Disclaimer: I don't own House (or any other character), because if I did, I obviously wouldn't be sitting on the computer. So please don't sue. I just like playing with them, and will put them back exactly as I found them. This story is entirely a work of fiction created solely by my own perverted mind.

Author's Note: House/Cameron, no other characters. Loosely episode based, starts at "All In". I know I jump around between seasons and my chronology is off, just deal with it.  Character analysis well-concealed in graphic sex. 18+ only please.

Feedback and comments welcome and appreciated!


House looked at his reflection in his office window, and a stranger stared back at him. He looked good in the tux – no, good wasn't the right word – he looked handsome in the tux, but he also didn't look like himself, at least not to his own eyes. Besides his clothing, he'd done his hair and trimmed his usual 3 day stubble into 1 day stubble that looked neat and intentional rather than the product of lax grooming. He liked the way he looked, but it also made him uncomfortable. It reminded him of the man he had once been and would likely never be again.

Cameron had seen him staring pensively out that window a hundred times if she'd seen it once, spinning his cane, tossing one of the balls he tossed while he thought, or simply trying to hide his eyes, but there was something different about his expression this time. He looked peaceful, almost content. She couldn't put her finger on what his eyes were saying, and even though she'd seen him happy (or as close to happy as House ever got), he had never looked calm before. His eyes were focused on the window, but yet far off at the same time. He hadn't heard her come in.

She appraised House, analyzing, taking in this new side of him. He looked dapper and refined in his tuxedo, and with his hair combed and beard trimmed, his cane completed his look rather than disrupted it. It looked like it belonged in his hand, not like it had to be there against both of their wills. He leaned on it slightly, taking the pressure off of his injured leg, elevating his right shoulder just a touch higher than the left. This was the way he always stood, but tonight it looked like he was engaged in an easy conversation with no one, rather than trying to avoid pain.

At some point during Cameron's analysis of his look, House had become aware she was standing there, although he gave no sign of his awareness. Without shifting, moving, or turning around, his reflection spoke to Cameron's reflection in the window. "Are you just going to stand there all day staring at me, or are you going to say something?" The question was classic House, although it lacked the usual exasperated edge. There was something different in his voice, a little confidence had taken the place of the arrogance that he usually used to cover up his lack of confidence. He sounded, saints help and preserve us, a little gentler. His voice could have simply reflected exhaustion, although, if he were going to have a tender moment with anyone, it would almost certainly have been with Cameron. There had been a few already, though House would have never admitted it.

His tone, or maybe his lack of the usual tone, snapped her out of her musings. "Uh…yeah, sorry. I just wanted to tell you that Chase and Foreman left and…" House cut her off. "I know that. I sent them home, remember? And you, too, if I'm not mistaken. Being up for 2 days tends to disrupt one's concentration, and when that happens, mistakes get made. Which means you didn't come in here to talk about Chase and Foreman, did you?" The acid was back in his words again, but in a weaker form. "Of course I did, House, why else would I have come in here?" It seemed like an obvious question to her. She knew better than to barge into his office unless there was a damn good reason. Hell, everybody knew better than to barge into his office unless there was a damn good reason. Anyone who did that would either get their head bitten off, or would be mercilessly ignored. Sometimes either or both of those would happen even if you had a damned good reason.

House made an addendum to his question. "You came in here to talk about Chase and Foreman at first. But, I just looked so stunning in sunrise that all other thoughts were erased from your mind as you stood and fantasized about me for a good three minutes, and would have done it for longer if I hadn't said something."

"Absolutely not. Get over yourself." Cameron replied with indignation. She felt her face flush. "Are you honestly so in love with yourself that you think you can put on a different suit and I'll lose all capacity for rational thought?"

"What, you don't think I look good? It's my hair isn't it; I just knew I should have used some of Wilson's pomade…or whatever that goop is he uses. It gets so frizzy in this weather." The tenderness was gone and the sarcasm was back as he shook his head in mock vanity, and it had only taken him three sentences.

"Goddamn it House, would you stop it?"

"I'm not the one deflecting this time, Cameron. Don't you think I look good?"

Cameron sighed a deep, heavy, and all too familiar sigh. "Of course you look good. You should shower more often. Anyway, I'm going - "

"I saw the way you were looking at me. What were you thinking?"

