"Not too terrible. "Ichabod whispered.
"Really, Crane? You know I quit coffee. "Abbie said.
"You were forced to abandon the pleasures of the caffeinated bean during your stay in the Catacombs, but you and I both know... your strong desire... for the cappuccino con doppio caffé.
"We cannot hide who we truly are, Leftenant, and if you and I are to yet again face the possibility of the end of the world... we should embrace the fruits of life with a full heart. "Ichabod replied.
"How true. "Abbie said.
"Bacon? With... maple and a hint of Meyer lemon.
"Bourbon? Mm-hmm. "Ichabod breathed.
"New gourmet donut shop opened up downtown. I wanted to surprise you. "Abbie said.
"Manna from heaven. "Ichabod breathed.
"Yeah, seeing as how we are going back to the Catacombs... and it's the closest thing I can think of... to Hell... you bet your ass I'm gonna drink this. Oh. That's good. You got a little something..."Abbie said.
"Oh. Yes. I'm scared out of my mind of seeing that place again, and no, I'm not letting you go without me. Whatever you do, I do. That's the deal. "Abbie said.
"Truth bomb if ever I heard one. "Ichabod replied.
"Okay. "Abbie said.
"Oh, I do that very well, don't I? "Ichabod asked.
"Okay Mr. Ego. "Abbie teased.
"Leftenant, there is something I wish to converse with you about. "Ichabod replied.
"What is it Crane? "Abbie asked.
"Do you remember the succubus incident? "Ichabod asked.
"What about it? "Abbie asked.
"When I conveyed to you about if you were inclined to pursue a relationship with someone and you said that you can't be with someone outside of what we face. "Ichabod replied.
"Yes, I remember. "Abbie said.
"And I said maybe all we really get is each other. "Ichabod replied.
"Yes, what are you trying to say? "Abbie asked.
"What, I'm trying to say is Grace Abigail Mills, I love you, with my whole heart and I want to spend the rest of my life proving to you that I will be here for you no matter what. "Ichabod said.
"I don't have the way with words you do Ichabod, but I love you, too. "Abbie replied.
"Ichabod Abbie come with us there are things we must explain. "Zeus said.
"God's wounds it's Zeus and Hera. "Ichabod exclaimed.
"Are you serious right now? "Abbie asked.
"Yes, he speaks the truth Abbie. "Hera replied.
"Come we will explain more. "Zeus said.
"Okay, now will someone tell me what the hell is this about. "Abbie replied.
"Ichabod and Abbie I ask you this have you ever wondered why your past romances never worked out. "Hera said.
"What does that have to do with this? "Abbie asked.
"Everything. Your bond is not just because you are witnesses. it's because you are soul mates. "Hera said.
"Soul mates? "Ichabod asked.
"Yes it is, the main reason that you can sense what the other is feeling and know what the other is about to say before they say it."Zeus replied.
"We are here, to help you defeat the Hidden One and to do that you must have a soul bond marriage ceremony and a power inheritance ceremony. "Hera said.
"How, exactly does that work? "Ichabod asked.
"Allow us to show you. "Zeus replied.
"Alright. "Abbie said.
Suddenly they found themselves in an English garden that resembled the one that was outside Ichabod's childhood home.
They were surrounded by all the Greek God's and Goddesses mumbling an incantation. Ezra, Hank, Sam, Joe, Jenny, Sarah, Faith, Martha, Cassie, Sonya, John, were brought in.
"Why are we here? "Hank asked.
"You are here to take part in a soul bond marriage. "Zeus replied.
"The world would be in peril if Ichabod was forced to leave these shores this is the best way to protect him. "Hera said.
"Crane, Abbie, is this what you want? "Jenny asked.
"More than anything in this world. "Ichabod replied.
"Yes, Jenny I want this. "Abbie said.
"It's about damn time. "Joe replied.
"Shall we as you mortals say get this show on the road. "Zeus said.
