title:               Shaolin heart 1/

author:            Lady Charena

fandom:          Kung Fu – the legend continues

codes:            A/U, PG13, P/P + div. characters from the series

archive:           TOSTwins – others just ask

 

sum:               A visitor brings both old memories and fresh knowledge – a knowledge that comes quiet unexpected for Caine and Peter. Time frame: I’d say close to the end of the fourth season.

 

Disclaimer: This story’s mine, but I do not intend to touch the rights of the owner of the characters from KF-TLC I’ve used. No moneymaking, no offence meant.

 

More P/P stories from me and my friends at the Dragon’s lair à http://tostwins.slashcity.net

 

Valerie is the former student of Caine from “Reunion”. Laura Cavanaugh and her background history is my imagination. Timeframe: set during fourth season.

 

My thanks to my friend T’Len, who provided me – though unknowingly – with the idea to this story by asking how far Ping Hai/Lo Si would go to ensure the continuity of the line of Kwai Chang…

 

 

 

“…From the eyes of a child,
Keep out darkness and let in light.
Let the eyes of a child,
See little things that will give him peace,
and fill his life…”

 

 

Shaolin heart 1

Lady Charena (Nov. 2004)

 

 

“To take responsibility for another’s child is a sacred trust.” (Caine, Sacred trust)

 

 

Kwai Chan Caine concentrated on drawing his attention inwards, slipping deeper into meditation. Peter’s quiet movements in the bathroom faded out of his awareness as he continued to sink through the layers of his consciousness.

 

Slowly a picture formed itself – a young woman, back turned to him, stood at the pavement outside a groceries shop, seemingly engrossed in studying the contents of the shop window.

 

Unknowingly his brows knitted together, an intense look of concentration and confusion crossed his features as he continued to watch the street scene.

 

As if sensing to be observed, the woman suddenly turned to look over her shoulder. A slight breeze lifted soft brown curls to reveal her face. Clear, hazel eyes searched the - despite the lateness of the hour - ongoing mass of shoppers, spotting no one who paid special attention to her. A shadow crossed her features, showing a startling familiarity for Caine… A shiver coursed her lean form and she hugged herself, tugging the coat she wore tighter around her body.

 

Caine opened his eyes to find his son standing in front of him, hair still wet from his shower and naked except a towel around his shoulders.

 

“What’s wrong, Pop?” Peter asked. “I felt something strange…” a shrug ended the sentence.

 

With a smile Caine stood and bent forwards to kiss Peter, slipping one hand around the slim waist, while the other sneaked down to caress firm buttocks. “You should consider getting dressed, love.”

 

“You should consider getting undressed, Pop…” Peter answered, rubbing his groin seducing against his father’s hip and tugging at the smooth silk, covering Caine’s chest.

 

With a soft sigh, Caine released him. “We will have a visitor soon.”

 

Peter’s lips formed a beautiful pout. “Another patient?”, he asked with little enthusiasm. “Now? It’s late, almost 10 p.m. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?”

 

Caine merely shrugged. Sending a long-suffering look into his direction, Peter left to get dressed.

 

The Shaolin crossed the room, studying the contents of the shelves, books and few other things rescued from the ruins of their Temple. Shortly after Caine’s return from his six-month-absence, Lo Si brought a box with items considered lost long ago. He volunteered no explanation how he managed to obtain them - and Caine did never ask. Brushing the tips of his fingers along the back of a row of books, he finally selected one and carefully pulled it out. The pages opened by itself and a small, silver bracelet, once obviously belonging to a little girl, was revealed. Caine lifted it from the paper and rubbed the thin metal, slightly faded by the passage of time, until it was shiny again. Between a delicate pattern of blossoms a name was engraved: Laura. Tracing the words, Caine closed his fingers around the bracelet and remembered…

 

 

 

***********************flashback***********************

 

Whispered words caused the Shaolin to stop and listen. Footsteps could be heard; approaching the room he had just been about to leave. Caine stepped back into the shadow of a pillar. Two girls – one of them Valerie, a young and enthusiastic sometimes-student and another child, he remembered seeing in town – moved into sight.

 

“Don’t be silly,” Valerie told the other girl, which obviously hesitated. “You’ll like him. And Peter is my friend.”

 

In the shadows, a smile crossed Caine’s lips. He had been aware of Valerie’s “crush” on his son, knowing that Peter never noticed.

 

“I don’t know... Valerie, I shouldn’t be here. My uncle will get terribly mad if he hears I even was near… the… this… temple.”

 

“I won’t tell him and no one saw us coming. Come, we won’t stay long, just saying ‘Hello’ to Peter and Master Caine, if he’s around. You said you wanted to know more about the Temple and…”

 

“But, Valerie…wait!” The other girl sounded close to tears and tried to free herself from Valerie’s grip.

 

Caine decided to interfere and moved into the light. Both little girls jumped at the sound of his voice. “Valerie?”

 

“I want… we… wanted… Hello, Master Caine.” Valerie blushed and tugged at her friend’s sleeve. “This is a friend of mine - Laura.”

 

Caine bowed to the little girl that studied him with wide and startled hazel eyes, yet was her expression so serious, he had to hide a smile. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Laura.” Like Valerie, she seemed to be about Peter’s age. Her gaze held a deep fear he had seen before - in his son’s eyes, waking from nightmares - even more disturbing because her eyes were of the same shade as Peter’s. “Please do not be afraid. Everyone is welcome to this Temple if he comes in peace.”

 

“My uncle forbade me to come,” the girl whispered, dropping her eyes to the floor. “He said…” she stopped and started to chew at her lower lip, obviously afraid to say something that she thought would insult the priest. “He said it’s a… a evil… place.”

 

Her last words were so quiet; Caine could barely make them out. He stifled a surge of anger – and sadness. Having been forced to deal before with this kind of intolerance, he decided not to answer it directly. “Valerie, if you would like to speak with Peter, he is now in his room,” he said, slightly turning sideward to look at his student.

 

“Fine,” Valerie answered, tugging at Laura’s arm. “Come, I’ll show you…”

 

“No.” Laura freed herself from Valerie’s grip. “I want to go home. Please. Now. Please, Valerie.”

 

“But I want to…”

 

“Valerie,” Caine broke in. “I will show your friend the way, so you can visit with Peter and meet her later back in town. Is this agreeable?”

 

Valerie hesitated, visibly torn between the wish to visit Peter and to stay with her friend. Finally she nodded. “I won’t be long,” she promised before leaving. Her steps quickly reverberated down the corridor.

 

Caine turned to the other little girl. Squatting down in front of her, he slowly reached out to tenderly touch her cheek. “Do not be afraid, Laura,” he gently said. “No one here will harm you.”

 

Pulling her lower lip inside her mouth, the girl stared down at the priest. “Really?” she whispered, suddenly sounding and looking much younger than her years.

 

Caine smiled. “Really.”

 

Laura answered with a shy smile of her own.

 

The Shaolin went smoothly to his feet, offering a hand to the child, who hesitantly took it. “I will show you the way back.”

 

The girl didn’t speak until they stood in front of the big gate. Laura turned to look at the priest, her eyes big and serious. “Can I come back with Valerie?” she asked.

 

“Whenever you want,” Caine reassured her. “But you must tell your parents about your whereabouts or they will be in great sorrow.”

 

“But my uncle won’t let me go if I tell him. He even forbade me to talk with Valerie, saying she is a… ‘bad influence’ on me, because her parents allow her to go to... to he-heathens…”

 

“And your parents? Do they share your uncle’s belief?”

 

Laura shrugged. “My Dad is dead and Mom does what Uncle Vance tells her. We live with him, because he is…was… Dads brother.”

 

Caine laid a hand onto the small shoulder of the girl. “What is your Uncle’s full name?” he inquired quietly.

 

“Vance Cavanaugh.”

 

The priest hesitated. “Then it might not be wise if you do return, Laura. It will only serve to enrage your uncle.” He sensed the girl’s disappointment more than actually seeing it. Moving his hand to her chin, he tipped her face up until she had to look at him. “Your fear is now smaller than before,” he stated. “You discovered that some things, looked upon from far away, seem more dreadful than they are from a closer point of view. Distance changes everything.”

