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A Mosaic Story - Classic

Winterfest Online 2010


February 6th - 14th

Preferences: English | All Season


Welcome to the Online Mosaic Story

Listed Below is the story so far. If you would like to contribute to it, click the Add to Story button below. If no one else is currently updating the story you will be brought to an input screen where you can add up to 255 characters. You will have 20 minutes to make your addition, after that the system will allow someone else to take your place at the writing desk and, if you have not submitted it, your input will be discarded. You can contribute to the story as many times as you like, however you will be prevented from making consecutive entries within an 8 hour period. At least one person has to contribute or 8 hour elapse before you can contribute again.

This story was created by participants of Winterfest, piece by piece to create the collective whole. Thanks to eveyone who contributed in the creation of such a wonderful story.

                                                                                                         

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days. It was a typical day in the tunnels for Vincent and Catherine. It was Winterfest and that made it the best of days. The couple gazed around at their friends and family gathered both from Above and Below. The turnout was wonderful and amid all the beloved faces there was one that was unexpected this year but always a welcomed sight. "Devin!" Catherine called to him.
"Hey, Chandler!" Devin smiled as her crossed to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "How's that fuzzy brother of mine treating you?" "Can't complain." Catherine blushed as she felt Vincent's arm come up around her.
"It's good to see you here. Especially after receiving your letter that you would be unable to attend." Vincent clapped a firm hand on Devin's shoulder then hugged him. Devin returned the hug enthusiastically, but before he pulled away, Devin whispered into his brother's ear, "Gotta talk to you...in private." His smile as he pulled back disclosed nothing, leaving Vincent intrigued. Catherine, noticing Vincent's expression, quietly asked, "Is anything wrong?" Vincent stared after Devin as his brother strode towards the food table.

"I'm not certain, Catherine. Devin is being...his usual mysterious self." Catherine smiled fondly.
"Of course." She laughed softly as she smiled up at Vincent. "He wouldn't be Devin otherwise now would he?" Vincent had to smile at the memories of all the times his brother had made life interesting. Devin glanced back with a little too practiced smile.
“Perhaps you should go see what he wants?” Catherine suggested seeing Vincent looking at his brother, “it might be important.”
Vincent nodded and softly whispered, "I'll return as soon as I can."

"I'll be saving a dance for you." She beamed.



After she had watched Vincent walk away she turned back to the festivities around her. She was still finding new things to marvel at even though she had been coming to these things every year since she met Vincent that fateful night that brought then together. Hard to believe it had really been four years ago. So much had changed since that first Winterfest when they shared a private waltz. He was now more sure of his place at her side, and there were new dreams to weave born of the increased confidence. She thought ‘Maybe this year will be the year Vincent will decide that maybe our dream could really become our reality. I really will do anything for him and he knows that’ as she was lost in her thoughts she did not see someone come up behind her.
"Catherine?" asked a small, quiet voice jolting her back into the Great Hall. She turned to face the voice at her side. It was Jamie, sort of. Her hair had been brushed and fell softly to her shoulders. Her usually grubby face had been scrubbed clean. .

"Catherine, do you know where Vincent has gone?" Father asked scanning the room.

"He went to speak with Devin." She motioned a hand towards the two departing figures.

"Devin?!? He's here?" Father had missed his other son's entrance. Catherine nodded.
"That boy only will be found when he wants to be," Father muttered as he left her side, peering around the gathered Tunnelfolk and Helpers in search of his errant son, who had disappeared from view.

Catherine turned her attention back to Jamie. “You like nice Jamie” Catherine smiled softly “how are you enjoying Winterfest so far?” .

"It's been great.Look what Mouse made for me." On Jamie's wrist was a small music box that had been converted to a sort of wrist corsage. There was a beautiful red rose painted on the top with a cloth wristband attached."Guess what it plays Catherine."
“Oh that’s beautiful” Catherine commented “I don’t know, what song does it play Jamie?” she asked with a knowing smile. Before Jamie could answer, Mouse popped up beside them.

"Dance with Mouse?" He looked hopefully at Jamie.

"Sure." she grinned. "Bye Catherine."

