Title: Endure, Dream, Fail, Survive
Email: bananacosmicgirl at hotmail . com
Website: www . cosmicuniverse . net
LiveJournal: bananacosmic . livejournal . com
Words: 1 667
Characters: Lisa Cuddy, Allison Cameron
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations from the tv-show "House M.D.", created and owned by NBC/Universal, David Shore and others. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: When Cuddy miscarried, Cameron was there to comfort her. Pre 3x09 "Finding Judas".
Author's notes: In 3x09 "Finding Judas", Cuddy tells Wilson that she's had three implantations to try to get pregnant, and while two didn't take, the third one did, but she lost it. This is just a short exploration of her character as she experiences the miscarriage, and a person who could have been there to comfort her.
Endure, Dream, Fail, Survive
The pain stabbed at her, and she felt it, could almost imagine it leaving her body. It hurt, and although she knew that at least some of it was in her head, her feelings jumbled and her world crashed down around her again.
Not fit to be a mother.
She had hoped. Of course she had hoped – if she had not, then what would the point have been to do the procedures? But this was it, she had convinced herself that this time, it would work, as though will alone would make it happen. And it had, for a short while, it had worked. She had been pregnant, finally, a child growing within her.
Now the child, the future, their future, washed out of her in a mess of blood and held back tears. She ached, her mind and body, the insides of her thighs, her stomach and her lower back. It felt as though her own body, her own traitorous body, was laughing at her. It echoed around her, in her mind, a cruel laughter, her mind playing tricks on her. She grabbed another tissue, tried again to dry herself, but it still came back stained with red.
Perhaps this was for the best. Perhaps it was time to give up now, to move on from the dream. Perhaps it was a sign: she would never be able to care for a child. Where would she fit a baby into her busy schedule? She was the Dean of Medicine at a large hospital. People counted on her, she had a job to do, orders to give, employees to care for. How would she ever have time to be a mother?
It's for the best.
And yet the tears burned her eyes, threatening to spill, and she dabbed carefully to keep them from falling and ruining her make-up. If House came in, he would be able to tell that she had been crying, and she did not need that. She did not need his cutting remarks, not when she felt this vulnerable. For once, she wanted to be as far away from House as possible.
When the waves of pain had lessened to little more than an insistent ache, Cuddy stood, her body shaking. She flushed the toilet without looking; she had already flushed it twice, the blood never stopping and the faint smell of iron making her nauseous.
She wanted to go home, lay down. She wanted to sleep until the hurt had abated, although she knew that to be impossible. She had work to do.
The ladies' room was empty when she left her stall, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Catching sight of her reflection in the mirror, she wondered who the pale woman with the shadows beneath her eyes was. She did not recognize herself in the image.
When did I get so old?
She leaned on the sink, splashing cold water carefully on her forehead and cheeks, still not wanting her make-up to run.
Cuddy had not heard the door open, but recognized the sound of Dr. Allison Cameron's voice at once. She heard worry, that worry that Cameron seemed to show for any injured creature – the worry that drove House mad sometimes, Cuddy knew. She could understand why, but not right now – she was far too exhausted to get angry or irritated with a woman who simply worried too much.
"Are you all right?" Cameron asked, coming closer and reaching out a hand to place on Cuddy's shoulder.
She would have stood up and backed away from the touch had it been any other time, her emotions in less turmoil. But she grieved, sadness washing over her together with a great sense of failure – she could not do this one thing, this thing that she should have been born to do, that all women were born to do.
"You're shaking," Cameron said, and she placed a hand upon Cuddy's forehead. "No fever – what's wrong, Dr. Cuddy?"
Cuddy wanted to be angry for the invasion of her privacy – Cameron had no right to touch her – but she could not muster up the energy or find the appropriate response; instead she leaned more of her weight on the sink, wondering how long it would be before her arms gave out, because it felt as though her legs soon would.
"Miscarriage," she whispered, so quietly, but in the empty ladies' room, it seemed to echo off the walls, amplifying her failure.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Cameron said, like Cuddy had known she would. "I didn't know—"
"Was there something you wanted, Dr. Cameron?" Cuddy wanted to bite, wanted her gone, wanted to be alone in her grief and feelings of failure. She did not need an audience.
