By Azure Dragon Disclaimer: Kindred characters belong to show and so forth and etc. Prologue: Let me start out by saying that there is nothing remotely weird about my sister and I. We are the most average of people I have ever met. But when we came to San Francisco, things became extremely weird. The only way I can relate this to anyone is to tell you about what happened. Part One: Arrival It was raining when our bus pulled up into the main depot in the city of San Francisco. Vesper and I walked into the semi heated station and collectively sighed. Days ago we had packed up and left our home in Texas to come here. The lawyer that had been there to see us had said we had family in this city. I had no idea what he was talking about, but Vesper is the oldest and made the decision to leave. Not that it was easy for her mind you. I had less to loose then she did and I didn't ever think she would be so happy about it. "Okay," She said and looked at me with a huge smile, " Now we call for a cab and go meet this mystery uncle of ours." I stared into her dark black eyes and knew she was trying to hard. "What's wrong?" I asked and saw her blink at me. "Nora listen, I know that we rushed things but it's for the best." She said and I frowned at her. " What?" "You are miserable about leaving, I know it. So why did we leave?" She put on her sister face and I knew I had gone to far. " Don't you mind, just make the best of it." With that she picked up her two bags and went to a nearby payphone. I followed because I had to and for no other reason. Vesper took out her address book and flipped to the section under L. Glancing once at the number she dialed it one handed and put her book away. I tugged on her coat and she looked down. Covering the mouth piece to talk when she saw what I was pointing at. A man in a dark livery and a peaked cap was walking up. We both exchanged looks and she hung up. "Ms. Olivier?" He asked Vesper. " I am Hendrix, your uncle's driver." She arched a brow at him, " Driver?" Looking him over once she frowned, " How do I know that you're for real?" He produced a sealed envelope and gave her a chance to read it over. Handing the letter to me, Vesper grabbed my bags as he took hers and we left, I trailed them and read it over. The lawyer in Texas had informed our uncle of our arrival and hoped someone would meet us. There were pictures of us attached and his signature at the bottom. Once outside the driver deposited our bags in the back and held the door open for us. The limousine was spacious and warm compared to the damp outside. Vesper motioned for me to get in first and she followed. We pulled out and I saw the look on her face. "You don't trust something?" I asked. "Why wouldn't Mom say something about this?" She asked waving to the interior. " Why wouldn't Donny or one of the others?" I kept quiet because I didn't know what to say. At only thirteen I didn't know Mom that well and what I did know, wasn't enough to make an opinion of her. She had gone crazy right after I was born. Vesper had been the one who care of me while our stepfather went into grieving and eventually left with his boyfriend. Donny had been the man who sent us money every month from Mom's account. I didn't know who the others were, but it didn't matter now. Vesper wasn't talking and I had nothing to say. We left the main city and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, I gazed out at the rippling water below us. Stars shimmered in the black surface and I looked up. Through the darkly tinted windows I could only see a little of their light. Minutes after leaving the bridge we turned and went up a hill. That's when I gasped and Vesper stirred from her thoughts. We pulled to a slow crawl as the gates opened for us and we went through. From the entrance it was clear the grounds were huge and expansive. The house was massive and larger then anything I had ever laid eyes on. Lights shone from all three floors and hinted at more rooms then I had ever thought a house could have. The car maneuvered easily to the front steps and came to a full stop. The door was opened by the driver who waited until Vesper was out, before going and retrieving our bags. As I moved to get out I looked at the pattern of stone that made up the drive way. It was pale brown tiles accented with dark brown ones that made a series of large diamonds. They stopped at the first large stone step and continued on to the multi-car garage and sweeping backyard. "Nora, come on." Vesper held out her hand I took it. Her palm was sweaty as she gripped my hand and we went up. "He's waiting to meet you." Hendrix commented as he followed us. The door opened as we approached and we entered, both of us drew in a sharp breath and stared. Such fine things were placed tastefully throughout the foyer. A fluted staircase lead to the second floor a few feet in front of us. There was a small hall to the left and lots of doors. All of them closed and in dark gleaming wood. Stained glass was cut into the front door painting the marble floor in different colors. "The first door on the right." Hendrix nodded. As we went to the door he ran up the stairs easily with both sets of luggage. I was too awed by my surroundings to think it strange. Vesper let go of my hand and took a deep breath. It was the first time since she told me we were leaving, that I had seen how nervous she was. Just as she was about to knock the door swung back. A young man in a loose dark shirt and dark pants stood there. His sandy hair was short and messy in a stylized way. His eyes were intense and swept over us. I knew my sister well enough to sense her changes. In that instant she went from nervous to cautious to weary. Her hand left hand reached for me and pulled me just behind her. No thought required just action, I knew then that something wasn't right. "It's alright Cash," A deep commanding voice said. " Let them in." The young man stepped back and we walked in. A fire was crackling happily in the hearth. Throwing around shadows that cut deep into the dark wood table and chairs in the center of the room. The most beautiful woman I had ever seen sat in one of the chairs. She was dressed in the latest fashion and