And Death Shall Have No Dominion

By Fields of Lavender

Chapter Index


Chapter 11


Diana received a page from one of the detectives who had caught the Moreno case.  She had called him when she heard about it.  Since Moreno had been Catherine's boss, it may have something to do with her disappearance.  She stopped at a payphone outside Elliot Burch's building to call him.

“Bob, this is Bennett.” she said when he picked up the phone.  “You got anything for me?”

“Well, yeah.  Nothing to connect to Chandler per se, but it connects to one of her connections.”


“I got a witness who puts Elliot Burch at the scene.  He had blood on his clothes.”

“Yeah, but the MO?  Burch couldn't have done that.”

“But we have motive and a witness has him at the scene.  I'm getting a search warrant.”

“Okay, thanks Bob.”

Diana hung up the phone and looked up at the building.  “Okay, Mr. Burch.  Let's see what you've got.”

Diana exited the elevator and marched across the reception area towards Burch's private office.  “Ma'am, you don't have an appointment.”  His secretary tried to stop Diana Bennett from entering her boss's office.

“I know.”

“You'll have to wait,” the secretary said, but stopped abruptly as Diana pushed to door open, revealing Elliot standing at the window, staring out blankly and stroking his beard.

“Mr. Burch,” Diana said firmly.

Elliot startled and looked up.  “It's fine, Amy.  Close the door please and hold my calls.”  Amy shut the door in a huff.  Elliot turned to Diana.  “How may I help you today, Detective?”

“Tell me what you know about the building Catherine Chandler was held in.”

“What makes you think I know anything?”

“Because you're protecting Vincent.”


“Come on!  Word on my street is you killed Moreno.  A search warrant will be issued by this time tomorrow.  But you and I know better.  The MO matches up with all those mysterious deaths involving Cathy Chandler's cases.  My bet is her mysterious protector was Vincent.  You're helping him and I need to know what you've got.”

“Why should I help you?”

Diana handed him a copy of the note Catherine had sent Joe.  He took it and read it silently.  “What?” he whispered.  He sat down weakly and read it again.  “Why did he?” he said softly.  When he finally raised his head and looked at her, there were tears in his eyes.  “Cathy is alive?”


“Where is she?”

“I don't know.”

“She had a baby?”


“Where is the baby?”

“I don't know, but you're gonna help me find him.”  Diana sat down opposite him and shrugged off her coat.  She pulled a notebook out of her bag and searched for a pen.  “You looked into the owner of that building, right?  For Vincent?”

“How do you know all of this?”

“Did you get past the first lines?”

Elliot snorted.

“She sent that note to Joe in a very roundabout way.  She will not be found, not by us.  But, we can find her son and if we find him, we can find the guy that did this, the guy that is controlling half of New York City and God knows what else.  We can find Gabriel.”


“Yeah.”  Elliot got up and went to his desk.  He pulled a key from his pocket and opened a drawer.  He pulled some papers from it and began to rifle through them.

“What is it?” she asked warily.

“Before Cathy disappeared, she asked me to look at something.  Her boss, Joe Maxwell, was given a ledger regarding some sort of illegal conspiracy taking over the whole damn town.  She wanted my help decoding it.  I put some people on it, but we only got part way through.  I think the name, 'Gabriel' is the key to the rest of it.”

“Give me a copy.”


“Mr. Burch, this is what I do.  Let me look at.  Cathy said to pool our resources.”

He leaned back in his chair and sighed.  “Okay.”  Elliot picked up the phone and called his secretary.  “Amy?”

After a moment, a quiet knock sounded and one of Elliot's bodyguards opened the door.  At his boss's questioning look he said, “Amy is pretty ticked off.  I told her to take a break.  You're buying her a coffee.  Can I help?”

“Yeah.  Can you run off a copy of this for Ms. Bennett?”

“Sure.”  The man took the file and left the room.

“You know,” Elliot said.  “If this guy doesn't want to be found, he isn't gonna be found.”

“That's what they all think, but sooner or later, I find them.  I find 'em all.”


Vincent was lying quietly on his bed, half-asleep.  It was killing him, lying there helpless, while his child was out there, somewhere, with him.  He had thought he would feel the baby as he grew and as he became stronger, so would his sense of him.  But, it was not.  It came in waves that were getting smaller and smaller.  Vincent hadn't said anything to Catherine, but he was getting worried.  Despite Father's reassurances that the baby was wanted by his kidnapper and would be well-cared for, Vincent worried.

A sudden movement from Catherine startled him out of his dreamlike state.  “No!” she shouted and rose up out of the bed.  She pushed off the covers and struggled to her feet.


“It is here, Vincent!  It is here!  We must do something.  Call the council.  Warn the sentries.”

“What is it?”

“The storm.  It is here!  There is a blizzard waging through the tunnels.  We must do something.”  She snatched up her robe quite nimbly for someone still so weak and threw it over her shoulders.  “And the baby!  Vincent, he is crying.”

He struggled up out of bed himself and winced slightly as he felt his stitches pull.  He drew her close to him with his good arm.  “Catherine, we are safe.  No storm can reach us down here.”

“No, Vincent!  It can!  It is coming.  I saw it.  I saw your death.”  She began to cry into his chest. 

“Shhh, my love,” he tried to soothe her.  “Let me speak to Father.”

“All right.”


Snow had done his research; he was nothing if not thorough.  He had returned to the carousel and examined it closely.  There were several heavy bloodstains in the center.  But there were a few drops near the door and then a few drops hidden in the grass several feet away.  He followed the trail closely and had come to the drainage pipe.  There was some blood on the gate and one drop on the floor beside it.  There was no more blood.

Snow had looked at that tape – a creature like that needed somewhere to hide, a lair.  When he saw the blood in the drainage tunnel, he knew he had found it.  He had outfitted himself well.  He had night-vision goggles and sound-magnifying earphones.  He dressed completely in black.  He had several guns, but also a dart gun, filled with enough tranquilizers to bring down an elephant.  Snow would have preferred to just hunt and kill the creature, but Gabriel wanted him alive.  Snow thought it was crazy, but bringing in the creature alive was much more of a challenge and really the only reason he had taken on the assignment.  And now, he was laying the charges to break down that seemingly solid concrete wall just beyond the gate that he knew was the entrance to finding this creature.



“Vincent!  What are you doing out of bed?  Are you trying to give me a heart seizure?”  Father struggled out of his chair and went to his son, who was leaning heavily on the wall near the entrance to Father's chamber.  Vincent held out his hand, stopping him.

“It is Catherine.”

“What?”  Father looked concerned.

“She's had that dream again.  She says it is beginning.”

“What is?”

“I'm not sure, but I'm beginning to sense it, too.”

“Sense what?”

“Unease, instability.  Something is wrong.”

“Are you sure you aren't just sensing her unease?”

“Yes.  Our Bond is still...gone.”

“All right.  Let me send a message to Pascal.  I'll have him put out an all quiet and double check with the sentries.”

“Thank you, Father.  I'm going to check as well.”

“Vincent!  You are in no condition - “

“Father, I must!”


“Because, Father, I believe that whatever this new danger is, it concerns me and it concerns my child.”


Snow blew open the door and then entered the Tunnels.  He was fascinated.  This seemed to be made and maintained.  Perhaps there were more of this creature.  He smiled.

He continued to make his silent way deeper into the earth.  Then, he paused, holding a hand to his ear.  There was a tapping sound, not water, rhythmic and repeating.  He turned towards the sound and walked several more meters down the tunnel.  He heard the sound again, louder, and he stopped, examining the wall in front of him.  A vent near the floor flipped open and he fired at it, spraying dust and gravel all over.  When the gunshot's echoes stopped, he heard a young woman scream.  “Well, now they know I'm here,” he thought and continued on his way.


Vincent had heard the explosion.  He hurried back to Catherine and guided her to Father's chamber.  “Stay here, Catherine, no matter what happens.”

“Vincent,” she began.

“Stay with Father.  Promise me.”  He held her face in his hands and looked deeply into her eyes.  She returned his gaze and then slumped a little, understanding and accepting.

“Yes, I promise.”

Vincent shrugged off his sling and gave it to Father.  “Gather everyone together.  I do not know what this is, but I will stop it.”

“Vincent!”  Vincent turned back to his father and caught his gaze.  Father sighed.  “I'll re-sew your wounds when you return.”


Snow continued down the corridor.  He could hear the girl's sobs and panting as she ran.  Following and catching her was almost too easy.  When she stopped to catch her breath, he was just around the corner from her.  He stood silent and waited.  She burst off the wall and ran right into him, falling to the ground.  He put the barrel of his gun on her back. 

“What was his name?  The boy?  What was his name!”

She sobbed on the ground.  “St- St- Stephen.”

“Thank you.  I always learn their names.”  He paused as if truly committing the name to memory.  “And your name?”

“B-Brooke.  Brooke.”

When Stephen had not responded to Pascal's message twice, he had sent Old Sam to check on him.   Sam came around the corner just as Brooke had said her name,  Snow twirled and fired at the old man, only armed with a staff.  Brooke sprang up and ran off in the other direction.  Vincent heard the shots from where he was and roared in protest.

Snow's goggles glowed eerily red in the darkness of the tunnel as he chuckled.  “I'm coming.”


Catherine paced Father's library chamber, much like Vincent did when he was agitated or worried.  Every now and then, she would stop and lean on a chair to rest.  After a moment or two, she would resume her pacing.  This is how Father found her when he returned from tending to Brooke.

“Tell me, Catherine,” he said quietly from the doorway of the chamber.

“I need to go to him.”

“You know that you cannot.”

“Father, this is killing me!”

“I know.”  He entered the chamber and embraced her with his left arm.  “But you must stay here where it is safe.”

“He isn't completely well.”

“I know.”

“He'll tear his stitches.”

“I know.”

“My dreams, Father.”

“I know, child.”

She stood still in his arm, breathing into his shoulder, smelling the smoky disinfectant odor that was unique to Father.  He stroked the back of her hair softly.  “You must be patient.”

“I'll try.”

He pulled her back and looked at her face.  “You're much better.”


“He'll be fine.”

“But-” Catherine started.

“He always is.”

“I know.”

“You're just worried because you love him.”  She nodded sadly.  Father's eyes looked far away as he remembered all the times he had sat in this chamber worrying after his son.  “I know.”


It was so ironic it was nearly comical.  Vincent silently waited for the hunter to follow him and drew him down, deeper, deeper, through the serpentine, below the wells, into a secret place that only he knew – a place of mists and caverns and cold, thick air.  He had taken away the hunter's benefits; first his night-vision goggles, then the sound-magnifying earphones.  Now, Vincent had the favor of both sight and sound as well as scent.  And he had the home-team advantage.  Now he was the hunter, leading his prey into a trap.  It didn't take long to fool the hunter into firing at a rock draped with his cloak.  And then the walls tumbled down upon him.

