The Reckoning

A/N: When I wrote this story (May, 2009) I hadn't written any fiction--let alone fanfiction---for years. This was written after watching "The Outsiders," which, along with three or four other episodes in the first two seasons of "Beauty and the Beast" really annoyed me. But I guess I can't complain too much, since it got me writing again.


“The Reckoning”

By Aliset

Summary: A little talk between Father and Vincent, shortly after “The Outsiders”

Rating: Classic, PG


After Catherine left, Vincent stared at the ceiling for some time. She had said she loved him, and accepted his dark places in a spirit of commonality that frightened and awed Vincent by turns. Either she was willfully ignorant of the Other---in spite of having seen him kill, several times---or it truly did not matter to her. And he was too bone tired to decide which it was. Perhaps later, when he could access his journal and let the words help him order his thoughts.

It occurred to him that he should probably try to sleep, but the adrenaline rush caused by the threat to the tunnels had ceased, wrenching his muscles and bones into unaccustomed aches, and he knew he'd be in for a night of rough dreams and darker moods if he tried to sleep now. The Other had retreated into his mental cage, and Vincent was content, for now, to observe the rough cut stone of the ceiling.

A halting tread, and the faint smell of disinfectant, candle smoke and tea, brought him to full attention. Father. He'd know that walk—and that smell---anywhere. “Vincent,” Father said softly. “I'd have thought you'd be sleeping by now.”

Vincent would have shrugged, but the painful throb and the sling over his left shoulder warned him against it. “No,” he said softly. “I cannot sleep.”

Father came to stand in front of him, much as Catherine had earlier. “I am truly sorry,” he said.

Vincent didn't ask what he was apologizing for. Father had, he knew, truly regretted the necessity of Vincent's actions---or rather, that Vincent had had to be the one, again, who enforced the community's safety. There was, simply, never anyone else who could. I am become death, the destroyer of worlds, Vincent thought, miserably.

“It's my fault,” Father said abruptly, jarring Vincent from his thoughts.

“What's your fault?” Vincent asked. The only fault was his, in being only and simply what he was. A killer, cloaked in the guise of civilization.

“Catherine...shouldn't have been down here.” Father's voice was rough with a shame Vincent had not ever thought to hear from him.

Vincent had wondered why Catherine had come; lacking his own perceptions of their bond, she surely couldn't have known the danger the tunnels had been in, but she was also wise enough not to have come so far alone once she received no answer to her pipe-call. “So why was she here, Father?” There had been no real point to it, and coming down from the heightened haze of fury, when all thoughts deserted him for a time, he hadn't thought to ask her himself.

Father's hands tightened on his cane, a reflexive gesture, Vincent knew, of nervousness. “I asked her to bring us a weapon, to help us fight so you would not have to.

“A gun? Here?” He'd known Catherine had had such a thing; indeed, she had nearly shot him with it the first night he'd appeared on her balcony. But here in the tunnels...such a thing was simply not done. There were no guns, no weapons here. Except for himself, of course. “You sent Catherine down here, to risk her life, for us? For me?” It would have been a roar but his own exhaustion kept the volume of his words muted.

Father looked at him squarely, accepting the anger as nothing more than his just due. “Yes. I would have done anything to protect you from having to kill again. And in so doing, I risked Catherine's life. I am sorry but I could see no other way. She was coming down here to bring us her gun when she was attacked.”

“You risked her life for mine, and for what? So she could see me kill again?” he hissed, volume just a few notches from snarling. No matter the intent, that had been the result and Catherine had seen...she had seen....

“I did not want that, Vincent,” Father muttered. “I thought, with the gun, we could fight them off and you would not have to..lose yourself.”

Lose yourself. Father's delicate and completely useless euphemism for the dark times when the Other came out and killed and slaughtered. Vincent tilted his head back and closed his eyes, ignoring the ache in his neck and back. “This is who I am, Father,” he said softly, forcing the rage back into its cage again. “You know it. William knows it. The community knows it.”

A hand came to rest on top of his head, the hands that had healed and touched and comforted him so many, many times before. Vincent could feel his regret and pain through the contact. “This is not who you are for us, Vincent. I very much regret the necessity that anyone had to imply otherwise.”

“Nevertheless,” Vincent muttered, but Father cut him off.

“Nevertheless,” Father said, “I have done you a great wrong. I have endangered Catherine and caused you to risk your own life yet again because I could think of no other way to protect us.”

Father's queerly formal speech was the mark of a lifetime in the tunnels, of trying to create a world where such dangers would never occur, where all could live in harmony. A perfect world, some would have said, except that a family of hostile intruders had changed everything in the space of a few days' time.

And there would be other times, Vincent knew. Others would stumble on this world and have to be guided out, or they would stumble on this world and mean it harm. He would defend it, in either case. He had no choice. What Father apologized for, the battles, the killings...were perhaps inevitable.

Vincent clasped Father's hand where it had settled on its shoulder. “I will defend this world no matter what,” he said. “But do not involve Catherine again.”

