What is Real
Summary –this is the final part of the HB/BatB crossover SND rated PG.(no copyright infringement intended) It begins 2 years after part two. Apedemek is an Ancient Nubian Lion god from 100BC. His likeness is depicted on the walls of temples of Naqa in present day Sudan. The Poem ‘In Memoriam’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson.The path by which we twain did go
Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro’ four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow:
And we with singing cheer’d the way,
And crown’d with all the seasons lent,
From April on to April went,
And glad at heart from May to May:
"Jacob, come back here!" Mary called, as she passed Father in the passageway. Father smiled, as his two-year-old grandson took no notice of Mary, and kept on down the tunnel, giggling so hard he almost fell. Behind him was a trail of brown wool which Mary was trying to gather as she followed.
Mary turned back to Father, with an apologetic, worn expression. "Oh, sorry Father, but he has taken my knitting again and it will be harder to fix the longer he has it." She stopped for a moment catching her breath, lifting a stray lock of her usually immaculate hair back in place. "I am getting too old for all this." she said with a gusty sigh, but then she grinned, "But he is such a dear child." Mary’s eyes misted over and her face had a dreamy expression. Then as the tension on the ball of wool she held tightened, she declared "I don’t remember his father being this mischievous though."
"Nor I, Mary. Perhaps his little sister will be less of a burden." Father replied.
Mary turned a disbelieving look on Father. "Burden, oh Father, he could never be a burden. He’s just a challenge. And his sister could never be a burden to anyone, least of all me. Charlotte is an angel." Then at the end of the tunnel a child’s exuberant chuckle was heard, and Mary remembered her knitting. "Jacob Charles Wells, you come back here this instant!" she demanded, hurrying down the passage after the boy rolling up the unraveled wool.
Father smiled happily to himself, as the music of his grandson’s laughter drifted down the tunnel. Jacob Charles was the apple of his grandfather’s eye and a joy to the entire community, but he was also the most precocious child Father had ever met, even more so than Devin.
When he made his way back to his study, which had now become more of a family room for Vincent and his growing family, Father came to the top of the stairs to the sight of Catherine feeding her three month old daughter.
This sight brought a lump to his throat, he had never expected to have Jacob, least of all this sweet angel and he counted himself the most fortunate of men.
Catherine looked up and smiled as she lifted the baby to her shoulder. "Father, come and sit down. There’s a fresh pot of tea." Catherine said as Father limped to his favorite chair.
"Is Vincent back yet?" He asked. It was early evening in the world Above and Vincent had been gone since just after breakfast.
"No, Father, but Pascal received a message from him about an hour ago. He is well and says he will return as soon as he can. So what is happening in the tunnels?"
"Well, your son is keeping Mary on her toes." Father remarked with a chuckle.
"Oh dear, not Mary’s knitting again."
"I’m afraid so …" and they both shared a smile.
Vincent watched from the deep shadows. Before him was a recently discovered chamber in the old sewer connecting the subways, far below Manhattan. It had been sealed by a thick and ancient wall until recently, and it looked as though this wall had been opened from the inside. The bricks were all scattered around the opening on the outside, as though they had been pushed out from within.
Dustin, one of the Subway Children, had told Vincent this morning that he had found it a few days ago. He said that there had been no sign of anything one day, only an old rock wall. The next day it was just there and something about it had scared the boy.
"It looks like a treasure cave, Vincent," The boy said excitedly. "It was full of all sorts of shiny things, but it felt creepy. And there was a strange man there. So I came to tell you as soon as I could."
Vincent warned him to tell all of the other Subway Children to stay away until he had investigated it and that he would see to it immediately. It was imperative that he investigate it alone, before telling Father or any of the community. He had arrived here in the mid morning and had found the chamber empty. When he had peered into the chamber it looked very old. It had strange markings on the walls, much like those in ancient tombs. Torches burnt in sconces and on a long stone table at one end of the chamber, stood strange chalices and transparent containers with unrecognizable items within them. Dustin was right; it did look like a treasure cave.
