Title: I am the Desert
Characters/Pairing: Chase, Foreman, Cameron; House/Cameron
Beta: Um…spell check
A/N: Because blueheronz asked. Inspired by the song Feels Like Rain by Buddy Guy. Set probably Season 2ish.
I'm tired. It's been a long…day, week, whatever. Patient after patient, day after day with nothing ever changing. I took this job because it was going to be different, challenging, exciting. I never thought chasing crazy diseases out of impossible symptoms could be so mundane. It's making me restless.
We lost our patient today. I hate when that happens. But I hate it the most when it happens like this; when we get it right but it doesn't matter.
I pull off my glasses and fling them onto the desk. God, I'm spending way too much time here, now I'm even bullshitting myself. It's not the work, not the patient that's making me feel like this, and I know it.
I pick up my glasses and slide them back on before I grab the charts on the desk. I don't want to deal with them, not now. They still both think I'm so fragile, that I need taking care of when we lose someone.
"Foreman here offered to buy me a drink. Thought maybe you could use one."
Does he have any idea how transparent he is? No, I'm sure he doesn't. I certainly never did.
"Lots of paperwork to be filed," I tell them, and that's true. I have no intention of filing it, not tonight, but they don't need to know that.
"Come on, Cameron, you can't always do the responsible thing. One drink isn't going to be the end of the world."
I turn my back on them to hide my scowl. I know he doesn't know how arrogant and condescending he sounds.
"You guys go on." I really just want them to go.
"Are you sure?"
Would he ask House that? Or Wilson? Even Foreman, if the offer of a drink had been the other way around?
"Really, I'm fine."
I can practically hear Foreman's frustrated shrug.
"Fine, stay. But nobody's going to notice your selfless dedication."
Nobody. Coward, just come right out and say what you meant. House isn't going to notice. As if that's something I don't already know.
I wait until I've heard them leave before I fling my glasses back on the desk again. It's only late May, and there's nothing wrong with the hospital's air conditioning, but tonight everything feels thick and heavy. I'm not even comfortable in my own skin. It reminds me of summers in Chicago, when the air off the lake is like a wall of wet hot that slithers over you and makes you sweat even when you don't move. Like there's something physical, some presence that's trying to work its way inside you and there isn't room.
I turn and he's standing right behind me, looming or hovering in that way he has.
At least that explains why I feel so…
"Playing the martyr again? You've been miscast; hot young girls with great asses are supposed to play the nymphet."
I try to step by him, but he's close, too close and I'd have to touch him and I just can't. I can already feel my heart rate is up and I'm flushed. If I touch him, even just a little, I'll burn.
"Foreman's right, you know. All work and no play makes Cameron a dull girl."
I chance a look, and it's like he's taunting me, but it's not quite that. It's like he's…daring me.
This. This is what's making me tired, making me crazy, making my skin itch and my blood run hot. It's him. It's always him.
I try to step past him again and he comes closer, a half step toward me and I can feel his breath on me and God it's been so long since I've felt any man's breath on me and I have to get out of here right now.
"Get out of my way House."
Why did he have to say it like that? Like he wants me to.
I close my eyes and I don't want him to see me weak but I keep promising myself I'm not going to let him do this to me anymore and then he stands just a little too close and I can't help it I'm right back where I was and tonight if I don't get away, get some space he's going to push me and I'm going to fall.
"House," I'm whispering because if I give this thing, this part of me that wants him so much, if I give it a voice it's going to scream my throat raw, "this isn't funny."
He's teasing me and I just can't…it's risky, I know, but I have to get…I put my hand on his chest, just enough so I can push him away.
"Why do you have to make me, make everything a joke?"
He takes my wrist, so gently with his nimble fingers, and leans closer.
"Does this feel like a joke to you? I think it's more like we're dancing right now."
I squeeze my eyes shut even tighter, if I look at him now I'll just be lost, and I can feel a tear sliding down my cheek and damn him for doing this to me and damn me for letting him and I just have to get out.
"I'm tired of dancing," I choke and this time I do push him, not hard but enough and I'm walking out and he's not following.
I get home and run to the shower, shedding clothes as I go and standing under the cold spray shivering and crying and hating what he can do to me with so little effort on his part despite so much resistance on mine. After ten minutes, when I can barely feel my fingers, I get out and towel off. I drag my hair away from face and into a bun, even after the shower the wet tendrils clinging to my neck and jaw feel too hot and sticky to tolerate. By the time I'm dry and pulling on hand-me-down boxer shorts and a tank top the itchy, crawly feeling is back.
I open the windows, all of them, seeking some relief. I can hear thunder in the distance and the night air crawls inside and slides over me. It feels like rain.
The phone rings and I answer it, compelled as always to do what I should and not what I want.
"I thought all you hopeless romantics loved slow dances."
Shit. I should have known he wouldn't let this go.
"Who ever told you I was a hopeless romantic?"
What am I doing? Why am I playing his game? I know he doesn't mean it, and it's like it doesn't matter. I'm Charlie Brown to his Lucy; as long as he's offering to play I'm willing to take the fall.
"You still like me, don't you?"
The doorbell rings.
It can't be. He wouldn't.
The doorbell rings again.
"Open the door, Cameron."
I drop the phone and fumble open the door locks. He's leaning against the door frame, just waiting for me to answer and that itch that's been making my skin ache all night explodes and races through me.
Please, don't let this be another joke.
He takes two steps inside, pushes the door closed with his cane and hangs it on the knob. He's so beautiful and so terrifying I can't even remember to step back away from him. His hand is in my hair and angling my face to his before I can even breathe him in.
"The leg's no good for the fast stuff, Cameron; you're going to have to learn to love the slow dance."
And then he's kissing me and suddenly there's thunder crashing and I can hear the downpour outside the open windows and none of that matters because he's here and he's mine and it's been so long. He isn't kidding when he says he wants the slow dance; he's sliding his tongue against mine like he has all the time in the world.
When he finally moves, he leads me to the bedroom, and I don't even think to ask him how he knows where to go. I don't care.
I've been parched, starved for affection and aching for his touch. And as he loves me, he quenches the fire that made me burn.
I am the desert, and he feels like rain.