Devin's Gift

Alison Duggins

 

Devin received word from Peter Alcott of Catherine's death just as he started out for work. After recovering from the shocking news, he called the rehabilitation center where he worked to let them know he was taking some time off due to a death in his family.

As Devin got ready to go to New York to be there for Vincent, an ambulance pulled up to OakHaven Rehabilitation Center. An orderly came out and helped the driver carry the stretcher into the facility as an FBI agent turned to the director, Dr. Bowmont, to discuss the patient.

"Your facility has worked well with us in the past with this type of situation. We need someone to keep an eye on her in case she happens to say anything. I'm told she's starting to try to say something, a name, I think." Agent Manning said.

"One of my best therapists just left due to a death in his family. As soon as he returns, I'll turn her over to his care."

"She may never come out of the coma she's in," the agent said "but if and when she does, she'll need all the help she can get after the ordeal she's been through."

"We'll do everything we can for her."

Both men turned and followed the stretcher into the facility.

Devin arrived at the rehab center two weeks later after he got the news about Catherine. He'd done all he could for Vincent for the time being. He had wanted to stay longer but Vincent convinced him that he would be all right. Devin knew better but said nothing. Vincent told him he would find Catherine's child, however long it took, and bring him home to the tunnels. Devin wanted to help find the baby but Vincent said he needed to do it on his own.

Devin went to see Dr. Bowmont to let him know he was back and to find out if there were any new patients waiting for him.

"Devin, glad to have you back. Sorry to hear about the death in your family. Is everything settled in New York?" Dr. Bowmont smiled as he shook Devin's hand.

"No sir, it will never be settled but I've done all I can for my brother. He said he would be all right but I know him; he'll never be all right again. Thank you for your concern and for allowing me the time to be with him."

"I'm sorry to hear that." Dr. Bowmont said.

"I'm told you have a new patient for me." Devin said.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, she arrived the day you got your news from New York. Agent Manning from the FBI will be here at 10AM to get an update on her condition and to discuss her case with you." Dr. Bowmont replied.

"Has she said anything since her arrival?" Devin asked.

"Yes, a name, 'Vincent' I think. She started mumbling the name shortly after she arrived." Dr. Bowmont commented.

Devin looked at his boss in surprise. "What did you say?" He sat in one of the dark chairs as Dr. Bowmont returned to his desk.

"The nurses have caught her mumbling the name 'Vincent'. When they try to ask her about the name, she's silent and withdraws from any further questions. Why do you ask?" As he handed Devin Catherine's chart, Devin noticed the name on its front: Catherine Brown.

"Vincent is my brother's name. After what happened, it just startled me, I guess. When can I see her?" Devin asked.

"Come on, I'll take you to her now." Dr. Bowmont led Devin out of his office and out to the south wing of the facility. As they passed people in the hall, they all welcomed Devin back.

"Oh, here it is." Dr. Bowmont said as he stopped in front of a door. Devin followed Dr. Bowmont into the room. He stared in shocked silence as he recognized Catherine's still form on the bed. Dr. Bowmont didn't notice the shocked look on Devin's face.

My god, I don't believe it! It's Catherine! She's alive! Devin said to himself. As Devin composed himself after realizing the patient assigned for him was Catherine, Dr. Bowmont filled him in on her condition.

"Her name is Catherine Chandler and until the FBI tells us otherwise, her friends and family have been told she's dead. She suffered a terrible ordeal at the hands of a monster named Gabriel. There's no telling what she's been through till or if she wakes up." Dr. Bowmont explained.

"What will happen to her if and when she wakes up?" Devin asked his boss.

"As long as this Gabriel is still around, according to the FBI, she stays dead. Once he's out of the way, she may be able to return to her previous life, I'm not sure. As far as the staff is concerned, her name is Catherine Brown. You and I are the only ones who will know her real identity." Dr. Bowmont told Devin. "I've assigned her care to you, Devin. You have a special way with people. Maybe you'll have better luck getting a response from her."

"I hope so, sir." Devin said. "I hope so."

Dr. Bowmont turned and walked to the door. "I'll leave you two alone. Let me know if she does say anything more than the name 'Vincent'."

"I will." Devin said as Dr. Bowmont left to return to his office.

Devin pulled a chair over to Catherine's bed. Gently he took her hand. "I don't believe this! How on earth did you end up in the hands of the FBI and then end up here? I have so many questions. How or what am I going to tell Vincent..." Devin mumbled to himself. Suddenly Catherine's hand moved in his. Devin looked down in surprise.