This, on its own, was cause for concern. Ever since the incident with Abraham and meeting Hellboy and Liz two years ago, life Below had progressed as usual, but Vincent had stayed in touch with his new friends. They were like Narcissa, in touch with a world that the everyday folk of the tunnels and Above hardly understood, let alone believed in. But as this world’s link to these strange people and self appointed protector, Vincent accepted every piece of information he could, to aid him in this task.
Just over an hour ago a man of strange appearance had emerged from an upper room at the top of a flight of stone steps. Vincent had been watching this ‘man’ and his abilities were phenomenal, as he practiced with amazing athletic techniques and weaponry of unusual design. His appearance was very strange also; he had long hair that seemed to change in color as it flowed past his shoulders, from white to the shade of autumn leaves. His bare skin glowed with a kind of iridescence and he had the aura of something unworldly and very old. Although rainwater seeped from high above him and the chamber was cold and drafty, he seemed unaffected. He had qualities, reflexes and strength, well above any human and seemed to defy gravity with his leaps and summersaults.
Vincent was mesmerized, this creature was like no one he had ever seen before in life or in books, and he knew that he must inform the B.P.R.D. as soon as possible. But first he must see if this stranger posed a threat to the world Below.
The man stopped his training suddenly, "How long have you been there my friend?" the man asked, with a soft voice and a precise accent.
Vincent stopped breathing, sure that he had been discovered, and the man was speaking to him. But this proved to be unfounded, as a huge creature came out of the darkness. The man pointed his weapon toward two boxes and said "Our little friends haven’t been fed yet. I bought them today." The creature grunted in reply. "I’ll go up first. You’ll follow – and remember, Mr. Wink. Don’t be shy."
The creature lifted the two boxes, and with a lumbering gait made his way slowly away. The man stood for some time, beneath a manhole cover high above his head, in the roof of the chamber. His face lifted to the ambient light, allowing the rainwater to wash over him. Then suddenly he stood before Vincent, facing him a mere breath away. He had moved so fast that Vincent hadn’t seen or sensed any movement or threat.
"Why have you been watching me, Son of Apedemek?" The strange man asked.
Registering the strange address, but at a loss to know why he would be called such a thing, Vincent answered truthfully. Instinctively knowing he could hide nothing from this man. "These tunnels and caverns are my home."
"And are you friend or foe?" The point of the weapon was aimed down at the stone floor, but Vincent knew that it would be aimed at his throat in an instant if he answered incorrectly and he could be dead before he could move.
"I am Vincent. I mean harm only to those who threaten my home and loved ones."
"Well said, Son of Apedemek. I am Nuada Silverlance, son of king Balor." And Nuada put out a bare arm to take Vincent’s right forearm in a strong grip of friendship.
Assured of his survival for the moment, Vincent returned the grip and asked, "Why are you here?"
"To reclaim my birthright, I have been in exile from this world for millennia. I have fought in wars and freed kingdoms, and when I returned here I sealed myself and my servant within these walls. But the time is now ripe for war." Nuada declared this, with strongly contained emotion. He turned away from Vincent and swung his weapon in circles at his side, in a sure sign of his agitation.
"And does that war threaten my world?" Vincent knew that he was but one man, but Nuada seemed very confident. It was certain that someone with his skills and heritage was not likely to announce a war unless he had the means to carry it out.
Nuada turned, "It threatens only the human world. Of which you are only a part, Son of Apedemek. Therefore, I mean you no harm, and, as your world is also separate from their world, it too shall be safe, as long as you do not oppose me."
"You know of my world?" Vincent had hoped he could make Nuada think he was alone down here.
"I know much of your world, my friend. But be at ease. I will not threaten them."
The word ‘yet’ hovered in the back of Vincent’s mind. His family and community must be kept safe but he kept silent, merely nodding.
"I have come to take back what is mine by right but you and your world need not fear me Son of Apedemek." Nuada said in the silence,
"Why do you call me by that name?" Vincent asked, curious.
Nuada turned back to him and lifted his hand to Vincent’s face, but did not touch it. Vincent didn’t move. "This proclaims you a king in my world, and to the lowly humans, a god." He lowered his hand and turned his head on the side, as he added, "Come, I will show you."
