Never to Mock Their Dream

By Boadicea


Gaea, Mother Spirit of Earth, looked down in despair at all the devastation of her once great planet. The most devious spirit, Fate, had spun her web of suffering all to well. Fate had finally succeeded in her war on Gaea and all humanity. Gaea stood with her beloved Eternity, Lord of Time, as her mortals begun their decent into madness. They watched as plagues and horrific battles, cut through entire countries, sparing no one. The once great and peaceful religions of the world, Islam, Christian, even the blessed religion of the Buddha had turned away from their proper teachings, and twisted it into a mockery.

“My love,” Eternity whispered to Gaea, as he felt all her emotions, rising and falling like the waves on the shore. Pain and sorrow washed through her, till he felt something else, an emotion he had not felt in her since that fateful day his sister Fate, had brought about the end of Gaea’s key soul, the promised one, Catharine Chandler. Gaea’s rage emanated from her like a thousand suns, burning into him till he could feel nothing else. “Gaea, it is finished,” he said as he tried to pull her away from the sight of the world below.

“No,” she screamed as she balled her fists at her sides. “It, it cannot be, it was not to be this way! I failed them…I failed them all!” Her eyes of blue glowed with rage as she fought back her tears. “If I had done something, anything other than watch,” She waved her hand to the earth, “If I had been there for him, protected her from the path Fate had put her on, Gabriel would have never taken her from him! Catherine would have been spared, and she would have fulfilled her destiny with her soul mate Vincent! Their children to be born would have stopped all this from ever coming to pass! And I did…nothing.” 

Eternity tried to take her into his arms. When lightning streaked through the blackened sky and thunder shook through their realm, he knew her emotions had forced their way into nature once again. Fearing for her sanity, he pleaded, “Tell me, please tell me what I can do to bring back the love I know lives within you!”

She spun on him, and in a rasping voice she forced out to him. “Change what is…to what was meant to be… stop all this from ever happening!”

“My lady please, no!” Eternity breathed to her. “You don’t know what you ask, the risk…”

But she cut him off, “No risk will be too great…without my mortals, my children of earth…there is nothing for me. I am nothing without them.”

“You yourself decreed that I was never to alter the time stream!” He argued back, “Time, Gaea is like a river, forever altering its course against any changes! What if we shift time, if something else should happen, something worse! Nay you can not ask this of me!” When he finished, he almost fell from the force of her anger.

“You dare much my lord…you are my consort, my chosen Lord.”

So hushed and deadly was her tone he shrank back from her. “Gaea please, you know this will be an impossible undertaking, and have you forgotten there is one other we must go to. She has sworn vengeance upon you. Fate would never grant you the fates of your lost lovers…she is the one who brought this all about!”

“I, Eternity have forgotten nothing! Her greed for power has always been her weakness… besides look at what’s left of my world. What is there left for me to lose!”

“I could lose you!” He argued back, “then what?” Taking her by the hand, he kissed her hand before she could pull away. “You are my wife, my love; to lose you…existence would become unbearable.” 

Gaea slipped her hand from his, to gently stroke his cheek. “You must go to her in my place, Eternity, you are her brother, she will not act against you, and she will not see you as a threat. Go to her and offer her this oath from me, I shall grant her a boon any boon she so desires.”

His head shot up at that. “But my lady, you, you can’t even think such! Your oaths, they cannot be broken! That is your own law!”

But Gaea smiled up at him. “My lord, it is you who forget, for a law that cannot be broken can surly be bent. I to have my ways of getting around such. For she has overestimated herself many times, two can play that game. If she plans to overthrow me, Fate will be in for quite a surprise.” 

Arching his brow at him he nodded. “Then by your leave, I shall go, I only pray you have a plan in case she betrays you.” With that he bowed to her, and faster than the north winds he went quickly to the earth to seek out she who ruled the fates. 

In a swirl of blue mist, Eternity touched down to what was once known as New York, taking on his true form, skin as blue as the sky had once been; stretched across his muscular body.

Hair that glowed with the magnificence of the sun fell to his shoulders, his eyes opened, and sparkling gold as his sharp aristocratic nose wrinkled in disgust, at the sickly sweet smell of rotting flesh that filled the air. Standing well over seven feet, he looked as if he were carved from living marble. His robes of white silk wrapped themselves around his powerful form, much like the fine togas once worn by the ruling class of the ancient Romans. A long cloak of a starry night fell around his shoulders.

He stood at the very beginning of the end of civilization. What once was a thriving city was now nothing more than a graveyard. Towers of steel and iron looked like skeletal claws reaching for the sky.

The air was thick and heavy from the toxins in their bombs; nothing remained standing, not a tree, or a single blade of grass. The landscape looked as if the Reaper himself had drawn his scythe across the land, leaving nothing behind but ashes. Eternity looked down to the ground and became sickened.

At his feet laid the withered remains of a woman cradled in her arms; she held the body of a child, no more then a year in age. He tore his eyes away from the grisly sight as he fought the icy cold grip of death encircle him. Eternity pulled his cloak around him even tighter. Not from the physical coldness, but the coldness he always felt when she was near. His eyes scanned the place he stood once known as Central Park, and called out to her.

“Come out, come out, where ever you are! I know you’re here Fate! Reveal thy self; we are too old for such childish games, sister!” He did not have long to wait, as he heard the shrieking laughter, of the Banshee. It seemed to come from everywhere, yet nowhere. When it finally died down he heard her sing-song voice in his ear.

“So your beloved Mistress can capture me? Do you think me daft?”

“Nay sister, Gaea is the one who sends me to you! She sends me on a matter of great importance! No ill shall befall you, you have my word, sister!” He shouted pleadingly. The silence was almost deafening as he waited for her to answer him.

“Very well than,” the air before him shimmered and shifted as it took on the form of a small woman. Fate’s skin became as pale as the moon's rays, her hair white hair piled itself in wild curls atop her head. Cold black eyes peered at him like those of a shark. She looked no different then the corpses that littered the earth. Her thin blue lips pulled back in a sneer, making her look even sicklier. She wore a gown of tattered black silk, held at her boney shoulders by two gold clasps in the shape of human skulls. Crossing her thin arms over her chest, she cocked her pale brow at him, “Still the lapdog I see.”

Ignoring her snide remark, he said calmly, “My lady, Gaea has sent me to you for perhaps an exchange.” 

That got her attention. “I’m listening.”

“She asks for the fate of her chosen ones, and all who come of their union.”

There was a moment of silence before she threw back her head, screeching out her laughter. “Truly you jest, brother? For what’s done is done. They live their disgusting dream now, leave it be.”

“Nay, I can not. You took her from him without any right! He was Gaea’s, and there for his chosen mate. Catherine fell under her laws; she was never to be on that elevator. Vincent was to always be there for her, to keep her and their children safe! Vincent and Catherine’s children were destined to stop all this from ever happening. You took from Gaea that which you had no rights to!” He roared to her. 

She merely smiled in that daunting way that always reminded him of the Cheshire cat, as she looked down at her nails in boredom. “What does it matter anymore? Besides I simply deemed it her time. She was mortal enough for me to decide, 'tis all.”

Eternity could feel his temper slipping as he fired back at her. “She was not to leave this world with out him! They were one heart, one soul, they were to live as one and raise the future of mankind. You stopped all that when you threw her into Gabriel’s crosshairs! Their lives were never to cross paths, and you knew that!”

Fate’s eyes glittered in her own rage as she charged back at him. “Who are you to lecture me on fate? Gaea dumped those damned meat sacks on me to guide, and guide them I did! Till she called an end to our reign over humanity! She imprisoned all my sisters, your sisters in a perpetual hell, forever to feel their flesh burn from their bones! There was Kali, Sekhmet, Morrigan, and Nun, just to name a few, who now suffer, for not bowing to her!” 

Eternity lowered his voice to a pleading manner to her, as he swallowed his pride at what he was to do. “Gaea has told me…to offer you, my sister a boon, anything you so desire if you but give her the souls she asks for.”

That stopped her cold as her eyes widened in shock. “Did, did she swear it?”

Eternity only nodded his head yes. 

Fate again smiled as thoughts beyond imagination ran through her twisted mind; ‘Oh to have the all powerful Mother bow down to me, the sweet joy of making her suffer as I have, to make her feel all the pain and loneliness of losing all those who were dear to her!’ 

“Sister, time is of the essence,” Eternity pressed as he impatiently waited for her answer. 

But she merely waved him off as she thought on what to do. She paced back and forth in front of him.

“Sister please, will you grant her their fates or not?”

Fate clasped her hands before her in sick joy. “Yes, but on one condition, brother. I want her here on her knees, begging me herself, for her fur ball and his concubine. If not then this conversation is over, and this worthless mud ball stays as it lies!”

Eternity looked at her as if she lost her mind. “You would dare to ask that of my lady! She granted you life, and you ask this of her?” 

Her only answer was a lopped sided grin.

Sighing at her audacity, he shook his head in disgust. “Very well then, I will tell her, but I warn you sister.” In the breath of a second he yanked her to him by her boney arms, till they were nose to nose. “Betray her, and I will kill you myself!” he growled to her. Dropping her away from him, he wiped his hands on his cloak as if he had touched something vile. 

Fate smiled smugly as she righted herself. “Dear brother, you must have taken leave of your senses, we are bound to one another, since the moment of our creation. Killing me will gain you nothing but your own death.  Remember: Time and Fate are a force no one can escape.”

Now it was Eternity’s turn to surprise her. “Sister, once more you have over estimated yourself. I have watched for eons as you and the others have constantly hurt my lady. To stop you and all your evils…gladly!”

Fate took a fearful step back from him, she felt the truth to his words, knew from the hard look in his eyes that he would indeed keep his word. She steeled herself and lifted her chin at him in defiance, as she snidely answered. “Love is so overrated, but then again how would I know? She never cursed me with such.”

Eternity looked to the east where the sun should have risen, but due to the blackout from the bombs he could not see the glory in the dawn. Turning back to her, “It is dawn; bring the souls and meet us where Gaea started it all, the very cradle of civilization: Africa, in one hour. There is a small piece of land that was never poisoned or touched by human hand. Her last bit of hope lies there. You have one hour!”

Before she could even think to say a word, he was gone, leaving in wisp of gold.

“Oh my boon shall be dear indeed. What fun to be had?” She screeched to no one as she took her leave of the dead space and rushed to where the lovers waited: the Realm of Paradise, where all of Gaea’s beloved souls went. Only the truest of lovers went there to dream of the love denied. Catherine Chandler and her love Vincent Wells. Taking on her form, she stood outside the threshold. Fate clutched her stomach as she felt each and every one of them just beyond her in that sickening light that spilled out from the opening.

“If it gets any sweeter in there I’m going to stick a finger down my throat!” she grumbled as she fought down her nausea, and took small steps to the vast opening of where they waited. She had to shield her eyes, as she came closer to the light. “Egad, you mortals actually like walking into this? It is blinding!”

Then closing her eyes she stepped through. The force of all the emotions from those that had passed on hit her harder than the four winds of Bacab. She had to lean into it as she forced herself onward, till finally she stepped through to the other side. Blinking her eyes a time or two to clear her vision, what greeted her sight nearly took her breath away. Thousands upon thousands of tiny points of light drifted by her like fireflies on the breeze. Curling her lips back she spat out at them. “Oh… too swat at you as such!” 

Two swirls of light drifted a little to close. Smiling evilly, she scooped them up into her cold hand and peered closer to see who dared come so close. Her eyes filled with twisted joy as she saw whom she held.

“Why Cleopatra, Anthony, how did you two ever manage to slip past me…into here? Ahh, I remember now, that sneaky little whore, Lofn, got to you! 'Tis sad Cleo, I had such plans for you…but you had to go and fall in love with that drunk! You ruined all my plans for Rome! Someone had to teach you a lesson!” Lifting her fingers to them, she flicked them away like marbles, laughing as they scattered to rejoin each other. She was about to do the same to another, when she screeched from the searing pain that shot through her, spinning around to see who would dare such, Fate’s eyes fell on the one who protected all the souls here. “Lofn, you dare to attack me?”

