As always in this series, this carries a m/m/f warning. This may be the next to last of the series, but I leave that up to you good people. Have fun with this one.

Summary: The drive home and their first night there. They find out some interesting things about Derek's part.

Fighting It To The End
by Voracity

Nick loaded the last bag into the Jeep, grunting as his sore muscles protested the weight. "Okay, we're ready." He walked around to the driver's door, but was stopped by Alex. "What? I'm driving."

"Of course you are," she said, smiling. "And you're going to sit that whole time, too, right?" She smiled wider, holding out her hand. "Give 'em."

He grunted and got into the back seat, arraigning their pillows so he could lay down comfortably. He peeked out between the seats, watching Philip come out from a last check of the cabin, closing and locking the door, before getting in. Philip kissed his protruding nose and buckled himself in.

"How are ya this mornin'?"

"Sore. Still. A little." He smiled at the frown on Philip's face. "Why, did you want something?"

"Like he needs anything," Alex said, starting the engine. //Here we go.//

//Into the Lion's den,// Philip sent. He grunted when Nick poked him. //What, it's going to be a trial, and you both know it.//

//Yeah, babe, it is, and we know it. Especially for you.// He smiled, biting Philip's shoulder. //Mine?//

//Nick, can't you wait?//

//Nick, you should have done that before we left the cabin,// Alex sent, smiling down at him as she back out of cabin's driveway. //Maybe later.//

//But, Mom, what if I can't hold it?//

//Then, my son, you'll just have to get it out of your system some other way.// Philip smiled down at him. //Besides, I thought you were still sore.//

//I'm not that sore, just too sore to sit for long periods.// He turned to Alex. //Did you mean what you said the other day, about us getting your PMS?//

"Oh, yes, that." She chuckled briefly. "What do you think?" She pulled out onto the main road in the park, heading off further into the woods. //Don't ask.//

"Okay," Nick and Philip said together.

"So, Philip, do you know who makes Midol? We should probably buy stock in it if we're going to need it that much."

"Funny, Nick, really. Did I forget to mention that I get homicidal most months too?" She pulled off onto a small path, leading deeper into the trees. It was marked a 4X4 trail, but the first part of it wasn't too bad. "Where's the button again?"

"Right in front of the gear shift. Why are we going this way?"

"Because I want to see the view from the edge of the trees. It's beautiful." She smiled at him in the rear view mirror. "Trust me."

"If we have to," Nick said, nibbling on her shoulder.

"Nick, stop it, you just ate. You can't be hungry."

Philip turned to look at Nick, studying the younger man's face, especially his eyes. "I don't think he's hungry, Alex. At least not for food." He smiled down at Nick. "Are ya hungry for other things, Nick?"

Nick nodded, starting to let the feelings from the bond overtake him. He had tried to hold off, not wanting to be any more sore, but he couldn't help it, he wanted them both. "Yes, please," he gasped out, moving closer to Philip's arm, needing the contact. "Please?"

//Oh, babe, of course you can have some. What do you need?// Philip smiled down at him, reaching over to stroke his cheek, tapping on the end of his nose. //Just tell me, and I'm yours.//

Nick fought for control of the beast in him, trying to tie it back down. He swallowed, breathing heavily from the fight. He knew he shouldn't fight it, but he couldn't just give in. He needed, craved, the control over the monster that was inhabiting his body. "Don't," he whispered, fighting it hard.

Philip watched as sweat broke out on Nick's forehead, the strain of trying to control it showing in his stiffness, turning in his seat as much as the belt would allow him. "Nick, ya know ya aren't supposed to do tha'." He reached the hand down, patting the tight shoulder, trying to let him know it was all right to let go again. "Just give inta it, I'll catch ya if ya need me to."

"Can't.... don't, please?" He was panting now, his struggles getting more and more physical. "Don't... want it... now."

"Nick," Alex said, pulling off onto a side trail and shutting down the engine after they made it to a place where they couldn't be seen, "just give in and let it go. You know it'll only hurt if you fight it."

"No!" He sat up, struggling to get out of his shirt. He couldn't breathe, the collar of his turtleneck felt like it was cutting off his airway, the cloth itself starting to itch. "Make it stop," he screamed, finally getting it over his head and throwing it back across the seats. Nick sat there, panting, absently scratching at the skin under the waistband of his jeans. "nononono," he muttered, trying to get away from Alex and Philip.

Alex had turned, watching her friend and new lover struggle with the calling. "Nick, stop it." She grabbed his hands, stopping his scratching. "You can't do that to yourself." She held his hands while Philip got out and flipped his seat forward, reaching in to grab the struggling man.

"Nick, come on, let's get ya out." Philip hauled him out, leaning him beside the vehicle. Nick tried to get away from him, but he was held fast, both of them looking at him in terror.

//What if this happens to us?// Alex sent.

"Ya heard Sloan, it's individual. You had terrible pains in your head, he's fightin' himself, and I don' know wha' I'd do." He shrugged, leaning over to kiss Nick's cheek. "Stop, Nick, it's okay now. Jus' le' go of it."

"No," he moaned, trying to get away again. He ended up on the hood, panting and giving himself the occasional scratch. Nick stared at his lover's, not knowing what he should do now. The singing in his blood was calmer, he was starting to slow down. He didn't see himself fall over, passing out, but he didn't feel the calling anymore either.

"Oh, shi'," Philip said, grabbing him before he slipped off the hood. //Bet he doesn't do it again.//

//Twenty?// Alex smiled over at him, reaching into the Jeep to answer the cell-phone. "Hi, Sloan."

(What did Nick do this time?)

"Derek again?"

(Yes, now answer me. And get Philip to cover him.)

"Philip, Sloan said to cover him." She giggled at his dirty look, sighing when he pressed against her reaching for the shirt laying across the back seat. "Nick was fighting it again. He started to scratch, struggling to breathe. Looked like an allergic reaction. He's presently unconscious on the hood of the jeep."

(Okay, get him out of his clothes. He needs to be brought around, and only by using the bond between you three can you do it. Oh, and don't do that aspirin thing again, please. Derek was fighting his way out a dark hole for hours.)

//Sloan said we need to bring him around, like how you woke him this morning. We have to reassert the bond, making him accept and give in peacefully. Hold it.// "But I wasn't seeing darkness yesterday."

"No, but he was," Philip said, spreading the shirt over Nick's body so he wouldn't get cold in the fall air. "He said he was in a deep hole, an' it was dark. Said he fel' blind." He shrugged, taking off his own outer shirt to lay over the younger man. "So, we have to give it ta him, an' make him ask for it when he wakes up?"

Alex nodded. "Sloan, something's going on here. Nick was the one who was in the dark. I thought you said Derek was sensitive to me because of our prior connection."

(Well, that's who I thought he was feeding off from, but I never said that. But it was Nick? You're sure?)

"Yeah, I'm sure. Now, how did you know what to do about him this time?"

