Let It Linger

Mingling with the gentle keystrokes of a piano played by a crooning singer, the bell hanging over the entrance tinkled softly, as a man with a cane and limp made his way tentatively into the restaurant. The sounds of music mixed with the conversations and smoke that hung heavy in the air, creating a soundtrack that threatened to drive Gregory House back into the cool comfort of the quiet street.

He'd managed to spot their table from the window, and they all looked so… happy. Considering what had happened House expected them to look anything but. Turning the chilly silver handle of the door, he could imagine the looks on their faces.

Foreman would exude cool disdain where as Chase would be wearing the same look of shock and wonderment that always covered his handsome features around his boss. Cameron's features however, would be twisted into a look that was three parts shock and one part skepticism.

Limping up to their booth, he watched as the co-workers laughed, the sound melding seamlessly into the background noise. Sitting in the middle, Foreman had been the first to notice him followed by Chase. Predictably, the looks, which he knew would erase the joy, fell into place. The only one left to turn and complete the scene was the young woman who, taking a sip of her wine, had yet to notice her companion's faces.

Drumming the tips of his long fingers nervously along the handle of his cane, House looked from one man to the other, trying to find a way to break the thick sheet of ice that was quickly frosting over the table. Fighting back the thought that Wilson's idea had been nothing short of stupidity, he tapped the rubber edge of his cane on the carpeting before opening his mouth to speak. But the look of terror that came over Chase's face caused him to change his mind. Instead he shook his head as he softly mumbled something along the lines of 'this was a bad idea.'

Noticing the absence of the laughing chorus for the first time, Allison followed their line of sight and found herself staring at the last person imaginable. "House?"

The look that she gave him was the pre-determined mixture of shock and skepticism. He'd seen those emotions cross her face less these days, and for some reason, it caused him to look away for a second before nodding slightly. Normally he would have replied with some quick comment with just enough sting to make her frown, but for the first time (in a long time), the man found himself at a loss for words.

"Do you… want to sit down?" Cameron hadn't bothered to wait for the man to answer before she slid along the leather seat, forcing Chase and Foreman to crowd together along the other side. Amid the scraping of glasses on the wooden table top and clinking of cell phones and keys, House was sure that he could hear the two men grumbling at his intrusion.

Propping his cane against the seat, the older man lowered himself carefully, making sure to give his bad leg enough room to rest comfortably. Adjusting the collar of his coat, he couldn't help but reconsider leaving the table right then and there to find Wilson and beat him. However, the soft music and warm atmosphere managed to suppress that thought as the soothing taste of a fine scotch began to tempt his taste buds.

He was drawn from his thoughts as the warm weight of Allison Cameron gently pressed into his side, waving a hand at their server. All at once he began to slip into memories of the kiss they had shared earlier that day. It had been disgusting and deceitful, but that only made him appreciate her more.

She had barely touched him, but the contact had rooted him to his spot, holding him captive. Merely an inch away from pressing her lips to his, he'd felt her breath on his face as his mind fought for control of the situation.

As the waiter came striding up to their table, she slipped away from him, reminding House of what it had felt like to stand so close to her the day before. Trying to suppress the memory, he ordered himself a scotch and shot Cameron a look that said 'don't even' when she opened her mouth to protest his desire to mix Vicodin and alcohol.

Waiting for his drink to arrive, Foreman and Chase gave him a few curious looks before continuing their discussion from earlier. Cameron laughed slightly at Chase's joke, and though the Australian tried to include him, House couldn't pull himself away from his thoughts of the previous day.

Sitting close to the woman, he could almost feel her soft fingertips slipping over the curves of his cheeks and caressing the stubbly line of his jaw. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched as she sipped from her glass, trying not to laugh at the blonde's jokes. Holding back she couldn't stop a snort of amusement from escaping her nose and fogging the clear glass. As the mist cleared away, his traitorous brain reminded him of her breath on his face, soft and warm with a subtle hint of cherry.

A brush of a fingertip and the ghost of a breath proved to be nothing in comparison to her mouth pressed softly against his own. Coated with a sweet balm, her lips slid over his even as he tried to resist the motion. For the first few breathtaking moments, he'd managed to remain still, his cerulean eyes looking stubbornly over her head refusing to drift shut. But in the end, the lids of his eyes had slipped closed, allowing him to temporarily lose himself in her caress and going so far as to grasp her elbows with a gentleness one did not usually associate with Gregory House.

Her true intentions had made themselves known the moment her hand slipped to her pocket, and all hope of lingering in the moment had vanished completely as his eyes opened in knowing realization. For a moment, she had been just as lost in the deceptive kiss as he had been, and it was that moment that he'd been trying to forget.


After what seemed like an eternity, the waiter had finally made his way back to their table with House's scotch in hand. Setting the glass of amber liquid on the table, the young man seemed to be waiting for something. Ignoring the server until he stalked away, the older man picked up his glass and took a drink, relishing the sting of the alcohol as it slipped down his throat.

"House, don't you think that you forgot something?"

Wincing slightly, her voice still had the ability to grate on his last nerve. He knew what she meant. Knew that she was referring to thanking the waiter, but really, all he had done was fetch him a drink that was now almost empty. Turning to look at her for the first time, he found a new strength in the depths of her mossy eyes he'd never seen before. Licking a small drop of scotch from his lip and finding hidden traces of cherry balm, he pondered his answer before finally replying. "That's the problem. I can't forget."

Cillian Chase's Chart

- This was originally written for the lj community houselas (Theme: Forget).
- Dedicated to Her Emuness. Happy Birthday. Here's the kiss you've been dying for. :duck:
- Michelle – Thank you so, so much for listening to me whine about this. Snorb.
- Quack – Without you, my fics would be nothing. Thank so much for all of your help with this. It honestly would not have been finished without all of your help. :duck:
- Reviews are love.