Vincent followed Nuada into the chamber. He walked to one of the walls, which was covered with hieroglyphs and depictions of all manner of creatures. "In my time of solitude I made these markings of my travels in many worlds. These walls hold the likenesses of many of the old gods. Look up there, do you see?" Nuada said pointing his spear high on the wall.
Vincent’s night-sight saw clearly what was there. A carved interpretation of a man, dressed in Egyptian style clothing, with the head of a lion.
"That is Apedemek, god of Light, Truth and Regeneration." Nuada declared.
"How can this be?"
"Apedemek was worshiped by kings. Clearly you are an heir to his throne. Have you never wondered where such a being as yourself came from, my friend?"
"I have wondered."
"Wonder no longer. You are of the fairy folk, an ancient being of Lore. You could be a king in my world, and your own." Nuada suggested.
"I have no wish to be a king." Vincent replied with distaste.
"Then you seek only to serve, not to rule." Vincent knew that he need not answer "So be it" Nuada murmured as he turned and walked away without looking back. "I needs must be elsewhere. Farewell, Son of Apedemek. We will meet again."
Father and Catherine were enjoying their tea. Still concerned for Vincent, Father said. "I worry about how much time Vincent spends doing work for this Bureau for … what was it again?"
"Paranormal Research and Defense," Vincent’s voice echoed in the chamber as he came down the stairs. He walked over to Catherine, bent, and kissed her in greeting. Then took his daughter into his arms, as he continued, turning to his father "There is no need to worry Father. What I do for them is purely voluntary, and they know nothing of our world."
Standing and placing a hand on Vincent’s arm Catherine asked. "Did you see anything?"
"Yes," Vincent answered with concern, his meeting with Nuada had disturbed him greatly.
"What did you see?" Father asked.
"A man, or perhaps more than a man."
"Where was this man?" The concern in Father’s was unmistakable.
"In the old sewer, leading from part of the subway tunnels, under Manhattan."
"Have you let the Bureau know?" Catherine asked.
"I don’t like this, Vincent. That those people know about us, concerns me, greatly," Father declared worriedly.
"Only Abraham and two other people know where we live Father, and I trust them to keep our secret." He smiled and kissed Charlotte on her golden forehead, before he handed her back to her mother. "In fact, Hellboy is more likely to defend us from discovery. He is quite protective."
Vincent, woke suddenly and sat up. "What is it?" Catherine asked sleepily, placing a hand on his shoulder. To Vincent’s finely attuned senses it was midnight in the world Above.
"I don’t know," he murmured, staring into the darkened chamber, the single candle reflecting grotesque shadows on the walls. "I heard someone call."
"Did you have a dream?" Catherine was very aware that sometimes Vincent’s dreams must be heeded.
He turned to her, as she lay with her head on the pillow next to him. "Not a dream exactly." Then he froze.
"Son of Apedemek ..." It was a whisper, an echo, but this time Vincent knew who it was.
He swung his legs out of bed, and began to pull on his clothes. "What are you doing?" Catherine asked, her voice concerned.
"I must go Catherine. I will return as soon as I can." And he threw on his cloak and left the chamber.
He made his way to the old West Side Rail-yard where Nuada was waiting.
"Son of Apedemek," Nuada said in greeting, as though to an equal. His long white hair fell over his face as he nodded. He was dressed in robes of black and red and strapped to his back were weapons. Beside him stood the huge creature from the chamber below Manhattan and he could see it clearly in the streetlamp. Its skin had the appearance of an elephant, a muscular body and a bulbous head with tusks protruding from his mouth. It had lost a hand at some time and it had been replaced by a vicious looking metal appendage with nuts and bolts protruding from it, a deadly weapon on its own. There were scars all over him and one of his amber eyes was missing. He looked as though he, too, could kill Vincent with one blow
"Why did you summon me, Nuada?" Vincent asked angrily.
Nuada pointed to the ground at his feet. "Here is where the door to my world stands. I invite you to join me. I intend to shake the remnants of my people from their apathy and demand they join me to take back this world."
"I will not enmesh myself and my world in your war, Nuada."
