A/N: This was born as a birthday piece for a friend, and from the fluff it was intended to be it escalated, well... somewhere else entirely. Also, I need to stop having Thirteen tell stories all the time, I seriously do. Since it's also based on a WT song from The Unforgiving - the thirteenth one, touché - I thought I'd just add it to the rest as a little bonus. Enjoy the angst!
The Last Dance
She sang for you last night
She heard you were calling
Burning in tears a thousand times
Your spirit was floating
The spirit was searching
On a cloud of dreams
The sound that came out of Thirteen's mouth was somewhat of a crossover between a wailing banshee and a chainsaw in action. Grumbling to herself, she reached for the adjacent pillow and forced it to her ears, burying her head in the sheets. However, in a brief moment of waking consciousness, Remy realized just what it was that woke her up. Frowning, she fumbled around the bed and finally decided there was no escape from getting up when her hand didn't find what it was looking for. There went her plans to be the first one awake on Cameron's birthday.
Stumbling through the darkness – an activity one would say she had grown quite skilled at during her life in a metaphorical sense, she thought with a bitter scoff – the brunette headed through the hallway to the apparent source of the noise, even though a part of her already knew what she would find. Sure enough, when she turned on the light in the kitchen, there Cameron was, sitting in a desert of broken glass and spilt alcohol. Her movements were rapid and uncoordinated as she started spewing out apologies faster than a government official running late on Bribe Your Favorite Politician Day, attempting to hide her bleeding hand behind the curls of her nightgown. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up. I'm sorry. I dropped the glass. Go back to sleep. I'll just clean this up. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to swear out loud. No, I'm not bleeding. What are you talking about?
"Allison, you were drinking rum in the middle of the night. With milk," Thirteen remarked, pointing at the mixed liquid from hell all over the floor. Her eyes were still adjusting to the sharp light, as were Cameron's, but she knew they'd better get used to it real quick because there was no way she would get a good night's sleep tonight. She tiptoed through the mess and despite the blonde's protests sat her down on a chair before running off for the first aid kit. "Why?" she then continued as if there hadn't been a minute pause between her sentences as she inspected the cut on Allison's palm.
Cameron shuffled and sighed. Onward to embarrassment. "It's nothing; I just had a bad dream."
A moon beam shines bright in the city of angels
Guiding the dreamers back to life
And they'll do the same every tomorrow
Till the pain subsides
"What kind of dream?" Thirteen probed, taking in Cameron's disheveled appearance. Allison was a woman inside out, no doubt, but at times like these the only way to describe her was as a girl, frightened and desperately trying to hide her fears. And that was wrong; Remy was supposed to be strong for Allison, not the other way around. This was all wrong. She had been crying, that much was obvious, but the second the lights were on it was as if her freedom to cry had been taken from her and as punishment, walls and more walls of bricks and roses began to build around her at a steady pace so that the world wouldn't have to see her tears. Or Thirteen, for that matter; because Cameron had no right to cry or be this selfish in front of her, really. None. In front of anyone else, perhaps, but not Remy, not after what she'd been through.
"I, uh," Cameron stuttered, fidgeting with her cut-free hand, "There was a spider. Um, a giant spider, and it wanted to kill me and I woke up," she mumbled, her voice going up in a pitch towards the end.
Now, Remy knew Allison suffered from slight arachnophobia, but she wasn't stupid. No, something major must have caused Allison to drink rum with milk, of all things sacred (a combination Remy knew she despised, and one she wasn't particularly fond of herself) at four in the morning. It could have as well been Cameron's idea of self-punishment and Remy would have none of that, not today, not ever. Luckily for her, the ER doctor was a terrible, lousy liar. Always had been. "Are you lying?"
Allison winced; whether it was from the sting of the antiseptic or something else, one couldn't tell. "Yes," she whispered inaudibly, avoiding eye contact.
Don't be scared now
Close your eyes
She holds guard tonight
Go on forward
Life will take its course
"Listen, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. That's okay. But we need to get you back in bed, sweetie, okay? We'll clean this up in the morning. If you stay up, you'll just be repeating it in your head over and over," said Thirteen upon gently wrapping Allison's hand in a sterile bandage. The quirk of her eyebrow inwards was barely there at all, but her worries expanded to much greater lengths on the inside. This was the first time this had happened since they had started dating a year ago. What if she couldn't do anything about it? She already owed Cameron a fortune; for caring, for not only being there, but for staying too. Shaking off her doubts, she led the petite blonde back in their bedroom and wrapped her lithe form in her arms. "Would a bedtime story help?"