(<clears throat> Well, the journal entry in that file was, um ..... *specific* about some of the things that went on with them. Both from the Greek house member that investigated it, and from their own personal journals. Seems like the fourth one of them fought it, almost to the point of death one time, and that's how they got her to come back. And I quote, "When Dalmerona lost her body to this, what ever it is, it took her from us almost to the entrance of the Underworld. We were scared, not knowing if we were next, or if this was some new ability. She stopped breathing, laying limp in our arms. Finally, Perisan came up with the idea to touch her, calling back her Ka to rejoin her body through our minds touching hers, as we touched her. We were successful, the private touches between us and her making her awaken and reaccept the Gods' gift of the bond," end quote. Apparently she was one of the Queen's bodyguards, and the physical one of the group.)

She had sent the whole conversation to Philip, watching as he undid Nick's pants. "So, then she would have been the closest to Nick in a way."

(Yes, that's what I thought. Anyway, you know what you have to do. I have the full entry printed out for you. It's sitting on your bed.)

"Any idea why Derek is still reacting?" She let Philip hold the phone while she scrambled out of her clothes to join him on the warm hood. "I mean," she said, taking back the phone, "why is he still connected to Nick?"

(Could be a manifestation of his Sight, or it could be something else. I know Kat hasn't been bothered by any visions of you three, so I'm not real sure yet. We'll find out once you're at home. Maybe then I can drag him out of his room.) He hung up, leaving them to take care of their partner.

Alex dropped the phone onto her clothes sitting on the ground, turning to kiss Philip's cheek softly. "You heard him."

//Yeah, I did. But this isn't right.// He sighed, shifting to lay next to Nick, laying his head on Nick's chest, listening to the slow heartbeat. //Now or never, it's getting slower.//

Alex laid down on his other side, running a soft hand down the unresisting chest and abdominal muscles. "Nick, come back to us. We need you," she whispered quietly.

Philip took up where her hands left off, stroking the still soft nipples lightly, raking a fingernail over one. "Nick, come to us, love, let us see you open your eyes."


Nick was trapped someplace. It was dark, damp, and smelled funny, like a cross between a cemetery and a hospital. "Hello?"

"Welcome. You are new to the bond?" A well-built woman with long dark hair, wearing a long piece of fabric wrapped around her, came out. She looked almost Indian, but Nick couldn't be sure. She smiled at him. "Don't be afraid, I'm only here to talk." She held out her hands, letting him see that there was nothing in them.

"Who are you, and where is this place?"

"This is a sacred temple. A place that only the high priests and priestesses know about. Here we discover the secrets to the magic of this world. You, young one are here to learn." She smiled at him. "I too fought the bond once too often. Hurts didn't it?"

He ducked his head. "Yeah." He looked over at her. "Were you part of a bond?"

"Yes, young one, I was. With three wonderful people in my house." She smiled. "It has hit another Legacy house, has it not?" She walked over to a padded bench, patting it when she sat down. "Come, let's talk a while before they figure out how to bring you back around."

Nick smiled at her, sitting down beside here. "How did you ...."

"A Legacy member can almost always know another. I would also say that you are the strong one, like myself, in your link. Am I right?"

"Yeah, and then some. What is all this?" He waved a hand around, taking in the carving and statues, the table with herbs on it, and the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the walls. "Were you, are we, in Alexandria?"

"Yes, Nick," At his shocked look she laughed. "Don't be so surprised. To all who have been in the link, the minds of the others are as open as a scroll. I know all that you do, as you will know me after a while." She patted his arm. "It is the way of the sacred bond."

"There's a good place to start. What is this bond and what causes it?"

"The bond, it is a strange and lovely thing, but also dangerous. It will protect you, comfort you when it's needed, and it will help you find the others. The bond has changed you, using some of the sacred herbs here to remake you in the Gods images. Your group, all of you, are now part of a whole, and part of a whole new world. Whether or not you let in the other is up to you."

"You mean Derek?"

"Yes. He didn't fight over the lovely one, but over you going to her."

"That's why he wouldn't hit me hard enough to hurt me," Nick said with some awe. "I thought we were fighting over Alex."

"No, young one, he was fighting to protect you from the link. He 'kenw' but didn't know about it, but he knew it could hurt you very badly, even as you hurt the others right now." She nodded and a mirror lit up, showing him his body, Alex, and Philip. "They fight for you even now, not knowing that they fight for their own lives too."

"Damn," Nick swore, getting up to go towards the picture. "I have to go back."

"In a minute." She came up behind him, stroking the broad shoulders. "You must know something first. In you all has been awakened a gift. You now all posses part of it, the fourth has a separate part that could be added. In time you will posses all of the gift, each of you, but not for some time and before much training. If you chose to accept him, then the gift will grow more and be useful faster. If you don't, it will be useful, but not as soon. It is you who must decide, not them. They must chose to accept him into it, but only you can join him to the others." She kissed the back of his neck, picking up some herbs to rub across the wet spot. "Call me when you are here again and I will come to you. The others can be led here by you, and I will teach them, along with my others." She disappeared.

Nick stood staring at the picture, watching it come closer, letting himself flow back into it.


He blinked his eyes, opening them to see the others touching him. "Oh, man," he said, grabbing his head. "You wouldn't believe what I just saw."

//Ssshh, loved one. We are here with you. Just tell us you want this.//

Nick looked around, not sure which one of them had sent that to him. //Alex?//

"Hmm," she said, raising her head from his stomach. She smiled at him, leaning up long enough to kiss him. "Say yes, Nick, and it'll all go away."

Nick shifted, trying to get comfortable. "Alex, I'm not...."

"Say yes, Nick, and everything'll be all right," Philip said, running a finger lightly over his soft penis. "Jus' tell us yes."

Nick leaned back, remembering what she had told him, along with Sloan's information. "Yes," he said softly, feeling Alex sigh into his skin in relief. //Any thing for you two, you know that.//

//Don't do it again,// Philip sent, giving him a stern look. //I don't want to lose you.//

//Oh, Philip, love, I wasn't lost. I was in an Egyptian temple with a woman from the bond Sloan told us about. She wanted to talk to me. I was fine.// He remembered her saying that they were fighting for his and their own lives. //Really, I was,// he lied.

//We can tell,// Alex sent, kissing a trail down to his nether hairline. //What would you like as a punishment since you started this?// She looked up at him, smiling as she took a broad lick across his cock tip.

//Anything?// They nodded, letting him choose it in his own time. //What ever you two would like.// Nick smiled down at them, watching their faces light up. //I know you both have desires right now, so let me fulfill them.// He moved slightly, leaning to one side to stroke Alex's hair as he brought Philip's head up to kiss his lips. //Mine.//

Philip devoured the offered mouth, sucking happily at any little piece of flesh that came into his mouth. When he bit Nick's tongue for the third time, Nick pulled him away, licking gently at the strong lips. //Sorry,// Philip sent, not really sorry at all.

//Going to be. Taken, or not?//

//Both,// Alex sent. She brought her head up from him long enough to smile at them. //I want to see too.//

//Watch?// Nick sent. She nodded, going back to her blow-job and teasing. //But then you'll have to move.//

//Not really. Philip can stand up.//

//It's cold.// He pouted, nipping lightly at Nick's lips. //Mean it?// Nick nodded and he smiled. //Both.//

Nick laughed, moving so much he shook off Alex. "Okay then, do you want top or bottom first?"

