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Return of the Prodigals
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Return of the Prodigals
by Twig

Crane Cottage

Sheridan kissed Luis with a passion that surprised even her. She had held back how she felt for so long that she had actually started to believe her own denials about their relationship, and suddenly all of that pent up frustration had been released. And she was mildly surprised to see that Luis was kissing her back just as urgently. There was not much else they could do, being as their hands were tied up, but they made the most of the situation. Ignoring the fact that they were lying on the cold, hard floor, ignoring the fact that the ropes were quite possibly cutting off circulation, ignoring the fact that just moments earlier they had been fighting with claws bared, Luis and Sheridan kissed as though the world was ending.
"DIOS MIO!"
That sure put an end to that.

Sheridan tore herself away from Luis to look up rather guiltily at his mother, who was standing in the doorway with her jaw hanging open. Luis coughed and glanced up at her before averting his gaze, humiliated.
Amanda stood behind Pilar, smirking, "Well Pilar," she said, "I think they're doing just fine. Why don't we leave them here until morning?"
Pilar scowled and hurried over to where Sheridan and Luis were bound together. "Help me untie them."
"But they look perfectly comfortable-"
"Amanda Crane!" Pilar commanded.
Amanda sighed and bent down, deftly untying the ropes. Noah watched from the doorway, amused.
Sheridan stood up rather shakily, rubbing her arms to get the blood flowing again, "Well."
Luis stood up after her, meeting her gaze briefly, "Well."
Pilar shook her head, "Dios mio," she said in frustration, turning and walking out of the cottage. Noah sighed and followed her. Amanda remained for a moment, just grinning at Luis and Sheridan, "Looks like you two managed to work out your differences after all." She gave them the thumbs up sign and hurried out the door, her laughter echoing throughout Harmony.




Crane Mansion

Julian sat in his study, regarding a family portrait that had been taken before the children had been shipped off to boarding school. There he and Ivy were, standing in the back, strained smiles on their faces. Ivy had her arm around Ethan, while the other children stood in front, grinning at the camera. William had looked relatively normal back then.
"Father?"
Julian jumped, startled, dropping the picture. Elizabeth and Stephanie were poking their heads into his office, both grinning.
"Bwa-Elizabeth! Stephanie!" he faked joy, "How wonderful to see you!"
His daughters exchanged glances, "Right."
"Really!" Julian insisted, "And Ivy will be THRILLED that you're home…"
Elizabeth sighed and plopped down on the couch in his study, and Stephanie followed suit, but not before she eyed the letter opener lying on Julian's desk with keen interest.
"Don't you dare," Elizabeth hissed to her.
Stephanie sighed and settled down.

Julian regarded his youngest daughters with a smile, and then set about attempting to lock the drawer in his desk. It wouldn't do to have any curious kids poking about in there…
"DAMN!" Julian howled, as he dropped the key into the drawer just as he slammed it shut. He went to pull it open, but he had locked it already.
"Something wrong?" Elizabeth asked with an amused smile.
Julian glared across the room at them, and then forced a smile. "NO," he said through gritted teeth, "Nothing is wrong."
The ringing of the phone cut him off mid-lie.
Without thinking, he punched the speakerphone button, "Yes?"

Alistair's irritated voice drifted into the room, "Julian, your stupidity never ceases to amaze me."
Julian blinked, "Whatever do you mean, Father?"
"How the HELL did you manage to lock yourself out of the drawer?!"
Julian narrowed his eyes and scanned around the room for a camera, unnerved by the way his father seemed to know everything that was going on. His suspicious gaze fell on his daughters, who stared back innocently.
"Well?" Alistair demanded.
"Ah…" Julian spluttered, reaching desperately for his glass of brandy, "I…"
"You WHAT?"
Julian sighed, "Father, I was merely trying to keep anyone from ever gaining access to what's concealed in that drawer-"
"What kind of Crane are you Julian? You can't even lie well," Alistair said with disgust, "THIS is why you were disinherited! At least Ethan has a good head on his shoulders."
Elizabeth and Stephanie exchanged skeptical looks.
"Father…" Julian attempted to change the subject, "Your other grandchildren are home."
"Are they?"
"Yes!" Julian attempted to sound happy, "They are all VERY impressed with how I've been handling the family matters-"
"Julian," Alistair interrupted, "Tell me you have them sitting in your study listening in to this whole conversation."
Julian blanched, "Ah…of course not Father. I'm not that stupid."
"That's a surprise."
Elizabeth giggled.
"What was that?" Alistair demanded.
"Ah…the chair squeaked," Julian said desperately, shooing his daughters out of the room with a panicked expression and slamming the door behind them.





