A Return to Faith. A Return to Avalon.

Chapter 7

Saturday October 14th, 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada
Timber Rose Drive
O’Brian and Phillips Residence
1:36 p.m.

Billy and Elaine both had the life scared out of them when they were woken by a rather blood curdling scream the early hours of September 30th. They had figured out later that Sara had been in the midst of a nightmare about her childhood, more and more coming to haunt her the longer her pregnancy progressed and her fears about her own ability to raise children came into play. As luck would have it, just as a rather…painful memory of her childhood surfaced in the dream, the first major contraction hit resulting in the rude awakening for those in the house…and the neighbors.

Just over twenty-four hours later, those from the Vegas Crime Lab had arrived after shift to see how she and babies were doing, Rebecca had arrived and Juli and Jasmine were on a plane headed towards Vegas. The only person not notified of the birth of Sara’s daughters was Elizabeth, though Elaine had set to work in that regard, making the necessary call to the contact person to get a message to Avalon…both to inform them of Sara’s daughters, and to ask that they contact Elizabeth and tell her.

The girls came home just a week and a half later, and just shy of their two-week birthday…their last godmother came home too.

“Beccs, get that please,” Sara called when the doorbell rang. She was in the midst of changing her youngest's diaper.

"Got it, Girlie," Rebecca called back before making her way to the front door, for a moment she just stared at the other person before realization kicked into her sleep and coffee deprived brain. "Dear God, it's a freakin' miracle... But what the hell are you wearing?" she continued with a frown.

“They were clothes the last time I looked,” Elizabeth said as she looked down at her attire before looking back up at Rebecca.

"Girlie! You're accent's back," Rebecca grinned; her accent hadn't been as thick as it was now since she was going to Oxford a decade before. "And of course they are, but you gotta admit, most people would think you lost your way from a Renaissance Faire, Chica," she smiled. "Hey, youze guys, get your butts out here! Betsy's back!" she yelled into the house before cringing as everyone yelled at her to shut up before she made one of the babies cry. "Ooops."

“Ye’ll never learn will you Beccs,” smiled Elizabeth. “Are ye going to let me in or are ye going to make me stand out here on the doorstep for the rest of my visit?”

"What's the fun in learning?" Rebecca smiled, "And get your butt in here, I want a hug, Missy. You've been gone for six months," she stepped back only to pull Elizabeth into a tight embrace. "Missed you like hell, Girlie. We all have."

“I know and I’m sarry bout that,” Elizabeth replied.

"You had your reasons," Jasmine spoke up from behind Rebecca before taking her turn to get a hug.

"Ya'll better move I want a hug too," Juli ordered lightly before taking her turn. "Girl, Sara's not going to let you go, you realize that when she gets you in a hug," she teased. "You look good, Girl," she added looking Elizabeth up and down. "England's been good to you."

“It was good to be home again,” Elizabeth said. “It’s what I needed.”

"Tha's good to hear," Elaine smiled when she joined them. "Let the girl breathe, ya three," she ordered lightly before taking their place in front of Elizabeth. "We've missed ye little one, but ya needed the time we know."

“Elaine,” Elizabeth greeted. “I owe you an apology…”

"For what little one?" Elaine asked with a frown.

“I lost my faith in you, in the Mother Goddess…I let my own fears and past color my judgment…”

"Oh Elizabeth," Elaine sighed, "Nay little one, ye do na owe me an apology. We failed ye, ye did na fail us in tha."

"Betsy?" Sara called before Elaine moved aside and gave Sara a clear path to her. "Oh Bets," she stopped and smiled, giving Elizabeth the option of making the first step.

“Hallo,” Elizabeth said quietly, a note of uncertainty in her voice.

Sara smiled before crossing the room and pulling Elizabeth into a hug. "Welcome home," she whispered in her ear.

“More then ye know,” Elizabeth whispered back.

"Good," Sara smiled before stepping back. "Come on, you have to meet your goddaughters."

“Daughters? As in two girls?” asked Elizabeth in shock. “The Goddess has been kind to ye, Cassie.”

"Aye, tha she has," Elaine agreed with a smile, though Elizabeth noticed a slightly sad tilt to it. "Cume, ya 'ave ta see them while they're still asleep and angels."

Sara led them up the stairs, leaving the three who had long since met their goddaughters downstairs to finish watching the news, and down the hall to the nursery decorated with butterflies and fairies. Inside Billy was sitting in a rocking chair, holding one of the girls while her sister slept in her crib.

"Welcome home, Betsy," Billy smiled before carefully rising. "This is Dierdra Eowyn," he continued letting Elizabeth take her goddaughter.

"And this is Catriona Arwen," Sara continued, as she lifted her second daughter from her crib. Both had baby blonde hair and Dierdra at least, had bright blue eyes that she was looking up at Elizabeth with.

“They’re beautiful,” Elizabeth said quietly, not wanting to upset the twins.

"Thank you," Sara smiled. "You're just in time you know, for their christening."

