Disclaimer: I don't own House.
A/N: Wow, so it's been two months since I've updated. Sorry about that—I'm afraid writer's block is not so much fun. Though, honestly, half of this has been sitting around my computer for a while… Review, please!
Cameron planned a simple funeral for Eva. Neither of the two sisters was religious, so Cameron had organized a small memorial service in New York, in a funeral home near where Eva had lived for the past few years. Eva had liked her little neighborhood. But now, looking at the small group of people gathered, Cameron wished that she'd planned something a bit more spectacular. This motley crew of distant cousins, lost high school friends, a few curious neighbors and, well, Foreman, Chase, and House didn't really seem to say much for Eva's memory. That depressed Cameron somewhat.
Foreman and Chase, when they'd finally heard some of the details surrounding Eva's death—though obviously not all of them—had insisted on accompanying her to the funeral. They'd all put in some work at the hospital that morning, and then they'd all driven into the city together, looking somber in their black attire. Foreman's calm presence and Chase's pathological willingness to help boosted Cameron's mood somewhat. But when she saw House—even sporting a tie for the occasion—she broke out into a huge grin and ran forward to greet him. When she'd left an awkward voicemail on his cell phone, telling him the time and place of the service, she hadn't actually expected him to come. But here he was.
"I'm glad you came, House." He looked down at his shoes for a moment, before looking up once more and catching the glances of the curious and protective Chase and Foreman.
"Are those two Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum?" House nodded towards the two men, but avoided looking at them. In fact, he was avoiding looking at anyone. Cameron grabbed his arm.
"House, what is it?"
"You didn't tell anyone else in Princeton about this, did you?"
"No, House, no. You and these two are the only ones I talked to about it, really. No worries." They both looked at her hand, which was still on his arm. She blushed and took it away, earning a long look from House. "I'm glad you came," she repeated, looking up to meet his gaze. He only nodded in response. "How about I introduce you to the boys? They've been dying to meet you, I think."
"Sounds good." They walked together towards Chase and Foreman. Chase looked as if Christmas had come early.
"Robert Chase, Eric Foreman, I'd like to introduce you to Gregory House. House is the medical examiner working on my sister's case." The men shook hands before turning to Cameron once more, clearly expecting her to make things less awkward. She rolled her eyes, but tried to usher them to their seats. After a moment of silence during which Cameron checked her watch to note that they still had ten minutes before the service started, she decided to break the tension.
"Did you know, House, that Cuddy might give us three positions in Diagnostics because of our case the other day?" Cameron asked as she sat down. Almost no one noticed how she'd managed to seat the men so that she was sitting next to House. Almost no one.
"The downside is, of course, that we might have to deal with Matthews," Chase grumbled.
"She picked Matthews to replace me? What a…"
"We know," Foreman interrupted. "We know."
"Well, good luck with that. You'd be better off asking the janitor for help." Not only did House sound grumpy, but he continuously looked behind him to check for, Cameron assumed, either Cuddy or Wilson.
"House, stop it," Cameron ordered. To both Foreman and Chase's surprise, he did. He sighed and looked forward, but did continue to tap his cane against the floor. When he snuck a glance at Cameron, he saw her smirking.
"Cameron, I swear…" To the surprise of all three men, she burst out laughing. She continued to laugh until tears were streaming down her cheeks, and soon the laughter turned into choking sobs. The three men looked on with discomfiture. Unconsciously, Cameron seemed to lean towards House, her hair brushing his arm, but it took a long minute before he placed a warm hand on her shoulder. Cameron seemed to relax under his touch, and she scooted a little bit closer to him. House was capable of recognizing what she needed, and he finally gave in to the urge he'd first felt in the morgue. He lifted his arm, and allowed her to place her head against his chest.
He felt awkward as all Hell. After sending a glare in the direction of the curious Chase and Foreman, House tried to relax. He took a deep breath, savoring the scent of Cameron's shampoo. As she continued to hiccup slightly, House lowered his head and let his lips graze the top of her head. For a brief second, he didn't care who saw him.
