The story I wished to write, when I started is essentially completed. Many who loved the TV series hated the ultimate ending which saw the love of a lifetime altered by death. I have written, from my heart, what I hoped would be a comforting continuation. The words really wrote themselves. Much as I would loved to have ended with the reunion, I have felt there is more to tell and so despite lack of time and exhaustive demands in my life, I have continued to write words that come to me from some other place. No matter how tired I feel, each chapter brings a renewal.
I want to thank Ron Koslow and all the writers and producers of BATB for ceating images and characters who touched us so deeply. I want to thank Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton and all the other actors for bringing the characters to life so vividly.
Thank you for reading this story and your helpful comments.
Finding the Past
It took a while to organize Catherine for the long journey home. Jacob continued to navigate the delicate balance between his mother's caregivers and his father. Vincent was finding it very nearly impossible to wait. His life seemed unreal. There were no tunnels! Life lived on the surface of the world seemed too busy, too noisy! His senses were assaulted daily with sounds and sights of life above. Considering that the Motorhome was perched atop a mountain and not down in the city, no one could understand his frustration. In part, Vincent felt that too much of Catherine's life was controlled by others. Too many decisions were being made by agencies and not by her. He recognized that she had been ill, and endured more than most but getting back to her environment in New York, its hustle and bustle, its noise, sights and sounds would do more for her than anything else. Everything for her was 'yesterday' in a sense. There were no '24 years'of having lived. Until she was back in her own environment, her full healing would be delayed.
It took five days before they received the final go ahead. Sue would accompany them in the Motor Home. Her ongoing care meant consistency for Catherine. Terry wanted to go but she had needed clearance to make the trip. Her skills were invaluable, however no one wanted her to pose any risk to her pregnancy. Jason would not allow Theresa to go without him. Vincent finally confided to his weary son, 'This is becoming more like a traveling circus. Perhaps I should call your Uncle Devin. He would enjoy this. I do not!'
Jacob could find no words of comfort. His parents, and he sighed anytime he grouped them together, were a real test of his own patience. Still, he could not find it in his heart to be upset with either of them. In a few short days he had glimpsed what life might have been like if…! He never finished the if. 'Might have beens' never served any purpose. To speed things along, he took some time to have a chat with the MD looking after his mother. He knew that it was important to make sure of his mother's health. He just wanted to speed things along. Derek, who had not met his father smiled but refused to compromise his own responsibility.
When asked, Catherine refused to be hospitalized for any reason. Legally, she had no say in what would happen. Joe was working on changing the legal documents around her care but Catherine needed to show competency to a Judge or pass the care to her son as her substitute decision maker. Another delay! It all seemed so complicated. No matter how intense the issues surrounding them Vincent and Catherine continued to find strength and comfort in each other. Sue relinquished enough of her vigilance to allow the happy couple to expand the horizons of their relationship.
Eric, Joe's capable assistant had secured a lovely brownstone in New York. It had once been owned by an aging couple who both used motorized chairs. The entrance and the back yard had been made accessible with ramps and wide doors to accommodate any type of handicap needs. He took out the option of a lease to own in Jacob's name. There was an apartment downstairs big enough to accommodate Catherine, Vincent and a part time nurse. Upstairs there was another two bedroom apartment. Jacob could live there independently. As Jacob had said over the phone in his discussions with Eric, there was but one criteria; close proximity to Central Park. Eric understood that it was more important than any other.
Joe had been an extraordinary custodian of Catherine's money. Her compensation, her personal income and the surprising funds left to her from the personal estate of Elliot Burch all served to make her quite wealthy. Elliot Burch had died leaving all his personal money to Catherine. He had been bankrupt in his business dealings. but not personal wealth. His death, so sudden and without heirs meant that his will stood as written, with Catherine as his beneficiary. With the secrecy surrounding Catherine's death' Joe had to walk a fine line. He did so skillfully ensuring that Catherine would never have to want for money. Jacob, who remembered Joe's words in Albany continued to have faith that all would be well financially. For one so young he managed quite well to keep things in perspective.
