The Ultimate Sacrifice
DISCLAIMER: HOUSE MD and its characters are not mine. Because if they were, Cameron would not have left.
AN. So here it is, the last chapter of my longest ever story! (Length wise, not chapter wise). Of course, I had to have a happy ending, otherwise it's just sad. It may be a bit clichéd and obvious the way I did it, but it's happy isn't it? Hope you enjoyed, I promise my next story won't be as angst-ridden.
"Have you got enough candy?"
House made a big show of inspecting the large junk-food laden bags he was holding in his hand.
"Uh.... I'm not sure actually. Maybe I should get more chocolate?" he suggested innocently, pretending to turn back to the store.
"I was joking," Wilson said hastily and House smirked as he tossed the bags into Wilson's backseat.
House and Wilson could both tell something had been different about House in the past three months, or ten weeks to be specific, since he and Cameron had spent the weekend together in Boston. He still missed Cameron more than anything, and thought about her frequently, wondering where she was, how she was and whether she missed him. But seeing Cameron again had put some of the life back into him, privately because the experience of that weekend had given him hope for similar weekends in the future.
Again, Cuddy was stressing that House's reaction had not been the one she was hoping for, but House ignored her. He was actually hoping for further medical conferences to attend, an experience he had never had before.
It was late October, nearly Halloween, and House and Wilson had stopped at the store on the way to House's condo. House was conning a home-cooked meal out of his best friend, luring him with the promise of a Glee marathon, thanks to the effort of House's TiVo. House had to admit he had only initially begun watching the show because he knew Cameron would love it, and liked the idea of her watching the show wherever she was, at the same time he was watching it.
When Wilson had mentioned that he'd stop at the store on the way, because House's kitchen never had any food in it; House had leapt (not literally) at the opportunity to do his Halloween shopping.
"How many trick-or-treater's are you expecting?" Wilson demanded as they left the parking lot.
"It's not all for them," House answered and Wilson rolled his eyes.
"If Allison could see you now," he muttered, then grimaced inwardly. House still didn't like Cameron being mentioned. "Sorry," he apologised.
House said nothing and the rest of the ride to the condo was in silence.
The first thing that caught House's attention as he entered the condo and headed for the kitchen to dump the bags of candy in the pantry, was the blinking red light on the answering machine.
"Hey, somebody loves me!" he commented to Wilson as his friend entered the kitchen to put the groceries away.
"It's probably Chase or Foreman about your patient," Wilson replied pointedly.
Chase and Foreman had called him twice whilst they were at the supermarket, but House had ignored them.
Just as he ignored Wilson's comment now as he pressed play, hoping to hear anyone's voice other than his mother's.
"Hi..." a voice said cautiously and House paled, his hand gripping the counter-top and Wilson turned and froze, his mouth agape.
Cameron's voice was hesitant, and strangely hoarse, but House thought it was the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard.
There was a pause and then her voice came over the machine again. "I know we said no contact, but... I really had to call you. I don't know.... I'm glad I didn't have to actually talk to you, because this is hard enough to say as it is.... but I wish I didn't have to tell you over the phone."
House's heart was in his throat. News she didn't want to tell him over the phone?
Wilson was puzzled as House abruptly reached forward and stopped the message from playing.
"Don't you want to know why she's calling?" Wilson demanded, who was dying to know why Cameron had suddenly broken the rules.
House was still pale as he faced Wilson.
"She's dating someone."
Wilson hesitated uncertainly. "Really? You think so?"
"News she doesn't want to tell me over the phone? What else could it be?" he asked, feeling as though he'd been punched in the gut.
Wilson was sympathetic as he watched House. "House, you don't know that. It could be anything!"
House was in a daze. If he was right, and Cameron had rung to tell him personally that she was dating... it was something she would do; to save him the pain of finding out from perhaps Chase or Foreman, or even Wilson or Cuddy. If she was dating someone else, if another man was getting to hold her and kiss her and love her and be worthy of her love.... he had actually lost her forever. And his world was empty and dark once again, extinguished the dim light that had been glowing the past three months.
Wilson took pity on House, but not enough to deny his own curiosity as to the purpose of Cameron's call, and he pressed play to resume the message.
"Greg... I'm pregnant."
Wilson choked on his own saliva at that, and House remained oddly still.
"Ten weeks pregnant, to be specific," Cameron continued over the machine, giving a half sob- half laugh. "And.... I know this has kind of screwed everything up... but I'm having the baby. Which I guess wouldn't surprise you."
House closed his eyes, to avoid Wilson's stunned look of disbelief. He could hear, and almost see Cameron crying and trying to stifle the tears.
