A/N 1: This is a two part sequel to Of House and Home, so if you haven't read that, this won't make as much sense. Written as a birthday gift for Blueheronz, who asked for this scenario. Beta'd by my awesome friend Jesmel.
Fluff and humor right this way...
The crunch of gravel under the tires of their rental car was a welcome sound after a long trip. House parked the car in front of the garage and shut off the ignition, turning toward Cameron.
"Home, sweet home," he muttered, the lines in his forehead more pronounced than usual from the pain of traveling on a cramped plane and the two and a half hour drive.
Smiling, she reached to smooth her hand over his scruffy cheek and leaned in for a quick kiss. "Thanks for coming with me," she said. "I know my family makes you... uncomfortable."
"Not at all. I fit right in with the clinically insane," he retorted, rolling his eyes at her before exiting the car.
As Cameron grabbed their bags from the trunk, he observed their surroundings. The early summer air was fragrant with new growth, flowers poking through the earth and freshly plowed fields of loamy soil. Cherry blossoms fell from the trees like snowflakes, speckling the newly cut grass.
Not much had changed in the year since he'd been here last. Same house, same flowers blooming from their hanging pots, same muscle car in the garage, hood popped open and surrounded by tools and parts, same creaking screen door that alerted the family to their arrival.
Jack was the first to greet them, grabbing Cameron up in a crushing bear hug, then reaching over and clasping House on the shoulder. Standing on his own two feet, he looked stronger, more robust than he had when House first met him, but those Cameron-like eyes of his were still the same, sizing him up and nodding with approval. It was like some kind of strange defect, House thought, the way they could both look at him and think there's a good man.
Jill came in next, wiping her hands on a dishtowel as she entered. In her eyes was a warmth toward Cameron that hadn't been there before. "Good trip?" she asked, as she embraced Cameron tentatively, but with affection, and smiled at House.
"Hi Mom," Cameron greeted, happily hugging her in return. "It's good to see you."
"I'm glad you're here," Jill said, scooping up Cameron's bag. "You guys can stay in Matt and Shelly's room now that they've moved out. There's more room up there."
Cameron looked toward House and noted the pained look on his face at the thought of all those stairs. "I think we'll just stay in my old room again, if that's okay."
"Oh sure," Jill replied, "that's fine. The air mattress is in the closet if you need it."
"Thanks Mom." Cameron took her bag and led the way, finding the tiny room just as she'd left it. The beds were still in bunks, the linens were folded on the closet shelf and the air mattress was piled on the floor beneath.
"You sure you wanna stay in here? The room upstairs is much bigger and we'd have our own bathroom."
House tossed his bag on the top bunk, and replied, "Nope. This is fine." Grabbing her bag, he also tossed it on the bed, watching while she tugged the air mattress out, dropped to her knees, and began unfolding it.
Oh goody, you get to put your oral skills to use," House observed, as Cameron wrestled the vinyl into submission.
"House, it has a pump," she replied with an exasperated huff.
"Oh, you thought I was talking about the air mattress," he quipped, a sly smile lighting up his eyes.
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Around the table that evening, they talked of Matt and Shelly's new baby, most of which House tuned out in favor of watching Cameron interact with her mother. Over the past year they'd stayed in touch via phone and email, but now, back in each other's presence there was still a slight unease between them. And yet they were miles away from the resentment of the year before, which pleased House because it pleased Cameron.
After an hour or so of idle chitchat, House and Cameron headed to bed early, leaving her parents channel surfing in the living room.
House stripped down to his boxers and immediately flopped down onto the mattress, watching as Cameron rifled through her bag and pulled out her pajamas.
"This seems familiar. Got any lace thongs in there?"
"Yes House, I packed all my sexy lingerie for a visit with my family," she deadpanned, shaking her head at him.
"Hey, if that's what you guys are into... who am I to judge?"
"Ya know," she said, with a teasing lilt to her voice, "I think you wanted to stay in here because you're sentimental about this room. It had nothing to do with the stairs." Putting her finger to her chin, thoughtfully, she continued, "You want me to get my photo album out so we can look through it again?"
"Oh shut up," he muttered, "and get your bodacious bod over here."
Her heart rate accelerated at the sight of him, bare armed, bare chested and sexier than a man should be. Just one look at him lying there and she was breathless with desire. She crawled onto the mattress beside him, draping herself over the left side of his body and pressing her lips to the curve of his neck just beneath his jawline.
"Careful," he warned, his voice low like a rumble of thunder beneath her palm. "You'll activate the launch sequence."
