Title: Thunder and Lightning 1/1
Spoilers: References to Need to Know and Half Wit
Summary: Per tiflissa, who said, "I think my favorite scenario for H/C is just the two of them, stuck somewhere with only each other for company."
Disclaimer: Are these even necessary anymore?
A/N: Set during season four, but does not follow canon. Inspired by an episode of Friends and written for tiflissa, who is made of all things awesome. Thanks for the icon, Tiff. Beta'd by my dear friend, blueheronz.
House opened the shop door with a flourish and stopped just inside, taking a deep draught of one of the best smells on earth, old vinyl and decaying cardboard. The shelves were lined with album after album, any kind of music imaginable, so long as it was released before the CD craze. He liked music on almost any kind of medium, but there was something about vinyl that appealed to him the most. The scratch of the needle as it found its groove and the pure sound that emanated from the shiny black disc... Sometimes he would watch the record spin, the undulating of the needle giving him a trippy sensation, akin to a good buzz without the hangover.
He stepped in further and began browsing the shelves, ignoring the antique man that stood behind the counter hovering over an equally antique cash register. Flipping through the jazz section, he spied a very young John Henry Giles on a brittle, yellowing album cover. He pulled it out and tucked it carefully under his arm, before continuing his search.
He should've known that ridiculously old record guy would be a technophobe. There wasn't a single modern thing in the entire shop, so why would there be a credit card machine? He left the shop and trekked the block and a half to the bank where he knew there was an ATM.
The darkened sky rumbled an ominous warning and the air, pregnant with moisture, seemed about to give birth any second. He quickened his steps, scowl firmly in place. All he wanted to do was to get some cash, get back, collect his booty, and head for home.
The first raindrop hit the end of his nose as he reached the bank. He stuck his ATM card in the bank door to gain entry, taking note of the shapely backside of the woman currently using the machine. She was dressed in workout gear, form fitting blue yoga pants and a white t-shirt that hugged the curve of her spine in just the right way. Her dirty blond hair was scrunched up on her head and held with a clip, in that way that was both messy and stylish at the same time.
While he stood just inside the door admiring her and awaiting his turn at the machine, a loud crack of thunder rang out like a gunshot, accelerating his heart like a runner's after a marathon. Lightning lit up the darkness a split second later and that's when he noticed her startled face. She turned, her eyes wide, the hand that was clutching her receipt coming to rest over her heart.
"House," Cameron gasped, as if he was responsible for the weather-related cacophony outside. "What are you doing here?"
He gave her his 'duh' expression and waved his ATM card at her in answer, stepping forward so he could get his cash and get out of there.
"You use an ATM? I thought you used the Bank of James Wilson," she joked.
"Normally I do, but I just found out he's not FDIC insured," he retorted, as thunder sent vibrations through the building. He slid his card in and began his transaction, stealing glances at her while the machine burped and spit out his cash.
His gaze took her in from top to bottom and back again. She looked good, her hair darkened to a honey colored blond which suited her more than her previous golden blond hue. He wondered why she kept changing it; if it was symbolic of anything. He wondered when she had changed it and why he hadn't noticed before now. He wondered if she was still with Chase.
Caught staring, he turned his attention to the sky outside, now as black as a moonless midnight, broken only by blinding flashes of lightning. They stood in the brightly lit foyer, looking like fish in an aquarium to the outside world. Neither spoke for a moment. He had his money now, but... rooted to the spot, he realized he wanted her too. Wanted to tuck her in his wallet and take her home.
It struck him as suddenly as a jolt of lightning that he didn't know her. Not really. He thought he had her all figured out, but she was more mysterious now than ever--a beautiful stranger standing in front of him with an expectant look on her face. He didn't know what to say.
A low rumble sounded in the distance, building in a crescendo as it moved closer and closer. Even with a few feet between them, he could feel her clenching in anticipation. They waited only a few seconds for the ear splitting crash that shook the building and took the power with it as it faded away. Suddenly plunged into absolute darkness and silence, save for the raging thunder and lightning outside the glass walls, Cameron moved closer to him, her arm brushing against his own.
"Scared of the dark, Cameron?" he mocked, a cover for the electrical storm that was brewing within him.
She brushed past him, ignoring his mockery, and pushed at the door, her shoulders slumping in defeat when it didn't open.
"We're locked in," she muttered, turning back to face him.
"Well that sucks," he said, but it came out all wrong, as if he meant the exact opposite. Hoping she wouldn't notice, he moved to the door and tried it himself, with the same result.
Crossing the room, he lowered himself to the floor, his back against the wall, and patted the spot next to him. "Power will probably come back on soon. Might as well get comfortable until then."
She stood there indecisively, just looking at him for a moment, before moving to sit beside him. She smelled of soap and powder and something else that hit him when she released her hair from its clip. He thought the record store held the best smells in the world until now. He took a deep breath, committing her scent to memory.
"You seem unusually happy about this situation," she observed. "In fact, you've been unusually happy in general lately. What's up with that?"
He stared at her, dumbstruck. Rain pelted the glass around them like birdshot, but he was oblivious. Stuck on the fact that she'd picked up on something no one else had. Not even Wilson. He hadn't seen her regularly in weeks and somehow she'd noticed. Even here in the darkness, she saw him more clearly than anyone.
"Why haven't we slept together yet?" he asked, in an attempt to divert her. "Oh right, because you're with Chase now."
"Yeah, that's totally the reason. Has nothing to do with the fact that you're a coward. Nice attempt to change the subject though. Are you going to answer my question?"
