All I Ask Of You


By Cathy Trotta



“You have the strength, I know you,” Vincent had said those words to her when she first pushed away his hood and his face was revealed to her for the first time.  Since then there had been many things that had tested her strength and her courage, not just for herself but for Vincent and the Tunnel community as well.  Her courage had led her to a new job, one that required getting down and dirty not the cushy job she had at her father’s law firm.  She had seen him kill to protect not just her but the community as a whole.  And her truest act of courage was going into a cave to bring him out of himself not once but twice.  This last time, though, was different.  This time the Other that he so often spoke of was there, visible to her in all forms.  This time was the only time he had raised his hand to cause her harm.  There for the graces of God, he caught himself before he struck her, and she was left unscathed, physically, at least.


She had sat by his bedside while he recovered.  Held him, rocked him and spoke softly to him when the nightmares were at their peak.  Now he was recovered, and now he couldn’t remember her name.  To hear him say that he knew that she was the woman that he loved made her heart sing with joy.  Then with the admission of forgetting her name, she felt as though she had been stabbed in that same heart repeatedly.  She was suffocating, on the brink of sanity herself and needed to get away to think, to recover.


While Vincent was out walking with Pascal one day, she approached Father.  She needed every skill she had learned in her courtroom training to be able to weave the story she was about to tell and to have him believe her and not question her loyalty to Vincent or the Tunnel community.  Each step toward his chamber felt as if she was walking toward her own execution.


“Father, may I speak to you?”  Father looked up from the text he was reading.  She noted that he looked much older, more tired than the last time they had spoken, before Vincent’s illness.


“What can I do for you Catherine?” 


How to begin, how to say the words to protect herself and not to raise doubt in his mind?


“Father, you know that I took time off during Vincent’s illness?”


“Yes of course I do.  I don’t know if he would have recovered without you being here.”


Hearing these words made her task even more difficult. Right now she wished she could go back to having Father feel as he did about her after she was first introduced into this community.


“I’ve been thinking,” she continued, “Perhaps my being here is more of a hindrance than a help to Vincent right now.  The fact that he can’t remember my name leads me to believe that part of him wants to block out the memories of our time together.”


“Catherine, you can’t possibly think that, or that he would forget your name on purpose?  His mental state is very fragile and it’s only logical that he would remember people and things that have been a part of his life longer than you have been.”


Again she lied and responded, “Yes, of course I understand that, but I still worry that I might cause him to have a relapse.  I’ve decided to go to my family cottage in Connecticut for some of my own rest and relaxation, to spend some time sorting out the events of the last few weeks.  Perhaps without the pressure of my presence, it will help Vincent fully recover from this horrific ordeal.”


The look in Father’s eyes was one of question and doubt, but he could not deny all this woman had done for his son to aid in his recovery.  On more than one occasion he had silently acknowledged that without her intervention, his son might have died in that cave.  Who was he to second guess her need for time to sort things out, get some well needed rest of her own?


“When will you leave and will you at least say good-bye to Vincent?” 


The fact that he thought she would be so unfeeling as to leave without saying good-bye made her blood boil.


“You have the nerve to suggest that I would leave and not say good-bye, after sitting here for weeks willing him to live! How dare you?”


Father, seeing the hurt he caused said, “Of course you wouldn’t do such a thing, Catherine, please forgive me.  If truth be told, I honestly didn’t expect him to make it out of that cave alive.  You have my eternal gratitude for all you’ve done for him...for all of us.  From a medical standpoint, I can understand the toll this has taken on you both physically and mentally.”


Just at that moment Vincent came down the steps into Father’s chamber, with a questioning yet blank look in his eyes.  As she looked up and saw him, the lack of recognition in his eyes tore into Catherine’s soul.


“Vincent may I speak to you for a moment in you chamber?” she asked.


“Of course, Catherine,” he replied.


She leaned down and kissed Father on the cheek and gave him a hug.  In his ear she whispered, “I’ll be back before you have a chance to miss me,” but she knew this was one promise she might not be able to keep.


As she followed Vincent to his chamber, she was filled with a sense of dread.  She was going to lie to him, something she had never done before, and she wasn’t sure what bothered her more, the fact that she was going to lie to him or the fact that he wouldn’t know it because their bond was no longer intact.


His chamber, which had always been her sanctuary, where she dreamed of them having a life together, was now threatening to suffocate her.  She knew she had to make him believe her quickly and get out of there before she lost her nerve.


He cocked his head to the side as he always did.  In the past this would have made her smile, but now it just made her sad. 


“Catherine, is there something you want to discuss with me?” Vincent asked.


It took her but a split second to compose herself and paste a fake smile on her face before she continued.  “Yes, Vincent, there is.  As you know, I took some time off work during your illness?”


He lowered his eyes as if ashamed that his illness had occurred at all and replied a very soft “yes.”


“Well,” she continued, “I’ve decided that I’m in need of a mini vacation myself.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the cabin, and before your illness, the caretaker called and told me of repairs that need to be made.  I’ve decided to go and check things out for myself, and give you the space that you need to make a full recovery.”


The silence in the chamber was deafening.  “Catherine, is this because I did not remember your name?”


“No, not at all,” she replied, unable to meet his eyes.  “These repairs need to be done, and since I’ve already taken the time off, I’ve just decided to extend it a bit. Who knows the next time Joe will be so generous in allowing me any vacation time at all?”


He couldn’t argue with her logic or the fact that she did look tired, and in the need of rest.  Although his entire memory hadn’t returned to him, he knew in his gut that he would be dead if not for Catherine’s intervention. 


“How long will you be gone?” he asked. 


“Two perhaps three weeks, I’m not sure,” she replied.  “It will all depend on how fast I can get workmen to the cabin and have everything finished.” 


“When will you leave?”  Now it was he who couldn’t meet her eyes. 


“Tomorrow morning,” she smiled.  “The sooner I go, the sooner I’ll return.” 


Before her nerve failed her completely she hugged him with everything she had, wondering if this would be the last hug they ever shared.  He grabbed his cloak in preparation to walk her to her threshold, and she stopped him. 


“No, Vincent you’ve had a long day, you stay here and rest, I’ll be fine.  I’ll see you when I get back.” 


She turned and walked as quickly as she could out of the chamber without giving the impression that she was running away from him, which was exactly what she was doing.


Catherine didn’t want anyone to get the impression she was fleeing the scene, so to speak, so she maintained a normal pace until she reached the threshold to her apartment building.  How many times had she dreaded that climb, and now she couldn’t wait to reach the safety of her apartment, of the familiarity of her things.  At least there she was sure of who she was and what she meant to the people in her life.




The first order of business was a hot shower. It would help her think, and it would also help hide the tears that had been building up for the last few hours.  After the shower, she had to eat something, anything to sustain her for the next round of battles she needed to prepare for, the dreaded phone calls.


First was to Joe.  While he was glad to hear she was fine, he was not happy about her taking more time off work. Even so, he didn’t pressure her for more information than she was willing to give.  He could hear the strain and tension in her voice.  At one time he thought of her as nothing more than a spoiled rich kid with a hidden agenda; he now knew the truth.  Cathy was a good lawyer, a hard worker, but most importantly a good friend.  Whoever she had spent the last few weeks devoting her time to, they must be a special someone in her life, and how he envied that person that position.  If the truth be told, he wished that just once she would feel that way about him.


The next call was to Devin.  Since his last trip home, they had kept in contact unbeknownst to Vincent or Father.  Devin had preferred it that way.  Catherine agreed to the secrecy only because at least if the need arose she had a way to reach him, and right now it was her own need of secrecy that prompted the call. 


When she heard him pick up the phone, she wasn’t exactly sure how to begin.  “Devin it’s Chandler and I need your help.” 




“Devin, Devin, are you there?”


“Yes, Chandler I’m here. I’m not sure I heard you right. Did you say you needed my help?” 


Catherine replied, “Yes, but I don’t want to get into it over the phone. Would it be possible for me to stay with you and Charles for a little while?” 


More perplexed than ever, Devin replied, “Yes,” and asked when she would arrive.


“Tomorrow morning. Is there anything that you need that I can bring with me?” 


Of course Devin was low on funds and had a list a mile long of things that they needed.  She made the list and told him she would see him tomorrow.


The most difficult call was going to be to Peter.  When she reached him, she decided it was best to explain to him in person and asked him to come to her apartment.  When she opened the door to him a few hours later, his mouth fell in reaction to her appearance.  She was gaunt, had dark circles under her eyes, looked as if she’d lost 10 pounds and hadn’t slept for weeks.


“Cathy, honey, to say you look bad is an understatement.”


“Always a charmer, Peter” she replied. 


“Seriously,” he continued, “what is going on, I want the truth?” 


All the words and emotions she had been holding back suddenly broke free and she was sobbing uncontrollably in his arms.  When she got to the part about Vincent not remembering her name, Peter finally understood.


“Peter, I went into that cave; he almost struck me, I was so afraid for him. I saw him for the first time; I saw the Other Vincent speaks of.  I sat through the nightmares, the days and nights of unconsciousness, the weakness, and I could handle all of that, and then it happened.  When he said he couldn’t remember my name, it was more than I could bear.  It took every ounce of strength and all my training as an attorney to be able to convince both him and Father that it didn’t affect me, when it did.  I also did something I’ve never done before and lied to Vincent, about where I was going and why.  Do you know what upsets me more than the lie, Peter?” she confessed.  “It’s the fact that I didn’t care that I was doing it, because our bond is broken.  And the reason it’s broken has nothing to do with me.  It’s because of all the stress that Father and that community put on Vincent, and the fact that they treat him like less of a man.  Father tells him all the time about his differences, warns him against a full intimate relationship with me, and look what happens, the same thing that happened after Lisa left.  Vincent is the one that suffers and has a break with reality.  I can’t stand by and watch the man I love looking lost any longer.  I felt that the best thing to do was for me to get away for awhile, so I’m going to visit Devin and Charles.” 


“Devin?” Peter asked. 


“Yes Devin,” Catherine replied.  “I’ve known where he is for awhile now. He asked me not to tell Vincent or Father, especially Father; that way there is no undo pressure on him to return to the Tunnels at Father’s whim.  I told Vincent and Father that I’m going to the cabin to have some repairs done, and I need you to back up that story, Peter.  I don’t have the strength to fight anymore and I need to be away from Vincent to see if what we had was real, to figure out if it’s worth fighting for any longer.”


“You mean you’d actually walk away, end your relationship with Vincent after all you two have been through, after all you’ve fought for to be together?” Peter asked. 


“That’s exactly what I’m saying, Peter,” Catherine replied, “That’s why I need this time away.  I’ll contact you when I arrive and give you the number in case there’s an emergency.  Other than that, you must swear to me that you will not tell anyone where I have gone.” 


Reluctantly agreeing, Peter gave Catherine a fatherly hug and kiss on the cheek, and then turned to leave. 


“Promise me one thing before I go,” he said.


“If I can,” she replied. 


“Promise me that if you do decide you’re going to leave New York and the Tunnels behind, promise me that I won’t be left behind as well.” 


With tears in her eyes, she softly said to Peter, “I promise” and walked him to the door.




She was leaning against the door thinking about her conversation with Peter.  In an instant she snapped out of her reverie and made two important decisions.  One - she could not call Jenny and tell her she was going out of town.  Jenny was already suspicious enough and she couldn’t take the chance of Jenny having one of her dreams about what actually might be happening in her life.  Two - she must leave tonight.  On the off chance that Vincent would defy Father and come to her balcony, she knew the sight of him would make her lose her courage.  She made a mental list of what she needed to do and then proceeded with military precision.  She decided to use her own car.  She couldn’t take the chance of Joe getting suspicious of her whereabouts and running a check on her credit cards for a car rental. 


