Ahh! You got me, arrrgylepirate! You caught an inconsistency that I totally missed! You're right, it is illogical for Cameron to strip House but then leave on her wet clothes! Alright, I apologize for that inconsistency and ask that you all just pretend I said she stripped too, lol. Sorry. My bad ):
Cameron stared at the clock in disbelief.
It was 7:36 in the morning, and she was still in House's apartment, still in his bed.
She needed to get out of here before he woke up and things got really complicated.
Inch by inch, Cameron started pulling herself towards the edge of the bed and away from the unconscious man, only to realize that House had her in a firm hold. His arms were wrapped around her, one of his hands gripping her wrist in sleep, the other holding tightly around her waist, his fingertips resting lightly on her bare skin.
She shivered at the contact before slowly reaching forward and peeling his hands off her. Trying not to dwell on how cold she felt without his touch, Cameron continued to move away from the slumbering doctor before finally sliding out from beneath the covers.
Shuffling on the tips of her toes, Cameron hurriedly gathered up her still-damp clothes and tossed them on, trying not to shake as the clammy clothes clung to her skin. She turned one last time to catch a glance at the now twitching House.
He was clawing out in front of him, scraping the empty bed in search of her body, and she would have sworn that he whimpered softly when he couldn't find her. A furrowed look of frustration graced his face and she wondered if the loss of her body heat would wake him up. Not wanting to stay around and find out, Cameron quickly snuck out of his bedroom and out his front door, locking it behind her.
House woke up two minutes after she escaped.
How could he not, what with the temperature suddenly dropping to unbearable? He had been so warm all night and now suddenly….
His head was throbbing like crazy and he had to cover his eyes completely, trying to block out the light and the cold. The hangover was ripping his head to shreds and it took him a moment to regain the ability to think clearly.
What had he done last night?
Closing his eyes, he mentally reviewed everything he could remember from the day before. He'd gone to some strip joint and gotten wasted… he remembered Cameron, asking her to dance. Her in his apartment, in his bed…
Was it really her, though, or was it just a stripper? He couldn't remember; he didn't want to remember. The space next to him looked slept in. Perhaps it had been her.
For now he could just pretend it was her, if only to make this throbbing headache more bearable.
After swallowing three pills with a swig of whiskey, House went about getting ready for work. He tried to ignore the smell of strawberries that seemed to fill every crevice of his apartment, instead focusing on pulling his shirt on.
Even this shirt smells like her.
Glancing down, he grimaced when he realized that this was the same button down Cameron had worn to work once before. He closed his eyes, breathing in deeply. The smell was all over him.
Too weary to take it off, House trudged over to his bathroom, splashing water on his face. He held his hands over his eyes for a moment before slowly dragging them away, scrapping the water off. His eyes immediately fell down to his toothbrush holder, locking on that familiar Hello Kitty brush.
Why was she everywhere?
He growled at the brush, wishing it away. Could he not go three seconds without being constantly reminded of her? This was borderline ridiculous.
Caught up in a fit of righteous fury, House ripped the brush from its holder and moved to throw it in the garbage…. But nothing happened. He tried again, actually making the motion with his arm, but when it came down to it he couldn't let it go.
Sighing in resignation, he reached for the sink, turning on the water and holding the brush beneath it. He pushed just a bit of toothpaste onto it and stuck it in his mouth, slowly brushing his teeth.
When had he become so pathetic? Why couldn't he bring himself to throw a stupid little toothbrush away? He needed to stop this self-deprecation, but how could he?
The toothbrush tasted like her.
The door clicked shut behind her as she slid into her apartment. She sighed heavily, leaning her head back against the door with a soft thud. Why was everything so complicated?
A soft rustling from within her apartment stopped all her thoughts as she gazed into the dark, seemingly deserted apartment. Creeping forward hesitantly, she made her way over to the couch only to be greeted by the sight of a figure sprawled beneath a blanket. She gasped slightly when a head of blonde hair popped up over the back of the couch, a confused, sleepy face staring up at her.
"Hey…," he drawled with a yawn, glancing around with heavy eyes at the morning sun streaming through the windows.
"Did you just get back?"
Crap. He's still here.
How had she managed to forget about him?
"Yeah," she whispered, her eyes darting guiltily. Chase pulled himself into a sitting position, the heaviness of the situation now registering in his mind.
"Is it already morning?" he asked, his voice completely clear. He was fully awake now. Cameron only nodded in response, her face smothered in guilt. Chase, finally recalling all that had happened the night before, whispered angrily,
"So you were with him… all night."
It wasn't a question, it was a statement. There was no question about it. Cameron ran a hand over her eyes, the weight and confusion of everything bearing down on her. All she wanted to do was crawl into her bed and sleep for a few months. She didn't want to be out here, having this conversation with Chase. She didn't want to be at work, facing the tension between her and House and having to fight the feelings that refuse to die away. How could she still love the man?! It was infuriating. After everything they had gone through, after everything he'd done…
And all it took, really, was a night like last night. All it took from him was a small show of vulnerability, a small display of affection. Just saying her first name turned her to putty, for goodness sakes! How could that man still have so much power over her?
