"No, you're wrong. It's not cancer."
Cameron sat across the table from House, watching him pace the room. She was pissed. Pissed at his blatant dismissal, without first letting her back up her diagnosis. He didn't make eye contact with her, only stared in the direction of the window, tapping the marker pen repeatedly on the white board. This just infuriated her more, and she crossed her arms defensively in front of her.
"You're not even gonna test him first?" She glared at House, waiting for another barbed comment to fly her way.
House stopped pacing and glanced back. "Why would I want to test him for a disease I know he doesn't have?"
Cameron took a deep breath and averted her gaze. She was all too used to this kind of attitude from House, but still had to fight to keep her annoyance at bay. She was used to him, but not used to dealing with him on his own. Now it was just the two of them arguing this case and she began to appreciate why neither Foreman or Chase put up much of a fight to stay.
"You don't know he doesn't have cancer, just like you don't know what's making him sick."
"I know it's not cancer!"
Cameron shook her head, exasperated. She unfolded her arms and slammed the palms of her hands on the glass-topped table. "I give up! I agreed to work my two weeks notice, like you wanted. What's the point if you're just going to shoot down everything I say?!"
House's body language became condescending and confrontational, and he took a step towards her threateningly, although the level of his voice actually lowered. "You're wrong about the case, don't take it so personally. I still want you around."
"Of course you do, I'm the only one left. If I go there'll be no one else left to boss around."
"You're accusing me of being power mad?" House's voice had an air of sarcasm, like he knew full well what answer she would give to his quasi-question. "That's just petty."
Cameron sat back in her chair, and resumed her previous stance. House returned to his board and his thoughts. "I'm just trying to cure the patient, I'm not letting my ego or twisted sense of pride get in the way."
House rolled his eyes and turned back to his one remaining employee. "Look, when a patient sneezes, you don't automatically assume it's bubonic plague. This guy had an asthma attack, it doesn't mean he's dying from lung cancer. Take another biopsy, see how much his condition has worsened in the last hour, and give him some steroids to treat the inflammation." He paused. "And don't think about calling Wilson for a second opinion. It's the middle of the night, you know how much he needs his beauty sleep."
"You know, you'd probably listen to me if…"
"If what?" House began, filling in the blanks she'd left in that open-ended sentence. "If Foreman and Chase were still here? I'm not disagreeing with you out of spite, but if you want to think the only reason I didn't agree with you is because you don't have your boyfriend to back you up, then fine. Or you could stop acting like a teenager and save this guys life. It's up to you." After a moments silence, House spoke again." Go and treat the patient."
Cameron stared at House pointedly for a moment longer, but fought the urge to sling back another insult. Taking the moral high ground, she gathered up the chart and pushed open the double glass doors, letting them swing shut behind her as she left.
As soon as they'd closed, House turned around and began studying the list on symptoms written on the white board in one corner of the room. When he heard them being pushed open, however, he turned back to see Cuddy entering the room.
She walked with purpose, her heeled boots padding across the carpet slowly and deliberately. She had a look on her face that said 'what are you doing?', the same look that one might give a child after knocking an expensive vase off a sideboard.
"It's not gonna work you know."
"What?" House didn't attempt to hide his boredom. He didn't have the energy for another one of Cuddy's I-told-you-so's.
"Pushing everyone away."
Cuddy sighed, and stopped walking. "You're firing all your staff! What would you call it?"
House ignored her question. "I fired Chase. The other two quit."
"I wonder why."
House let that comment hang in the air for a moment, before saying the first thing that came into his wandering mind. "When you saw Cameron in the hall, did she look like she was heading for oncology?"
"Don't change the subject." Cuddy dismissed him with a raise of the eyebrow. "I can't let you run wild in this department by yourself, you need someone to keep you on a leash. Hire someone. Soon! And please try not to piss Cameron off too much more, she still works for you."
Cameron sat on a bench in the courtyard of the hospital, breathing in the crisp night air. She couldn't see the condensation from her breath form swirls of mist on front of her, and she wrapped her coat around herself more.
She needed a cigarette. She hadn't smoked sinse she was 19 years old, but still, a smoke would be good. She absently kicked at the gravel, sending small stones flying onto the perfectly manicured lawn on the other side of the path. Her face was set in a hard, uncompromising glare, only it was a streetlamp and not House that was currently on the receiving end.
She kicked a pile of gravel pieces harder and let out an frustrated groan. Why did he have to be such a jack-ass? Times like this, Cameron didn't give a single second thought about her choice to resign.
Somewhere behind her, an automatic door slid open and Cuddy appeared next to her. Her long brown hair blew slightly in the breeze and she too pulled her lab coat closed around her body. Cameron looked up. "Hi."
Cuddy smiled. "You should go home and rest, It's late."
"What about the patient?"
"He's stable now, I doubt his condition will worsen overnight. Come back in the morning and help figure out what's wrong with him."
Cameron looked back at the floor. "What's the point if House dismisses everything I suggest?"
Cuddy rolled her eyes and her hands moved to her hips. "He's just being House, it's what he does. His attitude is not going to solve any of his problems. In a few weeks he'll just have three more minions to take the brunt of his outbursts. You'll be gone, it won't be your problem anymore."
Cameron gave her boss a half smile. "No. Just yours."
Cuddy winked. "I could take him any day." Cameron tried to stifle a yawn, but Cuddy noticed anyway. "Go home" she ordered again. "I can handle it."
Cameron's hand knocked timidly on Chase's front door, and a minute later she saw the hall light snap on through the small window above the door. He slid the bolt across, and opened the door, reacting with surprise when he saw it was her.
