Title: Binaries (3/4?)
Fandom(s): Star Wars/House
Pairing(s): Cameron/Chase, Cameron/Anakin, Cuddy/House
Summary: After Cameron grudgingly accompanied her master into Coruscant's underworld, a troubling symptom has begun to plague her.
Author's Notes: A long, long time ago, in a galaxy really, really close to us, I abandoned a prompt I claimed in cuddy_fest because my Muse sucked huge amounts of suck. Thanks to GYWO, I took the fic in not quite the same direction as the prompt and came up with this. I rather like the result. This fic takes place before the movie Attack of the Clones. Thanks to Anita for being my beta and enabling my madness.
The meditation rooms were dark and quiet but Cameron's mind still drifted away from the Force, lingering on forbidden images. These days it seemed as if her entire life consisted of heated dreams, frantic training, and organizing the Corps with Kutner. No matter what she did, she had no respite. It was starting to look like she would have to confront the problem head on, as Kutner had mentioned. Because there was no way she could continue this way, with Chase consuming her thoughts every night...
He touches her again, tracing patterns with no meaning across her body, and she's gripped by an uncontrollable urge, like there is no need for her thoughts and reasons, she just is, at one with the galaxy and the galaxy demands that she shove this man against a wall and silence his touch with her tongue.
So she does. Frantic, fevered, unaware of where he ends and she begins. Their hands grasp at each other, pulling and yearning, and there's nothing she wants more than to get her awfully stifling gown off. So he does. There is fire running through her veins instead of blood and she cries out as he touches her again and again. The Force is an ocean and she is a wave, rising higher and higher until she crashes on the rocks; the Force is the universe and she has moonlight in her eyes, stardust on her lips.
Cameron slowly opened her eyes, trembling slightly. She was slipping, her usually stubborn resolve crumbling. It was becoming intolerable, this compulsion that had gripped her subconscious. In that moment, she would have done almost anything, absolutely anything, to restore her concentration and focus.
No, I can't think like that. I can't be afraid. Fear leads to the dark side. She took a deep breath and exhaled, going through her exercises like Cuddy had taught her.
There was a soft whooshing sound behind her. Before she even had a chance to respond, whoever had entered the meditation room spoke.
"Oh, it's you. I didn't even sense your presence." Skywalker sounded honestly surprised for once.
"I'm masking it on purpose. Jedi Knights can do that sort of thing, you know."
Skywalker didn't respond to her comment but she could hear the irritation in his voice. "Why are you masking it to begin with?"
"I don't want anyone to find me, I need some time to myself. So if you don't mind, leave."
She could feel him bristle at her dismissive tone. "Who are you hiding from? Master Cuddy? Someone from the Council?"
"No. Besides, this is none of your business." Realizing that her serene state of mind had completely evaporated due to Skywalker's intrusion, she stood up and faced him with a frown on her lips.
"It's my business when you're biting my head off for no reason." Skywalker replied, folding his arms across his chest.
"I have a reason; you interrupted my meditation."
"A good Jedi wouldn't lose her patience after simply being interrupted."
The frown on her face grew deeper. "Are you insinuating what I think you're insinuating?"
And there it was, that annoying smugness that appeared whenever he knew he had hit the mark and riled her up. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Cameron. I'm just trying to be helpful."
Cameron marched right up to him, getting close to the final straw. "You know what, Skywalker? You're one to talk about being a good Jedi. You might have all the talent and skills in the galaxy, but the truth is that you're both difficult and arrogant. No wonder you're not a Knight yet."
"The fact that you became a Jedi Knight before me means nothing. The Council can take whatever decisions they want, I still know that I'm the better Jedi between the two of us." Skywalker countered, getting agitated. "If you want to go on and on about how you got knighted before I did, fine. But we both know the truth about who's more powerful. "
"It's not always about power." Cameron argued, her temper flaring. She tried to reign it in but her emotions were running at an all-time high thanks to her frayed nerves. The gates were wide open, her every thought and feeling an open book for anyone nearby to read. But that also meant that her empathy was at its highest; she could feel her emotions surging around her, as well as Skywalker's-
His eyes widened and she felt him panic and throw his barriers up. But it wasn't fast enough. She already knew. This wasn't just his regular petty self she was facing. There was much more at play.
Cameron assessed Skywalker coolly, feeling her emotions settle. "We have the same problem."
He looked at her warily. "What do you mean?"
