And Death Shall Have No Dominion

By Fields of Lavender


Chapter 1

The rotors of the helicopter beat the air and the wind they produced tossed Vincent's golden mane.  “Catherine!” he roared, thinking the helicopter was taking her away and he was too late, again.


Her soft voice cut through all his grief and all the noise straight to his addled heart.  He spun around and caught her as she fell into his arms.

“Catherine,” he breathed.  Her slight weight felt exquisite in his arms.  He looked at her and took in her sweaty hair pushed back from her forehead, the tear stains on her cheeks, her body's quivering and the bloodstains on her gown.

“Vincent,” she whispered again, crying quietly.  “We loved.  There is a child.”

Vincent looked down at her, stunned.  “Our child?” he asked as she nodded.

“He's beautiful.”

Her body sagged a bit more in his arms and her eyes rolled back a bit.  She squinted her eyes closed tightly and then opened them determinedly.  She looked up into his eyes and spoke haltingly.  “'Though lovers be lost...'”

“'Love shall not,'” he said firmly back.  Her eyes rolled back again and closed.  Her head fell backwards over his arm.  “'And death shall have no dominion,'” he whispered.

He pulled her limp body up to his chest and held her tightly.  He buried her face in her neck.  A sob tore through his throat and he roared again, “Catherine!”

He held her for several minutes, crying into her hair.  Then, he came somewhat back to himself and looked around.  The helicopter was gone and the night was quiet.  He knew he couldn't stay on the rooftop.  He couldn't leave her there.

He kept one arm on her back as he reached with the other to pull up his hood.  He pulled the side flaps of his cloak around them both.  He gathered her body up in his arms and went to the door and carried her down the stairs to the street.

He left the hateful building and went into the night, into the darkened city.  He carried her through the unfeeling streets.  He encountered few people as he walked, cradling his precious burden, numb.  How he managed to get her to her balcony, he did not know.  But, at last, he entered her bedroom through the French doors and laid her carefully on her bed.

He smoothed her hair back and sat back on his heels, just looking at her.  Even still and lifeless, he was awed by her beauty.  But, he remembered, her beauty wasn't merely physical.  She was so kind and generous and strong.  Her love had opened his world beyond the stony tunnels and chambers beneath the earth.  Her love was a strong ray of sunshine warming his face in the darkness.  Without her, how could he go on?

He touched her face, smoothed her hair again and ran his hands down her arms.  A glimmer of sunlight caught his eye and he turned to the windows and saw the sun beginning to rise.  He couldn't stay past dawn, but how could he leave her?

He bent forward and ran his clawed finger over her lips.  “As long as I live, you shall live, in me.”  Feeling a bravery he had never felt while she lived, he leaned closer and pressed his unique mouth to hers and kissed her softly.  “Always,” he whispered into her mouth and kissed her again.

When he pulled away, he thought he felt a puff of air come from her lips.

“Catherine?”  He bent his cheek to her mouth and waited, holding his breath.  After interminable seconds, another puff disrupted the whiskers on his cheek.

“Catherine!”  He pressed his fingers to the pulse point on her neck and felt her heartbeat, faint, quiet, but steady.  He gasped and began to cry in earnest.  She was alive!  She was barely clinging to life, but she was still alive.  He had nearly left her for dead in her cold apartment.  But what to do?  He couldn't take her Below to Father.  The sun was nearly above the buildings across the park and he would be seen.  Frantically, he threw the blankets up over her body and added his cloak for good measure.

“Hold on, Catherine.  Hold on a little longer.”  He jumped up and paced the small space between her bed and the French doors.  “She needs help, but I cannot get her to Father.  An ambulance?  But where will I hide when the paramedics arrive?”  He clenched his fists.  What to do?  “Peter!” his mind cried out.  Dr. Peter Alcott, the best doctor he knew next to Father and he could bridge the worlds Above and Below. 

Vincent stumbled out of Catherine's bedroom and went to her desk.  A small Rolodex sat on it near the phone.  His great paws fumbled with it, turning to the “A's,” to Peter's phone number.  Using the claw on his forefinger, he dialed the number marked “home” on the card.  He held the phone to his ear awkwardly as it rang and rang.  Finally, the phone was picked up and Peter's sleep-roughened voice muttered, “Alcott.”

“Peter,” Vincent breathed.

“Who is this?”

“It is Vincent.”

“Vincent, really?”  Peter sounded instantly more awake.

“Peter.  I found Catherine last night.  I thought...”  Vincent stifled a sob.  “I thought she was dead.”

“Vincent, where are you?”

“I brought her home and kissed her goodbye.  She is still breathing.”


“She's alive, Peter, but I do not know what to do.  The sun-”

“Vincent, wrap her up, keep her warm.  If her breathing fades, breathe for her.  You remember.”  Vincent nodded.  “Talk to her, Vincent.  Let her know you haven't given up.  I'll be there in fifteen minutes.  Her apartment?”


“Fifteen minutes, Vincent.”  Peter hung up the phone.

Vincent carefully replaced the receiver and walked back to Catherine.  He climbed on to the other side of the bed and gathered her into his arms.  “I'm here, Catherine, I'm here.  I won't let you go again.”  He kept his cheek close to her mouth and nose and rechecked her pulse from time to time. 

It had only been ten minutes by the time Peter arrived, but it felt much longer to Vincent.  He heard the elevator doors and a key turning the lock.  Instinct made him freeze and turn his head, looking for a place to hide, but he knew it could only be Peter and he knew he couldn't leave Catherine.

Peter rushed in the door and came quickly into Catherine's bedroom.  He stopped short, looking at the baby he had brought into the world looking so death-like in Vincent's arms.  “What happened?” he asked shortly, setting his doctor's bag down by the bed and reaching for Catherine's wrist.

“I'm not sure.  I had felt nothing of her for months and then tonight, there was something.”

“Your bond?” Peter asked looking at her arm and noting the needle marks in the crooks of her elbows and the fresher mark on her upper arm.

“Similar, but not the same.  I found her on the roof of a building in downtown.  Or, she found me.  She told me that we had loved and that there was a child.  Then, she collapsed in my arms.  I brought her here.  When I found I must leave, I noticed she was still breathing.”