Ivy burst into the mansion with her face a mask of stress and tension. William meandered easily behind her, his face bored and tranquil.
"WILLIAM!" Ivy shook her head with horror, glancing down at her expensive outfit, which was ruined by a large wine stain on the front. Bits of food clung to her sleeves, and a piece of parsley was sticking out of her tousled blond hair.
"What?" William smirked, "I thought you WANTED to bond with me and do things that I found entertaining."
"A FOOD FIGHT in the middle of the LOBSTER SHACK is NOT my idea of FUN," Ivy brushed desperately at the front of her blouse.
"Why not?" William asked with a devilish grin rather reminiscent of his father's.
"Because…BECAUSE IT JUST ISN'T!" Ivy exploded, stamping her foot like a small child, "And because you dumping that pitcher of water on the SENATOR was not very becoming of the Crane image! Can you just IMAGINE what the tabloids are going to have to say about that?! Our family's reputation will be ruined!"
"Just tell them that I am a rebel."
"William," Ivy said delicately, "That excuse is not going to work! The Cranes are not supposed to have rebels in their families!"
William shrugged and headed up the stairs without another word.




Crane Cottage

Sheridan sat on the couch, face buried in a magazine, trying to conceal the fact that she was still blushing madly from the…incident…that had occurred earlier. After Pilar, Amanda, and Noah had left, Luis had mumbled something about checking the outside of the cottage for hitmen, and he had hurried out and not returned since.
"I don't believe this," she muttered to herself, standing up and glancing out the window. Luis was pacing around in circles in front of the house, occasionally whacking his hand into his forehead.
She sighed and opened the door, "Luis, you're going to give yourself a bruise."
He jumped guiltily and glanced up at her with a sheepish grin, "Sorry."
"Don't apologize to me," she laughed, "apologize to your poor forehead!"
Luis grinned again and headed over towards her, "What are you doing out here? You're an easy target-"
"And a fine job of protecting me you're doing…wandering around whacking yourself in the forehead!"
He chuckled and followed her back into the cottage.

Once inside, she turned to face him and took a deep breath, "Luis…what happened between us before?"
He coughed and glanced at her before glancing away, "Um…"
She crossed her arms and stared at him.
"We got interrupted…again."
Sheridan threw her arms in the air, "Yes, I realized that! I think what I'm trying to ask is…" her voice lowered to almost a whisper, "Were you glad we were interrupted?"
"Were you?"
They stared each other down for a moment.
Finally Sheridan sighed softly, "No."
He smiled slowly, "Me either."
"So where does that leave us?"
Luis sighed, "Wherever we want to be left, I guess."
"Where you want to be?"
"Where do you?"
"Dammit, Luis you already did that to me once. Stop answering me with questions!"
He paused for a moment before taking a deep breath and saying in one big rush, "I think what I really want to do is kiss you again."
"Then what's stopping you?" Sheridan was trying to keep her smile from splitting her face in two.
For the moment, there was nothing in their way.




Crane Mansion

Elizabeth opened her eyes as the sun poked through the blinds on her window. She yawned and stretched, standing up and padding over to her closet, smiling. Today she would be going to the beach…
"Now to find the perfect outfit," she muttered to herself, rummaging around in her wardrobe, tossing a green bikini on the bed and continuing the search for the perfect tank top and pair of shorts.
"Today, the torture of Kay Bennett begins," she said out loud, and then began to laugh. This was going to be SO much fun.




Bennett Residence

"SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!"
Sam Bennett leapt out of bed and thudded down the stairs, alarmed by his wife's panicked cry.
"Grace?" he yelled, "Grace what's wrong?!"
"SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!"
He burst out the front door onto the lawn, gun in hand, not certain what he would see. What he DID see, however, was nothing he could have ever expected.
Grace was covering her mouth with her hand, staring across the lawn towards one of the large trees in their yard. And Jessica was tied to the tree, blindfold over her eyes, sock stuffed in her mouth. And Charity was sleeping peacefully with her back resting against the tree, coil of rope still clutched in one hand.
"What is going on?" Sam exclaimed, glancing from his struggling daughter, to his sleeping niece, to his horrified wife.

