Lifetime's Journey

A/N: Just done a little editing for phrasing and such—I had posted it in a hurry before.

WARNING: This story contains angst, and deals with the controversial belief of reincarnation. Also involves something of a Cameron/Chase pairing (as well as the obvious House/Cam). Read at your own risk.

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Unnecessary disclaimer: None of the characters appearing in the TV show "House, M. D." belong to me.

Abstract: They'll have to wait for another chance; another lifetime. One-shot, set in season 5.

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Gregory House. From the moment she set eyes on him in the interview, she knew there was something different about him.

There was an undeniable attraction, electricity, magic. And some strange sort of familiarity.

She was fairly certain she had never met Dr. House before that moment, but something inside her always questioned her logic.

His gaze was magnetic. Looking into his eyes was like looking into her own soul. She never understood it, they never discussed it, but she knew he felt it as well.

Things had come to a head recently. She had been having these dreams—nightmares, she corrected herself. They always began beautifully. Mountains, ocean, and green that was too bright to be believed. And him. But rather than secret rendezvous and stolen moments crackling with sexual tension, they loved openly. He ran unhindered with their children on the beach. But it never lasted. She was ripped away, the sorrow of loss nearly unbearable as she woke in her bedroom, with another man lying beside her.

Robert. She loved him, and because of that, could never tell him of her dreams. Their relationship had none of the chemistry that she had with House, but he loved her deeply and treated her like a queen. She twisted the engagement ring on her finger. Marrying him was the right decision, she knew.

She closed her eyes, willing herself to slumber. She did so, but was soon awakened by another dream, crying out in the agony of loss. The feeling, though fleeting during the moments of sleep and waking, was like losing everyone she had ever loved.

Chase awoke. "Allison, what's wrong?" He saw her tearstained face in the moonlight.

"Another nightmare," she said quietly. "I'll be fine."

Robert Chase wiped away the tears with his thumb. "Promise?"

"Yeah," she responded, closing her eyes.

"Night, Allison," Chase said to a silent room.

-

Even with her wedding imminent, her interactions with House had lost none of their intensity. Every moment with him was a struggle to keep afloat, to avoid drowning in the sea of his blue eyes.

Those blue eyes were always upon hers, daring her to look. It was as if he wanted her to drown. As much as she wanted to surrender, self-preservation always won out.

She used to be able to join her gaze with his, but ever since the dreams she had felt so compromised. She had once looked deep within them to discover the secrets that hid inside them about him, about herself. No fear of drowning, though the danger had always been there. But these days, she was afraid he would lose everything with one look.

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With only days before her wedding, Cameron was busy; she had seen House very little. This made it easy for her to avoid confronting her thoughts about him. Easy, at least, until she tucked herself in beside Chase every night.

The dream began again. It was never exactly the same. This time, she cooked dinner for her husband and two boys in the tiny cottage cradled between the mountains and the sea. She went to compose herself before dinner. She laughed, joyfully enjoying the antics of her sons as she lifted the hand mirror to her face. It felt as if the world stopped when she locked eyes with herself in the mirror.

She was not herself. Or, rather, she did not look like herself. She ran her fingers across lines in her face. She was aged. And not so thin either, she realized from a look down at her figure. Confused, she looked at herself again in the mirror. She was herself… and yet, not.

In her confusion she looked over at her husband. He, too, was House, and yet not.

She stared back into the mirror, where her reflection began to blur.

She saw things she did not understand. She saw herself and House many times over, as lovers, as friends, or far apart, pining for someone they had never met. The location was different, the time was different, the two of them were different, and yet still themselves. Time was melting into a sea of history. Her head was swimming. She was drowning again, in the sea of his blue eyes.

Before she knew it, she was back in the kitchen, finding herself looking into her own eyes rather than his. Her husband was joking with the children. He looked over, joining their gazes. The same blue eyes.

Suddenly, it was all pulled away from her. She reached out for him, but he was too far. Time was not a distance that could be traversed.

Her eyes flew open in the darkened bedroom. She covered her mouth to prevent a scream.

She crawled out of bed gently, careful not to wake her partner. She walked to the window, staring out at the moonlit sky.

The sorrow that usually overwhelmed her after these dreams was fading in the light of wonder and amazement. She stared up at the moon with what was, perhaps, a glimmer of understanding.

-

House approached her the next morning, cornering her in an exam room to bother her about something unimportant, his usual excuse to be near the beautiful young doctor.

This time she looked up into his eyes without hesitation. She wasn't afraid of drowning anymore. She had been there and back already.

When their eyes locked, it was as if electricity had passed between them. House broke the gaze, fearful of what could not be explained and understood.

He lingered as she attempted to get back to work.

"So you're doing this thing, then?" he asked, waving a hand at her engagement ring.

"It's the right thing to do. I love Robert," she said, looking down.

"What about us?" he asked, in a rare unguarded moment that shocked Cameron.

She answered him with the same bare honesty that he asked the question with. "You're too old, I'm too young, we're both too damaged," she said sorrowfully. "We have others to love and care about. You know as well as I do; the time is wrong."

House's eyes found their way to hers again, and then suddenly their lips were joined in a perfect union. He kissed her with urgency; she met him with passion.

They broke the kiss in unison, both retreating back a step to compose themselves. They had no concept of time; had it been an instant, a minute, an hour?

Their eyes never left each other, the sorrow and regret of a lifetime apart flowing between them.

"As much as I wish it, we can't have each other this time," she said to him, reaching up to stroke the side of his face.

"I know," he responded, his hand reaching up to cup hers with a rare gentleness.

She snaked her hand from his grip gently, heading towards the door. She paused. "Next time around," she said, "Wait for me."

With that she exited the room, giving House no opportunity to respond, simply staring after the place that he had last seen her.

-

Allison walked down the aisle joyfully to join her soon-to-be husband. The dreams had abated; she had learned what she needed to from them.

House was not at the wedding, and she had not expected him to be. She knew that they would always have a close bond. In truth, they were soul mates. She knew that they would have another chance, but this chance was for Robert.

With that thought, she reached the end of the aisle, joining him in the ceremony that would make them husband and wife. Brought to mind were other versions of this same ceremony, with House, and others, in Chase's place. Yes, she knew, they would have their chance again.

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