"You can't stop thinking about her." Wilson is serious. "You sliced off a button and blew air into her navel? Creative loving, but it wasn't real, House. You can't base your life on a dream."

So what. So sometimes he hallucinates. Comes with the territory. Drugs, pain that licks the inside of his brain, pricks at the gray matter like sadistic acupuncture needles. You think I want this? You think this is all in my head? Unzip me. Climb inside. Dare ya. You're a pussy, Wilson.

"Go away."

Of course he stays, always the good dog. House shakes his head, places a heavy hand on Wilson's shoulder, then walks out of his office, whistling.

I need. His skin is restless, his body wants stimulants, his intellect wants a tease. She's in the lab following directions, testing for parasites. Instead of beneath the glass, she could look at him. A parasite. Yup, that's me. He watches her through the glass as she slips on reading specs. Her hair is drawn back from her face, and her face is exquisitely naked, a book by Nabokov.

In earnest. That's the Allison Cameron who burrows under his skin and makes a home under his ribcage - the one who, in earnest, studies the gels under the magnification, who can't get close enough. She wears a lab coat over a soft green sweater. The assumption is that he stares at her breasts, licking his lips, but it's her neck and the dip of her collarbone that accelerates him. He can't catch his breath, and blood pounds in his ears. There's the chest pain, and the erection.

This is a distraction.

He pushes through the door and lumbers around her, noticing a loose strand of hair that grazes her cheekbone, noticing the buds of her breasts, nothing he'd ever profane with a term like fun-bags. He shoves his fists into the pockets of his jeans. When he moves closer, approaching her from behind, his shirt caresses his skin. I feel things. I feel everything.

The air is heavy, the light dim. He likes her like this, quiet, studious, focused on something more than him.

She moves from the scope and takes off the glasses, rubbing at her temples with slender fingers.

A touch. Just one. If she would place a fingertip on his lower lip, stand close enough for him to watch for her lids to lift and the intimate look to pass between them, he could live. A question pushes at him, tickles his cerebral cortex, and he stuffs it, although to do so is against his nature. Will you? Touch me?

Instead he moves behind her, until he can see the view from her shoulder, the gel trembling in her small hand. He lets out a shaky breath, breathing her in. She sways back against him and his body awakens, naked and nervy beneath the shirt and jeans. He's hard, and she's sad, and they lose people. She reaches back and pulls his arms around her. His hands link across her belly, fingers pointed lower.

Somewhere water drips and there's a faint clicking and a whir. Her shoulders shake. He pulls her closer.

He wants everything: The two of them, standing still, suspended.

The real thing.