“Well, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, am I,” Elizabeth smiled, deciding to elaborate a little more when she saw the looks of confusion on both Billy and Sara’s faces. “Not if I live across town at any rate.”

"What?" Sara asked shocked. "Bets you are so explaining that one…after I get that one to sleep," she nodded towards Dierdra, "and this one," she added looking at Billy, "to eat something."

“Well then, why don’t I let you get to work on that and I’ll go drive Beccs crazy with my non-traditional attire,” Elizabeth laughed.

"Go for it," Sara smiled as Billy took Dierdra back. "It's good to have you home, Bets..."

“It’s good te be home, Cass,” Elizabeth smiled before turning and making her way out of the room and back down to where everyone else was gathered. “Anything of interest happening?” she asked as she stood in the doorway to the living room.

"Not on TV," Jasmine shrugged. "We're trying to figure out where to get take-out from tonight, Sara's not been up to cooking the last few days, Beccs we all know can't cook worth crap, Jules and I are out of ideas...and we need to find something that might tempt Billy boy into eating..."

“Well, I’m probably not going to be much help as I have no idea what kind of take out is around here having spent the past six months in a small cottage in the south of England,” Elizabeth said as she walked into the room undoing the red and black lanyard cord that tied her cloak, which was a dark gray-purple color with a metallic blue and red floral trim that was about an inch and a half wide. As she pulled the cloak from her shoulders her dress was revealed. Her top dress was made of a medium weight dark green cotton while the under dress was a pale green light weight cotton with a satin sheen. The dress had a scooped neckline that was notched at the center front and crossed with dark leather cords that went horizontally across the bust and entered through what appeared to be hand-sewn eyelets. There was a vine, scrolling embroidery in pale green that framed the neckline and circled the wrists. The sleeves of her dress had vertical, elliptical slits cut around the arm just above her elbow, about mid-way between her elbow and her shoulder, showing the pale green under-dress bunching horizontally underneath. The sleeves fit tight down her arms to her wrists where they flared away just slightly to reveal the green lining. The underside of the wrists were shorter than the outside, ending just level with her wrist bone and coming nearly to her knuckles on the outside. Around her hips was a brown leather tooled belt. As she walked a pair of brown leather shoes could be seen peaking out under her skirt. The front pieces of her hair were pulled back in braids with small flowers tucked into them.

"Did you get lost in a movie girl?" Rebecca teased.

“Excuse me?” asked Elizabeth in confusion as she took a seat in one of the chairs, tucking her feet up under herself.

"Youze look like you just walked out of Narnia," she smiled.

“Did it never even occur to ye that the costume designer might just be one of us?” teased Elizabeth.

"You're kidding?"

Elizabeth merely raised an eyebrow in response.

"Don't you know by now that Priestesses and Druids have jobs just like anyone else?" Jasmine teased.

"Oh, you have to be kidding me," Juli groaned, drawing their attention back to her and the TV.

"What?"

"What are you freaking over, Girlie?"

"Did you see the news?" Juli asked rolling her eyes. This woman was killed and they're saying that she was a "living Saint who could raise the dead."

"You're kidding me right?" Jasmine rolled her eyes. "If she could raise the dead, why is she dead?"

“She has a point ye know,” agreed Elizabeth.

"Who?" Rebecca asked confused.

“Jazzy does Beccs,” Elizabeth said rolling her eyes. “If the woman could raise the dead, then why is she the one that’s dead?”

"You're saying you don't believe that it's possible?" Rebecca asked surprised.

“I’m not saying a soul cannot return to this earth, but I don’t believe you can raise someone from the dead. It goes against the laws of the Goddess, otherwise we would have been able to raise one of the greatest Kings England ever saw from the dead,” Elizabeth said.

"You have to wonder though...would Arthur have made things right had he lived, or merely fallen further away from Avalon?" Billy spoke up from the doorway.

"We're talking 'bout a man dead some many hundreds of years?" Rebecca teased. "Seriously need for you guys to get someone a bit closer to today to be referring to?"

“Who’s to say his soul does not live on today?” asked Elizabeth curiously.

"And on that same note... you do realize that both Catholicism and Christianity follow a man who died before Arthur was even born," Jasmine smirked.

"Jules... they're pointing out problems in my thought process," Rebecca whined.

"Hey, I'm not getting in the middle of this discussion. I'm just thinking it's ridiculous about the now dead 'living saint'."

"I think I missed something," Sara mused having just entered the room. "Who's a living saint and how did they die?"

"This dead chick who supposedly raised the dead...they don't know how she's dead yet...going to be interesting to find out though," Juli smirked.

"Interesting," Sara nodded slowly. "What do you say we skip the theological discussion and get something to eat?"

“Sounds good to me, I’m famished,” commented Elizabeth.

"Thank God, one person is besides me," Sara chuckled.

“You try taking a transatlantic flight and find out you can’t eat what they’re serving,” laughed Elizabeth.

"Why couldn't you eat what they were serving?" Rebecca frowned as everyone rose, Sara disappearing upstairs to get her two in carriers, both still asleep.

