"You've never felt that... that powerful... you know what I mean. The amazing, overpowering..." Cameron tossed over her shoulder, puttering around her kitchen, tidying things up. She was treading on thin ice, she knew, pushing the subject of love and passion with him, but it was too interesting not to hear his thoughts on the subject.
"You think if you give it more adjectives that I'll somehow be able to relate better?" House plucked an olive out of the salad sitting on the table. Tossing it quickly into the air, he caught it in his mouth.
"Hey! No picking!" She chastised, walking to the small refrigerator to grab the pitcher of water she had stored there earlier in the day. "Can't you wait like... ten more minutes?"
House kept rooting around, avoiding the greens, but picking out the cherry tomatoes. "I'm serious! They'll be here in a half an hour, just... wait. Please."
House was the only one who was genuinely adverse to the idea of a pre-Christmas get together with his co-workers. It had been Foreman who had suggested the idea, since none of them had family in the area and he thought it would be a nice way to feel together... or something at least somewhat close to it.
The guest list was small, just Chase, Foreman, Wilson and House. Cameron had decided to host it at her place for the simple fact that she knew it was clean; she was betting that the others' places would need significant work before they could host people. So the plans were made with minimal grumbling from the good doctor House and everyone agreed to bring something.
He plucked a crouton from the mixture in front of him and held it up for inspection. "Who makes a salad for a Christmas get together?" he asked, throwing the toasted wheat back into the bowl.
She huffed out an annoyed sound and brushed her hair away from her face, bending to check on the turkey. "I do, okay?"
Finding her answer sufficient he got up from the table and perused her refrigerator and found a beer. He leaned against the appliance and watched her go about getting things ready. There was an odd beauty to her calculated culinary preparations; he almost found himself smiling.
Cameron mumbled something and he leaned in to hear her, but missed what she had said. "Excuse me?"
"I said, gee, thanks for offering to help."
House shrugged and went back to sit. "I just assumed... I've got nothing. Do you need help?"
She tossed him an easy smile and shrugged. "I'm probably better off without your help, actually," she said, covering a dish of mashed potatoes. "And just for the record, I never expected you early. I didn't even expect you on time."
"Is that why you misled me? Assuming I'd show up more than fashionably late?"
She walked quickly into the other room and came back with a small, portable radio. "Something like that..."
He drained his beer and tossed it in the bin next to her trash basket. "Well, you know how I like to be up on fashion. In fact, in the new Vogue-" he began to quip but was cut off when she threw a dishrag at his head.
"Shut up." She quickly plugged in the radio and began checked on the stuffing. Intermittently, she would turn around and glance at him, yell at him for stealing from the salad.
There were some people who wore Christmas well; there were some people who understood the meaning, who would kiss under the mistletoe, who would actually smile when they awoke on the 25th to find snow blanketing the ground. Gregory House, she knew, was not one of those people. She knew he didn't have a Christmas tree: "What's the point? It's just me, besides I could get the same effect by grabbing an air freshener and as it turns out, easier clean up." She knew he didn't have relatives who would call him in the morning, knew he wouldn't exchanges gifts with anyone...
But as she looked at him, the way the yellow light cast over his face... her heart clenched. It wasn't that she was in love with him, or perhaps it was. He just looked so perfect to her for some reason; he always looked perfect to her, so fucked up and human. It was just... how he veiled his actual care for people with sarcasm and quips.
Cameron simply wanted him, so very, very badly. There was no need, no need at all; there was simply so much want.
"I want to dance with you," she challenged impulsively, walking towards him with outstretched hands.
His brows furrowed at the idea and he quickly gestured to his cane, tapping it on the ground for emphasis. But Cameron just smiled and clapped her hands. "Come on, humor me." She began to come up with suitable excuses in her head and nearly bypassed the most obvious, "It's Christmas..."
"You dance with me, you dance with Mr. Happy." She simply stared at him, not believing that he was giving in so easily. "The cane, not... I was talking about the cane."
Her lips twisted into a wry little smile and she reached over and plucked the cane out of his grasp. "No cane." Cameron walked to the radio and turned it on, the soft, festive music filtering out to the kitchen. Voice slightly above a whisper, she tossed over her shoulder, "You can lean on me."
There were so many wry, witty comments that begged to roll off his tongue, but he couldn't seem to open his mouth. Well, that was odd. He tried again to speak, a retort about to burst forth, but she turned around and sashayed over to him, hands once again outstretched. "Up," she said once more and with an eye roll and minimal muttering he stood.