He picked up the ring the hunter had taunted him with and realized he had another clue.  He carried the hunter's corpse back to the building where he had found Catherine and dumped it on the roof.  His shoulder ached and the wound had opened, bleeding into his tunic.  He drew great lungfuls of air into his chest, raised his arms and cried, “Gabriel!  Try again, coward!”


Chapter 12


Gabriel was not happy. One of his underlings had just reported the finding of Snow's body on the helipad of his downtown building. His ring was gone. "Why do people always disappoint me?" He rubbed his hand over his face.

Another one of his men approached tentatively. "Sir?"

"What?" Gabriel snapped.

"Sir, the man we have on Elliot Burch is here."

"Does he have good news?" Gabriel twisted his head to the side, as if trying to dislodge a crick in his neck.

"I believe so, sir." He motioned another man forward. It was one of Elliot's bodyguards.

"Good evening, sir," the blond man said.

"Don't bother with pleasantries. Just tell me."

"Yes, sir. Burch is likely to be arrested for Moreno's murder in the next few days."

"So?" Seriously, was he surrounded by incompetents?

"He was warned tonight by a detective, Diana Bennett. She has been investigating the Catherine Chandler case. She mentioned Vincent. She also knows about the ledger. She and Burch are very close to decoding it."


"It is another avenue, sir."

"Can she produce the creature?"

"She may be able to lead us to him."


Diana hurried into the Manhattan District Attorney's office the next morning. She had received another note from Catherine. There were no words, just a sketch of a thin, dark man, presumably Gabriel. A heavy gold ring was wrapped in the paper of the sketch. As soon as she had opened the packet and realized what it was, she had called Joe Maxwell, but could not reach him. Then, she had received a somewhat cryptic phone call, summoning her to the District Attorney's office. "What now?" she wondered.

She stopped at reception. "Diana Bennett for the District Attorney," she told the girl sitting at the desk. The girl looked her up and down – taking in her baggy coat and battered tote bag thrown over her shoulder and long red hair in a messy ponytail – and picked up the phone.

"There's a Diana Bennett here for you?" A pause as she listened. "Yes, sir." She hung up the phone. "You may go in."

Diana opened the door that was still labeled with John Moreno's name and found a man sitting in the leather desk chair with his back to the door. She cleared her throat and he spun around revealing Joe Maxwell.

"Joe! You?"

"Yeah, it turned out the suspension worked out in my favor. All the dirt turning up on Moreno was as good as a commendation."

"You don't look too happy about this promotion."

"I used to dream of some day sitting behind this desk. Only, I didn't want it to happen this way." He stood up and walked around the desk to stand beside her. "You see, I trusted John Moreno."

"You shouldn't trust anybody. You gotta get used to that feeling. You got no friends in this world, Maxwell."

"I don't believe that."

Diana turned and sat against his desk. He did as well. "Good for you." They looked at each other. "You sent for me?"

"Yeah. I've got to put Cathy and her baby on the back burner. We have to look for Moreno's killer. I'm taking you off Cathy and putting you on John."

"Joe! You can't."

"I have to, Diana. Things have changed."

"I think you and I both know who killed Moreno. Burch all but confirmed it to me last night. We are close to finding Gabriel, Joe. Give me a few more days."

"Diana." He rubbed his eyes and ran his hand through his hair. "You've got to understand. There's all this political pressure now. I'm not just her friend trying to find the answers anymore. I'm the new DA, at least until the next election."

"Okay," She glanced at the closed door. "Okay, officially, the Chandler case is in limbo – not closed, but nothing new is going on either. Now, I'm working on Moreno. Since we know what happened, I'll make a little noise, but keep working on Cathy. Officially, on my own time."

"Whatever makes you happy. I just have to step back."

"I got a sketch from our source. And a ring. And Burch is close to cracking the code in that ledger of yours that started all of this."

"You both need to be careful. I'm out of it."



They both looked at the door. Then Joe turned to her. "Call me tonight?"



Catherine and Vincent spent most of the day in bed, recovering from the previous day's traumas. Father had re-sewn Vincent's wounds and tucked them both in with some of William's healing broth. When Catherine awoke, she was crying. She opened her eyes and saw Vincent's bright azure ones, looking deep into her soul. "Tell me," he said.

"There is no more blizzard or snow or wind. But the baby. He is still crying. He needs...something. He isn't getting what he needs."

"Catherine," Vincent began.

"It is getting critical, Vincent. His cries are weakening. Can you feel anything?"

He levered himself up with his left arm, kissed her brow absently and went to his big chair. He sat down and folded his hands, wincing as he moved his right shoulder. He laid his chin on his hands and closed his eyes. He sat still and silent. Catherine thought about holding her breath, so as not to disturb him. She lay against the pillows and let the tears fall down her cheeks. Suddenly, Vincent opened his eyes and gasped.

"What?" she asked, sitting upright.

"He is so weak, so ill."

"Can you find him?" He shook his head. "Why not?" she demanded.

"He is too weak."

"But, when he was born, you felt him." She climbed out of bed and knelt at his side. He stroked his good hand through her hair, wiped her tears away.

"When he was born, he was strong and undergoing a great trauma. And I thought he was you."

"Vincent, we must find him."

"I cannot do it alone."

"Then how?"

"I do not know."


Diana had spent the day going to jewelry stores, trying to find information on the ring Catherine had sent her. There was an inscription that began with the word, "Veritas," Latin for "Truth," but the rest could not be deciphered. Every jeweler had told her the ring was old. Thanks a lot, she thought.

She sat up late on her couch. Every time the phone rang, it heralded disappointment. Mark had called several times, but she kept putting him off. Finally, she fell into bed, exhausted. At about 1:30, a noise woke her.

Two men, dressed in black, ascended to her building using grappling hooks and entered her apartment through her rooftop garden. One stopped in her kitchen and checked the syringe he carried. They did not notice her on the floor behind the island, clutching her service revolver. As they went to her bedroom, she pushed the button calling the elevator to her floor. It took too long and she went outside. She surveyed the area around her building. There was a black sedan parked at one end of the alley and a cab idling on the other side. She used one of the men's grappling hooks to descend to the ground and then ran to the cab.

"Lady? What the hell are you doing?" the cabbie exclaimed.

"Get out of here!" she shouted and lay down on the back seat. The men chased her, spotted her entering the cab and called to their companions below. A man exited the sedan and fired at the cab, striking the driver. Diana slipped over the front seat, shoved the body out of the way and drove off. The sedan followed and one of the gunmen shot out one of the tires. She crashed into parked cars and slid out of the taxi and saw a diner ahead.

She slid her gun into the waistband of her sweatpants and pulled her shirt over it and took a deep breath. She walked hopefully confidently into the diner, hoping no one noticed her stocking feet. There were three quarters on the counter. She scooped them into her hand and continued towards the phone booth in the back.

"I'll be with you in just a minute," the waitress called absently over her shoulder.

Diana continued onwards, focused on the phone booth. When she closed the door, a light came on, so she cracked the door back open.

"Okay," she breathed. "Okay." She placed one of the quarters into the payphone and dialed Joe's home number from memory.

"Hello?" a voice mumbled.

"Joe? It's me." She looked towards the front door. There was only a thin man mopping the floor.


"Yeah. I'm in a lot of trouble. Can you come get me?

"Where?" Joe sounded instantly awake.

"I'm at a diner at the corner of Durant and Shapers."

"Durant and Shapers. I'm on my way."

"Hurry." She looked out and saw two men in black entering the diner. She squatted down behind the door of the phone booth.

One of the men approached the waitress at the counter and flashed a badge. "NYPD. We're looking for a white, female suspect. Red hair. Wearing a tee-shirt and sweatpants. Probably is not wearing shoes. You see her?"

"Yeah. She pocketed one of my tips."

Diana sat in the bottom of the phone booth, holding the speaker of the phone against her chest, silently praying.

"Then she just disappeared, up Durant."

"Thank you," Diana mouthed. Then, the phone began to beep. Joe had hung up, but she hadn't. She let go of the phone and fumbled for her gun. The men turned back and approached the phone booth and kicked in the door. Diana looked up. The man with the fake badge held a female customer against his chest with a gun to her head.

"It's over. We can leave with these people alive. Or we can kill them."

Diana held her gun raised, aiming at the man. At his words, she reluctantly placed her gun between her feet and kicked it across the floor. The other man grabbed her and wrestled her to the black sedan waiting outside.

With her mouth taped, wrists bound and her head covered in a black hood, the men marched her unseeing across the foyer of the opulent mansion and up to the nursery where Gabriel was waiting next to the crib. One of his men snatched off the covering, blinding her for a moment, then snatched off the tape. She refused to wince in pain. When her eyes adjusted, she recognized the man by the crib from the sketch Catherine had sent her.

"Thank you," Gabriel said. His man stepped backwards and started to close the door. "Beau, gently." The door closed without a sound, leaving Diana alone with Gabriel.

"I wish you hadn't run, Ms. Bennett. You've wasted valuable time."

"What do you want?" she snapped.

"Please," he indicated her forward, towards the crib. Unwillingly, she stepped to his side and looked down.  "This is my son, Ms. Bennett. He's very beautiful, don't you agree? Look at his hands, his face. There's nothing unusual there." He looked up at her. "I think the resemblance is in the eyes."

"I don't think he looks anything like you." She looked away from the baby, the child she knew to be Catherine's, into the evil man's face.

"Precisely." He held her stare. "The trouble is, he's dying."

Unwittingly, she looked again at the baby in the crib as Gabriel continued. They both looked down at the child. "There is some powerful illness. The doctors don't know how to help him." He looked up, at her face. "I do. And I believe you do, too. The child needs his natural..." Diana held her breath. Does he know Catherine is still alive? "Father." Diana breathed again.

"You lost me about two steps back," she said, feeling shaky, but her voice was still steady.

"You're fast, Ms. Bennett. I'll give you that. Unfortunately, I don't have time to play. Maybe a few hours."

"I still don't know what you're talking about." She forced her eyes away from the baby. She couldn't look at him and maintain her aloofness.

"All that matters is that you find him. Find him and tell him: Catherine Chandler's child is dying."

Diana forced herself to look the madman in the eyes. "What proof do I have that is Catherine Chandler's child?"

"You have no proof, Ms Bennett. And the child has no time. Take that message to Vincent."

"And what makes you assume that I can make contact with him?" she asked, scornfully.