“Her pulse is faint and so is her breathing.  It seems like she recently gave birth.  I wonder if she has retained the placenta.  But, that doesn't account for all of this.”  Peter rubbed his forehead.  “Where is the baby, Vincent?”

“I do not know.”

Peter pulled supplies from his bag and began to ready an intravenous line.  He tied a tourniquet around Catherine's upper arm.  “I wonder if whoever took her only kept her for the baby.  Didn't you nearly rescue her a few months ago?”

“Yes, she was tapping on the pipes.  Old Sam intercepted the message and I found her.  There were too many for me.  Perhaps I should have waited for help or contacted the police.  They took her to another place and I couldn't find her again until tonight.”

Peter placed the needle into her vein.  Vincent handed him the tubing to connect to it.  “Thank you,  Vincent.  Perhaps her kidnappers inferred that you were connected to her, that you were the father of her child and decided they wanted it.”

“Then after the child was born, they would have...”

“Disposed of her.  Yes.  If it were me, I'd use morphine.”  Peter fumbled in his bag, looking for a bottle of medicine.  “Aha.”  He pulled the bottle out and withdrew a dose from it with a syringe.

“What is that?” Vincent asked as Peter injected it into her IV line.

“Narcan.  It is an antidote for opiates.”  Peter placed the empty syringe and medicine bottle on the bedside table and bent to recheck Catherine's pulse.  “A bit stronger, but she needs more than I can do here.  We need to get her to a hospital.  She needs blood, antibiotics, maybe ventilation.” 

“Peter, call an ambulance.  Save her.  She is my life.”

“We should try to keep this anonymous.  If her kidnappers find she is still alive...”

“They will come looking for her.”

“I'll call a private service rather than 911.  I'll admit her, keep her in a private room.  Maybe I can arrange for a Helper or even Mary to help care for her.  Where can you go while the ambulance takes her?” 

“I can hide in her kitchen or the balcony.  I can wait until night and go back Below.”

“All right.  I'll call now.   Stay close to her.”

Vincent cuddled Catherine close again and kissed her forehead.  She felt a bit warmer and her breath was stronger on his face, but it still seemed so faint.  Her cheeks were pale.  Vincent could hear Peter in the other room, speaking to the ambulance service.

“No, keep it quiet.  I don't know who to trust with this yet, but she needs medical attention and quickly.”

Peter returned to the bedroom.  “They should be here in 10-15 minutes, depending on traffic.  It is still early, but rush hour seems to never end in this part of town.  How is she?”

“She is so pale and still.”

“She is strong, Vincent, and she has a lot to live for – you and the baby.”

“I haven't even really thought of the child.  It is so much.”

“You'll have time to absorb it.  I don't want you to panic while you're stuck here.  Do you want me to call with updates?”

“I'm not sure.”

“I think I'll call a helper to get a message to Jacob.”

“All right.”  Peter returned to the other room and picked up the phone.  Vincent held Catherine close again and kissed her forehead and hair over and over.

“I love you, Catherine.  I love you.  I'll never let you go again.  I know now.  I know what you meant.  I'll never be apart from you again.”  He kissed her head again and stroked her shoulder and arm and smoothed her hair.  He trailed his fingers back to her neck and felt her pulse.  It seemed stronger.  The medicine Peter had injected her with seemed to help.  Suddenly, her eyelids fluttered open.  She sucked in a big breath of air as Vincent gasped.  “Peter!”

Peter dropped the phone and ran to the bedroom and saw Catherine in Vincent's arms with her eyes open, looking up at him.

“Vincent,” she whispered.

“You are going to be fine, Catherine.”  Vincent's tears began to fall again.  “I love you.  Peter is here.  He's going to get you to a hospital.  When you are well enough, I'll take you Below.”

“Cathy, it is okay, honey.  Everything is going to be okay.”  There was a loud knock at the door.

“I must go.”

“Vincent,” she whispered again.  “He's beautiful.”

“Of course he is.  You will be well and we will find him.”  Vincent slipped from the bed and took up his cloak.  He kissed Catherine's forehead again and went to the kitchen.  Catherine's eyes closed again and she seemed to be sleeping.

Peter followed Vincent to the other room and made sure he was well-concealed in the kitchen before he opened the door.  Three paramedics entered the apartment with a stretcher.  “Where is she, doctor?”

“In here,” Peter answered.  As they moved to the bedroom, Vincent opened the kitchen door a crack and watched them work on Catherine.  Confident that she was in good hands, Vincent let the door close and sank to the floor and began to cry silently.  She was found.  She was alive.  They would be well.


Chapter 2


Vincent spent the day in Catherine's apartment.  He found books, letters and mementos he had given her.  He spent some time reading through them, remembering the giving of each.  It was nice, being among her things.  He had come to her balcony when she was missing, hoping against hope she would miraculously return, but she never did.  He hadn't come inside.  Now he knew that she could not come here again, that if she was found to be alive, her kidnappers would kill her.  Now he knew the extent of her love for him.  They had a child and after he was found and his mother recovered, all three would disappear Below and live a peaceful life.

He found a box in the back of her closet, full of things she must have saved beginning in her childhood.  He packed his books and things in there.  He also placed photographs of her parents, some clothing and a few knick-knacks she had around the apartment.  He wanted her to have familiar things around her.  He planned to begin sorting through his chamber to make room for her as soon as it became dark.

Peter had called and said that they had arrived in the hospital.  Catherine was going to require surgery – she had retained the placenta – and a course of antibiotics, but he thought she would recover.  When she was stable enough, he would find a way for her to come Below and Father could continue her care.

Once Vincent had heard from Peter and completed his packing, he still had a lot of time on his hands to brood.  He sat on the floor in front of the French doors and watched the sun move across the sky.  He wondered what had happened to the Bond he and Catherine had once shared and what had happened last night to allow him to find her at last.

“The child had been born,” he thought.  His mind went back to his last conversation with Catherine.  He was still weak from that horrible sickness and was feeling sorry for himself because their Bond had been broken.  Catherine had entered his chamber with a brightness in her eyes that he, in his selfishness, did not recognize.  She must have known about the child and had come to tell him.  But even then, she had soothed and comforted him.  What had she said?