Seeing as Thirteen was wide awake now, Cameron nodded, snuggling into her girlfriend and burying her nose in Remy's neck. "Mmh, only if you make it a happy one," she murmured, even though she knew, somewhere at the back of her mind, that no stories could help her tonight. But she couldn't afford to let Remy know how broken she was. How rude would it be, to express such sadness in front of the one who had unwillingly caused it, the one whose burden was so much greater?
She danced with you last night so you will remember
All you have shared, a lifetime
The angels were watching and death will be waiting
Until the time is right
Thirteen smiled to herself; she loved Cameron's little moments of childish vulnerability. To her, Cameron was a beacon in the dark, a living, walking, breathing proof that unspoiled puerile values didn't always have to dissipate in a puff of smoke with age, that sometimes, hope wouldn't die. If she were more like Cameron, always so young, perhaps she, too, could live forever. "Okay. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful fair maiden. She wasn't a princess, because there were no princesses in the land she came from, but she lived in a place more beautiful than any castle; a wild blue rose." She could feel Allison chuckle against her shoulder and, satisfied with this accomplishment thus far, ran her fingers soothingly through blonde curls. "The thing was, being so high above the ground, the maiden could only talk to other rose maidens. They weren't bad or anything, but one time the maiden caught a glimpse of a wandering minstrel below. You see, the minstrel would walk through these parts often, but his tales had never reached the maiden's ears; she could only hear her neighbors in bluebells talking about him, or her, she didn't know. She was too scared to come down and listen to the minstrel herself because she thought she could never get back home, so she admired the artist from afar in her loneliness."
Don't be scared now
Close your eyes
She holds guard tonight
Go on forward
Life will take its course
"Then one night, she could see the minstrel approaching again, but she couldn't hear any of the songs. She was trying so hard to find out what the story was that she fell over a petal and off the rose." She paused, knowing very well how she was going to handle this plot twist, but relishing in giving Allison that one moment of suspense.
"Did she die?" the blonde finally asked, voice trembling with worry and the still beating heart of whatever monster had haunted her dreams.
"No, of course she didn't. In fact, the minstrel saw it happen and caught her just in time. The maiden could see that the bard was actually a woman from a faraway lake where she had lived in solitude in a water lily. The minstrel was a writer, but a writer without a muse and imagination. When she realized she couldn't write anymore, she decided to wander through the land in search of someone who would listen to her stories and help her find new ideas. Now the maiden didn't have any ideas herself, but she knew just what would help, and in return for saving her life, she offered to take the minstrel up on her rose – if they could find a way, that is. Fortunately for them, a firefly flew past. It was said that fireflies were attracted to light – not just ordinary light, but light of the soul. It was said that light of the fireflies reflected the light of the souls they had met. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't, but in any case, the firefly noticed the pair in the darkness and gladly brought them up to the maiden's rose. There, the maiden showed the minstrel the entire world, the way she could see it every day."
Midway through the story, Thirteen noticed Cameron's breathing had become slow and even, and so, suspecting she had fallen back asleep, lowered her voice to an almost whisper, still gently stroking her hair. Her other hand went to Allison's wound between them, the pads of her fingers brushing against it, taking her back to wondering what demon had possessed the fair maiden. She made a promise to herself that night in the dark; that the cuts would heal. All of them. In the morning, she would fix it. "The minstrel stared in awe at the beauty of the world from above and knew in that instant she never wanted to leave the maiden's side for as long as she lived. The two fell in love and never returned to the ground again. And every night, the wild blue rose shone brighter than ever."
When there was no response from Allison, the brunette smiled, placed a kiss on her forehead and laid herself to rest as well. Little did she know of the shadows haunting Allison at that very moment; the shadows reminding her, with each passing minute, that today marked the day she became one year closer to losing Remy forever. So Allison let herself be numbed by Thirteen's voice and words, because how cruel would she be to let her fears be known?
Hold on to memories
See what lies ahead
Life will go on, and we are one
With every step you take