Title: Ghost of a Chance
Author: A. Magiluna Stormwriter
Pairings: Alex/Rachel, Dace/Catherine
Date: 5-10 June 2006, based on a flashfic written on 22 April 2006
Date in calendar: 11 June 2006
Word Count: 3872
Series: Light, Water, Muses
Summary: Drawn by fate, Dace finds herself unexpectedly becoming a part of Alex and Rachel's lives, forever changing them.
Warnings: Girls kissing in an established lesbian coupling is all I've got. If that surprises you while reading a story by ShatterStorm Productions, what rock are you living under?
Website: ShatterStorm Productions – Light, Water, Muses
Archive: ShatterStorm Productions only…all others ask for permission & we'll see…
Poltergeist: the Legacy Disclaimer: "Poltergeist: the Legacy," the characters, and situations depicted are respectively the property of Trilogy, MGM Worldwide Television, Showtime, and the Sci-Fi Channel. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Poltergeist: the Legacy," Showtime, Sci-Fi Channel, or any representatives of the actors.
The Division Disclaimer: "The Division", the characters, and situations depicted are respectively the property of Lifetime Television, Kedzie Productions, Viacom Productions, and Paramount. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "The Division", Lifetime Television, or any representatives of the actors.
CSI Disclaimer: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," the characters, and situations depicted are respectively the property of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," CBS, or any representatives of the actors.
X-Files Disclaimer: “The X-Files”, Created by Chris Carter, produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ten Thirteen Productions.
Author’s Disclaimer: All original characters belong to ShatterStorm Productions and are the creations of A. Magiluna Stormwriter and Shatterpath.
Author’s Notes: It all started with an idea from Shatterpath, getting Alex and Rachel from PtL into LWM. We've been toying with this idea for a while now, but never found a good way to get it to work yet to actually introduce them in that universe. Then I wrote that little flashfic on 22 April 2006, knowing it would get expanded upon eventually. And here's the expansion. I think I'm quite happy with it…and I'm sure that Gramma Rose is gonna be far more useful now that she's dead. *veg*
And to think, this was supposed to be focusing on Alex and Rachel. Hell, Dace gets into everything that's even vaguely LWM-related now. She's become worse than Zo. Like I could expect her not to do the same here… *veg*
Dedication: To my muses. I’d be nowhere without them.
Beta: Shatterpath, as always.
"Ghost of a Chance" by A. Magiluna Stormwriter
++ Dace ++
“You need to save them.”
The voice was totally unexpected and I looked up sharply to see an older woman standing to my left, absently wringing her hands. Gripping the punching bag to stop its swinging, I scrubbed the sweat towel over my face, never taking my gaze off my visitor. Never assume, life had taught me. Even little old ladies could be dangerous, especially appearing like ghosts.
“How the hell did you get in here?” Asked my voice, soft and dangerous, mixed with enough reassurance to not scare her off if she meant no harm. My peripheral vision confirmed what my enhanced senses had added to the puzzle; yes the door was still closed. No, I had not heard a thing. Not good. There was no way a total stranger could get in here without me knowing it. Not under normal circumstances at least. The hype for Halloween had hit Vegas hard, and the House of Hearts was up to its collective eyebrows in parties and events to be pulled off. None of us had gotten more than a catnap here or there in the past several days, including myself. Boxing had become my stress relief of choice, particularly while Catherine and Sara were asleep, or working. Could I have just missed this woman coming in then?
Then another piece of the puzzle nagged at me enough to click another piece into place. The woman had no scent. Just me and the familiar stench of this place.
“No time for that now, Candace,” was her slightly exasperated reply to my vaguely threatened confusion, her accent thick and irritatingly familiar. “Plenty of time after you save Alex and Rose. Much bad juju about today, and they’re not prepared.”
“Do I know you? Do you know me?”
“All in good time, child, all in good time. For now, go save them.”
After everything I’d learned about being a Sentinel, I knew better than to ignore my instincts. And my instincts were telling me to do what this woman wanted. My life was about to become even more complicated. There were days I hated my job.
“Okay, Gramma,” I replied, sighing my acquiescence, reaching for my bag and towel. “Where do I go?”