"I'm not ringing to ask for anything," she went on. "I hope you don't think I'm trying to guilt you into anything. But I thought you had the right to know. I love you.... and I miss you. I hope you're safe, and that you're ok."
There was another moment of silence, an odd sound as though Cameron had been about to say something else and then stopped herself, and then she hung up and the condo became completely silent.
"Did- did you know about this?" House asked Wilson hoarsely.
Wilson looked surprised at the question and House's implication as he shook his head. "What? No of course not. House, you know Cameron wouldn't tell anyone before she'd told you."
House ran his hands through his hair and limped his way over to his couch, burying his face in his hands. He looked up as Wilson sat down beside him and handed him a beer.
"What are you going to do?" he asked after a moment and House had no answer.
"I don't know," he admitted.
They sat there for a long time, Glee and dinner completely forgotten; until there was a sudden knock on the door. Wilson got up to answer it, and seconds later, Chase and Foreman entered the living room.
"What are you doing here?" House asked them.
"We tried calling you, but you didn't answer," Chase explained. "We figured out what's wrong with the patient; but he's going to need a new liver. Cuddy's put him on the list."
House nodded dumbly, and Chase frowned observantly. "House, are you okay?"
Wilson hesitated, glanced at House for an instant then answered for him.
"Allison just called. She's pregnant."
Chase and Foreman's jaws dropped instantly.
"Oh my god!" Chase said in shock. They were both aware that Cameron and House had slept together (frequently, as House had boasted) during the conference.
"What are you going to do?" Chase asked.
"Are you sure it's yours?" Foreman enquired impulsively and insensitively and House glared at him furiously.
"Sorry," he apologised hastily but House continued to glower at him.
An awkward silence fell, Chase, Foreman and Wilson exchanging uneasy glances as House remained lost in his thoughts.
"Well, this is ironic," Chase finally volunteered and Wilson quickly stifled a laugh.
"House, you only have two choices," he said to his friend practically. "Either you're involved or you're not."
House stared at Wilson for a moment. "Thank you for that. Here I was thinking I had lack of options," he said sarcastically.
House sighed and stood up. "I need to think," he muttered, and left the room, heading for the bedroom.
Finally alone, House sat on the bed and waited for his brain to sort out the million and one thoughts swimming around his head. He just couldn't comprehend the idea that Cameron was pregnant. With his child.
What was it that he'd said to Cameron, so many months ago?
"I'm pretty sure the idea of parenthood is supposed to inspire something other than fear and boredom... I can't overcome the fear, not even for you."
House would be lying if he didn't admit he'd entertained himself over the past three months, envisioning many more meetings and weekends like they'd had in Boston. They'd given him some small hope, something to hold out for, that he might even get a glimpse of Cameron again. But now those visions were different….
Wilson was right, House admitted to himself. He had two choices, either to be involved or to walk away. Both options seemed impossible though.
If he was involved, yes, that would mean getting Cameron back and House had found out the hard way he couldn't live without her. But it would also mean facing his biggest fear- parenthood. This was the whole reason they had broken up, because House knew he couldn't fact that fear and was trying to spare Cameron the pain of finding that out for herself.
But if he walked away…. House could just picture it now, being at some medical conference somewhere, seeing Cameron across the room… but not being speaking to her. If he walked away now, it was forever. Abandoning his child would sever all contact with Cameron forever, she'd have nothing to do with him if he stayed away; she wouldn't do that to their child… or herself.
A sudden realization gripped House and he actually felt as though he might throw up for a moment. This was their child- his and Cameron's. And if he chose to walk away, that wouldn't stop Cameron from one day, maybe moving on. And then someone else would get to not only be with Cameron and love and be loved by her, but raise, love and be loved by his child.
Wilson jumped from his spot on the couch as House abruptly entered the living room. House was momentarily startled as he looked around and saw that Foreman and Chase had been replaced by Cuddy.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded of her.
"Chase and Foreman called me," she explained. "Do you know what you're going to do?"
House wearily sat down next to Wilson on the couch and took a deep breath.
"Yes... no.... I don't know," he admitted with a groan.
Cuddy watched him sympathetically. "Well, what's your thought process?" she asked, matter of factly.
House sighed. "I've never wanted kids," he began and Wilson and Cuddy exchanged wary looks.
"I know. Heard the whole speech about that," Wilson replied, wondering where this was going.
"But it's Allison," he continued, stressing her name and Cuddy smiled, hoping against hope that House would come to the decision she was hoping for.
House didn't speak for a long time, and then finally he raised his head and met Wilson's gaze.
"Where is she?" he asked hoarsely.
Cuddy burst into tears of relief, but Wilson remained cautious, knowing his friend.
"House... are you sure? Because you can't give Allison your word about this and then back out later."
House nodded. "I know that. And honestly? I'm terrified. I can't even think straight," he admitted.