"Then you choose to stand against me?"
"I choose to stand apart, unless you give me no choice," Vincent declared.
"You are like me, Son of Apedemek, alone with your ideals," Nuada countered with true sadness.
"I will not join you."
Nuada’s golden eyes closed once. "When I rule the world of men you, will serve me."
"I serve only those I love. If you threaten them I will fight against you!" Vincent almost growled.
"You will lose," Nuada answered calmly.
"So be it," Vincent accepted.
Nuada’s strange black-gold eyes searched Vincent’s face, and Vincent saw sadness and disappointment in them. Vincent pitied this strange vengeful creature, there seemed to be no love in him at all, only vengeance and a warped kind of honor. Nuada turned from him then, and walked toward an abandoned building, his large servant lumbering behind him. They were both soon swallowed up by the night.
On his way back to the home tunnels, Vincent could not help but wonder why he was still alive.
Vincent sat in his chamber, his elbows on the arms of his large chair and his hands folded before his chin, thinking. What should he do? It was 3am in the world Above. He had sent a message to the B.P.R.D. the moment he had neared the first pipe. There was a pipe that led right into the underground facility and he would have heard back by now if they had received his message.
Catherine and the children were still sleeping and Vincent had taken this moment to concentrate. He could hear the sleeping minds of all three of those in the chamber with him and it was immensely comforting. His dilemma however was not. He had to do something. He wasn’t sure if it would work but as Mouse would say ‘no time to waste’.
Vincent closed his eyes and cleared his mind and thought. "Abraham…"
Abraham was on the east end of the Brooklyn Bridge with their team and the new B.P.R.D. Agent Dr Johann Krauss. Krause was a strange man who looked more like a deep sea diver from a hundred years ago in the strange suit he wore, than a man of the present. Abe’s mind was filled with the implications of recent events; the massacre of 70 people at Blackwood’s Auction House by tiny man-eating Tooth Fairies, Manning’s constant need to bring all of his problems to him and then was Liz’s pregnancy. Red would be overjoyed and would make a wonderful father. If Liz would just tell Red, everything would be all right. But they have been having problems lately and he knew that it would all be fine, if they could at least talk to each other.
Abe comforted himself by playing with Dr Kraus’s new toy. The Schufftein glasses, were an amazing invention that aided people to see fairy folk and revealed the true nature of things. Abe had just seen Red as he truly was and he was a little disturbed. He had seen Hellboy as he must have looked in that vault in Moscow. He hadn’t been there, but had heard all about it when Myers had returned. Red’s eyes were glowing with a red-gold fire, his horns, fully grown, curled over his head, and cradled between them was a small flaming orb, in which a golden crown could be seen. Abe had to remove the goggle-like helmet to make sure his friend had not suddenly become the Demon/Angel with the key to Heaven and Hell.
"Oh!" Abe said quietly to himself with relief. "Abraham..." He heard his name echoing in his mind. "Hmm I must teach that boy not to shout." Abe murmured as Vincent’s attempt to reach him, was more powerful than he must realize.
"Abraham, there is someone of great power threatening the city," Vincent thought to him.
"His name is Nuada."
"Prince Nuada?" Abraham asked surprised.
"What can you tell me my friend?"
Vincent relayed everything that had happened, and Abraham assured him he would tell Liz and Hellboy as soon as possible.
"Be careful Abraham. He has superior fighting skills." Vincent finished,
"I will relay your warning and as usual will keep you and your world out of it. "
"Thank you, Abraham and be well my friend."
"And you, Vincent." Abe replaced his Schufftein helmet back in the box and made his way over to Hellboy.
Hellboy was still smarting from being told by Liz that she thought Johann intimidated him. This new guy was more of a freak than him or Abe. A man made up of smoke, kept inside a suit. What was that all about?
"Yeah," Red grumbled, with a sour look over the wall, to the street where Liz was standing by the garbage truck. "Intimidated …" he repeated with sarcasm and disbelief.
"I’ve heard from our friend."
"Friend, what friend?" Red asked absently, still watching Liz.
