AN: So, I got this idea from one of my favorite books. It's called "Cathy's Book", and I stole some of Cam's little emotional yelling from it because… well, no matter how I tried to rewrite it, this was too perfect. So, credit there. This story still makes no sense to me, but I found it vaguely amusing, so. Here you go.
Cam was waiting for him. Outside his apartment, slumped against the stairs, Cam was waiting. For his part, he looked remarkably calm. Hunter couldn't decide if this was a good thing or not.
He racked a hand through his hair to settle it back in place, took a deep breath, settled his racing helmet comfortably underneath his arm and headed for the door.
"Good grief, Hunter, you look like you got run over by a mudder." Cam quipped. His tone sounded amused, even happy, and Hunter was suddenly off balance. Happy, joke making, track referencing Cam was not what he had expected.
What Hunter wanted to say was 'I'm sorry for last night. I'm sorry we slept together and then I ran off and left you. I'm sorry I started this whole crazy relationship, and I'm sorry I took advantage of you and its okay if you can never forgive me'. But what came out was "Have you been waiting here long?"
"Yeah." Cam's tone changed from amused to sadistic in the blink of an eye. "Look. I brought you a phone." He said. "I figured maybe yours was broken and that you weren't checking your machine." Cam held out a phone the size of a woman's razor in the palm of his hand. It was so high tech that Hunter figured Cam must have designed it himself.
Hunter was afraid to take it.
"Don't worry." Cam continued. "It was way cheaper in Hong Kong. And I've got one that's lots better now too. It has a radio built in." Cam told him. The silence stretched. "Also a flashlight."
"I don't think you should be-" Hunter began. Cam's deadly calm voice overrode him.
"This way," Cam spoke rapidly, his voice even, "if something really important comes up I can call you, like this." Cam took out a second phone that slightly resembled Hunter's and flipped it open. "Call Hunter."
It took about 3 seconds, but then "Hunter's" phone was going off in Cam's palm, which Cam was still holding out to him. Two verses of "Life is a High Way" rang out as Cam watched Hunter expectantly.
Something about picking up the phone seemed like a bad idea to Hunter. "Shouldn't you be in class right about now?"
"Answer your phone." Cam commanded sternly.
"Cam, I'm standing right here." Hunter pointed out. The words were barely out before Cam's retort was forming.
"Go ahead. Answer it. I just want to make sure it works, in case there's an emergency." Cam held his palm up higher.
Now that sounded like Cam. Hunter reached out, took the phone from Cam with an eye roll and pressed the talk button. "Hello?"
"WELL LOOK WHO DECIDED TO FINALLY ANSWER HIS GOD DAMNED PHONE!" Cam yelled into his phone, loud enough to make Hunter's ears bleed. Hunter jerked his new phone away from his ear and held it at arms length.
Yeah, bad idea confirmed. Cam was practically shaking with rage.
"I realize you have your little commitment issues and everything, but right now my entire life is falling apart and I appear to be such a loser that you, the guy who slept with me and left right after like I'm a 20 dollar whore, are the only friend I have to turn to!" Cam paused to catch his breath, still glaring at the cell phone he had held out in front of his face instead of looking at Hunter. "So for ONCE, you're going to stop whining about your own problems! You are going to STAND THERE and BE NICE TO ME, or I am going to PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!" Cam slammed his phone shut with the rage of a mad man as his eyes turned to Hunter, who could do nothing more than stare at him for several seconds.
"That sounds fair." Hunter whispered at last.
Cam shoved his tiny phone into his pocket meekly as his lip trembled. "How pathetic is this?" Cam was staring at the ground. "I don't have anyone else to turn to but the guy who was only in it for a hit and run."
"Cam-" Hunter began.
"Shut up." Cam silenced him immediately, his cloudy brown eyes flickering up briefly. "I didn't say you could talk. You're supposed to listen." The last word had so much venom in it that Hunter thought he'd have to go to the hospital for detox.
He kept his mouth shut about that, though.
"My father is sick." Cam stated with absolutely no emotion.
Hunter waited. Cam didn't go on, so he figured he had better acknowledge that. "People get sick, Cam. They get better."
Cam's eyes were staring over his shoulder, looking at something far away. A bitter smile twisted his face. "Sometimes they don't."
Cam's mom hadn't. She'd died of some rare heart disease when Cam was only 6. It wasn't like Hunter forgot. It was just that Cam tended to remember more often than he did. It occurred to him he should ask how sick Sensei was right as Cam was telling him.
"It's cancer of the liver." Cam said quietly. Hunter didn't know what to do. He tried to recall anything he might have ever heard about that, but the word cancer stuck out in his mind and he couldn't get past it.
"How bad?" He finally asked.
"Bad. Real bad. It hasn't metastasized to his spine yet, but it's only a matter of time if they don't get him a transplant." Cam sighed heavily. "And as fate would have it, I'm a match." He whispered.
Hunter paused, confused. "That's good, right?"
Cam looked up at him. "Yeah. That's good. I'm gonna give him half of my liver." Cam seemed strangely calm again. Hunter wondered what Cam would do if he tried to touch him. "I go into surgery on Thursday."
