Well, here it is. The final chapter. I just want to say - screw the disclaimer, this is about my fic (lol). And all these wonderful people I would like to thank, for their reviews and dedication to the story. Your comments made me all happy, and inspired me to keep going. Thank you: J. Daisy, brynnamorgan, house obsessed, Belmont-Bellamy, Blackrose Kitsune, stwbrryCSI, theshowpopper, Audacia, jenloveshouse, colonelheather, HouseLuvr, KayleighBough, Ellie 5192 and everyone else who so much as READ the story.

the ending may surprise you, but not in a big way, like she dies or house falls down the stairs and dies or something. even though it DOES sound like something i would do.

well i won't hold you back any longer. read on, and i hope you like it :)


Not many people had considered it over the past few weeks, but Dr House actually wanted to keep his job. So after Cuddy's little hissy fit in the girl's bathroom he started taking cases again. However, if Cuddy thought he was going to start doing clinic duty of his own free will, she had more problems than he did.

But the second case he took really hit him hard. The first one was simply a tiny brain tumour that a neurologist had missed (luckily for Foreman it wasn't him), but the second was a young woman who had collapsed at work, and fallen into a coma. She crashed, and the doctors were pronouncing her brain-dead. All this had happened in less than a day.

House stood in the patient's room. Chase and Foreman had made the call, and as much as House wanted them to be wrong, the doctor in him knew she was unresponsive. She had no brain function, or reactions to the stimuli. He watched her heart beat steadily on the monitor. Her body was being kept alive through wires and machines, but she was dead. The lights were on, but nobody was home.

He had seen many brain-dead patients in his career, but none had affected him quite like this. But then, Cameron wasn't in a coma then. What if she became unresponsive? He knew it could happen. What if her brain just gave out? She had suffered some mild head trauma in the attack, what if her brain decided to bleed?

He had to stop thinking this way. He didn't like feeling so exposed. But he thought of the patient in front of him. She was so young, in her mid-twenties. She was at the beginning of a promising career. She was engaged, and soon to be married. But she wasn't going to walk the aisle in a stunning bridal dress. She wasn't going to fulfil all her dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She wasn't going to grow old, or watch her children grow old. He sighed and left the room. Sometimes life was just too cruel.

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He tried to visit Cameron as much as possible over the next few weeks, but his workload increased with the onset of the summer holidays. When he was finished for the day he would often stop by her room, and check up on her. Her actual doctors weren't good enough.

One evening he was opening the door when he saw her sit up in bed. His heart skipped a beat. No, scratch that – his heart skipped three beats. But when he looked again, it was only the shadows playing tricks with his eyes. He blinked, and left.

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They had hit a dry spell in the flood of patients that were usually occupying the clinic, so House found himself sitting in his office. General Hospital wasn't on, his yo-yo was broken, and his Game Boy had run out of batteries. Even throwing his unnaturally large tennis ball at the wall had lost all meaning. He contemplated calling Chase in so he could play target practice, but decided against it. The last thing he wanted was to listen to Chase complaining. And he had pushed Foreman to his limits, so he would gain nothing but pain from tormenting him. Annoying Cameron was always the most fun. She had the cutest reactions. Then he decided he would do the next best thing, and visit her.

Down in her room, House plonked himself down on his chair. He watched her chest rise and fall in an almost hypnotic rhythm. Things were so different without her. He thought back to what he told her when she first fell into the coma.

"I watched them revive you in the ambulance, and I had never been more scared of anything in my entire life. I-I've already lost you once, and it felt as though a part of me was ripped away. I won't go through that again."

Had he meant it? It certainly didn't sound like something he would normally say. To be honest, he hadn't intended on saying it at all. It just kind of slipped out. In fact, he hadn't intended on saying anything. Why did he change around her? What was it about this woman that made him question everything?

It wasn't only the dream, either. That just magnified it. Even before that she made him question himself. She was so open with her feelings for him. But he quickly regained control, and dismissed what she felt. Then he worked on convincing himself that he didn't like her. He had walled himself off since Stacy, determined to live the rest of his life alone. Relationships only brought more pain.

He wanted to have something with Cameron. He knew she really did like him, and it wasn't only pity or neediness. He desperately wanted to take a chance and see how things went. She was picking at the wall, slowly scraping away all the mortar, patiently waiting for that moment when the bricks gave way and let her in.

