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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The foot of the gurney hit the center of the two doors at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital with a disruptive thud, shocking Thirteen back into consciousness for a short moment. She struggled to open her eyes long enough to see a calm paramedic aggressively holding her arm above her head and watching as blood continued to gush out in spurts from the soiled bandages around her wrist. Her shoulders twitched and the grip around her wrist increased as muffled voices around her yelled at scurrying nurses preparing pints of blood and saline. On call physicians rushed to her side, taking over and pushing her down the hall and into an intake room. Just when a fresh needle pierced her skin, Thirteen's eyes rolled back into her head and she slipped back into unconsciousness, a place where she almost hoped she would stay.
Hours later, Thirteen was sedated enough to not be able to open her eyes or feel any pain, but when the meds wore off a bit more, she distinctly felt someone brushing her hair. Every soft pass of the bristles was followed by a gentle hand smoothing her hair down her shoulders and then slowly repeating the action over and over again. The touch, though strangely comforting, wasn't familiar, but she was still too sedated to pull away or see who it was.
A knock at the door took the warmth away as Dr. Cameron stood to meet with whoever was waiting for her in the doorway.
"I'm sorry to bother you," the woman's voice said, "but I need you to sign off on this, please."
A quick flip through pages and a scribbled girly signature later, the door closed and they were alone again. Cameron walked back over to Thirteen to check on her sedatives, reducing them some more, and then sat in a chair beside her bed to wait. Concern wore heavy on the doctor's face, her lips chapped and broken from nervously chewing on them, and her usually less obvious signs of age betraying her due to a lack of sleep and day-old make up.
Thirteen shifted in bed, squinting at the lights beaming down upon her. Her uninjured arm jerked suddenly and Cameron instinctively grabbed it, attempting to calm her even though it wasn't necessary. Thirteen hadn't jerked from the shock of waking up in a hospital after a failed suicide attempt; her Huntington's was active. It made sense. It had been at least 8 years since Thirteen left the hospital, but Cameron still didn't want to believe that she had actually tried to off herself at the onset of her more serious symptoms.
"Dr. Hadley?" Thirteen didn't respond. She just continued to stare at the fluorescent lights and white suspended ceiling above her. "Dr. Hadley?" Cameron said again and this time, Thirteen's bright, teal colored eyes met with her own. "Hey," she paused, licking her lips and forcing a smile as she stood up, hovering above her patient and former colleague. "You're in the hospital, but you're okay." It felt remedial to say something like that to a reputable doctor, but she wasn't sure what else she could say.
Thirteen snapped her hand back from Cameron. "I'm sssorry," she apologized, curling her hand up to hold it protectively against her chest. "I I have Hunting" she tried to explain though still heavily medicated and exhausted from the loss of blood.
Cameron brushed back Thirteen's hair that had fallen over her face again. "I know," she replied in earnest. "You should rest."
Thirteen choked back tears and bit on her lower lip, rocking ever so slightly in the bed. She intensely studied the doctor's face, recognizing it without being able to put a name to it, but searching all the same for something that would help remind her of who she was.
"What's wrong?" Cameron asked, cocking her head to the side and then leaning over her to check the bandaging on her other arm as well as to ensure that Thirteen wasn't in any pain.
"I can't " she paused, thinking, "remember your name," she admitted shamefully. "We worked together. Here, but " she coughed and as she did so, her shoulder jerked again, thrusting the hand on her chest to snap out towards Cameron.
Without even batting an eye, Cameron eased her with a smile and gently squeezed Thirteen's shoulder. "It's okay. It was a long time ago and you're still pretty drugged."
"It's not the sedatives," Remy said, looking down in embarrassment and wishing that she was here due to a psychotic break rather than some stupid, humiliating accident. At least then, she'd be tied down and unable to move.
Cameron's heart sank. She sat down beside Thirteen on the bed and drew her chin up to look at her. "Cameron," she reintroduced herself with a smile.
"Cameron," Remy whispered, taking a deep breath while closing her eyes as if to make a mental note of it, even if she knew it probably wouldn't stick. "Wait. I remember you now," she said, opening her eyes again, the slightest spark coming to light. She shifted uncomfortably in the bed in an effort to try and hide the fact that she couldn't stop her shoulders and feet from intermittently twitching against her will. "The hot blonde in ER," she recalled with smile even though it was in vain.
