"There is no possible way I can allow him to live the way I did." Vincent finally said, after the long weeping silence."Locked up Below, have 'different' and such forced upon him, fears of being caught by someone and turned into a zoo animal..." he shook his head. "I cannot do that to him."
Father sighed, not saying anything to Vincent. He knew full well that Vincent wasn't finished.
"You were good to me, Father." Vincent said sincerely. "Between you and everyone else from our community, I have been given more love than many people have – more than anyone could possibly ask for. And whilst I can guarantee our child the same love... his life will still be so much like mine, only I cannot guarantee it will turn out so well."
"But he'll know that you and Catherine love him, and are trying your best." Father reminded Vincent, deciding now would be a good time to intervene with speech.
"That does not take the pain away." Vincent said honestly. "And it does not change what horrific things lay ahead for him – nothing will." He looked at Father, helplessly. "I love him, and would give anything to change his circumstances."
Father nodded. "I have felt the same thing, Vincent, countless times through the years, every day, that is what I think and feel." he told Vincent. "But right now, all that baby needs is love."
Vincent nodded. "I know."
"He will likely not even be aware that is different until he is much, much older." Father continued. "And no matter what, Vincent, this is our world. He can do anything and everything down here."
"I highly doubt he will be content to stay down here, Father." Vincent said with a sigh. "That's over half the problem." He shook his head. "We'll just have to take this one day at a time, I suppose."
"Do you want to go back?" Father suggested. "To hold the babies, and wait for Catherine to wake?"
Vincent nodded. "Yes, Father. Go on ahead. I would like to rest her a few more moments, by myself."
Father hesitated before nodding and then turning and leaving. The shock of what just happened had yet to settle with Vincent. Not only the shock that he was now officially a father, but a father to twins, one who looked just like he did.
Vincent tentatively took a step into Catherine and the babies' chamber. There was Catherine, lying asleep on the bed, just as Vincent had left her. The room was empty, with the exception of Mary, sitting down, cradling each sleeping baby in each arm.
She smiled up at him. "I'll leave you four alone." she said with a smile, thinking of the newly formed family. She stood and carefully placed the girl in the crook of Vincent's left arm, and the boy in the right arm. Then she turned and left the chamber.
Vincent lightly sat down on the edge of Catherine's bed, which he now was very accustomed to, after spending as much time as possible at her side during the pregnancy. He look at her sleeping form; she looked so peaceful, so quiet... he was glad she got to rest – she needed it after such a hard time birthing the twins. But in only ten hours? That was quite impressive.
He then looked down to the sleeping figures in his arms. His attention was immediately drawn to the one on the right, the one covered with fur, or rather, fuzz. Vincent had to smile slightly at that one; the fuzz was nothing like his fur. The baby's fuzz was much lighter, and thinner, and just...fuzz. It looked rather ridiculous.
Vincent chuckled, lightly tracing the baby's fuzz-covered cheek with his fur covered finger. His cheeks were broad and his nose flat, so much like his own. And even Vincent had to admit, the baby was adorable.
He wondered what the baby's hands looked like; did he have claws at the end, or fingernails? And the bottoms of his feet; were they padded like Vincent's, or normal? But as the baby was wrapped up securely in a small blanket, and Vincent had not a free hand, he couldn't see.
He looked at the baby sleeping soundly in his left arm. A girl? He still could not believe it. They did not expect a girl at all. Vincent tried to remember if the possibility of a girl had crossed his mind once; he couldn't remember if it had, but if it had, he had dismissed it quickly.
Not that he did not want a girl. He did. He smiled softly at her red, wrinkled face, the kind of face most babies were born with. She seemed to be squeezing her eyes shut, her mouth shut... it was adorable. He couldn't help but notice that her nose seemed a little upturned, but it was nothing like her brother's. She was so beautiful...
Vincent felt Catherine stir. He turned slightly to face her better, what with the babies in his arms. That's when he realized she didn't stir physically – she stirred on the inside. In other words, her mind was waking up, but her body hadn't moved.
