A/N: This one shot kicks off a new series of loosely related House/Cameron moments called "Fragments." I wanted to experiment with writing some pieces that were a bit more random and poetic since my other stuff is so dense and layered - or at least it seems that way to me. This first one is set after "Meaning." It's dedicated to LostforHouse on her birthday. Happy Birthday, Kathryn!

Beta: ColorofAngels

Disclaimer: Not mine

Note: The last chapter of Where You'll Find Me will, with any luck, be up sometime after Thanksgiving. My life has been crazy and my muse was on hiatus so please forgive the long, long wait. As for I am a Rock, I am an Island, I am a House? Chapter 17 is in the the works. Honestly, I'm trying to finish up my WIP stories, leaving room for sequels.

I appreciate concrit. If you can spare a moment, let me know what you think. This is a new style for me and I'd like to hear if it worked, or not, and why.

Blueheronz


I.

The first few times he laps her apartment are purely coincidental, House tells himself, jogging in place while looking up at her bedroom window.

But then he lies.

She peels off her tee in the light from the moon, slips something over her head. A dress the color of Claret. Her skin is milky and he takes in the plunging neckline, remembering the tiny mole above her left breast.

He wants in, but he stays out, growing colder.

On his iPod, The Beatles read his mind:

I know what it's like to be dead. I know what it is to be sad...

II.

House sucks in cold air and blows it out as he runs, steam emitted with each exhalation. Long, evenly paced strides characterize his form as he leans into the exercise. Five miles down, five more to go.

Long distance running ups his endorphins and takes the edge off his sarcasm quotient. Without the dull weight of painkillers, his libido awakens like a bear after a long hibernation. Girls check him out as he skateboards to work. As they walk on by, he watches their hips sway.

But he only really comes alive that way when he sees Cameron in her snug low-rise trousers and that powder blue v-neck. House eyes the gap between her thighs, where his hand belongs - his mouth. The urge to tear off her lab coat must be curbed. He obsesses over that tiny mole above her left breast.

It's Cameron whose ass he wants to palm, whose legs he wants to splay.

But he gave her away.

III.

It's been better than Vicodin, almost, this new addiction, and it requires no prescription, just sneakers and a healthy pair of legs. Of course he knows that only one leg is truly healthy. Ketamine is just a cover up, a temporary fix. It's given him a taste of how it used to be, but now, as the miles fly by, his face clenches, jaw tight from the pain searing his right thigh.

He should have "hit" Cameron while he had the chance, taken just one shot with her as a whole man so he could give her what she deserved. All of him.

(A whole man? Get real. You're piecemeal. A man is the sum of his fragments. He's been diced, sliced, skewered, split open. He's stitched togetherby an amateur - the scars are like spider webs. A study in jagged edges.)

Instead he fumbled, asked her out, actually asked, Do you eat? like an idiot, as if he hadn't sat across from her at Cafe Spoletto and watched her nibble ravioli like a sparrow. When she faltered, failed to fawn over him, he told her she was full of crap.

A smooth operator. That's me. House shakes his head sending sweat flying in the chilled air. He jogs in place waiting for a light to turn green, wishing he'd brought his Johns Hopkins sweatshirt, wondering if he'll ever be warm again.

IV.

He's full of crap. His theories are a screen for his feelings: What I am is what you need, I'm damaged? Yeah, right. The real story? The thing he struggles not to say? I'm damaged. I can't give you what you need. I can only give you what you think you want.

He's full of crap.

You have no interest in going out with me. Maybe you did, when I couldn't walk and I was a sick puppy you could nuture back to health.

The truth is, the only reason he dared to ask Cameron out is because he finally has something to offer his naive atheist: a chance for a normal life. Only deep down he knows he's never been like other people.

In sickness and in health... Either way, he wants to taste her, to roll with her, to make himself completely vulnerable ... to her. And already it's too late to love her with all his limbs intact.

V.

Christ. This time the pain feels like shards of glass stabbing his thigh. Take that.

Wilson is wrong. This isn't muscle fatigue or simple soreness. It's muscle death. Necrosis. When you've lived with a mistress for five years you can fuck her blindfolded and know her body better than you know your own. And so it is with the pain.

He picks up his pace, daring his leg to collapse on him.

A soft drizzle leaks from the darkening sky and the slap of his Nikes starts to sound soggy. Rain baptizes the brisk November night, drops mingling with his sweat. Beneath a streetlight, the trees keep a tenuous hold on their yellowing leaves. The smell of wood smoke conjures up nights when he and Stacy used to fuck in front of the fireplace, on that sheepskin rug.

But Stacy's as substantial as a puff of smoke. As soon as she was gone, he boxed her up and sealed her with packing tape, all the little momentos. Her remnants rest next to the just-in-case heroin stash on the top shelf of his closet.

VI.

A flickering fire, flames the rust and blood of fall leaves. Wood crackling, spitting sparks into the screen. The fluff of sheepskin beneath his bare skin, and above him, Cameron. His thumb brushes the tiny mole above her left breast as he steers his cock deeper. Her hand threads through his.

Piles of leaves line the curbs. Bark peels from the Sycamores. Yellow leaves glisten on the pavement, already edged with brown.

He passes a scuba shop with a nautical motif. A hooker looks out of place in the shopping district; hand on hip, blonde wig slipping, lipstick askew. He likes skinny brunettes. A few blocks further it's a few degrees colder, rain batters his bum body, darkness deepens and the only pure thing is the light from the moon.

And the moon plays tricks on him. Rounding a corner he slows, clutching his leg, and sees her in a puddle of rain. Her hair long and brown, arms folded across her chest, head tilted up at him, his skinny brunette.

Her mouth moves. House reads her lips before a ripple fractures her image.

She says, "Ask me again."

Fin.