Author's Note: I have loved BATB forever. I have not written a BATB fan fic for a long time and this is the first one I ever published. I am a Classic SND fan, so I write my fan fiction per that. I started this story almost twenty years ago. Enjoy and review. Thank you - carebearmaxi

Take The Long Way Home

A dark haired man with three little dark haired girls walked very late at night through the streets of New York City. By the dark-haired man's memory they were almost to their destination in Central Park.

"Come on, we're almost there. Just a little further," the dark-haired man in his mid-forties said to his companions. "We're almost home."

The three little dark-haired girls ranged in ages from nine to five years old. Their father, who they knew originally as Carl Sidney, now knew that his real name was Devin Wells and he told them tales of where he had grown up and about his family.

"Ok, we're here," Devin said to his three daughters as he stood in front of an old iron door in the threshold of a large drainage area in southeast corner of Central Park. He took an old piece of pipe he had brought with him for the purpose and tapped out long taps and short taps.

"This is pipespeak. This is how we communicate in the tunnels. Pascal who is head communicator can speak and relay almost a 100 messages at the same time. You should see the pipe chamber. It is fantastic!"

"Daddy, why are we here? Why was not mom allowed to come?" Angelica Wells the eldest inquired.

"Daddy, I'm tired and hungry. I'm cold. Why can't we go home?" The middle daughter Miranda Wells whined.

"I want mommy!" The youngest Heather Marie Wells cried out throwing herself into her father's arms.

Devin continued tapping with one hand hoping against hope that someone would hear the sound and relay it to a resident who still knew him. Devin never thought that Father may not still be alive. Devin prayed that Vincent was still there. Vincent, his lion faced little brother, whom Devin loved unconditionally as Vincent loved him.

The iron door suddenly shot to the side and out stepped Vincent seeing his older brother and three little girls standing in the "vestibule" of his home.

"Devin? Devin!" Vincent exclaimed with joy and relief. He stepped forward and fiercely hugged him.

"It's been 10 years!" Vincent said looking at Devin. "It is so good to see you. You stopped sending letters. We almost gave up hope that you were still alive!" Vincent hugged him again.

"Well, there was a very good reason why I stopped writing," Devin said proudly as he walked across the vestibule where his three little girls intrepidly waited for an explanation of who Vincent was and why he looked like a giant two-legged lion.

"These are my daughters: Angelica, aged 9; Miranda, aged 7; and Heather Marie, aged 5," Devin explained as he put his arms wide around all three lovely little girls.

Vincent crouched down to look at Devin's children on their level. Vincent examined Devin and felt that he would still know him anywhere mainly because of the three deep scratch scars left on Devin's cheek. However, Devin's hair contained a little less color than gray. He was still thin and almost as tall as Vincent himself. On initial glance, Angelica, Miranda, and Heather Marie looked just like their father and almost like triplets, but on closer examination, Vincent had detected some notable differences like height and facial features.

"Hello girls. I guess this makes me your Uncle Vincent," Vincent said and smiled. All three girls looked up at their father and he smiled down at them. Vincent gazed at the little girls and instead of fear he detected wonder and awe. They looked up at him as if they were seeing something fantastical. Angelica, Miranda, and Heather Marie looked at each other and sighed in awe at this man who said he was their uncle. All three then, after looking back at their dad, stepped forward and hugged Vincent with all their might. Vincent was so glad to feel their little arms around his neck and in his head. He thought that Devin must have warned his daughters about him before he brought them here. He was so happy to know that Devin's children were not frightened of him. It had been a long time now since any one had been truly frightened of his less than human-like features.

"I told the girls all about you. How we grew up. They promised me they wouldn't be afraid of you."

When they girls were finished hugging Vincent, they stepped back and Vincent moved so all 4 four visitors could follow him.

"Ten years, Vincent. I was hoping against all hopes that everyone was still here," Devin ventured.

Vincent said, "Yes, everyone you know is still here and there are some changes. First, though, let me get you to Father and Mary."