On their last night in La Crescenta, Vincent once again took Catherine outside to ponder the stars and recreate their time together on the balcony in New York.
'We leave for New York tomorrow Catherine.'
'Are you sure?'
'I am sure I want to go and I am sure we are leaving. I have been strangely happy here when we spend time together like this. I don't feel comfortable with too many people around.'
'Very noisy Vincent. New York too but we will be home. I need to con…con…connect with my roots too.'
Her stumbling words always touched Vincent's heart. He knew she was moving forward in leaps and bounds but some verbal skills eluded her. Each night Vincent tried to compose some poetry from his heart to share with her. Love overflowed from him. He needed an outlet for his own anxiety and felt more productive channeling it into words than anger.
'My Dearest, you are here, the passion of my life, the spark that lights the fire in me.'
'There isn't much of a spark in me now Vincent' she said softly in response to his words.
'None the less, there is a fire in me.'
Catherine laughed and hugged Vincent tightly. He marveled at how she recovered much of her joy in life. He held her firmly. The 24 year difference between them was slowly narrowing. He hoped that she would be able to catch up even faster once they were back in New York. There were many reminders of the past and still much to overcome. Here in California her life was surreal. It was nothing like the life she previously led in New York. Her inability to live that life again may cause problems once they returned. He wished he could spare her any further hurt but knew it would be impossible.
When they finally set out, early one bright November morning, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Nobody quite knew what would happen in New York but everyone was optimistic about the future. Theresa was following with Jason in a separate rental car. Neither of them had enjoyed a vacation in years. Jason hastily organized a week off. He would not let Terry go alone and saw this time together as a chance to really plan their future. They would fly back together once Catherine was settled in New York.
It was agreed that the return trip would be less hectic. There was no deadline to meet other than anxiety. Every few hours brought a changing environment within the motor home. With five drivers, two vehicles, and nine people, the dynamics of any grouping was interesting. Jacob and Jason found much in common. Jacob in particular wanted to discuss the Crime Ring. He hoped to engage Diana after his return. There was a lot more to learn about the origins of the Ring that was responsible for his mother's state and his early kidnapping. He could hardly imagine being the child of someone as heinous as Gabriel. He owed much to his father's persistence and Diana's courage.
'I don't know if I could imagine my life any other way Jason.' Jacob confided his concerns as the two sat in the comfort of the car. Terry was watching Catherine and monitoring her heart rate. They had been on the road since early morning. So far all had been well.
'I can't even imagine what your life is like Jacob. You have two incredible parents. This 24 year old story defies explanation.'
Jacob chuckled, finding release in the easy camaraderie. 'Listen I am still trying to learn to say 'my parents' as a unit instead of two separate people.'
'Do you have any ideas about the crime ring Jacob?' Jason was thoughtful and concerned knowing the story was not over.
'I do. I wonder if Diana has looked back far enough. I was thinking about the 'expulsion edict' in England under the Plantagenet rulers which led to money in the coffers of the nobles. I see a much larger connection to Richard the Lionheart whose life was about war, raising money and questionable sexual behaviour. Even if he wasn't acknowledged as homosexual, his followers may have taken his reputed behaviour as part of their secret society.' Jacob's mind worked at lightening speed, calculating even as he spoke.
'Yes I believed that he gathered money inappropriately to fund the Crusades. He was a formidable warrior but a poor King.'
'Hard to believe that he could generate a following lasting 800 years when the direct descendants of his family didn't last half that long ' Jacob thought a moment then continued, 'The Knights Templar lasted . Maybe the Octopods were the dark side of the Templars.'
'It would be good to find out how this current group identify themselves. We know they use the lion or Leo symbol reversed. Then there is the story of the seven rings. And what about the Octopus organizational layout; a head and eight arms? Could it be two groups that amalgamated at some point? Jeez…. I don't even know where to start.' Jason shook his head.
