I'll call and then I'll take up your offer of a bed for a few hours.'

He excused himself and went downstairs to draw a blanket over the young man sound asleep on the couch.


Karen sat down on the bed and called the others to let them know what had happened. She ran a hand along Jim's pillow and in her mind she saw his life. It hadn't been easy, but he had never shrunk from his duty. She whispered a small blessing that would make his sleep easier and then changed before crawling under the covers. She wondered if she'd be able to sleep, but she hadn't needed to worry as she drifted off.


The next morning Jim had woken to find Blair had left a note to let him know he had an early class but he'd be back as soon as he could. Jim had to grin at his partner's enthusiasm for this new mystery. He puttered about the kitchen as he gathered the things he'd need and set about cooking breakfast. A groan from the couch told him that at least one of his guests was close to waking up.

A few moments later, Derek shuffled into the kitchen rubbing his eyes. 'Grab a couple of plates out of the cabinet.' Jim motioned toward a cabinet. The boy reached up and drew out the plates and then proceeded to gather the silverware and such needed, even though Jim hadn't told him where it was. He was puzzled at what other gifts this boy/man might have. 'Have a good sleep?' he asked and the boy nodded as if it were too much of an effort to speak.

'Want some coffee?' he asked; another nod in response was all Jim got. He poured some and handed it over and the boy drank a bit then winced. 'My apologies but cop coffee is listed as a lethal device,' he joked.

'Better then Nick's,' he mumbled and a noise brought his attention to the stairs. Jim turned to see Karen Roarke still wearing his T-shirt coming down the stairs.

'Scootch,' she told Derek and bumped him with her hip. It seemed like something they did often because he 'scootched' without a complaint. She picked up his coffee and drank. 'Ambrosia.'

She smiled at Jim who had been admiring a pair of long slender legs. Derek took back his coffee. 'Get your own greedy,' he complained playfully.

'I can help with that,' said Jim as he poured a cup and passed it to her.

'He never did learn to share,' she teased.

'I learned to share,' he replied grumpily. 'You just like snatching my stuff.'

'A little coffee isn't going to put you out,' she groused mischievously.

'Coffee today, French fries yesterday and part of my sandwich the day before. Just admit it, you're a mooch,' he teased.

She sat up straighter. 'Derek, those fries were two weeks ago.'

'I distinctly remember it being yesterday, so no mind games.'

'Derek, how old are you?' she asked.

'You know I turned fifty-one in July.' He looked at he,r confused.

'Mirror?' she asked Jim. Finding one, he handed it over to her. 'Take a look Derek.'

He looked at her as if she'd lost her mind but he looked into the mirror and reacted in surprise at the boy who looked back. 'What the....?!' he exclaimed.

'You went with Alex, Phillip, and Nick to defeat a coven.'

'Yes, I remember, and we did but then....' He trailed off as he tried to jog his memory of what had happened next. Karen told him what had happened as Ellison listened. Moment by moment his brain froze, even more as it found itself unable to accept what he was hearing.

'Derek you maybe fifty-one in years, but physically you're about eighteen. So far you've been aging about two years every growth spurt but this last one was six years. It was also more painful than the others.'

He took her hand in his and kissed it. 'In other words, I may keep aging even after I reach may actual age, or I may stay as I am. Well, if I age past my rightful age we'll deal with it. If I stay this age and have to relive the last thirty-some years then you won't mind being the older woman.' He winked saucily at her.

She smiled. 'Well it's something I've never done before, but I guess it can't hurt. Besides an eighteen-year-old lover offers some perks.' She grinned mischievously.

'Well, we'll just see about those perks.' He nuzzled her neck. 'Derek, we have company,' she squealed.

'She always was ticklish,' he grinned at Ellison.

'Well I'm going to see about some leads for cases I'm working on and let you get what you need done. I'll be back in a couple of hours,' he told them as he placed his dishes in the sink.

'I don't want to put you out, Detective,' she replied concerned.

'It's all right, I need the time to unfreeze my brain.' He grinned at her. Karen blushed as Jim grabbed his holster and coat and headed out the door. Derek came up behind her and reached a hand up under the T-shirt as he nuzzled her neck.

'Derek!' Karen slapped at his hand.

