Pairing: House/Cameron (kind of)
Rating: PG/ PG-13
Word Count: 2650
Spoilers: Everything up to "No Reason"
Summary: Missing scene between No Reason and Meaning. Cameron's reaction to House shooting.
She'd never enjoyed county fairs. They were always filled with large crowds, large amounts of unhealthy food, and always contained at least one petting zoo leaving the entire fairground smelling like manure. Never once had she understood why anyone would clamor for a space in a line for something that lasted mere seconds. Still, she had gone year after year because it was expected of her, to act like a child, like her siblings, for once. Even though she hated them, and despite the fact that she never rode the rides, she had always lingered in front of the tilt-a-whirl.
She'd watch it spin around and around, a vicious cycle most likely designed to see just how many people it could make sick. And yet, she longed for it. Longed for the weightless feeling she knew they must be experiencing as their strawberry spun without stopping for a second. She watched countless people laughing and smiling, having the time of their lives on the ride. She even acknowledged that even though it looked nauseating it still kind of looked fun. And even though she didn't understand it, she still yearned so desperately for it for the way they were obviously feeling. She had just never allowed herself the pleasure.
Closing her eyes she tried desperately not to watch the scene playing out in front of her. She didn't want to see House being wheeled into emergency surgery. She still couldn't comprehend why an unknown assailant had brutally shot him twice, right in front of her eyes. Sure, he was a jerk, and he probably deserved a good punch in the nose but he didn't deserve this.
Trying desperately to catch her breath, she stared down at her hands. Her hands were coated in his sticky and thick blood resembling a layer of glue she knew she'd never be able to peel away completely. She felt lightheaded and suddenly she realized this must be what it felt like.
The room was spinning much like her adored twirling strawberries. She felt like she was stuck on a carousel and it wouldn't stop spinning. She closed her eyes and then reopened them trying to focus on anything that could keep her steady but kept coming up empty. She was sure now that all those people on the tilt-a-whirl must be idiots to be enjoying this feeling.
She saw Wilson walking towards her and glanced back down at her hands. It wasn't right, she knew that. Her hands should never have been stained with his blood. She should have never had to experience what it felt like to have House blood pooling around her fingertips as she tried desperately to secure the wound to his jugular. She didn't know it was possible but now she felt more rage towards the unknown man than before. How dare he force her to experience all these things she should have never had to. Who did he think he was?
Lost in an instant replay of the gunman shooting him, she barely noticed as Wilson stood beside her. Even when he reached out and wrapped his arm around her shoulder comfortingly, her tilt-a-whirl, her own personal strawberry, had skewed her perceptions drastically.
"He's going to be alright, Allison." Wilson said reassuringly, even though he wasn't sure of it himself.
Cameron shook her head. "You don't know that." she said softly. The words brought images of him: him speaking those very same words to her when she had tried so hard to reassure him of the same thing, images of his eyes locked on her own so intently. It was too much, there was no way she could handle all of this. Between the spinning room and the memories of House bleeding out all over her hands, it was all just... too much.
She barely registered Wilson's muffled He's a fighter. He'll get through this. before her legs gave out from beneath her and she collapsed into his arms.
She didn't know how long it had been since she had fainted in Wilson arms. Cursing herself for being so weak when House really needed her to be strong, she extracted herself from his grasp. She couldn't fall apart. Not yet. House needed her still. If he could see her now, she knew she'd be met with a disappointed glare. "Sorry about that," she said softly.
Wilson shook his head. "Don't worry about it."
Cameron nodded and frowned once again at the blood on her hands. "I don't understand why this happened, or why I'm not in there," she said bitterly. "He needs... I need to see him."
Wilson sighed. "You know why you're not in there, Allison. Besides, he wouldn't want you to see him like this."
"Chase and Foreman are in there. They're his fellows, too," she said defiantly.
"Chase and Foreman aren't in love with him," Wilson pointed out.
"Neither am I," she snapped.