 

“Valerie told me so much… a-about candles and statues and lessons and fighting and tales and about… you… and Peter… and the other monks and how quiet and peaceful it is here.” The words left her in a rush, as if she was afraid of her own bravery. “I started thinking… s-she’d made it up to… to... because I told her all the things, my uncle said to me. I-I don’t know… I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

 

“Do believe in yourself, Laura. Listen only to your own thoughts”, Caine quietly said. “You are welcome in our Temple, with or without Valerie, anytime.”

 

He was rewarded with another shy smile, before the girl turned and slipped out, quickly running down the hill. Caine watched her, until she disappeared from sight. He wondered if it was truly wise to let the niece of Vance Cavanaugh come to the temple.

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

Focusing his thoughts back in the present, Caine looked at the bracelet in his hand. Laura Cavanaugh did visit the temple regularly. First she came with Valerie, but after some months she would visit alone, shyly revealing that her mother approved of her stays, but had asked her to never say anything to her uncle Vance. Unlike Valerie, who was as impatient and dedicated to learning as Peter, Laura never actually participated at the lessons. Usually she would sit down slightly apart from the students, content to quietly watch and listen.

 

However, not everyone did accept her visits. Surprisingly Ping Hai was the first to speak against Laura. Despite the harassment the old man had to suffer in the past from Vance Cavanaugh, Caine did never expect him to reject an innocent child. Master Dao provided the second surprise – he voted strongly to allow her to come to the temple, using her as means to ridicule Vance Cavanaugh’s agitation against them.

 

“Hey, where did you found this, Pop?” The astonished voice of his son startled Caine from his thoughts. “You never told me… did it belong to Mom?” Peter picked the bracelet from Caine’s hand to look closer at it. “That’s from a child.”

 

“It belonged to a little girl, a friend of Valerie, who used to visit the temple. Peter, do you not remember Vance Cavanaugh’s niece Laura?”

 

“I don’t… wait… there had been a girl… she never joined the class like Valerie, always sitting in a corner and watching us. First I thought her to be shy but then I…” he shrugged. “Such people are easy to forget, never saying a word, never doing anything special. I think I didn’t even know she was related with this… with Cavanaugh. Didn’t she… get ill or something after Valerie moved from Braniff? Don’t know if I ever saw her afterwards.”

 

“Yes,” Caine replied slowly. “She was very ill for a time.” Obviously Peter did not remember who had been responsible for the child’s “illness”. Caine wondered how elusive Peter’s memory sometimes seemed to work…

 

“So where comes this from?” Peter dangled the bracelet at one finger. “A present? Or a souvenir?”

 

Caine took the bracelet. “Laura lost it a few months before… the fire, when she visited the temple for the last time. It was among the things rescued from the ruins, but I could not return it to her.”

 

“Why this sudden interest in her?”

 

“She is here…” Caine’s eyes drifted from Peter’s face, towards the door. “Laura. Be welcome.”

 

Peter turned to see a woman standing in the entrance of the loft. For a moment she looked familiar, filling the young cop with a strange sense of uneasiness, because he couldn’t remember... “Hi,” he said. “You must be Laura Cavanaugh.”

 

“Master Caine. And you must be Peter,” she replied with a hesitant smile. “Valerie told me where I would find you. Over the years we stayed in contact, writing letters and sending postcards ever since she moved. So I knew I had to look for a… cop. And at the precinct I was directed to this address.” Talking to Peter, she never took her eyes from Caine as she hesitantly entered. “I didn’t know if I would be welcomed after… after what happened at your visit in Braniff. I would have tried to stop Uncle Vance, if I had been there.”

 

Caine took her hands into his. “Please do not concern yourself over past events, Laura. You are… and you have never been… responsible for your uncle’s actions.” He received a slight smile in response. “I can sense, you are troubled. This is more than a simple visit.”

 

Laura Cavanaugh pulled back from the priest’s grip. Her gaze brushed Peter, before it returned to Caine. “I don’t know where to begin…” she said. “My uncle… he died two months ago after an accident with his car. Since he was relieved from prison… he didn’t stop drinking. My mother died when I was fifteen, so I am his sole heir. Going through his belongings, I found a lot of things that obviously once belonged to the Shaolin Temple. I left them with Rachel Lowry. But there is one thing… Rachel directed me to give it to you, she thinks it is yours.” She took a small wooden box out of her coat and handed it over to Caine.

 

Caine looked questioningly at her, but took the box. “What is this?”

 

Laura shrugged. “ A locket. There are no pictures inside, but Rachel told me, it looks like Peter’s locket. Therefore I guessed… this must belong to you also…”

 

“Pop?” Peter rushed to his father’s side as Caine visibly paled. The priest withdrew from Peter’s grip to support himself against the edge of his workbench. He looked down at the box in his hand as if in trance.

 

“Pop? Hey, Dad – what’s wrong? Talk to me, Pop,” Peter urged, receiving strange sensations from his father.

 

With a sign the priest seemed to pull out from his shock state, sending a reassuring smile towards Peter, then he turned to their visitor. “Thank you, Laura,” he said with a bow.

 

Peter took the box out of his father’s unresisting hand, opened it and found a locket inside, looking like his own. But this one shined like new, obviously it has never been out of the box. “Where does this come from?” he asked.

 

“It belonged… to your… sister, Peter,” Caine said slowly. “To be precise… it should have been hers, if she would have lived…”

 

 

tbc


title:               Shaolin heart 2

author:            Lady Charena

fandom:          Kung Fu – the legend continues

codes:            A/U, PG, P/P + div. characters from the series

archive:           TOSTwins – others just ask

 

sum:               A visitor brings both old memories and fresh knowledge – a knowledge that comes quiet unexpected for Caine and Peter.

 

Disclaimer: This story’s mine, but I do not intend to touch the rights of the owner of the characters from KF-TLC I’ve used. No moneymaking, no offence meant.

 

More P/P stories from me and my friends at the Dragon’s lair à http://tostwins.slashcity.net

 

Valerie is the former student of Caine from “Reunion”. Laura Cavanaugh and her background history is my imagination. Timeframe: set during fourth season.

 

My thanks to my friend T’Len, who provided me – though unknowingly – with the idea to this story by asking how far Ping Hai/Lo Si would go to ensure the continuity of the line of Kwai Chang…

 

 

 

“…From the eyes of a child,
Keep out darkness and let in light.
Let the eyes of a child,
See little things that will give him peace,
and fill his life…”

 

 

Shaolin heart – part 2

Lady Charena (Dec. 2004)

 

 

“To take responsibility for another’s child is a sacred trust.” (Caine, Sacred trust)

 

 

 

“Sister?” Peter repeated, his voice brittle and insecure. “You’re not making any sense, Pop. I don’t have a sister…” He stared at his father, but the priest’s gaze remained fixed on their visitor.

 

“I…I’d better go,” the young woman said, obviously feeling very uneasy to stay longer after just dropping such a bombshell – even unknowingly. Neither the priest nor his son reacted as she quietly turned and walked toward the door. Stepping into the corridor she involuntarily shivered as a strange, strong sense of reluctance to leave and an even greater sorrow hit her. Shaking her head to clear it of the unwanted feelings, she left the brownstone building, vanishing into the night like a ghost.

 

“Pop?” Peter moved close to his father, dropping both the box and the locket onto the table. “What’s going on? My… sister?”

 

Caine blinked once before turning to face his son. For seconds a shadow moved in this eyes, then it was smothered away along with the sadness in his features, as his usual, calm expression reappeared – a familiar mask Peter both loved and hated.

 

He bit down onto his lower lip to get a grip on his temper – yelling and demanding simply wouldn’t work with his Pop. Taking a deep breath he relaxed his hands that had involuntarily curled into fists. “Okay,” he said softly. “I don’t remember having a sister… so what are you trying to tell me? You and Mom had another child? Before me? Or when I was a baby? What happened? It died? Why?” He fell silent, as his father touched his cheek, cutting off his questions with a finger across Peter’s lips.

 

“I did not think… the necessity to speak of… these past events would ever arise,” Caine slowly said. “Peter, please, you must not assume that I… tried to deceive you by not telling you about… your sister. I only meant to… protect you. Your mother and I agreed not to tell you until you were old enough to understand… but by then she also was death and I… could not… increase your pain and grief by telling you…” his words faded away and he never finished the sentence. His hand dropped away from Peter’s face.

