A/N: I just have to say that I am in love with these two! It's been a while since a new show has caught my attention like this (not since Vampire Diaries) and I just cannot get enough. I have to warn you that I have a two-year-old and my husband and I are in the process of moving so I don't have a lot of time, but I promise to try and update at least once a week. I hope you enjoy!
Summary: Love is never easy. It's painful and scary and sometimes even gut-wrenching. But it is also the most beautiful thing we will ever encounter. And to protect such a precious possession, we would give our lives.
Disclaimer: I do not own Beauty and the Beast or any of the characters there-in. If I did, we'd see a lot more of Jay Ryan than just his torso!
Chapter 1: Darkest Dreams
Drip, Drip, Drip.
The sound reached Catherine's ears before she became fully conscious, but she couldn't place it. It echoed in the oddest way, as if she were in a cavernous room instead of her cozy apartment.
Drip, Drip, Drip.
Now that she thought about it, she certainly wasn't lying on her soft, warm bed. She was on a rock hard floor and she was freezing. Her body shook and the pain reverberated through her entire body, focusing in her head.
Just open your eyes, she told herself. Surely whatever she saw would jog her memory and tell her how she came to be in this position. Her eyelids fluttered, but the intrusion of light increased the pain in her head and she clamped them shut.
"I wouldn't recommend that," said a voice from somewhere close by. With a jolt of fear, she realized why it was so familiar.
Without thinking, she opened her eyes wide and saw the roof of a familiar warehouse. She was at Vincent's; that was reassuring. But why was he here?
"The pain will subside. You're injuries are not severe," Silverfox assured her. She heard his footfalls on the cold floor and he finally hovered into her line of sight, smirking down at her.
"W-what happened," she slurred, attempting to turn her head.
"Not important. It's all over now."
As his words registered in her jumbled mind, the panic in her gut increased until she thought she'd be sick. Ignoring her pounding head, she pulled herself upright, scanning the warehouse for any sign of Vincent.
"Where is he?! What did you do to him," she shouted, making it to her knees before a wave of dizziness sent her back to the floor.
"I ended his nightmare. He can't hurt anyone anymore."
"What do you mean?"
Silverfox's impassive eyes strayed to the rafters and she followed his gaze… and nearly passed out again. Her sob stuck in her throat but her eyes wouldn't close to block out the nightmare before her.
Vincent was stretched across two rafters, his head lolling upside down and his eyes staring and empty. The dripping reverberated off the walls as his blood trickled down to the floor.
With a shriek, Catherine shot up in her bed, attempting to strangle the ridiculous sobs coming from her throat, but she couldn't stop the hysterics. That was the fifth time she had that dream and each time she felt as though she couldn't breathe. She reminded herself that Vincent was alive and well, that Silverfox was dead, but her tear ducts didn't believe her. Her sheets were quickly soaked with her tears.
"Cat, you okay," Heather called, knocking quietly on the door.
"I-I… I'm f-f-fine," she cried, biting down on her lip to stop the quivering.
"No you're not." Heather let herself in, situating herself at the end of Catherine's bed and taking her hand. "What was it tonight? Or do you still not want to talk about it?"
"I… I c-can't."
Catherine welcomed Heather's hug, though she felt a little guilty allowing her sister to comfort her; talk about a reversal of roles.
"Maybe we should get you something to drink. And I'm not talking milk. I know we have some Vodka around here somewhere," Heather suggested.
A small chuckle made its way past Catherine's lips as she pulled back and wiped her eyes.
"Thanks, but I'll be fine." At least physically she would. Her ego on the other hand…
Heather seemed to be reading her mind. "You know, just because you're a cop doesn't mean you have to be tough all the time."
Catherine rolled her eyes and took some deep breaths, feeling her lungs release.
"If it'll make you feel better, I'll settle for the milk."
Heather smiled and jumped up, headed for the kitchen. As soon as she was alone, Catherine's gaze fell on her cell phone. Her fingers itched to call him, just to make sure he was really okay. But… this wasn't a "dire emergency." She'd had a bad dream; she couldn't risk his life for that.
But part of her knew she couldn't really calm down until she heard his voice.
She'd just made the decision to reach for the phone when Heather returned with a glass.
"You sure you're okay now? The screaming was pretty bad this time," Heather asked as Catherine took the milk with a shaking hand.
"Screaming?" She hadn't realized she'd been screaming.
"Yeah. A lot of it."
Catherine felt even guiltier as she saw the concern in her sister's eyes. "I'm so, so sorry. Maybe I should have that drink before bed. But I promise I'm fine now."
She could tell Heather didn't believe her, but she didn't voice her concerns.
