How it all began

By phoenixgirl23

A/N Thanks to everyone who reviewed my first story SLAUGHTER. it means so much to me. Again, House may be a little OOC in some spots, but i like to believ he does have his soft moments. I also have a great House/NCIS story i can put up if people are interested, but it's a bit long. Also i know i ahve the 1st Harry potter book by the American title, but only because the show it set in the US.

Disclaimer: I don't own House or any other characters. If only.

PS. Italics mean flashbacks, except for this first part, which is in a book.

"Dumbledore had convinced Harry not to go looking for the mirror of Erised again, and for the rest of the Christmas holidays the invisibility cloak stayed folded at the bottom of his trunk. Harry wished he could forget what he had seen in the mirror so easily, but he couldn't. He started having nightmares. Over and over again he dreamed of his parents disappearing in a flash of green light while a high voice cackled with laughter.

'You see, Dumbledore was right, that mirror could drive you mad,' said Ron, when Harry told him about these dreams. Hermione, who came back the day before term started, took a different view of things. She was torn between horror at the idea of Harry being out of bed, roaming the school three nights in a row ('If Filch had caught you!') and disappointment that he hadn't at least found out who Nicholas Flamel was.

They had almost given up hope of ever finding out Flamel in a library book, although Harry was still sure he'd read the name somewhere. Once term had started, they were back to..."

"What are you doing?"

Cameron looked up from her well worn copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to see her husband standing in their bedroom doorway. She sheepishly lowered the book, but kept it open.


"To?" he asked suspiciously.

Cameron sighed and rested her head against the pillow. "You're going to say it's stupid."

"Probably. Tell me anyway," he replied.

"I'm reading to the baby."

He smiled gently and came sat next to her on the bed, resting one hand on her large seventh-month belly.

"That's not stupid, Al."


"It's stupid that you picked Harry Potter to read to it, but reading to it in itself is not stupid."

"Why? What's wrong with Harry Potter?"

"The kid has no idea what's out there, and you're telling it there's wizards and dragons and stuff? It'll be such a letdown when it comes out and all there that's there is Chase."

Cameron laughed. "I talked to it for awhile today. I told it the story of how we met."

Her husband raised an eyebrow and made himself comfortable. "Good one. Except we're going to have to retell it now."

"Why? Did you go back in your time machine and change it?" she teased him.

"Yeah. Made you drunk. It's more believable that it happens when you're drunk," he explained.

Cameron laughed and he became serious. "No, this kid's gonna get both sides of the story. There's only so much you know."

Interested, she lay back, one hand on her stomach, the other clasping her husband's hand as he began to talk to their unborn child.

House sat in his office, twirling his cane absent-mindedly, as Wilson sat next to him flicking through more resumes from the pile on House's desk.

"You know it wouldn't kill you to help. I don't mind asking questions, but you're the one that has to work with whomever gets it," Wilson said pointedly.

House moaned. "I still don't understand why I have to hire a woman!"

"Because otherwise, you can't disprove the rumours that call you a sexist jerk."

"I'm not sexist. I just think, no, I know, that a man will be simpler."

Wilson sighed tiredly, this was an old argument. "So, I can pick then, and you won't complain?"

"Of course I will. So pick carefully, Jimmy," House grinned at his friend.

There was a knock on the office door and House's fellow, Dr. Robert Chase stuck his head in. "What did you want me to do while you're interviewing?"

"Hide in a corner," House answered. "If you see any particular dumb ones, tell them something to make them leave?"

"Like what?"

"How should I know?" House exclaimed. "Tell them the last one quit because I felt her up or something."

Wilson gave House a questioning look. "Your last fellow was a male. He went to Washington."

"They don't know that, do they? And it was never actually proven he was a male. Shame. I had fifty bucks on it."

Chase nodded unsurely and positioned himself just outside the office door with a book, just as the first applicant arrived. Wilson asked appropriate questions, House chiming in every so often with a less appropriate one. House immediately rejected one woman who kept one eye on Chase the entire interview; and while Wilson was keen for one in particular, House dismissed her.

"Why? She's.. attractive, smart, she went to Harvard!" Wilson protested.

"She had so much perfume on, she was like the botanical gardens!" House retorted. "Chase, what did you think?"

"Her perfume was pretty strong," Chase agreed awkwardly with his boss. "But other than that, she was alright."

"We don't want alright. We want someone who can do the job," House rolled his eyes.

"Who's next?"

Wilson peered at the next resume. "Uh, Allison Cameron. Chicago girl. Good grades, nice education. She interned at the Mayo Clinic... didn't go to one of the big med schools or colleges...god, she's barely out of med school!"

"How long is barely?" House asked, interested.

"Uh, she graduated just before Christmas. Early, but she's got great references."

"Great. Bring her in, Jimmy."

Wilson sighed and rose, walking to the door, and asking the woman to come in. House glanced up from the back issue of People he was reading as she entered, and raised an eyebrow. Wilson was right, she was young; House guessed about twenty-five, and she was dressed smartly, in a chocolate brown suit. All the other women had been wearing black or gray, and she sat opposite House's desk, looking innocent and lightly nauseous.

For some reason, House took pity on her, (later he reflected he was probably trying to avoid her puking on his desk) and leaned over the desk and offered her his hand. She took it with a slight smile, and some colour returned to her pale cheeks.

"So, Dr. Cameron," he started, as he saw Wilson open his mouth to ask his usual questions.

"You graduated med school early."

She fixed him with her eyes, big blue-grey eyes, House noticed, that seemed to bore right through him.

"Yes. Only a semester, though."


She seemed unnerved by the question. "Uh, I was ahead in most of my classes. My professor's gave me the option to finish early and I took it."

House nodded silently. He could tell there was more of a reason than that, but he didn't press her.

"Right. And you interned at the Mayo Clinic?"

"Yes. It was a great experience. I had the opportunity to meet some great people, and I learnt so much there."

"Sure you did. I'm curious, though. You chose to go to a local college and med school, then go and intern in Arizona?"

Cameron stalled, debating in her head what to tell him. "Yes. I had family... things keeping me close to home," she stammered nervously.

House nodded as though he was satisfied, but within his mind he was desperately trying to think what those family reasons might be. When he fell silent in thought, Wilson jumped in with his questions, safe questions, and steered the conversation away to a place where Cameron's stomach settled.

"Hobbies and interests?" Wilson asked her, and she looked confused at the question.

"Is that important?"

Wilson grinned. "Sometimes, we can use somewhat irrelevant information to judge who'll fit in best with the others you'll be working with."

"Oh, sure," she smiled. "Well, movies and reading is big. I love dancing, but there seems to be less and less time for that now," she chuckled.

"Dancing? As in clubbing?" House asked sceptically.

Cameron turned her gaze back to him. "Ballet since I was three; ballroom since I was ten."

"And you're not married? Kids?" Wilson asked.

Cameron paused, and House frowned as he saw a wince on her face. "No."

