Dealing

It's been a long day and he's tired, so incredibly tired.

He hadn't gone home the previous night, spending hours at his desk poring over textbooks and internet research, glaring at the whiteboard as though he could force it by sheer will alone to reveal the answers to the case. He'd slept eventually, stretching out on the lounger in a fitful doze, shifting restlessly as his relentless intellect refused to shut down, his dreams chasing around and around, still searching for an answer he knew was there, knew he should know. He'd woken up in pain, his damaged nerves singing with fire, and forced a couple of Vicodin past his sleep-parched throat before levering himself gingerly to his feet. Back to the desk. Back to work.

He'd taken his frustration out on his team as the morning passed without progress. He wasn't blind and he wasn't insensitive to the looks that passed between the three young doctors when he snapped at them but he couldn't bring himself to care what they thought of him. He had bigger things to worry about, like a patient slowly slipping away down in the ICU and a diagnosis that was proving frustratingly elusive.

The breakthrough had come in the late afternoon, a further symptom suddenly bringing a new focus to the previous test results, and as he'd stared at the whiteboard, cane twirling almost absently in his hands as his mind raced to make connections, he'd felt that slow surety in his soul – the knowledge that he had the answer, he'd solved the puzzle. His staff had been mystified when he'd turned without a word and walked out of the office, their questions chasing after him as they followed in his wake to the ICU. It was at times like these that he felt an acute impatience with a world that couldn't keep up with him, a helpless frustration with the need to explain to others what he saw so clearly, the connections which were so obvious to him and yet seemed to elude others.

The hours had passed in a blur of explanations, tests, treatments and more tests. Slowly but surely, the patient began to improve and he had allowed himself a momentary satisfaction at having succeeded, having beaten the puzzle, solved the equation, won the game one more time.

Now it's late – gone midnight – and the exhilaration has worn off. The adrenaline that has sustained him for the past 48 hours is gone and a wave of tiredness crashes over him. His leg thrums with pain, an ache that is slowly intensifying, and he fumbles for a pill with fingers suddenly clumsy with fatigue. He lets the Vicodin dissolve on his tongue, his mouth filling with the bitter, gritty taste as he waits for sweet numbness to steal over him and quench the burning fire in his thigh. He closes his eyes as he visualises the narcotic being absorbed into his bloodstream and slowly reaching to every fibre of him, every aching cell.

She finds him in his darkened office, the floor-length blinds drawn against the lights of the corridor. He is slouched in the chair at his desk, his eyes closed, head tipped back, hands resting lightly on his thighs. He doesn't react when the door quietly swings closed behind her. She steps forward hesitantly, unsure if he's asleep or just deep in thought. For a long moment she is frozen, lingering in indecision as she takes this chance to look, really look, at this man who raises such conflicting emotions in her. In his stillness, his face has relaxed and it makes her realise how constant pain has etched an almost permanent frown into those mobile features – a sight she is so accustomed to that she only notices it now it is gone.

A sound from the corridor brings her back to herself and she flushes dully to think what he would have said had he opened those piercing eyes to find her standing there like a fool, gazing at him. She speaks with a surety she doesn't feel, her voice jarringly loud in the silence of the glass-walled office.

"House".

He grimaces at the sound of his name, dragging a weary hand over his face before opening his eyes. She stands there just inside the door from the conference room, hesitancy written in every line of her body. He sighs. He's so tired, too tried to deal with this, with her, with anyone. His voice rasps in his throat, "It's late Cameron. Go home." He sees the conflict play across her face, her eyes showing a glint of the surprising stubbornness she could sometimes display. She is like a child at times, he thinks, wearing her heart on her sleeve, turning her open, trusting face to the world with no expectation of being hurt.

She takes a faltering step forward, her mouth already starting to form the dreaded question, the one everybody asks but never really wants to hear an honest answer to, the ever-looming, solicitous "Are you alright?" and he lashes out, not wanting to see the pity creep into her expressive eyes.

"I don't need you to mother me Cameron, I'm all grown up now – can dress myself and everything".

He sits up in his chair as he throws out his barbed comment, grabbing his cane from the desk and resting his weight heavily on it as he struggles slowly to his feet. The Vicodin hasn't kicked in fully yet and he can't suppress a small sound, the barest intake of breath as his leg protests the movement. He stands still for a moment, holding himself awkwardly, eyes closed, as he waits for the jolt of pain to fade, the sharp edges to blur and fade back to the burning background ache that is his constant companion.

He breathes out slowly as the pain recedes and opens his eyes to find Cameron standing right where he'd left her, her arms crossed defiantly as though resisting the temptation to reach out and try to help. "She's learning" he thinks bitterly.

When he moves slowly towards the conference room door she doesn't move. Arms still stubbornly crossed, she regards him with a mixture of frustration and anger as he deliberately looms over her, invading her personal space. It seems intimidation is not going to work on Allison Cameron today though as she holds her ground and tilts her chin up defiantly. He considers her for a long moment before leaning down slightly to emphasise his words. "It's generally considered impolite to impede cripples, Dr. Cameron" he jibes, gesturing with his chin at the door behind her.

Her mouth thins with frustration as she stubbornly stands her ground. The anger spills from her as she shifts her stance, her fists resting on her hips as she glares up at him. "Why do you do this!"

"Oh, do what!" His tone is a mixture of annoyance and careless disregard as he changes his mind, stepping back from her and moving to walk around her towards the main door out into the corridor. "The last thing I need is your.."

His words trail off in surprise as she grabs his right arm, halting his progress and causing him to stumble slightly as his own momentum spins him back towards her. He can't hide a grimace as the motion jars his leg but for once he doesn't see pity in her eyes, that awful, desperate sympathy for the poor cripple – no, her eyes are bright with anger.