“'Maybe the gift will return to you in a different form; something you had never even dreamed of.'”

He certainly had never even dreamed of a child.  Was what he had felt last night the child?  He closed his eyes and quieted his mind.  He was still reeling from the supposed death and resurrection of Catherine in his arms; the gleeful joy that ran through him, knowing she was alive and safe.  He tried to put it all out of his head, to find and concentrate on the heartbeat he had heard in his chamber last night.  He slowed his breathing and sat perfectly still, cross-legged on the floor of Catherine's bedroom, concentrating, remembering the feeling that had suffused him last night.

He felt it, once, twice, three times – like Catherine's heartbeat, but faster.  He furrowed his brow, trying to determine where it was coming from, when he heard a key turn in the lock of the front door.  In a trice, he was up and out the doors on to the balcony.  He concealed himself as best he could in the corner, where he had had the presence of mind to place the box he intended to take to the tunnels.  It was late afternoon and the sun was starting to set.  Catherine's balcony faced east and there were already shadows to hide himself.  He might just have to chance escape before it was fully dark, depending on who was entering.

A short, stout Mexican-American woman entered the door, jangling the keys.  “Why do they want me to clean?  No one is here, but every week, go clean Chandler apartment.  Good money, no work, so I clean,” she muttered to herself.  Vincent watched stealthily from the shadows of the balcony, praying she would not go outside. 

The woman ran a dust cloth over Catherine's bookshelves, desk and mantelpiece.  She went next to the kitchen and wiped down the clean counters and checked the appliances.  The refrigerator was empty, but it was still cold.  Oh, she remembered the first time she had cleaned this place.  “The stink of the kitchen!” she exclaimed out loud, crossing herself.  “Madre de Dios!”

Vincent watched as the woman crossed the living room and entered Catherine's bedroom.  He realized just a moment before she saw it what he had forgotten.  The bed was rumpled from Catherine and from him lying on it.  And on the side where he had laid her was a very large bloodstain.

“Madre de Dios!” the woman screamed and ran from the room.  Vincent decided to risk leaving early as she went to the phone and dialed 911.  He could hear her, speaking a frantic mixture of English and Spanish, trying to explain what had happened.  In the end, the police came, and the hope of secrecy was dashed.  There was finally a break in the Chandler case.


Joe Maxwell got off the elevator on Catherine's floor and clipped an ID badge to the collar of his suit.  His overcoat flopped back over it.  He turned the corner to her apartment and was stopped by an officer. 


Joe flipped his coat collar back, revealing the badge.  “Joe Maxwell, DA's office.”

“Go ahead, sir.”

Joe bent under the police tape and entered the apartment.  There were police officers everywhere.  Some were dusting for fingerprints, others were taking photographs.  There were men talking and someone was vacuuming the carpet.  Joe walked over to the doorway of Catherine's bedroom and stopped short at sight of the large bloodstain on the coverlet.

“Oh, Cathy,” he whispered.

“Hey, Joe?”

“Yeah?”  Joe turned to the officer who had called his name.  It was Greg Hughes.  Joe and Cathy had worked with him, both professionally and personally for the last two years.  Joe was sure glad he had caught this case.

“Hey, Joe.  Jesus, huh?”


“Have you been involved with this from the beginning?”

“Not officially.  I'm here as a friend.”

“Good.  I could use your opinion.  It looks like the place had been gone through.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like things are missing.  Look over here.”  Greg led Joe to a curio cabinet that stood in the living room.  A collection of glass eggs were displayed on one of the shelves.  One was obviously missing.

“Huh,” Joe said.  “Anything else?”

“Yeah.  Books off the shelves.  Clothes from the closet.  It looks like there was a box in the closet that has been removed.  Do you know of anyone who has been in here?”

“I know the executor of her estate hired a cleaning lady.  Otherwise, no one I know of.  You talk to her?”

“Yeah, she called it in.”

“You're getting fingerprints?”

“From all over.  We're testing everything – doorknobs, chairs, tables, the phone.”

“Good.  Let me know what you find out.”

“Sure thing.”

“Thanks.”  Joe moved back to the bedroom to where the CSI guys were taking samples of the bloodstain.  “What do you think?”

“It’s blood.”

“Thanks.”  Joe rolled his eyes.  “Lab guys.  Can't live with 'em...” he thought.

“Won't know anything 'til I get this back to the lab.”

“Just the bed?  Anything else?”

“Yeah.  Found a used syringe and a bottle on the bedside table.  Already bagged them.  We'll let you know.”

“What was the bottle?” Joe asked.

“Label said, 'Narcan,' but we'll test it for sure.”

“You sending everything to Hughes?”

“He's the detective who caught the case right?”

“Okay, okay.  I just don't want anything to slip through the cracks.  This is the first break this case has had in six months.  She's a friend.”

The CSI looked up at Joe critically.  “Yeah, right.  Look, all due respect, I do every job the same, whether it is some homeless drug addict or the Queen of England, right?”

“Good, good.  I'll get out of your way.”  Joe took one last look at the bed and the bloodstain and turned away.  “Come on, Radcliffe.  Tell me where you are.  Let me bring you home.”


Father walked stiffly down the hallway to Vincent's chamber.

“Vincent?” he called.

Vincent was sitting at his table, staring blankly ahead, thinking.  He didn't turn at Father's voice.  “I found Catherine last night.”

“I know.  I received a note from Peter.  He said she was doing as well as could be expected.  She is still unconscious.”

“I thought she had died.”

“I can imagine.  Peter said her pulse was very faint when he arrived.  Morphine overdoses can be tricky.  In addition to the blood loss...”

“I nearly left her there, alone,” Vincent interrupted.

“Vincent, don't.”

“Don't what, Father?”  Vincent slammed his fist on the table and jumped up.  “I've searched for her for months.  Months!  And after I find her, I leave her for dead?”

“But you didn't.  I've seen people in a morphine stupor.  They appear lifeless.”

“But I, of all people, should have known!”

“You did, Vincent, when it counted.”  Father stumbled over to where Vincent stood and took his arm.  “You found her.  If you hadn't, she'd be dead and cold alone, in that terrible place.  You saved her.”