So lost in her thoughts about House, she barely noticed that Chase had gotten up and was roughly shoving his jacket on, clearly mad.
"Chase," she started, reaching out to grab him, but he jerked away from her touch.
"Don't, Cameron. I've had it. I mean… Gah, you even smell like him!" Shaking his head in disgust, he stormed past her and towards the door.
"Look, Chase, I'm really confused right now and I just... can't handle this." She couldn't handle anything. Everything happening in her life right now was out of control, she was spiraling downward without anything to grab onto. Her emotions were overwhelming her, eating her alive.
Chase stopped at the door, his hand on the knob, his breath coming out heavily.
"I care about you, Cameron," he breathed, not turning around. "And I'll wait for you, really I will… But you need to decide who it is you want, because I can't wait forever."
He was out the door before she had the chance to reply.
Life was overwhelming, but at least work provided a distraction. Cameron spent the majority of her work day in the clinic, burning through all her week's hours. She was like a machine, polishing off case after case with such a rhythm and pace that the clinic was nearly empty by the time she left for lunch.
After trying so hard to keep her mind away from her ever present House issues, she couldn't help but laugh bitterly when House suddenly appeared, his eyes watching her curiously.
"Why weren't you there this morning?" he asked slowly, studying her face. Her expression didn't give anything away as she tried to breeze past him.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
He grabbed her arm, trying to stop her from passing, or perhaps just trying to touch her.
She pulled away.
"I really can't handle this right now, House," she sighed, shaking her head. This was too much; everything was too much.
"I just need you to leave me alone."
"Just wait, ok?" House whispered, clinging to her. All he could think about was the feel of her in his arms, the soft scent of strawberries that filled his dreams. He'd screwed up when he let her walk out of his life.
He'd screwed up bad.
There was such sincerity in his voice, such unadulterated need, that Cameron couldn't help but look at him.
Her eyes flew up to meet his, their faces growing closer, their lips almost touching—
"She said leave, House," a sudden voice called from behind them, causing Cameron to jump and House to glare in annoyance and disgust. Chase stood a few feet away from the pair, his eyes fixated in anger on House.
"Chase," Cameron started, but House cut her off with a clipped,
"This is a private conversation. Get lost."
"She asked you to leave, House. Clearly she doesn't want you around," Chase continued, his voice teeming with petulance. Cameron could smell the trouble brewing as the two men prowled around each other like lions fighting for a carcass. She assumed, of course, that she was the carcass in this metaphor.
"Really? Because you know what she wants? That's funny, 'cause I'm pretty sure you weren't the one she spent the night with," House shot out, a blind shot in the dark, studying their reactions. The guilty look on Cameron's face and the beyond pissed look on Chase's told him that he was right: it had been her in his bed. This little tidbit of knowledge filled him with a strange, unfamiliar sense of warmth.
This tidbit, however, also pushed Chase over the edge as he suddenly shot his arm out, striking House across the face. House whirled around, grabbing his face in surprise.
Boy, he was really mad.
House rubbed his jaw thoughtfully for a moment, his eyes locked on Chase's, before whipping his cane out and stabbing him in the gut. Chase, completely caught off guard, bent over in pain. He clutched at his stomach, nostrils flaring, before jumping up and preparing to fight.
"Guys, stop!" Cameron cried, grabbing at Chase's arm in an effort to get between the two men before things escalated even farther. Chase, lost in the haze of fury and acting on pure instinct, threw forth the most powerful punch he could manage, not realizing that Cameron had situated herself in front of him before it was too late.
A loud crack and a gasp of surprise echoed throughout the hallway as Cameron flew backwards, twisting in the air before hitting the wall behind her. Both House and Chase gaped at her, their jaws dropped in shock and surprise, Chase by far the most shocked.
A beat passed and both men just stared at her as she slowly sunk to the ground, not moving at all.
"I… I didn't mean… I thought…" Chase stammered, a look of pure guilt and horror staining his face. House just stared at her, at the crumpled shape of the woman that lay in a heap on the linoleum tile.
And something inside of him snapped.
He was on Chase in an instant, his cane striking the man across the face. Chase reeled back, but caught himself long enough to throw a defensive block and punch. His fist glided across House's jaw, knocking him back slightly, but House was so lost in his rage that the hit barely even registered with him.
He forced Chase against the wall, holding the ends of his cane against the man's throat as he ground him into the solid structure. Chase gasped, scratching at the cane desperately, tinges of blue dotting his face as his frantic eyes swept the hall in search of aid.
The hallway was empty.
There would be no help.
