Second Chances

A House fic by Merrie

Disclaimer: I wish they were mine. If they were House and Cameron would be equally smitten for each other and live happily ever after. But alas.

Summary: An alternate take on the end of Role Model. Can House tell Cameron how he feels before it's too late?

Characters: House and Cameron mostly. Others might be mentioned.

Spoilers: Major spoilers for Role Model. If you haven't seen it, don't read it. Simple enough.

Author's Note: This is an AU ending of Role Model. This is what I in my dreamier fangirl moments would have liked to have seen.

Also, this is my first House fanfic, but only just. I have another one in the works that will be a chapter fic.. It's going to be called Housian Dynamics. Look for it soon. :-D

Rating: M for sexual content and language.

House stood in the middle of his living room, still unable to say a word as he dimly heard Cameron's footsteps walking down the sidewalk and probably out of his life forever. She can't just quit! That would be letting that ass Vogler win! House wasn't prepared to do that ever. He had almost given in by giving that damned speech, but in the end clearer thoughts prevailed and he had righted his world again. And then she had to ruin everything. He should have known she was going to be trouble when he hired her. No woman that beautiful should be a doctor. It just wasn't natural.

He couldn't understand her. That's what irritated him the most. He spent his life trying to figure out what others couldn't and Dr. Allison Cameron was turning out to be an unsolvable mystery and he hated unsolvable mysteries. What was the point? It was like having a Rubik's cube with half of the stickers missing. He couldn't just let her walk out of his life. Not until he had figured out what made her tick. Not until he had figured out why she liked him. She had given him a reason, and perhaps it had been true, but he didn't think it was the whole truth. It was too easy an answer to give. That's it. Damnit, I'm going after her. He strode for the door.

ooo

Cameron strode briskly from House's apartment, biting her lips to keep the stinging tears at bay. Once again she mentally kicked herself for ever seeing him as anything but an annoying pain-in-the-ass boss. He is such an ass! Why did I even bother coming? I should have just written him a letter or something, she muttered to herself. But no, she couldn't have done that even if she had felt nothing for him. She wasn't the type to pack up and leave without at least saying goodbye. And by coming over to tell him in person before she had told anyone else-even Chase, who had once been her confidant in all things-she had clung to the hope that he would somehow try and talk her out of it. But he had said nothing. Nothing! He had just stood there silent in a way he never was. He always had something to say. He always had some biting comment or brilliant insight that he couldn't help but share with anyone who was listening, and many who were not. And yet…and yet had had just stood there not saying a word, not shaking her hand, not even looking at her. It had hurt. He was probably just toying with me. Seeing if I broke or not. In her heart she knew this wasn't true, but who cared about the heart anyway? Certainly not Dr. Gregory House, the cold indifferent genius who let no one in through his hard shell of caustic remarks and hidden insecurity.

He doesn't want you to leave. Where had that thought come from? Of course he did. Or at least, he wanted her out of his life because she insisted on foiling him at every turn with her so-called crush. She hated that word. It was ugly and unfair. She knew that was what he thought it was though; nothing more than a pathetic crush. What would he say if she told him that she had had feelings for no one since her husband had died? He probably wouldn't believe me. Or else call me naïve or pathetic. It didn't matter. He would never have feelings for her. It just wasn't in his nature. She didn't know what had happened to him to embitter him so over the years-the leg was both a too poor and too easy excuse to be believed all the time-but she tried to tell herself that it didn't matter. That he didn't matter. Her heart wasn't buying into her head's bullshit. Damnit I just need to get away from him. She had reached her car and sighed a little as she walked around to get in. It was then that she noticed House standing there in the middle of the sidewalk as still as a statue.

"Dr. House?" she gasped, startled that he had managed to sneak up on her without being overheard. He wasn't exactly the lightest on his feet. He didn't answer her and she didn't have time for this. "Dr. House it's late."

He was well aware of that simple fact. He knew that he was standing in the middle of the sidewalk looking like a fool in the deepest part of the night. Say something for Christ's sake! He berated himself. That was one thing he couldn't stand about her. How was it that she was so able to leave him speechless? This hadn't been the first time and it wouldn't be the last. It will too be the last if you don't stop her! "I don't want you to leave," he said quickly, the admittance leaving him in a quick whoosh of air.

"What?" Cameron asked disbelieving her own ears. She stayed in the street by her car, not wanting to close the distance between them until she knew what he wanted.

He stared up into the night sky, silently cursing her for making him repeat what had been near torture to say the first time. "Forget it," he muttered, moving to walk back up the sidewalk. He vaguely noticed he had left the door open in his haste to reach her. Careless.

Cameron moved back around the car to his side, gently grasping his arm to stop him. "No. Tell me what you said, House."

He sighed, knowing he had two options. Number one, he could lie and tell her that he had just said goodbye, and two, he could tell her the truth. From the peripheral view he glimpsed in the dim light of the streetlamps, he could see she wasn't likely to believe the first, and longing for the second. He bit his lip in an uncharacteristic gesture of nervousness and gathered up his courage. Why was this so hard? "I said…I said I don't want you to leave." There was no way she couldn't have heard him this time. She was practically standing so close that he could feel her thudding heartbeat in the hand she kept on his arm. He wondered if she could feel his.

"Oh," Cameron said softly, not seeming to notice that she hadn't moved her hand from his arm. She distantly realised she liked the feel of his strong forearm beneath her fingertips; the warmth of his skin pressing against her palm.

House continued before she could go on. "You don't have to quit. Vogler will fold. They always do."

"You don't know that," Cameron insisted with a sad frown. "After what happened tonight… He's going to try and get rid of you, House." Realisation sunk in. "He can't get rid of you. You have tenure. He'll get rid of one of us. You know he will."

"I know he'll try," House murmured, beginning to admit to himself that he somewhat liked the feel of her soft hand on his arm. "But he won't succeed. He may be a rich businessman but I'm a stubborn arrogant genius who can look after himself and his people."

Cameron gave him a small smile at that which was what he had been trying for in his own way. He continued. "If… If you're truly intent on leaving, I only ask that you wait a few weeks. See how this plays out. Hey if Vogler has his way I might be leaving with you," he murmured. "But don't do something stupid like leave just because you think you might get fired. I wasn't going to fire you."