Gabriel leaned closer to her. "You'll find a way." He stepped away from her and the baby and went to the door. He opened it and spoke quietly to the man outside in the hallway. Diana turned and looked at him. Her eyes cast down to the marble tiles beneath his Italian leather shod feet. The pattern was different, unique. She placed it in her extraordinary mind for later use.

Thirty minutes later, the black hood was removed from her head by one of Gabriel's underlings. She was in the back of a limousine, racing down the dark streets. He handed her a pair of her own shoes. "Here, put these on." She took them and began to lace the sneakers on her feet. He then handed her a coat. "Take this, too. There's money in the pocket." He laid the coat between them on the seat as she finished tying her shoes. He handed her a slip of paper with a phone number on it. "Call this number to set up the next rendezvous. You are free to go, Ms. Bennett." The limousine pulled over and she got out, pulling the coat closed around her. She felt in the pockets and found the cash folded in there. She looked around and found her bearings. She needed to get to the Wongs’ and send a message to Catherine and Vincent.


"Vincent, you can't!"

Her cry pierced his heart, made him stop his preparations. He set his cloak back on the chair and took her hands. "Catherine, I have to. What else can I do?"

"I'll go."

"No!" he growled. "He thinks you're dead. If he finds you are still alive, he'll kill you. I cannot face that possibility. I cannot." He squeezed her hands and then let them go, retrieving his cloak. "I will go."

"Vincent, please. I've been back with you for only a week, seven days. How can I give you up now?"

"We'll lose him if we don't. You read the note. Our son is dying. The doctors that man has don't know what is wrong. Modern medicine cannot help. I know, now, what we've felt from him. He needs to be loved. He needs his parents to love him. You carried him, alone, for nine months, and loved him. Now, it is my turn."

"He'll kill you. You'll cure our son and then he'll kill you," she whispered. "How can I live with that?"

"By rights, I should have died a thousand deaths by now. But, I am still alive." At his words, Catherine burst into tears. He drew her into his arms. "You've cried enough tears to fill an ocean." He kissed the top of her head. "Knowing you are here, healing and waiting for us, will make me stronger." She cried harder. "I will come back. And I'll bring our son and place him in your arms. And then, my love, you'll cry tears of joy."

She pulled back and looked up at him, her tears glowing bright in the glow of the candles. "You must come back."

"I will."


As per the instructions sent via the Wongs by Diana, Vincent stood on the helipad of the building where he thought his beloved had died just one short week ago. He heard it first, the beating of the rotor, and then saw it as the helicopter rose above the roof-line of the building and hovered there. Then, the helicopter turned to the side and two men armed with dart guns took aim at Vincent. It took three shots before the darkness over-came him and he collapsed on to the roof.

When he awoke, he was locked in a cage in what seemed to be a basement. His wrists were bound by manacles chained to the wall and when he groggily made his way to his feet, he touched the bars of the cage. A strong bolt of electricity sent him back to the center of the cage. He stood there a moment and looked around. He saw the cameras on the ceiling. He clutched the chains at his wrists and began to pace the cage.

As Gabriel watched from his bank of monitors, Vincent grasped the chains at his wrists and tried to pull them from the wall. Gabriel watched impassively. Vincent resumed his pacing.

Thirty minutes later, Gabriel watched Vincent pacing from the monitor in the nursery. The doctor was re-examining the baby. "Well?" Gabriel asked.

The doctor straightened and removed the stethoscope from his ears. "No change," said the doctor quietly.

"What about the blood tests?"

"I've never seen anything like it. The child is unusual, but his?"

"Try to be more specific, doctor," Gabriel said shortly.

The doctor swallowed. "They share certain similarities, but a transfusion is out of the question."


"The child would die." Gabriel stared at the doctor. The doctor did not blink. Into this silence, the baby began to whimper. Gabriel bent over the crib and picked up the baby.

"What do you suggest?" Gabriel practically spat.

"There's no logical reason for this illness. We've tried every test."

"There's a reason for everything, doctor."

Suddenly, over the monitor, Vincent roared. "Gabriel!" he snarled.  He pulled at the chains again and broke them.

"Do whatever you have to do. Use him, if you need to." At Gabriel's words, the doctor nodded quickly and left the room. Gabriel continued to cradle the baby in his arms.

"He's dying, Gabriel," Vincent continued. "I can feel him dying. Bring him to me. He needs more than my blood; he needs me. Bring him, Gabriel. I can save him." Gabriel turned and watched the monitor, mesmerized.

"Can't you feel it?" Vincent seemed outraged. "He is only your son in life. If he dies, he is mine. Bring him to me. Let him live." Then, Vincent slumped into a corner of the cage. Who even knew if Gabriel heard him and would reply.

An armed guard and a nurse, carrying the baby wrapped in a blue blanket, followed by three more guards descended the stairs into the basement. At their entrance, Vincent sprang to his feet.

"Gene, cut the lights," said the senior officer to the others.

With the lights off, the cage was no longer electrified. One of the guards opened the gate and the nurse gingerly laid the baby in the doorway. Vincent stood there, stunned.

The nurse stepped out quickly, never making eye contact with Vincent. The guards closed and locked the gate and then one of them turned the electricity back on. The hum along the wires burned in Vincent's ears. The baby was whimpering in his blanket. When the others were gone back up the stairs, Vincent approached the blanket. He pulled it away from the child's face and looked upon his son for a few awe-filled moments. Then, he gently lifted the child in his arms and sat back with him against one of the stone walls of the cage. The child quieted and looked intently upon his father.

"Catherine," Vincent whispered. "He is beautiful."


Chapter 13


Vincent held his son for the rest of the night.  They simply looked at each other, entranced.  The baby cooed and gurgled from time to time, but mostly he was silent and stared adoringly at the man he knew to be his father.  For that time, Vincent didn't care that he was chained up in a cage.  He didn't care how Catherine and Father must be worried.  He didn’t care about the pain in his healing shoulder.  All he could concentrate on was the beauty of his son in his arms.  He could feel him, feel the strength returning into his tiny body. 

And so he startled when Gabriel spoke, his voice coming out of the darkness.  Vincent hadn't even noticed him descending the stairs.

“His name is Julian,” the silky voice said.  Vincent stood up smoothly, the chains rattling.  He held his son firmly and looked at his captor defiantly.  “Some names have power,” Gabriel continued.  “You know that, don't you?  'Vincent.' 'Conqueror.'”  He paced the two open sides of the cage, letting the keys dangle loosely in his hand, taunting Vincent.  “Ordinary men write their names in water.  There are some though, a few of each generation, who are stronger than the rest.  They write their names in blood.”  Gabriel stopped and looked at Vincent.  “My son will be a man like that.”

“Gabriel,” Vincent's voice held a note of pity.  “You have no son.”

Gabriel's normally impassive face faltered a moment.  Then, he lowered his eyebrows and wrinkled his brow as if to say, “I'm in charge, here.”  He went to the intercom box mounted on the wall and pressed the buzzer.  The door to the stairs opened and the doctor, the nurse and two armed men entered.

Gabriel spoke only to the other men.  He didn't spare Vincent or the baby a glance.  “It has been long enough.  Remove the child.”

The guards and the doctor stared at the beast, cradling the baby, frightened.  “Do it,” Gabriel said firmly.

The doctor stepped forward with his own set of keys as one of the guards cut off the electricity.  His hands shook, rattling the keys as he bent to open the cage.  Vincent snarled and showed his teeth.  The baby remained quiet and peaceful in his arms.  The doctor sprang back, but Gabriel didn't bat an eyelash.  “Lucas.  Reed,” was all he said in his quiet, silky voice.

The guards cocked their weapons and aimed them at Vincent.  He startled and held the baby tighter.  Gabriel's eyebrows flicked and he stepped closer to the cage, leaned in, as if he was speaking confidentially to Vincent.  “I want the child.  The doctor wants another blood sample.  If you resist, they'll fire.  But not at you.  Do we understand each other?”

Shock was plain on Vincent's face as he lowered the child from his shoulder.  “Do it,” Gabriel said again and went upstairs.  The doctor bent again to the lock and opened the cage.  The nurse entered first, more curious that frightened.  The doctor shook and sweated behind her.  The nurse approached him as Vincent pressed a kiss to the baby's brow and handed him to her.  She turned and quickly passed by the doctor.  The baby began to cry as she left the basement dungeon.

Vincent looked at the guards, still standing impassive with their weapons raised.  He stared at the doctor, who was still visibly shaking and breathing hard.  Vincent took pity on him and stepped back.  He sat down, extended his arm and turned away.  He could still hear his son, crying, as he was taken back up the stairs.


After sending her message at the Wong's, Diana returned to her apartment building.  She watched it from across the street as the sun rose above the skyscrapers and illuminated the windows of her home.  The black sedan that had chased her to the diner remained parked outside.  There was a cab idling around the corner.  The apartment seemed empty, but she couldn't be sure.  Decision made, she left and went to a payphone on a busy corner.  She put in a quarter and dialed.

“Office of the District Attorney,” an emotionless female voice answered.

“I need to speak to Joe Maxwell.”

“Who is calling, please?”

“I'm Detective Diana Bennett.  I'm with the police department.  It is an emergency.”

“Hold please.”

Diana turned and looked out one side of the booth and then the other, nervous about standing in a glass booth, exposed.  People milled about, but Gabriel's men could be anyone.  Finally, another voice came on to the phone.  It was a man.

“Joe Maxwell's office,” he said.

“Who are you?  Where's Joe?”

“He's tied up in court.  Can I help you?  I can send someone to pick you up.”

“Damn!” Diana slammed to phone back on the hook.  She shouldn't be surprised.  Joe had only been on the job for a day.  He couldn't clean the whole house that quickly.  She left the phone booth and began walking in the crowd, trying to think.  Who could she turn to?  Suddenly she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, ignoring the glares sent her way by the ordinary people hurrying to work.  “Burch.”  She turned around and went back in the other direction.  She didn't notice the cab following her.


Catherine had tried to go back to sleep after Vincent had left, but she had strange dreams and was restless.  She arose after only being back in bed for a couple of hours.  She found Father in his study.

“Catherine, you're up early.  Are you feeling well?”

“Yes, Father.  I just couldn't sleep.”  She slid into the chair opposite him at his table.  He laid his book aside.

“You should try, child.  You need to regain your strength.”

“I know.”  She took a deep breath.  “Father, Vincent went Above last night.”

“Above?  Why?  He still isn't fully recovered either.”  Father's brow furrowed and she could see the beginnings of “worst case scenarios” forming in his head.  She doubted he would have ever considered this one.

