House sat at his piano tinkering with the keys and congratulated himself. He managed to survive both Foreman and Chase's sympathy and then behaved like an unfeeling, opportunistic ass in Cuddy's living room while trying to get her approval for the medical procedure. He wasn't really sorry that she booted him out. He headed back to the hospital for the obligatory chat with the idiot's father to get his consent for the dangerous medical procedure, and then he went home to brood. His carefully laid plans were being fucked over by three subordinates who finally rose to their potential, seeking, searching, and ignoring their boss. He didn't know whether to be pleased or pissed.

He wasn't dying. His grand plan to get admitted into that drug program was to see if he could get a better chemical high to draw away from the pain in his leg. Or just get high. It was an interesting idea. Having the others thinking he was dying made it more complicated but not impossible to carry through. And the patient currently on his plate was still an interesting puzzle but in abeyance at the moment until they could see if the operation worked.

The one thing that really bugged the hell out of him were Cameron's words: That's not why.

He had been a little shocked and even nauseous when he realized Cameron and Chase were screwing around. His glib question to them at the start of the case ("You two shower together?") had been a cover for the needle-sharp pain that kicked him in the gut.

And Cameron had still kissed him. And she was angry at him. Him. His cane thumped rhythmically on the floor, his eyes distant.

The knock on his door, when it came, wasn't a surprise. House knew Cameron well enough to know that she wouldn't leave it alone for too long. And Cameron was smart enough to know he wouldn't come to her, especially since there would be a chance of running into Chase. So of course she would come to his home. He stood and opened the door. She pushed by him.

House leered. "Come back for the sperm sample?"


His jaw dropped and Cameron smiled for a brief moment. Then she straightened her shoulders and waited.

House rapped the wood on the floor once with his cane and looked at her. "All right, I give up. Why did you kiss me?"

Cameron looked at him soberly. "I just…returned the favor." At his blank look, she added, "Last year, when you said you loved me to get me to take the HIV test? You did that right after you slept with Stacy. That was cold, even for you."

"How did you know I—?"

Cameron smiled tiredly. "You just told me." She made an impatient sound in her throat. "It wasn't hard to figure out later, House. But it was pretty cruel to use those words against me. You knew how I felt and you said you loved me just to swab my mouth?! And after you had just come from Stacy's bed." A year later, it still stung. Resolutely, she kept her gaze on him.

"Technically speaking, she was in my bed so—"

"Right. I don't know why I thought you'd even care." She made a scoffing sound and moved as if to leave but he put out his hand, stopping her.

"So kissing me…and the needle?"

Cameron kept her gaze steady. "I wanted to hurt you."

House nodded. "So you're here to apologize. Well, no need, Dr. Cameron, you—"

"I'm here for the sperm sample." she interrupted. She had spent the better part of the year preparing for this moment, never knowing when it would appear, only that it would. She had tucked her emotions away deep, even began playing with Chase for practice, and never, never scrutinized what she was doing except to ensure she wouldn't be hurt for this. She still wanted him, even if he didn't want her, no matter how hurt or angry he made her. And she wasn't going to waste anymore time.

But when she looked at House again, she saw sadness deep in his eyes. He stood there and made no attempt to brush it off, simply stood there mutely, accepting whatever she decided was fair. Cameron wanted to recoil with shock. Where was the hardness she expected, the steel she had fortified herself against? Did she turn into a cold bitch for nothing?

House saw her confusion and shock and touched her mouth with a finger, running it lightly across her lips before slipping inside. She sucked, automatically at first and then stared into his eyes and rolled her tongue around the digit, drawing her teeth along it and sucking strongly.

She thinks you're dying. House drew back suddenly in derision. "A pity fuck for the dying cripple?"

Cameron shook her head. "I tried to hurt you, House. Think about that. Even knowing your chances, I wanted to hurt you." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "Like you hurt me."

"So the diagnosis just gave you the courage?"

"Yes." She stared at him. "Do I get to see your bed?"

"Didn't you take a long enough look before?" He smirked at her surprise. "I taught you, Cameron. Figured you'd do a B&E although I hope that's all you did." She nodded and he relaxed fractionally. "Be my guest." House waved her in the direction and watched as she slowly walked to his bedroom. He waited a few minutes, rubbing his chin, and wondered how bad this was going to be. He shrugged and followed. At the doorway, he froze, staring into the room. His body revved into high drive and he fought for control.

Cameron stood in front of him, stripped down to bra and panties. They were black lace with white trim and his fingers convulsed on the handle of his cane. He stood up straight, tossed it aside, and stepped into her space.

"How do you think this is going to end, Cameron?"

"Can we not talk about it?" She rubbed against his body lightly, feeling her nipples tighten.

"That works for me." House palmed her between her legs, feeling the wetness amid the lace as she held onto his shoulders for support, her eyes half closed. He dragged his hand up her body, caressing her stomach lightly, feeling muscles twitch and contract before sliding up to under her breasts, thumbs brushing her nipples. And then both hands reached in back and undid her bra.