Vincent covered his face with his hands.  “I was trapped in her apartment, all day.  I was nearly caught.  A cleaning woman came in and found the bloodstain.  I left while it was still daylight when she called the police.  I don't think I was seen.”

Vincent expected a lecture, but was surprised by Father's words.  “You did the right thing, leaving when you did.  I'm sure the police went over that apartment with a fine-tooth comb.  You couldn't have stayed.  They would have found you for sure.”

“I know.  I...”

“You must be exhausted.  You should sleep.  I just came to tell you the latest on Catherine and to make sure you slept.  Peter admitted her as 'Jane Doe.'  Hopefully, her admission won't be tied to the investigation at her apartment.  As soon as she is stable, we will bring her Below.  Peter and I have been mulling over possibilities.”   Father took his son's arm and gently guided him to the bed.  Vincent sat down heavily.  “I know you haven't slept well in months.”

“I am tired.”

“Catherine will have a long recovery and will need you to be strong.”


“Lie down, Vincent.  All will be well.”

“All right, Father.  All right.”


Father made his way painstakingly to the entrance nearest the hospital where Catherine was lying.  Peter walked slowly to meet him.

“How is she?” Father asked.

“Ah, Jacob.”  Peter rubbed his hands over his face and scratched his head.  “I think she's through the worst of it.  She made it through the surgery, but I had to give her 6 units of blood and she's septic.”

“Did you have to intubate?”

“Not yet, but she hasn't regained consciousness.”

“Vincent said she spoke to him for a moment.”

“Yes, but since then, nothing.”

“Who is watching her?”

“Remember Chelsea?”

“Ah, yes.”

Chelsea had come to the tunnels as a young girl, abandoned on the streets 10 years ago.  Vincent had actually found her and brought her Below.  She returned Above when she turned eighteen and entered a nursing trade school.  She was now working for the private hospital Peter had taken Catherine.

“She has agreed to stay with her, in her room, for the night.  She has no other patients.  She is to page me with anything.”

“You should rest, too.”

“I know.  You know, I had given up.  I thought Vincent was crazy to keep searching.”

“Me, too.”  The two men stood silently for a few moments.

Father reached out and took Peter's arm.  “When she's stable, we will be ready for her.  It won't be too far on a stretcher.  We'll have replacements set up every so often.  The hard part will be getting her here.”

“I might use an ambulance, the pretense of transferring her to another facility.”

“Does anyone know who she is?”

“Even Chelsea doesn't know her real name.  She's just Jane.  But I worry.  She isn't entirely unknown and if anyone recognizes her...”

“Yes, I know.  Well, we are due for some good luck.  We just need to hope for the best.”

“Right now, that's all we have.”


Catherine lay in a darkened hospital room down the end of a long hallway.  Chelsea dozed in the chair by her bed.  The monitors gleamed green in the half-light and a steady beeping indicated her heartbeat.  The beeping increased slightly in tempo and Catherine's eyes fluttered open.  “Vincent?”


Chapter 3


Joe sat at the counter of the diner, stirring his coffee absentmindedly.  Greg Hughes approached him, tossed a file folder on the counter and sat down. 

“Coffee?” he said to the server, who poured him a cup.  Hughes took up a sugar packet and dumped the contents into his cup and stirred vigorously.

“Morning?” Joe said, raising an eyebrow.

“Joe, you have no idea what kind of mess we've got.”

“Okay.  Start at the top.  Blood?”

“Mostly Cathy's.  ME estimates a unit, maybe more.”

“What do you mean 'mostly Cathy's?'” Joe asked.

“There were traces of foreign DNA.”


“Not Cathy's.”

“Then whose?”

“Still working on that.”

Joe took a deep breath and sighed.  “Okay.  Fingerprints.”

“Tons.  Cathy's, of course.  The cleaning lady.  We took a set off her before we let her go.  Some of you.”  Hughes took a drink of coffee.  “We also found some from this doctor, Peter Alcott.”

“I know that name.”

“You should.  Did some digging.  He's the executor of Cathy's estate.  Her next of kin.”

“Well, that makes sense.  He probably was checking on the place.”

“Yeah.  It makes sense on the doorknobs and the phone.  But, we also found his on that bottle of Narcan and the syringe.”


“And that isn't even the weirdest thing.”  Hughes took another drink of coffee.  “There's another set – from the door to the balcony, on the bed, closet doors, kitchen.  Kind of all over.”

“Whose are they?” Joe asked.

“Wrong question.  Not whose.  What's.”


“Yeah, lab doesn't think they're human.  Definitely don't match anyone in the system.”

“Greg.  Come on.”

“I'm telling you what I know, Joe.  Almost as soon as I know it.”  He indicated the file folder on the counter.  “There's your 'unofficial' copy of the results.”

“There's got to be more.”

“I'm doing my best.  But, Joe.  I know my limitations.”

“Limitations?  This is Cathy Chandler!”

“Look, Joe.  I know that and I'd do anything for her.  But I've got to do it within my scope.  I got to take whatever cases get tossed my way.  We got lucky that I was up when this call came in.”  Greg paused and took a toothpick out of the container on the counter by his right hand.  “You ever hear of the 210?”

“Special crimes?  Yeah, why?”

“There's this woman, on it.  Diana Bennett?  You know her?”

Joe shook his head.

“Do you remember the Bessara case last month?”


“She was the one who found Hernandez.”

“I thought that was the Bureau.”

Hughes chewed on the toothpick.  “Nope.  Bennett.  She doesn't like the publicity.”  He tossed the toothpick on the counter.  “Look, Joe.  This isn't an ordinary case.  It is a missing person, but now there's all this blood.  It isn't a homicide, but it could be.  There's a lot going on.  You need to look at other alternatives.  And Bennett.  She gets to pick and choose.”


“Cause she's good.”  Greg stood up and drained his coffee cup.  “You get a hold of Bennett at the 210.  I'll be in touch.”

“Thanks, Greg.”  Joe picked up the folder and paid for his coffee.  He left the diner.  He had some favors to call in.


Peter went to the hospital first thing in the morning.  Chelsea had reported a quiet night for her patient.  She had stirred around 1:00 in the morning, but drifted back off.  Her vitals stayed steady and her fever was down.  Peter decided to try to wake her up.  He had Chelsea stay by the door and entered the room.