"Yes," was all Philip said, watching as Alex got up to get the little bag from the front seat. He laid back, watching her hand Nick the tube of lubricant, smiling when she crawled on top of him to play with him now.

"Scoot down, lover," Nick whispered, pushing Alex off her seat on Philip's thighs. He smiled, watching Alex slide down Philip's cock, seating him deeply and start riding. He watched in amazement as she groaned and Philip swelled within her.

"Nick," Philip whined, thrusting up hard into Alex's body. "Waiting."

Nick squirted out some of the slippery stuff on a finger, trying to decide where to put it. When he got up on the hood, listening to it dent inward under his weight, he stood over Philip. He positioned himself so that Alex was at a convenient cock height, playing the semi-hard organ over her lips until she opened up. When she was sucking greedily at him, he reached back a hand, spreading the cool gel onto his crevice, searching for the mildly sore opening to his body.

Philip groaned, watching as Nick opened himself slowly. When he had two fingers in and riding the movements, he slipped a finger in beside Nick's, letting Nick ride his finger too, opening him further for his turn. Alex came with a scream, making the birds fly out of the trees, and slumped off to the side so she could watch Nick too.

Nick was feeling happy. It didn't hurt as bad as he thought it would. Philip was helping him stretch himself, twisting his finger in counterpoint to his own. He watched Alex get off, sliding off to the side to watch them. He bent down gently sliding down onto his hands and knees, licking at the juices Alex had left on Philip, making him thrust upwards again and shove in another finger. //Funny.//

//What is, loved one,// Alex sent.

//Before last week, I had never even thought about tasting another man.// He released his fingers, letting Philip take over the stretching of his ass. //Oh, Yes!// he cried when Philip hit his prostate. He slid a still slick finger into Philip, beginning the stretching he would need for later.

Philip watched Nick lick Alex's taste off him, mouth watering. He shifted Nick's hips, moving him so that he could taste the precum dripping off. He smiled when Alex came over to take his place in Nick's ass, letting her fingers play in the tight opening.

Philip took Nick in, swallowing once the flesh was sitting against the back of his throat, feeling it slide down slightly. When Nick thrust down, he let him, surpressing his gag reflex and humming around the tight, soft head.

//Keep it up and all you'll do is taste,// Nick sent, coming up long enough to look between their bodies to watch Philip deep throat him. //Alex?//

"So tight," she whispered. She had three fingers in him, scratching at the tender perineum with a fingernail. She ran another nail over his prostate, sending him thrashing around on the hood as he came down deep in Philip's throat. //Mine now too,// she sent.

Nick's world exploded into colors and sounds, both flowing along in front of him and trying to pull him into their current. He collapsed into Philip's hip, smiling at all the bright blues and greens that flowed past him, chasing the purple motes of sound in a game of tag.

Nick came down slowly, letting the lights and colors recede back into normal sight. He sighed, giving one last lick to Philip's cock before getting up. He kissed Alex, rubbing her nipples to show her how much he liked it. //Yours,// he said, giving in to the inevitable.

//Next time really mine,// she sent with a smile. //Philip just watch.//

Nick smiled, liking that thought. //Yes, Pretty one, only yours next time.//

He helped Philip sit up, after one last kiss and suckle to Alex's breasts. He scooted his body to the end of the hood, watching as Philip spread the remaining wetness around himself and slid in gently, pushing in all the way. Nick groaned, liking the feeling of being filled. //Yes,// he sent, sighing into Alex's now close chest. She was kneeling behind him, letting his head rest between her breasts.

//Mine,// Philip sent, pulling almost all the way out and shoving back in hard. //Mine, not going anywhere. Never do it again.// He pounded into Nick, punishing him for his earlier problem by using his body hard.

Nick was thrusting back, liking the feelings, liking the strength Philip was showing him. //Not going anywhere, yours,// he agreed, watching as Alex teased his shaft back into hardness, getting it ready for him to spread Philip out on the hood.

Alex smiled at the two men, liking what she saw. She had never seen Philip so scared, and it had scared her because of it. Now she was watching him use the body beneath him, teaching Nick a lesson he would remember for a long time. She would be grinning all week, reminding him everytime he had to sit funny because of the soreness. She leaned down, kissing the soft lips that Nick puckered for her, while she stroked him to help along his erection. Nick groaned into her mouth, getting closer.

Philip shouted, climaxing and falling forward. Alex moved her hand quickly, helping the older man onto the hood and watching as Nick switched places with him and gently slid into Philip's tired body.

Philip groaned and moaned, liking what he was feeling. He was still shuddering from his own release when Nick entered his passage, setting off all new sensations in the sensitive tissues. //Tender right now,// he sent his lover, but Nick ignored him, pounding him thoroughly, but slowly and gently. He held onto Alex so he wouldn't slide across the metal, his sweat leaving trails on the polished surface. Nick adjusted his angle until he was seated just right to hit Philip's prostate, making him jump and squirm on the hood, making his slide all over as the pleasure built on his last high.

Nick pulled Philip up, hugging him tightly as he brought himself over the edge, slumping into the welcoming arms. He panted, catching his breath, moving his chest slightly so Alex could get in there too. He felt a soft wet tongue rim his navel, then felt her cheek and hair rub against his washboard abs as she sucked Philip off to a second climax. Philip grunted softly in his ear, coming in her very talented mouth and sliding off into sleep in Nick's arms.

Alex slid around on the hood until she was sitting behind Philip, resting against his back, hugging the poor tired man. //Better, and it will not happen again,// she said with finality, smiling at him. //You want to drive?//

//In a minute. Let me catch up with the rest of my body.// He took a few deep breaths, steadying himself with their touch. //Better now.// He let her hold Philip while he got their clothes from the ground, shaking the leaves and dirt off of them before putting on his. He handed Alex hers adn the cellphone, taking Philip while she slid off the hood and put them on.

"Wake up, Sleeping Beauty," Nick crooned softly in Philip's ear. "Come back to us now."

"Umm?" Philip opened up an eye and looked at them. "No' ye'." He snuggled back into Nick's shoulder.

Nick smiled and kissed the soft and sweaty hair. "We have to get going, Philip. You need to get dressed. You can sleep in the Jeep while we're on the road, love. You don't want to make us dress you, do you?"

"Oh, all righ'," he grumbled, reaching a hand out blindly for his clothes. Alex handed them over, watching as Philip hid behind Nick's broad chest to get dressed. When he had his jeans and underwear on, he pulled back, kissing Nick's waiting mouth. "Do tha' again an' I'll kill ya." He smiled grabbing his t-shirt, pulling it on. When his head poked though, Nick was looking at him sadly.

"I'm sorry, Philip. I was trying to hold it off for a while." He tucked his head down, burying it in the older man's neck. "But you wouldn't believe what happened while I was under. I saw one of the people in the link that William told us about." He looked back up, smiling shyly. "She was in this temple, Egyptian hieroglyphs and all. We talked some and she knew who I was and about Derek and all of this."