"Less time for dating now too, right?" Wilson asked her knowingly.

Cameron hesitated, then smiled. "Right."

"How did you put yourself through med school?" House asked abruptly.

"I worked two jobs," she replied, with no hesitation. "I waitressed, and I also worked at the Chicago Hilton. Desk work, restaurant work and maid."

Wilson decided to step in and relieve her of her suffering. "Thanks for your time, Dr. Cameron. We'll let you know in a few days," he stood and shook her hand.

She shot him a brilliant smile and took his hand. "Thanks."

"She's hot," Chase observed once she had left.

"She's young," Wilson sighed, shaking his head.

"She's the one," House announced, twirling his cane again.

Both men turned to House, eyebrows raised. "Because she's hot?" Wilson asked indignantly.

House rolled his eyes and stood up to get more coffee. "No! Well, not entirely."

"What then?" Wilson asked.

"She's attractive. Gorgeous, single and she worked two jobs to put herself through med school as a waitress and a maid. If you actually read her references, Jimmy, instead of reading her ass from behind People magazine, you'd be interested."

House returned to his office and picked up Cameron's references from his desk. "She's got three references. Her boss at the Hilton, that guy Cuthbert from the Mayo Clinic, and one from her college Calculus professor. They all say the same thing, besides that crap that you write in anyone's reference. They all say that she worked beyond what was asked of her, and she always focused on her studies and her work. Freshman year of college, she showed the professor a mistake he'd made in grading her exam. Went from an A to a B-plus."

"What's your point?" Chase asked.

"She worked her ass off to get here. I want to know why. At least I know she'll do her job. Bet she's the eldest."

"Because she works hard?" Wilson frowned.

"Because she's determined to prove herself. Most people her age, parents never went past high school. They have kids, and the eldest holds all their dreams and all the pressure, to be what their parents couldn't. Same if you're an only child."

"Well, you'd know," Wilson said sarcastically. "Are you gonna call her and tell her she got the job?"

"Nope. Chase can do it. Make a good first impression."

Chase nodded and picked up the phone.

Cameron looked at her husband and smiled. "Wow. And here I've been thinking you hired me just for lobby art."

House winced. "That came up to the kid, didn't it?"

"I may have mentioned it. But feel free to redeem yourself," she offered.

He kissed her stomach gently and sighed. "Alright. Now, what you and Mommy have to understand is Daddy is very aware of ethics in the workplace, and sometimes had to say things I didn't want to, so that I could try and protect your mom's job."

Cameron snorted, but let him continue.

House entered his office, his thoughts on his patient, and stopped in his tracks to see Cameron sitting in his chair.

"Why did you hire me?"

House sighed inwardly to himself and began to walk into the conference room. Cameron followed him.

"Does it matter?"

Cameron folded her arms across his chest. "Kinda hard to work for a guy who doesn't respect you."


Cameron raised an eyebrow looking unimpressed. "Is that rhetorical?"

"No, it just seems that way because you can't think of an answer. Does it make a difference why I think I'm a jerk? The only thing that matters is what you think. Can you do the job?"

Cameron still looked suspicious. "You hired a black guy because he had a juvenile record."

"No," House corrected her. "It wasn't a racial thing, I didn't see a black guy. I just saw a doctor…with a juvenile record. I hired Chase 'cause his dad made a phone call. I hired you because you are extremely pretty."

"You hired me to get into my pants?!" Cameron asked him, disbelievingly.

House looked amused as he headed back into his office. "I can't believe that that would shock you. It's also not what I said. No, I hired you because you look good; it's like having a nice piece of art in the lobby."

Cameron couldn't believe what she was hearing. "I was in the top of my class."

House sat down in his chair, slightly amused at her efforts to prove to him she deserved the job, not for her physical appearance. "But not THE top."

"I did an internship at the Mayo Clinic."

House nodded. "Yes, you were a very good applicant."

" But not the best?" Cameron asked disappointedly.

House was still amused by how upset she was. "Would that upset you, really, to think that you were hired because of some genetic gift of beauty not some genetic gift of intelligence?"

Cameron tried to regain control. "I worked very hard to get where I am."

"But you didn't have to. People choose the paths that grant them the greatest rewards for the least amount of effort. That's the law of nature, and you defied it. That's why I hired you. You could have married rich, could have been a model, you could have just show up and people would have given you stuff. Lots of stuff, but you didn't, you worked your stunning little ass off."

Cameron didn't seem happier. "Am I supposed to be flattered?"

House sighed and tried to explain. "Gorgeous women do not go to medical school. Unless they're as damaged as they are beautiful. Were you abused by a family member?"

"No!" Cameron cried, insulted by the thought.

House wasn't done guessing. "Sexually assaulted?"

"No," Cameron said cautiously.

House knew he was close. "But you are damaged, aren't you?"

"That was the first time you tried to solve my puzzle," Cameron laughed fondly.

"But not the last," he replied. "What about the first time you called me a barstard?"

Cameron covered her stomach hastily. "You can't say that! The baby can hear, you know!"

"Al, it doesn't know what it means though. Relax. We've got a year and two months before we have to worry about language."

House rolled his eyes at his wife and spoke to her stomach again. "Ok, kid. See, there were these sick babies at work, and Mommy was dipping into her stash of motherly instincts about five years early..."

House entered the conference room late that night to find Cameron the only one left.

"They all gone?

"Hartig's are checking out right now," she answered, closing her laptop.

"You look tired," he told her honestly.

"Thanks," she replied dryly.

"It's no wonder. You've had a hard time the last couple of days."

"And you haven't?" she asked sceptically, packing up her things, and making her way to get her coat.

"Not like you. Anyone who's that awkward either has no experience around death or too much, and I'm pretty sure it's not the former. Chase told me about that idea you had... the parents holding the baby. Where'd you get that? Did you lose someone? Did you lose a baby?"

Cameron froze in the act of putting on her coat. She turned and fixed him with a cold stare. "You can be a real bastard."

"I was curious!" House defended himself.

"Then you were a curious barstard," Cameron answered.

"You still gave me a Christmas present," he retorted.

"And you still got me one," she smiled.

House looked up at the doorway to see Cameron standing there looking nervous. "I just wanted to say that I know that you did everything you could.

House was feeling irritable at the case, so his reply was sharper than he'd meant it. "I don't need verification from you to know that I'm doing my job well. That's your problem, not mine."

"I was just being nice," Cameron said quietly, defending herself, yet sounding weak to her own ears.

"Yeah, well, you don't need to always do that."

Cameron hesitated, than handed him a wrapped parcel. "Merry Christmas."

House, unsure how to react, stared at it, and was grateful when Chase entered the room. Cameron entered the conference room late on Christmas Eve, intending to finish up some paperwork before returning home to her empty apartment, still disappointed she couldn't be with her family. She went to sit down and was happily stunned to find a wrapped present on her chair. There was a short card, that simply read 'To Cameron. House.' Smiling, she held it up to her ear and shook it, then carefully opened it to find a simple silver bracelet and a box of chocolates.