“We received a message from Diana Bennett.  Gabriel contacted her.  Our son is sick and he thinks he needs his parent.  Since I'm supposed to be dead, Vincent went.”

“How is Vincent to find this man?  Isn't that the problem you are working on?”

“Diana said he should go to the roof of the building where he found me and Gabriel would meet him there.”

“He exposed himself to this man?”


“Well, he is as good as captured.  God knows what will happen now!”  Father rose and began to pace jerkily around his chamber.  Catherine had always thought of it as Vincent's habit, but he must have picked it up from his parent.

“Father,” Catherine said, trying to get the old man's attention.  “I tried to sleep, but the dreams I had were horrible.”

“Tell me,” Father said.  He came to her and sat back down, taking her hands in his.  “Tell me.”

“Vincent is trapped, in a cage.  He is sitting in the center of it, brooding.  His face is full of pain, of despair, or hopelessness.  And there is a baby crying.  It is loud at first, but it gets quieter, then stops.”  She held his hands tighter.  “I'm afraid, Father, that he went there to save our son, but now he is trapped and cannot escape.  And the baby...”  She shook her head. 

“Well, he can't have been gone long, Catherine.  You shouldn't worry.”

“Don't try to placate me, Father!  You don't know this man, what he is capable of!  He kept me away from Vincent, from everyone I knew, for six months!  No one could find me and he nearly killed me.  Heaven knows how many others he had killed!  He owned the District Attorney!  He was essentially above the law.  If he wants to keep Vincent in a cage and show him like a side show in a carnival, he will.  If he wants to torture him or study him or just keep him in a dark room, he will.  He can do anything he wants.  And if Vincent cannot escape, he will be his prisoner forever.”

“Or until he becomes expendable.”


“We must find him.”  Catherine nodded at his words.  Then he asked her, “Diana Bennett was at this Gabriel's house?”


“Then, we must find her.”


Diana walked down the crowded streets towards Elliot's building.  Everyone was in a hurry, going to work, running errands or just going somewhere.  No one looked at her twice, but she felt like she stood out.  Gabriel's men must know by now she wasn't going back to her apartment and had to be looking for her.  She knew that if Gabriel wanted her dead, he had plenty of resources to see it was done.  She tried to keep walking forward, purposeful, and not keep looking around and behind her.

The heavy-set cabbie was idling on the street.  “I've got her.  She's going north down Amsterdam,” he spoke into a clunky walkie-talkie.

Another man, thin and tall with a mustache, pushing a broom on the sidewalk answered from a similar walkie-talkie he pulled from his mop bucket. “Copy that.  I see her.”

The cab pulled away from the curb and drove off.  “Let me know where she's going.”

“You got it.”

Diana didn't notice the cab or the black sedan following him as they both pulled into the heavy morning traffic.


Gabriel sat in his office, watching Vincent on the monitors.  He was simply sitting, looking around the room, but mostly just sitting.  The doctor entered.

“Do you think he sleeps?” Gabriel asked him.

“Well, surely he must,” the doctor answered.

Gabriel reluctantly turned away from his desk and faced the doctor, standing nervously in front of him.  “Well?”

“The results are the same.  A transfusion is not possible.”

Gabriel leaned back in his chair and sighed.  “I'm very disappointed, doctor.  If my son dies...”

“He's getting stronger.”  Gabriel sat up, surprised as the doctor continued.  “His fever has broken and he's taken some formula.  I can find no reason for it.  It must be some sort of spontaneous remission, or the illness has simply run its course.”

“No,” Gabriel said, pointing at the monitors.  “It's him!”  He pushed back from his desk and stood up, went out of the room, the doctor trailing behind him. 

Gabriel entered the basement.  When Vincent saw him, he jumped up with a low roar and reached through the bars for him.  The electricity coursed through his arm and forced him back on to the floor.  He shook his head, then looked up at his captor with a snarl.

“I thought you'd like to know,” Gabriel began.

“My son is recovering,” Vincent interrupted.  “I feel it.”  He sat up.  “I feel him.”

“Hm,” Gabriel said, then turned away.  Then, he stopped and turned back, reaching into his pocket.  He threw a ring on to the floor of the cage.  “I thought you'd like to have this back, now that the woman is dead.”

Vincent looked up at him with steely eyes and Gabriel left the basement, leaving the doctor behind.  The doctor stood looking at Vincent and then tentatively spoke.  “May I ask?”

Vincent cocked his head to the side.  The doctor continued.  “How did you do it?  How did you cure him?”

“The child has wanted for nothing here.  He is warm and fed.  But he has not known love since the day of his birth.  Simply, I love him, and he knows it.”

The doctor looked puzzled, as this explanation did not fit any of his scientific precepts.  Then he nodded his head and left the room as well.


Diana continued down the street towards downtown among the crowds of New Yorkers.  She looked over her shoulder and noticed a taxicab following her about a half a block behind on the other side of the street.  She stopped at a newsstand and pretended to look over the day's headlines.  When she checked again, she was certain.  She left the newsstand and walked briskly, but nonchalantly.  She reached an alley and suddenly turned and ran down it.

The driver of the cab spoke into his walkie-talkie.  “I think she spotted me.  She went into an alley.”  He sped across three lanes of traffic and drove into the alley, parking at an angle to make escape more difficult.

Diana ran to the end of the alley.  It was blocked by a high wooden fence that she could not climb or go through.  She grabbed it and shook it in anger.  “Damn!” she cried.

“Don't be afraid,” the cabbie called.

Suddenly, the thin man with the broom ran into the alley and stopped near the cabbie.  “Is it her?”

The driver exited his cab and started to walk towards her.  “Yes,” the cabbie said to the broom man.  To Diana, he called, “We didn't mean to scare you.  You're just hard to get a hold of.”

“What?” she asked, confused. 

“Someone wants to see you.” the thin man answered her.  “We couldn't get a hold of you so we went looking.”

“Who wants to see me?  Gabriel?” she asked, defiantly.

“No. Catherine.”


Diana stood in amazement around the tunnel hub just past the Central Park entrance.  The door still had not been repaired, but it was the easiest entrance to access quickly.  The cabbie and the mustached man were met by two others, an older man and a younger girl.

The older man spoke.  “We are sorry if we frightened you.  We never meant you harm.”

Diana asked, “Who are you?”

“When I lived in your world, I was known as Jacob Wells.  Everyone here calls me Father,” he answered.  “Vincent is my son.”

“We're his family,” the young girl said.

“His friends,” the mustached man added.

“Do you all live down here?”

“Well, some of us,” Father replied.  “Last night, you sent a message to Vincent.  It said that Catherine's former captor wanted him – their son was ill.”

Diana stood, silent.

“Please,” Father continued.  “If you know where he is...”

At the worried look in Father's eyes, Diana relented.  “Yes, I sent a message to him from Gabriel.  He said his son was sick.  Maybe even dying.”

There was a gasp from the shadows behind the young girl.

“Who's there?” Diana asked, instantly on guard again.

“You needn't fear me,” a woman's voice said quietly as she emerged from the tunnel.  “And, I have wanted to meet you.”  She stepped into the light.

“Catherine,” Diana breathed.

“Yes,” she said quietly.  “I know Vincent went to our son and I know he hasn't been gone long, but I am worried.  I believe he cannot escape the place he is being held alone.  I fear I will lose them both.  I need your help.”

“Gabriel has men inside the police department.  They are everywhere.  I don't know who to trust.  They took my gun, my badge is back at my loft.”  Father bent and whispered in the girl's ear and she raced back down the tunnel Catherine had emerged from.  Diana continued.  “I have no money, no clothes.  They've completely cut me off.  If they find me, they'll kill me.”

“You still trust Joe?” Catherine asked.

“Yes, but he was just appointed the new DA and Gabriel still has men in the office.”

“What about Elliot Burch?” Father asked.

“Actually, I was trying to reach him.  I have a clue to where Gabriel is holding Vincent and the baby.”

“What is it?” Catherine asked.

“I was blindfolded all the way to Gabriel and most of the time in the house.  But, I saw the baby.”

“Is he all right?” Catherine asked, her brow wrinkling in concern.

“He looked a bit pale, but he was kicking his legs.”

“The clue?” Father asked.

“It is a floor tile.  The pattern is very unusual and the tiles looked very old.  If we can find the tile, we can find Gabriel.”

“Elliot should be able to help you,” Catherine said.

The girl came running back with an object wrapped in a cloth in her hand.  “Thank you, Jamie,” Father said.  He looked at Catherine and she nodded.  He took the parcel from Jamie and gave it to Diana.

“This was Catherine's gun.  She gave it to us during a time of great danger here in the tunnels.  Now, the danger is Above.”

Diana opened the chamber and noted it was loaded.  She closed it again and put it in her pocket.  “Thank you.”

“Contact us when you get to Elliot's,” Catherine said.

“We'll be close by,” the cabbie smiled.


Vincent sat on the floor of his cage, rolling the ring between his thumb and forefinger.  Was Diana really dead?  He thought for a moment of the type of man he thought Gabriel was.  He jumped up and addressed one of the cameras at the ceiling.  “Gabriel.”

Elsewhere in the house, seated at a desk with a bank of monitors on it, Gabriel watched his captive.  At the sound of his voice, he pressed a button and replied.  “I'm here, Vincent.”

“I can feel your eyes on me.”

“Does that make you uneasy?” Gabriel asked with a smirk.

Vincent bowed his head, but didn't answer.  Instead he said, “I can feel my son, too.”  He raised his head and looked at the camera again.  “Our bond grows stronger, Gabriel.”

Gabriel said quietly, “There's only one bond that counts.  I gave this child life.”

He stepped closer to the camera he was addressing and said, “Catherine gave him life.”

“I kept her alive for months when a word would have ended it.  I was there when Julian was born.  When he opened his eyes for the first time, he looked at me.”  On the monitor, Vincent turned away.  “He's mine.”

Vincent looked back up.  “He'll never be yours.  Hour by hour, minute by minute, our bond grows.  And there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

“Your death would stop it,” Gabriel smiled.

“'Death shall have no dominion.'”

“Tell that to Catherine Chandler,” he chuckled.

“She knew it.  Even at the end, she knew it.”

Frustrated, Gabriel turned off the monitor.  He sat back in his chair and folded his hands under his chin.  Somehow aware that the conversation had ended, Vincent sat back on the floor of the cage.


Elliot was in a meeting with his lawyer and it was not going well.  Elliot looked like hell.  His tie was undone and he had unbuttoned his cuffs and pushed his sleeves up to his elbows.  His desk was littered with paperwork.

“Haven't you been listening to a word I've said?” the lawyer asked.  “It's over.”

“Well, what's that supposed to mean?”