"Dalmerona?" Alex asked. At Nick's surprised nod and look, she added. "We talked with William when you passed out. He called."

Nick laughed, letting Philip get up. "Great, now he knows I was stupid too." He shook his head, getting the keys back from Alex and got into the jeep after grabbing one of the pillows from the back to sit on. "What next?"

"Next," Alex said, getting in after letting Philip into the back seat, "we go home and face the hurting Dutchman and the London Precept with all the answers." She frowned, buckling herself in and checking on Philip, who was asleep again. "I'm not looking forward to this."

"Me either," Nick said, turning over the engine and pulling back out onto the trail. Philip's answer was a quiet snore, but they knew he wasn't looking forward to going home either.


They had pulled off the interstate at a convenience store to get something to drink and some gas. Philip offered to pump while Alex and Nick went in for a snack and a drink.

Nick turned around, watching Alex as she squatted down to look at the lower shelves in a cooler. The truck driver behind her was smiling as she wiggled her hips, almost brushing against his legs, as she thought about what she wanted. //Better quit waving that thing around, precious. He's getting all hot and bothered by you rubbing him like that, and he doesn't look the gentle and considerate type.//

She looked up and smiled in apology at him, quickly grabbing a juice and moving over to where Nick was in the snack aisle. //Thanks. I know you would have *hated* to beat him up for making a pass.// She smiled at him, kissing his cheek lightly. "You are such a brother to me."

He blushed slightly. "Gee, thanks, Alex. Just what I needed." He grabbed a bag of chips, brushing subtly against her ass as he walked around her to the checkout.

Alex sighed at his maneuver, grabbing her own pack of crackers and one for Philip and heading after him. "That was mean," she said softly from right behind him.

"Did you remember to get Philip something?" He turned and smiled at her, a just-you-wait-and-see-how-bad-I-can-get smile.

She swallowed, hard, knowing that the smile was a promise for later events. They had already had to make one stop, for Philip to scratch his itch again, but from the way Nick was smiling at her, there was another one coming soon. "Yeah, a Coke and some crackers with peanut butter. He likes those." Nick nodded and put his stuff up on the counter, trying to hide the candybar from Alex. "You don't need the sugar, Nick." She tried to grab it, but he got it first and held it tightly against his chest.

"I'll work it off later." He gave her that smile again. "Maybe a few extra laps in the pool or some other exercise." He put it back on the counter, smiling at the girl behind the register.

"Sure you will," she said, rolling her eyes, and not only at his flirting. //And mine, at least, was accidental.//

//Jealous?// He handed over a ten, getting back the change and handing it to Alex for her stuff.

Alex put her things up on the counter, letting the girl ring it up. //Of her? Not hardly.//

//Ooohh, Pretty one *is* jealous.// Nick laughed mentally, taking her bag from her and heading back to the car.

//We'll see who's the jealous one. Just you wait.//

//Stop it,// Philip sent, putting up the nozzle and getting the receipt from the pump. //You sound like high-schoolers in heat.//

//Yes, Dad,// they sent together, laughing on the way out of the store.

Philip just shook his head, climbing back into the back seat. He got his snack with a smile to Alex, frowning when she started to look at the trucker she had accidentally teased in the store as he walked past the jeep. //He's not jealous, but I am.//

She blushed, "Sorry, Philip, I didn't know. I didn't mean anything by it."

He patted her shoulder. "Of course you didn'. I was jus' tellin' ya as a future reference."


Nick could feel the calling from the bond growing. He didn't want to *even* try to hold it down this time, not after what had happened this morning. He pulled off the secondary Highway they were on, still almost two hours from home. Thankfully it was almost deserted at that time in the afternoon. He shut off the engine, unbuckling his seatbelt and leaned over, kissing Alex's cheek.

"Nick, what's going on?" she asked, pushing him away so she could look at him. "Again?"

Nick nodded, undoing his belt and the top button of his jeans. "Just a little?" //Please, just for a minute?//

//Nick, can't you just pleasure yourself?// Philip asked from the backseat, closing his eyes and groaning as he laid his head back. Those two were driving him nuts with all this sex. It wasn't like he could ignore them, and it made him uncomfortable to watch.

//Doesn't work, tried it last night.// He smiled at Alex. //Besides, want the Pretty one to ride me some more.//

Alex blushed, undoing her belt. //I didn't know you were a sex fiend.// She had felt a little of the singing in her blood, but it wasn't to where she couldn't ignore it yet. She stood up, as much as she could, sliding off her jeans and sliding over to sit across his lap. "Like this?"

Nick nodded, undoing his jeans the rest of the way and lifting his hips a little so he could push them down. He helped Alex guide herself down, touching and playing with her to generate some moisture.

"Don't worry so much, I'm usually moist," she whispered, sliding down all the way and rocking gently against him. "Almost always. Especially after what we did an hour ago."

"Ummm," Nick said, kissing her. //Gonna remember that. Promise?//

"Oh, yeah," she said, getting into it. Alex slid up and down, rocking gently in time with his thrusts. They soon lost themselves, not really remembering about Philip in the back seat or caring about someone seeing them.

Philip watched them in amusement and disgust. He checked his watch every so often, not really timing them, but wanting to keep track of how far behind they were getting. This was the third such stop on the trip, Nick's second with Alex, and he knew they wouldn't make it home before dark now.

Philip covered his eyes and groaned, bumping his head against the back of the seat in frustration when he saw the blue light coming on behind them. He rolled down his window, stopping the C.H.P. officer before he could disturb Nick and Alex. "Yes, sir?"

"Hi, just wonderin' why you all were stopped." He glanced down in the front window, shaking his head. "I should give them a ticket, you know."

Philip got out his wallet, taking out his Church Identification and handing it over. "They're newlyweds. They had picked me up on the way back to the city from my retreat." He blushed. "It's kinda embarassin' and all, them goin' at it an' forgettin' I'm here. Bu' you know how the ones new ta it can be."

"I can imagine Father." He shook his head, looking at the identification and handing the card back. "Don't worry, I was one of them a few decades ago and I remember it well. Just get them moving, soon, will you? I don't want another officer to come by and find out I didn't do anything about this." He shrugged, heading back to his car and taking off.

Philip was rolling up his window, muttering to himself about having something else to confess now, like the list wasn't long enough already, when Alex yelled, climaxing hard and bringing Nick over with her.

Nick sighed, letting go into her, flooding her with his seed and laying his head limply on her shoulder. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm just being poked."

"I woul' thin' so," came the dry reply from the back seat. "So did the nice officer who agreed no' ta give ya both a ticket for it."

Nick shifted, looking at Philip. Alex was blushing, hotly, and covering her face. "Please tell me your kidding," Nick said.

Philip shook his head, smiling. "Tol' him ya were newlyweds takin' me home from a retreat. Said he was one a few decades ago and he remembered it well. But we need to go soon."

"Ohnoohnoohno," Alex chanted, trying to hide in Nick's chest. "That is too much, even for us."