“I’ve been eating nothing but fresh and homemade foods for six months Beccs. My stomach revolted at the thought of eating reheated food like products,” explained Elizabeth.

"Anything in particular sound appetizing after six months of homemade food?" Juli spoke up.

“As long as it’s not deep fried, reheated or overly spicy, I’m good,” Elizabeth said.

"Steak?" Jasmine suggested.

“Sounds delicious,” agreed Elizabeth. “I’m sure my doctor will be on my case for the weight I lost while I was in England.”

"Yer doctor? Ya got ta deal with Sara and I first," Elaine countered with a knowing smirk.

“I ain’t tha thin, Elaine,” argued Elizabeth.

"Any thinner and ye'd be competing with our Sara for title o' who was the smallest, and she was the smallest forever and a day," Elaine sighed, sending a glance Sara's way as she came back downstairs

"Hey, I can't help that I have a horribly fast metabolism..."

“An I can’t help it if eating nothing but fresh foods and riding and walking everyday for six months made me lose tha weight,” argued Elizabeth.

"I swear I hate you two, you have no trouble with your weight," Rebecca grumbled.

"You do realize half the issue with your weight is the birth control right?" Sara teased as she joined them with the girls.

"No offence, Girlies, but I like my sex and I don't want to deal with the kids dat are a part of dat just yet.

“A little too much information there, Beccs,” Elizabeth laughed.

"Way too much information," Juli agreed. "So, we've decided on steak...what's the best place in this town, Sar?"

"Ruth's Chris Steak House," she suggested. "Which hey, I vote for them...I'm seriously craving a Creme Brulëe for desert."

“As long as it’s properly cooked food and I wasn’t the one cooking it, it works for me,” agreed Elizabeth.

"To Ruth's we go," Billy smiled before opening the door so everyone could pile out to figure out who was carpooling with who and get on their way.


Saturday October 28th, 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada
West Charleston Blvd
Luciano Residence
9:15 a.m.

Two weeks after Elizabeth arrived in Vegas, Sara finally found herself on her friend’s doorstep. The others had stayed a week longer before heading home, then with Elizabeth settling into her new job and such, and doctor’s appointments and everything else, this was the first morning she could head over to Elizabeth’s apartment, leaving the girls in Billy and Elaine’s capable hands.

“Cassie?” Elizabeth asked in surprise when she opened the door to find her best friend on the other side.

"Good morning," Sara smiled.

“What are you doing here?”

"Can't a woman come visit her oldest girlfriend without a reason?" she teased, "I stole some time for myself. Billy's out cold after the latest treatment and Elaine declared she wanted the girls. So I figured I'd come see how you were doing settling in, and then have to head over and give poor Isolde and Tristan some exercise while I have a chance."

“Ah,” replied Elizabeth.

"So..." Sara drew out. "How are you?"

“I’m fine,” Elizabeth said.

"Good," Sara nodded. "Can I steal your bathroom, Bets?" she asked with a smile.

Oh! Of course,” Elizabeth said as she stepped back to allow Sara to pass.

"Thank you," Sara chuckled. "Love the place, Girl."

“Thanks,” Elizabeth said a hint of self-consciousness in her voice.

"You're welcome," Sara smiled before pointing towards one side of the house then the other, "Where's..." she trailed off.

“Straight back then a right,” Elizabeth said.

"Thanks," Sara called over her shoulder as she headed off that direction.

As Sara made her way towards the bathroom, Elizabeth went back into the kitchen and continued what she was doing when Sara showed up at her door, getting her kitchen organized.

"Hi," Sara greeted when she came back, "need help?"

“I’m good,” Elizabeth said. “Can I get you anything to drink? I’m afraid I don’t have a lot right now seeing as I haven’t had the chance to get to the store yet this week.”

“I'm fine and it's no biggie,” she shrugged. “How are you liking this insanely hot place?”

“It’ll take some getting used to,” Elizabeth admitted. “Especially after years in Seattle and the past six months in England.”

"Yeah, I remember coming from Frisco...I thought I was going to die," Sara smiled. "How was England? As wet as always?"

“Of course. It was nice. And you forget I come from a wet city.”

"I can never forget, Seattle's about as close as we're going to get to Avalon from here..."

“Yes, it is,” Elizabeth said quietly.

"Miss it?" Sara asked softly, not referring to Seattle and knowing Elizabeth would know that.

“I didn’t want to leave,” Elizabeth replied.

"I know," she smiled sadly. "Coming back here...to the 'real world' as they refer to it...it's not the real world to any of us. You could have stayed you know..."

“I was not allowed to remain on the island. The Lady would not allow it. She said my place was out here,” Elizabeth said.

"Hell," Sara whispered. "I'm sorry, Bets..."

Elizabeth let out a sarcastic laugh. “Don’t be. I’ve come to expect it,” she said, a note of sadness in her voice. “I’ve come to accept that I’m not…nevermind.”