"I am amenable. "Ichabod replied.
"Call upon, the bond you share allow it to encircle you. "Hera instructed.
Ichabod and Abbie were engulfed in a white light tinged with gold.
As the Gods and Goddesses spoke the glow grew brighter.
"Now Ichabod and Abbie speak your intentions. "Athena said.
"Grace Abigail Mills, without you I am a man adrift in a cold lonely world. A world without you by my side is a world that is a kin to purgatory. And I vow to be a loyal faithful husband as I have been as your friend. "Ichabod recited.
"Ichabod, you have been my rock in so many situations. Saved my life and been there when I didn't know what to do. That has been the relationship, I have wanted yet was to afraid to fight for. I'm no longer afraid to love you as a wife as I have done as a friend. "Abbie recited.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride Ichabod. "Athena said.
It was a kiss that shook Abbie to her core it revitalized and rejuvenated her very soul.
"Get a room. "Jenny said.
"Shut up Jenny. "Abbie replied.
"Now let us commence the second half of this gathering. "Zeus replied.
The Gods and Goddesses raised their hands in the air calling upon their powers and a beam shot into all that were in the room.
"You are now of demigod status it is a reward and an apology for the suffering that your families endured while taking up this cause. "Cronos said.
"That's one hell of an apology. "John replied.
"Come we have a battle to prepare for. "Apollo said.
"What about the immigration officials? "Ichabod asked.
"There is a marriage license in the government office as we speak. "Hera replied.
"At least that isn't a problem any longer. "Ichabod said.
"No now let's go kick the Hidden One's ass. "Abbie replied.
"There is one more thing we must confess Joe and Jenny you are now married too. "Hera said.
"How? "Jenny asked.
"We added it into the incantation you two are soul mates as well. "Hera said.
"Well, I would have asked you eventually. "Joe replied.
"Joe, I don't know what to say. "Jenny said.
"You don't have to say anything right now. "Joe replied.
"Crane, can I have a word? "Ezra asked.
"Yes, Mr. Mills. "Ichabod replied.
"I can see you love my daughter very much, I loved her the moment her mother told me we were going to be parents.
"I wasn't prepared for what happened to Lori and it was hard to witness.
"I let my girls, down terribly and I can't never truly make up for breaking their hearts and trust in me.
"The best advice I can give you Crane, is be a better man to her than I was. "Ezra said.
"Mr. Mills, I love Abbie and will do anything to protect her even at the cost of my death. "Ichabod replied.
"Your a good, man Crane I couldn't have asked for a better son in law. "Ezra replied.
"Thank you sir. "Ichabod said.
"Cra...I mean Ichabod, we better go we've got a box to fix. "Abbie interrupted.
"Lead the way my warrior queen. "Ichabod replied.
"Married, a few minutes and already that man is whipped beyond recognition. "Sam joked.
"Son, only a very special woman can provoke that out of a man. "Hank replied.
"As the group gathered in the archives to strategize on how to deal with the Hidden one.
Abbie felt dread going back to the place that had consumed her life for ten months.
"Abbie, I will be with you though I wish you would have allowed me to make this journey alone. I know you have a score to settle here. "Ichabod said.
"Damn right, husband. "Abbie replied.
"In the immortal words of Mr. Jackie Gleason. Baby, you're the greatest. "Ichabod said.
"You've, been watching The Honeymooners without me? "Abbie asked.
The trek across the Delaware river was slow and taxing at the same time tension was thick but powering through it they continued on.
The scene before them was right out a war movie soldiers lying where they fell dead over 200 years later since their death.
Pieces of a boat that was blown to bits. And a letter written in code speaking of the dire fate that befell these men.
And the fate of Betsy Ross, Ichabod's compatriot that haunted his eidetic memory far worse than anything Katrina and Jeremy could have wished on him.
"Ichabod, are you alright? "Abbie asked.