In slightly over an hour she had packed, contacted the building manager, and gathered all her important papers to take with her, on the off chance that she never set foot in this apartment again.  Even though she was going away to try not to think about Vincent, she packed the books they had shared, or that he had given to her, especially Shakespeare’s Sonnets.  She put her luggage in the hallway and before she turned off the light, she looked at the apartment, really looked at it as if she might never see it again.  The memories that this place held - both good and bad.  All the wonderful times spent on her balcony, the incident with The Watcher, the beginning of Vincent’s illness; these memories convinced her more than ever that her leaving was the right thing to do.  She took a deep breath, shut off the light, closed the door and said a quick prayer before heading to the elevator.




Devin and Charles lived in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  After they had settled there, Catherine had gone to the travel agency and gotten a map and directions just in case an emergency happened and someone needed to reach them.  She pulled the map out of her briefcase, started the car and began her journey.  She wanted out of New York and quickly.  Her nerves were frayed and her breathing was labored until she was on the highway and out of the city.  Not being a fan of night driving, especially on unfamiliar roads, she forced herself to breathe deeply and try to relax.  She turned on the radio, looking for a classical music station.  This of course was a big mistake, because every note reminded her of their concerts under the Band shell.  She decided to listen to a book on tape to distract her thoughts away from Vincent.  She needed every bit of her concentration to be on the long drive ahead of her tonight.




While this was taking place, a very lost looking Vincent wandered into Father’s chamber.  It still made his heart clutch when Father remembered those times when he thought Vincent might be lost to him forever. 


“Vincent, what’s on your mind? You look like you’re lost, just wandering around with no particular place to go.” 


“In a way I am, Father,” Vincent replied.  “Father, I must ask you something and I need you to promise me that you will be totally honest with me. Can you do that?” 


Remembering that a similar question had been asked before his breakdown, Father paused a moment before replying, “Yes, Vincent of course, I’ll give you the most honest answer I can.” 


“Father,” Vincent started, then stopped, and very softly asked, “Do you think Catherine is ever coming back?” 


Although he wondered the same thing, Father could not let his fear or doubts creep into his answer. 


“Vincent, why would you even ask me a question like that, after all she’s done for you, for this community?  She stood by your side through your illness, fought me every time she thought I’d done or said something wrong to you or treated you unfairly.  She risked her life to go into those caves after you both times, even when I warned her against it.  She stayed with you, and cared for you during your illness. What makes you ask such a question? Because she decided to take some time for herself? You of all people should think that she deserves that break!”


“Since I’ve lost our connection, I just don’t know how to feel or react to anything where Catherine is concerned,” Vincent said.  “When I look at her, I know in the deepest part of my soul that I love her, but the fact that I couldn’t remember her name frightens me more than any battle I’ve ever waged, whether against outside evil or the evil within myself.  It just seemed to me that she couldn’t leave here fast enough, and she didn’t even want me to walk her to her threshold to say goodbye.” 


Father thought for a moment and then said, “Well Vincent, you can’t blame her for wanting time to herself.  Catherine is used to living alone, coming and going whenever she feels like it.  Perhaps being here, afraid to leave you for any length of time, not knowing what would happen if she did, scared her more than she was willing to have us believe.  You, yourself, know how confining these tunnels can feel at times; that’s why you go for your visits Above, even before you met Catherine.”


“You’re probably right, Father,” Vincent replied.  “I thought about going to her apartment to say good-bye, but I didn’t want to impose on her more than I already have.” 


Father laid his hand gently on Vincent‘s arm. “I doubt she would have thought it an imposition, Vincent, but I do forbid it. You know as well as I do that you are not back to your full strength yet.” 


“Again, I must agree with you, Father. I am tired, I think I’ll turn in,” came Vincent’s reply, and with that statement he leaned down and kissed Father on the brow before heading to his chamber.  “Good Night Father.”


“Good night Vincent, sleep well.” 


Father watched him leave his chamber before raising his head to the sky and uttering these words, “Please God, don’t let his fears become reality. Without Catherine in his life, I fear he would give up hope, feel his life would no longer have any meaning, and will himself to die.  If that happened, I don’t know if I, myself, or this community would ever recover from that.”




Having almost reached her destination as the sun was coming up, Catherine decided to drive around and see what the resort area had to offer.  Maybe she would take a cooking lesson, go for a spa day, or maybe just sit out in the sun and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, something that she had not done in a very long time. 


Before she got to Devin’s, she needed to pick up the supplies she promised she’d bring.  Realizing that it had been a very long time since she had eaten, and a long night of driving, she decided to have breakfast first; the groceries could wait.  She saw a family type restaurant, bought a newspaper and headed inside.  Since it was so early, there were only a few other customers which made her happy. After all the hours of quiet in the car, she knew she couldn’t handle a lot of loud noise right now.  She smiled at the waitress as she gave her order and sat back to enjoy the paper.  How different everything was from the city, even the size of the paper.  What a bucolic setting, no wonder Devin liked it here so much. 


Feeling refreshed after her meal, she asked the cashier to point her to the best grocery store in town.  Once inside the store, she started reviewing her list, and found herself humming. She was finally starting to relax, if only just a little.  How something as inconsequential as grocery shopping could be relaxing, she had no idea, she was just glad that it was.  It didn’t take her very long to finish her list and check out, load the car and be on her way to see Devin and Charles.


Following her directions, she was surprised to find just how far out in the mountains that they lived.  Driving up to the cabin, Catherine was amazed that Devin would feel at home in someplace so rustic. She found herself laughing at that thought, when she remembered that home was, according to Devin, a ‘hole in the ground’.


As soon as her car door shut, Charles was there ready to assist her with all her packages and luggage. 


“Catherine,” he cried as he gave her a big hug. “Is Vincent ok? When Dev said you were coming here, I was worried that Vincent was sick.” 


Catherine smiled. Charles in all his innocence would never understand the hell that Vincent had just been through.  “Yes, Charles, Vincent and Father are well. It’s me that decided I needed a break and came for a visit. I hope that’s alright with you.” 


A smile came across his face; he had always thought how pretty Catherine was. “Of course its fine with me!  I’ll help you with all of this. Dev is just finishing his first cup of coffee,” and then he dropped his voice to a whisper. “He’s not very easy to deal with until he’s finished at least one cup.” 


Catherine laughed and said, “I understand Charles, I’m the same way.”


Devin was standing in the doorway as they approached and one look at Cathy told him everything he needed to know about the reason for her visit.  He hugged her and was amazed at how thin she felt, and how tired she looked. 


“Chandler, did you have any problems finding the place?” 


“No Devin, my map and your directions were perfect. I stopped in town for breakfast and the groceries, but I would love another cup of coffee.” 


Small talk was made while everything was put away, then with a look from Devin; Charles left the kitchen and headed outside.


“He really seems to be thriving here,” said Catherine. 


“Yes, being free, able to walk around without fear, without being in a cage, it has given both he and I a new perspective on life.  I just wish Vincent could have those same freedoms,” Devin said, bowing his head on the last sentence. 


“I wish the same things as well, Devin,” Catherine agreed.  “So, what kind of trade or profession are you this time, and are you using the name Devin Wells, or one of your many aliases?”


He gave her a look of mock horror.  “I’ll have you know, Chandler, that I’m legit all the way around.  From my job to paying taxes, a first time for everything,” he laughed,. “I’m doing everything by the book for once in my life.” 


She tilted her head the way Vincent did, a move that did not go unnoticed by Devin and asked, “And just what legit profession do you have in this resort town?” 


“Glad you asked Chandler; I’m a golf instructor.” 


“A golf instructor? What do you do when no one needs lessons?” asked Catherine. 


Very softly he replied, “I help out with other things.” 


“Other things? What might those be?” 


Devin brought himself up to his full height, and then said: “Well, Chandler, if you must know, I supervise the miniature golf course, among other things when I have no one scheduled for lessons.” 


The thought of Devin politely dealing with unruly children and adults playing miniature golf was more than she could bear and Catherine fell to the floor in a fit of giggles. 


“I really don’t understand why you’re that amused Chandler, it’s an honest living,” he replied in a raised voice of indifference. 


Finally pulling herself back together and off the kitchen floor while still snickering, she started to explain.


“Well, Devin, you’ve been a doctor, lawyer and maybe and Indian Chief for all I know. All these degreed, skilled positions, and to think of you overseeing miniature golf games for children’s birthday parties is just too hard to imagine, considering that patience has never been one of your best virtues.” 


Devin laughed and said, “When you’re right, you’re right Chandler; now let’s talk about why you’re really here.”


The laughter and smile faded as quickly as they had come and tears welled up in Catherine’s eyes, threatening to overflow.  “Devin, can we talk about it later?  I drove all night and what I really want right now is a hot shower and a place to sleep.” 


“Sure Chandler, whatever you say.  I’ll show you where everything is. Charles put your stuff in my room; I’ll bunk with him during your stay.” He then led her to the room where she found her suitcase atop the bed.  “I have to go to work for several hours and Charles will be fine on his own.  Enjoy your shower and your nap. I’ll see you when I get home later.”  


“Thank you Devin,” Catherine said as she closed the door. 


The hot water beating against her body started easing the tension.  She couldn’t remember the last time she didn’t feel tense or had a good night’s sleep, so, after a quick change into a nightgown, she was asleep before her head hit the pillow.  Her last thought before sleep claimed her was that she should’ve called Peter and let him know that she had arrived safely.  She would do that when she got up later.




When she awoke, it was dark outside.  She searched for a clock out of habit and not being able to locate one at first glance, she panicked.  For a moment she forgot where she was, and then she remembered she was in Devin’s cabin and she began to relax.  She laid her head back down on the pillow, willing her heart rate to return to normal. Then she heard voices in the other room.  Turning on the light she found the clock.  It read 7:00 PM; she had slept for 10 hours.  She quickly dressed and went to join Devin and Charles in the living room.


“Well, hello, Chandler, or should I say Sleeping Beauty?” Devin teased.  “I was beginning to wonder if you were going to get up at all tonight or just sleep straight through till morning.”


“Very funny Devin” Catherine remarked.  “It’s been a stressful few weeks, which caused more than one sleepless night.”  As she said that, her face took on a far-away look and Devin knew she was thinking about Vincent. 


“So, Chandler, Charles and I were just discussing dinner, any suggestions?  I wouldn’t want you to criticize me for not being an accommodating host.” 


Catherine smiled. “Whatever you and Charles were planning is fine with me, I’m not fussy, and it’s been a long time since breakfast.” 


“Well, then, how about I grill us up those steaks you bought? We can eat outside and enjoy this beautiful summer night.”


“Sounds great, just tell me what I can do to help.” 


“That’s alright Chandler,” Devin, said, waving the offer aside. “You’re our guest.  Charles and I will handle everything; we make a pretty good team. How about if you get us some drinks and set the table?” He placed his hand on her shoulder.  “Can someone with your background handle such a petty chore?”


She playfully shrugged off the ’comforting’ hand.  “Devin, it’s a good thing you’re a golf instructor and not trying to make your living as a comedian, because I’m sure you and Charles would both starve if that was the case.” Devin cast a false look of indignation, while she heard Charles snort in the background.  It felt good to laugh, to joke about everyday things, for there not to be a crisis du jour for a change.


As they sat and ate, Charles asked how everyone in the Tunnels was doing.  Of course he was particularly interested in Vincent, as Catherine knew he would be.  She told them all the latest news and gossip, leaving out the details of Vincent’s breakdown.  She didn’t know if Charles would be able to understand or handle his hero being ill, and she wanted to discuss the matter privately with Devin, and then let Devin make the decision as to what to tell Charles.  They sat on the porch and looked at the stars.  Since he had been educated by Father, Devin knew all the stars and constellations and took great pleasure in bragging about that knowledge. 


“Let me guess,” Catherine remarked, “did one of your many career re-inventions involve astronomy?”  She wasn’t sure how she kept a straight face while she asked that question. 


Devin’s mouth dropped and sarcastically he replied, “Chandler, just because I have a lot of knowledge about a lot of things doesn’t mean I’ve attempted a career in all of them.” 


She giggled, “Could’ve fooled me!” and again she heard Charles snort in the background.


“Well Dev, I’m going to bed. Goodnight Dev, Goodnight Catherine,” Charles said as he gave her a shy hug. 


