How could I have let this happen? Catherine thought once again as she lie in bed. It had been six and a half months since discovering she was carrying a child. She could still feel the shock and joy as the nurse scolded her for giving blood while being pregnant. She knew the baby was none other than her beloved Vincent's son. She could still remember that day, after visiting St. Clare's hospital, when she first attempted to tell the man she loved more than life that he was going to be a father:
She reached his chamber, both apprehensive and excited about what she had to tell him. Vincent sat quietly at his writing desk, the candlelight dancing around him.
"Vincent." Slowly he turned to face her. When he didn't answer she started to worry. "What is it?" He shook his head and turned away from her.
"Are you all right?" Concern clear in her voice. Maybe he's still suffering from what happened to him in that cavern, she thought. She almost lost him there; she would not lose him again.
"Yes," he said, finding his voice. Relief started to wash over her, but she was still worried.
"I need to talk to you."
"I can see that you do." Vincent looked at her. There was so much pain in his eyes as he continued, "There was a time when I would have come to you."
"Vincent, I don't expect you to…" Catherine tried to say.
"Catherine, I look in your face, I can see your unrest,” he interrupted. He rose from his chair as her spoke. "There was a time when I could have felt it, here–” He pointed to his heart. “–Feel what you were feeling, everything. Across the city. Across the continent! Now I have to wait for you to tell me."
What could she say to him? There was so much pain in his voice, such loss. He sighed.
"There was a time when I could feel you coming to me, feel you nearing in the Tunnels. It was a source of great joy radiating from you, filling me with joy." His voice grew heavy. "Tonight I waited… Till the sentries sent me a message that that you were here."
"What's different now?" Catherine asked.
"The connection, our connection," he replied desperately. "Our Bond."
Catherine had noticed over the past few weeks the Bond seemed more inaccessible to her than usual. It was then that she realized that she could no longer feel Vincent's heart beside her own.
He only shook his head and said, "No, I don't think so."
Catherine would not give up. "Have faith that it will."
"It's lost to me, I know."
"How do you know? Why do you say that?"
"Because it is the price…the price I must pay for this new peace, this contentment. But Catherine, what have I lost?" The desperation in his voice was unbearable.
"I don't think that it is lost. And even if it is Vincent, it was a gift, that power was a gift." His state was so fragile, but she had to make him see that not all was lost. "It came to you in a life when it was needed, and you used it, and perhaps it is no longer needed."
"More than once it saved your life," he replied, but her inner lawyer would not give up.
"Maybe the gift will return to you in another form, something you never even dreamed of. Vincent, your power was extraordinary, but it has nothing to do with what we are, together; what we feel for each other. That is our connection. And if one gift is lost, there are others waiting to be found. Believe me. Vincent, there are so many gifts waiting for you," she said stepping closer.
"All you have to do is, just, open your arms and receive them."
After a pause, Vincent spoke. "I believe you."
She smiled and knew her message had gotten through, but she could she in his eyes that he still struggled with doubts. "Just open your arms."
Tilting his head to the side, he spread his arms open to welcome her. She walked into his strong embrace, and they held each other, healing in the reassuring comfort of the other's love, her head resting on his shoulder.
"Now tell me. Tell me what's troubling you."
Every fiber of her being cried out to tell him, but something in her heart told it was not the time. He still had to recover from his ordeal, and adding this news would only burden him further. After all, he still had not remembered what transpired between them that night in the cavern.
With a heavy heart, she struggled to stop the flow of tears so she could find the words. "Another time. Don't worry.”
If only he knew just how important her news truly was, maybe then… It didn't matter. What was done was done. Had she known then what she knew now, she would have told Vincent about the baby.
However, she knew Vincent was in no condition to receive such joyous news. His mind was focused over the loss of their Bond. Adding the news of a child would only add more doubts to his troubled mind. Eventually, she realized that she had to overcome these doubts herself. Vincent had the right to know. Besides, it would be obvious in a few months anyway.
No sooner had she sent a note asking to see Vincent, she had been kidnapped and separated from him. It turned out her boss, John Moreno, was a dirty cop who worked for a man Catherine only knew as Gabriel. She had first been kidnapped because of a book Joe had given her after he and a witness almost died from being caught in a car explosion. The book belonging to the witness, Patrick Hanlon, contained information that could shut Gabriel down.
After she'd been kidnapped, Gabriel's men used drugs to try and force Catherine to tell them everything she knew. Finally, out of fear for the child, Catherine told the men she was pregnant. No sooner had that happened, Vincent had tried to rescue her after receiving a message she had sent out over the pipes. He came too late. Gabriel had seen him on the video cameras. It didn't take Gabriel long to figure out that Vincent was the father of Catherine's child. And he wanted it.
That was six months ago. Since then, she was relocated to another building and kept prisoner in a room eighteen, maybe twenty, stories above ground. She was constantly under surveillance and submitted to the most humiliating tests. The doctor on staff noted that her pregnancy was unlike anything he'd ever seen and believed she would deliver any day now. The only good thing to come out of this nightmare was to see Vincent's child on the ultrasound screen.