"V..Vincent...?" Catherine whispered softly.

"No, its Devin, Cathy. Can you hear me? Catherine, its Devin. Can you open your eyes?" Devin squeezed Catherine's hand.

"D..D.. Devin?" Catherine struggled to say.

"Yes, its me. Devin. Come on, Catherine. Open your eyes. Come on, Catherine, you can do it. I know you can," Devin encouraged her. Catherine slowly opened her eyes.

"D.. Devin? Is it really you?" Catherine asked in fear, unsure of her surroundings. She looked around the hospital room.

"Yes, its me, Catherine. I can't believe this! I'm so glad to see you." Devin leaned over and hugged her.

"Where am I? How did I get here? Where's V..Vincent?" Catherine's voice slurred as she struggled to stay conscious after sleeping for so long.

"You're in a rehabilitation hospital in upstate New York." Devin replied as he tried to calm Catherine. "I don't know all the answers yet but I will find out. As soon as I can, I'm taking you out of here and back to Vincent. Sleep now, we'll talk later."

"You'll be here when I wake up again, won't you?" Catherine asked as she squeezed Devin's hand, still unsure if he was real or not.

"If I'm not here the nurses will let me know that you're awake. I'll come as soon as they call."

"Thank you." she whispered as she drifted off to sleep again.

Devin let go of Catherine's hand and walked toward the window. Wow! Catherine's alive! I'm still having trouble believing this, Devin thought to himself as he sat back down and started going over Catherine's chart.

One of the nurses walked in a few minutes later. Devin was still sitting on the chair by Catherine's bed, holding her hand tight in his, her chart lying on the bed. "Devin, Dr. Bowmont asked me to tell you to meet him in the conference room. Agent Manning is here waiting to speak to you. I see you've met Cathy. We kept hearing her ask for Vincent, but as soon as we tried to ask who he was, she stopped talking. Maybe you'll have better luck." She said with a grin.

Devin decided not to say anything to his boss or to Agent Manning about Catherine talking to him until he learned more. He made his way to the conference room and was introduced to Agent Manning.

"I've heard many nice things about you, Mr. Wells." Agent Manning said as he shook Devin's hand. "I should tell you, I checked you out before I came here."

Devin looked at the agent with concern.

"You came highly recommended. What made you go into psychotherapy? You could have been a doctor or a lawyer with your background." Agent Manning asked Devin.

"My brother helped me with someone a couple years ago and that helped me settle on something I'm good at. My father's friend is a doctor, and he sponsored me going to school." Devin answered.

"Have you met your patient yet?" Agent Manning asked.

"Yes, briefly, but I haven't been told how she got here yet or anything involved specifically about what happened to her. I remembered the news reports regarding her disappearance last year." Devin said. He didn't mention to his boss or to Agent Manning that he knew Catherine personally.

"Two weeks ago, she was discovered in her apartment. An anonymous phone call. We've been watching the medical examiner's office and all the area hospitals in case she turned up." Agent Manning replied. "We contacted the medical examiner and offered our assistance. When our team arrived and started to examine her more thoroughly, they were shocked when they discovered an irregular heartbeat. They immediately rushed her up to the intensive care unit of St. Vincent's hospital where she was stabilized and then brought here. Our people didn't have any luck getting a response from her before she came here. As I said, you came highly recommended. I hope you have better luck. Just as a reminder, as far as the staff is concerned, her name is Catherine Brown. Only you and Dr. Bowmont know who she really is."

"Until this Gabriel is caught, we are not taking any chances. Her friends have all been informed of her death. For Gabriel's benefit we even helped to arrange for her funeral. I'm told her executor started to probate the will she had. Miss Chandler was very wealthy. Her will stipulated that her estate was to be left to a Jacob Wells and Dr. Peter Alcott."

Devin gasped at the mention of Father's real name.

"Is Jacob Wells any relation?" Agent Manning asked at Devin's surprised look.

"No." Devin lied.

"Her estate is quite substantial and that a part of it was to be given to various children's charities around the city and the rest left in trust for Mr. Wells and Dr. Alcott."

Devin smiled as he remembered how Catherine loved all the tunnel children.

