Title: Chasing Zero
Rating: RG
Characters: House
Disclaimer If I owned House, the bill collectors wouldn't be calling me everyday, no would they?

After watching the Cuban couple, so close to death and so physically close in love, he couldn't get it out of his mind. He couldn't remember the last time he had been really kissed, really touched. Yes, he had kissed Cameron, but that was out of self-interest, self-preservation. It was meaningless, and therefore irrelevant in his mind. He had spent years building up walls. . . that personal contact was something that happened reluctantly; like Chase hugging him when he thought he had brain cancer. Or Andie's hug as she left the hopsital to live her final year on this earth.

He put a lot of blame of this on his parents, the epitome of cold. His mother had tried while he was in elementary school, but years of living with his father had devoid her of any compassionate emotion. He thought through all of his major life accomplishments, graduations, awards, promotions, and how none of those occasions had given either of them a reason (most especially HIM) to show their appreciation through touch.

Even when he was with Stacy, most of their contact came in the bedroom. Even after the infarction, when he needed it most, he was lacking in anything other than the basics. It's been what, a year now since he had felt close like that to anyone, since he asked Stacy to leave. Yeah, he has sex, but when he is with Paula it's clinical, and it isn't like he gets kissed on the mouth. It's purely a release, purely animal instinct. The leg massages, purely release, to help kill the pain.

Sometimes when he is in the clinic he looks at the pain chart, and he sees what he wants, what 97 of the world has; no pain. He's chasing zero. Cuddy, Wilson, everyone, thinks that he wants the pain, that he is distracted by it. He is. That doesn't mean that he wants it. He doesn't want it. He doesn't want this. He wants to be free. Until then, he's just chasing zero, and wondering if anyone will ever see past the pain, and reach out.