“Good night, Charles,” Catherine hugged back. “Sleep well and thank you for sharing your room with Devin while I’m here.” 


“You’re welcome Catherine,” Charles smiled to her. “Dev and I have shared a room many times before so it’s no problem at all.”  With that statement, he opened the kitchen door and headed for the bedroom.




Once he knew Charles was out of earshot, Devin could stand the suspense no longer.  “OK Chandler, spill! You have been on my mind all day.  Hell, I almost screwed up during a lesson today and was telling someone to use a wood instead of a driver for a shot.” 


Catherine raised both hands to her cheeks and said with a huge smile, “Oh my, that would have been the end of civilization as we know it if you hadn’t realized your mistake and corrected it on the spot!”


Devin shot her an arrogant look. “Hey, I know not using the correct club is not a matter of life or death, but why do I get the feeling from what you’re not saying,” he said, emphasizing the word not, “that something did happen with you that was a matter of life or death?”


She knew he deserved to know her reason for being here, so reluctantly and very slowly she began to tell him of the events leading up to and including Vincent’s breakdown.  A stunned look appeared as she finished the story, and she knew he needed time to process what had already been said, before she told him the rest. 


“Devin, I need to call Peter and tell him I arrived safely and give him your phone number if that’s alright?  He’s the only one that knows where I really am.  Everyone else thinks I’m at the family cabin in Connecticut having repair work done.” 


“Yeah, yeah, Chandler, go ahead and call him and give him the number.”  He was so stunned, he needed a few moments to digest the information he had just been given.  Inside the cabin, he heard Catherine talking to Peter, in a few moments she came back onto the porch.


“You’ve only given me the condensed parts, haven’t you, Chandler, there are things you’re leaving out, aren’t you?”


Wearily, she closed her eyes and nodded.  “Yes, Devin, there is more, but I don’t have the strength to discuss it anymore tonight. Please understand for now.” She rose from her chair and stood by him.  “I will leave you with this thought and I hope it will help you to better understand why I needed to get away for awhile.”


He stood up and gently held her shoulders.  “Don’t keep me hanging, Chandler, what is it?” he demanded.  


It took a moment for her to say the words.  She said them so softly that Devin had to strain to hear them: “He couldn‘t remember my name.”


With tears in her eyes, she hugged Devin, kissed him lightly on the cheek, said goodnight and went inside back to her room. 


He couldn’t believe what she had just told him.  It was a tough pill to swallow, all the events leading up to and including Vincent’s breakdown.  Catherine almost dying with Elliot, Spirko finding out about Vincent, and the worst part, Paracelsus posing as Father and dying by Vincent’s hand.  Then she went in the cave and brought Vincent back to life. Devin could almost accept all of that, but Vincent forgetting her name; now he understood what drove her to run away from home, to him of all people.  Even though she didn’t want to be around Vincent, she still wanted to be with someone that had a connection to him.  Devin also knew that there was more that she needed to say. He would give her the time and space she needed till she told him the entire story. He knew it was going to be a doozy of a story, but he would stand with her on her side of the river for as long as she needed him to do so.


Even though she had only been dressed a short time, Catherine decided to put on a nightgown again. It would be cooler and more comfortable while she tried to read.  She opened the window and listened to all the night noises.  In the distance she could hear the voices of the families staying at the resort.  It made her heart ache, wondering if she would ever have a family of her own.  This would be a beautiful night in the city, she mused, with the lights surrounding them, a gentle breeze coming up from the street.  Even though she had put miles between her and Vincent, as usual her every thought was of him.  She wondered how he was progressing in his recovery, and wondered if he missed her as much as she missed him.  She bowed her head and said a prayer, hoping that he would make a full recovery and for the strength to make the right decision about her future, whether that included Vincent or not.  Just a thought of a life without him made her shudder, and she hugged herself for warmth.  She didn’t want to even think such a thing might happen, but she was an attorney, and she had been trained that with every situation, the odds were either in your favor or not, and she wondered what the odds of ‘A Happy Life’ with Vincent would be.  She decided to put it out of her mind for now.  She picked up the book of Sonnets, but thought that would bring too much heartache after everything she had just shared with Devin, so she decided just to work the crossword puzzle in the local paper for a while and call it a night, which she did.




The next few days were spent with Catherine and Charles exploring around the cabin, taking walks, and looking at the beauty that nature had to offer.  She decided not to go to the resort area on the off chance she would be recognized by someone.  Charles’s boundless energy and unconditional innocence was a source of joy and amazement for Catherine.  He took great delight in telling her stories that he had made up about the various birds and squirrels that he visited on a daily basis.  She found herself relaxing more and more each day, but more than just relaxing, she found herself laughing and once again enjoying even the simple things that life had to offer.  Nights were spent much the same way that the first one was, with good food, good company and of course stories of Devin’s escapades, both legal and illegal.




While Catherine was relaxing in the sunshine, deep below the streets of New York City, Vincent was becoming more and more tense.  Each day that passed heightened the tension and depression that had begun to set in.  He thought about visiting her apartment just to have a sense of Catherine as he had when she was in California, but then he remembered that without the bond, he wouldn’t have any sense of her anyway.  This fueled his frustration, depression and anger.  He took whatever measures necessary to keep this information away from Father and the rest of the Tunnel Community.  Since he was regaining his strength, he began to go further away from the home chambers during the day.  Being away from the hub made concealing his feelings easier.  He made it a point to return in time for dinner and his nightly game of chess with Father.  Keeping that ritual made it less likely that Father would figure out what was really going on in Vincent’s psyche.


The nights were the most difficult for both Vincent and Catherine.  Each of them would lie in their respective beds thinking of the other.  Vincent kept reading over the journals of all the times he and Catherine had shared, beginning with the night of her attack.  Of course, there were many blank pages; those pages symbolized his descent into madness and his recovery.   He compared the blank pages to his memory; time lost, time he would never recover.  The thought that he may never completely recover everything pertaining to his relationship with Catherine was more than he could bear.  He grabbed his cloak and ran as fast and as far as he could away from the living areas, to a place where he could finally release the long, deep and painful roar that had been building in his chest since the last time he had seen Catherine. 




Each night while trying to go to sleep, Catherine convinced herself that she had made the correct decision concerning her and Vincent and how to proceed with their love and their lives.  There was only one thing stopping her with the follow through.  Each decision that was made by her brain was negated by her heart.


The days of wine and roses, so to speak, was quickly coming to an end for Catherine as well.  Peter had called a few times to check up on her, and since she had known him so long, she knew just what to say to keep him from being suspicious or from jumping in the car and racing to be by her side.  She knew that she needed to come to some sort of a resolution on her own in her own time, without any interference from anyone who had current knowledge of Vincent’s well being.  She would put on a good face when she was with Charles and Devin but the nights were becoming more difficult to manage. 


Sleep, which at first had come easy to her, was now evading her.  The dreams, or nightmares as she began to think of them, were becoming more and more prevalent, darker in nature with each passing night.  One morning as she was waking from a nightmare, she realized that what she had been dreaming about, while they were indeed nightmares, were not her mind’s wild rumblings, but actually events that had occurred since she had met Vincent.  She was recounting each time he had killed since she had known him, whether she had witnessed the event or not.


Devin began to notice a change in her, as did Charles, but Charles, having a limited vocabulary, couldn’t exactly put it into the proper words to make Devin understand what was taking place with Catherine during the day while he wasn’t around.


The same morning that she had awakened and realized what her dreams were actually about, she heard Devin raising his voice to Charles in the kitchen. 


“Charles, dammit, just tell me what she’s doing that’s so different from the last few days.”  


“Dev,” Charles started, “I don’t know how to say it, she’s just different.  She doesn’t smile as much, she doesn’t want to go for walks with me or hear my stories, and she just sits on the porch crying.  She thinks I don’t see it because she always says it’s just hay fever, whatever that is or something like that.  Then she just comes into the house and goes to her room and I don’t see her again until you come home.” 


Hearing this jolted Catherine.  She had thought she had been so careful around dear sweet Charles.  She never wanted to do anything to hurt him in any way.  She didn’t want to intentionally hurt Devin, but knew he would understand, and besides that, Devin could give as good as he gave and he could take care of himself.


She dressed, tried to put a genuine smile on her face and went to the kitchen to join the men.  She had to act as if she had not heard the entire conversation, and needed to convince them she hadn’t.  Once again her courtroom training would come in handy.  “Hello Gentleman,” she cheerily greeted them, “how are the two of you this morning?” 


“Good Morning Catherine,” said Charles softly. “Dev and I were just talking about what to do today since he has the day off.”


“Chandler, did you sleep well?” Devin inquired, although one look at her gave him an answer. 


“Of course I did Devin, why would you think otherwise?” she replied, still smiling.  “How could I not sleep being surrounded by all this beautiful nature, and two wonderful hosts?”  As she said this she turned and looked at Charles, who smiled shyly. 


“Laying it on a little thick aren’t you Chandler?” he queried. 


“No Devin, I’m being completely honest.” came her reply. “Is the coffee ready? She asked, cutting off Devin’s sarcastic comeback.


“Well, like Charles said, we were wondering if there was anything special you wanted to do or see since I’ve got the day off.” Devin handed her a mug.  “You’ve stuck around the house the entire time you’ve been here and I was wondering if you wanted to go for a drive, sight see or if you wanted to take in some sort of activity at the resort?” 


“What like a golf lesson?” Catherine giggled. 


“No, Chandler, no golf lessons. Maybe something you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t have someone with my expertise around to show you?” 


Once again, such an absurd comment from Devin had her holding her sides in laughter and then falling to the floor, when she couldn’t stop the laughter from coming.


“Always the wise guy, huh, Chandler?” he said, towering over her giggling form.  “I’ll have you know that there are plenty of skills I have that you would be the better for knowing, isn’t that right Charles?” 


“Oh, yea Dev, that’s true; maybe Catherine has always wanted to know how to be a knife thrower,” and then he snorted. 


It was a good thing she was still on the ground because that remark sent her into more fits of laughter.  Devin admitted it was a good comeback, especially from Charles, and joined in the laughter which had now become infectious.


While they had breakfast, Catherine decided to go to the resort for a long overdue massage.  “Devin, are they discreet at the spa?” she asked.  “I’ve stayed under the radar all this time and wouldn’t want to take a chance on someone seeing me at this late date.” 


Devin sipped his coffee. “Of course they are, Cathy; they are used to dealing with celebrity clients. Discretion is their middle name.” 


“Okay good, Okay fine,” she responded and smiled brightly.  Devin and Charles both looked at her with a puzzled look on their faces.  She grinned again. “It’s a Mouse-ism.” 


Devin turned to look at her as she took her dishes to the sink. “While you’re gone, Chandler, Charles and I are going to do some much needed cleaning and laundry, anything you need us to do for you while you’re gone?”


“No thank you, Devin, I’ll take care of my laundry when I return.  I wouldn’t want to cause any embarrassment for anyone, since you’re not used to doing a lady’s laundry.” 


“Y’know, Chandler, I have lived with a woman or two or three in my time, and ladies skivvies don’t cause me to blush.”


Catherine again smiled sweetly to his comment.  “Just the same, Devin, I’ll do my laundry when I return or maybe even let it wait until tomorrow.” 


“Your choice, Chandler,” Devin shrugged. 


Catherine went to her room to change, saying she wouldn’t be gone too long. 


“Yeah right,” Devin said to Charles once she had left.  “Once she sees all the things that spa has to offer, I bet she’s gone most of the day.”  He handed Charles a laundry basket. “Now let’s get to work.”


As they had said they would do, they started their chores by changing the bed sheets.  “I’ll take care of Cathy’s bedding, Charles,” Devin commented.


“Ok Dev,” Charles replied. 


Devin knew that on the off chance that Cathy had left anything frilly or unmentionable out, it might be embarrassing for Charles.  He was just finishing up the bed, when he noticed a journal protruding out from underneath the nightstand.  She probably put this here, so it would be hidden from my prying eyes, Devin mused.  He debated about reading it. How could he invade her private thoughts like that?  However, he also knew the warning signs of someone on the edge of a breakdown, and Cathy was displaying all of them.  He looked around for any sign of Charles before he began to read and what he read scared him more than words could say.  What she had written weren’t the writings of someone with Cathy’s education; they were rough, unstructured, and frightening.


