14

One Love, One Soul, One Bond

Chapter One

This is an SND rated G beginning at the end of Though Lovers Be Lost. (this is one of the ways I think the series should have ended. ) There are elements in this story that are taken from the series no copyright infringement intended.

When Love is Life

Love seeketh not Itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care;

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

William Blake

Vincent watched the helicopter speed away, his body buffeted by the wind from its propellers. His heart was breaking, as he felt Catherine's essence fading into the distance, out of reach across the river. The heartbeat, that had drawn him to this place, was echoing throughout his entire being. All his hopes, of finally finding Catherine after so long, were fading with that sound.

Then suddenly he heard, "Vincent!"

It was Catherine's voice, weak and desperate from behind him. He had not felt her near, but the pain of that omission was overshadowed by the impossible joy at the sound of her voice.

He turned, and ran to her, just as she seemed to crumple into his arms, like a puppet that's strings had been cut.

"Catherine," he whispered, amazed and filled with hope. But something was very wrong.

She touched his face, as she said, "Vincent…we loved. There is a child…" There was pain and grief in her face and voice.

"A child?" he asked. It was then that he noticed the blood.

Catherine seemed to be weakening. She wept, "He's beautiful…"

"Catherine?" Vincent couldn't process what Catherine was saying. It had been six months since he had seen her. He had never given up hope that he would find her during that time, now what she was telling him was beyond anything he could imagine.

Suddenly, Catherine seemed to be desperate. She looked up at Vincent, tired and full of sorrow. The knowledge of what she had faced, and what she now faced, was there before him. "Though lovers …be lost…" Catherine gasped, unable to go on.

"Love shall not," Vincent added, and when she went limp in his arms, he finished, "and death shall have no dominion," as the tears fell and his heart broke.

Vincent watched her face for timeless moments, as the pain upon it slowly relaxed into peace. He hadn't seen her for half a year and now he examined every line, every curve of her beloved face. It was then that he noticed a faint pulse in her throat. He pulled her to him. All was not lost …not yet.

Vincent held Catherine, rocking her, his mind searching. Then the memory of another time came to his mind, a time when he had held Catherine like this, on the banks of the lake, having just saved her from the Watcher. He had given her mouth-to-mouth then, and had brought her back from the brink. Shivering, moments later, Catherine had told him that she loved him with such desperation, that his heart had beaten painfully with joy.

Now, as then, he wrapped Catherine in his cloak, laid her gently upon the hard surface of the roof. He felt for the pulse in her throat, it was faint and irregular. He had to do something, anything, and so he began to breathe life into her again.

Vincent knew, however, that this was not enough; he must get Catherine to Father, and the Tunnels. When she seemed to be breathing more regularly, and her pulse was a little stronger, he lifted Catherine and carried her down the many flights of stairs and out of the building. He held her close to him for warmth, and so that he could gauge how she fared moment by moment. He hurried through the streets, he was always conscious of her tentative hold on life, stopping now and then to check her pulse, and willing Catherine to keep breathing, until he could get her to Father.

****

Father had heard the sentries tap out a message saying that, yet again, Vincent had left the Tunnels in search of Catherine. This time however, he seemed to be in a purposeful hurry. Father mourned for Vincent and felt the pain that he was in, but unlike many times in the past, Father could not ease his son's pain. For months now, Vincent had not slept more than a few exhausted moments at a time, and the rest of the day he haunted the passageways and corridors Below. Like a ghost, each day, Vincent bided his time just waiting until the night, so that he could go Above and search for Catherine. Today had been different however; Vincent had spent most of it in his chamber, simply lying in his bed, staring into space. Father had spoken with him only briefly and Vincent had seemed preoccupied. When asked, Vincent had just shaken his head, and answered that he didn't know.

Father, leaned back in his chair and tried, as he had done each night in the last six months, to put his mind to the book he was reading, but as usual he was only barely successful. His mind was on his son and the constant pain he was in, and the fear that he might find Catherine, too late.