Thursday. "It's Tuesday." Hunter observed.
"Yeah." Cam nodded.
"Oh." Something occurred to Hunter as he watched Cam scuff his feet on the ground like a guilty preschooler. "How long have you known?"
"About two weeks." Cam answered without missing a beat.
Hunter guffawed. "And you're telling me now?" He couldn't decide whether to be sympathetic for his stressed out boyfriend or to just let him have it.
"I tried to tell you. A couple of times. It's easier to tell you things when I hate you." Cam supplied, as though that was the most logical thing in the world. Right now, it might have been.
"You hate me?" Hunter asked.
Cam looked him dead in the eye. "Yes." He said coldly.
Well, that stung. He probably deserved it, but it still stung. He owed Cam an explanation. A nice lengthy conversation about this thing they were calling a relationship. He wasn't sure now was the best time though, and he didn't know how to help Cam either.
"Well." Hunter muttered at last. "Okay then."
Cam just looked at him.
"I don't know what you want me to say here, Cam." Hunter admitted, shrugging helplessly.
Cam sputtered. "What I-? What I want you to say?" He reached up to hold his head with both hands, looking as though he wanted to pull his hair out. "I want to hear you say a lot of things, Hunter, and it's occurring to me now that I'm probably not ever going to hear them!"
Hunter kept quiet as Cam placed his hands at his sides and regained his calm.
"I don't think we should see each other anymore." Cam told him at last.
Hunter froze. It wasn't that he hadn't been expecting that, per say, but he really didn't like the way it sounded. He shook his head, trying to regain his balance.
It didn't work, but he blundered on anyway.
"I don't think that's the answer to this, Cam." Hunter spoke gently, contemplating whether or not to reach for Cam's hand.
"Well if you have the answers, which I seriously doubt, I'd love to hear them." Cam spat. Hunter opted against reaching for his hand.
"Judging from your tone, I don't think you would." Hunter answered cautiously.
Cam wasn't looking at him. He was shaking his head quickly. "You want to know what I want to hear? I want to hear you say that I imagined last night. That it was a big dream and that if and when we sleep together you won't leave me in the middle of the night and ignore my phone calls. I want to hear you say that I mean more to you than a one night stand. I want you to tell me that you love me, on a consistent basis.
"And I'd like you to be here for me now, like you've always been there before. Because even if I hate you, even if I know that you don't want to be here, I need you to be here. Because you're all I've got. I want you to tell me, with a straight face, that it's going to be okay, and I want to believe you." Cam looked him dead in the eye, some tiny glimmer of hope flickering there.
Hunter, both stunned and touched by Cam's request, couldn't help cracking a smile. "Wanna go back and say all that again? Cause I'm sure I won't remember all of it once I start talking."
Cam sighed and dropped his head, but Hunter thought he saw the corners of his mouth turn up.
"Look, Cam. I'm sorry about last night. Things got… complicated and I got freaked out and I shouldn't have left. But I did. And I'm sorry." Hunter tried. Cam nodded, though his eyes never met Hunters. "I don't want to stop seeing you. I want to fix this."
"That won't be easy." Cam warned. He sounded a bit more normal; more emotional, less numb.
"We've never been easy. I'm used to it." Hunter said gently. He reached out to brush some hair away from Cam's eyes. "You need a haircut."
Cam looked mad again. "That's what you're going to say? At a time like this, that's all you can think of?"
Hunter shrugged and bit his lip.
Cam shook his head and his face softened. With a great heaving sigh he reached out and stepped close, leaning into Hunter completely. Hunter dropped his helmet to the ground and wrapped both of his arms around Cam, doing the comforting boyfriend hug with practiced accuracy. Cam held onto him tightly, and Hunter kissed his temple.
"That's why you love me, I guess." He answered Cam's earlier question at last, and Cam let out what sounded like a mix between a sob and a laugh.
"Must be." Cam answered, sniffing a little bit.
"It's gonna be okay, Cam." Hunter whispered. Cam pulled back and looked at him strangely, but it was a fond look that turned into Cam kissing him, so Hunter didn't complain.
Cam pressed into him, his fingers clenching around fistfuls of crimson shirt. Hunter was all but holding his exhausted boyfriend up, but he didn't mind. He liked having Cam this close. He tried in that brief moment to figure out why he'd run away from it. All the reasons he could come up with just didn't seem important anymore, and he made himself promise he'd never do something like that to Cam again.
Cam finally pulled away, and he leaned his forehead against Hunters. "Wanna go up stairs?" Hunter asked.
Cam looked skeptical. "I don't know. Think we can do things right this time?" Cam wondered.
Hunter smirked. "Yeah. I think we can."
Cam kissed him again, short and sweet this time. He pulled away enough so that Hunter could get his helmet from the ground and they headed for the stairs. Hunter put an arm around Cam's waist as they walked, squeezing ever so slightly.
"I do love you, you know." Hunter told him. "And I'll be here. For all of it."
Cam let his head rest on Hunter's shoulder momentarily. "Yeah. You'd better be."