Catherine watched them go with slight amused shake of her head, and wondering how Devin and Vincent were.
Devin had drawn Vincent up a winding staircase at the rear of the Great Hall to a narrow, little-used corridor which he was continuing down when Vincent finally placed a restraining hand on his brother's arm. "Enough Surely no one can hear us here?" .

Devin looked around nervously. "Yeah I guess you're right." He took a couple steps further to a set of steps and sank down looking like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

"Devin, tell me." Vincent implored as he sat to join his brother. From the corridor they both heard a cane tapping. "Father has found us," Vincent said with an apologetic tilt of his head. "The Old Man has a sixth sense where we're concerned," Devin agreed. "Before he gets here, take this envelope, I'll explain soon." The distant sounds of music and laughter echoed through the corridor. Devin looked past his brother, towards the source, lost in thought.

"Devin ..." Vincent's voice returned his attention to the moment. "I'm worried for you.. what does this concern?"

"Tuck that away will ya, and lets go see what the old man wants." The levity in Devin's voice was forced,but Vincent knew now was not the time to press the issue. Vincent hid the envelope inside his vest.
"I might have known you'd pull a stunt like this, Devin, just showing up with no notice", the reproachful father blurted. Then, seeing Devin's 'Here we go again' face, he added,"but it is a wonderful surprise. Vincent did you know about this?" "No, Father I was pleasantly surprised." Vincent kept the smirk out of his voice as he echoed Father's change in tone.

"Well Devin you must come tell us what you have been up to." Father started back toward the Great Hall.

"Father..." Vincent started to object.

He scanned the crowd as they returned to the Great Hall and quickly found the face he was looking for.

"Excuse me, I have something I must attend to," Vincent offered as he quickly excused himself from Devin and Father's presence. Catherine turned at Vincent's light touch upon her shoulder, and a delighted shiver went up her spine as he leaned toward her and whispered in her ear, "A mystery's afoot!"
"Devin?" she replied, not really asking. She turned to see his nod.
"Cathering, wait for me here, I'll be back shortly for that dance." He bowed his head slightly has he turn to leave. In his room he opened the envelope. Inside was a note that said. "The Carousel Remembers" It was unsigned. Devin had some explaining to do "Is he all right?" Concern shadowed her voice.

"I don't know yet. Father found us before we had a chance to talk. There is something troubling him, but with Devin..." Vincent softly shook his head as it could be anything when it came to Devin. Both of them turned as Devin entered the chamber.
"I see you've opened the envelope." Devin nodded his approval. "It was sent to me at the cabin in Montana. I've no idea who sent it. There's no return address." .

"Who would have known you were at the cabin?"Vincent asked.Devin's eyes lit up.

"It couldn't be.." Devin trailed off then darted out.Vincent gave Catherine a quick apology as he ran to catch up to Devin.

Catherine saw Father watching and decided to distract him from watching Devin and Vincent disappear “Father” Catherine greeted coming up next to him, “I have been having this stitch in my side and I was wondering if you might have an idea what could be wrong?” As Father took her by the elbow to lead her toward the hospital chamber where his medical bag was kept, Catherine sighed. The things she did for Vincent!
"We'll have you right as rain in no time," Father was assuring her. .

Vincent caught up to Devin as he was tearing through a duffel bag."I haven't seen her in years.I thought her disappearing meant she didn't want to go through with it,but what if.." Vincent stopped and watched as Devin pulled a locket out of the bag.

He opened it and handed it to Vincent, who stared lovingly at the photo it held. "Do you really think it could be her?"
Devin shrugged. "Not for sure. But the more I think about it...." .

"You said she disappeared..what happened?" Vincent gently handed the locket back to Devin.

"We were suppose to meet to run off and get married, but when the time came she never showed. I tried to find her, but no one had seen her since that morning." "Yet you feel the letter is from her?"
"I can't imagine who else would send a note like that: The Carousel Remembers." He nodded. "It's from her. From...Vicky." Vincent waited. "I met her when I was working as a carny.She would ride that Carousel over and over. Her family was not real keen on us being together,but we loved each other. Even told her the truth about my past." Devin's smile faded. "Well Part of it."
So Devin what do you want to do?" Vincent asked softly.
"Do you think Catherine could help me find her?" Devin asked. "I'd be happy to!" Catherine entered the chamber, having heard Devin's question. "Who am I trying to find?"
Devin grinned. "Thanks, Chandler! Her name is Victoria Vargas." He held out the envelope. "This postmark is my best clue to where she is." Catherine looked over the envelope. "It's not far from here. Do you have a picture?" Devin handed her the open locket. "She's lovely. I'll see what I can find out in the morning. Is there anything you can tell me about her that may help in finding her?"
Devin shrugged. "It's been years..." He frowned, trying to recollect anything useful. "Hmmmm...her parents are Joe and...Emily? No. Emma. Joe worked on the docks. I never knew where her house was, we always met at the carousel." .