Hours passed, and then he heard an urgent message tapped out on the pipes. It was Vincent. "Father … urgent … Hospital Chamber … hurry…"

When he arrived, Father was met with a sight he had never expected to see. Vincent was bending over one of the beds, and when he heard Father's approach, he turned to look back, and Father caught a glimpse of the bed and who lay in it.

"Catherine!" he gasped.

"Father, you must help her," Vincent said desperately, as he stepped reluctantly away from the bed.

Catherine, looked deathly pale, and Father feared the worst. She was wearing a hospital gown and Vincent had covered her with a blanket. She was unconscious and unmoving. When Father felt for her pulse, there wasn't one.

He turned to Vincent, to tell him the terrible news, when he felt a flutter in her wrist, and then long seconds later another.

"Vincent, what has happened to her?" he demanded as he took out his stethoscope and placed it on Catherine's chest.

Vincent had tears in his eyes, and didn't answer Father's question, only pleaded, "Father, please help her. I can feel her fading as we speak."

Father examined Catherine quickly, and found a small needle mark on her left arm. "She has been injected with something, unless I know what it is I can do nothing. Vincent I fear…"

"No!" Vincent roared, sending a chair flying across the chamber, to clatter against a wall. "No, Father. I will not allow it! As long as she lives, I will do anything and everything I can to keep her so!"

Father was roughly pushed out of the way then, and Vincent fell to his knees and bent over Catherine. He began to give her mouth-to-mouth.

"Vincent that will do no good. It's the drug that's killing her." Father said desperate to get through to his son.

Vincent ignored him, pausing in his task, "It has kept her alive this long, Father, and if I must, I will continue to breath for Catherine, for the rest of my life."

Vincent's mind was in turmoil, he would not let Catherine go, he could not even thought he could feel her life slipping away, but as long as she lived there was hope. She had lost a lot of blood, and there had to be a way for him to help her. Blood … Blood!

A desperate and completely outrageous idea came to him. Father had once said that Vincent had the soul of a doctor. He also had a great deal of medical knowledge as well.

He stood and faced his father, and stated flatly, "Father, give Catherine some of my blood."

"What!"

"Trust me, Father. It will work. Please …"

"Vincent, your blood would be toxic to Catherine. It would kill her!"

"I don't think so…" Vincent said, looking down at Catherine. She had been carrying a child, his child, and his blood had been mingling with hers and hers with the baby for months. For the child to survive, her body had to have accepted his DNA, as unusual as it was. Could it work? It had to work. He knew she was dead if it didn't and he could not let that happen without a fight. "Father, please! Replace what blood Catherine has lost with mine."

Rolling up his sleeves, Father mumbled, "This is insane, Vincent. She will surely die."

"Father, I cannot stand by and do nothing!" Father, merely looked at his son with disbelief, "Father…" Vincent pleaded, lifting his left arm and pulling back his sleeve. As he added, "You are always telling me that my powers of recuperation are remarkable. What other way can I help Catherine. Please, Father she hasn't the time to waste arguing the finer points."

Vincent couldn't tell his father why he felt this would work. The child … it was more than he himself could process, least of all tell anyone. If Catherine lived then there would be time for thought.

Finally willing to try, yet unconvinced it would work, Father knew that Catherine was fading fast, and doing something was better than sitting by her bed and watching her die. Vincent, especially needed something to give him hope, and he will have to deal with what happened when, or if, it happened. They would deal with what they must, when they must. For now, Father would do what his son asked.

"There is no time for a serum Vincent. A direct blood transfusion is the only way." He stood and began to prepare the instruments. It would be crude, but they had no choice.

Vincent watched, as his father found a vein in his arm and drew blood. "Please, Catherine, live…" he pleaded, as he watched his dark red blood flow through the clear tube and into Catherine, her face still and pale.

As his heart pumped his own life into Catherine, Vincent closed his eyes and reached into himself and drew on that hidden source of his power. That part of himself that he had always been the slave to, whenever Catherine was in danger. That part which had been his tormentor, his 'other self', yet the part which he knew was the more powerful, and he called it forth to do his bidding. He had never done anything like this before and he was totally unprepared for the result.