Jacob was thoughtful and baffled. This was going to be a real challenge to solve. He wanted to work on it. Diana had disclosed that Gabriel also set a trap for Vincent. It was more than just a desire to see him dead. There was something about his Father's power that Gabriel had envied. Jacob wasn't sure if it was about Vincent himself or something else. He continued to brainstorm with Jason for awhile working out some data from his own studies.
Jacob parted company with Jason and returned to the motor home. They were closing in on Arizona. He knew it would be a tough time for his father and he wanted to be there. He still had things to discuss with Jason, but it could wait for now.
Vincent finished telling Catherine the story of his mother just as they approached the area of Kingman where he first sensed a change in him. He talked of his feelings on their trip to California and Jacob's amazing interpretation of his grandmother's life. Catherine was so happy for Vincent. To know the origins of his life must have been fulfilling. She already thought him noble, passionate, poetic, romantic, everything a man should be.
'It's a very good story Vincent. You have taken the best of both worlds.' Her eyes conveyed her thoughts.
'Thank you Catherine. I know that there is a biological father. I have thoughts that trouble me a little. I would wish not to have to consider anyone but Father, but I know what it means to be adopted. The episode of my life dealing with Paracelsus showed me how vulnerable I am to the suggestion of others.'
The little caravan finally stopped close to the same spot as before. Vincent told Catherine he would be back. He wanted to spend some time alone with his thoughts. She let him go, knowing the importance of accessing his cellular memories. Later, he asked Jacob to join him while he walked through the warm sands on a surprisingly chilly evening.
Vincent bent down to gather some sand in his hand. He allowed it to run lightly through his fingers.
'I feel a kinship with this land Jacob.'
'It has to be in your bones Dad. You're not that many generations away from it.'
'I know. I never considered this.' Vincent paused then continued. 'Jacob, when we return to New York, I want to know my biological father. I want to see all my roots, good and bad. I know that I ask a lot of you and perhaps of myself too.'
'You will never ask too much of me Dad and I can never give enough.'
Father and son hugged before returning to the trailer. To their surprise, Catherine was waiting at the door, seated in a chair.
'My husband, my son, you go out without me. Am I not a part of both of you? Then I go too.'
'Catherine, it is cold…..'
'Coat then.' Her tone meant business. Sue was standing nearby with a warm jacket. She placed it around Catherine's shoulders with a barely suppressed smile.
Vincent sighed and lifted her into his arms. Father, mother and son stepped back out into the desert sands.
'Please put me down here Vincent.'
Vincent did as he was asked. The trio stood side by side facing east, the direction of their destination. Only a shaft of the waning moon was visible in the sky. Catherine was supported on either side by her men. They were silent, seeming to hold themselves steady for a gathering of strength, breathing in the night air. Each caught a hint of a breeze, listening to the desert sounds. All three felt a surge of power, not like the days of the nuclear explosions but a surge of energy from the power spots famous in Arizona. When the moment had passed, Catherine turned to Vincent and was lifted back in his arms. Words were not needed.
Cathy had been silent for much of the return trip. Jacob knew she was worried about her mother. The family reunion tugged at her heart strings, reminding her of her own lost family. She refused to inject herself unnecessarily, despite Jacob wishes otherwise. 'This is your time Jacob. I am here if you need me,' she had said over and over. Indeed her quiet presence was a tower of strength to Jacob. When the trio returned to the motor home however Cathy was nowhere to be seen. At his questioning glance, Sue nodded towards the front of the Motorhome. There Cathy, Jason, and Rob were pouring over a map.
'Is anything wrong?'
'It's my mother Jacob. I had a voice message at home. I have to go.'
'Is she worse Cathy?'
'Um…uh..yes she is. I knew this could happen at any time Jacob. I have had an open ticket for almost a year. I used Terry's laptop to book a flight. Jason can take me into Flagstaff when we pass by there. I can get a flight in the early morning to Dallas and then on to Orlando from there.'