“It means I'm going to recommend that we file for Chapter Eleven immediately.”  He stood up.  “Maybe I'll still be able to salvage something.”

Elliot looked at his lawyer with a shocked expression.  He looked completely defeated, but then he straightened up and squared his shoulders.  “He's done this.  Gabriel.  The thing is, we've got to find him.”

“Find him?  You can't even prove that he exists.”  He picked up his briefcase and turned to go.  “Elliot, you don't need a lawyer.  You need a shrink.”  Then, he turned and left the office.

Elliot went behind his desk and slumped in his chair.  He was startled by a soft tap on his door and looked up to see Diana entering.  “Hi,” she said, closing the door.  She approached the desk and took in his expression and disheveled appearance.  “You look like hell.”  She sat down opposite him.

He looked at her.  “You do, too.  What happened?”

She leaned forward and clasped her hands.  “I got to meet Gabriel last night.  I saw the baby.”


“Yeah, a couple of his goons kidnapped me, took me out to his house.  He wanted me to contact Vincent.  He says the baby is sick and he thinks he needs his natural father.”

“Did you?”


“Contact Vincent?  Did he go out there?”

“I sent a note.”


“Elliot, I need your help.”


“Cause Gabriel's men are staking out my apartment.  I think that now I've served my purpose, I'm expendable and I'm not too excited about it.”  She stood up and paced, her coat flapping around her.  “I tried to contact Joe at the DA's office, but Gabriel still has people there.  I have to give him some information.”

“I don't think I can help you.  Gabriel just bankrupted me and the former DA just tried to kill me a few days ago.”  He watched her pace in silence.  “Wait.  Who is the new DA?”



“Yeah.”  She stopped pacing.  “Do you have a piece of paper and a pencil I can borrow?”

“Sure.”  He fumbled in a drawer and handed her the items.  She sat back down and began to draw.  “You are a really bizarre person, you know that?”



“Look, Burch,” she snapped throwing down the pencil.  “I spent all day looking at a ring that belonged to a guy who worked for Gabriel who tried to kill Vincent and I spent a lot more time on your ledger and I got nowhere with both.  I got maybe an hour of sleep before I was kidnapped for a little tete a tete with a madman.  Now, I'm running for my life.  I've got a clue rolling around in my head and I'm trying to get it down on paper.  You can stop with the little commentary and try to figure out a way to get in touch with Joe!”  She retrieved the pencil and began to draw again.

“Okay, Jesus.  I just found out that our madman has just destroyed all of my dreams.  My entire company is destroyed and I have to start sending out pink slips!”

“B-o-o.  H-o-o.”  She continued to sketch furiously.  He rolled his eyes.

“What is that?” he asked as the design began to take shape under her pencil.

“It's a floor tile from Gabriel's hallway.”

“You don't know where the house is?”

“I was blind-folded.  But we drove for a short while, took a helicopter and then drove again.  If I can get this to Joe, then maybe we can figure out where the house is and then he can storm it with cops, if he can find enough that aren't crooked.”

Elliot pushed the buzzer on his intercom.  “Amy!”

“Yes, Mr. Burch?”

“Come in, please.”  He stood up and began to roll his sleeves back down and do up his cuffs.  He was starting to retie his necktie when the door opened.  Diana finished up her drawing.  “Amy, my lawyer did not have good news for me.  I'm going to have to file for bankruptcy.”

“I'm sorry, sir.”

“You've done good work for me.  Can you do one more thing before I have to let you go?  I can give you a little bonus before the wolves get in the door.”

“Certainly, sir.”

“I need you to walk into the DA's office and personally deliver a note to Joe Maxwell.  He's the new DA.  Can you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“Okay,” he said.  “Five minutes.”  She left the office as Elliot took up another piece of paper and gave it to Diana.  “Okay, write this down.”


After Diana contacted Joe from the diner, no one heard from her.  Joe called her apartment and her watch commander after arriving at the diner she had called him from and finding it empty.  No one had heard from her.  He spoke personally to the waitress who had tried to help her.  He had some cops he trusted looking into her disappearance, but they hadn't come up with anything.  He had finally called the Wongs to see if they had heard from her.  They told him of the message she had given them.

“But that was at about 5:30 this morning, Mr. Maxwell.  Haven't you heard from her since then?” Lin asked, concerned.

“No.  I have no messages here at the office and no one tried to call me at home.”

“Well, if I hear anything, I'll let you know.”

“Thanks.”  Joe hung up the phone and rubbed his face.  He had eight thousand things going on and he did not want to add Diana Bennett to the list.  He picked up his coffee cup and then set it down with a huff after finding it empty.  He was about to page his secretary when there was a knock at the door.  “Yeah?” he called.

The door opened and Amy, Elliot Burch's secretary, entered.  She closed the door behind her.  “Are you Joe Maxwell?”

“Yep.  And you are?”

She handed him the note her boss had given her.  “I am now the former employee of Elliot Burch.  He said to give that to you personally.  He said it was from a mutual friend and to be careful.”

He took the note and glanced over it, betraying nothing on his face regarding its contents.  He looked up at her.  “What's your name?”  She told him.  “Well, Amy, things are a little crazy around here right now 'cause we're undergoing a bit of a shake up.  In a couple of weeks, I'm probably going to need some new people in the secretary pool.  Are you a good typist?”

“Yes sir.” 

“Okay.  I'll contact you when I can.  Will you be okay until then?”

“Yes sir.  Mr. Burch is a generous employer.”

“Okay, thanks.”  She recognized her dismissal and left his office.  Joe punched the buzzer on his desk.  “Maggie?  I need Greg Hughes on the phone ASAP.  And have Harris, Jonesboro and Callahan get in here.  And, oh yeah? Can you get me some coffee?”


Gabriel marched down the hall with his underling trailing him.  “I told him she was dead.  Are you making a liar out of me?”

“It is just a matter of time, sir.”

“When it's over, bring her here.  I want him to see.  I want him to learn.”  He continued marching down the hallway.

Vincent jumped up as Gabriel and two gunmen entered the basement.  He stood straight and defiant with his hands loose at his sides.  Gabriel stopped between the gunmen and looked at Vincent.  After a moment, he began to speak.

“We have so much in common.  We could have been great friends.”  He turned away and said, almost under his breath.  “Fire.”

The gunmen shot several times into the cage, wincing with each retort.  When the noise ended, Gabriel looked into the cage.  Vincent was standing just as he had been, straight and tall, looking directly at Gabriel with an impassive look on his face.

“Leave us,” Gabriel said to the gunmen.  When they were gone, he came closer to the bars of the cage.  “It doesn't have to end that way.  Even enemies can join hands.  I have so much to offer you.  Your life.  Your freedom?”

“Nothing you can give me can replace what you took.”


“You don't know the meaning of love.”

Gabriel looked down and then sighed.  “Julian needs both of us.”

Vincent cocked his head to the side and spoke slowly, as if teaching an especially slow child.  “My son needs nothing from you.  You have nothing to give.”

Gabriel frowned and looked around the basement, confused.  “I can protect him.  I can show him the way the world works.  The real world.  I can make him a king.”  He smirked, knowing Vincent could never offer Julian any of those things.

“I've seen your kingdom.  It's a kingdom of shadows.  It's a kingdom of death.”

“It's our kingdom, Vincent.  Remember?” he nearly shouted, pulling a remote control from his pocket.  He flicked a button and a video began to play of Vincent attacking and fighting his way through the guards when he tried to reach Catherine while she was kidnapped.

“Julian will see this someday.  It is important a boy knows who his father is.”  He chuckled and went back upstairs.

The screams and growls filled the silence.  The images played on both walls of the cage.  It was terrible.  Vincent clutched his head and tried to turn away from the awful sounds, but it was everywhere.  He paced frantically, searching for escape, but none was there.  He tried backing into a corner, but the images and sounds penetrated his mind.  He was appalled at what he saw, angered when he remembered why it was necessary.  He needed to escape.  He needed Catherine.  Desperate, he grasped at the bars of the door of the cage and tried to open it, but the electric shocks sent him back, again and again.  Finally, exhausted with his hands burnt and pained, he collapsed on the floor of the cage as the sounds and images swept over him, like a tide.



Chapter 14


Diana stood off to one side in the Museum of Natural History, watching the school groups with their teachers and the old ladies examining the giant skeletal statues of the lizards that had once ruled the earth.  She saw a single man in a trench coat walking among the groups and the displays.  He obviously wasn't there for the culture.  He was looking for someone, and it turned out, she was looking for him.

She saw Joe, but he didn't see her and she had to cross a large lobby with a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the middle of it.  She glanced around again. 

It was hard, being out in the field like this.  Usually, she gathered her evidence and brought it back to her loft, let it simmer in her mind until the answer came.  This was unusual circumstances, to say the least.  In the last twenty-four hours, she had gotten no sleep, had been terrorized and kidnapped, returned, sent on what seemed to be a fool's errand, was being chased again and was now trying to find the guy who had kidnapped her.  She wasn't on top of her game.

She didn't see anyone who looked unusual or out of place, but it was a big lobby and there were side rooms and chambers of smaller exhibits off of it where anyone could casually wait.  She took a deep breath.  She had to take a leap of faith.  She left her safe corner and began to cross the lobby.

What happened next was a blur.  She was about half-way across and about to call to Joe when a tall, older man in a black coat approached her.  He grabbed her with his left hand, the reached under that arm with his right and pulled his gun out.  He pressed it into her back without its being seen.

“Come along with me; we don't want a scene.”

Diana's nerves were stretched so thin that it didn't take much adrenaline for her to attempt a struggle.  “Let me go,” she hissed through clenched teeth.

“Now, now, lady,” the man began before he tripped over a mop that had been shoved under his feet.  His stumble caused him to lose his grip and Diana tried to twist away.  The noise caused Joe to look up and see Diana.  He hurried over.

“What's a matter, lady?  This guy buggin' ya?”  The cabbie from the Tunnels approached and intervened, his belly between Diana and the man. 

“Yeah, you okay, ma'am?” the mop-wielder asked.  He was the thin, mustached man with the broom.

“No, she's fine.  She needs to come with me.”  The gunman tried to regain control of the situation.

“Hey, Bennett!” Joe called as two security guards approached the scene that was precariously close to the dinosaur statue. 

“What's going on?” one of the guards asked.

The cabbie said, “This guy's botherin' the nice lady.”

“No,” the gunman said, desperately trying to replace his gun.

“Yeah, he was.  And he's got a gun.” Diana added.  The security guards noticed this and went to either side of the man, each grabbing an arm.  One of them plucked the gun out of his hand.

Joe flashed his badge.  “I'm Joe Maxwell, with the DA's office.  Can you call the police and hold this man until they show up?”