"That you're not what?" Sara pressed. "Not special?"

“Not wanted,” Elizabeth said, wiping away a few tears, grateful she still had her back to Sara.

"Oh Bets...you've always been wanted. You're the one they trust..."

“They don’t trust me, Cass, and they don’t want me. The Lady made that very clear when she refused me sanctuary on Avalon,” Elizabeth said as she leant against the sink for a moment.

"Oh Bets...that's not it. I know it's not," Sara sighed as she moved to sit next to her. "They just aren't letting you take the easy way out. They trust you more than anyone else, that's why they gave you the choice of when to continue your training, if you want to continue your training. The rest of us don't get that choice, we are told when, and we can either say yes or leave all together. You get to make your own choices girl..."

“And if my choice is to remain on Avalon where I feel safe and protected what then?” demanded Elizabeth as she threw down the item in her hand and stalked out of the kitchen.

Sighing, Sara rose and followed after her, "Bets... they aren't doing this to destroy you..."

“How would you know?” Elizabeth demanded as she spun to face Sara. “You have no idea what I’ve lived through. Avalon and the Goddess were the only things to see me through it and now they’re turning their backs on me.”

"Betsy," Sara sighed softly. "I don't pretend to understand what you lived through, just as you don't pretend to know what I've lived through or any of the others have. The Goddess wouldn't turn her back on you, nor would Avalon. But they also don't let us simply run from things we are meant to face..."

“And if I’m tired of facing them?” Elizabeth countered.

"Then we have to ask Her for the strength to face them...or," Sara trailed off.

“I face it everyday in my job, Cass, it’s part of why I moved here,” Elizabeth sighed as she rubbed her face. “I can’t face the children anymore.”

"Bets...what if you take a break, maybe go into another branch of law?"

“As I said, it’s part of why I moved here. The Las Vegas D.A.’s office offered me the opportunity to try all kinds of cases, not just the ones involving child victims,” Elizabeth said.

"That's good," Sara nodded. "I'm here, Bets, you ever need to talk, vent, yell, rant or rave...you know I am."

“I know,” Elizabeth said.

"Good...Bets?"

“Yes?”

"What was the other part of the reason?"

“It doesn’t really matter now,” Elizabeth said with a small shrug.

"What doesn't matter?"

“The other reason why I moved here,” Elizabeth said. “It’s not important anymore.”

"Elizabeth Luciano...don't shut me out now."

“I’m not shutting you out, Cass. The reason really doesn’t matter anymore,” Elizabeth replied sadly.

"If it didn't matter, you wouldn't be upset about it, therefore it matters," she countered softly.

“It doesn’t matter because it just goes right along with everything else in my life that’s gone wrong alright?” Elizabeth countered angrily as she walked to the window. “This is just one more instance of the Goddess showing me that what I want doesn’t matter,” she snapped before continuing her voice dropping almost to a whisper. “I never should have come back here. I should have just stayed living in exile in England. At least it didn’t hurt so much there.”

"Betsy...please, tell me what it is that is brothering you," Sara begged.

“You wouldn’t understand,” Elizabeth said quietly.

"Try me..."

“Elaine.”

"What about Elaine?"

“She’s the other reason. I knew she was coming here before she told us,” Elizabeth said.

"You did?" Sara frowned.

“I did. The priestess in charge of my clan in Seattle told me. It was about the same time the job offer came through,” Elizabeth said.

"You wanted to be here with Elaine?"

“Elaine is the only mother I’ve known for a long time, Cass, since I barely remember my own and I thought…I don’t know what I thought other than the fact that I would finally get to be the one she wanted to train, to spend time with and then you and Billy announce you’re moving back here and once again Elizabeth is shoved back into the shadows. Why do you think I went to England in the first place?”

"Oh Betsy," Sara sighed. "I've never tried to take her from you, and you know she's always wanted to train you...it's never been a question of wanting to train one of us over the other. But I'm so sorry that it feels like I'm putting you in the background..." she trailed off, unsure what else to say.

“Forget about it, Cass. I’m used to it after all. I’ve spent my life being ignored or shoved into the background as if I was of no use to anyone,” Elizabeth said, wiping away a few more tears. “I almost didn’t come back at all, even after I got the Lady’s message about the birth of your twins. I was prepared to lose myself forever where I was.”

"Bets...I don't know if it will make a difference... but you're the one they trust. You're the one they have faith in, that's why they treat us differently. They treat us differently because in the last life, you were faithful, you were true...and I turned my back on Avalon's wishes and plans, I destroyed too many things, hell my choices led to us nearly loosing the Holy Regalia...That's why they treat you and I differently...they aren't giving me a chance to make the same choices..."

“Excuse me?” asked Elizabeth in confusion, finally turning back to Sara.

"You don't remember the details of our last life...I kinda assumed you hadn't all these years...it was the first time you and I met," Sara began softly.

“Our last life?”