She sighed and knelt down on the floor in her meditation pose. "Who is she?"
Skywalker started. "I... who is who?"
"The woman you can't stop thinking about. I know I've seen her somewhere, she looks familiar."
She could feel his fear, so much fear, and it was almost shocking to Cameron. She'd always thought of Skywalker as brazen, egotistical. But afraid? Never in a million years.
"It doesn't matter who she is. She's just a politician." Skywalker said rather flippantly and Cameron could tell he was covering sadness with disinterest.
She said her next words in an even tone. "She looks a little like me."
Skywalker made a face. "Not really. Not at all."
"A little. Admit it. She's human, isn't she?"
He didn't respond and stared down at her instead with a stony look, his mouth pressed into a tense line. She wouldn't get an admission out of him but his face and his roiling emotions told her enough.
Cameron looked down at the floor, reciting familiar words. "A Jedi's allegiance is to the Order. Not to her friends, not to her family, not even to herself. Romance is forbidden because it diminishes the bond between a Jedi and the Order. But..." She lifted her eyes to his. "...we're human beings, not droids."
She saw Skywalker clench his jaw, steeling his resolve. "You said we have the same problem."
He considered her and she could feel him stretch his senses outwards, tentatively searching her feelings but too wary to go deep into her mind. "Who is it?"
"It doesn't matter who he is." Cameron replied, throwing his words back at him. "What matters is that my allegiance is to the Order. Unfortunately, I can't fight this."
"I'm not surprised. You're a healer, a peaceful conflict negotiator, not a fighter." Skywalker repeated as he always did with his back-handed compliments. "Emotions always were your strength and now they're your weakness."
"And what's your weakness then? Why can't you, the great Anakin Skywalker, reign in your feelings in like a gifted Jedi should?" Cameron asked, a little too pleased with herself for discovering his weakness.
"You know, for someone who's known for their empathy, you're pretty spiteful."
"And for someone who's rapidly becoming the darling of the Republic, you're hard to deal with."
They gave hard stares to each other until Anakin crossed his arms and shook his head. "What are you suggesting?"
"You know how to create a Force illusion, right?" Skywalker nodded slowly and she continued. "We could use each other as proxies."
Skywalker looked vaguely disturbed. "That sounds like a bad idea."
"Not for two fully trained Jedi Knights."
"I'm going to point out the obvious and mention that I'm not a Knight yet." Skywalker said, not bothering to hide his resentment.
Without thinking, Cameron drew upon the Force, adding a soft pressure to her words. "I was wrong when I said you weren't ready to be a Jedi Knight. You are. Everyone knows it and it's shocking that it hasn't happened yet. You can do this and it will solve your distractions. You'll be an even better Jedi after. Clear, even, focused. The perfect Jedi."
She didn't even know where the words came from, they just flowed from her mouth with remarkable ease. But she knew she was just fooling him and fooling herself too. They wouldn't be better Jedi for this, not even close. This was the worst sort of temptation, crossing a line they were forbidden to cross.
I don't care, I just want the dreams to stop. Cameron thought. I just want things to go back to the way they were.
Walking towards him slowly, softly, Cameron watched as Skywalker clenched his jaw, coming to the same conclusion that she was. They would share in their denial and maybe, just maybe, let go of what they had no right to want.
She closed her eyes and felt the Force around, harnessed it with her mind. When she opened her eyes, Chase was there in front of her and her heart nearly stopped.
He slowly smiled, shyly. "Hi."
"Hi." She replied, putting her arms around his neck and kissing him swiftly.
She wasn't a fool; she knew just how powerful a Jedi Skywalker truly was. If he really wanted to, he could have let her suggestion bounce off his defenses like a pebble off a rancor's hide. But there was something inside of him that wanted to believe her words, something inside him that rankled with desperation and hunger. That was what fueled the illusion, so dangerously strong that they believed it with all their hearts, let it carry them away to a place of their deepest desires.
Chase's fingers were tangled in her hair, his lips covering every inch of her body as she sighed with eagerness. With one leg draped over his hip, she pressed him forward, urging towards what they both thirsted for. They moved together, crying out in sync as pleasure coursed through them and consumed their every thought. There was nothing else but the delirious passion of being together, being one. When she finally tumbled forward into esctasy, Chase followed soon after, calling her name with a shuddering groan.
That wasn't her name. That wasn't her name at all.