"I don't envy this Jacob Wells and Peter Alcott, dealing with all the paperwork involved. I'm just sorry we can't tell them she's alive until we find out if she's going to recover or not. We checked out Dr. Alcott and found out he's known Miss Chandler since she was born. Once Gabriel is caught, we will inform Dr. Alcott about Miss Chander's condition and he can decide accordingly. As far as Jacob Wells is concerned, we haven't been able to locate any information on him that isn't over 40 years old. The New York City police thought they had something on him two years ago but they were mistaken."

Agent Manning turned to leave. "Remember, Mr. Wells, if she happens to say anything more than the name she mumbles, let me know."

"I will." Devin said as he shook the agent's hand. "Oh, Mr. Manning, it might be to her benefit if I could get all the information you have on what Gabriel did to her so that I can better plan her therapy sessions and to see what I'm up against."

"I'll do that." Agent Manning said. He shook Devin's hand again and then Dr. Bowmont's and proceeded out the door.

In his thoughts, Devin agreed with the FBI agent even though his heart told him to tell Vincent. "He's right. If this Gabriel ever found out she's alive, he'll kill her for sure." Devin thought. "Vincent already believes she's gone. If I told him what I've discovered and she really died, it'll destroy him for certain. No, its best I leave things the way they are. Better to get Catherine's strength back and that monster put away so they can finally be at peace."

Dr. Bowmont escorted Devin to the conference room door.

"I better let you get back to your patient. Let me know if you need anything." He shook Devin's hand as he turned to return to his office. Devin headed back to Catherine's room where he found her still sleeping.

Devin told his boss the next day that Catherine had awakened and spoken to him. Dr. Bowmont contacted Agent Manning and after a lengthy conversation convinced him to wait till Catherine was stronger before trying to ask her any questions. Agent Manning reluctantly agreed to accept Devin's word about Catherine and said he would wait for an update on her condition. He sent all the information they'd been able to gather on Catherine's confinement and everything they had on her medical condition when she was found.

A few days later, when Catherine was feeling better he returned and questioned Catherine about Gabriel. She told him what she could, then before he left he told Devin he would keep in touch with him about Catherine's progress.

As days turned into weeks, Devin worked with Catherine trying to rebuild her strength. Although she seemed to be making progress, after about four months she suddenly suffered a seizure.

When the first seizure struck, Devin immediately wondered if anything had happened to Vincent. As the days passed, the seizures occurred more frequently and increased in severity. Devin remembered Vincent telling him his bond with Catherine vanished after his illness. Could their bond be re-emerging, connecting the two of them again and could it be causing the seizures?

Devin thought that the bond was returning and hoped with all his might that if anything was happening to Vincent, whatever it was, it didn't kill him in the process. If Vincent died, Devin knew he would lose Catherine for sure. He didn't dare contact Dr. Alcott, the helpers or the tunnels folk with questions about Vincent or send news of Catherine being alive, with Agent Manning watching him.

As Catherine recovered from yet another seizure, Devin received a letter from Father regarding Vincent's recovery of his son. In his letter Father updated Devin on Vincent's attempts to find his son in the last four months, surviving an assassin sent to the tunnels to kill him, a trap and explosion set by Gabriel, Vincent's capture while attempting to save his son, and the pain and torture Vincent suffered at the hands of Gabriel afterwards.

"My God! So that explains the seizures Catherine's been having. The bond must be re-emerging. She felt everything that was happening to Vincent." Devin said. Now that her son was safe, Devin hoped Catherine wouldn't have another seizure and be on her way to recovery.

Shortly after the receipt of Father's letter, he received a phone call from Agent Manning informing him that Gabriel was dead and his organization was in ruins. Agent Manning told Devin he would be there in the morning to release Catherine into Devin's custody and that he could contact Dr. Alcott regarding Catherine afterwards.

Devin went to Catherine's room and tried to wake her. "Cathy, can you hear me?" Devin asked.

Catherine was slow to awaken after the violent seizure she had had the night before. Dr. Bowmont, concerned about the seizures, (as was Devin), was going to call Agent Manning to get permission to have Catherine transferred to the local hospital but Devin convinced him to wait. Devin promised his boss that if Catherine didn't wake up today, he would notify him and send her to the hospital.

"Cathy, it's Devin. Can you open your eyes for me?" Catherine turned her head as Devin sat down next to her.

"Cathy, I got some news today about Vincent and your son."

