The beginning of this story came to me as I was lying half asleep in bed one morning last week. It stayed in my mind long enough that I felt I needed to write it out just to get it out of my head. It's a different style for me, but I'm enjoying seeing things from House's view, especially since I so often write of Cameron's feelings and thoughts. It will only be five parts, so it should go quickly. I hope you all enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

Stay

I.

Most people assume that you and she started dating just before her fellowship ran out. What other reason would she have to stay and put up with your abuse? At the time you weren't quite sure yourself. You asked her to stay (mumbled the word while she was packing up her desk) and she looked up at you with a piercing look you normally only saw reflected in windows and glass doors over idiots' shoulders. She demanded more money and a bigger desk. Apparently no one else noticed when the maintenance men came to replace her flimsy workstation with one bigger than yours.

Three months later and Wilson's divorce became final the same day your most recent patient, a nine year old girl, died. You heard Wilson and Cameron talking about going out for a drink and weren't sure who would be comforting who, you just knew you didn't like the idea either way. You showed up at the same bar, coincidentally/on-purpose, and shoved yourself into their booth. Of course you had to sit next to her because sitting next to Wilson would make people think you were gay.

You don't remember much about that night because you drank more than both of them and Wilson had to practically carry you out of the place. You don't think you threw up in his car. He would have reminded you about that. He did tell you the next day that if you didn't stop fucking around he wouldn't be responsible for what happened. You didn't really think he was serious, because "bros before hos" and all that. He'd cheat on a wife but not on you. You figured he was just trying to give you a kick in the ass and you told him as much and told him you didn't appreciate it. You weren't quite that polite about it.

But then another month passed and even though your newest patient would live, you invited (bribed) Cameron into going out for a quick drink. Half-way through the first drink you realized that you didn't know what the hell you were doing sitting there with her across from you in her pale pink sweater-set, looking tired and cautious, and swirling the ice in her girly whisky sour. The next three drinks went down fast and before you knew it, she was helping you outside and folding you into her car. You kept poking her with your cane and telling her you were fine, and she grabbed it and tossed it into the back seat. Falling asleep while she drove wasn't part of your plan, but then again there had never really been a plan.

The next morning the sun burned your eyes before they were even open. You squinted around the room and were surprised that Cameron wasn't sitting vigil beside your bed. That's when you realized she'd grown past that. You were the one still mired in assumptions and bad clich├ęs and Wilson was right. If you didn't stop fucking around, you'd regret it. You had enough regrets already, but you still didn't know what the hell you were doing and when you strode into the office two hours late and wearing sunglasses, you didn't feel like the cool anti-hero. You felt old.

A week later and she made it easy for you.

It was after five, but you had nowhere better to be so you were still sitting at your desk with your iPod blaring early Rolling Stones into your ears. You were still feeling old, but Mick Jagger could always be counted on to put things in perspective and you liked the fact that he was older than you and still a chick magnet. It made you feel better about yourself to know that at least your face didn't look like a bobble-head doll that had been left near an open flame.

Mick was just getting to the best part of 'Satisfaction' when she walked in, chin set at a defiant angle and lab coat slapping at her bare calves. She'd worn a skirt and you'd been distracted all day. You thought about releasing some of that tension by making a lewd comment, but settled on giving her a look that you hoped mixed boredom and irritation to perfection. Hopefully she'd just leave. She hadn't mentioned your little drinks date and you were hoping she'd leave well enough alone. You hadn't decided what you were going to do about it. After all, it had only been a week.

Four years, four and a half months and one week.

She stood in front of you and just stared at you with those big storm-colored eyes of hers and you realized that she wasn't going to just turn and leave.

You tugged on the thin wire running from your ears and the Rolling Stones tumbled to your lap, a classic guitar riff whispering into the air.

"Yes?" you tried to sound disinterested.

"I'm tired," she said then, and although her stance didn't match her words, the slight tightness around her mouth did.

"Then go home. Problem solved."

"I'm tired of this," she clarified, waving a thin hand between the two of you, but of course you didn't really needed clarification. You knew exactly what she was talking about.

The screen on your iPod suddenly demanded your attention, and you glanced down at it while you mumbled, "Don't think I can help you there."

Apparently she wasn't going to accept that for an answer because suddenly she was in your space, leaning over you with her hands on the armrests of your chair.

"No, you probably can't. That's why I decided to cut to the chase," she said.

You had to admit that you were surprised that her voice wasn't shaking and that her eyes were still boring into yours.

"Chase? I think he left about a year ago. His forwarding address is probably in the computer," you said because you were a master of deflection in times of uncomfortable personal intimacy.

It worked at least a little, you thought, because she rolled her eyes and pushed off from your chair, but she stayed just inches away. You could feel the warmth of her leg crossing the air to yours.

"You asked me to stay."

"I needed an immunologist."

"You followed Wilson and me when we went out, even though it was completely innocent."

"That was a coincidence."

"You insisted we go out for drinks and then you got drunk before you could make your move."

She had you there.

"I'm not sure what that move was going to be," she continued. "Maybe you were just playing with me the same way you did when I first came here. Maybe you just didn't like the idea of me finally losing interest for good."

Her voice was starting to get that little nervous pitch to it and you almost, almost, almost made a move to shut her down with a deliberately cruel remark.

"Then again, maybe you just weren't sure how to go from asking me out for a drink to this."

The pitch was low and steady again and a moment later she was closing the distance between you and her hands were back on your armrests, and her mouth was so close you could already taste it. You angled your head up slightly and your lips touched hers, and if you'd expected something soft and tentative, you were wrong.

Her lips were warm and pliant and you couldn't let her have all the control so yours was the first tongue to sweep out, tasting coffee and lip gloss and then feeling the full heat of her mouth as she opened it slightly to allow you inside. You hadn't expected this from her. You had a brief moment to wonder how long you would have danced around her if she hadn't made this bold move. Then you stopped thinking about stupid things and concentrated on the feel of her tongue sliding against yours and probably tasting the bitterness of the Vicodin you'd taken just before she'd walked in.

Soap opera and romantic movie kisses lasted a lot longer, but you weren't characters on television or the big screen, and her back muscles probably hurt and your neck definitely ached, so you pulled apart and she stood up straight. She was running the tip of that pink tongue along her lips as you watched. You realized that you were tasting her on your lips as well. Her eyes looked darker and her breath was quicker, but she looked satisfied with herself. Almost smug. You wouldn't have thought you'd like smug on someone other than yourself.

"Well," she said, "Now we've gotten that over with."

"Yeah," was your not very intelligent reply, but luckily you were quick on the up-take. "You want to go get some Chinese food?"

You weren't sure what she'd expected, but it probably wasn't that. The smile on her face wasn't shy, demure, giddy, schoolgirlish, adoring or unrestrained. It was pleased, but cautious.

"Am I going to have to drive you home again?"

"I very rarely get drunk on Tsing-Tao," you told her.

"Then you've got a deal."

She didn't say another word; she just turned and walked into the conference room. You supposed she was going to get her coat and the rest of her things. You pushed yourself up from your chair, noting that the armrests were still warm where her hands had been. You'd meet her half-way.