Title: Lie Back and Think of England
Beta: Thanks to the wonderful GabbyAbby for making time to look over this, even when she was extra super busy. :D
Summary: If memories cause love, then what happens when the memories aren't real? It gives a new meaning to "it's all in your head".
House expects the knock at his door. It has been almost a half an hour since he called for take-out. What he didn't expect was to open up the door, to find her on the other side, holding his pizza.
"Is this your way of saying that I don't pay you enough?" House asks looking at her through arched brows.
"Funny. I just wanted to make sure you haven't attempted to turn yourself into a human voodoo doll again," She replies, while rolling her eyes.
"Did you pay for that, or just mug the pizza boy?" he questions and, for emphasis, moves his body slightly out of the door as if to look for the beaten up delivery boy.
"Is that your way of saying that you're going to let me in?"
House sighs and moves aside to let her into the apartment. She is holding his dinner for ransom, after all. He plops down on the couch in front of the TV, but she does not immediately follow.
"What were you expecting?" The question is harsher than he initially intends. House really does not want to do this now. He doesn't have the energy for it.
"Well, I was hoping we could start with braiding each others hair, and then move to a game of true or dare." Her answer surprises him, and he fights back a smile with his reply, grateful that one some level she understands.
"Yah, then we can hold hands and skip." His voice is two tones too high.
"I think we can push that off until next time. Although, plates would be nice," she says while motioning to the pizza box still in her hands.
"For pizza? I always knew you'd high maintenance." She just stares back at him impatiently. "Shelf over the sink. And take the paper ones, unless you want to do dishes too."
She brings paper plates and beer back to the living room, and unceremoniously plops down on the couch next to him. She close enough that he can smell her girly shampoo, but House does not say anything. It has been a while since he did not have to pay a woman to sit this close to him.
The banter comes easier than he ever expected. Every once and a while, she says something that is so unlike herself, that he has to stop and stare to make sure it really is the immunologist he hired sitting next to him. House wonders where that mouth has been all this time. Then he wonders if it has any other hidden talents he should know about.
Time passes quickly and by midnight, he can barely keep his eyes open. He hasn't felt this relaxed, or tired, in ages.
"House," She pauses, running her hand down his uninjured thigh to make sure he really heard her. He's half asleep and her voice barely registers. "Tomorrow, in court, it'll be fine. Everything is going to be fine."
If he could have summoned the energy, he would have come up with some sort of brilliant quip about her optimism, but sleep takes him fast. When House wakes up the next morning, he has the strange feeling she has never really been there at all.
House is still groggy the next morning. Despite his ease in falling asleep the night before, he does not feel a bit rested. House has a feeling that something is off; he just cannot place it. Worst part is he does not know how to bring it up without sounding like he'd just escaped from a room with padded walls.
He watches Cameron rattle off facts about their newest patient, not really paying attention. He really does not care about the guy. He has enough problems of his own. Cameron narrows her eyes, as if she can sense this, and moves in front of him to stop him from leaving.
But as Cameron stands there, he doesn't see the white lab coat and serious face. She's in jeans, and her head is thrown back in laughter. She moves closer in some kind of graceful dance step. House catches the scent of her shampoo as she does. The whole situation seems too familiar, but annoyingly, he figures out why.
"In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not in the mood to dance."
"I'm not asking you to dance; I'm asking you to do your job." Cameron is determined, not playful like she was a moment ago. House figures he might as well give in. With a case as easy as this one, he will have more time to ponder his own little mystery.
"Male menopause?" asks Chase, disbelievingly.
"Doesn't explain the blue vision," Foreman points out.
"Blue vision isn't a symptom. It's a side effect...of Viagra. It's right there on the label, which I have no reason to have read, except for the fact that I'm a doctor." House turns at the sound of her laughter.
"Right," she draws out. "Do the hookers bring something else to help you alone?" she asks patronizingly. All he can do is glare in response.
"He's not taking Viagra," Cameron insists. She is serious again, almost as if the exchange had not happened. He frowns slightly, and then glares some more. House does not know what was going on with her, but he knows he does not like it.
"You mean, he didn't tell you he was taking Viagra. I don't care how sick he is, trust me, he still thinks he has a shot." His fellows do not seem impressed. House sighs and pushes the elevator button. He has had just about enough of this. "Run a panel, pump him full of drugs, and then send him home."
