The tiny pink and white striped candle flickered with an intensity that only helped to illuminate the beautiful recesses of Allison Cameron's face.

The oranges entwined themselves in the twists of her chocolate-brown hair while reds danced playfully about her glossy lips.

Watching the color slip over her alabaster skin, House realized that when Wilson had promised that there would be free cake, that wasn't all that he had been promising.

House had agreed to let his office be used for a small birthday get together for Cameron, and so, at 3:00 pm, Cuddy and Wilson had made their way into the room just as Foreman flicked a Bic lighter and Chase turned out the groaning fluorescent lights.

Like magic, the moment that the single candle atop the tiny chocolate cake sprung to sparkling life, everyone in the dim room burst into a laughing rendition of "Happy Birthday" that threatened to make the gruff man's head explode.

Managing to move his lips in a pathetic approximation of the words, the doctor couldn't help but grasp nervously on the handle of his cane. His long fingers uncurled and curled once again around the worn handle.

It was a small thing but if anyone were to truly pay attention, they would learn to read House's moods simply by studying the grip of his cane hand.

The mundane lyrics sung by a ridiculously happy group of people started to slip and fade into the background as the tiny dancing flame began to seduce the man's senses.

The candle's light swayed seductively from side to side, its colors dissolving gently into one another with each flick.

Crimson faded to sepia while burnt orange twisted into what could only be described as 'cherry' red.

As if intoxicated merely by the sheer simplicity and sensuality of the colors slipping together, House was surprised when even the gleam of the tiny candle began to fade away, giving light to something that was far more important than a dancing flame in a dimly lit office.

The red and orange tongue still swayed and danced to tempt his senses, but now… the flame offered its heavenly light up to the one who stood above it.

Now the lights kissed the tender cheekbones of Cameron before they softly slid over the curve of her hairline.

Where he had once been caught up in the colorful intoxication of a flickering flame, Gregory House could not tear his ice blue eyes away from the woman standing behind his desk, next to a tiny cake with one only candle.

In the midst of the glow provided by the tiny white and pink stick of wax, the doctor had come to believe that there was nothing in the world that could have shone any brighter than the dancing hues of the flame.

But the bat of an eyelash proved that belief to be completely wrong.

Opening and closing with the softness of a butterfly's wings, Cameron's perfectly mascara-ed eyelashes offered up a few precious glimpses of her soft green eyes before fully exposing the glimmering orbs.

With one last bat, she looked from the cake and the smiling faces around her before stopping to linger on the unshaven face of her boss.

It was as if she were moving in slow motion, the soft waves of her hair swinging softly with each twist of her neck. Just as time seemed to slow to the pace of a snail, it seemed to stop altogether.

Amid the singing and laughing, the flickering of the candle and the obnoxious sound of people clapping, everything seemed to come to a crashing halt the moment that Cameron's eyes locked onto his own.

The moment that her smiling eyes began to sink into his heart and soul, House unconsciously tightened his grip on the handle of his cane. If anyone had cared to look, they would have seen that his knuckles were currently turning white.

Their shared gaze turned into an eternal second that promised so little but offered them both so much.

In her eyes, the older man saw the flame performing its seductive dance as her cheekbones raised in a tiny smile that was only for him.

Twitching cautiously, he was about to return her smile, with… something of his own. However, the song had ended and the present came rushing back to them both as people began to clap even louder and more obnoxiously before yelling at her to "make a wish" and "blow it out."

Hesitating before closing the long lashes of her eyes, Cameron stole one more look at House before bending down and rounding her lips to blow softly on the flickering flame.

With a soft exhale, the tiny light and the dancing colors were gone, making way for a tiny stream of smoke that curled suggestively up towards Allison's chin and into the tiny strands of hair that tickled the nape of her neck.

The soft padding of shoes over carpet preceded the plastic-y sound of a light being switched on and the immediate fluorescent buzz that followed seemed to have kept everyone busy.

Everyone except for Dr. Wilson that is.

In the enveloping darkness that had promised to keep a million secrets, James's eyes had flickered over to his best friend.

In the few moments that his gaze lingered on the man, he had noticed House's fingers flexing voluntarily and involuntarily over the handle of his cane before his bright, laughing eyes were drawn to the two people sharing a private glance over a tiny candle.

It seemed as if House had gotten his cake and eaten it too.

Cillian Chase's Chart

- Katie — Thank you so much. Really, you're amazing. :duck:
- Nadya — Thanks for going sentence by sentence through my mental breakdown.
- My birthday is January 4. So… I wrote this for my birthday. It's my gift to you all.