Shadows of the past linger on, they preclude us from moving forward, feed our fears.  They make us doubt ourselves time and time again; our faith in our self diminishes to the point that insecurity and self doubt is a way of life.  But what kind of life is that, it’s not living, it’s just existing.


‘What the hell had happened between her and Vincent in that cave…hell, during their entire relationship, for her to feel that she was no longer living, just existing?’ he worried.  The last time he had seen Vincent, he could see the joy and happiness that Cathy had brought to his life.  Then he stopped that line of thought.  The last time he had seen Vincent, he knew everything about their life together, had all his memories as well as Cathy’s and now he didn’t even remember her name.  Now the words made sense to him.  The question was how to broach the subject to Cathy without having her know that he had read her journal?  He replaced it just as he had found it; after all, he was a good con, and putting things in their original location was part of being a good con.


Catherine returned a few hours later, feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after her massage.  Since Charles had never had a massage and most likely never would, he asked quite a few questions, which she happily answered.  Once again she was amazed at how innocent he was and wished she could be more like that in her life.  Innocent to the violence and death that her relationship with Vincent had caused.  She put those thoughts out of her mind and asked the men what they had done in her absence. 


In great detail, Charles gave her a play by play of their day of cleaning and laundry. 


“How about we order a pizza for dinner?” Catherine asked. “My treat!” 


“Can we get whatever toppings we want on it?” Charles asked. 


She giggled. “Anything at all, Charles,” she replied. 


“Does that include a six pack or two as well, Chandler?” queried Devin. 


“Yes, Devin, it does,” she answered.  “Come to think of it, it’s been ages since I’ve had a cold beer with a pizza, do you have any mugs that can be chilled since it’s so warm outside?” 


“Can’t have a proper beer without one,” was Devin’s reply and he placed a couple mugs in the freezer. 


Later, as they had their pizza and beer, the state of relaxation that Catherine had enjoyed during her massage stayed with her throughout the rest of the evening.  Little did she know that would soon change once Devin revealed the fact that he had read her journal.  After dinner, they had a Scrabble contest that Charles watched with rapt attention.  Of course, having Father for a teacher, Devin had a tremendous vocabulary, but once again all the legal training came in handy when Catherine beat him by just four points.  She laughed as Devin searched in vain for a dictionary to confirm that the winning word was an actual word and not just some type of lawyer sneak tactic.  Charles said his good-nights and the moment he had been waiting for was finally here, but Devin was unsure as to how to proceed.


Cathy asked what was causing the puzzled look on Devin’s face.  “Chandler, I’ve got to talk to you about something and I don’t know how or where to begin, because no matter how you slice it you’re not going to like it either way.” 


“Devin, you’re beginning to scare me,” Catherine said, alarmed. “Did Peter call, is there something wrong with Vincent?” 


He looked at her very intently.  Her first thought always went to Vincent’s well being, even though she came here to be away from him, to gain some perspective.  Catherine thought her heart would leap out of her chest waiting for Devin to answer. 


“No phone calls, Cathy,” he said, “everyone’s fine as far as I know.” 


She didn’t understand. “Then tell me, Devin, what is it, don’t keep me in suspense.”


He took a deep breath.  “I was changing the sheets on your bed and saw your journal sticking out from under the nightstand,” he began. 


She felt a stab in her heart as she said, “And you read it! Devin, how could you do such a thing?  Those are my private, personal thoughts; it’s how I’m trying to figure out what to do in my relationship with Vincent.  Devin, you’ve done a lot of cruel things before, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so betrayed in all my life,” and she began to cry.


“Hold on Chandler, before you say anything you might regret let me try to explain.” he said. 


“What makes you think I would regret anything I would say when you’re the one that invaded my privacy? “ Catherine demanded, her voice rising.


“Keep it down Chandler, I don’t want Charles to get wind of any of this and come out here wondering what’s going on between us,” he said, lowering his voice a notch. 


She took a deep breath. “Alright, Devin; you get one chance and one chance only to explain.  Let’s see how convincing of a case you can present to me. Some of those skills you learned in the DA’s office might actually pay off, though I highly doubt it.” she bit off angrily. 


Devin gave her a look. “Gee, Chandler, you like to hit ‘em where it hurts don’t you?  Alright, I’ll give it my best shot… goes.”


He went on to tell her how much those words in the journal had troubled him.  That he had seen and heard from Charles the changes that had taken place in her over the last few days, and how bad she had looked the first day she had arrived.  He also told her that he cared about her and only wanted her to be happy, because he knew how deeply she loved Vincent and how much joy she had brought to him, even if she did feel she had to end their relationship to keep her sanity intact.


Catherine’s mouth fell open upon hearing the word ‘sanity‘.  “Devin, do you really think I’m on the verge of a breakdown?”  She couldn’t believe he would even fathom a thing. 


“Look, Chandler, I worked in a psychiatric hospital for awhile, and trust me when I tell you there are varying degrees of sanity.  After what you told me the other night about everything you and Vincent have been through just over the last few months, not counting the way you came to be in each other’s lives with your attack, why is it impossible for you to think you might be on the verge of a breakdown as well?”


Even though she tried to hide her look of surprise, Catherine had begun to question her own sanity as well, especially after the nightmares started happening.  What Devin said made sense, she realized. Vincent had suffered a breakdown after all the violence he had precipitated; was it so hard to imagine that having witnessed most of that violence could be her downfall, mentally, as well?


She didn’t speak for a few moments and when she did, she couldn’t believe what came from her lips.  During the course of their argument, both had jumped out of their seats.  Now as she regained her composure, she turned to Devin, asked him to sit down and listen to what she had to say.


“Devin, I’m going to do something that I thought I would never do in my life.  I am going to recount to you every violent episode that has transpired with Vincent and myself, every killing.”


“Every killing?” Devin asked. “How many are there?” 


“At this point, I’m not even sure,” was her reply.  “I don’t think that Father has any idea of everything that has happened in the name of protecting me or the tunnels.” Catherine touched Devin’s arm. “You must swear to me on Vincent’s life and Charles’s life, that what I tell you will never be repeated to another living soul. Not to Vincent or Father. You will take this with you to your grave.” 


With that last statement, Devin felt as if someone had just walked on his grave and he gave his word on Vincent and Charles’s lives that he would never repeat to anyone this story that had never been verbalized until now.  In a way, he felt privileged that she would trust him with such information, but he knew that if she didn’t get this off her chest, she might have a mental break from which she may never recover.


“Before I tell you about my relationship with Vincent,” Catherine began, “I think it’s important for you to know some history about another relationship in Vincent’s life.  This one occurred when he was a teenager. The fallout from it, and Father’s interference and over emphasizing of a teenage crush, led to Vincent’s first breakdown.  Are you familiar with the name Lisa Campbell?” Catherine asked.


“I vaguely remember her,” Devin responded.  “She was a flirt with all of us boys; she and I were sort of an item before I left the tunnels.” 


“For someone you vaguely remember, Devin, that’s a lot of information,” Catherine said. 


“What does she have to do with anything from Vincent’s past and how does that explain his current mental state?” Devin asked. 


In great detail, Catherine related all the information she had about what transpired between Vincent and Lisa, and Father’s part in sending her away from the tunnels as quickly as possible, before they had a chance to discuss what had happened. 


At the mention of Father, Devin jumped up from his seat and in a voice straining not to yell said, “That’s just like the old man, to think he knows what’s best for everyone!” He paced the floor a few seconds then turned to her.  “Once again, him trying to control the situation made a bad situation even worse, didn’t it, Chandler?” 


Catherine went on to explain how Vincent reacted after Lisa’s departure, and his eventual breakdown.  She made sure that Devin understood that it was Father that stayed with him and brought him back to life, so to speak.


“What else was the old man to do, Chandler?” Devin said.  “He had no choice but to help Vincent; he was the one that could have prevented this in the first place.  The more I hear about the old man, it makes me realize that no matter what I had to do to survive, it was better than staying in the Tunnels and having my life ruled by that dictator.” 


She also told him of how Vincent withdrew from her during that time, and how she finally got him back on course with love and patience. Devin still seemed a bit agitated, so she encouraged him to sit and listen.  “Are you calm enough for me to proceed, Devin?” Catherine inquired. 


“It’s going to take me awhile to calm down, Chandler,” he said “so go ahead with your story, while I try and bring my blood pressure back to normal.”


Before she began the story of her and Vincent, she bowed her head and asked for the strength to get through this. She then took a deep breath and began.  Since she had never told anyone any of the things she was telling Devin, she found herself shocked by the story.  She began with the night of her attack, and her recovery.  How she didn’t see Vincent for eight months and how he came to her balcony and told her that he felt what she does, that they were connected. Then, shortly after that, she saw him kill for the first time.  She hated to admit it but the way he killed wasn’t like a soldier but it was animal-like in the way the bodies were mauled.  How she thought Vincent was the Subway Slasher and how she had backed away from him as he approached her in his chamber.  Of thinking she was falling in love with Elliot, but realizing her heart belonged only to Vincent.  Vincent’s capture and torture by the Silks, how Mitch Denton had come back to town and shot her, and it was Vincent that carried her to the hospital.  Her eyes took on a dreamy look as she recalled waking up and telling Vincent her dream about the ice cream. 


“Denton is back in town?” Devin said, his eyes ablaze. 


“No Devin,” she assured him, “he’s in prison now, for a very long time.” 


She told him of the wonderful night that they walked Above hand in hand and how Vincent got to meet Bridgit O’Donnell.  Then the story about Vincent’s being caged by the professor made her clutch her heart as she relived that horror.  She told Devin that when Father was arrested she told him that she would never do anything to hurt Vincent, that she loved him and of his response that part of him was a man.  Again, hearing Vincent referred to in a detrimental way made Devin seethe with anger.


She told him of the voodoo spell she had been put under, how they had rescued Eric and Ellie and brought them to the tunnels.  Laura’s witnessing a murder, her subsequent kidnapping and Vincent killing the corrupt police officers to save her.  Then there was the cave-in.  It was the first time that she felt the bond on her side; she knew that Vincent was in trouble; she got the supplies from Elliot and rallied the community to get Father and Vincent out of the cave-in alive.  She told Vincent then that what she had done was not done out of courage but out of love. 


“You see, Devin,” Catherine explained, “I’ve been in love with Vincent for a very long time.  Then there was the threat of the Chinese.  I didn’t see the killings, but I know they took place.  I also know that Vincent handled them like a soldier on a mission, the killings were clean, not the mailings that take place when I’m involved.” 


“How do you know that, Chandler?” Devin asked. 


“I overheard the men talking who went to retrieve the bodies and throw them down the abyss,” she said.


“Do you ever remember hearing the name Paracelsus or John Pater?” Catherine asked.


“Wasn’t Pater the guy that founded the Tunnels with the old man?” Devin asked. 


“Yes, he was,” she replied.  She then went on to describe how madness for power and money had overtaken him, and of the drug he manufactured.  He knew Vincent was following him and threw his drug into the air until Vincent was coated with it, and how he began to hallucinate. 


“Vincent broke Father’s arm when he tried to help him, and the only thing that brought him back to us was me going into that cave and showing him how much I loved him, even against Father’s advice.” 


Devin looked at her and asked, “Chandler, weren’t you afraid he’d hurt you?” 


She slightly smiled. “No, Devin, Vincent would never hurt me. I was afraid for him but not of him.” 


Devin had always respected Cathy, but how she rescued Vincent made him respect her even more. 


With a far off look in her eyes, she told him of the promises and celebration of their first anniversary. 


“Chandler, you celebrate the night you were attacked, wouldn’t you like to forget it ever happened?” he wondered. 


An angered Catherine replied, “No, Devin, because without that attack, I would never have met Vincent and changed my life around for the better.  I’d still be the rich kid that only did things that pleased me and never worried about helping the less fortunate.”


