Pay Back

Rusty

This takes place at the end of ĎNo Way Down",
just couldnít leave it hanging there.

 

Vincent heard the gun shots, even though he couldnít see, he knew that Chris had killed Howie, and in so doing had also shot himself at the entrance to the tunnels... Howie had stopped Chris from killing Vincent and sacrificed his own life to help him Ö. go home.

As he paused story at the entrance of the tunnel for a moment thinking of all that had taken place, he felt some relief knowing that he would soon be home. He was weak from the blast and torture at the hands of the Silks. Stumbling and in great pain he started the long agonizing trek, though he was far from home.

Suddenly, through their bond he felt her there. Catherine, followed by Isaac, came to the entrance. Seeing Vincent she stopped, thanked Isaac and said, " No questions ,please! I have to take him home".

Isaac, seeing the unbelievable sight of Vincent, turned and left. He wasnít sure of anything at this point, but he trusted Catherine.

She ran to Vincent, enclosed him in her arms. She had found him! "I would never stop looking for you, never!"

"I knew you were close." he said, leaning on her heavily.

He was weak and in great pain from his injuries, but having her there gave him strength. As they started to walk toward the hub, Father came around the corner; he had walked the whole distance looking for his beloved son, and fearing the worst. Vincent collapsed against the tunnel wall, not able to proceed any further. Father quickly tapped on the pipes for help.

Catherine, cradling him in her arms, cried inside, feeling responsible for all that had happened to him. She closed the bond as tightly as she could in the hope he wasnít able to feel the enormity of the guilt she felt. Looks from Father didnít help. He didnít need to say anything, and she knew how he felt about their relationship. He had already told her "it was a tragic mistake for both of them"!

Winslow, Mouse, Cullen and Jamie came running with the stretcher, they were relieved to see him, but distraught at the condition he was in. Getting him on the stretcher and covering him with his cloak, they proceeded to the hospital chamber. It was a long way but they moved quickly and gently for his sake.

When they arrived, Mary had things in order to help Father tend to the injuries.

Father told Catherine to wait in his chamber; she could feel his fear and anger at what had occurred and knew he blamed her. She wanted so much to be with Vincent, but realized it would be better if she waited as told. Mouse and Jamie tried to comfort her saying that Vincent would be all right, although it didnít seem to translate in their voices. Slowly they walked away and left her there.

She waited alone, hoping and praying; wishing none of this had happened to Vincent. He was the kindest, most gentle man she knew, and now he was badly hurt because of her.

After what seemed like forever, Father came out of the hospital chamber and into his chamber to speak with her. The look on his face scared her, her heart was aching, fear was racing through every fiber of her body.

"Please Father; tell me, is he going to be all right? May I see him now?"

He stared at her for a moment and then started to tell her of Vincentís injuries. "His eyes were temporarily damaged from the explosion, for how long Iím not sure. He has broken ribs, a broken collar bone and a fractured leg. Not to mention all the contusions, cuts, burns, and a concussion. He will need a lot of rest and tender loving care."

Catherineís eyes were filled with tears, knowing all this was her fault. She looked at Father and was surprised when he moved toward her, extending his arms to embrace her. At first she thought he would only blame her as she did herself, but now he was offering comfort to her. She moved into his arms and sobbed like a child. After a little while she regained her composure and asked if she could see Vincent. Father told her just for a few minutes, he was exhausted and sleep was a great healer, especially for Vincent,

She went into the hospital chamber very quietly to see him. It was shocking to see him lying in bed, his eyes bandaged, so badly injured. He turned his head slowly in her direction, through the bond he knew she was there. She knelt on the floor at his bedside, reached for his hand and kissed it tenderly, tearfully begging him to forgive her.

His voice like velvet, he tenderly told her; "Donít blame yourself for this Catherine, please." He drifted off to sleep; the exhaustion took over at last.

She stayed as long as Father let her, then returned Above to rest, to return later to be with Vincent. Father and Mary both told her that Vincent might sleep for long periods, as he had done previously, to recuperate.

She made arrangements to be away for a few days. Joe understood after the experience with loosing the witness in the blast and the end of the Silks. "You deserve a little vacation time Radcliff; see you when you get back".

When she returned the next morning Vincent was still sleeping, and according to Father this was the best medicine for him. She sat in his favorite chair and watched his breathing, slow and steady He looked so peaceful. She missed seeing his azure blue eyes, and hoped that all was well with them. She must have dozed off for a little while, she awakened to feel his hand on hers. He was awake and knew she was with him, keeping watch.

"How do you feel, Vincent?"

"I think I have felt better," he said with a little grin, "But having you here with me makes it easier."

Are you hungry?" Catherine asked, "William has some soup that would do you good."

"Perhaps soup would be good, thank you."

"Iíll tell Father that you are awake, and Iíll get the soup from William."

Father came in to checked his patient, happy and relieved to see him awake and wanting some nourishment.

"Father, my eyesÖ how much damage?"

"Vincent, I think they had a terrible shock from the blast and need to rest. In a few days I will take off the bandages, time will tell, be positive about it. You must rest and let your body heal, it took all my powers to make you whole again. And I donít want that all to go for naught!" he said with a little chuckle. Vincent promised to do as Father said, being grateful to his parent for all he had done for him.

Catherine came back with the soup and some of Williamís herbal tea. "Now," she said playfully, "Itís payback for when you cared for me, when you found me."

Vincent smiled and remembered how blessed he was for finding Catherine.

For the next few weeks, Catherine read to him, fed him and kept watch while he slept. She only let Father and Mary take care of his bathing needs. She let his tunnel family visit for only short periods as this tired him easily at first. As the time passed he grew stronger and could have longer visits, which he enjoyed.

Father and Mary checked in on him often and were pleased with his progress. Catherine slept in his chair and refused to go to a guest chamber, she left only to shower and change clothes. William always brought food for both of them. Vincentís appetite increased, to the pleasure of William. Father was genuinely surprised at Catherineís devotion to his son; perhaps his feelings would finally change toward her and their relationship.

After a few weeks had passed; Father decided it was time to remove the bandages from Vincentís eyes. Catherine stood at the foot of Vincentís bed, praying and scared, hoping for good news just like everyone else. Father removed the dressings slowly, the room only had a few candles lit so that it wonít be too bright at first.

All held their breath; Vincent blinked and tried to focus, then smiled, even showing his canines; which he very rarely did. "Catherine, you look like an angel standing there." Tears flowed from Catherine as she realized he could see her, even in the dim light.

"Father," said Vincent," Could you light a few more candles, its a little dark in here." Everyone smiled and hugged each other, knowing that Vincent would soon be well again. It took a few weeks to recuperate fully; but having Catherine to help him when she wasnít at work was wonderful medicine for his mind and soul. Soon they were walking thru the tunnels to the Chamber of the Falls and Mirror pool to read and just enjoy each other.

He surprised her a few days later when she was late getting home from work by being on her balcony waiting for her. As she ran into his waiting arms she knew all was well in their world again.