“Certainly, sir.”  The guards took the gunman away.

“You okay?” Joe asked Diana.

“Yeah,” she said and then turned to her two unlikely protectors.  “Thanks,” she mouthed.

“Who are you guys, anyway?” Joe asked.

“Us?” the cabbie asked.

“We just love dinosaurs,” the thin man said as they both faded into the crowd.


Vincent lay on the floor of the cage.  The film continued to play over him, but he had become somewhat immune to it.  After trying to escape the cage and being burned and thrown back by the electricity in the bars again and again, he finally stayed down on the floor.  He was thinking.  He didn't regret coming to Catherine's aid.  In the situations he had been in, it was kill or be killed.  He regretted having to kill, but he couldn't regret helping his love.

He raised a hand up and studied it.  He extended his fingers, examining the claws.  Then he closed his fist.  He looked up at the wall and watched the images flashing on it.  He had slashed at the guards, causing massive trauma and bleeding.  That is usually what he did, he struck out instinctively in fear or anger.  He looked again at his fist.  He raised his other hand and struck it with his fist.  He did it again, harder.  And again.

Suddenly, the images and sounds that had so tormented him stopped.  In their place were flashing pictures of the baby.  He was kicking his legs randomly and cooing.  He looked directly at the camera, as if he knew his father was watching him.

“See?” came the silky voice out of the darkness.  “I can be merciful.”

Vincent dropped his hands, instantly wary.  He remained lying on the floor.  Gabriel was staring in at him, holding a set of keys.  “Better?” he smirked.  He handed the keys to the doctor.  “We need more blood.”

The doctor took the keys and they rattled in his hand.  Suddenly, he dropped them.  “Lucas, the doctor needs help.”

One of the guards took the keys and opened the cage for the doctor.  He stepped inside.  Vincent remained lying on the floor.  The doctor set down his bag and began to ready Vincent's arm for a blood draw.

Gabriel looked up at the images of the baby on the walls.  “If you hadn't come to me, Julian might have died.  I owe you a life.”  Gabriel moved to the side of the cage nearest the door, still looking up at the baby cooing.  “Look at him, Vincent.”  Vincent turned his head away in disgust, resigned to whatever this madman was going to do next.    Undeterred, Gabriel continued.  “Isn't he beautiful?  Catherine saw he was beautiful, too.”  He looked down at Vincent on the floor and just as the doctor placed the syringe in his vein, he said, “I let her hold him, just as long as I could.”  Vincent looked up at the doctor's sweaty head and then at Gabriel, knowing he was lying.  Catherine hadn't even been allowed to touch the baby, let alone hold him.  “I'm sorry about Catherine.  She must have been a very special person.”  Vincent turned away, refusing to reveal his emotions to either of them.  Gabriel turned off the film of the baby and an eerie silence filled the dungeon.  “Of course, it was the doctor who killed her.”

The now full syringe dropped to the ground and broke, spilling Vincent's blood on the floor.  The doctor turned and stared at Gabriel in fear.  Vincent snarled, low in his throat.  “What was it you used?” Gabriel asked.  “Morphine?  Well, at least the end was painless.”  Vincent sat up, staring at this doctor, this pawn, who had forgone his oath to “first do no harm” and had nearly killed his love.  He stood and growled again.

The doctor stood and backed into a corner of the cage.  “No, no.  It wasn't me.”

“That's not very convincing, doctor.”

Vincent took a step towards him. The doctor turned and tried to open the door of the cage, but found it locked.  “Please.”  He clung to the bars for a moment and then screamed, “You told me to kill her!  You told me!”  He lunged towards Gabriel, stopped by the bars.  “You made me do it!”  He turned back to Vincent.  “I didn't want to do it.  I swear to you.”  He was panting and shaking and sweating even more.

“A life for a life,” Gabriel said quietly from the shadows.  “His life is yours.”

Vincent looked at Gabriel, understanding dawning.  The doctor sunk to his knees and extended a hand towards Vincent.  “Please.  Please have mercy,” he cried.

“Catherine begged for mercy, too.”

Despite himself, Vincent growled again, louder.  The doctor sank to the floor, sobbing.

“Go on.  Do it,” Gabriel egged him on.  “Do it for her.  Do it.  Kill him!”  Vincent growled again, louder.  Then Gabriel's face caught the corner of his eye.  He saw his glee, his excited anticipation of what was about to come and Vincent stopped.


Gabriel's face fell.  He looked outraged, shocked that one such as Vincent, who claimed to love Catherine, would not revenge himself on her killer.  He was genuinely appalled.  Vincent turned and walked to the opposite corner as the doctor and leaned against the wall.  He took a deep, calming breath and looked at the floor.  The doctor continued to cry.

Disgusted, Gabriel tossed the keys to one of the guards.  “Get him out of there!”

The door opened and the doctor slowly rose to his feet and stumbled out of the cage.  He leaned back against the outside of it and wiped his face and head with his handkerchief.

“Vincent!” Gabriel called.  As Vincent looked up, Gabriel gestured to one of the guards who fired at the doctor.  He groaned, then slid to the floor, dead.

“I always pay my debts!”



Joe and Diana walked among the dinosaurs, talking quietly. 

“Elliot thought it was an imported floor tile, marble, very old and rare.  He knows a guy who deals with imported flooring who was gonna check it out.”

“I've faxed copies of what you sent me all over the city.”  Joe's pager went off.  “It's the office.”

They moved over to a bank of payphones and Joe dialed.  Diana looked around, nervously as he made his phone call.  “Burch called the office.  They're connecting us,” Joe said to Diana.  Her eyes widened.  Then Joe listened to the other person on the phone.  He took up a notepad and began to scribble.

“All right, I got it.  Thanks, a lot, Burch.  Listen, we're gonna move fast on this.  You're already on this guy's bad list so you'd better disappear for awhile.  Okay.  I'll let her know.  Uh-huh.  G'bye.”

Joe hung up the phone and put another quarter in and dialed again.  “Hi, it's Maxwell.  Give me Greg Hughes.”  While he was waiting he said to Diana, “Burch came through.  The tiles are Italian-made, turn of the century.  They cost a fortune.  Burch's guy gave us a list of addresses.”  He handed the list to her and she began to look through it.  “Burch is getting out of town, now.”  She looked up surprised, then nodded slowly.  He returned to the phone call.  “Hey, Greg, we got the list narrowed down.  We are going to need to move fast.  Get the commissioner on the horn and meet me at my office in ten minutes.  Yeah, she's here.  She's looking at it now.  I'll have a solid when I get back.  Yep.  Bye.”  Joe hung up the phone and turned to Diana.

“Montauk.  Staten Island.  Westchester.  The rest are all Manhattan.”  She flipped the list back to the first page and rubbed her head.

“Yeah.  So?”

She looked up at him.  “The chopper flew over water.  Montauk Point is too far.  It has to be Staten Island.”

“Okay, let's go,” Joe tried to lead her out of the museum.  She stopped him.

“Joe, this guy is going to have an army waiting for you.  It is going to take you hours to get organized and by that time, he's gonna know you're coming.”  She handed the list back to Joe and began to walk away from him.

“What are you going to do?”

Diana stopped and looked at him, her fatigue vanishing.  Things didn't seem quite as hopeless anymore.  “Whatever I can.”


Vincent paced his cage in a circle, unconsciously stepping over the puddle of blood that had drained from the doctor's dead body, slumped against one of the barred walls of the cage.  He felt stronger, felt his lungs taking in more oxygen, his heart beating faster and more efficiently.  He opened and shut his hands.  Something was happening.  There was unrest in the house and the baby could feel it.  Vincent could feel it in his son.  Something was happening and he had to be ready.

As he clenched his fists again, his claws bit into his palms.  He paused and looked at his hands again.  He had always thought of himself as two beings – a man and a beast.  He had allowed the beast to come out when Catherine or those he loved needed protection.  He had preferred to think that it was his human side that loved Catherine, but lying on the floor of the cage, with those images washing over him, he had realized that he wasn't two people or two personalities.  He had separated his feelings from his thoughts.  When he was frightened or angry or passionate, he stopped thinking and just did what felt right.  Afterward, he allowed himself to think over his actions and he had often felt shame and guilt.  What if he could keep his thoughts in order while the feelings were washing over him?  He could “tame the beast” and merge the two sides of himself.

He shook his head and resumed his pacing.  There was time enough to think of all of this later.  Now, he must be ready.  Something was going to happen.


Around the corner from the museum, the helper's taxicab picked up Diana.  Father was sitting in the car, dressed in a carefully preserved but hopelessly outdated suit and fedora.  Across his lap, he held several hand-drawn maps.  Crammed into the corner next to him was a small figure dressed in a skirt and an over-sized hooded sweatshirt.  The figure's head was pressed into the back of the hood and only the eyes, covered in sunglasses were showing.

Diana put her hand in her pocket and fingered Catherine's gun.  “Who's this?” she asked, nervously.

The figure answered, “It's me.”  Diana recognized Catherine's voice and got in the cab.  The cabbie turned off his light and melted into the traffic.  “What are you doing here?  I thought we decided it was too dangerous for you to come Above.”

“If you think I'm going to sit quietly Below while strangers help my love and find my child, you've got another think coming,” Catherine whispered fiercely.  “Vincent has saved me countless times.  I'm going to help.”

“As you can imagine, arguments were futile,” Father said.  “Do you have the address?”

Diana chuckled.  This lady was a lot like her.  No wonder Joe was half in love with her.  Diana was beginning to admire her more and more.  “Yeah, it is on Staten Island.  Can we get him out?”

The taxicab meandered the streets of downtown New York as the three looked over the maps. 

“What about sewer lines?” Diana asked.

Father drew a line with his thumb.  “You could follow the old Kastan line.  It leads you right to...  Oh, no it doesn't.  It does not go right through!”

Catherine leaned over.  “What is that?”

“Yeah, it goes right over the wall,” Diana added.

“That is just an old steam conduit.  It is inactive now, but it is merely a pipe!”

“Would I fit?” Catherine asked.

“Would I?” Diana echoed.

“Barely.”  Father shook his head.  “And even if you did, how would Vincent?”

“Here, Father,” Catherine pointed.  “What about this?  We could go through here.” She pointed to the steam pipe.  “If we could open this on the other side of the wall,” she pointed again.  “He could get out there and then get back to the main tunnels via the Kastan line.”

“It might work,” he mused.

“It has to,” Diana said.


Gabriel watched Vincent pacing from his study on the monitors.  One of his underlings entered the room.  “He's growing stronger,” Gabriel commented idly.