That was when Kay wandered into the yard with Simone.
"Oh my god," Kay said, feigning shock, "What happened?!"
Simone glanced down at her feet.
"Someone tied up Jessica-" Sam started.
"It looks like Charity did it!" Kay said loudly, "I can't believe she could do something so horrible to her COUSIN! Jessica was always nice to her!"
"What makes you so sure Charity did it?" Grace asked her daughter.
"Well, LOOK at her!" Kay exclaimed, "she must have fallen asleep right after tying Jessica up! I know they had a bit of a disagreement last night, but I had no idea that Charity could do something so cruel!"
Simone coughed loudly and looked away.
"I thought you said they got along," Sam said as he squinted at the sight. No one made any move to untie Jessica, instead all standing in a group and gawking at her.
"They did," Kay shrugged, "But last night they had a bit of a fight over sleeping arrangements. I knew Charity was mad, but I never thought she could…" she lied easily to her parents, and had to fight to keep the smirk off her face.
Sam sighed and reholstered his gun, finally deciding that it wasn't necessary. Still no one ventured over to where Jessica was fighting against the ropes.

Reese and Miguel strolled up, each carrying their beach gear.
"What happened?" Miguel asked as soon as he saw what was going on.
"Charity tied up Jessica last night," Kay told him with a raised eyebrow.
"Isn't anyone going to untie her?" Reese demanded, and Grace and Sam looked at him as if the thought had never crossed their minds.
After a moment, Reese sighed and headed over to the tree to untie Jessica himself.
Miguel stared back at Kay, "Kay, are you sure CHARITY did that?"
"Yeah," Kay shook her head in amazement, "she can get pretty mean."
"She must not have known what she was doing. Charity would NEVER do something like that to anyone!"
Jessica, finally free of the ropes, hugged Reese in her relief.
"You can have him," Kay whispered under her breath, "because soon Miguel is going to be mine."




About an hour after the Jessica incident, Ivy and William were standing on a residential street. Ivy looked from her son to the skateboard in his hand with an expression of undeniable terror.
"Here," William said with a smile, shoving a baseball cap down on her head; backwards, of course.
Ivy's eyes begged him to go do something else, but he seemed determined. With a sigh, she adjusted the baseball cap so her hair wasn't in her eyes.
"I'm going to teach you how to skateboard, Mother," William was smiling evilly.
"Go ahead William."
William skateboarded away, showing her some basic techniques. After a few moments of observing, Ivy's stubbornness took over.
"I can do that," she said, marching over to him and grabbing the skateboard.
"Fine," William smirked, standing back to watch.
Ivy pushed off and tentatively rolled a few feet. "Piece of cake," she squeaked, as she slammed her foot down to the pavement to balance herself.
William rolled his eyes, "Suuure."

Ivy glared at him, "I do not like your tone young man!"
William just laughed.
Ivy harrumphed, "I'll show him," she muttered, pushing off and skateboarding rather unsteadily down the street. She turned towards Main Street, and suddenly found herself hurtling down a steep hill.
"HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!"
William's grin disappeared as he saw his mother start down the hill. "MOTHER!" He yelled, running after her.
"HEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!!" Ivy was screaming at the top of her lungs, still managing to stay upright on the out of control skateboard. She weaved in and out of traffic, screaming her head off.
"MOTHER!" William was yelling, sprinting down the street in pursuit. Ivy flashed past the police department, still shrieking.
The door flew open and Sam Bennett burst out, gun in hand. He saw Ivy hurtling down the road and joined the pursuit, a few paces ahead of William.

Ivy could see nothing but her own life flashing before her eyes. And still she picked up speed.
"MOTHERRRRR!" she could faintly hear William shouting in the distance.
"IVYYYYYYY!" Oh god! That was Sam's voice!
"SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!" Ivy shrieked, turning her head to try and catch one final glimpse of him.
Alas, by turning her head, she never had a chance to see the huge truck that was pulled over in it's lane.
"IVY LOOK OUT!" William and Sam both yelled, and Ivy turned her head back a little too late to avoid a collision.

