"He's ready to see you now."
Cammy looked up from her magazine. She hadn't been reading it, of course, but had picked it up in the hopes that it could distract her from her surroundings. The sterility of hospitals brought back bad memories, not to mention that she was here to see one of the few friends she'd ever had.
Slowly, she entered the room. The doctor had warned her about what she would see, but it was still unnerving. All those tubes and machines...and there he was, lying still and quiet in the center of it all.
"Hey," he whispered.
"Kurt, how are you feeling?" she asked as she pulled up a seat next to the bed.
He smiled weakly and closed his eyes. "I thought I was gonna die...but I think I'm gonna make it now."
After a moment, Kurt chuckled softly. "So, you trust my instinct now?"
Cammy rolled her eyes, silently relieved that he was making jokes again. "I guess I have to. I mean..." She grew quiet again. "Kurt...I have to tell you something. The plutonium was a secondary goal. Shadowloo was after me all along."
"I heard. I also heard about your battle at Westminster." He smiled again. "You ripped that masked psycho a new one, I hear."
"How did you--"
"Hanna filled me in a few hours ago. Said you've been kickin' back since then. Gettin' soft there, Cams," he smiled.
"Like you know from working," Cammy huffed sarcastically. There was another silence, and she tried desperately not to hear the slow, steady beeping of the heart monitor. There was something else she was trying to avoid, too; something she feared, in it's own way, more than Vega himself.
"Cammy?" Kurt whispered.
"I'm here," she replied, his sudden address rattling her.
"I...meant what I said back there. About not letting you go."
And there it was. Her greatest fear was set free, like evil spirits from Pandora's box.
He continued. "In five years, I'd get to retire. That's what I meant by 'five years later'."
Cammy sat, stunned, with his words from the jungle echoing in her mind.
If I had met you five years later, I would never let you go...
She shook her head, forcing herself to focus on other things. Fortunately, Kurt had
turned his attention to mastering the control panel on his armrest, so she quickly let
Six weeks later, Kurt was released from the hospital. He would never walk again, but he didn't seem to care. Everyone was just glad he was alive.
Hanna and Cammy both took the day off, and the three of them set off on a jaunt around London. They sped through Piccadilly Circus, heard some bands play in Hyde Park, and tried on hats on Sloane Street. Kurt, only half-joking, suggested that they go to Queensway and see how well his wheelchair could handle the ice rink. At the end of the day, the trio was exhausted, and headed back across town to Vauxhall Cross and MI6 headquarters.
After dropping Hanna off at her flat, Cammy drove silently, her head still ringing from the noise of the day. Kurt, in the back seat, just stared out the window. A few minutes passed before he spoke.
"Y'know, it's weird. I've been to all those places a million times, but today, everything seemed so different. Everything I've done today is...like I'm doing it for the first time. I donno if it's because of what's happened, or what, but it's like I'm someplace I've never been before."
Cammy sighed. It was inevitable. He was bound to mention the topic she dreaded.
"Cammy, I just feel like...I donno...like I woke up in another world. Like it's almost real, but not quite. And I donno what do to about it. I wish I could go back to where I came from...Things just don't seem right here."
She nodded. "I think...I know what you mean. When I found out about my past...I mean, before that, I just kinda put bad things behind me. But facing down Vega and Bison is...something that you can't forget."
Kurt closed his eyes and sighed. "Made me appreciate the little things, that's for damn sure. Like, I never noticed before how crowded this city really is. Or...how the river shines during sunset. Things most people don't notice."
Cammy parked the car and turned it off. "Maybe there's something special about us," she offered. God dammit, why did I have to say something so bloody stupid? she thought immediately. Kicking herself mentally for her lapse, she opened the rear door and began to set up his wheelchair.
He smiled at her. "I'd believe it."
Oh god... "Believe what?"
"What you were just sayin'. About there being something special about us."
Cammy turned bright red and prayed that the setting sun would hide this from Kurt. He continued. "Cammy...I've been thinking about a lot of things...and I want to tell you something..."
"Um...would you like to catch a show sometime?"
Cammy paused. Did I hear him right? "Um...sure..." That wasn't so bad...
"Because I really...like you a lot. You probably already knew, but..."
Cammy shook her head, her braids swaying slightly with the movement. "I...just don't..."
"Hmm? Cams, you ok?"
She whirled around to face away from him. "Kurt, I can't believe you'd even ask me such a thing. Don't you know I was a Shadowloo agent?" The harshness in her tone shocked her.
"Cammy, I know we've been through a lot, but we also need to have lives, ya know. We can't be slaves to our pasts or to anything else. Just live for the present, that's all."
"That would explain your fighting style. All rough and no finnesse." Again, she had no idea where her words were coming from. Mentally, she scolded herself for being so harsh, especially with no real provocation.
"Cammy..." He trailed off. "Just help me get inside. That'll be all
The next work day, Cammy checked in at the desk and promptly went to the vending machines to get some coffee. She hadn't slept a wink all night, and while her body felt rested, her mind was a wreck. Somehow, she made it to her office without Hanna seeing her. "I still can't believe it all," she said to herself as she pulled her chair around and removed the phone jack from the wall. "Bloody hell, five new reports..." She was secretly pleased, though, to have so much work, so she didn't have to think about last night.
An hour passed with no real progress, but the distraction was enough. Cammy found her thoughts wandering to nothing more complex than what sort of sandwich to order for lunch. But the tranquility was not to last, as Hanna swung open the door and strode in.
"Ack! Hanna!" Cammy spat out her coffee in surprise.
"Cammy, Kurt just rang my office. He's been tryin' to ring you for the past hour! Did you unhook your phone or something? Oh, bloody hell, you did. Cammy, what in the world are you trying to prove?"