'The good Detective said he'd be away for a few hours. It leaves us plenty of time to get to work,' he purred in her ear before kissing it and down her neck.

'How can you think about sex at a time like this?' she asked amazed.

'With you it's difficult not to,' he murmured as his lips traced down her neck. His other hand joined the first and she leaned back against him.

'You, Mr. Rayne, are an extremely bad boy,' Karen chided him.

'I'm a teenager at the peak of my sexuality and I've got a chance to get lucky with an older woman. What teenager in his right mind or out of it would give up the opportunity?'

'Your hormones are out of control and ruling your good sense,' she warned him. He slid both his hands down into the boxers she wore and she gasped out loud in shock.


Nick stared out the window at nothing as his eyes were turned inward. He had been recalling everything he could of the day he had been transformed. It had been coming back in bits and pieces; even though Karen had called he was still worried about whether Derek was growing and how he was dealing with the memories slowly seeping back in. Alex swung her arms around his neck and placed a kiss on the top of his head before resting her chin on his head.

'Everyone off and whatever?' Nick asked.

'Yep,' she said, then coming around, took his cup from his hand and placed it on the table before settling herself in his lap.

'Can I help you?' he asked bemused.

'I was hoping you'd ask,' she replied before placing a tender kiss on him.

'You know it's illegal to mess around with a minor?' he teased.

'Oh, live a little dangerously why don't you?'


Daria fumed as she paced. How dare that Sentinel tell her what to do! she groused.

'What's wrong with you?' asked Mara as she caught the book that Daria had angrily thrown at the door just as Mara stepped through it.

'Sentinels!' she ground out as if that explained everything, Mara shook her head as she tossed the book on a table and slumped on a chair.

'Tell me about it,' she said soothingly.

'I don't know why I'm letting his stupid remarks make me so angry,' she groaned.

'I do, it's the same reason that Karen puts up with Derek.'

'Pray tell and why is that oh great sage one?' Daria said sarcastically.

'Love,' she answered quietly but she might have well screamed for the reaction Daria had. She turned to protest, but stopped as she realized that all the protesting in the universe wouldn't stop it from being true.

Daria vortexed out and arrived at the Cascade police department. She stepped out of the room she'd arrived in and went in search of Ellison. She found him in an interrogation room.

'What are you doing here?' he asked. She stepped up to him and planted a kiss on him that surprised him. After the surprise managed to wear off, he wrapped his arms around her and gave in to the kiss. Jim's hands roamed over her back as he deepened the kiss. Daria pulled his shirt out and ran her hands up under it as she caressed his chest. He groaned at the sensations her hands were creating and with regret pulled back. 'I don't do one night stands,' he told her firmly.

'Who said I was asking for only one?'

'A Champion and a Sentinel?' he asked with amusement.

'Why not?'

'Why not indeed,' he answered and drew her into a kiss.


Karen rolled over and reached for Derek, only to have her hand meet with sheets. She sat up wondering where Derek could have gone when a crash sounded and she leapt from the bed to race downstairs. She found him writhing on the floor as his body stretched and changed, filling out with muscles where boyish baby fat had been. When he stopped he lay back panting, soaked in sweat.

'Derek!' she checked him over to see if there was anything she should worry about. He seemed to be ten years older then he had been before the growth spurt. Derek, Nick, and Phillip had been aging two years every spurt and now Derek had aged six years and then another ten for a total of sixteen years. He was growing more rapidly but she didn't know whether or not that was a good thing. Karen helped him to his feet and sat him on the couch.

She turned to get him something to drink and he groaned clutching his stomach as he tried to hold back another scream. 'Let it out,' she told him. Derek let out a howl that chilled her to the bone. He yanked savagely away from her once again as the growth spurt hit and his body began to stretch in ways that a human body was never meant to.

The door opened and Blair entered followed by Jim. 'Get me some ice,' she ordered as she touched his cheek softly.

'Is he okay?' Blair asked worriedly as Jim returned with the ice.

'His body is burning up, possibly because it wasn't meant to handle the strain.' She placed the ice against his face and then stroked his chest with it as he alternated between sweating and shivering.

His teeth chattered. 'You've been cold to me in the past, but this is ridiculous.' He laughed weakly.