 

Peter gulped against a lump forming in his throat. “Okay,” he answered, the softness in his voice masking the turmoil in his mind. “When? I mean, when was she born?” Maybe he’d finally understand what’s going on if he didn’t even try to sort out everything his father said, but simply asked one question a time. And hoped, his dad was willing to answer them.

 

The priest hesitated.

 

“Don’t make me wait,” Peter whispered. “I waited more than fifteen years to get you to tell me more about Mom. Don’t let me wait another fifteen years, Pop.” He curled his hand around Caine’s neck to pull him forward into a hug, releasing him after dropping a gentle kiss to unnatural cold lips. He fought the urge to nervously pace around and stood very still.

 

Caine did something he had rarely done before – he lowered his gaze, not longer able to hold the gaze of his son. “She was born the same day you were born,” he finally answered, his voice so quiet that Peter had to strain to hear his answer even in the silence.

 

“You mean… I have a twin… sister?” Peter asked blandly. “I had.”

 

Caine nodded once. “When we discovered Laura’s pregnancy… I could feel the life growing inside of her. A child that would… give shape to our love and fulfill our dreams.” A warm light lit up the brown eyes. “Yet there was something that puzzled me… an echo…”

 

“Echo?” Peter stared at him.

 

“Ah, I cannot express it properly… when I touched your mother, I could not only feel her heart beating, but also that of our unborn child.” He blindly reached out and grasped Peter’s arm, running his fingers over the shoulder and down to lay them across his son’s hearth. “As strong as I do feel it now. But at the same time there was a… slight disturbance in the rhythm… So I made your mother promise to see a doctor to ascertain that everything was in order. The news she… brought to me… were quiet surprising…”

 

 

 

***********************flashback***********************

 

“Kwai!”

 

Hearing the voice of his wife, the young priest quickly turned. The surprise and joy in Laura’s face calmed his anxiety about her health and that of their unborn child.

 

“You won’t believe what the doctor said!”

 

Flinging herself in his waiting arms, she kissed him before he could think of an answer. Pulling slightly back he smiled at her, tracing her lips with the tip of one finger, while his free hand involuntarily traveled down to splay across the still flat belly. “Tell me,” he whispered breathless.

 

“We’re going to have twins!” Laura laughed at the dumbfounded expression her usual unflappable husband. “Two beautiful, little babies and I bet they’ll have your eyes and your stubbornness.” Dropping a kiss to his nose, she continued in a teasing tone: “Must be because of this arguments about a name we had… maybe it’s a girl for me and a boy for you.”

 

“Laura…” Caine hesitated, insecure about the meaning behind her words. “We never argue”, he finally said with a hint of amusement in his voice. Pulling her close, he tenderly kissed her temple, before burying his face in her hair, deeply inhaling her sweet fragrance. “I love you,” he whispered, closing his eyes, a vibrant smile lighting up his features…

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

Peter reached for his father’s hand, closing his fingers around his. “So… what happened?” he urged.

 

“The pregnancy turned out to be difficult for your mother, Peter.” Caine pulled his son close, as if he needed the physical assurance of his child in his embrace to continue.

 

And Peter happily complied, hooking his arms around his father’s waist he laid his forehead against Caine’s. “Go on.”

 

“She went into labour too early, almost two months before the estimated end of the pregnancy. I was not with her when it started, but had chosen to visit the Temple at this day… your mother insisted that I go… she felt better and promised not to leave our home until I returned. I thought Ping Hai would be able to produce a remedy for her almost constant fatigue and the headaches she sometimes suffered. At this time my skills as an apothecary were… quite inadequate.”

 

For once Peter was patiently waiting for his father to continue. He felt a shiver running through the body of the other man and tightened his grip. They were close enough for Peter to feel the speed up of Caine’s heartbeat.

 

“I sensed Laura’s uneasiness during the day and as she went into labour by the approach of the night, felt her pain. Ping Hai offered to accompany me and we returned as fast as possible. He gave her some herbs and sent me into town to get the doctor. It took only half an hour until I returned… alone, for the doctor left town shortly before I arrived, taking care of… people hurt in a car accident several miles away. But there was such an heavy silence when I entered the house I instantly know something was wrong. Ping Hai stepped into my way, carrying a… a tiny bundle in his arms… small enough to cradle it on two open palms…”

 

 

 

***********************flashback***********************

 

The old monk quietly shook his head as Caine reached out to touch the too silent bundle, to remove the bloodstained cloths that hid the tiny form of the newborn. His hand trembled and he hesitated as he noticed the pain in the dark eyes of the other man. “Ping Hai?” His voice only a hoarse whisper. “What… happened?” His hand dropped back to his side and Caine closed his eyes, fearing the answer.

 

Ping Hai’s eyes lowered to the floor. “After you left, your wife delivered two children. A boy, who was firstborn… he is well and resting with Laura. But the second child… a girl… it was deadborn. I mourn your loss, Kwai Chang Caine.”

 

The younger priest stood motionless for a while, then he slowly opened his lids. “I… I would like to see my daughter.” An eerie calmness vibrated in his words, one he did not feel. “Please.”

 

The old man hesitated, a shadow moving in his eyes… as he looked at the grief-stricken father. He shifted the bundle in his arms, reached out for Caine and touched the chest of the younger Shaolin.

 

Caine’s face showed no reaction to his gesture, that surely was meant as a gesture of… compassion, but he nodded, feeling a measure of calm and warmth spreading from the old ones touch.

 

Then fingers, gnarled with age, gently took away the upper part of the cloth, revealing only the small, pale face.

 

Caine had to reach for the wall to support himself as he took in the sight of his dead child. Tiny, blue-tinged lips, a nose shaped like Laura’s and big eyes, hidden beneath almost translucent lids, framed with black lashes. Brown hair, clinging to the fragile head... Slowly, watching his hand as if it did not belong to him, he touched the wrinkled forehead, partly covered with blood, with his fingertips. A shiver shook him as he felt the still warm skin. “Why…? She must be alive… her skin is… so warm”

 

He did never notice he said it aloud, but Ping Hai did. “It is only the shadow of life.” The old man gently curled his fingers around the trembling hand of the younger man and broke the contact. “I will do what must be done, Kwai Chang Caine,” he said. “This child is beyond our …reach… our help – but there is a son and a wife you must now care for. Laura is asleep but will need your strength and your support when she wakes. Calm yourself, my friend, still your heart so it may be strong enough to comfort your Laura.”

 

“I can not… Laura… she knows…?”

 

Ping Hai lowered again his eyes and nodded. Pulling the cloth closer around the tiny, still form of the dead child, he seemed to wait for something.

 

Like a man caught in a nightmare, Caine moved past him and quietly entered the bedroom.

 

Ping Hai sighed, involuntarily clutching the tiny bundle closer to his old body as he hurried away into the night.

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

“Father…” Peter whispered breathless. The raw pain of Caine’s memories battered against his senses, filled him with an deep agony. His eyes spilled over with the tears his father never revealed. His arms tightened.

 

With a sigh Caine pulled his son even closer to him, brushing his lips over the sweet mouth of his beloved child. “It was both the most beautiful and most terrible day in our life… having you and losing your sister at the same time,” he quietly said, the reality of Peter in his arms soothing the unexpectedly strong pain accompanying the memories he buried so long ago.

 

“Mom must have been devastated,” Peter murmured.

 

 

 

***********************flashback***********************

 

The young priest sat quietly on the edge of the bed, watching his sleeping wife. Laura stirred, somehow sensing the nearness of her husband, but did not wake, surrendering to her exhaustion and the herbs the old man administered to her. But the child, close to her body, did. Big hazel eyes opened in a red, wrinkled face, still unfocused – but for the engrossed watching father it seemed like they were meeting his gaze with determination, communicating the will to live. Caine bent deeper over Laura to brush back her hair, touching her clammy, pale face with concern. Her ch’i seemed to have lessened…

 

Again his eyes were drawn towards the child and he hesitantly reached out to touch the small boys cheek. He involuntarily took a deep breath as he felt the strong and vibrant ch’i of the child, both familiar and so startling new. This he had felt touching the swollen belly of his wife and yet it was not the same… something – someone - was missing…

 

His son squeaked and he watched in rapt fascination tiny hands reach into the air, grabbing for something only the child could see.