A tall beautiful woman stepped into the gathering of the lights, as they circled around her for protection. The Norse Goddess of forbidden love lowered her hand as it still smoldered from her attack. Her rose red lips smiled as if it was nothing at all to her. With a shrug to Fate, she spoke in a light musical tone, which always grated Fate’s nerves. “I know why you are here; I’ve been expecting you for sometime now. I figured that now the world is dead you would have the Mother Spirit right where you wanted her. I’ve known since the day Catherine came here to wait for him. You may take them to her, but act against them and any others, and I will not remain neutral in your petty war on the Mother. These souls,” Lofn lifted two in her soft hand, before her, “died for love; I will not let you hurt them any further, understood?” 

Fate bit back a snarl at her. “I understand, just hand them over…and I’ll be on my merry way, does that suit thee?” Fate raised her brow at her as she waited.

Finally Lofn nodded to her. “Aye, the sooner the better. I grow weary of your presence.” Turning away from her, Lofn scanned the room for her most treasured souls, till her eyes picked them out easily. Raising her hand she beckoned them to come to her. As they settled into her hand, she looked back at Fate. “I bestow these gentle souls into your hands, to be only given to the Mother Spirit, treat them gently; Vincent and his Catherine have more then earned their peace.”

Fate rolled her eyes at her words. “Fine, just hand them over already! I grow ill from this place!”

She lifted her hand to her lips and blew a soft breath against them, letting them float into Fate’s greedy outstretched hands. 

“Let me ask one question Fate. Why, why do you torment the mother so? What have you to gain by hurting her? And please spare me that drivel you spew about forcing us out of humanity’s lives. I know that when humanity was still in their infancy, aye they needed us to be there for them, but when they gained wisdom and the ability to think for their selves, Gaea, in her infinite wisdom was right to end our reign, to allow them to prosper without us. Now I and all the others who remain take great pride in the tales of our lives…that my sister is true immortality.”

“You sound like our foolish brother. What are these mortals, but worthless, mindless fools? They did not deserve the gift of free will, for look how they have squandered it, their wisdom and thought? Bah, when I take control from Gaea, I will return that which was, and humanity will learn their place for always. They will once again be my slaves.” 

“Foolish girl, you will never learn. Away with you.” Lofn turned to leave as the image of a man came behind her. “I have better things to do.” Her eyes sparkled, as she took the hand of her most favored consort. “Come my dear Giovanni Casanova, I grow hungry.” Lofn purred to him as he led her away, leaving Fate alone once more.

“Always the harlot,” Fate seethed as she cupped her cold hands around the swirling souls, “I have what I need.” She peered down at them then, and spied the thin golden thread that bound them together, placed there by Gaea herself. “I thought I severed that long ago!” She quickly looked to see if Lofn was near. Secure in the fact that she was indeed alone, she reached up to run a bony finger along it hoping it would disrupt them in their love play. However when her finger touched it, it sent a current of emotions so strong, she felt as if she were paralyzed, as their emotions became hers. She felt all the love they had shared, rocking her to her very core. “No,” She screamed as she heard his deep husking voice speaking his words of love. 

“For thy sweet love remembered.”

Vincent, forgive me. What we have, it’s worth everything” She heard Catherine’s desperate cry to him.

Whatever happens, what ever comes…know that I love you.”

With love, all things are possible.”

Their words, their love drove her to her knees. “Please stop this…I, I cannot…what are you doing to me?” Fate closed her eyes as flashes of their past invaded her, filling her, she saw all, and suffered with them. “No! You must stop!” Her screams echoed through out the room as she felt something slip down her cheek. Lifting her free hand, she felt a single tear, warm and wet in her cold hand. 

The dam she had so painstakingly built to protect herself from all emotion broke as the image of Vincent holding Catherine, for the final time as she slipped away, forever out of his reach. Everything stopped, as the golden thread released its hold on her, the souls hovered just slightly above her as she wept out all she had seen through them. “Oh, Mother Gaea, what have I done?” She whispered as she wiped her tears away. “Their love…Catherine’s sacrifice to love him, Vincent’s undying devotion to her…forgive me.”

*****

Fate’s eyes shot up to the lover’s souls as they seemed oblivious to the war that raged with in her. “These emotions…this love…By Gaea what have I done? The hell, the suffering I laid upon you without care, but you endured so much…over came every obstacle I threw in to you, yet even your love withstood the grave? These feelings…I, I must know…they are so…beautiful!” Fate dropped her head down to look at her hands as slowly warmth replaced the cold flesh of her skin, her fingers once bony and claw-like, now filled out with the rest of her body. Her tattered gown became white as new fallen snow.

She looked up with new eyes to the world around her, the chamber of Paradise was beauty unto it’s self, everything with in shimmered like the Ice Palaces of the frozen north, but it felt so warm from the love of the souls who sought refuge with in.

Slowly Fate stood, and reached for the lovers once more. “Dear ones, come to me, for I beg of thee to forgive me, for now I must go to she whom I have so gravely wronged.” Pulling her precious cargo closer to her heart, she rushed from the chamber. “I only pray Great Gaea will seek it with in her essence to forgive me.”

“Well played my Bella, nice move with their thread.” Casanova whispered to Lofn as they hovered out of sight to watch Fate leave.

“Yes, it was a nice touch was it not?” Lofn giggled as she took form. “She did not shatter their bond as she first thought. With Gaea’s aid, we were able to merely shift it from her to the babe she carried…but alas--”

“Do not think on such,” Casanova whispered to her soothingly. “You have done what you could, now the rest is up to her. We must only wait and see what will become of your divine interference. I did not impart my voice to Vincent for nothing.” He whispered in her ear. “Now my Bella, if you would be so kind as to bless me with a body?” With a gentle sweep of her delicate hand, Giovanni Casanova snatched her up into his hungry arms.

Purring to him in her most seductive voice, “Now where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?” Her wide round eyes teased, as she pursed her rosy red lips in a slight pout. “Ah yes I remember now…we were about to add another to our little play, oh what’s his name?” Snapping her pale fingers, “ah, come hither my dear; let us have a little fun shall we?” Lofn’s deep blue eyes glowed briefly as a swirl of lights appeared in her hand. Smiling greedily she closed her hand around him. “Will the soul of a very lusty, Colin Farrell do? I find after all that has happened I shall need great distraction, shall we say?” 

“My Cara mia, you are as insatiable as ever, fortunately…I have nothing but time to appease thee.” He replied as he whisked her away to that all forgotten realm where Lofn’s sexual designs knew no limits, leaving Paradise at peace once more. 

*****

Fate touched her sandaled feet to the land once known as Africa, the very beginnings of where Gaea herself created all things. This was where Fate had watched in jealousy as Humanity took their first breath of life at Gaea’s command. Now eons later she was about to see it happen all over again. Only this time she would lend her own strength to repair all the damage she had caused, returning life to a world that did indeed deserve one more chance at the gift Gaea had bestowed upon them: life. 

Fate delicately ran her hand over the glowing aura of the lovers as she focused on seeing again their lives as she fought constantly to destroy all they dreamt. The nighttime visits he made to her balcony as he read to her. The time she had wronged him again by taking his dream of going to Catherine’s family’s lake house, how he regained himself with renewed hope when he awakened to find Catherine still by his side. 

She closed her eyes as she heard Catherine’s words to him. “Vincent, you could never lose me…we could never lose each other…as long as we remember, remember love.” 

Fate smiled as she listened to his thoughts, "Remember love…always, I could no more forget you Catherine then my right arm."

Fate’s smile broadened as she felt the love they shared as he pulled her down to him. The pain of denying her that one chance was forgotten as he felt the warmth of this woman he treasured above all things in his world. 

Pulling her hand away, she opened herself to the four winds of the earth, calling out to Gaea and her brother whom she knew waited with baited breath for her call to them.  “Gaea, Mother Spirit of the Earth, come now at my command! To give me what I demand, for the gift I hold shall be a gift ten fold!” Lowering her voice to the souls in her hand, she whispered to them, “Be still now, fair lovers all I have done shall now be made right. This I promise you.” 

Meanwhile, Gaea walked sadly down the now empty streets of this once great metropolis known as New York, with Eternity by her side. She stopped sadly in front of the empty cages of the Central Park Zoo, letting her fingers run over the rusted bars that once upon a time held one of the rarest animals of the world. Now they stood empty. The graceful pandas, like the other animals of this zoo, had been killed by the starving wretches left in the city after the plagues had forced the government to quarantine the entire city and leaving the people to fend for them selves. Gaea grasped the bars tightly as she fought off the memories of seeing mankind sink to the lowest levels of insanity.

“My love,” Eternity asked as he lightly pulled her close.

She gasped for breath as the pain overtook her. 

He felt the despairing pain that coursed through her as images from that past came to her. “Peace my love…breathe, slowly now.” He whispered to her, he knew the pain she suffered must have been maddening. 

Leaning back into the comfort of his arms, she allowed his love to comfort her. Gaea patted his arm to reassure him. “I, I shall be well again. It, it sometimes becomes so overwhelming. Their suffering…my love, I can still feel the echoes of their lives…I can still feel it all! The hardship, the madness, it is so strong.” Turning in his arms she shuddered from it all. 

Eternity knew that without her mortals, Gaea had nothing to draw upon to guide her, to give her strength. ‘Please sister, help her.’ His prayed to himself as he waited. 

“Give her, her time my love,” Gaea smiled up at him, as she read his thoughts. “I have the feeling she shall need a moment in time to gather herself.” Eternity looked down at her questioningly, arching his brow at her, he was about to ask, what she meant, when both looked to the east. They felt her; they both knew Fate had returned to earth. From one heartbeat to the next, they heard her sing-song voice carry over the rancid air. 

“Gaea, Mother Spirit of Earth, come now at my command, to give me what I demand for the gift I hold shall be a gift tenfold!”

Gaea gritted her teeth at being summoned in such away. Eternity was there ever at her side to comfort her.

Pulling away from her, he took her hand into his, turning it palm up as he kissed it, he told her. “Peace my Gaea, peace. Remember this is part of the bargain you had me strike with her, do not let your anger of her deeds blind you now,” he stopped when he felt something else, something new in his sister’s essence. “She has them, Gaea. She has brought them!” With out waiting for her to reply, his essence dissolved with hers to carry them to the beginning of all peoples. He raced the winds to hurry to where Fate waited with Gaea’s beloved souls. All the while praying Fate would not betray them, or take his love from his eternal side, he would gladly lay his on immortality aside for his lady wife, Gaea.

Fate cold feel them drawing near, a small shiver coursed through her as she steeled herself against the warmth emanating from the souls she held behind her back. She closed her eyes as she whispered to them. “Please, you must cease, I need all my strength for what is to be…and you two are quite distracting.” Fate’s eyes widened as the very air hummed all around her. The ground beneath her feet vibrated, as tiny pebbles danced across the ground at her feet. “She’s here!” Fate gasped as what seemed the very stars themselves had descended upon the earth. Great swirls of blue and gold swarmed before her, heralding their coming. Fate only rolled her eyes as the mist cleared, and Gaea herself with Eternity appeared before her. 

Gaea gracefully bowed to her, before she finally spoke. “I am here, Eternity has told me of your...request, I shall honor whatever boon you ask. Only please Lady Fate, harm my lovers not, please.” She begged to her. 

This, this is what I’ve always wanted…to have the Great Mother Bowing to me! But, it is hollow; there is no joy in seeing her humiliate herself to me!’ Fate thought, as she watched in stunned awe as Gaea slowly sank to her knees before her. 

Looking up to Fate with tear-filled eyes, her voice raw with suffering, Gaea begged. “I come to thee on my knees, let me hear your plea, for the souls you hold to be set free.” 

It pained Eternity to see her like this. Stepping beside his love he looked to his sister in disgust. “Fate, she has done what you asked; now give her the souls, and make your demand quickly we have much to do!” Eternity shouted, jarring her out of her thoughts.

