Fire Meet Gasoline: Hayden & Finn
they're a perfect match, somehow (title from Sia)
I always knew it was dangerous to fall in love. Especially with him. It's so weird because it's so unexpected. I loved Nikolas—in a demented kind of way—but I wasn't in love with him. Hamilton Finn is completely…different. Different from me, from anyone I've ever met.
He should hate me, almost did when he learned how my family aided in the death of his wife. The love of his life.
That's another reason why I know I'll only get hurt in the end. He's been very honest about his love and devotion for his late wife, about how he's dedicated his life—quite literally—to honoring her.
He's quirky. I'm not sure what all made me adore him in the first place. But it happened months ago. Way before I got arrested, right after our first kiss (story of my life). Perhaps it was when I learned about Roxy. His beloved bearded dragon was such a random and unexpected fact about him, and it made me feel less alone in the world to find someone whose closest companion was the same as the one I had as a child. It shouldn't have connected us; it was an interesting topic of conversation at best. But I adored him then.
He finally gave into our simmering chemistry, and we were explosive. Or at least, we had the potential for it. Then Tracy interrupted and everything sort of went to shit. Breaking off our burgeoning relationship—and our friendship—was difficult, but it still wasn't the wake-up call I'd hoped for myself. I still wanted him.
And then I got sick. He took me skating. I told him I loved him. He didn't say it back. He cured me. Except, not really. I was stable. He thinks I don't know that he's using most of the only medication we have on me. But Tracy has a big mouth.
We're both stable, but we're both dying. Funnily enough, it's Elizabeth—the sister I never wanted—who spurs me into action. I was being leaving the hospital.
"What are you going to do now?" she asked, and I had to stop a smart-ass comment from tumbling out. (We're better, but it's hard not to still be annoyed by her sometimes.)
"Go home—to the Quartermaines'—and rest, come to work tomorrow."
"I mean, what are you going to do? You just escaped death. You should, I don't know, celebrate."
She's wrong, I haven't escaped death yet. Just put it off for a few more weeks. But she's right. This last time was close enough, and I don't want to feel like I'll regret what I did or didn't do when the time comes.
I should have thanked her, told her that I was sorry for everything that happened between us and that I wanted to be a better sister to her.
"Yeah, maybe. See ya."
(Maybe I'll tell her on my next deathbed.)
Finn's surprised to see me outside his hotel room, holding onto the doorframe and barring my entrance.
"What are you doing here? You were supposed to go straight home. Someone was supposed to drive you there. And you should be in a wheelchair."
He looks stricken, his mouth open and brows raised.
"Sorry," I say. I didn't mean to sound so harsh, but he started taking to me like I couldn't handle myself and it pissed me off. "But you lied to me. I didn't think we did that to each other. Anymore."
"What are you—"
I duck under his arm and go into the room. Papers are scattered everywhere, and I imagine there is a similar mess in "his" lab at the hospital. Roxy is perched calmly as ever in her tank on the desk.
"Am I still sick, or not?" I demand.
He looks so guilty, his whole body sags. I kind of feel bad, because I know his intentions were not to hurt me.
"That's what I thought. Why didn't you just tell me? Did you think I would be mad at you?"
He sighs heavily. "You were doing so much better, and you were so happy…I didn't want to take that away from you."
"And how were you going to explain the needle you would have had to keep jamming in my arm? A precaution?"
"How long was I supposed to believe that? Until it ran out and one of us died? Because there isn't enough, is there?"
"Have you been taking your doses?"
He doesn't answer, but I can tell that he hasn't been taking enough; his skin's a bit paler, and there's a sheen that comes with fevered sweating. He probably hasn't been sleeping or eating much either, focusing on his work instead.
"Hamilton," I groan, frustrated. His eyes snap at me. I never call him that, and I wonder if that's what his wife called him.
"I know. I just needed to get that out first. That's not even why I came here."
"You didn't come here to eviscerate me? Then why?"
I laugh and give him a onceover.
"Go take a shower and I'll make us something to eat."
"There's no food here."
"Good, because I don't cook. I'll order room service while you…freshen up."
He pulled at the wrinkled button-down he was wearing. "That bad, huh?"
"I've seen worse. But yeah, it's pretty bad."