"Vincent...?" Catherine fought to open her eyes and slowly focused them on Devin. "Devin...? Vincent...? Our son...?" She struggled to voice her concern.

"Shhh, everything is all right. You gave me quite a scare last night. Father contacted me, told me Vincent found your son and brought him home to the tunnels." Devin told her. He didn't want to tell her everything until she was stronger.

"Our son is safe?" she managed to ask.

"Yes, he's safe and I know everyone in the community absolutely adores him." Devin said with a smile.

"When can I go home?" Catherine asked him.

"Agent Manning will be here in the morning. Once that's done, we'll work on getting you a little stronger for the trip home. We don't want anything else happening to you."

Catherine slowly nodded her head ok.

"I'm going to arrange for some time off to take you back. Agent Manning said I could contact Peter about you but I'd rather bring you back myself." Devin said as he touched her cheek.

"Devin, do you think Vincent..."

"Cathy, Vincent loves you and no other. He was and still is devastated by what happened to you."

"You mean he doesn't know?" Catherine said with a voice tinged with terror.

"I couldn't tell him. There were a number of times where I could have lost you. I think your bond is returning but I'm not sure. Vincent already believed you were gone. I didn't want to give him any false hope, and then you started having the seizures. The last one could have killed you and then we would have lost Vincent."

"You're right, I'm sorry." Catherine apologized.

"Once Agent Manning releases you to me, I'll make arrangements for your release as well." Devin looked up as there was a knock on the door.

"Devin, there's a call for you at the nurses' station."

"OK, be right there. I'll be right back," he said to Cathy as he turned to go.

"Hello? Devin Wells here."

"Devin, Its Peter. How are you?"

"I'm fine and you?"

"Fine, fine. Jacob asked me to call you to let you know the naming ceremony for Vincent's son is next Saturday. Can make it? Jacob really thinks it would do Vincent good if you were there with him."

"Next Saturday? That shouldn't be a problem. I'm taking some time off anyway. I'll be there. Thanks for letting me know, Peter. Talk to you soon." Devin hung up the phone and let out a joyful shout.

"That was Peter." Devin said as he walked back into Catherine's room. "They're having a naming ceremony for your son next Saturday."

"Do you think..." Catherine started to ask.

"If we take things easy and don't rush, I think you might be strong enough for the trip back. Rest now and I'll see you after I talk to Agent Manning and Dr. Bowmont in the morning. Good night, Catherine." Devin kissed her on her cheek.

Agent Manning arrived in the morning and released Catherine into Devin's care. He also gave him all the medical information that Gabriel had on Catherine. Devin told him he would make arrangements with Dr. Alcott regarding Catherine's recovery. Agent Manning wished Devin good luck and returned to New York to finish up the investigation.

As the day of the naming ceremony drew near, Catherine had made some progress in her recovery.

"You still have a long way to go, kiddo." Devin said as he helped Catherine walk across the parallel bars.

"Every step I take brings me closer to Vincent and my son." Catherine said as she gritted her teeth in pain.

"Hey! Take it easy." Devin scolded.

Dr. Bowmont walked into the therapy room just as Devin helped Catherine back into her wheelchair. "Miss Chandler, I have all the papers ready for your release. Is there someone you'd like us to contact for you?"

"Devin has graciously offered to drive me back and get me settled with Dr. Alcott." Catherine smiled at Devin.

"I'm glad Dr. Alcott will be continuing your medical and therapy care." Dr. Bowmont remarked.

"I don't think Dr. Alcott would have it any other way. He's my father's friend who sponsored my schooling for psychotherapy." Devin said.

"Dr. Bowmont, I want to thank you for everything you've done for me and for allowing Devin to accompany me. I dread to think where I might have been if Devin hadn't been here to help me." Catherine squeezed Devin's hand.

"Well, since everything seemed to be in order, I guess you'll be leaving us soon." Dr. Bowmont smiled.

"As a matter of fact, I was going to ask if I could leave with Catherine now." Devin asked his boss.

"As soon as I get her signature on this last form." Dr. Bowmont stated as he handed Catherine the release form. She signed the form and handed it back to him.

"Good luck, Miss Chandler and Devin...hurry back."

"I will. I'm going to stop and see how my brother is also once I get Cathy settled. He lives near Dr. Alcott." Devin squeezed Catherine's shoulder.

"I hope things are better with him." Dr. Bowmont said sincerely.

"They will be." Devin flashed a sly grin at Catherine.