"This isn't our first life, you know that Bets," Sara teased lightly. "The last one we lived, well, I'm taking a guess it might be your last as they are treating you as they are based on the events of the one that was my last. It was the first time we met you and I. And when it was over, I at least, remained in slumber for fourteen centuries until our souls were born again, you as Elizabeth, me as Cassara...and I know I'm not making much sense, am I?"

“Actually you are, in a strange way,” Elizabeth admitted.

"Oh good," Sara giggled. "We were Priestesses you and I, Bets, you were older than me, and took a vow of silence. You held to it until your dying day, and you died while giving me the help to keep the Christian Priests from having the Holy Regalia. But you were loyal; you were true. And they are rewarding you for that by letting you make your own choices. My punishment is to watch over my shoulder every step of the way. Although I honestly doubt I'm going to turn around after finding out I'm pregnant, run off have the child, give up any control I would have over the child's father and disappear into the Fairy land for a few years again," she chuckled. "Though I can imagine Rebecca doing that..."

“Excuse me?”

"I'm rambling, aren't I?" Sara sighed. "I so need sleep, and that alone is scary to hear out of my mouth," she shook her head. "The Lady Morgaine, Love...you know her story and that of Lady Raven, Arthur and the others..."

“Who doesn’t know the story of Arthur and Morgaine, especially those of our faith,” Elizabeth said rolling her eyes.

"Raven was loyal and true, until the very end, even when fear could have paralyzed her. She died helping Morgaine save the Holy Regalia..." Sara trailed off, not exactly coming out and saying what she was implying.

“You make me sound like a faithful lap dog,” Elizabeth sneered.

Sara couldn't help but chuckle, "That so didn't come out right...I was trying to find a way for you to figure it out without me actually saying ‘oh hey, guess what, you were the Lady Raven...’ I think I could have been in trouble for that somehow..."

“I already knew I had lived before. It’s part of why I returned from my self-imposed exile. Something drew me back here and it wasn’t you, Elaine or my job either,” Elizabeth said.

"Perhaps it's who you've been meant to find?" Sara suggested with a sigh.

“I have my doubts about that but I’ll just have to wait and see since I can’t seem to get answers out of anyone about what I see.”

"If I knew anything, or saw anything...you know I'd tell you..."

“I don’t think you’d see this. It seems rather personal,” Elizabeth said.

"Well then, I guess I can just be here and offer chocolate and chick flicks when you need a good cry," Sara shrugged.

“I guess so.”

"Want me to go away for the day and see you in a day or two?" Sara asked with a smile.

“Would you mind? After six months in isolation I’m used to being alone all the time and not used to company.”

"No problem," Sara smiled. "You’re invited to dinner in a week, Sunday night. Or the next Sunday or the next... whenever you want to come okay?"

“I’ll see,” Elizabeth replied quietly.

"Good, well you know that the offer is there and I'm a call away if you ever want to chat or anything," Sara continued as she made her way towards the front door. "Love you, Bets, you know that right?"

“I know,” Elizabeth said.


Friday April 13th, 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada
Timber Rose Drive
O’Brian and Phillips Residence
10:15 a.m.

Two days had passed since Sara sat by Billy and held his hand as he finally slipped into the next life. She had immediately called Elaine, who called the others and contacted Avalon, while she stayed until they took him down to the morgue. Only then had she left, and began the arrangements necessary to take his body to Cambridge for burial. The others had arrived Thursday morning, and a small memorial service was planned for there in Vegas, a chance for the Priestesses and Maidens in Vegas who knew him to say their farewells and prayers for his journey, and for those from the lab who knew him through Sara to say goodbye for her sake and the friendships they had formed as well.

She knew she no doubt surprised those she had once worked with, when they were told to not wear black, and arrived to find no one even looked as if they were in mourning, none of the traditional black clothing. It was a celebration of life...a chance to sit and talk and remember times past. Sara, Jasmine, Rebecca and Elaine told stories, shared memories. Only Elizabeth was quiet in that regard, but she had arrived last and they didn't push. Halfway during the gathering Nick had seen her across the room, and as the Priestesses and Maidens made their way from the house, leaving just the CSIs and the remaining members of the Six Musketeers and Elaine there with the twins, he made his way over to her side.

“What are you doing here?” Nick asked quietly as he took up a position next to Elizabeth in the corner behind where everyone was sitting.

“Me? What are you doing here?” countered Elizabeth, just as quietly.

"Betsy! Has youze met Sara's friend Nick?" Rebecca asked as she walked over. "I mean I know dat with work and everything and Billy...well, Sar, hasn't exactly been having grand get togethers over the last months to introduce youze to the people she knew in Vegas... Which really dat is a bit of a pain, aint' it?"

"Beccs...you've had too much to drink," Sara sighed as she joined them before carefully steering her away. "Can I get you guys anything?" she asked looking back at them. "And Nick this is Bets, Bets this is Nick. Though you might have met through work already..." she trailed off as she continued to push Rebecca towards where Jasmine was shaking her head.

“We kind of already know each other,” Elizabeth admitted.

“You could say they know each other all right,” commented Greg. “You hardly ever see one without the other these days.”