“Tsk, tsk, brother. You are Eternity, what is time to you?” Fate said as she pulled the souls from behind her back and presented them before Gaea’s astonished eyes. As Eternity reached for them, she pulled them back, wagging her finger at them, she replied, “Not so fast, I want no tricks, no strings; I want your word, Gaea! That whatever I want you will honor, or a simple twist of fate and it all ends here.” 

Gaea looked at her with barely controlled rage. She whispered, “You have it, lady Fate, whatever you so desire…you shall have. You have my oath. I shall give all that you deserve.”

Fate smiled triumphantly. But she could not hold it, it was indeed everything she wanted, but again she felt no joy in seeing her humbled in such away. “Humility truly does not become you my lady. However…you have kept your part of the bargain, you may have your souls, Vincent, adopted son of Jacob Wells…and Catherine Chandler, descendant of Eve.” As Fate handed them to her brother’s eager hands, she turned to Gaea again. “Lady Gaea, it is now time for the second part of the bargain.” 

Eternity’s fear was palatable, what would she want? 

But Gaea held her hand up for him to be still. Never taking her eyes off Fate, she then asked “What will be thy demand?” Gaea asked.

Gaea and Eternity waited for what seemed eons, before she made her request. But the words that tumbled from Fate’s lips nearly stunned them.

“Grant me my freedom…grant…me…love.” Fate choked out, as she let the tears finally spill from her eyes. 

Eternity’s mouth fell open in stunned silence, he tried to speak but no words would come forth. 

But Gaea lowered her head in silent thanks to her dear mischievous Lofn. 

Eternity gathered his wits quickly as he leaned down to help Gaea to her feet. 

When Gaea stood, she smiled beautifully to Fate. For what she had always hoped for was coming to pass. 

“You, you no longer wish to be the ruler of fate?” Eternity finally asked.

Fate looked sadly to him. “I am tired, dear brother. I am tired of it all,” She looked back to Gaea, “My war with you Lady Mother is over. Now all I wish…" She could not finish has she looked to the souls in Eternity’s hands.

“Now you wish to feel what they feel?” Gaea asked as she took Fate’s hands in hers. 

All Fate could do was nod, as she fell into Gaea’s arms sobbing out all the pain she kept locked away for millenniums. 

“Shh, dear one,” Gaea crooned. “You touched the golden thread that bond them didn’t you? You felt all the love within their hearts, their dreams.” 

“I, I felt his love for her, and hers for him…the joys they found together in their brief meetings, the love and unimaginable sacrifice she gave to save her son and him. She died giving him his most treasured gift! They overcame every obstacle I threw at them. Let me know this kind of love, and I will aid you gladly in restoring all that was lost…please, forgive me for all that I have done to them.”

Gaea leaned down and placed a kiss to her forehead, as she pulled her into a motherly embrace for her child she thought lost. She told her lovingly. “A mother’s love and forgiveness of her children knows no limit.”

Tears of pain and loneliness, dissolved into tears of joy at Gaea’s words. “Than-you my lady.” Fate murmured into her shoulder, as she allowed the healing love and forgiveness of Gaea flow over her. Freeing her from the last bit of sorrow she felt at all she had done to this fair Spirit. 

Eternity stood back in silence as he took in the sight of his sister finally wanting to love. But other matters had to be attended first, clearing his throat to gain their attention, both ladies turned to him. 

“Forgive me, this is all well and good…but we have much to do…my ladies.” He said as he inclined his head to them. 

Fate quickly dashed her tears away at her brother’s interruption.

Gaea turned to take the souls into her hands, relishing the warmth that was shared between them. ‘My thanks to you both for the gift you have given me.’ Gaea silently thanked them. 

Straightening herself she spoke to Eternity and Fate with great determination. “In order for this to work I shall need you both, to impart your power to bring life back to my lovers. It will take most of my magic’s to accomplish this undertaking.” 

With her free hand she knelt down to the last of the pure soil at her feet, scooping it up, she waved her hand over it, as it glowed a slight brilliant white the soil became clay, molding it’s self in to two human forms. One a male, tall and very well built with the noble features of the lion, with long flowing hair a flattened nose, with deep set eyes. A split lip formed over a full sensual lip beneath it. The other formed into that of a petite woman, with the beauty that even a god would envy. A small scar lined it’s self along her jaw, as long side parted hair fell slightly past her shoulders. Both figures looked so lifelike that they merely appeared to be sleeping. Slowly Gaea lowered the clay molds to the ground. Gaea, spoke softly as she gathered what little strength she had left from the earth to help her. Holding her hands over them, she began as her eyes glowed in the brilliance of the bluest sky. “These two souls I doth make as one, a love denied taken before their time.” She nodded to Eternity to begin. 

He raised his hands over them. In a deep echoing voice that lifted above the winds that rose with each passing second, since Gaea began her magic’s. “Spirits lost across the mists of space and time comes to me from across all eternity, to become all you were meant to be!” 

Fate ducked as the thunder from above clapped loudly in her ears, the lightning from above became almost blinding as Gaea’s looked to her to start. Nodding to her, her voice rose to a musical song over the harsh blowing winds that seemed to come from no where yet everywhere. Fate’s eyes glowed in a lustrous green as she grabbed the hovering souls; forcing them into their clay molds, she began. “A love so divine, that it with stood the sorrows of my design, go now to your rightful place, for now you shall live forever in Gaea’s grace! No more to suffer under my misdeed!”

Gaea reached up to the heavens to capture a stray bolt of lightning. Harnessing the powers of nature she finished the spell as she screamed to the forms lying still. “With the blessing of all life for thee live now for it must be!” With all her might, she struck the souls with the bolt, shattering the clay that held them. In an atomic-like blast, all three spirits were blown away from the force of the impact. 

Fate flew back onto her backside, losing her sight from the pulsating light. After a few minutes she began to regain her vision. She scrambled to her feet angrily, she shouted to them. “For the love of the earth Gaea, what the hell was that?” but she was meet by the sound of the winds dying down. She had been knocked back several feet from where she stood. 

Dusting away the dirt from the spell she saw them kneeling to the ground, Gaea’s head laid in Eternity’s lap. Hurrying to them, she knelt down next to them and asked quietly to her brother. “Is she…” Fate feared his answer.

“She lives, sister…she lives.” Slowly they looked down at where the clay forms had once been, but in their place laid two very living and breathing bodies. Though caked in dirt and clay, fate could just make out the golden hide of Vincent, and…

“Oh my,” Fate giggled to him. “Perhaps for the sake of modesty, my brother, shall I cover them?” There before them, were the nude bodies of Vincent and his Catherine. At Eternity’s nod, she snapped her fingers, covering them in fine velvet robes of blue. 

Gaea slowly opened her eyes to see if all went well. “My…lovers…are they?” 

“You did it my love…look and see the miracle we have created.”

Gaea looked over to them tiredly, and smiled to see their chests rise and fall with each life giving breath. “My love,” she asked, “Take them, take them to my isle, please. I shall follow when I regain my strength.”

He looked doubtful for a moment before he gently lowered her head to the ground. “Are you sure my lady? I do not like the thought of leaving you behind in such a state.”

“Go my love take them, please.” Gaea begged. She looked to Fate. “I will follow, but please take them; Eternity will grant you safe passage to my mythical island…Avalon.” Closing her eyes she let the magic of the earth give her rest. 

Fate knelt down and lifted Catherine into her arms cradling her like a babe, as Eternity lifted the dead weight of a very heavy Vincent. 

“By all Gaea, he’s heavy!” He rasped as he lifted him over his shoulder. “Come sister before he breaks my back!” He gave a worried glance to Gaea before he and Fate vanished. 

“Please,” Gaea begged to herself as she gathered her strength once more. “Let this work.” She shakily got to her feet to scan the deserted landscape; she clenched her hand over her heart, as she made this solemn vow to the earth. “Let this love live and their union to bare, let no man, woman, or spirit break, for I shall be a force to fear.” 

Lifting her hands over her head, she let her body become the will of the wisp as she raced after them to her home, her sanctuary of Avalon.

****

When Fate followed her brother to Gaea’s isle, the sight before her stopped her in her tracks. Not since Eden had she seen such beauty sprawled out before her. The palace itself stood proud and majestic in the moon's full rays, Great columns were carved from white marble and there were several balconies open to the fresh sea air. The curtains of gossamer silk swayed from the slight breeze. The rich, vast jungle that surrounded it gave her the image of a jewel in its settings. She could hear just beyond in the jungle the haunting melody of the nightingale, as she sang her song to the night. “Brother,” she breathed, “'Tis Paradise unlike any other!”

Eternity could not hold back the soft chuckle at Fate’s awed words. “Nay, my sister…but close, this is Gaea’s fair isle of Avalon.” 

“But the rest of the world is dead, how can such a place as this exist?” She asked as he shifted his heavier burden.

“Think of it as…a pocket dimension. It lives outside the rules of relativity. However my old friend Einstein came pretty close in trying to tell humanity that places as this did indeed exist. But alas, sometimes he was a little to smart for his own good; I think that is why Gaea admired him so. He was a persistent mortal. You should speak with him sometime sister. Now come, he grows heavier by the second and I am unused to such labor…so if you are done asking such…shall we go?”

Without waiting for her answer Eternity strode up to the palace over the still warm sands of the beach they had arrived on. She hastily hefted the sleeping Catherine to hurry after him. He waited patiently as she caught up to him at the foot of the massive marble stairs leading up to enormous oaken doors. Just above the doors stood the ancient stone carvings of Gargoyles frozen forever in time in their fierce battle-stance. At Eternity’s nod the doors swung wide at his command, but Fate hesitated at the sight of them as he started up. Looking back at her he cleared his throat, “Sister, if you please?”

But she shook her head no. 

“They sleep, sister. Only Gaea herself can awaken them. They sleep until she summons them.” 

“Are you so sure Eternity? I have had more than my fill of them. They are mindless sentinels, they attack without mercy!”

“I’m sure, Fate. Only the masters of magic can control them. They are the most fascinating creatures. When Merlin brought them to Gaea for safekeeping, she found them to be great protectors once properly trained. They live for their master, and will die to protect him or her from harm,” he told her in a matter of fact way. He turned away as he went into the palace doors. 

Fate gave the stone carving one quick glance, running as fast as she could. 

Eternity said nothing as he stared up a gilded split staircase with a marble fountain in the center depicting the sea god Namtar with his beloved Doris at his side, holding out beautifully carved seashells to one another.  The purest of water fell from these shells. Water lilies of every known shade floated lazily across the surface of the water. Murals of the mythical world below the sea covered every wall of the foyer, sea nymphs and sea witches at play, the noble dolphins pulling King Neptune’s chariot over the sands of the deep, with his golden Triton held high over his head, his hair swaying slightly from the sea currents.

“Ahem, sister,” Eternity cleared his throat again to gain Fate’s attention. When she turned wide-eyed to him, she blushed slightly.

“My apologies brother, but…I have never seen such beauty for so long. One cannot help but marvel at such as this!” 

“Yes, it is truly beautiful; Gaea wanted to keep some…” He stopped as he turned away sadly to go up the stairs. “We shall lay them to rest in the eastern chamber…till Gaea’s return.” When they made it up the stairs, there was another set of massive oaken double doors; this one however had the carvings of the mighty King Arthur, asleep, with his wife Guinevere, gazing down upon him in eternal slumber. At a thought from Eternity they swung open to him revealing rather large but unadorned bedchamber. Eternity unceremoniously dropped the body of Vincent down onto the bed; the bed creaked under its master’s weight. 

“Ach, he is damned heavy creature!” He looked up to Fate, who delicately laid Catherine at his side. 

When Fate stepped away from her, Vincent’s arm came around her, pulling Catherine next to him in sleep as both let lose a sigh of contentment at the same time. It was such a lovely sight that Fate nearly wept at it. ‘This,” she thought to herself, “this is what love must look like.”

