The Ultimate Sacrifice
SUMMARY: Sometimes love isn't enough for happily ever after. Sometimes the greatest love stories require sacrifices- however painful. And it is these sacrifice's that make this love story so epic.
DISCLAIMER: HOUSE MD and its characters are not mine. Because if they were, Cameron would not have left.
AN. Ok, so here is another story! I don't do this very often, but I'm actually beginning to post this before I write it. That's because I have no idea how it's going to end! I have a few ideas, but I don't know which one I'm going with. A few things about this story:
1. My AN at the end of "Cameron's Choice" says this was inspired by a certain scene of "Beauty and the Beast". That is true.
2. There may be a few references in this to 2009 pop culture, but all my stories are set with the original team. Because I like it that way.
3. if anyone wants to help with an ending, I'm all ears. I'm writing chapter 12 now, I have up to 20 planned. I'm posting this now coz I go back to uni next week and may have less time to write.
4. I hope this chapter doesn't go too fast. The thing is, this story is all about a certain point around chapters 13-20, so the before is just building up the relationship. I'm trying to be different and make this very realistic, but I may make mistakes as I've never been in a relationship.
To this day, House had to admit he had no idea exactly how he and Cameron had moved from colleagues to- if you really wanted to label it- 'boyfriend and girlfriend'.
The best House could understand was that one weekend in May, he had been dismayed and slightly distraught when his TV suddenly died.
Now, even at the best of times this was a dilemma, but when House was getting ready to sit down for the season finale of One Tree Hill, this was a disaster second only to the apocalypse.
House's first instinct was to go to Wilson's apartment and commandeer the control over his best friend's TV; until he recalled that Wilson was in Philadelphia with Cuddy for an oncology conference, in the dual attempt of learning the results of some clinical trials for cancer treatment being run in Ohio, and seeking out some potential new donors for PPTH.
Ordinarily, House had no qualms about letting himself into Wilson's apartment during his absence, but considering Wilson had been gone for three days and wasn't due back for another week (he was going to visit his brother and his wife after the conference finished), House doubted there would be much, if any, food at Wilson's place and food was a must for House at any time, especially when watching TV.
So he was left with few options but to forsake his show, or subject himself to the company of one his employees for an hour to watch One Tree Hill at their place.
After careful analysis and deliberation about which of his fellow's was mostly likely to have cable, food, and would be the least annoying to spend an evening with; House turned up at Cameron's apartment and promptly invited himself in.
"You've got to be kidding me," Cameron said in exasperation as House plopped himself down on her couch, seizing the remote whilst looking around her apartment in interest.
"Would I kid about One Tree Hill?" House replied, his face serious. "Besides, I'm assuming you were already planning on watching it anyway. It's on the right channel."
Cameron had been about to watch it anyway, but was hoping to do so in privacy, her pyjamas and with a large bowl of chocolate ice-cream.
House, for his part, was pleased with his choice to substitute Wilson's company for Cameron. Cameron, unlike Wilson, actually liked One Tree Hill, and didn't whine and criticise the show whilst House was trying to watch. After the first ad break, she supplied him with chocolate ice-cream and soda, and they actually had pleasant, albeit slightly awkward, conversation during the commercials about the plot.
House moaned dramatically as the episode ended. "Dammit. I hate summer! There's nothing anything on TV but crap!"
Cameron rolled her eyes. "Poor baby. That's when you watch all your DVD's and have marathons."
House grimaced. He actually wasn't a big DVD buyer, preferring to spend his money on books, music and well... PSP games. When Cameron took their empty bowls into the kitchen to wash up, House stood up, stretched and went to investigate the many shelves of Cameron's books and DVD's in her living room.
"You have all the seasons of One Tree Hill!" he yelped as Cameron returned, and she looked amused at his excitement.
"Yes. Well, all the ones out so far," she corrected him, but House shushed her.
"Scrubs, Buffy, Angel, Mad About You, Frasier, Cheers, FRIENDS, ER, CSI... Ok, I'm going to be borrowing about... most of these," House informed her and Cameron snorted.
"Like hell you are."
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Excuse me?"
She smiled sweetly. "I know you, and I'm friends with Wilson. You have a habit of borrowing and not returning. So no, you're not borrowing my DVD's."
House pouted. "You're mean."
