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Disclaimer: A work of fiction; the recognizable people in the story belong to themselves and have never performed the actions portrayed here. I do not know the actors nor am I associated with them in any way. If you are underage, please do not read this story. I am not making any profit from these stories, nor do I mean any harm.

title: Drowning without Panic
gen Cate

This is something I wrote months ago, that I remembered I had today as I was looking for something else. It's gen Cate, AU, meant to be part of the ici_londres RPG but I don't know. Needed it today. In the RPG, Cate is a spy with no attachments to anyone, though she has growing feelings for Liv, a nurse who has no involvement in the spying.

Cate balanced precariously on her overturned wastebin and stretched to reach the small wooden box hidden on top of her bureau. Emptying the contents onto the table, she sifted through them, fingering each item carefully before replacing them back into the box. This was all that remained of her life before London and she handled the detritus with a surgeon's detachment, protecting herself from the little burning pinpricks of memory they caused, until all that remained was a little brass locket. She had carefully avoided it, leaving it until last, and even now avoided touching it.

She stood and replaced the box and its memories back to its hiding place though the locket remained. Throughout the evening, as Cate fussed about the room with an uncommon nervous energy, it sat where she had left it, dull with age, entreating her to open it and look inside. She didn't need to, though, as the image was burned inside her memory and she had no desire to see it again. She had once worn it as proudly and as lovingly as Liv wore hers, which was, of course, what had made her think of it tonight. She merely had the sudden need to have it close.

Later that night, she dreamt of oceans, of drowning without panic, of feeling weightless. She came back into consciousness slowly. It was still dark in her room and for a moment she felt herself back in her childhood bed. She called out to her mother and was stunned by her adult voice, covering her lips because it was too loud, too low in the quiet. All the panic that had been missing from her dreams crashed upon her like waves and she curled her legs into her chest and heaved sobbing gasps.

When she was able, she got out of bed and picked up the locket. She found a thin ribbon in a drawer of her dresser and threaded the charm onto it, tying it around her neck. She crawled back into bed and held the locket in her hand. The dreams that came next were softer, gentler and she sank deeper into sleep.


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