"Who were you going to fire then? Chase?"

House shrugged. "Vogler wouldn't let me. So then I offered him your plan about everyone taking a cut in pay. He didn't like that either. I've tried reasoning with him; I've tried giving into his whims. I'm not going to do it anymore."

"I think we all figured that out at the speech you gave tonight."

"I hate public speaking," House murmured.

"I know you do," Cameron said with another small smile. "And I know you probably don't want to hear this again, but thank you for trying."

"Are you going to compare me to God again? Because that's a good way to stroke a guy's ego," House teased.

"Oh I'm sure you do enough ego stroking on your own." Cameron paused, took in just how that had sounded, and blushed furiously, hoping House couldn't see it in the dim light.

House couldn't help but rise to the challenge such a comment offered. "Granted, but I'm sure it'd be much more fun to have you do it." Somehow that innuendo didn't turn out quite as he had intended. He had intended it to be lightly teasing; followed up with a snarkish comment about how cute she looked when she blushed. That was, until he realised something. Oh god. I was being serious. This is not good. The fact that she was only a handful of years more than half his age did give him pause. She might enjoy…older men but he had never robbed the cradle as effectively as he would be now if he gave into what his heart and body was insisting on.

"You're going to invite me in for a drink," Cameron said softly.

House couldn't help but admire her forthrightness. "I am?"

"Yes."

"Would you like to come in for a drink, Cameron?" he asked a moment later.

"That would be lovely, House," she answered with a small smile that somehow looked brilliant even in the dim light of the street lamps above.

He didn't move. In truth, he couldn't. Not with her hand on his arm like that, preventing him from using his cane to hobble back up to his home. She saw this and let go with reluctance. They shared a weighted look before he turned and walked back up the sidewalk, not waiting to see if she followed. He knew she would. She finally let go of his right arm so he could move his constantly aching body back up the sidewalk into his sanctuary; a sanctuary which was now being invaded for a second time tonight. He closed the door behind him and couldn't help but smile as she took time to snoop around his home. "Do you realise that you have 12 messages on your answering machine?"

"I knew there were a few, but not how many," House answered her as he moved to get her a small glass of scotch and soda. He didn't know if she even liked scotch, but that was what he had to offer her.

"They're all from tonight, aren't they?" She didn't sound too surprised.

"I took the phone off the hook. I need my beauty sleep you know."

House also knew that she would want to have a look around while he moved to get her her drink. He wasn't surprised. She moved through his sanctuary like a spectre, her hands ghosting over his belongings as if she were gleaning a wealth of information simply by touch alone.

Cameron smiled. "I seriously doubt that you often sleep, House." She had him there. "I didn't know you smoked," she pointed out, her wandering hands having found one of the few cigar-laden ashtrays he kept around.

"It's an indulgence," he replied, pouring her a glass of scotch and soda. He didn't know if she even liked scotch, but it was all he had to offer. Smoking was an indulgence for him. One he had been warned against. 'Smoking can lead to further blood clots.' Blah, blah, blah. Medicine had already taken his leg. He wasn't about to let it take one of the few pleasures he had left to him as well.

She nodded, moving on. Somehow this was exactly how she had imagined his home to be. It fairly screamed bachelor, and yet everything in it was an extension of him. From the pictures on the wall to the warm colours of the room, to the plush and clearly warn leather chairs with ashtrays balanced precariously on their arms. It all fit. That was, except for the piano. Never in a million years had she imagined that he played piano. Thinking back, she wondered how she couldn't have. He had an appreciation for music of all types that he wasn't shy about sharing, and sending a quick glance in his direction she saw that he definitely had a pianists' long slender fingers. "You play?" She immediately berated herself for such a foolish question. Of course he played. No one spent the money to have such a nice piano-a Sohmer & Co., a name she recognised even though she didn't play-without having some great talent.

He gave her a look that said she shouldn't have asked. She nodded, having known that already. "Every now and again. I'm a man of mystery," he commented with a smirk, handing her her drink.

"Yes you are. How come you've never mentioned it?" she didn't drink from the glass, but held it as if she was considering.

House sighed, rolling his eyes up towards the ceiling. "You're not going to try and pick me apart again, are you? There's honestly not that much to know."

"I find that hard to believe."

"I can always send you home and go to bed. It's probably past your curfew anyway."

"How is it so hard for you to believe that other people aren't as curious about you as you are about them?" Cameron shot back.

"No one's as curious as I am," he murmured, taking a seat on the piano bench.

Cameron felt like growling. God he could be so irritating! Why couldn't he just answer a simple question? "What was her name?"

"What?" he asked, blinking at the unexpected change in subject.

"The woman you lived with once. What was her name?"

"I never said it was a woman," House stalled.

"You didn't have to. And you didn't answer my question." She took a seat on the leather ottoman facing him. She still hadn't touched her drink.

He was silent for a long while. You could just toss her out on her cute little ass. This is your house after all. Houses' house. I should have signs made. "Stacey," he murmured after long last.

"What did she do?" Cameron asked politely. She was being very polite, he noticed. She hadn't seemed to have seen the bottles of Vicodin scattered over every available surface. More pills than one man should have even if he was in pain. Almost enough for an addict though.

"She was a constitutional lawyer, and I don't want to talk about her," House muttered, turning his back to her to place his hands upon the keys of the piano. He didn't know what he played. He often didn't. Whenever he tried to compose something original, something purely him, he could never remember it afterwards. He had stopped trying to.

Cameron did notice the scattered Vicodin bottles on every available surface. She also noticed that most of them were half full at least. She might have mentioned it, might have asked him just how much he was taking a day, but she knew her questions would only be met with either biting angry sarcasm or stony silence. She wanted neither right now. This was perhaps the first real bit of peace they had had since the monster truck rally and she had missed it. She had missed him. "Why don't you want me to leave, House?" His hands halted on the keys and she was almost sorry she had asked. He played beautifully. Also, it seemed, without sheet music.

