This was written for vicodin for the ficathon of sorts at santahousemd over at House/Cameron
Rating: PG maybe? Just for some language and impure thoughts (heh).
Disclaimer: Totally not mine but I love them very, very much. I also don't own The Beatles, Pride & Prejudice or Sons and Lovers.
Author's Note: I don't write very often because it takes too much patience but I forced myself to finish this so that's why it's pretty disjointed. I hope it still turned out all right!
Dedication: This is dedicated to Chris because he's the best writer I know and the only way I'll ever be a fraction as good as him is to keep writing. As usual, it's also for my Twinness, Rose, who is my muse in life. Huge, enormous thanks go out to July who helped me more than she'll ever know.
I haven't seen any of Season Two (thanks, Australian TV!) so this is set somewhere in Season One. Probably Pre-Love Hurts, but it doesn't really matter. No spoilers!
House orders Chinese because it's Thursday, and he always orders Chinese on Thursday. It's a tradition he and Wilson started just after Stacy left – or was it after Wilson's second divorce? One pain is very much like another when there's so much of it around – and even though Wilson can't always make it, House carries on alone. He always orders the same thing (lemon chicken and spring rolls) because habits are healthy and comforting, and he loves knowing they'll never change, not if he doesn't want them to, and he likes the control he has; he relishes it.
The TV is on (when is it not?) and he amuses himself by telling the characters he's watching how to live their lives better, though this is ironic even to him. Fortunately, irony is one of his favourite things (he's a sick doctor, after all).
He's waiting for Wilson but he's already started eating, and he's on his second beer. It tends to make things easier. Maybe with some alcohol he won't notice as keenly when his friend will tiredly remove his tie and sigh heavily, his smile never reaching his eyes and avoid questions about his marriage. That bit in itself doesn't bother House – he doesn't like hearing about Julie's reign of organization and house-work and sterility – but he never enjoys seeing Wilson so lonely, so…
The phone is ringing, but he doesn't bother answering it, knowing who it'll be. He waits for his own voice to come over the machine and listens to the message.
"Greg? It's Jimmy. Look, I can't come tonight. I'm… I'll be playing bridge with Julie and some friends. I – muffled yes, I'm coming, just give me a second – I'm sorry. sigh I'll see you tomorrow."
House smirks as the machine clicks. At least Wilson's night isn't going to be any better than his. Serves him right for getting married again. Perhaps that's why House has never done it himself.
Why did she get married? Suddenly his mind is on Cameron and he shakes his head quickly as if to get her out of his brain. It's a practiced action, because she often manages to creep into his thoughts and he hates it.
"Right, what's on next?" he asks out loud as he often does, because there's rarely anyone around and it's easier than thinking about Cameron. No answer comes, but maybe he likes it better that way; people tend to ruin things, especially when they talk.
Half an hour and two beers disappear before the phone rings again.
"Greg, it's me again. I'm sorry… again. I just – muffled Just one minutes, okay? Just one – I can come over later, maybe? Call me when you get this. Bye."
He has no intention of doing that and waits for the next phone call. It comes fifteen minutes later. He's pleased to note that it's even more irritated in tone than the ones before.
"House, can you just pick up? I know you're there. Bring It On is showing tonight; I know you wouldn't miss that. pause Fine, don't. I'm going to – muffled Yes, Julie, I'm getting the brie – I've got to get back to the game. I'm think we're losing. I don't know. Call me soon."
The knock comes on his door earlier than he predicted. Thursday nights have always been Bridge nights for Julie's cronies, and they normally don't finish until midnight, so House is surprised when he hears someone at his door just past nine o'clock. The fact that the knock is somewhat timid piques his curiosity too much and he moves to answer it.
It's Cameron. Cameron wearing that damned expression of fear and defiance and tortured innocence and pure friendliness on her face. Her cheeks are flushed and he can barely look at her.
"What are you doing here?"
"Let me guess, putting yourself through medical school as a young widow was hard, wasn't it? It crippled you financially. So to make ends meet, you took up a job as a high priced call girl. You're still working to pay off the debts and you got sent out here on a job. Well, sorry, but Wednesdays are my nights of immorality and it's Thursday now. Come back next week."
She glares at him, her cheeks flushing even more.
"Actually, Wilson called me. He said you'd figured something out about the case. He said you… you might need my help." She falters when she realises how weak it sounds out loud. He raises his eyebrow skeptically.
"And you believed that? He usually gets so flustered when he lies." He smirks at her and leans in a little to where she's standing, just outside his door. "You must have really wanted to believe it."
"Are you going to invite me in?" she asks, choosing to ignore him and his close proximity. "It's cold out here."