Catherine was lying on the bed, tucked under the blankets with monitor wires coming out from under them, attaching her to machines overhead.  Her left arm was connected to an IV.  Her hair had been brushed, but she still looked pale and disordered.  Peter decided she didn't look like herself without her spark.

He crossed over to the bed and pulled out his stethoscope.  He listened to her heart and her lungs and then pressed his hands over the lower abdomen.  Her belly was still swollen, but firm.  Since she had retained the placenta after the delivery of the child, her uterus couldn't contract and she was bleeding out, in addition to the deadly dose of morphine.  She was lucky.

Satisfied with her physical condition, Peter sat in the chair by the bed and pushed her hair back. 

“Cathy?  Cathy, honey?  It is time to wake up.”  He moved his hand to her shoulder and shook her a little.  “Cathy?  I need you to open your eyes.”  He spoke in a firm, clear voice.  He shook her again.  “Cathy!” 

At this last prodding, Catherine frowned and turned her head away from Peter.  He reached for her chin and turned her back.  “Cathy?  I need you to open your eyes now.  Just open up and look at me.  That's all I need.”

Catherine's frown deepened through all of this and then she sighed.  Her eyes fluttered open for a moment and then closed again.

“Good, girl.  Do it again.  Look at me, young lady.”

Catherine frowned again and opened her eyes.  She looked up at Peter's face for a few brief seconds and then closed them again.  “Peter?” she whispered.

“Yes, honey.  It's me.  How are you feeling?”

“Vincent?” she whispered again.

“Oh, I know you want to see him.  I just need you to get a little stronger.”

She sighed.  “Vincent.”

“Soon, sweetie, soon.  I'll tell him you asked for him, okay?”

Her eyelids flickered open and then shut.  “Kay.”

“Okay, Cathy.  You get your rest now.  I'll check on you in a little while.”  Peter rose from the chair and prepared to leave the room and give his orders for the day to the nurse waiting outside the door.  A soft voice called him back to her side.

“Peter, thanks.”

“You're welcome, honey.  I'm glad you're back.”

Peter turned from the bedside as Catherine drifted back to sleep.  He left Chelsea in the room and then went down the hall to the nurse's station.  He was writing in Catherine's chart, still marked, “Jane Doe” when two police officers came by.

“Morning,” one flashed his badge to the charge nurse.  “I'm officer Downey and this is officer Sparks.  We heard you had a 'Jane Doe' admitted yesterday?” 

Peter turned sideways so that his face could not be seen by the officers.  He continued to write furiously, hoping to get his orders entered without having to answer too many questions.

Margie, the charge nurse, had been around awhile and she knew Dr. Alcott from when he was a resident.  She never looked over at him.  She merely raised her gaze above her reading glasses and pulled a pen out of her stiff beehive hair-do.  “None of my patients are to be disturbed at this time.  What is this all about?”  She looked back down and marked off an item on the list in front of her.

“We are just checking something out.  A bunch of blood was found on a bed in an apartment by the park.  We are looking at 'Jane Doe's' to see if she could be who the blood belongs to.”

“None of my patients can be disturbed at this time.  If anyone has information that may help you, I'll be sure to call.  May I have your card?”

“Nurse, do you have any 'Jane Doe's' or not?”  Sparks was young, he didn't like being sent on a wild goose chase and he knew he wasn't getting a straight answer out of Margie.

“I will thank you to lower your voice.  This is a hospital.  Now, unless you are an admitting physician to this hospital or have a warrant,” she lowered her gaze at the two officers.  “You will not be laying a hand on any of my charts or disturbing any of my patients.”

Downey put his hand on Sparks' arm.  “Easy, Sparks.  We'll go check the next place and come back.  Thanks, ma'am.”  The two policemen turned and walked down the hallway towards the elevators.  Downey appeared to be lecturing Sparks under his breath.

“Wow, Margie.  Remind me never to get on your bad side,” Peter said, handing her the chart with his orders.  She tucked her pen back into her beehive and pushed up her glasses a little.

“You never will, Dr. Alcott.  But you might want to readmit your patient,” she said, not looking at him, but scanning the chart for new orders.  She began to enter them into the computer on her desk.

“Thanks, Margie,” Peter said.  “I'm keeping Chelsea on private duty for the rest of today and will probably be bringing in someone else for tonight.  Can you spell her for a little while so she can get something to eat?”

“Of course, doctor.  I'll attend to it personally.”

“You are a peach, Margie.  Thanks again,” Peter said over his shoulder, heading towards admitting.


Father walked into Vincent's chamber that morning and found his son still in bed, sleeping.  He sighed and looked at him.  His son.  He looked so peaceful and content while asleep.  For so long, Vincent had been so worried, so frightened, so angry with himself.  No one Below was finding any peace.  And, now just as Vincent had finally fallen into a much needed slumber, Father had to awaken him.  “Well, who said life was fair,” he muttered under his breath.  Louder, he said, “Vincent?”

Vincent awoke in an instant and sat up.  He looked around quickly and saw Father.  “What is it?”

“I received a note from Peter this morning.  He gives an update on Catherine's condition.  I thought you'd like to know as soon as possible.”



“Then, it wasn't a dream.  It was real?”


Vincent blinked quickly a few times, then swung his legs out of the bed.  “Tell me.”

Father unfolded the note and as he didn't have his glasses, held it out at arm's length to read it aloud.  “'Jacob, Catherine had a good, peaceful night.  Her fever is lower and her uterus is contracting down quite nicely.  She woke up briefly this morning.  She recognized me and asked after Vincent.  Some police officers came by, asking after any 'Jane Doe's' admitted yesterday.  Margie (remember her from residency?) held them off and I've readmitted Catherine under the name 'Caroline Wells.'  If I can get her to wake up enough to eat something and if her H&H stays stable, I may be able to transfer her tonight or tomorrow morning.  Please prepare as we discussed.  I'll send more news when I have it.  Peter.”

“What does this mean?  What is an H&H?  What about her uterus?”