He didn't turn to look at her. She hadn't expected that he would; hadn't wanted him to. Maybe it would be easier for him to talk to her if he wasn't facing her; if he wasn't vulnerable. And he was vulnerable. And as damaged as she herself was. She knew that was part of the reason she liked him-she wanted someone who understood what being alone was like-but that wasn't it. She didn't want to save him; she just hoped that she could.

"I don't know," House answered softly.

"That's not good enough," she replied. "How can you expect me to stay if you don't give me a reason to? And don't give me some line about how I'm needed at the hospital. There are plenty of other hospitals in this country that need me even more. So why, House? Why don't you want me to leave?"

"Because-because you'd be missed," he whispered a few long minutes later.

"Missed by who?" she pressed. If he would only admit it, she would stay. It was all up to him.

"Don't do this," House murmured, sounding as if he were practically begging. Cameron fast realised that he was. He was terrified of this. Her heart broke for him, that such a fiercely independent man would become so embittered to the world that the very thought of intimacy of any kind with another person was terrifying. It made her want to hold him close and chase his demons away. She stayed where she was.

"Why wouldn't you shake my hand?" She wasn't forgetting her previous question, only giving him a brief moment to collect himself before going on. This seemed like a safe enough question. And it was something she genuinely wanted to know.

Because I wouldn't have been able to let go, he thought to himself silently, staring up over the top of the piano. "Because I didn't accept your resignation. I still don't. A handshake would have been accepting it."

"Oh." She supposed she could understand that. "And why wouldn't you look at me? Why aren't you looking at me now?" She knew the answer but wasn't sure if he did.

House cursed softly, knowing that he had to turn and face her now, but knowing that he shouldn't at the same time. He knew that once he met her eyes he would be lost. He would admit anything and everything to her just to get her to stay. And he couldn't do that. He couldn't do that to her. She would be destroyed and he couldn't face that. He couldn't face seeing her lose her innocence and joy just because she had a crush on a bitter cripple who was almost twice her age. And yet, he was turning to look at her even as he was screaming at himself not to.

The moment their eyes met both of them knew that nothing would be the same afterwards. Blue eyes met green in dancing lightning that crackled around the room and down their spines. Time was immaterial. Days could have passed in the space of that look. "I am looking at you, Allison." Somehow the intensity of their met gaze called for honesty and first names, not titles and misdirection.

Cameron gasped. She couldn't help it. This was more than she could stand. More than anyone could stand. It was if the world had sharpened and had begun revolving just around them. She could swear she heard some sort of sappy love song as a soundtrack to their moment together; something that would never fit either of them. There was no room for sappiness or romanticism between them. There might once have been, before they had both lost so much, but not now. Now they both lived their lives in a series of moments, just trying to get through the next without falling. She was falling now. She had fallen. And somehow he was standing there to catch her.

"I don't want you to leave because I'd miss you," he murmured so softly that she wasn't sure if she hadn't dreamed it. Why would he admit such a truth now? Because he knows that it will be his last chance, she answered herself. She was serious about leaving. She was serious when she said that only one thing was in her control. The second was in his. She was glad he finally understood that.

"Why? Why would you miss me? You don't even like me. You said it yourself, remember?" She pressed. He was finally talking to her; finally being straight with her. She wasn't about to let him stop now when this could be her only chance to glean some kernel of truth out of him.

He sighed in frustration. "What do you want from me, Cameron? What do you want me to say? Do you want me to say that I lied? That everyone lies? Fine. I'll say it. Everyone does lie. Even you. Even me although I like to claim otherwise." He stood up from the piano bench and might have paced in irritation had such a thing been easy.

"I want the truth, House. That's all I've ever wanted from you. I want to hear you say something that isn't hidden behind sarcasm," she murmured, looking down at her drink. This had been a mistake. He would never really admit anything to her. He would send her into circles with his cryptic comments and cowardliness, but he would never say anything real.

"I've already told you that everyone lies, including me, and you want truth? We can't always get what we want, Cameron."

"We can't get anything if we don't try, House," she countered.

"And this is you trying? Coming into my house in the middle of the night with an ultimatum? I don't appreciate ultimatums, Dr. Cameron."

So it's back to Dr. Cameron now, she thought sadly. She had hoped for a minute that she had been making progress with him. Clearly that wasn't the case now. "It was the only choice left to me, House." She refused to play his game by calling him by his title as he had her. This was not the time to fall into pettiness. "You wouldn't talk to me at work, you wouldn't even consider it. So what choice did I have but to come here?"

House turned and made a point to stare at one of the paintings that lined his walls. He couldn't leave his own home so that was the only thing he could do when she brought up a subject he wasn't comfortable talking about. Cameron continued, not letting his apparent ignoring dissuade her from her point. "You do like me, House. I know you do. I thought I believed it when you had said you didn't, but the more I thought about it the more I realised you were just scared. Well did you not think that I was scared too? Of course I was. I was scared about what the others might think, about loosing my job for liking my boss, what Vogler would do to me once he found out I mattered to you—" she was cut off as House turned so abruptly to look at her that she started in her seat, nearly spilling her drink.

His blue eyes stared at her so intently that they seemed to cut into her very soul. She had never seen eyes so blue. That was the first thing that had really attracted her. His eyes seemed to see through walls; through lies. His face was lined, his body lean and sharply angled, but his eyes seemed to radiate outwards wherever he went. They weren't warm, she didn't think they ever had been, but they suit him. They were intelligent eyes, telling her to cut through the bullshit and get to the point without him having to say a word at all.

"Is that what you really think? That you matter to me?" his voice was even and without emotion, making him impossible to read. Even his eyes seemed to have been veiled; hiding his secrets within.

She straightened in her seat, meeting his piercing gaze without flinching. "Yes I do. You wouldn't be as affected by this if you didn't." A wave of something passed before his eyes before it faded behind the veil. Had it been the truth that she had been seeking? She liked to think so.

"Nothing can happen between us, Cameron. It wouldn't work," he murmured, turning back to his painting.

Her heart swelled. There. Finally. Some kind of admittance. It hadn't been quite what she was searching for, but it was a start. "You don't know that," she insisted softly.

"Yes, I do. I don't fully know why you like me, but one day you'll realise that I'm not worth it. And then one of us would have to leave because I don't imagine we'd ever be friends again."