Devin stopped at Catherine's room to make sure they hadn't left anything behind after packing the few items Catherine had. Finally they left OakHaven for the trip back to New York.

"Devin, I'm frightened." Catherine said as Devin helped her into his car.

"Don't be. Once you're back safe with Vincent, everything will be ok." Devin patted her hand as he started the car.

As Devin and Catherine started back to New York, the tunnel community was getting ready for the naming ceremony. There was joyful anticipation in the air regarding Vincent's son but it was also tinged with sorrow at what cost this day represented. Vincent had his son but his beloved Catherine was lost to him. Father peered into Vincent's chamber. He watched Vincent as he dressed his son in the outfit Henry and Lin brought down.

"Father, come in." Vincent said as he noticed Father in the doorway.

"Devin should be here soon, I'm glad he was able to take time off." Father smiled at his son and grandson.

"It will make things easier for me, having Devin here."

"We all miss her. This is a time for celebration. Your love for Catherine and hers for you has produced a far greater miracle than any of us realized, your son. I'm just so sorry I didn't tell Catherine any of this before she died."

"Thank you, Father." Vincent said with a soft grin.

"Since everyone will be at the naming ceremony, I told Devin to announce himself over the pipes when he arrived. That will signal everyone to gather in the Great Hall."

"Thank you, Father, for everything you've done." Vincent turned as he hugged his father with one arm while holding the baby with the other.

Devin and Catherine arrived at the Central Park threshold. Devin looked around to make sure no one was watching as he wheeled Catherine into the drainage tunnel. He tripped the secret lever on the recently replaced door. Catherine breathed a sigh of relief as the door closed behind them. "Finally, I'm home!" She said as her eyes filled with tears.

"Welcome home, Cathy." Devin said, giving her a hug.

Devin picked up a rock and tapped a short message announcing his arrival as promised. "Now to get you to the Great Hall for the ceremony without anyone seeing you. Boy, will there be an uproar when they find out about you! Are you sure you want to wait until after the ceremony?" Devin asked Catherine.

"I want to be there when Vincent names him. Did Father tell you what Vincent was going to name him?"

"No, he didn't." Devin said as they started down the tunnel.

"I would have chosen Jacob after Father and Charles after my own father." Catherine gazed back at Devin.

"Maybe Vincent will surprise you, I know you will surprise himl!" Devin said as they headed for the main hub and the Great Hall.

After a few tricky places and a few shortcuts that Devin remembered, they reached the Great Hall just before anyone else. Devin wheeled Catherine into a little alcove so she could watch the ceremony without letting anyone know she was there until she was ready.

"Will you be all right?" Devin asked.

"I'll be fine. Go. Vincent is probably waiting for you." Catherine pushed Devin toward the entrance.

"I'll see you later." Devin kissed Catherine and went to find Vincent and Father.

From her hiding place, Catherine watched as helpers and the tunnel community gathered in the Great Hall. Her eyes filled with tears as she saw Peter, Joe, Jenny and Nancy enter with Mary. Then Father and Devin entered with Vincent following behind, carrying a tiny bundle. The Great Hall erupted with cheers and clapping as Vincent took his place beside Father and Devin. Father banged his cane on the floor and the uproar died down. He looked around at everyone gathered for this special occasion. He glanced at the gifts people brought for Vincent's child and all the food that was donated for the celebration. Everyone looked at him expectantly as he cleared his throat to speak.

"It has been said that the child is the meaning of life. The truth of that has never been more apparent to me than it is on this day; when we celebrate the child, this new life that has been brought into our world. We welcome the child with love. That he may be able to love. We welcome the child with gifts. That he may learn generosity and finally; we welcome the child with a name..." Father turned to Vincent.

Vincent looked at all the expectant faces. He gazed at Catherine's friends. "I tried to think of something Catherine would approve of. I know she is here with us."

Devin glanced at the alcove, knowing Catherine was watching.

Vincent continued, "And I know she would agree. I've named my son, Jacob. Jacob Charles Chandler Wells."

Cheers erupted as Peter and Jacob embraced each other. Jenny and Nancy started to cry. Joe grinned at them.

"Radcliffe, you done good. He's a beautiful baby." Joe grabbed both Jenny and Nancy in a brotherly hug.

Devin slipped away and ducked into the alcove and found Catherine with her head in her hands. "He named him just as I knew he would." Catherine whispered to herself; not realizing Devin is standing over her.