"But it's been bad enough knowing she's out there somewhere, and I couldn't be with her. But knowing she's out there with a baby... our baby... I may not be ready to be a father, but I'm not going to let someone else raise my kid," he swore and Wilson grinned at Cuddy.
"She's in San Francisco," Cuddy informed him gleefully and House was startled.
"San Francisco? As in California?" he demanded in disbelief. "Wow... I really did send her crazy, didn't I?"
Wilson chuckled as he wrote Cameron's address on a piece of paper and handed it to House. "Here you go. And Lisa and I both reserve to kick your ass if you don't do right by Allison," he said and House nodded.
"Make yourself useful and call the airport for me will you? I want a seat on the first flight to California in the morning," he called over his shoulder as he stood up and limped off to the bedroom to pack.
Cameron gazed at her computer screen without even seeing it, feeling as though she might throw up. Of course, being that she was ten weeks pregnant, that wasn't unusual in the last few weeks, but this was more to do with nerves than pregnancy.
Ever since she had finally worked up the courage to call House the previous afternoon, she'd been a mess. She'd actually discovered she was pregnant four days ago... well, five now, but it taken her so long to work up the courage to call House. She knew that this really wasn't news you wanted to tell over the phone, let alone in a message on the answering machine, but Cameron was sure that if House had answered, she would have broken down.
Now, she jumped every time the phone rang or her cell phone buzzed, waiting for House to call. And then of course, there was the chance that he may not call, he might simply not contact her and leave his silence as his answer. Or, Cameron had realised about three o'clock that morning, there was the possibility he'd never gotten the message. If he'd had a bad day at work, House had the unfortunate habit of simply deleting any messages on the machine without hearing them. When they'd been together, it had driven Cameron nuts.
Not even Becca knew about the baby yet, Cameron had successfully been passing it off as the flu since she'd done the test, and she wasn't in a hurry to tell anyone else until she'd heard something from House. Cameron knew she should calm down, the stress of worrying wasn't good for her or the baby, but she couldn't help herself. This was House's baby, the love of her life; this was everything she had dreamed about for a long time, and something she thought she'd never have.
Cameron's musings were interrupted by a knock on the door and she got to her feet slowly. She had no idea who it could be, but just wanted to make them go away and leave her with her thoughts. Her head swam as she opened the front door and found House standing on her doorstep, staring back at her.
"Greg!" she gasped, and threw herself into his arms.
"Hi," he murmured into her ear, pulling away to look at her. "How are you?"
"Pregnant," was all Cameron's shocked brain could think of to respond with and she mentally kicked herself as House smiled slightly.
"Yeah, I caught that."
She grimaced in embarrassment and ran her hands through her hair. "That was stupid. It's just... you're here. In San Francisco. How did you know where I was?"
"I asked Wilson," he explained. "Although I thought he was giving me a fake address at first. I mean... California?"
Cameron chuckled and ushered him inside.
"So... you're here," she said slowly, looking at him fearfully.
"Yeah," House replied, drinking her in.
"What does that mean?" she whispered and House took a step forward, tossing his cane onto her couch and taking her hands in his.
"It means... I don't want to think of anyone else raising our child with you."
Cameron smiled, but she seemed hesitant.
"What is it?" House pressed.
"I just want to make sure that you're in this for the right reasons," she whispered.
House knew what she was thinking and nodded. "Look... Allie... I'm not going to lie to you. I have no idea what I'm doing here and the idea scares the crap out of me. But I love you."
House had a sudden flashback to Wilson's Twilight theory and rolled his eyes. "I guess Wilson was right," he admitted. "It's different to say you don't want children when there's no children involved. I'm not saying I'm excited... but I'm going to be with you and this baby," he promised.
A tear ran down Cameron's cheek and she beamed happily as House pulled her close.
"Don't tell Wilson I said he was right," House said and she laughed.
"I know you don't feel ready for this," she told him gently. "But I really think you're going to be a great Dad," she choked on a sob.
House smiled. To him, the idea just seemed ludicrous; but now that he was here with Cameron, it didn't seem so scary.
"Maybe it turns out the fact that I love you is enough," he murmured, cupping her face and she smiled tearily.
"Yes, too bad you didn't figure that out eleven months ago," she retorted and House grimaced.
"Thank you, I think we've established the irony of this situation. Even Chase managed that one!"
Cameron laughed and House sighed.
"Will you come home?" he asked her softly and Cameron pretended to think about it.
"Yes," she nodded happily, and House immediately leaned down and kissed her.
The idea that there was a part of him and Cameron growing inside her was the most terrifying thought House had ever had; but he finally had Cameron back in his arms- forever.
Finally, all was right in the world.