“Not long after we celebrated our first anniversary, my college fiancé came back into my life.  As you know, Vincent has very good instincts about people and he kept telling me that Steven would bring me nothing but trouble, that he had an ulterior motive for getting reacquainted.  Steven led me to believe that he was dying of a brain tumor, so of course I took pity on him.” Catherine sighed and closed her eyes for a moment as she relived the memory.  “What I never anticipated was that Steven was mentally ill.  He tricked me into going to a house he purchased, thinking that he could force me to love him again.  When I wanted out, he held me hostage and it was Vincent once again to my rescue.  He didn’t kill Steven, but he injured him very severely.  I felt awful for not listening to Vincent’s warning and about the fact that once again he had to come to my rescue.”


“There have also been some times that didn’t include violence but put a strain on Vincent either through the actions of the Tunnel Community or from other outside sources.”  She explained about how finding the treasure ship divided the community, and how cruel Cullen’s remarks were to Vincent, and in the end it was a unanimous decision to donate the treasure to a church that could put it to much better use.  Of course, it was Vincent who came up with the idea, always putting others needs ahead of his own. 


“Without my knowledge,” she remembered, “he went and spoke to a Gypsy king who had disowned his grandson, because he had been lied to by other family members.  We worked together to reunite the family and it was a wonderful feeling.” 


“One of the most stressful things was when I was kidnapped by Paracelsus.  I blocked my emotions so I wouldn’t draw Vincent to Paracelsus’ lair.  Winslow died during that trip; he was overpowered by one of Paracelsus’ goons.  He told Vincent that the relationship that we share was something he personally had never experienced, but he knew it was real.” She looked at Devin anxiously.  “If he could see that and risked his life for us to be together, then why won’t Vincent move ahead with our relationship? I don’t understand; it’s very frustrating to have so much love between us, but to live separate lives.” She took another deep breath.  “Then there was Burch tower.” 


“Burch tower?” Devin asked. 


“Yes. Elliot was determined to build the biggest skyscraper ever, and in doing so was causing the tunnels to collapse.  I couldn’t risk everyone, especially Vincent, losing their home. After all, the tunnels are the only home some people have ever known, and if it was taken away, where would they go, how would they survive in the real world?” Catherine shook her head.  “What about the children? For some, it’s the only place where they have been safe, fed, clothed and loved for the first time in their lives.” She looked back at Devin to continue.  “Elliot asked me to marry him and I agreed.  It almost killed both of us when I told Vincent of my decision, but he had risked his life so many times to save, I felt this was the only thing I could do to save his life.” 


“But you didn’t marry Burch, so what happened?” asked Devin. 


“The legal system got to him first and shut down production of the tower,” she grimly smiled.  “I was so relived, and once again I thought Vincent would realize that we belong together in every way, but nothing changed.”


“The true test of our love was on the anniversary of my mother’s death.  It had been twenty years and it hit me harder than it ever had before.  Of course, Vincent was his usual supportive self.  I ran out of a concert with my father when I heard a piece of music I knew Vincent loved.  I ran straight into his arms, crying and wishing he could’ve shared the concert with me.” Catherine closed her eyes as she divulged the next part.  “He told me that our relationship must end, that it was causing me too much pain, that I had a life waiting to be lived, marriage and children in my future. I asked him if I could come below to live and he refused my request.”


Devin was shocked that his brother had said those things to Cathy, but he kept silent as she continued. 


“I went to visit my friend, Nancy, in Westport.  It was the first time that I saw what I could have; the house, the white picket fence, the children. Then a strange thing happened; one of my girlfriend’s brothers asked me out for the next day.  I told him I would think about it.  During the night, I dreamt about Vincent and I in the sunlight, having a picnic.  He leaned in to kiss me and it was my friend’s brother, not him.  I screamed and knocked over a lamp.  It brought Nancy to my room.  I told her as much as I dared about Vincent and at 4:00 AM, I left the life that Vincent thought I should have and went running back to him literally, begging his forgiveness for doubting what we have together.  I told him that what we have is worth everything.”


Devin could tell the strain reliving all the memories was having on Catherine.  “Hey Chandler, how about we go outside for some fresh air.”


She looked grateful for the momentary change.  “Sounds like a great idea Devin.” 


The coolness of the air and another beer did help her calm down. 


“You know, Cathy; you can always finish telling me the rest of this tomorrow.”


She shook her head. “No, Devin, I feel that if I don’t follow through and bring you up to date on everything else, you won’t have the entire picture of what happened between Vincent and I that broke our bond. Besides, if I stop now, I may never again have the courage to continue.”  


“Then continue it is,” Devin said.


They went back inside, and once again Catherine took a deep breath, saying another prayer before she continued.  “The next few months were fairly uneventful. Vincent found Rolly and tried to get him to come back to the tunnels. Do you remember Rolly, Devin?”


“No,” he replied, “he must have come to the tunnels after I left.”


Catherine nodded and went on.  “I made all the arrangements to take Vincent to visit my family cabin.  I had everything in place; I ensured his safety as much as I possibly could.” She sighed.  “Of course, Father was against the idea, and so were quite a few other community members, so we cancelled the trip. Once again, Father’s wishes along with everyone else’s were put above what Vincent wanted or needed.” Catherine’s eyes teared up as she looked over.  “Devin, I wanted to show him a glen where I used to sit in the sunshine and wait for the deer to pass by.  I wanted to give him what you’ve given Charles - the ability to walk in the sunshine without fear, to feel the sun on his face, hear the sounds of nature, and enjoy whatever he could in the limited amount of time we would be there.  He never came right out and said it, but I think Vincent was very angry by the way he was manipulated into not going.  Everyone was worried about how unprotected they would be if he were not there to guard them in the event of intruders.  Once again, Vincent the Protector was put before Vincent the man.”  Catherine sniffed, blew her nose in the tissue Devin handed her, and then continued.


“Vincent rescued a Russian sailor named Dmitri and brought him below to recover.  What he didn’t know was that the man had a plague; he and the little girl, Ellie, I spoke of earlier, died.  It was then that I found out Peter was a Helper. I stayed against Vincent’s wishes and did whatever I could to assist with the people that were sick.  Dmitri was searching for his girlfriend, that’s why he had risked everything to get to New York.  I found the girl, just as she was marrying someone else.   Ellie called out for me, and her last words were, ‘he thinks I’m beautiful,’ meaning Dmitri.  It was heartbreaking to lose someone so young and innocent and it once again reminded me of how precious and short life can be at times.” 


“Then came my first Winterfest,” and Devin saw her face brighten.  “When Vincent brought my candle, I was like a girl waiting to go to the prom.  It was marred again by Paracelsus, who killed Lou and assumed his identity.  He burned Narcissa very badly, but Vincent found her and between Father and Peter treating her, she made a full recovery. It was her tip that led us to Paracelsus. That night I was officially welcomed as a member of the community.”  Catherine paused and noticed the sadness in Devin’s eyes.  “Devin what’s the matter?” she asked. 


“Just remembering my own Winterfests,”  Devin wistfully replied. “Delivering the candles, seeing all the helpers, all the games, all the trouble we used to get into trying to pull things over on the old man.  It’s one of the few things I missed once I left home.” 


“You usually don’t refer to it as home very often,” Catherine noted. 


“Chandler, sometimes it’s still hard to admit after all these years that I grew up in a hole in the ground.”


“Right after Winterfest,” Catherine continued, “I was working a suicide hotline, and was on the phone with a pregnant girl who thought she had no right to be a mother. She was a prostitute and wanted a better life for her child.  I broke all the rules and met her after my shift ended.  I went to Father and asked him to allow her to live in the tunnels, and I thought if she had a safe environment, she would feel better about herself and realize she didn’t need to use her body to get what she wanted.  To my horror, she fell in love with Vincent; he was with her while she gave birth.  She asked if there was someone in his life, why didn’t I live with him. He, of course, gave his standard answer that we are two different people and my life is Above.  After she gave birth, she went to his chamber one night and tried to seduce him.  When he politely refused her, she left the baby behind in the tunnels and went back to her old life.  Vincent came to my door late one night, telling me what had transpired between them and asked me to find her.  I tracked her down, and she admitted to me that she was in love with Vincent.  Luckily she made the right choice and returned to her baby, and even named her after me.  It’s still hurts sometimes to think that she lives in the tunnels with him and I don’t,” Catherine confessed.


“After she left home Laura fell in love with an undercover cop, who pretended to be deaf.  Vincent and I both came to their rescue, when the gang they were involved with found out the truth about her boyfriend being a cop, and one that could hear as well.  When she made the decision to follow her heart and stay with him, it made Vincent sad, but he knew she had to find her own way.  Then there was the Michael situation.” 


“Michael?” Devin asked. 


“Yes,” Catherine continued, “he was another one of Vincent’s students that got a scholarship to school.  I agreed to be his mentor and let him stay with me till school began.  He fell in love with me, or thought he was.  He kissed me after seeing his biological father, and of course Vincent felt it.  While we were discussing it, Vincent tried to send me away, told me that I belonged with someone like Michael, not stuck being in love with him.” Again, Catherine turned to her friend.  “Devin, no matter how many times I tell him that I don’t want to be anywhere else, he still doesn’t believe me.” 


At this point, Catherine started to cry, and Devin went to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.  “Enough for now, Chandler,” he insisted, “I can see this is really starting to be more stressful than cathartic. Let’s give it a rest for tonight.” 


“No!” she snapped and threw his arm off her shoulder. “I have to finish it tonight! Don’t ask me to stop again, Devin, are we clear on that?” she emphasized. 


“Perfectly,” he replied, but his concern for her was growing with each chapter in her story.


“I had a boy from my apartment building follow me to the tunnels.  No harm was done.  He was in search of a family just as I was, and that’s why he followed me that night.  I know that no matter what test he is put to that he will always keep the secret.” She looked at Devin.  “Not long after that, you and Charles came home.  Vincent wouldn’t admit it, but he was very sad when you left.  He misses you a great deal Devin.” 


Devin bowed his head and whispered, “Yes, I know he does, but I still think it best for all concerned for me to keep my distance and only visit occasionally.”


She nodded, understanding.  “Soon after you left, I had a file land on my desk.  Turns out one of the tunnel dwellers, Kanin, had committed a crime and ran from the scene.  No one knew about his past.  You can imagine the predicament that I was in, knowing his whereabouts.  I had a duty as an officer of the court to do the legal thing.  Some members in the community wanted me to look away, but I told them that wouldn’t be helping Kanin or the victim’s mother.  You see, Devin, Kanin struck a car and killed a boy inside the car, while he was drunk, and fled the scene.  He saw the victim’s mother in a hardware store one day, and that’s how the entire case was brought back to the DA’s office.  Vincent convinced Kanin to do the honorable thing and turn himself in and deal with the punishment.  He’s still in jail, and what no one else knows is that I was able to pull some strings and get him an early parole.  He’ll be home in a few months.”


“Looking back, I think Vincent started to show signs of the impending breakdown after the ‘Outsiders’ showed up.”  She described in detail how they had killed members of the community, and how Father had asked her to bring him a gun without Vincent knowing.  “Vincent killed them, including a woman, in front of me and for the first time, I felt his rage,” she tried to explain.  “You see, he controls the bond, and I only feel his side when he lets his guard down.  He was so ashamed that he forced me to leave him that night, as much as I didn’t want to. Before I left, I told him that I loved him for the first time.  He didn’t say it back to me as I thought he would.” 


“A short time later, my father died and I went to the tunnels for comfort from Vincent.  He held me and I fell asleep in his arms. We both admitted that neither one of us wanted me to return Above.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I decided to return Above anyway. Maybe if I had stayed, none of this would have happened.”


