3

Remembrance

By Southofoz

Summary – S3 rated G vignette. Vincent honors a friend who gave his all for love. Set between the episodes Invictus and The Reckoning. This is in homage to one of our favorite and best loved characters and to the wonderful Edward Albert who won our hearts playing him.

Vincent stood on the bank of the mirror pool, Jacob lay quietly in his arms, beside Vincent were Diana and Father, and behind him many of the tunnel community waited for Vincent to speak.

"We are gathered here in remembrance of a great man. He did not win battles or fight for truth, he was an enigma, and as changeable as the seasons. But in his finest hour, instead of betraying me and this world he was the truest friend and in the end he gave his life to save mine. Had he wished to Elliot Burch could have destroyed everything we hold dear, but instead he chose to say nothing and so saved us all."

Vincent was silent for a moment as he remembered a night not long ago, when his world was in turmoil as he searched for his son, amid uncertainty and grief. Elliot Burch had become Vincent's lifeline to the world Above until one night, Mouse had brought a message, telling Vincent of good news, and Vincent had hurried to the Compass Rose to meet Elliot.

What happened next was still very clear in Vincent's mind. Elliot had suddenly declared "The message was a lie, get out of here." Then as a gunshot rang out, Elliot threw himself into the path of the bullet and into Vincent's arms – saving Vincent's life. As he lay bleeding, Elliot had handed Vincent a ring and said, "Here take this and leave me."

Vincent had taken the ring but had refused to leave, saying, "You wouldn't leave me."

"Damn right I would," Elliot had declared, but Vincent had answered "You're lying again…" and an instant later there was an enormous flash and the deck beneath him heaved, and Vincent was thrown into the air, his hair and clothing burning. Elliot was torn from his arms by the force of the explosion. In seconds, Vincent found himself in the river, fighting for his life. He felt death threatening and his only thought was Catherine – Catherine – Catherine …

He swam painfully away from the burning boat, and as far from the men searching the shore and wreckage as he could. They were shooting at anything that moved. Finally, he pulled himself out of the water and stumbled away from the docks, his ears ringing and his head spinning. His heart cried out for one thing 'to be near to Catherine before he succumbed to death'.

He had struggled to stay conscious as he made his way painfully through the streets to St Cleo's churchyard. When he finally approached Catherine's grave he felt a wave of great relief wash over him, at the thought of being so near her. The cold, hard touch of her gravestone was welcoming and it calmed him. He remembered thinking 'soon Catherine, I will be with you forever', before everything had gone black.

The next thing Vincent remembered was waking up in Diana's apartment, in pain and confusion, with no memory of how he had gotten there. Diana had shown him great sensitivity and had been gentle and caring until he was strong enough to go back to his own world. It wasn't until long afterward that he understood how much he had needed this time to heal from so many hurts, both physical and emotional. The result of this kindness was that they were now firm friends.

When he was well again, Vincent promised himself that one day he would honor Elliot's sacrifice in some way, and today saw that promise was about to be fulfilled.

Elliot's body had never been found and Vincent knew that he had no family to mourn him and so as soon as he had Jacob home again, and his life had returned to a semblance of normality, he had arranged this memorial.

"Although none of you here knew him," Vincent continued, "Elliot Burch was a very unusual man. A man full of contradictions, but in his heart, he was a man who knew when to make a change for the betterment of his soul and to aid others. He tried to help me to find my son and Catherine's killer. But in the end it was at the cost of his own hard won empire, which he had watched collapse around him."

Vincent placed Jacob into Father's arms and then took a taper from Rebecca and lit a large candle which she had made specially. It stood in a niche which Kanin had carved in the rock wall, about three feet off the floor, and it was in an ornate candle holder, donated by Diana. The candle was three feet high and as thick as a Vincent's wrist. It would burn for many days and Rebecca had promised to provide a new one and keep them lit in remembrance of the man from Above, who like Vincent, had loved Catherine.

These words were carved on the rock wall below the candle.

In memory of Elliot Burch

A man of great compassion

And below that –

Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends.

"Elliot Burch will be remembered as a man to whom this world owes much," Vincent finished.

He turned then and took his son from Father and silently departed, with those who had witnessed this memorial following. Behind them was left a solitary candle burning in pride-of-place.

High above, the opening in the ceiling reflected the night sky full of stars as the solitary candle burned. From this day forward many newcomers to the tunnels and the children alike – Jacob included – would be told the story of the sacrifice made by the man named Elliot Burch. He became a hero and a man to inspire loyalty in the hearts of the young and old alike…

The End