Cammy didn't say anything, just looked down at her desk.
"That boy's nearly desperate, and you just brush him off like he's nothing. Is that right?"
"Hanna." The name was whispered, like a breath from a mourner.
The lieutenant hushed immediately. "Cammy...what happened last night? Are you OK?"
"I...don't know. Honestly, Hanna, I don't know." Cammy realized with some chagrin that her eyes were starting to water.
"Tell me. Was it something he did? What happened after you dropped me off?"
"He...I took him to his flat, and I was helping him in, when he told me..."
"It's OK, Cammy. Nothing leaves this room."
"It's not that I'm worried about. It could be the most clandestine operation ever, or the world's best-known fact. But I'd still be scared...because it still happened."
"Cammy, I've seen you face down inhuman psychos and power incarnate, and not bat an eye. Even after you found out your past, you weren't this upset. For the love of God, you've got to tell me what he said!"
Cammy sniffled. "When you put it like that, it sounds so foolish to be hung up over such a little thing, but...he told me...that he fancies me."
Hanna smiled. "Is that why you're crying?"
"Yeah...sounds stupid, doesn't it?"
"Not at all!" Hanna cheered. "It sounds normal."
"Normal? I couldn't sleep at all last night because I kept replaying that scene in my mind, and you're telling me it's normal?"
"Well...it may take a bit of getting used to for someone in your situation, but yes, normal."
Cammy stared at her hands. "...For certain?" she asked at length.
"I went through a lot of this first time I fell in love. I would lie awake thinking about everything he said to me, and what it could mean..."
Cammy jerked back. "Wait a minute! Who said I was in love?"
Hanna giggled, something that seemed ill-suited to her professional nature. "Well, if my experience has been any barometer, it's at least an infatuation. Believe me, Cammy, things like this happen every day."
Believe. Something in that word brought her mind around. "I...I do believe, Hanna. Thank you."
"Any time. Hey, tell you what, you file that first report before you call him, and
I'll be there to back you up. OK?"
Cammy felt like she was in a trance as she typed up the last of the details. Slowly, she exited her office and walked down the hallway to meet Hanna in the lounge.
"Cammy, are you ready? If you want, I can read the numbers off to you, or I could dial." Hanna was being more than helpful, something Cammy usually liked, but now found somewhat annoying.
"Hanna, I think I can dial a simple phone number. Just tell me what it is."
As Hanna read the string of numbers, Cammy's mind wandered back to the earlier conversation. Believe. Why was I so affected by that word?
"Cammy, you stopped dialing. Is everything right?"
"Oh! Hanna! I'm sorry, I drifted for a second there. What was it again?"
"Just dial another 5 and you'll have it. Cammy, are you OK?"
"I honestly don't know. You told me to believe you, and I don't know if I can do that. I've never felt like this before. And...Hanna, maybe I'm not meant to be in love. I mean, I was created to fight. Even after leaving Shadowloo, that's still all I've ever done. So no, I'm not OK. Does that answer your question?"
Hanna took a step back, then gently took the phone from Cammy's hand and hung it back on the reciever. "Look, it's not going to be easy. It never is, but in your case...but if anyone in the world is up to the challenge, I know it's you! You're the strongest person I know! No one else could have gone through what you've been through and come out all right. You've got to be the strongest person in the world! I swear it! Everyone here admires you for it." She smiled. "Cammy, look. It's up to you if you want to pursue this. If you don't, that's fine. I'm sure he'll understand, but it's up to you."
"Hanna, you don't understand. I...I've never been close to anyone in my life! And the thought that someone wants to get close to me...scares me more than anything in the world."
The lieutenant wrapped her arms around the younger girl in a firm hug. "Cammy, whatever you do in life, I'll always be your friend. And I know how hard it was for you to accept that you even have friends. But look at you now! The whole bloody department is your friend! And that's no small feat, either." She would have gone on, but the intercom clicked on.
"Ms. White, you have a call on Line 4."
"Now be strong, Cammy. Whatever you're gonna tell him, just tell him."
Cammy took a deep breath and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Kurt!" She tried to sound surprised, but it didn't come out quite right.
"I've been trying to ring you. I tried your flat last night, and then this morning, and the office..."
"Kurt, we need to talk about last night." The words just spilled out, belying the difficulty behind them.
Silence. Then, "I agree. Cammy, I didn't mean to make you angry. I don't know what I did, but I'm sorry."
Hanna poured herself a cup of coffee and walked to the door. "I'll be right outside if you need me," she said before exiting.
Cammy turned her attention back to the conversation at hand. "Kurt, there's...I have to tell you...I mean..." She sighed. "Kurt, let me just come out and say it. I've been thinking a lot about it, and I want to say yes."
He laughed, not a normal laugh, but a surprised sound. "Yes? After raising bloody hell, and your only reply is 'Yes'? What the hell am I supposed to--"
"I'd like to go to a show with you."
Again, silence. Cammy could hear Kurt softly breathing through the lines.
"Cammy...OK then." He laughed again, only slightly more at ease. "I get the feeling there's a long and a short version of this story, and there's a lot you're not telling me."
"Kurt, please don't ask me why. There's a lot of things I'm not ready to talk about yet."
"Hey, no problem. You'll tell me when you're ready. Cammy..."
"Just tell me one thing then. Are we still friends?"
She smiled. "Always."
Cammy nestled down in her seat and squeezed Kurt's hand. "I hope the show's good," she whispered.
"Oh hell yes. I just wish I could sit in the front! Damn handicapped seating. But then again, if we were in the front, I couldn't do this..." He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it softly.
She giggled, the sound of someone who is truely carefree. I finally
realized what it was about that word. Belief is the one thing I've been missing in my
life. And now I believe in my friends, and in myself. So I can do anything, as long as I