Another easy victory for Greg House, he thinks as his fellows wander off to do his bidding. She is in the elevator before he is. House glares at her suspiciously; he could have sworn he had just seen Cameron walk away in the other direction.
"Don't you have about a dozen pointless tests to run?"
"Awh, does this mean you don't want me around?" She asks sweetly. He does not answer, so she moves closer and asks again, "Do you still think you've got a shot?"
She has him backed up against the elevator wall. Her small hands rest on his chest. Her head is tipped up, waiting for his answer. The whole situation could have been straight out of a bodice-ripping harlequin. He takes a page from their book, so to speak, and leans down to claim her mouth in a kiss. It is a lot less innocent than he would have expected out of her.
She pulls away flustered at the ding of the elevator door. House feels about as flustered as she looks.
"Oh, well," she says, getting out. "Time to go save lives."
House sticks his cane out to stop the door and replies, "Cameron, were doing this again."
"I'll find you," she says with a wink.
"And I'm fine, by the way. Thanks for asking."
House stops the spinning pill to glare at Cameron. He wonders if she could read the annoyed surprise in his nearly blank expression. He grumbles and goes back to spinning the pill.
House has already asked. Not so much with words, but he figures she should have been smart enough to get his concern anyway. He did go and find her, as soon as he found out. Well, maybe, she found him,
House remembers her looking almost dead, as if their patient had just about squeezed the life out of her. He remembers pulling her into a deserted hallway, pushing her up against the wall, and pressing his lips to the angry mark still visible on her skin. He remembers the sound she made when he did it too.
It felt good to be that close to her again. Too good. House had pulled away sooner than he wanted to. With their kiss in the elevator, he did not want her to get any funny ideas, like that he cared about her, or something. He could not let himself care about her, especially not now.
House looks up at Cameron again when he notices she pauses to get his opinion. She wants an answer, but so does he. What was going on? Did it really happen? He does not know if he really wants to find out, because that would be admitting he wants her, in some ways.
He gives himself a mental slap. This was getting out of hand. He cannot afford to lose control now.
Suddenly, House stands up and makes a break for the door. He is half way to the elevator before his fellows realize what is going on.
"House, where are you going?" asks a very annoyed Foreman.
"I'm checking myself into rehab."
"Jeez, all this place is missing is the bars over the windows." House looks up from his cootie catcher to see her leaning against the doorframe.
"I already have a mother. I don't need you to keep checking up on me."
"Does she even know you're here?" She yells. "Have you told your mother that her precious son is facing jail time for stealing pills from a dead guy? Have you told your mother that you needed to steal the pills because your apartment was searched and the cops confiscated so many pills that you now face drug-dealing charges? Have you told your mother that this started because you pissed a cop off by shoving a thermometer up his ass?"
"Yea, I bet it's a story she'd love to share with her bingo buddies." House didn't know why she was so angry. It is not as if like any of this had anything to do with her. In fact, she could go along her merry way and leave him alone. He tells her so, but she just laughs.
"No, I can't leave yet. You know that." He is not pleased with her answer. House goes back to playing with his cootie catcher. He flips up the number and he offers lode suggestions for what to put under the flaps. It should not surprise him by now how easily they fall into this routine. Moments ago, she was yelling at him. Now, she is acting as his sounding board.
The orderly comes in with his medicine. House wonders why he does not say anything about his "guest".
"Don't say anything," she orders.
"What?" The orderly looks up confused.
"What's your problem? Don't you ever listen? He can't see me. Only you can."
"That makes no sense." The orderly gives House an even stranger look.
"Moron! You keep that up and you'll be able to use the insanity plea to get out of prison." House stares at the spot she was standing. The orderly follows his eyes there.
"Pick a color," House asks him. House does not need him believing there was something wrong with his meds. The orderly just continues, not saying anything.
"Red," she tells him. He flips the flap obligingly.
"You are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day." She laughs, but the orderly does not seem amused. Instead, he shoves House's pills into his hand. By the time he has swallowed them, she has gone, leaving the sound of her laughter behind.
Memories from the last time House saw her on this couch make it hard for him to pay attention to the group therapy session. All he could see was her getting off, as Chase and Foreman stood alongside, oblivious, debating blood thinners as a treatment option.