"You have to understand, your daddy hates holidays," Cameron said, emphasising the hates.

House groaned. "Thanks. It's not that I hate holidays, just that I hate the holiday spirit. And the commercialism, and the pointless being charitable, and..."

"I get it. Geez. If it's a boy, we should just name him Ebenezer," Cameron laughed.

"That's harsh."

"This kid is going to be screwed. I love holidays and everything about them, and you don't even celebrate your birthday!"

House and the team were in the hallway, discussing the differential when Luke, their patient's son and caregiver approached, handing House change and a sandwich.

" No pickles, and it's cold now."

"If it's a Reuben, that's the way he likes it," Cameron contributed.

"Everyone, this is Luke." House introduced him, motioning with the sandwich-holding hand.

Cameron rose and shook his hand. "Allison Cameron, it's nice to…"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, save it, we're busy." House interrupted. "Luke, give us another half hour with your mom. We need to do some tests." Luke nodded reluctantly and walked away, House watching him.

"Nice kid. Take her off the psych meds, that way we'll know what's what on the physical side, and who knows, we might get more out of her."

Chase and Foreman nodded and walked away, as House opened up the wrapper and began to eat the sandwich, before he noticed Cameron remained. "Don't worry – no pickles," he assured her.

"Happy birthday".

"OK… whose?" House asked, through a mouthful of Reuben.

"I was going through your mail, and it was on a form," Cameron explained. "Happy birthday."

"Oh." House replied quietly. He silently watched Cameron walk away. By the time she turned up, once again, in his office doorway, he had already forgotten their earlier conversation, so he had no idea what she meant when she said,

"You really didn't know?"

House leaned back in his chair, facing her. "No. I didn't. And frankly I'm angry. Which I'm guessing is the correct response. 'Course I'll know better once you tell me what you're talking about."

"Your birthday," she clarified.

House deflated. "Oh. Anger was a bad guess. Well, normally I'd put on a festive hat and celebrate the fact that the earth has circled the sun one more time. I really didn't think it was gonna make it this year, but darn it, if it wasn't the Little Planet That Could all over again."

Cameron tried not to smile. "It's a birthday. It's an excuse to be happy. You think that's lame?"

"Why are you here? To buy me a pony?" House asked, trying to change the subject.

"I'm just waiting for the surgery."

"Yeah well, go scrub in."

"What do you think of Andrew? If it's a boy, I mean," Cameron asked thoughtfully.

"We can name it anything, within reason, as long as it's not Daniel."

She gave him a look and he raised an eyebrow. "I have my reasons. You know that."

"You're being ridiculous about this," Cameron protested.

"Really? Let's get a second opinion. See kiddo, you came this close to having another Daddy. Luckily, well, luckily for me anyway, this other Daddy carked it."

"House!" she said sharply.

"Sorry. He went away to Heaven. Happy, Mommy?"

"Slightly," Cameron replied.

"Anyway, so Mommy thought it'd be nice to name you after her other husband in heaven. Made Daddy feel about this big."

"Oh, for Pete's sake," Cameron rolled her eyes. House was now on a roll.

"See, Mommy didn't even tell me about the other guy,"

"Dan," Cameron corrected.

"Dan," House reluctantly repeated. "Daddy had to be clever and guess."

"Yeah, good work Sherlock. I still ended up telling you, after you made all the wrong guesses."

"Lab tests inconclusive?"House asked the team.

"Not surprisingly." Cameron answered.

"No. Too bad. Luckily, I have the answer."

"To what?" Chase asked his boss.

"Thanks for asking. To life itself. Sex. Anything that can be transmitted via the blood can be transmitted through sex."

"Sleeping sickness from sex?" Foreman seemed sceptical.

"It's not without precedent." House replied.

"I'm pretty sure it is. Unless you're talking about going to Africa and having sex with the tse tse fly."Foreman answered.

"A Portuguese man was diagnosed three years ago with CNS affected sleeping sickness. His only connection with Africa was through a girlfriend who served under the military in Angola," House said simply.

"Oi, where'd you find that?" Chase asked, impressed.

"The journal de Instituto de Higina y Medicina Tropical. You don't read Portuguese?"

"You do?" Cameron asked, raising an eyebrow in admiration.

"I'm pretty sure that's what it said. Either that or it was an ad for sunglasses."

Cameron sighed. "Her husband has never been to Africa either."

"Ooh, stymied again. Your logic is bulletproof."

"I think ignoring respiratory symptoms is more likely than cheating," Cameron retorted defensively.


"They're completely devoted to each other."


"They love each other."

"Or?" House pressed.

Chase spoke up confidently. "They're overcompensating for guilt."

House turned nodding to Cameron. "Find out which it is."

Cameron couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You want me to ask a man whose wife is about to die if he cheated on her?"

"No, I want you to be polite and let her die." House deadpanned. When Cameron gave him a dirty look, he changed his mind. "Actually, I don't want you to ask her anything. Foreman take the husband, Chase take the wife."

Stunned, Cameron followed her boss out into the hall.

"You don't trust me to do my job?"

"We all formulate questions based on the answers we want to hear." House answered, hoping to ignore her.

" And how exactly do you re-formulate "Have you screwed around?" Cameron demanded.

House sighed. "Did you know she's been trying to get pregnant?"

Cameron was startled by the question. "Yes."

"After you got so freaked about the sick babies a while ago I figured that was your thing. But you've never been prescribed folic acid, and you can't lose a baby if you've never been pregnant," House answered, and Cameron stopped walking to stare at him in disbelief.

"You pulled my medical records?"

"You coughed the other day, I was concerned." House said, the first excuse that came to his head.

Cameron knew better. "You were curious. Like an eight-year old boy with a puzzle that's just a little to grown-up for him to figure out." She angrily turned and stormed off.

House watched her leave, faintly amused. "To-MAY-to, to-MAH-to…"

The next day, House strode through the halls with Wilson, who was providing his usual dose of psychological insights and/or lectures. As his friend walked off in dismay, House turned and saw Cameron in the lab. Curious, he entered.

"Mixing up some margaritas? Mines a double, Senorita. That's Portuguese, you know."

Cameron spoke quietly, House noticing tears in her voice. "Spanish."

House froze. "Uh-oh. What's going on?"

"I'm re-calibrating the centrifuge."Cameron answered. But House knew better.

"Turn around." She did reluctantly, and House saw her red, and sad eyes. "It's a very sad thing, an un-calibrated centrifuge. It makes me cry too."

"I'm not crying." Cameron denied.

"Ok," House said awkwardly, coming to stand next to her.

"I told the husband he was a jerk," Cameron admitted.

"Why?" House asked, interested.

Cameron hesitated. "When I was in college, I… I fell in love, and I got married. And…"

"At that age the chances of a marriage lasting—"

"It lasted six months." She finished his sentence. "Thyroid cancer metastasized to his brain. There was nothing they could do. I was 21, and… I watched my husband die."