“Just when I thought things had calmed down, Lisa returned, hiding out from law officials.  It seems she became the ballerina she always dreamed of, and her husband was involved in illegal activities.  Before she left New York, she asked Vincent to meet her, and then didn’t show up.  So of course I went to the ballet to talk to her on his behalf.  She ran to the tunnels seeking refuge, spinning a story that she had returned because it was her home and she missed everyone.  I did some checking and uncovered the truth, but not before I was grabbed and beaten by the people looking for her.  Vincent to the rescue once again.   In the end, she did do the right thing and testified against her husband, then left the country.  After she left is when Vincent finally confided in me everything that had happened to them as teenagers.”


Catherine giggled as she told Devin about Kristopher and the painting and the fact that he is/was a ghost. 


“Okay, Chandler,” Devin said, “you’ve had too much beer and must be overly tired if you think you can convince me that a ghost painted a portrait of the two of you.”


She shrugged.  “Look for yourself the next time you’re in Vincent’s chamber,” she insisted.


“It was time for our second anniversary, and I had convinced Vincent to come into my apartment, by the fire.” 


Devin started to say something and Cathy stopped him.  “No, Devin the only time that Vincent has been in my apartment is when I was hurt and when he had his breakdown. All our time together is usually spent on my balcony.” 


Devin just shook his head and said, “That’s my brother, always the proper gentleman.” 


“Too proper for my taste at times” was her reply. She recounted the Watcher, how he had seen her and Vincent together on the balcony, how he broke into her house, and finally how he kidnapped her and drove her into a lake.  The fact that she could tell this story and still remain eerily calm started to worry Devin.  “Vincent followed me, and pulled me out of the trunk of the car.  Devin, I died and his love brought me back, he told me that he felt me go.  Again, I professed my love, and even after I was almost lost to him forever, he still hadn’t told me he loved me. I was convinced then, as I am now, of just how deep our love is for each other.” 


“A few weeks later, I had to travel to California for work.  While I was there, I was being followed by someone trying to stop me from gathering the evidence I needed.  I had my back turned, and as someone went to strike me with a tire iron, I heard Vincent’s voice call out to me, and I was able to defend myself against the attacker.” Catherine looked at a dumbfounded Devin.  “You see, Devin, that’s how strong our connection is; it worked 3000 miles away from each other.  Perhaps now you get a little sense of why I’m so upset that it’s gone.”


 Devin didn’t speak, just nodded his head.  He could only imagine what that would feel like to have that connection with someone then have it vanish overnight.


She told him about the trial of the man that had killed his son, and how deeply it affected her and Vincent, how he waited for reports from the Helpers, and how he went Above at night to watch the proceedings on the televisions in the store windows so he could see her in action.  Since she had told him the first night she was there about almost dying with Elliot, she went into more details about that as well as the teenage boys that had killed someone and which Vincent had witnessed.  How he kept stalking them in the shadows to frighten them and what it ended up doing was making them angrier at her as well as a target.  She told him how they lured her to an abandoned theatre and that Vincent crashed through the ceiling to save her.  She then stopped and turned to Devin.


“Vincent said that night,” she said with a far-off look in her eyes, “he said ‘Nothing, nothing but men, nothing but blood. When will it stop?’ There was a strange look in his eyes when he said that.  I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now looking back, that’s when his mental state started going downhill.” Catherine then focused back on Devin.  “All I knew was he had been shot and I had to get him back to Father as quickly as possible.”  Devin sat there quietly trying to absorb all he had heard that evening, knowing that the story wasn’t over yet.  He began thinking about what they had discussed her first evening there, and realized that with the time frame she had just described, the worst part of the story had yet to be told.


He looked at her and could see that she was starting to tremble, just ever so slightly. "Hey Chandler, it looks like that beer is having an effect on you, how about some aspirin and a glass of water?"


She wondered what Devin saw in her to ask that question, but her head was starting to pound and she began rubbing her temples. "That would be great, thank you Devin."


While he was in the kitchen, she began to formulate in her mind how she would explain the worst part of the story. She had only given him the barest of details when she first arrived. She had come this far with her tale, and Devin deserved nothing but the truth. She knew how much Devin loved Vincent, but didn’t know how the truth would affect the relationship between the brothers. She hoped that Devin would be able to forgive Vincent, when she told him how Vincent had raised his hands, claws exposed, ready to slay her just as he had done to those who had brought her harm in the past.


Devin returned from the kitchen and handed her the aspirin and water. She swallowed them and then, as she had previously done, took a deep breath and raised her head asking for assistance in finishing this, the worst part of the story.


Since she was so worried about their relationship, she turned to Devin and said, "Devin I need you to make me a promise."


"Chandler, I’ve already given you my word that I will never reveal any of this to anyone else, as long as I live, what more do you want from me?" was his irritated reply.


"Devin, you have to promise me that after you hear what I have to say, you will not think any less of Vincent, treat him any differently, or love him any less. You must promise me this or the story will end here."


"OK, Chandler, I promise." Now Devin’s curiosity was really piqued and at the same time his level of concern had risen tremendously.


"Alright then, here goes nothing" and Catherine began her story.


She explained every horrible thing that transpired after the killing of the teenage boys. How Paracelsus had been the one to put Spirko on Vincent’s trail, how he witnessed men being killed right in front of him by Vincent to protect her, and how he took pictures of a slaying, and it ended up on the front page of the paper. How Father was lured to a building by Paracelsus, who then took his place Below. How Catherine, with Elliot’s help, rescued Father and arrived just in time to see Vincent’s hand covered in blood after he killed who he thought was Father but in reality was Paracelsus. "The look of horror on his face was something I don’t ever think I’ll forget," Catherine said very softly. The trembling Devin had noticed earlier was starting to increase with every sentence.


She told him of their music chamber and how he began to look at her strangely, then ran out. "The bond must have started breaking down that night," she surmised, "because while I was still Below, he went above to my apartment. Not finding me there, he broke down the door, and crashed into a curio cabinet. I came home to find him unconscious and laying in a sea of broken glass. I called Peter for assistance and he took a blood sample." She told Devin how the lab had said his blood sample wasn’t human, and how upset that statement had made her. How he was delirious for three days and how she took care of him. And how while watching the sunset, he finally told her that he loved her. "And it only took a near death experience on his part for him finally to admit that," she said sarcastically. Without her noticing, her hands were trembling almost uncontrollably now. "After hearing about the blood sample," she continued, "I arrived home to find a note from Father." She explained about convincing Pascal to take her to Vincent, and how she could hear the growling, the awful noises he was making. "It was as if he was possessed, and in a way he was, because by the time I went into that cave, the Other had full control over him."


Now her body was starting to tremble, but again she didn’t notice. She told Devin of the scene in the cave, of the roaring, growling, snarling, and how his clothes were in shreds. She knew the next sentence would probably be the most shocking thing Devin had ever heard about Vincent in his life, but he had to know. "Devin, he didn’t know me. It wasn’t like the time in the other cave, when I went to him, he knew me, and responded to my hug. This time," she paused and swallowed very hard, making Devin’s heart beat faster, and the hair on the back of his neck stand up. "This time, he raised his hand, claws ready to rip me to shreds. I screamed his name, and it was if Vincent finally returned, recognized me, then he collapsed on the floor." Devin was too stunned to say a word, yet continued to listen, watching as her entire body was now trembling. What amazed him was that she wasn’t cognizant of it at all. She told him that there was no pulse, and said, "If he was going to die, I couldn’t live without him."


"Devin, no one else knows what happened next - even Vincent doesn’t remember this part. After I got him breathing again, I wanted to feel him, and have him know that no matter what had just happened with the Other, that I loved him just as he was. I unbuttoned his shirt and undid my blouse and bra, and laid there holding him, soothing him, telling him how much I loved him. His breathing finally returned to normal, and he fell asleep. I redressed both of us, and was holding him when Father finally came into the cave." She told of how she stayed with him after they got him back to his chamber, read to him, took care of him, whatever was needed for his recovery. "He began to recognize things around his chamber, and people’s names. I bought him a new journal and inscribed it, that’s when he said he couldn’t remember my name." The trembling at this point was so bad, her teeth were starting to chatter. "Devin, all I want is Vincent, to marry him, have his children have a life with him. I don’t care if it is in a hole in the ground, that’s all I want! Is that too much to ask for? That’s all I ask of Vincent." She got a faraway look in her eyes and said, "The song from Phantom of the Opera, “That’s All I Ask of You” - do you know it, Devin?" Devin nodded. "Those sentiments in that song - that’s all I want from him."


The trembling was now so uncontrolled that Devin grabbed a blanket to wrap around her. What happened next was something Devin would not soon forget. "All I ask of you." Those were the last words uttered before Catherine fainted into a catatonic state.




In the tunnels, meanwhile, while playing a game of chess with Father, a very agitated Vincent suddenly became very quiet.


"Vincent, Vincent, are you alright? Please answer me," Father pleaded. When there was still no response, Father got up and hobbled around the desk to Vincent. As he went to put his hand on his arm, a glazed faraway look came into Vincent’s eyes, and then he also fainted into the same catatonic state.


Both Devin and Father became very alarmed and sprung into action. Devin picked Cathy up and carried her to her room, calling to Charles to wake up and come help him. Father went to the nearest pipe and put out the SOS call. Immediately, Cullen, Jamie, Mouse and Mary appeared. Father told Cullen to round up a few more men with a stretcher so they could get Vincent to his chamber.


"What do you think happened, Father?" Mary asked.


"I haven’t a clue. All I know is one minute we were playing chess and the next minute he collapsed," he answered worriedly. After they had gotten Vincent to his chamber, everyone left so Father and Mary could examine him. When he looked at his pupils, a very frightened Father, exclaimed "Dear God, he’s in a catatonic state! I have no idea what caused this or how to help him."




Meanwhile in the Poconos, Devin was explaining to Charles what had happened to Cathy in words he hoped he would understand. Charles got very upset about hearing that Vincent had almost hurt Cathy, and that he didn’t remember her name.


"No wonder she’s been so sad Dev," he said to his friend, "I know how much they love each other. Even I could see that when I was in the Tunnels."


"I know Charles, I saw it as well." Devin put his hand on Charles' arm. "I need to go get the doctor, so I need you to sit with her and watch over her. Just talk to her, tell her about your buddies, the birds and the squirrels. Can you do that till I get back?"


Charles looked at Catherine's pale form on the bed."Sure Dev, for Catherine, I would do anything."


"I know buddy, I know, I feel the same way," Devin said and then ran for the door, and drove off to get the doctor.


Devin and the doctor arrived back at the cabin within half an hour. Since the doctor had treated Charles previously, he wasn’t shocked by his appearance.


"How’s she been, Charles?" Devin asked.


Charles turned worried eyes on him."Dev, she hasn’t moved and she keeps mumbling something about asking you. What does she want to ask you, Dev?"


"Not ask me, Charles; it’s a song we were discussing before she collapsed."


They were both very quiet while the doctor did his examination. When he finished, he stood up and Devin asked the question, although he already knew the answer, "How is she, doc?"


The doctor told both men that she was in a catatonic state, and asked Devin what had happened before she collapsed. Not wanting to betray any confidences, or break his promise to Catherine, he told the doctor that she had recently undergone a traumatic event in her life.


"She was telling me the story and I noticed she started trembling; slightly at first, then very violently, and then she collapsed," Devin informed the doctor.


"Well," the doctor said, "there is nothing I can do for her at this time. All we can do is watch her, and keep her comfortable." The doctor gazed at Catherine. "It bothers me that she keeps repeating that phrase, which tells me that her mind is still replaying whatever events she was describing to you. That might make her recovery process even longer."


Devin thanked the doctor for coming, and walked him to the door. "Stay with her, Charles, I have a phone call to make."


Devin dug out his address book, took a deep breath and called Peter to tell him of Cathy’s condition. Of course Peter wanted to rush to her side, but Devin assured him that she had been examined by a doctor and there was nothing they could do for her but wait. Just as Peter finished the call with Devin, a knock came at his back door. It was Jamie.


"Peter, you have to come quick," she exclaimed. "Vincent just collapsed, and Father is beside himself with worry."