"Really?" Rebecca's head shot up. "Oh does dis mean I get to interrogate her?"

"No!" Jasmine and Sara yelled before shaking their heads. "We need to seriously get coffee in you girl," Jasmine continued with a sigh before taking control of the smaller woman and pushing her towards the kitchen.

"I'm still trying to figure out where she got alcohol from..." Sara sighed as she sunk into the couch.

"Uhh..." Greg looked around. "I didn't know she wasn't supposed to have it..."

Elaine and Sara both laughed before Sara waved her hand, "It's okay, Greggo, she just can't handle her alcohol very well in large amounts. And tends to drink a lot under stress...Beccs drinks, Jazzy shops, Jules rides. I clean...and Bets rides too... we're all interesting," she shrugged. "Now you know for next time, keep the alcohol away from her...you should have seen us in college when she had a breakup..."

"Hey! Those were horrible moments!" Rebecca yelled from the kitchen. "Oh...babies are sleeping, aren't they?" she continued a few notches lower.

"You'll thank me for this later," Jasmine told her before grabbing the frying pan from the counter and smacking the back of Rebecca's head. "Ooops!" she called, "Sar, I accidentally dropped the frying pan on Beccs' head...I need a hand getting her up to a bedroom..."

"Oh, by the Goddess," Sara sighed before rising and heading towards the kitchen, most everyone following to help and make sure Rebecca was still breathing, leaving Nick and Elizabeth alone for the moment.

“So you’re the infamous Bets then,” Nick said with a smile.

“Yeah,” Elizabeth said quietly.

“Are you okay?” he asked in concern as he gently brushed her hair behind her ear.

“I’m fine,” Elizabeth replied, trying desperately not to pull away from Nick’s gentle touch. “I’m just feeling a little weird is all. I haven’t been over here all that often and with losing Billy…”

“I know,” said Nick as he pulled Elizabeth close, feeling her tense in his arms.

Elizabeth took some deep breaths and forced herself to relax in Nick’s arms, fighting the urge to run and accepting his comfort.

"Okay, I have to ask," Sara began when she entered the room a few minutes later. "How did I miss this?" she teased with a smile.

“You’ve never had us in the same room together?” asked Nick as he pulled back from Elizabeth, keeping one arm around her shoulders.

"True," she nodded. "So please, share the good memories…how did you two meet in the first place? Was it work related or did you say…run into each other at the supermarket?" she smiled as she sunk back onto the couch.

“A little bit of both actually,” Elizabeth admitted as the others started coming back into the living room, Elaine sitting down next to Sara.


Flashback

“I’m here to see Catherine Willows,” Elizabeth said as she stopped in front of the receptionist.

“Your name please?” asked the receptionist.

“Elizabeth Luciano.”

“Thank you. If you’ll just have a seat I’ll let her know you’re here,” the receptionist said.

“Thank you,” Elizabeth said as she turned away from the desk only to crash into someone, knocking something from their hands in the process.

“Whoa careful,” he said as she grabbed Elizabeth’s arms to steady her.

“I am so sorry,” Elizabeth said as she knelt down to help him pick up what she’d knocked from his hands. “Impossible,” she whispered in shock when something flashed before her eyes when she caught sight of his arms as he helped her pick up all the papers before the two of them stood back up.

“What’s impossible?” he asked, having caught her whispered words a moment earlier.

At the man’s words Elizabeth looked up and found herself gazing into a very familiar set of chocolate brown eyes as her current surroundings faded around her and she was drawn into the images before her.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” he asked in concern when Elizabeth didn’t answer and quickly grabbed a hold of her as she started to sway slightly, only to pick her up as her body seemed to start to collapse and carefully set her down on the seats in the waiting room, sitting down beside her, not wanting to leave her alone given her current state.

“Nick? What happened?” asked Catherine in concern as she entered the waiting room just as Nick picked Elizabeth up and set her on the seats.

“I don’t know, Cath, one minute she’s apologizing for walking into me and helping me pick up the file and the next she’s looking at me and then her eyes glaze over and she collapses,” Nick explained.

"I would think you’d be used to women falling at your feet by now, Nicky?" Catherine teased lightly.

“Very funny, Cath,” Nick said.

“What happened?” asked a quiet voice from beside Nick.

“That’s what we’d like to know, Elizabeth,” commented Catherine as she sat down on Elizabeth’s other side. “Nick says you seemed to space out there for a minute. Is everything alright?”

“Yeah,” Elizabeth replied quietly after a brief pause. “I didn’t have anything for breakfast and I hardly ate anything yesterday either,” she said by way of explanation, not quite sure herself what had happened.

“Well, why don’t we have breakfast while we go over the evidence for the case,” Catherine suggested. “My treat.”

“Sounds good,” agreed Elizabeth.

“You’re welcome to join us, Nicky, you’re just as involved in this case as I am,” Catherine said.

“Sure why not,” agreed Nick, a feeling of protectiveness over Elizabeth coming over him, though he could not explain where the feeling came from or why he suddenly felt the way that he did.

