Floodgates
by Ginger

Vincent sat back in his chair, in what he hoped was a casual pose, as he watched Catherine pouring over the chessboard resting upon the wooden table in his chamber. She was preoccupied with trying to keep her queen safe, her head resting in her hands as her eyes looked from piece to piece.

He searched her face, as he turned his attention inward, to regard the warmth in his chest that threatened as always to spread throughout his body and mind. He thought about the bond, and what a comfort it was to feel it there, always.

Imperceptively, he tilted his head, and then decided it was time. He released the visegrip he'd held over his emotions, letting go of that which had held him back. Old thoughts, beliefs that he felt were counter-intuitive, old logic that had no place in him, he let go of them, slowly, and then picking up speed as his choice continued to manifest itself.

Catherine''s eyes widened as she sensed something stirring within her, and met Vincent's gaze with amazement. "Is--is that the bond?" she stammered at the strength and force of it, but welcomed the surge as it filled her chest, her torso, her extremities, until she was practically glowing with it.

Vincent said in his soft voice, "Mmm-hmm," giving a slow nod as well.

Catherine sat up in her chair and ceased to remember that there was a game in progress, her eyes never leaving Vincent's as she grew accustomed to that pleasant glow. Her eyes narrowed accusationally as she realized that it was reciprocal. "Wait," her eyebrows furrowed a little, "you could do that all this time?"

Yes, he said, though she could have sworn his lips didn't move. He leaned forward in his chair, and reached for a hand of hers to hold, which she gave willingly. The physical contact heightened the connection considerably, enough that they both became flushed, not from any overt sexual tension though that was there as well, but because their hearts were racing with emotion, pure unadulterated positive emotion... joy... an overwhelming amount of joy, of the deepest and most sincere form of love they could ever hope to know.

She squeezed his hand as he let his deeper thoughts rise to the surface, things he had only hinted at and things he had never even eluded to, things he had once contemplated keeping from her. He let her see it all, the self-doubt, his issues, his sense of self, how he saw her, how he carried himself, how... wounded he had been throughout his life. Her eyes became shiny as the candlelight picked up the tears that threatened. They did not fall, as she sat transfixed, getting used to how his mind felt, and worked.

They sat like this for an indeterminate amount of time, waves of emotion eddying from one to the other, two hearts and two minds joined as one. It might be assumed that they would have abandoned self-control and allowed their physical bodies to melt as easily. There was, instead, the unspoken knowledge that that particular part of their union would come later. There was no sense of urgency about it. Just a sureness that, had they reflected upon it, would have seemed impossible. They questioned none of it, simply accepting everything in each other. In a moment, each healed old scars and imbalanced energies in the other.

Catherine turned her head just as Vincent's ears began perceiving the familiar footsteps of Father approaching the chamber. She squeezed his hand again. Never again would the man be able to come between them. They were too closely united to ever consider parting again.

Father strolled fully into the chamber, noted the two staring at each other and holding hands, and coughed pointedly to announce his presence. He held a freshly brewed pot of tea in one hand, his walking stick in the other. Subversively, he was hoping to ascertain whether Catherine had yet approached a level that she could overtake Vincent at chess.

I love you, Catherine sent, wondering if her mental voice could be heard.

Vincent gave her the sweetest smile, and she felt him shiver deep within himself. He would never hide from her again. And I you, he answered.

At the same moment, they released their singly held hands, blinked, and regarded Father, who had scarcely noticed the passage of time. "I brought tea," the man greeted, holding it up in the air a little. The two waved him over invitingly, and Vincent and Catherine continued their lapsed game, as Father watched eagerly, wondering who would win.

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This is just a short story that came to mind while at work one day. I might expand the idea to a fuller story later.