Guys, the final part has arrived. There's a few things I'd like to say to you all. Firstly, to everyone who has ever left feedback; thank you. You're all amazing and every single one of you has left constructive criticism or praise, which I appreciate! This is probably the hardest fic I've ever had to write for so many reasons (which I won't bore you with!) but it's definitely been the most worthwhile.

There should be a sequel, at least, I've planned for there to be. Not straight away as I need a break and have to work on a few ideas, but at some point in the future:-) Also, a special thanks to Kyry for being the most amazing beta and friend!

Lastly, if anyone wants to get in touch for whatever reason, doesn't feel comfortable leaving feedback publicly… has any questions… whatever, then please do contact me. Love to you all!

Fading Addiction Part Twenty Two

We'd been sitting together, just talking, for hours on end. Not all of it was the bad stuff, we laughed too. Somehow, this made it all seem a little better. Discussing everything from movies to fashion, it was nice to talk about something other than painful memories and thoughts; even if it were only for a short time. I knew it wouldn't be long until the topic of conversation was once again full of tension and hurt, but for the moment, I just enjoyed the break from it all.

"You know... it's nearly midnight," Cuddy stated.

"Really?" I was surprised that I'd managed to lose track of time so easily. "I guess I should be going then." Though I didn't particularly want to leave her, at the same time I didn't want to outstay my welcome.

Cuddy hesitated, briefly. "You don't have to."

I frowned, making direct eye contact with her. "You mean I... is that a good idea?" I couldn't quite bring myself to say the words, and instead, hoped she'd know what I was getting at.

"Just stay," She whispered. "I don't expect anything, I just want you here."

Although I had my doubts, I found myself nodding my head. It wasn't that I didn't want to spend more time with Cuddy, but more that I was apprehensive about screwing up or getting myself into an awkward situation.

"You sure?" She asked, making sure I was ok with it. "You don't have to, I can run you home now if you'd like."

"No... it's fine," I said, doing my best to sound adamant.

Cuddy smiled. "Ok then, let's go up." Taking hold of my hand, she helped me up from the couch, and led me out to the hallway and up the stairs. "I've got some baggy t-shirts upstairs, you ok to sleep in one of those?"

Immediately I was panicked, something which must have shown in my face as Cuddy asked, "What's wrong?"

"You think I'm too fat to wear normal t-shirts don't you?" By now we'd reached the top of the stairs, and letting go of Cuddy's hand, I grasped her wrists and turned her to face me.

"What?" She looked shocked. "No, don't be ridiculous! I just thought that a baggy t-shirt would be comfier for you."

Swallowing hard, I struggled to believe her.

When I remained silent she added, "You're not fat Allison; you're the complete opposite. We've talked about this, discussed this. Who are you going to trust? Me, who's been here for you in every way I can be, or anorexia, your destroyer?"

Willing myself to calm down, I let go of the grip I had on her wrists. She was right; it was just my mind playing tricks on me. "I'm sorry," I said sheepishly. "You're right... I'm just being stupid."

"You're not," She insisted, wrapping me up into a comforting hug. "Moments like this are to be expected, and I'm not going to hold it against you. Ok, baby?"

Feeling my heart jolt as she called me baby, I held onto her tightly. "Thank you," I whispered against her skin. "Thank you for just… being here."

"You don't need to thank me; I want to be there for you," she insisted adamantly. "Come on."

As I walked through the entrance to her bedroom, I felt the familiar feeling of my heart fluttering. For once though it wasn't due to hunger or sickness, but because I was racked with nerves at the thought of being alone with Cuddy for an entire night. I wanted to be here more than anything, but at the same time worried that something would go wrong, as it always seemed to. These thoughts became increasingly worse as Cuddy left me to change alone; obviously under the impression I would feel more comfortable without her there. For this, I was appreciative.

As I pulled the t-shirt over my head, I couldn't help but allow my fingers to trace alone my bony ribcage, feeling guilty when a rush of relief flooded through me. I knew it was stupid to expect miracles, reacting with disgust as a normal person would, but I was still disappointed in myself. Trying to think positively, I figured that the fact I was aware of this meant that I was making progress. All I had to do now was work on my feelings, work on my reactions, and hope for the best. If I could just learn to focus on the good in life, then things may just be ok after all.

Minutes later Cuddy came back into the room, placing a kiss on my cheek before she climbed into bed. I followed, climbing underneath the plush duvet and wrapping myself up in a ball, which I'd found to be the most effective way of keeping warm. Flicking the light switch off, she moved closer to me, snuggling next to me. "You're very quiet," she stated, running a finger up and down my neck.

"I just feel weird; that's all," I confessed.

"Is there anything I can do?" I could tell by the tone she was using that she was concerned, yet trying not to show it so that I didn't feel suffocated.

"Talk to me," I said softly.

Cuddy sounded confused. "About what?"

"Anything except me. Tell me about you…" I allowed my voice to trail off.

"Ok… what do you want to know?" She asked.

I paused, wondering whether I should say what I really wanted to know. Despite the fact that Cuddy had asked me many personal questions, I'd asked her hardly any and therefore wasn't used to it. Still, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it, knowing the worst she could do would be to refuse to answer. Psyching myself up I asked gently, "There's no easy way of saying this but… can you really not have children?"

Cuddy didn't reply immediately, and was silent for so long that I thought she was feigning sleep and didn't want to answer. However, she eventually spoke, using the same broken voice as she had back during our confrontation about the issue when in her office. "I had three separate implantations. Two didn't take; one I lost. So to answer your question; probably not."

Somehow wanting to make her feel better, having sensed that this was the one thing she found hard to deal with, I replied, "There's always the chance. Think about it; you got pregnant. Ok, you miscarried but… well lots of women suffer from miscarriages and then go on to have children."

Cuddy laughed wryly. "That doesn't mean I'm going to be one of them."

"There's always hope," I informed her. "And you're no quitter."

"How would you know that?" She asked, and I detected a slight harshness in her voice.

"Because you haven't quit trying to save me." I declared quietly.

Once more, Cuddy didn't speak, and merely leant her head against my arm. Feeling as though I should say something else, I added, "Listen to me. You not having had a child yet; it's not the end of the world. You can get pregnant, and yes, you lost a baby which is a horrible thing to go through but there's still time for you to conceive. And… if you need me to be there for you, then I will be."

"You have enough to be dealing with right now without worrying about me," Cuddy said firmly.

"Don't be silly," I insisted. "It'll make a nice change to think about something other than myself for a change."

Feeling Cuddy smile against my shoulder, I knew that I'd gotten through to her. "Thanks for the pep talk," she said softly.

"Anytime," I whispered, clutching her hands to my body, finally starting to relax. "Goodnight Lisa."

Cuddy leant over, placed a gently kiss on my cheek and whispered back, "Goodnight Allison."

I grinned, feeling more comfortable in her company than ever before. Moving closer to her, I clasped her hands in mine, feeling protected, feeling safe. More importantly, I was somehow hopeful; unlike before. It was still a long journey until I became myself once again; but as long as I had Cuddy there supporting me, then all would be fine. In my heart, I sensed this. Thoughts of counselling, nutritionists, food and eating disorders all faded from my mind as I drifted off to sleep, and instead were replaced by thoughts of the beautiful and amazing woman lying next to me.

Fuck addiction.

Fuck starvation.

Fuck anorexia.