 

“He is a wonder, isn’t he?”

 

The weak voice of his wife startled him. Tears escaped her still closed eyes, streaming down her pale cheeks. “He is,” Caine quietly answered, kissing away her tears. “Laura…”

 

Her hand lifted, she laid a finger across his lips to silence him, then her hand dropped back, her strength depleted in the single motion. “Did you… see her?”

 

He could not do more than nod, not trusting his voice.

 

“She is also very beautiful… we… I’m so sorry I could not give you a daughter, too.”

 

“Laura… please, do not seek the guilt within you. We have to accept…” He stopped, his words like bitter ashes in his mouth.

 

“How will you accept… such a… loss?” Laura whispered. “We couldn’t even get to know her…” Her voice trailed away as sleep claimed her once more.

 

“I do not know,” Caine said. “I do not know.” Then his eyes returned to his son. Pain and joy mixed up in his chest, he bent his head and gave in to his tears… soundless, not to wake her.

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

“She was.” Something flickered in the dark eyes of the priest as he thought about his dead wife. “And yet Laura was the one offering comfort to me, being my strength and my support through the first days after…” He stopped for a moment. “The birth had drained her of almost all energy and Laura could not properly care for you. I bathed you and hold your tiny body while you drank her milk. You were so small then, so fragile… we constantly feared for your life. But at the same time I could sense your strong will to live. To fight…”

 

“Still do. Sometimes,” Peter answered shakily, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Must be all this inherited stubbornness.” He felt the lips of his father slightly tremble against his. “Tell me more,” he urged gently, his hands soothingly travel up and down Caine’s back. “Tell me more of my mother… she was a very special woman, wasn’t she? What happened later?”

 

“Yes, Peter. Taking care of you and your mother I could not leave the house to attend to the… funeral of your sister. Ping Hai showed me the place… and little more than two years later I had to…” He faltered and stopped.

 

A moment later Peter made the connection. “You’re saying you buried Mom at the same place? Down by the lake? But… you told me it was her favorite spot.”

 

“It was, Peter. Whenever her health would allow it, we walked to the lake, taking you with us, to light a candle at the grave of your sister. Your mother even… Laura… she…”

 

A thousand question raced Peter’s mind, but he decided they had to wait for later. “What’s about Mom?” he insisted, slightly pulling back to look into his father’s face.

 

“When you were two, I returned from town, finding you and your mother gone. I searched for you, going to the lake. When I found Laura, she was unconscious… and you were sitting next to her, tugging at her dress and begging your mom to wake up. During… during the days after, she only two times regained consciousness before she died. At these moments… her only concern was to leave us and her only regret not being able to see you grow up.”

 

“But there is no… mark at… at the grave. Nothing to indicate, that…” Peter stopped, searching for the right words. “Why didn’t you at least leave her name at the gravestone, too, next to Mom’s?”

 

“We… did not officially name your sister. But in our hearths we always called her Katherine, after your mother’s middle name, which was also the name of your grandmother. There was no need to mark the place and… after Laura’s death I decided to respect her wish to keep the knowledge from you.”

 

Peter slowly freed himself from his father’s embrace and Caine – sensing the confusion in his mind – let go of him, if reluctant. The young man paced the length of the room, but returned quickly to stand in front of Caine. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked. “I understand why you didn’t when I was a kid. But you could have told me when we visited Mom’s grave and the ruins of the temple.”

 

“Peter… you already suffered so many painful memories at our journey… I did not want to…” Caine stopped. “…add even more pain.”

 

“And you didn’t suffer? I never believed you would’ve traveled alone, Pop. That journey was for me… to help me to finally come to terms with my… our… past and the death of my mother.” His eyes grew wide as he followed his thoughts. “It’s not about me… about sparing me pain. It’s about you! You can’t allow yourself to mourn for what we lost, for the monks and students who died that night. Did you ever mourn for… m-my sister?” he rushed on, not wanting to look at his own feelings of confusion and… anger.

 

Heavy silence settled between them, while Caine remained motionless, his face vacant of every emotion except a deepening of the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. “I could not,” he finally said, his voice hoarse with pain. “Laura and you… needed me.”

 

Peter pulled his father in his arms. “Do it now,” he whispered in Caine’s ear, pressing his cheek to his fathers. “Feel the pain and release it, like you made me do at the lake, at Mom’s grave. I am here for you.”

 

“Peter…” Caine shook his head. He pulled slightly back to look at him. “I love you, my son.”

 

“But you don’t trust me enough to… share your pain…”

 

“Do not believe such a terrible thing.” Caine cupped his cheek, a gentle smile on his face. “I would gladly share everything with you, my love. But this is not… the right time.”

 

For the first time Peter realized how shaken his father looked – despite the smile - and how stiff the body in his embrace was. And he finally took in the cold, radiating from the priest. “Okay,” he agreed softly. “Let’s go to bed. I feel beaten and you really look like you could need some rest, too.”

 

Caine kissed him before he slipped out of Peter’s hold. “Go,” he said. “I will join you shortly.”

 

“Okay.” Feeling not really comfortable to leave his father alone, Peter respected his wish.

 

Caine watched him vanish into the bedroom, before he slowly went down to the floor, dropping to his knees, all his energy leaving him in a rush. He stifled an anguished moan and struggled to regain control over his emotions. Finally his breathing slowed down and the too rapid beat of his heart calmed. He managed to regain enough balance to stand. Blindly turning toward the near workbench, he supported himself against the sturdy table, waiting for the tremble to subside. When he was convinced his face would not show any trace of the inner turmoil, he straightened and left the room, to find at least a small amount of peace in the closeness of his son…

 

 

 

tbc


title:               Shaolin heart 3

author:            Lady Charena

fandom:          Kung Fu – the legend continues

codes:            A/U, PG, P/P + div. characters from the series

archive:           TOSTwins – others just ask

 

sum:               A visitor brings both old memories and fresh knowledge – a knowledge that comes quiet unexpected for Caine and Peter.

 

Disclaimer: This story’s mine, but I do not intend to touch the rights of the owner of the characters from KF-TLC I’ve used. No moneymaking, no offence meant.

 

More P/P stories from me and my friends at the Dragon’s lair à http://tostwins.slashcity.net

 

Valerie is the former student of Caine from “Reunion”. Laura Cavanaugh and her background history is my imagination. Timeframe: set during fourth season.

 

My thanks to my friend T’Len, who provided me – though unknowingly – with the idea to this story by asking how far Ping Hai/Lo Si would go to ensure the continuity of the line of Kwai Chang…

 

 

 

…From the eyes of a child,
Keep out darkness and let in light.
Let the eyes of a child,
See little things that will give him peace,
and fill his life…

 

 

Shaolin heart 3

Lady Charena (Jan-May 2005)

 

 

“To take responsibility for another’s child is a sacred trust.” (Caine, Sacred trust)

 

 

Laura Cavanaugh stopped just inside the room, insecure if the priest, standing at the French doors, noticed her arrival. His attention seemed to be focused onto something outside at the balcony. Hesitantly she lifted a hand to brush back her hair.

 

“You are welcome, Laura,” Caine said.

 

“You… knew it was me?” Laura asked with a little smile to cover that he startled her, even with his calm, quiet voice. “Why? Did you hear me enter?”

 

Caine turned and crossed the room to stand close to her. With a smile he reached out to brush back her hair. The movement caused her earrings to swing. A low, silver, sound filled the air as the metal coins they were made off, collided.

 

Laura laughed, her apprehension receding somehow. “Valerie told me you’re amazing. She didn’t exaggerate.”

 

Caine shook his head, withdrawing a step.. “It is merely an matter of paying attention.” He folded his hands and looked at the young woman, his head crooked to one side, like a curious bird. “You are troubled.” Laura pulled her lower lip into the mouth and Caine remembered seeing her doing this as a child, too.

 

 

 

***********************flashback ***********************

 

“Laura?” Finding the little girl in a corner of the courtyard, Caine almost instantly felt a strange sense of foreboding. “It is late into night. You should be at home and asleep, child.” In the dim light of candles, the girl looked very young and the priest moved to sit down next to her on the cold stone. Slowly Laura turned her face to look at him and Caine noticed the traces of tears on her cheeks. “What happened, Laura?”