He had felt her! Their bond was back. The babies were only an hour old, but it seemed as soon as they were born, the bond was back! Inside, Vincent was rejoicing. He felt on top of the world now; everything was perfect, back to normal. Well, not back to normal; they had a family now. He, Catherine, little Girl, and little Boy. They were a family of their own. He was a father... he had pretty much gotten used to the fact that he would be a father soon, they it didn't seem real, but now that it had happened... words could not describe the feeling. And he had never quite realized that they were now a small family. Of course, everyone Below was like family, but Vincent and Catherine now had an immediate family.
He was so overly happy. He felt as if he could conquer anything, do anything, on top of the world... over the moon? He couldn't find the words to describe his current mood, but he knew that he had never felt anything like this before. Nothing this exhilarating and surreal... 'surreal' was the closest match to how he felt, but a mere seven letter word didn't do the feeling justice. What he felt deserved a word of its own – no, it was too great to have a word describe it.
"Vincent?" heard a foggily-sounding voice behind him.
He turned to see Catherine awake, though just barely. His Catherine looked exhausted, but happy.
"Catherine!" he exclaimed tenderly. He showed her the two babies lying in his arms, no words needed.
Catherine smiled faintly, too exhausted to smile any bigger, but her smile said everything, and their bond more; she thought the babies were beautiful, loved them to death, and felt the same way about Vincent.
"Shall I get Father?" Vincent asked, knowing that there were medical things to be tended to, yet.
She shook her head. "Not right now." At his concerned and doubtful look, she explained, "I just want some time for the two of us before our privacy is 'invaded'." she chuckled lightly. "Or the four of us, I suppose."
"Would you like to hold them?" Vincent offered, not knowing how she could stand to be in the same room with her children and not want to hold them. He certainly wouldn't be able to refrain.
Catherine nodded, carefully getting into a half-way sitting position, leaning against pillows. "Just one though; I don't think I can handle them both."
Vincent handed her the younger of the two, the little boy.
Catherine's eyes widened suddenly as she took the baby. "Oh my God, what have they been eating?"
"Mary gave them warm milk." Vincent told Catherine. "But knowing infants, the instant they wake up-"
"They will want a snack." Catherine finished. She looked concerned. "After using a bottle, do you think that they will want to nurse?"
"They should have little trouble adapting, I imagine." Vincent said, knowing that the babies were only hours old, so it made no difference, really.
He laid little Girl on Catherine's lap.
"Where are you going?" Catherine demanded.
"To get Father." Vincent said. "And to see you have something nourishing to eat."
"I'm not hungry." Catherine protested.
"You still need to eat." Vincent affirmed. "Catherine?"
"What is it?" she asked, gazing fondly at the babies.
"The bond is back."
"What? It is?" she looked back up a him, quickly. "How do you know?"
"I can feel you as I did months ago." Vincent said simply.
Catherine blinked quickly, as if she was blinking back tears – of happiness, of course. As annoying as it got sometimes, Vincent knowing her emotions, she also loved it, and that they had something special. "I was worried that..."
"That is was gone forever?" Vincent asked, gently. At her nod, he sighed. "I was worried about that, as well." he affectionately – and carefully – stroked her arm. "But now there are no more mysteries; the babies are born, the bond is back – everything is perfect."
"Perfect." Catherine said, her eyes shining. "Just perfect."
THE END... FOR NOW
Author's note: Finished. Finished. Finished. Whoo-hoo! Finished!
I do have a sequel coming out, hopefully by the end of July. I wanted to go further, but as this story is SOOOO long, and all... the sequel is definitely worth tuning in for, though. I promise.
I'd like to thank Earth Guardian, Mini Librarian, and Amber-Jade James, for reviewing faithfully since day #1 (meaning when I posted the story and it came down somehow in October...). I should like to think that even with no reviews, I would have kept writing this story, but not so. When my bad writer's block began, I would have never continued. You guys are awesome and have wonderful taste in television (and fanfic, lol!)!
Also, to Nicole, for sending me into enough guilt-trips to get over my writer's block, and getting me in the mood to write again.
Oh, and to Cassie and J.D.R. - you guys are awesome, too, and I'm sure somehow helped me finish this story, though I don't know how...
Yva J., thanks for being such a good critique. You have a talent for writing, and have a good eye for my BIG typos – you are simply great.
All characters belong to the creators of CBS' Beauty and the Beast, with the exception of Meg, Mike, Bailee, Cameryn, Catherine and Vincent's children, and 95 percent of the named tunnel children. Please do not use without permission - thanks!