"Alright. But if you need anything, just call me."
Once she was left alone, the milk was shaking so badly in her hand, she didn't think she could lift it to her lips and sat it with a plop on the nightstand. There was really no point going back to sleep tonight. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw his lifeless face staring back. It wasn't like nightmares were a new thing in her line of work, and she hadn't had a good night's sleep since her mother's murder, but having them about a man who was very much alive in her life right now only amped up her fears.
Yes, Silverfox was dead, but how long before the rest of Muirfield discovered his secret?
Six am came too soon and Catherine found herself on the shores of the Hudson with no real memory of how she'd come to be there.
"Wow, those are some major circles under your eyes. Who kept you up," Tess asked with a smirk.
"I wish that was it," Catherine replied, but offered no other explanation. The sleep deprivation had left her in a fog.
"Fine, keep your secrets. Just know that I'm on to you."
Normally, Catherine would have smiled, but she couldn't find her humor this morning.
"So, what did Joe call us out here for this early? Someone drown in the Hudson," Catherine asked.
"Or was dumped. The guy isn't exactly dressed to go out on a boat."
As they made their way to the water's edge and under the yellow tape, her eyes landed on the distorted figure of a man who had been in the water for days.
"It's not exactly pretty," Evan commented as they walked up.
Tess made a face. "Find anything… besides the smell?"
"Several bruises. Some look like they were inflicted before he died," Evan confirmed.
"Supports your dump theory," Catherine noted.
Tess nodded. "And that suit looks like it used to be a designer. Rich guy."
Catherine surveyed the victim, noting that there wasn't likely to be much evidence left on the body. The fish and the water had taken care of that. His body was bloated and purple, making it hard to focus on the features, but underneath the retched appearance there was something familiar. Something that brought her dream back to the forefront of her mind.
"Oh my…," she blurted out before she could stop herself. When she looked up, both Evan and Tess were staring at her in curiosity.
"What is it? You notice something," Tess asked.
"Uh… no. It's just the smell."
Before they could question her, she turned back for her car. "There's something I need to look into. I'll call you soon," she threw over her shoulder, hoping they didn't seem too suspicious.
She was just climbing into her car when she noticed a figure standing just at the line of trees. It wasn't unusual for people to come investigate when they heard the sirens, but this man was all too familiar.
But before she could be certain it was Silverfox, he was gone.
"I'm losing my mind," she muttered to herself, shaking her head and peeling out onto the road. She chose her turns carefully, taking unnecessary detours to ascertain that no one was following her and finally made it to the warehouse.
JT's car was gone; probably at work. Through the fear and trepidation, a little sprig of excitement coursed through her at the thought of being alone with Vincent, but she pushed it away. The feelings were both confusing and unnecessary right now. There was no chance of her surprising him and sure enough, he opened the door for her before she could knock.
"Were you in the neighborhood or is it just our coffee," Vincent joked, smiling down at her. Ever since she'd admitted that she was afraid of him at times, he'd been trying overly hard to lighten the mood around her. But his smile warmed her heart and took away some of her anxiety… while also adding something totally different. Her stomach gave a little flip.
"Actually, it's about a case."
Vincent's face dropped, but he was serious as he led her up to his loft. His head swiveled around for a minute, taking in the sounds surrounding them, but he seemed untroubled.
"Those guys from Muirfield, what did you do with the bodies?"
"We dumped them in the Hudson. The water would wash away the evidence if they were found and… Why?"
"I think one of them just washed up."
Vincent's eyes widened for only a second before a calm façade settled over him.
"Like I said, the water should have washed everything away," he reiterated, settling into a seat at the table.
"But they'll figure out who he is. I doubt being an agent with Muirfield will come up in his history, but it will alert other agents. They'll know you killed him and they'll send others to come looking for you."
"Cat, they've been looking for me for ten years."
"But they thought you were dead."
"And they might still think that. We don't know what Silverfox told them."
"Exactly! We don't know."
Vincent eyed her, searching at first, but his lips slowly lifted upwards into a smile. "I'll be fine. Why don't we see how this plays out instead of giving ourselves a heart attack before we know anything."
He was staring at her with such amusement that it finally cracked her determination and she found herself smiling back.
"So, what were you doing before I barged in and rained on your good morning."
"You didn't rain on anything. I was just working out."
Catherine surveyed his torso, noting how each line of muscle was discernible through his t-shirt. It wasn't until he cleared his throat that she realized she'd been staring and turned her gaze to the other side of the warehouse to hide her blush.
As she took a few steadying breaths, she noticed an assortments of objects and papers littering his work bench.
"What's all that?"
