Title: Succumb (1?)
Summary: We have to succumb to the feelings we can never face. House/Cameron
Princeton, New Jersey 2008
Time had made little impact on the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. There were minute dents in its otherwise sturdy, unchangeable armour; staff came and went, facilities were tended to and charitable donations were granted.
As head of the Oncology Department, Wilson was in a prime position to witness these changes; a casual observer to their effects. For him, the years made little difference. His world was narrow in its focus and there were two things in particular that he could always count on being in it.
Cancer patients, and Gregory House.
The Diagnostics Department head was still as acerbic and bitter as he had always been. However, his team of loyal underlings had undergone minor changes. Chase and Foreman, reluctant as they were, had formed a sort of intangible allegiance with their gruff leader. Cameron, on the other had, had drifted from their ranks, and three and a half years had passed since that day.
Wilson still wasn't quite sure what it had been-- the work, or House, that had finally broken her. Whatever the case, her absence had caused a subtle shift in House's behaviour, and the brief hope the hospital staff had cherished for his rehabilitation had been snuffed the moment Cameron left its doors.
Wilson had never risked giving voice to his disappointment over this of course. House wasn't as unreadable as he liked to think he was, and if one thing was perfectly clear to the oncologist, it was that he did not want to talk about Allison Cameron.
After their fellowships concluded the two male doctors and Cameron's replacement formed the more permanent basis of the Diagnostic Department. Despite its known financial drain on the hospital, their recovery rate reflected highly on the effectiveness of their team, and Cuddy made the unit more official.
For some reason his thoughts dwelled on the past this particular day. Perhaps it was that House seemed to have withdrawn into himself more than ever, the last few months, and it was starting to have a lasting effect on the productivity of his team. Or perhaps it was Wilson's own life that gave him pause; his shaky but surprisingly resilient marriage to Julie, and her insistent need for children, one that he could not offer her. They had tried, numerous times, but with little result. It was almost as if his own virulent sperm was acting against him; listening to his inner desires and resisting such a permanent tie to a woman he did not love.
It was with these rather grim, philosophical thoughts in mind that Wilson rounded the corridor on his way to the clinic, shuffling through some clipboard notes on his latest patient. Cuddy wanted a full update, due to the patient's influence with the hospital, and he was loyally delivering her request. House would probably mock him for how easily he obeyed Cuddy's whims, but he was just smart enough not to cross her. She could be a fairly formidable force if left ignored.
He paused on his way, righting the wad of papers in his hands, and nearly collided with a young woman coming in the opposite direction.
Ever the gentleman, he lifted his head with a sincere apology on his lips. He stopped short. The pretty brunette smiled coyly back at him and he blinked in surprise.
If nothing had shocked him more, it was this. Allison Cameron as he had last seen her-- at home in her natural surroundings, and yet undeniably removed from them as well. He frowned, subtly taking in her appearance. Her long brown hair fell in loose curls around her soft features, and she was dressed casually, almost unnatural looking without her crisp white lab coat. It was this that finally convinced him she was not a hallucination from the past.
"Hi, Dr. Wilson."
He blinked at her, feeling stupid in his reaction. She looked perfectly serene, and unaffected by the bustling activity of the hospital around her. Three years had somehow managed to bring a newfound maturity to her once noticeable naiveté. Even without House, she had hardened to the world.
"I… I can't believe you're here", he said haltingly, quickly correcting himself. "I mean, it's so nice to see you. What are you doing back at the hospital?"
Cameron looked mildly amused by his surprise, smiling lightly. "Dr. Cuddy called me in to consult with the Immunology Department. They have an unusual case."
"Cuddy… called you?" he repeated, taken aback.
Cameron nodded, slanting an eyebrow. "Is that such a surprise? She probably heard on the grapevine that I was looking for work again."
"Right." He hesitated. "Well, have you—?"
A nurse appeared at Cameron's side, clasping a little girl by the hand. She smiled at Cameron sweetly, and for once, Wilson felt completely out of his element. "Your daughter came looking for you, Dr. Cameron. I think she got tired of all the fuss the other nurses were making".
Cameron smiled at her in return, taking the outstretched hand of the diminutive girl and pulling her easily into her arms.
Wilson blinked. He took in the startling similarities between them, as if the fact that the little girl was the splitting image of the beautiful young doctor was not already blatant for all to see. He was utterly dumbstruck at the sight. All he could think was, 'House is not going to believe this'.
"You have a… daughter?"
When he had turned into a stammering fool, he didn't know. Cameron merely nodded, straightening with both arms securely around the girl. "This is Brooklyn. Brooklyn, say hello to Wilson".
Brooklyn blinked at Wilson quietly, but didn't say anything. He felt an involuntary smile tug at his lips. "She's beautiful".
"Thank you", Cameron said softly and he glimpsed a flash of relief behind her blue eyes, as if she somehow sought his approval. He wondered, though, if it was really his approval she sought. He had always felt a sort of kinship with Cameron, considering they were both House's strongest, and perhaps only, supporters. He had often worried if House's suspicions about her need to fix things had been valid, but he could never ignore the positive influence she had had on him while she had been there.
"You, uh, you never told us you were married", he managed. He knew Foreman had kept up a loyal correspondence with her since her departure, and that Chase sent her the odd email, and received one in response. He himself emailed her on an infrequent basis. They had a casual friendship, but in reality it was his excuse to update her on House. She didn't protest or call him on it, though they both knew exactly what he was doing. He got the feeling she needed the weak connection to her old life. To House. And it was the only way he could console himself for the role he might have played in their shaky, doomed relationship.
She frowned slightly, a brief expression that flitted across her face and was gone just as instantly. "I'm not. It… it didn't last long".
He decided to spare her from further inquiry, and cleared his throat. "I suppose you haven't seen him yet".
Slowly, she shook her head and glanced away, confidence shaken at the mere mention of her former boss. So some things still hadn't changed. "No, I, um, I wasn't sure if I should".
"I think he would be happy to see you".
Cameron blinked, then laughed at him. "I think you're forgetting that we're talking about House here".
He wished she could understand House the way he did. He had thought she might be close once, but now that was a distant, wistful memory. "Well he might be… slightly less gruff than before. He's in his office".
"He's not working in the clinic anymore?"
He blinked, resisting a smile when he realised her reason for wandering around this particular wing of the hospital. "You do remember how many hours he has to make up, don't you? I think he tricked Cuddy into letting him off early for the day. That, or he just slipped past when she wasn't looking".
Cameron nodded, with a brief, knowing smile. She turned towards the elevators, Brooklyn weighed heavily in her arms, and Wilson called out after her.
"Good luck", he said sincerely.
She offered him a fleeting smile in response and he watched her go, wondering how important his meeting with Cuddy really was today. If there was one thing he wanted to see, it was House's expression when he saw her. Nothing was going to top that.