"I am well, my precious treasure. "Ichabod replied.
"It's okay to feel as you do. "Abbie said.
"I know sweetheart, it just hurt not understanding what happened that could have caused such a change. "Ichabod replied.
"The world around us, changes. people get born grow old and die, but the only thing about war that changes is the weapons uniforms and machines. Other than that it's always hell. "Abbie said.
"No truer words have ever been spoken. "Ichabod replied.
"Come on we best keep moving. "Abbie said.
"It's very different in person. "Ichabod replied.
"Sadder. "Abbie said.
"Stranger, if that's possible. Your bishop, I presume. "Ichabod replied.
"A rook, but you did always say that it looked like a bishop, and it was just me trying to get an advantage over you.
"I still don't know how to deal with the fact that those conversations... arguments, debates, thousands of them... weren't real."
"It was just me talking to myself, trying to keep from falling off the edge.
"No, actually, in a way, they were real. "Abbie said.
"I had many a rousing chat with you whilst we were apart.
"They meant we could watch over one another. "Ichabod replied.
"And now after all this time... both of us wind up here, of all places.
"Using my prison... to save the world.
"I beat this, didn't I? "Abbie asked.
"Yes, you did. Ah, and this... must be your knight. "Ichabod replied.
"Queen. "Abbie said.
"Queen? Pure chicanery. "Ichabod replied.
"Okay, Bobby Fischer, let's go fix Pandora's box. I've been in this section before. I thought it was just... ancient wallpaper. "Abbie said.
"According to Pandora's instructions, 'tis much more than that. Here. Bird. Huntress. Hourglass. Sun. This must lead to an inner chamber. "Ichabod replied.
"Ichabod. "Abbie exclaimed.
"Betsy. No breath, no pulse. "Ichabod exclaimed.
"I'm sorry, Ichabod. "Abbie said.
"Yes, well, this must have been where the Eye of Providence was kept. Magical properties would have kept her... remains intact. "Ichabod replied.
"I had the whole temple and the Catacombs to wander. She was trapped in this room for centuries.
"She deserved a better end than this. "Abbie said.
"We should give her a ceremony. Just a few words. Let her soul be at peace. "Ichabod replied.
"I don't think that's gonna work. "Abbie said.
"Please, Abbie, we must honor her sacrifice. "Ichabod replied.
"No, Ichabod, I mean it's not gonna work because she isn't dead. "Abbie said.
"Betsy? "Ichabod asked.
"Ichabod... is that you? "Betsy asked.
"You found my letter... on the river. Quite... the mess. Washington and I were lucky to escape it. Ichabod, you are a sight for sore eyes.
"Although you look... different, your... hair is..."Betsy said.
"Yes, it's shorter. "Ichabod replied.
"Cleaner. "Betsy said.
"Right, Betsy, last I saw, you and General Washington were crossing to Trenton.
"Oh, my apologies. Allow me to introduce Miss Abigail Mills. This is... Miss Elizabeth Ross. "Ichabod introduced.
"Betsy, how are you still alive? "Ichabod asked.
"Bad luck, mainly. Honestly, after so many trials, you would think we were due some decent fortune.
"We were close to our goal... retrieving the Eye of Providence from this temple.
"General Washington had spent months decoding ancient texts, preparing for this very moment.
"Our perseverance paid off... until I became greedy, curious for more marvels held within this chamber.
"Whatever sequence the general used to open this chamber no longer worked.
"I was trapped. I could faintly hear his entreaties through the wall...but I knew full well there was no time for any rescue. Priorities would force him to finish the mission.
"I tried every single thing I could to escape... but I had not the knowledge of ancient glyphs as you do, Ichabod.
"Days? Months? Somehow, the energies within the chamber itself kept me alive.
"My hopes for a rescue began to abandon me. Ultimately, I had no choice but to accept my fate.
"You can fill in the blanks on the journey home.
