Stranded - Chapter 15 – fishtank36
A/N: Well here it is. The final chapter. Thank you to all of you who have read and commented and to my friendlies without you all there would have been no chapter 2 and so on for this fic. I'm not really planning a sequel any time soon as I have three other AU House fics started and some Chuck fic. Self-beta'd again, errors are all mine... I will rule the universe with them BLAHAHAHA!
I hope you enjoy!
She can still feel the panic in her limbs as she bolted out of the forest after the roar of the engine above them. She pushed hard, sprinting faster than she ever had before and probably ever would in the future. Nothing was as important as that, it came down to the simple principal of surviving. She can still feel her lungs burning and her head spinning as she frantically lit the signal fire. Watching the flames spread out practically in slow motion, willing the stack of dry wood to burn faster. It was all they had, the billowing smoke calling out to the plane for them.
She was shaken, trembling under the insane rush of adrenaline. The same feelings have manifested themselves under entirely different circumstances. There's a press conference, in which they are unintentionally forced to relive their experience. Answering questions from the curious reporters before them, clamoring for every scrap of information that they could get. All she wants to do is forget, even though she knows that's never going to happen, but she'd like to not think about it for awhile. Since they were rescued she's been weirdly emotional. On and off, fighting off tears at some moments and oddly unaffected in others.
She sticks close to House during the post-rescue interviewing, stuck to his elbow, sitting on the very left of her seat during the process. Abby at their feet looking rather bored, Wilson and Pallson to House's left looking relieved and happy. House is quiet, scanning the crowd with a clinical eye, not bothering to entertain any of the questions thrown his way. Cameron figures he's probably not pleased with being put on display for the whole world to gawk at, and being one that just wants to go home and lay in her bed for about a month, she has to agree.
She's glad they've survived, that she's still alive, but this is just adding to her guilt of all the people that didn't make it. The other two people that were found on the island that they didn't get to and help, that one still in critical condition, the other refusing to take part. She's dealt with this pain before, it's different and yet the same. The circumstances have changed drastically but the pain feels the same, once was already more than enough.
He could still recall in great detail the feel of her against him, the heat on her skin as he tasted it. Her hungry mouth meeting his. It was ludicrous to compare her against being rescued from island that would eventually be their undoing, but being back in civilization was insignificant if he was back to the same miserable lifestyle that he had been thrust from in the first place.
He would never change for the long run, knew his renewed fervor for life was only temporary, and that in itself might have been enough for him to start trying. After all he couldn't sleep for periods more than an hour if he slept at all. Hadn't left his office except to get clean clothes and food, something was affecting him – something was off that he couldn't seem to fix. Not catching up on his soaps or eating two and half reubans or popping vicodin. Not even an attempted lecture from Wilson, the man who had practically moved his office into Cuddy's since their return.
There's a knock at her door, dragging her out of her semi-coma on the couch. By the time she drags her zombied frame up off the couch there's a second knock and then a third before she can finally get to the door. She hasn't been able to sleep very much at all even though she's bone tired.
Opening the door she finds House looking exactly like how she feels. He's pale with dark bags under his eyes, his ruffled hair and unshaven face just adding to his already exhausted looking appearance. Abby nudges her leg gently and licks her hand in greeting, of course House doesn't have a proper leash for her but she doubts that it's much of a problem.
He hangs his head before offering a simple, "I can't sleep," in explanation.
She gives him a small smile and extends her hand in invitation. He takes it, relief softening the frown etched into his forward. Cameron leads him into her apartment and shuts the door. Together they end up cautiously curled against each other on top of the covers of her bed with Abby half on top of their feet. Cameron falls asleep almost instantly, and he can feel the weight of it finally pulling him down as well. She's something familiar, he feels a lot better with her in his arms. She's warm and real, he finally feels safe – like he can go to sleep and not fear waking up back on that island, stranded.
He sighs, body relaxing into the mattress. Not all change is bad.