It wasn't supposed to be like this. Relationships were supposed to be happy and carefree. They were supposed to make her feel happy. She was supposed to feel loved. She was supposed to feel safe.
It had started so well in the beginning. He had been her friend for over two years, someone she had talked to first at work, and then over a few dinners. Gradually, they had progressed into a relationship, the transition made easy by the fact they already knew so much about each other. It was a relationship that could work, she thought. They had the same schedule, the same impossible schedule that kept them working early until late, but at least they were working together.
And then slowly, something had changed. Work had changed, gotten more stressful. They were expected to produce more at work; their work was judged at a higher standard. Mistakes were taken more seriously; they had been there for some time now. She understood when he was upset, when all he wanted to do was get drunk, and she might have done the same thing had she been on that side of the bellowing conversation that was House's reprimand of him. She could understand; she could relate. She couldn't really blame him the first time he hit her.
By the second or third time, she wasn't so sure about her excuses, and by the time it became regular, she knew something was wrong. But it was too late; there was nothing she could do. It had been going on too long, and he was always too smart for her, forcing her to hide the bruises in places no one would ever see them. Her doctor coat was long, the sleeves were long, and it, along with her regular clothes, covered most of her body. He was always careful never to touch her face or her neck, because those places could be seen.
No one would believe her, he had told her. And he was probably right. She had to work so hard to be noticed at work, to make it through the day without being ridiculed more than two or three times. She wasn't about to contribute to that image by painting herself as some kind of damsel in distress.
So she was reduced to hiding. She was reduced to holding her breath every time he brushed past her. Every time he looked at her, she could see the cold look in his eye calculating his next attack. She could practically see him imagining what he would do to her next. He sat next to her now, pretending to listen to House rant about another patient, but she knew he wasn't focused in the least. She couldn't think about the patient at hand; she was too distracted by the far away look in his eyes…
She drew a breath and winced when she felt her chest tighten ominously. Her eyes flitted up to House quickly, hoping that he hadn't noticed anything, but he wasn't looking at her, and he didn't say anything. She brought a hand to her ribs and touched them gingerly. They felt broken, but she couldn't do anything about it. She couldn't visit anyone in the hospital, because that would be too obvious, and she didn't have time to go anywhere else. He had warned her about being too obvious. Checking herself into a hospital in the area would have given everything away.
"Earth to Dr. Cameron!"
House's sarcastic tone pulled her back to the matter at hand. She shook her head, trying to clear her mind and ignore the pain in her ribs. She looked back at him, trying to look as if nothing were paining her.
"I said, what do we know about the patient's history?" House said impatiently. "You did the history, didn't you? Or were you too out of it for that too?"
Cameron noticed Chase's smirk. "There was nothing unusual in the patient's history," Cameron said slowly, trying to ignore the pain in her chest, but still winced all the same. "Her parents are both dead, and she has no brothers or sisters."
"Been out of the country recently?" House prompted.
Cameron shook her head. "No."
House frowned at her for a few moments longer. For a second, Cameron worried he could hear the scream of pain that had erupted in her mind, but she assured herself she hadn't actually screamed out loud. House blinked once, and then twice at her before looking away. "Okay," he began. "Chase, Foreman, draw blood and run all those test thingys we need to rule out some kind of infection. Cameron," he paused, looking straight at her again, "Cuddy said she was short-staffed in the clinic. I think Chase and Foreman can take this from here."
"You idiot!" he snarled, pushing her up against the wall. "How obvious could you be?"
She gasped, struggling for air as he slapped her across the cheek. She could smell the alcohol on his breath. "It's not my fault my ribs are broken," she said defiantly.
He released her and she crumpled to the ground. "Your ribs aren't broken, Cameron. You'd be in more pain if they were," he said scornfully. She struggled to her feet, using the chair to regain her balance. Chase smirked at her.
"You're too weak, Allison," Chase said tauntingly. "You deserve everything you get from me. It'll teach you to be stronger."
She straightened up, brushing her tangled hair out of her face. She glared at Chase, too incensed to form a coherent sentence and too out of breath to make any sound. Instead, she didn't say anything at all. She slowly limped to the door and grabbed her coat and car keys.
"Where are you going?
"Home," she said firmly. "I'm leaving."
"LIAR!" he shouted. He lunged at her, knocking her to the ground. "YOU WERE GOING TO GO TO THE POLICE, WEREN'T YOU?"
"No – no!" gasped Cameron. She felt his fist make contact with her ribs and she cried out in pain. "No, Chase, please! I wasn't going to call them! I wasn't going to call them!"
He didn't say anything, but dragged her to her feet and threw her against the wall. Cameron saw stars and lights popped in front of her eyes. "Chase – no! You're going to leave a mark!"
Chase growled a response. He suddenly grabbed her around the waist and carried her to the bedroom. Cameron beat her fists uselessly against his strong back. "Let me go! Please let me go!"
Chase didn't respond, but instead threw her down onto the bed and straddled her. "You deserve this, Allison," he murmured. He slid his hand up her bruised chest and ripped off her blouse.
"NO!" Cameron shrieked. "NO, CHASE, NO!"
Her cries fell on deaf ears. She was paralyzed, unable to move, watching in horror as he removed the rest of her clothes and then removed his own. He violated her, ignoring her pleas, and then laughing when she began to cry. He was hurting her, bruising her aching wrists as he pushed them into the mattress to prevent her from escaping. He was on top of her, and she couldn't breathe. He was crushing her ribs. Her sobs were ragged, her breathing shallow. She would surely die from the agony.
After what felt like hours, he finished with her. She was silent then, her throat too dry to scream anymore, and she knew it was futile. Everything ached. She could barely breathe from the pain in her chest. He spat in her face, pulled himself off of her, and redressed himself. He walked slowly from the room and slammed the door shut, leaving her lying bruised and battered on his bed.