Thanks for the reviews! Here's the second (and final) part. If you want to know more about the Cameron-Chase family, check out "Anticoagulation." Seriously. It is all explained there.
Forgot to add the disclaimer, though obviously I don't own.
She's barely been in the kitchen for five minutes, reading the Journal of American Immunology, when Cameron and Chase come home. "You two're early," she says, shifting to stand.
"I got tired of peeing every six minutes," Cameron jokes as she sets her purse on the island. "How was Lizzie? Where's Kutner?"
"Oh, he's… he's just in the other room," House has made her a worse liar than she was five years ago. Or maybe it's the personal-growth-relationship bullshit. Or its her rapidly approaching mortality. She doesn't know. "Elizabeth was fantastic. Did you know that House has taught her how to say 'ass'?"
Cameron and Chase exchange glances heavy in relationship subtext. "Yeah, we did, actually, she asked what it meant," Chase says. "You said Kutner's in the living room? Might as well treat him to a beer for helping out." He quickly grabs two bottles of Beck's from the cooler and heads out.
"Tea?" Cameron asks, pulling a kettle out from a floor-level cabinet. "I always like to have some around this time."
If Kutner's drinking a beer with Chase—the two of them actually get along really well—that means she's trapped. "Sure, but I only drink decaf."
"Hey, me too," Cameron laughs, and Remy remembers the whole pregnant-women-and-caffeine thing.
"Right," she says quickly. "Sorry—just used to reminding people."
"Not a problem. I hope you don't mind mixed berry," Cameron looks down and sees the journal. "You can't possibly find that interesting."
She shrugs. "Not too much else to read," she smiles to lighten the words.
Cameron laughs. "We have a whole library, it's just … back-like. Chase has kind of overtaken it." She sets a cup of tea in front of Remy. "Okay, seriously. You're in a much different mood than you were when we left you. You sure Elizabeth didn't do something awful? I know she's capable of it. House takes her a lot."
Remy shakes her head and takes a long sip. "Did you want kids, before Elizabeth and … now?" she gestures vaguely in the direction of Cameron's belly before a spasm causes her to yank her arm back to her side.
Cameron's green eyes go from foggy to clear, and she takes a sip to give herself a bit of time to find her phrasing. "No. Not really, not before I realized I needed to be with Robert. I wasn't against them, I figured it would happen, but not in a realistic way until I figured out how serious I was about him."
Remy nods and takes another sip of tea. Cameron waits. Remy has no idea why she's sitting in Cameron's kitchen drinking tea like they're friends, but she is, so she's obligated to talk, right? "Kutner … Kutner wants kids." Cameron breaks eye contact and stares into the clear purple liquid. "And I feel like a massive bitch … for wanting him to stick with me. He's pretty old, he's 35, he should get those things soon, if that's what he wants." She doesn't say the second half, the part where maybe she wants kids, because she doesn't really. She just wants time.
Cameron finally looks up again. "Did I ever tell you about my first husband?"
No, and Remy's a little shocked. Her jaw drops slightly. "No. … And I thought you just said that you didn't think about having kids until Chase?"
Cameron breaks eye contact again, looks distantly, before returning. "That's because I didn't. I'm not sure whether I'm sad or not that House never brought it up as a slur." She takes a sip. "I was married once before, when I was 21. Junior in college. He … had thyroid cancer, it metastasized to his brain. He lived for six months after we got married. I knew … I knew before we got married that it was in his brain, that technically that meant it was fatal."
"Oh," is all Remy can say.
"My point," Cameron says gently, "is that I didn't care. I threw myself into it, probably messed myself up for the next decade—and I didn't care. I loved him and nothing else mattered. And it was tough and hellish and awful but I still wouldn't trade those six months of marriage with him for an easy ride during my 20s, or anything like that." She took another sip. "Don't question his commitment. You need it too much. And he won't care."
Though delivered in a kind tone, the words feel harsh. Because the implication is that if Kutner wants the family eventually he can get it, the way that Cameron has. A decade isn't the eternity that she doesn't have. But she can't yell at Cameron, not when she's trying so hard and talking about something so obviously painful. "You were the giver," she points out instead. "Not the taker."
"True," Cameron points out. "But I was taking plenty from him, too. I needed him too. If you have … If you know what your end will be, why focus on it? Why not go for it? Life's too short for everyone and for you …" she looks at Remy pleadingly, "and for him, just … accept it. Don't question it. Really. It's there. He doesn't care. Don't spend your time worrying about it."
She stares at Cameron. "But you could move on," she finally says, "because you were the one who got to stay. And you did." She knows it doesn't make sense; that one minute she's saying she feels selfish for wanting him to stick around and the other minute implying Cameron betrayed her husband by not sticking around.
Cameron, weirdly, seems to understand, though. "Honestly, Hadley, a lot of me didn't. I'm nowhere near who I once was."
Remy thinks for a moment before downing the rest of her drink. "Thanks for the tea. I should find Kutner; it's getting late and we should head home."
Cameron nods. "Of course. Anytime."