Wilson held up his hands apologetically. "My mistake." He looked down at her hands for the first time and saw the blood, confusion evident on his face. Shaking his head, he mentally kicked himself for being so stupid. Of course her hands would be bloody, she was applying pressure to his wound. "Why don't you go get cleaned up," he said gesturing to her hands.
Cameron shook her head and put her hands in her pockets, not caring if she ruined her pants. She could always buy more. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Standing outside this room isn't going to make any difference, Allison."
"I'm not leaving him, James," she snapped, angry at him for even suggesting she leave House now.
Wilson nodded. He understood completely. He wasn't going anywhere either.
It wasn't until House had been given the all clear that she finally moved to wash his blood away. After his room was prepped and he was lying in his very own hospital bed and not on a surgical table, she planted herself in a chair in the corner of his room. For the first hour, she simply watched him, making sure he was breathing and making sure his vitals were all still good. Sometime during the second or third hour, she had lost count; Chase had appeared with one of his crossword puzzles and a cup of coffee. She had been about to chastise him for intruding--when she clearly wanted to be left alone with House--when Chase handed them to her, along with a pencil, and simply left.
She got up, pulled her chair out of the corner, and placed it directly next to his bed. Once settled, she put her coffee cup and crossword on the bedside table. There was no way she could stomach anything right then, and there was no way she'd be able to concentrate on anything other than the steady rhythm coming from House monitors.
Sighing softly she reached out and took his hand in hers. He looked so vulnerable, a radical difference from the man she knew him to be. Wilson had been right. House would never want her to see him this way, a shell of the man he had always perceived himself to be. Entwining her fingers with his own, sorrowful that she could not, and probably would not ever, feel his grasping back at hers, she finally allowed herself to cry.
It hadn't taken a lot to wake Cameron up. Her hand was still entwined with House's, her fingers clutching him as if he was the only thing holding her afloat in angry sea storm. She lifted her head from the spot where it had fallen--she had cried until she was sure her tear ducts could no longer produce a single tear--on his bed and looked in the direction of the noise.
"Have you been here all night?" Cuddy asked gently.
Cameron nodded, unsure she could trust her voice.
Cuddy nodded before handing her the coffee in her hands. "I thought you might have been. Chase said you were still here when he left last night."
Cameron smiled appreciatively before placing the cup of coffee on the table next to Chase long-forgotten cup.
"You should go home and get some rest. I'll stay with him," Cuddy offered.
Cameron shook her head. "I'm fine," she said. "I'm not going anywhere."
Cuddy sighed sadly. "Wilson said you'd say that." She watched as Cameron simply turned away from her and back to House. "You should at least eat or drink something."
Cameron nodded. "I will," she said quietly never letting her attention leave House.
"How's he doing?"
"He's doing ok. He's stable," Cameron said.
Cuddy nodded again. "Good..." she started only to be interrupted by her pager. "Excuse me."
Cameron barely noticed she left.
She was still sitting with him hours later. She was determined that she wasn't going to leave his side until he was awake, and she could see he was okay from something other than his monitors. Sighing softly, she released his hand, taking time to flex her own several times.
Hours of holding his hand had left her's cramped and uncomfortable. Hours of sitting vigil by his bed had left her exhausted so she finally succumbed to resting her head on the side of his bed. Within moments, the steady beat of the machines monitoring his heart beat lulled her back into a shallow slumber.
She didn't know how long it had been since she had fallen asleep. She felt someone touch the back of her neck and immediately sat up. She smiled widely as she met with House's blue eyes, now open and trained on her. She moved quickly to get him the water he was gesturing at with his other hand and helped him drink it at an appropriate pace.
She couldn't say a word; she didn't know what to say. She wasn't sure that even if she did she'd really be able to.
"Just like my hallucination," House mumbled to himself, although he was certain she would hear it. If she did, she didn't acknowledge it. "How long have I been out?"
She remained silent after he spoke, his voice stronger than she thought it had any right to be.
"Cameron?" He tried again.
She shook her head slightly. "Sorry. Almost two days," she said after sparing a glance at her watch.
