Over the remainder of the day, Dr. Allison Cameron became acquainted with extremes of nervousness and excitement that she hadn't before even dreamed were possible. She knew that tonight House would expect nothing less than everything. She trusted him completely, and found herself wanting to give in to him and give herself to him more than she'd ever wanted anything before, which scared her a little and excited her even more. Still, she also knew that she hadn't even begun to feel the heat of the blue inferno that lit his eyes when he'd looked at her this afternoon, and remembered what she'd thought of a few days ago about fire and remembered something long buried in a high school chemistry class: blue flame burns hottest. She knew that after tonight, the part of her that had to control everything and keep everyone at a distance would be melted away if House got his way. She, of course, had every intention of making sure he did.
On the other side of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Dr. Gregory House was feeling much the same way as his female counterpart, but for different reasons. He didn't like to lose, and he liked to lose even less when what was at stake was something he cared so much about keeping. If Allison denied him tonight, if she wasn't willing or able to show him in ways he could understand and believe that she wanted and loved him as much as she said she did, the emptiness inside of him would be complete. He also knew what she expected of him: everything. She said it went both ways and she was right; he could ask nothing of her that he wasn't prepared to give, and he wasn't sure how far he would be able to go to keep her. Being willing wasn't the issue, he was more than willing, he just didn't know if he could tell her in ways that she could trust and understand what he felt and wanted. He knew that tonight, if what he thought would happen happened, she'd offer up her body and her heart to him, she'd freefall without a net, and he didn't know for sure if he had what it took to be there to catch her. For the first time in House's life, he doubted himself and was genuinely scared.
The undercurrent of anticipation, arousal, and uncertainty on the ride across town to get his car was electric and palpable. They made small talk, neither speaking of what was to happen as neither was entirely sure, and there was no point in discussing it anyway because they weren't at his apartment yet, and that was the setting in which the evening 's events – whatever they may be – were to take place. Besides, Cameron didn't really want to know what lay ahead, or what was in House's mind. Conversation would get them nowhere anyway; whatever happened over the course of night was the deciding factor. They'd gone as far as they could with words.
At cruising speed on the highway, Cameron rested her wrist on the gearshift and stopped talking. House reached out and gently trailed his fingers down her arm, slowly, from her shoulder to her wrist, barely touching her skin and making her break out in gooseflesh. A tingle ran up her spine in the same way it did when someone gently scratched her back or played with her hair. She looked over at him and saw his face was a complex mixture of all of the feelings the night would unveil. There was confusion, lust, possessiveness, and something softer too that made Cameron's heart hurt. House's eyes truly were the window to his soul, and so many times she'd seen in them what he wished he could say, all the things he held just below the surface that he felt would make him lose his strength if they ever bubbled to the top.
His hand glanced over the back of her hand and came to rest on her thigh, where it squeezed gently and gave a hint and a promise of what was to come. His grip was warm and strong, reminding Cameron of the strength and control that House possessed, control not only over himself, but over her too, and the reminder was reassuring. She knew that no matter what happened tonight or after, she could rely on him to take care of her and keep her safe.
"You're not stopping me." His hand crept up her thigh a fraction of an inch as she guided the car off of the highway.
"I didn't think preventing you from touching me was part of the plan." Her eyes sparkled with anticipation. It was only a few more blocks to the bar where House had left his car, and then 15 minutes back to his apartment.
"I didn't know there was a plan."
"Yeah…right," she scoffed. "You probably have everything already mapped out in your head, complete with flow charts."
"I don't. Scout's Honor."
"See? You were never a Boy Scout. You have a plan. You always do."
"When haven't you?"
"I can't remember, but I'm sure there was at least one time."
"Maybe back in grade school, before you'd fully honed your skills."
"OK, so what if I have a plan? You and I both know that not too many things in life actually go as planned." They reached House's car, and found an advantage to driving a 10 year old beater: it hadn't been stolen or vandalized despite being parked in the annals of New Jersey all night and half the day.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Cameron wasn't annoyed, she was genuinely curious.
"Exactly what it means." House put both feet on the ground, grabbed has cane from the floor and stood up. "I'll meet you at my place in about 15 and we'll see what happens." He sounded confident and detached as usual, but deep down they both knew that wasn't how he felt. Cameron watched him get in his car and head down the back street, then started toward House's apartment herself. A million thoughts raced through her head. What if this was it? What if this was their last night together. What if House couldn't find it in himself to be with her? What if it wasn't the end? What then? What if, what if, what if. There was only one way to find out "what if" and that was to keep her car on its current course. She'd never wanted to get to a destination more, but she'd also never been more nervous about it.
