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Title: Blythe's Story, Chapter 31 of 32
Author: Namaste
Summary: "John was like a stone dropped into the still water that had been Blythe's life. So was Greg."
PG, 964 words.
Author’s Note: A look at House's early life, based on the new background we received in the fifth season episode "Birthmarks," using chapters of about 1,000 words. And yes, it'll be 32 chapters in total. One more to go. Sorry about the delay in getting this chapter up. Real life has been particularly real lately.
To start at the beginning: Chapter One

Weeks stretched out in front of her. Days. Hours. Minutes. Sometimes Blythe would watch the clock and feel eternity pass before the second hand moved. Her life had gone quiet. She had always thought that John was the one who set the rhythm of their lives: when to eat, where they lived, what they did, how they reacted to the world around them. But without Greg, she discovered her life had lost its form.

There was no need to knock on his bedroom door three times each morning before he'd finally stumble out half dressed. No anxious minutes waiting for him to gulp down his breakfast and get out the door. No calls from the school office. No meetings to schedule with teachers and counselors. No practice times penciled on the calender. No games. No reminders about how he should get to bed because he had an early day the next morning.

Blythe tried to settle into some new routine, but each routine seemed to have no real meaning. Without Greg there to prod and push out the door, there seemed to be little need to get up at all some days. John had always woken before she did. He'd be up before the alarm even sounded, and would have coffee percolating on the stove by the time she crawled out from between the sheets.

"I like the quiet," he'd said once, early in their marriage, when she had made an effort to get up when he did. So she'd given him that time to himself. Now that she had time for herself, and wasn't sure what that meant.

The quiet seemed to be everywhere. Blythe would turn on the radio or TV for company, but the sounds echoed off the walls, as if Greg had taken away more than his books and clothes when he flew off to school, as if he had taken the very air out of her life.

She tried to find some new purpose, something to fill her hours. She was too young for the women at the Officer's Club, with their gin and tonics, their white wine spritzers, their games of bridge and pinochle. She had no reason to help out with the PTA at the school.

Blythe felt like she'd been forced into an early retirement, and thought she finally understood how hard it had been when John had given up active duty flight assignments and instead was told to instruct younger pilots.

"You're not old," she'd told him back then, when he was the one trying to find his place. "They still need you."

But she wasn't sure now if anyone needed her. Except for John. Or maybe she was the one who needed him now, needed to know that she still had a place in the world. A purpose. After so many years as a wife and mother, Blythe wasn't sure what else she was supposed to be.

John seemed to adjust to their new life so easily, as if Greg had barely been there, as if the world barely seemed to affect him at all. though she told herself that she knew better, that he just didn't show the way he felt. John was like a stone dropped into the still water that had been Blythe's life. So was Greg. Blythe was the one trying to ride the waves they each set off, bobbing up and down to keep her head above water.

But she didn't regret the ride. It wasn't until Greg left that she realized how much she'd come to thrive in that turmoil they left in their wake, how much she'd enjoyed her life. She was like a cormorant in heavy surf at the ocean's edge, skirting past the waves, ignoring the whitewater and diving deep into the water again and again, and emerging with a prize in its beak. It was the life she'd chosen. The life she loved.

Now it had changed, the waters around her calming for first time in so many years, and she'd have to find some way to change too.

Winter brought cooler temperatures and rain to the desert. Storms that sprang up from the mountains, and flash floods that filled the canyons and arroyos with rushing water, water that filled the dry riverbeds in just hours.

And in later winter, the desert came alive: the yellow of the brittlebush, the orange of a desert poppy, the dark blues and purple of the lupine, even the red blossom of the barrel cactus. Something new, something unexpected, something still alive where she'd never expected anything except the brown of the desert.

She walked with John on the rocks and sand on a trail he'd found, up among the foothills outside the base. He reached down to take her hand as they neared the top of a hill. The valley floor below them was thick with blue and yellow and pink.

"I saw this on a training flight the other day," he said. "I knew you'd love it."

Blythe shaded her eyes, and looked out across the wildflowers. "I do," she said. Another surprise, just when she thought she knew what to expect. She took her hand down, and turned to John. "And I love you too."

"I never doubted it," he said, and leaned down to kiss her.

Blythe felt the warmth of the sun on his skin, smelled his aftershave as he held her close, sensed her breathing slowing to match the rhythm of his breath. So much felt the same as it always had, even though so much had changed. Even though it would keep on changing, and so would she, floating along on the ripples, finding peace in the motion.

"Are you happy?" John asked.

She looked up at him and smiled. "Always."

Chapter 32

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I actually feel wistful now that this is about to end because it's been such a beautiful and sometimes heart-wrenching trip. I love how Blythe struggles here to find her equilibrium with Greg gone and the return of her expression of her love for John. The desert in bloom is such a lovely metaphor for that.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks. I'd been struggling to find the right way to express that shift in her life when I thought of the desert in springtime and even the cactus blooming.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like "Blythe was the one trying to ride the waves they each set off,..."

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks. I admit I see Blythe as being the one who's best at responding to changes and finding some way to survive each one.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting moment between Blythe and John...Almost out of character.

I've always wondered about what Blythe and John got up to without House around all the time. It's kind of sad, now that we get a possible glimpse of it.

It's also kind of sad that there's only one more of these to go :(

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wanted to transition Blythe and John into this new life, and hint at their future without necessarily spending too much time on it. (This fic would otherwise be way too long, I think. I wanted to focus on the three of them, from Blythe's perspective.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You've definitely done a great job. It's been interesting to see that dynamic between the Houses...Well, what the dynamic MIGHT have been like, lol.

This fic couldn't ever be TOO long. We'll all be sad to see it end.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 10:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Amazing insights in Blythe there, and such beautiful, poignant writing, excellent. Thanks so much for sharing. I adored this line because it's Blythe's life in a nutshell: Blythe was the one trying to ride the waves they each set off, bobbing up and down to keep her head above water

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks. I think one of the amazing things about Blythe is the fact that she is able to keep her head above water, no matter how desperate things may be.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-28 01:20 pm (UTC)
ext_25649: House sucking a lollipop while staring at Wilson (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, this is so atmospheric. I love it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks. This is one of those chapters that I'd originally planned to be completely different, but once the desert in springtime came to me, it went in this direction.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
John's "I never doubted it" makes me think he believed Greg about his not being his biological father and that he forgave Blythe a long time ago.

Thirty-one chapters and not a duff note in the lot (to quote Mr. Laurie.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. I'll admit I still haven't quite decided whether John believed Greg or not. I tend to think he may have had suspicions, but chose to ignore them, or believed that one night didn't mean anything. (And he's a Marine traveling the world alone. It wouldn't be hard to imagine scenarios involving him.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-30 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lovely, lovely stones similie. I also love the way it seems Blythe and John are free to find each other again - a family that just can't exist as a family of three. The House men need more from Blythe than she can give to each - does that make any sense?!

Anyway, I love your writing and look forward to the end not only because I want to see the resolution play out but also because it might mean you begin a new fic I can follow...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-30 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, and it makes perfect sense. No promises on when the next fic will begin. Or what the topic will be. I never know what will catch my eye.


namaste: (Default)

October 2011


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