Title: Role Reversal
Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses
Pairing: House/Cameron (friendship)
Spoilers: Through "Honeymoon"
Disclaimer: Why do we need these? Everyone knows I don't own the characters.
Author's Notes: Written for pagingdrhouse for the housecameron ficathon on LiveJournal. She wanted smut, House/Wilson interaction, and slightly tender moments with House. Unfortunately for pagingdrhouse, I was a backup writer, and I don't often do smut. Also, this is my first House/Cameron fic, so it's not very romantic--I'm still trying to get a feel for the characters.
"You know, I just don't understand women sometimes."
Wilson snorted, watching his friend toss a tennis ball into the air. "Sometimes?"
House didn't break his rhythm, throwing the ball up and catching it with a 'plonk'. "You know what I mean, Doctor I've-Been-Married-Three-Times-And-I'm-Still-Not-Happy."
"Who says I'm not happy?" Wilson replied.
"Your tie. And the new nurse in Obstetrics."
"My sister bought me this tie, and I didn't even know there was a new nurse in Obstetrics."
"Your sister hasn't bought you anything in three years, but don't worry, I'm sure Nurse Betty would be delighted to give you lots of new ties. I don't think she'd use them in the normal way, though."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Okay. So which woman don't you understand this time?"
"Women in general." House dropped the tennis ball onto his desk and opened a drawer. He pulled out his Game Boy.
Wilson waited patiently. Patience was a trait he had in abundance. Otherwise, he never would have survived a friendship with the crankiest, most sarcastic doctor on the East Coast.
He filled out a few more spaces on the form in front of him. Finally, his companion's mutterings died down. "She thinks I'm a cold-hearted bastard."
"Normally, that's what you want people to think. Who's 'she'?"
"Pick a woman."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "Stacy? Cuddy? The new nurse in Obstetrics?" He paused. "Cameron?"
"She does this lip wobble thing with the puppy dog eyes, and..." House scowled at the Game Boy. "I told her I wasn't interested in the beginning. I mean, how much of a hint does she need?"
"Ah, so we are talking about the good Dr. Cameron." Wilson leaned back in his chair. "Did you actually say you weren't interested, or did you just give her the rude bastard routine?" House muttered something he couldn't quite hear. "Yeah, that's what I thought. So what did she say this time?"
"You know, when I decided to complain to you, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition."
"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition." Wilson grinned at House's scowl. "Did she profess her undying love for you?"
"You'd like that, wouldn't you? Give you more fodder for torturing me." House pushed a button on his iPod. The choral opening of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" came from the speakers. "This damn song has been haunting me for days!"
"Stop trying to change the subject. What did Cameron say?"
"What is this, high school? She said something about how she thought I couldn't love anyone, but that I really just couldn't love her. We've been on one date, and you know how that ended. I don't know where she got 'love' from." Wilson didn't reply. He was too busy giving House a disbelieving look. "If you're not careful, your face will get stuck like that."
"And if you're not careful, she'll leave again. Will you be able to swallow your pride and ask her back a second time? Or, a better question, will she laugh in your face?"
"Damn. You've been spending too much time with Cuddy," House replied with an exaggerated wince.
"Maybe she's right. Get your head out of your ass, House."
"Or maybe Stacy's been corrupting you."
"Did you stop to think that maybe this is something I've wanted to say for a while?" Wilson uncrossed his legs and dropped his pen. "I've stood by and watched you screw up your life for a long time. Stop being an idiot and go apologize to her. Or at the very least stop treating her like a teenager with a crush."
It was House's turn to be disbelieving as Wilson stood, gathered his belongings, and strode out of the office.
"Don't even think about laughing." Cameron glared at her colleagues.
"I told you not to go down to the clinic today," Foreman smirked.
Chase looked up from his newspaper. "Wow. Someone neglected to tell me that puke green was in this season."
"Bite me." She stalked over to the sink and grabbed a paper towel. She turned on the faucet.
The two men exchanged amused glances. "Allison Cameron, using language like that? What is the world coming to?"
"Shut up, Chase." She scrubbed viciously at her shirt. "If I ever say I want children, would one of you hit me upside the head with a blunt object, please?"
Foreman shook his head. "Poor Dr. Cameron, sacrificing her wardrobe for the good of the children."
"That was no child. That was--demon spawn. It crawled up from the depths of Hell just to torment me." She threw the paper towel into the trash.
"I thought that was House." Chase bent his head to his crossword puzzle. "Five letter word for 'monetary unit of Ecuador'?"
"Don't know. And we don't talk about House."
"Since Cameron almost bit my head off--"
"I did not!"
"That's why I said 'almost'."
Cameron rolled her eyes. "I'm not having a good day, guys. You don't want to piss me off today."
"Have you ever gotten angry?" Foreman asked, raising an eyebrow. "I mean, angry enough to lash out? Or do you draw the line at hurt or annoyed?"
She pressed her lips together. "Drop it, Foreman."
"Because I don't want to talk about this here."
"Here? But you do want to talk about it."
"What are you, a neurologist or a psychologist?" He grinned, and she sighed. She checked her watch. "It's 4:30. You won't rat me out if I skip out early, will you?" She glanced at Chase, who was still working diligently at his puzzle.
"Ah-ha! The sucre." The other two doctors looked at him and shook their heads. "What?" They ignored Chase's confusion.
"Go home, smelly one. Take a shower. Change your shirt." Cameron smacked Foreman on the back of his head as she passed.