They walked through mazes and twists and turns until finally coming upon a large chamber filled with books and candlelight and an elder gentlemen sitting before a chessboard. Father, who now was very elderly, sat at the table waiting for his chess adversary, Vincent, to return so they could finish their weekly game. Father thought he was on the threshold of winning, so he had been anxiously awaiting Vincent's return. As the candlelight bent in the breeze caused by the movement of air, Father turned around in his chair and noticed Vincent with the four visitors who must have been the ones tapping pipespeak. Father smiled and rising with a little more difficulty than he once had hurriedly limping forward and embraced his elder son.

"Devin! Devin! I am go glad to see you! You've come home!"

"Yes, father, I have. I have also brought your granddaughters with whom you should get acquainted."

Father looked down and saw the three little girls flanking their father.

"Go ahead and introduce yourselves to your grandfather, Jacob. This is my father. Like your grandpa Rupert is your mother's father," Devin said proudly.

The eldest dark haired girl decided to be grown up and speak for all three.

"Hi Grandpa Jacob, my name is Angelica. I'm 9 years old."

She put her arm around the little girl to the left of her and said proudly, "This is my sister, Miranda and she is 7 years old."

Putting her arm around the other little girl to the right, Angelica said, "This is my baby sister, Heather Marie. She is only 5 years old."

Miranda and Heather Marie just stood there. Somehow they found their very human grandfather more imposing than their unusual featured Uncle Vincent.

"Well, I am so glad to meet you. Yes, I am your grandfather," Father said as he hugged them all in one big embrace.

"I see you've met your Uncle Vince..."

"Vincent?"

Vincent turned around at the female voice who was calling to him.

"I'm in Father's Chamber," Vincent said extending his hand to the unseen female voice.

When Devin saw who the woman was he could not help but smile a very large smile. For the woman he saw he had known previously but now she was dressed in tunnel clothing albeit a little more fancier than some of the other rough clothes he remembered and heavily pregnant.

"Catherine?!" Devin came down the steps to go up the steps to the other adjoining chamber and gave her a huge hug.

"Devin?!" Catherine exclaimed.

When Devin released her, he looked at her and finally did notice her condition, "Oh my...what are you doing down here?"

Catherine smiled and so did Vincent.

"I'm Vincent's wife now and have been for the last ten years," Catherine said smiling at seeing the shocked look on Devin's face.

Devin was shocked but he was so happy for his brother. Devin, unlike father, had always thought that Vincent was capable and deserving of a woman's love. Now seeing Catherine's condition he was even more happy that Vincent would be a father, too, and his daughters would have a cousin.

"You don't mind if I ask you when the baby's due?"

"Correction. Babies. Next month if Peter Alcott's exam and calculation was correct," Vincent said.

"Dad! Mom!" Devin heard a couple of children's voices calling.

"Jacob, Jonathan, we're in here," Vincent called.

"Lost sheep looking for their father and mother?" Devin asked.

"Not exactly," Catherine said as two little strawberry blonde boys came into the chamber and stood next to her and Vincent.

"You see, Dev, these two are our 4th and 5th children," Catherine said proudly rubbing her baby bump.

Devin's draw dropped."Wow, there have been some changes around here!"

Seeing his three daughters still standing next to father, he motioned for them to join him where he stood.

"I'm proud to introduce you to our sons," Vincent said proudly.

Putting his hand on the taller boy, Vincent said, "This is our eldest son, Jacob, age 10 and this little man is our youngest son, Jonathan. He's same age as Miranda 7. We also have a daughter, Mary Margaret but she's only 4 and it seems she is still asleep. Right boys?"

Jacob and Jonathan both nodded yes to their father.

"We made sure not to wake her up or else we would have to read her another four books just to get her to sleep!" Jacob complained wiping a hand across his forehead as if reading to his little sister had been exhausting work.