looked stunning. Her eyes were pale, pale blue that seemed to pierce right through you. I grabbed my sister's hand and held on. There was another man in the room, he was in a suit and looked slightly like a thug. But it was the man behind the desk that I stared at. He was tall and handsome in a dark European way. His eyes were the same dark brown as my sisters and mine. I knew then that he must be this mystery uncle. "I hope the journey wasn't too rough." He said smoothly. Vesper was quiet for a moment. " It wasn't." She relaxed slowly and I felt her hand loosen on mine. " You must be the uncle." He smiled slightly, " It's nice to meet you Vesper and yes I am the uncle Mr. Freeman mentioned. Feel free to call me Julian." He glanced at me and I flinched a little. " You must be Eleanor." I nodded meekly and he grinned at me, turning back to Vesper he waved for us to sit. She remained standing and didn't budge. He sat down and didn't seem that upset by her choice. For a moment there was the sound of the fire snapping away, it was very loud. "Look, um, Julian," Vesper spoke slowly as though unsure. " I don't quite understand the whole situation here. But let me try and get this out in the air." He nodded. My sister let go of my hand and took the letter I held in my other hand. "The lawyer, Mr. Freeman, told you we were coming and you are okay with that?" "Yes I am." He replied. "What, ah, exactly do you expect of us?" She spoke more firmly. " I mean there has to be some catch to all of this. I'd like to know now the way things work now and if need be make plans to go elsewhere." He sat back in his chair and regarded her for a moment. " Mr. Freeman warned me you'd be skeptical." I glanced around the room and found myself watching the woman in the chair. She was listening to the discussion intently. I guess she felt me staring though and looked over, her smile was nice and even genuine. I returned a weaker version and continued to look around. Over the fireplace there was a portrait of a distinguished looking older man. "Just the same," Vesper replied. " We are free to leave right?" He sat up and came to his feet, " That depends on how things unfold." My sister frowned and wanted to press him further but didn't get the chance. Behind us the door opened and a dark man walked in. He didn't look very happy about something. "We can talk about this later." Julian said and we were excused from the room. Hendrix was just coming down and paused when he saw my sister. " Your rooms are on the left, second and third door from the end." "Thanks." Vesper waited until he left then sat on the stairs. I knew that she wasn't happy about something so I sat next to her. " You'd better go to bed Nora, it's late." "You gonna be okay?" I asked and saw her nod slowly. " Don't stay up too late." She smiled and gave a kiss goodnight. " I won't." I paused and turned back to her, " Vessie, I like this uncle Julian, things seem good here. Can't we stay? We don't really have any where else to go and well, I like this place." She stared a me for a moment. " We'll see, have a good night's sleep." "Yeah, you too." Although I knew she wouldn't. She never slept anymore, never did anything except look after me and do her best not to show her feelings. Sometimes I never understood her and other times I did. This time I didn't. We finally had a chance at a normal life and here she was going all weird on me. Had I only known then what she had known almost from the first minute. They say being ignorant is bliss, I say they are wrong. I wasn't blissful, I was scared. Part Two: I woke up the next morning and found it was closer to noon. Going down to my sister's room I found it empty and so went down stairs. She was an office and talking on the phone. Not wanting to bother her, I went to find breakfast and found lunch instead. It was on the grand big old table in a room that was just as pretty as the foyer and office. The house seemed empty and I wandered until I found dinning room. Sitting down at one of the dozen or so chairs I served myself steaming food. Until I breathed in the scents of hot fresh food I didn't know what hunger was. When I was on my third serving and staring out the window at the city, Vesper walked in. One look and I knew she hadn't slept well or for very long. There weren't any bags under eyes or anything, she never got those. But instead she was stiff and pale, with a grouchy air and a lot of sighing. Her hair which was usually pulled back, was free over her shoulders. She was still in the same clothes from yesterday and looked very distracted. "Hi." I said and she didn't seem to hear me. Sitting forward I waved my hand over her eyes and she blinked, finally seeing me. "Afternoon," She smiled at the plate, " Good huh?" I nodded avidly and offered her some, as usual she refused, making me frown at her. " What's wrong this time?" "I spoke to Mr. Freeman this morning and he said that we have to stay until Julian decides we can leave. We are his relations after all and he is responsible for us now. It looks like we answer to him from now on." I shook my head, " Isn't that a good thing?" She sighed and stared at the pad of paper in front of her. " I don't know." She heaved another sight. " From what I learned over the phone he owns a bunch of companies and even a newspaper. He has a shipping company and international connections." Her pen tapped against the well scribbled page. " A couple of years ago an article was written about him by this investigative reporter, now she's the City Editor of his paper. I was going to go to town and dig up the story. What to come?" I stared at her. " You don't trust him." She looked startled for a moment then shook her head. " No I don't. There is something under all this good stuff Nora. I can't let us fall into a possible trap just because it looks nice." "He's our uncle!" I shouted and she looked at me, really looked at me. " For once we have a family, a real home and you want to take it all away. You want us to go back to Texas, back to scrapping by and all the stuff you hate." I was yelling at her and didn't care. " Well I don't want to go back, not ever. I never want to see Texas again!" Before she could