"Oh, man, I'm sorry," Nick said at the same time, trying to hide in Alex's body.

"Oh, stop it, the both of ya." Philip said, his smile growing brighter. "After all, ya did avoid a ticket. This time."

Nick shook his head, helping Alex off him and back into her seat, pulling up his pants and turning back on the jeep. "We're not doing that again."

"Today," was the laughing reply from Philip.


They pulled up outside the castle, just before eight. Kat met them at the door, bouncing out to help them in. She smiled at Alex, a secret look passing between them. "So, how was the vacation?"

Philip hugged the young woman, passing her off to Nick, who passed her to Alex. They waited for the butler to come out and put the jeep up, knowing that they were too tired tonight to deal with their bags.

"So, kiddo, how's everyone here?" Nick asked, putting an arm around her shoulder and letting her lead the way back inside.

"Oh, everyone's at the table. Derek knew you weren't going to make it for probably another half an hour or so, so he had dinner held." She shrugged. "I don't know how he knew, but he did."

Alex blushed, matching Philip brilliantly. Nick just coughed some, covering up the uneasiness by tickling Kat for a few seconds. "So, let's go eat."

"At least he's thinking about something else," Alex muttered just loud enough for Philip to hear her. They had agreed on the trip back to not use their link in the house unless they were alone or an emergency.

Philip just smiled at her, placing a gentle hand in the small of her back and guiding her into the dining room.

William stood up, pulling out a chair for Alex when he saw them come in. He smiled at Kat, who bounced into her seat between himself and her mother, brushing a strand of hair out of her face. He watched as Nick and Philip took up their usual seats next to each other, smiling at the easiness and playful banter that was going on between them. "So, how was the vacation?"

"Oh, it was fine," Philip said, coughing delicately into his napkin to hide his surprise at the question.

"Why, did you expect us to kill each other?" Nick asked, a small smile appearing. He looked at Derek, the smile disappearing. "How have things been here?" He had asked Derek, but William answered.

"Oh, not really any problems, but we really didn't expect any." He shot a look at Derek, reminding him of his promise to not say anything to them about what was going on.

"Fine, just fine," Derek said, taking a drink of his wine. "Trout for dinner, Nick."

"Cool," he said, smiling at his boss. //We'll talk later,// he shot the older man, on the chance that he could hear him. Derek nodded slightly, agreeing with him.

All conversations stopped while the dinner was being served, each going after their food like they were starved. Kristen finished first, putting down her fork and taking a drink. "So, what is the big news you wanted to tell us?"

Everyone at the table shot her a dirty look, trying to make her drop the subject, but she was oblivious. Nick and Alex looked to William to guide the conversation, Philip looking at Derek for the same reason.

Derek cleared his throat, putting down his fork and taking another sip of his third glass of wine. "Well, it seems that there has been a change while you were gone," he started.

"Later," William mouthed at him, ignoring his sigh of relief. "Kristen, let's talk of pleasantries until the coffee, shall we? We'll discuss the heavier subjects later." He watched her pout for a second, but when she let it go, he bent back to his food, knowing she would take the hint now.

Rachel and Alex were exchanging looks across the table, clearly stating that they would talk later, privately. Kat watched her mother and her 'aunt' with some trepidation. Her mother had not been happy when she tried to tell her about them earlier and found out she already knew. She just hoped her mother wouldn't take it out on Alex.

Philip looked up in the silence, trying to find a nice neutral topic. "So, Kat, how's school?"

"Oh, it's okay. My teachers don't give me any credit for *any* intelligence, but other than that, it's fine." She shrugged. "It's like they expect us to be stupid and drooling some days." She put down her fork. "There's this one boy, though, and he's treated like a precious little gem that's too fragile to think for himself." She leaned on the table getting closer. "I think that the teacher's taking it easy on him 'cause he's a guy."

"Katherine," her mother said, bringing her back in line. "I'm sure that's not the case."

"Oh, I don't know," Philip said. "When I was teachin' here at the diocese's school I saw many teachers treatin' girls and boys differently. It was shockin' some of the things those boys could get away with." He shook his head. "They expelled a girl for a water balloon figh', but when a boy did the same thing nex' week, he was congratulated on his use of strategy by the Dean." He shrugged, taking another bite.

"It's true. They've studied class environments and found that boys and girls *are* treated differently, Rachel," Alex said, coming to Kat's defense. "It's just as common now as when we were in school." She took another bite, looking straight at the older woman. "And you remember how bad that was."

Rachel nodded. "Yeah, I do. I just had hoped that she was exaggerating it some. But, I guess I should check into it. Would you look over a few old assignments of hers, to check them for teacher error?" She smiled. "I've been wanting to talk to her history teacher about her subjective use of 'A's' anyways."

"Of course I will. With things like this, it's always better to have proof when you storm into the principal's office and demand her head." They shared a smile, knowing just what the other meant.


Everything went well until they were sitting in the living room having coffee and tea. Kat was sitting between Nick and Philip, quietly telling them about her latest school project. Alex and Rachel were sitting together going over some of Kat's old assignments, trying to prove the teacher wrong. Derek and William sat watching the younger people, both waiting for the trouble to occur. Then Kristen walked back into the room, taking a seat next to William on one of the couches. "So," she started, "I'll re-ask the question I was stopped from asking earlier. What's the big news?" She shot the dirty look Derek and William shot at her back. "I guess everyone knows now but me."

"You just got in too late to tell you privately," William said calmly. He had her transfer papers in the office, already signed by the new Precept in the Montreal house, all he needed was a reason. He waited to gain everyone's attention before telling her. "While you were gone, something happened to Nick, Philip, and Alex."

"And Derek," Kat piped up. She could feel her hair ruffle in the breeze as everyone turned to look at her. "What? It's been obvious." She shrugged.

"Yes, I guess it has," Derek said. He stood up, pacing the floor. "While you were gone, Alex bought some new perfume. It had some........ interesting side-effects. Not all of them goot." He looked over the trio. "Apparently it has bonded them together in some way, giving them a way into the minds of the others."

"So, now they're telepathic?" she blushed. She really didn't want anyone to know her thoughts during dinner, especially not the object of them.

"Just with each other," Philip said. He smiled at Nick, then turned to give one to Alex. "At least I think so."

"So far," she agreed. "But, this thing *has* had some unusual effects on us, Derek was right about that part."

"True, the bond is almost complete," he looked at William, smiling slightly, "thanks to some help. We finish each other's sentences, communicate easily...."

"Know wha' the other needs," Philip added, "and in wha' condition they're in...."

"Up to and including some other mystery problems we've been having that Rachel will have to help us test."

"Yes, the comatose problem from this morning *was* a bit extreme, Nick, don't do it again." William smiled at him, not at all smug. "Same with the aspirin problem Alex." He took a sip of his tea. "That documentation is on Alex's bed. We didn't know about......"

"Oh, okay," Nick said, shaking his head, not wantign the subject of sleepign arangements brought up in front of everyone. "We'll decide that later."

