Title: Swimming In The River Lethe

Author: PinkFreud

Rating: T

Summary: Dr. Cameron is feeling haunted, and she has trouble sleeping. House/Cameron.

Disclaimer: Well, I certainly don't own any of it...I wish I did, but then again I wish Superman was real too, and we don't always get what we wish for, such is the way of the world.

A/N I hope you like this, whomever should read it. I'm a relatively new fan of the show; I recently bought season 1 on DVD and watched it so many times that my poor DVD player is on the verge of a nervous collapse. I really love the characters, because they seem complex and fun. Btw, this story will have a couple of chapters, this is only the first bit.

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There isn't any mercy in bodies, after they cease to be people. Nothing lovely about dead eyes and cold skin, these shells, these vehicles that have failed us. Certain people, for whatever reason, have seen far too much death. And these certain people deal with what they saw, and what they felt as a result of what they saw, in different ways. Some prefer dark humor, because if you can make something funny, it seems to be smaller, less frightening, less real. Some people fold up, become small and damaged, with a constant look of fear and pain in their eyes. Some just have apathy, some have rage, and others have bewilderment.

It takes a special kind of person to become a doctor; to have a life in your hands, and yet not really in your hands at all--but at any rate, you like to believe that your hands have powers over all life and fate. To be a doctor, you have to have an amount of compassion, yes, but not so much that it leads to attachment, to seeing every dying person as someone beloved. Because then, it would be like losing a best friend every day of your life, and how on earth could anyone cope with that and not go mad? No, there has to be a certain degree of distance, a line that you don't cross. You stand behind it, if only so that you can sleep at night knowing that you did try your very best, even if it all went wrong and monitors ran a flat and endless line that screamed along greenly in a sad and screeching hum.

You have to be able to go home, and make dinner, and kiss your husband or wife and your kids if you have them, and then fall asleep without seeing dead eyes and hearing phantom monitors waking you in the night.

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Death crept everywhere in the hospital, and Dr. Alison Cameron figured she could smell it, or at least detect it by some sixth sense she had developed against her will. Death crawled on the white walls and hummed in the light fixtures; it made the whole place heavy.

It was some time in October, and leaves were pulling loose from branches, falling all around like confetti. The wind blew a little colder, and there was no doubt that winter was once again settling itself around New Jersey. Winter was one of those inevitable things on the east coast, like death. Except that death was everywhere. You couldn't avoid it by hanging out in Florida, although a great many tried. Alison figured that was why there were so very many old people in Florida. If you could cheat winter, maybe you could cheat death. But that was really stupid logic. December was December no matter where you went, even if it didn't feel cold. And so you died, even if you died peaceful and warm in your sleep and couldn't feel yourself dying.

Alison was thinking all these things to herself as she finally left the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, as she walked out onto the street in the growing darkness. The night smelled like autumn, of chill air and smoke from where summer was being sacrificed on a pyre. She stepped on some dry leaves and they crunched under her feet. She suddenly recalled being nine years old and having little memorial services for ants that her brother had drowned in puddles. She was always like that; caring too much and feeling too responsible for everything that suffered in the world. She even felt sorry for stepping on these leaves, because they seemed so sad already.

She was getting scared. She needed to admit that. Scared of what she saw day after day, of everything she had ever seen. It was wearing on her, and she couldn't sleep anymore. She wondered why on earth it took this long to have an effect; and she figured it needed time. Nobody goes crazy overnight.

She didn't like being alone, because she felt unprotected. She was a big girl, and there were no such things as ghosts, or at least her rational mind said so, but she was still wary, and the shadows still played tricks on her. And sometimes she could no longer fight back the images of death that she had seen.

It's been almost proven that the more you try not to think about something, the more you inevitably will think about it. Alison once read about a boy whose brother told him to stand on the street corner and not think about a white bear. That was it. Think about anything and everything except a white bear. Of course, the boy couldn't do it, because he'd had the image of a white bear put in his brain, and the more he tried to fight it off, the more prominent it became in his psyche.

She supposed it was the same with herself and dead things. By dead things she meant dead bodies that once lived and breathed and ate, dead eyes that once held life and looked upon the world, dead hands that would never hold a child or a fork or a newspaper ever again. She was sad for them, and confused, and she grieved, and at last understood why he stayed so removed. She wanted to forget. Forget all the dead things she had ever seen, and the things that she loved that were dead, and forget in advance all the dying things she would love in the future, because she simply could not stop caring.

She got in her car, but she didn't go home. She went where she would feel safest.

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A/N Please review...