So it was at that moment that James Wilson appeared. After the trio of doctors had solved Emily Harris' case, Wilson had been somewhat obsessed. He'd spent as much time as possible researching the three doctors involved, searching for any connection they may have had with House. He'd been convinced that at least one of them knew him. So, when he'd googled Cameron and found notice of her dead sister, he'd decided to come to the funeral. If House knew Cameron personally, then he would surely be there, right?
And it took his breath away to see House and Cameron in such a tender embrace. Wilson couldn't be sure if it was something romantic—though he'd honestly never really known House to express any public affection. But there was something there, and it killed him that Cameron had never told him about it.
Greg House, his best friend, was in the same room as him for the first time in years, and Wilson didn't think he could take another step forward. His feet were glued to the floor as he watched House. God, he'd missed him. He'd missed the glares that he was now shooting at Chase and Foreman; he'd missed the occasional gentle light in his eyes that now appeared as he looked down at Cameron. Why had House disappeared? Why did he leave without a word? Wilson felt years of anger return in a flash, and he had to stop himself from marching up to his friend and delivering a well-deserved punch.
No, he couldn't do this here. He couldn't do this now. He knew what he needed to know for the moment—House was alive, well, and could be contacted through Allison Cameron.
A few hours later, House, Cameron, Foreman, and Chase were back in Eva's apartment. Once Cameron had expressed the desire to stay in the City so that she could begin to pack up her sister's apartment, all three men had volunteered to help. Well, House so much hadn't volunteered as he'd simply told Cameron that she was walking with him.
During the short walk back to Eva's apartment, House had interrogated Cameron about Chase and Foreman. The other two men had wisely hung back, though one look at Chase's face would tell anyone what he thought of that particular plan. But once they'd arrived at the apartment, House had seemed more willing to talk to Chase and Foreman.
"Whoa, whoa. Hold on there! Where do you think you're going?" House asked Chase.
"The bedroom, why?"
"What, so you can look at a dead woman's underwear drawer? I don't think so. You can grab a box and start packing up the books in the living room." Chase stood still for a few moments, clearly disbelieving. Foreman patted his back sympathetically before stepping into the kitchen to begin packing up glasses and utensils. Cameron had already disappeared into the bedroom, and House quietly slipped in, closing the door behind him.
"House," she greeted, sniffling. Apparently she'd still not finished with her crying for the day, House noted somewhat grimly. He sat down beside her on the bed, but said nothing. "It's just not fair."
"It's never fair, Cameron. Never."
"I know, I know. It's just… There was so much I never said, so much we never got to do. I'm just not ready to let her go. I d-don't w-want to be al-lone." She burst into tears once more. Frustrated, she fell back on the bed. House turned to look at her, surprised by the way his body responded to the sight of her dark hair against the light sheets. He sighed loudly before lying down beside her. "Why are you here?" she asked.
"Why are you here?" She articulated each word clearly and deliberately.
"Because…you asked for my help."
"That's all?" Again, he knew what she needed from him; he just wasn't sure if he could give it to her. She turned to look at him, and House couldn't help but turn his head to the side and catch her intense gaze. He watched as she shivered slightly.
"I don't even know you," he said, though Cameron couldn't be sure if he was tellingher that, or if he was trying to convince himself of something. In response, Cameron reached out and placed her hand lightly against his arm. House closed his eyes, secretly enjoying being touched. "Cameron, I…"
"It's okay, you don't need to say anything," she interrupted, sitting up. She scooted over to House, and put a hand on the other side of his body, her arm brushing against his waist. Slowly, she leaned down towards him, her intention unmistakable. When her hair fell in front of her face, House reached out and tucked it behind her ear. But instead of taking his hand back, he found himself cupping her cheek, silently urging her towards him. House tenderly wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumb. At that simple gesture Cameron had to smile. Then she brought her lips down softly upon his.
