She's never been to his apartment before, but she knows where it is. They all live within walking distance of the hospital, pass each other invisibly on the street, at the supermarket, sitting in traffic in the cold pre-dawn. Cameron's been waiting two years, but she's never run into any of them outside of work.
This day, the snow-slogged traffic grinds to a halt in front of his apartment building, and the empty parking space at a perfect angle to her car is just too perfect to be a coincidence. She tells herself this isn't about revenge, that she doesn't resent him, as she quickly rifles through her purse and leaves her coat on the passenger seat. Her skin stings with more than just the cold as she runs up the steps and knocks.
It's been two weeks since she took the meth. One time, the warnings say. One time and you can become addicted. But it isn't the drugs she's been craving. The vulnerability, the raw desperation—these are the things that have haunted her dreams. It's been years, and she hasn't even realized how much she's missed this feeling until now.
"It's three o'clock, what are you doing here?" Chase is dressed in gray sweatpants and a t-shirt that's so faded she can't tell what it once said, his hair sticking comically up in the back. His eyes are bloodshot and dark-ringed, and they make Cameron swallow.
"Snowstorm," she says. "House left early, and there wasn't a case, so Foreman decided that we should leave early too."
"And…here?" Chase rakes a hand through his hair, looking vaguely embarrassed, like he's just remembered that he isn't dressed. Suddenly Cameron wonders whether he was expecting a message from House, an apology, or a summons to return to work immediately. She thinks she can see vague disappointment in his face.
Cameron shrugs. "I got stuck in traffic. Let me in, it's freezing."
Chase steps back resignedly, letting her pass him into the hall. His apartment is cold, and wood-floored, and the television is on to some white-noise show that Cameron doesn't recognize. She shivers in the draft as he closes the door behind her. He turns to face her, locks eyes with her for a moment, and it's like the air is instantly charged. She's avoided looking at him lately, knowing it would spell her doom. In this here, in this now, she doesn't care.
She isn't high this time, but Chase looks just as surprised as she closes the distance between them and takes hold of his shoulders. He stares wide-eyed at her for a second, then drops his head to kiss her, like he's been thinking it the whole time too. There's a swell of exhilaration in the speed with which his hands come up to tangle in her hair, his touch becoming almost rough. Cameron stumbles backwards, drawing him with her until she's placed herself against the wall—and it works this time, because everything is reversed. Coming to a stop, she pulls back and reaches for his waistband.
Chase grabs her wrist and swallows, already breathing hard. For a moment she can see his jaw shaking before he finds the words to protest. "We shouldn't."
"Why not?" Cameron pulls her wrist from his fingers and leans away just a little; Chase shifts his weight forward toward her, almost reflexively. And there's the sense of undeniably reckless pride over the way her presence affects him. "We're not colleagues today."
Chase jerks like her words have burned him, and shakes his head. But he doesn't step away, not yet, that darkly ethereal something she's glimpsed lately smoldering just beneath the surface of his eyes.
"No," he says softly, though the disappointment is evident in his voice.
Cameron reaches up to grasp the back of his neck, leaning up to close the remaining inches between them, his breath brushing her lips as she speaks. "Why not? You showed up drunk at my apartment two nights ago. It was fairly obvious what you wanted then."
For a moment she can see something almost wild in his eyes, the rest of his face stoically composed in the familiar mask she imagines it must have taken years to develop. And then his hand is wrapped around her wrist, his lips at her ear. "Not here."
He turns so quickly that Cameron feels almost jarred, her legs working to keep up with him before her mind has fully processed this decision. She'd meant to look around, to finally know what his life looks like outside of the hospital, but the interior of his apartment passes in a blur of tangled legs and frantic motion, the hand around her wrist trembling violently. They stumble to a halt in the bedroom doorway, like they've crossed some invisible line and the momentum is lost.
The bedroom is a wreck, drawers and closet open, the suit Cameron remembers him wearing to the peer review panel draped over the back of a chair, wrinkled and defeated. The trash can has a little blizzard of crumpled tissues spilling out of it, and she finds herself glancing back at Chase's face for evidence of tears. The mask is still in place, but he looks momentarily lost, in shame or remorse or something else entirely, she can't be sure.
"You're a mess," says Cameron, thinking about standing on the bridge with him, watching twigs duck beneath the pull of the water. A sudden swell of sympathy turns to heady desire somewhere in the pit of her stomach, and she fights back a shiver of excitement. Moments like these, she thinks she must be a monster, a succubus, consuming others' needs for her own pleasure. But he needs comfort, she tells herself, and what he doesn't know about her motives won't hurt him.