"I haven't changed," he lied, and even he knew it wasn't convincing.
"Liar," she retorted. "You smile all the time and I never see you popping Vicodin anymore."
"Don't worry, it probably won't last. Eventually I'll go back to being the wounded puppy you love," he grumbled, planting his gaze firmly on her sneakers. He could feel the change in her immediately, the anger coming off her like mist off a pond.
"You really think that's what I want?" she snapped. "I'm glad you're happy. Believe it or not." She paused, taking a deep breath. "Wait, what do you mean it won't last?"
"The drug wears off.."
Her head jerked toward him, her eyes studying him in the dark. "What drug? she asked. "Oh my God! You did it, didn't you? You somehow got hold of that brain cancer drug."
He should've been annoyed with her, but instead he was proud. It was that kind of observational skill that he wanted on his team.
"Nice work, Cameron. You should come back to work for me. Those other idiots are practically useless."
"How did you do it?" she questioned, ignoring his job offer.
"If you've got enough money, you can get anything you want. Even cool experimental drugs."
"Couldn't you get it again? I mean, if it wears off?" she asked, no longer angry.
"You encouraging illegal activities?" he teased. "That is so unlike you."
"It's not exactly illegal. I mean... you suffer from chronic pain, so why shouldn't you be a candidate for an experimental drug that relieves pain?" she justified with a shrug.
Changing the subject, he reached up and grasped a strand of her hair, sliding it between his fingers. The texture was so soft it reminded him of the silk of the chrysalises he used to pluck from the bushes when he was a boy, peeling them apart so he could see what was inside.
He wanted to do the same to her now.
"So what's up with this? Why do you keep changing it?" he asked, his fingers gently tugging.
"I don't know," she answered, her breath hitching as he let his knuckles brush against her neck. "I just wanted a change. I'm thinking of going brunette again." She turned to look at him, as if gaging his reaction.
He hoped that she would because... as a brunette, she was his. Someone he knew and someone he could read. Someone who cared about him. The blond hair would always make him think of her with Chase. And he needed no reminders of that nausea inducing visual.
"You should definitely do that," he murmured, his thumb sweeping across her cheekbone and his eyes zoning in on her lips. He leaned forward, pleased when she met him halfway, and touched his lips to hers, barely hesitating before sweeping his tongue into her mouth.
God, how he missed this: her taste, her scent, the way she responded to him, moving closer and grasping his shirt with one hand, dragging the other over his stubble and into his hair. It was far too familiar for two people who had only ever kissed once before. They went together like, well, thunder and lightning.
She pulled away first, a feeble and breathy protest on her lips that belied the way her hand still clutched his shirt.
"What? I know you're not with Chase anymore, so what's the problem?" he asked, exasperated.
"The power could come back on any minute. Anyone could see us."
That's when he realized his right hand had snaked its way beneath the waistband of her pants and was molded to her perfect little ass. He really didn't want to move it, but he supposed she had a point.
"How do you know I'm not with Chase anymore?" she questioned, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"Kissing someone else would be cheating. And you wouldn't do that. Not even with me. So what happened?"
"Nothing. We just wanted different things, that's all."
His stomach rumbled loud enough to be heard over the distant thunder, reminding him that he had not eaten since lunch. The worst of the storm was abating, but the rain persisted along with the darkness. He found he was enjoying the intimacy of their situation, and hunger or not, he was in no hurry to see it end.
"Here," she said, passing him an energy bar that she'd pulled from her bag. She opened one for herself as well, and took a delicate bite.
"Don't tell me you actually paid good money for this," he scoffed, eyeing it skeptically before tearing it open.
"The guy at the gym gave me a bunch for free," she replied, around a mouthful of granola.
"Of course he did," he smirked. "Guys would give you anything to get into your pants."
She laughed disbelievingly at this. "You think he gave me energy bars in order to get into my pants? That's ridiculous."
He shook his head and grinned at her naivety. "So you think he just gave them to you out of the goodness of his heart?"
"Noooo. But you can't believe that a guy would think a woman would sleep with him just because he gave her some free energy bars?"
"Maybe not right away, but that's his ultimate goal. It starts with energy bars and next thing you know he's offering to be your personal thigh master, if you know what I mean," he finished with a waggle of his eyebrows.
She laughed, covering her mouth with one hand to keep from spitting bits of granola at him. He watched her and smiled, pleasure pooling in his belly like hot coffee on a chilly day.
He loved her.
He'd known it for some time, he'd just never wanted to do anything about it until now. Now he wanted to tell her. Most people thought him incapable of saying those words, but they were wrong. He wasn't afraid to say them, it was just that there were very few people he actually loved.
"I love you," he blurted, without preamble, his voice low and raspy with emotion.
She just stared at him for an endless eternity, a sadness in her eyes that nearly broke him right there.
"House... I'm not in need of another HIV test," she responded, monotone and emotionless.
It took him just a second to figure out what the hell she was talking about, but when he remembered, he was filled with regret.
"I was an ass, Cameron. It's not a trick this time." He grabbed her hand and flattened it against his chest, where his heart was beating an accelerated rhythm that was for her alone.
"What's your goal?" she asked. "Are you trying to get into my pants now too?"
He could tell by her hardened gaze and her serious tone that his answer would make or break them. Her.
"I'm trying to get into your heart," he answered, in a moment of unvarnished honesty.
It must have worked because she softened before his eyes like melting chocolate, and blinked back a tear.
"You've always been there," she whispered, and moved toward him as he wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her honey colored hair, reminded again that there was no better scent on earth.