"Your memory seems to be just fine," Cameron teased, taking the compliment with finesse. "You're just a little fuzzy on details, that's all. Given how long it's been, that's a really good sign, Dr. Hadley."
Remy laughed, the light fading from her eyes as quickly as it came. "There's no such thing as a good sign anymore." She paused, looking at the pitcher of water beside her bed and wondering if she could sit up long enough to get it, wondering if she could hold onto the glass long enough to put it up to her lips for a drink without accidentally throwing it across the room. Or worse, at Cameron. Attempting to sit up, though hating herself the second she did as her symptoms were always more obvious when she wasn't lying down, she shifted towards the pitcher. "And call me Remy. I'm not a doctor anymore."
Cameron sighed at Thirteen's hopelessness. She'd never taken the time to get to know Thirteen when she was a Fellow working for House all those years ago. She was always too wrapped up in her own drama and not so secretly resenting Thirteen for no other reason other than the fact that House had replaced her with the even more gorgeous Dr. Hadley. But now, seeing Thirteen on the cusp of what was to come, she wished she'd taken the time for her when she'd had the chance, when there was still a false hope to cling to. Maybe if Thirteen hadn't felt so alone for so long she wouldn't have done this to herself.
Seeing no harm in making up for lost time, Cameron stood up and rolled the bedside table over Remy's hospital bed so that she could reach the water without hurting herself. "You will always be a doctor, Remy."
Thirteen scoffed and attempted to roll her eyes at her, though her bobbling around spoke for itself. "I can do it myself," she snapped when Cameron picked up the pitcher for her.
Stepping back, Cameron sat down and let Thirteen struggle to pick up the pitcher herself, watching it shake dangerously in her hands but still managing to tip it over enough to pour a slow stream of water into a cup before setting it back down onto the tray. Once the water had been poured, Thirteen sighed heavily and took a break, her arm yanking back up towards her chest as she laid down onto the bed. Closing her eyes, Thirteen licked her lips; still thirsty but too strong willed to ask Cameron for help.
When she opened her eyes again, it appeared that she wouldn't have a choice in the matter. Cameron was sitting beside her on the bed and was draping Thirteen's right arm around her shoulders in order to help her to sit up again. Holding the cup of water in her hand, Cameron glanced over at her, catching her impossibly sad eyes, and pleaded with her to just take a drink. Leaning entirely against Cameron, Thirteen lifted her shaking, bandaged arm and after a couple of attempts, clasped Cameron's hand around the cup and allowed her to guide it up to her lips for a drink. When her body jolted, Cameron held onto her tighter, giving her a minute before offering her the water again. Nodding and looking away when she'd had enough, Cameron carefully guided Thirteen back down onto the mattress and pushed the tray away.
"Please don't tell anyone I'm hhhere," Remy begged, hiding the obvious tears that were welling up in her eyes by looking down and away from Cameron.
"Whatever you want, Remy," she said pulling her chair up to the side of the bed and taking Thirteen's hand again. "No one to really tell anyway," she shrugged, "Everyone but Chase and I are gone."
"You're still with that idiot?" Remy asked, looking back to Cameron.
"You don't remember my name, but you remember what I look like and who I was dating 8 years ago? Something you're not telling me, Dr. Hadley?" She asked, amused.
"I I can't "
"It was a rhetorical question," she said, smiling and petting Thirteen's hand. "But no. I'm not with Chase anymore. We divorced a few years ago actually. I swore I'd never marry him," she laughed at herself quietly, "and now I know why," she said looking down at their hands and shaking her head.
"Yeah well, I never figured Hhhouse could find work at another hospital," she slurred.
"He didn't," Cameron replied, taking a deep breath and letting it out all at once. "He died, Remy. We tried to find you. You know, in case you wanted to "
"Yeah, I get it," she said, suddenly feeling guilty about disappearing so successfully. House was an ass, but even with her fading memory, she could remember almost every detail about him and all that he had done for her in his own backasswards and insensitive kind of way. She should have been there. She was still alive after all. "How?" She asked.
