Of course, I profoundly apologize that this piece of fiction would have to end. I hope this epilogue would suffice for me to voice out my sincere gratitude for the overwhelming support of my readers old and new. I must say, that An Angel's Redemption and Into the Deepest Darkness are the fanfics I consider as my magnum opus for the time being.
The Final Disclaimer: I don't own Angels and Demons, nor the Vatican, NOT EVEN Rome.
Out of the Dark: An Epilogue
His blue eyes were peering out a huge window. Though I've seen it many times, this view never bores me. He straightened out the long, black sleeves of the cassock he was wearing. It's a good thing it still fits me. Patrick McKenna's fingers ran over the glass window panes, looking like a child on his first trip to the museum.
"Come here, Patrick!"
Patrick turned around, facing a photographer with a Nikon D5000 mounted on a tripod. His picture was taken in black and white, not needing any other light source. The sunbeams from the window were enough to bathe him in light. Of course, where else would the window give such a beautiful view and an abundance of sunshine? Why, they were in the Pope's office…with permission of course.
There were two men behind the camera, their faces partly covered by the object. Three other people stood by the door, namely: His Holiness, Chartrand and Commander Laguardia. One of the men behind the camera lifted his head and gestured for the man to come. Patrick walked towards them, eager to see the photograph.
The face revealed was that of Robert Langdon.
"Well, I have to say that you look great. This will be the front cover photo of the book!" Robert said, his rage towards Patrick probably annihilated by the latter's heroism. Professor Langdon had of course heard of the terrorist plot that he stopped.
"BOOK?!" Patrick exclaimed, obviously clueless.
"Yes, Patrick. Professor Langdon here expressed his interest to write your biography. Needless to say, I granted him permission to use the cassock, my office as the venue for photography and interviewing and permission to write the book itself," the former Cardinal Mortati, now, the Pope, answered.
"Why didn't you tell me about this earlier, Your Holiness?" Patrick said. "I wanted it to be a surprise, Patrick. It might go to your head if you find out someone's expressing a desire to write your life story," Cardinal Mortati said, smiling. Very sapient, Your Holiness…very sapient.
"I've never heard of such a tale. History gives us people who turn from traitor to patriot but…it never came this far. That's why I've decided to write a book about you! Besides, His Holiness himself gave such an approval," Robert continued.
"I appreciate your words, Professor Langdon, but there are true saints who have gone further than what I have done." Patrick said, still unable to part with his priestly mien. "You're too modest, Patrick. Call me Robert," the taller, older man said, "Now, where were we? Norman, show him the photo!"
The photographer nodded, moving the camera towards the former priest. "You make a good subject, Mr. McKenna…you remind me of some mythical hero," Norman said, displaying the photo on the camera screen. "Thank you," he said.
A series of light knocks were heard. Chartrand faced the door and opened it, revealing someone who could call the Vatican her third home, besides her flat and the police station.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen," her voice was a bit deeper than what you would expect from a woman, but it was pleasing to the ear. She saluted the two Swiss Guards and kissed His Holiness' hand. "Ah, Professor Langdon, I would like to introduce you to my wife, Helena Maria Gallego-McKenna," Patrick walked towards her, taking her right hand, the one not holding a dark blue beret which was part of her uniform.
The law enforcer was usually radiant, but today, she seemed a bit tired, though it was overshadowed by her glowing cheeks and warm eyes.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Helena, if I may call you as such," Professor Langdon said, shaking her hand. "The pleasure is all mine, Professor Langdon," Helena said, giving him a firm shake. "Oh, please, Robert is just fine. I have once worked with your husband, although in different circumstances. Are you Italian, Mrs. McKenna?" he said.
"No, I am half-Spanish, half-Filipino," Helena said. "Interesting…would you like to see your husband's photos?" Robert asked as Norman prepared to show her the photos. "Of course, I want to know what he's been up to." Helena said.
The newly-minted Special Inspector-Substitute Commissioner was shown the photographs taken by Norman. It seemed that the photographer was quite charmed with her. He even decided that husband and wife be taken together.
"It is a surprise, although pleasant, that you are here. Tell us, Helena, why have you graced us with your presence? You do look a bit…ill." His Holiness asked her. "Well, I do feel out of sorts, Your Holiness, that's why I went to the doctor. He told me it was nothing serious--excuse me. Please forgive me, Your Holiness." She ran quickly to the bathroom of the Pope's office.