"Tell me, both of you, how fares the War? Did we rout the blighters at Trenton? "Betsy asked.
"Betsy. You do know how long you've been down here."Ichabod asked.
"Months. We must be well into the New Year by now. "Betsy said.
"Which New Year? "Abbie asked.
"You are freaking out, Ichabod. "Abbie said.
"Hardly. I'm making preparations for restoring Pandora's box. "Ichabod replied.
Oh, I know you well enough to know when you're bugging. "Abbie said.
"Very well, perhaps I am a little more than moderately agitated. "Ichabod replied
"And for good reason... finding Betsy Ross alive, trapped down here. "Abbie said.
"It's what happens when she leaves that concerns me more. If Betsy enters the Well you used to leave this place, she will return in her own time, so... you and I must endeavor to help her on her way as soon as she returns from scouting the environs.
"And we cannot let on that we are from the future. Or we risk damaging the time stream. "Ichabod replied.
"I get it. I saw Star Wars. "Abbie said.
"Trek not Wars, but yes. As Captain James Tiberius Kirk learned the hard way in the most memorable episode, "City on the Edge of Forever. "Ichabod replied.
"Okay, well, I will let you be the one to bring up jumping into a bottomless well. "Abbie said.
"My circumnavigation has revealed nothing of use to the war effort. "Betsy replied.
"Yeah, nothing but sand and sun for over 1,000 miles. "Abbie said.
"Which makes me wonder how you came to acquire such intimate knowledge of the Catacombs. "Betsy replied.
"That information we cannot share, Betsy. You see, we are more than simply a rescue mission. We have very specific orders from General Washington. "Ichabod said.
"He would only have shared the existence of the supernatural with you in the most dire of circumstances. Or sent a stranger to accompany you. "Betsy replied.
"In your absence, Leftenant Mills and I have formed a very strong partnership. "Ichabod said.
"Lieutenant? There are no female officers in the Continental Army. "Betsy replied.
"It's a pet name. I... call him Crane. "Abbie said.
"Regrettably, the veil of secrecy precludes our sharing of details, Betsy. We are to restore a powerful, supernatural artifact, and it is our only hope against a foe who holds the fate of the world in his hands. "Ichabod replied.
"Here rests the container that holds all the evil of the world. Dark vessel of nightmare. (echoing): Dread urn forged in the void. Let that which is broken be remade. "Ichabod recites.
"When last we saw this box, 'twas silver in hue. "Betsy replied.
"Did we do something wrong? "Abbie asked.
"I performed the incantation as instructed. "Ichabod replied.
"Over here."Abbie said.
"Cuneiform is the same as on the pedestal. "Binding the evils of the world. "A radiance given by..."one who bears Witness. An Eternal Soul."
"Pandora made no reference to this. "Ichabod replied.
"Pandora, only told you enough so that you would do what she said is needed to stop the Hidden One. "Hera replied.
"That can't be good. "Abbie said.
"No, nor the reference to Witness, specifically this...Eternal Soul. I fear the missing ingredient may be one of us. "Ichabod replied.
"Leftenant! Leftenant... are you all right? "Ichabod asked.
"Fine. "Abbie said.
"Don't worry, because of our inheritance the box just zapped her energy it didn't do what Pandora intended. "Zeus replied.
"Its bark is worse than its bite. The Box... we did I Which means it got what it needed. "Abbie said.
"No, no. Abbie. "Ichabod panicked.
"There's a pulse. It feels very faint. "Betsy replied.
"Save your strength. "Ichabod replied.
"I hope you got the plates off the truck that hit me. "Abbie said.
"The Box would have taken something precious from you. There would have been a void. But you are not as you were so it's just a slight energy drain. "Zeus replied.
"We've come back from worse. It is a side of the job that is never advertised. And we were just talking about, on the way here, cheating death. "Abbie joked.
"Enough of that. "Ichabod scolded.