Now Cameron was genuinely surprised. House truly was different; under any other circumstances he'd have told her to stop thinking and stop analyzing. Now he wanted to know what she thought of him. And he also wasn't going to be happy, or willing to entertain anything else until they had this conversation. She sighed again. "I was thinking that your cane completed you. Made you look more refined." No sense in lying to him, and feeding his ego might get him off of this train of thought faster. It worked most other times.

A smile danced across the corners of House's lips and he turned around. "Hm…so you're telling me I'm more interesting to you tonight because I look less damaged? That's very out of character for you."

Cameron didn't know how to respond; she just cast her eyes down slightly. Sometimes he made her absolutely crazy.

"So, you didn't want to go out with me after the ketamine, when I wasn't in constant pain, but you want me now when I look like I'm not damaged anymore. Is it because you know that I'm just playing dress-up, and I'll still be the same old damaged House that you can try to save tomorrow, but it's OK for the time being because you don't have to admit that to yourself? You can pretend the proof to the contrary is just part of the outfit?"

"I never said I wanted you".

"You never said you didn't." He took a step closer to her.

"I thought I already had."

"People lie. They also change their minds. "Another step closer.

"House…" His name passed her lips sharply, as a protest, but she didn't know what else she intended to say after it.

"Say it then. Tell me you don't want me. Wouldn't be the first time." Another step closer.

"I don't want you." But she didn't move. She was captivated, although she wasn't sure what kept her rooted to the spot. Maybe it was the intensity of the moment, maybe she wanted to see how far he was going to push, or maybe she felt out of place and uncertain how to react herself, standing there in an evening gown in a debate with her boss about whether or not she desired him sexually.

"Your words say no, but your lips don't." At that moment Cameron expected House to grab her roughly, or turn around and pretend the entire conversation had never happened, because he'd had the last word. He'd "won". She figured the latter was more likely, winning was almost more important to him than anything, although he could do the former too if he wanted to try to shock her. But he did neither. He took another half step towards her, slipped a hand tentatively onto her hip, and the other under her chin. She still didn't move. She didn't breathe.

She searched his eyes for the long moment that neither of them moved, looking for some sign of lust, anger, smugness, tenderness, something. But she found nothing. He simply looked at her, waiting. This wasn't the House she knew. She cast her eyes over his shoulder, suddenly feeling exposed under such close scrutiny and that's when he moved. He propped his cane against his desk and leaned forward ever so slightly, and his lips met hers. Again, there was no roughness, no insistence, no hesitation, it was simply the moment that he kissed her. He dropped the hand under her chin to join its mate on her other hip and their lips parted. He looked at her with a question in his eyes, one she answered by tangling her right hand in his thick, curly hair and pulling him toward her.

He smiled almost imperceptibly and kissed her again, more confidently this time, and she relaxed against him a little more, still not making a decision, but no longer protesting either. He was just so different tonight. She wanted to explore this unfamiliar side of him, and if this was the way to do it, this was how she was going to do it. A kiss was just a kiss, she'd kissed him before after all, and she knew she could stop at any time. House might be an ass, but he'd take "no" for an answer too. There were things even he wouldn't push too far. Besides, his hands felt good. She could feel his long, thin fingers wrap around her slim hips, could feel the heat and moisture of his palms [was he nervous?] through the thin fabric of her dress, and she liked the sensation more than she had expected. Why not enjoy it as long as she could, before he decided to use the opportunity to prove a point? She stood on her toes and tilted her head and he responded to her cue by wrapping his arm around her waist, pulling her closer as she opened her mouth against his, welcoming his tongue. His kiss was gentle, but hot, oh so hot and intense, and Cameron could taste the scotch and cigars on his breath, could smell the scent of his soap and cologne, of his hair, his scent. She leaned into him and felt him hold her tighter. She brought her other hand up to his arm to steady herself, her head swimming with desire, confusion, alarm, lust and protest. She wanted him to take her, completely, and she wanted to run. She desired him more than she thought possible and she was also scared. She wanted to stop but she couldn't take her hands off of him at the same time. But, he did that for her.