“Come sister, let them have their rest…for what is to become of them, they shall need it.” He started for the doors as Fate slowly followed him out, taking the memory of such a sight with her. “We will await my lady’s return in gardens behind her palace.” Eternity said as they left the lovers to their dreamless sleep. 

When Fate stepped out onto the terra- cotta veranda, the magical beauty of this isle once more awed her. The gardens seemed to stretch out for miles. Vines of roses of every hue, red, white, and black covered the walls, they looked so enchanting in the silver moonlight. 

Statues of every known God and Goddess, dotted the well-manicured garden. Delicate orchids grew all around in their earthen urns, painted with scenes of life of the once powerful peoples of Atlantis. Fate sat upon one of the many stone benches, breathless from the beauty of the garden. She looked about and spied one of her favorites hanging from the many trellises. Gabriel’s Trumpets glowed so hauntingly from the light of the moon.

“Not even the gardens of Mesopotamia could boast such as this. The palace itself…not even the great Roman architects could create something as magnificent as this,” Fate half whispered to herself, as she turned in shock at seeing the marble statues of the Shici Fukujin, the seven Japanese gods of happiness. They stood in a circle around the many ponds looking down with sightless eyes as they watched the graceful movements of the Koi as they swam just beneath the surface. 

Eternity sat down next to her with a slight frown. He sometimes felt such sadness here when he remembered that once great paradise known as Eden. 

When Fate saw this she spoke to him. “Brother, it was long ago. Not you nor I or Gaea herself could have prevented what was to happen. Humans are a curious lot, the tree of knowledge was simply to tempting to resist. You should not dwell upon that. What happened happened for a reason.” 

“Aye,” he answered at length, “but I shall forever miss that lost paradise we once lived in. The innocence of humanity was lost that fateful day…so very long ago.”

“But my love, surly you know that what was once lost can surly be found again, through the triumphs of my lovers?” Gaea said as she walked up to them.

“My lady,” Fate said as she stood up to greet her.

“Gaea, are you well?” Eternity asked as he took her hands in his.

“I shall be well…do not fret so my dears.” Gaea said tiredly.

Still Eternity worried, he felt her strength ebbing with each passing moment. But she pulled her hands from his, gracing him with a weak smile. 

“Come my lady, sit with us, you look exhausted.” Fate took her arm to guide her to the bench but she quickly pulled away.

“Nay, lady Fate, I shall rest when my lovers are secure in their rightful place. Then and only then will I finally rest,” Gaea stated firmly. “Now if you two don’t mind we have two more important matters to attend to. I believe waking to his love by his side to the first golden rays of the sun should be quite the treat for him, do you not agree?” Gaea said as she vanished before their eyes.

“Come sister, I wouldn’t miss this for all the wealth of Egypt!” Eternity excitedly said as he followed Gaea.

“Aye well and good brother, however you were not there…at her end.” Fate whispered to herself as she followed them in. 

When Fate entered the bedchamber, Gaea and Eternity were standing beside the bed looking down at the sleeping lovers. Both were at peace in the other's arms. Fate quietly crept up beside them, as Gaea looked about the room sadly, at its plain appearance. No art, color or beauty adorned its plain walls. 

“This will not do,” Gaea said as she lifted her hand and glided it over the air. The room in an instant transformed from a simple bed chamber to one of their past. Plain walls rippled to become ruff cut stone walls, with little knick-knacks scattered about on several wooden shelves, a few well worn chairs sat against the rock walls with a simple yet elegantly carved writing desk. The final touch was the blue and yellow stained glass window she set into the wall over the bed. The room was the exact replica of his chamber in life, except for the large open balcony facing the beach below. It allowed the warm sea air to drift through the chamber, where in a few minutes the sun would start its journey across the heavens.

“You forgot something,” Fate said at her side. 

Gaea shook her head no. “I want this room to offer some comfort to them. The balcony stays, for I will not deny him his first sunrise, or the beauties of the sky at dawn.” Gaea said as she leaned down and lightly brushed away some of the dirt from Vincent’s downy cheek.

“Whom should we awaken first Gaea?” Fate asked quietly.

“Vincent, his mind will be more accepting of this then Catherine. For his mind is not as mortal as hers.” Gaea said as she leaned closer to Vincent’s ear. But that one little slip caught Fate’s attention.

“How do you mean not as mortal, my lady?”

“'Tis nothing sister, it is a discussion best left for another day,” Eternity replied. 

Gaea smiled to him in thanks; however Fate could be as determined as a dog with a bone, and would not let that slip go. She would most definitely hold it to the forefront of her mind. 

Gaea leaned down to whisper softly to Vincent, pulling Fate from her thoughts. “Vincent, my warrior son, in our time of need we beckon you for this deed.”

She stood back quickly, just as the sun came up over the horizon, casting away the darkness, and bathing him and Catherine in its golden rays, ever so slowly his eyes opened to this new and strange world around him. Lifting his large clawed hand from Catherine to shade his eyes from the brightness of the sun, his hand froze. He gazed in awe at the beauty of the dawn as the sun crept up over the horizon. In a ruff and hoarse whisper, he said, “The sun.”

He quickly looked about the room. It seemed to be his chamber? That is until his blue eyes fell on three of the strangest people he had ever seen in his life. Releasing one of his most frightening roars, he scrambled from the bed, the sun, for the moment forgotten. He could feel the hairs from all over his body rise out of fear. When he stood before them on still shaky legs, sudden memories of the past slammed into him harder then any bullet. His heart beat wildly; his whole body trembled as he fought through his memories. Voices, faces, of those he loved. Father, Jacob …Catherine! Backing away from these strangers like a caged animal, he was nearly brought to his knees. He growled out when his back touched the wall. There was nowhere for him to run. These people or whatever they were looked at him not with fear, but something he had only seen in those he loved and loved him.

The tall and beautiful woman with the dark skin of the once rich soil slowly stepped forward. Vincent raised his large clawed hands, curling them as he warned her by pulling back his lips and bearing his fangs at her. But she did not seem the least bit frightened by him.

She did stop just a few feet from him. Vincent’s mouth fell open when she smiled so kindly, and gracefully bowed to him, like a highborn lady of court. When she stood proudly before him, his eyes locked with hers. Eyes so blue, like sparkling sapphires.

“Peace dear child,” Gaea said as she spread her hands before him, palms up. “We mean you no harm; we only wish to return to you something you once… thought lost.” She inclined her head towards the bed he laid in. Vincent lowered his high arched brows in confusion, his focus dropped to the bed. At that moment, for him time stood still. It was as if all his brain functions had come to a grinding halt. Vincent dared not breathe, or even blink, for fear this beautiful sight would vanish, leaving him to wonder if he had lost all reason.

Only one thought came to his mind as he stood motionless.

“Catherine,” he half whispered to himself. Even though she lay facing away from him, he knew he would have known her anywhere. The three strangers were forgotten for the moment as he hurriedly reached over and snatched her from the bed, only to freeze again as he held her close. Her face was smudged with dirt and her golden brown hair clung to her face with bits and pieces of clay. With a trembling hand, Vincent gently brushed away a stray lock with the tip of his clawed finger, the scar, that simple scar left from the tragic moment he first met her. Pulling her closer to him, he felt the warmth of her skin against his chest; he dropped his head to kiss the stiff hair on her head as his scalding tears began to dampen Catherine’s hair. 

She lives…my Catherine, she lives…but how? I remember! Dear god I remember! She…she died…in my arms, but she lives! I can feel the warmth of her breath on me; her heart beats with mine…’ His own heart nearly stopped as his memories crashed in all around him. His memory of the day he died. His head shot up to the others watching him, his eyes, they pained Gaea to see all the emotions colliding within him. She waited for him to connect everything together.

“Catherine, she’s alive! Tell me…please, what…what is happening! I remember I felt the life slipping away from us both! How can this be?” Vincent fairly cried at them, “Tell me please, was it a dream?”

Gaea looked to him sadly, before she finally answered. “No child…you both did indeed die. Your beloved did die from the drug Gabriel had given her,” Gaea took another step towards him as she spoke to him. “And I’m sorry my son, but you died as well…forty years later you followed her to the grave…literally. Your grandson Jason and granddaughter Selena laid you to rest beside her. It was the only thing you asked of anyone below: To allow you your eternal rest beside Catherine.” 

It was all too much, these beings, the fabled spirits or gods, his life and Catherine’s returned to them once again. It was all too much. His legs gave out from under him as he crashed to his knees to the hard marble floor, still holding Catherine tightly in his arms.

“Please, if you will, don’t faint. You are quite heavy, and I have no desire to lift you again.” Eternity grumbled as he watched Vincent sway. Fate turned her head away as to not laugh. But Gaea turned quickly to them both, with such a look that they bowed away from her. She turned back to Vincent as he looked up at her in fear.

“You have nothing to fear child, we would never harm you or your love. We only wish to give you both what you have only dreamed of…a life together. The family you dared to dream of…with Catherine forever at your side.” Gaea spoke in her calm and soothing voice to him.

“You, you would have me believe that you three are the legendary gods of the earth?” he rasped to her. 

Gaea smiled again to him patiently. With a slight chuckle Gaea knelt down before him, with a slight wave of her hand over her face, she became that of another.

Her youthful appearance became that of an old woman with beautifully aged mocha skin and her hair wrapped in a worn cloth. With miss-matched earrings, sightless eyes, and the deep throated chuckle, she became his beloved Narssisa. 

“You are your Father’s son…you don’t believe a crazy old woman, don’t the Father tell you so?” Gaea said in Narssisa’s thick Haitian accent. With another wave of her hand she reverted back to herself.

“Have you not wondered of such dear boy, that there is indeed something more in heaven and earth then what you read in your dusty books? You believed Narssisa without a single doubt. Can you not accept this as well?”

Vincent shook his head, trying to gather his thoughts. But when he looked down at Catherine once more, he knew he had to accept this. When he at last spoke, he said, “I would believe just about anything madam…Gaea?” He hesitated over her name. This seemed to amuse her.

“Wise choice my boy.” Gaea replied to him. Without another word she held out her arms to him to hand over his precious burden to her, but when he pulled her closer to him, she softly spoke to him again.

“Worry not, Vincent.” Gaea’s voice seemed to come from everywhere, but nowhere as she held his deep cerulean eyes with hers. He could feel trust, and love within her gaze, without another thought he carefully laid Catherine into her awaiting arms. 

Lifting her up, Gaea turned to the others, “Eternity,” she asked as she quirked her brow at Vincent, “Would you be so kind as to escort our guest to the bathing chambers, whilst I and Fate tend to Catherine?”

Eternity inclined his head to her, walking over to a very quiet Vincent; he leaned down to help him up. “Come, my friend, allow us the honor of caring for you and your beloved…it is not everyday one enjoys being waited upon by the Gods.” 

Vincent allowed this man, or whatever he was, lead him from the room, but he stopped as Eternity tried to shut the door behind them. 

“All is well my friend, you shall see her again, you have waited…for sometime to have her again. Truly you can wait a few minutes more?”

Gently, Eternity guided him away from the door, and led him down a high arched hall. All the while Eternity rambled on, “First a bath, then I will take you to Gaea where things shall be explained to you, very important things as to why we have done all this.” 

However, Vincent felt like he had awakened from one of the worst nightmares he had ever had. He kept his head down as he followed Eternity down the hall. He looked strangely down at the backs of his furred hands. He remembered them being withered and wasted, and the fur was gone then. But now they were once as they had been in his youth. However they were covered in dirt. He could still see the reddish tint beneath the fur. He never realized it when Eternity had stopped beside him to look the gentle warrior over. 

He did indeed need a bath. Eternity could not see Vincent’s noble face under the dirt and grim, Vincent’s once majestic red-gold mane was tangled and matted with clay and sands of the earth. Clearing his throat he lifted his hand to the archway before them. 

Startled, Vincent walked in and was struck silent from what he saw. He let a small hiss pass between his lips as he took in the room before him. 