House wasn't sure why he was letting this happen. It was a bad idea. Bad, bad, bad. There was no way this could end up… Aw, Hell. She tasted so good. His tongue slipped into her welcoming mouth, and his hand slipped under her shirt. Somehow, he soon managed it so that they switched positions, and now Cameron was on her back, while House's body lightly pressed against hers. He cupped her breast with one hand, his thumb rubbing her nipple through the lacy fabric of her bra, while he left a trail of open-mouthed kisses to her neck. She threw her head back, arching to give him easier access.
"Oh, God," she whispered as he lightly bit her neck. Cameron brought her hands to his head and ran her fingers through his thinning hair, urging him on. "Oh, God," she repeated, squirming as he continued his ministrations. The dangerous feel of his teeth against her jugular was driving her mad. House smiled against her neck, clearly pleased with himself. But his warm breath against her sensitive skin only excited her more, and she forcefully brought his face up to hers and kissed him once more. When House groaned loudly, they both became more frenzied. Cameron tried to ignore the pain she felt as his beard scratched her chin. Instead, she easily divested him of his jacket, and she let her hands wander along the hard planes of his back, her nails digging into the fabric until he cried out. She desperately wanted to feel his skin; to taste it. Instinctively, House seemed to understand what they both needed, and he began to untuck his shirt. An impatient Cameron snuck her hand underneath the rustling fabric, letting her fingers dip below the band of his boxers. Her breath caught in her throat when House moaned, a sound that rumbled throughout his chest.
And that was the moment in which Robert Chase became scarred for life.
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry. Oh my God. I'll just, uh, close the door." House, without a second thought, had moved to shield Cameron's body from view the moment the door had opened—even though, technically, she'd been wearing more clothes.
"CHASE!" he yelled. "GET YOUR ASS BACK IN HERE!"
"Why?" Cameron whispered, clutching his shirt. "We won't be able to…" she trailed off, and placed a light kiss on his Adam's apple. House groaned in both frustration and desire.
"Uh, are you sure?" Chase asked through the door.
"NOW!" Chase opened the door with alacrity. "What the Hell did you want?" House's voice had dropped dangerously low.
"I found a book, and I didn't really know what it was. It almost looks like some sort of diary, though it's a little weird."
"You read my sister's diary?" Cameron shot Chase a harsh look from over House's shoulder.
"No! I mean, yes, sort of. There was no title, so I just opened it to see what it was." There was a long pause as he continued to stare at the entwined couple.
"Is there anything else?" House growled.
"I'll just leave the book here on the dresser. You two… can come, uh, talk to us later. Or whatever. You know, whatever you want." Chase shut the door quickly behind him. Cameron and House turned to look at each other, both smiling despite their embarrassment and frustration.
"Well, that was certainly a mood killer," House grumbled, placing a lingering kiss on Cameron's forehead. She hummed appreciatively.
"Not totally," she disagreed. "They definitely won't bother us now." House couldn't help but smile at her enthusiasm.
"As much as it kills me to say otherwise, I think we should probably wait for a bit more privacy."
"You might change your mind by then," Cameron whined. House thought about that for a moment. While he realized there were a great many things about Allison Cameron that he didn't know, and many more that he was uncertain about, the one thing that he did know, somehow, was he wouldn't be able to keep his hands off of her. Especially not after today. He'd just have to work out the rest as they went along. It wasn't as if he was going to fall in love with her, anyway. He was done with that crap—Stacy had made sure of it. But he'd be content with Cameron in his arms.
"Let's go look at the book," he said, not bothering to respond to her fears verbally. Instead, he squeezed her hand once.
Cameron didn't bother to sit up as House went to retrieve the book from the dresser. She just wanted to watch House—she loved the way he moved, even with the limp. When he caught her gaze, he smirked. Blushing, Cameron held out her hand.
"Give it here," she commanded. Surprisingly House passed it over without comment. After flipping through the first few pages, Cameron frowned. Her frown only grew as she continued to read.
