TITLE: Little Victories (10/25)
SUMMARY: A collection of canon vignettes.
NOTE: I'm sorry I've been so absent this summer. I'm currently on a project that requires me to be at work about 12 hours a day, and then come home and try to get all my coursework done late at night. I'm still working on a more extensive post-finale fic, and Exit Wounds, but right now I only get a few minutes here and there to write. Please bear with me and trust that I'm doing the best I can with my stories, given my current schedule.
The first thing Chase notices is the thin gold band on her ring finger. He has known that Cameron is married again, even sent her a half-hearted congratulations card when it happened. But the ring makes it real somehow, standing out like a beacon from the moment he picks her up at the airport through the last of the stiff, somber speeches at the memorial service. Evidence of her new-found happiness somehow eclipses the salience of House's death.
After the service there is a reception, and they all stand around awkwardly, struggling to find an appropriately neutral topic of conversation. She will be leaving in the morning, Chase knows, and finds himself irrationally wishing for a way to stretch time.
"Don't you think it's a little unbelievable how many people came?" asks Cameron, abandoning pretense. "I mean, for House."
"You came," says Foreman, pointedly, and Chase thinks then of the irony. She was willing to be here for death, but not to give another chance to their life together.
"He always said I was a masochist," she answers, smiling thinly.
"Let's go to the bar," Chase says abruptly. Cameron and Foreman give him looks of incredulity. "Seriously. Don't you think House would've wanted drinking at his funeral? All this formality would bore him."
Foreman snorts at that, then nods.
As they make their way out into the unseasonably warm day, Chase finds his gaze caught on the ring once more, picking up the afternoon sunlight. It ought to feel like a finality, he thinks, a conclusion, at last, to her chapter in his life.
And yet House's voice still lingers in his head, drawn to the inconsistencies. The ring sees ill-suited to her personality. She has always hated to wear gold jewelry, but evidently does not trust her new husband enough to tell him of his mistake. It seems significant, also, that he and the baby are not with her now.
Walking beside her into the familiar noise of the bar, Chase thinks that he knows Cameron too well to accept this as a true ending.