'Enough out of you, Rodney Dangerfield,' she chided.

'Maybe we should get a doctor?' suggested Blair.

'I'd take him home to San Francisco but I don't know what it would do to him. If I can get Rachel here she might know something.' Also, if Daria could bring Galb, since it was his spell that brought about the aging, she thought. Karen scrounged around for her cell phone in her jacket. 'Rachel,' she said as someone picked up on the other end. She quickly told Rachel what she needed and Rachel said she'd be on the next flight to Cascade. She said good-bye and hung up her phone before standing.

'Daria!' Karen called out. 'Come on Daria I know you're nearby,' she said angrily.

A vortex opened and Daria stepped out, she was about to say something snarky but stopped when she spotted Derek. 'Is he all right?' she asked worriedly as she headed over to them.

'Get Galb and bring him back here!' she snapped and Daria for once didn't argue but vortexed out. Karen spent the next few hours fussing over Derek. Jim had helped her move Derek to his bed and Blair had helped her by keeping cold compresses coming along with aspirin and other things. When the door opened downstairs she tensed as she waited to see who it was. Rachel came up the stairs followed by Nick.

'Boss?' he said quietly, as he took in the weakened state of the man he'd come to think of as a second father and his best friend. Rachel, without a word, settled on the bed next to him and began to exam Derek.

'He's had two growth spurt's within minutes of each other but none for a few hours. He began a fever right after the second one and he's been steadily getting hotter no matter what I do,' Karen's voice had an edge of hysteria to it.

'Nick,' Rachel commanded quietly and Nick came over and took Karen by the arms and slowly led her downstairs as Jim and Blair followed. Halfway down the stairs she turned as if to go back up to him but Nick caught her attention and shook his head. She slumped dejectedly in his arms and let him lead her downstairs and seat her on the couch. Karen played with her fingers until Nick took them in his and kissed each hand lovingly.

'He's strong,' was all Nick said but it helped calm her. A scream from upstairs caused her to jump up but Nick stopped her and sat her down again. She began to sob and Nick held her tightly as he stroked her hair and murmured soothing words to her.

'I have to be up there! I have to help him!' she said in a terrified voice.

'Shh,' he held her as she buried her face in his chest clutching at his shirt.

A knock at the door brought Jim to his feet, glad for something to do. He'd never felt so helpless in all his life even before he'd realized his Sentinel abilities. He opened the door to see Daria and a wizened old man and motioned them in. 'Derek's upstairs with Doctor Corrigan,' he told her.

Galb scuttled towards the steps. 'Damn kids with their damn stairs,' he muttered as he reached for the railing. Blair reached out to help him and he slapped his hand away. 'What do you think I am, an old man?' he asked sarcastically but his eyes held amusement as he winked at Blair. He made a motion with his hand and he floated up to the top of the stairs settling gently at the top before he scuttled out of sight.

'Don't worry, he'll help Derek,' Daria reassured Karen as she rubbed her shoulders. Karen rubbed her head as a stress headache began to make itself known.

Daria placed two fingers against her left temple and spoke quietly and Jim saw a brief flash of light. Karen smiled at Daria and he had no doubt that she had just relieved Roarke's headache. A few moments later Rachel and Galb came down the stairs together talking avidly. They all stood.

'Well?!' Nick asked frustrated at not knowing and impatient to hear how Derek was.

'He's fine thanks to Galb here,' Rachel said as they arrived at the bottom of the steps.

'Oh my dear doctor, you are quite gifted and shouldn't give me all the credit.' he kissed Rachel's hand in a courtly manner.

'Galb, she's taken,' Daria warned.

'I'm old, not dead, young woman. I can admire beauty and brains as well as the next man,' he chided her before bowing courtly to Rachel and Karen. 'As for you, I'll remind your parents that you need a refresher course in manners.'

'I don't know how you'll handle her, Detective. She's been nothing but trouble since the day she was born. You my beloved child,' Galb took Karen's hands in his, 'you have a destiny that awaits you and you will fulfill it with honor.' He leaned in and she lowered herself so he could reach her cheek, which he kissed. 'I have to get back to my lab now, enough with this playing around.' He winked at her with amusement. Without a sound, he faded from view. Karen smiled to herself because she wondered how she could have ever doubted Galb would be able to help.