Catherine nodded."I'll do my best to find her." Turning to Vincent she smiled, "It's getting late. Want to walk with me back up?"

"Duty calls.." Vincent excused himself as they linked arms and exited.

Devin only half heard - lost as he was in memory. It was a warm spring day when he first saw her, eyes laughing, auburn hair blowing in the breeze. she turned to meet his eyes and her smile lit his heart. He was lost even then. The carousel turned and she was gone from his sight for a moment. The music played on and soon she again filled his sight. When the ride stopped he helped her down gallantly. "M'Lady may I be of assistance.."

"Why thank you kind sir."She grinned.They had grabbed a quick lunch and then a much longer walk after closing. Every day, for weeks, they met - he'd see her riding the carousel, offer her his hand to descend, and they'd spend time together. Spring melted into summer. Devin declared his love and was overjoyed to find she returned it. Until one day.... Mr. Vargas come instead with a warning for Devin to stop seeing their daughter. She had told them of Devin and they did not approve of a carny taking such an interest.Devin was furious.Next he saw her was briefly in passing to leave him a note that said "Devin, I'm so sorry, my parents are sending me away. I don't know where. I may be gone, but...the carousel remembers.... Love always, Your Vicky"
And that was the last he saw or heard of her, although she was wrong - not just the carousel remembered. It took months to get a message to her,and then they secretly agreed the next time she came home they would meet at the carousel and be off together. The day came, and he waited for hours past the meeting time, but he had never seen her again.

After months of fruitless attempts to re-connect, he'd finally resigned himself to her loss. He'd lived a full life since then...many lives!...but still, in a secret corner of his heart, he always kept her close, hoping...hoping.... .

The next morning the DA's office was a buzz of activity as usual. Catherine had put a few feelers out trying to find Ms. Vicky Vargas, but so far nothing had surfaced. Picking up the locket again she turned it over in her hands examining it closely. Nothing. Then she took a straight pin and ever so gently pried the photo from its place. The little picture flipped over as it landed on her desk. On the back, in the faintest of writing, Catherine could just discern some numbers. .

"1-631-555-7589" It looked like a phone number. Catherine grabbed the phone and dialed. Disconnected. She groaned.. 'of course'. But it was a place to start as she could pull the records for the last known address and name on the phone number.
She spent her lunch hour doing research and calling in favors at the phone company, and was finally rewarded with an address and new phone number. She hoped they would lead to Devin's Vicky. She put them in her purse; she'd follow up after work. .

She stared out the window. Did he get her letter? Maybe he wouldn't feel the same after so long. Vicky was torn between wanting to see him again and fear of reaching out for a dream to find it had long ago turned to ashes. There was much to explain. She turned from the window, resolutely holding onto the small glimmer of hope in her heart, like a tiny candleflame amid the darkness.
Devin shook himself out of his reverie. He'd been staring into the depths of the Mirror Pool, hope in his heart. He hadn't heard Vincent walk up. "You must care very much for Vicky ... you were very far away just now; yet you've never mentioned her before." The invitation to talk was left open, but not forced.

"She doesn't know about the tunnels." Devin confessed. "I suspected as much," Vincent remarked. "Still, such things can be overcome, if there is love."
Devin smiled wryly. "That I know!"
"If Catherine finds her...you will seek her out?"
"I have to! That note...it has to mean she regrets leaving, right?" "Perhaps." Vincent cautioned.

"Why else would she write?" The challenge in Devin's voice showed.

"Are you certain she chose to leave? There may be dangers you have not imagined. Hope, seek her, find the truth, but don't go blindly." Vincent whispered.