She had her skirt hiked up, with one hand reaching underneath, slowly circling her clit. Her head was thrown back with a moan of pleasure. But, she raised it to look back at him through haft-lidded eyes. They did not leave his, even as she trembled, and arched, and plunged two fingers within herself. He can still hear her calling out in a voice thick with her own pleasure, "House…I need you…inside me…now."
House gasps at the memory, and shifts to hide his arousal. Some of the group members turn to look at him suspiciously. He just gets up and leaves, walking strait to his room, and ignoring the protests of the session leader.
Standing at the bathroom sink, House splashes water on his face to try to forget the memory. It seems ingrained in his retinas, even though he is pretty sure now that it didn't happen. That does not do anything to combat his arousal.
"Show me," she whimpers, appearing over his right behind him. The reflection in the mirror shows her hands on his shoulders, but he cannot feel them.
"Show me," she whimpers again. The phantom hands trace down his sides. He can smell her shampoo and the scent turns him on even more. With her encouragement, he takes himself out of his pants. He is stroking, slow at first, but then getting faster.
"Imagine my hands on you. Caressing you… just the way you like. Can you feel them?" House could not, but his imagination was good enough to supply the details.
"Imagine my mouth on you. Taking you, all hot and wet." His strokes are harder and he is straining against his palm. He can all but feel her mouth.
"Are you ready? Will you come for me?" He is. He will. House thinks of her and her cries of pleasure. They ring in his head and mirror his as he lets go.
"Whatcha making?" She asks. House quickly glances up to see her standing right behind Tritter's shoulder. Geez, didn't these people have jobs? He figured Tritter probably got his jollies from this sort of thing, but what was her excuse.
"Caterpillar?" Tritter asks.
"Lower intestine with ulcerative colitis." House answers both of them not looking up again. He knows there is not enough wishful thinking in the world to make Tritter disappear.
"Do you crash art therapy classes just for the adrenalin rush?"
"No, it's not art therapy that gives me an adrenalin rush," Her seductive voice brings back memories of last night One of her hands runs down his back, and he misses Tritter's reply. Not that House would really be paying attention to Tritter, even if she weren't there.
"So, how's the therapy going? Are you cured yet?" She asks sarcastically. House has to fight the urge to glare at her. The last thing he needs is to look crazy in front of Tritter. He did not need any more ammunition.
"Well don't tell anyone but, the photos of the smiling people in the brochures… well, that's just marketing."
She just smiles, leans closer, and whispers, "Well, I don't know about that. I'd say you were pretty happy last night."
"Well, you're obviously making an effort. So, I guess the next step is to talk to the DA." Tritter announces, tearing House's attention away from her.
"Which you have no intention of doing." House states.
"Nope," Tritter replies with a small, victorious smile. House wishes he used something bigger than a thermometer.
"So, words mean nothing. Actions mean nothing. What the hell is left?" House yells at his retreating form. Tritter does not even bother to answer.
"Seems like you need to hope for a miracle," she says
It was too late for this. Were they supposed to have this case figured out by now? His fellows were still debating possible treatments, while the orderly House so fondly nicknamed 'Voldermort' stood by the door of the rehab center, undoubtedly wishing they would get this over with. House could sympathize.
Part of his brain is still contemplated Cameron's last comment. House found it hard to believe that she was not going to be at the trial. Someone has to stay with their patient, but House didn't think she would be the one to volunteer. Cameron and Foreman are still debating treatment options and he tries harder to pay attention. House spots Wilson loitering on the side, as Cameron finishes updating him on their patients declining condition.
"My next condolence call is arriving, I'll see you tomorrow." House interrupts. Chase and Foreman filer out quickly, but Cameron dawdles behind a little bit. She walks up to him and for a second, House thinks she is going to say something. Something sappy probably.
Instead, Cameron's hand rests briefly on his shoulder, giving it a quick squeeze before moving to join the others. House gets a feeling of déjà vu. All that was missing was Cameron telling him that she was proud of him.
Wilson gives him a strange look, wondering about the encounter. House just shrugs. He does not even know where to begin the explanation. Wilson lets it drop, and tosses House the bag he was carrying.