"Perhaps Washington or Revere can help her when we get back. "Betsy replied.
"We're not coming back with you, Betsy. "Ichabod said.
"You are not the Crane I know. "Betsy replied.
"Betsy, believe me, I am telling the truth in that I... cannot tell the whole truth. "Ichabod said.
"Only one truth matters. Your heart belongs to Abigail Mills. "Betsy replied.
"She is my partner. "Ichabod said.
"I must leave this place. "Betsy replied.
"Um... at the far end of the plateau there is a Well beside the stump of a tree. Enter and... you will return from whence you came. "Ichabod said.
"Miss Mills. You have a good partner in Ichabod Crane. Put him in his place every once in a while. Keeps him honest. "Betsy replied.
"I'm sorry about how things ended with Betsy. "Abbie said.
"At least now I understand why we never spoke after she returned from this... dreadful place.
"Our partnership was a prelude to a destiny I could never have imagined.
"One I share with you. Shall we? "Ichabod asked.
"Well, not until you tell me whatever it is... you don't want to tell me."Abbie replied.
"The tablet I found in my family crypt had a symbol on it I could not translate until today, when it appeared on the wall of the antechamber.
"It reads, "Eternal Soul," meaning the soul of a Witness that the Box requires. "Ichabod replied.
"That again would be true had we not changed things in your favor. "Zeus said.
"Which is why Pandora sent us both. "Abbie replied.
"There are powerful forces at work here, and I do not intend to be pawn to them.
"We make our own destiny. Right now, we are destined to take a plunge. "Ichabod said.
"Let's do this. In through a tree, out through a well. How about an escalator to the Catacombs? "Abbie asked.
"It would not have the same metaphorical heft, I fear. Now... let us not miss the perfect opportunity for embracing..."Ichabod replied.
"Tally-ho! "Abbie shouts.
"That was not very sporting! What she said. "Ichabod mumbles.
They make it back to the Archives in time to see Joe and Jenny going through books Ezra and Hank speaking in whispers and the room abuzz with activity.
"Shall I fetch you an energy drink or another coffee? "Ichabod asked.
"Sure, sweetie. "Abbie replied.
Ichabod, came back with the coffee. "Here you are dear. "Ichabod said.
"Thanks babe. "Abbie replied.
"Miss Jenny, you and Master Corbin's, unease about Pandora's real intentions we're in fact founded.
"The repair on the box required the inclusion of a witness's eternal soul. "Ichabod said.
"I knew, that bitch was up to something. "Jenny replied.
"Fear not Jennifer, Abbie just feels a slight energy drain the inheritance ceremony thwarted Pandora's intention's. "Hera replied.
"OH, thank god. "Jenny breathed.
"I believe, for now we shall meet again tomorrow I think it wise my lovely wife rest. "Ichabod replied.
"Ichabod, sweetie I'm fine really. "Abbie said.
"Precious, there is nothing wrong with taking a day of rest after the trying experience you've endured. "Ichabod replied.
"Alright husband, take me home. "Abbie said.
"Your wish is as always my command precious. "Ichabod replied.
The ride home, was easy Ichabod drove and as soon as he stopped the car in the drive way. he rushed to the passenger side, opening the door picking Abbie, up in his arms carrying her up on their porch unlocking the door carrying her over the threshold.
"Mr. Crane. your up to something. "Abbie said.
"The only thing, I'm up to is taking care of my wife. "Ichabod replied.
Ichabod carries Abbie up to their bedroom placing her on the bed. His kiss seems to energize her.
Before they knew it clothes were hitting the floor, and Ichabod was expressing just how much he loved her a crescendo of moans and groans rang out like chiming bells.
They made love throughout the night thoughts of food or going to the bathroom didn't matter at the moment.
"It is done, Abbie is with child. "Hera said.
"And it appears. Jenny is as well. "Zeus replied.
"They still must face The Hidden One. "Hera said.