He hobbled over to her and simply stood, waiting for her to, well, do her thing.
A strange, jazzy version of some song filled the room around them and House found himself shifting his eyes back and forth wondering if it truly was the magic of the season that had him so ready to be in her arms. 'What is this song, how do I know this song...'
'Let It Snow' was being drawn out, smooth and sweet, its notes accentuates by the crisp wane of a trumpet. "Dance," she urged and grasped his hands. She found them slightly damp, a sweet hint of nervous perspiration that helped her fingers to slide around his and grasped, tightly.
"You okay?" Cameron asked delicately, laughing as she swung her other hand around his shoulder, the low light of the kitchen and the light of the twenty or so Mistletoe scented candles casting delicate shadows over them.
House scoffed, rolling his eyes expertly. "Please... oh no, wait," he feigned. "Heart palpitations and-"
"Just shut up," she insisted. Her hand tightened at the nape of his neck and she leaned into him, just slightly; as if he could pull back. Deep down, she knew quite well that he was simply a softy waiting to break loose, and yes: Allison Cameron was all about wearing down his barriers.
House shook his head even as she began moving her body against his. "Inappropriate, table of one?"
"Please," she retaliated, "I've danced closer with my uncle Stephen, deal with it."
He contemplated that for a moment, while cataloging the lovely heat in his arms. No one had ever trusted him quite that much to allow him complete sanctuary in their stance, in their arms. But he didn't want to think of that of course. It was just a dance, a simple shuffle of feet. She was able to stave off from allowing her head to fall against his shoulder for a minute thirty...
Then it was all ambient nap time; her head balanced against his body for support was too much; the rush of endorphins took his head by storm. "Pity," she huffed. "Need. I've never needed you. I want you, want you to want me, that's all..." She puffed a nice little puff of breath across his throat. "It's okay if you don't; I'm not that naive, just let me dance."
Stunned, that's what he was at her admission. Truly, she truly wanted nothing from him, he could feel it in her loose grip, in her slow breathing. But her eyes were delicately closed; she was thinking, she was thinking 'what if'... But who really cared about the eventual, the inevitable 'what if'?
He wanted to, if that was any real consolation. Even his heart knew it wasn't.
Stupid, fickle organ.
He found his hands on the small of her back, pulling her a bit tighter against him. She felt the change immediately and looked up at him, eyes soft. "Dance like this with Uncle Stephen?" he asked, smiling just the slightest bit, realizing that it didn't feel so bad to let her in a tad.
"No," came her simple answer and she pressed her lips to his neck, causing him to suck in a sharp breath.
'This is wrong,' he wanted to say, 'We need to stop." But he didn't. And when she didn't hear any words telling her to discontinue her actions, she kissed up his neck, to his jaw and finally hovered over her lips. "Okay?" she whispered, taking great care to stare into his eyes.
His nod was barely perceptible, but she caught it, and leaned in. Their lips were pressed together lightly, merely touching.
Her mouth slid open beneath his and he tasted her, tongues stroking gently together. She tasted of peppermint and coffee and frost and he had to kiss her deeper, he simply had to.
She was surprised when he took a hand off of her back and plunged it into her hair, disrupting the finely placed curls there. From the way she was kissing him back though, it seemed as if she didn't care.
A soft groan escaped his throat and her lips stilled. His eyes slowly fluttered open, wondering why she had stopped. "I, jesus, I like hearing you make that sound," Cameron rasped and launched herself at him, pinning him against the counter, nearly kissing him unconscious.
So they stood amongst the food and the candles and the festive music, just kissing and touching. He'd pull back once in awhile to kiss her neck and say something insane and she would laugh and grips his biceps to keep her standing.
A few badly timed knocks on the door cut through their fun and they separated, flushed and giddy. "Tell no one," he urged, moving over to the fridge quickly to pop open a beer, "no one."
'Won't have to,' she thought, and moved to let her colleagues in. They greeted her with gifts and smiles and hugs, and entered her apartment. The three of them noticed House already seated at the table and went over to greet him. And when Chase and Foreman went to grab a beer, Wilson sat down in front of him.
His friend gave him the once over and smirked, glancing over at Cameron, noting the flush there as well. Ah Christmas, such a magical time.
"Oh yeah, you're sooooo in trouble," Wilson said and popped his own beer.