'Please don't Jacob. I thought that I would have to do this trip alone one day. Now I am not alone and even though you can't come with me, you, Vincent and Catherine will be there for me when I return.'
Jacob took Cathy outside for a few minutes of privacy. He needed to hug her and hold her close without the prying eyes. He held her tightly whispering words of love and encouragement.
'Cathy I adore you. Your courage, time and time again has held me up when I felt like I couldn't go another minute. I wish I could do the same for you.'
'You have Jacob, you have. Just knowing that I am a part of this special time makes me feel like I belong. It's all I ever wanted.'
Jacob looked into her eyes, shiny with tears and kissed her lightly, without passion. She wrapped her arms around him, holding him tightly, savouring the feel of his warm hard body. Jacob knew that her mother had already died. He said nothing. Perhaps she knew and wanted to leave without having to deal with the condolences. He would respect her.
'I am going to drive with you to the airport.'
'No please Jacob. This is hard enough already. I just want to go. We will meet up in New York. Let me do this my way, please?'
In the end, Cathy had her way. Jason broke away to drop her at the airport in the early hours of the morning. The motor home continued slowly giving Jason time to catch up later.
Jacob was silent. His parents left him alone. It was clear he needed time for himself. His thoughts were with Cathy. Jason rejoined them later and Terry went into the car to give him break from driving. Vincent came out of the bedroom. Catherine was sleeping peacefully and Sue went into the room to sit with her.
'How are you doing Son?' Vincent queried, putting a comforting arm on Jacob's shoulder.
'I'm fine Dad. It is Cathy who needs help. Her mother has already died.'
'I think she knew Jacob.'
'Dad is Mama, alright?'
'Yes she is. What's wrong Son, if it isn't Cathy?'
There are threads of this case that puzzle me as a lawyer. I am also concerned because I sense that we are somehow connected to this powerful crime ring.'
'It has been on my mind too.'
'Look at this Dad.' Jacob and Vincent sat down to review some of the conversations of the past few days. Jacob pulled a piece of paper towards him and drew an outline of the symbol.
'Does that look familiar to you?'
Vincent studied the drawing. 'I know what you said about its connection to the Astrological sign of Leo, but this mark is also a symbol of Mercury amalgamation used in Alchemy.'
'How do you know that Dad?'
'Paracelsus. He was an alchemist and shape shifter. His danger lay in being able to impersonate anyone and to create something from nothing. These symbols were a part of his life.'
'I forgot about him. I know that you and he were engaged in a terrible battle. He was partially responsible for the time when you lost yourself and Mom too.'
'A sad time I will never forget. He just seemed to have a hold over me. I got dragged down into a self destructive path that very nearly destroyed our family.'
'What do you think about this symbolism? I really had no interest in this growing up.' Jacob showed his Father other scribbles which appeared meaningless to him.
Vincent thought for awhile, tracing back in his mind for more memories.
'I believe that there is a cult of Hermes Trismegistus that goes back several centuries. It consisted of Philosophers, Alchemists and Astrologers. They studied the seven planets and delved into all manner of thought using magic to change base material into gold. The Jews were among the most famous of the early Hermeticists but many were ostracized for their practices and their wealth. I suppose Paracelsus was part of that somehow.
'Yes, remember the last three were not seen until the 19th century. Don't forget that many thought the earth was the center of the universe, the 8th planet. Mercury was seen as the messenger planet because of its close proximity to the Sun. Hermes was the Greek name for Mercury.'
Jacob's mind began to work overtime. Unsolicited, his father had just used the same words from a different prospective as the words he used with Jason. Somehow in the midst of all that was happening, it became clear that his father was connected to Paracelsus, to an unknown crime ring that threatened his mother's life and to some long established organization. What tied them all together, he wondered.
Jacob looked at his Father and knew easy answers were locked inside of him. Vincent correctly interpreted the look, knowing that he may have to acknowledge things in him that were better kept hidden. He also knew that there were many people who do good and those who perpetrate evil. How could he not utilize his son's skills to find answers.