House was shocked. Nothing he had imaged was that horrific and he felt distinctly awkward. "I'm sorry... But that's not the whole story. It's a symptom, not your illness. Thyroid cancer would have been diagnosed at least a year before his death, you knew he was dying when you married him. Must have been when you first met him. And you married him anyway. You can't be that good a person and well adjusted."


"Because you wind up crying over centrifuges."

"Or hating people?" Cameron asked, looking through him, knowingly.

House's pager beeped, and he handed it to Cameron. They both immediately left the lab.

"So, of course, after that, I couldn't not ask you out," House said triumphantly.

Cameron snorted. "Whatever. Our first date wasn't even a date. It was a non-date."

"Hey, baby steps," House said dismissively.

"Foreman says we've got a problem with the transplant," Cameron said as House entered the office.

House walked over to the bookshelf and shuffled through it. "If she terminates the pregnancy, he's not going to let himself die on principle."

Cameron hesitated. "Would you give up a baby for someone you love?"

House turns around and gave her a piercing look. "Please tell me I don't have to decide." Cameron looked hurt, and House took pity on her. "Depends, how long would they live?"

"Is this a pragmatic question for you?"

"Fifty years, no problem. Six months, I say let 'em die. Well, I've actually given this a lot of thought, and my personal tipping point is seven years, eight months, and 14 days."

Cameron shook her head slightly. "I couldn't do it."

"You found religion." House guessed.

"Do you have to be religious to believe a foetus is a life?"

"There seems to be a correlation." Cameron looked away; wondering why she even bothered. House watched her for a moment then made an impulse decision and looked away, his eyes darting about awkwardly. "I'm, uh… Do you like monster trucks?"

Cameron tried to hide her surprise. "I don't know what they are."

House raised an eyebrow in surprise, then realised who he was talking too. "Right. I got two tickets. Friday night."

Cameron was still puzzled. "You asking me to go with you?"

House nodded slightly. " Sure. Sounds good."

An awkward silence filled the room and House regretted asking her immediately.

"Like a…date?" Cameron finally asked.

"Exactly. Except for the "date" part." Cameron was staring at him, shocked speechless. He turned away quickly, embarrassed. "Forget it." He started to walk to the computer desk.

"No, I-I was gonna go to the oncology dinner…" Cameron hastened to explain.

"'Course, you have to hear Wilson's lecture." House nodded, sitting down in his office.

"No. I just found out he cancelled like, two weeks ago." Cameron called from within the conference room. She came to stand in his office doorway and raised an eyebrow. "So...what do we wear?"

The following night found House and Cameron leaving the rally, Cameron beaming with excitement.

"That was amazing!"

House nodded in agreement. "I'm telling you, Gravedigger never disappoints."

Cameron watched a couple pass by, arms around each other.

"You ever been married?" she asked him, feeling bold.

House hesitated. "Well now, let's not ruin a lovely night out by getting personal."

They walked along in silence for a while before House decided to answer.

"I lived with someone for a while." He looked down at his empty cotton candy cone, then at Cameron's. "You gonna finish that?"

As he shifted the cone to his cane hand, Cameron compliantly handed her cotton candy to him. He only had time to grab a piece off before she snatched it back playfully, ignoring his mumbled protests and laughing.

Cameron giggled as they headed out of the rally. "I'll race you to the car!" she teased.

"All in all, I think our non-date was much more successful than our first date," Cameron smiled, resting her head on her husband's shoulder.

"Yeah, probably because there was no blackmail involved," House retorted. Cameron blushed sheepishly.

"Excuse me, for having feelings for you."

"I tried to stop you. I told you I never liked you."

"Yeah, because you lied."

House entered the office to find Cameron there alone. "They just stopped Carly's heart. And your dumb patient..."

"They're all – oh, the guy who can't talk."

Cameron tried not to smile and continued. "Mr. Van Der Meer, he scheduled an appointment to see you."

"Oooh, goody." House grinned.

Cameron spoke up slowly. "I wanted you to know Chase is worried you're going to fire him."

"It's bad enough that screw-ups cost lives. Now we've got Vogler, screw-ups cost jobs. I want Chase scared. I want him doing everything he can to protect his job."

Cameron tried to defend Chase as her boss headed for the door. "Dr. House, if you were in his position wouldn't you be more likely to perform well if you were reassured and ..."

"Oh, will you stop it with the book! Why are you doing this?" House demanded angrily, interrupting her.

"I'm not doing anything." Cameron protested.

"You're manipulating everyone." House corrected her.

She stopped him outside the door. "People… dismiss me. Because I'm a woman, because I'm pretty, because I'm not aggressive. My opinions shouldn't be rejected just because people don't like me."

House rolled his eyes. "They like you. Everyone likes you." He started to walk away.

"Do you?" Cameron's question stopped him in his tracks and he turned to face her. House stared at Cameron blankly. "I have to know."

"No." House said finally, lying.

Cameron seemed to accept this and nodded. "Okay." She walked away.

"I knew you were lying," Cameron admitted, and he looked down at her in surprise.

"You did? How? Why didn't you say something? Call my bluff?"

"Because I didn't know then," she smiled.

"When did you know?"

House stood at the desk at the clinic, writing notes on some charts when Cameron walked up.

"Dr. House. I just wanted to..."

"You're welcome, again." He cut her short, not letting her finish.

"I want you to know how much I..." she persisted, but was interrupted again.

"Got it. You're grateful. Apparently you seem to think it'll mean a lot to me to know that."

"Do you know why people believe in God?" she asked suddenly, confusing House with the change of subject.

"I thought you didn't believe in God." He asked puzzled.

"I don't." She answered.

"Well, then you better be making a very good point."

"Do you think they pray to Him and praise Him because they want Him to know how great He is? God already knows that."

House raised an eyebrow at her. "Are you comparing me to God? I mean, that's great, but just so you know, I've never made a tree."

Cameron smiled. "I thank you because it means something to me. To be grateful for what I receive."

House rolled his eyes. "You are the most naïve atheist I've ever met."

The clinic nurse interrupted them. "Dr. House, you have a patient in Room One."

"Thank God." House sighed with relief. He begun to walk off, but turned around. "People pray so that God won't crush them like bugs. I'm not gonna crush you."

Cameron beamed, and watched him leave.

House kissed his wife softly. "I still haven't made a tree."

Cameron laughed and rubbed her belly, making the baby kick in response. "No, but you made something better."

House fell silent, running his hand over her stomach, and decided to reveal something he had never told her.

"Do you want to know when I knew I had feelings for you?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Sure."

"Well, it was when we were treating that politician, and I had to do that stupid speech for Vogler..."

House walked down the hall with Wilson, his friend chattering away about nothing.

"Why did you order the second AIDS test?" his friend asked.

"Standard procedure." House replied, trying to change the subject.