Catherine fingered the slip of paper with the telephone number and address on it. What to do? Call or visit? Deciding, she picked up her phone and dialed.
A man answered.
"Is this Mr. Vargas?" Catherine asked, her voice cool and professional. "Who's calling?" the man asked curtly.

"My name is Catherine Chandler I'm with the DA's office.I'm trying to locate Vicky Vargas." Perhaps her job title could give her the leverage to get answers.

"What do you want with her?" he replied coldly.



"I'm sorry, but I can't disclose that, except to her. When will she be available?" Catherine crossed her fingers, hoping her bluff would work.
It did.
Grumpily, the male voice replied, "She'll be home at 9."
"Fine, I'll call her then. Thank you." "Yes!" Catherine exclaimed to herself once off the phone.

"What's up Radcliffe?" Joe had walked over to her desk during the brief phone call.

"Nothing Joe." Her innocent smile was rewarded with a puzzled shake of his head & a new case file to work on. At 9 on the dot Catherine dialed Vicky's number again. This time a hesitant female voice answered, "H-hello?"
"Vicky Vargas? This is Catherine Chandler, I'm with the DA's office."
"I know. My father told me you'd call. What's this about, please?" "I'm investigating an incident that happened at the carousel in Central Park the other night. Your name and a few others were found scratched into the leg of one of the horses. Is there some place we might talk provately?" Catherine asked. "I'd like to discuss that in person. Would you be available to meet with me tomorrow?" inquired Catherine.

"I don't know.." Her father was watching her on the phone.

"At the Carousel perhaps?" Catherine was testing her reaction. Dead silence. Bingo.
"I have a...letter...I think you should see. It won't take much time."
A gasp on the other end of the phone confirmed what Catherine already knew.
"I-I can't come," the woman mumbled. "My father...."
"I'll send a car for you tomorrow at 6 p.m., OK?" "OK..but don't know anything of use." Her voice shifted quickly to disguise her emotions from her father. *Click* The call was over. It's definitely her, but something is wrong. Catherine was getting a bad feeling about this. Time to let Devin know. Catherine finished relating what she'd learned while sitting with Devin in Vincent's chamber. Vincent handed her a cup of tea as she concluded, "I'll be picking her up myself. Do you want me to question her, or do you want to meet with her with me, or...?" "Maybe it would be easier if you picked her up on your own. If her father saw me... who knows. I can wait for you both back at your apartment." Devin suggested quietly. Catherine nodded and placed her hand on Devin's shoulder, "Breathe.. it helps.

Devin gave her a weak grin. "Thanks."

Catherine put down the map and made the last turn onto the street listed on her slip of paper. It was in a run-down section of a close-in New Jersey city. The houses were well past their prime. She stopped the car. Looking around she didn't see anyone then a shadow moved up a little further. Someone was motioning her to pull up out of sight of the house on the address listing. Catherine moved up and the woman from the locket came up with a whisper. "Ms. Chandler?" At Catherine's nod, the woman said, "If my father...."
A sudden burst of sound came from the house - a door slamming open with great force. Panic filled the woman's eyes. Catherine shouted, "Get in!" and threw the passenger door open. Vicky slid inside. Catherine pulled the car away as quickly as possible without drawing attention. Vicky's panic was enough to convince her caution was critical."You OK?" concern filled Catherine's voice as she tried to glimpse her passenger while still staying on the road. White-faced, Vicky nodded. "Devin?" she began, a question in her voice. Catherine nodded, concentrating on the turns. "He knew the letter was from you. I'm his friend." At Vicky's gasp, she amended, "His brother's woman." "Where is Devin?" her voice was shaky.

"Waiting for us at my apartment. You're terrified. What is going on Vicky?" Catherine kept watching to see if anyone was following them. Her alarm was rising as well yet she didn't want to alert Vincent via the bond. Grimly she suppressed her concerns, concentrating on her rear view mirror. No one was following, so she felt safe to take her bridge exit. They didn't speak again until Catherine pulled into her parking garage. She turned off the engine and sighed. "Just know that we will help you however we can. Are you ready to see Devin?" Vicky nodded, but hesitated to exit the car. Catherine gave her a reassuring smile, "He still loves you." A tear ran down Vicky's cheek as a weight lifted off her shoulders. Catherine knocked on her own front door then entered, quickly stepping aside to allow Vicky and Devin to meet. For a brief moment neither of them moved, then suddenly they were in each other's arms. Catherine close the door behind her and went to her room.

