Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. Though my best friend does know Rachel Nichols family, so that's pretty close. The title and inspiration comes from the song "Rinse" by Vanessa Carlton.
A/N: Another angst-y piece; I'm in that mood again. Set after "The Loneliest Number."
She unwrapped the bandage slowly, carefully, ignoring the doctor's words with every twist. The gauze was white aside from a little crimson stain blossoming out from the middle, staining the sterile appearance; the red soaking into the white reminded her of herself, a tainted child, a stained woman and she started unwrapping faster. She didn't want to be reminded of herself, not tonight.
The dresser fell from her wrist slowly, fluttering to the ground and pooling at her bare feet. She studied it for a moment, noting how the red seemed to have vanished in the folds of the white. She wished that she could hide her stain as easily but she could not and so she kicked the bandage aside. When it landed on the floor once again, the red was visible.
With the bandage no longer hiding the wound she studied it carefully, as though looking for something then she had never seen before. But all there was to look at had already be seen; another scar, a fresh one, a gash not as deep as her previous ones but just as painful. But she enjoyed this pain a little bit more then she had enjoyed the hurt of her earlier scars; this wound came from doing something good, from trying to save someone innocent and destroy someone guilty. This was a scar she could live with. This was a scar that wouldn't make her flinch to look at.
It would be nice, she reasoned, to be able to look at a part of hurt that didn't make her wince. Every time she looked in the mirror, she felt the familiar pang of self-hatred and pity rising in her mind. When she looked at her reflection, Rebecca Locke saw only Becky George, a frightened child who had so many scars and fought so hard to hide them. Rebecca Locke existed only for those around her, she was solely a character that pranced for other people's benefit. Unfortunately, she had not earned the benefit of Rebecca Locke.
For a moment, the woman who tried so desperately to be Rebecca Locke stared at the reflection that was so painfully Becky George. She did not like what she saw, she never did. She turned away, it was better that way and focused her attention on what was in front of her. A shower, a device created to cleanse, to rid people of the dirt and filth that collected over the day, to make them fresh and clean again. She needed so very much to be clean again.
Turning on the shower, Rebecca allowed her hand, ignoring the pain that burned in her wrist for she had chosen not to take the pills prescribed by the surgeon on call, to linger beneath the chilly water that ran from the shower head. The water ran across her palm and down her wrist, stinging the wound, washing over it. Rinsing it. She withdrew her hand; it was useless to clean that part of her, it wasn't dirty.
As she waited for the water to heat up and the bathroom to fill with steam, Rebecca slowly peeled off her clothes, wishing that it was as easy as that to rid herself of the part of her that she so badly wanted to shed. Her tee-shirt dropped and she imagined that she was casting aside the part of her that had been taken from her bedroom at the tender age of ten. She kicked aside her jeans, tossing away the frightened child that had been chained away, hidden kept, for eighteen months. Her bra slipped from her shoulders and away slipped the victim; she stripped off her underwear and tossed it in the pile, adding with it the part of her soul that had been stripped bare by the man that had stripped her of her childhood. But Rebecca knew that her sudden nakedness, her metaphorical bareness was nothing but an illusion. Becky George remained where her clothes did not.
The shower started to collect with steam and she stepped inside without bothering to check the temperature before hand. The water was stingingly hot and it scalded her body instantly, causing Rebecca to draw in a deep breath. The sensation was pleasant and that frightened her slightly; every so often, she found herself enjoying the feeling of pain against her body and she didn't quite enjoy that emotion worming its way into her body. She did not want to be that person, she did not want to be weak.
But that did not change the fact that it felt surprisingly good to have hot water beating against her skin. Rebecca drew in another breath, pushing her hair away from her face as she did so, closing her eyes and turning her face toward the water pulsing from the shower head. She felt her makeup begin to run off, snaking down her cheeks, black tears that she had never cried. When she cleansed herself, she always started with her face; it was the part that reminded her the most of who she did not want to be.
Rebecca's skin was raw but that did not give her reason enough to adjust the temperature of the shower water. She turned her face away, opening her eyes and blinking the water from her lashes, wiping at her cheeks.
Again, her eyes closed and Rebecca allowed the water to rinse her entire body, wishing that it would clean her soul just as easily. She imagined everything about her that was dirty and unclean running off her body with the water, swirling around the drain before vanishing all together.
Weakness ran down her skin and into the drain. She felt liberated.
The need for pain and the sporadic need to feel it upon her body was washed away. She felt relieved.
All of the tears that she had cried during her life, tears for herself but never for others, became nothing but water from the shower head and that puddled at her feet before disappearing all together. She felt empty.
The fact that Paul had managed to discover her inner thoughts, her inner disgust for people who showed weakness, for people who gave up when they could still fight, for people who took the easy way out when she had done nothing but fight and lose and fight again fell from her hair and shoulders like the droplets of water that splattered against the tiles beneath her feet. She felt betrayed.
Allowing Paul to notice her feelings at all, allowing herself to show the way she felt swirled away from her. She felt angry but only at herself.
Becky George vanished off her body, from her soul, like the dirt beneath her fingernails. She felt cleansed.
Rebecca knew that what felt was only an illusion, that losing her weakness and the parts of her that she could not stand would never really happen. But she allowed the water to rinse across her body anyway.
As she had done a million times before, she asked herself why she had become the person she had. Why she had been the girl out of all those riding the ponies at the fair to be taken, why she had to loose her innocent and her childhood all in one night. Why her? This was a question she could never answer for there was no answer; everything in her life happened for reasons that she could never understand. She was who she was, she was taken because she was, she lost herself because she was not meant to be found.
Biting her tongue, Rebecca forced such thoughts from her mind. Tonight was not a night for thinking about why she was who she was; tonight was not the night to allow Becky George to return. She would not allow herself to become the same little girl that had been taken away from her bedroom; she would not allow herself to be abducted again.
Rebecca kept her eyes shut; she remained where she was, allowing the water to beat against her skin. She had to let it wash over her, she had to let it rinse her.
Tonight was a night for cleansing, tonight was a night for tossing aside the ruined parts of her as easily as if they were articles of clothing.
Memories, events, the past had no place with her then.
She would free herself from them.
She would rinse it all away.