It was unlike anything he had ever seen before, it was even more beautiful then the chamber of the falls from his memories. The bathing chamber was a rounded room with no ceiling, open to the blue sky above. Great vines of the whitest roses he had ever seen hung from wooden trellises gilded with gold along the smooth rock walls. To finish it off, there was a large waterfall coming over and down one entire wall that fell into a vast pool at its base, almost beckoning him into it. Stone benches sat just around the edge of it. Eternity pulled some of his bathing needs from one of the benches, and handed them to him. Vincent took them without thought.

“I shall return shortly, my friend, with fresh clothes for you.” Eternity said as he was about to leave him. But as he turned to go, a large fur covered hand shot out and grabbed his arm. He turned patiently to the other man, and gently took his hand from him. He heard the deep rasping tones of Vincent’s voice.

“When can I see Catherine?” Vincent asked.

Eternity held his hand for a moment before he answered him. “Soon, I promise.” 

Before Vincent could ask again, Eternity vanished from his very sight. Blinking once then twice he tried to again wonder how such was even possible. 

“Think not about this, my son. All will be explained to you.” His eyes widened as he heard the soft whisper of Gaea’s voice in his mind. “We are seeing to your lady love, all is well, please bathe yourself.”

“Gaea,” he asked out loud, but she was gone. With a shake of his head, he looked about the chamber to make perfectly sure he was alone before he removed his robe, and slipped into the pool, amazed at how warm the water was. He sank deeper into its welcoming warmth all the way up to the golden hairs of his chest, causing them to curl tightly from the water. Closing his eyes, he let its warmth relax all the tense muscles in his body. As he let his head rest against the pool's edge, he finally let his memories of the past finally come. They were memories he had fought off till now, memories of the time in his life that he lost Catherine, the great joy in seeing her once more, only to feel great despair in seeing her life force slowly ebbing before his very eyes. Her dying words about their son echoed through his mind. 

“We loved…there is a child…Vincent, he’s beautiful.” That’s when he saw the light slowly grow dim in her sad tired green eyes. “Though lovers…be…lost,” 

Vincent felt again the pain of that one moment up on that roof when he said his last words to his beloved as if it had only just happened. “Love…shall not.” 

He released a strangled cry as his eyes flew open to the sky above, as he gasped out, “And death…shall have no…dominion. His heart pounding in his ears his memories swallowed him up again as he remembered the three months of what could only be described as hell, as he tried to find his son, Jacob. 

Jacob was the one and only beacon of light within so much darkness, a darkness he begged to end all his suffering for losing Catherine, but every time he tried…He felt her there, with him, fighting back the darkness for him, giving him strength, to finally find his…"No,” he thought, “our son.” 

He had always thought as him as Catherine’s child, but he was the greatest gift she had ever given him. He remembered Elliot; he had almost betrayed him to regain his wealth back from that monster, Gabriel. Vincent’s hand came up to his cheek as he again felt the heat from the blast on his face, the helplessness of feeling Elliot’s body thrown from him. Then there was Diana, kind and courageous Diana. She had done so much for him, risked her very life to save him and his son. He let his mind wonder back to the time he last saw her. Ten years had passed since she saved him and Jacob from Gabriel’s madness, the pain in her eyes as she finally accepted the fact that they could have been nothing more then friends. He tried to love her, oh, how he tried, but his heart just couldn’t. He had already lost so many people he loved that he knew as well as she did, that there just wasn’t anymore love in his heart to give anymore. Jacob, his son was the only thing that kept him going. He was no more a shell that went through the motions of life. 

Father, one of the few constants in his pathetic life, died two years after Catherine. Mary followed less then a year later. He never knew it was cancer that slowly ate away at the only parent he had ever known. Diana’s parting words to him rang again in his mind. He remembered the night she was packing up everything in her loft. 

“It’s for the best Vincent. I’ve been offered a job with the F.B.I.’s missing persons division in Washington. I can really put my skills to better use. I will have all the backing and resources I need to help more people…I’ll be gone by morning…so this is good-by…I guess,” she said sadly as she packed up the last of her books into a box. She tried to hide the tears that threatened to fall if she looked up at him. 

When she reached for the last one, she heard a sudden gasp from him. Diana turned it over to read its cover. “Sonnets of William Shakespeare,” she whispered. With a wry smile she reached over to him and dropped the worn book into his hand. With a quick glance to her bedroom, she ran in and pulled out and old beaten trunk, and set it in front of him. She dared to look up into his questioning blue eyes. Pointing to it, she off handedly said, “That’s all I have left from my investigation into Catherine’s death.” Vincent went to again correct her when she stuck her hand up to stop him. “Sorry her murder. There are some odds and ends, like some mask with feathers…a doll, some mementos of her childhood. Take it, add it down there to that damned shrine of Saint Catherine!” she shouted at him. “Add it to all your precious memories of the woman who is never coming back…she’s dead! But I’m here, Vincent I love you…you and Jacob, please give me a reason to stay! Just tell me you love me!”

Vincent knew this argument by heart. Sadly, he spoke his truth to her one last time. “I do love you, Diana. You have given me so much…my son, my life. My friendship is all I have left to give. I am truly sorry.” Vincent went to take her hand, but she pulled away from him. 

“Don’t, just don’t. If you have ever cared for me don’t touch me…I’m done…no more. I’ve humiliated myself enough already. Just go. Go back to your world; go back to your life. Just take your offering to her shrine and…go.” She said as she turned her back on him. She waited for what seemed forever till she heard the scrape of his clawed hands open the window, then a soft breeze. When she turned back to where he stood, he was gone. Her strength went out of her as she fell to her knees and cried. She never knew he stood just outside the window and listened to her weeping. When at last her tears subsided, she whispered up to the night sky to him. “Good-by Vincent, be happy.”

Opening his eyes again he murmured, “Oh, Diana, I was. Your friendship helped me through so much.” 

He watched as billowing clouds crept over the sky as more of his memories came back to him. So many of those in the world below and above had left him and some had left life all together. Vincent released a slight growl as he sat up. “No!” he roared out. 

With determination he shook off his memories. “There is hope. I will not give into despair! Catherine, she is alive!” Not wasting any more time, he grabbed up the soap Eternity had given him and quickly lathered it up. The scent of balsam filled the air as he scrubbed every inch of his body from the top of his tawny mane to the souls of his feet, washing away the dirt as well the memories that threatened to over take him once more. Drawing in a deep breath, he dove under the water to rinse himself. When he came up for air, feeling refreshed, he was surprised to see Eternity there at the pool's edge. 

Eternity seemed to think this was quite amusing to see the stoic face so surprised. Eternity placed a large bundle on one of the benches before he turned back to a very nervous man as Vincent tried to hide as much of himself as possible beneath the water.

“Here are some clothes for you.” Eternity gestured to a thick curtain of ferns hanging along the wall. “You may dress there. I will return shortly.” 

Without waiting, he again vanished before Vincent could say anything. It was very disquieting that these people could appear and disappear like the wind. As quickly as he dared, he leapt from the water and snatched up the large towel and wrapped it about him, in a desperate way to hide his body. Unfortunately, the towel was not nearly large enough to cover the well toned muscles and the light soft fur that covered his entire body. Grabbing up the offered clothes, he hurried to the spot to dress with some privacy.

Lifting the articles one by one he studied them closely. They were much like the clothes he was accustomed to below. Only these were made more finely. A blue muslin tunic had gold embroidery work along its open collar, which he knew would reveal the hairs on his chest to all to see, and wide cuffs at the sleeves. There was a pair of black leather pants with matching boots and a wide black leather belt. The buckle, he marveled at. It was the greatest craftsmanship he had ever seen.

He ran a clawed finger over the scene of a mighty lion, with sapphire gems for eyes, lying next to his lioness, which held sparkling emeralds for eyes. He snorted at these people's touch of irony. Setting the belt aside, he dried quickly and dressed as his heart raced at the thought of seeing his beloved once more. When he sat down to pull his boots on, he nearly fell from the reflection staring back at him in a mirror. He never stopped to see himself for too long, always hating what the reflection showed him: his differences from others. Only what the mirror showed astounded him.

The mirror held before him, a man. An extraordinary man, but a man nonetheless. His youth was completely restored, to his amazement, to the time he first laid eyes upon her in the park so many years ago. 

He reached up, after pulling his boots on to touch the soft stubble of his cheek, the fine hairs at the end of his flattened nose, up to the high arched brows over his eyes.

This, this is what she has always seen in me! My beloved has always seen me…as a man

“Yes,” Vincent said aloud to his inner voice. The mirror’s reflection gave him the appearance of a medieval lord awaiting his lady.

“The mirror shows us our truest selves my friend.” 

Vincent spun to Eternity’s words, slightly shaken from his unnerving appearance. 

Eternity merely waved it off as nothing. “Catherine has always seen you.” Eternity waved to the mirror, “as a man. The shame of it is…you never did. Pity, you would have had women falling at your feet, like the gladiators of Rome, You remind me…” Eternity stopped and gave him a pensive look. “Alas, that is neither here nor there. Come,” Eternity turned to go, expecting Vincent to follow, but Vincent folded his arms over his chest, and raised his chin at him, standing very still, his cerulean eyes stared this man down. 

In a firm, steely voice, he went straight to the point. “Take me to Catherine.”

Eternity again smiled patiently to him as he threw over his shoulder at him. “First things first, after my lady speaks with you….” 

He never had a chance to finish, as Vincent threw back his head, letting lose a roar that shook the chamber walls. In the blink of an eye he leapt out at Eternity, claws raised to strike him down.

 Just as his hands came down for the killing blow, Eternity spun on him, his hands raised, freezing Vincent in mid air just over his head. His golden eyes pulsated brighter then the sun, nearly blinding Vincent, as Eternity roared out to him. “Stay your rage, warrior! I control all things time…try this again and I will hold you till the end of time!”

In a blinding flash, they were in a large and airy hall with large windows on both sides open to the salty air. Eternity sat down upon one of the many ornate couches of Roman design before he released his hold on Vincent, dropping him on his backside to the thick carpets scattered about the marble floor. 

Once Eternity settled himself comfortably, he cleared his throat at the very stunned Vincent. “Now, as I was saying, first Gaea and Fate will speak of why we have done all this, and what is to become of you and Catherine,” Eternity pointed to the couch behind him, “So please sit down, and behave thyself.”

“Brother, Eternity!” Gaea and Fate, cried out as they swept into the room. “What has happened?” Gaea asked as she went to stand beside Eternity. 

Eternity waited as Vincent finally did sit in the offered seat. Looking up at his love and sister, he sighed before answering her. “I believe our dear one is becoming restless to be reunited with his love. Perhaps now my lady, you can speak with him, so he may be at peace. His patience wears thin by the second.”

Gaea nodded to this, then turned and looked sadly to Fate. The pale woman took a seat as Gaea sat down next to Eternity. Gaea took a deep breath before she spoke to the man before her. "I am sure you have many questions, son Vincent, and I shall answer as many as I can.”

“How long has it been, and my son, what of his children?” He asked, afraid of the answers she would give.

Gaea gave him a sad look before she answered him. “It is the year 2034; five years have passed since you died. Your son Jacob never returned; he could not. When your government sealed the island of New York, Jacob was shot with so many others for trying to escape the plague. They gunned down any and all who tried to flee.”

Vincent dropped his head so that his long hair could hide his face from them as he rasped out his next question. “What, what of my…grandchildren, Jason and Selena? When I…passed, they were the last…below?”

“When they took your body above…to lay you to rest beside Catherine…” Gaea turned away in pain, for she could not continue. 

Fate, took up where she had stopped. “You see, friend Vincent, things became overwhelming above, when the Medusa Virus struck. The government simply left your island to fend for its self. There was no known cure for the virus, so no one went to or from the island. Thankfully, the children never survived the plague to fall prey to the madness that followed. Since there was no food to feed the survivors, the animals at the zoo were taken and consumed, and when the animals were gone humans had only one food source left to them. Humanity had sunk to the lowest form of insanity, they captured and consumed each other; they turned to cannibalism just to survive.”

