DISCLAIMER: House and its characters are the property of FOX. No
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Up to Lucky Thirteen (E5E5)
Infinite Shades of Grey
Cameron woke up one day to find her world was grey. It wasn't that she was depressed or color-blind. In fact, the reason wasn't medical at all.
She had awoken suddenly aware of the space between black and white, of the infinite shades of grey. Before, she had lived with moral certainty. Now she found herself trapped in the space between wrong and right, truth and lies, love and indifference.
Her sexuality was always such a dark grey, she had assumed it was black. The sunlight had revealed a fading dark gray turning into a watery pink-grey. The girl she was falling for was the obvious cause, but she soon remembered the girls from her childhood, long forgotten in her quest for a simple black and white world.
A steel blue grey cuts like a knife, thoughts of desire battling with loyalty, duty and morality. He's a murky grey she fell out of love with. Letting go is an impossible light grey, the end tangled in her hands.
The girl's eyes are dark ocean grey, full of unshed tears she longs to wipe away.
There's a grey the color of hospital sheets, a white darkened by faded stains. That's the grey of falling for not one, but two dying lovers. The fear that she's damaged rising steadily.
Rain pours over the hospital ambulance bay. Thirteen is standing where the smokers hang out, though she's never smoked a day in her life. She just stands there, scouring the dull grey sky.
Without her easy black and white world, Cameron's attraction to Thirteen spins out of control. Despite every warning bell in her head, she walks through the doors towards Thirteen. She stands inches away from Thirteen, acutely aware of the way the rain and Thirteen's perfume mix in the air. Thirteen either doesn't notice her, or doesn't care. For some reason, Cameron decides that this silence is the perfect time to admit her secrets.
"You're beautiful," Cameron whispers into the rush of heavy rain. Thirteen's head moves slightly, still facing away. "I wish I didn't notice that. I wish I didn't know by heart the sound of your laugh, or the way your eyebrows raise when you're being sarcastic. I wish I didn't go to sleep thinking about the moments we'd spent together. Before you, I lived in a perfectly constructed world of denial. I don't think I'll ever get that back, regardless of whether you like me or not," Cameron continues, helpless to stop her confession.
Thirteen turns, her body brushing against Cameron. Her lips are close to Cameron's ear as she whispers, "I think you're cute, but I'm dying, and you have a boyfriend," her hot breath sending shivers down Cameron's spine. Before Cameron can reply, Thirteen is out the door.
At the end of her shift, Thirteen is surprised to find a note stuck to her locker.
You and me, coffee tonight? Meet me after work at the place across from the hospital. You know no one here makes a decent cup.
Thirteen opens her umbrella and makes her way across the street. She spots Cameron in the window, a cup of coffee in her hand, and a soft smile upon her lips. Thirteen orders herself a coffee, and makes her way to Cameron.
For the first half hour, they can only manage the awkward small talk of patients, House, and Foreman's attempts at coffee. It's not until the caffeine has taken affect, and they've both begun to relax that Cameron has the courage to ask, "Do you consider yourself bisexual?" Before Thirteen can respond, Cameron flushes, and hurries to explain herself. "I mean there was that patient Spencer... is that too personal? I'm sorry..." Cameron trails off, covering her face with her hand.
Thirteen smiles softly. "It's fine Cameron. Yes, I am bisexual. I'm surprised House didn't tell you," she replies.
"Well, he's made a couple of comments... He asked if I thought you were hot," Cameron says with a laugh.
It's Thirteen's turn to blush.
"How did you know you were bisexual?" Cameron asks curiously.
Thirteen pauses, thinking. "There was this new girl my sophomore year of high school. I thought she was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen. It took me a while, but I finally realized I was attracted to her in the same way I'd been attracted to my ex-boyfriends," Thirteen tells Cameron, the girl still vivid in her mind.
"Did you tell her you liked her?" Cameron probes, captivated by Thirteen's tale.
"I did. She laughed and kissed me," Thirteen replies with a grin. "We were inseparable for the next few months. She was the only one who could make me forget everything that was going on at home," she continues with a sad smile.
She pauses for a moment, remembering the past. "One day her father found out. He was furious, and she couldn't handle it. She told me that she was straight, that she'd been mistaken to think she was in love with me. She started dating the most popular boy in our grade, and refused to even speak to me."
"That's horrible," Cameron replies sympathetically. "...Thirteen? Is that where the 'no repeat performances' thing comes from?" she asks after a moment.
Thirteen sips her coffee, ignoring Cameron's last question. Cameron soon realizes she isn't going to get an answer, and asks a new question. "Did you come out to your parents?"
"Coming out wasn't really an issue. When your wife is dying, the fact that your daughter's bisexual doesn't really seem that important. I guess it was kind of a mixed blessing," Thirteen replies with a forced smile.
Cameron simply looks back at her with sad eyes. They both spend a few minutes staring into their coffee.
Finally, Cameron breaks the silence, "Do you ever regret coming out? Regret acting on that part of you that likes women, when you could just stick to men?"
Thirteen looks up at Cameron curiously. "No, I don't," she replies gently. "You can't choose who you fall for, only whether you allow yourself that chance at happiness. Hiding that part of yourself is far worse than anything society can throw at you. If you hide, you let them take the only thing that really counts- your dignity," she responds passionately.
Cameron finds herself gazing into Thirteen's eyes again, unable to look away.
"What if I think you're worth the risk for me?" Cameron asks.
"I don't know," Thirteen responds honestly.
There's really nothing more they can say after that, so they gather their bags and leave the coffee shop. They walk together along the dark street, unwilling to ruin the moment with talk of driving home. Cameron hesitantly moves her hand next to Thirteen's, and Thirteen surprises her by taking it.
There's a delicate kiss in the dark before they part, in the space between wrong and right.
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