"I thought I'd never see you again."Devin whispered with his head pressed against hers in a fierce hug.

She wiped tears away,"I'm sorry.I never stopped loving you,but I can't stay."The words were forced through sobs.

"I don't understand." He pleaded.
“Please” she begged “forget all about me, you can’t love me, My Father…” the rest of the sentence was lost when she broke down again into body shaking sobs.
"Why did you send the letter, if not for me to find you?" His arms tightened around her "No, I'm not letting you slip through my fingers again. Whatever it is, we'll deal with it...together. I promise." He kissed her then, gently, tasting her tears. "There is something I should have told you years ago. "It was obviously hard for her to put into words. "Shortly after I was sent away I found out I was pregnant. "She finally met his eyes. "I wanted to tell you before we met up that night, but when I saw you, I lost my nerve. I thought it would be easier to tell you goodbye if you didn't know about the baby. I...I'm so sorry, Devin."

Devin tightened his hold on Vicky with the news. Tears brimmed,threatening to breach, the lines of his eyes. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that alone. Is the child with you? Is that why you have to go back?" So many emotions and thoughts were colliding in his stunned brain, but foremost was the thought of a child who had grown up without him. “Yes” she said softly “My fathers watching her right now and I don’t like to leave her alone for very long with him” she said biting the inside of her cheek. "Kahlan is my world & the part of you I've kept with me. I tried making it on my own, but ended up moving back to my father's. He blames you for my never marrying someone else to build a family." she explained softly. "He doesn't like to be disobeyed."
Breaking their embrace, Devin's jaw hardened and he clenched his fist. "Maybe I should have a...talk with him." Then, softening once again, he whispered, "And, I should," he searched for the right words, "meet my daughter." "He...wouldn't like that," Vicky whispered. "He gets really angry when he's disobeyed, and he told me not to meet Catherine. I'm in so much trouble now." Her lower lip trembled.
Devin's resolve grew. "Stay with me then, we'll go get Kahlan now." Devin went to Catherine's bedroom door and softly knocked. When she opened the door Devin asked "Cathy, would you go with Vicky and me to her father's house? With you with us, maybe, her father might listen to reason." 'Of course I'll go." Catherine agreed with a friendly smile and grabbed her coat and keys. She discretely tucked her gun into her purse, she didn’t feel comfortable facing Vicky’s father without having it close incase the need arises “you ready to go” she asked Devin and Vicky when she was ready to go. Devin lowered his voice so only Catherine could hear,"There might be trouble. Did you hear us?" They had been talking rather loud making it hard not to.She nodded placing a comforting hand on his arm; her eyes spoke volumes.Vicky was shaking as they left.
On the ride back to Vicky's place, Catherine mulled over her own conflicting emotions. Was this the best idea for Devin? It was all so sudden. But, she envied the new life they were choosing to live together. And, she sighed, they would have a child. Catherine was not sure confrontation would be the best for anyone.It was too easy for emotions to explode & someone get hurt.They arrived at the house;there was no one inside.

Vicky cried,"He must have her.Said I'd never see her again if I chose against him!"
Catherine and Devin shared a desperate look. He turned to Vicky. "Where might you father go? A friends? A relative?"
Vicky shook her head. "He's cut us off from everyone. I don't know!"
"Think!" Catherine urged her. "There must be someplace!" .

"I don't know!" Vicky screamed out of frustration and fear. She couldn't think straight with everything happening so fast.

Devin held her close as she cried, "We'll find her. Don't worry. We will.", trying to calm her. "Cath can Vicky stay with you?" "Of course," Catherine agreed. Then gently she turned Vicky to face her. "But time is not our friend if your father has taken Kahlan. Try to put yourself in his shoes. He's angry, where does he go to cool off? A bar?"
Vicky blanched. "A shooting range!" .

"Would he have taken Kahlan with him or maybe left her with someone else?" Catherine interjected.

Vicky brightened, "Abby watches her sometimes after school. There's a chance he dropped her off there."