“San Francisco,” came the reply from the doorway. How the fuck did she get over there already? “The ruins of that Angel Island. Come, come child, we haven’t much time, and the journey is long. I fear for how long they can hold that dark beast back.”
“Okay, okay,” I grumbled, not really meaning it, now completely and totally caught up in her urgency. At a run, I was at my Durango, fumbling with the keys, stopping short in surprise as the ceiling lamp illuminated the wizened crone already occupying the passenger seat.
That’s when it hit me…
Sandburg was bang on, the loveable bastard. This was a ghost. A frakking ghost! Sentinels could see them, interact with them. Frankly, the impressions I’d gotten of Emily’s dead Mimi had been weird enough. Just once, I wished that Sandburg’d been wrong about what I was.
Tossing myself into the driver’s seat and peeling out the parking lot, I reached for the miracle phone Fen had provided me with. It was my lifeline and hard drive and kept my complicated life organized, because I sure as hell wasn’t any damn good at it.
There was no use ranting and bitching about the earnest and worried woman at my side, corporal or not. She needed my help, and that’s what I did. A Sentinel could no more refuse to render aid, than voluntarily stop breathing. The need was real.
++ Puppy ++
“Yeah, got that, Gramma,” Dace snorted, scrambling through the rubble in the waning light. “You can glide your ass on through here. Some of us have to actually work for it. And you can quit the damned pop in, pop out game any time now.”
I followed her as quickly as I could, wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into. I had no idea how she knew just where to step and climb so easily. This was dangerous rubble, and it was getting dark. It looked like someone had mortared what had once been the grand old castle that dwelt here for so long.
Or blown it up like a war movie.
Nor did I know who she was talking to. But I’d learned early on in my training that you didn’t question the personality quirks of those who were higher than you on the food chain. If my life or health were in danger, that would be a different story. So far this wasn’t.
I hadn’t worked with Dace directly; in fact, before Dace left the Diamonds, she never came around me. Salix hadn’t been high enough in the ranks yet, and Dace didn’t play with boys, just like Sylvia. Over the years, I’d become integral to Sylvia through ways other than sex: I was chef, masseur, personal assistant, pilot, whatever she needed of me. And that didn’t include the scars I earned in the aftermath of Dace’s estrangement. There were times I could see the guilt in Sylvia’s eyes over those permanent marks in my back and ass and flanks, but I always made sure she understood I wear them with pride.
“Puppy, you still back there?”
“Yes, ma’am!” I called to her, hurrying to catch up, nearly breaking my damn leg. I needed to keep my focus on keeping us both safe in these ruins. The place gave me the creeps like I hadn’t felt before. Add to that the fact that Dace was ranting at someone I couldn’t see… Serious Buffy and the Hellmouth creepy factor. I had just about caught up to her when she crested the rise of rubble we’d been climbing… and took off at a run, yelling incoherently.
As I got to the top, I could see her crouching down on her hands and knees, as if she was throwing up. Adrenaline dumped in a burning wave into my bloodstream. Had Dace been hurt? My Mistresses would kill me if I let her get hurt!
The next thing I knew, she was standing up, pulling something close to her chest with a smile. She caught my eye long enough to point to the other woman lying on the ground, deliriously calling out as she struggled toward Dace. Who turned around and walked away from her, toward the worst of the rubble, growling and yelling at…nothing. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing straight up as I made my way quickly toward the injured woman.
And then, as suddenly as it all seemed to have started, everything was fine. I still had that creeped out feeling, but it was definitely far less overwhelming. Dace crouched down before us and I could see the child curled protectively in her arms, reaching toward the woman I'd now scooped up into mine. "Come on, Puppy," Dace said gently. "Let's get these two to the hospital and make sure there's no permanent damage here."
++ Alex ++
“It was the strangest sensation,” I said, sheepishly rubbing over the bandage on my forehead, still trying to piece my night together in my rattled mind. “I remember arranging the flowers in the vase, I wanted the house to look nice when you got home. Then I heard something and Rose started crying, like something had scared her. When I went to check on her, I slipped and dropped the vase. Some water must have spilled when I was filling the damn thing. I vaguely remember hitting my head on the counter.”