Vincent looked up at her as if he were going to be sick. He knew things above had gotten worse since the plague closed them all off, but…His eyes shot up to Fate in stark fear. 

Fate nodded sadly to him. “They were captured by a trolling mob in the cemetery after laying you to rest. Selena was killed instantly. Jason however, since he took after his grandfather… They thought him some twisted God. They tied him up to a throne; he watched as they…devoured Selena’s flesh before him, offering her to him as a sacrifice. Months went by as he watched them repeat this act. Some they killed before they ate them and some they consumed alive. Jason slowly went mad until he managed to escape them. He took his life, from the very tower his grandmother died on, leaping to his death.” Fate said at length.

Vincent jumped to his feet in horror, at them.

“Why, why have you brought us back…only to tell me there is no hope left?” He sobbed to them as he took in his grandchildren’s end. Jason was only a boy, no more then seventeen. Selena was just on the brink of womanhood when he left them behind. With a deep throated growl, his hands clenched and unclenched in agitation. His long strides took him from one end of the hall to the other as he tried desperately to reign in his anger lest he go mad

Fate spoke up again, pulling his attention back to her. “We mean to bring you hope, my friend. Yours and Catherine’s fates will not be my pawns any longer. I will not destroy every moment of hope between you. I will leave your new fates in Gaea’s hands…” 

She was about to say more, when she suddenly slammed up against the wall, a large hand gripped around her throat threatening to squeeze the very breath from her. She stared up wide eyed into glittering eyes of blue filled with rage. No mortal or God had ever caught her before. She clawed desperately at his iron hold of her.

“Vincent!” Gaea screamed to him as she tried to yank his hand from Fate’s throat. “Please!”

“No,” He roared to her. Squeezing tighter, he rasped out to Fate. “Why? She was my life! I loved her! I could love no other, I would have laid my life down for her!”

“Be…because…I grew jealous of the love you mortals had. I hated you, for Gaea placing you above us! I wanted to make her pay for letting mortals leave us behind to think for yourselves!” Fate wheezed as she struggled against his grip.

“Jealousy, you destroyed our lives over your own petty jealousy?” Not waiting for an answer, he wretched his hands away from her to stand before the open window facing the beach, trying as hard as he could to regain his control. 

When he let her go, Fate slid down the wall to the floor, not from the pain on the outside but the deep pain from within her soul. “I tormented so many…and for that, I am so sorry Vincent. My vengeance knew no limits. I tormented all her lovers. From Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen, Cleopatra and Anthony, Tristan and Isold, so on and so forth. Throughout history I tormented them all; all the way down to you and Catherine…only this time…I killed one of Gaea’s key souls…I tried madly to kill you.” She tilted her head at his turned back, “but no matter how many times I tried…you lived? That I never figured out…so I went after her, I was the one…who stole mankinds only hope for salvation…her death stopped it all, it stopped your legacies to be”

Vincent’s deadly claws gouged deep grooves into the stone beneath his hands. His breath came in short pants as he felt his control slipping away from him. He spun around at her when she said, “Legacies to be…? What do you mean by legacies to be?”

Fate looked down at her hands as she tried to find the right words, till she looked up helplessly to Gaea and Eternity. 

With a simple nod Gaea dropped a shock he never thought to hear. “The word ‘key’ being the main word here. You see, you and Catherine were destined to go to her family’s lake house, for Jacob was to be conceived then.” Holding up her hand, she began to tick off her fingers, “Then there was to be, Devin, and Charles, the twins Joseph and Juliet, and last but not least, Hope.” She glanced back at him with a small smile tugging at her lips. “Breathe, dear boy, I am only getting started.” 

We were to have six children?” he thought to himself. “But every time we tried to find one moment, always…something or someone… We never seemed…”

“Because… I always found a way to keep that from happening.” Fate squeaked out as she stood with help from her brother. “Elliot, Stephen, I sent out so many little things…yet she never gave up…even when I sent that stalker…the F.B.I. when you once again had a chance…to consummate your love shall we say, until I threw her into Gabriel’s line of fate.” Fate jumped behind her brother when a loud vibration rose up in Vincent’s throat. His hands curled as his body tensed with the sweet thrill of killing this…this thing.

“My children, and Catherine. You took it all away!!” He roared out to her.

“No!” Screamed Gaea as he made to attack Fate, holding her hand in front of him, she held him in place. “Perhaps it would be best for us, my son, if we were finish this conversation elsewhere.” Then again in her deep hypnotic voice, “Come with me, child. There is something I wish to show you.” 

Without knowing why, only that his body seemed to heed her, Vincent followed her out of the palace and out onto the beach where the ocean’s breeze seemed to instantly calm the rages he felt within him. 

“This way dear boy, I believe you truly will want to see this,” she called to him. He followed her from the beach to a worn stone path that led through the dense jungle, till they came upon a clearing that had monolithic stone circle surrounding a fountain with the stone statue of Tiresias in its center. The stones were like the one’s Father had once described to him at Stonehenge.

The water fell from his outstretched hands. It fell so smoothly that it looked as if it were a mirror until he reached forward and felt it run over his hand. Drawing away from it, he looked back to Gaea and waited to hear what she had to say.

“Vincent, please sit. I have a feeling you may want to for this.” 

She said it so kindly, that he did as bid. 

“You see, many of the disasters that mankind faced were never to come to pass. Your destiny, along with Catherine’s was to give the world your children.” With a wave of her hand over the water, a swirl of colors shifted into the image of a man, a man he knew painfully well.

“Jacob,” He whispered to the sight of his son. Only this image did not look like his son from before. This man did not look sullen and angry. He looked different, content. Not hateful at his Father for denying him the world above.

This man was dressed in a dark suit, standing in the middle of a large rounded office that Vincent immediately recognized as the presidential office of the white house.

“Vincent, I would like for you to meet the future President of the New United States of South, Central, and North America.” Gaea said with great reverence. “Jacob Chandler Wells, his destiny was to unite all of the Americas under one rule, the way it was always meant to be. He will become the nation’s greatest and most honest president.”

With a thought the water shifted again to show two children throwing a Frisbee with other children in the warm summer sun. Their backs were to him till he heard the unmistakable voice of Catherine call out to them. “Joseph…Juliet, its late!” At her call the children turned and nearly took his breath away. They looked to be about sixteen years of age, but the boy, the boy was what surprised him the most. He had his father’s face, but where Vincent’s were lighter with red tints, this boy had wild, long, blue-black hair. Deep sea-green eyes told the world all his emotions. A girl of the same age ran past him to smack him in the back of his head as she flew by in a blur. At that moment Gaea froze the image.

“The boy you see there is your son, Joseph Alexander Wells, and this little ball of fire is his twin sister, Juliet Caroline.” She had coppery fire gold locks that fell in great waves about her, but with her father blue eyes, all alight in her carefree appearance; she had her mother’s soft square jaw and small little upturned nose. “You, dear Vincent, may wish to rest well before she comes along…you’re going to need it. However there is hope for her. You remember the release of the Medusa virus, do you not?” At his sad and weary look, she nodded as she continued. “It is a genetically altered virus that was immune to any and all treatments. It was to be destroyed; however…mankind’s arrogance has always been his folly. The virus could not be destroyed. But,” she pointed to Juliet. “Thanks to your clever daughter, and your unique blood, she was able to create not only a vaccine, but a cure against it…along with many other diseases that once were thought incurable. Her field of study in diseases stopped the mutations of the human immunodeficiency virus from killing all children of the world.” The image shifted to his extraordinary son.

“Joseph. Your dear little savant Mouse and his ingenious little invention to sustain gardens below, piqued Josephs interest in horticulture, so much so that he was able to genetically alter the DNA of many grains to grow in the most desolate regions of Africa.” 

She stopped at his look of awe.  “I told you to breathe, ” she teased. 

When he looked up startled, she continued. “Where was I oh yes…They went on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields of research.” The image changed to show older versions of his twins. A lovely image of Catherine stood at his side as they both looked on with great pride at their children’s achievements. 

As quickly as this one image came, another took its place. This one was a fallen hero in uniform being laid to rest. It was a man of about thirty lying in a casket as many people from all over the world walked past his body, paying their respects.

Pointing to this sad image, Vincent asked, “Who, who is he?”

“Sadly, it is your son, Charles Geoffrey.” She answered, as she watched him.

His eyes shot up to her.  “What…has happened to him?” He asked, not really wanting to know.

“It was an honorable death, my son. His death stopped the senseless slaughter of an entire village. He defied orders to get involved with the conflict between two warring tribes in Afghanistan. It was not a profitable endeavor, but what your government did not know was there was one survivor of that massacre. He became the free world's worst nightmare. He was the leader of the third and final war. What Hitler and Bin laden failed at… he succeeded. Five years after you passed on to the spirit realm, the world will follow. Charles’s sacrifice stops this young boy from becoming one of the greatest threats man has ever witnessed. I know it is of small comfort.”

Again he saw his beloved Catherine at his side as they laid their son to rest, when he stopped her. “My lady, please. I, I have just one question I wish to ask.”

Gaea cocked her brow at this, “Only one, child?” She asked.

“In all these, glimpses, one thing puzzles me, in them…I am out in the open to all to see. No one is frightened by the way this Joseph or I look. Why, please tell me?

“Gladly,” She replied. The image shifted again, to reveal to him a large and striking man. He was powerfully built standing at well over six feet, with golden brown hair, a strong square jaw, and sapphire blue eyes with a slight upward slant to them, giving him an exotic look to him. He was dressed in the robes worn by the ruling class of the Middle East, with a crown atop his head. With such grace, Gaea swept her hand to this beautiful man.

“Might I have the esteemed honor of introducing you to your son, Crown Prince of all Arabia, Devin Peter Wells, and…” he waited for just a moment as the most lovely young girl he had ever seen, walked up into his son’s arms, though her face was half hidden by the veil she wore. It was her eyes that drew his attention. She held such love for his son in her kohl darkened eyes, and the wealth of love he held in his for this exotic woman. 

“Might I also let you meet your future daughter-in-law, The Crown Princess, Yathmina Hayfa Zahira –Amala Saud,” She sighed at saying such a long name, “Great grand-daughter to the once powerful King…Oh, heavens what a long name, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud… Well, we will not get into that name. Her father the king came to New York for a summit meeting with your government. Her cousin, a cast-out of the royal house, was not too happy that the king named her as the legal heir to the house of Saud. In retaliation for his choice, he attempted to assassinate her and her father when they arrived at the hotel they were staying in. Saudi Arabia never knew it was him, so therefore blamed America. But you and Devin stopped this from ever coming to pass. Devin, much like his namesake, charged out into the crowd to save her. You followed to stop him but instead scooped up a very surprised King. When he laid eyes on you, he was not frightened or scared,” She paused when she saw the far away look in his eyes. 

“Hmm, very much like Devin. It seems. But why was he not frightened when he looked at me?” he asked her.

“Vincent, he came from the old Bedouin tribes that travel the dessert landscape. They would tell the old tales that are quiet true, I might add, about a once mighty race known as the Great Ones: honest warriors with the fierce faces of Sekhmet, but the body of a man.”

“There were others like me? My children…they become such leaders of the world above?” He asked, breathlessly. His mind raced with this new knowledge as he turned wide eyed to Gaea.

She smiled, before finishing her tale of Devin. "Yes, to all your questions. Your son’s bravery, in saving the princess, made it possible for you and Joseph to live out in the open with no fear of others. The king was so pleased at this that he offered his daughter to Devin as his bride. At the time, America desperately needed to keep the royal house of Saud as its closest ally. This allowed you to walk the city streets with your Catherine by your side.”

Gaea thrilled in the joy and hope she saw in his eyes as she picked a certain memory from his mind. “Ah, yes, you do indeed buy her an ice-cream, and walk with her in the warm summer sun with your children. It will happen, Vincent.”

He looked again at this marvelous man and the beautiful woman by his side, “Is he a good ruler?” Gaea nodded. “And he and all the others stop the end of the world?” Again she nodded, “Then my lady, tell me of this last child?”