"Fine, come. But don't touch anything."
It's the following afternoon and House is sitting in his office building a card house. He's managed to carefully construct seven storeys when –
"Cuddy's looking for you!"
The house collapses and the cards fly everywhere.
"Why don't you go take candy from babies or something? It's got to be more fun than incurring my wrath." House asks with a glare as he packs the cards up.
"Nope," Wilson sits down opposite him, grinning with satisfaction at his little joke. "Nowhere near as much fun."
"Well… go and chat up the new nurse in Radiology. She was looking lonely."
"There is no new nurse in Radiology." Wilson replies promptly.
"Funny how quickly that information came to you." says House, looking at him with raised eyebrows.
"So, how was last night?" Wilson asks, quickly changing the subject.
"Subtle. I hope you can distract your wife that easily."
Wilson chooses to ignore this. "I'm sorry I couldn't come. One of Julie's regular Bridge partners was in an accident. She was rushing to the New Jersey State Embroidery Championship and broke her pelvis in a car accident, so I had to take over for her."
"Oh, the trials of being a competent society hostess." House replies with a distinct lack of sympathy.
"Anyway, I'll have to fill in for her for at least another six weeks. Sorry."
House widens his eyes and looks pained. "You're dumping me for your wife? I'm hurt."
"So, did Cameron turn up?"
"Ah, yes, she came to 'help me with the case'. Wasn't that sweet of her?"
Wilson has the grace to look a little ashamed as he fidgets in his seat. "Come on, House, she was good company. Admit it. I did you a favour."
"What? You stood me up and then lied to someone to get them to replace you. That's your idea of a favour?" House asks incredulously.
"Look, did you have a nice time?" Instead of replying, House starts to build the card house again, not meeting Wilson's eyes. "House?"
"It was fine," he mumbles in assent. Maybe better than that, but he's never going to admit it. He focuses on the cards and tries not to think about her soft, flushed skin and the long paleness of her neck when she laughed. He doesn't want to remember the breath that caught in her throat when he leaned close to her, or the way she curled up on his couch, singing along to his music softly. Instead, he thinks about the card house in front of him.
He can't concentrate enough the rest of the afternoon to make more than three storeys.
House is eating his Chinese alone the next Thursday night when he hears a familiar timid knock at his door. As usual, his curiosity wins over his desire to ignore people, and he answers it, gritting his teeth in anticipation.
"I seem to recall telling you I get my lovin' on Wednesdays." She looks at him, her lips twisting in the slightest of smirks. "I mean it. I have no need for you. Go and rescue a puppy, or bathe a forgotten geriatric, or whatever it is you usually do after hours." But she just smiles at him and walks inside, brushing past him on the way.
"Oh, you got Chinese again. My favourite is the Yung Chow fried rice." She calls to him as he stands at the door.
"That's great, except for the part where I care." He tells her, slamming the door shut. "Why are you here?"
"Wilson – "
"Fucking Wilson." He growls.
" – called and said you," she looks at him anxiously "Wanted me to come over because you, you… you had fun last week." She finishes lamely, the smile slipping from her face at his expression. One part of her had known this had been a complete lie, but she'd shouted that part down with the other more optimistic part of her (her heart). She feels her face glow red as she realises how stupid and desperate she must look to him.
"I'll go. I – I'm sorry."
"No…" he sighs heavily and pauses, "You don't have to go." He says with an exasperated tap of his cane. "It doesn't matter."
And he almost smiles at her.
They're sitting next to each other on the couch. They're not quite close enough to be touching, but Cameron can smell him – can practically breathe him – and is alarmed by how comfortable it all feels. The music in the background drifts over them as House turns to her.
"Little known fact: Eric Clapton actually plays this solo, not George Harrison."
She laughs at his arrogance when it comes to music (when it comes to everything). "That's not little known! Everyone knows that. I know that."
"You!" he scoffs derisively. "You weren't even born when this song was written."
"So? You weren't born when…" she scans his apartment for some ammunition and finds a thoroughly dog-eared book on the top of his piano. "Sons and Lovers was written. Hey, isn't that book a bit sentimental for you? You don't want people thinking you care about Paul and Miriam – that you have a heart."
If he could blush, he would, but Gregory House never blushes. Instead, he smirks at her knowingly. "Oh, and if I read your diary – which is no doubt sickeningly pink and floral – it wouldn't say," he adopts a falsetto tone and clasps his hands together, his eye-lashes fluttering "'Dear Diary, if only I could find my Mr. Darcy!'?"