"What is it?" House asked, leaning forward to get a glimpse.
"It's a Book of Shadows," Cameron replied, not sounding too happy about it.
"A spell book, of sorts. Basically, it's everything Eva did with magick—spells, meditation, dreams…" Cameron trailed off. "She apparently hooked up with a coven of witches in town. Long ago we'd both agreed that it'd be best to keep our abilities to ourselves."
"This just gets better and better," House groaned. "Witches? You really can't be serious."
"Deadly serious. But it's a lead, House. We can try to find some of the coven members, and see what sorts of things Eva was up to. I can probably figure out a whole bunch of stuff from this," she said, holding up the book, "But maybe she told someone something—something she wouldn't dare write down."
"You're…you're…you believe all of this." It was a statement, albeit an incredulous one.
"I thought I'd been pretty clear on that front," Cameron responded dryly. She shut the book with a loud clap and turned to look at House. "We won't be able to work with each other if you're going to doubt me at every turn." She looked up and immediately frowned. "You don't believe me."
"You can get that from looking at the dresser?"
"No, Jeff Eliot returned. He wasn't here all of today. Hi Jeff, welcome to House's House of Denial," she grumbled. House didn't bother to respond, so she turned to face him. But her eyes fixed on something on the opposite side of the room, and the color drained from her face. "No," she whispered. "No."
"What is it?" House asked, grabbing her shoulders.
"Please believe me, House, please," she pleaded.
"What is it?" he repeated, shaking her softly.
"My husband. He won't leave me alone! Matthew! Why won't you go?" Then she stilled, nodding as if listening to someone speak. After a moment, she turned to look into House's eyes, and he was shaken by the pain that he saw there. "We need to find out who killed Eva, House."
"I know," he responded softly, as if speaking to a child.
"No, you don't," she disagreed, sighing. "We're in trouble."
"Is that why your husband is still here?"
"No." For a moment it appeared as if she would leave it at that. "He's here because of a stupid vow I made almost ten years ago."
"What was that?"
"I vowed never to love anyone again. Stupid, isn't it? It's the kind of vow only a twenty-one year old could make. I never wanted to forget him, and look what I get stuck with? His ghost. So now he can pop up at the most inconvenient times and remind me of how unbelievably stupid I was. See, the problem is that a vow like that applies to so many different things. By making that vow, I also destroyed the relationships I had with the people I already loved."
"Eva," House answered for her. She nodded.
"Exactly. Our relationship was never the same after Matt died. He won't leave me alone until I set things right—for Eva and for myself."
"And he just told you that?" House asked, clearly not believing he was asking that question.
"Sort of," Cameron responded. "Ghosts don't really talk. But they have a way of making sure you know what they're thinking. Matthew's been a ghost for a while now, so he's pretty good at it," she elaborated, failing to keep the sardonic edge out of her tone. "But he's never been so clear before. I'm guessing he wants to get out of here as much as I want him out of here, and we might finally get our chance."
House opened his mouth to respond, but then they heard the doorbell ring. They shot each other a nervous glance before standing up.
"Uh, Cameron? There's somebody here to see you!" Chase called from the living room. Cameron took a deep breath before opening the bedroom door. When she and House entered the living room, Cameron was somewhat surprised to realize that she had no idea who this person was—she certainly hadn't been at the funeral.
"Are you Eva's sister?" the woman asked.
"Uh, yes, I am." The woman's eyes wandered to the book that Cameron clutched to her chest.
"Is that her Book?" The woman queried, lifting an eyebrow. Cameron's eyes narrowed, and she did something she hadn't done in years—she tried to read the woman's mind. At first glance, it was obvious to someone with Cameron's gifts that the woman was magickally powerful, and naturally so. The woman looked taken aback as she felt the touch of Cameron's mind.
"You certainly are Eva's sister—I've only felt power like that once before. It appears I was mistaken."
"About what?" House asked, unable to keep from butting in.
"I thought I would have to protect you. But now it seems that you may have to protectme."