"You'll live," Cameron retorted. "I'm sure you'll work something out, being a genius and all."
House's idea of 'working something out' was very different from Cameron's. A knock on the door of her apartment the next night, revealed House, once again on her doorstep.
"What do you think you're doing?" she asked him.
"You said I couldn't borrow them, not that I couldn't watch them," House informed her. "So, this way, I'm entertained and you can unclench," he said lightly, whilst simultaneously putting season one of One Tree Hill into her DVD player.
Cameron sighed heavily, suddenly feeling very tired as she reluctantly closed her apartment door. She wasn't sure who she wished was on the other side of it more, House or herself.
House sat down on the middle cushion of her couch and looked up at her expectantly.
"You're not even going to offer me anything to eat? Coffee, sandwich, ice-cream? Jeez- here I always picked you as a good hostess. But what hostess doesn't even feed her guests?"
Cameron scowled at him. "Guests are invited. You don't put food out for pests, that's how they come back," she muttered, heading for her kitchenette.
"I heard that!" House called after her.
"I wasn't trying to hide it," she replied back sweetly.
Cameron expected that their DVD marathon's would come to an end once Wilson returned and House replaced his TV- actually, so did House. But House soon realised, to his surprise, he missed Cameron's company... and her DVD collection and they recommenced.
Eventually it got to the stage where Cameron actually expected (and invited) him to show up, and would supply food and began to stock his favourite beer in her fridge. When they had finished One Tree Hill they moved onto Scrubs and by season five, Cameron had grown relaxed enough to wear her pyjamas whilst they watched. After Scrubs, House decided he wanted to watch all three Lord of the Rings films in succession, and this led to him spending the night at Cameron's apartment in her spare room, simply because by the time the credits rolled for Two Towers they were both half-asleep.
Cameron had awoken the next morning, and expected it to be very awkward between them and for House to maybe even slip out without saying anything. Instead, House stayed for breakfast, and whilst he didn't go as far as to help her clean up, he did eat all the leftover pancakes she'd made. He'd then showered, and then put Return of the King in the DVD player, and sat on the couch waiting for Cameron expectantly... and impatiently.
"Will you get a move on? It's the kitchen, not an OR! It doesn't have to be sterile!" he'd called from the living room and Cameron rolled her eyes.
"If you want to keep watching my DVD's on my TV, shut your mouth and wait five minutes!" she called back and House actually smiled.
This continued for almost a month, until the biggest thing of all happened. House had stayed the night again, after watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer until the small hours of the morning (which Cameron only allowed on weekends, if they had to work the next day the TV went off at midnight), Cameron made omelettes for breakfast and then House had to leave, as he had plans with Wilson.
"I'll probably be back tonight," he said casually as they headed for the door. "Don't start season four without me," he warned her.
"Would I dare?" Cameron asked him teasingly.
It seemed the most natural thing in the world for House to lean down and kiss her; and for her to kiss him back.
As he pulled away their eyes met, both frozen in shock and confusion.
"Bye," House said hastily, making a fast exit and Cameron mentally kicked herself, knowing House wouldn't be back that night.
She spent all day thoroughly cleaning her apartment from top to bottom, in an attempt to distract herself. Which didn't work at all.
As night fell, she realised she should probably do something about dinner (for one, she added mentally) and was just examining the contents of her kitchen and thinking she really should have gone grocery shopping at some point during the day, when a familiar knock sounded on her front door.
Suppressing a smile, she hastened to open the front door, her stomach churning.
"Hi," she greeted House awkwardly.
Neither of them quite knew what to say, whether to mention the kiss or not mention it, whether to act as though it hadn't happened at all, or whether it was insignificant.
"How was it at Wilson's?" she asked finally.
House nodded. "Fine. He baked brownies.... I stole them," he said casually, holding up the container in his hand and Cameron smiled slightly.
All that was missing was the sound of crickets chirping, or a tumbleweed rolling through the scene, Cameron thought.
"About this morning," House said abruptly and Cameron's heart quickened.
"Does awkward seem like an understatement to you?" she replied lightly and House actually grinned.
"Any idea what happened?" he asked her and she laughed.
"Not a clue!"
"Sleep deprivation?" House suggested and Cameron shrugged.
