Warnings: I'm in denial, I'm pretty sure you need to be too to read this fic. Hcam. Season 5 episode 6 and 7 spoilers in it. Self beta'd.
A/N: I am pretending that House and Wilson's "shared" balcony over looks where they have the outside tables. Written on a whim I suppose, trying to pretend that Hcam is still alive despite this seasons' events and events to come. OR possibly I'm just on crack! Also hungry and listening to "So Bucc" and "This Year's Love" back and forth while (Pink) "So What" won't stop repeating in my head. That's right, proof that I really am on crack (not really).
"So I hear you kissed Cuddy."
'Oh here we go.' House rolled his eyes and kept his back to Cameron, "News travels fast."
Cameron straightened, glancing over her shoulder before turning back to the shelf in front of her. She almost, almost gave up Wilson as her source. Things were so easy to let slip around House – though she could never figure out why. The man's conversational skills were equivalent to sticking your hands on a hot stove, only to pull them away and then willingly place them back on. But nevertheless she would just blurt things out around him, unwittingly spewing pieces of herself out for him to collect and file away.
And it wasn't some crazy crush fueling her need to know what happened between them, she was simply curious – something else that had transferred from him to her in her years spent "learning" from him. Something she couldn't really get rid of, though her curiosity never extended into violating the personal rights of those around her just to obtain that scrap of information she desired. And really she had gotten over that silly crush of hers, she had moved on and had been more or less happy with Chase for awhile – had been. Nothing like blurting out you loved someone else on camera and then preparing a speech to dismiss it in front of your boyfriend to really set the relationship on the right track. Which happened to be ending it... after a lot of conversations about how you were over House and how you never slept with him – everything always ended up being about House anyways.
"For some reason people love to gossip about you." Cameron replied absently, scouring the bottom of the shelf. So here she was, offering herself to the stove, waiting to be burned. Cameron shrugged to herself, it didn't bother her as much as it used to. Having to scrape up the courage for such conversations, but since she left him - his team – none of the barbs he would stick in her penetrated as deep. She was able to shrug them off and sometimes toss out some of her own, getting out from under his reign had allowed her to forge better armor against him.
House scoffed, "That reason being Wilson... and Cuddy, they do all their best scheming together."
"What? You want the dirty details?" House replied, shoving a stack of DVD's back into the TV stand, "We could reenact it if you want."
Cameron flipped through a stack of books, "Just curious... I mean – people who fight that much - there's got to be some underlying passion there somewhere."
House frowned and glanced carefully over his shoulder, was this really Cameron being all nonchalant about him possibly liking someone other than her. Where was his loyal lovesick puppy? "And you're okay with that?"
Cameron shook her head, "Okay with what? Why would I care who you kiss?"
"Because," House began, jaw ticking, "you used to like me."
"Key words being used to," she snorted.
He didn't know why there was a strange sensation in his gut or why his hands began to numb, he should have been relieved. No more feeling like he was cheating on someone he wasn't in a relationship with. No more annoying crush, or feelings to talk about, no more emotional girl who cares too much trying to get him to admit he likes her.
"I'm hurt," House said, stepping up behind her.
"Right, like anyone could actually bruise an ego that... big." Cameron paused, trying to quash that familiar tingle she got when he stood close. She reached up, ignoring his presence, and groped around the very top shelf. She was relieved when she found a metal box there, pushed to one corner, but no matter how she tried she couldn't quite convince it to maneuver down. House stepped forward, his chest pressing against her back as he reached up and easily retrieved the box. "So," Cameron started, pulling her hand back down, "why did you kiss her?"
House eyed her, feeling that familiar pull between them, "Does it matter?"
"Nope." She answered immediately.
"I seemed to remember it was better when it happened in college, or maybe I was stoned and horny and Cuddy was all emotional or maybe I just did it to piss Wilson off, pick one." House rattled off, handing her the box as he stepped away. "So... you and Chase?" He asked, deciding to fire back.
"What about us?"
House tapped his cane on the ground, "I thought I'd toss you an inappropriate personal question... you know, only seems fair."
Cameron pulled the box open and started rummaging through its contents, "What do you want to know? If I'm secretly still in love with you? If that's what caused the rift between us? I moved on, I was happy with Chase, and then things got complicated and we decided we were better off apart."
"Does anyone actually buy that?"
"I was right, it was drugs." Cameron tossed him the plastic baggy, and grabbed her coat.
House spun around, "Wait, where are you going?" He asked, confused at her sudden departure. Maybe he had gotten to her.
"It's drugs, I'm sure you can handle it, if not I'm sure you'll call me up at some ridiculous hour just to tell me that. Bye House."
Wilson sighed, House was out on his balcony again for the second time in so many days, no doubt eating his lunch again. Wilson pushed through the door of his office and stepped out onto the balcony, "Nice day to eat someone else's lunch outside... what are you doing?"
House responded with a nod of his head before shoving more quesadilla in his mouth. Wilson rolled his eyes and moved to stand next to House. "And who are we stalking today?"
"Cameron asked why I kissed Cuddy." House responded around a mouth full of food.
"Wait, you kissed Cuddy?" Wilson exclaimed, aiming for surprise.
"Oh give it up. You know I did."