"Oh, well, that's you. Mr. Standard Procedure. You suspected the first test was a false positive?"

"I knew he was going to Africa and I figured he was vaccinated for Hep A and B. That could cause a false positive." House said dismissively.

"Yeah, but you knew that before you ordered the first test. What changed?" Wilson pressed the issue to House's annoyance.

"I should have ordered both."

"You were sure he had AIDS, then you talked to him, then you had doubts. What, what did he say?"

"He said he had not engaged in any risky behaviour."

"Huh. And you believed him."

"Well, he didn't have any reason to lie ..." House tried to lie his way through, but Wilson saw through it.

"Everybody lies, except politicians? House, I do believe you're a romantic. You just didn't believe him, you believed in him. Do you want to come over tonight and watch old movies and cry? Dr. Cameron's getting to you. Well, I guess you can't be around that much niceness and not get any one you."

"Is that why you haven't put the moves on her?" House smirked at him and Wilson couldn't resist.

"What makes you think I haven't put the moves on her?"

House froze and stared at his friend in horror, as Wilson grinned in delight. " Oh. Oh, boy! You're in trouble."

Wilson laughed and walked off. House grimaced and, cursing his friend, entered Exam Room One.

Cameron smiled. "I always thought Wilson knew you better than anyone. If I'd known that maybe I wouldn't have quit."

"Then I wouldn't have asked you to come back, and we wouldn't have gone on the date, and you could have saved us a lot of time."

"If you hadn't opened your mouth, the date would have gone fine," Cameron protested.

"Blame Wilson. He freaked me out beforehand."

"So, basically... our entire relationship, good or bad can somehow be blamed on Wilson?"

"Pretty much."

"Ok," Cameron shrugged casually.

"Did you tell the kid why you quit?"

"It was the right thing to do at the time."

House snorted. "Whatever. Here's what really happened."

House sat at the piano, ironically playing "High Hopes" and pointedly ignoring the 12 unanswered messages on his machine. He was surprised by a knock at the door. House got up to open it, saw who it was, and sighed, knowing he had disappointed her. Then he opened the door to admit Cameron.

"I'm sorry. I should have taken a couple of extra Vicodin and just held my nose." He said awkwardly.

"I'm guessing you did take a couple extra Vicodin." Cameron smiled, somewhat sadly.

"True." House admitted.

"You don't need to worry about firing anyone. I'm leaving."

House was stunned, but he recovered quickly. "Why? Is this another noble, self-sacrificing gesture? You trying to protect Foreman?"


" So this is just, "Don't fire me, I quit.""

"I'm protecting myself." Cameron replied. When she spoke next, her voice was soft and tear-filled. "You asked me why I like you. You're abrasive and rude, but I figured everything you do, you do it to help people. But I was wrong. You do it because it's right."

Near tears, she extended her hand. House looked at her hand, and around the room, but didn't take it, as though by not shaking her hand, he could stop her from leaving. After an awkward pause, Cameron finally withdrew her hand.

"There are only two ways I can deal with things. One is in my control. That's to leave." House opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out.

" Goodbye, House." Cameron whispered.

House couldn't bear to watch as she turned and walked out the door.

"Admit it, you didn't want me to leave," Cameron grinned, teasing him.

House grimaced. "I asked you back, didn't I?"

'One benefit of being unemployed,' Cameron thought as she did her daily run on her treadmill. 'None of your neighbours gets mad when you exercise at ten instead of six in the morning.' Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door, strangely wooden. She opened the door to find House there, knocking with his cane.

"I saw the light on."

"It's daytime." Cameron said, confused and surprised to see her former boss on her doorstep.

"Yeah, it's a figure of speech. Always so literal." House said impatiently.

"Got a new cane." Cameron observed.

"Yeah." House held it up for her closer inspection. "Guy in the store said it was slimming. Vertical stripe…"

"Why are you here?" Cameron asked impatient.

"Vogler is dead." House announced dramatically.

Cameron was startled. "What? What happened?"

House rolled his eyes. "Again with the literal translation. Vogler the idea, Mr. Destructo, Mr. Moneybags, bow down before me; he is gone from the hospital, so things can go back to the way they were."

"The way they were was kind of weird."

"Weird works for me." House replied, as though that was all that was needed to convince her.

"What are you saying? Literally?" Cameron pressed, not wanting another metaphor.

" I want you to come back." House told her simply.

"Why?" House's answer was delayed by the piercing noise of his beeper, and Cameron nervously crossed her arms, staring at it.

House sighed at her action. "Please unclench. You're not on the clock, and when you do that, I clench, and then it's the whole thing…" His voice trailed off into silence.

"Could you look at your pager?" she begged, and he reluctantly did so.

"It's no big deal, some sort of epidemic. Not my area." He shrugged casually.

"You should go, it's important."

"What I'm doing now is important." He replied.

"Why do you want me back?" Cameron asked him.

"Because you're a good doctor." House answered, giving the safest reply he could think of.

"That's it?" Cameron asked, disappointedly.

"That's not enough?" House sighed.

Cameron shook her head. "Not for me. Go deal with your plague." She closed the door and locked it, leaving him standing there, rejected.

After a heavy case involving a pregnant 12 year old swimmer, and several days of piled up mail and misplaced sugar, House heavily returned to Cameorn's apartment, where she was re-reading Pride and Prejudice. At the familar wooden knock, she smiled to herself and went to answer it.

"I don't want to interview anyone else."

"You're interviewing? I thought you'd just have them send a headshot along with their CV." Cameron smiled, both surprised and impressed.

"Hah. That's good. And why I need you around. To keep me in my place." As House spoke, Cameron noticed him trying to look inside her apartment. She pulled the door closer so it was impossible.

"I can't come back, I told you that." Cameron said firmly.

"Wasn't listening." House said dismissively.

"Right." Cameron pressed. Luckily, House got the hint.

"You want me to listen to you more? I can do that." He agreed.

"Right. I already accepted a position somewhere else."

House was shocked. "With who?"

"Yule, at Jefferson."

House was firm. If he didn't have Cameron, neither could anyone else. "Unaccept it."

"Why?" Cameron was just as firm.

"Because Yule is boring. He's pedantic and preachy. Because he's short. Because I want you to come back." House finally admitted.

"Not good enough."

"Want more money? A car allowance, better parking space?" House offered.

Cameron smiled thoughtfully. "Dinner. And not just a meal between two colleagues. A date."

House was stunned. "You'll come back to work if I go out on a date with you?"

"Yes." Clearly Cameron thought he'd back out, but he surprised her.

"Okay, it's a deal." Remembering the night she had resigned, House held out his hand and they shook on it.

"See you tomorrow morning." Cameron smiled.

"Don't be late." House chirped, determined to get the last word in.

Cameron smiled coyly as she closed the door. "I won't."

House was left standing in the hallway, stunned at what had just transpired. And slightly pleased.

Finally, the night of the date, House rambled around his apartment trying to get ready, as Wilson lay on his couch reading a magazine, and trying, but failing, to help.