"I—" Cameron broke off. Cuddy assumed she had simply come in to do her business – it was the ladies' room after all, not her office – but it was all she could come up with, to get Cameron to not ask.
Cuddy ran a hand through her hair, hating how much she shook – she should not be this way.
"Is there anyone I can—" Cameron began carefully, softly, her voice filled with that infernal compassion of hers.
"No one knew," Cuddy whispered. "I was only seven weeks along."
Seven weeks. She had kept it a secret, her precious secret, resting beneath her heart. She had decided to get through the first trimester before telling anyone. The right choice, it seemed now – but she could not erase her own knowledge. She had known for four weeks – she had even had morning sickness. In the last week, she had allowed herself some hope, some happiness, thinking that this time, things would work out.
And then this.
"You may need medical attention," Cameron said softly. "Was there pain? Blood loss?"
Cuddy wanted to laugh – was there pain? Yes, there had been pain. It was still pulsing through her, angry at this failure of a body to accommodate the child it should have cared for. Blood loss? She could still feel herself bleeding.
"I'll be fine," she said hoarsely.
Cameron looked indecisive, perhaps contemplating calling someone from OB/Gyn, but then decided against it. She led Cuddy gently out of the ladies' room, and she did not protest at the hand on the small of her back, or the hand that squeezed her own. She did not look at Cameron, did not want to see the pity or even compassion, because Cameron could not possibly understand.
Cameron chose the long route back to Cuddy's office, to avoid the masses of people in the clinic, and Cuddy followed along, feeling slightly like a puppet whose body someone else commanded. Her legs felt like lead, her body wrung out like a rag. She was probably still bleeding. She would be bleeding for a while, she knew, an open wound into her heart. Her eyes still burned with tears, the lump in her throat coming and going with the waves of emotion that washed over her.
"Here, lie down," Cameron said, steering Cuddy towards the couch.
She had chosen the couch, once upon a time several years ago when she became the dean and had moved into this office, because it was comfortable to lie down in. She had known that she would be sleeping in it at some point, and this was hardly the first time.
Cameron closed the blinds around the office, and she left for a minute before coming back and kneeling beside Cuddy.
"I told your secretary to reschedule your appointments for the afternoon, and to not direct any calls in here unless it's a great emergency," she said. "You should rest. Your body needs it. And if you're still in pain in an hour, I'll run some tests."
She stood, but Cuddy surprised herself by grabbing hold of Cameron's hand, squeezing it tightly. Cameron's mouth dropped open in surprise, but gave a small nod of understanding, and settled on the floor next to Cuddy, still allowing Cuddy to hold her hand.
Cuddy felt sleep wash over her, but fought it weakly, knowing that sleep would bring nightmares. She would dream, yet again, of being alone. She would stand in a sea of darkness without a soul to turn to, or she would be washed away in a flood of red, screaming for help without ever receiving it. The nightmares came back every time she had a negative result on the procedures and although this time was different, she held no hopes that sleep would give her any respite.
She felt warm lips to her forehead, a hand running through her hair.
"Just breathe," Cameron said.
Cuddy had not realized that her breathing had sped up in panic over the thoughts of nightmares.
She looked up, finding Cameron right beside her, one hand still clutched by Cuddy, the other one running through Cuddy's hair. She looked rather like an angel, and for a brief moment, Cuddy imagined her own daughter looking like Cameron. A beautiful, intelligent young woman—
One you'll never know.
Tears finally started falling down her cheeks. An anguished sob escaped her, and she felt thin arms wrap themselves around her, a warm embrace, holding her tight. Whispered words from warm lips to deaf ear as hot tears seeped down her cheeks. She did not hear what Cameron said to her; she only heard the raging of her own emotions as she fought to stay in control. Yet the words, and the embrace, a hug unlike anything she had received in quite a while – because these days all she had was casual sex with different partners, and handshakes with important people, and god, her life was empty – actually did calm her, her breathing slowing and the pain in her body abating.
And she knew, as sleep started to claim her senses, that nothing was right in the world – but eventually, it would be okay once more.
She would survive this too.
I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition -
about what we can endure, dream, fail at, and still survive.
- Maya Angelou