"Where does Abby live?" Devin scanned the area.
Vicky gave them Abby's address, then led Catherine into the empty house where she quickly packed a suitcase for herself and Kahlan, assuming she'd never enter the house again. Once outside, Catherine locked the bag in the trunk. "OK, to Abby's!" They pulled up in front of a house with a single light on inside.

"Might be best if you go pick her up as if nothing is different." Catherine suggested to Vicky. "We'll be right here watching if anything goes wrong." Vicky nodded & went up to the door.
After Vicky knocked on the door for the second time, she heard movement and the door opened slowly to reveal Abby on the other side.
"Oh Abby" Vicky said with genuine relief "Is Kahlan with you?"
Confusion crossed Abby's face. "With me? "I came home a little late & there is no one at the house. I just thought.." Vicky fought to keep the tears in check.

"I haven't seen her today. Is something wrong?" Abby could tell Vicky had been crying.

"Must've just gone to get dinner." she shrugged. Abby nodded. "OK then...see ya later?" she offered uncertainly.
Vicky forced a smile. "Yeah! Sorry to bother you."
When she'd returned to the car, tears were welling in her eyes once more. Grimly, Catherine asked, "Where's this gun range?"

“4215 Maple street, about 5 blocks that way” She pointed to her left “ she looked up to the sky and said “Please god, please let them be there and let our Baby be safe” she wiped some tears off of her face. .

"Stay in the car till I can scope it out. A nine year old girl shouldn't be hard to spot in such a place." Devin stalled their objections. "If she is there,I will come back and we will figure out how to get her safe." He began to get out when they saw Vicky’s father holding onto a young girl’s wrist practically dragging her behind him. Vicky held back a strangled cry “Kahlan” she whispered touching the window then preparing to get out of the car. Devin stopped her urgently whispering "No! If we are not careful Kahlan could get caught in the middle & hurt.Let's follow them."

The man shoved her into the car & pulled out. Catherine followed. Kahlan and the man went inside the out of the way motel.
"What now?" Devin asked Catherine. She saw a maid's cart and had an idea. "I'll bribe the maid to borrow her cart for a minute, knock on the door and cause a commotion. You grab Kahlan while I'm distracting Vicky's father."
"THAT'S your plan?"he smirked. "Yes.." While arguing the man came out alone headed to the office. Vicky was out of the car before Devin could turn around. He rushed out after her as they both darted for the room where Kahlan was. They rushed inside and locked the door behind them.
"M-Mommy!" cried a sobbing Kahlan. Vicky hugged her and murmured, "You're safe now, baby."
Devin inspected the bathroom. "We can climb out this way, by the window. By the time the old man realizes Kahlan's gone, we'll be far away."
Quickly they exited. Devin lifted Kahlan off the bottom of the fire escape as she looked uncertainly at him then grabbed her mom's hand. A lump formed in his throat. Catherine was watching for them and quickly picked them up at the corner. Soon they were back at Catherine's. While Vicky comforted a confused Kahlan, Devin pulled Catherine aside. "Her Dad knows your name. If he contacts the DA's office...."
Catherine grimaced. "He'd find her pretty easily just by following me home."
"So...." Devin left his thought unfinished.
"We don't have a choice,but let's limit what she is exposed to.Is there a place on the outskirts of the tunnels that we could go?" Devin nodded.There was going to be hell to pay with Father,but that would have to wait.Getting them safe was critical now. While Devin stayed to be introduced and explained to his daughter, Catherine slipped out of the apartment and went Below. Vincent was waiting at the threshold. Quickly she explained what had transpired, ending with, "She needs sanctuary Below...soon." "Then they will have it." He assured her. "Come to the fourth junction and listen on the pipes for direction." With a quick hug he whispered, "Be careful Catherine. Come to my chamber after they are Below." She nodded as he disappeared down the tunnel. Catherine nodded to Devin as she re-entered her apartment.
"Vicky, we have something to tell you...something extraordinary," she began.
At the conclusion of her explanation, both Kahlan and Vicky were wide-eyed in disbelief. Devin said, "It's true." "You grew up BELOW NY?" Vicky gaped at Devin. He grinned.