Kutner and Chase are in the living room, empty beer bottles on the coffee table, watching a surgical show. "Look at that technique. Sloppy," Chase is saying when she walks in. Neither of them sees her.
"Hey," she says, announcing her entrance. "You … all set to go? It's getting late."
"Of course," he says, and they thank Chase and Cameron and head out to the car.
The ride isn't long, but it's silent. Finally, as they're walking into their apartment she punctures the quiet with, "I never wanted kids, even before …"
He tosses the keys on the table. "Okay."
"What, it's okay because I'll be dead soon?" she shoots back, frustrated at his acquiescence.
He looks like she just slapped him. "Of course not. Honestly, Remy, how could you think that?"
"Because," she says, and she wants to tear out her hair until she's bald. "Because you want kids, but you don't want them with me. I mean, I'm obviously damaged genes here."
"I don't want kids with you," he says, "because you don't want kids. If you wanted kids I'd want kids with you."
"But you want kids, and yet you're here," she reiterates.
"The kids aren't a dealbreaker," he looks so confused and she wants to have him hold her and let her cry, mourn her impending and premature death, but she can't. Not yet.
"Obviously, because you knew going into it that it would only be a three or four year commitment!" she shouts. "You can still get the kids, if you want them."
"I don't care about kids," he says, looking ever more lost.
"Yes, you do, or else you wouldn't want them," she insists.
"What is this about?" he finally yells back. "Because it's not about the not-kids."
"Yes it is. If you want kids, you should go get them. I'm not having them even if there was a chance I'd see it live past the age of two! But you should go get them."
"Right now," he says, his face close to hers. "Right now, all I want is you. I'm not thinking about kids. You asked a question about something. This is enough. It's exactly enough."
And his words are exactly the right and the wrong things to say, and she shoves him. "Why? Why did you start this? Why are we even here?" She thinks about Cameron's marriage and how it seems to be a limited-time sacrifice. She thinks about the state she was in when they first hooked up, with the twitches starting, visibly. She thinks of her last office romance, how she twisted Foreman until she was bored with her amusement.
"Because," he says slowly, taking her hands and knotting them with his. "Because one day I decided I liked you. And you said yes."
"You know I was sick. You knew this could only be temporary," she's losing it, her voice is fading to whisper.
"So?" he says, and she thinks of his parents, the photos she's seen of them, the clippings he's saved about their deaths. He's lost it all before, she knows, and he'll lose it all again. "If we're both happy right now what's the problem?"
The problem is she can't think of anything worse than losing him, and that's scaring her.
When she doesn't speak, he reaches for her hair. "You know I'll be there, when it gets worse. You know it. You know it doesn't matter."
Instead she hits him again before regaining her composure. "You want kids and you have all these years and you deserve them, and you should go use them because sometimes it's too late."
"Remy—I want to be with you. Nothing. Else. Matters. If I wake up alone some day in the future I'll be upset then. But until then, I'm here, and you make me happy."
She steps back, because he is too close. "We're at the point," she says randomly, but he knows what the point is: the point when normal couples figure out if it's marriage, if it's cutting losses. And the rational answer is so painfully obvious she wants to cry. "And either I'm going to make you very sad one day or you're going to make me very sad." It's unbearable to think about what happens to her if he leaves. She's only downhill, in every possible way, from here.
He steps forward, getting visibly angry. "No. You're being ridiculous. I don't know what I need to … to prove, but I'm here and you're stuck with it. We have today, and we have tomorrow and the next day, and that's all you can expect. You want to know why I love you? The stupid things. How bad your jokes are. How you still bite your cuticles even if you're in your 30s. Because you dance when you vacuum. You want to know why I'm still here? Because I love you. This isn't pity. This isn't waiting, this is real, and would you just accept it? I don't want to think about three years down the line, and you shouldn't think of that." He envelopes her in a crushing hug as she struggles to keep her rapid breathing under control. He pulls back and puts both hands on her cheeks. "Why are you even bringing this up?" And she can see how much the inevitability of her disease scares him too, when he lets it.
She clings to him, and finally starts to cry. He leads her to the couch; she puts her head in his lap and he strokes her cheek silently. Her breath evens and her tears stop, and she rolls her head to see him staring worriedly at her. "I would, you know," she finally says, almost inaudible. "If I could. I would. With you." She doesn't know if that's her or the disease but at this point they're one and the same, aren't they?
His heart breaks in his eyes. "I know," he says, and then, "I would too. In a heartbeat."
He's wrong, because there will never be enough time for this to be enough. But if she's only got three years, and he says he'll be there, she wants to believe him, wants to be this selfish. She wants it to be real badly enough, and maybe soon she'll be able to let it be enough. But there will never be enough of these moments, even if she lived another 60 years, which only heightens their preciousness. By that logic, maybe it is enough. If she tries hard enough to forget everything else and remember only that he is here and now is now, it is enough. Or will be. One day.
She reaches for his hand, slips hers into it. The small muscles twitch like a pulse. She squeezes his hand, and he squeezes back.