Vincent's senses became more acute, and his inner self seemed to swell with immense power. He became, in that moment, the master, the ruler, and the possessor of all that he was, or could ever become.

He reached out with his mind, with his heart, and his very soul and found… "Catherine…" he whispered with every fiber of his being. Time stood still, and everything around him faded into a world of shadow, and he saw into Catherine's body. He followed his blood as it made its way through the veins in her arm, the red and white cells floating, like plump, round plates, in the clear river of plasma, speeding through veins and arteries.

He sped before his blood, overcoming any opposition, which Catherine's natural defenses might make. However, there was something else which threatened her life. All around him was a black shadow that was attacking Catherine's blood cells and trying to stop her organs from functioning.

Vincent attacked it with all the strength he could draw on. Slashing and clawing at the darkness, as he would anything that threatened Catherine. This foreign substance, that was killing the woman he loved, must be vanquished like any other enemy. Suddenly his efforts began to overcome the invading poison, until it was gone completely, swallowed up by the powerful wave that was his own will, combined with his blood.

None of Catherine's antibodies could stop him. He sped into every organ, leaving health and vitality behind him, until his blood and Catherine's had mingled, as thoroughly as they had done in the body of a newborn infant.

When it was done, Vincent opened his eyes, and he was back in the Hospital Chamber, the strange battle he had just fought having greatly weakened him. He looked up at Father, as the needle was removed from his arm. Vincent's gaze went to the still form lying in the bed beside him.

Was it a dream? Had he truly achieved what he had set out to do? Had it worked?

"Father," Vincent asked tiredly.

Father, saw his son's tired blue eyes pleading, and smiled. "It worked, Vincent. I don't know how, but you saved Catherine. She should have died, but for some reason, your blood has strengthened her, it is truly some kind of miracle. "

"Oh, Father," Vincent wept, and came to his knees beside Catherine's bed.

"Catherine…" he whispered, taking her hand and kissing it.

"Vincent, she will be unconscious for some hours. You should go and rest. I took quite a lot of your blood."

Vincent shook his head, "No, Father I will not leave Catherine, not now. Not ever again."

"Very well then, bring another cot over beside her. That way you will rest, and perhaps you will sleep."

"Yes, perhaps," Vincent said, but when he stood, he felt dizzy, and put a hand to his head, swaying slightly.

"Vincent, are you all right?" his father asked, concerned.

Steadying himself with a hand on the chair, Vincent said, "Yes, Father, it was only a momentary weakness." He then lifted a nearby cot and placed it next to Catherine.

"Rest, Vincent. You have done something miraculous," Father said, as he left the chamber.

Father did not return to his study, but went in search of Mary. When he found her, he spoke to her privately, and within the hour, as Vincent slept soundly beside his beloved. Mary tended to Catherine, in her capacity as Midwife of the tunnels. Nothing would be mentioned of what she and Father knew, even though they both felt that Vincent must also know the truth. There was time to ask questions later.

****

Vincent awoke in terrible pain, but it wasn't a physical pain, it was a deep feeling of loss, as though a precious part of him had been torn away, and yet he still lived. He had been dreaming of Catherine. He had dreamt that he found her, that she was in his arms. That he had saved her with his own blood. He opened his eyes and turned his head to the left, and the breath caught in his throat.

"Catherine…" he whispered in disbelief, it wasn't a dream. She was there beside him. He sat up, and came to his knees beside the bed in which she lay.

She was so still and silent, but as he watched her beautiful face, a tear slid down her cheek, to drop on the pillow beneath her head. Suddenly the pain he was feeling increased, and Vincent realized that this pain was not his own, but Catherine's. It was a grief so immense that he could hardly bear it.

It was then that he realized that the Bond between them had been re-established! With his blood coursing through Catherine's veins, it was as though they were truly one being. He was still connected to his own blood and he wondered what that blood would give Catherine, as well as life, were his gifts biological? Would his blood change her too? Time alone would tell, but for now the Bond having been returned to him was enough.

He realized then that even in her sleeping state, Catherine was still feeling the loss of her son… his son.