“Vincent, after a woman gives birth and expels the placenta, the uterus contracts in on itself, sealing off all the blood vessels.  If that does not happen appropriately, the torn blood vessels continue to bleed.  There are several reasons why this can happen, but with Catherine, because she slipped into a coma before she could deliver the afterbirth, her uterus couldn't contract down.  Peter took her to surgery and removed the placenta.  He had to give her six units of blood.  He is monitoring her Hemoglobin and Hematocrit to see if she needs more.”

“I see.”

“She is also on antibiotics, to fight infection.  A retained placenta can be a nasty thing.”

“Does it seem that there are any effects from the morphine?”

“She is quite sleepy, but she recognized Peter and remembered you.  With time, I'm sure she will be fine.”

“And the police?”

“It shouldn't surprise you that they are looking for the source of all that blood.  Peter had admitted her as a 'Jane Doe.'  He had to change her name.”

“Good.  Then, it seems that all is going as well as it could.”

“Yes.  Come, get dressed.  We can talk more at breakfast.”  Father patted Vincent's shoulder and left his chamber.  Vincent rose from the bed and began to prepare for the day.  Then, he felt it again, that buzzing, beating heart he had heard the night he had found Catherine.  It seemed to quicken, intensify and then it went quiet and still.  What did it mean?  He had much to discuss with Father and he hurried with his dressing.




Chapter 4


Joe stood in the entry way of the building.  There were a row of mailboxes, the last in the row hung open on rusty hinges.  Next to the mailboxes, near the freight elevator, was an intercom box.   Joe pushed the button on the top.  He tapped his foot and then pushed the button again.

“Hello?” A woman's voice echoed through the speaker.

“It's Joe Maxwell.  We talked this morning?”

No answer.  Joe looked around and rubbed his forehead.  “Hello?  Diana?  Diana Bennett?”

“I told you I can't do it.” 

“Look, I have no place else to go.  Please?  Hello?”  He pushed the button again.

“Fifth floor.” The voice sounded resigned. 

A loud buzzing sound filled the small entryway as Joe was buzzed in.  He climbed on to the freight elevator and rose to the fifth floor.  The elevator stopped, revealing an angry looking red-haired woman through the metal gates.  She was wearing sweatpants and socks.  Her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail.  Her arms were crossed over her chest.  She was definitely angry.

“Where'd you get my address?”

“From your watch commander.”

“Call in a favor?”

“Yeah.  A big one.”

“You realize this is completely unfair of you.”

“I'm just asking you to take a look at something.”

“You are asking me to set aside one case for another.  I can't do that.”

“Not even for one day?  An hour?”

Diana opened the gate on her side.  “Let me show you something.”

Joe opened the gate on his side and followed her across the room to an over-flowing desk.  A wall-sized bulletin board was covered with pictures, newspaper clippings and maps.

“This is where I've been for the last four months.  That is Sally Rogers.” She gestured to a little girl in the center of the bulletin board.  “Ten years old.  Grabbed waiting for her mom outside of school.”  Diana turned and looked at Joe intently.  “Every three weeks the guy sends something.  A lock of hair.  A piece of clothing.  A shoe.  Yesterday, a package arrived with a small finger inside.”  Joe looked at the floor.  “Lab says she's still alive.  What can I do for you, Joe Maxwell?”

Joe looked up at her.  “I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to bother you.”

Diana looked down, awkward.  “Sometimes I push too hard.”

“No, I was wrong to come here.  I'm sorry.”  He walked back to the elevator and got on.  He closed the safety gate on her side and began to close the other on his.  Diana approached him.

“So, this woman?  Was she important to you?”

Joe leaned up against the side of the elevator door.  “We worked together, but it was more than that.”


“No.  Just friends.  But, I feel like it's my fault.”

“So when she disappeared, you asked to lead the investigation.”  Joe nodded.  “Let me guess.  The trail went cold, fast.  And you blamed yourself.  And then you worked harder and harder until all your other work suffered.”

“I was suspended.”

“And then you began to dream about her and your mind took these illogical leaps.  And you followed up absurd leads and intuitions, and pretty soon you couldn't think of anything else.”  Joe looked at her, stunned.  “That's why I only work one case at a time.”

“Are they all like that for you?”

“Yep.”  Diana turned and went back to her desk.

“Let me ask you something.”  Joe pushed the gate back open and went to Diana at her desk.  “What do you make of this?  A woman is violently kidnapped.  Six months later, the only sign of her is a huge bloodstain on her own bed.  No one saw her come in or out of that building.  Up seventeen flights and down seventeen flights.  No witnesses.”

“I don't know.”

“Yeah, nobody does.  And in three weeks, no one is going to care.  That is why I came to you.”  Joe went back to the elevator and jerked the gates closed.  Before he pushed the button to descend to the ground floor, he nodded towards her bulletin board.  “I hope you find that girl.”  The elevator slowly began to descend and Diana watched until he was out of sight.


With Chelsea on duty, Catherine had had a quiet night up to now.  She had awoken a couple more times that day.  She managed to stay awake long enough to sip six spoonfuls of beef broth, but she didn't speak again.  Vincent was going insane, Below.  He ran to the entrance closest to the hospital and paced there intermittently until Peter took pity on him.  He arranged for Vincent to enter Catherine's room just after 2:00 in the morning.

Now, Vincent stood in the shadows near the window of Catherine's hospital room.  He counted her heartbeats, beeping out into the night from the monitor above her bed.  He counted her breaths.  He relished being in the same room with her after so long.

Catherine turned her head to the shadow in the room and opened her eyes.  “Vincent?” she whispered.


She closed her eyes and sighed.  “You're a dream again, aren't you?”

“A dream?”

“Yes.”  She fluttered her eyes open again.  “You're still here.”


“Oh, Vincent.”  She closed her eyes again and tried to reach for him.  “I'm so sorry.”

He stepped closer and took her hand.  “For what?”

At his touch, she opened her eyes again.  “You almost feel real,” she murmured.  “For not telling you.  For getting in trouble again.  I was trying.  Honest.”

“I know.”  Vincent wasn't sure if she was dreaming or awake and decided to go along with whatever she was saying.

“I wanted to tell you.”  She closed her eyes and squeezed his hand.  His heart rate increased at the feeling.