He broke their kiss and took half a step back. "Why?" It was all he had to ask. "I…you're different somehow. Beautiful." He seemed to recoil at the compliment. He thought of himself as arrogant, abrasive, even delighted in the fact that he was better at being a pest and a source of annoyance than anyone he knew. In private moments, on good days, he even allowed himself to entertain the word "genius". He accepted "disappointment" and "cripple" because to several people he'd been the former and the latter was obvious, but "beautiful" hurt somewhere deep inside. He didn't want anyone looking closely enough at him to call him beautiful, and he didn't want anyone thinking he was, least of all Cameron. Whether he'd want to hurt her and let her down or not was beside the point, he eventually would. She was so easily hurt anyway, so sensitive…

He turned away from her, walked over to the couch and sat down. He tried to limp as little as possible, not wanting to strip Cameron of her illusion that for one day, he was magically healed. That seemed to matter to her. Though it made him uncomfortable, he still wanted her to want him, although he wasn't sure why.

She sat down next to him, softly, as if she didn't want him to know she was there. She felt naked and cold without his hands on her, unsteady without his body pressed against hers. "Greg…." He turned toward her against his own will. She'd never called him by his first name before. And it was all she had to say. Just for now, for however long this lasted, she accepted him as he was. If she was going to, then he could let her; he could at least try. He tried to clear the sadness from his eyes as he leaned toward her again and smugly asked, as though the past few minutes had never happened, "Sorry…where were we?"

She was the aggressor this time. She kissed him deeply, felt him hesitate for a fraction of a second before his hands were moving over her body again, still gentle but with more purpose. She relished the taste of his tongue, how solid and strong he felt against her and not at all fragile, not fragile as she usually saw him, not in need of protection or help, not like this. And she loved it. He laced one hand in her hair and pulled her closer, the other on her lower back stole her center of gravity and she laid down, felt him stand to reposition himself without breaking contact [was he standing on his right leg?] and kneel back down between her thighs.

She reflexively reached up toward him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, wanting all of him, wanting to feel his weight on her, and bracing himself on one arm, he obliged. Behind her closed eyes, Cameron saw a flash of white light as he squared his hips into hers. This was insane. She was so aroused so quickly it surprised even her, and she arched up against him, her breathing becoming ragged as she surrendered to whatever he wanted to do to her, whatever he wanted to take. Her motion gave him more space to explore, and his lips started just below her ear, making a slow, hot trail down to her collarbone. His free hand slid up and down her ribs, frustrated by the cloth, his breath burned in her ear.

She whimpered and tilted her head back, asking for more without a word. He kissed her again, and she shifted and squirmed under him, wanting his hands and his mouth everywhere at once. It wasn't enough. He reached around her, sliding his arm under her shoulders, and it soothed the aching for a few seconds until his mouth and teeth found the soft, vulnerable skin of her throat and chest. He moved ridiculously slowly, so slow it was torture, and her hands stole under his coat, raking at his back, desperate for something, anything, more. He let her go for a moment, slipping the jacket off of his shoulders, and then his hands were caressing her shoulders, her ribs, everywhere but where she needed them. She burned, she ached, she couldn't get enough of him. She was never like this with any man before. Never. She was always the one in control, always the one calling the shots, and usually the one that stopped before things got too far, unless she wanted them to. But not with House, not now.

She took his hand and guided it to her breast. He smirked, pleased with himself that he could do this to her. Through the fabric of her dress, he caressed the soft, heavy, smooth mound of flesh, as his teeth grazed the spot where flesh met cloth. His fingers grabbed the material, not at all careful of damaging it, and yanked it down roughly to allow his mouth access to where his fingers had just been. His teeth scraped her nipple first, then he closed his lips and gently sucked, circled his tongue lazily around the stone-hard bud. He bit down, just a scrape at first, then harder and a little harder until he felt Cameron's body stiffen as he crossed the line between pleasure and pain. He dragged his tongue over it, letting his lower teeth and his rough chin scrape over it on the trip up, and the heavy aching that had taken up residence in Cameron's pelvis started to throb.

He knew that, instinctively, and ground his hips against her as the thumb of his other hand found the sensitive center of her breast and slid over it. Cameron moaned and dropped her head back, astounded that such a simple, delicate touch could make her react that way. House's thumb made a return trip, firmer this time. Her nipple hardened under his touch and he rubbed it, pinched just hard enough to hurt, and then kissed the pain away. He was gentle that time, but his mouth still felt like burning silk on her skin. She was in awe of just how sensitive she was to his touch.