"Good enough," he said, pouring himself some more tea, holding up the pot to see if anyone else wanted some. When they shook their heads, he put it back down, relaxing back into the soft cushions. "You see, Kristen, it would be best to ignore the little .... oddities associated with them for a while. We warned Rachel earlier, and Kat was here the day after it happened, having known something was up somehow. Unfortunately, with you just getting back before them, we didn't have a chance to tell you privately." He shrugged, watching her face darken in rage.

"So, is it just the three of them, or is Derek involved too?"

"Derek was here during the incident, and yes, he is involved somehow. We don't know how yet or why, but he's in the mix somewhere."

"Actually, I might have a small explanation for that later," Nick said. "While I was under this morning, I ended up in some Egyptian temple talking to a person who knew what was going on. I believe you've read her diary recently." He leaned forward. "I'll tell you all about it. Later, when you get us together privatly."

"Okay." William smiled. "That's wonderful. Now you can fill in some of the gaps hopefully. Oh, you're personal diaries will be going into that same file. Don't worry about it only I, or someone in my position, will have access to it."

Nick nodded, leaning back. Alex looked over at Philip, raising an eyebrow to see if he wanted to ask. When he shook her off, she shifted to be looking at him directly. "So, then you want us to keep a personal journal in addition to our Legacy one? And only we three, possibly Derek, and yourself will have access to it."

"Yes, dear Alex. Oh, call your Grandmother Rose later tonight, please. She's called six times today." He shrugged in apology for the lapse. "That file is accessible only to the London Precept. I will be the only one to input data on you. If I should be, for whatever reason, removed from office, I'll leave instructions to one person only that I can trust to do it. I've already picked her, and we've talked in general about the problem." He waved a hand around. "I hope that's an acceptable solution to that problem." The four involved nodded. "Good, Derek I would like you to start one, beginning with your recollections of the other night. As they don't have any memories of it, I would like your take on it. I don't need it right away, maybe just a yearly input would be fine to keep it updated."

"Okay," the four of them said together and nodded.

"That is so cool," Kat whispered. When Philip and Nick looked at her, she added, "They synchronization that you guys have. It's like you're all connected with one big brain or something. Like a new hive species."

"That's about what it's looking like, " Nick said, patting her on the head.

Derek came over to talk to her directly. "For some reason, the bond has joined their minds. They can think to each other, finish each other's sentences, and generally think through whatever the other is doing with them. That means if Nick is helping you with your Math homework and he has a problem, he can let Philip and Alex see it, letting them go through his mind to help you solve it." He smiled down at her, squatting down in front of her. "Now you know why it is important that this never leaves the house. This is your second big secret, and we're trusting you not to tell anyone."

"Of course I won't. I wouldn't do that to them." She kissed Derek on the cheek. "I do know what's at stake here. If someone finds out, they would be very useful for certain groups, like an intelligence agency or something. They would end up in some lab in some almost known area of the country and be treated like lab mice. We'd lose them forever. I'm not going to tell, Derek, really. I wouldn't do that to them."

"That's very true Kat. But there is another thing you don't know. The Legacy has enemies. Ones that would *love* to get hold of them to hurt us. We can never let that happen. We have to protect them from those sort of people most of all." He looked into her eyes, making sure she understood. "Okay?"

"Yeah, it's cool," she said, patting his cheek. She smiled up at him. "So, when do we get to test you?"

"Never," Derek said with a smile getting up. "I'm not really part of this, and never will be." He went back to his chair, sitting down and crossing his legs. "I'm just the innocent bystander who got hit accidentally by the train as it fell off the tracks to crash into them."

Nick gave him a hard look, but didn't say anything. Everything he knew was for a private conversation.


Nick waited until William closed the door to look at Derek. "You'd be surprised. About that train comment earlier."

Derek nodded, pouring himself a drink and shaking the decanter to offer anyone the sherry. He sat down, raising the glass to his mouth, when William came back and took it out of his hand.

"You don't need it." He drank it down, setting the glass on the coffee tray. "Now, what did you find out from Dalmerona?"

"Is that her name?" He shifted forward, resting his clasped hands between his knees. "Earlier, I was in a temple. Egyptian. She said it was a sacred place where the high priests and priestesses came to learn about the magic in the world." He smiled at William's shocked expression. "It had statues I didn't recognize, but the hieroglyphs were Egyptian. Also there was a table of herbs laying there. I'll look for a reference tomorrow." He turned to face Derek. "She had some real interesting things to say about you too, Derek. She said I could bring you into the link. That whatever power had been 'awakened', her word, in us, you had an extra piece of it. It could be joined with ours for greater efficiency and speed in learning it, but it didn't have to be. She also said that anyone in the bond was 'as open as a scroll' to the others that have *ever* had it." He leaned back, looking at the two Precepts while they thought. "I'm guessing that I can go back somehow, since she said I could lead any of the other three there to be taught by her and her other three."

William leaned his head back, stretching his neck. "I told you Derek. You were meant to be part of this."

"Did she say about whether or not we have to do anything to add him," Philip asked.

Nick shook his head, his mouth full of coffee. "She said *I* had to decide to bring him in, but you had to agree to his joining with you."

"So, then you'll bring him in later tonight."

"No, he won't," Derek said, getting up. He walked over to the window, watching the fog roll across the bay. "I don't want it."

"Derek," William said, trying to be reasonable, "you know what happens when you resist. You've been seeing things for the last four days. This has got to stop before you're insane."

"No," he said quietly, leaving them alone.

"Damn stubborn man," William cursed silently. "Won't even do anything to save himself."

"How bad has it been?" Alex asked, worried about her old teacher.

"He's felt everything," Philip answered. "I could see it in his eyes. He knows exactly wha's been goin' on." He slumped over. "He can' stand wha' he's gettin' now. Why should he ask for more?"

"Because, it'll save his life Philip." William nodded when they looked at him. "He's been hallucinating, seeing little lights out of the corner of his sight. He's heard voices, telling him to give it up and die soon instead of suffer through this. It's been bad. Rachel had to sedate him a few days ago when Nick was having doubts."

"Oh, God," Alex said. Philip crossed himself, saying a short prayer. Nick got up, walking out to find him.

They watched him go, William smiling at his courage. "Let him go. Since Derek's linked to him, maybe he can make the man see reason."


Nick walked down the hall and stopped. He knew, somehow, that Derek wasn't in his office. He closed his eyes, thinking about seeing through him. He smelled roses, then he looked around to see if there were any around. When he didn't see any, he cut through the kitchen and jogged out into the garden, knowing where he would be. He slowed to a walk, coming up behind Derek, stepping loudly so as to not startle him.

"Go away, Nick," he said, miserably.

"Nope," he said, sitting beside him on the cold bench. "Not until you tell me what's going on." He tried to rest a hand on Derek's arm, but it was shaken off. "Tell me, or I'll get mean."

"What's wrong, not having the time of your life yet?" He started to get up, but Nick stopped him, pulling him back down.