Rachel smiled at me and stroked my hair. “So that’s how the blood got on the floor? Thankfully you didn’t take your car.”
I shook my head, flinching at the pain. “Couldn’t find my keys. But Rose was screaming and I thought… I kept seeing something hovering around her bassinet. I had to get her out of there, get her to safety. My head hurt so badly, and the only place I could think of that was safe was…”
I nodded. How was I supposed to explain what happened so that Rachel would understand it? “But there was--”
“Special delivery,” came a very vaguely familiar voice from the doorway. “There’s someone here who’s dying to see her mom.”
I turned to face the intruder… and let out a scream. “Get away from her! Leave my baby alone!” I struggled against Rachel and the covers, feeling that urge to defend my child, even to my own death.
“Alex!” Rachel’s voice was muffled in my head, fighting the nausea and pain for dominance. “Honey, it’s okay! She’s safe, I swear.”
“No, she’s not! That fucking cat tried to eat Rose! It should be shot!”
I struggled against Rachel, wincing at the sharp, throbbing agony, not taking my eyes of the tall blonde… cat-woman. She was smiling calmly, but all I could see were those sharp teeth wrapping around Rose’s little head while I lay there, unable to protect her. My baby had gone missing and then just appeared in the clutches of that thing. Rose was going to die, and I’d been helpless to stop it from happening.
“That’s enough, Alex.”
Startled, I turned my attention to this new voice. There was a tall, vaguely familiar blonde woman standing next to the bed, where only the IV rack had been moments ago. Something in that smile, some depth of mystery and knowledge…
I found I was unable to meet that flat silvery gaze for more than a few seconds, as the strange power of her presence washed over me. Yet, she exuded a sense of warmth and safety that I clung desperately to.
“Yes, dear, you know me,” her voice was a soothing balm, calm washing over me like warm water. “You can trust me when I say this woman is not your enemy, but your friend. She wouldn’t hurt your daughter, but only came here to save both her, and you, from the forces of darkness that still hold sway over the portal in the ruins of your former home. Your grandmother brought her here at the bidding of that child who bears her name.” My confusion must have shown, because the smile grew even warmer and more indulgent. “Yes Alex, your daughter called out to your grandmother for help. Rose is a very special child, and the agents of the Dark Side would love nothing more than to sway her, just as they’ve tried with you. Trust this woman, Alex. Follow her away from here. San Francisco is no longer your home.”
And then, in the blink of an eye, she was gone. Turning back to face the scruffy blonde woman who held my daughter, I fought against the initial fear of facing down a hunting cougar. I studied her face, her animated, human face. She was watching me warily, but was distracted by Rose, who was babbling excitedly and cuddled tightly against her chest as if they’d always been in each other’s lives. My sweet Rose, who looked whole and healthy… and a little worried.
“Can -- May I have my daughter?” I murmured, arms stretching out toward my baby. The blonde moved slowly toward me and willingly handed my daughter into my arms. I couldn’t help myself from touching each and every little inch of Rose’s body, seeing for myself that she was whole and safe. “Thank you,” I finally murmured to the blonde woman. “I’m sorry about--”
“Think nothing of it,” she replied kindly. “You were hurt and confused. Your gramma led me right to where you both were, and you were definitely in danger. And that weird old man couldn’t protect you and fight that thing. So I did what I could and you’re both safe. That’s all that matters.”
“My grandmother?” I asked, as I shifted to let Rose begin to feed. “Did you know her?”
She shook her head. “Not until earlier today. She just kind of showed up in my gym, and scared the crap out of me.” The rolling, purring chuckle soothed me, as it was an endearing sound to match her engaging grin. The blue eyes flickered to my right, the smile gone wry. “First ghost I’ve ever seen.”
When I glanced over, I could see Gramma Rose standing there, with Julia at her side, as if they were both still alive. Tears burned under my eyelids at the sight of these two women that had meant so much to me.
“Trust her, Alex,” Julia murmured, a hand ghosting over my hair. “You know she’s safe if I can trust her.” I nodded slowly, feeling the bright smile spread across my face. “I’ve never been far away, Alex. Derek, Kristin, and I are taking care of the Portal now. It’s not your job anymore.”
