Ghosts of the Past
A House fan fiction by phoenixgirl23
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any aspect of House MD... yet. Give me time to win Lotto.
AUTHORS NOTE: I haven't uploaded any stories in awhile, I've just been collecting them on my computer. I found a whole stack of early, handwritten fan fics that I had written when I first started watching House; and decided it would be good to type them up and upload them. Of course, they have changed a bit since I originally wrote them, but if you don't like them, you can at least appreciate how much my writing has grown. Also, I've updated my profile, so please read and feel free to comment. As always, please no flames. If you like the story, or have constructive criticism to offer, great. If you don't like it, don't read it. Simple.
"Any plans for this weekend?" Chase asked his co-workers as they sat in the conference room.
House, sitting in a chair by the door, raised an eyebrow. "It's only Wednesday."
"It's Thursday," Cameron corrected him, not looking up.
He shrugged dismissively. "My point is, your life is so bad you start planning your weekend before Friday?"
Foreman snorted. "Yeah. Don't you?"
"You can only make weekend plans in advanced if you have a life," Cameron said dryly and House looked at her in shock.
"Ouch," he said in mock pain, and she rolled her eyes.
"Jim and Sara invited me to dinner," she said, answering Chase's question, and referring to her sister, Sara who was now living in Princeton and in a relationship with Wilson for almost a year.
"But I'm not sure if I'll go."
"Couple overload?" Foreman said knowingly and she grimaced.
"Yeah. It was sweet... for the first two months. Now that they're living together... I tend to limit my exposure," she laughed lightly and Foreman and Chase grinned, as the three returned to their work.
"Are you guys busy?"
Shortly after, House looked up from his magazine to see Cuddy standing in the doorway. He glanced around the conference room, making a big show out of studying his employees' activities. Chase was doing the finishing paperwork on their most-recently diagnosed patient; Foreman was reading a medical journal; and Cameron was researching a journal article of her own.
"Define busy?" he asked her lightly, and she ignored him as his fellows gave the Dean of Medicine their full attention.
"What's up?" Chase asked her. "A new case?"
"No," she shook her head. "I've just hired a new intern for radiology. Dr. Goodman wants him to assist with any of your cases if you ever need him, so I've asked him to come up and meet you all. He'll be here in a few minutes."
House frowned. "So, you hired a guy and pawned him off to Goodman; who now is trying to pawn him off on us? Geez, the guy must be a complete loser!"
Cuddy rolled her eyes. "He's not being pawned off! Goodman thinks working with you is a good learning experience. He went to med school late, so he's older than most interns. Goodman's just trying to catch him up."
"How late is late?" asked Foreman.
Cuddy shrugged. "He's probably about your age, Cameron. But he seems like a nice enough guy, he's very eager to learn."
Cameron nodded. "That's good. What's his name?"
"Brad Armstrong," Cuddy replied.
In his peripheral vision, House's gaze moved to Cameron in sudden interest as he watched all her colour abruptly drain from her face. Chase noticed this too.
"Cameron? Are you okay?" he asked in concern.
Cameron nodded faintly, seemingly a million miles away. "Yeah, I'm- I'm fine. I think I just need to eat something... excuse me."
She stood up and left the room, leaving Chase and Foreman to exchange bewildered stares.
"That was weird," Foreman said, his eyes anxious.
"Very weird," Chase agreed. "What was that all about?"
Cuddy looked around at House, as confused as the rest of them. "Do you know what happened?"
House shrugged. "Nope. But I know how to find out."
He stood up and limped over to the wall that separated his office from Wilson's, and began knocking repeatedly on the wall with his cane. A moment later, Wilson and Sara entered the conference room, both looking annoyed.
"You know, there's this newfangled invention called the telephone; and I'm pretty sure it works just as well as banging on the wall," Wilson said dryly.
"I'm saving electricity," House retorted. "Besides, it's your girlfriend I want to talk to."
He turned to a bewildered Sara. "Any idea why the name Brad Armstrong would cause your sister to have a panic attack?"
Sara's jaw dropped. "Brad Armstrong?"
"See, almost identical reaction," House observed. "I knew you dating Cameron's sister would be a good thing," he muttered to Wilson, who scoffed.