"It's always the same with you," she grinds out. "You won't accept help from anyone, not even when you need it – hell, especially when you need it!"

He glares pointedly at her hand on his arm but she doesn't move it, choosing instead to step closer, forcing him to look up, to make eye contact, to acknowledge her. "Would it kill you to let someone help you – let someone care just once!"

"Oh and you're going to be the one to solve all my troubles are you, doctor?" he spits out nastily. "You're gonna care for me and help me and be the one to fix poor old crippled Dr House!" Her anger has lit a matching flame inside him now and he welcomes the stab of pain as he steps awkwardly towards her, crowding in close, forcing her to step back. The warming spark of anger pushes back his tiredness and he keeps limping heavily forward until the glass door to the conference room chimes softly as she backs into it. He glares down at her, feeling the frustration well up in him. Dammit all, it he will not be pitied by her or by anyone.

She has to tilt her head back to look at him from this angle but she is still defiant – still worrying at this like a damn dog with a bone. "You think you know everything about everyone don't you House!" she challenges. "Think you got us all worked out?" She pushes angrily at his chest, feeling trapped, as she knows he damn well intended.

"I don't want to fix you!" she almost shouts.

Her gaze is still locked with his, her hand braced against his chest and her eyes bright with anger. For a moment he is entranced – she is so alive, so vibrant, so much of everything that he can no longer have, that he shouldn't, doesn't want in his safe, compartmentalised life. His mouth twists bitterly. "Then what do you want Cameron?" he demands.

He moves closer, pressing her against the door, his anger turning to bitterness and self-loathing as he ignores her attempts to push him away. "You want to have your wicked way with me, is that it?" He taunts her. "Getting it on with a cripple is a turn on for you? Is that why you married your husband? You get a thrill out of the pity fuck?"

He knows he's pushed her too far, knows it and doesn't care anymore. His anger has burned out and he is tired, physically and emotionally, too tired to care, too tired to deal with this, too tired to do anything but lash out, hurt, wound – make her leave him the hell alone. He's relieved when she slaps him, welcoming the stinging impact as his head is rocked to the side.

Her voice is surprisingly quiet but she can pack a whole lot of fury into five whispered words. "You son of a bitch".

He smiles bitterly, his point made, and shifts his stance to lean back from her. Before he can take a step, her hand on his chest bunches into a fist around a handful of shirt and she pulls hard, jerking him off balance. He throws out a hand to catch himself, his surprise overwhelmed by fear – his constant fear of falling, of being helpless. His left hand slams against the glass door and it judders in its frame as he finds himself leaning over her once more. Only this time it is he who is off-balance, both figuratively and literally, his weight balanced precariously between an outstretched arm and his one good leg. Her hand is still gathered in his clothing, holding him close.

"The all-knowing Dr Gregory House," she mocks him bitterly. There is a frozen moment where all he can do is stare down at her. "You don't know a goddamn thing about me." she tells him and she reaches up and presses her lips to his.

Her lips are warm and soft and for a moment he is unable to think, capable only of feeling, of processing the sensation of her lips moving against his. Before his mind can regain its footing, his body reacts instinctively and he responds to her kiss, unconsciously leaning further into this odd embrace, his lips moving hungrily against hers. He is dimly aware of her hand at the base of his skull, her fingertips tangling in his hair, her firm pressure pulling his head down, deepening the kiss. With a small sigh her lips part and he finds himself tasting her, his tongue dancing lightly against hers.

The rational, logical part of his brain is struggling valiantly for supremacy, reminding him that this is the last thing he needs and everything he has tried to avoid, but it is drowned out in the intoxicating roar of long-suppressed desire. A more instinctive part of his brain has taken control and it's all he can do not to ravish her right here and now. Her scent overwhelms him and his mind reels as she clings to him, her small, lithe body pressed between him and the cold, hard glass of the door.

Sensation overwhelms him – he can feel every inch of her pressed against him, her small breasts brushing against his chest, her flat belly taut against his abdomen. She is hot fire running through his veins, wanton and wild, burning him, consuming rational thought and leaving desire stirring in its wake.

The need for air forces him to break off from their kiss and they stand frozen in place, each suddenly aware of the ragged sound of their breathing in silence of the office, the reality of their situation intruding on them once again.

She feels his body tense against hers and knows what is coming and she refuses to let go even as she feels him try to regain his balance and step away. For a moment he has dropped his defences and let her in and now he doesn't know how to deal with that, with her, and he'll try to backtrack, to push her away again.

He tries to use the hand still braced against the glass door to right his balance but Cameron's arm around his neck keeps his weight pulled forward. He can't use his right hand without letting go of the cane and without the cane he's not steady enough to rebalance and move away. He can't bring himself to look at her but he knows she can hear the frustration in his voice, "Cameron…"

"No" she interrupts him.

"You're not going to run away from this House." There is steel in her voice as she orders him, "Look at me." He hesitates and she snaps, " Dammit House, look at me."

His eyes meet hers reluctantly. Her gaze is clear and steady, unflinching, and for a heart-stopping moment he realises that she's not going to give up, not going to let him chase her away with his anger and his scorn. She regards him calmly as she tells him, "I wanted this. You wanted this – and we're going to have to deal with that."

Before he can argue she pulls his lips down to hers and as he tastes her he lets himself forget for a moment about the future, about why he shouldn't be doing this, about having to deal with anything but here and now.

End of Chapter 1

Hope you enjoyed reading my first ever fanfic – I'm hoping to continue this story as I think it's interesting to try and visualise how a HouseCameron relationship could realistically happen. All reviews and/or constructive criticism welcomed – let me know what you think.