This story began as an angsty one-shot, because one day when I was out walking my dog, these words popped into my head as if House himself were speaking through me: I am a rock, I am an Island, I am a House. So I wrote the first chapter. Readers wanted it to continue, so I decided to keep going with it. I try to alternate between House's and Cameron's points of view, with an occasional chapter that is omniscient.

About reviews:

Your reviews are not only appreciated, but they give me the juice I need to keep writing, so if you like it, there's a wee blue button at the bottom of your screen...you know what to do. Also, please consider reviewing each chapter -- I do it whenever I read. It really does help encourage authors.

The story is usually rated T, but contains some mature content and frank language and imagery.

Thanks to betas Timbereads and Nikita34 for everything.

I am a rock. I am an island.

I am a House, he thinks.

A rock feels no pain; and an island never cries.

What about a house? A house can be inviting, warm, and cozy. A house can be a home.

Or it can be like him. Locked up like a fortress, protected by pain, occupied by no one. Except for a ghost.

House whispers, "Boo."

House has shut and barred the doors to most of his rooms. Only he has a master key.

I've built walls, a fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate.

He hates to admit it, won't admit it out loud, but Wilson has come close to breaking in and finding some of the fundamental truths that make him who he is. Pathetic, as Wilson would say. Miserable.

Of course, Wilson has some inside information, being his self-appointed "friend." Before the infarction, and during the years with Stacey, Wilson was there.

He was there for him.

It's true, House knows, as true as anything can be in a deeply dark and twisted world where nothing is certain except for pain.

His friend is still in the dark about the abuse. And there are plenty of rooms Wilson has yet to discover and explore.

I have no need of friendship. Friendship causes pain.

Wilson should have gone into Freudian analysis, House thinks with a smile. He and Cameron could go into practice together, only accepting patients who were dying, or crippled. Damaged.

And there she is, haunting his thoughts like a spook.


Don't talk of love. I've heard the word before. It's sleeping in my memory.

It's late. Staying at the hospital until after the wee ones leave has become a habit. He turns up the tunes on his iPod, hoping the beat of the music will drive thoughts of her away.

It's no good.

She's relentless.

He might as well tattoo I want Cameron across his forehead. Want. Need. Love. What's the difference? I want her, I need her, and I got to, got to, got to have her. Some old song, he can't think by whom.

Images of her are monogrammed in his mind, etched in his heart, seared into his consciousness. They've seeped into his subconscious, too.

He's read every word of her articles. During differential diagnosis, he worries that he'll give himself away, quote from one of her papers.

Whenever he interrupts her with a sarcastic jab, or bulldozers over one of her insights, he cringes at his own behavior, and wonders:

What would it be like to stretch out together on a blanket at a park on a sunny day, to listen to her talk, while her head rests on his chest? To react to her without the pain, without the cruel rules he lives by.

But he has to stay sharp and thorny. He can't afford to lose the edge that gets him through the day.

There are times his sarcasm and antagonism exhaust him.

I am shielded in my armor. Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no one and no one touches me…

He wants her.

He has imagined all the ways he could love her. Many of his fantasies are tender. In them, he takes her hand, examines the lines on her palm, strokes it with the pad of his thumb, and then gives it back to her.

He needs her.

Every time he sees her, there's the telltale pull of his groin. Whenever she's near him, it's as if they are in a magnetic field. When the pain gets so bad that the Vicodin has about as much of an effect as candy, he imagines her cool hand on his forehead, the other hand on his shoulder, soothing him. It's such a comforting image that he closes his eyes.

Some days -- some nights -- the pain is so bad, he doesn't even care about the idea of sex. He just wants her with him on the bed. He wants to bury his head against her midriff, and hold on.

And then there are the days – and nights – when all he can think of is burying himself in her, of parting her legs with his knee, and opening her like a flower.

He loves her.

There's never been a choice about loving Cameron. He's loved her all along. She's serious, humorous, quietly dignified. She has medical chops: she's professional, yet she has a human touch. When she becomes flustered, and loses her cool, when she looks him in the eye and challenges him, it sends him. He loves her steadfast presence at his side, although he usually leaves her in the dust.

He loves her.

She can never know.

The next chapter is devoted to Cameron -- go ahead. You know you want to read and review it!