 

“I… I don’t want to go home,” the girl finally confessed. “I’m afraid.”

 

Caine took her cold, little hands into his. “What is it you are afraid of?”

 

“He… he knows!”

 

Wide, scared eyes looked at him with such a sense of despair no child should know. “He?” Caine gently asked. “Your uncle? Tell me.”

 

Laura nodded, fresh tears welling up in her eyes. “Ping Hai came to see my mom,” she whispered. “Early this morning after uncle Vance left to go to work. Mom sent me out of the kitchen to finish my breakfast in my room and to pack my things for school. I… I didn’t want to go to my room.” She stopped, embarrassment showing on her face as she pulled her lower lip into the mouth to chew on it.

 

Caine reached out to gently caress the cheek of the frightened child. “You stayed to… eavesdrop?”

 

Again Laura nodded. “Mom… looked like she was afraid of Ping Hai, when she sent me away and so I… I… wanted to know why…”

 

Ping Hai did not mention his visit to Vance Cavanaugh’s home, when they met this afternoon. The old one only repeated his earlier misgivings about allowing the girl into the Temple, when he saw Laura arriving. “Continue.”

 

“I didn’t close the door, when I left, so I could hear them talking. Ping Hai said… he said… mom shouldn’t allow me to come to you anymore. It’s not right. He… also said it would be better if she sends me away from Braniff.” With the back of her small hands, Laura tried to wipe the tears off her face. “But I don’t want to leave.”

 

Caine listened with wonder to her words. He would have never guessed that the disapproval of the older man went so far. “What about your uncle?” he asked quietly, trying to calm the frightened girl.

 

“Uncle Vance suddenly came back. I didn’t hear him entering the house. He dragged me away from the door, went into the kitchen and… I was so scared I ran into my room, took my things and went to school. After school mom told me to keep out of uncle Vance’s sight and stay with Valerie until tonight and that I never again are allowed to visit you and that uncle Vance is mad with her and with me, cause he knows now I’ve been here.” It came out in a rush. Again her big, hazel eyes looked at the priest. “Please… let me stay with you. Don’t send me away. I’m so scared.”

 

With a sigh Caine took the girl in a reassuring embrace. “You know it is impossible for you to stay, Laura,” he gently said. “Your mother surely is in great sorrow about your whereabouts. I will take you home now and talk to your mother.” Brushing back the tousled brown hair from her face, he looked at Laura. “Do not be afraid, no one will hurt you,” he promised, cupping her cheek.

 

Hazel eyes, filled with complete trust, met his. “But uncle Vance hates you. He’ll be very mad if he sees you.”

 

“I know,” Caine answered evenly, then went to his feet, taking the little girl up. Holding her small, still too cold hand in his, the priest and Laura left the silent, candlelight filled courtyard of the Temple. At the door, Caine stopped, sensing another presence. He looked across the room and up to the gallery.

 

Out of the shadows old Ping Hai moved into the light.

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

Uneasy the young woman looked around the room.

 

“Peter is not here,” Caine said. He did not raise his voice, still Laura flinched.

 

“It’s not because of him,” she hurried to say. “I… I don’t know why I...” A small, nervous laughter escaped her and she shrugged.

 

Caine moved close to her, took her and (weg) hand, turned it up and laid the silver bracelet onto her palm. In disbelief Laura stared at it. “Where… where did you find it?” she finally asked. “It has been mine as long as I can remember. When I lost it, I was so sad, I cried for days...”

 

“One of the students found it near the Temple, where you lost it… the night you came to us, seeking shelter from the wrath of your uncle.”

 

The fingers of the young woman closed around the bracelet. “I remember,” she whispered. “I still wear the marks of that night.”

 

Caine gently tipped her chin up to look at her face. “Yes, you do.”

 

“All these years I wondered if I could have warned you if I hadn’t been ill. Mom and I knew about the stranger who came to agitate against the monks and the Temple. Many men from Braniff met him. Uncle Vance, too.” Shadows of pain and shame filled her eyes. “He attacked the Temple, didn’t he? And my uncle helped him.”

 

For the space of an heartbeat the silence was again filled with the sound of explosion, of fire and screams. The very air breathed smoke and hate. Caine pushed the memories aside. “Yes. Peter and I… met Dao a few years ago, here in this town. He is… dead. Please do not concern yourself over these past events, Laura. There is nothing you… or I… could have done to prevent what happened.”

 

“The people in town said you died that night in the fire. I never believed it.” A little smile crossed her lips, lighting up her face. “Strange thought… but I always believed I would somehow know if you…” She shrugged and lowered her eyes to avoid Caine’s gaze. With nervous fingers she tried to fix the bracelet at her wrist, but finally with the priests help she managed. The metal fitted snuggly around her wrist as if it had never been away.

 

“What is the real cause for your visit, Laura?”, Caine asked. “There is more than the return of the locket you found in your uncle’s belongings.”

 

The young woman paled. “How can you know?” she whispered.

 

Caine did not answer.

 

Freeing herself from his hold, she moved away a few steps. “But you’re right. Besides the locket and the other things from the Temple I found… a letter. From my mother.” She took a deep breath. “To be precise from the woman I always thought to be my mother. She wasn’t… not in a biological way. In the letter she writes that she adopted me shortly after I was born. The letter should have handed over to me after her death, but uncle Vance never gave it to me. Now I’m trying to find my real parents.”

 

“How can I be of assistance, Laura?” Caine asked. “I did not know about this.”

 

Laura turned to face him. “But you must! She wrote in the letter, Ping Hai gave the child to her. It was newborn. He knew she lost her own child shortly after the death of her husband and asked her to take care of the baby… of me. You’re Ping Hai’s friend, you have to know.”

 

“I did not live in the Temple at this time, Laura. I am sorry.”

 

She closed her eyes for a moment, looking very tired. “Visiting you was my last hope. There are no official documents about the adoption besides my altered birth certificate, showing Mary and Donald Cavanaugh as my parents and the letter from my… mother.”

 

Caine watched her with a strange feeling of… he could not quite put it into words. He felt an unexpected connection to the young woman - a fierce desire to help her, to comfort her – so strongly, it almost hurt. Her subdued voice startled him from his musings.

 

“I’d better go now.”

 

“Wait.” He touched the shoulder of the young woman, stopping her. “Please return tonight. There is somebody I will talk to, maybe he will be able to answer your questions.”

 

“Somebody from the Temple?”, Laura asked.

 

Caine nodded. “Yes, somebody from the Temple.” He watched her go and apprehension filled him once more.

 

 

 

***********************flashback ***********************

 

The little girl was very silent on the way from the Temple back to Braniff. Caine simply walked beside her, trying to communicate assurance through touch. Close to the first houses of the town, the priest suddenly sensed danger. He stopped, pushing Laura gently back to shield her with his body. A gunshot broke the nightly silence and only a few meters in front of Caine’s feet a bullet tore a small hole into the ground. The girl screamed, clinging to the Shaolin in fear. Caine dropped to his knees, holding Laura close to him, trying to calm the shocked child.

 

Out of the shadows between the trees along the street, Vance Cavanaugh stepped into the dim lit alley, the rifle in his hand directed toward the other man. “Let go of her! At once!” he ordered, his voice low and dangerous.

 

Caine got to his feet, still holding the crying Laura in his arms. “This is not necessary,” he answered calmly. “I came only to accompany Laura to her mother.”

 

“I’ll take care of the brat.” Vance glared at the frightened girl.

 

Laura flinched, clinging harder to Caine, burying her face into the folds of his robe. The Shaolin reacted by tightening his hold on the girl. “I promised Laura to take her to her mother. I seek no confrontation with you. Please let us pass by.”

 

“Nice plan, ‘priest’.” Cavanaugh gave the word an obscene tone. “Fooling around with the minds of our children, trying to lure them into the power of your cult. I’ve seen it all along. They dared to tell me I’d be crazy, seeing danger where’s none. But I will not rest until you and your kind leave Braniff and we can tear down the stain you call temple.” He gestured with the weapon. “Laura come to me!”

 

The girl whimpered, not releasing her grip, her fingers digging even deeper into the priest’s robe. “Please, I don’t want to go with him. Don’t make me, Master Caine,” she pleaded.