Patrick ran to the bathroom but Commander Laguardia held him back. "Congratulations," he said with a toothy smile. "Huh? Commander, what is celebratory about my wife being ill?" Patrick asked, perplexed. "Don't you know that it is a sign of good news?" Robert held the ex-priest by the shoulder.
Patrick's blue eyes became as large as they could ever be. A few moments later, he was in the Sistine Chapel, praising God endlessly.
Rui Cristina McKenna was in many ways like her mother. They had the same wavy black hair and warm brown eyes. Both were strong-willed, feisty and quite snarky at times. Tall and wise beyond her six years of age, everyone who saw her could not doubt that Helena was indeed her parent.
She had a twin brother, Gabriel Vesper, who was just as striking as their father, Patrick. The boy was a redhead, with bright blue eyes and an unfailing smile. Gabriel was a calm, logical child who had a daredevil streak at times. He had a penchant for running into trouble and slipping out of it quickly afterwards.
One cold Saturday afternoon, Rui sat together with Feliz, the 8-year old Siberian husky that the family held dear. "You know, Feliz, I wish you could talk. I'm sure you knew about how Mamma and Papà met," she said, stroking the black and white fur of their canine companion.
Gabriel came into the room. "He won't talk…he's a dog! But still, maybe it would be cool if Feliz could talk." He sat down beside Feliz, being nudged by the dog's cold nose. "Well, why do you need Feliz to answer that question for you, children?" a female voice came from the doorway of the living room.
"Mamma!" the twins rose up to embrace their mother, all decked out in a trenchcoat and high-heeled boots. She had to stoop down just to embrace her children. "Wait for me there. I'll just change my clothes and then I'll tell you the story." Helena said, winking at her son and daughter. "Feliz!"
The dog stood up when she called him. It walked over to her and barked loudly, wagging its tail. "I hope the kids haven't harassed you. Watch them while I'm upstairs, alright?" Helena scratched the dog's head and went upstairs.
Helena had remained with the Polizia di Stato. Now, she was the commissioner of the station she had formerly worked as an Inspector for. Simon Marino, her former boss, had been promoted as well. Patrick on the other hand, was a part-time Literature lecturer at the Sapienza University of Rome and a full-time professor of Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University.
"Really? Auntie Bella was drunk on your first date with dad?" Rui asked, as she and her brother burst into laughter. "Yes, she was very, very drunk. So was your Uncle Chartrand." Helena said.
Her best friend, Bella Angela Moretti, and the now-Captain Chartrand of the Swiss Guard, were both godparents to the children. She had instructed both to call them "aunt" and "uncle", respectively.
Mr. Augusto Franco, the bookshop owner who had been Patrick's employer, also became a godparent, and always gave books during Christmas.
The Pope was also a godfather of the children; both were welcome at the Vatican at any time. He was never known as "uncle". He was still addressed as "His Holiness". Patrick had stressed that many times to the children.
"Well, I had to apologize to your dad since I thought both of them ruined the special night, but he was a good sport. It so happened that I took him to the Colosseum…you remember the large oval building we went to last November?" the children nodded. "Yes, that place…I was standing on the edge…"
"Isn't that dangerous?" Gabriel asked. He flung his blue eyes to the doorway and saw his father sneaking in. Patrick had instructed him and Rui to stay silent using hand gestures. "It almost ended in death for me because…"
"She dangled on the edge of the rocks and almost fell…but then, I was there." Patrick emerged from behind the chair and looked at the priceless face of his wife. The children were laughing at their father's successful attempt at surprise. "Patrick…I almost had a heart attack!" Helena yelled.
"You're too young for that…and I wouldn't let that happen, right?" he answered, leaning closer.
"Oh no….ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!" Gabriel said, grabbing Rui by the hand and going somewhere else.
Patrick raised an eyebrow as he saw his children scamper to the upper floor. "What did I do now?" he asked. "They probably thought we were going to kiss…and from what he's been hearing, he thinks kissing gives you the 'cooties'." Helena said.
Patrick shook his head, laughing. "Of course, it doesn't…and I've been kissing you for eight years. See, no 'cooties'…or whatever those are." he said. "Now, where were we?" Helena said.
"Mamma! Gabriel got locked in the closet again!" Rui screamed from the second floor. Helena and Patrick shook their heads. "Not again…" they said, rushing up the stairs.
I must acknowledge my readers, as well as my numerous sources which have allowed me to spin a more realistic tale. I thank the creators of the Internet. They made research much easier. Online maps, encyclopedias, travel sites, even the Vatican website has helped me to write a story in a place I can only dream of going to.
Grazie, grazie, e grazie…