Author's Note: This is my first foray into the world of House, M.D. fanfiction (at least as a writer). I've been thinking about doing a Cameron character study for a few weeks now, and this short piece is the result of that thinking. Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.

Obviously, as this is f-a-n-f-i-c-t-i-o-n, I don't own House. I'm just borrowing the characters and a quote or two.

How to Live Divided: A Doctor's Guide

First rule: if at all possible, try and avoid this predicament. If it's too late, you're not alone.

"No" was no longer the powerful word that she had always believed it to be. The more she tried to keep these feelings at bay – the more she tried to imitatehim – the faster and further she fell.

"I'm over him," she swore. Not so much as to convince him, but to remind herself that these residual emotions were just that—she was not going to pine after someone who so clearly didn't give a damn. Or maybe he did care, but in whatever strange and twisted way this was so, it was never going to be enough and all she could ever really get were painful memories and might-have-been's. Besides, it wasn't even love so much as an aching loneliness and the need to heal and be healed. Two broken people are better than one lonely woman.

And she knew that using Chase like this as a way to move on and eradicate that fondness was cruel, but this was hardly the punishment she envisioned for it. Because all of sudden he's leaving and even though she swore that she felt nothing—

"You're wearing lipstick."

She's wearing makeup for him, and it dawns on her that even if she doesn't love him yet, the idea of simply letting him leave is unbearable. Whatever it is she feels is totally different than those strange emotions House inspires in her, but they cannot possibly inhabit her at the same time.

Second rule: inaction makes for even greater pain; one of them has to take precedence.

This tear is absolutely unbearable, and so she makes a decision. Partial happiness sounds so much better than staying utterly miserable. And she feels guilty for using him in a totally different way, but she can't just drop him either, because this time it does actually bring some healing.

She always saw him as 'together' somehow. House's brokenness makes everyone else around him seem whole, especially Chase. But now she's finding what she wanted all along in him, and as she spends more and more time away from House, the division aches less and less, and perhaps she can give what's left of herself to Chase the way he's devoted himself to her (no matter what he tells Foreman).

Third rule:don't allow both of them into your life immediately once a decision is made -- these things take time.

She's pretty sure that she loves him now. They're laughing like they never did while working for House, and the awkwardness softens a little. She no longer feels like an intruder when she sits on his bed and watches him fix his tie, or when she peeks into the bathroom and finds him brushing his teeth. And she's pretty sure he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night anymore just because he's terrified that she'll bolt. It's not idyllic, but it's certainly getting better than she thought possible.

"Dr. Cameron, we have an opening in the ER if you're interested. I know you'd probably rather look elsewhere, all things considered, but if you wouldn't mind at least considering the offer, please give me a call."

Cuddy attempts to be professional but mostly sounds like a woman who is trying to atone for the deeds of her employee and friend. Cameron tries not to immediately call the hospital back when she gets the message and beg for the job just because it's near House and what about Chase? As she struggles to figure out whether or not to call back, her (she's never sure how she feels about calling him boyfriend) Chase calls out—sometime between a haircut and the drive home, Cuddy has contacted him too.

That's all it takes to get Cameron on the phone with the Dean of Medicine, and both of them are jittery the entire weekend. The prospect of being in the same building with House is both frightening and oddly appealing. She's made her choice, really, but she can't quite keep away from her former boss, and it's all she can do not to kiss Chase until he's senseless for understanding instead of becoming jealous.

Fourth rule: if you're broken all of the other rules, stop consulting them.

She can't believe House didn't notice they were back. She can't believe she's wrapped up in his hiring game, and once that's over, that she's still helping out from the sidelines. When people call in the middle of the night about adopting free dogs, she knows who to blame and after unplugging the phone, she snuggles closer to an exhausted Chase. She's sure now that she wants Chase more, but being around House tends to confuse her and reduce her state of mind to that of the mentally unstable. They're on the verge of what barely counts as friends now, and she may be able to fight back during his irrationally rational mind games, but the connection she feels to him doesn't quite match, yet again.

So she clings to Chase, then distances herself a little, and he only looks at her with those eyes that remind her he still cares, and they're still broken and still together and even though she's not better and all her rationalizing does nothing, she wouldn't change a thing.

Except maybe she'd exchange late night pranks for afternoon hijinks.

Fifth rule: if all else fails, remember that it will be okay.