He was wearing his navy dressing gown and his hair was a mess, but despite his dishevelled, sleepy appearance, he smiled. "Hey."
Cameron tentatively took a step towards him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
"It's fine." Cameron let out a breath. He seemed genuinely pleased to see her, even if it was 3 in the morning and he'd just rolled out of bed. "Do you want to come inside?"
Cameron nodded, and stepped into the house, Chase closing the door behind her. She stood on the doormat for a moment, making no attempt to remove her coat just yet. "I'm sorry" she said again, though she had a different reason for apologising now. "I know we agreed to take things slowly, I just had a really bad day."
Chase turned and walked into the kitchen. He snapped on the light and squinted, his eyes trying to adjust to the sudden burst of light. "House being a jerk again?"
"Yeah, as always." The both let out a joint laugh, and the tension in the air seemed to diffuse instantly. Cameron removed her coat and slung it over the back of a chair at the pine kitchen table.
"Do you want something to drink?"
Cameron declined, but Chasse reached into the overhear cupboard to retrieve a glass for himself, filling it with water from the tap. "Don't let him get to you" he said when he turned back to her. "He's not out problem anymore."
Cameron seemed to visibly relax. "He's my problem for the next two weeks."
"You don't have to see it through, you know" Chase told her. He stopped about a foot away from her and regarded her with his bright blue eyes.
Cameron sighed. "I do if I want a good reference."
"Every employer on the East coast knows House's reputation. You don't need a reference, everyone will be so impressed you lasted as long as you did. Do you know how many other doctors we went through before you were hired?"
Chase's question was rhetorical, and Cameron didn't try and reply. Chase gulped down the last of his water and set the glass on the table. "Come on" he said, and switched off the light.
He walked down the hall in semi darkness, and began climbing the stairs. Cameron assumed they were heading for the livingroom, and was surprised. At the foot of the stairs, she stopped. Chase turned round for his position six stairs up, in time to see her blush.
He smiled. "It's 3 in the morning. I don't know about you but I'm shattered. Just sleep, I swear. No funny business."
Cameron let the tension drain from her shoulders, shaking her head to try and alleviate her moment of teenage embarrassment. She grabbed hold of the banisters and followed him upstairs.
She had climbed these stairs once before, but had been in the throes of passion at the time. She blushed now, thinking about their brief liaison a few months ago. It had just been sex. Glorious, unbridled sex that Cameron had enjoyed immensely at the time, but her and Chase's relationship had grown so much sinse then and looking back on what it was made her blush.
"So, what did he do this time?" Chase walked into his bedroom and Cameron followed. As soon as she saw his soft mattress and inviting bed covers she realised just how late it was and how tired she was.
"It doesn't matter" she yawned, "It's nothing new. I'm sure you've experienced it a million times."
Chase smiled knowingly. He had, and he would not miss it in the slightest. He saw how tired Cameron was and walked over to her, guiding her towards the bed with an arm around her middle. She didn't put up much of a protest, and sank to a sitting position on the edge of his bed and kicked off her shoes. She rubbed her eyes, no doubt smudging make up all down her face, but didn't really care. She paused for a moment before lying down, feeling slightly awkward, but Chase had already climbed under the covers in his T-shit and boxers.
Cameron shook her head. She was being ridiculous. They'd seen each other naked a dozen times, she'd slept in this bed before, why was she feeling so nervous? It was different then, she didn't care. Sex with Chase had been escapism, from work, from her feelings. When she was with him before she didn't allow herself to think and never let her feelings out in the open. It was like that was a different person, she had put up a barrier to try and stop him getting close emotionally.
But it hadn't worked, she had fallen for him. But it had taken her longer than him to admit it to herself. It had taken Chase being fired for her to finally tell him how she really felt. The thought of not working with him, seeing him every day realised just how much she liked him.
That's why she was scared, she'd let him in. And the last thing she wanted was to ruin their relationship before it had even really begun. It would have been so easy to fall back into the lustful relationship they'd had before, but neither of them wanted that. They agreed to take things slow.
Turning up on his doorstep in the middle of the night for comfort? Cameron felt that may be pushing it. But, she thought with an amused grin, isn't that was boyfriends were for?
That word felt strange. When House used it as an insult, she just pushed it aside, like she did so many of his other barbed comments, but for once when he said it, it was real. Chase was her boyfriend, although neither had said it out loud.
Cameron lifted the bed covers and slipped underneath them, but her mind was somewhere else. She wrapped the duvet around herself, but lay awkwardly on the edge of the mattress. Chase could feel the tension in her body from a foot away, and after a moment, rolled over to face her.
He didn't say anything, just studied her face with affection. She sighed silently and wriggled closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder. Cameron stared at the dresser on the other side of the room in contemplation. "Do you want to work my notice for me?" she asked lazily. Chase kissed her lightly on the forehead.
"I don't think it works like that."
"Shame." She sighed, and closed her eyes. After a moment, she spoke again. "Did we do the right thing?"
Chase raised an eyebrow. "I didn't have a choice."
"Sorry." Cameron rested a hand on his chest. "Did I do the right thing?"
"Yeah" Chase replied, without any hesitation. "Fresh starts and all that. New job, new guy…"
Cameron's eyes snapped open, and he looked up in the direction of his face. "You're my guy huh? How very 1950's of you."
"I've had enough of House mocking me, don't you start." His voice was playful, despite his tiredness, and she smiled.
"You love it" She said, then paused. "Skippy."