"It hurts a lot less to just not care"

That was what he'd told House. He'd given away the secret to keeping the pain at bay, as if it didn't matter. He'd let his boss see

his numbness, his shield from the world. And looking at Cameron with any one of their patients, Chase knew he had been right.

He saw how much it tore her up inside, all the caring. He saw how she struggled to let a patient know that they were dying, to tell their

loved ones that they'd only have their friend, daughter, brother, husband, mom in their life for another month.

It killed a little bit of her, every single time. He watched how it led her to find ethical issues at every turn, whether to cover the hurt, or

justify it, redeem it, or apologize for it. He noticed how she made close, personal friendships with every patient that came into the

hospital. And then when they died, how it hurt for her as if they had been her own flesh and blood, how it extinguished just a little bit of

her light, what House called her naïveté, but what Chase knew was precisely what made her so purely Cameron, so thoughtful and

kind, and at the same time so defenseless, so fragile. He wished he could help her, teach her the art of apathy, and show her how to

obtain detachment, a strong preventative against that pain that life would inevitably bring her. She needed a shield, just the same as he

did. But as he thought about his auburn-haired colleague, he realized that she'd infected him. She'd gotten him to care; about her.

Disclaimer: no, I'm not the puppet master; I'm just watching the marionettes for a little while.

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