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The tragic case of Mr. Bubbles

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“I’m afraid I’m the bearer of bad news,” Arizona announced as she walked in the scan room Amelia was currently holed up in.

The brunette turned around and greeted her girlfriend with a sad smile. She pointed towards the scans with her index, “So do I for this poor man,” she said in a somber voice.

Judging by the three empty cups of coffee and the half eaten club sandwich littering the desk as well as the neurosurgeon’s tense demeanor, she must have been in there, staring at those imageries over and over, for quite a while now.

Arizona walked up to her and tenderly hugged her from behind. Her arms snaked around her midsection and she dropped a kiss onto Amelia’s shoulder before her head came to rest onto her shoulder. She was pleased when she felt the brunette relax under her touch, the stiff muscles loosened up ever so slightly under Arizona’s chin while Amelia’s body leaned backwards in response, seeking the soothing embrace and heartily sinking into it. With a shift like this, Amelia could very much use the physical comfort her partner was offering.

“Is that a tumor?” Arizona asked as she took a closer look at the man’s numerous brain scans and MRIs displayed on the negatoscopes and the computers’ screens. “It looks a little…” her brows furrowed at the blurry edges and she squinted, trying to get a better look.

“Fuzzy around the edges? That’s because it’s an AVM and not a tumor.”

“This size?” the blonde was taken aback and she squinted harder.

“Exactly my point,” Amelia melted a little further into the hug and Arizona tightened her grip, not missing the defeated tone. “I have to clip it, I have to try. But it’s always a gambling game with things this large. The blood vessel wall is so paper thin, I don’t know how it will react. One wrong move and it could burst. And I’d rather not have that as it is his basilar artery.”

Arizona shrugged and made a skeptical face. “I’ve seen you take down worst things. You eat AVM like this for breakfast. Hell, I’m sure you could clip this with one hand tied behind your back and with your eyes closed. Does it look scary? Not gonna lie, it does a little bit. Is it impressive? Fuck yes. That thing is a beauty. I’ve never seen you back down from a challenge though and I’m pretty sure you’re not about to start today. You’ve got this, easy-peasy,” she delicately kissed her partner’s temple.

The pediatric surgeon’s tone was so honest and certain, it definitely boosted Amelia’s morale. Arizona, along with Sofia, were doubtlessly the best cheerleaders one could ever asked for. They never failed to lift her mood up, no matter how sad or blue she was feeling, their mere presence was enough to illuminate her darkest days. Her heart fluttered inside her chest and a very much welcome wave of calmness rushed through her cardiovascular system, making her skin tingle from the top of her head to her tippy toes.

The neurosurgeon turned around in order to face the blonde. The neurosurgeon looked at her for a long moment in quiet, taking in her concerned and caring look. She eventually leaned in to kiss her languidly, trying to convey her gratitude.

“What happened to Confident Amelia?” Arizona carefully put a wild brunette back behind her ear and then her hand wandered to Amelia’s cheek, her thumb softly caressing it back and forth.

“Confident Amelia hasn’t seen daylight or a bed in almost thirty nine hours and she is on her period so she’s running a little low on fuel right now,” she nuzzled Arizona’s hand before burying her head into the crook of her neck. Arizona smelled great, the odor a strange mix of disinfectant, coffee beans and motherhood. If safe and sound had a smell, it would without the shadow of a doubt be this one because it was exactly how it made her feel. “Thanks babe. I needed to hear that today,” she whispered shyly against her neck, her warm breath making blonde hair prickle and goose bumps appear.

“I’m your partner, that’s my job,” she shrugged nonchalantly, a wide reassuring smile on her face.