Silence fell again, and they stood there for a moment before Cameron realised she was still holding the door open for House and he was still standing in the doorway. She quickly moved aside to let House enter, but he only took a step forward and moved to stand in front of her.
"So... We can still make out while we try and figure it out, can't we?" he asked her.
Cameron was sure that was a bad idea but didn't hesitate, and for once, tried not to think anything through or about the consequences.
"Sure," she agreed and House immediately threw his cane and the container of brownies onto the couch, cupped her face in his hands and kissed her deeply.
It can't be said that House and Cameron saw a lot of season four of Buffy, it was mainly background noise as they spent the majority of their time making out on Cameron's couch like a couple of teenagers. By halfway through season five, they had begun watching the DVD's on the TV in Cameron's bedroom, although if House stayed the night she always made him sleep in the spare room, wary of crossing the line from employer-employee to... well, sleeping together.
She was very conscious of the fact that once sex was involved it would change everything, and she didn't want to move too fast and allow House to panic. House, of course, didn't see this problem.
A week later, they had finished Buffy and were due to start another show. House however, was thinking of a different activity.
"Want to come over tonight?" he asked her casually, as she entered his office with what she deemed his 'important' mail and a cup of coffee. Cameron was stunned, but tried to hide her surprise. House had never, in the two months they'd been socialising outside of the hospital, invited her to his townhouse.
"Sure," she agreed, slightly puzzled but pleased nonetheless. "Do you want me to bring anything?"
"Nope," he replied, which puzzled Cameron even further, but she didn't question him.
They both left work separately that afternoon, House a good hour and a half before Cameron. Cameron returned to her apartment only to change into a casual lacy blue summer dress, and drop off her laptop before driving to House's townhouse. She knew the way, of course, but couldn't imagine what had possessed House to invite her over. Cameron understood, without House having to say anything, that he had never invited her over prior because that was House's private domain, his sanctuary. The idea of him letting his guard down enough to let her inside his world was slightly terrifying.
"Hey," she greeted him when she arrived, letting herself in.
"Hey," he replied, glancing up at her from where he was watching the news.
Cameron perched herself next to him on the couch and raised an eyebrow at him. "So, are you going to tell me what this is all about?"
House shrugged. "Thought we'd hang out here tonight, is all. My turn to impress you with my amazing culinary skills."
Cameron grinned. "Oh, you mean your skills of speed dialling take out places?" she asked innocently and House grinned back at her.
She laughed and he pretended to be offended.
"Don't laugh. You can't learn these things in Culinary school, you know," he deadpanned and Cameron nodded seriously.
"Of course not. Speed dialling takeout is much more of an art form than a science. Definitely can't be taught," she said solemnly.
House's eyes narrowed at her. "I'm not sure I like your tone," he answered and she laughed again.
House wouldn't let her have any say in what he ordered for dinner, even going into the kitchen so she couldn't overhear. Whilst he did that, Cameron took the opportunity to study his living room. He had a large TV, top of the line, with a PlayStation set up on the floor below it and a pile of games next to it. The shelves were mostly filled with medical books, random knick-knacks and piles upon piles of records and CD's. The walls were decorated with guitars, and some framed records. She couldn't help but notice that there were no photos anywhere, and most of the living room was taken up by his piano, the top of which was covered with sheet music.
"So, this is what you're buying? Instead of all the DVD's you want to watch and steal off Wilson instead?" she asked lightly as he returned to the living room.
"Yep," he replied nonchalantly and Cameron shook her head, smiling.
House had ordered Thai food for dinner, and he found himself watching her as they ate. The reason he had asked her over to his townhouse that night (well, one reason anyway) was to see how she fit in with his world. And to his surprise and pleasure... well, as close to pleasure as House ever got, she fit perfectly as though she'd always been there.
After dinner, House even cleaned up (i.e. Threw the containers in the trash) and found Cameron looking through the various sheet music that littered the top of his piano.
"Do you play?" he asked her in interest, sitting down on the piano bench and looking up at her.
She smiled. "Define play?"
House shrugged and let his hands run over the keys, playing a few bars of Mozart, and she rolled her eyes at him.
"Show off," she muttered, but she still smiled. When House continued looking at her expectantly, waiting for her to answer, she sighed thoughtfully and shrugged.