She turned to Rachel. 'Can I see him?' she asked. Rachel nodded and Karen practically flew up the stairs to see Derek in the flesh if just to reassure herself he was okay. Rachel smiled as she took a deep breath to settle her nerves.

'I knew you could do it, doc,' teased Nick as he rubbed her arm.

'I did nothing, Nick. Galb was the one who saved his life and we owe him everything.'

'He said Karen has a destiny and we know does Derek too. Their destiny is to be together for the rest of their lives,' he said with such strength that even Rachel couldn't doubt it. She sat down and Blair handed her a cup of coffee. She thanked him and then they began discussing what had happened with Derek. Nick pulled out his cell phone to let the others know that Derek would be all right.

'So did that old fart scare you off?' Daira asked Jim.

Ellison smiled at Daria. 'If this didn't have me running away screaming, what makes you think an ill mannered....'

'Don't!' she said warning him.

'Extremely beautiful, intelligent woman would?' he finished playfully.


The next morning Jim rose to find Karen, Derek, Nick and Rachel having coffee in the kitchen. 'You're up early,' said Jim.

'We figure since Derek's up to it we should head back to San Francisco,' said Karen.

'Yeah, when the cat's away the mice will play,' quipped Nick.

'Been there,' Jim replied.

'If we haven't scared you away we wouldn't be amiss to a visit from Blair and you,' said Derek. Jim looked at the Derek before him, he had brown hair beginning to gray and intense hazel eyes. Even seated he carried himself with a regal bearing. Something about him spoke of an alpha male. From the little boy he'd first met to the young man he had felt hints of this but it wasn't until he stood before Derek now that he felt it in force. The sense that Derek Rayne was one of those people you never forget no matter how hard you try.

'You'll learn, Mr. Rayne, that I don't scare easily thanks to Blair,' he grinned over at his partner.

'What's that supposed to mean?' he asked indignantly.

'Well, Chief, you do sort of walk into stuff....'

'If I remember rightly you're not too bad at that yourself,' quipped Blair with a mischievous grin.

'Sounds like a couple of guys I know,' said Karen. Nick gave her a 'who me' look and Derek looked down at the table, but she could see a grin had spread across his face.

'No requiting now, the Detective has his own destiny to meet,' Derek replied.

'Well. we'll be around if you need us,' said Jim.

'And we for you. If it hadn't been for you Horton would still have me.'

'Yeah what about him?' asked Blair.

'He'll be back,' said Karen.

'He's always back,' said Rachel.

'The guy's like the damn energizer bunny, grumbled Nick.

'We'd better get going,' Karen said, standing up as she collected the dishes.

'You have to leave so soon?'

'Don't worry, Mr. Sandburg, I have a feeling all your questions will find answers,' said Roarke. Jim blushed slightly as she directed her gaze at him. He knew she meant Daria would be back to see Ellison and probably would end up having to answer Blair's questions. They said their good-byes and headed out.

'Boss, do you think he'll call?' asked Nick.

'Sentinel's always call when they need help,' said Karen.

'Sentinel?' asked a puzzled Rachel.

'That's what Jim is. Some people have a hyperactive sense like a nose so they go into the perfume business. Jim has all his senses hyperactive and in history his kind was known as a Sentinel. They protected their home and tribes from all threats.'

'Sounds like a great supernatural bloodhound,' said Nick.

Rachel laughed. 'Sorry, I just can't see him with droopy ears and slobbering every where.'

'He would be an asset to the Legacy but it's up to him if he wishes to participate. When we get back I'll call the Cascade house's Precept and fill him in,' said Derek.

'Derek,' Karen said warningly.

'I'll leave out the Sentinel part. I'll just let him know that Ellison and Sandburg might make excellent consultants, if not additions, to his house,' Derek reassured her.

'I'd hate to have someone blab all over about me being with the Legacy,' said Nick.

'I have a feeling we can trust the good Sentinel and friend,' said Derek. 'In fact, I have a very good feeling about both of them. In fact I believe we haven't seen the end of either of them.'

THE END


© 2001
Please send comments to the author!

06/30/2001
Part 4 added 7/22/01
Part 5 added 12/07/01