A/N: This is the final story in the five part series Intertia, Paralyzed, Collide & Momentum. This is not the original format for this story. But FF wouldn't support the document with my original formatting. C'est la vie... I think this works just as well. So, the plain text is Cameron and the bold text is House.
Through all of my life
In spite of all the pain
You know people are funny sometimes
'cos they just can't wait
To get hurt again
Do you remember...?
Do You Remember by Phil Collins
Chapter 1 – Remember
You don't know how long you'd been sleeping when you heard it, but you doubt it had been long.
You don't know how long you'd been standing out there prepping yourself before you started to knock.
Or maybe you're still sleeping. You lay in bed completely still, holding your breath so there's no possibility you're mistaking the sound.
It can't have been long, or you might have lost your nerve. You take a deep breath and knock soundly, so there's no mistaking the sound.
Knock, knock, knock, knock
It's no mistake. The hollow knock is real. You can feel hope building in your chest and you squash it mercilessly and viciously. You remind yourself that whatever you wish will happen, will not. It never does.
There's no mistaking that. The knock is loud enough to wake the dead. You hope you're not waking the neighbors. Not because you care; you don't. But you don't want to have to do this for an audience. It never works.
You drag yourself from bed and walk to your door, forgoing your slippers to tiptoe in your bare feet. You don't want him to hear you coming, in case you decide not to open the door.
You listen intently, trying to pick up any sort of noise from within. She took a cab when she left the bar, you're not even sure she's home, but you plan to knock until she opens the door.
You lean up to peer through the peephole, just to make sure. It's him. He can't have heard you approaching. He wouldn't look so real if he had. Left hand braced against the door frame, right hand clutching his cane fiercely enough to whiten his knuckles, he looks…nervous, determined, anxious and exhausted.
You decide you'll count to thirty before you start knocking again. Your leg gives you a twinge to let you know it's not happy about your decision. You brace yourself against the door frame to relieve it a bit, gripping your cane hard to bleed out some tension. You're very aware how huge this is, and just how unsure you still are about it.
He looks how you imagine you do every time you think the two of you are about to have some kind of real moment together, some kind of, dare you think it, breakthrough in this ridiculous mess. He looks like he's expecting the next thing.
You still aren't sure exactly what you're expecting to happen. You can only hope that once you get your chance to say…whatever it is you're going to say, that things won't seem such a mess. You expect something new. Else. Next.
You lean your head against the door, completely unsure now whether you can even let him in. Because when he looks like that, all you can do is remember the first time he ever appeared here at your doorstep.
You lean your head against the door, almost convinced that she's not home. You don't want to think about where else she might have gone, and that thought reminds you of the first time you ever showed up here.
The day he came to ask you back.
The day you came to ask her back.
You don't dare to hope he's come tonight for that same reason.
You can only hope that tonight you'll have the same success.
But why else would he have come? If his sole intention in asking you to talk about this was to get it out in the open for the final time, then he's more than accomplished his task. You know he can be a little sadistic, but you've never known him to be actively cruel. Seeking you out to mock you about this is too overt for him.
What else could you have done? Drinks at the bar went completely opposite to your plan. It was never supposed to be about hurting her or driving her away. You know you have a reputation for being a bastard; you're afraid that has finally come back to bite you. It's another hurdle, and jumping them is a lot harder with the cane.
You're left wondering then, what other reason is there for him to be here?
You're left wondering then, what other way is there for you to be around her?
You place your hand on the door just below your line of vision, and you swear you can feel him out there.
You place your hand on the door just below your line of vision, and you swear you can feel her in there.
You can't live your whole life like this though, like you're in some sort of suspended animation just cocooned within yourself until you either blossom or wither.
You can't spend all night standing out here in the hall, though. Your leg will give out. But the real question is, will your leg give out first, or will your heart?
You've made your decision. Now it's time to stand by it.
No. You've made your decision. Now it's time to stand by it.
You slide back the chain and twist the deadbolt. You take one deep, calming breath and open the door.
You straighten up and are about to start banging on the door in earnest when you hear the locks clicking.
Although he must have heard you unbolting the locks, you think immediately that you must have caught him by surprise. You've never seen him looking so open when he knew someone was watching.
You know the door is opening, but it's just not enough time to shield yourself from what you're afraid you might see. You've never seen her looking more cautious, more resigned, more determined or more broken.
And in that instant, you remember everything that made you love him in the first place. Every subtle nuance of tone, every hidden softening of eyes, every feat of medical derring-do when nobody was supposed to know. All those tiny pieces that, in your mind, built a puzzle picture of a man who cared but was afraid to show it.
And in that instant, you remember everything that made you afraid to love her in the first place. Every honest look, every forthright declaration, every refusal to back down when nobody believed she had a chance. All those tiny pieces that, in your mind, built a puzzle picture of a woman who cared so much she couldn't help but show it.
You remember how he stole your heart.
You remember how she asked for your heart.
And you wish you knew how to get it back.
And you wish you knew how to tell her she already had it.