**THUD**




Harmony Hospital

"I'm fine, really I'm fine-" Ivy looked beseechingly up at the people gathered around her hospital bed.
"No, you are not," Doctor Eve Russell said firmly, "You have a broken arm, for one. Not to mention a concussion. And I have never seen so many bruises on one single human being in my entire life! Then of course there's the nasty gash on your left ankle…Shall I go on?"
Ivy grimaced, "Thank you Doctor Reassurance."
Eve narrowed her eyes, "I have other patients to see."
They exchanged venomous glances before Eve stalked out of the room.
"Mother-" William said delicately, "I'm glad you're awake."
She glared at him too, "William, I swear, if I EVER get the idea to spend some quality time with you again…" she shook her fist, and then winced with pain and relaxed back onto the hospital bed.
Sam shifted uncomfortably, "Well, since you're all right, I guess I'll be going-"
"Sam!" Ivy said happily, locking her eyes on him. "And…Grace," the enthusiasm in her voice faded away as she caught sight of Sam's wife standing behind him.
"Thank god you're all right Ivy," Grace was giving her a sugary smile, "You've been such a good friend lately. I'd hate to think that anything happened to you! If you need anything, anything at all while you're recuperating, please, don't hesitate to call."
Damn, Ivy thought to herself, it would be so much easier to hate that woman if she wasn't so damn nice!

Grace excused herself and made her way out into the hall, leaving Sam, William, Ethan, and Julian alone in the room with her.
"Julian," Sam said loudly, "Why don't you come talk to your wife?"
Julian glanced up from the newspaper he was reading, "Excuse me?"
"Ivy just woke up. Don't you want to see how she's doing?"
Julian waved his hand in the air, "I'm sure she's fine."
Ivy rolled her eyes, "Don't bother," she said to Sam.
Ethan had been silent for quite some time but he suddenly erupted, getting right into Sam's face, "This is all your fault, Chief Bennett!"
Sam backed away, "Ethan, how is your mother skateboarding into a parked truck MY fault?"
Ethan jabbed his finger at Sam's chest, "YOU shouldn't have allowed that truck to be parked there. It was a hazard, and once again MY family has had to pay for your ineptitude!"
Ivy clutched Ethan's sleeve, "Ethan, please don't-"
"Mother, this doesn't concern you," Ethan pronounced, his angry glare not leaving Sam's face, "This is a matter that Chief Bennett and I need to settle."
"Ethan!" William suddenly jumped up as though a lightbulb had gone off over his head, "You can't argue with Sam Bennett!"
Ethan glared at his younger brother as if he'd sprouted another head, "And why not?"
"Mother told me never, EVER to argue with Chief Bennett because he is a VERY NICE MAN who is only concerned with the citizens of Harmony-" William recited dutifully.
Ethan looked taken aback, and he sputtered for a moment before recovering, "Well, Chief Bennett is nothing more than-"
"ETHAN!" Both Ivy and William snapped.

Sam, baffled, looked from Ivy and William to Ethan, who still looked like he was ready to blow steam out of his ears.
Ethan took a deep breath, still glaring at Sam, "We'll let the police board settle this."
"Yes we will," Sam hissed back, finally stalking out of the room, tossing a "Feel better Ivy!" over his shoulder.
Ethan whirled to face his mother and younger brother. Julian, who had been watching the unfolding scene with keen interest, raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
"Mother, I'd like to know what that was all about!" Ethan spat, "Chief Bennett has been abusing our family for years. And as soon as possible, I intend to make sure that he NEVER serves as Chief of Police again!"
William narrowed his eyes, "Ethan, Sam tried to RESCUE Mother today. He was the one who helped her once she smacked into the truck."
"That truck shouldn't have been there in the first place!"
"Look," William fussed with his baseball cap, "It was my fault that Mother was in the accident. I was making her skateboard-"
"I will not tolerate Chief Bennett attempting to make a mockery of this family."
Ethan stood up and headed towards the door. Julian leapt to his feet, slapping him on the back, "Good boy Ethan! You're a Crane, through and through. Let's go for a drink, shall we?" The two headed down the hall.
William looked questioningly at Ivy, who shrugged, suddenly wondering which of her sons had turned out better in the end after all.

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