respond I threw down my fork and ran from the room. I was crying by the time I reached my room and slammed the door closed. Hours could have passed and I wouldn't have cared. It wasn't until I felt Vesper stroking my hair that I stopped my crying and sniffed. I didn't look at her as she started to talk in a soft voice. "If that is the way you feel....then I'll do my best to keep us here." Was all she said before kissing my hair lightly and leaving me alone. I lay there for a while longer before getting up the courage to go to her room. The shower was on and she had fresh clothes laid out. They were the usual black and I wandered over to them. Black cargo pants and a T- shirt, not far away was her black coat that looked as worn as leather can be. Touching the soft material I remembered all the times in Texas she had come home. Exhausted and staggering on her feet, she had stayed up and helped me with school while eating a microwave dinner. When everything was done and she had looked it over, I would say goodnight and go upstairs. Instead of going to bed I used to spy on her when she was alone in the kitchen. It was there she used to cry and sometimes write in her diary. Once I even saw her standing at the kitchen sink with a knife in her hands. Even though I was only a kid I knew what she had been thinking. To my relief she had thrown it down and instead started weeping again. The one time I had come down and tried to comfort her, she had pushed me away and went to her room. I didn't follow and could only go to bed and hope she would be okay. "Hey there," Her voice startled me and I jumped back from the chair. "Feeling better?" I nodded and couldn't look at her, " I am sorry I yelled at you." My voice was tight with the urge to cry. She laughed softly and ruffled my hair as she walked by. " I deserved it. It's not right of me to be so...suspicious of him. But try to not to get too attached to anything until I can actually talk to him." "Okay." I said and sat on her bed as she go dressed. " Will I have to start school again?" "Yes. I am going to ask Julian about that when I see him." Vesper stood up and pulled on her coat, flipping out her still wet hair and spraying me slightly. " Sure you don't want to come?" I stared at her and smiled. " I'll come." ** The grounds were impressive at night and beautiful in the daytime. Vesper lead me around to the back of the house, she had been out looking around I guess. There was a fountain whispering water to one side of a path she lead me down. I realized we were going to the garage. Holding open the door for me she turned on a light. "Whoa!" I gushed and looked at the collection of cars and motorcycles. " I never knew a person needed so many cars!" She laughed softly, " They don't really, but it's a good way to spend money." Vesper had always liked cars, especially the exotic things that cost a hundred bizllion dollars. Things like Jaguar, Bentley, lots of fancy Italian kinds. We walked slowly through the small machines with her pausing at each one. I don't know what she likes about them, but then again I still like my Barbie collection, so wasn't about to complain. "Can I help you?" We both looked up and saw the man from last night. " Oh I didn't know it was you." He said and wiped his hands on a rag. "That's okay." Vesper didn't seem as nervous this time. " I was just looking for a ride into town. Do you think Julian would mind if I borrowed something?" He glanced at the cars and shrugged, " I guess not." He paused and seemed to think over something. " I had better come with you." She arched a brow, "Why?" I nudged her, " Not that it would be bad or anything." There was a moment of silence. Quickly I added. " We could sure use someone who knows the city." ** It turned out that Cash knew lots about the city, like where to find parking in a cramped parking lot. He suggested we first try the library for the story then we could go the newspaper. He lead us through the ancient building quickly and easily, and showed us how to use the system. Vesper sat down and scanned the screen before typing in our uncles name. As she worked I gazed at the books and hopped from foot to foot. " Go look around if you want Nora." She said and I ran off to the tall shelves. Cash glanced at me and then at her. "Perhaps I should keep an eye on her." "I doubt she'll get lost this is only one building." Vesper clicked on something and glanced at him. " You seem jumpy about being here." Looking back at the screen she continued. " Does Julian have enemies that would hurt us or something?" He watched a minute, "Something like that." She nodded and shrugged, "Perhaps you should go keep an eye on her." With him gone she relaxed a bit and let herself scan the list again. Her eyes fell on an article called 'The Most Powerful Man You've Never Met by Caitlin Burn.' Opening the file she read over what the then reporter had written and frowned. It was just like every other piece information on him. It did make mention of two men, Eddie Firori and Detective Kohanek. She copied down their names and whatever information there was. Then shut off the file and went to find Cash and Nora. "Well?" I asked we left the building. "I have to make some stops," She said and glanced at Cash, " You don't have to stay if you don't want to." Cash was about to answer when his attention was caught by something. Vesper and I followed his gaze and saw a dark car with three men in it. My sister tensed up and I didn't feel safe all of a sudden. There was something about the look in their eyes that upset me. "I'll stay." He said and she didn't argue with him. We went back to our vehicles, Vesper paused before climbing into the convertible she had borrowed. " Cash, what do you about these guys Eddie Fiori and Frank Kohanek?" The man looked at her a full minute before asking. "Why do you want to know?" "They were mentioned in the article about Julian. I was just wondering who they were." "Eddie was a business rival and Frank is a detective with the S.F.P.D." " Why it 'was' a business man?" She asked, "Eddie died over two years ago." Cash replied shortly and got on his bike. " I think we should head home and you can ask Julian." To Be Continued?