She was pretty sure that the last time she looked into his eyes, there was nothing but crystal blue protecting something she still wasn't sure existed. It was only a moment ago, when she closed his glass office door bearing his name, that it finally hit her. All this time that had passed, all those feelings she thought had broken away, all the professionalism she wore, meant absolutely nothing. She turned away from him, thinking she was fine. Maybe at the time, she was; or maybe she already knew she wasn't and couldn't face it.
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder." That was the quote ringing in her ears as she made her way through Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital for the second "first" time. She walked like someone touching an old lover after years of divorce and tiredness. She'd only been gone a solid six months. Looking around, she noticed nothing was different. The nurses sat and stood where they always had, the floor was clean and semi-glossy, the smell of antiseptic and thorough cleanliness permeated her heightened senses, and the clinic was still missing a certain doctor.
Whether he knew or not that she had been offered a job here, wasn't known to her. She figured he did because he had to know Dr. Richards had lost a doctor in his immunology department one month ago. Then again, he never did care much for other doctors except for Wilson. She waited for Cuddy to welcome her into her office and to start with the inevitable small talk they hadn't finished over the phone.
"Dr. Cameron, you don't know how glad I am to have you back. I'm sure Dr. Richards will feel the same way since he was looking into retiring when Beck passed away."
"It feels…good to be back," she finally decided. "I'm here to help in any way I can."
"That's good. That's good." She paused and folded her hands before continuing. "And you're sure that working alongside House on a few cases won't be…difficult?"
She chuckled and shook her head. "Of course it'll be difficult, but I'm used to that. I think we all are, at least."
"Well, that's the least to be said."
He dipped a fry into his ketchup and rolled his eyes at Wilson for the sixtieth time that lunch period.
"Would you stop acting like a 15 year old?"
"Would you stop acting my obsessed friend?"
"Your obsessed friend is not obsessed and he happens to be your only friend, so deal with it."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Why are you so concerned about her working here?"
"I'm not concerned, I'm just," he shrugged, "interested."
"Well, if you're that interested then go ask her why she came back."
Wilson nodded his head and stuck his fork into his salad. "I already did."
It was the slightest of slightest hesitations as his hand reached for another French fry. It was one that only he felt, and that only Wilson noticed.
"I don't care, Wilson."
She skipped lunch her "first" day since the department was so backlogged on paperwork. Instead of going to the cafeteria, she managed her way to the snack machine not too far away from her office. Rubbing her eyes softly, she deliberated upon which candy bar to tide her over until she could eat a real meal. She frowned suddenly as her fingers pressed the letter number combination again. The candy bar hung precariously over the spiral edge; but nothing came down.
She hit the machine with the palm of her hand, hoping no one would see her lose her patience with a metal and plastic machine. The candy bar still wouldn't fall any farther down.
"Came crawling back, did you?"
Dread fell over her. Dread because of what he would think of her coming back. Dread because she wanted to prove she had changed, but wasn't sure he'd see it that way. Then again, they couldn't very well coexist in the same hospital and not meet again.
"Contrary to what you might believe, I didn't crawl back. Cuddy asked me to come back."
He knew. Of course he knew. He leaned a bit more on his cane as he looked her up and down, not trying to hide it. She'd lightened her hair, trimmed it, and grown out her bangs so that it lay mostly to one side. There wasn't a clip, barrette, or headband adorning her head. Her face was the same, young and open. She'd gained a few pounds which made her curves more pronounced, which wasn't a bad thing at all. He guessed his eyes gave it away because she pulled her coat closer around her.
"I'm not your artwork anymore, House."
"Art appreciation happens to be one of my strong points."
She resisted rolling her eyes since she was determined to remain civil to him. Instead, she forced a slight smile.
"Same old House."
"Same young Cameron."
She nodded her head and looked once more at the machine holding her candy and money hostage. This was more than enough for one day.
"Now that we've established that, I'm going to find something to eat. I'll see you around."
He noticed she didn't wait for his reaction, but it might have been because she knew he wouldn't give one. He heard the small clicks of her shoes meeting hard floor and waited until they dwindled into nothing. Swiftly, he knocked the machine with his cane and waited for the paid for candy to fall down and into his hands.
It was the end of the day and she was packing her bag full of nearly complete paperwork she'd do before going to sleep at home. Almost eight o'clock, her watch read as she pushed in her chair. Walking down the hall, she wondered briefly if she'd run into House again. Then she saw the small group of four walking with numbers on their ID's. She didn't have to ask if they were House's new fellows, she'd heard enough by now to know they were.
They nearly ran past her, barely giving her enough room to squeeze by. She repositioned her bag without looking up and still walked. She should have looked.
He didn't fall. He'd been watching her. She almost fell. She hadn't noticed him coming. He caught her arm and pressed her against him with his right hand while she gripped his upper arm and tried to regain her balance.
At first, she wasn't sure who she'd almost run down. Then she smelled him, and there was no denying who smelled like this.
"A crippled should not be catching a normal person."
She could only look at him, not able to move or even breathe. His eyes were the same as the night she'd quit, except now she saw something new. Something she wasn't sure she wanted to see.
Pulling back quickly, she cleared her throat. "I'm sorry I didn't see you."
"Tell my leg that."
She couldn't help it then. "You'll get over it."
Then she started walking toward the freedom of the front doors.
He didn't look back. He wasn't the type to look back, but for a moment, he wanted to. He wanted to, and that wasn't good.
A/N: Yeah, breathe this is a new one. Just to be clear, this is House/Cam and this not an HEA. AKA a "happily ever after." So...read, review, please. It'd mean a lot to me. Anyways, I guess we'll see how this goes.