He continued to dry fuck her as he kissed her again, slowly grinding his hips down into her, feeling her arch up to meet him, then pulling back just as slowly and then back down again at the top of the motion, without stopping. He was as hard as he could remember being at any point in the recent past, and he knew he was tantalizing her with a thousand delicious possibilities every time she felt him grind his cock into her. As tempting as it was for him to just push her dress up, unbuckle his belt and slam it into her all at once, he more enjoyed teasing her, denying her, and making her crave him. He could tell by the uneven breaths she was drawing into her lungs, the way she'd started shaking ever so slightly, by the grip marks he was probably going to have on his upper arms that she loved it anyway, so he kept up the slow, sensuous rhythm that kept Cameron exactly where she wanted to be, exactly where he wanted her.

He realized suddenly that she was right, he was different. He'd gotten himself so used to hookers and one night stands since Stacy that he couldn't remember the last time he hadn't just wanted to get his rocks off and leave it at that. Most of the hookers at least pretended to like it when he fucked them, a few probably did, after all it was a numbers game. He'd been with so many of them, through sheer repetition he probably wasn't that bad in bed, and he was just a little over average sized; not big enough to hurt, but big enough to satisfy. Most of the one night stands knew they were being used, but if they didn't have to spend a night alone, that was all they really wanted. If he was the man who was willing to touch them and prove to them they weren't the only human being on the planet for just one night, so be it. He still got what he wanted.

But with Cameron, he'd managed to lull himself into a steady, low hum of arousal. He felt he could keep up like this, teasing her, forever. It was almost hypnotic. He wanted more, his body wanted more, but he didn't want to break the spell he'd cast on them both by doing more. He knew if she decided to take charge, his control would be a thing of the past, but he also knew with relative certainty that wasn't going to happen. After all, he wasn't a pushover like Chase, and maybe that's why she was with him and hadn't gone home with Chase. Cameron wanted to be taken and possessed this time. She didn't want to be responsible for her own pleasure, she was happy to take as much or as little as she was given. For now, she was happy to be submissive, and as long as that was the case, House wanted to see, hear, and feel how much she really wanted him, had really wanted him all along. If she hadn't fantasized about him, about this, she wouldn't have let go this easily. She'd done this in her mind dozens of times before, he was sure of it. That's why it was so easy for her to do it now.

While one of his hands still caressed her breast, he rolled slightly to the side, took her hand in the other and wrapped it around his hard cock through his pants. She touched him tentatively at first and then started to stroke him, but he wouldn't allow it, not because he thought he would lose it if she touched him, but because he was going to call the shots and letting her do what she wanted to do would take the power out of his hands. He grabbed her wrist and slid his hand up hers, pressing her palm flat against him and holding it there. He bit gently at the side of her neck, making her gasp and shake against him and then he whispered in her ear "Want that?"

She let out an unsteady breath and moaned, tried to move her hand again, trying to get him to lose control, but he held her hand still as he pressed into her palm. She arched, trying to close the space he'd created between them, wanting the slow, steady rhythm of his hips to rock her back into her erotic haze. He wasn't having any of it, though, and still holding her hand tight, closed her fingers around him, making sure she felt how thick and hard he was. "Do you want this…Allison?" The sound of her name off of his lips had the same effect on her that it had on him earlier. She squeezed him a little tighter, his hand still wrapped around hers and moaned "Yes."

He had his answer (as though he really needed it). He knew now that he had her so far gone he'd gotten her to admit, out loud, that all she could think about was his cock, and he knew he could drive her crazy. He turned the hand he still held over in his, pulled back far enough to make her let go of his other arm, grabbed that wrist too, and pinned her arms down as he settled himself back down on top of her. As soon as he had, he started to move against her again. She bit her lower lip and moaned, and while the sound traveled through House's entire body, he was a little amazed at his control. But he knew his body well enough, he'd been with it over 40 years. He wanted to see what he could do to hers.

His teeth scraped her sensitive skin harder as he pressed into her, going in for the kill. He didn't need any more answers; he just wanted to drive her out of her mind. "Please", she whispered, just loud enough to be audible. God, he loved the sound of her begging. But she could do better. House wanted to hear her moan his name. Still, he rewarded her efforts with a nice long, hard down stroke that made her cry out. He gave her another. She wrapped her right leg around the back of his thigh. In her mind, he was already fucking her, but her body knew otherwise. There was no satisfaction, no friction, no relief. Another. She clenched her fists in his grasp. Another. She was sweating a little now and struggled to free her hands, straining to touch him, to pull him closer, to at least try, somehow, to take the edge off the aching and the need she felt. He held tight, and she realized she was totally helpless. It wouldn't take much now. One more long, slow thrust of his hips and he got what he wanted. "God….Gregplease."