Wilson bobbed his head, "Yeah I do, so why do you care?"
"The question is not 'why do I care,' the question is – why does Cameron care?"
"She has feelings for you." Wilson said easily.
House took another large bite, "Shhe chlaims that shee boesn't."
Wilson quirked an eyebrow, "And? Do you believe her?"
"She was convincing enough," House claimed, dropping the food he had left back into the container. Suddenly he wasn't really hungry anymore.
Wilson leaned over the edge, squinting at the pink figure below, "She doesn't look like she's bogged down, torturing herself with romantic thoughts of her ex-boss."
"Oh ha-ha." House was tempted to shove his food container off the edge.
"Why do you even care? I thought you were 'after' Cuddy," Wilson said, emphasizing with air quotes. House remained quiet, studiously avoiding his friend's probing gaze. Wilson's eyes widened, "Wait! Wait a minute! Oh, ho ho, you!"
"Is this going to start making sense anytime soon, because I'm already late for a lunch meeting with my game boy."
"You kissed Cuddy, but you still have feelings for Cameron." Wilson stated, jabbing a finger at House.
"Is it my turn to say something clever about Cuddy just to make you jealous?" House said, irritation lacing his words.
Wilson put up his hands in surrender, "If you want to torture yourself some more go ahead, but I-" he stopped, quickly grabbing what was left of his lunch, "have other things to do that don't involve trying to work around your logic bombs." Wilson retreated, locking the door to his office and left House to stare at the woman who was still nagging at his conscience.
House busted in just as Wilson had begun packing up for the night. Wilson glanced up from his stack of folders and files as House threw himself onto the couch. House sighed, "So what do I do?"
"Well which one do you like more?" Wilson asked, assuming this was about Cameron and Cuddy.
"I don't like anyone."
"Right, then why are you here?" Wilson replied, continuing to stuff papers into his briefcase.
House shook his head, "They both would drive me crazy."
Wilson tilted his head, absolutely baffled at what his friend had just implied, "Wait. Are you considering dating one of them?"
House sucked in a quick breath, "If by date you mean have random meaningless sex." He eyed Wilson, "No. I don't date." He spat out, his detest for the implication the word carried evident.
Wilson sighed, "Just go do this somewhere else, you don't actually need me here for this. You can argue with yourself, I have places to be." He shoved the last folder he needed into his briefcase and shut it quickly, pressing the latches into place.
House sat up, "I-" He paused, rolling his eyes, completely fed up with himself as well, "I don't know what to do."
"I can't tell you what to do here House. The only one who knows what – or who – you want at this point is you." Wilson shrugged into his coat and grabbed his briefcase, "You could date, or not-date them both and see where you end up. Other than going by some idiotic teen magazine questionnaire, 'Who could you see yourself changing for?' I don't know what to tell you." Wilson gave his friend a brief nod before he headed out, leaving House alone in the dark with his thoughts.
The hard knock against her new apartment's door brought her back from the depths of the book she was absorbed in. Cameron rose slowly, hoping that by taking her time he would get fed up and leave before she had made it to the door. "House," she greeted. No such luck.
He kept his head turned away from her and his eyes cast down, trying very hard not to look her in the eyes – he was afraid that the pull that had once been there would be gone. It was familiar and comfortable, something he had gotten used to – almost relied on to be there. To know that things could change seemingly so quickly between them was unsettling to say the least.
Cameron waited for a good two minutes before her patience ran thin. She no longer needed to entertain him like this, just waiting for him to sink those hooks in or throw her in the fire. Waiting, stupidly hoping for him to say something that would validate the unhealthy amount of time she had spent wanting him. She rolled her eyes and pulled away from the door frame, about to shut the door when his hand came up.
It smacked hard against the door, making her jump slightly, allowing him time to gather his courage and push the door open. She didn't know why she felt so afraid in that moment, she never once feared he would cause her physical harm. But standing there in her open doorway, unwillingly pulled into the trap of waiting for him again had her on edge.
House dragged his eyes up to meet hers, "Tell me why," he rumbled, "tell me why you gave up."
"House," she sighed.
"I need to know." He said firmly, eyes blazing.
She could feel his conviction, the heaviness pulling the air from her lungs, leaving her gasping for the words to send him away. It was hard for her to look at him like this, the raw seriousness of his very presence – she could deal with him mocking her, or arguing back and forth but when he dropped all of his defences she couldn't look at him and not see the man he really was. The man underneath it all that made her love him so much.
Brilliant, beautiful, and damaged.
Which in turn made her wonder – who had really wrecked him so bad that he was afraid to love, afraid to feel anything but pain.
He already knew all of her secrets... all but one. One she kept to herself, or tried to, locked away behind her new shiny armor – one last piece he had not been able to pull from her.
Cameron turned her head away, unable to meet his eyes for fear that she would spill her last secret. It was there too, bubbling up, boiling underneath the surface – practically begging her to let it go. It only made her harden, trying so hard not to let it slip, trying not to let it crack this new image he had of her.
House reached up and closed his eyes, finally giving in. He turned her head back to face him and leaned down, claiming her mouth. He pulled back, waiting, and smirked as Cameron's hands dragged his mouth back to hers. He had his answer.