"That's not how I remember it."
He faced Sara, his interest too, now peaked. "Who's this guy, Sara?"
Sara was obviously flustered as she answered. "Uh, Brad was Allie's high school boyfriend," she explained.
"Oh. So he dumped her, she cried, he dated her best friend and lived happily ever after. Moving on," House said dismissively.
"No, it's not that simple," Sara interrupted, and her tone was such that they all sat down, even House, to listen to her story.
"Brad was the star of the football team, and he and Allison started going out at the beginning of their senior year. Brad's father had also been the star quarterback when he was at school, and he put a lot of pressure on Brad to be just as good as he was. When football season started, college scouts started coming to games, and everyone wants you to win every game, the pressure builds. And eventually..."
"Brad turned to drugs," Foreman finished for her.
Sara nodded. "Steroids," she confirmed. "And Brad loved being the star of the team. He loved being popular and the attention; Allie was cheerleading captain-"
"Typical," House muttered under his breath.
"-so it was one of those high profile relationships. Brad became convinced he was the best thing to happen to the school, and the town. He started telling Allie how lucky she was that she was with him, and became incredibly jealous and possessive... and then.... and then he started to hit her."
Cuddy gasped, and a shocked silence filled the room, following this statement.
"Brad put her in hospital twice. Once after he lost a game to their biggest rivals in front of his father and some college scouts that had come to see him. And the second time, when he found out she applied for colleges on the East Coast. He'd expected her to go wherever he went." Sara explained.
House rolled his eyes. "Only your sister could be naive enough to go back to a guy that hit her. For how long? About a year?"
"Nine months," Sara replied tightly, her eyes angry. "And it wasn't like that. Ok, yeah, the first time he hit her, she wanted to believe that he loved her enough to not hurt her again. But after the first few months, she knew that if she didn't take him back, he'd hurt her even worse. It was actually safer to stay with him. After the second time he put her in hospital, that was when she left him, and he actually threatened to kill her and himself if she left."
"Is he still on drugs?" Chase asked her.
Sara shook her head. "I don't think so. He got busted the summer after graduation by his father, who was furious. I'm going to go find Allie," she said to Wilson, who nodded in agreement.
"Wow!" House exclaimed, the second she had left the room. "I knew she was damaged, but this was beyond my wildest dreams!"
"Congratulations, you've solved a puzzle," Foreman said sarcastically.
There was a quiet knock on the door, and they turned as one to see a tall man with a stocky build in the doorway.
"Dr. Cuddy," he greeted her, offering her his hand, which she reluctantly took.
"Dr. Armstrong," she nodded cordially. "I'd like you to meet Drs. House, Chase, Foreman and Wilson."
House watched carefully, as Armstrong swept them all over and his face fell slightly in disappointment before a polite smile was slipped on to his face as he shook their hands.
"It's nice to meet you. I'm very much looking forward to working with you, and I hope that in time we can all- Allie!" His voice broke off suddenly, his gaze fixed on the opposite doorway.
The team turned to see Cameron and Sara in the doorway. Cameron was still pale and clutching her sister's arm tightly, her eyes wide as though seeing a ghost.
"Allie, it's so good to see you again," he said eagerly, broaching the distance between them.
"Hey, Brad, how've you been?" Sara said in forced brightness, tearing his gaze away from her sister.
Armstrong stared at her, clearly noticing her for the first time, and his surprise at seeing her there, really threw him.
"Sara? You're here too. I didn't know you were a doctor."
"I'm not, actually, I'm a freelance journalist," Sara replied smugly. "But my sister is, and my boyfriend is, so I hang out here a lot."
"Oh, right. Well... good," Armstrong murmured, keeping his gaze on Cameron, who was beginning to shake slightly.
Cuddy saw this and intervened. "Uh, Dr. Armstrong, why don't I show you around, there's still some things I need to go through."
"Sure boss," Armstrong reluctantly turned and nodded politely to the others, before heading out to the hall.
"Just give me a sec," they heard Cuddy tell him, and she approached Cameron.