The illusion was instantly broken. Cameron froze, her breath catching in her throat as she gathered the enormity of what they were doing, what they had done. Anakin looked back at her, naked in more ways than one. His face betrayed nothing, but his emotions and thoughts burned like a thousand suns, full of loathing and disgust.
"I was right... this was a bad idea." He announced, immediately disentangling himself from her and getting up from the bed. Within moments he was enrobed once more and fled from her room, still drowning in misplaced lust and despair.
"Come on, House, relax. Isn't this place so much better than that dingy little bar you hide out in? Look, they have bright, clean windows, green gardens, wide open chambers-"
"The only thing wide open chambers mean to me is that I can be ambushed easier." House glanced around, trying to hide his unease. "You sure you didn't brainwash me into coming to the Jedi Temple with you?"
"You agreed to this deal yourself, House. You said you'd come with me as long as I forget about the fact that you still owe me eight thousand credits. You know, the eight thousand credits you said would be for counter-intelligence equipment, that you instead used to buy that personal landspeeder?"
"It was either the landspeeder or get myself a cybernetic eye that shoots lasers." House countered half-seriously. "But Thirteen didn't like the idea of me copying her style."
"She does love her lasers." Councillor Wilson quipped, looking around the grounds of the Jedi Temple. "Jedi Master Kenobi should be here soon, so behave yourself."
"If I remember correctly, I behaved just fine when we last ran into Kenobi."
"Well, your personal version of reality can hardly be relied on; no one 'ran into' Kenobi but you." Wilson pointed out. "I invited Jedi emissaries to Corellia to show my support and you were supposed to be on Coruscant, doing... whatever it is you do."
"I'm saving this messed up galaxy, one evil separatist at a time." House said, the pride seeping into his voice. Despite the fact that he complained about his operations being co-opted by the Jedi, Wilson knew he relished the fact that he was doing something for the Galactic Republic. House just didn't like to show he cared.
"Well, apparently moving to another planet isn't enough to stop you from ruining my important, diplomatic duties." Wilson said with a sigh.
"Important duties my ass. Diplomats and politicians are useless." House proclaimed, his voice carrying across through the air. "It's people like me who actually get anything done out there."
"And for that, we thank you." A smooth voice answered from behind them. The men turned to see a two Jedi, a man and a woman, and Wilson could not help but notice how House suddenly perked up.
"Master Cuddy, fancy seeing you here." House replied, leaning on his cane. "I figured you'd be out in Coruscant's underbelly, harassing poor and unsuspecting folk to join the cause."
"The only folk I harass are crippled information scavengers who work with Corellian politicians and cybernetically enhanced bounty hunters." Cuddy retorted with a slight smirk, acknowledging Wilson with a polite nod and smile.
"Lucky me." House said, a glint of humour in his eyes.
Wilson took the opportunity to bow slightly to the Jedi. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Master Cuddy. House has told me a lot about you."
"None of it very flattering, I'm sure."
"Correct, unfortunately. And Master Kenobi, good to see you again."
Obi-Wan, who had been silent thus far, had a look of great amusement on his face. "Likewise."
House suddenly pointed his cane at Kenobi. "You. Tell your padawan I said thanks."
"For informing you of your Force sensitivity when you interrupted our meeting with Councillor Wilson?"
Kenobi examined House for a moment before replying. "If you insist. By the way, I hear you tried to use your limited Force abilities to influence a fully trained Jedi." He gestured to Cuddy, still amused.
"I wouldn't call it 'influence'. More like 'attempt to remove her robes'."
Cuddy sighed but Wilson blanched at House's comment, stepping in front of him with an apologetic look. "Ignore him, he's an idiot with no sense of decorum."
"I understand that, Councillor Wilson. I've worked with him long enough." Cuddy admitted, smiling at Wilson kindly. "We're willing to put up with his... abrasive nature because he is of such value to our mission to protect the Republic from the Separatists."
Wilson was about to reply when he noticed Kenobi's expression had changed from casual amusement to confusion. "Master Kenobi? Is everything alright?"
Kenobi turned his head slightly, as if he were hearing something in the wind. No one spoke for a very long time; even House knew that the Jedi was picking up on something. I knew it was a bad idea to come here. Jedi... nosy bastards. He had no Force training but he felt like drawing a blaster, protecting himself.
Protecting his secrets.
But it was too late. Realization raced across Kenobi's face. He turned towards Cuddy, accusation in his eyes, but she didn't even flinch.
- - tbc - -