Catherine's Journey

By ChicagoTunnelKid


Catherine trudged wearily toward her home. Trudged. That was the word. Barely lifting her feet, making little speed, savoring her rather truculent mood. Another good word. Damn and blast it! Why does he always do this, send me away when he needs me the most! That's how she saw it, anyway. Aren't couples in love supposed to be there for each through the tough times and share the joy of the good? Well, she guessed, someone forgot to tell that to Vincent.

Today was among the toughest, no doubt about that. She had seen a lot of the bad in life through her work in the DA's office, but this, this wanton desire to kill, for no discernible reason that she could see, was beyond anything in her experience. And in this instance, she could hardly berate the tunnel community for using Vincent as their protector. No one else would have been successful and many more people, innocent people, would have died. And for Father to ask for her gun! Such was the seriousness of the situation when it could compel a pacifist like Father to take up arms.

She had reached the ladder below her basement, pausing to gain the strength to climb up. It felt like every muscle in her body was clamoring to quit functioning, to give it rest, her heart especially. Why was it, she thought, that when your heart hurt, the rest of the body rebelled in collusion with it? Deep breath, Chandler, deep breath. Get the oxygen into the lungs to get to the muscles so that you can get to your bed and sweet oblivion.

She unlocked her door at last and reached the sanctuary of her home. She headed toward the bedroom, shedding clothes as she went. This would have been much more enjoyable if she had a partner as the reason for the rapid and haphazard placement of clothing, but face it, there was no energy for anything but sleep. She fell on her bed and was out like a light. 

Many hours later, she awoke to an uneasiness. Was it hers or Vincent's? Probably both. Looking back, she realized her exhaustion was probably partly Vincent's as well. Emotional exhaustion in particular. She had seen him kill for her before. Saw how it affected him, how he felt shame in her seeing him that way, and remorse for his actions, because she knew that Vincent valued life and forgiveness. Yet, some things are hard to forgive, and some people don't give you that choice.  

Catherine wasn't completely unaware of the changes in Vincent when he killed for her, even if she didn't completely understand them. And she wanted to understand them because she wanted to understand the whole man. It is easy to say you love someone when all you have to interact with are the good aspects of the person. Real love, at least to her, meant accepting and loving the whole person. Which is not the same thing, her lawyerly mind argued, as condoning everything the person did. 

And Catherine understood that Vincent was a quiet man, a reserved, close-to-the-vest type of person. At least, as well as she could, she understood. But damn it, Vincent! How can I help you if I don't know what you are feeling and thinking about when terrible things like this happen? Why is it okay for you to help me, protect me, nurture me, and I don't get to do the same for you? I can give you space when you need time for thinking. I can. But does that always mean I can't even be present? You aren't alone anymore, Vincent! My presence would help remind you of that! 

Catherine was more worried than she had ever been. She got out of bed and decided to take a shower. As the water beat down on her, she vainly wished it could wash away her concern for Vincent, but she knew that was not going to happen.  

His eyes. The look in his eyes when she tried to pull him back to himself after the fighting was something she hadn't seen in him before. And instinctively, or was it the Bond they shared, Catherine knew it was at least part of the reason he sent her away. He pulls back when I would pull in. Share my fears, my heart with the one I love so that the burden I carry is lightened. Love would not pull back in such a time of need. Surely Vincent knows that! 

Or does he? Maybe that's behind his solitary handling of his thoughts. Maybe he thinks that if he tells me what's in his heart or on his mind, that I will no longer love him. Nothing, nothing could change the love she felt for him! Why can't he believe that! I'm not blind to his differences! I want to understand but I need him to tell me, to explain, to share. I promise, Vincent, I won't turn away from you! I couldn't turn away from you; we are part of each other. 

She turned off the tap, thinking she may as well turn off her mind, because she was getting nowhere with her thoughts and worries. She dressed and went about her morning as if it were a normal day, when in no respect it was. But she knew. 

She would have to wait for darkness before there could be light. But he would come to her when he was ready. Her fervent wish was that he would speak about it then, because if they didn't talk about it, Catherine's concerns for him would only gain strength, and her worry for the cost to him the next time he was called upon to protect someone would only grow. And that adage,  “what doesn't kill you makes you stronger“? For Vincent, she feared it wasn't death she needed to worry about, it was losing him to that dark place in himself. The place he wouldn't let her in and she could not go.