She learned she was having a boy and, when she was alone in her room, would tell him stories about the life waiting for him below. She told him about her life, the Tunnels, his Tunnel family, his grandparents, and especially about his true father. She made sure to keep her voice low and her head turned so that Gabriel could neither see, nor her about her family.
Catharine was suddenly brought out of her reminiscing by another contraction. No, not now! She desperately begged her child. Wait just a little longer. Her pleas were of no use as the doctor and nurse came for her. They brought her to the hospital room and strapped her to the bed. Despite all her best efforts, this child would be born this morning, and Catherine worried Vincent would not find her in time.
What made things worse was that he was there. Gabriel remained in the background like a dark, ominous shadow. He looked at Catherine with a smile that could make hell freeze over; 'I've won' was written in those cold eyes.
The pain was immense and Catherine felt she would surely burst. One final push and then sound of crying filled the room: her son was finally here. The doctor cleaned the screaming baby and wrapped him in a blanket. Then, to Catherine’s horror, the doctor handed the child to that monster.
"Please…" she begged as Gabriel held her son. As tired and exhausted as she was, Catherine wanted to hold her son just once before being separated from him forever.
“Perfect,” whispered from Gabriel’s lips. Placing the child back into the doctor's arms, allowing her the briefest glance.
The tiny being, red and swollen, looked toward her as though sensing her presence. Catherine held her breath as his puffy eyes struggled to open. She caught a flash of azure blue.
Oh Vincent… He's so beautiful.
“Enough,” Gabriel ordered. "Finish it off, quickly." The doctor took the baby from Catherine's view and handed him to the nurse.
"No…" she cried as her baby was taken from view. “No, no!”
The restraints kept her in place, and exhaustion of her labor left Catherine unable to move. She helplessly watched Gabriel leave, followed by the nurse carrying her son. Once he was gone, Catherine's attention was brought back to the doctor as he began filling a syringe.
"What is that?!”
His voice was flat and devoid of emotion. "You won't suffer, I promise."
As he began to inject her with the poison, Catherine felt another wave of pain rush over her. She cried out in agony. The doctor realized something was wrong. He laid the needle on the table by her side and began examining her.
"What's happening?" Catherine asked through another wave of pain. She started to think this was part of the afterbirth, but this pain felt too similar to her labor pains. What the doctor said next was a shock to them both.
"Ms. Chandler," he barely managed, "it's impossible, but you're not done."
"What?!" Another wave of pain rushed through her, threatening to split her in two.
"Ms. Chandler, you're going to have to push. I can start seeing the head." Catherine did as she was told and after ten minutes of pushing, another cry of a baby filled the room.
"It's a girl.” Placing the bawling child aside, he attended to the afterbirth that finally came. Catherine could hardly believe what happened.
Another child? But how? She thought. The ultra sound only showed one baby!
"Well," the doctor stated, "Gabriel will be interested in this." As Catherine looked at the bundle, reality struck. Gabriel would probably take this child to, but would he keep her? Or would he…
The doctor busied himself attending to the baby. Catherine began removing her restraints, immediately taken over by instinct. She grabbed the forgotten syringe and, rising from the bed, cautiously approached the doctor. He never even heard her until Catherine drove the needle into his neck. Catherine then grabbed her child and made her escape.
She started to run toward the elevator when she heard a familiar roar coming from the roof. Vincent!
He had come for her. She wanted to run to him and throw herself into his arms. As she started toward the roof, a surveillance camera caught her eye. Panic replaced her joy.
No! I can't! Gabriel will know I'm alive. He’ll know there's another child. If I go to Vincent now, Gabriel would never stop hunting me. He could discover the Tunnels, the Community, everything! Everyone would be in danger. Vincent would be in danger!
Images of her beloved Vincent withering away in a cage all those years ago, forced to endure the experiments of the two university scientists, haunted Catherine. And after what she'd been put through these last months, there was no telling what Gabriel would do if he got his hands on Vincent.
Catherine already failed her son. She would not put the rest of her family in danger. She had to run, get as far away from this damned place as possible. Turning around, she made her way to the exit and ran as fast as she could away from the building that had been her prison.
Catherine stuck to the shadows in case some of Gabriel's men were following her. She was amazed she encountered no guards during her escape, but it was still better to stay cautious. Running out of the building, she mentally made note she was on 1900 6th Avenue before taking off down the street.
The exhaustion of her unexpected double labor finally caught up to her when the adrenaline slowed. This was doubled by the small amount of morphine the doctor had managed to inject into her bloodstream. She began to worry that she'd have to spend the night in an alley. That was not optional. Not only did she have to keep her child warm in the bitter cold, but there were bound to be predators lurking around.