“I know.  Shhh.  Just rest now.”  He brushed her hair off her forehead.

“I wanted to tell you about the baby.  I wanted to tell you and then just stay with you forever.”

“I know.  I know.”

“But that stupid book!”  She opened her eyes suddenly.

“The book?”

“Yeah.”  She closed them again.  “Joe gave me that book and then I told John.  Then, they took me.”

“John Moreno?  The DA?”

“Yes.”  She sighed.  “Oh, Vincent.  This feels so real.  Stay with me.  Everything is better when you stay with me.”

“I'll stay as long as I can.  When you're better, we'll never be apart.”

“No.  She'll be coming in soon.  He'll want to do more tests.”

“No, Catherine.  No more.  You're safe.  Sleep now.”

Catherine opened her eyes and this time, her gaze seemed clearer to him.  “Vincent?”

“Yes.  I'm here.  You're safe.  You're safe now.  Sleep, my love.”  Catherine squeezed his hand again, and tears begin to fall from Vincent's eyes.  He carefully slid into the bed next to her and held her head against his breast.  “Sleep.  All will be well.” 

Catherine nestled up against him and wrapped her arm around his waist and went to sleep.  Vincent held her firmly and kissed her hair.  He could hardly believe that nearly twenty-four hours ago he thought she had died in his arms.  He kissed her head again and thanked whatever God was watching them again and again.

His tears were nearly done and Catherine was sleeping peacefully at his side, when he saw the door open.  He froze on the bed, holding Catherine closer, knowing there is nowhere to run.  He didn’t know what to do, but heaved a sigh of relief when he saw that it is only Chelsea.

“Hi, Vincent.”

“Chelsea, thank you so much for what you've done for her.”

“It's Catherine, isn't it?  I'd do anything.  I know how much she means to you.  I owe you and Father and everyone a lot.”

“This more than repays whatever debt you think you have.  We do not think you owe us a thing.”

“Thank you, Vincent.”  She turned to look out the door.  “You'd better go.  She is due for meds in about ten minutes.”

“Yes.  I must go.”  Vincent slid out of Catherine's arms and approached Chelsea.  He gave her a book.  “If she awakens or seems uneasy, read some of this to her.  It helped the last time she was ill.”  He gave her a worn copy of Great Expectations.  He walked back to Catherine's bed and kissed her brow tenderly.

“All right.”  She took the book and placed it near her chair.  “I'll have Dr. Peter send another message to Father for you.  I think she's doing well.  He may send her Below tomorrow.”  They walked to the window together. “You need your rest, too.  If she does go Below, you will have your hands full tending to her.”

“I'll try, Chelsea.  If she awakes,” he paused, at a loss for words.

“I'll tell her.”

“Good night.”  He slipped out the window and into the night.


Chapter 5


The next morning, Joe received a note under his apartment door.  He stared at it.  It read, “University of New York Crime Lab.  10:00.  DB.”  Joe was confused.  Diana Bennett had pushed him out her door barely eighteen hours ago.  Now, it seemed like she was on Catherine's case and wanted to give him an update.  If he still had an office, he'd just take a phone call.  Actually, if he still had an office, Cathy would be taking the phone call and giving him a report.  He sighed and pulled on the rumpled suit he had worn yesterday.  He found a cleaner shirt on the floor and knotted a tie loosely around his neck.  He gathered up the papers from Hughes he had strewn over the coffee table and turned and looked at the apartment.  Diana's words from yesterday came back to him.  “'And then you began to dream about her and your mind took these illogical leaps.  And you followed up absurd leads and intuitions, and pretty soon you couldn't think of anything else.'”

“I really ought to do laundry,” he said as he locked the door and headed downtown.

Fortunately, Joe was suspended, not fired, and his credentials still worked.  He entered a long hallway in the Crime Lab building and began to walk down it.  Diana Bennett came out of a door about half-way down and he joined her.  They walked in silence a few more steps and then entered an empty office.  It looked like Diana was using it.  Her purse and coat were sitting on an empty chair next to a dusty desk.

“Joe, I need to ask you a question and before I do, I need you to clear your mind and just give me the first answer that pops into your head.”

Diana Bennett didn't beat around the bush.  “What the hell is going on?  What happened to Sally Rogers?”

“We lost her.  Perp killed himself after.”

“Jesus, I'm sorry.”

“Look, there's some new information on Catherine and I need to ask you about it, but you've got to clear your mind for me.”

“What?  Why?”

“When you think of Cathy Chandler, I want to know, who makes you jealous?”

“Seriously, Bennett?”

“Yeah.  You were in love with her.”

Joe stared at her, stunned.  “No, I-”  Diana looked at him pointedly.  “Okay, maybe.  But, like how you feel about your older brother's girlfriend.  Nothing was ever gonna come of it.”

“Okay, Joe.  Okay.  But who made you jealous?”

Instantly, Joe's face hardened.  “Elliot Burch.”

“Elliot Burch?”  Joe nods.  “What about a guy named Vincent?”

“No, I never heard of him until we started looking around her apartment.  We found some books and letters signed by him.”

“Not this time.”


“Current police report doesn't say anything about a Vincent.  The stuff from you, from before the bloodstain, does.”

“What does this have to do with anything anyway?”

Diana sighed and sat down on the only available chair.  She pulled her feet up underneath her and hugged her knees.  “The lab guys think they know whose blood was mixed in with Cathy's.”


“They think Cathy was pregnant.  DNA from the second sample shares some traits with Cathy, but it isn't identical.  Looks like her baby.”

“A baby?  Cathy was pregnant?”

“You didn't know?”

“No.  She was real weird about personal stuff like that.”

“She didn't say anything the last time you talked to her?”

“No, she said a friend of hers was going through a tough time.  She said it was someone she loved and that she was worried about him.  She thought she might need some more time off.  She took a couple of weeks, worked at night some and then I met with Pat Hanlon and he gave me that book.  Then, his car exploded and I ended up in the hospital.  I gave Cathy the book and asked her to look into it.  That was the last time I saw her.”

“So, what did Burch want with her?”

“He wanted to marry her.”  Joe smiled slightly, remembering when Burch tried to wine and dine Cathy with lobster and champagne in the middle of the busy DA office.  “She turned him down.”

