Author's Note: This was originally just gonna be a one-shot, but I had an idea and had to add to it. This is the last chapter, I swear. Please review!
She felt before she saw.
Thick grass, swaying in the breeze, poking into her back where she laid. Sunlight beating down relentlessly on her face an arms, though she wasn't sweating. She finally opened her eyes, and sat up slowly.
Wind blew her hair back immediately, yellow stalks brushing her face. The sky was a clearer blue than she'd ever seen it, and everything was crisp and clear. The salt marsh stretched in all directions, to infinity, waterways tracing their way through the stiff grass. She was on one of the few substantial pieces of ground. A single, spindly tree, rose up from the earth, three hundred yards to her left. It was small, but cast a little shadow with it's green leaves.
She looked away from the tree for a moment to take in the enormity of the landscape, and when she looked back a figure was leaning against the trunk. It was indistinguishable in the shade of the tree against the glaring sunlight. She got to her feet carefully, the wind blowing her lab coat back as she walked unevenly toward the tree. Her shoes were soon muddy, her hair quickly mussed beyond repair. The figure came into focus as she approached.
Soon, she had joined him under the shade.
"Where am I?" She asked.
"You're asleep, Medina." Lawrence Kutner replied. "On your couch."
"Makes sense. But why would my subconscious bring me here, to a place I've never been, that probably doesn't exist?" Rush asked.
"Pretty, isn't it? I thought it was nice."
"Interesting how you assume this is all a product of your subconscious." Kutner speculated. He was smiling at her, friendly. He wore jeans and a black hoodie.
"Well, you are dead. And you did just say I was asleep, so I'm guessing this is some combination of a dream and a hallucination."
"You don't believe in life after death?" He tipped his head sideways, his gaze piercing.
"Are you saying that I'm actually talking to a dead person, that this isn't just a hallucination brought on by grief and sleep deprivation?"
"I'm not saying anything. Apparently, I'm a product of your subconscious mind. Though really, is it your subconscious if it's connecting with you so bluntly?" He grinned. "Whoa. Paradox."
Still unclear what this was, Rush just looked at him. "So why has the afterlife/my mind brought you here for?"
He shrugged. "Who knows, right? Either I know as much as you do, or I'm a ghost and not obligated to talk about what happens when you die." He smiled. "So how've you been?"
"I've seen better days." And then, "If you're a product of my imagination, you'd know how I was."
"Doesn't explain how I can see the future."
"Wait, what now?"
"Yeah. It's pretty cool, actually. You'd like it."
"Is that why you're here, to tell me the future?"
He smiled. "Maybe. Or maybe your mind's just making something up for me to tell you."
"I'd like to think my mind has my best interests in mind."
"You'd think, but some hallucinations tell you to not so good stuff. You know, schizophrenia and all."
She sighed. "Oh, yeah. So are you gonna be helpful. Kutner always was."
"I know." He said. "I'll be as helpful as possible."
She smiled, for the first time in a while. "Good."
"You've been sad lately."
"I have a good guess as to why."
"You would, whether you're my mind or not."
"But you're still at Princeton-Plainsboro. Doing your job, hanging out around the new team and House and Wilson and Chase and Cameron. Does it hurt?"
"I'm reminded of you everyday."
"But you don't leave."
"Sometimes remembering you isn't the worst thing. It's good things, of course, what I see. Because you saw good in people."
"I think you stick around because you're afraid to move on."
Rush raised an eyebrow. "Maybe I don't want to move on. I don't want to forget."
"You don't have to forget." He said. "But I'm not coming back. I wish I could, but I'm can't. You have to let go. You can't spend the rest of your life waiting for me to show up miraculously."
"I know. But it's been barely any time since you died. You can't expect me to get over it that quickly."
"I don't expect you to. But I know what direction your leaning toward, and that's pushing everyone else away in misery."
"Right, apparently you can see the future. A future."
"You think it can change?"
"To some extent. But I think when it's your time to die, it's just your time. And even if someone could go back and try to change it, it would just end the same way."
"I know you thought about killing yourself. Following me."
"That was stupid. I don't want to die. I was in a bad place when I thought about that. We weren't even together when you died." She said decisively, crossing her arms.
"I wish we were."
"Would it have changed things?"
"I don't know. Maybe I would've waited, but I don't think the pain would've gone away, even for you. It would just be worse for you when I eventually would off myself."
She looked at him pleadingly. "If you had just talked to someone. Me. Taub. We could've helped. House, even, might've listened."
"I was never that simple."
She looked at the ground, blinked her eyes a few times.
"It's not your fault. It's not anyone's, not one person." He said quietly. She felt his hand on her shoulder.
Looking up, she saw black clouds forming on the horizon, moving toward them. Lightning lit up one of the thunderheads as the wind picked, blowing their clothes tight against their bodies.
"You have to go." Kutner said.
"You have an engagement on the other side that you can't miss."
"Oh, right." She paused. "Will I see you again, ever?"
"Dunno." He replied. "I guess that depends if it's really me or just your mind making shit up as it goes along. But if this really is dead me talking, then I'll be seeing you in sixty years or thereabouts. Blink of an eye for a dead person. Though you'll have a totally different life by then. A happy one, I hope."
"You said you can see the future."
"A future." He grinned, which subsided after a moment. "Give Chase and Cameron my congratulations. For your sake, I hope the future is set in stone. Good things are coming for you, if you let them. For their sake, I hope it's all subject to change."
"I suppose you're going to be cryptic and leave it like that?" She half smiled.
"You know it."
He pulled her forward into a hug, which she returned.
"You're gonna be ok." He whispered.
"We'll see, won't we?" She replied. "Either from my head or somewhere else."
She was still in his arms as the marsh faded.
Midmorning sunlight was falling through her drapes when she slowly opened her eyes. It was her day off, so she'd gotten out of bed and promptly fallen asleep on the couch.
Checking the wall clock, she leaped to her feet unsteadily and hopped toward the bathroom at a lilt.
She took a cold shower to wake up. A few tears fell, but she barely acknowledged them. She'd seen him one last time. He'd told her to move on.
He'd also told her he wished they could've been together.
See you in sixty years. She thought, wondering if he could hear. Assuming she hadn't just made up the whole thing to begin with.
She blow dried her hair, then combed it and put it up in a bun. She slipped into a blue velvet dress and black boots before her grabbing her purse.
Rush arrived just a minute early, and found her seat next to Thirteen and Foreman. She nodded hello just as the music began to play, and they rose for the radiant bride.
Rush smiled at the happy couple, but couldn't help thinking about what Kutner'd said about Chase and Cameron's future. It was a foreboding thought. Maybe the future could change, maybe it couldn't.
She hugged them both at the reception.
"Beautiful wedding." She complemented.
"We'll be there for yours." Chase said.
She smiled ruefully. "When and if."
She found a table after that. Ordered herself some wine to watch the dance floor. Flowing dresses twirled, bright colors surrounding the white one at the center of it. A local band played music off to one side. The bride and groom, Taub and his wife, Thirteen and Foreman, Cuddy and Rachel. They twirled like bits of wrapping paper.
The sun was setting before people began to say good byes.
Medina Rush climbed into her car, turned the key and let the engine turn over.