"Our friend, the one who wears the black cloak," Abe whispered through clenched teeth, so the nearby men in suits couldn’t hear.
Red’s golden eyes fixed on Abe, his head turned to one side. Abe knew his mind was unwilling to move in another direction. There was a moment of silence and then Red said, "Oh, that friend."
"Yes." And Abe told Red what Vincent had told him.
"Hmm," Red said "Sounds serious. Well, once we get into the Troll Market and find out who bought them Tooth Fairies, then we can look for this guy V saw."
Abe was worried, "What if this Prince is the one behind the Auction House business. It seems logical. Legend says that Prince Nuada went into exile millennia ago and would return when his people needed him."
Red lit a cigar and spoke through his teeth, "Listen Abe, V takes things too seriously. And this Prince Nuadoodoo, if he ever existed, is dead already."
"But the Royal seal and the Auction House …"
Liz’s voice came over the radio, "We have a suspect!"
"Ah, you worry too much too." Red said, striding off the roof to meet Liz.
"Well one of us has to …" Abe complained as he followed Red and what followed answered many of Abe’s questions. They found the Troll Market, a beautiful Princess and finally Prince Nuada, who unleashed a destructive yet beautiful monster on the city.
Vincent left a note for Catherine, telling her he didn’t know when he’d return, but not to worry, He would send regular messages on the pipes. Scooping up his cloak he left the chamber. He could not sit still and as he made his way out of the tunnels he tried to understand this situation with Prince Nuada. Why would this being from another world want his help and then intend to wage war on this world? There was much Vincent didn’t know and to protect his family he must find out as much as possible.
Suddenly the ground at his feet shook and he was thrown against the wall of the tunnel. Instinctively he knew that the source of the disturbance was near the east end of the Brooklyn Bridge,
He ran back to his chamber, and although shaken Catherine and the children were well. So as soon as he could he made his way to the area.
Standing in a darkened alley some time later, Vincent watched as the entire area was transformed into a green carpet, while an enormous tree-like creature lay against one of the buildings, spilling a green liquid from its body, where Hellboy had shot it. Wherever the liquid touched, something green grew. In the air tiny white pollen floated, in the centre of all this beauty, stood Hellboy, Liz and Abe.
"The last of its kind," Nuada said from beside him. Vincent turned. He hadn’t sensed Nuada’s approach, "Tell me. Why you wage this war?"
Nuada’s unusual eyes watched the scene for a few moments, and then turned to Vincent and answered. "This world was once green and peaceful. Man, Beast and Magical Beings lived together under Aiglin, the Father Tree." He lifted his arm to the large creature in the middle of the street. "Creatures such as this, made the world beautiful. But Man would not live in peace, and so we of the woodland went to war with Man. Balor, my Father ordered the building of an army, a Golden Army that could not be defeated. And when Man could not defeat us he made a truce. The Army was hidden and now sleeps, but I intend to awaken it. I alone knew that Man would not keep his part, and this world is proof of it. You of all people know how this world treats its treasures, son of Apedemek."
Vincent was silent.
A loud cry was heard from the distance, and when they turned, Liz was standing in front of Hellboy.
"He was trying to help, don’t you see!" She berated the crowd of onlookers. "He was just trying to help. That’s all we do. That’s all we’ve ever done, all these years – help you – you!"
A stone flew from the crowd and hit Hellboy on the cheek. He flinched in pain and Liz was suddenly surrounded in flames. Hellboy put a hand on her shoulder, unaffected by the heat or fire and murmured, "No, Liz. Let’s go home." And he took her hand, turned his back on the crowd, and they walked away. Abe and a beautiful young woman with long hair, the same as Nuada’s, and dressed in a blue flowing gown, in the style of long ago, followed.
Nuada turned to Vincent. "You see, even their heroes are treated with contempt. The world of Man deserves no mercy."
"All creatures deserve mercy," Vincent replied.
"You, like the Demon, choose to serve, when you could rule. If you will not, then someone must."
"Why, Nuada? Why must you do this?" Vincent asked saddened by this noble creature’s determination.
"Unlike you my friend, I have no choice. I am set upon a course, which will end only when I win or I am dead. I cannot stop. I will not stop."