He retrieved the chair and sat beside Catherine's bed. He took her hand and sat watching her every breath.

What must she have gone through in the last six months? Those long empty months of separation, and then to have the only thing that she had left, her newborn baby, taken away from her.

Vincent could hardly believe that he had a child, and it was all still so new, but for Catherine it was different, she had carried the child within her, and the loss of him was an ache deep and scaring.

Vincent sat holding Catherine's hand, and smoothing her hair away from her face for some hours, until Father came to check on them.

"Vincent?"

Vincent turned toward him.

"Has she regained consciousness?" Father asked.

Vincent, turned back to Catherine, "No, Father."

Father came forward to stand next to his son. He bent and took Catherine's wrist, and as he checked her pulse he spoke softly, "Vincent, there is something you need to know. About Catherine …"

"I know about the child, Father," Vincent said softly, not taking his gaze from Catherine's face, "She said… he is beautiful," he spoke dreamily.

"You know?"

"She told me before she…collapsed," Vincent said, the memory a painful one.

Vincent knew what his father believed. The child could not be anything but another man's. He had wanted to wait but he had to say the words that even he found hard to believe. In the light of their last few weeks together, before Catherine disappeared, the change in their relationship, and the long awaited intimacy they had shared. But Father could not fathom a normal life for his son and so this child had to be another man's. "He is mine, Father. Catherine and I have a son."

"Yours…" Father asked astonished.

Vincent lifted Catherine's fingers to his lips, kissed them, and added without explanation; his and Catherine's private life belonged to them alone. "He was taken from her …my son … an unimagined miracle."

"Vincent, dear God! What are you going to do?"

Vincent, squeezed Catherine's hand gently, as he stated, "First I will stay with Catherine until she is well, and then I will find my son." He looked up at his father, with such determination, that his eyes fairly glowed with blue fire.

Father stood watching the child he had raised, become a man before his very eyes, and his heart burst with pride. "I will leave you with her then. Send a message on the pipes when she wakes."

"I will," Vincent said, not looking away from Catherine.

****

Catherine felt like she was surrounded by a warm blanket of emotion. She floated on a protective cushion of love and safety. Nothing could be wrong if this love enveloped her, but something was wrong, something was missing… not something, someone…

"No!!!" Catherine cried as she sat up.

"Catherine," Vincent said, to calm her, still holding tight to her hand, and placing his other hand on her arm.

She turned to him, "Vincent?" she looked around her, confused and dazed and her head began to spin. She lay heavily back on the pillow and closed her eyes. Then it all came back. "Oh no… Vincent he's gone!"

"I know, Catherine, you must rest," Vincent said trying to calm her.

But Catherine began to weep great wracking sobs "Vincent, oh Vincent, he's gone…" and she curled up on her side, holding tightly to his hand. Vincent moved to sit on the bed and take her in his arms. As he had on the night after her father died.

"I know my love, but we will get him back. I promise you."

Catherine clung to him, with all her strength, as she gave vent to the many months of pent up pain and separation, and the loss of their son.

Vincent was battered with wave upon wave of grief, more intense than he had ever experienced from Catherine before. It was truly as though the pain was his and they were indeed one soul, one body. He wanted to succumb to it and weep along with her, but he also wanted to comfort her, and so he fought his own pain and enfolded Catherine tightly in his arms, and radiated love and peace toward her.

In time Catherine calmed, and simply lay against him. She had exhausted herself. He laid her back onto the bed. Kissing her forehead he murmured, "Rest now. I am here, always."

Catherine smiled tiredly, and closed her eyes and slept, surrounded by the thick blanket of love and peace that Vincent covered her with.

****

The next time she woke, Catherine felt much stronger. She opened her eyes and turned to where Vincent sat in the chair beside her, watching her.

"You are feeling better." It was not a question; it was as though he knew.

"Yes," she said, and then something occurred to her "And you are very tired." It was true she could see it in his face, and he had lost weight since she saw him last. But she could also feel it in him. "Vincent, I can feel your tiredness."

His weary blue eyes flared to life, all fatigue forgotten. "You can?"

