The Gold Finch
CATEGORY: Cleo Finch
RATING: R - only for swearing
SPOILERS: Season 7, including "Rampage"
ARCHIVE: Please Ask First
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay guys, I know that I said no
fanfic anymore, but I was stuck all alone, and
terribly bored when the story came to me. Realizing
that there are virtually no Cleo stories, I thought it
my duty to write one. Plus, it's terribly short and
took me under a half hour to write it. As for other
stories, here's the deal: I'm finishing the series I
write with LovelyLuka24, and also doing a list fanfic
(if you wanna help - e-mail me), but then I'm done.
If I'm lying about that, then I'll never watch ER
again! Oh, and I fudge a few facts about Cleo, but
just roll with it, okay?
SUMMARY: A journey into Cleo Finch's mind after she
hears some life changing news.
"Your HIV test turned out to be negative, Dr. Finch."
Those were the words that changed my life. For
better, though. If I had been positive, I wouldn't
have known what to do. The whole ordeal had turned
out to be practically liberating. Liberating, you
ask? Yes - I'll repeat it for you - LIBERATING. I've
been living my whole goddamn life like I lived all
this time, waiting for the results....Cowering in
worry, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.
Holing myself up in my house, barely thinking of
anything except my potential fate.
And why did I live my life like this? I was raised by
an African-American man, and a Caucasian women in a
town where you don't mix and match things like that.
Mixed raced children are taboo, and you might as well
be wearing the scarlet letter for all it matters. My
parents never beat me, or verbally assaulted me. They
were the very picture of what good parents should be,
yet they made one error. Bringing me into a world, a
town, where I would forever be known as the "oreo
child". Cute. Real damn cute. It didn't matter that
I was beautiful. It didn't matter that I was
brilliant - It didn't matter that I was the
valedictorian. No, no - What mattered was that I
happened to have one black parent and one white
parent. People just need to get over their shit and
leave me alone about that. Finally they did, but the
memories last. And it wasn't even like I was accepted
exactly after that. Not that I wanted to be....."Oh
Cleo, now that you're a doctor....". I had two words
for them, and I quote: "Fuck you."
Okay, okay, maybe it was a bit harsh, but they totally
deserved it. So I went to college and med school.
But I played that game where you always stay cautious
about the friends you make and the people you date.
Even then I found my boyfriend screwing my best friend
back in my dorm room....."Sorry Cleo, it's just that
Amy and I happened to find each other here, and you
haven't been around lately....". I had two words for
them too. Bet you can guess what they are.
I decided on my speciality in medicine - pediatrics,
because I had never had brothers and sisters, and I
adored kids. I was good with kids. So, in my fourth
year of med school I did a sub-internship in it, and
then earned an internship after graduation. I
graduated third in my class. Guess who were numbers
one and two? My "friend" Amy, and my cheating jackass
of an ex-boyfriend. Thanks fate - can you now turn
the knife counterclockwise? Of course they were
married (just keep twisting the knife, okay?). They
moved to Los Angeles, and I came to Chicago.
Ah, Chicago. Along with it came County General, and
along with that came Peter Benton. I still wonder why
we even got together, Was it for love? I wanted to
think so, but I knew I was sadly mistaken. He
happened to be there, and happened to ask. Maybe I
was afraid of being alone, Maybe I was desperate.
Maybe I was sick of Malucci asking me out, and needed
a real excuse. Whatever the reason was, Peter was
standing next to me in the lounge when I received the
phone call that morning. After I hung the phone up,
he failed to say anything, to acknowledge that I had
just received what was the most important phone call
of my life.
"Well, that was the HIV testing place - My test is
negative." I braced myself for one of his smiles.
"That's good." He said, as if I had told him the White
Soxs won a game. The smile? Denied....
"Yeah Peter, that's swell." I said sarcastically.
"What's that suppose to mean?" He asked in an
"I have been waiting and waiting, sweating out this
moment for a good long time, Peter. And now you treat
it casually - like you have all along. Oh sure, Cleo,
HIV's not a big thing, huh? I could have been a dead
"Cleo..." Peter broke in.
"I'm not finished yet. It's just not today - You
haven't been there at all. I have always been there
for you, always supported you. I put my damn life on
hold for you! I watched your son, I tried to help you
find a job - I housed some teenage delinquent who
ruined my house! I did it all for you - Because I
loved you! And what do I get when I need some comfort
and support? A shrug of your shoulders and a 'That's
good'" I shook my head furiously. "I'm sick of your
shit Peter. We're through."
"Cleo, you're overreacting...."
"Fuck you." I interrupted him, smiling smugly. "Life
is short Peter, and I've already wasted enough time on
you. I need to live a little." I walked out, leaving
him there - mouth open.
Hours later, my shift over, I stood in the ambulance
bay, watching the cars go by. Funny how much your
life could change in a day. Even though I was
officially off duty, I stood there anyway - It wasn't
exactly seizing the day, but I felt like standing
there, okay? My thoughts, however, were interrupted
"Hey Cleo, I heard you and Peter broke up - I'm
sorry..." He said, stopping next to me.
"Correction - I broke up with him." I stated.
"Sorry again - Are you okay?" Dave corrected himself.
"Just fine - It's been a long day." I turned to face
"Would you like to go get a drink?" Dave asked
"Dave, I just broke up with Peter, okay?"
"Not like that, Cleo. Just in casual, friendly, not
leading to hot-wild-sex with me kind of a way." He
paused, almost thoughtfully. "Though I can assure you
- the sex would be great."
That did it - I actually laughed. The answer 'no' was
on the tip of my tongue when I bit it back.
"What the hell! Sure Dave, I could go for a drink." I
So I headed to the bar with Malucci. What? Come on,
a girl's got to live a little, okay?