Vincent held out his hand towards his son. 'Your mother is sleeping, we are alone. I think that now is the time son to find the answers we both seek. What do you want me to bring to mind?'
Vincent closed his eyes and pictured Paracelsus as he had seen him over and over, angry, ready to do battle with anyone, behind a mask or scheming to commit some crime. He kept his body still, allowing Jacob to gather impressions.
'Dad you have to think about Paracelsus. I am getting a vision of Coralee.'
'It is Paracelsus in my mind's eye.' His heart sank!
After the death of her family members, Coralee was destitute. She had no income and no resources. At seventeen, her health was poor and no one cared what happened. Her one life line was a letter she found in her mother's belongings from a sister in New Jersey. Coralee had written to her about the deaths. There had been no response but Coralee wrote again hoping as she mailed the second letter that someone would help her. The bank wanted her off the land and there was no where else for her to go. She had sold anything that was left of her parents meager possessions and hid away a small sum, just in case. It would not last long.
When she had just about given up hope, a letter arrived from her aunt with a bus ticket and little else. 'Come out east. You can help me while you look for work. It's the best I can do. Signed, Ethel Raeburn.
Coralee boarded a bus the following week for the long trip east. She had no idea what to expect. All she could afford was a small loaf of bread which she nibbled from time to time. It was her only meal for the entire trip.
Coralee arrived in New York tired, hungry and dispirited. She was met by a tall, well built, commanding man with dark hair and blazing eyes. He said little to her on the short drive to New Jersey. She dreaded the meeting with her Aunt if she was anything like the dour man beside her.
Ethel Raeburn was a brassy, bold, over indulged blonde, with a sly look. Coralee could see some of her mother in the mannerisms but the resemblance ended there. Her aunt and uncle had two sons, one as dark as the father and the other quite fair. They seemed an odd couple.
Coralee was made to understand that her own mother had married beneath herself. Because of her lesser status, Coralee found herself doing all the cooking, cleaning, and care for the boys who were 10 and 12. No one respected her or even cared if she was comfortable.
Grateful to be alive and sheltered, Coralee said little. Life in New Jersey was still not as harsh as the desert. During winter Coralee was given cast off clothes from her Aunt. They were much too big and too short. She didn't mind. After her father's death the family had virtually nothing. They had learned to make do. Coralee took the clothes and altered them to fit.
It was a strange household. Her aunt's husband Edgar seemed to watch Coralee unnecessarily. He often touched her inappropriately. They lived a strange lifestyle. Edgar had men over to the house every week on Friday. There were 10-12 of them, dressed in black, many bearded. They met in the living room behind closed doors. Ethel went out with her friends on that night. Neither retired to bed until well after midnight.
Once a month, Edgar went away for the weekend. Ethel often stayed out on those weekends too, leaving Coralee alone with the boys. She was happy enough for the solitude. They had given her an attic room. After the boys were asleep, she would sit and read books undisturbed. For her, it was an enormous treat to be able to glimpse other worlds through literature.
Gradually, Edgar started asking Coralee to serve the men who came to the house. They seemed to take a break in their discussions midway through the evenings and she prepared drinks and sandwiches for them to eat. There was a strange odour that came from the room during the break time. Most of the men ignored her presence altogether. Of all the men there, Mr. Pater, another tall dark man with a deep resonant voice, treated her kindly, offering a half-smile for her service. Sometimes he would drop a coin in her apron pocket. She dare not smile back.
Some months later, when Edgar had gone away for the weekend, Mr. Pater dropped by, leaving a written message, he said, for Edgar. He stayed longer than was necessary. It wasn't long before Mr. Pater's interest became more intense. He showed Coralee such kindness that she succumbed to his advances. He was a master seducer.
When Coralee started to get a fat stomach her Aunt became enraged thinking it was Edgar's child. She turned Coralee out on the street with nothing. John Pater, anticipated this action. He waited for Coralee not far from the house, promising to give her a better life. He did indeed rent a small furnished room for her and kept her well fed. He no longer touched her, explaining that the baby was to be protected. Coralee once broached the subject of marriage. She soon surmised that John Pater had a wife already!
