Title: the doctor gangs a firefighter
Fandom / Pairing: House, MD; House/Cameron?
Rating: T, just because
Disclaimer: I'll own House when the disease actually is Lupus.
Summary: The cosmic cynic represents the universe opposite the opponent virtue.
Notes: For Em. ♥
Their patient - theirs because they are ducklings without a mother mallard, followers sans a leader - is a firefighter, cute and softspoken despite the excruciating discomfort he is in. They have no idea what is wrong with him, only a list of ideas that aren't connected in any small way. Or maybe they are and they are too tired and not smart enough to figure it out.

(It's not the latter, because Chase, Cameron, and Foreman each has solved one case before House. Just once, mind, but it's something to keep in mind while the odd thump of a cane isn't heard for want of peace. She tells herself that it's just temporary, but it just makes her think of the summer, and summer doesn't make her depressed.)

The snow is coming down in walls - not sheets because it isn't rain - and she shakes out a cup of water (she swears it's a cup at any rate) every time she walks in from "out there". Snow makes her miss the South, the warm sunbelt and the oak trees everywhere, the crunch of nuts underfoot and the ridiculous weather patterns. Snow makes her miss unseasonably warm winters and crisp nights curled around hot chocolate in February, curled alongside boys in March, and of tombstones grayer than iron below a steel-coloured sky. Snow makes her think of a lot of things.

She sees Chase shivering more than he ought to, two years here and still accented like he'd never left bush country.

"You okay?"

He looks at her, eyes darker with the sting of running the department without their leader, without their mallard, the crux of their migration vee, with the memory of things that happened that shouldn't have. (She wonders sometimes, between glasses of white wine on her couch, what would have happened if she hadn't done what she has. What would be different, and what would be the same?) She doesn't talk to him much; it startles both when they interact, sometimes.

"Yeah," he says, and drops his eyes to the file, one hand rubbing the back of his neck. "I haven't been to Oz in a while, but I still feel like it should be summer right now."

"Oh," she replies, and plays with a pendant. "You're just really cold?"

"Erm, yeah."

She smiles a little. "Stand near one of the vents, especially in the clinic." She smirks a little and arches an eyebrow. "Why do you think I spend so much time there when it's cold?"

He half-smiles and huffs. "And here I thought you were being charitable."

"No such thing as charity when you're a doctor."

&&&

"You're turning into him."

I think I am, she doesn't reply.

"Aren't you the least bit scared?"

Completely.

"I...look, Cameron, whatever you may think of me--"

Which isn't much.

"I'm still worried about you."

Because I'm turning into him?

"It's...this isn't healthy Cameron. And I'd much rather see you self-righteous than this, whatever it is."

It's me being myself. What is wrong with everyone?

"Just..."

Yes? Take care of myself? Stay away from him? Stop doing whatever it is you think I'm doing?

He sighs. "Nevermind." The door to the exam room opens and shuts quietly, and she exhales softly.

Soft you now! The fair Ophelia - nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remember'd.

&&&

She shoots down diagnoses with the finesse he had when he was still with them. (She doesn't know what else to do, so she sits here and takes on a role abandoned, leaving Chase to take her mantle instead.)

They each of them are dancing a sick, twisted ritual around the pyre, and the shadows it casts press against her mask, lick at the edges of her make-up. The darkness they each try so hard to hide bleeds out in a quiet ooze, and she feels stained, like it marks her entirely. Snappish and sassy, her caustic streak turns condescending and downright bitchy. It makes Chase-as-her startled, Foreman-as-Chase intense, and Cuddy-as-Foreman no-nonsense and confrontational. She's half tempted to get a cane, but acknowledging this would ruin it, and the balance is precarious at best.

She wonders when the team stopped being "The Ducklings" and started being "Ducking Allison, Duckling Robert, Duckling Eric," when she stopped being integral and started to be--

He crashes.

&&&

It's two-thirty-five.

Thirty-seven if she wants to be technical, but she honestly doesn't care enough.

The fireman is cute and sweet, gracious and willing to put up with everything. He's sweating profusely, in and out of consciousness, and in pain. The muscles in his face grimace even as the sedatives take effect.

She doesn't know how much longer she can do this.

&&&

Her fellowship renews in thirty seven more days.

The fireman dies.

She is offered a position back with the Mayo Clinic.

The applications lie spead side-by-side on the conference table.


This was written somewhere around Merry Little Christmas and inspired by how much Cameron seemed to emulate House and House's position in that episode. I gotta say, I lament what the writers have done with what they have. I suppose that's why fanfiction exists, though. I'm not at all opposed to Chase/Cameron - anyone who's perused my LJ can tell that much. But, ultimately, I like Chase's character, and I like to let him have touches now and again. In that ep that David Shore wrote that aired recently - the name escapes me, but it's the one with the rape victim - I felt that only Chase's advice rang true. There is no right answer, and Chase was right to tell House that at every step.

But you don't really care. Anyway. The summary is from a random sentence generator, which I was really, really into for a while there. It's actually a really good exercise, and I encourage other authors to use it as much as they can; it definitely brings some interesting plot ideas to the proverbial table.