Laughing, she asked, "And how is that a bad thing?"
"Probably not a good idea to get frisky with your parents in the next room."
"No, I suppose not."
"And... I already snagged the booty from the shelf in your parents room," he confessed, pulling the photo album out from behind his pillow. "Did you know they use condoms? Bet you're relieved you won't be getting a surprise new sibling any time soon."
Her eyes went wide with shock and horror at that piece of information, but all that came out of her mouth was, "You snuck into my parents room and... and took my dad's photo album?"
"What? I wanted to see if there were any pictures of you in a school uniform. You know, short skirt, knee high socks. Very sexy," he finished with a waggle of his eyebrows.
She snatched the album out of his hands angrily, her mouth opening and closing as she tried to organize her raging thoughts.
"Oh relax. I was just kidding about the condom thing. And I found the album on the coffee table in the living room, so please unclench."
Her head was spinning from trying to keep up with him and sort out the message beneath his words and actions. Taking a few deep breaths, she realized that he'd done what he'd done because he really was sentimental, and she had to admit it was very endearing.
"You really want to look at old pictures of me?"
"It's not porn, but I guess it'll do," he joked, and pointed his chin toward the album.
Smiling, she opened the book, oddly pleased at his interest in her boring family photos. Flipping the pages slowly, she began telling him stories from her childhood.
While she spoke, he turned toward her and rested his hand on the flawless skin of her thigh, touching her freely like he hadn't allowed himself to do the last time they were here. His hand moved to the rhythm and cadence of her voice, sliding over her knee and halfway up her leg and then back again. Occasionally he would interrupt her to ask a question, but mostly he just touched her and listened. He learned things about her that he never would have guessed before, like how she almost drowned in the river at thirteen, and how she had chicken pox twice as a kid. Boring, mundane details that were suddenly interesting to him, fascinating even, because they were about her; part of all the little things that made up the mystery of Allison Cameron.
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In the morning, House limped in to the kitchen to find Cameron at the table nibbling on toast. Her parents were bustling about preparing to run some errands or something of little interest to him.
House grabbed Cameron's toast right out of her hand and took a massive bite, noting how she barely reacted, long since accustomed to his food thievery. He sat down beside her and she slid her plate in front of him and stood to make more, as her parents said their goodbyes.
"I was thinking of going for a walk," she said, finishing up the last swallow of juice from her glass. "Wanna come?"
"Nope. Gonna take a shower."
"Okay. I'll see ya later." She kissed the top of his head and went out the back door.
After his shower, he went out back and spotted her walking across the field just as she had almost a year ago, and if he thought she was beautiful then, the feeling was magnified now. Her hair hung over her shoulders and down her back in loose brown waves, and her face was something straight out of Greek mythology, a beauty that was indescribable. She was a muse, a goddess.
Venus in blue jeans.
He'd been such an ass when he showed up here a year ago. An ass and a coward. When she suggested this trip, he'd willingly agreed to come, although he had pretended to be pained by the idea. In all honesty though, he wanted to make it up to her, do it all again right. Normally he wouldn't care, but she had bewitched him, making him do things he hoped would make her happy.
This was his do-over.
Spotting him at the edge of the yard, she smiled and waved, quickening her pace until she was standing right in front of him.
"I'm glad you're..."
He cut her off with an abrupt kiss, then took her hand and led her back into the house and straight to her bedroom.
Last year he'd peeled her wet clothes from her body in a heated frenzy. This time, he moved slowly, kissing all the skin he could reach as it was revealed to him. Together they moved to the mattress, her lithe body beneath him. Her small hands, her slender fingers roamed over him, touching him in all the right places, eliciting responses from his body that he'd never experienced with anyone else. She touched him as if he had the same effect on her as she had on him, which he found nearly unbelievable. They were connected, in sync, in every way possible and he hoped it would always be that way.
In the aftermath of their love making, he held her close, reluctant to break their connection.
"That was unexpected," she said, her thumb smoothing over his bicep, ribbons of hair splayed across his skin.
Speaking in low tones to the top of her head, he answered, "This is the first place we ever..." Pausing, he stifled the crude euphemisms that threatened to pop out of his mouth.
"Made love?" she supplied.
"Yeah that. I was... a bastard after. I wanted to make it up to you."
"You already have."
"Have I?" He turned to look in her eyes, wanting to be sure of her answer.
"A million times over," she assured him, placing little kisses along his collarbone.
A/N: Part two coming soon.