Fifteen minutes wasn't enough time to talk herself out of such an important decision and so, before Cameron even realized it, she was at House's stoop. He let her in before she had a chance to knock. She closed the door behind her, and suddenly there was no outside world. The walls of his apartment felt both claustrophobic and comforting; there was no "out", but she couldn't imagine why she'd want to leave. Despite the imperative both of those circumstances caused, Cameron still found herself motionless and speechless. She wondered what action could possibly be the "right" thing to do or say during a moment of such gravity. Not finding an answer, she did and said nothing. She suddenly felt very exposed and self conscious, like a high school girl waiting in the living room for her prom date who's five minutes late.
House leaned back against the couch, bad leg crossed over good, the picture of poise, confidence, and self control. Too bad he'd already decided that he had to be the strong one tonight, because his insides were falling apart. He didn't know what to do either, but his pants were fighting a war with his head and his heart was caught in the crossfire. It had been that way since the first time. It wasn't that he didn't love Cameron. He always had. It was that he knew himself too well, and knew that one way or the other he'd push her away before she could hurt him, and he didn't know how he'd live with himself if he hurt her in the process. He wanted, more than anything, to be what she wanted, would have given his other leg for the ability to love her the way she deserved to be loved and the way he wanted to love her, but he doubted his ability to get his actions to match his feelings. He wanted her to leave, he also just plain wanted her, but he also knew there was no way he could let her go. He was in too deep and he felt too much. It had been the only time in his life where he held himself back from what his gut told him was right, and he hoped it was worth it in the end.
"So?" Someone had to break the silence, House guessed, or they'd never get anywhere. Trivialities were better than nothing.
"So?" Cameron asked back playfully. "What happened to your plan?"
"Told you, didn't have one." He motioned her over to him with a subtle beckoning gesture. "Come here."
Spellbound, Cameron closed the few short steps between them and slipped into the arms that welcomed her, settled on the crest of her hips and clasped behind her, leaving her legs outside of the both of his. He kissed her, tenderly but possessively, until she wondered if she'd ever actually had a skeleton in the first place, since no bone in her body seemed to want to do anything except collapse against House. At this point, the back of the couch was holding both of them up. She took in a few shallow breaths, trying to force enough air into her lungs to sustain her through another kiss like the last and leaned into him again. He stopped her with a gentle hand on her shoulder. She looked at him, confused, but found comfort in his eyes. "Slow…we'll get there." She realized then it wasn't a rejection and he was right, they had things to talk about, one way or the other.
She mimicked his gesture then, locking her arms behind his neck in the same way his were around her waist and laid her head on his shoulder, just feeling. He was warm and solid against her, and her head seemed to fit perfectly into the crook of his neck in this position. She could smell his spicy, woodsy cologne, laundry soap, and the scent of his own skin. She'd always known when he'd been in a room before her, her senses were so attuned to him that they had had programmed themselves to keep a lookout. Breathing him into her this way was familiar and comforting, a constant in all of this uncertainty. He slid one hand up to her shoulder blades and pressed her closer before wrapping his fingers around her shoulder and pulling her away slightly. She fought it, wanting to stay this close to him forever. "Look at me." His voice was softer than she'd ever heard it before, it was like every tear he'd ever wanted to cry, but held instead came out through is mouth at that moment. He sounded so tender, but so sad at the same time.
She slowly met his eyes with hers and was struck all over again by their beautiful shade of cerulean blue. She'd never seen eyes so blue and was almost sure she never would again, and could never quite get herself to believe that color occurred in nature. He was just so damn beautiful.
"You're looking at me like that again." Apparently in House's mind, "like that" had already been previously established.
"Like what?" Cameron had an idea of exactly how she was looking at him, something like love and lust and empathy and protectiveness all rolled into one, but she wanted to hear what her eyes said to him.
"Like I can do no wrong. And that's not really fair to either of us, because I can, I have, I do, and I will. I'm not a fallen angel. I'm not any kind of angel."
Cameron remembered all the times they'd locked eyes, if even for a second, even in the sight of everyone else. They knew what they were saying without needing words to say it, knowing the words would actually ruin it. She wondered if it had been written all over her face the entire time, and she wondered if he'd always felt like this, like she thought he was something he only wished he could be.
"Why would you think that's how I feel? Do you forget what I've seen?" She gently pried his left arm off her hip and turned it over gently in her hand. She traced the 3 perfectly aligned cuts that were now just ghostly red and white scars with her finger. "I was here that night, remember? I patched you up, right on this couch. And you didn't even try to hand me some lie as to how it happened." She kissed the scars gently, reverently, and House flinched as if they were still new, bleeding wounds. He didn't want to remember that he'd actually gotten so low, been in so much pain, that he'd done… "And you let me in. If you didn't want me to know, you wouldn't have. You couldn't ask for help with words, you couldn't tell me about your pain, so you just opened the door instead hoping I'd take the hint. Did I come in, or did I run?"
