Disclaimer: See Chp. I.
A/N: Thank you to reviewers :) (I love reviews, they make me happy!) This is the last part of this particular fic, simply because I want to get a feel for what FOX is going to do next. That means I may very well be adding more after Hughsday. We'll see.
Part III is, I feel,a bit unrealistic, but this is 'fiction' so, I figure I can do what I want (within reason, of course, that is my own rule). Part of me had kind of hoped that at the end of the last episode, House would be at Cam's door to ask her back, but alas, that does not happen until the next episode it seems. Anyway, at the end of the ep, I was struck by a sudden idea regarding the champagne and thus, my part III was a bit altered to what you will now read.
I hope you enjoy ;)
They were gathered in House's office, well after hours. Excitement, pleasure, and champagne, what could be better? The cork popped and bubbles flowed over the neck of the bottle.
"Cuddy's a genius-- convincing four people to give up a fortune to save our sorry asses" House smiled.
Vogler was gone and with him, the greatest source of Houses' recent misery. Dr. Cuddy, looking worn yet pleasant, drifted into the room. There was something softer about her-- perhaps because she had been effectively beaten about her own hospital the past two days.
"Dr. Cuddy!" House announced, "The man of the hour!"
He raised his glass to the hospital administrator as she entered wearing a vague smile. The room erupted into cheers as Foreman tossed a brightly colored nerf football in her direction. She caught it awkwardly and her smile brightened some.
"What are you doing?" she questioned with a smile.
"We're drinking" House said flatly, "I would have though that was pretty obvious".
Cuddy tossed the football to Chase who caught it, shocked. She smiled grimly and picked up a nearby glass of champagne and lifted it to House.
"To the great champion-- saved you, saved Wilson" she nodded to Wilson, seated across from Houses' desk, "saved the whole team".
She surveyed the room and sighed, downing the full glass of bubbly in a swift few swallows. Wilson watched from the corner of his eye, as did House, as the woman gulped back the intoxicating beverage before setting the glass down on Houses' desk.
"Of course" Cuddy continued, a note of exhaustion evident in her gravely voice, "none of them would have needed saving if you could actually get along with another human being".
Her words were flat, and accurate.
House knit his brow and leaned towards her, attempting to soften her mood. Despite all else, she had gotten rid of Vogler, and he had to be grateful for that.
"Thank you, Ms. Buzz Kill" he teased.
Cuddy scoffed, "Well, you only cost us... $100 thousand dollars" the price stuck in her throat, $100 thousand dollars..."we could have saved some lives, made a few jobs, helped a few people-- yippee".
House surveyed her blankly, "You voted to get rid of him" he said, flatly.
Cuddy sighed, "Lesser of two evils. You should be mourning, I know I am.." she said heavily and left the now silent room.
Mourning. House hated 'mourning'-- so drab. He thought about what he had to mourn for-- not the loss of Vogler's money, that was for sure. But.. maybe... Cameron?
Cameron was shocked. She stood in the middle of her living room, telephone held to her ear, with a look of utter disbelief on her lovely face.
"I... can't believe it" she spoke into the receiver. She couldn't hide the smile on her face. She knit her brow, listening to the response.
It was evening-- behind her sheer curtains the sky was a muted shade of indigo. Twilight's pale stars had begun to wink over head. She had remained home the past two days, relaxing and regaining her sense of emotional stability. She felt, after the past week, she certainly deserved the break.
She was comfortable in a pair of faded blue jeans and a black tank top. Softly, music was playing-- "Home" but Michael Buble. She loved his voice, so soft and tender-- soothing.
On the table lit by an over-sized white candle, a half-full glass of red wine sat untouched.
"That's it?" she questioned, unable to fully fathom the enormity of the situation being described to her.
Cameron listened before opening her mouth to speak when she was halted by a sudden knock at the door.
"Um.." she fumbled, moving towards the landing, "just a second-- there's someone here".
She stepped forward and turned the handle, telephone cradle in the crook of her neck. She stopped cold.
"I... have to go. We'll talk later?" she breathed softly.
"Thanks again, bye".
Pressing 'end', Cameron looked up into the piercing blue eyes of Greg House. He gazed at her.He had missed her; missed her.Missed her? Unbelievable. Her dark tresses fell softly over her shoulders and he remembered the last time, only a few days ago, when he had last seen her.
Cameron inhaled with some difficulty and moved aside, holding open the door to allow him entrance. House shuffled in awkwardly as Cameron closed the door behind him. He stepped forward, taking in his surroundings.
"Nice place" he said softly.
Cameron held her breath and forced herself to look at him. What was he doing here!
"So, I suppose congratulations are in order". It was not quite a question, and alsmost a statement.
House knit his brow.
"Wow-- a press release already?"
Cameron displayed the phone in her left hand before setting it down.
Outwardly, House gave no reaction-- So they talk... The realization struck him harder than it should have.
"Foreman?" House questioned, attempting a surprised facade to cover the fact that he was, indeed, somewhat surprised.
"Figures-- if anyone was gonna steal my thunder..." House shrugged.
Cameron watched him closely, confusion milling in her mind at an alarming rate.
"He called... to see how I was" she said at last.
She smiled softly-- "He wanted to verify that I had quit; that you didn't fire me."
"Good 'ol Foreman" he said dryly, "not exactly the trusting type, though".
Cameron sighed and moved slowly past him, arms crossed over her stomach, to stand across the room from him, the sofa separating them.
"What are you doing here?" Cameron questioned, praying he wouldn't hear the tremble in her voice.
House arched a brow, "What, you're the only one who can make House calls?" he joked.
Cameron stood silently. House frowned slightly and lifted a half-empty bottle of champagne into view.