"I don't know. I guess you could say I play. Nothing to your extent though," she smiled. "Although definitely better than my brother. It was always at family gatherings someone would want me to play, and my brother would volunteer... and then start belting out The Flintstones theme or something," she laughed.
House grinned, effortlessly changing from Mozart to the Flintstones as he questioned her, "So you can play. Let me guess, lessons as a kid?"
She nodded. "Yep. Like I said though, nothing to your extent. But well, enough. I can play a lot of Disney and modern stuff. Nothing classical though."
House paused thoughtfully for a moment, and then beckoned for her to come sit beside him which she did.
"Let me guess, you also did ballet?"
"Actually, no," she surprised him. "I tried it, but discovered you require co-ordination for that," she laughed and House scoffed.
"Please, you're the most graceful person I know!"
She shrugged even as she blushed. "Now. I was a clumsy kid, though."
"So, what did you do?" House asked her.
She sighed. "Oh, I played basketball in junior high and then high school. I also did track. I was the lead in the school musical my senior year."
House was genuinely interested and surprised at this information. He was learning things he'd never imagined about Cameron.
"Musical? You can sing? What musical was it?"
Cameron laughed, slightly unnerved to bring all these things up. "I... yes, I can sing. But I don't. I hate being the centre of attention, everyone looking at me... but it's easier if they're all strangers. Once I get up there and the adrenaline kicks in, I'm usually ok but beforehand, I get sick and dizzy and my throat closes up," she shuddered slightly. "That's why if my family asks me to play, my brother distracts them all," she smiled.
"Sounds very Coyote Ugly. Then why on earth did you join the musical?" House demanded.
She chuckled. "You wish it was Coyote Ugly. It was my attempt to get over my stage fright, I guess. The only people I'll sing for are my best friends from high school, and only because I've known them since pre-school. And in answer to your earlier question, we made it up ourselves. The story, the songs, everything. I don't remember much of it, but I do remember it was incredibly cheesy and corny," she laughed.
"High School Musical of the 90's," House teased her and she shoved him lightly.
"Shut up. I love High School Musical," she replied.
House rolled his eyes at her. "Of course you do. Play something," he said suddenly and Cameron's reaction was immediate, the colour draining from her face.
"What? No, no, no, no, no," she shook her head firmly, leaning back from the piano as though it were poisonous.
House was half amused, half intrigued by her response. "I'm not asking you to sing, just to play."
"Nope. If I won't even play for my family, why would I play for you?" she asked and House grinned at her.
"Because I'm special."
She snorted. "Right. Sorry, no can do."
"What if I said if you didn't play, you were fired?"
"Then I better start job-hunting," she replied and House raised an eyebrow.
"Are you serious? You'd rather be fired than play the piano?" he demanded incredulously.
"Only a thousand times more," she answered seriously and House shook his head.
"You are such a weirdo," he told her.
"Look who's talking," she replied and House leaned over and kissed her.
Cameron had no problems with that, until his hand that was on her knee began to slide up her leg and then she instinctively broke away, her body clenching. Glancing at her watch, she saw it was almost ten o'clock and stood up.
"It's late. I should go," she murmured, looking around for her bag.
She found it on the coffee table and picked it up to find Hose watching her with an odd expression on his face.
"What?" she asked defensively and somewhat nervously.
"You're driving me crazy, you know that?" House demanded and Cameron blushed scarlet.
She couldn't think of anything to say to that, and House took advantage of her distracted state to limp over to where she was standing by the coffee table and kiss her again, hard.
"House," Cameron whispered, trying to pull away but House wouldn't let her.
"Why not?" he murmured and Cameron swallowed, a painful lump in her throat.
"Because none of this makes sense!" she answered, avoiding his gaze, which was hard when he was only six inches away. "We've just kind of... fallen into this, and I don't want to go too fast... none of this makes sense, I don't understand what you're thinking!"
It was a logical answer, House conceded and she had a point, so he tried his best not to be sarcastic and give her a serious answer.
"I'm thinking," he said to her quietly. "That this... the past month, I can't think of any more excuses to push you away. After three years, I've finally stopped fighting."
Cameron finally met his gaze, and he saw the fear in them she was trying to hide. "And what happens in the morning when you think of all the excuses you can't think of now?"
House shrugged. "You have my permission to slap me," he replied and Cameron giggled, which House took as an invitation.