Cameron slid the straps down her arms with a sultry look, watching his eyes trail down her naked skin as the bra fell to the floor.

"Get into bed." His voice was hoarse.

She obeyed, sitting up against the headboard, watching him as he stripped. He hesitated over his pants but removed them and faced her, shielding against any pity over the damaged thigh.

Cameron licked her lips. Need and want radiated from her in waves.

His eyes met hers. "Lie down."

House leaned over to lick her stomach while getting onto the bed, gripping her hips firmly. He held her pinned as he looked down to the scrap of lace still covering his prize and nosed it, breathing warm over the spot. He was gratified at her gasp.

House pulled the panties down and off and immediately spread her legs to lick between them. Her moans made him harder and he exercised tight control over his instinct to simply fuck her there and then. Whether this was going to end badly or not, this was going to be very good. He'd ensure it.

Cameron dropped her head back on the pillow and gave herself over to the pleasure of having House's mouth and fingers move expertly on her. He had graceful, clever hands that knew where to touch, how to stroke, how to build pressure that was delicious. And a hot, wet tongue that teased and tormented. Her hips began moving as he fucked her with his mouth and fingers and finally she came, rigid in that moment of oblivion.

When she finally opened her eyes it was to see him grinning with self-satisfaction and lust. Cameron rolled onto her side and reached down to caress him.

His hand intercepted hers. "Do that and we'll be over in about five seconds," he warned.

"Mmm, don't want that." Cameron dipped into the drawer of his night table and pulled out a square foil, ripping it neatly with her fingers and pulling out the contents. She blew into the condom until it puffed out and mischievously stuck her tongue into it, enjoying the sight of House's eyes widening. She delicately rolled it onto him and he swelled satisfyingly long and thick as she moved it down with teeth and tongue and the warm pull of her mouth.

When she finally sat back, sweat covered House's forehead. "Now it's my turn again," he gritted out. His fingers traced her nipples lightly before he sucked and massaged one, then the other. He licked his way up to her throat, baring her neck, holding her hair back in a firm grip. Cameron panted, waiting for him to suck her neck hard, ready to arch into that warm suction and revel in the bruise that would mark her as his.

He didn't. His eyes spoke clearly.

You're not mine yet.

Cameron closed her eyes against that knowledge and pressed her lips to his, grateful that he immediately invaded her mouth, thrusting hard with his tongue. She straddled him as they tasted each other and finally slipped onto his cock in a fluid move. Cameron rode him hard as he thrust up to meet her each time. He could barely hold on to slip his hand between their bodies and bring her to another orgasm before he clenched and rode out the high.

They collapsed, breathing hard, sweat shining over their bodies. His hand stroked down her back languidly and then they disentangled and lay there in silence.

It was later, still in silence, when Cameron rose, dressed, and left.

x – x – x

The case was over. The savant was on his way to whatever normal life he could carve out for himself. And everyone now knew about House's own mad scheme. He wasn't dying. He was just a self-serving ass.

Walking past that restaurant and seeing his ducklings seated together made his stomach clench. It had been the hardest thing in the world for him to walk inside and face his trio. But he did, and as uneasy and uncomfortable as they were with each other, there was a silent acknowledgment of acceptance. House knew they'd forgive him eventually. Cameron's avoidance as they ate was expected and he finally pushed up from the table, dropped enough bills to cover the tab, and left before the others had recovered from the shock of it.

And now, he was home. Emptiness filled his body. It was rest after labor, and he had yet to process the whole of all his plotting. Yet overriding that was the experience of Cameron balancing the scales as she saw fit. He rested his head against the back of the couch and felt both satisfied and bereft. She was right—and he didn't have a clue where that now left them.

The knock on the door surprised him. House looked through the peephole and opened the door, unsure how the next scene would play out. "What are you doing here?"

Cameron pushed past him. "Don't be a bigger ass than you can help." She looked over her shoulder. "Well? Shut the door!"

Grinning, he closed and locked it and walked to where she waited. When he stepped in close, she murmured, "I'm tired. Let's go to bed."

He turned off the lights, following her into the bedroom as if they had done this for years, a normal routine after a simple dinner out. He paused. "Chase?"

"Over and done."


She pulled back the blanket and began stripping. "I've been thinking about that blood sample, House." She smiled as she kicked off her shoes and removed her bra. "You didn't need to take a blood sample from yourself if you were using the patient's. And you didn't need to hand over the sample in front of Foreman. Clues. You were leaving clues despite all your protestations that you didn't want anyone to know." She stood naked before him and watched with satisfaction as his eyes glazed over. "You wanted to know if we cared enough to try to figure it out." She crawled under the blanket and held it up invitingly. "Can we go to sleep now?"

"Y-yeah." He turned his head away and undressed, puzzled and unsure at this new Cameron. He slid next to her and his arm automatically went around her as she nuzzled his chest.

She looked up into his eyes. "We're even."

His arm tightened briefly. "Yes, we are."