Stranded - Chapter 1 - fishtank36
Disclaimer: Don't own anything but my House DVD's :) This is another AU story, and of course it's House/Cameron.
A/N: Huge thanks to !zzy for giving me a ton of info and putting up with all my questions related to said info, fo shiz. This is season 2-ish AU, I'm taking them almost completely without any of the canon "drama" (Tritter, new interns/fellows, etc) - if it's not mentioned in the fic it's a good bet I'm not including it in this fic's universe. I plan on making this more than one chapter, but fair warning the updates may be infrequent as I'm horrible with the whole WIP-thing.
Enjoy, and please review!
He can't breathe. His body is screaming for the air his lungs can't seem to hold. He's falling in and out, not quite able to keep his eyes open long enough to get his bearings. He feels exhausted, like he's slept off whatever self-induced torture-of-the-day in his office. The constant sharp ringing in his ears means whatever the cause this, this time, it's a little more than a serious hangover.
Finally he manages to lift his head, making his surroundings spin, threatening to overwhelm him. Cuddy looms over him, the three of her swaying about in his field of vision. "House," she admonishes, that familiar disapproving tone present both on her face and in her voice. "What did you do this time?" She asks, voice distorting comically. If it were any other time he would have laughed, any other time he would be high or severely drunk, but the pain in his body suggests otherwise.
"Where have you been?" She demands, "I need you in the clinic, doing your job - not away at some fancy convention that I - not sleeping one off in your office." Something's not right, it's too hard for him to piece together what. His eyes slip close and Cuddy seems to just fade away - she never goes away that easily, especially about clinic duty - it's something that even his foggy mind can't let go of. With great effort he slowly presses his weary body up until he's resting on all fours. His breathing has slowed marginally, his eye sight calming enough to allow him to glance up.
That's when he sees her - clothes torn, blood and dirt matting her hair and smeared all over her pretty face. He has never felt the horror he feels now before, it shoots through his body making his adrenaline fire on all cylinders. He's on his feet before he can process it and at her side without any real conscious thought.
It's like a hurricane inside his chest, his heart throbbing painfully as all the walls he's built up over the years are torn asunder, leaving his soul aching as he prays this is some awful dream his mind has constructed to torture him.
He's struggling to breathe again, tears almost spilling out as he tries desperately to remember the basics. "A - is airway, B - is breathing..." he recites out loud, leaning down to listen carefully. It's hard to hear over the loud pulse in his ears but he can feel her shallow but steady breaths on his face. "... C - circulation, D - de - dead-ly - bleeding, check for bleeding."
He surveys the wound in her hair, the mud having done a pretty good job of helping her clot. He moves down, hands carefully patting her body to check for blood. She has a few rather sizeable gashes on her left arm, and momentarily dismissible cuts on her right hand. House continues down her body but finds no life-threatening wounds, he doesn't see any obvious trauma to her spine - he knows he has to get her to some sort of shelter.
Delicately, he picks her up and moves towards the cover of the trees. For the first time in years he doesn't feel the twinge in his leg as he walks, just her slight weight in his arms. All that matters at this moment is her.
Slowly she comes to, consciousness bleeding in through her sleepy fog, replacing the heavy feeling of her limbs with the sharp pains in her body. She's sure it has to do with the awkward position of her neck - she remember falling asleep on the plane, not really caring that she was so tired her body had decided House's shoulder would suffice as a temporary pillow, and his future ridicule she could bear.
Sleeping in such an uncomfortable manner was not foreign to her anymore; House-induced late nights running labs and scouring insane medical histories had trained her to be able to sleep and recover energy practically anywhere - one more bad habit she had garnered from him. She thought she had immunized herself from the aches of sleeping in such weird positions, but as her senses awoken and the synapses fired to life the pain became more localized - the worst of it settling in a very specific portion of her head.
With some effort she pulled her head back, meeting House's sharp gaze, fear pulling at her stomach as she took in the bruising on his face and neck, a few sizeable gashes concentrated on the left side of his face. "House," she croaked - her brain clamouring for a plausible explanation for what happened to his face.
She watches as his gaze flickers out, lingering long enough for her curiosity to be pulled in that direction. Craning her head to find out what he has glanced at she winces, her neck protesting the movement with uneven jolts of pain spiking in her head making her vision blurry and shooting down her back.
'This must be a dream,' she thinks, her eyes cataloguing the acres of ocean and the strip of endless sand wrapping around her field of vision.
"Oh my god," she chokes, tears burning down her cheeks as she remembers - just flashes here and there, the screaming passengers, the pilot's carefully monotone voice - the violent explosion of sound and metal into nothing.
She turns into him, crying as she can't help but feel for all those people and their families, but especially for them - stuck here indefinitely. He lets her find shelter in him, for once being that decent human being, wrapping his own arms carefully around her trembling body - not to be nice but because he realizes that he needs that comfort just as much as she does.
He's not hoping for a miracle - he knows better by now.
He feels like he's been walking for an eternity, limping along in the edge of the tide, the cool water barely washing over his feet soothing them and quieting the complaints of his arches. He doesn't know what else he should do, this feels like some elaborate prank concocted by his best friend in their never-ending game of torturing one another. Though friend is a very generous term in describing their relationship at times - but right now he misses his friend. One unfortunate event and his entire world is swept aside like an afterthought, carelessly tossed away like all he has ever done to save other people is insignificant.
He knows that isn't true. The world isn't really out to get one specific person - it gets everyone eventually - but he can't help feeling that way, especially now.
So he continues to walk along the wave of wet sand stretched out in front of him, hoping for... something - he's not really even sure what anymore. The weight of the broken cane mocking him, he would have tossed it long ago but he can't bear to rid himself of the only tangible piece of his world before it was wrecked.
He wishes his friend were here so they could go through the routine of back and forth, he never thought he'd miss being mocked at every available opportunity but he does. And if he ever gets that back he'll probably mock himself endlessly for wishing for something so absurd back.
For now though all he can do is walk - and hope.