"You came in." His voice was just above a whisper.
"So what makes you think I'm going to change my mind now?"
"It's different now."
"You're in my life now. You'll see it almost every day."
"Greg…" He looked up at her, shame and confusion and love in her eyes. "I already see it almost every day. I spend more time with you, with Chase and Foreman too, than with anyone else in my life. That's what being a doctor is. And I'm still here, in your arms, in your bed…well…over you couch." She smiled slightly. "Nothing's different."
"OK, fine, but it'll be different. When you're with me it's a whole other ball game. The part of me that wants you around will get annoyed that you even looked at "man" like Chase, ever, and will do everything in its power to make sure that I make sure you stay. Then, the part of me that's scared of getting hurt will make your life a misery and try to push you away. Remember that "go away a little closer" thing I told you about? Every time I tell myself I'm not going to do it. Every time, I do."
"So don't do it. You think I don't have any issues with relationships? I obviously do, since I'm here. With you." She smiled again. Her fault was she didn't do "serious discussion" that well either. House deflected his way out, she tried to joke her way out. At some point, maybe he'd realize that she really did understand. "What you do is up to you. If you don't want me to go away, don't push me away. Simple. It doesn't have to be any different."
"Oh. OK. I wish I'd met you sooner, you were the answer to all my problems." He was snarky as usual, but his words lacked the affronted edge they normally would in such a context.
"All I know is this is supposed to feel good. If you don't feel good being with me…then the last thing I want is to cause you any more pain. All I can give you is my word that I would never do that intentionally, and I honestly can't think of anything you could do so awful that it would scare me away. You're hurt and angry and frustrated. But you're not cold, just rational. And you're not evil. I don't want to fix you either – that feeling of protectiveness you have toward me? Same feeling. I'll take you the way you are. This all I can give you. You already have everything else."
"Almost everything. But the night is young." His words dripped with unfulfilled longing and hope. "Does it feel good? Being with me?"
"Foreman asked me once if it hurt when I was with you, asked me if it hurt in my stomach but kind of felt good too. I don't remember what I said, but it was agony…to stand so close to you and not be able to touch…." She ran her fingers through his hair, trailed them slowly down the side of his neck, her hand finally coming to rest on his chest. "To see the pain in your eyes and not be able to hold you…" She moved her other hand to the back of his neck. "To lay awake at night, wondering what it would be like to kiss you, and not know…" Her lips brushed his, barely touching. He was too awestruck to kiss her properly. He knew she'd wanted him. He'd had no idea she'd felt like this.
"Does it still hurt?"
"A little. Sometimes."
"Show me where."
She took his hand and put it over her heart. "There. But it's getting better. Those pains just take time to heal, that's all." His face was still a mask of composure, but inside, House was sobbing. And breaking. He'd set out tonight to be what he'd always thought a man should be, strong, aloof, above it all, but here she was, the woman he'd always wanted, telling him that for years she'd hurt, ached, longed for him and because he had to be above it all she'd kept silent. How could anyone, man, woman or beast, hold themselves strong in the face of this?
He kissed her like a man suffocating and her mouth, his only chance at breath. Cameron clung to him viciously, nothing else in the world existed for her at that moment. She was his, god damn it, finally, and she didn't care about being in control anymore, she didn't care about being hurt anymore, she finally had the man she'd wanted, loved, for 3 years and she would be damned if she was going to let her fears and her ego get in the way. She only hoped at some point, he came to the same conclusion but for now nothing else mattered except his mouth, his tongue, his body, his hands, his breath…there was nothing else. He grabbed her hips, holding her so tightly that her spine was bent into a slightly unnatural position but she didn't mind, the discomfort proved to her that this was real, it both shocked and heightened her senses and made her try to press closer to him still.
House was suddenly overcome with the desire to prove…something. He didn't know what, or how, he could barely even remember where or who he was, he couldn't think past the emotions he was feeling or the sensations his body was feeling, he'd never been this close to anyone literally or figuratively and he couldn't be expected to feel all of what he was feeling and think at the same time. Somehow, his body, his brain, and his heart all managed to agree and they were all threatening to explode but he felt like if it happened, if he died right now, he could never ask for anything more.
