A/N: This is an idea I got after re-watching the Season 2 episode "Remember Love" (or as I like to call it, the "It's a Wonderful Life" episode). You know, the one where he saw how things would've turned out if he never existed (needless to say, it was bad). I was kinda disappointed with how it ended, because even after everything Vincent went through to learn how important he was to everyone, he still held back from letting his relationship with Catherine move forward. So I decided to write my own ending; the one that should've happened, darn it!
Disclaimer: I do not own Beauty and the Beast, Catherine, Vincent, or any of the characters of that all too short-lived series.
Catherine wasn't sure why she felt the need to go Below. Most times she waited for Vincent to come to her, either climbing up to her balcony or sending word to meet with her later. But tonight she decided to pay a surprise visit herself. Or as much a surprise as she could manage, considering Vincent would most likely sense her coming.
She went down to the basement of her apartment building, making sure she wasn't followed first, then pushed the stacked boxes aside to reveal the small door that led into the Tunnels. She climbed down the metal rungs and followed the familiar path of the tunnel leading away from the place she lived to the place she considered in her heart to be home. Her eyes were drawn to the carefully concealed alcove where she knew a sentry stood guard. Kipper, perhaps, or Jamie, or one of the other children. Catherine flashed a warm smile and waved at whoever it was without pausing in her journey. The deeper she went into this underground world, the more people she began to encounter. Familiar faces that smiled and greeted her as one of their own. She asked where Vincent might be, but so far only received shrugs in reply. Catherine didn't worry, though. In a community this small, it was only a matter of time before she found him.
"Mary!" she called out to the kindly older woman who cared for so many of the orphans who were taken into this underground sanctuary.
Mary smiled as the younger woman approached. "Catherine! I wasn't expecting to see you here tonight."
"It wasn't planned," Catherine explained, "Something in me just wanted to come down here and I couldn't resist the impulse."
The old woman chuckled and patted her arm. "Well, I'm glad to see you, dear."
"Have you seen Vincent?"
"As a matter of fact, I believe he's in his chamber. Poor thing had insomnia the last couple of days and was nodding off in the middle of a chess game with Father."
"Is he alright?" Catherine frowned in concern.
"Oh, he's fine, dear. He just needed some rest."
Catherine bit her lip. "Maybe I should come back later..."
Mary tilted her head, her eyes appraising. "I don't think there'd be any harm in you dropping by. Vincent's always so happy when he sees you."
"I'm happy when I see him," Catherine responded sincerely.
"Then, go on," Mary encouraged, waving her hand in the direction Vincent's chamber lay, "He'd be disappointed if he knew he missed your visit."
Catherine nodded decisively and thanked the older woman before continuing on her way. Mary smiled tenderly as she watched the young woman retreat farther into the tunnel.
The privacy cloth was draped over the entrance to Vincent's chamber. Catherine hesitated only for a moment, then pushed it aside and went in. It was a minor breach of Tunnel etiquette, since privacy was not always easy to come by Below. But Catherine couldn't bring herself to turn away now. The desire to see Vincent had strengthened into something like a compulsion the closer she got to him. It was almost like an unknown instinct that drove her onward, one she didn't even try to resist.
Of all the wondrous places Below, Catherine loved Vincent's chamber the most. It was here that Vincent cared for her after he found her, brutalized and left for dead in Central Park. To her it was a place filled with warmth, despite the perpetual underground chill. Mementos and curios cluttered the shelves and glass-fronted cabinets that took up most of the walls. Books were stacked here and there, literature and poetry which Catherine would forever associate with Vincent's silken voice as he read them to her. The gorgeous stained glass window that dominated the back wall cast a golden glow throughout the room. And situated beneath this window was the very bed where Catherine lay as she was nursed back to health, and where Vincent lay now, sound asleep.
Catherine walked over and slowly sat down on the side of the bed, careful not to wake him. She smiled at the sight of Vincent lying amidst the cushions and blankets, remembering all too well how immensely comfortable it was. Like a cozy nest. A nest big enough for two, the thought surfaced before she quickly shoved it aside. Best not to dwell on something that wasn't going to happen anytime soon.
Vincent sighed in his sleep. On the surface, his features appeared peaceful. But the longer Catherine drank them in, the more she was able to make out the tension around his eyes and mouth, like something troubled him. Perhaps his dreams weren't so peaceful after all.
Catherine reached out to brush his hair away from his face. The long blonde strands beneath her fingers were very soft, like the fur on his hands. She wondered if the line of fur that ran from the bridge of his nose and split into a V shape above his eyes was just as soft. Her fingertips itched to find out and, after a silent debate with herself, she gave in to the urge. She kept her touch as light as possible, knowing how uncomfortable Vincent would be if he woke to discover this intimacy. He always shied away from such things, and even though Catherine found this frustrating at times, she understood his reasons. When she first saw him, she thought he looked fearsome, bestial. But now all she thought when she looked at him was how beautiful he was. If only he could see himself the way she saw him.