"Yes," and she smiled, "and now your surprise, Vincent, how …"

He came to his knees beside the bed, a smile of pure joy on his face, and Catherine could feel it radiating from him. "I gave you some of my blood Catherine. It saved your life, but it appears there are other benefits as well."

Catherine threw her arms around his neck and held him so tight, that even for Vincent, it was constricting his breathing. "Vincent, I can feel what you're feeling. We are truly one in every way."

"And forever …" Vincent whispered as he boldly placed his lips on Catherine's, and they shared not only a kiss, but a perfect moment of love, as their now enhanced, two-way bond, took them to a place no one else could ever go.

****

Father heard Vincent's message on the pipes, telling him that Catherine was awake, and he hurried to the Hospital Chamber. When he got there, Vincent and Catherine were talking softly together, and Catherine was smiling.

"Catherine, you have no idea how good it is to see you awake. Is everything all right? How are you feeling?"

The two turned happy faces toward him and Catherine said, "Yes, everything is wonderful Father. Vincent's blood has done more than simply save my life."

"Oh?" Father questioned.

"Yes, Father," Vincent began, "It appears our Bond has returned, with some remarkable differences."

"Really," Father stated, amazed.

Catherine's face was filled with joy, yet Vincent could feel the ache of loss still looming deep within her.

"Catherine, do you think you could eat something?"

"Yes, Father, I think I could," She replied.

"I will have some food sent up, and Mary will bring you some clothes."

"Thank you, Father."

"Father, is Catherine well enough to leave this chamber? I would like her to rest in my chamber. It is more comfortable," Vincent asked.

"I don't see why not. Catherine do you feel strong enough to…" But before he had finished what he was saying, Vincent had bent and wrapping the blanket from the bed around Catherine, and had swept her up in his arms and was striding out of the chamber. "Well I will send the food and clothing to your chamber then, Vincent."

But there was no answer, only the disappearing corner of Vincent's cloak, as he turned into the tunnel.

"Hmmm," Father said to himself. "I suppose I can't blame them, they must have a lot to talk about, after so long apart."

****

Vincent laid Catherine on his bed and pulled a heavy quilt over her. "You are still very tired."

"Yes, I am."

"Rest, I will be here," Vincent said, as he began to move back, his intention was to sit in the chair beside the bed.

Catherine looked at him, and the expression on her face mirrored her feelings. She didn't have to ask him to stay closer. She didn't have to ask him to hold her. He knew what she wanted most of all, as though it was superimposed upon his own desires.

Catherine wanted to be in his arms, held near to his heart. To feel the warmth of his body, to inhale the myriad of pleasant odors that had always encompassed her memory of him, old leather and candle-wax, and the aroma that was Vincent alone, indescribable and intoxicating.

Emboldened by this new connection, Vincent removed his cloak, and placed it over the chair, and with Catherine's feelings to guide him, he sat on the bed and removed his boots. Then he slid back against the bookcase, beneath the fan shaped window, and drew her against him. Catherine's deep satisfied sigh echoed in the chamber, as her arms came around him, and her contentment washed over him.

Vincent knew that this was only a lull in the storm that was Catherine's grief. He had felt it before, when her father had died the devastating wave upon wave of loss that overcame her then. But amid all of this sadness and the fear for his lost son, Vincent could not help but feel relief to have Catherine back in his arms. Alive and recovering, from months of terror and imprisonment, soft and warm against him, to feel as her mind spiraled down into exhausted sleep.

Vincent too, began to relax, for the first time in many months. His eyes closed and his head fell back against the cushions behind him, and in seconds he was asleep.

When, Mary came in with the clothes, a short time later, she saw the beautiful sight of Vincent and Catherine, finally where they should be, in each others arms. She laid the clothing on the chair, next to Vincent's cloak, and then left the chamber. She met William, and told him to come back in a few hours with the food he carried. At this moment, the two in that room needed each other, and rest, more than they did food. They would heal each other, and what lay ahead of them was a time of uncertainty but they would face whatever came, together as one and that was as it should be.

****