He groaned in satisfaction against her throat, released her wrists, and just barely touching her, traced a hand down her body between them. His fingers trailed up her thigh and she shifted again, raised her leg a little higher against his hip, and held her breath, anticipating his touch. His hand played against her thigh and time stopped for her. She'd waited this long, she could wait a little longer. He kissed her again, tasting her need and her desperation. He was truly amazed that a woman could want him this much, despite all his one liners and cockiness, he really didn't think he was exceptionally desirable. She whimpered in frustration as his tongue left her mouth. His lips hovered just a bit above hers, close enough to feel his breathing, and he smiled smugly, looked her in the eyes and dropped the bomb on her that broke the last of her pride and made her entirely his: "If it's this good through 4 layers of cloth, just imagine what it'll feel like when I'm inside you."

House could have sworn that she almost cried from arousal and lust. His fingers found their target then too, and when he stroked her through her panties and heard the primal, beautiful moan she made and felt for himself what he'd done to her, he almost did lose it. He bit into her collarbone to distract himself, then ran his tongue up the side of her neck. He felt the shiver go through her. "You're so wet I'd slide right in, all the way, all at once, wouldn't I?"

Cameron couldn't take it anymore. She felt like her heart was going to beat out of her chest, or she was going to split in two, or die, or something was going to happen if something didn't happen, and soon. She reached down to unbuckle his belt and got only that far before he stopped her. She looked at him with frustration and something near panic in her eyes. He rose to his knees again and unbuttoned his shirt, shrugging it off his shoulders. Then he reached for the hem of her dress and pushed it up. She arched slightly up and back down so he could get the garment past her shoulders and then there was only 3 layers of cloth between them.

His hand slid inside her panties [he noticed that she didn't wear a thong, rather, a bikini…just like Cameron] and she nearly came at the first contact of his fingers. She felt the electricity shoot down her legs, up her spine, her breathing halted…and then his hand was gone. She heard metal clatter to the floor as he slipped his belt out of its loops, and he looked down at her with a smirk. "Don't you want to save that for the grand finale?" In one smooth motion he kicked off his shoes, and then his pants and his boxers were gone, and he hooked his thumbs into the waistband of her panties and pulled. She arched her hips to give him better access, and he let his knuckles "accidentally" scrape against her hypersensitive clit as he threw them to the side, watching her fight to control her orgasm. Just as he couldn't believe a woman could want him this much, he couldn't believe he could have done this to Cameron. Cameron who he'd wanted for years. The same Cameron who was now so excited – so excited by him – that she was ready to get off at the slightest touch.

And then there was no fabric between them.

House fumbled in his discarded pants for his wallet, and subsequently a condom, but when Cameron realized what he was doing, she voiced her protest. He looked at her quizzically.

"I don't want anything between us. I want to feel all of this. All of you."

"How romantic…and tempting." Her request just turned him on more. There were so many things happening tonight that he hadn't ever experienced, or hadn't experienced in far too long that it was almost too much for his mind to handle. Having a woman beg for the feel of him, raw, inside of her could now be added to the list. Still, he continued to open up the foil packet.

"We don't need…." She tried to protest again.

"Look on the bright side," he quipped as he rolled the condom quickly on, "I'll last longer." She still looked more than a little disappointed. He kissed her hotly as he settled back into the position he'd been in, squared against her between her thighs. "Don't worry", he murmured into her ear as he leaned forward, catching himself on his arm, "I'll still be the best you've ever had." And he pushed forward, blindly, letting his body tell him what to do. This time, though, there was no cloth and no resistance and he slipped slowly, deeply, inside of her.