"Oh, you know House. He was doing some stupid experiment on himself in order to save a patient. It worked, but not for him." She shrugged, rolling her eyes at Thirteen. "Idiot," she said under her breath even though everyone knew, Thirteen included, that it was bound to happen one day. He was, in fact, not God.
"Who took over diagnnnostics then? Ffforeman?" Remy asked, bitter. Even though she was blurry about her past, talking about it was kind of helpful even if the memories weren't exactly the ones she cared to remember.
Cameron's smile turned bittersweet and she lowered her eyes to Thirteen's hand that was subconsciously fighting to get away from her grip. "No. Foreman finally got a job somewhere else, Cuddy retired, and Wilson ? He just left." Cameron shifted uncomfortably in her chair and cleared her throat before answering Thirteen. "I'm the head of diagnostics now. No one else really wanted it," she shrugged.
Remy smiled, unable to feel anything other than resentment at the moment, but trying to muster up some sort of sincerity anyway. "Well good for you I guess." It fell flat, as predicted.
Silence befell the room, broken only by Thirteen's random kicking or jerking in bed. She knew letting otherwise healthy patients die wasn't standard procedure, but God, why didn't Cameron just let her die when they brought her in?
"Remy, I'm sorry, but I have to ask," Cameron said with a heavy sigh, standing up and looking down at her.
"Don't apologize to me," she interrupted, shifting in bed and turning her back on Cameron. Now that she'd established some sort of fake bond with her, Cameron was going to put on her doctor coat now and try and be serious with her. Soon, Thirteen would have a lifetime supply of hugs and sympathy and grape lollipops, none of which she wanted. Least of all from Cameron. "I'm ssso sick of hearing those words." She looked down at her wrist wrapped in bandaging, trying to finger the soft white gauze and tight medical tape but instead she accidentally smacked her wrist repeatedly until Cameron gently drew her hand away from the bandage.
"Remy, the paramedics found you on the floor of your kitchen with a 5 inch carving knife partially jammed into your wrist. Was this an accident, or did you " she couldn't even imagine Thirteen doing this, but the signs were pretty obvious so she had to ask, "did you try to kill yourself?"
"Does it mmmatter?" She slurred, no longer wanting to talk. It was exhausting, embarrassing, and incredibly frustrating that she couldn't form normal, complete sentences anymore without stumbling over her words.
Cameron sat down onto the bed beside her again. "You know it does."
Thirteen was quiet for a minute, unable or afraid to answer. Cameron was not going to speculate or force her to talk so instead, she gently combed her fingertips through Thirteen's hair, hoping that in time she would feel safe enough to tell her the truth.
"I need to rest," Remy said finally, shrugging away from Cameron's touch.
Cameron resisted getting up right away, not wanting to leave Thirteen, but understanding that she wanted to be alone. She walked back over to her IV drip and increased her sedatives slightly in the hopes that it would help her to sleep. She walked over to the door to leave, the heels her shoes clicking loudly in contrast of the otherwise silent room.
"Thank you," Remy said, accidentally kicking the sheets off of herself. A shaky arm reached out to the sheet, fighting for a moment to grab it until she could violently pull it halfway up again. "For brushhhing my hair."
Cameron walked back over to Thirteen and ran the back of her hand along her cheek that was now wet from tears. Without thinking, Cameron slid her hand onto Thirteen's back and leaned over to kiss her forehead. Pulling away only when she felt her cell phone suddenly go off, Cameron returned to lay her forehead against Thirteen's for a prolonged moment, feeling Thirteen's quivering hand carefully touch and pet her face before jerking away and accidentally punching herself in the stomach.
"Shhh," she soothed when Thirteen started to cry, staying close and taking the other doctor's hand into her own and squeezing it. "I'm not going to let you go through this alone anymore, Remy," she said, kissing her cheek twice before reluctantly sitting up. "I'll be right back," she whispered, fingering her soft brown hair again and then gradually running her hand down the length of Thirteen's trembling and helpless body as she walked back towards the door. "Get some rest," she said, dimming the lights, shutting the blinds, and closing the door behind her.
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