“Alex, child, you listen to us now,” Gramma Rose soothed. “Follow Candace to the desert. Monica’s offer is what is needed for you and this child and your sunshine and shadows lover. San Francisco no longer holds sway over you, child. Live your life for you and your family, not for Derek. He understands.”
“She’s right, you know,” the cougar woman interrupted, causing me to look away from Gramma Rose and Julia. “Your daughter is special and she needs to be near people who can take care of her. My friends and I can do that. Even the old man on the island thinks so.”
“Old man on the island?” Rachel queried, abruptly reminding me she was still here.
“Yeah, good looking in that inbred European kind of way, had a weird accent. There was a blonde with him, looked like she seriously needed to get laid. And this sexy little brunette who kept hovering over Alex here. They were the ones who kept that thing at bay while Gramma guided me to where Alex and the baby were.” The twist of fear and distaste on the expressive face humanized her even further. “Whatever the hell was after the two of you was… well, it was indescribable. Thank god for Sentinel instincts,” the grin was indulgence and delight as she gestured to the busily feeding Rose. “And me and the pup here kicked its ass and it crawled away. Damn good juju in junior there. But you knew that.”
“Thank you,” I murmured softly, gazing fondly at my daughter, and letting the calm exuding from this woman settle over me again. Maybe it really was time to think about something other than the Legacy for once. Exhaustion swamped over me suddenly, like some medication had taken effect. Blinking blearily, I scooted down into the bed, and curled up with Rose for some healing sleep. Rachel and our new champion would watch over us.
++ Catherine ++
The whole damn hospital seemed to tremble in my wake as I stormed into the hospital, Puppy trailing uncertainly in my wake. I’d already chewed him out severely, even as I realized he was little more than an appetizer for my wrath. I was going to kill my Sentinel when I found her. Puppy had flirted the room number out of the duty nurse and timidly led me in that direction. The closer I got to the room, the stronger I felt Dace’s pull on my soul. It served as both balm and accelerant to my frazzled nerves.
Slamming the door open without bothering to knock, I stalked toward my partner. “What the fuck were you thinking, Candace Bogart?” I growled, feeling a momentary delight in the startled grimace on her face.
“Shh!” she hissed urgently, quickly slinking to my side. “I’m sorry, Catherine, but they’ve just barely fallen asleep.”
“Excuse me?” The anger subsided a bit when she pointed to a mother and child passed out on the bed, and I frowned at the woman standing next to them. “Nicole? How did you get here so quickly?”
Confusion arched her eyebrows together. “Do I know you?”
“She’s not Nicole,” Dace spoke softly, doing her damnedest to soothe me. “Trust me, I tweaked when I first saw her myself.” My eyes narrowed at her, as I still vacillated wildly between conflicting emotions. “Cath, I realize that you’d rather kick my ass than care about this, but please, let’s go outside and leave them to their rest.”
Since she was right, I let her herd me out of the room after a quick goodnight and a promise to get in touch to Nicole’s doppelganger, fuming silently until we got in the elevator. The minute the doors slid closed, I turned on her, shoving her roughly against the wall. “What the fuck were you thinking? You couldn’t call and let me know what was going on? You just left the fucking state without a word? You had me worried half to death!”
The stress of my night had finally taken its toll as tears burned hot and heavy in my eyes, making my throat and chest ache. It was as inevitable as the tide, this release as I grew close enough to her to feel the presence of her in my soul. Tired, stressed and light-headed with relief, I gripped her ribs and sobbed quietly, part of me still perversely wanting to fight the strength of her embrace. Part of me wanted to tell her to fuck off and take her damned Sentinel-Guide bond and shove it up her ass. But I couldn’t.
Slapping hard at her, I growled, “God you suck! I can’t even stay mad at you.” It wasn’t much of a threat, all broken up with my half-hysterical sobs, but the magic of her calmly beating of heart was working its magic.
“I’m sorry, Catherine,” Dace purred at her most tender as she gently stroked my back. “I don’t think I can apologize enough for this. But I had to go.”
“Why?” I croaked, clearing my throat, but I didn’t move from my position.