"It's important we get moving."Catherine knew there was a clock ticking on how long till her world caught up with them here.Looking to Kahlan, "You can keep it secret, right?". She nodded to Cath. "I know it's a lot to take in all at once...a new world...a father."
Kahlan nodded, then grinned. "It's cool!"
"Good!" Catherine smiled in approval. "Come on, what are we waiting for then?"
Vicky rose, grasped Kahlan with one hand, Devin with another. They made their way quickly down to the prepared chamber.

"I'll give you three some time alone." Catherine lowered her voice and leaned toward Devin,"I'm going over to Vincent's chamber. We still have some things to wrap up,but take time here first." Father met with Vincent and Catherine, discussing their unexpected new inhabitants. "Devin is so irresponsible," Father grumbled.
"It wasn't like he had a lot of warning," Catherine replied, defending Devin. "We did the best we could."
"They are his family Father surely you can understand the need to protect them." added Vincent.

"There was nowhere above they could've gone?" Father ranted on.

"No." They turned to see Devin enter. "They belong with me."

"And now?" Father relented.
"And now...." Devin shrugged, resigned, and sat down hard on the nearest chair. "I...don't know." He raked unsteady fingers through his thick dark hair and looked up at Father. "But I know in my heart they need to be here...with me...safe from harm."

Father limped over to Devin and placed a firm hand on his shoulder, "There is no question. As long as they need a place to stay,they have it. But, though I have often wished differently, it has been many years since you called the tunnels your hom "It's late." Vincent sighed, "Why don't we all get some sleep & revisit this tomorrow."

"Perhaps you're right.Devin you can stay with them in the guest chamber." Softening his tone Father turned to Devin, "It's a big responsibility.. having a family but I have faith in you that you can make it work. I know I don't say it often enough but i am proud of the man you have become and i love you so very very much" he hugged him then kissed him on the cheek good night Devin, My son." Touched by the rare praise Devin blinked back tears.

They all made their way to settle in for the night as Vincent walked Catherine back Above. "Are you certain you will be all right?" He was reluctant to risk Vicky's father finding & harming her.

She nodded pensively, but lingered at the entrance, staring into the dark. Vincent sensed her resistance to her own thoughts. He prompted with a whisper, "Tell me."

A sad smile swept across her face, "Devin has some tough decisions to make tonight. "Yes. But his heart is good and he has a clever mind. He'll make the right choices."
"He will," she agreed,then hugged him hard and disappeared up the threshold ladder.
As she approached her apartment door from the stairway, she heard the elevator ding. She tensed for just a moment then saw one of her elderly neighbors get off of the elevator she waved to him and then just as she opened her door someone grabbed her shoulders and yanked her back and covering her mouth so she couldn’t scream. A jolt of fear spiked in her and she bit and kicked at the person behind her getting away she flew back down the way she came. Catherine couldn't remember ever descending the stairs so fast, but before she knew it she'd flung the door to the basement open and hurtled toward her storage area. Afraid to enter it for fear of being followed, instead she hid carefully among the boxes. Footsteps echoed as he rushed in after her.Catherine gripped a metal rod tightly she peered around the box till she saw the man turn then quickly sent him down with one blow.Vincent was about to crash through when he felt her relief.Police & an ambulance were called quickly and after giving her statement and assuring Joe, who'd been called, that she hadn't been harmed, Catherine finally entered her apartment. Rushing to the French doors, she opened them and fell into Vincent's waiting arms. "It was Vargas . He's under police custody at the hospital now. I'm sorry Vincent I underestimated the danger he posed."

"You're safe now.That is what matters." He pulled her closer.

"It's not over. There will be follow up regarding tonight,but for now just hold me."
When Catherine entered her office the next morning, a grumpy Joe greeted her.
"What's this really about, Radcliffe?" he barked. "The guy claims you kidnapped his granddaughter, and she IS missing."
"She's not missing, she's safe from his abuse." He closed the door."No abuse reports are on file Cath. Talk to me."
"All I can tell you is she is safe with her mother.", sighed Catherine.
"Where?" Joe pressed.She maintained silent eye contact."We're talking criminal charges Cathy! Give me something to work with!"
"I'll produce his daughter and granddaughter to press charges. I just need some time."
"Time you don't have, kiddo, if you want that guy to stay behind bars. He'll walk soon without additional charges."
Catherine grabbed her briefcase.
"Where you going?" Joe sputtered.
"Out." She tossed off and kept walking. He ran his fingers through his hair - I hope you know what you are doing Ratcliffe.