Things seemed utterly hopeless until the sight of an old homeless shelter caught Catherine's eye. With a sigh of relief, and a prayer to whoever was watching out for her, she ran the last few blocks to the building. She walked to the front door and saw a box of clothes for donation. Slipping into some clothes for her and her baby to wear, Catherine decided to spend the night and leave early in the morning. Catherine slipped inside and managed to find a place where she and her daughter could rest comfortably.
Finally able to rest, Catherine looked down at the tiny bundle in her arms. The baby was a little smaller than the first, but healthy as far as Catherine could tell. Despite the brief glimpse she was given of her song, the infant in her arms looked almost identical. The child was also just as beautiful. It felt good to hold the baby in her arms.
"You saved my life, my little surprise," Catherine cooed. The baby looked at her as if she understood what her mother was saying. Tears formed in her eyes as Catherine placed a kiss onto the tiny forehead.
"Whin did ye git 'ere?"
Catherine stared up. The figure standing over her was a woman about five and a half feet tall. She looked to be in her early sixties with a puzzled scowl occupying her face. She also had graying red hair and green eyes, which were now staring down at Catherine.
Catherine clutched her daughter close. "Please, I'm very tired, and I have nowhere else to go,” she pleaded.
"Noo, noo, tak' it easy loue,” the woman answered, though her heavy accent made it hard for Catherine to understand. “Ah'ament gaun tae ye oot. Ah juist didnae see ye come in that's a’.”
Catherine remained tensed. So far the woman didn’t seem like a threat but her trust was
Feeling Catherine’s fear caused her baby to cry. Panicked, Catherine tried to calm the infant, revealing her to the woman.
"How come ah ne'er! ah didnae ken ye hud a bairn wi' ye,” she exclaimed. “Ye better come tae me." The woman started helping Catherine to her feet. As tired as she was, Catherine was not going to allow herself to be thrown out. She tried to protest, but this woman wasn't about to debate the situation.
"Noo ah will hear none o' that. Na yin is gaun tae say auld Maize let a lassie wi' a bairn kip oan that cauld flair, ye hear! A'm juist gaun tae pat ye in mah kip fur th' nicht, 'n' a'm waantin' na buts aboot it. Noo whit yi''ll need is a het bath 'n' better claes. Yi'll waant tae catch yer death o' cauld?"
Too tired to fight anymore, Catherine allowed the woman—whom she assumed was called Maize—to pull her into her room. Maize helped Catherine clean up in the bathroom. While cleaning them up, Maize gasped upon the size of the infant and the state Catherine was in. She tried to persuade Catherine to go to a hospital, but upon seeing Catherine's frightened response, Maize relented. Though she insisted that she and Catherine would speak in the morning. She finished helping Catherine clean up, and then got her and the baby into some fresh clothes. Maize led them to a room where mother and child could settle down for the night.
Noticing the still crying baby, Maize asked when last she had been fed. Catherine was silent. She hadn’t thought about what to feed her baby. Seeing her distress, Maize helped direct Catherine on how to nurse. While the baby suckled, Maize slipped out of the room and returned with a bassinet for the baby to sleep in. However, Catherine was fast asleep in the bed when she arrived. She smiled and took the baby so Catherine could sleep more easily.
In her dreams, Catherine was haunted with visions of the doctor administering the full amount of morphine into her bloodstream. The second child had never been born and Catherine saw herself dying in Vincent's arms, barley managing to tell him about their son. The dream was so real, Catherine woke calling Vincent's name. She looked around and noticed it was eleven o'clock at night. She had slept the entire day away. Sensing her mother's distress, the baby whimpered until Catherine removed her from the bassinet and held her to her breast. Both mother and daughter felt relief and assurance wash over them.
"It's alright, sweetheart. No one will take you from me." After nursing her baby, the child sighed and started to fall asleep.
Thoughts swirled in Catherine's head. She wanted to run to the Tunnels, to the safety of her family. Most of all, she wanted to be in Vincent's arms. But she knew Gabriel would see the security tapes, and know Catherine was alive. Gabriel had her son, but he had ordered Catherine dead, and now there was another child. Gabriel would not rest until he found her. If she tried to return to Vincent, Gabriel might find the Tunnels. Catherine would not put her family in danger; never would she risk their lives. She sighed as she realized what she must do: for the safety of her daughter, her family, and for Vincent.
"We can't stay here," Catherine told her sleeping child. “We'll go away for a little while, and come back as soon as it's safe.” She settled down for the night, her daughter safely sleeping in her arms, oblivious to the whole ordeal. With a heavy heart, Catherine turned from her baby and watched the moon. She didn't know if their Bond had been restored, but it didn't stop her from trying. Catherine closed her eyes and focused all her love on Vincent.
Forgive me Vincent, but I won't let that monster threaten my family any more. I don't know how, but please, find our son and bring him home. When it's safe, and believe me we will see each other again, you'll have a family you never thought you could have. I'll be back. Wait for me, Vincent. I love you.