“Maxwell's organizing a raid,” the underling said.  “We must evacuate, the sooner the better.”

Gabriel gestured to the man, impatiently.  “You handle the boat.”

“I've ordered a helicopter.  And your Lear jet is standing by for you at Kennedy.”  The underling left Gabriel's side and leaned over the top of the monitors.

“Look at him,” Gabriel pointed.  “Those bars are tungsten steel.”  The underling moved from in front of Gabriel to his other side.  “Order another generator, in case of emergencies, if the current should fail.”

“Just kill him, and let's go before the police come.”

“I'm not worried about police.”

“Forgive me, sir, but which of you is the captive here?”

Gabriel watched as Vincent continued to pace and look up at the cameras.  “In ancient days,” he began quietly.  “Men ate the hearts of fallen heroes, hoping that their power and strength would pass into them.  On cold battlefields, the steam would rise from their open chest.  The heart would smoke in your hand, hard with blood, still beating.  Almost as if,” he turned and discovered he was alone.  “Pope?”  Then Gabriel reluctantly rose and turned off the monitors on his desk and slowly left the room.


Joe stood over a map of Gabriel's compound with several police chiefs and special operations commanders.  “I want units here, here and here.  Seal every road that goes near the place.  And keep the civilians back.  We could have heavy resistance.”

One man in a gray tweed jacket said, “The city engineer says there's a helipad out back.”

Joe looked up at the man behind him.  “Then I want choppers.”  The man nodded and stepped away.  “Nobody gets out, got it?” 

Joe looked around at the men assembled.  “Okay, that's it.  We hit them as soon as it gets dark.”


The cab pulled into an alley and all the passengers emerged.  Father and the cabbie approached a man-hole cover and lifted it up.  “You'll go straight for a mile, then turn east.  That's right.”  Father sighed looking at these women.  He loved Catherine like a daughter and was beginning to admire this tough red-head, who was risking everything to help Vincent and his son.  “The pipes will likely be corroded, so take care you don't get rust in your eyes.”

The cabbie handed Diana down the ladder and she disappeared.  Father caught Catherine by the arm.  “Remember, Catherine, once you get back here, continue down the main Kasten line for three miles.  It will meet up with the main tunnels.  There will be pipes there so you can send a message.”

“I know Father.”  She leaned forward and kissed his cheek.  “I'll bring them home.”  She lowered herself into the hole and Father and the cabbie replaced the cover.

“Godspeed, my dear.”


Chapter 15

When Catherine and Diana left Father and walked down the tunnel towards the steam pipe that would lead them to Gabriel's mansion, they didn't speak much.  They turned right as Father had directed and Catherine tapped a short code on the pipe that was there.  They continued on.   Catherine was thinking.  Finally, she spoke.

“Why are you doing this?”

“What?” Diana asked, startled.

“Why are you helping me?”

“Well, that nut-job is after me now, too.”

“Yes, but that doesn't require you to traverse these tunnels and battle him.  You could go to Joe or Elliot and disappear.  Elliot did.”

“Yeah, and Joe is organizing an army to invade and capture that bastard.”

“Well, I understand Joe's dedication.  He is a really good friend and I imagine he feels some guilt in the role he played in starting all of this.  But why you?  You don't know me or Vincent.”

“I know you better than you think.”  Diana began to describe how she had been pulled into the case by Joe's desperation and then of how she worked.  She told how she amassed information on the victims and immersed herself into their lives.  She learned how they thought and how they would react and that helped her find justice for them.  “I know how much Vincent means to you.  He has to be the father of your child.  He must be a very unique and special person for Gabriel to want his child so badly.   Honestly, you and Vincent have intrigued me more than any other case I've ever worked on.  I have to see this one end well.”

“They usually don't, do they?” Catherine asked quietly.

“You used to work for the DA.  They don't, do they?  And the ones that do end well never end happily.”

They walked on in silence.  Catherine was beginning to understand this fiery detective a little better.  She was a tortured soul, just as she had been until Vincent came into her life.

Diana broke the silence.  “Tell me about him.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Why does he live in the tunnels?”

“Vincent is different than most people,” Catherine sighed.  “He was found, abandoned in the trash behind St. Vincent's Hospital as a newborn.  A woman who used to live in the tunnels found him and brought him to Father.  He is a doctor and saved his life.  Because of how he looks, how he is, Vincent cannot live above.”

“What about the others?”

“It is a sanctuary, a different sort of society.  Some people come to escape the world Above, some are born there.  Some live their entire lives Below, some only stay for a while.  There are a lot of children that nobody wants who are nurtured and loved.  Everyone is accepted, just as they are.  Everyone helps each other.  Everyone gives what they can.”

“It sounds wonderful.”

“It is.”  Catherine continued on.

“If Vincent means so much to you and this is such a wonderful place...”

“Why don't I live there?”  Diana nodded and Catherine continued.  “It is complicated.  Vincent isn't like most men.  He thinks that I shouldn't confine myself to his limited world.  Until recently, I had family Above.  I liked my job, but it had become more difficult recently.  Before I was kidnapped, Vincent was very ill and I nearly lost him.  When I found out about the baby, I intended to go Below, but...”


“Yes.  Now, I've been thinking.  I've been away for nearly eight months.  If no one finds me for another four, legally, I can be declared dead.  If we can find the baby, I would love nothing more than to stay Below and make a life with Vincent.  I thought he was important to me, but when he was sick, I realized that he is the most important thing in my life.  Nothing else mattered.  Now, with the baby...”  Catherine's voice drifted off and they continued to walk in silence.

After a few minutes, Diana spoke again.  “He really saved you, didn't he?”

“What do you mean?” Catherine asked warily.

“I know you, Catherine.  I know that you disappeared for ten days almost four years ago.  You were Below, weren't you?”  Catherine nodded.  Diana continued.  “I know what you were like before that and how you changed.  You are a better person for having known him, right?  I think I'm a better person for having known you.  That's why I'm doing this.” 

Catherine reached out and took Diana's hand and squeezed it gently.  They smiled at each other and continued their walk.


Gabriel nearly ran down to the basement.  Vincent stood waiting for him near the door to the cage.

“The police are coming.”

“Let them come,” Vincent replied calmly.

Gabriel seemed agitated.  “If they find you, they'll kill you.”  He pointed at Vincent who remained standing impassively, his arms at his sides.  “Or maybe they won't.  Maybe they'll just leave the monster in his cage for the rest of his life.”  He sneered.

“Your words have no more power, Gabriel.  You're the only monster here.”

“Nothing happens by accident.  The woman, the child – that was meant to be.  Our destinies are linked.  Yours, mine, Julian's.”

Suddenly, Vincent struck out at Gabriel through the bars, snarling.  The electricity caught his arm as he touched the cage and sent him back against the stone wall.  Gabriel had quickly turned away and Vincent did not touch him.  They looked at each other a moment and then Gabriel ran back up the stairs.  Vincent watched him go, his heart pounding.  Something was going to happen.


Joe was issuing some last minute orders as he stepped into a police van. 

“Tell the commissioner that we'll call with reports every half-hour.  Is the chopper in the air?”

“Come on boss, or we'll get this guy without you,” Hughes called.

“Okay, let's go.”


“Do you think this is it?” Diana asked.  Catherine shown her light into the rusty pipe that was covered with dust and cobwebs. 

“I'm afraid it is.”

“Okay.”  Diana boosted herself up and entered the pipe.  “Will you be okay here without the flashlight?”

“What do you mean?  I'm coming, too.”

“You can't.”


“Catherine, if Gabriel or any of his men saw you, they would shoot you on sight.  Gabriel has to know Joe is closing in on him.  He is holding Vincent and your son.  If Gabriel thinks you are alive, he will react instinctively.  God knows what he will do.”  Diana was silent as she let that sink in.  If Gabriel knew Catherine was alive, he'd probably kill Vincent and the baby and then her.  Diana didn't want to have to say that to Catherine out loud.

“Then it is better that the two of us go.”  Catherine wasn't getting it.  Diana changed tactics.

“If anything happened to you...”

“I can't sit here idly by while you fight my battle!”

“Catherine, you are still weak.  And Joe and Father and probably Vincent would all kill me a thousand different ways if anything were to happen to you now.  You got me here.  Let me go in and get your baby.  Let me do this one thing for you.”

“What about Vincent?”

“Go wait by that passage we talked about.  I'll open the door and send him to you.  I promise.”

“What about Gabriel?”

“Well, I know what he did to you and Vincent was a lot worse, but I've spent nearly 50 hours looking over my shoulder because of him and that is not a feeling I enjoy.  He owes me, too.  Let me collect his debts.”

Catherine ran her hands over her face and rubbed her eyes.  “Okay,” she whispered.

“Will you be all right without the light?”

Catherine nodded.

“I'll send him to you.”

Catherine nodded again.  “I'm counting on you, Diana.”

“I know.”


Gabriel ran up the stairs and entered the baby's room.  His nurse had been dozing in the rocking chair in the corner and she sprang up, smoothing her uniform.  As her boss approached the bed, she moved to stand just behind him.

Gabriel reached into the bed and smoothed the blanket over the child.  “Do you believe in destiny?” he asked the baby.  “I know the power of love.  There was a girl.  She was sixteen, two years older that I was.  So beautiful.  I loved her so desperately.”  The nurse looked over at him, afraid of where this rant was going.  In the last day, her boss had become even more bizarre and erratic.  At his next words, she knew the end had come.  “She was the first person I ever killed.” 

As the nurse slipped out of the room, Gabriel picked up a pillow and kissed it.  The baby began to cry. 

Down three flights, in the basement, Vincent's head came up.  He felt the baby's distress and reached for the bars of the cage again, trying to pull the door open.  The electricity coursed through him and pushed him back.  He stared at the burns on his palms.

In another part of the basement, Diana kicked in a screen covering the old steam pipe.  She emerged into the former furnace room, which was now full of discarded items, cobwebs and dust.  She pushed things aside as she moved towards the door.  Miraculously, it opened.  Remembering the map, she moved down towards where Vincent's escape would be and tried to pull that door open.  It wouldn't budge.  Vincent would have to fit through the steam pipe.  She hurried to find stairs, to find the baby.

Gabriel continued.  “Perfection must be cherished, protected.”  He kissed the pillow again.  “I love you, Julian.”  He moved closer to the baby.  “Such beauty, such passion.  I had to keep it pure.”