Catherine walked with Vincent down the tunnels."I need to talk with Vicky.How are they doing?" "Still shaky. It's a lot to take in...our world, being safe after being terrorized for so long."
"Do you think she could face Vargas, file charges against her father?"
Vincent considered her questions. "Possibly. Devin would know best."
"Let's ask him. " She paused her step a moment unsure if to say her thoughts aloud.
"Catherine?"He questioned.
She looked up at him. "Has Devin introduced you yet?"
"He has wanted to,but we thought it best to wait with so much yet undecided & pressing dangers to face." Catherine nodded understanding “and it will only get worse before it gets better, we can only hold Vargas for so long before we release him I we don’t press criminal charges soon, so I need to get Vicky’s statement and to get the ball rolling on that or else Devin and I could be in trouble for kidnapping Vicky and her daughter it’s a race against time Vincent, it’s a race against time.” When they neared the chamber with the newly reunited family, Vincent tapped out a message for Devin to come meet with them.Minutes later Devin rounded the intersection.

"What's up Chandler?" he knew there would be ripples in the world above to deal with.

“I need to talk to Vicky and get her statement. We can only keep Vicky’s dad in prison for so long without charging him with anything. We also have to worry about him pressing charges on us because he is claiming that we kidnapped his daughter and granddaughter. He really does have a case there you and I both know it.” she lauged referring to the time he worked at the DA’s office with her. We need to get this resolved. You know the laws below as well as I do, Devin. Father would never allow us and Vicky and Kahlan to remain here with this hanging over us, no matter how much it hurts. Kahlan can stay with Father and Vicky can come with us. ". They parted ways as Devin & Catherine went in to speak with Vicky.

"Hey Kahlan how would you like to spend some time with your Grampa while Mommy and we talk over some grown up business?" Devin grinned at her. "He is a great storyteller." he promised. Kahlan grabbed his hand and he found himself being dragged out into the passage, so he quickly brought her to Father. He heard the Old Man offering her some tea as he returned to Catherine and Vincent. Vicky was saying, "I don't want to see him again."
"I know this must be difficult Vicky, but testifying against him in court is the only way to be free of him. Once he is convicted you and Kahlan can start a new life."Catherine explained.

"You are not alone in this anymore."Devin took her hands in his. "You don't know me anymore, Devin. I...I'm weak. I'm scared. I...can't," she murmured, afraid to meet his eyes.
Catherine rose laid a hand on her arm. "You have Devin behind you...and me. We won't let you fail."
Vincent nodded. "Trust yourself." Vicky had taken to being introduced to Vincent well. It was hoped with full disclosure to the world Below that she would feel she had a place to belong; people to support her in the difficult journey of remaking her life free from her father's grasp. Vicky looked at Catherine then to Devin, a little unsure she spoken "you both will be with me the whole time?" "Yes. " Catherine assured her and Devin nodded as he put an arm around her.

Vicky took a deep breath to steady her resolve. "All right... lets go." Devin, Catherine and Vicky made their way to Joe's office. It had been a grueling 12 hours, but finally Vicky, Devin and Catherine returned Below. Vicky had filed charges against her father, and Catherine had worked with Joe to get all the legal paperwork completed. They were all exhausted emotionally. "You'll need to return for the trial,but until then you can stay Below. The charges should keep him locked away." Catherine explained to Vicky.Joe didn't like not having any contact info for the witness,but he was also surprised to see 'Jeff' again.

A month later, Vincent and Catherine were enjoying a Valentine's evening together in their music chamber.

"You're smiling..." Vincent said, holding her closer as the music from Above filled the air.

"They look so happy, Vincent," she whispered. They finally found a life together. Mr. Vargas had been convicted.

"Mmm yes and Devin might actually stay... for a while." He smiled.

She snuggled closer knowing she would stay in his arms forever as she watched Devin, Vicky and Kahlan from across the way. And as the new family passed by and disappeared from sight, the couple turned to each other once more.

"And...if you let me, my Catherine..."

"Always, my love," she replied, as lips met in silent seal of a promise of a lifetime together.