As they ran through the tunnels, Peter wondered if the bond had returned, and that Vincent’s condition was directly related to Catherine’s. Father was pacing inside Vincent’s chamber when he arrived. After a quick examination, Peter confirmed his diagnosis that Vincent was also in a catatonic state. He debated as to whether or not he should tell Jacob about Catherine then decided it was in everyone’s best interest if he did.


"Jacob, I need to speak to you in the Library," he said.


"Of course, Peter," was his reply. "Would you like some tea, Peter?"


Peter gave his friend a long look. "Jacob, do you have anything stronger?"


"Yes, I have some brandy I keep for medicinal purposes," he said.


"Trust me Jacob, when I tell you what I have to tell you, you’re going to need to see the medicinal need for that brandy."


Peter told Father of his talk with Cathy before she left, how upset she was about Vincent forgetting her name, and how she went to stay with Devin.


"Devin?" Father inquired.


"Yes, Devin. She wanted to be away from everyone, but still wanted someone associated with Vincent." He went on to explain that he had just gotten off the phone with Devin when Jamie came to the door and told him about Vincent.


"How is she?" Father inquired.


"He had a doctor examine her and physically she’s in the same condition except she keeps repeating the words to a song, but Devin didn’t mention the name of the song."


"That’s odd, Peter," Father remarked, "Did Devin say what she was doing before this happened?"


"Yes, Jacob," he replied. "She had just finished recounting Vincent’s breakdown, and the events that led up to it and what occurred afterward. I think it was just too much of a strain on her emotionally, and combined with the stress of her work and keeping her relationship with Vincent and this world a secret from everyone she knows. She hasn’t stopped since she recovered from her attack, and I think the fact that Vincent went to strike her, then didn’t remember her name, was the last straw, and her mind snapped. Know this too, Jacob," Peter emphasized, "she is not happy about the fact that you place so many restrictions on Vincent, and warn him that they can’t have a life together, when that’s all she wants is to be with him, married to him, giving him children if possible, and being with him until her dying day."


"You know, Peter," Father said thoughtfully, "at one time, I would have thought all that impossible for the two of them, especially given my prejudice against Catherine in the beginning. But all those thoughts changed after I watched everything she is willing to sacrifice for Vincent for this community. I sincerely believe that the only way either one of them will ever be happy is for them to be truly together."


Peter smiled slightly. "Have you told them that, Jacob?"


"No, Peter, I never got around to it, what with Vincent’s illness and everything that happened afterward. Perhaps if I had done so, none of this would have happened," Father said regretfully.




In the Poconos, Devin was pacing, trying to decide what would be the most beneficial to help Catherine make a full recovery, unaware that Vincent was in the same condition. After some deliberation, he made his decision.


"Charles, go get packed, we’re going to the tunnels. She needs to be close to Vincent if she stands any chance of a recovery."


Devin quickly packed his clothes and gathered up all of Cathy’s belongings. He called the resort and told them he had a family emergency and would take some of his vacation time. Unfortunately he couldn’t tell them when he’d be returning. He had to figure out a way to get her car back to New York as well. He called his friend John, told him he would pay for him to take the train or bus back from New York, and that they would leave in an hour. John also had met Charles previously and was the type to do something for a friend without asking any questions. John’s main concern was that he got paid, and that it was nothing illegal that would screw up his latest gig at the resort.


In an hour, the van was packed and Devin made Cathy as comfortable as possible in the back seat, and they were headed back to the tunnels. They pulled over at the entrance to Catherine’s building. Devin went in and gave her car keys to the apartment manager and asked him to take care of her car. He thanked John, paid him and gave him directions to the nearest subway station, explaining how to get back to the resort. After he was sure that John was out of sight, Devin drove to the nearest tunnel entrance. Fortunately, it was dark, and the van being unloaded in front of a Helper’s store wouldn’t be any cause for alarm or suspicion. Devin knocked on the Helper’s door, and explained what was happening. The Helper knew Catherine and was glad to help. Charles stayed in the background, since this Helper had never seen him before. Devin gave the Helper the spare set of keys so he could move the van once they had it all unloaded. Charles grabbed the luggage, Devin carried Catherine, and they were off to the hole in the ground called home.

Just as he was about to trigger the door leading to the tunnels, Devin looked up to see a bright full moon above them. He nudged Charles and asked, "Do you remember Vincent telling you about the full moon the last time we were here?"


"Yes," Charles replied and looked up at the moon as well.


"Well, let’s hope it’s some kind of sign that everything is going to work out and Cathy will make a full recovery," Devin said. Before he closed the door shutting out the world above he said a silent prayer to that full moon, reinforcing what he had just said to Charles.


The sentries, now familiar with Devin, did not send out the stranger in the tunnel call on the pipes. Instead the first sentry they passed saw Devin carrying someone and came out of his hiding place to see if he could offer any help. When he saw Devin was carrying Catherine, he then sent out an emergency call and within minutes, men with a stretcher, as well as Mary and Jamie, were there to see what the medical emergency was all about. Both ladies became alarmed when they saw it was Catherine, and asked Devin what had happened. Devin said he felt it only fair that he tell Father first what was going on with Catherine. He assured Mary that she had been examined by a doctor.


"What is that she keeps repeating?" Mary asked with a worried look on her face.


"It’s the name of a song we were discussing before she collapsed," Devin replied for what seemed like the hundredth time.


"That’s very odd," Mary said.


"What, the fact that she collapsed or that she keeps repeating the words?" Devin asked in an annoyed manner.


"It’s just that Vincent collapsed earlier tonight while playing chess with Father, and he is in his chamber as we speak in the same catatonic state as Catherine." Mary stated.


The men had come with the stretcher and they had been walking to the main hub while this conversation had been taking place.


Upon hearing this, Devin stopped dead in his tracks and said very quietly to Mary, "I wonder if this means the bond is coming back?"


"Since no one but the two of them understand how their bond works, I think that’s the only possible scenario behind all of this, don’t you?" Mary asked.


"For both their sakes Mary, I hope it is. I hope it is." he repeated.


Devin was greeted by both Father and Peter, who were anxious to see Catherine’s physical state for themselves. She was taken to the hospital chamber and examined by both of them. After tucking the sheet and blanket around Catherine, they both concurred with the doctor in the Poconos, that there was nothing they could do for her, but keep an eye on her and watch for any signs of change in her condition. Though not verbalized between them, both were concerned about her repetition of the song, perhaps hindering her recovery. Rebecca agreed to stay with her throughout the night. They headed for the Library so Catherine could rest in peace.


Charles, feeling overwhelmed and left out, stayed in the background and said nothing. He kept his head down, hoping no one would ask him any questions, or possibly blame him for Catherine’s condition. Devin caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of his eye, and very loudly told everyone around what a great time Catherine and Charles had during her stay and how much help he had been in getting her back to the tunnels tonight.


Feeling guilty for ignoring him, one by one those in the Library, including Father and Peter, went over to Charles to shake his hand, and thank him for everything he had done to help Catherine and Devin. Charles’ smile was shy but brilliant, basking in all the praise that had been shown to him.


During all the conversation, the movements and even the trip to New York, what no one was aware of was what was taking place in the minds of Vincent and Catherine. From the moment they had slipped into their respective catatonic states, each of them in tandem with the other had begun reliving every moment that they had shared since the night of Catherine’s attack. It was being played out in their heads like a movie, one scene, one reel at a time. Each stolen moment, each tender touch, each night spent in the warmth of their love. The opposite moments of that love were being played out as well. All the lies, the secrets, the killings, but most of all, all the regrets of dreams unfulfilled.


While Vincent remained quiet, Cathy kept repeating the same thing over and over again, “That’s all I ask of you."


Since it was so late, and since Father and Peter had both seen Catherine and been apprised of her condition, everyone decided any further discussions could wait for morning. Everyone said their good nights and headed for their respective chambers.


Devin and Charles would be sharing a chamber since Charles was still afraid of doing something wrong after his last visit to the tunnels. Devin got Charles settled in and went to check on Vincent. Olivia was sitting with Vincent and Devin asked if he could be alone with him for a few minutes.


"Of course, Devin," Olivia said and gave him a hug on her way out.


He sat on the edge of the bed just looking at Vincent. It amazed him that for as big as he had become, he was still that little boy in so many ways. Devin thought about the story that Cathy had told about their life together to date, and was amazed that neither one of them didn’t have a breakdown before now. Of course, as it usually did where Vincent was concerned, the guilt kicked in, as he remembered how it felt when he left the tunnels and a very young, very naïve Vincent behind.


He rose to leave and placed a kiss on Vincent’s brow. "I love you, Vincent. When you wake up, little brother, you and I are going to have it out once and for all about your relationship with Chandler."


With that being said, Devin turned and left the chamber. It didn’t take him long to check on Cathy in the hospital chamber, then it was to the guest chamber and hopefully some much needed sleep. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had such a long night. It certainly was before Charles came into his life. That was his last thought before sleep finally overtook him.


Devin and Charles, like everyone else in the Tunnel Community, got very little sleep that night. Everyone was already worried about Vincent’s unexplained medical condition but now that the same thing had happened to Catherine, everyone was as expected doubly concerned. When they awoke, Devin and Charles had a talk about what they would be doing to assist everyone in caring for Vincent and Catherine while they were there.


After their talk, they walked to the Library to see Father before heading to breakfast.


"Good morning, Charles, Devin, I hope you slept well," he greeted them.


"Judging by the bags under your eyes, it looks as if we slept as well as you did, Father," Devin remarked.


"Yes, it’s true, Devin," Father agreed, "I haven’t been sleeping well wondering what caused Vincent’s catatonia. And now that it’s happened with Catherine as well, I’m beside myself with worry, wondering how this will all turn out in the end."  Father said, “Devin why don’t you and Charles join me here in the Library and we can catch up over breakfast?"


"OK, Dad," Devin replied, "I’m really not in the mood to put on a happy face or relate our latest adventures, right now. I think a nice, quiet breakfast would be wonderful."


With that being said, Devin went to the pipes and summoned one of the children, then asked them to bring his and Charles' breakfast to Father’s Library. The conversation was very light, Father asking about their cabin and Devin’s new job. Both of them knew that it was taking every effort on his part for Father not to ask what he really wanted to ask - why Catherine had come to stay with them in the first place and how she was able to contact him so quickly.


After the meal ended, Charles asked if he could go sit with Vincent and talk to him. Father looked at him very skeptically over the rim of his glasses and said, "Yes, of course you can, Charles, but you do realize he probably can’t hear you?"


"That’s OK," Charles replied, "I did the same thing with Catherine when Dev went to get the doctor. I promise I won’t say anything to upset him."


"Very well then, Charles, have a nice visit." With that, Charles turned and left the room. Once he was out of earshot, the showdown began.


It was Father who began with Devin: "Is there something that happened during Catherine’s visit that you’re conveniently forgetting to mention?" Father inquired.


That question combined with all the stress of hearing Catherine’s story, watching her collapse, getting her to the tunnels, and having no sleep at all was all the fuel necessary for the explosion that erupted next.


Devin, straining to keep from having everyone in the Tunnels hear his response replied, "How dare you, old man, to even think that I would keep that kind of information from you! Information that could be detrimental to her treatment? I may not be a doctor like you," he said with a smugness in his voice, "but I do know enough never to withhold any information, good or bad, when it comes to a patient’s health." Devin rested his hands on the table and leaned toward his parent. "If I didn’t know it before, living with Charles and dealing with his various maladies would have brought the point home more than ever before."


"Of course, Devin, I’m sorry I jumped to any conclusions," Father said with genuine sorrow in his tone. His eyes took on a look Devin had never seen before, it’s because they were filled with tears. When he spoke again, it was very soft and not in a voice of the Patriarch of the Tunnels, but of a father concerned for people he loved. "I’m just very worried about both of them so much.  I don’t know how any of us would survive if anything happened to Vincent, and how he would survive if anything happened to Catherine."