His face flushes with embarrassment and I smile at him again. He's relieved at that, and scurries away to get cleaned up.
Ten minutes later, room service comes by with pizza and wine. I don't usually allow myself the pleasure, but I'm currently terminal so I'll have all the bread and cheese I can stuff in my face.
"What'd you get?" Finn asked from the doorway as I pick up the wine bottle. He's using one towel to dry his hair and another is tied around his waist. I look at his innocent smile, then at the wine; his lean torso, the pizza; his sizable muscled arms—fuck, how did I not know he had tattoos?—and the couch. I will be indulging in many pleasures tonight.
"This is why?"
"Hamilton—" I'm frustrated again because, how can he not get it already? "This," I gesture wildly between us. "You. I want it. You. Not it. I mean, I do want it."
"What do you want?"
Resist the urge to throw things.
"Look, here's the thing. So far, you're dying. I'm dying. But we're not dead yet. And I don't want to go out wishing we weren't so afraid to…to try. I think you already know that I love you."
His eyes go big and he drops the towel he was holding. The one hiding his lower half stubbornly stays in place.
"I know, I was in and out of delirium when I said it before. But I meant it then, and I mean it now. Maybe you don't feel exactly the same. But you feel something. You've just been fighting it because you were afraid that I would lose you. Well now we're on the same playing field, so that excuse won't fly anymore."
He doesn't say anything, and I think maybe it was telling him that I love him again that threw him off. And maybe I said all of that a bit aggressively while waving around a bottle of wine and my tone was kind of accusatory for some reason. Maybe I should dial it back some.
I lower my arm. "So, you know. If you want, I'm right here. I'm right here." Overcorrection: I sound insecure and desperate.
"Yeah, you're hard to miss."
"Don't laugh at me right now. I'm being very serious."
"I could tell. That was some speech."
I shrug. I already forgot most of what I said.
"It's odd," he says. "We're fundamentally different, you and I. Yet, you became one of the best friends I ever had."
If he gives me that "just friends" bullshit again I'm going to pull out both of our hair. He must see me shifting back into fight mode because he lifts his hands to placate me.
"When I knew I was attracted to you, I thought it was just that. Anyone with most senses can tell that you're beautiful."
He steps forward slowly, closing the distance between us. "The way you look, the way you smell." His hand traces the coat covering my shoulder, up my bare neck, and holds my jaw. "The way you feel. The way you…" He swallows hard as he looks at my lips and then closes his eyes. "…taste."
It's very possible for the body to forget how to breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
Finn's head turns away and he looks at some spot on the wall. "When you got sick, I hated myself. I thought, I'm going to lose someone else I love and it's my own fault. I got desperate; I broke rules, even laws, allegedly, to finish the serum. To make you better. And myself, honestly. I thought, I'd cure you and then myself, and we'd be together, happy and healthy. But your blood tests came back and the virus was still detectable. And I hated myself again, and I knew you'd hate me. When you confronted me tonight, I was prepared to lose you. And I thought about all the chances, all the time I wasted.
"You scare me, Hayden. When I came to town, you were the last thing I expected. But you were a blaze, and I couldn't resist. I don't want to. Not anymore."
He wants me too, not that I didn't know that. But now I know.
"You love me."
"I love you?"
"Yes. You, Hamilton Finn, love me. You said it. You meant it. It's a done deal."
He frowned at me. "I didn't say—"
"You did. But it's everything else you said that convinces me that you're in love with me. Don't worry, you can process that news later. Right now, we kiss."
"I don't know why you keep questioning me. Like I said: it's a done deal."
"Okay," he agreed. He holds me by the waist and my hands greedily explore his chest and abs.
"About that kiss…"
Our lips almost touch when he pulls away.
"Actually," he says, looking away. He's nervous or embarrassed to say what's on his mind, but I wait patiently. "Can you…call me Hamilton? I always hated it. My whole life, even when I was a kid, I always told people to call me Finn. No one ever called me Hamilton. But, I like how you say it. I like how you say my name."
Suddenly I don't hate my own name anymore. "Will…will you call me Rachel?"
He wasn't expecting that either, but he recovers with a smile. "Yes, Rachel."
It makes me want to cry because no one has called me that without contempt, let alone with love, in a very long time.
I sigh and lean into him. "Hamilton."