"The wide side's too short. You're gonna look like Lou Costello." Wilson contributed, watching as House uncomfortably threw on a tie.

House irritably began to fix the mistake. "This is a mistake. I don't know how to have casual conversation. You think you're talking about one thing, and either you are and it's incredibly boring, or you're not because it's subtext and you need a decoder ring."

"Open doors for her, help her with her chair..."

"I have been on a date." House cut short Wilson's somewhat unhelpful advice.

" Uh, not since disco died." Wilson retorted. "Comment on her shoes, her earrings, and then move on to D.H.A. Her dreams, hopes and aspirations. Trust me. Panty-peeler. Oh, and if you need condoms, I've got some."

" Did your wife give them to you?" House snarked.

"Drug rep. They've got antibiotics built in, somehow." Wilson replied, sounding puzzled at how one would actually build antibiotics into condoms.

" I should cancel. I've got a patient in surgery tomorrow." House said, moving to the kitchen.

"And if you were a surgeon, that would actually matter." Wilson said calmly. Looking up to see House open the fridge. "That's a good idea, settle your nerves. Get me a beer, too."

"No beer."

You're gonna eat before dinner?" Wilson said incredulously. House reached into the fridge and took out a corsage. Wilson got up to investigate.

"This is pretty lame, right?" House asked his friend.

Wilson smiled gently. "I think she likes lame."

It was evident she did, when House presented Cameron with the corsage, she immediately put it on.

"It's beautiful. And you look very handsome."

"Thank you." House said awkwardly, wishing he could take off his tie and thinking how beautiful Cameron herself looked, wishing he could tell her that.

"I've always loved this restaurant." Cameron sighed happily, looking around.

"Yeah. It's changed a lot since the last time I was here. It used to be a strip joint." House snarked and Cameron laughed. House uncomfortably stalled and remembered Wilson's advice. "Nice earrings."

"My mom's. Thank you." Cameron replied, hands fluttering up to finger the aforementioned items. Faintly, House's subconscious ignited in curiosity. If she had her mother's earrings, had they been passed down, borrowed or inherited?

"Nice shoes. Comfortable?"

By now, Cameron recognised what he was doing. "I'm not expecting you to be someone you're not."

"We're in a restaurant, we're dressed up, we're eating. If not small talk, what is there?"

When an awkward silence followed, Cameron set down the wine list she had been reading and sighed. "According to Freud, and I'm paraphrasing, instinct of love toward an object demands a mastery to obtain it, and if a person feels they can't control the object or feel threatened by it, they act negatively toward it. Like an eighth-grade boy punching a girl."

House knew what she was getting at. "I treat you like garbage, so I must really like you. Given your Freudian theory, what does it mean if I start being nice to you?"

"That you're getting in touch with your feelings." Cameron said simply.

House could feel himself going down the path to destruction, but couldn't stop himself. His nerves over the evening, and Wilson's 'helpful' comments and advice had made him self-conscious and Cameron's hopeful gaze was more than he could bear, knowing he'd screw it up. "Hmm. So there's absolutely nothing I can do to make you think that I don't like you?"

Cameron smiled beautifully. "Sorry, no. I have one evening with you, one chance, and I don't want to waste it talking about what wines you like or what movies you hate. I want to know how you feel about me."

House was dying to tell her how beautiful and sweet she was, yet how naive she was for falling for him. His brain, stuck for words, turned on auto-pilot.

" You live under the delusion that you can fix everything that isn't perfect. That's why you married a man who was dying of cancer. You don't love, you need. And now that your husband is dead, you're looking for your new charity case. That's why you're going out with me. I'm twice your age, I'm not great looking, I'm not charming, I'm not even nice. What I am is what you need. I'm damaged."

He regretted the words the minute they were out of his mouth. Ashamed, he picked up the menu, leaving a stunned Cameron to think.

Cameron winced as the baby began kicking her kidney furiously. "See? The kid's on my side. Daddy's mean."

House glowered at her and rubbed her stomach. "It must be a girl, then."

"It was good of me to give you a second chance, wasn't it? I'd already given up on you."

House scoffed. "You had not."

Cameron raised an eyebrow. "Wanna bet? Does this sound familiar?"

House stood outside the patient's room, watching Stacy with her husband. He was so engrossed, he didn't hear Cameron approaching from behind.

"Dr. House? How's he doing?"

House's gaze returned to his ex-girlfriend. "Never better."

Cameron hesitated, a sad smile crossing her face. "I thought you were too screwed up to love anyone. I was wrong. You just couldn't love me. It's okay. I'm happy for you." She gave him a brave face, and walked away.

House's gaze was sober. "That hurt, you know."

Cameron smiled faintly. "Sorry. It hurt me to say it."

"The bright side was you were lying through your teeth."

"No, I wasn't!" she protested.

House chuckled. "You spend the next few months pining, pretending you were over me."

"So? You spent three years pretending you never cared in the first place."

House struggled to think of an argument. "Well... I had an excuse."

She raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"Yeah. Stacy, the leg."

"Greg, what would you have done if I'd moved on?"

"You loved me. You wouldn't." He replied, a smug grin on his face.

She was faintly amused, but knew how to wipe the smug look off. "Sebastian Charles."

House glowered. "What about him?"

His wife blushed. "He asked me out. He also offered a job in Africa."

House was startled. "I knew about the date. He offered you a job?"

She nodded calmly. "Yeah. I almost took it too."

House was furious. "I wouldn't have let you go."


"No way. My immunologist, my girl. No way. Not in a million years!"

He was so angry, Cameron couldn't help but giggle. "Ok. No to Africa. I can't believe you didn't know. I thought Chase would've told you."

"Chase knew?"

"Yeah." Cameron nodded.

Cameron sat with Chase watching Sebastian get his MRI and somehow found herself blurting it out. She had to tell someone and Chase was closest.
"He asked me out."

"I'm shocked." Chase said sarcastically. She was young, brilliant and gorgeous. Of course he had asked her out. Judging by Cameron's look, the sarcasm was too heavy, so he elaborated. "I'm shocked when patients don't ask you out."

"He also asked me to come to Africa." Cameron continued.

Now Chase was surprised. "Boy, he moves fast."

Cameron couldn't help but give her colleague a slight smile. "I think the two questions had two different objectives."

"Well, do you like him?" Chase asked her.

"Good looking single guy, genius doctor, cares about the world…" Cameron replied as if it were obvious. Chase knew better.

"I take it you said no."

Cameron looked at him in exasperation. "You think I'm that hung up on rules and-"

"He's not House." Chase countered, as though it were obvious. "There's nothing there." He went on, referring to the MRI.

Later, Cameron found herself in Sebastian's room. He looked pleased to see her and she returned the smile.

"How're you feeling?" she asked softly.

He acted casual. "A little weak."