It took a moment for Devin to gather his thoughts before he spoke. Even though he knew Father was upset, worried and hell, even feeling a little remorseful over his accusation toward him, he knew it was now or never, so to speak. The restraint he had placed on the relationship between Vincent and Catherine was what had brought them all to this place and time. So with both barrels, he proceeded to tear into Father verbally, telling him that he was the reason they both had their mental break downs. He explained that he knew in great detail about the stories of the killings Vincent had done to protect the Tunnels, the guilt he was made to feel when he wanted to go to the cabin with Cathy for a lousy few days.


Devin was afraid of revealing things that Cathy had shared with him and that Father might not be aware of, so he changed his tact. He recounted how Cathy had told him about Spirko, Paracelsus, Vincent’s breakdown and recovery, and last but certainly not least, how he had forgotten her name. After the tirade, he hadn’t completely calmed down yet, so he glared at Jacob and said, "So, are you happy, old man, that what you tried so hard to control, making Vincent feel like less of a man, made them both feel that they don’t deserve a life together or happiness? Are you pleased with the outcome, both of them in catatonic states?" he snarled as he flung his arms outward, one in the direction of Vincent's chamber, the other towards the hospital chamber and Catherine. "Because no one, and I mean no one, played a larger part in all of this than you did." With that being said, Devin stormed out of the Library, leaving a stunned Father to ruminate over everything he had just heard.


While Devin’s talk with Father was taking place, a much calmer much simpler one was taking place in Vincent’s chamber. Charles sat by Vincent's bedside and told him of the adventures he and Catherine had shared, of his birds and squirrels he had named and visited daily. He told him of their cabin and living in the mountains. Since he had his head down, concentrating on his story, Charles didn’t see Vincent’s head thrashing from side to side.


He was then quite shocked when a very calm Vincent spoke to him, in a very low voice, "Charles, why are you here? Is everything alright with you and Devin?"


"Yes Vincent, Dev and I are fine," Charles replied with a smile on his face. He was glad to give his hero some good news. Vincent was still confused about what had happened to him, physically, but more important, emotionally by reliving all the events of his relationship with Catherine, had him more upset than he was willing to show to anyone, especially Charles. "I’m so glad you’re awake Vincent, now maybe Catherine will wake up. Oops, I probably shouldn’t have said anything," Charles remarked sheepishly.


"What do you mean, Charles, now Catherine will wake up?" Vincent asked. In his limited knowledge, Charles told him that Catherine was asleep the same way he had been, but that she kept saying something about a song. When Charles finished his story about Catherine’s visit and how she suddenly fell asleep, the irritation and fright that had been building within Vincent was more than he could stand and he let out a deafening roar that resounded throughout the entire tunnel community.


Chaos ensued as Devin, Father and several other members of the community came rushing into Vincent’s chamber. Scared from the noise of the roar, Charles was cowering in the corner, and Devin went to comfort him. Vincent was so agitated it took a few moments for Father and Devin to calm him down. Father thanked everyone else for their assistance and assured them that Devin and he could handle everything from here on out. Vincent, noticing the fear in Charles eyes, apologized to him and asked him to stay as well.


Vincent then spoke with an air of authority in his voice that neither Devin nor Father had ever heard before. "I want the entire story," he demanded, "do not even think of holding anything back because you think I may not be able to handle the truth. Are we clear on that Father?"


"Yes, Vincent," Father said quietly, "quite clear." Devin had to bow his head to keep the grin he was trying so hard to suppress from showing.


"First of all, how is Catherine?" Vincent asked.


After assuring him that she was fine physically and resting comfortably, Devin began telling Vincent about Catherine’s visit, and her eventual collapse. Vincent, sensing Devin wanted to discuss something with him privately, asked Father and Charles to leave the two men alone.


Once they were gone, Devin gave Vincent a hug, and said, "Welcome back, little brother, and what a way to make an entrance! I’ve got to hand it to you; I was impressed with the way you dealt with the old man."


"Thank you, Devin, now please tell me what you couldn’t tell me in front of Father."


Devin shook his head. "Never could fool you, could I, little brother?"


Vincent, calmer now, smiled and bowed his head. Devin then told him of his promise to Cathy never to reveal the entire story to anyone as long as he lived. "Vincent, I know I’ve screwed up many times in my life but you must believe me when I tell you nothing, no one will ever make me break that promise. It’s important to me that you understand that I would never do anything to jeopardize your safety or your relationship with Chandler."


"I know you are a man of your word, Devin," Vincent assured him, "but please continue with the story. If I’m to help Catherine, I must have all the details. ALL of them Devin, don’t leave anything out. Are we clear?" Vincent inquired.


"Crystal," Devin said, with a large grin across his face.


Vincent listened intently as Devin recounted everything she had told him including the breakdown and his forgetting her name.


Vincent whispered, "So she really was more upset about that then she let me know?"


"Yes," was Devin’s reply. "I’m surprised after keeping all of these secrets that neither one of you cracked before." Vincent threw him a look. "All I’m saying is this," Devin continued, "Chandler wants you; to marry you, live with you and possibly have your children. After everything you two have been through, if you push her away yet again, then in my opinion you deserve to be unhappy and miserable for the rest of your life."


Vincent was shocked that Devin would be that unfeeling, but then he knew he had been the one that had resisted the idea of advancing their relationship. Devin stood to leave, but before he left Vincent asked, "Devin, Charles said Catherine keeps repeating a song, what is the song?"


"You know, Vincent, it’s everything that Chandler wants from you; every wish, and every dream fulfilled. The song is from Phantom of the Opera, ‘That’s All I Ask of You’. Do you know the song, little brother?" All Vincent could do was nod his head yes. "Well, then, I’ll leave you with your thoughts," and Devin left the chamber.


As he sat there reviewing everything that Devin had said, Vincent knew what he had to do to save Catherine. With no regard to the fact that he was in his night shirt, he pulled on his boots and headed to Father’s library. "Ah, Vincent, how are you feeling?" Father greeted him.


In a very curt voice, Vincent responded. "It is not I that is still in a catatonic state, it is Catherine. While I was in that state, I relived our entire relationship. That combined with what Devin just told me has made my decision perfectly clear."


"Decision, what decision?" Father inquired.


"Father, you have loved me, cared for me and protected me, at times too much, throughout my life, for which I will be eternally grateful. But know this: I am going to have a life with Catherine, no matter what you say, no matter what obstacles have to be overcome, or no matter how long it takes. Nothing and no one will stand in our way any longer.  Do I make myself perfectly clear, Father?" Vincent eyes were so intent on Father he felt his look burning into his soul.


"Vincent, this may come as a surprise to you, but I came to the same conclusion about the two of you when you fell into your coma and I found out from Peter that Catherine had fallen into one as well. You have my word, I will no longer interfere with your relationship; in fact, I will do anything in my power to help its progress."


Vincent, visibly surprised by his declaration, thanked him, kissed him on the brow and proceeded to the hospital chamber to visit Catherine.


He saw Mary sitting with Catherine, holding her hand. Catherine was still repeating the words to the song. Mary stood up as Vincent approached and gave him a big hug. "I’m glad to see you up and around Vincent, you gave us quite a scare," she told him.


"I’m sorry for worrying you, Mary, but I’m more concerned with how Catherine is doing at the moment."


Mary told him there had been no change, and asked if he would like to be alone with her.


"Yes, Mary, I would, thank you," Vincent replied.


He felt Catherine's exhaustion, both physically and mentally, and smiled. Not because of her pain, but because the bond was back in full force between them again, and it was a wonderful feeling. It was bittersweet seeing Catherine lying there unconscious, it reminded him of how she looked recovering from her attack. How back then he had no idea what an impact they would have on each other’s lives, and how he finally realized that there was no other direction for them to move toward. They must move toward love.


He took her hand and did something he had never done before - he kissed her fully on the mouth. He had remembered everything, including how she saved him in that cave by kissing him, willing him back to life. Then he thought about how they had touched skin to skin and what a wonderful feeling it had been. He knew he wanted that feeling with him every night for the rest of their lives.


He called to Mary who was in another part of the hospital chamber and asked her to stay with Catherine again until he returned. He had to get everything prepared to bring Catherine back to reality, back to him. The first order of business was a long hot bath. Next, he listened to the song from Phantom of the Opera, the one that Catherine kept repeating, on the battery powered CD player she had bought for him as a present for their second anniversary. Listening to the music that they loved and shared had helped him manage during their separation while she was in California and, more recently, when he thought she was in Connecticut but was really in the Poconos with Devin and Charles. He listened to the song several times, hoping to memorize each word, knowing how important it was to her recovery. He decided not to take any chances, so he grabbed the CD player and headed back to the hospital chamber.


Upon his arrival, he asked Mary to pull the screen, and he wanted no interruptions under any circumstances. He took off his boots, as well as his two shirts that he always wore while in the tunnels. With Catherine still repeating the song, he pulled back her covers, and then pulled away the top of her hospital gown. Even though he had relived the memory, it was still a shock to see her breasts in the candlelight.


"Is it possible that she is even more beautiful than I remember?" he said to himself, smiling wide enough for his canines to show. He turned on the song, climbed into bed and held her to him, skin to skin, chest to chest. The feeling and emotions it evoked  in him were overwhelming. It took him a few moments to remember what must be done. When he took her in his arms, Catherine stopped repeating the words; it was if she knew that he was with her, keeping her safe. Not wanting to take any chances, Vincent began reciting the words along with the song, while holding her close. He kissed her everywhere on her face he could reach. He kissed her shoulders, her neck, her hands, reciting the words the entire time.


For a while, he just held her and let the music play in the background. He willed her to wake up, so he could tell her of the decision he had made. Since the bond had returned, he knew that she had witnessed their relationship while in the catatonic state, just as he had.


Slowly her eyes began to flutter. "Vincent," she said softly.


"I’m here," he replied just as softly.


"Where am I, how did I get here?" she asked with her eyes still closed.


He explained about collapsing at Devin’s and the catatonic state, how they brought her to the tunnels to be close to him. He also told her that he had collapsed at the same time she had. With that, her eyes shot open. Then Catherine realized that they were naked from the chest up and Vincent was in bed with her. Sensing her alarm, Vincent calmed her, telling her that he remembered everything, including their time together in the cave. He asked her if she remembered anything while she had been asleep. She told him yes, their entire relationship. Once again he smiled broadly and told her he had the same dreams, and that the bond was fully restored. Afraid of making him uncomfortable, she tried to pull away but he stopped her.


"No more pulling away, Catherine, no more," Vincent softly told her. "Devin told me about your visit. He broke his promise to you, but felt it was important for me to know that you told him about everything that has happened to us, that others have no knowledge of."


"I didn’t want to betray you, Vincent," Catherine said as she locked eyes with him, "but I was so hurt when you didn’t remember my name, I had to confide in someone. I started having nightmares about the killings and Devin saw me starting to unravel. I didn’t want to believe him, but some small part of me knew what he was saying was true. I’ve kept everything bottled up, hidden from everyone, even you."


"Why did you feel you couldn’t confide in me, Catherine?" Vincent asked, still holding her close.


"I was afraid that if I said it out loud, told you how I was feeling, you would leave me or worse yet, run away and hide from me. That would have been worse than the breakdown I just endured." she confessed.


"Catherine, I never want you to be afraid to tell me anything ever again, good or bad, do I have your word on that?" She couldn’t believe what she was hearing and could only nod her head. Vincent gently touched her hair."After hearing what Devin had to say, reliving our relationship in our dreams, and almost losing you, there is only one thing we can do, my Catherine." She held her breath, afraid of the answer. He smiled, then very calmly said, "We must move toward love, Catherine, it is our only choice." Her head was buried in his shoulder and she smiled.


He brought her head up to look him in the eye. What he had to say was the most important thing he had ever said in his life. Although he was a little nervous, he already knew the answer.


"Catherine, all of this tragedy has made me realize I don’t want to live a life without you in it; day in, day out, good or bad for the rest of our lives. We have a lot of adjustments to make, and it won’t always be a smooth road, there will be bumps along the way. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"


She grabbed him by the neck and yelled at the top of her lungs "YES-YES-YES! Vincent, that’s all I’ve ever wanted," she replied. "As the song says, 'That’s ALL I ASK OF YOU."



"All I Ask of You, Part II"