"You been here the entire time?" he asked curiously, anxious to see how much of his hallucination she would live up to.
She nodded. Admitting to House that she hadn't left his side left her feeling far too open and vulnerable for her liking. It had been unnecessary, she knew, it was obvious from the expression on his face he'd already known the answer to his question. It would have done her no good to try and lie.
He smiled lightly. "I thought so."
Cameron watched him as he sat in silence. She could practically see the wheels in his head turning. She couldn't tell what he was thinking but that wasn't anything new. She rarely knew exactly what he was thinking, even if she thought she did. She had heard him mutter something about a hallucination so she assumed that what he was thinking about. "What did you say about a hallucination?"
House shook his head dismissively. "That's not important," he said hoarsely.
Cameron nodded, knowing even if he wanted to tell her he wouldn't. She sighed sadly, "I should go."
House nodded. "You've been sitting here for two days, you probably should."
Cameron nodded again. "I'll check on you later."
"You don't have to."
"Check on you?" she asked confused.
No, go. He thought to himself. You don't have to go. "Yeah, I'm fine," he said pointing to the morphine drip that hung beside him. "In fact, I'm better than fine."
Cameron smiled and placed her hand on his shoulder lightly. "I imagine you are." The morphine drip was probably a dream come true for his inner drug addict. She smiled as her hand lingered a bit longer than necessary and even wider when she saw how uncomfortable he was. She withdrew her hand slowly and walked to the door. She had her hand on the door when she heard him speak.
She turned around and faced him again. "Yeah?"
"Did you tell Cuddy I wanted the Ketamine?"
Cameron hesitated. She had, she just didn't know why.
She didn't know the significance of the Ketamine. She hadn't had an opportunity to research it, but she knew that House would have murdered her had she not followed through on his request. She wasn't his medical proxy, but he had told her what he wanted. He had trusted her and she wasn't about to let him down. "I did," she said finally.
"Did she give it to me?" he asked sucking in a deep breath.
Cameron walked back over to his bed and handed him his chart. "She did. She doesn't know why. Then again, neither do I," she said pointedly. Looking at House expectantly she watched as he released his breath. She didn't know why she expected him to tell her what was going on.
"Thank you," he said gratefully.
Cameron nodded. It wasn't often House showed appreciation; and if he wasn't going to tell her why he was so appreciative, a thank you would have to do. "For what? All I did was follow through on your request."
House nodded. He wanted to say something, anything that would make her realize just how important this request had been to him. The only problem was the morphine dripping into his blood stream was making his thoughts more flowery that he liked. Not to mention, he was exhausted.
Cameron noticed his eyes drooping. She imagined being shot twice and rushed into emergency surgery took a lot out of a person. "You should get some rest. I'm really going this time."
"You don't have to," he said finally voicing his thoughts from earlier.
Cameron smiled sadly. She knew that later he'd regret this moment of weakness, regret showing her that he needed someone other than himself. Still if he would just ask her to stay she wouldn't deny him that. "That's the morphine talking."
House nodded drowsily. "You're probably right."
Cameron sighed with a nod and headed for the door again. "Goodnight, House."
"Goodnight, Cameron," he said as he watched her leave his room for the first time in two days.
Cameron turned the corner glad to be out of his line of sight. She leaned against the wall and allowed herself to sink to the floor. Pulling her knees up flush against her chest and laying her head on them, she cried--first crying tears of joy, then tears of all her greatest fears dissipating, and lastly crying tears of relief.
Once she was finished, she pulled herself up and had a nurse page Wilson and Cuddy with the news. She turned and chanced one last look at House from around the corner. She watched as he closed his eyes again. Feeling her heart contract and her head spin, she smiled at herself for unlocking a secret. Now, she understood exactly why people liked the tilt-a-whirl. As long as you weren't alone in the strawberry, all the work to keep it going, the spinning, the twirling, none of it was actually so bad. She had realized at last, it was the thrill and excitement of the ride that made it all worthwhile, and she was never getting off.