Cameron nodded, feeling nervous and began to ramble. "You're having a good day. The symptoms will quickly focus more and more on your lungs, you'll find it difficult to talk and eventually breathe at all."

Sebastian nodded. "I think I know what I have to look forward to."

Cameron felt uncomfortable. "I know. I just came to ask if you'd be willing to accept any treatment."

Sebastian refused. "Naw, if you're trying to scare me into any –"

"No." She corrected. "Palliative treatment. Narcotics, Fentanyl patch, morphine drip, whatever it takes. We can make your last days fairly comfortable. And if you have another good day, maybe dinner." She smiled shyly at him.

Sebastian took her hand gently. "Thank you."

House, outside the room, saw this cosy scene and was surprised to feel a twinge of jealously. Ignoring it, he made his way into the room, interrupting the two. When they had solved the case, House found himself leaving for the day at the same time as Cameron. As they entered the lobby, he couldn't resist asking her.

"Are you gonna go out with him?"

Cameron barely refrained from rolling her eyes, but gave him a slight smile. "Is that any of your business?"


Cameron nodded, yet somehow found herself answering. "I don't think so."

" Two days ago you were holding his hand. What's changed?" House was gleeful at this news.

" He practically lives in Africa, there's no future." Cameron answered practically.

House on the other hand, had a different idea. "On the other hand, maybe there's too much of a future now. You weren't attracted to him because he was prepared to die for a cause, you were attracted to him because he was actually doing it."

She scoffed. "Right. It's that simple."

" That was simple?" House was puzzled.

"I put a label on them and go from there." She explained.

House shrugged. "Everybody does it. We are who people think we are. People think he's a great doctor so they give him stuff."

"He is a great doctor." Cameron defended.

"The reality is irrelevant." House replied carelessly. He looked into the clinic and saw Cecelia Carter, the clinic patient who "he" (Foreman) had supposedly offended, sitting there, waiting for House to apologise. Looking back to Cameron, he smiled.

"I'll prove it. People who know me see me as an ass, treat me as an ass. People who don't know me see a cripple, treat me as a cripple. What kind of selfish jerk wouldn't take advantage of that fact?" Watched by Cameron, he entered the clinic, and walked by Cecelia, deliberately leaning his cane on her boot.

Cecelia let out a gasp of pain. "Ow!"

"Oh, my goodness, are you okay?" House asked her, a very sincere apologetic tone coming out of his mouth. Cecelia looked ready to make an angry retort, until she saw his cane.

Her expression changed immediately. "Yeah." Cuddy came to her door to see what was the source of the noise was.

House, knowing she was there, put on a exaggerated apologising face. "I am so sorry. It was completely my fault."

Cecelia brushed him off. "It's nothing, I'm fine."

"Well, I'm very relieved, I feel terrible."

She gave him a reassuring smile. "Don't worry about it, I'm fine."

"You sure? Okay." Smiling at her, they shook hands. Cuddy gave House an impressed look, and as House walked away, he turned to shoot a grin at Cameron, who laughed to herself.

"So, the job offer? You cut him off at the knees right? Told him, no way, I'm in love with House, you bastard, I won't leave him?"

Cameron laughed at him. "I think I was more tactful than that, hon."

Sebastian was on the phone when Cameron entered with his medicine and a wheelchair. "Yeah, listen Fugawi, relax. I'm gonna be back on Tuesday. Tell Sarni I'm gonna bring her a new brace. All right." He hung up. "You get 'em?" he asked her.

"Six month supply. Should fix you right up. See you when you come back for a refill?" she asked hopefully, handing him the meds which he packed.
Sebastian grinned. "Yeah, I'll be back in two months."

"You're gonna give them away?"

Sebastian shrugged teasingly. "Well, you know how these things happen, you leave a bag in the airplane, drop some pills down the drain…. I have an idea. You could bring me the refill in Africa."

Cameron smiled hesitantly. "I don't think so."

Sebastian seemed surprised at her decision. "You actually like working for House, you find this satisfying?" Accepting her answer, he nodded, kissed her on the cheek, and they hugged.

House wasn't happy with his wife's answer. "Are you still in touch with him?"

Cameron blushed and didn't answer straight away, which gave House his answer. "Oh my god."

"It's just an email every now and then," she protested, but he cut her off.

"No. No way. Not anymore you're not."

She frowned. "Greg, he's a friend. What are you going to do about it anyway?"

"Send the idiot an email of my own."

"Saying what?"

"Dear Idiot. Stay away from my wife before you die in a very suspicious cane-related death the next time you're in the country."

Cameron laughed. "He's not an idiot. Are you jealous or something?"

"No." House pouted. "I just don't want you socialising with him. You're mine."

Cameron laughed. "I've been yours since the first time I got on your bike."

House smiled at the memory. "I can't wait till you have the kid."

"I think it's sweet you're so excited."

"Who said I was excited? Well, I am, but once you shoot out the spawn, I can get you back on the bike. Just like the first time."

House and Cameron made their way to the parking lot, Cameron still wondering why she hadn't been asked to run the department.

"Why do you think Cuddy picked Foreman over me? Have I done something wrong or if there's something I needed to improve on – "

"Would you shut up if I told you she wanted someone black?" House asked her.

"How would you describe my leadership skills?" she asked her boss.

"Nonexistent. Otherwise, excellent." He answered seriously.

"There's more to being a leader than being a jerk!" she protested.

"The world will never know." To Cameron's amazement, he went to his motorbike and turned it on

Cameron froze. "No, no way. It just snowed."

"Yesterday, streets are clear."

"My car is right there." Cameron protested.

"There's construction on Elm. Bike will be faster." House argued. Giving up, but hating it, Cameron placed her car keys in her coat pocket, and put on the helmet House handed her. She swung herself up on the back of the bike and cautiously placed her hands on House's back. To her surprise, he reached behind and grabbed her hands, fixing them firmly on his waist. A broad grin spread across both their faces, and House kicked the bike into gear and drove away.

"Yes, that was the moment I fell in love with you," Cameron said sarcastically. The she stopped thoughtfully. "Actually, that's probably the most romantic thing you've ever done for me."

"That's a lie!" House protested in horror. "What about when I proposed?"

"Greg, I told you I was pregnant, and you said 'well, we better get hitched then. My mom will stroke if her first grandkid is illegitimate.' Yes, sorry, I was wrong. That was such a special moment."

"Well... what about when I asked you out for the first time? Properly, I mean?"

"I believe your exact words were, 'do you eat? Because I never see you eat, and I'd hate to have to replace you because you have an eating disorder.' Then you took me to the hospital cafeteria and bought me a ruben."

"Ok, so it wasn't like a scene from You've got mail or anything..." House admitted. "What about the first time I told you I loved you?"

Cameron giggled. "Now that's a romantic story!"

The ducklings sat in the conference room in the middle of the night waiting for House to arrive. Cameron tapped her foot impatiently.

"He should have been here 20 minutes ago."

"Doubt if he makes it at all. I saw him leave with Stacy." Foreman answered.