 

Cavanaugh heard her words. “Master,” spitting out the word like a foul tasting bit, he stepped closer to Caine, reaching out for Laura, obviously intending to tear the little girl out of the priest’s arms. “So he already brainwashed you. I’ll teach you sense, little bastard…”

 

Caine avoided him, causing with a twist of his hand the furious man to stumble and fall. Vance Cavanaugh came to his knees, looking for his gun. The Shaolin, spotting the rifle first, kicked the weapon out of reach. Then he put Laura down, gently loosed the fingers still clawed into the sleeve of his robe and caressed the tearstained face of the frightened girl. “Go to your mother, Laura. And do not be afraid. Your uncle will not harm you.”

 

Laura hesitated, looking from Caine to Vance, who returned her glace with unveiled fury. “Really?” she whispered barely audible.

 

“Really.” With a last, reassuring pat to her cheek he let go of her. Laura took two steps, carefully avoiding her uncle, stopped and turned to look over her shoulder.

 

“Go!” Cavanaugh barked.

 

The girl flinched, whirled round on her heels and started to run down the street.

 

“I will handle her later.” Cavanaugh got to his feet. “But first you, damn priest…”

 

“I do not want to fight you.” Caine lifted both hands, palms up. “But if any harm comes to Laura, you will have to answer me.” There was no audible thread in the Shaolin’s voice, but Cavanaugh’s lips tightened in anger. He didn’t answer, but turned to walk away. With sorrow Caine watched him disappear into the night.

 

* * *

 

The next day, during the time the students practiced in the courtyard, two of the older students hurried towards Ping Hai, who was observing the lesson. Even whispered, their voices showed distress. Caine, up on the gallery, saw the calm mask slip – only for a second, before the old one’s face was again revealing nothing.

 

Ping Hai, aware of Caine’s scrutiny, looked up. “They found the little girl, Laura, outside the temple walls. She is hurt. I asked them to take her into the infirmary.”

 

Caine bowed briefly. “I will take care of her. Please ask Master Kahn to finish the lesson, Ping Hai and join me in the infirmary.”

 

Ping Hai nodded only.

 

Hurrying towards the infirmary, Caine wondered about the look of utter horror in the old one’s eyes…

 

* * *

 

When he entered the room, the two students who found Laura, respectfully departed from the bed. Caine bent down and touched the forehead of the unnatural still girl, her skin was too cold and clammy.

 

“She was barely conscious, when we found her, Master Caine,” one of the students explained. “It looks like… someone beat her up.”

 

“You can now return to your duties. Thank you for your help.” Ping Hai appeared at the entry and ushered the students out. “How is she?” he asked.

 

“She is in a bad condition. There are marks of heavy punches all over her body and she might have a concussion.” Caine framed her small, pale face with both hands, concentrating to send healing ch’i energy to strengthen her. Laura stirred, a strangled moan came over her bluish lips. “Laura?”

 

Slowly the swollen lids lifted to reveal scared, pain-filled hazel eyes. Her mouth moved, trying to form coherent words. “Mom?” she whispered barely audible. “Where’s my mom? She cried… un-uncle Vance hit her.”

 

“Do not speak, Laura. We will see after your mother.” Caine turned to look at Ping Hai.

 

The old one hesitated for a moment, than nodded. “I will sent Michael to look for her.” He left the room.

 

Caine left the bed to take a bowl and a piece of cloth from a nearby shelf.

 

“Father?”

 

A startled voice from the entry caused Caine to turn. “Peter, what are you doing here?”

 

Peter stared at the quietly crying girl. “Master Kahn sent me to help you. Hey, it’s Laura, Valerie’s friend. What happened to her, father?”

 

“Return to the class, Peter. Ping Hai will assist me.” Caine looked at his son. “Please, Peter. There is nothing you can do,” he added in a softer tone.

 

After a moment of hesitation, Peter obeyed and left the infirmary. Caine watched him go, then returned his attention back to the contents of several containers. He carefully selected herbs, crushing them to fine powder.

 

“You will need this.” Ping Hai returned, bringing a kettle with hot water. He filled some of it into the bowl and Caine added the crushed herbs. “I instructed Michael to avoid Vance Cavanaugh if possible and see after the girl’s mother. He will take her to the Temple if possible.” Then he gave some water into a cup and selected other herbs. “This will calm the girl, sooth the pain and help her to rest.”

 

Caine soaked the cloth with the herbal infusion and started to gently dab the angry red and blue marks in Laura’s face. “She was so afraid,” he said, almost too soft for even the other man to hear. “If I had allowed her to stay for the night…”

 

The old one lifted his eyes to meet the younger priests gaze. “The child had to be returned to its mother,” Ping Hai answered. “There was no other way. No one knew Vance Cavanaugh would hurt her.” He held the cup to Laura’s lips, but she refused to drink, staring horrified at the old monk.

 

Exchanging a glance with the old one, Caine put both the bowl and the cloth down to take the cup. Moving closer he set down on the edge of the bed. Ping Hai stepped back to give him access. “Laura, this will take the pain,” Caine explained, gently brushing back the damp hair from her forehead with his free hand. “Trust me.” Moving the cup to her lips, relief filled the priest as Laura obediently opened her mouth and finished the herbal mix. Her lids closed and her whole body visibly relaxed as the remedy started to effect.

 

“I believe it is safe to let her sleep,” Pin Hai said. “The wounds on her body will soon heal.”

 

“What about the wounds of her soul?” Caine asked bitterly, still caressing the now sleeping child’s cheek. “She came to us for help and we – I – promised no one would do her any harm.”

 

“You are not responsible for Vance Cavanaugh’s doing.”

 

Caine looked at the older priest. “This is no excuse.” He returned his attention to the girl. “I will stay with her. If she wakes up alone in foreign surroundings, she will be scared.”

 

Ping Hai nodded once and left the room quietly, while the younger priest continued to watch over his patient. He only left her side once, to take a blanket from a wardrobe and cover the sleeping child.

 

* * *

 

Some time later, voices and footsteps outside the room alarmed Caine. He rose and opened the door. In the corridor outside, Michael accompanied a woman, small and fragile. As she lifted her head to look at him, her long, blond hair parted to reveal her face. She showed a swelling black eye and traces of dried blood around her nose and at the corner of her mouth.

 

Involuntarily Caine reached for her to steady the obvious exhausted woman. “You are Laura’s mother?”

 

Her soft, gray eyes searched his face. “Where is she? Where is my daughter?” she asked fearfully, clutching his arm. “I’ve been looking for her for hours.”

 

“Laura is here and she is safe.” Laying his hand beneath her chin, he tipped up her face. “Your daughter is asleep now, but you too show wounds, which need treatment. Please allow me to…”

 

“I’m fine.” Mary Cavanaugh shook her head as she interrupted him. “I only want to see Laura.”

 

Caine complied and took her to Laura. For a long moment Mary Cavanaugh stood motionless, supported by the priest, at the foot of the bed and looked down at the sleeping child. Caine gently urged her to sit down beside her daughter and the tired woman gave in. She reached for Laura, but faltered, afraid to touch her sore face and wake her up. So instead she took the small hands of her child between hers, taking it to her lips. Finally, with a sigh, she looked up to the priest, standing nearby, not wanting to intrude. “You must be Master Caine,” she said. “Laura’s constantly talking about you and… this place.”

 

“I am Caine. Can you tell me what happened, Mrs. Cavanaugh?”

 

“Please call me Mary.” Her eyes left the priest and returned to the sleeping child. “Vance’s never been easy to live with,” she said quietly. “After the accident – my death husband Donald was Vance brother, they were very close – he changed. Oh, he’d never been a… a cheerful man, but losing Susan and Don made him even more cold and bitter. I knew him all my life, because like the Cavanaugh’s and Michael’s family, my people have lived in this town for what seems forever.” She stopped, taking a deep breath and bent down to rearrange the light blanket, covering her daughter. “You need to know… my husband died in an car accident eleven years ago. He and Vance’s wife Susan. I was hurt badly and… and almost died, too. Vance drove the car, but he escaped with some deep cuts on his hands and face. Maybe you noticed he is always wearing gloves? Its to cover the scars. It happened in winter, the streets were icy and he lost control over the vehicle… the car… collided with a tree. Donald and Susan must have been dead at once. I’ve been pregnant at that time and not belted in, because the belt pressed too heavy against my belly. So I was hurled out of the car only seconds before the collision with the tree. Vance finally manage to get out of the wreck and call help.” Again she faltered.