"Then I cannot wish you well, my friend. For such a course means many innocent people will die." Vincent stretched out his right hand and added, "But I do wish you peace."
Nuada smiled sadly, as he took Vincent’s arm in friendship. "In another time, we would have fought on the side of right, and we would have won. I am glad to have met you but I will not see you again, Son of Apedemek." And Nuada was gone in the blink of an eye.
Vincent made his way back to his chamber slowly, greatly saddened. In another time he would have been honored to have Nuada as a friend, but now Nuada threatened the world Above. Even though he had said his plans would not affect his world, Vincent knew that if Nuada gained what he sought, everything that Vincent held dear would be put at risk. And nothing he could do would stop it. He hoped that in some way Hellboy and his friends would make the difference.
Red was lying on a surgical table in the medical bay, his chest bare, the silver tip of a spear imbedded, just above his heart. A heart monitor nearby revealed his heartbeat was very weak. Abe bent over the spearhead and touched the metal with a surgical instrument. Red cried out in pain and his heartbeat quickened dangerously. An alarm on another monitor chimed repeatedly, as an ultrasound of Red’s heart showed the spear-point moving deeper into his chest, closer to his heart.
Nuada had infiltrated the underground facility in his search for the final piece of the crown of Bethmoora. He had pierced Hellboy with his silver spearhead when Red had challenged him, and as Hellboy gasped in pain Nuada had said. "You may have mused in the past ‘Am I mortal?’ …Well, now you are…" and with a cruel twist of the lance, Nuada had broken off the point of his spear deeply imbedded in Red’s chest. Taking his sister, the beautiful Nuala, with him Nuada had disappeared just as Hellboy lost consciousness.
"Damn it Abe! Pull it out!" Liz commanded
Abe looked up at her, his blue face showing fear. "I cannot. Every time I come close, it moves closer to his heart. I don’t know what else to do …"
"Then, we go after the Prince." Liz declared angry and desperate, "Get him to take it out!"
Hellboy opened his eyes and looked up at Liz. "Liz you were asking …"
"Shh – don’t talk …"
"No – no. Let me talk," His usual glib tone gone, and his voice a soft gentle, pleading murmur, Hellboy continued. "I know what’s important. It’s you… I can turn my back on the world. All of it – as long as you stay with me …"
Liz was weeping as she said, "I’ll stay with you … You’re the best man I know."
Hellboy laid his head back on the bed and closed his eyes. "Man…" he murmured. Liz laid her head on his chest and wept.
In the depths of the earth far from New York, Hellboy, Liz and Abe discovered what love meant. Liz gave Red the will to live with news of his impending Fatherhood. Through sacrifice and dedication to one another and Hellboy’s cunning and strength, they overcame Nuada and the Golden Army. And Abe learned the price of love…
Vincent heard his name on the pipes as he was making his way through the tunnels, on his self appointed rounds. Since he had spoken to Nuada, last he had been expecting anything, but it had been quiet now for a week.
He made his way to the iron door, and when it opened, Hellboy, Liz and Abe were waiting there.
Embracing each in turn, Vincent said with a relieved smile, "I thought never to see you again."
Liz and Hellboy looked at each other and smiled in return, as Red answered, "You almost didn’t, but you know me V. I am very hard to kill. And besides it was not really me who won in the end."
Vincent turned his head on the side. "That is not like you, my friend."
Hellboy grinned. "Sometimes ya gotta let the chips fall where they can V."
"How are Cathy and the kids?" Liz asked.
"They are well. Come and see for yourself." Vincent invited and began walking back toward the home tunnels.
Liz and Hellboy positioned themselves on either side of Vincent, and Abe walked silently at the rear. They talked about their newest adventure on the way back.
"And Prince Nuada?" Vincent asked.
Both turned back toward Abe, and Liz said softly, "He’s gone." Vincent simply nodded. "It was pretty bad there for a while. Red was in pretty bad shape." Liz continued. "But we took him to someone who was able to help…" Vincent sensed something more to what Liz said but he didn’t want to pry.
"Then I kicked Nuadoodoo’s butt." Red said with pride in a job well done.