How did he get this way? What happened to him to so embitter him to the world that he didn't think he was worth liking? Or even loving? She didn't think she loved him. It was hard to love a man who gave no guarantees that he would ever return that love. That's a load of bull and you know it. If that was true there would be no such thing as unrequited love, Allison, she berated herself. "I don't know what you think about me House, but this isn't some kind of schoolgirl crush. I'm not trying to win a bet or prove a point. I like you despite of who you are. And I know you like me back. I'm not seeing a problem with this, House."

"Vogler will destroy you to get to me," House tried.

"I can look after myself. I'm not afraid of him," she answered resolutely.

Well he couldn't fault her that. It probably wasn't the wisest standpoint to have taken with a man who had the clout to get you fired, but he wasn't afraid of the pompous rich windbag either, so why should she be? Because I have tenure and she doesn't. He heard her rise from her place on the ottoman and come to stand at his side. "I want this to work, House."

Turning to look at her was a mistake. He shouldn't have done it, he knew he shouldn't have done it, and just who the hell's hand was that reaching up to brush a lock of hair off of her cheek? Surely it wasn't his. It couldn't have been. He wouldn't be as foolish as to do something like that, would he? As he saw Cameron incline her head slightly into his-yes it was definitely his hand-touch he knew that he was falling. You want this to work too. You know you do. Just admit it already and get on with life, you old fool.

His fingers were warm and calloused against her skin, and as much as she told herself not to, she was comforted by his touch. "Please try, House. That's all I'm asking from you. Give us a chance. Let us both find a little happiness. Please."

He took a breath but gave her an abbreviated nod, knowing he was damned for sure for corrupting such innocence. Then he figured he was damned already for a number of other things so what the hell was one more? And she was very pretty. And hell, the way her whole face lit up in a smile made his year. "You do realise that you can't leave now, don't you? I don't do long distance relationships." God had he really just said that? Relationships? This had tragedy written all over it. He told his conscience to go fuck itself and turned his attention back to her.

She left out a soft laugh that seemed foreign and somehow unwanted in the clearly bachelor's settings of House's home, but he took some small delight in it anyway, trying to remember when he had last heard a woman laugh like that. He gave up when he then tried to remember the last time he had actually had a woman in his home and only ended up depressing himself.

She inhaled a short breath to see the sadness pass over his face and his eyes grow distant. Well all or nothing. Where's your courage, Allison? You've been wanting to do this for months. Now's your chance! Before she could talk herself out of it, she raised herself up on her tiptoes to match his height and pressed her lips softly against his before pulling back to look at him, biting her bottom lip nervously as she waited for his reaction. Had she moved too quickly? Oh damn have I ruined everything? Why isn't he saying anything?

House for his part didn't know what to say. He was utterly speechless again in a single night. Before he was able to ask himself yet again how she was able to do that to him, his body decided his actions for him and was the one kissing her this time. Only there was nothing shy and hesitant about his kiss. His kiss was passionate and greedy, wanting to take all and give nothing in return. And yet, if she had hesitated in any way; if she had given him any sign that this wasn't what she wanted, he would have stopped right then and there and sent her home without another word. He wasn't such a bastard to take advantage of her when they were both feeling a little overemotional and lost.

Cameron let out a mixture of a gasp and a moan against House's mouth, and he took full advantage of that fact by thrusting his tongue deep between her teeth. Her cheeks were rubbed raw by the sharp scruff of his beard, but she couldn't have imagined a better sensation. Well, his free hand on her back pressing her flush against him was a start. Not to mention the kiss…

Not for the first time, House damned his bum leg and cane. He wanted nothing more than to wrap both of his arms around her and hold her close, but he couldn't as the only way he was able to stand for this long in one place without moving was his cane. It was a crutch, and his leg was the bit of useless flesh it supported. Thinking about it only made the pain push a sharpened splinter through the pleasure he was feeling with Cameron, and the sudden unexpectedly sharp contrast was enough to make him gasp aloud, breaking the kiss and shutting his eyes, willing it to pass. It didn't.

Cameron knew what was wrong without having to ask. She quickly located one of the scattered bottles of Vicodin lying around-it wasn't hard-and grabbed his free hand in hers and tapped one out into his palm. He opened his eyes in surprise at the feeling of the familiar pill in his hand before quickly swallowing it. "Thank you," he murmured once it was swallowed and safely dissolving into his bloodstream. She further surprised him by leading him to the couch and reinitiating the kiss once they were both settled. Clearly, she wasn't going to let the mood be ruined by something he admittedly couldn't control. He liked her a little more for that. And even better, as he was sitting down, he had the opportunity to wrap both arms around her, his fingers even daring to inch up the edge of her sweater to feel the smooth skin of her back underneath.

Cameron returned the gesture in kind, moving as close to him as she could without sitting on his lap-she didn't know if that would hurt his leg or not-wanting to touch every bit of him as their kiss grew in passionate intensity. It was as if they couldn't get enough of each other. It was House who stopped a good many minutes later just before he was begging to convince himself that it was absolutely the best idea in the world to push his hands the rest of the way up her shirt and bring her body into even closer contact than it already was. "Allison, look at me." He reached out and lifted her chin gently to meet his eyes. "I know you. I know you're not the one-night-stand type. You're into commitment. I'm not. You don't want to do this."

"Are you worried that I might wake up and find you gone tomorrow morning and hate you for all eternity? This is your place, remember?" she teased lightly, her eyes belying the seriousness of his question even though her comment was glib. "I believe this has meaning, House. You're right. I don't do one-night-stands. I never have. I find them distasteful and degrading for both parties. I don't even particularly like sex."

"I did hear about your little 'sex kills speech,'" House couldn't help but interject. "Is that what you really think?"

"I think sex can be both the most beautiful and the ugliest thing in the world. There is no happy medium."

"And you somehow think that whatever happens tonight will be good for us? No, don't bother answering. I know you do. You're a romantic and an optimist. Of course you do."

"And you talk too much, House," she admonished with a smile.

"If we're really going to be serious about this, you'd better call me Greg," he said with mock severity.