"I thought you'd need something to wear to court tomorrow," Wilson explains when House pulls out a tie.
House nods in thanks. He strokes the material of the tie, wondering where to start. He tries to remember the last time he apologized for anything. He has a feeling that it was to his father, but only with his mother's prodding, and he can't remember what it was for.
House figures he should just go for it. The words tumble out in a mess of euphemistic regrets. He is not one to botch up language, but he just can seem to get this right.
"Is this an apology?" Wilson asks. He briefly wonders if the world is ending. Maybe he should check outside the window for flying pigs.
"Part of the program. If you don't like it, I can stop."
"No," Wilson says, holding his hands up as a peace offering. "Go ahead."
"Too bad. That's about all I've got."
As the House sits in court listening to the case, he cannot help but feel like his life is slipping through his fingers. House does not believe in the miracle she thinks he is going to get.
He's grateful when his cell phone rings. Anything that will take his mind off this disaster is a blessing.
"Gotten off yet?" Her voice has a surprisingly suggestive tone.
"I thought I told you never to call me when I'm on trial."
"The memories were false. We fried his brain for nothing." It's the real Cameron this time, at least, he thought it was. She sounded more serious, more Cameron-like.
House gets up to leave. It seems like this diagnosis was not so easy after all.
"House, sit down"
"Why, I'm bored. There's nothing that I can say or do that'll make a difference here." Even as he says it, House knows it's the truth. He is going to jail. He took the drugs and now he's going to jail. Damn Tritter, why couldn't he just bend over and take it like everybody else.
House watches Cameron carefully as he goes through his explanation. He wonders if it's really her.
"…memories cause love. Love kills."
Quiet disappointment radiates from Cameron with his final assessment. It's not a look he can forget. It's been burned into his memory since the first time he put it there with a handful of harsh comments while waiting for their dinner to be served. He pushes the uncomfortable feeling aside and moves toward the door.
"House…" He turns around at the soft sound of her voice. "It's not all bad. Love, I mean. It has its moments."
He smiles as Cameron comes closer, almost close enough to touch. This is definitely the real Cameron; she has a hesitance to her that the other never had.
"I heard you apologized to Wilson."
"Detoxing. It makes you do funny things." With a pause, House tries to continue, "Cameron…" He draws out her name, but cannot force the apology to come out. Was this not supposed to get easier with practice?
Suddenly, Cameron wraps her arms around him. For a second, it is somewhat awkward, but then he relaxes and returns the hug. She's warm, and solid, and really there.
"Excuse me, I have to go to jail," he says as he pulls away. House can feel her eyes on him as he leaves.
It takes forever for Wilson and Cuddy to leave. Wilson keeps assuring House that he will be back in the morning to pick him up. House wonders if Wilson knew that he spend a night in jail not all that long ago. He wonders if that would change anything.
House will not lie to himself and think that he does not want her to appear. He has been waiting for it even since they sentenced him. He thinks he might even miss her. But, House would never admit that to anybody. Especially her.
She does not show up until later. House is about to go to bed when he hears the subtle rattling of the bars. He looks her up and down, slowly admiring the trench coat she was wearing. "My, aren't we a bit dressed up for prison. I was just wondering when you were going to show up."
"Yea, just coming to say goodbye." A shot of panic slides through him. She couldn't leave, not after he was beginning to get use to her.
"It's only one night. I'll be back to work tomorrow." She just shakes her head and pops the top button of her trench coat. The pale skin exposed is not enough to distract him from her leaving.
"You know you could always ask me out again"
She pops another button. This time, his eyes follow the motion. If he was losing her, he might as well enjoy their last moment.
"I'd cut down on the major insults, if I were you. But otherwise, hey why not. You might even get to do something besides watch." She winks and pops another two buttons.
"Think I'm out of miracles." He states. House wonders if his previous assessment was true. Do memories really cause love? Would love kill him? Sometimes, he thinks it might.
She pops the last button and his eyes follow its decent to the floor. House sees pale skin, perfect breasts, and shapely legs. But when he looks up, he can't see her face. The fantasy is gone. She's not Cameron anymore; she's just another random girl.
He turns away to lie back and stares at the ceiling. This time, really meaning it when he wishes the girl would disappear.
When it's not Cameron...well, it's not really a fantasy, is it.