“The baby in there? She’s a Guide, Catherine.”
That pulled me up short and all of my anger dissipated. “Are you sure?” She gave me that ‘duh’ look that Lindsey was so good at, and I found myself smiling. “Okay, you’re sure. But how did you know to come here?”
“Would you believe her great-grandmother’s ghost came to get me? Scared the ever-lovin’ shit out of me, but I got over it because I knew I had to save them. I can’t describe the creepy thing that was after them, but Rose and I stopped it. Well, maybe not stopped it, but we kicked its ass and it ran home with its tail between its legs. Felt like I was cast in the latest Stephen King novel.”
It was always like this, the push and pull of our strong personalities. Somehow it always worked out, no matter the problems that crossed our path. Chuckling away the last of my stress, totally charmed by her feral pleasure in conquest of the Stephan King monster, I kissed her chin and queried, “ So now you can come home?” The grin faded. “Dace?”
“I can’t, not yet,” she sighed and ran a hand absently through her hair. “They’re not safe here, Cath. They need to come back to Vegas, and I can’t leave without them.”
An echo of her sigh echoed up from my chest and I studied her face closely for a long moment. “What is it with you and picking up strays?” I teased, trying to keep my voice lighter than I really felt. This was a pain in the ass, but I wouldn’t be separated from her again.
“It got you in my life, didn’t it?” she retorted with a cocky grin. In the space between one heartbeat and the next, her posture softened and she nuzzled at me. “I won’t be separated from you either. I’m so sorry I freaked you out. It wasn’t intentional. I think I didn’t feel the loss of our connection because of the adrenaline and the need to find them.”
“How long?” I whispered, arms tightening around her waist, not willing to let her go.
A wordless grumble was answer enough, the sound exasperated and frustrated. The answer was a long, deep kiss that left me breathless and completely confused as to why I’d been so damn angry with her. “I don’t expect it’ll be long,” Dace murmured throatily, barely letting me gasp in a much-needed breath. “Alex is already feeling anxious about being here. I can sense it in her. And Rose took to me like I was her mom or something. It was so cool. When I was searching for her, she wasn’t there, like she was invisible or something. Honestly, I practically stepped on her before I saw her. And yeah, she was freaked, but I purred at her and she just latched on to me and wouldn’t let go.”
“Really?” I asked with a playful smirk. “Should I be jealous?” The doors opened before she could reply, and I led her out into the cool night air. It sent a shiver down my spine that had Dace’s arms wrapped around me again. We stood there in companionable silence and stared up at the sliver of moon suspended in the sky. “You know the moon will be dark in a couple of days. Under normal circumstances, you’d be pretty hormonal right about now.”
“I keep forgetting I’m pregnant,” she replied sheepishly. “And I know I shouldn’t have endangered myself or the bun, but this was important.”
“I know, Dace.” We once again fell into that comfortable calm that our bond had created. My anxiety continued to bleed off, and I grabbed for my vibrating phone. “Willows.”
“Did you find her?” Dana’s familiar voice asked dryly.
“Yes, obnoxiously, she’s just fine,” I replied waspishly, leaning my head to the side to let Dace nuzzle at my neck. “And I’m assuming the women she saved are Monica’s friends. I didn’t get a very good look at them yet, as I was more than a little pissed.” Her sympathetic chuckle echoed across the connection. “Looks like we’ll be here a little while yet. I’m about ready to drop, and I’m sure Dace isn’t much better. Can you let Anastasia and Sara know we’re okay? I think we’re gonna hit the hotel and get some sleep. I’ll call you once we wake up and know a little more of what’s going on.” A few more pleasantries were exchanged before the call ended, and I turned in Dace’s arms to face her. “Sylvia gave us the penthouse suite to use while we’re here.”
She grimaced at that. “Oh, she’s gonna take this out of Puppy’s hide, isn’t she? I need to talk to her, tell her he was acting on my orders. She can take it out of my hide.”
“Like hell she will!” I retorted vehemently. “Not while you’re pregnant!”
Dace silenced me with another kiss. “Sleep, Catherine,” she murmured with a lopsided grin. “We can fight in the morning.”