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Just a Girl with an Umbrella
It's raining when Thirteen finally leaves the hospital. It seems fitting that the sky should be raging when her world is crashing down. She's rather glad she has forgotten her umbrella. She likes the way hard cold rain hits her skin, and reminds her that she is alive- for now. She doesn't feel like driving home, all that awaits her there is dirty dishes and yesterday's paper. She wants to walk for a while and lose herself in the rain.
Thirteen heads in the direction of the nearest park. She's focused on the sound of the rain, how it intensifies and softens. She notices how the city looks different bathed in the mist and the grey. The rain stings her skin, and she is aware of every tingle and goose bump. She makes herself notice every sense, like she's trying to make sure she'll remember this if it's her last moment. Analytically, she knows Huntington's will take many years to destroy her ability to talk, swallow, and walk, and then eventually kill her. But it's hard to be logical when it feels like the sky is falling.
Thirteen feels like she's dying already, each breath bringing her closer to lying in that bed like Amber. Except that when she's the one in that bed, she won't be able to say goodbye to her non-existent lover. This disease will take away her humanity, her soul, long before it kills her.
Thirteen feels waves of anger joining in her fear and sorrow. She's angry that human beings can be created only to be destroyed that they can create lives were they're loved and needed, only to be torn away and left with nothing but a painful memory. That even the best memories are marred by the painful sting of loss and the witnessing of human suffering.
It's then, while Thirteen is immersed in her darkest thoughts that Cameron finds her. Cameron had interrogated House after noticing that Thirteen looked as though she was about to break as she left the hospital. As soon as House told her what he'd done, Cameron grabbed an umbrella and ran to go find Thirteen. She'd been searching for 20 minutes before she found her in the park.
Cameron doesn't know the right words to comfort Thirteen, to calm her. She certainly never knew the right words for her late husband. Maybe there really aren't any right words. Words can't cure, or numb the pain. All you do is be there, and hope that's enough.
Cameron doesn't announce her presence to Thirteen; she simply covers Thirteen with her umbrella.
It's the loss of the rhythm of the rain on her skin that pulls Thirteen out of her thoughts. Thirteen turns, shocked to see Cameron next to her holding the umbrella. Cameron's eyes study Thirteen, and Thirteen can't stand the sympathy she finds there.
"I'm dying," She states, her voice hard, "Huntington's."
"I know," Cameron replies, her voice apologetic and honest.
"Figures," Thirteen says with a bitter chuckle. "House loves to gossip."
"He didn't. I made him tell me," Cameron replies earnestly. "I cared," she admits, her eyes softly looking into Thirteen's.
"You cared?" Thirteen doesn't attempt to hide her contempt. "I don't need you to play the hero... the guardian angel... Besides, I can't be saved."
Cameron doesn't let anyone walk all over her, even if they have Huntington's. "So, you don't want my support- fine. What's your great plan, Thirteen? Wallow in self-pity? Drink yourself to death? Because after all, nothing matters now, you're dying. You might as well die sooner " Cameron mocks Thirteen angrily.
"Ya, sure. Why not?" Thirteen replies, her voice dark and daring. "Look, I know dying, I've seen it before. I've seen it destroy everyone around them. I'd rather this time, it just destroyed me," Thirteen's voice is tough, but her pain is close to the surface.
"It doesn't work like that Thirteen, we touch almost every other life we come in contract with. But that can be one of the best parts of life. I know death too. I lost my husband. I was only 21. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't heart breaking, terrifying I lost the person I loved most in the world. But I don't regret loving him, marrying him. That's what love is. Loving something that's flawed, mortal, vulnerable, breakable We are all dying. That's what it means to be alive, to live and die. But it's the living that matters most." Cameron's eyes met Thirteen's, and Cameron dares her to deny what she's said.
Thirteen just looks back, tears welling in her eyes. When a tear slips down her check, Cameron wipes it away. Then Cameron kisses her.
The kiss isn't demanding or even passionate. It's timid and soft. It's comforting. It's meant to say, I'm here, I love you. It's meant to say I'll risk my heart being broken terribly, because I have no choice but to love you. It's meant to say the fact that you're dying won't scare me away.
Thirteen kisses her back, answering her. I'll live in this moment; I'll love, for it's all we have.
The umbrella falls to the ground, forgotten. The rain showers them, reminding them they're alive.
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