"Cameron, I'm so sorry. If I'd known-"
"It's fine," Cameron cut her off. "You couldn't have known, it'll be fine," she promised. Cuddy didn't look convinced but nodded and left the office.
Once Cuddy and Armstrong were out of her sight, Cameron's resolve gave out, and she sank shakily into the closest chair, and Chase went and got her a glass of water.
"Thanks, Chase," she said gratefully, taking a sip. Then she looked up at Sara, and frowned, her voice stronger.
"Do you know what really confuses me? Why would Brad of all people become a doctor? Remember Freddy?"
Sara snorted with laughter at the memory, and the sisters were met by confused frowns.
"Freddy?" Foreman asked.
Cameron explained. "Our high school had a pond in the middle of the quadrangle, where they would grow frogs for the junior biology classes to dissect each year. And some of them had names. When my class had to dissect them, Brad was given Freddy. Brad's lab partner made one cut, and Brad was out cold. He can't deal with blood, he never could... so why become a doctor?"
"And a radiologist at that," House added, and Wilson and Cameron rolled their eyes.
"Are you going to be able to work with him?" Foreman asked her and she smiled.
"I'm not working with him. He just happens to be working in the same hospital as I am. Unless we ever need help from radiology on a case, I'll probably never see him. It happened over ten years ago, and we're both adults. I just wasn't expecting to see him again. It'll be fine," she assured them.
That night found Cameron alone in the office, as usual. Chase and Foreman had left half an hour prior, House almost an hour before them; and she had been so caught up in her research that she had lost track of time. Realising it was after six, she began to gather her things, making a mental list of everything she needed to get when she stopped at the supermarket on her way home.
Cameron jumped and looked up to see Armstrong in the doorway, speaking cheerfully to her as though they were best friends.
"What do you want?" she asked sighing tiredly.
"Just thought it would be nice to talk. Maybe we could go get a drink or something?" he suggested.
Cameron snorted. "Right. How about when hell freezes over?" she retorted and Brad sighed.
"Come on, Al. I just want to catch up," he said, smiling charmingly but Cameron wasn't convinced.
"Tough. I'm going home," she said and shrugged into her jacket.
"I heard about your husband," he said suddenly and Cameron paused.
"How the hell do you know about him?" she demanded.
"My mom told me. She works with your mom, remember? I'm sorry," he told her, and he almost sounded sincere.
"Thanks," Cameron mumbled, and he came a little closer.
"Why did you become a doctor?" she demanded, her curiosity getting the better of her.
He grinned. "Why not?"
"Freddy the frog."
Armstrong at least had the decency to blush. "Ok, touché. The truth is... I wanted to see you again. I figured if I was in the business, I'd have a better chance."
"And what could you possibly want to meet me again for?"
Armstrong came even closer, and he smiled. "I still love you. And I know you love me. I thought we ended hastily, and I thought we should give us another chance."
Cameron stared at him in amazement. "Are you kidding me? You abused me! You hit me! And you think I still love you? That I ever loved you? Any chance I ever had of loving you died the second you first hit me. How could you ever think I would want to be with you?"
Armstrong shrugged. "Well, I'm single... you're single. And you're not getting any younger. I can't imagine many guys fancy dating a woman who was widowed at twenty-one."
Cameron stared at him in shock. "You're pathetic. It's not as if I wear a neon sign displaying that fact, and if a guy really loved me, the fact I have a dead husband shouldn't bother them. Now, stay the hell away from me, and don't talk to me about anything non-medically related."
She picked up her bag and headed past him to the corridor. Just before she reached the door, Armstrong furiously grabbed her by the wrist and twisted her around to face him. Cameron let out an involuntary cry of pain as her wrist was bent backwards, but Armstrong ignored her.
"You remember this part, right Allie? I don't want to hurt you, but I know you love me. And the sooner you realise that, the easier it'll be for everyone. I've always gotten what I want, and I want you. So, I'd be very careful of what you're telling people about us."
Cameron whitened as he threatened her, then wrenched her arm out of his grasp and strode from the room, not looking back.
A/N: I know I've done a few stories where Cameron has a sister who hooks up with Wilson, and trust me, there's more coming; but I usually do it for a reason. For example, in this story, I need her to know Cameron's history with Armstrong.