Disclaimer: FOX owns all of House's...people things.


They were barely out of the restaurant when Cameron took off running. "C'mon!" she called out to him. "Let's go!"

"You run," he called out. "I'll be unecessarily slow with my cane."

She rolled her eyes and spun around, the bottom of her dress flaring out as she did. She continued to do so while he watched, amused, until her heel got caught on a crack and she fell sideways into a lamp post.

"Oh, that was smooth," House commented, appearing next to her. "You could have hurt the lamp post." He patted the post affectionately, saying, "There, there. I'm sure she didn't mean to do it."

Cameron, instead of glaring at him or making a comment on his behavoir, grinned and grabbed his hand, dragging him along with her. "Where are you taking me?" House demanded. "It better not begin with an 'M' and end in an 'all'."

"To the tutu store," she tossed back, not even looking at him. "Just trust me, okay? I know where I'm going."

"Yeah, but I don't know where we're going," he said, trying to move his cane fast enough to match her pace."And that's where you and I seem to be having the problem."

She didn't reply, instead dragged him across several streets and corners until they had reached her destination. "This is it," she breathed, letting go of his hand and running towards it.

"A playground," House stated in disbelief. "You took us to a child's playground."

"I've driven past here almost every day," she called out. "I've always kind of wanted to come here, and I figured why the hell not tonight?"

"I have a cane, and you take me to a playground. Good thinking," he said. "Did I mention my cane?"

She was sitting on a swing now, spinning around and staring up at the chains as they tangled together. "Fine," she said, still not looking at him. "I'll play by myself. Just because you don't know how to have fun-"

"Me?" he interrupted. "Not have fun? You have seen me at work, right?"

"Please," she laughed. "That's not fun; that's sarcasm."

He made his way over to the swing set and sat down next to her. "Sarcasm is fun."

"Well," she said, her tone falsely implying that she was about to agree with him. "Yeah, for you. What about your patients?"

"Hey," he said. "I don't think that they care if I'm mean as long as I keep them from dying. They should send me flowers for my sarcasm. Well, maybe not flowers...maybe some nice steak."

She laughed, a loud, free, joyful sound that warmed the cold crinkles of his heart and made him smile.

And, just like the pretend kiss they had shared in the train, it terrified him with the emotions it brought up.

She was asleep, her forehead leaning against the window, having been thoroughly exhausted from running around so long. He had remained on the same swing the whole time, his cane gently pushing the swing.

How he had gone this entire time without knowing this side of her truly amazed him. How was he to know that locked beneath the quiet, bookworm exterior was a bundle of energy and excitement just demanding that someone find the stupid key, undo the lock, and let it free?

And it appeared that he was the one that held the key that her soul was craving.

It was an oddly terrifying situation, yet it made him surprisingly happy at the same time. Outside of the hospital, he'd never really been anyone's key to life. He'd always found it much easier to stop, sit back, and let something find him. And in a way...this had, too, in the form of a gorgeous brunette who didn't understand the importance of a sheltered heart. The idea was simple, really; don't let anyone in, they can't leave. They don't leave, you don't have a problem.

And then Cameron showed up, slowly but surely weaseling her way into his life. She managed to get through his hard-core outside to reach his equally guarded inside. She pounded and kicked on that casingaround his heart, leaving a fatal dent. The minor infliction (caused by an uncalibrated centrifuge, of all things) didn't seem bad at the time...until she stuck her hand out a few weeks later and whispered a good-bye.

That was the moment that the shell shattered, and all his previous ideals were being smothered by the mass of emotions that she stirred up in him.

And God knows that before she came along, he probably wouldn't have ever smiled at the few hairs flying around her head while the wind from the small opening in the window let air inside the car.

He pulled into his parking place and tapped on her shoulder. "Wake up," he commanded. When she didn't respond, he pushed her lightly. "Cameron," he said. "Hello?" He pushed her shoulder again, perhaps too hard, and her nose smashed into the window.

"Ah!" she cried out, pulling away from the glass and clutching at the tender cartilidge. "What the hell!"

"Good," House said brightly, pushing his door open. "You're awake. We're back at the house. Get out before you drool on my car."

She got out of the car, still rubbing her sore nose, and yawned. "What time is it?"

He stole a glance at his watch. "Around midnight."

She closed her eyes and groaned. "Midnight? Thank God we don't have work tomorrow." She stumbled as she tripped over the sidewalk, and put both hands out to steady herself.

"That was graceful," House commented, looking for his house key. When he found it, he stuck it in the door and waited for Cameron to get to the porch.

"Y'know," she said, inhaling the warm night air through her nose. "This was fun. I had a good time tonight, Mary-Beth aside." She looked up at him through lowered lashes, a look that probably wasn't meant to be incredibly sexy yet managed to be at the same time. "Did...you have a good time?"

He tilted his head at her, contemplating the question. Had he had fun? He certainly hadn't been bored...Her company provided a myriad of playful bantering sessions and swirling emotions inside of his mind. He'd had fun with her; too much 'fun' for the two of them to remain (or become) friends. So that meant there was only one answer to her question: "Sure. I had a good time."

"Good," she breathed, and before she could stop and understand what she was doing, she leaned up and gave him what they had both been wanting since that day on the train. Her kiss was just that; a short, sweet brushing of the skin, and as soon as their lips made contact she pulled away and placed a hand over her mouth, her eyes wide with horror. Quickly, she turned and twisted the key in the lock, letting herself into his house. She was on her way to the stairs when his hand grabbed her arm.

She closed her eyes and turned to face him, opening her lids to see him regarding her with a thoughtful expression. She opened her mouth to ask him what he was doing, but her question was cut off.

By what? Nothing other than the surprisingly smooth lips of one hard-shelled Dr.Greg House.

Her noise of surprise was caught by his lips, and he used the advantage to begin a thorough - and completely necessary - exploration of her mouth with his tongue.

She melted under his touch, his left hand on the small of her back being the only thing holding her up.

On his part, House was enjoying the reaction he was getting, and the method of how he was getting it. Her small, incidental kiss on the front porch had officially broken him down, wiping all his ridiculous ethical concerns right out of his mind. Her kiss was awakening things in him that he had been convinced dead long ago.

And, not wanting the real world to intrude on their private moment, he stuck out his cane and pushed the front door closed, the normally loud object shutting with a soft 'click'.

On the inside of the house, House's suit jacket had been shoved off his shoulders, his tie loosened, unraveled, and in a strange pile by his foot, and the first few buttons on his shirt undone. Cameron's hair was no longer confined to it's clip, and spilled across her shoulders. One of the straps to her dress was halfway to falling off her shoulder completely, and she had to pull away for air. "We..." she breathed. "We should...do this again sometime. The 'not-a-date' thing. Except...maybe without the 'not'..."

House's only repsonse was to cup the back of her head to bring her lips back to the place he thought they should never leave. And suddenly, the hold that had been left in him since Stacy was filled with Allison Cameron's love.

And he was going to do damn well everything in his power to make sure that she stayed there.

For good.


(sniff, sniff) i'm so sad, you guys. this was my first multi-chapter fic, and i'm happy that it was accepted. thanks to everyone of you who reviewed (especially merrie, who entertained me with her love for a naughty House.) thanks to BA for telling me to get off my arse and write chapter seven before you guys got irritated with me, and thanks to those who put up with me and my whacked out updating.

Thanks again, and House/Cameron forever!

peace out.