Reluctance
Chapter 1 – Remember

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How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.

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He hadn't always been like this; an avid addict, sarcastic bastard, no-nonsense doctor with his reputation on the line. Yes, believe it or not, Dr. Gregory House had once been normal.

Those were the days he longed to forget, but at the same time longed to bring back. Her smiling face, her bright blue eyes as he swung her over his head. They were just memories now. His past was something that House did not speak of often, to anybody. He tried to force it from his mind during the day; forgetting about the pain made it disappear, if only for a moment. He got through each and every shift at the hospital in the same way. A couple of pills here, seeing a patient there, and more pills. Dr. House lived by routine. But by chance, one spring day, his routine and his life as he knew it were interrupted forever.

Her name was Allison Cameron. She was a bright spot in his otherwise monotonous existence. She had waltzed into the Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital on her first day, full of life and friendliness, taking House's feelings for a ride. And all he had done was insult her from the beginning. Of course, Cameron had blamed his sarcastic attitude on stress and had plunked a steaming cup of coffee on his cluttered desk. Soon after, it became a routine, per say, of theirs each morning; Cameron brought him coffee and went through his mail as they discussed the current patients. As much as it pained him to admit it, House looked forward to this. Seeing Cameron's naïve and youthful face took off an edge of hopelessness.

It had been his forty-fourth birthday. Six months to the day after Cameron had joined his team. They had started the day like normal; him sipping his coffee, blaring Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from his stereo, Cameron pretending that his music didn't annoy her. She had separated his mail into two piles; important and junk. They had never spoken during this morning ritual. It had been a comfortable silence, free of House's comments and Cameron's sweet forgiving.

She had finished with the mail. He had watched her leave, finishing off the last of his coffee. House had then turned his attention to his mail, as he had done every day since Cameron had arranged it for him. However, that day something had been different. An envelope had sat atop the important pile. His name had been written in curvy handwriting; just his name, nothing else. He had opened the envelope with steady hands. He had read it then, silently to himself.

Dear House,

Happy Birthday! Don't kill anyone.

Love, Cameron

He had returned the card to its envelope and had placed it in his bottom desk drawer, a place reserved for video games, painkillers, and tennis balls.

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I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach when feeling out of sight.

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Author's Note: My first attempt at House fanfiction. I really want to capture the characters, so any criticism would be helpful. Please leave a review!