Cameron said hopefully. "He's probably just walking her to her car."

"Oh, yeah. That sounds like House."

"He's not an idiot. He's not gonna hook up with a married woman." Cameron defended him.

"I hope he is getting some. Maybe he'll mellow out."

They were interrupted by House entering the conference room, singing.

"What took you so long? It's midnight."Cameron asked him.

"Traffic. Cinco de Mayo." He turned to Foreman. "You owe me 100 bucks."

Foreman turned to Cameron is dismay. "You didn't take the test?"

"Fear trumps anal every time." House said knowingly.

Cameron tried to defend herself. "It's not a big deal. I had the viral load and antibody tests. It's 99.9 that I don't have HIV."

"You have the test and it's negative, you gain a tenth of a point. But if it's positive you lose ... nearly 100, right?" House asked sarcastically.

They ran through the differential and then headed out of the room to perform more tests. As they were leaving, House picked up a coffee stirrer and called out to Cameron.

"Cameron. I love you." Cameron's jaw dropped and House took the opportunity to swab her cheek with the coffee stirrer. "Get your test results tomorrow." Bewildered, Cameron nodded faintly and left.

The next night, Cameron entered House's office and stood expectantly in front of his desk. "Something you need to see." He held out an envelope to her, which she eyed apprehensively. "Knowing is always better than not knowing."

As she opened the it, House turned and picked up another envelope from behind him.

Cameron stared at the paper in confusion. "It's a referral request."

"Right. HIV thing came in earlier. You're fine." House reassured her, holding up the letter in question.

Cameron snatched it off him quickly. " You won't read your mail, but you'll open mine?"

" It said confidential. I wanted to know." House shrugged casually.

"The most important letter of my life, and you're still an ass." She said in disbelief.

"Comforting, isn't it?" House asked her.

"Excuse me for being concerned," House said dignifiedly.

Cameron suddenly rolled off the bed. "I have to pee. I'll be back."

"Thanks for that information. While you do that, i'll pick my nose and scratch my ass," House said disgustedly and Cameron glared at him.

Cameron waddled out of the room, and House sighed contentedly. When his wife finally returned to the bedroom, she stopped to throw a wistful glance at their wedding picture on the dresser. She had been three months pregnant then, and her long, flowing dress disguised anything that was showing at that early stage.

"Allison, you're young and a gym fanatic. You'll snap back in no time," House reassured her, correctly reading her thoughts and she laid back down on the bed.

She smiled. "I know. Still, I feel like a beached whale."

"Do you have like, a goal for your post-baby body?" he asked her, realising they had never talked about this before, and she was obviously self-conscious about her pregnancy body.

His wife smiled at him. "Not really. Except that by our first wedding anniversary, I want to be able to fit into that red dress you like."

House's eyes lit up at the memory.

House was already scribbling on the whiteboard when the ducklings entered, not overly enthusiastic about having to leave the benefit.

"What's so urgent?"

"Two cases, same symptoms. What does 6-yr-olds and 70-yr-olds have in common?" House proposed.

"Their immune systems don't work as well, could be lystiria."

"I already checked for that." House dismissed, not turning around.

"Leukaemia has a higher prevalence in both young and old."

"So does asthma."

"No no no." House shot down.

"Could both be diabetes." Cameron suggested as she and Foreman picked up the case files on the table.

"No! The nearly dead and the newly bred have more in common with each other than with people in the middle. What's weird is the kind of circle of life thing." House snapped.

" This kid doesn't have kidney failure."

"He will." House said confidently.

"Based on this file, the kid just ate some bad food. Was the old man-"

"They were nowhere near each other in any of the four dimensions." House interrupted.

"This case is 12 years old."

"Yep." House nodded focused on the board.

"And this case is Cuddy's."

"She assigned it to me."

"She agrees with you that this is something more than gastroenteritis?"

"She wouldn't have assigned it to me if she didn't, would she?" House asked, turning around and stopped short abruptly. Cameron took his breath away, literally, in a strapless red evening dress and her dark hair in curls around her shoulders.

"Ohhhh". He drew out breathlessly. Cameron blushed and smiled self-consciously before House recovered.

"What were we talking about?"

Cameron laughed at the memory too. "Yeah, real smooth Greg."

"If we have a girl and she looks anything like you, she's not leaving the house until she's forty."

"Forty?" Cameron giggled.

"Well, I was going to say twenty five. But you still get checked out by males in the area aged fifteen to seventy. I'm not taking any chances."

"As long as you're around to hold the key."

"Why wouldn't I be?" House raised an eyebrow.

House was in the process of running through the team's newest differential when a man entered the room.
" Which one of you is House?" he asked.
"I still don't," House shrugged. "But I get your point," he admitted to her.

" Skinny brunette." House gestured to Cameron, who rolled her eyes and made to get up.

" No, that's Dr. Cameron." He corrected.

"I'm skinny. How do you know her name?" House asked, suspicious.

"I was a patient of yours." The man explained.

" Oh, well, if you want to leave the chocolates downstairs –" House started to reply, when the man pulled out a gun and shot House in the side. Cameron gasped in horror and as House collapsed against the whiteboard, the three teammates started to run toward him.

"Stay! Stay away from him." He demanded. Turning to House he raised the gun once more. "Shocking, isn't it? Who'd want to hurt you?"

Two days later, found House slowly awakening in a hospital bed. Curiously, he felt his stubble and then spotted Cameron next to the bed, reading in a chair. "You're pathetic." At the sound of his voice Cameron put down her book. "Judging by the growth, I'd say I've been unconscious for two days. You've been sitting there the whole time."

"No." Cameron protested.

" Judging by the oily build-up in your hair, I'd say you're lying."

Cameron gave up pretending. "I was scared. Pardon me for caring."

"Did I lose any organs?"

"The bullet to your abdomen pierced your stomach, nicked the bowel, and lodged in the posterior rib." She poured water for him as she talked, not needing him to ask.
"Well, I always say, if you're going to get shot, do it in a hospital." House joked as he sipped the water.

" The one in your neck –" Cameron continued.

"I don't remember that one."

" -- went right through, severed your jugular. The shooter turns out to be a guy who –"

" Don't care."

" You don't care why a guy walked into a hospital and shot a doctor? Shot you?" Cameron asked in surprise.

Cameron smiled and suddenly paused, one hand on her stomach. "Hey, the baby's stopped kicking! I think it's asleep."

"That's because we read it an awesome bedtime story," House grinned.

"I don't care, as long as it's stopped the full-scale attack on my kidneys. While baby sleeps, mommy sleeps," Cameron yawned.

House kissed her gently. "Mommy got a bedtime story too. She needs her beauty sleep."

She smiled. "I love you."

"I know. Get some sleep."

Cameron fell asleep almost instantly, and House turned off the light. Laying down, and reflecting on the night, he smiled to himself. These were stories their child would hear for many years, along with many more. These were their history. This is how it all began.

The End