Never Did Like Swimming Pools


Chloe would never have told her if she hadn't died right in front of Meredith. And isn't that a strange way to think of it? Someone telling you something huge and important while they're still alive, but after they've died.

Once her heart attack was over, Meredith realized that there was a lot her daughter has been neglecting to tell her at their Daily Breakfast Summits. She might even have said as much, but then there were all these people (like cat-people, Chloe tells her later, the Mai) everywhere and they were all fighting the horrible men who shot Chloe. She and Chloe were whisked away by a girl Chloe's age, and that boy she had caught in Chloe's room once.

Back at the house, her daughter had to wrestle the telephone out of Meredith's hands more than once as she attempted to dial 911.

"No, Mom, listen! I'll tell you everything, I can explain."

Chloe's explanation involved an ancient race of non-humans with ancient prophecies and ancient blood feuds and Meredith briefly considered calling a psychiatrist for an emergency session (because, really?) when she remembered that tiny little detail: her daughter died tonight. Not a near death experience, not the kind of operating table dead where the person gets shocked back to life, but an actual death experience.

So here Meredith is, drinking another glass of wine, trying to comprehend how drastically her life had changed in one day, and flipping through a photo album of Chloe's formative years. And, seriously, was she cute. She was such a cute baby. Kitten?

Meredith is having trouble with the fact that she didn't notice this major thing about Chloe. It was like she never realized her daughter had blue eyes. She should have known. She's her mother.

And, sure, Meredith had always told her daughter she could be anything she wanted. But Meredith was kind of hoping "anything" would be something more along the line of "doctor" or "CEO" than "savior of an ancient race of cats-that-look-like-and-act-like-humans."

Chloe had had to grow and retract her claws three times before Meredith could even believe her own eyes.

Claws. Oh God. Her teenage daughter literally has claws.

There's a picture of the two of them at the zoo by the tiger cages. Chloe can't be more than seven, and she's grinning at the camera so wide you can see all her sharp little baby teeth, yet to fall out. Sharp teeth, Meredith thinks. Huh. Should have known.

Really, there must have been signs and she was just too oblivious to see them. There had to have been, right?

Chloe never scratched the furniture. Well, not in a cat-like way. She certainly never caught mice and left them outside of Meredith's door. Chloe rarely comes when she's called, but from what Meredith can tell that's typical of all teenagers, semi-divine part-feline or not. She never went crazy over catnip. Gummi bears, yes. Catnip, no.

Meredith flips the page of the album, and there's Chloe in pouting in her little ruffled bathing suit and floaties in a picture taken on the first day of swim class. Chloe had passed, out of sheer contrariness, and only after making her displeasure known everyday that week.

Well, there's that.

"Mom?" Chloe is hesitating in the doorway, light on her feet and ready to dart away. She's biting her lip (nervous habit Meredith had tried and tried to get her to stop doing) and there's a hairbrush half-hidden at her side.

She's uncertain if her mother still wants her. And the idea that her baby thinks that almost breaks her heart.

This is Chloe. She babbles and she's a terrible singer and she could stand to pay more attention in school and she's wonderful and loyal and kind and she's the best thing Meredith has ever done. This is her daughter.

Meredith opens her arms. "Come here. I'll get the knots out of your hair, and you can tell me more about this 'Uniter' business."