Coralee was torn. Her values did not support the idea of having a child out of wedlock. Marriage was out of the question. How would she support herself and a child. She had no idea when the child would come. As the weeks went by, she became more and more desperate. Once, a woman had come to the door 'looking for someone' she said, but Coralee got the impression that the woman had come to check on her.
When her water broke, Coralee was alone. She birthed her own baby feeling no fear as the contractions mounted. She had seen and assisted her mother at births many times and knew what to expect. Her baby looked strange. He reminded her of the mountain lion she had so loved. His hair was golden and he was covered with a soft white-yellow downy fur. She fed him tenderly and cared for him but she was hungry and scared. Mr. Pater had not been around for a few days and food was short. As much as she loved her boy, Coralee knew that she would have to give him up. If she couldn't eat, she could not make milk for him.
There was a hospital nearby. It seemed the best place to take him. She had a little basket she used for shopping. She cleaned it out and lined it with her bed sheets. She wrapped her baby in a blanket from her bed so that he would not be cold. She gave him one last feed and kissed his soft golden head. Stumbling and tired, she made her way to the hospital and laid him near a door. She left quickly, knowing that if he made one sound, she would not be able to let him go.
Anna Pater, who had been childless, watched with disbelief as her husband's mistress laid down their child and walked away. Ever since her visit to the small apartment to see if indeed her husband had been having an affair, she had stalked the house, watching and waiting to see what the woman would do. When she saw Coralee leave the apartment with the baby, she decided to follow. Something was to happen. She was sure of it.
No sooner had Coralee disappeared from sight than she snatched up the infant and almost ran back to the tunnels. She knew that John would treasure this child and keep it for himself. Perhaps he would even get rid of her and marry the young blonde woman. She could not allow John to leave her. She would keep the child but give it to Jacob to raise. John would never know it was his.
Jacob returned to the present with a start. His head was spinning with all the information that he was able to channel. The source of his skill was still a mystery but he knew that there was a repository of universal energy which he could tap into. In time he would need to study that the implications of it but for the moment he was exhausted.
Looking into his father's eyes he realized that he would have to share some of the story with him.
'Are you ready to hear the truth Dad?'
'John Pater can no longer hurt me son. I know he is my biological father. He said so many times. Maybe when I hear the truth of our connection I will be even more satisfied that what happened between us was the way it was meant to be.'
'How did you know?'
'I could hear your whispers as the information came to you.'
Jacob went on to retell the story. Father and son hugged briefly. Vincent could see that his son had exhausted himself. He also knew that these mysteries of his birth would give answers to so many other questions. Neither wanted to discuss the information further.
Vincent went into the bedroom to join Catherine and allow Sue to get some sleep. In his heart he was agitated by the memories of his mother. He would have wished better for her. He wondered if she ever had a happy life. Sue left with a sleepy smile. Vincent, not wanting to disturb Catherine, sat in the comfy chair vacated by Sue. It still held her warmth. He could feel the caring energy she exuded. It lulled his anxiety.
Catherine stirred in the bed. Vincent did not want to join her right away. Instead he whispered her name over and over followed by the words I love you. When she settled, he thought, we have much to discuss Catherine. You will know me for who I really am. Vincent allowed sleep to take him away from his thoughts.
Jacob dragged himself to his bunk and lay down. His body felt battered. Unseen energy can be a powerful enemy or ally he thought. He felt under his pillow and retrieved a piece of paper. Without seeing its contents, he knew it was from Cathy. She wanted him to know that her mother had indeed died from the deadly HIV virus that ravaged her body. Jacob had already seen it. His heart went out to her with a silent message of love. He knew it would reach her. At last , Jacob was able to turn off the flow of energy and settle into sleep. Tomorrow he would continue to seek the truth of his Father's life and free him from his unknown past.