“Then I guess I should probably introduce the two of you properly,” Catherine said. “Elizabeth this is Nick Stokes, one of my colleagues and Nick this is Elizabeth Luciano, Vegas’ newest A.D.A and the prosecutor on our case.”

“Nice to meet you,” Elizabeth said. “And sorry about my fainting spell earlier and for walking into you.”

“It’s nice to meet you too, Elizabeth, and don’t worry about it,” Nick said. “Let me just grab my jacket and we can go grab that food Catherine was talking about,” he said getting up.

“You okay to wait here while I grab my purse?” Catherine asked in concern.

“I’ll be fine,” Elizabeth said as Catherine rose. “Mother Goddess what is going on?” she asked quietly as she watched Catherine leave, only to have Nick and then Catherine rejoin her a few minutes later as they all headed out to breakfast.


"That is an interesting way to meet..." Jasmine smiled, Sara and Elaine were sharing a 'look' before Elaine spoke up.

"Very interesting, but I'm glad tha ya 'ave found each other."

“So, now it’s our turn,” Greg said. “How did you meet Elizabeth?”

Sara glanced at Jasmine and Elizabeth and laughed. "Go to the mantle and grab that picture on the left."

Greg shrugged before heading to grab the picture. "Graduation picture?" he asked as he turned to look back at them, frame in hand.

"Mm hmm, third from the left, next to me," Sara smirked.

"Wait a minute? Is this...hey, you two went to college together?" Greg asked looking up at Elizabeth.

"Darling, college for us was the beginning of life," Jasmine spoke up with a smile. "We met, lived, thrived, and formed the six musketeers at Harvard."

“One for all and all for one!" echoed down from above them, causing Sara, Jasmine, and Elizabeth to look at each other before they all started to laugh.

"Someday we have to record her when she's asleep to prove that she does talk," Jasmine shook her head.

“That is one weird woman," Catherine smiled. "So, you all met in college then?" she asked after a moment.

“We did,” agreed Elizabeth as Greg handed Nick the picture.

“I don’t mean to seem rude or anything, but exactly how old are all of you in this picture? You all look like you should be graduating from high school not Harvard.”

Sara laughed once more, Jasmine ending up on the floor from her chair as she laughed. "Greggo, we all aged very well...that picture was taken in '93. You should see some of the pics from our freshman year...then we look like we were graduating from high school..."

"You so didn't look like you were old enough to have finished high school," Jasmine countered.

"Hey! You didn't either," Sara shot back. "Only Bets and Beccs did..."

“Thanks, that doesn’t make me feel old at all,” countered Elizabeth sarcastically.

"Girl, you were sixteen when we met, if that makes you feel old, what does it make Sar? she was fifteen..."

"Now I feel exceptionally young," Sara groaned.

“Well, that explains it,” commented Catherine.

“What does it explain?” asked Nick curiously.

“I always wondered how someone as young as Elizabeth has gotten to where she is so quickly, no offense meant, Elizabeth,” Catherine said.

“None taken, Catherine,” Elizabeth replied. “I’m used to it. You should have seen the reaction of my professors at Cambridge when they learned they had an early twenty something in their law classes.”

“You went to school in England?” asked Greg, excitement in his voice. When Elizabeth nodded, he continued, “Then why don’t you have an accent?” he asked.

“Actually, Greg, I do,” Elizabeth said, letting her accent come through. “I tend to hide it while I’m at work tha way the defense can’t argue that they can’t understand what I’m saying.”

"Don't you love that accent," Jasmine smiled.

"Always have," Sara agreed as Elizabeth proceeded to toss a throw pillow at Jasmine

"Okay as Beccs would say, I'm not feeling the love here, why am I getting beat up and not her?" Jasmine teased.

"Cause she loves me more," Sara countered. "And she knows I'd throw back."

“Because Cass would challenge me to a duel and I’m not about to let her kick my butt after all this time,” Elizabeth laughed.

"Yes, I am the queen of fencing," Sara grinned; "Of course you could turn around and challenge me to a shoot off and beat my butt..." she sent Elizabeth a wink.

"And this is why the rest of us never got into fencing and archery with you two," Jasmine chuckled.

“Hey, we had to take our frustrations out somehow, now didn’t we?” commented Elizabeth. “And better that then on poor Epona and Isolde.”

"Exactly..." Sara smiled. "That reminds me...I need to start practicing again..."

"Okay, wait up...back up the formaldehyde," Greg held his hands up in a 'T'. "You fence? And you fence? And you both are archers? Now, I know why we never knew this about you, but how did we never know this about you, Mrs. Sidle-O'Brian?"

"How did that ever even come up as a conversation topic?" Sara rolled her eyes.

"Hey, you've done fencing…back when we had the case involving the Japanese not so antiques, you jumped half a foot when Griss pulled the sword out of the scabbard," Nick pointed out with a frown.