Devin shook both boys' hands and then introduced their cousins to them. Leaving the children to their own devices for a little bit before Catherine would escort the children back to their chamber, the four adults took a seat around the large round table which was used for not only the chess games but as a round table for Council meetings.

"I can't believe you guys finally did it and got married," Devin said putting a hand through his salt and pepper hair. "Catherine when did you resign from the D.A's office?"

Catherine finding it difficult to speak of the circumstances surrounding her resignation from the D.A.'s office hedged details and said," About ten years back after I gave birth to Jacob."

"After?" Devin asked. He wanted to know because when he left with Charles to trek to the mountains those many years ago Vincent had not ever thought he was capable of a normal life. Nor did father Devin suspected.

"It's a long hard story to tell at this late hour, Devin. I promise you'll know in good time," Vincent said feeling the echo of Catherine's difficulty in his own heart.

"We want to know what's been going on with you, Devin. What happened to Charles and why is the girls' mother not with you?" Father asked.

Devin glanced at his daughters sharing books with Vincent's two sons and smiled. He was so happy that his brother knew the joys of fatherhood. Vincent was probably a better father than he himself Devin thought. Vincent would never have dragged his three daughters away from their mother in the middle of the night to take them to a place which was mysterious and contained people that they were never allowed to talk of once they left here.

Catherine was the first one to notice the wedding band on Devin's hand.

"Where is your wife, Devin? I assume she is your daughters' mother," Catherine said and looked back at where the three girls were reading books with her sons.

"My wife is in Pennsylvania. We left her almost a day ago in the mountains near Pittsburgh. My minivan is parked at a free lot near one of the old stores a few blocks from here." Devin became silent.

"Why did you leave?" Vincent asked. He thought something must have really been bad if Devin had left his wife and dragged his children with him to his hole-in-the-ground home as Devin would always sarcastically describe it.

"My wife and I were having problems and the girls were not being properly taken care of. At least that's what I thought until my youngest Heather Marie said she missed her mother making me feel guilty. I just had to get away from my wife and I had thought it better if I took the girls with me to give her some breathing room."

"Let's start at the beginning," Father said also taking a glance behind him to where the children examined the books in his library.

"Oh, Angie, Merry, and Heather all love books, Father. I am sure they will be occupied for a while over there, " Devin said putting Father's fears to rest. "Especially with their new cousins."

Father looked at Devin then and his face was very serious because Devin had pulled stunts like this before. The first time he came back home after twenty years he had been posing as a lawyer and he had admitted that he had delivered a baby by C-Section while posing as a doctor and then there had been many other identities which he let slip at that first meeting. Then one year later he returned home as a fugitive with Charles. A man who had grotesque subcutaneous tumors from Fibramatosis or the same condition that John Merrick aka The Elephant Man had suffered in the early 1900's. Devin, at the time, had expected that the community would just accept this man without question while Devin returned to some semblance of life above. To Father's great surprise, Devin had done some maturing then and had taken Charles with him to travel with him and be his companion.

However, now, there seemed to be a much more serious issue at hand because Devin now had three daughters and had admitted he had spirited them away from their mother because he thought he could take better care of them than his wife. Father hoped that Devin would not be stingy with information or give half truths and let them know what they were to do.

Father looked at Devin and said, "Let's get the children someplace to sleep first and then we can have a cup of tea and catch up".

"They can share our childrens' chamber. I'll just get Mary to make up new cots in there. There's plenty of room because we were clearing it out to prepare it for the new babies," Catherine said.

"Thank you. I will go with you to find Mary and let the girls know that I'm here in case they need them," Devin said.

"I'm sure Jacob and Jonathan will keep them up getting to know them. They have a tendency to ask a lot of questions," Catherine said getting up from the table and taking Devin's arm for assistance. "I won't be long," She motioned to her husband and Father.

"Sounds like you're raising two lawyers already," Devin chuckled at the thought.

Vincent and Father remained at the table watching silently as Devin and Catherine assisted the children from the chamber.