“I was saving her for last, for you will be blessed with a daughter as your final child. She…is to be one of the greatest peacekeepers your world has ever known.” Gaea swept her hand over the water one last time, as she did; Vincent sat back in stunned awe as his eyes locked with the steely green eyes of his last child. She was the very image of her mother. Every feature was Catherine except she had no scar as her mother. In this image, he saw himself as an older man, not the twisted old creature he had been, but an older, more dignified man.

He looked closer at this picture of him garbed in the refined dressings of the tunnel world. She was dressed in the most exquisite white gown with small white rosebuds in her swept up hair. Her eyes gleamed with unshed tears as a wedding march played. The image panned out to show a cathedral filled with people from all walks of life, and from all over the world. At the end of the red carpet, stood his beloved Catherine, still as beautiful as ever, standing next to… He recognized the older version of his adopted daughter Laura. Pointing to the older dark haired man beside her, he looked up to Gaea in wonder.

“Vincent, the girl you are walking down the aisle is your daughter Hope Mariah, and there waiting for her is your namesake, Vincent. He is Laura and Jerry’s only son. 

He looked at this fine young man he was giving his last child to. 

“You name her Hope, for there was little be had the day of her Naming Ceremony. She will be born on September eighth of two thousand and one, for some events cannot be altered no matter how hard we try. Three days later…when almost all will be below for this occasion, the Twin Towers will fall All those you lost the first time will be spared. Mouse, Jamie, Cullen and so many others you lost that day will live out their lives as they were meant to.”

His eyes shot to hers when she said almost all would be saved. But she shook her head sadly to him. “I’m sorry Vincent, but there are some things that must come to pass, that must happen…for the greater good. Please, do not ask who will die; that is a story yet to be written.”

“I…understand,” he said at length. The nightmare of that day never left him. He remembered digging through the rubble with his bare hands till they bled, trying in vain to find all those who had been in that area. He searched and searched till he went away in agony at the lost souls who died that day. When the smoke cleared, the head count came up short, severely short. Many of the children were in that area of the tunnels, where Mouse and Jamie had taken them for a little sight seeing tour. One they would never return from. They closed off the tunnels there, before the work crews from above could find them. 

Gaea reached down and took his hands in hers. “Now, Vincent, I have something I must ask of you, for this wonderful future for you to happen, I shall have to ask you for your forgiveness of someone who has never known love before. I must ask that in return for this fate…I must ask you to forgive she who has wronged you so terribly…I need you to forgive…my lady Fate.”

Vincent just stared at her, as if she had grown a second head. The only sounds that could be heard were those of his strangled breathing. He could not believe what this woman had just asked of him. "This spirit…Fate, had taken so much from him," he thought. He sat there thinking of all the times in their brief life together, when something always came up to separate them. All the interruptions Fate placed in their lives and how she always found ways to keep them apart. He always wondered about such, always wondered if the fates truly were against them. "Fate had tried to destroy me…and when that failed…she went after Catherine, taking her away from me."

Elliot came to the forefront, Mitch, Paracelsus, Stephen, till finally…Gabriel. Never getting the chance until he lost his himself to tell her how much he loved her. He knew how much she loved him…felt it with in her…even before she voiced it to him, he knew. But things never allowed them their chance till it was too late. 

Finally he blinked; he never realized his hands were clenched so tightly, till he felt something warm ooze out from under his sharp nails. When he looked down, there were small droplets of blood coming from his hands. His eyes darted back up to Gaea…the silence was almost deafening, like the calm before the storm. 

He shot straight up to Gaea. In his deep rasping voice, he growled out every word to her. “Why, after all she’s done to me and those I love…why in all that is…why should I forgive her?”

Gaea calmly folded her hands before her, never backing down from his rages. When she did not answer him right away, Vincent threw his hands up in a way that said he wished to hear no more, as he started down the path. 

“Because…if you don’t…none of the true future I have shown you…will ever happen,” Gaea said so softly that he thought he imagined it.

 Slowly he turned back to face her. “What…” was his only reply

 Gaea gave him a hard look before she explained her reasons. “I never blessed Fate with love, compassion, and human understanding. Everything to her was always black and white, for it has been said, ‘Fate must always be a cold hard truth,’ and for that, I am truly sorry, but she never once asked of me what it was like to love, I had Eternity, and humanity. She had no one. Then, when I started to let man rule his own destiny and turn away from their old ways of relying upon the gods for guidance…Well in your terms, it was the final straw that broke the camel's back. I never gave her the emotion of love…but she did somehow know the ugly side of emotions: Hate, jealousy, distrust, and betrayal. And so her war on me began.”

Vincent watched as diamond-like tears fell from her eyes as she told her sad tale, “Many of the spirits I created to aide mankind joined her. Spirits who wanted to remain in power over you all. The wars they had started between us were devastating; they devoured entire civilizations. They unleashed plagues so ruthless they took any and all peoples. The Black Plague, Fate had talked her sister Sekhmet into releasing it upon humanity. They almost succeeded. One of the victims was Catherine’s ancestor, who was heavily pregnant at the time, nearly died from it…until I…put an end to it.” She glanced away from him to dash her tears away. “Many of the statues you will see here are those I have imprisoned for tormenting and meddling in human affairs for their own personal gains.”

At that mention, an image of Medusa came to his mind. Picking up on that, she gave him a wry smile, “Artists, like Storytellers can sometimes exaggerate what they see, embellish the truth shall we say. I would never turn a human to stone, Vincent. Nor can I kill. If I were to cross that path…an exchange would take place, for the giver of life cannot take back. Only the Omega wields that kind of power.” 

Gaea shook her head, as she banished her memories, “My apologies, I digress. When humanity gave in to Fate’s temptations, losing themselves, till finally killing off their own existence, Fate left me with no choice but to try again. I went to her to beg for the return of your souls, to try again. I took a gamble that her once overpowering greed to rule on high would give me the edge I needed to start over. I was counting on you and your love of Catherine to aide me in hopes she would finally know love. My dear spirit, Lofn, blessed your bond, making it indestructible, more powerful…and when Fate touched the golden thread that binds your hearts,” She paused as she started to see in him where this was going.

Vincent’s brows came down in silent understanding. “She felt our love? She understood it?” He whispered ever so softly. His eyes darted up to Gaea. “She felt it, and now she wants to know this.”

Gaea nodded to him, “Yes, and for all you have ever dreamed of will be yours…if you forgive this spirit. For her to know, to truly know love…she will be reborn,” Gaea took his large hands into hers. “She will be reborn as your daughter Hope. I cannot think of two better teachers of love than you and Catherine. To have all you have only dreamed of, will you give my Fate a chance to know the love of a parent, the forgiveness that only a mother and a father could give to a child?”

She let go of his hands and stepped away from him to allow him time for his decision. He closed his eyes as he mulled over this. "To have another chance, to love her freely, to see my children grow up before our eyes, Jacob, and all my children will become great members of the world above, to allow me and Catherine to grow old…together." Vincent’s eyes flew open then, up to Gaea. 

She could see quickly that a decision had been made but waited as he slowly stood before her, letting a deep hiss pass through his lips as he looked skyward, as if to ask the heavens for strength in not regretting his decision.

 After a few minutes, eyes as blue and as fearful as hers locked, when he finally did speak. “To have our dreams…to have her, in my life…to see Jacob become a great leader of the world above and not look upon me with such hate, I…would forgive her…anything. If only to see our lives as we had only dreamed, then…your answer, dear lady, is yes. Yes, we will raise this lost spirit to become a great woman,” came he emotionally strained answer. 

Gaea closed her eyes, as she let her tears of relief fall. “Thank-you,” she breathed to him. Giving him a graceful bow she straightened quickly, as she cleared her throat. “Now my son, come…” She took him by the crook of his arm as she started to lead him back down to the beach. “I believe there is a certain woman who awaits you in her… dreams?”

She did not know if he heard her or not, Vincent had rushed from her down the path, back to her palace, his long strides taking him farther and farther from her. A large knowing smile tugged at her soft lips, as she watched his retreating form vanish. “You were never known for your patience when it comes to your beloved.” Gaea laughed as she became a light mist as she rushed to their shared chamber.

Even without their bond, he just knew where to find her. His need to have her in his arms carried him as he rushed through the massive double doors, taking the steps two or three at a time as he rushed up the stairs. When he rounded the corner to where he knew she was, he nearly collided with Eternity. 

Eternity held his hand up to stop him as Gaea came to them. Looking to his love, he asked. “Now my lady, I fear if we do not…” Eternity couldn’t finish what he was to say as he could feel Vincent’s deep seated need to go to Catherine, his hair wild from his rush to where she laid. 

His chest heaved as he pushed harder and harder against Eternity’s hold of him. At that blessed moment Fate, opened the chamber doors, much to Eternity’ and Gaea’s relief. 

Inclining her head to Vincent she swept her hand towards the chamber. “She awaits you,” she whispered as he hurried past her.

He froze again as his eyes took in the breathtaking sight of her lying on the bed, asleep. They had washed away all the dirt and clay from her skin. Her hair was cleaned, brushed, and spread out around her head like a golden halo. They had dressed her in a soft silk ivory gown that hugged every curve of her soft body. The bodice was cut low and showed the warm creamy flesh of her breasts as her chest rose and fell with each breath she took. Vincent’s whole body ached to hold her close once more.

“Please,” Vincent begged in his deep husking voice, “Please, I beg you… awaken her, I need her.”

Gaea quietly crept up behind him. Taking him by his shoulder she said so softly, “Vincent, do you not remember fairytales? Some do hold a ring of truth to them.  Awaken your sleeping beauty… for she awaits thee and thee alone, in her dreams.” 

With that they left. He never even heard them leave. All his dreams were laid out before him. “Fairytales,” he whispered. His legs, as if they had a mind all their own, took him slowly to stand beside her. Never taking his eyes off her, he fell to his knees beside her. A flash memory of another moment like this almost made him turn away. The memory of a moment just like this, when he had bid her his final farewell.

His hands shook as he reached for her, then like the most fragile of porcelain, he lifted her up to him like a helpless babe. His tears blurred his vision as he took in all he had ever dreamed to hold close once more.

“Now that you live…I shall live…once more. Awaken Catherine to he who has loved you…always,” Leaning down he closed the small space between them as his feline lips came down over hers. When his lips touched hers, his eyes slid shut. As he kissed her, her searching hands traveled up his arms, feeling every shift in his muscles as his arms tightened around her, drawing her closer, molding her to him.

When her hands glided up his shoulders and into his hair, she pulled him down harder into their shared kiss as her lips slowly moved under his, till her lips parted, deepening her kiss more as her tongue, slid out to flick the cleft at his upper lip, tasting teasing the thick pads where they separated. Her awaking kiss upon his lips, near left him breathless, as the fiery need with in him rose up, he could not stop the flood of emotions that seemed to want nothing more then to take this woman, ravage her till there was nothing left.

When her tongue slipped past his lips and into his mouth, something within him took over. He crushed her to him as she deepened their kiss. So great was his desire to have her that it frightened him. Wrenching his lips from hers, he released a strangled cry. “No!” Vincent gasped out as he tried to calm his wildly beating heart and cool the tempest he could feel coming so strongly. He started to turn his head away from her, to not let her see the animal desire he knew was there in his eyes. 

The nails in her fingers dug into his scalp, holding him in place to not turn away. 

When he looked down into her very open eyes, he saw something there in them. No longer were they the sparkling gray-greens from his cherished memories; they were instead darkened with deep need in them as they stared up at him. When she spoke it was in a voice he had never heard before, it was deep, almost guttural.

“No…not this time…Vincent! This is my dream…damn you and you’re not stopping me here. I’ve waited to long. I’ll not stop here…never here. You're mine now!” Catherine ground out to him as she sank her nails even deeper into his lush mane.

