I’m Not Afraid
(An Episode Expansion of Orphans)

Tina Cramer


Chapter I - Early Afternoon in Central Park

A week or so has passed since Catherine has returned from the tunnels grieving for her father's death. Catherine finds the tree she climbed as a child with her father.

Catherine looked up to the bright afternoon sun as she sat quietly amongst that tall tree thinking of her father.

"I'm not afraid, Daddy.  I'm not afraid."

Catherine sat there for a long time in quiet reflection about the events that had so significantly changed her life in the last few days. She had come to terms with her father's death. The last few days spent in the tunnels with Vincent had allowed her the time she needed to grieve and to heal her soul that had been battered by that anguish.

She had needed that time to heal and it had brought she and Vincent closer than they had ever been before. Yet there was still so much that had been left unsaid and unresolved between them.

As Catherine had left the tunnel world to return Above, she walked back into his embrace and kissed him. It was a gentle kiss. A kiss of grateful thanks for all that they had shared together in this moment of crisis in her life and for his being there for her when she needed him. And yet she had wanted it to be so much more.

Vincent had stood by her in her time of grief. She knew what this had cost him...to be this close to her and to be there for her no matter what the emotional costs might be for him. He had put all his feelings aside to concentrate on allievating her pain and her grief.

She was now filled with an inner peace and contentment.

And a new resolve. She and Vincent would have their happy life together. She was sure of it. Even if she had to build it one brick at a time...piece by careful piece.

Catherine stayed in that tree until it was almost dusk in the park. Then carefully climbed down. She jumped down from the last branch and said, looking up to the sky, "Goodnight, Daddy. I love you."
 

Chapter II - Catherine's Apartment later that evening

Catherine unlocked the door to her apartment. As she was going through her mail that had piled up over the last several days, she heard a faint tap on the windowpane of her balcony. It was Vincent.

Catherine ran to the French doors leading out onto her balcony. Hurriedly, she opened them and ran into his arms.

She buried her head against his chest breathing in his scent, his warmth, his love.

"Oh, Vincent, I'm so glad to see you." Catherine cried as tears began streaming down her face bringing with it the emotions of the last few days.

"Sssh, Catherine." He hugged her fiercely as he positioned her head against his broad shoulders. They stayed that way for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the crying stopped.

Slowly, Vincent lifted Catherine's face up to meet his gaze.

In that moment, Catherine saw all the love and concern hidden within his blue depths. She held onto him even more tightly.

"Vincent, we need to talk. Or at least I need to. There is so much I need to say to you right now and if I don't express these feelings now, I'll never be able to get them all out.

" But Catherine, you don't...." But Catherine would not be denied. She silenced his protest by putting her fingers to his lips.

"Please Vincent. Hear me out."

"I've had time to sort out my feelings over the last few days since I returned from the tunnels. I need you to know how much that time with you meant to me. I've never needed you more than I did these last few days. I don't know how I would have survived without your love, your care and your compassion. I needed you to be there for me and you were."

"Catherine..."

"Vincent, please…let me finish."

"I know how difficult it was for you having me be that close and I want you to know how much I respect you for giving me the space I needed and not letting those feelings of grief carry us away. I needed you to be strong for both of us."

"But I am feeling stronger now and I am seeing things more clearly now than I ever have in my entire life. I need you to know that I still believe in the possibilities we discussed at the Chamber of the Falls. I need you to know that those thoughts and feelings I expressed to you are more than just wishes and dreams. I want to make them come true, Vincent. I want us to have our happy life together."

"Help me make them come true, Vincent, please."

And then Catherine proceeded to put her arms around his neck and gently began to kiss him. The kiss started slowly at first and then began to build in intensity. Catherine poured all her heart and soul into this kiss, intent on showing Vincent that their tender kiss at the threshold a few days before was no fluke.

And then it happened. Vincent tightened his grip upon her and returned her kiss with one of his own. Catherine was lost. Finally, she was home. Vincent's kiss was warm and tender. It spoke of all the unbridled passion and desire he had kept bottled up for so long. That he should finally allow her to see his passion for her humbled Catherine.

"Oh Vincent." Catherine cried out through the tears that now began again in earnest. "I've waited so long for this moment. Somehow I've always known it would be like this."

"But how could you know, Catherine?"

"Because I know you, Vincent. I know who you are. I know what's in your heart." moving her hand against his heart.

"And in your soul."

"I love you, Catherine." "I've always loved you."

"Oh, Vincent. I've waited so long for you to say those words. You are the other half of my soul, Vincent. I love you."

For long, peaceful moments, they sat quietly on Catherine's balcony just holding one another and gazing up into the clear, crisp night.

And then sealed their destiny with a kiss.