"And you didn't?" Sara countered rolling her eyes. "No offence, Gil, but I wasn't expecting that and had no idea what to expect from you with a sword in your hand. Of course I jumped. Now if you had turned the sword on me...I could have easily disarmed you. But that's a whole other matter altogether."

"None taken," Gil smiled. "And you did jump too, Nicky."

“Yeah, yeah,” commented Nick.

"Well," Sara sighed after a few moments of silence. "I hate to kick you guys out, but you have work tonight and we have a flight later tonight..."

“You’re right, we better get going,” Catherine said as she stood up.

“I’ll walk you guys out,” Elizabeth said as she stood up with Nick and the others.

“You gonna be okay tomorrow?” Nick asked in concern as he and Elizabeth stopped just outside the door as the others made their way to their cars.

“I’ll be fine,” Elizabeth said.

“Call me if you need anything,” Nick said.

“I will,” agreed Elizabeth as Nick leant forward and kissed her on the forehead before turning and heading over to where his car was parked, leaving Elizabeth alone to head back into the house.

"You two are cute," Sara spoke up when she entered the house. "Jazzy went up to get some sleep."

“Cute?” asked Elizabeth, uncertainty in her voice.

"Cute is a good thing, Bets," she teased. "Come, sit, relax."

“Alright,” Elizabeth agreed as she retook her seat on the couch, her posture showing how tense she was.

"Little one, we're na going ta try and kill ya," Elaine smiled softly. "We're happy for ye, Nicholas is a good man, and ya appear very well suited..."

"We are a bit concerned about the fainting thing... you okay?" Sara continued softly.

“I’m fine and as I said, I’d forgotten to eat that morning or the day before…”

"Elizabeth," Sara gave her 'the look'. "You don't faint, you don't faint if you haven't eaten in three days and counting. You're just as bad as me...you might have been able to get that one past Cath and the others who don't know you as well...but we're family, we know all your habits and sleeping and eating patterns and everything else."

"In other words, talk ta us please, Elizabeth," Elaine finished.

“It’s him,” Elizabeth said quietly as she looked at her hands. “

"Him?" Elaine asked.

“He had the serpents and I saw…I saw…” Elizabeth trailed off as her mind fought with the memories that were trying to surface.

Sara frowned, trying to remember if she had ever seen the serpents on Nick's arms, but knew that unlike Billy, he probably hadn't had his done again in this life. But if she saw them, then they must have been there once. "He's your soul mate?" she asked softly.

“I don’t know,” snapped Elizabeth in frustration. “I saw him but it wasn’t him and yet…”

"And yet ye 'ave seen him before, and feel safe in his arms in a way ye 'ave never felt with anyone else?" Elaine finished.

“I’ve never felt as safe with anyone as I do with him and yet I don’t understand. Elaine, what I saw…it doesn’t make sense,” Elizabeth said.

"Wha did ye see?"

“Before I looked into his eyes, I saw the golden serpents around his lower arms,” Elizabeth said.

"Ya saw wha yer mind remembers tha once marked his skin," Elaine smiled. "Yer soul recognized his before ya had a chance ta really look at him. Only a strong connection can do tha little one..."

“Is that what triggered the vision?” asked Elizabeth in confusion.

"Very likely," Elaine agreed. "I can na tell ye from me own experience, I never found anyone in this life who had been with me in the last. Only Sara has found in this life one who has shared another with her..."

"With Billy and I...neither of us knew until his Kingmaking Ceremony, we shared the vision that night...even I can't compare my experiences to yours," Sara shrugged. "But it's my belief Bets that each person is different, how their soul tells them that this is what they have been looking for...it's unique to that person or that couple. Your soul probably did recognize him and it caused the vision, the memories..."

“Is it possible to repeat lives with the same person? To share more than just one other lifetime with them?”

"I believe it is," Sara shrugged. "I know it is. This isn't my first life with Billy; it's not even my second. The second time around I screwed up royally and we never even got more than a moment's happiness. I don't think we're only allowed one or two lifetimes with someone if we're meant to find each other Bets...if you and Nick have spent one life together before, then you've probably spent many more than that..."

“I’ve seen three…or well, I don’t know exactly, everything flashed by so fast that day and…” Elizabeth sighed as she trailed off.

"If ya are meant ta know all the details, they'll present themselves again. For now...let them come ta ye little one."

“I think I need to lay down for a while,” Elizabeth said rubbing her face. “Today was more stressful than I thought. We all knew today was coming but add on everyone finding out about me and Nick and I just…”

"It's okay, Bets, you don't have to explain," Sara spoke up quickly. "Go get some rest, I'll wake you in time to get ready for the flight."

“Thanks,” Elizabeth replied quietly as she rose from her spot and made her way from the living room.

The two women watched her go before simultaneously sighing. "Why does it feel like the worst is yet to come?" Sara asked softly.

"Because ye are hurting and upset and frustrated and entirely too tired, Sara," Elaine countered softly. "Happy times are ahead little one, the Goddess has seen us through enough hardship. She would not put us through more."

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