"Cathy...?" Devin asked.

"I'm ok, Devin."

"Are you ready for this?"

"Yes. I don't want to wait any longer. I need to see them. I need to hold Vincent. I've missed him so much." Catherine wiped away her tears.

"Ok. Let me 'set the stage' and then I'll come back for you." Devin ducked back out to find Vincent, Peter and the others.

"Vincent, can I hold him?" Jenny asked uncertainly.

"Of course, Jenny." Vincent handed little Jacob over to her.

Vincent hugged Devin as he came to stand next to him. "Thank you for being here with me. Your support was what I needed during this difficult time."

"You're welcome, Vincent." Devin said as Vincent released him. "I have a very special gift for you and little Jacob. Father, Peter, Jenny, Joe, Nancy, Mary, Mouse, Jamie, Pascal," Devin called to the others, "This gift is for you as well." Everyone looked at Devin.

"I didn't want to say anything sooner because I feared if anything went wrong; I'd never forgive myself. I found out something when I went back to my job at the rehab center after the news about Catherine." Devin put his hand on Vincent's shoulder.

"Vincent, Catherine's not dead! She's alive! I've..." Before Devin could say another word, Vincent turned on him.

"She's gone, Devin! She died in my arms! I felt her go!" Vincent roared at Devin.

Devin turned as Father said to him angrily,"Devin! How could you?"

Joe added,"If this is some kind of joke, its pretty cruel." with a tone of anger in his voice.

"I'm not joking!" Devin said as he walked to the alcove and disappeared for a moment.

Father turned to Peter, "I don't know what Devin was thinking. How could he do this to Vincent after everything he's been through since Catherine died." The others commented among themselves regarding Devin's behavior.

Seconds later Devin pushed a wheelchair out of the alcove. Shock waves went through the group as they saw Catherine was sitting in the wheelchair. As Devin slowly wheeled the chair toward the group, Vincent dropped to his knees as he finally realized Devin was telling the truth.

"Is that Catherine?" Jenny and Nancy exclaimed.

"Catherine...?" Mary and Pascal turned.

"Jamie. Look, its Vincent's Catherine" Mouse pointed.

"My God!" Father and Joe exclaimed.

"I don't believe it!" Peter shouted.

Mary, Jenny and Nancy started to cry.

Catherine looked at Vincent as his gaze became level with hers. Tenderly he reached out to cup her cheek with his hand. "Are you really here? Am I dreaming?" he asked fearfully. "I felt your presence but I didn't want to believe it. I wanted you here with me so badly I denied the bond I felt so that when Devin brought you out I still wasn't sure. Forgive me..."

"Yes, I'm here. I'm really here. Believe in the bond and our love. Your love brought me back to you. You gave me the strength to go on and fight." Catherine answered.

Jenny held tightly as the baby started to cry. Others who had not realized what had happened looked at Father with concern. Father rushed to examine little Jacob, to make sure nothing was wrong as Vincent rose to his feet and took the baby to try to soothe him. Little Jacob only cried harder as Vincent tried to stop his cries.

"Here, let me try." Catherine said as she reached up to Vincent. He gently placed the baby in Catherine's arms. At her first touch, little Jacob stopped crying as he looked at her in delighted wonder.

"He knows me!" She said as he reached for her face. "I never got the chance to hold him until now." Catherine hugged the baby closer as her tears started to fall.

"Devin, how..." Peter and Father both asked.

"Jenny and I arranged her funeral. We were told we should use a closed casket. I never thought to look after..." Joe choked at the thought.

"I found out myself when I arrived back at work after Catherine's funeral." Devin looked down at Catherine.

"I'm sorry I didn't try to contact you when I found out about Catherine but her health was very precarious, the FBI was constantly asking for updates on her condition and I didn't want to raise Vincent's hopes just to have them dashed again if anything happened to her. I'm glad my boss waited for me and assigned her care to me and for the FBI's trust in me when they did. If I hadn't been there..." Devin's words trailed off as Father hugged him.

"But you were and that's what counts now." Father said as he released Devin.

A low rumble rolled through the Great Hall as the other people slowly realized that something extraordinary had happened. They gazed at the little group huddled around a wheelchair near the tiny alcove. Whispers floated throughout the room, 'Who is that?" "What's going on?" Other whispers circulated as well. Jamie and Mouse bent down and hugged Catherine as the others moved closer. One of the children standing nearby shouted..."Look, it's Catherine!"