Frantic, Vincent went back to the bars of the cage, ignoring the pain in his hands, the pain in his shoulder; only letting the baby's fear and his fear for him enter his mind.  He pulled and tugged as sparks flew around him.  The guard entered and tried to increase the current, but as he did, Vincent finally succeeded at pulling the door from the hinges.  He threw it to the side and roared.  The guard raised his gun, but Vincent was quicker and knocked it out of his hands.  He snarled, baring his teeth, and the guard looked up, fearful.  Vincent struck him in the jaw, unconsciously closing his fist, and the guard fell down, senseless.  Vincent left the dungeon and followed his sense of his son.

Vincent encountered only one other guard as he hurried up the stairs and that man was easily pushed to the side and down the stairs.  In the nursery, Gabriel was holding the pillow over the baby's head, crooning to him. 

“Don't be afraid.  No one will ever take you from me. I love you, Julian.”

Suddenly, the door burst open and Vincent entered.  He quickly saw what was happening and pushed Gabriel away.  The villain spun around, fell over a chair and hit a wall.  He lay sprawled on the floor.  Vincent moved towards him, growling, his arm raised, ready to deliver the final blow.

“Vincent!” a woman's voice called.  He stopped and turned.  Was it Catherine?  No, it was someone else.  He froze.

“Vincent,” Diana said again, quieter.  “The child is crying.”  Her heart was pounding at the sight of this great beast-man.  It all made sense now - the secrecy, the unexplained killings associated with Catherine's cases, Gabriel's desire for this child.

Vincent's rage left him as quickly as it came and he went to the bed and picked up the baby.  At his touch, the child immediately stopped crying.  Vincent held him to his shoulder and kissed his forehead.  He took a deep breath, feeling the baby, calming him.

Diana said quietly.  “There's not a lot of time.”  Gabriel remained struggled on the floor, breathing heavily and rubbing his already swelling jaw.  “Please just go.”

“Diana?” Vincent asked. 

She nodded at him.  “Under the building.  She's waiting.”

Vincent looked at Gabriel again with hatred.  Diana said again, “Please, go.”  Vincent gathered his child closer, snarled at Gabriel and left the room.

Gabriel sat up and smiled at Diana, still rubbing his jaw.  “Thank you,” he said and began to stand.  “Do you know what prison is?”  He grunted as he regained his feet.  “A place to grow stronger.  No court will convict me.  Jurors have families, too.”  He straightened his jacket.   “And even if they did, you can rule the world from a prison cell.”  He brushed off his arms and looked up at her.  “I rule nations, Diana!”  He sighed.  “I'll have the child back.  In the end, I always win.”

Diana took a deep breath.  “Not this time, Gabriel.”  He looked at her, confused.  Diana raised a pistol and aimed it at his chest.  “This is Catherine Chandler's gun.”  He looked puzzled, as if he couldn't comprehend anyone threatening him.  “She's alive and well and waiting for Vincent and her son.  They will raise him, in love.  Not you.  You failed.”  She fired one shot into his chest and killed him instantly. 


When Joe and the police arrived, the mansion was empty.  Most of the guards and people working for Gabriel had enough warning to leave before the police came.  Joe found Diana sitting on the floor of the nursery, holding Catherine's gun loosely in her hand.  She was staring curiously at Gabriel's body, slumped on the floor opposite her.

“Bennett!  You okay?”  Joe ran to her. 

Diana looked up at Joe blankly for a moment and then seemed to recognize him.  “Joe?  Yeah, I'm fine.”

“We need medics up here!” Joe called.

“No, he's dead.”

“Not him, honey.  For you.”  Joe knelt down next to her and pulled her into his arms.  “Are you hurt?”

“No, Joe.  I'm fine.  I'm just tired.”  She was limp in his arms, but grateful for the physical comfort.

He bent to her ear so no one else could hear.  “The baby?”

She nodded.  “He and his father should be meeting his mother about now.”

“Okay.”  They both smiled slowly at each other.

“Let me up, Joe.  We've got a lot of work to do here.”


After leading Diana to the tunnels that would take her to Gabriel's mansion, Catherine paced the dirt floor and ran her hands through her hair.  This area was uninhabited and rarely used for transportation, so it was danker and dustier and darker than the tunnels she was used to.  Finally, tired, for she was still recovering from the baby's birth and her subsequent near-death ordeal, she sat down and leaned against the wall.  She tried to remain calm, although her emotions were running riot.  Their bond was still tenuous at best, but if Vincent could feel her, she didn't want him worrying over her.  He needed to remain focused on the baby.

The baby.  Her baby.  Their baby.  She concentrated on him, remembering her only brief moment with him before he was taken.  His eyes had been open, and instead of the typical dusky newborn gray, there were an intense, vivid blue, the color of his father's eyes.  He had looked at her deliberately, as if he were memorizing her face, as she was his.  It had been as if he were thinking, “So that's what you look like.”  He had known her; now he could see her, too.

Unconsciously, her hands moved to her flattening abdomen.  Despite the bump still there, it felt flat and empty.  Her hands moved up to her aching breasts.  She had been using the pump Mary had found for her and it helped, but she never felt completely relieved.  Somehow she knew that only nursing her son would relieve that ache.

She dropped her hands to her sides and began to trace designs in the sandy floor.  She concentrated on her memory of her baby's face.  He was beautiful – the intense blue eyes, his wispy hair, still wet and plastered to his head, the round cheeks and perfect rosebud mouth.  Despite his “regular” facial features, he had reminded her so of Vincent.  It was most likely due to his knowing stare – he knew her, just as his father did.

She began to think of names.  She had never thought of them before, believing she must discuss that important decision with Vincent.  While she was pregnant and whispering to him, she called him “Little One.”  Now, she let her mind run freely.  John.  Michael.  Peter.  Isaac.  Jacob.  Matthew.  Andrew.  Joseph.  David.  Mark.  Charles.  Who was this child?  Who would he be?

Catherine had no idea how long she sat there, alternately worrying and dreaming.  The sound of soft footsteps brought her out of her reverie and she scrambled to her feet.

The footsteps stopped at the noise she had made.  A much desired voice whispered in the darkness.  “Who is there?”

She let out a shuddering sigh.  “It's me, Vincent.”

The footsteps resumed, but firmer and faster and soon Vincent appeared out of the darkness.  Catherine took a step towards him, about to throw herself in his arms, but she stopped short.  That he had been through a horrible ordeal was plain on his face.  He had wrapped his cloak tightly around himself and his hood was up.  One arm was under the folds.  He stopped a breath away from her and said only one word.  “Catherine.”  So much was conveyed in that one word.  Seeing her, speaking her name, seemed to calm him.  Now he knew; it was finally over.

Catherine looked up at him, concerned.  Her brow wrinkled; she was worried.  “Vincent, did you...?”

Vincent tossed his cloak back over his shoulders.  Underneath it, he held a small bundle securely in his right arm.  It was wrapped in a blue blanket.  He reverently held it out towards her.

“Oh, Vincent,” she whispered as she took the bundle with shaking hands.

“You were right, Catherine.  He is beautiful.”

The weight of the bundle felt so right in her arms.  She folded the blanket back and revealed his face.  It was just as she had remembered, but now his face was less red and his hair was sandy blond and stood up in tufts from his forehead.  The baby had been quiet and calm in his father's arms, but now he began to wiggle and squirm in his mother's.  He didn't cry, but he began to make little sounds, coos and gurgles.  He seemed to be excited.

“Oh, Vincent,” she smiled through her tears.

“He knows you.” Vincent smiled back at her.

The baby, however, had a one-track mind.  He had finally found that which he had been searching for days.  He was so close to fulfilling that gnawing need that had been growing and growing and was nearly unbearable.  He squirmed more determinedly and turned his face towards Catherine and rooted against her breast.

“He's hungry,” they said together.  Vincent helped Cather down to sit in the tunnel and joined her somewhat heavily, lacking his usual grace.  Catherine balanced the baby in one arm and unzipped the hooded sweatshirt she wore.  But, when she tried to untie the lacing at the front of her dress, she tangled them in her hurry and unease. She looked down at what appeared to be a hopeless knot while the baby continued to root desperately.

Vincent quieted her fumbling hand and at his touch the baby quieted in his mother's arms.  Vincent quickly untied the laces and Catherine bared her breast through the opening.  The baby turned and captured her nipple with gusto.  At the feeling of the baby suckling and the let-down of her milk, Catherine gasped.

“Are you well?” Vincent asked softly.

“Yes, it is just different than anything I've ever done before.”  She looked down at her exposed chest and blushed.  Even though she and Vincent had shared a chamber for the last few days and he had been instrumental in nursing her, their intimacy had not progressed much past chaste kisses and hugs, although she always fell asleep against his shoulder, his arms holding her securely.  “I'm sorry, Vincent,” she murmured, knowing this exposure of her person must cause him some discomfort.

Vincent lifted her chin and looked her over, from her beloved face to the baby nursing happily at her breast.  “I've never seen you looking more beautiful, Catherine.”

She looked up into his consuming blue eyes and read his unspoken meaning.  She shivered.

“Are you chilly?” he asked.  Then, not waiting for her answer, he shifted closer.  He draped his cloak around her and the baby.  He held them close and kissed the top of her head.  “I love you, Catherine.”

“I love you too, Vincent.”

The baby released her nipple and looked up at his mother, then shifted his gaze to his father.  Vincent chuckled and said, “We love you, too, Little One.”

Catherine moved the baby up to her shoulder and rubbed his back gently until he burped.  Then, she shifted him to her other arm and he latched on to her other breast.  Vincent pulled her dress back over her first breast and kissed her head again.  She smiled down at the baby nursing in her arms.  “Did you ever think this was even possible, Vincent?”

“Never,” he said honestly.  He leaned his head back against the wall of the tunnel.  As she took his hand, he winced and pulled away.

“Are you well, Vincent?” she asked, suddenly concerned for him.

“I will be,” he sighed.


Father knew Catherine and Diana were beyond the pipes and that they would be gone for some time.  But, it had been four hours since Catherine had tapped her last message.  Pascal had kept the pipes quiet while they waited word of her, the baby and Vincent.  Father wanted to pace, but his hip pained him too much.  So, he was up and down in his chair in his study, looking at books absently.  Finally, in desperation, he sent one of the children for Mouse.

“Didn't do it!” Mouse exclaimed as he entered Father's study.

“No, no, Mouse.  I need your help.”

“Of course, of course.  Need anything?  Need help?  Ask Mouse.  Always ask Mouse.”

“Do you know where Catherine went?  To find Vincent?”

“Don't like it there.” Mouse's innocent face looked troubled.

“I know Mouse.  But, Catherine has been gone for so long.  She may need help.  You are young and strong and quick.  And you know the way.  Go check, will you?  And send word, please Mouse.”

“Okay, good.  Okay, fine.”  Mouse dashed out of Father's chamber and Father sat down heavily in his chair.


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