They stood for a while a silence, enjoying the medical machinery familiar faint hum occupying the space. Their respective shifts were hectic lately, meaning they didn’t get to spend much time together, just the two of them. Amelia was pretty sure they hadn’t even sleep together in the comfort of their own bed for five days. Maybe six, she wasn’t exactly sure what day today was. What she knew was that she was missing her girlfriend. When she was at home, Arizona was at the hospital and when Arizona was at home, she was at the hospital. So it was nice to just bask into the intimacy, secluded, far away from anyone and everything, even if it was just for a few minutes.

Amelia suddenly remembered what Arizona had first said while coming in.

“What was the bad news you wanted to tell me about?”

“Oh, right. Bubbles died.”

“For real?” Amelia’s eyebrow shot up in surprise and she got out of her hiding place to look Arizona in the eyes.

Bubbles was Sofia’s goldfish. Correction, had been Sofia’s goldfish.  They had adopted it a little over three years ago and let’s just say that Amelia wasn’t its biggest fan. It had had the advantages of teaching Sofia how to care for a pet, though, so there was that.

Now almost twelve years old, Sofia hadn’t been greatly emotionally attached to it. She had understood that Bubbles had been a goldfish and that it had no real feelings for her, besides the fact that she had been the human to feed it. Sure, their child had cared for the pet and had liked it to some extent but Amelia and Arizona both knew she’d deal just fine with its death.

Bubbles had had the bad habit of faking its death, floating completely aloof at its fish tank’s surface water for minutes on end and every time, every fucking time, Arizona or she had been about to pronounce its time of death, that little shit would go straight back to swimming. It had been one clever motherfucker, Amelia would give it that.

“Yep. Twenty six past seven this morning,” she said solemnly. “I nudged it to be sure but it was definitely dead this time. No “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming” for it anymore.”

“Finally,” the brunette said and sighed in relief.

Honestly, the little shit had caused Sofia so many scares and tears with its false alerts, that even though its death was obviously tragic, at least Sofia wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. Nor would they have to.

Arizona swatted her arm gently. “Be nice. Sofia was a total train wreck this morning. Tears and snot everywhere. She insisted that she didn’t want to go to school so she could mourn. I had to make a deal.”

“What kind of deal?” Amelia raised an eyebrow, intrigued.

“We’re holding a funeral tonight,” Arizona announced with an apologetic face, her tone somewhere in between an affirmation and a question.

“You’re saying words but you’re not making any sense,” the brunette replied, both eyebrows raised now. “Funerals? For Bubbles? Our goldfish?”

“You try telling no to the kid when she’s crying you a river before eigth AM and you haven’t had your first cup of coffee yet,” Arizona argued defensively.

“Come on, babe,” Amelia rolled her eyes.  “Sof’ knows she can get anything she wants if she cries hard enough. That’s like mommy training 101.”

“Care to remind me who always gives her candy after she brushes her teeth just because she makes her big doe eyes at them?” Arizona rubbed her chin, pretending to think really hard.

Amelia pouted, “She’s just too cute, okay?! I physically can not say no to her adorable face.”

Arizona gave her a pointed look.

“Guess we’re having a funeral then,” the neurosurgeon stated sadly with a heavy sigh, not from sadness but rather from exasperation.

She let her forehead fell back down onto Arizona’s shoulder.

“At least, I know from whom Sofia inherited her flair for overdramatizing,” the pediatric surgeon chuckled and dropped a kiss onto the neurosurgeon’s forehead.

“Only passing down my exquisite acquired taste for melodrama to the future generation, you’re more than welcome,” Amelia said smuggly and pointed to herself with one hand on her side up and down as if she was the most amazing human being to ever grace the Earth.

She was sporting a cheeky smile and it warmed Arizona’s heart to see her smiling instead of the frowning that hadn’t seemed to want to leave her face when she had first walked in. The blonde couldn’t help the belly-laugh that overtook her. It had to be one of the dorkiest and most ridiculous thing she had ever heard Amelia said. The wording, the sass, the gestures… Gooberish as hell. Nonetheless, she wouldn’t change a thing.

“Oh, Confident Amelia is definitely back,” she snorted.