She slapped him playfully on the shoulder before squealing in surprise as he pulled her back into a searing kiss right where they had left off.

Many minutes later she was finally able to pull away and appreciate the situation she was in. She nearly gasped to see House's normally cerulean blue eyes dark with desire. A storm of passion had rolled in on the sea of that gaze and she was swept up in it without regret. "Bedroom," she whispered breathlessly.

He couldn't help but nod. He moved to grab his cane but she stopped him. "Leave it here. Use me," she instructed softly. He looked at her intently, trying to gauge what she was trying to prove by this, but didn't really feel like arguing. It took longer to get to his bedroom than it might have if he had not been joined with her in some kind of awkward and aroused three legged race, but they made it. She was secretly pleased he had said yes to her intimate whim. He was secretly pleased that the housekeeper hadn't had the day off. Normally his room was a mess. He rarely slept in his own bed and when he did it was fitful and usually full of nightmares that left him hoarse from yelling and sitting in a pool of his own fearful sweat. He had decided after going through more nights like this than he liked to count that his bed must be cursed and therefore he slept on the sofa or his leather chair when he actually managed to sleep.

Cameron wanted to look around, wanted to try and get to know more about him by what he surrounded himself by, but such things could wait. The instant she had seen his queen-sized bed, delightfully comfortable-looking by the thick down duvet thrown on top, she knew that she wanted to be pressed between it and House's naked flesh. She knew she wanted to see if he was really as lean and toned as his tapered forearms led her to believe. As her eyes gazed downwards to give fuel to other fantasies, she became aware that House had caught her staring.

"You're checking me out, aren't you?" he asked with a teasing smirk.

"It's only fair," she returned. "You made a pretty obvious pass at me yourself when I found out why you hired me. I didn't know whether to slap you or kiss you that day."

"Oh I think I would have preferred the kiss, personally," he mused aloud.

"Not the kiss I had planned on giving you," she said, her eyes glinting with mischief.

"Oh really? And what kind of kiss would it have been, Allison?"

"One that would have left you wanting, Greg," she replied in a slow drawled voice.

"I knew you were a temptress," House teased with a grin. "Well are you going to show me this so-called left wanting kiss or are you just going to talk about it? Personally, I'm beginning to think there is no such thing. You're all talk—" he was cut off as Cameron practically launched herself against him, her lips pressing against his, and her tongue slipping into his mouth when the opportunity presented itself. She put all of her passion in the kiss, her eyes closing shut before she could think to leave them open. This was what she had dreamt of. This was what she wanted and more. It wasn't about her however. With a teasing grin she moved away from him, pulling at his bottom lip gently in her teeth as she did so.

"Are you left wanting, House?" she asked innocently, thoroughly enjoying the dazed look he had on his face.

"Hm? Oh sorry. I got distracted by the consideration of the quickest way to get you out of your clothes. I'm thinking scissors," he said with a solemn nod.

"You better not be, House. This is the only shirt I have," she warned although she was laughing as she did so.

"You can borrow one of mine," he said with a shrug, actually making a point to look around his room for scissors.

"I've seen your shirts. I think I'll pass," she teased, looking pointedly at the t-shit he was wearing now.

"I'll have you know I've got some perfectly clean Rolling Stones and Mötley Crüe shirts around here somewhere," he claimed, feigning offence at her slight of his wardrobe.

"Somehow I think someone would notice if I came into work tomorrow wearing a worn and faded shirt bearing an image of one of your favourite bands."

"Tell them I corrupted you," he drawled as he moved in to kiss her again. "Although they surely already know that. At least Foreman and Chase anyway. Did you tell them you liked me or did they guess it on their own?"

"I told Chase I didn't tell—oh—Foreman," she gasped as House began to suckle on the side of her neck.

"Should I be jealous to hear you moan at Foreman's name?"

"Less talking. More kissing," she instructed.

House laughed but did as she bid him to. Somehow between frantic kisses and touches he had ended up shirtless with his pants unbuttoned and she had ended up with a rose-coloured bra pooled in her lap and House's hands over her naked breasts. Her hair had also come loose around her bare shoulders and as she arched into his touch he couldn't help but gasp at how beautiful she was. As if she had been able to read his thoughts, her hands moved up to her hair and tousled it until it was wild and flowing around her face like a mane. He loved it.

Cameron felt herself falling backwards on the bed and blindly reached out to take House with her. "Too many clothes," she gasped, arching her hips towards him in an invitation for him to take the initiative to remove them like he had her shirt.

"Shoes first," he murmured, moving to remove her shoes. He would have done the same with his own shoes but she stopped him.

"Let me," she whispered. In truth, he was somewhat grateful she had volunteered. He never looked forward to what had once been such a simple task. That he should have been grateful for the ability to remove his own shoes without pain once upon a time was inconceivable and yet he almost wished he had been. Maybe that would have it made the loss of such a blessing easier to deal with now. "Don't think about it. Think about me, House. I'm right here in front of you." Her hand was on his chin, bring his eyes back to her from where they had been fixated coldly on his bad leg; his leg which would soon be the focus of her attention once they were both naked. "Lie down on the bed."

"You're being awfully domineering for someone who claims they're not aggressive. Is that just because you secretly have a fetish to boss me around or have you been tricking us all?"

"Definitely a fetish. I plan to have my way with you before we're through," she said with a completely emotionless face making it hard for him to guess the truth of her statement. He fast decided he didn't care. Once she had his shoes off and dropped to the side of the bed where he wouldn't trip over them later, she moved her hands to his waist and began slowly removing his pants. As much as she longed to touch him-and it was clear he wanted to be touched as well-she knew that if she didn't do this now they'd just get distracted again and she didn't want to wait any longer. She wanted to feel all of him pressed inside of her.

Only after she had gotten his pants fully down off his ankles did she allow herself to look upon him, determined that his leg would not be the first thing she saw. As it turned out, it wouldn't have been anyway. She let out a genuine laugh at the sight of his boxers-black cotton with the words "bite me" patterned across them in white. "What?" he asked, curious as to what she was laughing at. Then he remembered. "Oh. The boxers. Right. They were a gift from Wilson. He seems to find himself amusing," he said dryly. Cameron just laughed some more and House couldn't help but join in. Her laugh was clearly contagious in all the best ways.

