NOTE: This is primarily a character-driven smut piece. If that's going to offend you, consider yourselves warned.

Melt (Down)

"Well," says Foreman, the minute the door slams in their faces, "I'm going to go break the good news to the actual patient. At least we still get to save one life tonight." When no one speaks, he looks questioningly at Chase. "You two coming?"

Chase looks at Cameron, sees the shuttered look of fury on her face, and knows the answer. "No."

Foreman rolls his eyes, shrugs, and walks out.

Chase feels drunk, sickly, with the familiar sting of failure, of guilt, of exploitation. He drives too fast toward Cameron's apartment, but she doesn't say anything. Her eyes are like ice as she stares straight ahead, the hard set of her jaw reminding him of a corpse in the dead-of-night street glow. The tires splash through a puddle of melting sludge as he pulls up to the curb.

He barely has time to put the car in park before Cameron moves. She's in his lap and straddling him too fast for Chase to react to, and all he can think is that he's at her mercy because he's still got his seatbelt on. She kisses him until his head hits the seatback hard enough to make gold stars dance across his field of vision like the elusive mark of approval he's learned is never going to be his. She abandons his mouth while he's catching his breath, tearing at his zipper and practically shoving her hand down his pants. Chase groans as she takes hold of his cock, fingers working roughly up and down his skin. He sits, helplessly rocking in her grasp, for nearly a minute before catching her by the waist.

"Inside," he grates, inclining his head toward her apartment building. He's thankful when she complies.

They tumble in the door like they really are drunk, and Chase realizes suddenly that his fly is still down. The thought, unbidden, of House rises up, acrid like bile. Lies, is all he can think, and the fact that he got one right is all but obscured by the loss of the chance to finally save his father. It might hurt less if House actually were dying, and he can't help wondering if Cameron feels the same way.

But then she's on him again, and there's a brief tangle of hands as he tries to help her with his pants. Then she's pulling slacks and boxers together down his hips, and he nearly trips as they bunch around his ankles, stuck on his shoes. Cameron hooks a chair out from the kitchen table with a foot, and pushes on his chest so he falls loose-kneed back into it. He reaches up to undo her pants, but she steps out of his reach and removes them herself, kicking her impractically high-heeled shoes off so hard that one of them hits the wall and leaves a dent. She'll be bothered by it later, Chase is sure, but for the moment he thinks he sees a glitter of satisfaction in her eyes that makes him ache with need.

He barely has time to catch her hips as she straddles him, the creases in her cheeks and forehead deepening as she practically impales herself on his cock. A momentary thought of House and snide remarks about condoms goes through his mind, but the stab of anger accompanying it banishes it just as fast. He knows she's on the pill, but it strengthens his opinion of Cameron doing Stupid Things in response to Shitty Things all the same.

She's already moving hard and fast, and the brief thought that the chair is going to tip if they aren't careful goes through his mind before he's lost in the sensation.

"Slow down," he begs, because he knows from experience how this scenario plays out, but she doesn't seem to care that he isn't going to last long.

Cameron digs her nails viciously into his shoulders, the pain adding speed to his pace. He tries to hold out, to get back in control, but he's already far too helpless in her grasp. She bites his lip hard as she comes, and that's enough to take him with her.

For a moment Cameron drapes herself heavily across his chest, taking long gasping breaths that sound suspiciously like sobs. Chase clasps his hands at the small of her back, trying desperately to think of the right thing to say, to make her a little less broken, or at least to let him curl up in her bed until he can face the world again. But he misses the moment, the same way he always does, and before he can say anything she's up and untangling her pants from their mess on the floor.

When she's dressed and he still hasn't moved, she picks up his clothes and throws them at him with a look of disapproval.

"Out," she says , all business. "That was the arrangement."

And a moment later he's looking at her closed door, feeling shaky and unreal. He's been had again, he thinks. But there isn't the bitterness he feels toward House. No betrayal, only disappointed familiarity.

Chase thinks about Wilson and peanut butter sandwiches. Maybe, he thinks, he hasn't moved anywhere toward independence at all.