A tiny sound escaped Vincent's mouth, so faint and yet so full of sadness. Catherine rested her hand against his cheek. "Shh..."
The short bristles on his face were rough against her palm. Catherine always suspected he shaved to make himself look less like an animal. Just like he covered himself in layers of clothes and hid beneath the hood of his cloak. This need to hide himself even from Catherine's eyes saddened her. She wouldn't change his appearance for anything; he would not be Vincent otherwise.
Vincent's lips parted a tiny bit. Another impulse came over Catherine. She wanted to kiss him. Had for some time, but now the desire was much stronger.
Don't, an internal voice cried, It will only upset him. A warning she'd given herself on many occasions. She lost count of the number of times she leaned towards him, only to turn her head aside at the last second and embrace him instead. Because she knew if she didn't turn away, he would, and just the thought of that hurt too much to risk it.
He can't turn away now, a second, more daring voice said. Catherine imagined it as the devil on her left shoulder, whispering temptation in her ear. Or maybe not. Maybe it was the angel and the voice she normally listened to was really the devil prolonging her misery with an endless stalemate in her relationship with Vincent. Catherine smirked at her musings, until another sad sound from her slumbering companion tugged at her heart. Oh, Vincent. What are you dreaming about that's making you so unhappy? Before she had the chance to second-guess herself, she leaned down and pressed her lips to his.
Vincent's eyes fluttered open, he breathed deeply. Catherine slowly sat up and smiled down at him. His eyes widened at the sight of her and her grin broadened in response. Apparently he hadn't felt her presence this time. His obvious surprise delighted her.
"Catherine!" He reached out to cup her face in one paw-like hand. His palm was warm and slightly rough with callous. Vincent gazed up at her in amazement, then looked around his chambers with the same astonishment, as if he didn't expect it to be there. Then he relaxed and turned his blue gaze back to her. "I had a dream," he said, his face solemn, "Everything was gone. Everyone changed. And you..." His thumb brushed her cheek. "You were just a shadow of yourself. All the life and spirit in you was gone. Only sorrow and fear remained."
Catherine's features softened at the anguish in his voice. "It was only a dream," she reassured him, "It's over now."
Vincent abruptly sat up and brought his hand to the back of her head. What happened next surprised Catherine as much as her unexpected visit did him, if not more. Vincent's mouth met hers in a penetrating kiss. Catherine gasped in shock, then she melted into the kiss. She whimpered, clung to his shoulders, fearful that he might come to his senses and pull away from her. The kiss was better than anything she imagined. Desperate, tentative, and passionate all at once. His lips were incredibly soft and molded perfectly to hers. She slipped her tongue into his mouth and ran the tip across the points of his fangs. The need for air was what finally drew them apart. Gasping, they sat in each other's embrace, their foreheads touching.
"I thought I'd lost you," Vincent rasped.
Catherine's voice trembled with emotion when she replied, "You'll never lose me."
Vincent pulled back just enough to look at her. His brow furrowed and he brushed his hand against her cheek. It was only then that Catherine realized her face was damp with tears.
"Vincent, I'm so happy," she said, hoping he wouldn't withdraw from her.
His leonine features relaxed in a gentle smile. "I know. I can feel it in you." He touched his forehead to hers once again. "I am happy as well. More than I've ever been before."
Catherine smiled and closed her eyes in relief.
There was a long silence between them, one in which Vincent struggled against his internal demons to utter the words he'd wanted to say to her for a very long time. "Catherine..."
Her eyes opened. She could see the turmoil in his eyes. "What is it, Vincent?"
He squeezed his eyes closed and finally forced the words out, "Stay with me tonight."
He felt her body tense in his arms and for a moment feared that she would reject him as he'd always dreaded. But then she relaxed and he felt the joyous relief through the bond they shared, heard it in the laughter that escaped her. "Yes," she said, her arms tightening around him, "I'll stay with you. Tonight. Forever. As long as you want me."
Vincent released the breath he was holding, along with all the fears and doubts that plagued him since their relationship began. "I never should have waited this long," he realized.
Catherine cradled his face in both hands. "It's alright. Don't dwell on the past. We have tonight and every night after, for the rest of our lives."
"The rest of our lives," Vincent echoed. His smile was broader than it had ever been, showing his fangs without compunction. Then he kissed his beloved again, putting all his love behind the act. One of many throughout the years to come.