"What is that supposed to mean?" He swallowed. "You don't know how much I've resisted this link, the binding to them. I've been *scared* that I would end up killing them by my inactions and non-acceptance. You don't know how hard it was for me to accept what happened that first night, and then give into it all those other times so no one died."

"Yes, Nick, I do know," Derek said, turning around. "I know *exactly* how hard you've resisted. I know how often you've given in, I know how much you enjoyed giving in. I even know how much you really wanted to give in and bottom for Philip after that first night, but didn't because of some macho thoughts that you couldn't shake. Don't try to get me to feel sorry for you because of this."

Nick laughed. "Feel sorry for me? Hardly. You haven't done that yet, why should you start now." He stroked the side of Derek's face. "You know?"

Derek nodded, licking his lips. "I was fighting for you to leave her alone, not really for her to be mine." He looked down, idly tracing the flecks of mica in the marble. "I was trying to protect her from you, but not so you couldn't have her. I didn't want you to have her."

"You wanted me," Nick finished for him. "Oh, Derek, why didn't you tell me? Things could have been different."

"Different, how?" He laughed, a sharp, derisive noise. "You're not into men, I know that now too. You were forced into it, not only by the link, but by their deaths held over your head if you didn't give in." He shook Nick off, standing up again. "You have no idea what I know."

"Oh, I've been in touch with your mind for the past few minutes. You'd be surprised what I know about you too." He smiled and patted the bench. "Sit and talk to me. We'll work this out."

"No," he said and walked away. He went back to his room, locking the door so Nick couldn't come after him.

//You have to come out sooner or later,// Nick sent after him. //I'll be here, still waiting to talk to you then too.//

He didn't get an answer, but he knew now that Derek could hear him.


Nick met Alex in her bedroom, placing a kiss on her head while she talked with Rose. //Say hi for me,// he told her.

She nodded, listening to her Grandmother to tell her to be careful yet again. "Yes, Grandma Rose, I'll be careful. Really. No one outside the house knows." Pause, during which Alex hands him the printout from the diary and sticks out her tongue at him. He laughs and takes it, flipping through it as he settled down onto the pillow beside her back. "Yes, ma'am we're well guarded here. No one can come and steal us in the middle of the night. Don't worry so much. I'm fine." She snorted, Nick reaching a hand up to rub her back to calm her down. "Grandma, I'm not pregnant!" she squealed, making Nick smile and laugh hard. "Ssh, Nick, she'll hear you," Alex whispered, holding a hand over the receiver. "What? Oh, yeah, Grandma, he's here right now." She handed the phone over and went into the bathroom to start water for a bath.

"Hi, Rose, what's up?"

(Young man, I have always trusted you with my Alex. Now you've gone and gotten her involved in this .... this whatever it is that you have. Do you have any idea how vulnerable she is now because of that? How much this could hurt her?)

"Yes, ma'am and I assure you if we had had a choice, none of us would have chosen this path. We don't like it any better than you. Alex didn't talk to me for almost the first whole day." He smiled at her when she came back out, missing her outer clothes. //She's a sweetheart, just worried about you.//

Alex smiled and nodded, sitting down beside him to listen in.

(Well, of course I'm worried about her. Everytime something's happened today, I've heard it. That is much more information than I wanted about my Granddaughter, young man, and I would appreciate your keeping it to yourself and stopping it at once.)

Nick looked shocked. "I'm sorry, Rose, we didn't even know we could broadcast like that. We'll try to be more careful of the mental noise we send in the future." He lifted his arm, letting Alex know she could lay on his chest if she wanted. She shook her head and pointed at the bathroom.

(Just stop doing that and I'd not hear it anymore. It's annoying and disturbing how you young folk just jump into bed with each other these days. Then to bring my innocent Alex into your den of sexual ...... intrigue, it's just too much. And what happens if she gets pregnant? Huh, who's going to be the father?)

"Rose, listen. Everytime it's happened, we couldn't stop it if we tried. Trust me on this, both Alex and I have tried to stop that from happening. All she got was a massive headache, and I almost died. We can't just stop doing that. It'll kill us. All of us."

(Oh, no child, I'm sorry. I didn't realize. How did it happen?)

Alex held out her hand, waving Nick to turn off the faucet. He smiled and handed her back the phone, getting up to turn off her bath water. "Grandma? Yeah, you wouldn't believe it. I bought a new perfume, and it started this whole mess."

//I am not a mess. Right now anyways,// Nick sent her, closing the door and humming mentally while he used the bathroom.

//Not you, the situation. I swear, some days I wonder why I'm not a lesbian; I can't stand you men.//

(So, your new perfume did this? Child, what have you been doing out there? Is it drugs?) Rose whispered the last phrase, trying hard not to be overheard by whomever might be listening in.

Alex laughed. "Honestly Grandma. This perfume, it caused Nick and Derek to fight over me. When I ran out of the house, I called Philip for backup, and hid in the woods, I didn't notice it was working on me too. Anyways, to make a long story short, Nick found me, Philip joined in with him, and I went with the urges that came over me because they were too strong to fight. When we woke up, we were bonded together, never to be separated without death." She smiled at Nick when he walked back in, holding a few of her bubbles.

Nick smiled, planting the foam on her nose, and climbed back into the bed. He laid down behind her, stroking her back again, watching her wipe them off.

(So, now you have to have sex with them. Like that? Alex, I ought to come out there and drag you home. Some time away should cure this little problem of yours.)

"No, Grandma, according to the people in Ancient Egypt who had it, outside of the city they lived in was too far away. Two of them went into comas and the other freaked out and started to kill people. I know you wouldn't want that to happen to Nick. And you'll like Philip too, he's a gentle person."

(I don't care, you need to get away from them. That's it, I'm coming out there for myself. I'll find a way to cure you of this affliction. I *will* cure you of those men.) She hung up before Alex could protest any more.

//Philip, if you're still in with Sloan, warn him about Rose.// She felt Philip acknowledge the message and leaned back into Nick's arms, laying her head on his chest. "This is a nightmare."

"You want pinched," Nick offered, licking the side of her ear.

"Wouldn't work coming from you. You've done worse and I'm still here." She got up, going into the bathroom, closing and locking the door, and settled down into the hot water.


Philip smiled at Sloan, moving the chess piece. "An' the plot thickens. Rose is comin' out."

"Oh, goody," the older man said, swearing and moving his king out of check. "Just what's needed here, another person to worry."

Philip laughed, checkmating him and winning the game. "Oh, I don' know. From wha' I've heard, she's a formidable woman. One I wouldn' wan' ta mess with."

"Like I said, just what we need." William got up, grabbing his glass, and got another scotch. "Want one?"

Philip shook his head and reset the board, turning it around to give William a chance of winning. "I don' need it."

"Of course you don't. It'll affect you three later when the bond starts calling again Wouldn't want that, now would we."

Philip gave him an appraising look. "I didn' pick this any more'n they did. We can' help wha's goin' on."

"Oh, I'm not mad." William smiled, sitting back down and making his first move. "Actually I'm jealous. My wife and I have never had it that good."

"Well, you could always use some of the perfume on her." He smiled, teasing.