Vincent was saddened but knew that Nuada would not have stopped unless he was killed. "And this Golden Army he spoke of?" Vincent asked.
"Buried, with no way to bring them back to life," Liz replied with a smile.
When they reached Father’s study, Catherine was playing on the floor with Jacob, and the baby was in her day-crib in a quiet corner of the room, sleeping. Father was nowhere to be seen. When Catherine saw Liz and Hellboy, she immediately hurried to embrace them both. For a time there was happy conversation, while tea was brought. And the entire story of how Hellboy and his friends saved the world was told yet again.
"Oh and guess what? I’m gonna be a Daddy!" Hellboy declared in a lull in the conversation. "And it’s two," Hellboy added holding up two fingers on his huge stone hand, in emphasis.
"Oh!" Catherine exclaimed hugging Liz and then the conversation turned to babies. At which time Hellboy sat back in his chair, Leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs at the ankles, simply soaking up the euphoria of the moment.
Vincent, however, noticing Abraham’s silence, went to where he was seated against Father’s book shelves, his black eyes staring into the distance and extreme sadness came from him in waves.
"Abraham. What troubles you so?" Vincent asked as he sat beside him.
Abraham was silent for so long that Vincent wondered whether he had heard his question. The answer came in true Abe fashion. "She was so beautiful, Vincent. And she loved me … me…and she gave her life for us all." Abe thought to his friend.
Come," Vincent thought, and standing walked from the room, and slowly Abraham followed.
When they were in Vincent and Catherine’s chamber, Vincent motioned for Abe to sit in one of the large chairs, and sat beside him. "Tell me…"
"We instantly had a … connection, as though we had always known each other…"
"I understand." Vincent murmured looking down at his hands. His experiences with Catherine clear in his mind, and giving his already empathic understanding more poignancy…
When Vincent returned to Father’s study he was alone, and Father was now in the room talking with the still very excited pair of lovers.
"Where’s Abe?" Liz asked.
"There is a place we call the Chamber of the Falls. Abraham needed to immerse himself, so I took him there. He won’t be joining us for some time I think," Vincent took Catherine’s hand in his. Abraham’s heartbreaking loss touching him deeply … if he ever lost Catherine … the thought was more than he could bear.
Catherine could sense that Vincent was very disturbed, but knew that he would tell her when he was ready.
"Well, now you’re back, and Father is here, too we have somethin’ to ask you guys." Hellboy said. When everyone’s attention was on him, he continued, taking Liz’s hand. "Well ya see we’ve quit the Bureau and would like to stay here for a while. We’ve found this other place that we can go to, but we need to check it out a bit more first." He turned to Vincent. "You remember that place I asked you about V? The Troll Market? It’s amazing. We could live there forever if we wanted to. Abe’s okay in those Falls, right?"
"Yes, he said the waters are quite suitable for his needs." Vincent replied.
"Good. So if you can let us have a hole in the ground where we won’t be in the way…" Hellboy finished.
"I’m sure that should not be a problem," Vincent murmured when Father said nothing. Vincent knew there would be a meeting of the council later and that Hellboy and his family would be accepted, but for now the young Demon did not need to know the intricacies of Tunnel Politics. He deserved so much more than anyone could give him and his friends after what they had just accomplished.
"It won’t be for long." Liz said, "We just want to let the Bureau know that we can do without them, and that we want somewhere better to live and bring up our family,"
"Yeah once Washington hears we’re missing, and Johann gets in their ear, we’ll be outa your hair," Hellboy confirmed.
Catherine came over and hugged Liz. "You could never be a bother, besides it will be like a holiday with family."
Vincent came over to Hellboy and Liz and hugged them both. "Yes, a family and one like no other."
The sound of the falls lulled Abe, but his heart ached with loneliness and loss. Then he heard a voice…
"Be near me when my light is low
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of being slow
Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust,
And time, a maniac scattered dust,
And life a fury slinging flame
Be near me when I fade away
To point the term of human strife
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day …
And while Hellboy and Liz bathed in the love of their new family, Abe discovered the magic of the world Below.