His panicked hands started clawing at House's face, scratching at him in an effort to force him back, but House didn't react at all. House wasn't even seeing him, really. All he could see was the crumpled form of Cameron in the hallway. He couldn't hear Chase's desperate wheezes for breath, all he could hear was the gasp of pain as his fist collided with her face. He looked insane, his eyes narrowed and his teeth grinding. Nothing could get through to him, nothing could stop him, not until he made this boy pay for what he did, and there would be no stopping him until-
"House," a soft voice called from behind him, breaking into the fog. Slowly, he turned his head to gaze behind him, never loosening his grip on the cane. Both men's eyes turned to see Cameron, now sitting up with her back to the wall, watching them through the fingers of her hands as she clutched her nose.
"Let him go."
House hesitated, shaking his head. The fog of hatred was fading and rational thought was returning to him, but still he fought it off. Have to make him pay.
"House," she said it again, firmer this time, her eyes locked on the now blue man on the wall. Chase was watching her with wide, anxious eyes.
"Let him go."
After another moment of uncertainty, House finally stepped back, freeing the pinned man. Gasping desperately, Chase sunk to his knees, clutching his throat and coughing.
"Get out of here now," House commanded bitterly, glaring down at the man with pure hatred in his eyes, his chest heaving as he stood between his fallen Cameron and the Australian man. Chase glared up at him, clinging to his throat in pain.
"What, are you off your vicodin again?" Chase hissed as he pulled himself up from the floor and started backing away. House just glared and Chase, sparing one last look at Cameron, disappeared down the hallway.
House stared down at Cameron, who watched silently from her place against the wall, groaning as she covered her face with her hands. House thought about the last days, months even, of their time together. He recalled the need for her touch, the addiction to her movements and smells. Because really, that's what she was to him now.
An addiction, one that he couldn't seem to shake.
She had become his vicodin and oh, was he craving.
And there was nothing scarier in the world than an addict whose craving.
Sighing in resignation to this newfound discovery, House reached down to help her up.
"Come on; let's get out of the hallway before the nurses start gossiping."
She only moaned in response, her eyes still closed as she allowed him to pull her up and lead her away.
Cameron sat perched on the edge of House's desk, her eyes locked on his face as he slowly worked. House tried to ignore her stares as he moved to a first aid kit, grabbing some ointment and dabbing it onto his finger.
"What's the point in having lobby art if it's damaged?" he murmured as he gently spread the ointment over her nose, causing her to flinch in pain.
"I've always been damaged. Now it's just more obvious."
He smirked slightly at the comment before grabbing a tissue and pressing it to her nose.
"Your nose will not stop bleeding. Seriously, are you that excited to see me?" he whispered as he moved to apply a bandage, spreading it across her bruised and bloody nose. This earned him a soft chuckle from Cameron.
"Well you know how it is," she tried, averting her eyes at the honesty. And he did know how it was, believe it. Just being near her….
Silence engulfed them then as they both mulled over their surprisingly similar thoughts before Cameron finally broke the silence.
"Why did you do that back there?" she asked, grabbing his hands to stop his movement. He froze, uncertain, staring back.
"Do what?" he inquired hesitantly, well aware of what she was asking. She gave him an agitated look before murmuring,
"Back there, when you tried to murder our coworker." That earned her a smile from House, who mumbled something like,
"I wasn't going to murder him…. Just damage him permanently…" He turned back to his work of cleaning the blood off her nose. A few beats passed.
"So?" she inquired with a raised eyebrow, her head tilted slightly. House just rolled his eyes and shrugged, as if he had no idea what she was blathering on about.
"You still haven't answered my question. So tell me, why did you do that?" He thought about that for a moment before finally saying,
"I don't think you'd like my answer." She laughed sarcastically.
"Let me guess—something like, 'I don't like people messing with my play things?' " she whispered bitterly, averting her eyes. He stopped working then, instead his fingers gently lifted her face until their eyes locked. Slowly, his thumb moved to skim her lips, tracing out the contours. Despite her effort to remain focused, her eyes slowly fluttered shut.
How pathetic could she get? She was practically purring under his touch, humming as his calloused fingers glided gently over her face.
She could feel his breath on her; her nose tingled at the proximity. The soft whoosh of his inhale and exhale glided across her lips as he leaned in, their lips just barely grazing.
"Actually," he breathed out, she breathed in, "I was going to say that I did it because he spilled his stupid wombat blood on my favorite shirt." Cameron opened her eyes slowly, only to find that he'd pulled away and was watching her now with a soft smile.
She couldn't help but giggle at this, and he even let out a soft chuckle. They watched each other with humored eyes, both unaware that they were thinking the exact same thought simultaneously:
I miss you.
Foreman walked into the conference room and glanced around, confused.
House stood by the white board, his lip cut and a bruise forming on his jaw. Cameron sat at the table, a bandage secured over her nose and bruising showing beneath it and across her face. Chase walked in, sitting down at the table without saying a word to any of them. He eyed him wearily, a black eye and a bruise in a straight line across his neck greeting Foreman.
Foreman blinked once, twice, staring at his coworkers who looked as though they had gone through the third World War.
"Alright, what the hell did I miss?"