"Don't," says Chase, and there's something broken in the sound of his voice.
Cameron locks eyes with him and takes a breath to ask, but then he is walking her backwards toward the bed, her mouth covered with his, a thousand questions dying at the back of her throat. She sits down hard as the backs of her thighs bump up against the edge of the mattress. Chase pulls his shirt over his head and lets it fall to the floor, watching as she does the same. Goosebumps erupt along Cameron's skin as she unbuttons her carefully ironed blouse and pushes it off her shoulders. It's not cold in the anymore, but there's something in the way that he's looking at her which makes her skin crawl.
Tilting her head back and narrowing her eyes, Cameron slowly beckons with one finger. Chase obliges, stepping forward until he's standing between her knees. She hooks both hands into the waistband of his sweatpants and boxers and tugs hard, letting both garments fall in a heap at his feet. Pausing, she runs light fingers over the red wrinkle-marks the elastic has left on his skin, and then leans in to follow the same path with her lips. Chase shudders, and her transformation is complete. She becomes a different creature in the face of need, stronger somehow, domineering, almost.
Chase reaches down to unhook her bra, his hand at her back tickling. It's like every place he touches her skin becomes infected with tiny shocks of electricity, and she realizes suddenly that she can't remember much from before. Reaching up, she wraps her hand around his cock, locking eyes with him and watching the warring emotions in his face. His brow seems to crumple, jaw trembling, but as before, he remains silent.
"Lie back," Chase breathes after a moment, pulling away from her. Kneeling, he removes one shoe and then the other, pausing to work his fingers up the top of her left foot to her ankle. Cameron arches up to help him get her pants and underwear down, then swings her legs all the way up onto the side of the bed, rolling toward the center.
Chase is there a moment later, cat-like, crawling up her body and dropping his head to flick his tongue across her nipples. Cameron jerks as more goosebumps erupt all over her body, and curls her fingers almost violently into his hair. His skin seems to radiate emptiness, the tumult she glimpsed two nights previous there, simmering just beneath the surface. But it hasn't quite broken free, not here, not even now. There is nothing resembling romance between them, not before, and not today. This is about power, about need and give and take.
Kneeling over her, Chase uses his free hand to unearth a condom from beneath a stack of open books on the nightstand. Cameron seizes hold of his wrist as he rips the package open and pulls it from his fingers, watching the quiet agony in his eyes as she takes her time rolling it down. She grabs his hips and bites her lip as he enters her with a soft exhalation of breath that isn't quite a moan.
Chase bites his own lip as he starts to move slowly and tentatively, obviously holding something back. He looks far away, concentrated, like he's in the midst of an emergency operation. Cameron reaches up and brushes the side of his jaw; Chase flinches and pulls almost too far back, keeping his eyes carefully trained on the pillow next to her head. Moving her hand up, she takes hold of his hair and pulls his head down until she can speak into his ear.
"What are you hiding?" It comes out in a breathy whisper that she doesn't quite recognize, but it has an immediate effect. Chase wrenches out of her grasp and turns his face into her neck, his breath hot and ragged against her bare shoulder. He quickens his pace and snakes his hand between them to find her clit. Cameron arches up into his touch, moaning as he increases the pressure a little. This isn't about tenderness or love; it's about shared relief and getting there as quickly as possible.
The mask starts to break down as Chase moves increasingly harder and faster, his breath coming against her neck in little gasps that aren't quite sobs. Cameron digs her nails into his shoulders hard enough to leave marks and wraps her legs up over his back to draw him closer. His movements become sharper and less coordinated as he nears the edge, and she reaches down to swat his hand out of the way, replacing it with her own. Chase comes a moment later with a strangled cry into her neck, and Cameron lets the sound take her the rest of the way, throwing her head back as the waves of orgasm shudder through her. When Chase rolls away from her at last, his face is glistening with sweat and possibly tears, and for one breathless second, she feels the foundations of their relationship starting to crack and shift.
"This never happened," says Cameron, when she can speak again, forcing herself not to show just how much he's rattled her resolve It would be so easy to fall into this pattern, to keep coming back for more. But that isn't who they are, or who she wants them to be, and there is inexplicably too much to lose.
Chase takes a long, shuddering breath, and sits up. "You should go," he says, that dangerous something still lurking just beneath the surface, and Cameron has the distinct feeling that if she doesn't leave now she might not get out.
Cameron nods, and leans over to pick up her clothes. The self-loathing in his eyes is almost enough to make her regret everything.
Almost, but not enough at all.
Feedback earns my eternal love!