The enclosing crowd was muttering and pushing each other, trying to get closer, wanting to believe what they heard was true. Little Jacob started crying again. Father took this as a sign to make an announcement. At Jacob's cry, Vincent and Devin put their arms around Catherine as Jenny, Joe, Mouse and Jamie form a protective circle around Catherine's wheelchair.

"Everyone, step back please!" Mary and Father both said at once. They waited until everyone stepped back before saying anything more.

"Are you all right?" Peter asked in concern as Vincent and Devin let him through the others to check on Catherine.

As Catherine answered Peter, Father called out "Can I have everyone's attention, please? It seemed Devin has brought a special gift for all of us. A very precious, special gift indeed. All our hopes have finally been answered. By some great miracle, Vincent's precious Catherine has been returned to him. This day when we celebrate the child can now be enriched by the celebration of Catherine's return alive and well."

Devin looked at Father with a slight shake of his head. Father's face showed his concern. Vincent noticed this and looked from Devin to Father, wondering what was going on. Devin turned to Vincent. "Vincent, she's all right. She has a long way to go in recovering from her ordeal and we've had a few close calls. This is where she needs to be right now." Devin gripped Vincent's shoulder in brotherly concern.

As the crowd cheered, Vincent looked at Catherine's smiling face. He saw how pale and drawn her face was. She didn't show it but Vincent could sense her tiredness and the strain that the celebration was for her, finally proof that the bond had returned. She wanted to be strong for him but her body betrayed her. Catherine quickly looked away before anyone else could see but she noticed Vincent's fear and concern on his face and in his eyes. She regretted causing Vincent to worry about her.

"Catherine, you look tired." Mary said.

"Yes, I think you've had enough excitement for one night." Peter said with fatherly concern.

"I agree, this has been very emotional for you, Catherine. Why don't you let Vincent take you back to his chamber for now and we'll talk more tomorrow." Father stated with a firm nod of his head.

"Vincent, I'm sorry." Catherine said with regret.

"Catherine, this is the happiest day of my life. The fates saw fit to bring you back to me and for that I will be eternally grateful. The others will understand. You are more important to me." Vincent told her.

"Cathy." Jenny and Joe both said at once. "As soon as Jenny and I can arrange our schedules, we will be back down here to see you." Joe said as he gave her a hug.

"Now that I've found you again, I don't want to lose you." Jenny said with a hug. "Me either." Nancy said as she hugged her also.

"I'm so glad all of you are here. You'll have to tell me how you got recruited as helpers before I go." Catherine looked from Jenny to Joe. "Nancy already suspected something about Vincent when we spoke last year."

"You were the start, Cathy. We met Father at your funeral through Peter and we started talking about you." Jenny said.

"Yes, Catherine." Father said. "I realized your friends were a part of you and I thought if I introduced them to Vincent, he would have others from above who knew you and loved you as much as he did. We helped each other through our grief."

Joe added "Nancy, Jenny and I could never really let you go. You're too much a part of us to lose. Father's right, though, you do look tired. No more party for you." Joe joked with brotherly concern. "Vincent, make sure you take good care of her." Joe said as he let go of Catherine's hand.

Vincent picked Catherine up in his strong arms after giving Jacob back to Jenny and carried her back to his chamber. Devin followed bringing the wheelchair. "Mary said to tell you she would take care of Jacob tonight." Devin said as he followed Vincent into his chamber.

Vincent placed Catherine on his bed and pulled Devin into a brotherly hug. "Thank you, Devin, for everything."

"I'm just glad I happened to be there. I'm happy you and Catherine are together again. Take it easy, Catherine. You're still not steady on your feet. Let Vincent and the others take care of you. Iíll set up a schedule before I leave so that you can build your strength back. It's going to take time but I know you've got the best therapy now." Devin winked at Vincent. "I'm going to miss taking care of you."

"Thank you, Devin." Catherine said.

"Keep her safe, Vincent." Devin touched Vincent's arm.

"Always!" Vincent said as he sat next to Catherine.

"I'll leave you two so I can start setting things up with Father." He said as he turned to go.

Devin smiled as he looked back, happy that he was able to relieve his brother's suffering and give him his life back.

"I hope fate smiles on you both." Devin whispered as he turned back and headed down the tunnel.