Title: Swimming In The River Lethe

Author: PinkFreud

Rating: T

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

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

On Wednesday night, the third of November, Alison Cameron and Gregory House sat together on the couch in House's apartment. They were sitting side by side but not touching. The television was on, and a movie channel was showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Alison had never seen it before. House wondered what rock she had been living under.

She thought it was the best damn thing she had ever seen. Alison laughed so hard that she doubled over and wrapped her arms around herself, because it was the kind of laughter that was so intense it almost hurt. The absurdity of the movie, combined with the absurdity and sadness of the past week in general, had given way to a kind of hysterical giddiness. It made her laugh until she couldn't breathe, and she wondered if she was dying, but she didn't care because at that moment, everything was alright.

They both fell asleep on the couch. The TV was still on, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, all three movies, were being shown in consecutive order. They had fallen asleep when Frodo set out from the shire, with loyal Sam at his side, ready to take a journey that would lead them into the unknown. Alison and Greg slept through all of the first movie, and the second one. Alison woke briefly during The Return of the King, but she didn't remember what part, and fell back asleep. Her head was resting on House's shoulder. She dreamed about stone; statues that wept, and rocks which held swords. She dreamt of water; of lakes with women, and rivers that ran deep and dark. And oceans, like the ocean where all life began.

It always seemed to begin with water.

Water that birthed, water that drowned. Water that soothed, tears that ran. Water covered; water held forgotten things, but then returned them. Sooner or later, everything lost at sea washed up again on the shore.

Round and round goes the world.


The next day was Thursday. There had been a storm during the night. A man had been struck by lightning and was rushed to the E.R. at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. He had no ID. His shoes had melted completely, and his heart had stopped. Paddles were used to shock it back to life. Electricity had killed him, and electricity revived him.

The man would always forget things. He would have short-term memory loss for the rest of his life. But he would be alive.


Gregory House went to work on that Thursday. Alison was sleeping when he left. She was sleeping on the couch, where they had spent the night. He left her there; she was breathing deeply and evenly. She looked like she belonged there. House didn't know how he felt about that.

He came home that same night, and paused outside his own front door. It looked different. House had never really looked at it from the outside, needing what was inside so much. He opened the door, and walked in.


The rain had given way to snow that Thursday night. There were flakes falling fatly to earth, covering everything in white powder. House had beat the snow home, at five o clock in the evening. Now he was sitting in the kitchen with Alison. The kitchen was bright and warm and felt safe. House needed a cup of coffee. He prepared himself for a long search for the sugar, but it was right in plain view on the counter.

Alison was eating vanilla ice cream. The carton was almost empty, and she dug around the bottom with a spoon to salvage the last bits. She had tied her hair into loose pigtails. She looked sweet. She looked like everything good and wonderful and ok, and nothing bad at all.


It was five minutes to nine o clock, and Alison and Greg found themselves in the living room.

Alison had called Mr. Alberti earlier that day. The roof was fixed, pretty much, and so was the carpet. She wouldn't have to pay for those. But she would need a new couch, and a new everything else that was ruined the day the ceiling rained bloody water.

Alison could leave House's apartment now, after this odd vacation. She felt like she was a little girl again, on vacation at the shore in a beach house. Looking out of the window at the ocean after a week of memory and sand and salt and ice cream and sunburn. Thinking it would soon all be over, and she would be back in the real world, with the same problems, and no real answers; just memories.

She packed her things; the shampoo she bought, the battered copy of A Farewell to Arms. Alison also took the book about King Arthur, and she took the photo she had found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. House had forgotten about it long ago, and he would never know it was missing. She let House keep the copper pot with the Virgin Mary on it. It was still in the cupboard.

Alison left the apples and pears in the drawer in the refrigerator. The carton of milk was half-empty. The box of pasta was never opened. Dried pasta would keep for a very long time. It didn't go bad.

She stood, ready to go, and not saying anything. Alison and House looked at each other. Awkwardly, Alison moved foreward, then backward, then forewards again. She put her arms around House. He didn't pull away, but he stood very stiffly. Then he relaxed slightly, and put his long arms around her.

Alison pulled back slightly, and looked into his eyes. They were like a wild and violent ocean crashing waves of electric-blue fire. Hers were deep like a river; deep as an ancient lake.

It always came back to water, and water washed everything back. Everything that had been drowned, or lost, or forgotten.

Alison moved closer, then, and pressed her mouth to his very delicately.


She had wondered forever what it would be like to kiss him. Times before, long before, it seemed, when she watched him. Watched the way he fought against everything. The way he was sad and sarcastic and restless, but also strong. She was driven to him, pulled to him. When she was afraid, standing on the edge of the world, Alison went to him, because he was the safest place.

He kissed her like she always imagined he would. An awkward meeting of mouths at first, getting used to each other. Very soft, like sunshine touching the earth in early spring. Then it was full and rich and deep with longing, like spring passing into summer. And then it was hot and passionate and burning, like the end of July.

And then, and then, and then, full of clashing, frenzied desperation and clinging, like autumn.


Alison felt a roaring in her ears, like the ocean. Her blood was crashing and rushing through her veins like a river.

The kiss ended; her face was hot and her eyes were shining. She could scarcely breathe; everything around her felt muted and blurry. It was terrifying and wonderful.

They were still holding each other, but very carefully. Greg House and Alison Cameron were standing at the exact spot where Alison had fallen to the floor a week before, crying about death.

She had wanted salvation; she had wanted an answer. She had wanted to rest; she had wanted to forget. And yet, all she got in the end was memory.


There wasn't any answer to death, or where the people behind the eyes really went. They died and were eventually forgotten; their bodies dissolved in the ground slowly, or were burned and scattered. These people, however, left things behind. Belongings, objects covered in their fingerprints. These objects exchanged hands over and over again.

Alison had no answer, she had gone swimming in Lethe, the river of forgetting. All she found there was memory; the very memories that made the water flow.

It always began, and ended with, water.

She moved towards the door. She moved like the falling of rain. She moved away from House, and her fingers fells away from his.

Alison pulled open the door.

''Are you going to be ok?'' House asked her. The question fell like a stone.

''I think so'', she said.

''Will you really?''

''I...don't know.''


''See you tomorrow, Cameron.''

''See you tomorrow, Dr. House.''


House shut the door. Alison was gone, but everything about her was still there. She would never leavem really.

He would see her the next day, but it wouldn't be the same. House didn't know how it would change; it could tip either way. He felt as if he were balanced precariously on the edge of the world.

He never listened to those records any more. But on Thursday night, he did. House walked over to the shelf where they were all neatly lined up. He took one down, and looked at it.

''Wish You Were Here'', by Pink Floyd. It was covered in her fingerprints.

A/N Please review...