He knew how much pain he would bring her. She had already been broken once, but, unlike him, she allowed herself to heal. She had to know what she was trying to get herself into when she fell for him. You play with fire, and you get burned.

He told her that he liked her. Did he mean it? Of course he did. He may say things without thinking sometimes, but they always came from somewhere. He was still afraid. Afraid of more pain, for him and for her. Any relationship of theirs was doomed to fail. Partly because they work together, partly because he was old enough to be her father, but also because he was so utterly, utterly damaged. He needed to adjust, to heal. In time he knew he would be ready to take things between them further (further from what? He wondered), but when that time came, would she still be there? He sighed. His leg had slowed him down in more ways than one.

He sat in silence, and swore that one day he would make her happy. Just not today.

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"That little shit that attacked you has been locked up." House told Cameron's unconscious form. "And they retrieved everything he stole from you, including that prized necklace. You might want to replace the chain, though. It must have broken when he took it from you." He said quietly, and without expression. It had now been three months.

Foreman and Chase entered, chatting to each other – they too liked to pop by on their way out every day or so. House chose this moment to leave, gently patting Cameron's leg as he passed.

She flinched.

House felt time grind to a halt, as he stood stock-still, unable to take his eyes from her face. Slowly, ever so slowly, she opened her eyes.

Foreman and Chase stopped mid-sentence, their jaws dragging on the floor. They rushed to her side to flash light in her eyes and perform other various tests, while House stood at the foot of her bed, in a state of euphoria like none he had ever experienced before.

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She was fine. No lasting damage. She needed a little physiotherapy to get used to walking and moving around again, and a couple of sessions with a therapist, but other than that she made a full recovery. On her last night in the hospital, House stopped by her room while she was packing her things.

"So… you're being discharged?" he asked, standing in the corner uncomfortably. Something about him was different, but she couldn't place it. "Yeah." She replied, before gathering up all her 'get well' cards and stacking them in a pile. He hadn't had much of a chance to talk to her (while she was conscious) because of his workload, and all her visitors, check-ups and physio.

"How are you feeling?" He asked, still looking awkward.

Cameron nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine. Did you miss me?" she asked playfully.

She saw a spark of the old House. "Of course. Foreman makes a vile coffee, and Chase doesn't even know how to make one of those." He said dismissively.

Like Wilson, Cameron could see straight through him. So he did miss me, she realised.

Suddenly visions of darkness enveloped her. She would never forget the incredible loneliness that resided there.

But he had been beside her. It was House beside here all those times, talking to her or even stroking her hand. His voice echoed through her memory.

"…I thought I'd lost you"

"… I was so scared"

"…Allison"

" I…like you"

"…Allison"

She smiled warmly at him. He smiled back, and then let his face fall.

"So… I guess I won't be seeing you again." He said sadly. Cameron was puzzled for a second, before she remembered that she had quit a week before the attack.

She stared into his piercing blue eyes with her softer ones. Even from opposite sides of the room Cameron felt the air ripple, as if an electric current was stretched between them.

She also saw deep within the swirling blue, a need, a desire for her that even he couldn't hide behind a mask of sarcasm and indifference. Or that puppy-face he's trying to pull, she noted.

She remembered his words, spoken to her in her times of darkness, when he thought she was oblivious to his presence. But it was his presence that had kept her alive.

Allison Cameron was a smart woman. And being a doctor had taught her a few things about people. She could read some like a book, while others needed a little extra concentration or some rose-tinted spectacles.

She wasn't going to rush things with House. She knew that all he needed was some time. And she was going to be there, however long it may take. She needed him as much as he needed her. She let out an exasperated sigh. "Okay… I'll stay." She said, as if it was the hardest decision of her life. But in reality it was the easiest one she'd ever had to make.

House beamed her a triumphant grin, and limped out the door. Ha, he thought to himself smugly, told ya I could convince her to come back. That old puppy-dog routine works like a charm. Women, he scoffed, shows what they know.

Cameron chuckled gently to herself as she gathered her things. He probably thinks that puppy-dog face he was pulling convinced me to stay, she thought with a smirk. Shows what he knows.

She walked out the door, still a little wobbly on her feet, and down the corridor into the elevator, where House held the door for her. He gave her a small smile, which she returned. Both stood in a comfortable silence as they waited to reach their destination.