Father clasped his should once, reassuringly, and Vincent felt again the older man's resolve that there should never be another time like this. And his own unspoken promise, to keep the woman his son loved safe from any future dangers so long as he could. “It's late, Vincent,” he said aloud. “Will you sleep, now?”

Vincent shook his head. The dawn was not far off and he had much to think on.

He closed his eyes as Father left.

The End.


Vicky said...

Let me just say it again here: When I first read this story, I was jumping with glee! :-D Someone was finally seeing the events on this episode the way
I saw it... so I was not crazy, after all. It's so easy to lay it all on "wreckless Catherine's" shoulders, but it was not her fault! As it is not most
of the times. So thanks again, my friend!

Also, I guess this will have to remain my favourite, if anything, because it made me reach out with an email, and here we are now. We've been having fun,
haven't we? ;-)

Big hugs, Krista. >:D<

Krista said...

Oh, Vicky---your enthusiasm for this story makes me so very happy. :) I'm glad you still like it and I'm glad you've been there for the other stories that I've written since. :)

Thanks again,


RomanticOne said...

I'm thrilled to find another fan fiction site for Beauty and the Beast. Loved the more complete ending to this story. Father's confession took some of the burden off Catherine's shoulders for Vincent's violence this time around.

Krista said...

Hi there! :)

I'm thrilled you liked this. :) "The Outsiders," as an episode was poorly written, but one of its greatest offenses was how it made Catherine this blundering idiot. When I watched it (for the second and last time LOL) I noticed that she'd come down because Father asked her to, which is a very different thing. Father, indirectly, had put Catherine at risk, which I'm sure made for a very uncomfortable conversation with Vincent. (Would you want to explain that? I wouldn't. :-P)

Anyway, I keep saying this--but thanks so much for reading and reviewing. :)

Vicky said...

Every time the episode was discussed in the list, or when we watched it in chat, I felt very small screaming "hey, she's only doing what she promised Father", at every "why the heck is she coming down when Vincent told her not to?" And then I read this! :-D

Krista said...

Apparently, you weren't the only one whose little voice was screaming that, Vicky. ;) >:-D< I don't see Catherine as being anywhere near that stupid; she'd have stayed away as Vincent wanted, but Father asked her to come.



Sonia Who? said...

I found this short story to be a good addition to the end of the episode 'The Outsiders'. It expresses well Vincent's and Father's thoughts after the events. Good job writing this. Hope you write many more BatB fanfic.

Krista said...

Hi Sonia,

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story---"The Outsiders" is such a mess on so many levels precisely because so many of the characters are so OUT of character. I don't think I've got enough imagination to patch all the holes in the plot...but it was fun to try.

Thanks again. :)

Joyce said...

Thanks to Vicky for pointing me here and to Krista for writing a more satisfactory end to the story. I thought it was interesting to read the comments abut Catherine because I never blamed her for being in the Tunnels. She was only doing as Father asked her to and it was absolutely his fault for discounting her safety so completely that he never bothered to send word to her to stay away. The violence that ensued would have happened regardless of her presence because the intruders were determined for it to be that way but she was needlessly put in harm's way by Father. Sorry to ramble on - but I did enjoy your story tremendously!

Michelle K said...

I know it has taken me forever to post a comment, but I read this story on the train today and just had to tell you how much I enjoyed it. You have captured Vincent's pain so eloquently - allowed him to be angry and hurt and sad in a way that stays true to the man we all love. And Father was brilliant. Thank you for having him take responsibility, for bringing him off his high horse to recognize his own mistakes. Lovely job.

Krista said...

Hey Michelle!

It's good to see you around here :)

Father is...complex. Perplexing at times, infuriating at others. (Devin, anyone?) And he so rarely owns up to his serious mistakes that it's not always easy to remember that he's not, at heart, really an ogre. He's just...human. He made a wealth of bad choices in "The Outsiders" almost from the get-go (which is reason #3,975,321 why the episode is just so darned bad) and it was Vincent and Catherine who were among those hurt the most by those choices.

Thanks for stopping by--I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

-Krista :)

Tweetie Lynn said...

Hi Krista,
I already posted my gratitude and appreciation on the bbtv list for this wonderful story, which gave an insight into the anguish of Vincent. And also the pain of Father. I'm glad it was chosen as part of the weekly fanfic discussions. It gave a satisfactory ending to the Outsiders, which to this day, I still find hard to watch, but your possible ending gave us a resolve between Father and Son in regards to Catherine...never again to involve her like that...which not only endangered her life, but brought out the side that Vincent wishes that Catherine would not be a witness to. Thank You Krista !

Tweetie Lynn

Krista said...

Hi Lynn!

Thank you so much for commenting, both here and on the BBTV list. :) "The Outsiders" is still a perfectly dreadful episode (I've watched it twice for the two stories I wrote from it and I think I'm done for another decade at least LOL) but I'm glad you liked the resolution in this story.

Thank you again, so much,

Krista :)

Vicky said...

Hey Krista,
Well, me again...
I was revising my Outsiders transcription for the Scripts and Transcriptions site, and well...I just had to come here again to make that unsettling, unfair ending all right. You may be tired of hearing it but, thank you, thank you so much!
See you so soon now, roomie!

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