"The stuff from the Muirfield agents. I took it hoping it would be useful, but apparently they didn't carry classified information with them," he explained.
Catherine walked over to the table, looking over the collection of wallets and badges. Several pictures of Vincent were there as well, some of his younger days and some of a terrifying beast with glaring yellow eyes. She pulled her gaze from them and was suddenly aware of how close Vincent was beside her.
"They're not exactly pleasant," he noted, and the sadness in his eyes broke her heart.
"No, it's fine. I understand. I'm scared of me sometimes too."
"I'm not scared of you. I'm scared of what you're capable of. But that doesn't mean I don't trust you."
He looked like he wanted to respond to that, but instead he changed the subject.
"So, where do your colleagues think you are?"
"Uh… I didn't exactly tell them anything. They probably think I've lost my mind." At her words, the memory of her vision of Silverfox flitted across her mind, and she muttered, "Maybe I have."
She gave her head a little shake and looked up to meet Vincent's forlorn face. Instantly, she realized how her words could have been construed and reached out to lay her hand on his.
"That's not what I meant. You're the best part of my day; trust me."
"Yeah, I get that from all the girls," Vincent jibbed. Catherine rolled her eyes, but didn't pull her hand away from his. Somehow that simple contact filled her with such comfort she felt that nothing could hurt her.
His gaze traveled down to her hand, lingering there as if unraveling a mystery.
"I… I guess I should probably get back to work," she finally responded, shoving her hand back in her jacket pocket.
"Yeah. And, don't worry about the agent. We'll come up with something."
Catherine smiled and was about to turn to go when a glimmer of gold on the work bench caught her eye. It was a thick, golden ring with the letters VV engraved in a dark, green stone.
"We're not sure," Vincent responded. "Silverfox was wearing it. JT's checking it out now. He thinks it might be a fraternity or a college."
"Maybe. I think I've seen this somewhere."
"The double Vs?"
"No, the ring." She picked it up, examining the intricately woven letters, but her memory failed her. "I'll keep thinking."
She laid the ring back on the bench and turned to leave.
"Cat, wait. You think it would be okay if I came over tonight. After a while this warehouse feels like a prison."
"Like you've actually been staying in." She couldn't help it when her lips twitched upwards; she was certain he hadn't given up his habit of following her around the city. "It's fine."
The air was crisp, but felt refreshing on his face. This was one thing Vincent missed, being able to just sit outside without fear of being seen. Even now, his sensitive hearing was on over drive, listening to make sure none of Catherine's neighbors decided to take the fire escape.
She would be home soon and they could simply be with each other and talk as though they were normal friends. Maybe if he stayed long enough he could forget that he had to slink along in the shadows on his way back home, terrified of making contact with a single person on the way. She had a way of doing that to him.
And she was doing more than just that. He hadn't had physical contact with anyone in so long. He'd forgotten how sensitive every nerve ending in his body was until she'd touched his face for the first time. The feel of her warm skin against his awoke the animal inside him and set every inch of his skin on fire. And earlier, when she'd touched his hand it had taken everything in him not to take more. She sent his already heightened senses on overdrive; it was intoxicating.
But he had to keep his head. He could hurt her so easily and he couldn't control the beast when she distracted him like that.
He was pulled from his reverie by the click of her lock and the sound of the front door sliding open. Had he really been so out of it that he'd missed her car pull up? He'd been watching the streets below.
He extended his hearing, paying distinct attention to the footfalls moving through the apartment and realized with a start that they were not Catherine's. They were too heavy to be her sister's but who else had a key to her door?
The steps were coming closer now and there was no hesitation as they reached the bedroom door. Vincent just had time to climb higher on the fire escape as the intruder entered Catherine's bedroom. He was tempted to peek in and see who it was… but what if he was seen.
He heard the man rummaging around in her drawers and then the sound of his knees hitting the floor as he looked under the bed. Who was this guy?
Vincent was determined to get a good look at his face and had just taken a step back down when the sound he'd been waiting for alerted him to an even greater problem. Catherine had just pulled into the parking deck and would be making her way up at any second.
It was time to act. If he was fast enough, the man wouldn't even know what hit him.
With lightning quickness, Vincent ran down the stairs and sprang through the window, coming to rest in a crouch on the floor… only to find an empty room.
That was odd. Quietly, Vincent made his way out into the hall, checking first the bathroom, then Heather's bedroom, but finding no one. He was just moving into the living room when the front door opened and a confused looking Catherine stepped through.
"Vincent? What's going on," she asked, clued in by his dark expression.
"Someone was here… but he's gone."
A/N: Well, what do you think? Who was in Catherine's room? Any theories? Please, leave a review and let me know!