"Oh I'm sure he does," Cameron agreed, laughing once more before meeting his eyes briefly and removing the last of his clothes. From the first glimpse of his naked form in all its glory she knew she was a very lucky woman. It was then-when she had reassured herself how beautiful he was to her-that she looked at his leg. His right thigh was clearly less defined than his left, the pale skin covered in a map of thick scars. It was clear by those numerous scars that whatever surgeons and doctors had worked on him had tried valiantly to save his leg but had obviously failed. Her fingers traced lightly over one of the worst scars and she frowned to see him flinch. "This, don't bother me," she said pointedly, meeting his eyes. "It never has. Do you understand, House? I'm not saying it to be trite or pitying; I'm saying it because it's true."

"I know it is, Allison. You put great stock in the truth. I have no reason to doubt you," he said softly.

She knew he would anyway, but that wasn't the point. She had had to say it. At least he had heard her. She couldn't change him in one night. She knew and accepted that and didn't bother to think otherwise.

"We seem to be a little unevenly matched here, Cameron," he pointed out, breaking her out of her thoughts.

"Yes, but I'm taking my time to enjoy the view. It's not every day that one gets to see the infamous Dr. Gregory House in all his glory."

"I'd probably get cold if it was every day. Although it would be an interesting turnaround to come into work wearing nothing but my lab coat," he mused to himself with a wickedly mischievous grin. "Now are you going to behave and do what you're told or am I going to have to punish you, little girl?" he teased with mock severity.

"Maybe later," she responded blithely before slowly sitting back to pull down her pants for him, clearly defining every gesture as if she was putting on a strip show just for him. She pretty much was actually. He smirked to see that her scrap of underwear matched her rose-coloured bra perfectly before it was gone and only her beauty remained.

"As much as I hate to be the good doctor-especially now-I have to point out that any child of ours would either be an angel or the antichrist. I don't think you're willing to take the chance either way," he pointed out when he realised they were on the threshold of the point of no return.

"You don't have to worry. I'm covered," she assured him softly.

"Technically I would be the one covered, but remind me to thank modern medicine personally later."

Cameron hesitated, looking over him slowly. "This is going to sound incredibly naïve and I'm sure you're going to answer with a scathing bit of sarcasm for asking, but how do you want to go about this?"

House blinked at her, uncomprehending. "One would assume that having been married before-not to mention a doctor-you would have known how this is supposed to work. However, if you truly are that innocent, I shall soil your innocent little mind. You see girls and boys are different. Girls have—"

Cameron interrupted him swiftly. "I know how sex works, House. I just…I don't want to hurt you. Do you understand now or am I going to have to spell it out for you?" She had been trying to be delicate, but apparently he was too pig-headed to understand anything but honest bluntness.

"Oh. You mean you don't want to spoil the mood by sending me into a spasm of pain for putting the wrong kind of pressure on my leg?" he asked evenly. "That's what these are for." He shook a bottle of Vicodin that had been sitting on the bedside table next to him. "It's going to hurt anyway so you might as well just forget about it." The teasing and self-mockery had faded out of his voice with that comment, as if he truly was asking her to forget about it. He didn't want her pity. He never had.

Cameron understood. She knew what it was like to be looked at; to be pitied. She had been a widow at 22. She had suffered silently through the sorrowful looks and too-loud whisperings-There she goes. Her husband died of cancer you know? She knew that he was dying when she married him anyway. She must have wanted his money or something-and she had hated it. She could only imagine what it must be like for House. To be forced to suffer through random acts of kindness like strangers holding open doors for him, people offering up their seats in crowded busses, strings of over-mothering old woman going out of their way to caution him on icy days. God no wonder he's so bitter all the time. With those constant reminders of what he had lost, not to mention the limp and the cane, it was no wonder he hated the world.

Cameron didn't pity him. She might have once, but she didn't now. Not when she knew how much such emotions must hurt him. He didn't need anyone's pity, but he just might need their love. She didn't think she loved him, love was a very far ways away from like, but if and when she did, she vowed to make him accept it for what it was. For now she offered him what peace she could by laying down on the bed next to him and offering him everything. "Please, House. Give us what we both want."

He nodded and moved atop of her without hesitation. His leg complained, but he ignored it. He knew he would be paying for this later, but he truly didn't care. He was as horny as hell and faced with a beautiful-and more importantly willing-women in his bed and he wasn't an idiot. He was rude and abrasive and clearly older than her, but he wasn't stupid. Fuck the consequences.

Cameron moaned as he filled her, arching up off the bed to meet his narrow hips and moving her hands to his back to press him closer. She was trying to remember not to lock her legs around his hips and thereby probably hurt him further, but it was hard. He was hard. She rolled her eyes at herself as the dirty thought came unwilling, blaming House for being an—Oh god. What was that and why isn't he doing it again?—for being a bad influence.

Ambrosia. The sweetest bliss he had ever known. This was what life without pain was like. He had vague memories of that time, and he was certain that this must be comparable. Cameron's fingernails were leaving gouges in his sides as she tried to pull him wholly into her womb like a backwards birth, but he barely felt them. He barely felt anything right now but pleasure. Pain didn't exist. It was as if it never had. He moaned as her body clenched around him in a precursor of orgasm and began kissing her roughly, beyond able to control his passions now.

No one sees him like this. No one would ever believe he's like this, Cameron thought to herself distantly as she watched emotions play across House's face. She was fascinated by him. Or at least, she was as fascinated as she could be while he was thrusting wholly into her, each movement of his body against hers bringing her one step closer to release. Cameron could see the muscles in his lean form tensing and knew that he was close as well. She wanted to see that. She wanted to see him achieve peace and fall content to the bed. She wanted to hold him as their breathing slowly went back to normal. She wanted to feel his sweat intermingling with her own. She wanted all of this and more.