 

Her face was gray with exhaustion, but Caine did not try to stop her. He could feel her need to tell him everything.

 

“About this time he started to speak against the Shaolin. It was as… as if he was in such pain that he needed something to hate… to not hate himself, to release the pain.” Her clear, gray eyes searched the priests, maybe hoping for understanding. “He thinks it was his fault that Susan and Don died.”

 

Caine did not know what to answer her. “Please, I can see you are exhausted. I will show you a room where you can rest,” he finally said.

 

“I’d prefer to stay with my daugther. Please.” A tired smile played around her lips. “Laura told me you have a son. I’m sure you understand me.”

 

Caine took her hands into his. “Mary - I will stay with her untill you are rested. You and your daugther are save with us.”

 

“I know.” Mary’s smile deepened. “I always feared Vance would learn about Laura’s visits here. But she always returned so happy, so I couldn’t forbade it. True, I didn’t think he would hurt us.” A shiver ran through her. “He seemed… like a stranger when he returned last night. He was drunk and…” She stopped, shaking her head. “You’re right, I’m exhausted.” A small trickle of blood came from her nose. “I’m glad you’re here, Caine.”

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

“Pop? How about some lunch? I’m starving.” Peter stopped at the door. Obviously his father didn’t hear him. “Hey, Dad. You all right?”

 

Caine turned to look at his son. “Yes, Peter. Lunch would be acceptable.”

 

“Okay.” Peter didn’t sound overly convinced.

 

 

 

tbc

 

 


title:               Shaolin heart 4

author:            Lady Charena

fandom:          Kung Fu – the legend continues

codes:            A/U, PG, P/P + div. characters from the series

archive:           TOSTwins – others just ask

 

sum:               A visitor brings both old memories and fresh knowledge – a knowledge that comes quiet unexpected for Caine and Peter.

 

Disclaimer: This story’s mine, but I do not intend to touch the rights of the owner of the characters from KF-TLC I’ve used. No moneymaking, no offence meant.

 

More P/P stories from me and my friends at the Dragon’s lair à http://tostwins.slashcity.net

 

Valerie is the former student of Caine from “Reunion”. Laura Cavanaugh and her background history is my imagination. Timeframe: set during fourth season.

 

My thanks to my friend T’Len, who provided me – though unknowingly – with the idea to this story by asking how far Ping Hai/Lo Si would go to ensure the continuity of the line of Kwai Chang…

 

 

 

…From the eyes of a child,
Keep out darkness and let in light.
Let the eyes of a child,
See little things that will give him peace,
and fill his life…

 

 

Shaolin heart

Lady Charena (May 2005)

 

 

“To take responsibility for another’s child is a sacred trust.” (Caine, Sacred trust)

 

 

“Pop?” When Peter returned from the precinct, he found the loft dark and vacant. Peter hesitated. His father could be out visiting neighbors or patients or drinking tea with Lo Si. Nothing usual, even if he tried to be around since they became lovers.

 

But there was a voice inside him, thinking he would find his father with the woman from Braniff – Laura. Thinking about her made him uneasy and it wasn’t just the accident of her having the same name like his long deceased mother. Peter just knew that Caine didn’t relay everything to him. Foolish thought, but Peter couldn’t get rid of it. Her visit late last night, the memories and relations… he tried to talk about it, but his father would evade each question. At least he spoke about Laura Cavanaugh’s visit this morning and her search for his parents. He listened with sympathy – after all he knew the feelings of an orphan only too well. But at the same time he resented her for bringing so much pain into his father’s life. And into his? Of course Peter was shocked to learn about the death of his sister, but then he never got to know her, never knew the feeling of having a twin sister. Carolyn and Kelly used to treat him like a friend, not like a brother, so he couldn’t tell if he missed something. The pain he felt was for his father.

 

Peter started to light the candles, hoping his father would return home soon.

 

* * *

 

Caine sensed an uncharacteristic increase in his heartbeat as he raised his hand to knock at the door. An unnecessary but polite gesture. Just a second before he could do so, the door opened and Lo Si greeted him with a bow, hands clasp tightly in front of his chest, the dark eyes behind blinking glasses calm and unfathomable. “Please, come inside, my friend.”

 

The younger priest kind of hesitated before he followed the invitation. He accepted the seat, Lo Si offered, but declined a cup of tea from the pot sitting on the small table in front of the sofa.

 

Lo Si watched him for a moment. “You have come to me for knowledge… that is not yours to acquire.”

 

Caine showed no surprise. “I do not agree… Master,” he answered after a moment. “A young woman came to me last night. Her name is Laura Cavanaugh. She came to inquire about her parents.”

 

A shadow moved in ancient eyes, a reaction quickly concealed. “I am afraid, my friend, I cannot help you.”

 

“Then maybe I should ask… Ping Hai.”

 

This time the old man reacted with a sigh. “I never expected to fool you, Kwai Chang Caine. Not revealing my identity to you happened out of necessity.” The wrinkles in his face seemed to have deepened suddenly, now he really looked ancient. “I recognized you the very moment I first saw you on the street, looking up to my window. I did not think I would have to wait fifteen years for this moment, but time is not to be controlled by mere humans. Soon after Kahn and I were called to his town, to protect and teach the young emperor, I learned about Peter’s whereabouts. He had to be protected and so I enlisted help to have him brought to this town. I intended to… keep the last of the line of Kwai Chang safe. Remember I told you both that you would see each other again.”

 

“Sometimes mere words cannot offer any comfort,” Caine said. “Peter suffered unnecessarily, feeling alone and abandoned at the orphanage.”

 

“As you felt on the streets.” Lo Si shook his head. “I intended to find a family to raise him properly. However I did not foresee the liking Paul Blaisdell took in your child. I received reports about Peter’s well-being and prosperity. Years later Dao – with a new name, but otherwise unchanged – came into this town and started to built his regime of terror. Then I knew the time of your arrival had to be close. If not Peter had found you, I would have revealed my knowledge and reunited father and son.”

 

Caine looked at him. “I am not here to talk about Peter. Or me, Lo Si. You are trying to evade my question. How is Laura Cavanaugh? Why do I feel… a connection to her?”

 

For the first time Lo Si lowered his gaze. “In your heart you know who she is.” Like heavy rain falling onto the calm surface of a lake, his words dropped into the silence.

 

A thought, festering in the back of his mind, forced its way into the light. Caine closed his eyes. The name. The age. The familiarity of her face, her eyes… “No,” he whispered. “Not her…”

 

 

 

***********************flashback ***********************

 

Three days later Caine entered the room Laura and Mary Cavanaugh stayed. The little girl’s condition improved steadily and so did Mary’s. Her wounds were lessened to mere shadows. At least the one to be seen with the eyes.

 

Mary was busy weaving the girl’s hair into a thick braid. She stopped and turned to look at him with a smile when Laura quietly called his name. “Caine.”

 

The marks in her face were faded but still Caine had to fight down an shameful upwelling of anger, every time he looked at her. The passage of time might mend her body, but would it heal the wounds in her soul, too? He felt helpless. The evening before he tried to talk to Mary about informing the police about Vance’ attack on her and his niece, but Mary refused, telling him it would only fuel her brother-in-law’s fury and hate. She was positive, that Vance would never again hurt them – and Caine prayed her to be right…

 

“If you are feeling well, Laura, you might like to join Peter and the other children in the garden. My son waits for you outside the corridor.”

 

The girl nodded enthusiastic, causing the almost finished braid to slip out of her mother’s hands. “Will you just for a moment sit quietly, Laura,” Mary chided with a smile. She quickly finished and wrapped an elastic around the end of the braid. Then she watched Laura shoot out the room.

 

Mary looked at the priest, who also watched Laura’s quick departure. “She’s so full of energy, I’m glad she’s no longer confided to this room. It’s almost hard to believe she was so ill only three days ago.”

 

“Did she talk to you about what happened?”

 

The blond woman shook her head. “No. I tried but she would almost at once start to cry, so I didn’t force her.”