William gave him a serious look. "I would, but she'd kill me." He drained the last of the liquor and made another move.


Nick had just finished reading the journal when Alex got out of the tub. "Feel better?" She nodded, hurrying across the floor to get under the covers. Nick rolled off to the side, holding an edge up so she could crawl in.

Alex shivered for a few minutes, shifting around to find a comfortable spot. When she was finally warm, she looked up at her lover. "Nick, do you think she might be right?"

"About what, Alex?" He snuggled down beside her, holding her through the blankets.

"About my being pregnant?" she whispered, scared. She knew they hadn't taken any precautions. She remembered, a little too clearly, throwing the condoms Nick had brought with them away and insisting that they not use them.

Nick thought quietly for a minute. "I don't know. We could ask Rachel in the morning, and see about our options."

"But what if the link is harmed because I'm on the shot or the pill? What if that's like refusing it, and it hurts one of you, or heaven forbid, kills one of us. I can't do that to you two."

He kissed her cheek, hugging her tighter. "So, we'll use a condom and see if that hurts anything."

"Nick, the reason I threw them away was because I knew instinctivly that a barrier between us wasn't a good thing." She gave him a disgusted look. "We can't use one."

Nick rolled onto his back, thinking. "So, why don't I go and get Rachel for you, and you two will talk about it. Philip and I will abide by your decision. I know he's going to have problems if you suddenly end up pregnant." He smiled up at the ceiling. "That would be the least of his problems, actually."

"Huh?" She rolled to lay on his chest.

"Well, he's going to have to tell the Church head, and probably the whole local chain of command. They'll bring him up on charges, and kick him out. He'll come back here to work, but his family will probably disown him, and swear to not see him again. You possibly being pregnant would be the lesser of any of those." He smiled down at her. "Don't you agree?"

//It's not going to happen like that,// came the soft voice from downstairs. //Even if the worst should happen and she *is* pregnant, my family won't disown me. They might try to have whatever demon is possessing me exorcised, but they wouldn't disown me. What do you think I should do?// He sent Nick a picture of the chess board.

//Move the knight. Checkmate in three if he moves his rook.//

//Thanks,// Philip sent and was quiet.

"That does bring up an interesting thought," Nick said, starting to run his fingers through Alex's hair. "Why isn't the Legacy bringing us up on charges of using dark forces or something? It just seems like this would be something that should get us kicked out."

"But, it's not a dark force, is it?"

"No, not really. But a few years back, right after you came by the logs I looked at, a member of the Montreal house was removed for having a fetish. For shoes if I remember right." He smiled, working out a small tangle. "The entry said something about an unnatural sexual practice that didn't involve another person."

Alex laughed, biting him on the chest. "That's just like them. Accept anything but a semi-normal little thing."

"Hey, it was shoes, not a dead person. So, that's what I mean, why aren't they saying anything about us?"

"Maybe William's not said anything about it yet." She shrugged, starting to doze off. "We can ask (yawn) in the morning." She closed her eyes, drifting off peacefully. "night," she murmured, wiggling her head around.

"Night, Alex, sleep well." He grabbed the journal to reread a few sections while she napped.


Derek was sitting in his room, rocking back and forth and shaking. He could feel Nick's tenderness towards Alex. /Why can't they just leave me alone. Sooner or later this has to go away. Doesn't it?/ He brought another blanket over to wrap around himself. /Those ghastly little lights will have to go away soon./ He wiped the sweat off his forehead, wrapping the three blankets tighter around him.

He couldn't tell what was going on, not with the fever he was running. He didn't know that his only salvation was accepting them and giving in. In truth, he could sympathize with Nick a few days ago when he was having doubts about giving in to it. He didn't want to release his control and give in, he couldn't let himself go like that.

/Not going to happen. It's not going to happen. I have more self-control than that. I'm not weak like my father, to get pulled into something that will consume me like that. I *will not* give in and go to him, them./

He heard Alex's door open, someone walking down the hall, and then Nick's door opening. /It's about time he got away from her. Maybe now I'll get some sleep./ Derek pulled a pillow over, curling around it, the blankets still wrapped around him tightly.


Nick slid out from under her, sneaking a kiss before heading down to his room to grab some clothes for tonight and tomorrow. He left her door open, not wanting to wake her by shutting it, and headed down the hall to his room. He could feel Derek in his mind, lurking, but he didn't try to talk to him. "Let him come to me," he told himself, opening his door.

Nick flipped on the light, taking in the condition of his room. Someone had been sleeping in his bed, and one of the drawers was hanging out. He made a visual inventory, making sure nothing else was bothered, before shrugging and grabbing some clothes.

Nick turned when William came in the room. "Hi, sorry, just getting some clothes." He held up the bundle, and grabbed a shirt from the open drawer.

"It's okay. I didn't think you'd mind. Me sleeping in here I mean. It's closer to Derek if he has another problem." He rubbed his eyes and sat on the bed.

"Has it been that bad?"

"Well, let's see. The first night was some sort of nightmare. It brought him screaming out into the hall, running down it in his pajamas." He smiled. "I'm straight, but he did look cute in those blue cotton ones, shirt unbuttoned and flapping behind him like a cape on a little kid." He shared a smile with Nick, and went on. "The next afternoon, it was that sexual round and your doubts before hand. I thought Rachel had sedated him, but not fully enough. He came down to dinner walking funny."

"Walking funny?"

"Yes," Philip said from the door way. "I can "feel" exactly how sore you were this mornin' and felt the cause of it too."

Nick swallowed and blushed hard. "You ... you felt that, while you were....." Philip nodded, blushing himself. Nick laid his head in his hands, shaking it. "I've never noticed...."

"That's because you've been in on it and caugh' up in it mos' times," Philip said quietly. "This afternoon, though...."

"It's not going to happen again. I promise, Philip. We'll not make you cover for us again."

"Cover?" William asked.

"From the police," Philip said smiling. "Nick an' Alex coul'n't wait to ge' home. A very nice officer came up ta see wha' was wrong."

"Philip told him we were newlyweds. He gave him a warning and left us alone." Nick shrugged, still embarrassed by the event and the revelation. "Oh, man, I'm sorry, Philip."

"Tha's okay. I almos' expected tha' ta happen. But I wonder...."

"Not that I know of, she hasn't."

"You two, that's scary," William said, smiling to take the sting out of it. "Go to bed, us old guys need our rest." He shooed Nick out, smiling when the door closed. "Patricia, just you wait until I get home," he said, stripping and crawling into bed, thinking aobut his lovely wife and all the ways he was going to enjoy being home again.


Philip followed Nick down to Alex's room, closing the door gently behind him.

Before Nick could head into the bathroom, he was grabbed from behind, his neck nuzzled thoroughly. "Philip? Is it time for you to need some?" He tried to turn around, but Philip held him in place, licking over the structure of his spinal column.

"Yeah," he said in between licks. "It's my turn now." Philip started to nibble on the bony protrusions on the back of Nick's neck when the door flew open.

"GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF HIM!" Derek yelled, slamming the door open and advancing on Philip.

(to be continued in Resolutions.)