She's going to be the death of me, House thought frantically to himself, half amazed that rational thought was still achievable when every part of him was crying out for release. He was lost. She had swallowed up his very soul and yet he didn't miss it. He was happy to give it to her, knowing that she would protect him and keep him safe. It was the epitome of irony, that Dr. Gregory House, the bitter, sarcastic, nasty, scourge of the medical profession, should feel safe in this admittedly non-aggressive, caring, kind, self-sacrificing slip of a woman. He was safe and even more surprisingly, he was gentled. She had somehow tamed him. She had him in the palm of her hand and he hoped she appreciated it.

"House please," she begged, breaking through his thoughts. "Make me…bring me…oh god…end this," she gasped, aching her body against his like a giant cat, her skin making his practically buzz with sensation at the contact. He gave her something resembling to a nod, gritted his teeth against the pain he knew would be coming soon, and increased the tempo of his thrusts until she went ridged against him, a scream crawling its way out of her throat as he fingernails left bloody badges of honour on his back. He didn't notice. The pain was nothing compared to the all-out cursing of his thigh, but that didn't matter either. The instant she had given in to pleasure, he had fallen within that fickle goddess' arms as well without a fight. Pain was immaterial. Pleasure filled every sense and he felt like a billion bucks. It was clichéd and idiotic, but she made him feel young again; whole again. And he might have loved her for that.

"As much as I'd love to stay here lying against your naked flesh catching my breath, I have to get up, right now," House said through clenched teeth. His leg was on fire. He felt as if he only wanted to curl up and die in the middle of the bed, beautiful naked Cameron next to him notwithstanding.

But Cameron didn't move. Instead she held up one of his pills to his lips as if giving him the Sacrament, and he swallowed it without hesitation, nodding for another. She frowned, knowing how little time had passed since he had taken his last pill, but as he kept nodding for it, she finally gave it to him. He knew that he was an addict. She might not have the same kind of blatant admittance as he had given Wilson, but surely she must know. "Just stay. Please," Cameron whispered. "For a little while longer."

"Isn't supposed to be my line?" House murmured.

"Well this is your…house, but I had a feeling you wouldn't have asked me to anyway. I'm trying to be more aggressive."

"The punning opportunities of my name are endless. Have you never noticed?" he mused after a moment's silent contemplation at her statement.

"You mean to say I just had a 'House call?'" Cameron asked with a mischievous grin.

"They're my specialty," House said with a smirk. He was feeling much more agreeable with a few Vicodin dissolving merrily into his system. Not to mention he had just had about of amazing sex with a woman far too beautiful to go for someone like him.

"They most certainly are," Cameron breathed in contentment. She felt good. "And I'm not just saying that to stroke your ego. It doesn't need stroking."

"Well my ego might not, but my—" House's innuendo was cut off abruptly as Cameron placed a hand over his mouth.

"Someone should install a mute button," she murmured with a smile once she had removed her hand and he kept silent.

"Cuddy tries every other month or so but I've managed to thwart her efforts thus far. She's still keeps trying though. Damn if she isn't persistent." They both grew silent for a long moment as House's unthinking comment had reminded them that she was leaving. "Stay," he murmured, looking at her directly since they were practically nose-to-nose already anyway.

"But what about the others? What about Vogler? He's not going to forget what you did to him, House. He's going to try and get rid of you."

"He'll try and get rid of you too once he's found out we've….exchanged bodily fluids. He can't get rid of me. I have tenure."

"But I don't," Cameron murmured. "And he won't stop until you do what he wants, House. He's trying to break you. And he'll succeed. I'm leaving so that no-one else will be caught in the crossfire."

"How very noble," he muttered. "I tried it your way, you know. Did I tell you that? I went to Vogler saying that we'd all take a pay cut if he kept us all and he said no."

"Because it's not about money," Cameron went on. "You're a threat to him. He either controls you or he gets rid of you. He's not going to control you. Despite the fact…did you really wear your lab coat? Or was that just a baseless rumour going around the hospital? I didn't think you even owned a lab coat." She made a move to look around his bedroom, half expecting to see the item of clothing in question suddenly appear as if by incantation.

"Oh I have my own stethoscope and set of golf clubs too," House said wryly, his hand moving to trace lines along the expanse of her bare skin without thought. "It's not in here. It's in one of the file cabinet drawers in my office."

"I'm surprised you didn't just burn it," Cameron said with a laugh, silently enjoying his touch. She might have made mention of it, but she was afraid he'd stop once he realised what he was doing. Dr. Gregory House, the distant, emotionally detached bitter cripple liked to cuddle. She half-wished that she had made bets about such things with Foreman or Chase, but that would mean sharing such moments that she wanted to keep to herself.

"I thought about it," House murmured, still running light fingertips over the curve of breast down over her ribs to her thigh and back again, seemingly completely unaware of the gesture. "But then I decided I didn't want to asphyxiate on burning polyester fumes and/or set of the sprinkler system in my office. The drawer seemed like a safer option."

"It was," she agreed with another soft laugh. Did he know that he held her heart in his hands? Did he know that he could send her from tears to laughter and back again with just a look? "I can't stay, House," she said softly.

"I have a fair amount of dislike for the word can't. I tend to consider it a personal challenge to prove someone wrong when they use it. You can stay, Allison. You always could. I haven't fired you. I wasn't going to fire you. No one is forcing you to leave."

"Who were you going to fire then? If not me, then who?" Cameron asked delicately.

"Chase," House answered without hesitation. "The little traitorous weasel." Somehow talking about work wasn't conducive to the mood and he moved away from her to reach down to pull the rumpled sheet at the foot of the bed up over their naked bodies.

Cameron shook her head. "I don't blame him for what he did." She rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling, figuring House wasn't the cuddling type.

"Of course you don't," House muttered, rolling over beside her. "You don't blame anyone for anything. You're remarkably adept at the 'forgive and forget' concept for someone who's not religious."

"I'm not saying I agree with his methods," she said defensively. "I'm just saying that I think I understand why he did it."

"Oh? Do enlighten me, Dr. Cameron," House said with more bite than he probably should have given the fact that they had been as close as two human beings could ever be to achieving pure happiness only minutes ago.

Cameron stiffened to hear the emotional walls he kept around himself back up in place in his words. He was distancing himself from her even as they lie naked in his bed together. She answered his question however. "He wanted to keep his job and he was afraid you were going to fire him. Therefore he went to the one person who had the ability to ensure that he could keep his job. Although, knowing Vogler now, I bet he constantly threatened to fire Chase unless he kept feeding him information about you."