 

“You know she has to work through this, to talk about it, to ensure a complete recovery.” He watched her hands play with the small hairbrush she used to smooth Laura’s hair. A moment later he noticed the packed bag in a corner of the room. A friend of Mary’s went to her home and packed a few necessary clothes and items into a bag Michael delivered to them.

 

Mary’s eyes followed his gaze. “We will return home tomorrow,” she quietly said.

 

“This is not necessary. You are welcome to stay longer with us.”

 

“I know and I thank you for your kindness – but it is essential for Laura and me to return as fast as possibly into our normal life.”

 

“What about…?”

 

Mary shook her head. “Vance will not be there. I’ve got word from my friends that he vanished. His family owns a hunting lodge up in the mountains. I think he’s hiding there, he did before. His buddies form the Redwood Tavern will supply him with food and spent the weekends up there, drinking and firing at cans. Sooner or later he’ll reappear and beg forgiveness.” Her smile turned slightly bitter. “But of course he never before… went so far as raising a hand against us. I’m used to listen to his ramblings about the Temple, but since lately… I fear somebody is actually manipulating him, feeding his hate and I’m not sure it’s one of usual troublemakers from town.” She shivered as if feeling a cold breeze. Mary got up from her seat on the edge of the bed. “When Laura was small, Vance treated her like his own child. He used to play with her, read her favorite fairy tales at bedtime and we had wonderful picnics at the hills outside town in summer.” She smiled as she read disbelief in the priests face. “I know it’s hard to believe but he adored her because she was his brother’s child. When Laura turned six…” She hesitated.

 

“His behavior changed?” Caine softly inquired.

 

“Laura had an accident. She broke her leg, falling from a tree. We took her to the hospital, where a standard blood test was made. The result showed, that because of her blood group, Laura couldn’t be Donald’s daughter. Of course she wasn’t, because I… of course Vance was furious. It’s not that he started to mistreat her, no – he just stopped to love her. Most time he ignored her.”

 

“Until Valerie brought her to us.”

 

“Yes.” Mary shook her head. “You cannot know how far Vance influence reaches. He saw to it that Valerie’s father lost his job. And Vance took care he wouldn’t get another job in Braniff. That’s why the family finally moved off to San Francisco.” For a moment, silence filled the room. Then Mary Cavanaugh sighed. “I’m better going to look for Laura, I don’t want her to overstrain herself.”

 

“Peter will look after her.”

 

The woman smiled. “He is such a sweet boy, your Peter. I think Laura really likes him. Since Valerie moved off, there aren’t many children around her age she can play with.” Standing close to Caine she suddenly leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “I don’t know how to thank you for everything you did for me and my daughter,” she said and left the room.

 

“The strength and beauty of her soul even surpass her good looks.”

 

Startled Caine turned to face Ping Hai. He send the old one a puzzled look, but Ping Hai vanished with a smile as unexpectedly as he had appeared.

 

***********************flashback end***********************

 

 

 

“It cannot be,” Caine said.

 

“I have never known you to deceive yourself, my friend.” The Ancient watched the younger priest with no outer sign of anxiety. “Laura Cavanaugh is your daughter.”

 

“You… you showed me a dead child, Ping Hai. You buried her body. You took us to her grave.”

 

“I had to… trick you… into believing the child dead. It was I who blocked the connection between you and your child, like I did twelve years later to make you believe that Peter died in the fire.”

 

Caine went to his feet, turning away from the old one. His face was very pale. “So she really is our… my daughter?” he whispered. “Peter’s sister?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why?” Only one word, empty of any emotion.

 

“I have observed your path since you were born, Kwai Chang Caine,” Lo Si said in an even tone. “As others before me watched over your father and your grandfather. The descendants of the line of Kwai Chang who choose the way of the Shaolin, were always known to… outstand… even among the masters. To the monks of Shambala your and Peter’s destiny was revealed. However life is full of dangers. When your wife gave birth to two children, I had to take… precautions to… ensure the continuity of the line.”

 

“By… stealing… a child from its mother? By telling us she died? Laura loved Peter, but she always used to think about the child we lost, whenever she looked at him.” Caine still refused to turn, his voice carefully kept neutral.

 

“I had no choice.”

 

“You forced her to grew up in the house of a man who despised her – even without knowing who she really was.

 

Lo Si sighed. “The past cannot be changed, neither the choices taken. We have to accept what fate presents us with.”

 

Finally Caine turned. Gone was the serene priest, replaced by a man with a startling fire in his eyes and lines of bitterness in his face. “I cannot accept… What good came out of taken her from us? She’s now a young woman without roots, searching for her origins. You talked about taking… precautions… to ensure the line. But she knows nothing about her roots, nothing about her ancestors.”

 

For the first time Lo Si seemed hesitant to answer. “She does not – but still she is your child. She might have never been trained in the Shaolin ways, but she has a Shaolin heart.” He watched the younger man walk towards the door. “Where are you going, Kwai Chang Caine?”

 

“I have to tell Laura the truth.”

 

“If you are determined to tell your… daughter… the truth,” the Ancient said. “So why come to me first?”

 

Caine hesitated. “I feared to be wrong…” He turned to look again at the old one. “You expect me to abandon her?”

 

“I expect you to honor your duties.”

 

“And my duty to my child?” Caine asked bitterly.

 

“She is safe – due the fact she does not know who you are. I do not ask you to abandon her – be her teacher, be her friend. But do not attempt to be her father.”

 

“I… cannot.”

 

Lo Si stood close to him. “You can, Kwai Chang Caine. You have to.”

 

Caine closed his eyes. “What am I going to tell her?”

 

“Tell her, her parents are dead.”

 

Caine shook his head. “I cannot lie to her.”

 

A smile flashed across Lo Sis face. “You have lied before, my friend.”

 

Caine turned without saying a word, reaching out for the handle of the door.

 

“There is something else to consider.”

 

“What else?” Caine asked without looking at the old one.

 

“Think of Peter. And your… relationship… with him.”

 

Startled Caine turned. With a gesture he ask the other to continue. But again Lo Si smiled and bowed. Finally the younger priest left the room. Outside he leaned against the wall, taking a deep breath, trying to find a measure of calm. He failed.

 

* * *

 

Peter woke into darkness. The candles he lightened earlier, were all out. He got up and yawned – it felt like in the midst of the night. Barefooted he went into the main room to search for his father.

 

Two candles at the altar brought only little light into the big room. But enough for Peter to make out his father, standing at the French doors, obviously reading a letter. He hesitated. “Pop?”

 

Slowly Caine turned, a small smile hovering around his lips. It didn’t reach his eyes – or maybe it was just a trick of the light. “I did not want to wake you, Peter.”

 

“I love when you wake me.” Peter crossed the room to stand close to him. “If waited the whole evening for you.”

 

His father did not answer, but lowered his eyes to the letter in his hand. He neatly folded the paper to a small square.

 

“It’s a letter from Laura. She’s come along earlier tonight, but I couldn’t talk her into stay and wait for you. She just left the letter.” Peter hesitated. “Did you learn anything about her parents?”

 

Caine went very still. Then he shook his head. “There is nothing I can tell her.”

 

“Hey, don’t feel bad about it. You can’t help everyone, you know?” Peter smiled. “It’s late, Pop. Let’s go to bed.” Reaching out for his lover – but Caine caught his hand, drawing his fingers to his lips.

 

“In a moment,” Caine said after dropping a gentle kiss to his boys fingers. “I will join you shortly.”

 

Puzzlement crossed Peter’s features but he did as his father requested.

 

“I am sorry, Peter,” Caine said too softly for his son to hear. Then he opened the letter again.

 

 

“Dear Caine,

One of the teachers at the school I’m working at had an accident, so I have to return to Braniff immediately. Meeting you again has raised many memories – some good, others bad. I came to think it is wiser to let the past rest. 

 

Thank you for everything.

Laura Cavanaugh.”

 

 

Knowing he had memorized every word, Caine went to the altar and held one of the edges of the paper to the flame. It almost at once caught fire and he dropped it into a heave stone bowl standing at his work bench. After it was burnt to ashes, Caine extended the candles with a move of his arm and left the room to join Peter.

 

Maybe it was wiser to let the past rest. However he felt he would have no choice than to see Laura again. Even if he could never be her father, at least he needed to be close to her. Sometimes. Soon.

 

 

 

The end