"Celebration" he said meekly.
"There would have been more but... well, Cuddy was thirsty. It wasn't a party without you" he said.
Cameron furrowed her brow and simply gazed at him. House signed and shifted his weight, visibly uncomfortable, and set the bottle down on a nearby end table.
"Ding-dong the boss-man's gone" he joked, and then cleared his throat at her continuing silence.
Eyes fixed on his had gripping the handle of his cane tightly, he continued.
"With Vogler gone" his voice was steady, factual, but Cameron could sense his exhaustion, "I find myself in possession of some excess payroll".
He brought his face up and leveled his gaze on Cameron. He shrugged.
"I thought about giving Chase and Foreman a raise but... well, they don't really deserve it-- especially Chase" he grumbled.
Cameron remained silent. She held his gaze, almost daring him to look away. House swallowed and quirked a brow.
"Besides, why waste time going through resumes and" he rolled his eyes, "interviews when I have a perfectly good immunologist right here?" His sarcasm was beginning to fail.
"You need a job and I need an immunologist" he said at last, "it's destiny".
Cameron swallowed and inhaled a deep breath.
"I don't need a job" she said, fighting to keep the tremble from her voice.
House laughed dryly, almost painfully-- "Oh? My bad. Food, clothing, shelter, they're all free now. I forgot..." he attempted to lighten the mood, a task which was proving daunting.
"I don't need your job" Cameron said, a greater note of force evident in her voice.
House blinked-- what? Cameron realized that she had disarmed him-- the fact simultaneously pleased her and pulled at her heart.
"That was fast" House said softly.
Cameron inhaled slowly, attempting to steady her fluttering hands. She tightened her grip on her waist and fought the urge to break contact with his eyes-- she lost. Cameron shook her head and moved towards the table, picking up the wine glass and moving to the kitchen behind her to set it in the sink.
"I sent out resumes a few weeks ago" she said, turning to face him, "just in case".
Her voice was quiet. Why oh why couldn't she maintain her composure around him?
House nodded limply.
"Well" began without completing the sentence.
His eyes, unable to meet hers, searched the dim room.
"I haven't accepted anything" Cameron sighed.
"I didn't... intend to just quit and have something all lined-up. It was just, incase" she said, anger rising in her cheeks.
"I didn't plan this. It just... happened" she said softly.
House looked into her face, meeting her gaze intently.
The words were simple; forceful. They surprised her.
"I... I can't" Cameron fumbled.
Damn her nerves-- she couldn't keep the trembling from her delicate fingers.
House had intended to be more neutral, more 'matter-of-fact', but he felt his resolve waning.
"You know why" Cameron said flatly.
House shook his head and exhaled heavily.
"Come back" he repeated slowly, forcibly.
"Why?" Cameron questioned, taking a step closer to him in the quiet room.
Michael Buble's sultry voice floated gently on the air. House knit his brow-- damn it.
"Because you're good. I need and immunologist, and you're already used to me-- I'd hate to have to break in a rookie. You see how fast they crumble around me".
Cameron shook her head.
"I'm sorry... Not good enough."
She dropped her arms to her sides and moved towards him to see him out. House took a step towards her. Damn it! She was going to make him say it...
"What do you want from me?" he demanded gruffly.
Cameron stopped, mere feet from him, and looked up into his face. She held his azure gaze.
"The truth" she said simply. Her voice was steady; calm.
House frowned, angered that she held such sway over him.
"Fine" he thought, "let her go-- I don't need her..."
He inhaled slowly.
"We need you" he said at last, breaking his gaze from hers.
Cameron quirked an inquisitive brow and folded her arms over her stomach once again.
"We?" she questioned?
House sighed heavily, angrily.
"Me, okay! I need you" he snapped, looking up sharply to face her.
Cameron's heart skipped a beat. She released the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, speechless. She looked up into his blue eyes-- so tired, almost dim. They lacked their usual icy quality. House exhaled sharply and dropped his gaze to the floor.
"It's... unusual for me to deal with someone who refuses to hate me" he said, forcing himself to sound distant, neutral, controlled.
"Maybe I do need someone to stick up for me when I 'screw up'" he finished, lifting his eyes to meet hers.
Cameron held her breath, forcing herself to remain steady. She exhaled softly and looked at him. Those few words had been painful, actually painful for him. She couldn't, could she? She'd just be throwing herself to the wolves all over again-- nothing good could possibly come of this.
But... he did come to her, he came to ask her to come back. That had to be something. Hell, for House that was HUGE. Cameron swallowed, forcing down... whatever it was she was feeling.
"Have dinner with me" she said suddenly, her words were quiet; nervous.
"Ex...cuse me?" he managed, looking into her emerald eyes in confusion.
"Have dinner with me" she repeated with greater conviction "and I'll come back".
House knit his brow.
"I don't really see how this is relevant..." he began.
"One dinner" Cameron insisted, "I'm not going to jump on you" she scoffed.
House arched a brow-- "You might, how do I know?"
Cameron smiled softly in spite of herself. She placed her shaking hands on the curve of her hips and faced him, straightening to her full height in an attempt to seem a slight more imposing.
House diverted his gaze and swallowed. He nodded, almost imperceptively, and turned towards the door.
Cameron's heart fell-- "so that's it" she thought.
How could she have let herself begin to think...
House turned the door know and spoke, facing the slightly-ajar exit.
"I'll see you Monday" he said, opening the door and letting himself out.
He stopped, hand on the knob, and turned to look at Cameron across the dim room
"I hate 'French'" he said, eyes lingering on her face a moment.
He cleared his throat: "enjoy the champagne", and closed the door behind him.