"I don't care. I can't trust someone who's willing to sell me out so easily," House answered evenly.

"Do you trust me?" Cameron asked softly, turning her head to watch his face as he answered. A rather large part of her was warning her against asking such questions, but she ignored it.

"I trust you more than I trust Chase," House answered after a moment's contemplation.

Cameron sighed. That wasn't what she meant and he knew it. She didn't comment on House's non-answer however. She couldn't hope to change the world after one night of great sex. She would have been foolish to try. But she wasn't going to let things remain how they had been either. "If I'm going to stay at PPTH, there are going to have to be some changes."

"Since I don't assume you mean a new paintjob and prettier nurses, you're talking about between us."

Cameron nodded when he turned to look at her for an answer. "You were right before, House. I don't see this as some meaningless fling. And if you even joke that you do, I'll beat you to death with your cane," she said stoically, biting the inside of her cheek to keep in a laugh as House's blue eyes widened marginally.

"Right," House said slowly after a minute. "So…what then? Vogler and Cuddy will try to get rid of us both if they find out. Foreman might not tell, but Chase would. And you're not any good at lying or being devious in any way, so they will find out," House said with a sigh as if just realising this.

"Then why not just tell them? The can't get rid of you without full board approval and Dr. Wilson would stand up for you at least, wouldn't he?" Cameron asked curiously. "You and he are friends."

"That's the rumour," House answered with a slight lift of his shoulder in a shrug. "But you don't have tenure, Cameron. You can lose your job."

"I already have lost my job House, remember? I quit," Cameron pointed out delicately.

"But you're coming back," House stated with a frown. "I rehired you. You can't just quit."

"It would be easier if I stayed gone, House," she said quietly.

"What? Easier for you? It's certainly not going to be fucking easier for me," House growled, throwing back the sheets in his annoyance and moved to get out of bed. He cursed when he realised his cane was in the living room and decided he could make it anyway. He grabbed his robe from the foot of his bed as he slowly limped past, ignoring Cameron's pathetic attempts at rationalisation.

Cameron groaned and grabbed one of the pillows on the bed. Once it was securely pressed against her face, she screamed her frustration into it. Then she screamed again as noticing that it smelled of him only frustrated her further. Grabbing the sheet and wrapping it around herself, she stalked into the living room behind him, half hoping that he'd fall on his stubborn ass before he reached his cane.

She launched into her tirade by snatching the glass of scotch out of his hand. "Don't you know that mixing alcohol and Vicodin is a surefire way to wind up in the hospital as a patient? Or don't you bother paying attention to your prescriptions anymore?" she asked angrily. "Goddamn it, House. What do you want me to do?"

He scowled at her for taking the drink, but made no move to take it back. "I want you to come back. I would have thought that was obvious," he muttered. "But apparently it wasn't. Tell me. Did you have any intention on staying at all when you came back or did you just want to be able to say you fucked your boss before you leave?"

Cameron slapped him hard across one scruffy cheek, her hand burning with the friction of his beard and her eyes blazing in fury.

House let out a soft laugh; his tongue darting out to lick at his now bleeding lip from where he had bitten it upon contact. "Nice. Not the first woman who's slapped me, but probably the prettiest. Especially considering I know you're not wearing anything under that sheet."

Cameron let out a sound of utter frustration although she was angrier with herself for sinking to his level than she was with him for making the comment. "You're not going to get rid of me that easily, House," she stated firmly.

"Oh really? I thought you were leaving," he pointed out airily, making no further move to attend to his cut lip although a drop of blood threatened to dribble down his chin.

"God, I don't know what I ever saw in you," Cameron said with a melodramatic sigh.

"My charming personality?" House ventured innocently.

"Yeah, that was clearly it," Cameron said dryly, adopting some of House's sarcasm for her own. "Come on. I'll get you some ice." She waited for him to rise from the couch and then followed him into the kitchen, careful to keep the bed sheet tight around her and out from under his cane lest they both trip to the floor in a tangle of fabric, legs and wood.

"Does this mean you're staying?" House asked once she had directed him to take a seat at the small kitchen table while she got some ice for his lip and jaw. At first he thought she was just being overprotective, but from the way she winced to look at him he figured he'd have a lovely badge of honour to take into work tomorrow.

"You really are insufferable sometimes, do you realise that?" Cameron asked with an irritated snort before pressing a washcloth filled with ice to his jaw. It made it hard to talk around but he managed.

"Of course I do. And you didn't answer my question," he pointed out, holding up the cold compress himself while she took a seat at the table next to him, the sheet she was covering herself with flowing around her like some sort of mediaeval cloak.

Cameron sighed, propping her head up on an elbow. "When we both get fired I reserve the right to say 'I told you so,'" she murmured.

"Oh yea of little faith. I won't be fired. I'll be burned at the stake for corrupting the young, but not fired," House said wryly, moving to drop the washcloth but holding it up with a roll of his eyes when Cameron sent a glare his way. "So you are coming back," he prompted.

She sighed again, but her eyes were smiling. "Yes, House. I'm coming back. You can't get rid of me that easy, it seems."

"Who says I was trying to get rid of you at all? You're the only one I can actually stand to have around. And as interesting as making out with Foreman or Chase might be, you're definitely superior in that area as well."

"I'm honoured," she said dryly. "As well I should be, I know," she interrupted him, certain that that was what he was going to say.

He just grinned, thinking about what fun they could have together during slow days. Sure his office was made of glass, but no one really came up to see him anyway. And even if they did… Well he wasn't really much of an exhibitionist, but shocking certain people might have entertainment value.

"Do I want to know what you're thinking about right now?" Cameron asked carefully upon seeing a wicked gleam in House's eyes.

"Probably not." He smirked to himself. "This is going to be fun."

Cameron just laughed.

END

A/N: Ok wow. This was meant to be just a drabble, a rant really over the unjust ending to Role Model and then BAM! It became the fic that would not end. Well I hope it was liked by at least a few of you anyway. I certainly had fun writing it. :-D