Cameron was still leaning against him, probably unable to stand on her own with her point of balance so far skewed, and in one quick motion House managed to spin them around so that she was leaning against the back of the couch, then squatted down slightly, grabbed her by the back of the thighs and lifted her up onto the back of the couch. She gasped in surprise and the confirmation that yes, he really was that strong and yes, he really had been holding back and holding back a lot, but he could have done anything to her or with her and she wouldn't have cared. Once the shock wore off, she joined him in his mindset – it was all or nothing after all, nothing held back, nothing spared. She'd told him all she could, being only slightly better with words and sentiments than he was (which wasn't saying much) and all in all, she'd felt she'd done a pretty good job of expressing herself. Even still, there were times that words fell short and this was one of those times. She had to have him, all of him, had to feel real, physical proof of what he said and what he felt, needed to see and feel the connection between them in a way that no words could ever express.
House felt a little off balance, he wasn't used to feeling any of…this…for any woman he'd been with, and in the still-slightly-coherent part of his mind wondered if he was befouling the moment manhandling Cameron like this, but he literally couldn't stop himself. He'd swallowed so much desire and feelings for her in the last few years, denied it and drowned it any way he could, that it had to come out. She'd given him the green light, told him she needed him, needed this, and he was going to make absolutely sure that she knew he understood and reciprocated every word she said. He wanted to see, for once in his life, what it would be like if he just let his mind go.
His hands were everywhere on her at once, and before he knew it she was completely naked except for her bra and panties and he was down to his jeans. Someplace far off in his mind he found it slightly comical, because he really had no idea when all of the disrobing had happened or how it had happened, but the comedy only lasted a split second because the disrobing had happened. He grabbed her hips, pulling her towards him, her still sitting and him standing and scraped his teeth down the side of her neck, biting at the curve of her shoulder. It would probably leave a mark, but he really didn't care, she was his and he was going to make sure everybody knew it. She groaned in pain and pleasure and dug her nails into the skin of his shoulders as his lips went lower, finding the curve of her breast and biting there, knowing that one was really going to bruise and smiling to himself knowing she'd remember him in the shower and in front of the mirror for at least a week. He kissed her again, a fiery, lovelustpossession, passion charged kiss and looked her deep in the eyes afterward.
What Cameron saw would stay burned into her mind forever, no matter what happened between them. She had, for the first time in her life, witnessed cool, calm, not-giving-a -shit Gregory House lose every little shred of his control and he looked spectacular. In fact, she had to close her eyes for a moment and let out a shuddering breath or she felt for sure she'd die of beauty and amazement right where she sat.
"So. Allison." He ran his tongue up her neck from collar bone to earlobe.
"Yes…" He wanted to talk?
"Does it hurt anywhere else?"
"Show me where."
She took his hand again, just about as tenderly as she had the first time, and put it over the wet crotch of her panties. He wriggled his fingers inside and whispered some barely understandable obscenity when he felt how dripping wet she was.
"This for me?"
"All for you. Because of you."
He was overcome. No woman had ever wanted him like this, had ever responded to him like this. Her body couldn't lie, and she couldn't seem to get enough of him, his slightest touch drove her crazy and he himself couldn't totally understand it. He hooked his fingers into the waistband of her panties from the inside and pulled down, and she leaned back, allowing him to slip them off. He knelt down slowly and opened her with his fingers.
"What're you doing?"
"What do you think? You told me it hurt. I was going to kiss it and make it better." He punctuated his thought by running his tongue flat between her lips, slowly, making her feel dirty and sexy and exposed all at once. Part of her wanted to stop him but the other part of her didn't want to deny him anything, and that part won. Besides, it felt way too good to stop him. He pointed his tongue and explored a little more, testing and teasing and figuring out what she liked the best. Cameron felt like she'd been thrown into freezing cold water. She could only gasp and even then, only inhale, and feared for a moment that she might pass out if she couldn't take a decent breath and soon. If she'd thought he had talented hands, his mouth was unbelievable. His tongue was firm and soft at the same time, wet and warm, his rough beard chafed her thighs red but the pain only amplified the pleasure. She laced her fingers in his hair, trying to get some control over the onslaught of sensation that took over her body but then again not sure she wanted to try to control it but she couldn't even breathe.
"Greg…I can't…" she managed to gasp out, and he slowed down a little, finally finding a rhythm. "I can't take it. I…oh god. I can't stand it. Please."
"Yeah you can. Relax." He just wanted to please her, it turned him on more than anything to make her feel this good. He locked his elbows against her hips and held her lower back in his hands so she wouldn't have to waste any energy trying to hold herself up and picked up where he'd left off. He knew if he could just get her past the point of feeling overstimulated she'd come like never before. He started slowly, feeling her climb higher and higher, her muscles shaking and tensing and then went a little faster, faster still, firmer. He'd been with her enough times now to know when she was close, and he knew she was right on the edge. He slowly slid two fingers inside her, careful not to go too fast and startle her out of the place she was in and then closed his lips around her and sucked. Her moans sounded almost pained as she came in his hand and his mouth and he stood up as quickly as he could to hold onto her and let her come down slow and ride out the aftershocks.
