He sat at the window seat on the train. The heater that ran the length of the side of the carriage warmed his damaged thigh and kept its complaints at the hours of stillness ahead to a bearable throb. Or behind considering he was sitting backwards. He always sat backwards on a train; it just felt safer to him. Glinting up at him with bright colors and wide happy grins were his children. Photos from the birthday party just two days ago littered the table filling his mind and the almost empty carriage with the sounds of laughter and party games that had taken place as he sat on the train awaiting departure from New York for the last leg home to Princeton. He smiled involuntarily remembering the events of the past few days; it had been a humbling and surprisingly enjoyable experience. "Uncle Greg" had gone down a storm with Luke and Gemma, the twins taking an instant like to him. Cuddy had almost cried with happiness at the sight of them curled up on the couch and sleeping on either side of him after the party, unfortunately (though perhaps fortunately instead) she grabbed the camera and snapped a picture before he even realised she was there.
He held that photo now as if it were something precious; almost as preciously as the children he held in the image.
The idea of a house full of screaming had never at all been his idea of fun, but with Cuddy running the show and several mothers showing up to enjoy the benefits of collective parenting and child care there was minimal screams apart from one heart-stopping moment where two children careered together on the trampoline; crying and screaming and chaos ensued for a whole 60 seconds before Cuddy ran on scene with an overly abundant medical kit in hand. The whole dramatic scene was finished after a few minutes of first aid and reassurance then the injured parties were running around crazily with the rest of the pack as if nothing had happened. It was a small price to pay to have his children in his arms for that one perfect moment.
He and Cuddy had talked long into the night and the wee small hours of the morning after the children were in bed. With wine and scotch flowing Cuddy had hinted occasionally that he needn't sleep on the couch for a second night. As appealing as the thought might be to slip into something familiar he denied himself the pleasure and more so the awkward agony that would linger for months after, he was here for the twins not for her and as soon as she realised that things became much more comfortable and easy between the two of them. House was to attend every birthday, Christmas and anytime he felt like it. He had enjoyed their company and felt parental pride that he couldn't fully understand; neither did he want to understand it for that matter. Cuddy was glad to have him a part of their lives, they had been lacking a father figure and though House may not have been the ideal influence she was not going to deny him what was his.
Instead of the couch a more suitable sofa bed was ordered and plans to explain to the children that "Uncle Greg" was in fact Daddy were made for his next visit in but a few weeks.
He had two lights in his darkness now; he didn't feel so alone. He set the picture down still smiling softly, gathering it with the others in a relatively neat pile; he then looked out the window his smile disappearing after only a fleeting moment. With the excitement and frightening ordeal of meeting his children over his thoughts turned to the young girl that came to his office just hours before he'd embarked on this epic adventure.
He didn't even dare to think about the sentences she failed to finish and what information they would have held. It was too painful to even imagine. He sighed and closed his eyes as he rested his head on the glass wishing away those thoughts and longing for the familiarity of home.
Sounds of people slowly filtering on the train for the departure time twenty minutes in the future reached his ears along with a voice.
"Is this seat taken?"
House froze and opened one eye experimentally then closed it. His ears hadn't lied to him at all. Or rather his brains interpretation of what his ears heard hadn't lied to him. Either that or his ears, eyes and brain were all lying to him to batter and bruise his heart.
She shuck off her jacket and sat beside him.
"What do you want?" He growled.
"I was wrong."
He opened his eyes, both of them this time, and turned to her. "Oh really?" he said disbelieving and sarcastic.
"Yes, I was wrong and I'm sorry."
"I said that too and it didn't work on you so what makes you think it'll work on me?"
She looked down then glanced over at the picture and glanced into the recent past seeing House and his children on the couch. "They look so beautiful." She murmured. "And you look happy."
"I met them because of you." He murmured looking down at the photo and taking it in hand once more.
"How exactly does that work out?" she asked curiously.
House squirmed a little and let his fingers test the edge of the photograph for a moment. "Well after you," he said slightly accusingly, "I realised something was missing so I found them. I should probably thank you."
They both knew he'd never actually say thank you directly to her.
She smiled and nodded gently. "I'm glad for you."
He kept his eyes on the picture never revealing that he felt something else was still missing. He still felt some lingering bitterness towards her but with each passing second that she sat at his side he found that he couldn't hate her as he longed to.
In fact he found himself longing for her like he'd always hated.
"How did you…?" He began wondering how the hell she made her way here.
"Jess and Wilson. Apparently they bumped into each other in the cafeteria. Stories were swapped and plans were made and here I am."
"Playing matchmaker. And you went along with it?" he asked turning to her.
"Yes. Jess was right; I miss you too House, and I am sorry." Cameron murmured with her eyes meeting his, a desperately apologetic look in her gaze. "I was… I don't know what I was thinking or what I was feeling. You threw me of balance and I wasn't sure of anything."
"I've always had a habit of doing that." He said with a smirk.
"I'm trying to be serious here."
"I know and it sucks." House replied with a glimmer of mirth in his eyes.
Cameron smiled back almost knowingly. "What would you prefer?"
His mind wandered back to the feeling of her pressed between him and the wall of her hotel only a month ago and a smirk spread self satisfyingly over his lips.
She laughed heartily and his heart flipped just as it had done when he'd recognised her on that first serendipitous train ride.
Her hand slipped within his as she continued; "No corridors here, let's just see where this takes us."
Smiling wider he thought of the actual train journey that lay ahead of them in the form of sleepers and tracks, hoping that the future of what lay between them would be just as easy to follow. But at that moment he was just happy enough for their parallel paths to be leading home; and, of course, to ample secluded wall space to press Cameron against.
A/N: Thank you for all you support on this one folks, due to the interest in this one I may continue it. I have enjoyed writing this fic and I hope you enjoyed reading it too. Many thanks again. Mishy x