She ground her teeth, her eyes rolled back. "Oooohhhh…..god…Greg." It was the third time tonight she'd said it, after never having said it before this, and it had never sounded so fantastic. He felt her inner muscles clamp down on him, squeeze him hard, and the pleasure was nearly intolerable, it was so intense it almost hurt. She was as tight as a vice and despite being as wet as she was, the friction was exquisite. He pulled back and thrust forward again, then his instincts took over and he took her harder and faster. Cameron took a deep breath and tried to fight the pleasure building in her, wanting this to last. She knew she was so unbelievably aroused that she could probably cum more than once, but she wanted to go as high as she could go before it happened. She didn't want to fight the pleasure, she wanted to feel it, knowing that she had never been this turned on before and when the release came, it would be like nothing else she'd ever felt before. With one hand on the small of House's back, she steadied his hips and whispered "slow down". Then he realized that she was trying to hold back too. He'd never been able to do this to a woman before, not even Stacy, who he'd been with hundreds of times, whose body he knew almost as well as his own. He could please a woman when he put his mind to it and actually gave a shit, but he'd never gotten one so turned on she had to beg him to slow down so she wouldn't go over the edge too fast. That realization gave him his control back, at least for the time being, and he remembered how much she'd loved the way he moved before he'd gotten her out of her clothes, while they were dry humping like teenagers. He took a deep breath and got that same rhythm back, slowly down and in, hitting bottom, feeling Cameron's body shake and her muscles clench around him, then back out again, then starting down again without pausing at the top of the stroke. Every muscle in House's body was straining not to just slam the hell out of her, but he loved to make her moan and shudder too much, loved the sound of his name on her breath too much, loved the sting of her nails digging into his skin too much to allow himself to do that, but he was only human and he couldn't keep this up forever.

He reached down, grabbed her hips, and pushed into her slowly, just as he had been, but deeper. Her sharp hiss of breath at the end of that stroke told him she liked it. He tried it one more time, just to be sure and got the same result. He reached above her head for the throw pillow on the couch. Catching on to what he had in mind, she raised her hips a little bit and let him put the pillow underneath. He looked into her face as he thrust down again, slowly, deeper than ever. She was in extremes of both agony and ecstasy that he'd never seen before. She threw her arms around him and mumbled something that ended in "so fucking gooood". And that was the end of his control. He'd been hard and aching for over an hour, watching this beautiful woman who, for some reason, couldn't get enough of him, struggle not to cum under his touch, and he couldn't take it anymore. He didn't thrust any harder, or faster, just deeper, impossibly deep, knowing that if Cameron hadn't been so turned on his strokes would have hurt like hell, but in her excited state she couldn't feel the pain, just the pleasure of taking House, beautiful, perfectly flawed Gregory House into her body deeper than she ever thought possible, deeper than she'd ever felt anyone inside her before and when he rocked his hips forward at the end of one of those deliciously slow, deep, perfectly timed strokes he hit the exact right spot and her body shattered. She bit into his shoulder so hard she drew blood, though she didn't know it at the time, and the moan he heard sounded like her soul leaving her body. He managed to choke out "now" before his own release came and she clenched around him one last time, so tight he couldn't have moved again if he wanted to. All motion stopped, time stopped, he thought his heart stopped too as he saw and felt heat course through his body like he'd never felt it before. The only thing he could compare it to was the time he'd stuck the knife in the electrical outlet, except then he'd felt pain and electricity shoot through his body, this time every nerve ending registered nothing but pleasure and release. He couldn't be sure, though, that this wouldn't put him into a coma too.

She was right. He had been different. Everything had been different.

Neither one of them spoke, he just held onto her until she stopped shaking and her breathing evened out, and at some point after her, he had fallen asleep. He was awakened at a little after by fire and battery acid filling his leg and realized he hadn't popped a Vicodin all morning. He staggered over to his jacket, fixed that problem, and got dressed. He didn't know exactly what to do after that, though. He walked over to Cameron and covered her with his overcoat, since she didn't have his body to keep her warm anymore. Without waking up, she took the edge of the material and wrapped it around her. Part of him wanted to wake her up and tell her that he was going home and that she should probably sleep fast if she was staying there, because people would be starting to filter in to work in just a couple of hours, but part of him didn't want to take the chance that she might regret what had happened. For a split second, he considered staying until she woke up. In the end, though, he slipped out the door quietly and limped home. The pain in his leg was excruciating and would be until the Vicodin kicked in. The pain in his soul, though, was lessened just a little bit. That pain would come back too, but at least the walk home wasn't as agonizing as it normally was.

She wasn't there when he came back a few hours later, and he hadn't really thought she would be. Just because he was in the habit of staying up for days at a time didn't mean he expected the same from everyone else. In fact she didn't get in until after lunch. He didn't call her and made the appropriate excuses to Cuddy and the rest of the team, but at several times during the day he did stop and read the note he'd found in his overcoat, which had been folded neatly and placed on his chair: You'll still be beautiful tomorrow.

To be continued….