“Nuh-huh, you have to wear black clothes Amelia,” Sofia stated with a serious tone and her hands on her hips as she looked her step-mother up and down once more.

“Sweetie, not to belittle your grief, but I don’t think Bubbles would mind,” Amelia said.

“Please? For me?”

“Come on babe, make a little effort for your daughter, please,” Arizona encouraged her, purposefully opening her eyes as wide as possible and mentioning towards their bedroom with her chin, silently asking Amelia to do as she was asked.

She knew the brunette was very tired from her work day since she had taken a power nap in the car on their way back home. But since Bubbles had been Sofia’s first pet, checking the symbolic boxes of the funeral was important, no matter how exhausted they both were.

“Alright. Gimme two, baby.”

She walked towards their room to change into something more appropriate and she stopped next to her girlfriend on her way.

“Traitor. I thought you loved me,” she whispered into her ear, trying to sound menacing but her voice came out whiny.

Arizona coughed away her laugh.

When she came back out, two minutes later as assured, Arizona and Sofia were both at the kitchen counter, cautiously removing the goldfish from its fish tank into a small vase so they could then transfer it to the toilet bowl. The brunette went into internal screaming mode when she heard Chopin’s funeral march playing in the background.

The insane things she would do for this kid.

Next thing she knew, the three of them were standing in the bathroom with Bubbles waiting for its final flush. Sofia cleared her throat and took a piece of paper out of her jeans pocket.

“I wrote a eulogy,” she said as she opened up her note and launched into a monologue.

It took Amelia all of her willpower to not roll her eyes. It was a freaking goldfish.

“Jesus, one would think we’re flushing away the queen of England,” Amelia whispered jokingly so only her girlfriend could hear and a wide smile appeared on the blonde’s lips as she tried not to giggle.

Thank God Sofia was so focused on her speech, she was totally oblivious of her moms’ hushed conversation happening behind her.

“Stop it!” Arizona whisper-yelled in reply.

“I was forced to come. I reserve the right to complain and make inappropriate jokes.”

“Forced to come? Oh my God, you live here and she’s your daughter! Plus, come on, you know it means the world to Sof.”

“Kid’s lucky I love her,” she tried to sound nonchalant about it but Arizona knew exactly how much her daughter meant to her.

“You know, seeing you acting all motherly and thoughtful kinda turns me on.”

Amelia looked at the blonde with dazzled eyes and an idiotic smile and Arizona innocently smiled back at her, as if she hadn’t just admitted to lust during a funeral.

“Amelia, it’s your turn,” Sofia announced, breaking their low discussion.

“Uh?” the neurosurgeon let out, too busy bantering and day-dreaming to have heard what was going on.

“You have to say a few words.”

“Who? Me?” Amelia looked at her puzzled, then looked to her left and her right before pointing to herself.

“Yeah. My teacher at school said that at funerals, it’s usual for people to say something to honor the decease’s dignity,” the small brunette stated proudly. “So everybody has to say something.”

Amelia almost wanted to ask which dignity she was talking about but stopped herself. Instead, she cleared her throat to chase the lecherous thoughts cluttering her brain away.

“Bubbles, I’ll never forget how excited you would look when Sofia would feed you this expensive special food you liked so much. I’ll also never forget the day you actually swam right into the glass tank, that memory will never get old and will always brighten my day,” she let out a little laugh and Arizona not so gently elbowed her so she calmed down and added for good measure. “I’ll miss you, Bubbles. Amen.”

“Bubbles, I’ll never forget how happy you made my daughter during those three years with us and I thank you for that. We’ll miss you greatly,” the blonde concluded. “May you rest in peace.”

Sofia seemed satisfied with their speech and she gave them both a grateful smile. The little girl made a cross sign and put the toilet seat down before eventually flushing the toilet.

“So, sushis tonight?” Amelia asked jokingly and received two death glares. “Too soon?”