"Good god where did you learn that."
"Boy Scouts", he said primly. "Bedroom?"
They made their way down the hall, and House skinned off his pants in the bedroom and lay down. Cameron stayed standing and alternated between staring into his eyes to staring at his physical reaction to her.
"You're looking at me like that again." This time, they both knew what "like that" was.
"I like what I see. And by the way: This?" She ran the back of her hand down House's right thigh, right over the scar that he felt defined him. "It doesn't bother me. I don't want to hear about it again. I told you I wanted you the way you are. That means everything. All or nothing, remember?"
"All or nothing. Yeah. I remember. OK."
"You're just staying that because you're horny."
"Fine, then ask me again in an hour or so."
Cameron blinked. "Hour?"
"Yeah. I'm 49. You forget…this is time the third time today. Frankly I'm surprised I can do it again. You inspire me. But be warned. I'm gonna last for-ever." With the last syllable he pulled her on top of him and arched his hips so he slipped in to the hilt all at once. Cameron closed her eyes and sighed, he felt bigger somehow, he'd always felt good, but this was heavenly, and then she realized…
"You're not wearing a…"
"You forget again. I had your test results. I've always been safe, and I don't plan on being with anybody but you for a damn long time, I figured it was OK."
"Oh yeah…it's great." She had no idea how much more friction there'd be without a condom. He felt so much thicker, harder. She rode him painfully slow, kissing him, touching him, letting his hands roam all over her body, loving the sensations of being touched and caressed, loving him, and before too long her body recharged it's energy and took over for her, riding him harder and faster. It was starting to get to him too, his eyes closed and his breathing quickened, his hands fell to her hips and held there, guiding her but preventing her from doing too much too soon. He wanted to feel every second of this but she wanted more, too much, and in a quick motion that surprised him as well as her he rolled with her, never coming out and thrust into her slowly, never wanting it to be over but knowing that soon, it would be. He just wanted to drag it out as long as he could.
She wrapped her arms around him, moaning, pleading, begging, harder Greg please, harder, trying to arch her hips, grind against him, something, anything just more. He pushed into her all the way and stopped. "Oh god don't stop, please don't stop, please." Although House was convinced that the sound of her pleading like that, wanting him like that wouldn't ever stop turning him on, he bent down and whispered in her ear "Don't I always give you what you need?" Cameron just moaned and tried to move, somehow, trying to satisfy her more immediate needs. "Answer me…don't I?" His voice was gentle but insistent. "Yes." And she didn't just mean like this, in bed.
"Then trust me. Be patient. Don't rush it." He drew back and thrust slowly in again. "Doesn't this feel good?"
"God yes." The words came out as one word, one breath.
"Then why do you want it to be over so soon?"
"I don't…I just need to…"
"That's only a few seconds…but this…ooooh…this…." He was moving almost too slowly, even for him, but he just couldn't stand the thought of this being over.
"I know. You're right. It's just…the way you make me feel… I just…I need it. So bad. Please. Greg." The sound of her moaning his name always broke him, probably always would. He hoped she never figured that out. A few sharp, deep strokes was all it took for both of them, and he was staring into her eyes when it happened. It got no. better. Than. This.
Neither moved for a few long minutes…could have been five, could have been an hour. Finally Cameron stirred and House slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her against him. "Stay." It was all he had to say. Even if he couldn't say anything else, tonight or ever, that one word was enough. She said nothing, just settled back against him.
"What about tomorrow?" She was overthinking and she knew it, but no matter how much she wanted to believe otherwise, House was right, things were different now.
"I was thinking coffee, breakfast, shower, maybe sex in the shower depending on if I can rise to the occasion for the 4th time in 24 hours or not, clothes and work. Isn't that what most people do in the morning?"
"Guess so. Are you driving then?"
"As in, taking both of us?"
"I could. But what will everyone think?" He knew he was an ass, but he had to say it, even though he was smiling, no, nearly grinning, as he did.
" 'Night. Hey…Allison?"
"Does it still hurt?"
A/N – I know I set myself up for a real flash-bang "all or nothing" ending. I hope I was able to deliver. This chapter was the hardest to write but oddly enough, the most rewarding. There's a few personal bits of me in this part, I hope the sentiment came through and I also hope you enjoyed. More stories to come when my muse visits me once again.