Cameron, however, can blush, and does so, while cursing the fact that he knows her so well. When she remembers that her journal (brown and plain) actually devotes most of its pages – when she actually writes in it – to angrily scribbled comments about House, she blushes even more. His smirk turns into a leer and he leans forward, whispering in her ear "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you". His stubble scrapes across her neck and goose-bumps appear as her eyes close momentarily. Her heart thumps wildly, painfully as the blood rushes to her ears, her neck, her face and she struggles to control her breathing. He watches her, enjoying his effect immensely, and leans back, slurping his drink noisily.
"I always thought Darcy was a bit of an impotent prick myself. Wickham? There's a real man – stealing innocent young girls' virtue." He waggles his eyes suggestively.
Cameron, regaining control valiantly, cocks her head, "And how is it you know the book so well?"
But he just turns away, grinning slightly, and shoves the bottle of Scotch in her hands.
"Here, drink up. I've always wanted to take advantage of a drunken girl on my couch. Cuddy doesn't really count, of course; I think she was only pretending to be drunk to have an excuse to jump me."
And as always, he's won, but Cameron doesn't mind so much because she's getting better at the game too. The memory of his stubble scratching her neck and his hot breath on her ear lobe flashes across her skin, causing her to shiver and swallow hard.
It was never like this with Stacy. With Stacy they connected with noise and heat – like when two metals are rubbed together really fast and sparks fly off. Over the years the sparks went away, but the grind of the metals was still there only they had worn away at each other until they'd etched familiar patterns.
With Cameron it builds up slowly with erratic heart beats, coy glances, accidental touching and extended eye contact. With her it's sometimes so carnal he can't breathe – Cameron dressed in red with her young curves and her soft skin, so silky smooth, her flushed cheeks and the pale flesh of her arms... with that smile that's not like anything – not like hers, not twisted and large – just so damn pure that he can't even look at her sometimes.
The weeks pass and by the sixth Thursday Cameron doesn't even pretend to have an excuse for her presence at House's apartment. He lets her in without a word and she thanks him with a ghost of a smile – that smile – and wafts past him leaving her perfume to linger in the air as he closes the door, frowning.
It's their last night together but they don't talk about it. They don't even acknowledge it, except when he hands her a glass of Scotch and she takes it, brushing his hand and meeting his eyes defiantly. He smirks at her slowly and turns away, blinded by the smile forming on her lips because it hurts to be that close to such innocence.
She leaves before she's had enough alcohol to touch him again and he doesn't even get up to say goodnight, but grunts at her from the couch when she softly bids him goodbye. He sits there for a while longer, breathing in the remnants of her scent and contemplates calling Wilson to celebrate his friend's last ever Bridge game but doesn't trust himself to pass it off as sincere. Instead he drinks the last of the Scotch and doesn't think about her – doesn't think about anything.
House orders Chinese because it's Thursday, and he always orders Chinese on Thursday, and breaking habits isn't something he does very often, not when they've been so good to him. Wilson's with him, starting the beer before the food arrives and quizzing him about his evenings with Cameron.
"So, is she really as sweet as she seems?"
"No, she's actually a man-eating nymphomaniac. She just wanted me for my body." He pouts and makes his eyes big and puppy-ish. "I feel so used."
Wilson just rolls his eyes and replies "Glad to see her kind nature rubbed off on you. Will you be, you know… seeing her again?"
"I hope so." Wilson looks at him quickly, his eyebrows raised in surprise, and House finishes earnestly, "Last time I checked, she still works for me, so I really hope I see her at the hospital tomorrow."
"Seriously, House, is anything more going to come of this?"
"Why, are you worried all your scheming is going to amount to nothing?" House asks sarcastically.
"I did not scheme! What, do you actually think I caused Mrs. Winters to smash her pelvis forcing me to endure all these weeks of Bridge just for you? Sorry, House, I don't think this friendship is worth that much."
"Now you tell me. Does this mean you don't want the chain I bought you? I have one with a matching pendant!"
But Wilson's been around House too long to be that easily misdirected. "Fine, don't tell me anything." he says nonchalantly, sipping his beer.
"Works for me." comes the easy reply.
It isn't until the food arrives and House realises he's ordered Yung Chow fried rice that he starts to wonder when Thursday nights became more about Cameron than Wilson and why he feels that she's become his new habit.
House relies on habits. He loves them.
So when Wilson casually informs him that he might not be able to make it next week, or even for the next month – something about a series of Oncology lectures – House is only mildly surprised to notice that the though of spending more Thursdays with Cameron is natural, comforting, intoxicating and surrounds him like a familiar scent – fills his veins like drug.
Author's Note: Hope you enjoyed it and I'd love it if you could review. Special points if you can pick up the vaguest reference to The West Wing, haha!