"Dear god…no, she thinks this is a dream? I, I have to stop this…but oh, her lips…dear god, the feel of her again…alive in my arms, her skin! God, I’m lost…I can’t do this…"Even as he battled his inner desire, the war within him was well over the minute her lips touched to his. His inner soul was tired of fighting. All he had ever wanted was now alive in his arms, as a faraway voice raged back at him.

"Always the chivalrous fool, she wants us! Can’t you feel it? Ah, the sweet scent of her, the feel of her need to have us…it is as great as ours to have her, if not more! You whined and mewled for years for not having the memory of her loving us, when she gave that lushes body…to you! You, a simpering coward…I lost her to, I loved her, too, and I’ll not let history repeat itself!"

As his inner battle raged in him, his body began to betray him. He could hear his subconscious laughing, sneering at him.

"Even as you hold her, restraining yourself, our need of her is becoming to much, your hardening even now…your tongue is dancing with hers, your losing…let her have us! Do you not want her? Do you not want to know that blissful moment when we can finally know what it would be like to be joined with her in not only in our hearts, and souls, but to finally sink ourselves deep inside her, to feel her warmth welcoming us as we fill her…love her…we have more then earned our right to be loved like this…and I will not let you stop this!"

Vincent’s body took on a mind all its own. It was tired, tired of denying all he had ever wanted. His kisses deepened, as he carefully laid her body back onto the bed. Covering her slight body with his, their kisses became more desperate more demanding. Her body trembled as she felt the hard length of him pressing down into her.

Breaking off their kiss, Vincent began to run feather light kisses along her jaw up to her ear, nibbling tenderly on the flesh just below her tiny earlobe, thrilling in the deep moans from her as he laid tender kisses down to where her shoulder meet her neck, leaving a trail of fire that burned her already heated flesh.

“Vincent, Vincent,” was all he could hear from her, as his hands slid up her arms, leaving it goose fleshed as they came up to the tiny spaghetti straps of her gown. His thumbs hooked around them as he slid his hands down again, taking them with him as bit by bit the gown came away to reveal to him the most perfect sight he had ever seen. Catherine’s breasts, the taught nipples rose up as he curiously ran his calloused thumb over them. Catherine shivered again as he did this. Lowering his head to them, his mouth watered at the very thought of tasting them. Hesitantly his lips nuzzled the one, smiling to himself as he heard the sharp gasp she let out, as he kissed it, suckling it. His thumb teased the other, causing her  to arch her back into his teasing. Catherine shrugged her arms out of the straps as her hands slipped between them to the wide belt at his waist.

Vincent froze wide-eyed as he looked up at her in fear. Not taking her eyes from his, her nibble fingers made quick work of the buckle, pulling it away from him, letting it fall to the floor as her hands came to rest on the hard muscles of his abdomen. Slowly, she slipped her hands under his shirt to feel the hot skin of his flesh beneath as she raised her hands taking the bottom of the shirt with her. 

Catherine, sensing his fear, let go to cup his face in her hands.  “Vincent,” she crooned. “Please I need you. Let me love you.”

Raising his face to hers, she kissed his lips with such fire, such passion, that she stole away all his fears, all his doubts, telling him he was the man she loved. His tears slipped away freely as her hands again reached for his shirt, pulling it up and over his head, before he could even think to stop her. Closing his eyes, he waited, till he felt her hands run through the thick hair at his chest.

“Beautiful,” she whispered up to him.

Opening his eyes to her, he met her gaze. He had not thought it possible but her eyes darkened even more. 

“So beautiful, a golden Apollo.” Catherine’s eyes traveled down his chest, following it as it tapered off to a thin golden line down his muscled abs, disappearing at the waist of his pants. Reaching up, her fingers worked at the lacings that held them. 

Vincent leaned back, taking her hands in his, pulling her up to him, and wrapping her smooth legs around his hips. Pressing her down onto his hardened shaft as it stiffened even more, from the heat emanating from her, it was too much for him to take, and he brought his head down, crushing her lips to his, as his hands slipped to her sides.

With a fierce twist of his wrist, he ripped the gown from her trembling body, leaving her completely nude in his arms. Breaking off their lovemaking for just a moment, he let his eyes devour her. 

“Magnificent,” was the only word to escape his lips. The sheen on her skin, made his hands want to touch her, feel the moister of her skin, touch her everywhere, as if his hands became his eyes as he caressed every part of her. He let his head fall back as a heady scent rose up to his nose filling his senses as her desire for him filled him till there was only one thought left to him. “Mine! She …is mine! To touch, to taste…to savor!” 

She lowered her lips to his throat, dragging her tongue across it, till she came to the thundering pulse at his neck, Catherine bit down hard on it, nearly sending him into a heavenly delirium, raking her nails down his back, till he roared out her name as his arms came around her, pulling her tighter to him.

"Madness, sweet god in heaven…what she’s doing to me can only be described as madness. Shakespeare, not even you can write such magic as this!" he thought as he tried and failed to regain some of his equilibrium.

He almost stopped as he felt her hands again at his waist, slipping her hands between them she had managed the lacing rapidly. Before he could even act, she had them open as her hand slipped in to grasp a hold of him. 

A thankful smile spread across her bee stung lips as she looked back up at his startled expression. Thinking ruefully to herself, "Like all things Vincent…everything is beyond belief!" When her hand tried to wrap around it completely, she swore it grew even larger at her gentle caresses. When she looked up and saw his cheeks puff out the shocked look in his eyes, she could have laughed, but this was her dream… damn it she was going to get everything she had waited for. "And god have I waited! No more! At least here he can’t slink off and hide from me." Catherine had managed to move them to his hips, before he came to his senses.

“Catherine, no,” he practically growled at her. “What…I can’t control this much longer…my need…I, I don’t…”

“Shh, it’s alright…let this happen…we deserve it…you deserve it, Vincent.” she soothed him. With strength he did not know she possessed, Catherine grabbed his arms and flipped him to his back before he could protest any longer. She began to nibble at his lower lip, teasing and nipping at it. Slowly she let her lips fall to his chin and down his throat to his heaving chest. Flicking her tongue out when it found the hardened bud of his male nipple. His skin beneath her lips was so hot so tantalizing, her kisses were leaving a trail of fire as she licked at his nipple. Vincent dug his claws into the sheets at his sides; his head thrashed from side to side that when her lips lowered to the hard plains of his abdomen, when her lips stopped at the opening of his pants. She looked up to make sure he would not try and stop her joys again. Carefully she drew them down further.

When she struggled to get them lower, he thankfully to her lifted his hips for her, and to her utter amazement, he slipped his boots off so she could take the cumbersome pants off him completely. When she did and looked down at his golden nude body stretched out before her, her eyes traveled up his powerfully long legs to his well-hidden secret. His length and size was more then she first thought. Kneeling between his legs, she lightly dragged her nails through the dense hair of his legs. Kissing caressing him up to his steely shaft, Catherine gazed at it like a child with a candid treat before she ran a finger from the base to the tip, enjoying the shudder she elicited from him, the quaking growl that rose up past his lips.

Lowering her lips to him, she felt his hands come up to her shoulders to stop her as her intent began to dawn on him.

“Catherine…no, stop…please. I can’t let you…do this!” He ground out to her. But his words were in vain. Already weak and helpless from her lovemaking, she brushed his hands away easily. 

“I can, Vincent, and I will,” she whispered before she did the unthinkable, something he never could have imagined. When she slipped her lips over his pulsating shaft, he nearly came out of his skin. What he felt, he could never put to words, the feel of her hungry mouth sliding down him, drove him headlong into madness. Everything within him screamed at him to stop her from doing such, but he knew his body, as always, betrayed him. Now, he knew he could not stop her now, he was lost, and would gladly let her guide him back. His body was thrumming with feelings he never felt before. Oh, God, what was she doing? Her mouth engulfed him, and to his horror, his hands came up on their own into her hair, helping her to move on him. It was as if he had to focus to just try and breathe as her mouth came up only to swallow him up again. He wanted something…but every time it seemed to slither farther and farther out of his reach. 

Her mouth took all of him. Only to draw back up slowly, to drive him wild as she came back down again and again, till he thought he would die if she did not stop this. When she raised her lips up from him, she let him slip out finally, leaving him wanting…needing.

“Catherine…dear God…” He choked out, as she slowly began to lay butterfly kisses up to him again, till he felt his tip just at her soft welcoming folds. The heat of her almost forced him to grab hold of her thighs and sink her down upon him burying himself deep inside her, every fiber of his being begged him to.

“Easy, my love, slowly now…” she whispered to him, as she flicked her tongue out to his earlobe. “We have all the time in the world.”

She waited till his breathing, eased. His claws came up and glided over the satiny soft skin of her back, relishing every touch as her skin prickled at his caresses. When she arched upward, he captured her breast into his mouth taunting and teasing it as she did a moment ago to him. Reaching behind her, she grabbed hold of him, taking him completely by surprise as she slowly again guided him to her.

He felt himself tremble violently as her sweet fragrance filled him, he could feel his control slipping away, and he had no wish to fight it, as she slowly lowered herself down him. Both their eyes flew open as she sank her velvety folds down on him. Her sharp intake of breath at his size turned into a sobbing moan as the muscles with in her stretched and tightened around him. He held her thighs, giving her a moment to adjust to him inside her. But once again his body took his tight control away from him as she slid down even further onto him, shattering him completely. Flexing his hips, he thrust up into her, forcing her to scream out as he prayed he would not hurt her, but it was all beyond his control. He could not, would not stop himself as he lifted her again and again onto him. She was so incredibly hot, so tight. 

Catherine threw back her head at his pounding screaming his name louder and louder with each thrust of him. She sank her nails into his chest to anchor her slipping sanity.

Vincent’s hands stole up to her waist as he flipped her down onto her back, driving himself deeper into her. She felt his muscles grow and flex as he dove into her again, filling her till she thought she would die from the deep pounding he gave her. Raking her nails down his back caused him now to roar out as a pressure began to build with in him. Both their bodies wanting, reaching for a culmination  that was surrounded in mystery. 

Lowering his head to her, he took her mouth with such hunger she couldn’t breathe. He pounded harder and harder into her. He felt incredible. She knew once she shattered that iron control he kept, he would be a beautiful lover. Driving into her like a roaring tidal wave, dragging them both closer and closer to that elusive prize, his tongue stabbed into her mouth in perfect rhythm of his hips. When the explosions hit them, neither was prepared for the searing, white hot heat and the shattering that spiraled through them, around them. 

Both screamed the other's name to the heavens above, as he drove into her one last time, his body convulsing as he spilled himself into her. When at last the shockwave wore off, his body came crashing down upon her shuddering body.

Gasping wildly into her sweat damp hair, “Gods above…Catherine…what, what have you done to me?” Never had such power had engulfed him, the beauty under him only pulled his welcoming weight closer as she tried to breathe from the aftershocks. Fearing he was hurting her, he rolled off her, taking her with him, keeping her as close as he could, as she lazily laid her thigh over his, with a contented smile she whispered up to him.

“That was…beautiful…wonderful…I can’t find the right words, Vincent.” She felt a slight rumble from his chest as she laid her head over his heart, with a quick kiss to the top of her head. 

He rasped out to her. “Any one of those…will do.” He felt a slight shudder from her. He thought she was cold. When he reached for the thick blankets on the bed, she stilled his hand.

“No Vincent, I don’t need those anymore to keep me warm…I now have you…for that.” She husked as her eyes slowly began to close.

He laid there for just a moment, reveling in the sound of her deep even breathing, as she slept. Pulling her closer to him, he molded her lax body to his.

“Sleep now…my love, you're safe now…no one will take you from me…again. I will forever watch over you…my love.” Tiredly he laid his own head back, he felt as if millions of years of pain and sorrow had finally been lifted from his soul. “I shall always be here when you wake.” Before sleep finally claimed him, a small flicker passed before his closed lids, of children playing, smiling up at him. A smile graced his lips as he knew these were his children the future legacies of him and his beloved….Finally after so much, he slept at peace. His heart beat in time with the only woman he had ever loved….