There was a knock at the door. Of course, whomever it was had to wait until she had stepped into the shower. She sighed, turned off the hot water, grabbed her terry cloth robe, and mentally cursed the person interrupting her relaxation time.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Ah, yes. She recognized that sound. She resisted the urge to bang her head against the doorframe.
"What do you want, House?" she called out wearily.
"To come in and sit down. You had to have a second-floor apartment, didn't you?"
Well, gee, she wasn't expecting to entertain her boss quite this often. She opened the door and pinned him with a glare.
"Now this is a welcome," House leered. Cameron rolled her eyes.
"I was in the shower. It wasn't planned. What do you want?"
"So rude, doctor. Didn't your mother teach you manners?"
Cameron's lips twisted into a mocking smile. "My apologies, Dr. House. Please, come in; sit down. Would you like something to drink? Water? Coffee? Bleach?"
House raised his eyebrows. "No, no thanks. I think I'll avoid any risk of being poisoned today." He sat on the couch. Cameron sat in a nearby chair.
"Are you going to tell me what you came here for, or are we going to snipe at each other all evening?" She crossed her arms.
"Stop being so defensive, and maybe I could." House leaned forward, his hands on the top of his cane.
"You're invading my personal space, House. Of course I'm going to be defensive. Now either speak or get out." She stood and started for the door.
"Wait." She stopped and turned around. "I came over because..."
This was interesting. House was struggling for words. House. The man who always had a sarcastic comeback ready. Cameron waited.
"...I wanted to apologize."
Cameron's eyes widened. It would have been funny, if the last time House had seen that look on her face hadn't been when she told him she was giving up on him.
He was startled by a bark of bitter laughter.
"Since when does the great Gregory House apologize for anything?" She turned her face away.
"Look, I'm sorry for treating you like I did, okay? I was... wrong." She didn't answer. "Well? Aren't you going to say anything?"
"Give me a moment. I just need to savor this. I doubt it'll ever happen again. House says he's wrong."
He was getting a bit irritated--okay, a bit more irritated. "It's not that big a deal."
"Oh, yes, it is." She faced him again. "If that's it, you can leave. I have things to do."
"That's it? I apologize, and you say nothing?" This was not the way it was supposed to go.
"What? You expected me to say, 'Oh, House, of course I accept your apology. I love you forever!' and throw myself at your feet?"
"Well, no, but accepting my apology would be a good start!"
Cameron huffed in exasperation. "Fine. I accept your apology. Now will you go?"
"Why not?" Oh, she was getting annoyed now. House wondered if he could push her over the edge to angry. Probably not, but it was fun to try.
"Because I don't think you've really accepted my apology. I think you're just trying to get rid of me."
"Wow. It only took you fifteen minutes to figure that out. Good job."
"Just because I don't love you doesn't mean I don't like you, you know."
Cameron froze. "I don't want to talk about that."
"Well, I do." House stood. Cameron backed away and crossed her arms again.
"Why now? You couldn't have waited--"
"Now, because you can't say your piece and run. At least, I don't think you'd want to leave your nosy boss alone in your apartment."
She frowned. "Do we really need to talk about this? I get it. You're not in love with me. You think I only want to take on charity cases, or something stupid like that."
"You have a tendency to leap to conclusions, Dr. Cameron," House said. Amusement laced his voice.
"I'm not the only one, Dr. House," she retorted. "You think I married my husband because I pitied him. Did it ever occur to you that I actually loved him, cancer or not, and I wasn't about to abandon him when times got rough?"
"Of course it did." Well, okay, maybe not in so many words. "Did it ever occur to you that blackmailing men into dates only makes them want to run?"
"Really? Most men don't mind going on dates with me."
"Most men aren't your boss. They don't have to see you every day if things go bad. I have the feeling that most of the men that you date aren't twice your age, and aren't--"
"My husband was thirty-six when he died," Cameron interrupted. "And I don't even want to know how you were going to end that sentence. You're not the only man I've dated, you know. So don't go talking about charity cases. I don't... care for you... because of or in spite of your leg. I care for you--God! I don't even know why anymore, but I do!"
Her hands were on her hips now, and she was breathing heavily. House cocked his head to the side and said, "Huh."
Cameron threw her hands up in the air. "What now?"
"Even when you're angry, you don't raise your voice."
She closed her eyes. "Is that all you've been trying to do? Provoke me?" She sounded exhausted; resigned.
"No. That's just a perk." When she opened her eyes, he was standing within arm's reach.
"Look, Cameron. I..." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm not going to say that I'm in love with you or anything like that. I'm not going to suddenly tell you all of my darkest secrets. But... I might..." For once, House was at a lost for words. "I'd like to be friends. If that's okay with you."
Cameron was stunned. An entire speech from House without sarcasm. She smiled hesitantly. "Okay. That sounds... nice."
"And, well, if we end up in bed eventually..." House trailed off suggestively. Cameron eyeballed him, and he shrugged, blue eyes mischievous. "It's just a thought."
"Uh-huh. Right," Cameron said dryly. "You're leaving now."
"Yes, ma'am." He opened the door. "We're all right, aren't we? I mean, this isn't going to get all awkward again?"
"We're fine. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow..."
"Get out, Macbeth. I need to go take my shower."
House paused. "I'm really beginning to rethink this whole 'friends' thing."
"Out!" Cameron laughed.
She was still smiling as the door closed behind him.