“Did he give it up easy?”  Joe shrugged.  “When was the last time she saw Burch?”

“I don't know.  A year?  But, like I said, she played that stuff close to the vest.”

“Okay, Joe.  Thanks.”  Diana gathered up her coat and purse and left Joe standing in the empty office, alone.

“Wait!”  He ran after her.  “What can I do?  I got to do something.  I'm going nuts.”

“Okay.  Why don't you see if you can track down that doctor, Peter Alcott?  His prints were in the house too, but also on that syringe and medicine bottle.  Why don't you start 'unofficially' and see what you can find out.  You know, 'I'm a friend of Cathy's, have you heard anything, why the hell did you shoot up someone with Narcan?'”

“All right.  Thanks, Diana.”

“Call me later.  I know you got my number.”  She grinned wryly. 

“Yeah.  Okay.”  Joe smiled back.  For the first time in six months, Joe felt something that seemed strangely like hope.


Earlier that day, after too little sleep, Peter rounded on Catherine.  Chelsea told him that she had spoken to Vincent when he had visited that night, but seemed to think that she was still with her kidnappers.  She seemed agitated, but Vincent had calmed her and she had gone back to sleep.  She was sleeping still.  Her latest H/H was stable and she remained afebrile.  Peter looked her over briefly and told Chelsea that he wanted her to try to get Catherine to eat something.  He was thinking of sending her Below either later that day or tomorrow morning. 

He was out at the nurse's desk, absentmindedly writing his note and orders when two police officers approached.  “Damn,” Peter thought to himself.  “Margie is off duty today.”  He turned away and hurried with his work.

“Good morning,” the older officer spoke to the nurse at the desk.  “I'm officer Downey and this is officer Sparks.  We were here yesterday and had a hard time getting the information we needed.  We are looking for any 'Jane Doe's' admitted in the last forty-eight hours with any conditions that could have led to massive blood loss.”

Carol, the charge nurse that day, glanced down at the roster of patients in front of her.  “We are a gynecological floor.  We don't get too many patients like that.  Most of the trauma patients are down on the third floor.  And, we don't have any 'Jane Doe's' on the unit.”

“Okay, thanks.”

The two officers walked back down the hall.  “Geez, why couldn't the old broad yesterday just tell us that?” Sparks muttered. 

Peter watched them go over his shoulder.  Then, he handed the chart to Carol.  She flipped through it and flagged his orders.

“Anything I need to know about, Dr Alcott?”

“Not really.  Just trying to get her to eat a little.  Her family wants her transferred as soon as possible.”

“I've noticed she hasn't had many visitors.”

“No.  I'm an old friend of the family.  She got ill while visiting and I've been taking care of her.  Her family hired the private duty nurse.  Of course, they want her home as soon as she can.”

“Sure, doctor.  We'll try to get her sitting up and eating some soup this morning.  If it goes well, I'll page you and start the transfer process.”

“Thanks, Carol.  Talk with you soon.”  Peter hurried down the hall to the elevators.  He had a full schedule in the office today, but didn't have any more patients in the hospital.  He'd look at the schedule when he got in and see if he could arrange an early day.  He had to send a note Below to Jacob, too.  He hoped Catherine was well enough to transfer today.  Besides worrying that someone would recognize her, she was adding to his caseload and he wasn't sleeping well.  He was afraid he would make a stupid mistake and jeopardize everything.


Despite his late night, Vincent was up at his usual time.  He had realized, when he had awoken and heard the faster heart rate in his head, that there was one key element that he had failed to mention to Father.  He hurried his dressing and sought out his parent in the hospital chamber.

“Ah, Vincent, good morning.”  Father and Mary were sorting through the inventory of medical supplies.  “We are looking through everything to be sure we have all we need for Catherine.  Peter sent a note this morning.  He wants to transfer her as soon as he can; perhaps later this evening.”

“She looked much better last night, but she seemed confused about where she was.  My presence seemed to comfort her.”

“Then we should get her here quickly.”  Father turned to Mary.  “Do you think we have enough IV tubing?  I'm not sure if she'll still need fluids or not, but she will likely need the antibiotics for several more days.”

“Father,” Vincent interrupted.  “I must speak to you.”  He looked at Mary.

“Oh,” she said.  “I'll just go check the other cupboard and see.”  She walked off to the other side of the hospital chamber.

“What is it, Vincent?”

“Father, when I found Catherine the other night, right before she collapsed, she told me something rather amazing.  I've been thinking on it and I believe I've realized why I was able to find her.”

“Tell me.”

“The child that Catherine delivered that night is my child.”


“A son.  She said he is beautiful.”

“Where is he?”

“He was taken, by the man that held Catherine all this time.”

Father sat down stiffly.  “How did you find Catherine, Vincent?”

Vincent began to pace.  “I thought our Bond had returned.  I felt something and it drew me to her, to that rooftop.  But when I arrived, the helicopter was leaving.  I thought it was taking her from me again, but then I turned and saw her.  I've been thinking on this Father.  I think what I've been feeling is our son.”

“Do you sense him all the time?”

“If I concentrate on it.  But, sometimes the feeling increases; it comes in waves and then is quiet again.  However, it is getting stronger, as he is getting stronger.”

“Do you think you could find him again?”

“It was so strong that night, the night he was born.”

“The trauma of birth.”

“Yes, it hasn't felt that strong since.”

“Well, in a way, that is a good thing.  He is well and safe, despite being cared for a by a madman.”

“I'm torn, Father.  I still have no sense of Catherine.  I know where she is and if there is any change, Peter will contact us immediately, but I do not feel at ease unless I am near her.  And then there is the child, my sense of him is pulling me.”


“I am not sure and so I remain here.”

Father reached up and patted Vincent's arm.  “I think we should get Catherine settled here Below.  When she is here, where you can be sure she is safe, and healthy, then you can go find your son.”

“But, Father,” Vincent protested.  “He is out there, alone, without his parents.”

“Vincent, if he were ill or injured or in immediate danger, you would know.  This man kept Catherine because he wanted the baby.  He meant to kill her after she delivered.  He will keep your son safe, at least for now.”


Next Section