"Would you like to get a drink with me?"
"What, are you serious or are you just trying to change subjects?"
"No I'm serious. I drink, you drink we could do it at the same time… same table. Do you eat? We could do that too…. Hey if the answers no it's cool."
"No you're just coming off the surgery and you're not yourself..."
The conversation, or at least that snippet, had been playing through her mind all day. It was straightforward, it was random, and he said it without a hint of sarcasm. Of course he played it up as a trap and that he wasn't hurt by her answer. For two years she had wanted him to ask her something like that and she fumbled her answer when he finally did. She was caught off guard and automatically put up the defenses that she had learn to construct while working for him. Now she wondered if he had actually wanted her to say yes, that maybe now that he could walk he had the confidence to try something with her.
That thought brought her to where she was now, standing outside his office. His blinds were closed, and that usually meant he was thinking and probably not the best time to bother him, but it was now or never.
With a breath she tapped on the glass a few times, making soft but audible sounds.
"In!" came the short but loud reply giving her permission to enter.
She casually pushed the door open and walked through, using her other hand to push the blinds away to enter. She stood there and looked at him. He sat behind his desk. an expectant eyebrow raised as she entered, not expecting to see her again that day.
She noticed that the room was bathed in a soft amber glow, the only light coming from a lamp near his desk. With as relaxed a voice as she could manage she asked, "Why did you ask me out?"
He stayed quiet and kept looking at her, trying to study her and find out her intentions before giving a reply.
Finding the silence unnerving she clarified, "Was it only a test?"
His elbows shifted on the table as she took a few steps forward. He acknowledged that she was asking a legitimate question, if he were in her position he would be curious too. He knew the answer to the question but he couldn't just outright give it to her.
"Why does it matter, you reconsidering?" he asked in a curious manner.
"It depends if you only asked me out to screw with me," she asked defensively.
He raised an obvious eyebrow at her sentence.
At the look he was giving she realized what she said and narrowed her eyes, "You know what I meant."
He thought for a moment of whether to answer straight out or not. If he was truthful it hadn't all been to see her reaction; a part of it was, but not all of it. In truth for whatever reason he did it she was the was the only woman he had asked out since Stacy left after the infarction, of course he would not share that with her.
"I don't know. Are you only trying to disprove what I said about you?" he deflected. If she had said yes he wouldn't have objected but he wasn't going to put himself out there again.
She gave a challenging smile, "You can't answer my question with a question House."
"So I need to justify my reasons to you for asking you out?" House asked.
Cameron held his intense gaze, "It depends if you were serious or not."
"Why should I answer you," House challenged but his held only a hint of sarcasm.
"Again you're the one that asked me out," Cameron said not backing down.
He smirked at her; she came prepared to face him. House also had to admit that cool, collected, and calm Cameron was sexy.
"It seems we are at an impasse Dr. Cameron," House stated nonchalantly.
She sensed his invitation by the calmness in voice and walked to a chair on the other side of his desk and took a seat, "In poker you never want to show your hand unless you have an idea of what the other guy is holding.'
"Nice metaphor," he said impressed hiding his surprise that she played, "The question is what do we do since neither of us want to show our cards."
"I don't know. You usually come up with the answers to perplex situations," she said without hesitation.
Keeping his eyes on her he thought for a moment. If he continued now he would have to give something, open up to her. He could also close up and tell her that asking her out was only a game but the truth was it wasn't only that. Thinking of all this he came to a decision.
"A half-date," House answered lightly.
"What?" she answered back not following.
House gave a grin, "You want answers and I want answers but neither of us will concede. We have been on a non-date and a date. Since you won't agree to another full date, a half-date seems to be the only logical alternative."
Cameron studied him carefully, "And how Dr. House does a half-date work?"
"Easily," he said without hesitation, "Said half-date takes place in neutral territory, in this case right here. Somebody goes down to the cafeteria and gets food; since anything from there can barely be described as tasty it takes out all romantic subtext. We eat, answer each other's questions to see if either one of us wants a full date. It is like the interview part of the date without the mushy part."
Cameron paused and thought about the proposal. The idea was definitely something House would think of and it could possibly give answers to both their insecurities. Although this was also a game House could work to his advantage. She had to do something.
"Fine but I want to add conditions," she stated trying to gauge his reaction.
House studied her trying to figure out what she had in mind. Knowing Cameron it couldn't be anything completely insensible so he nodded telling her to continue.
"One that if we do this you can't bring out the scotch from your desk, that way you can't attribute any of your answers to being influenced. Two if we are going to get anything truthful out of each other we should agree that whatever is said in this office stays in this office, unless this thing goes well than it stays between us," Cameron explained.
House knew that last part of her rules was especially aimed at him but he had to admit the conditions were fair. Also if he were serious about this thing with Cameron he would have to open up a little anyways.
"Deal but what happens if one of us breaks the second rule?"
Cameron pondered that for a moment before coming up with a solution, "If I break your trust I will do all you clinic hours for a month."
"Fair," House agreed, "and if I betray yours."
"I am tired of rejecting all of the requests for you to speak at a conference. If you betray my trust you have to attend and give an actual speech to any conference I choose," Cameron said firmly.
House looked impressed at her punishment. Cameron knew he hated speaking and that there were many requests that required him to give many speeches during a course of a week. It was equal punishment for the both of them should they let anything slip. He was also fairly certain Cameron would never tell anyone anything he said to her in confidence anyways but she was trying to give him added reassurance of that.
House also decided to weigh the pros and cons of going through with this. Cons were opening up, feeling vulnerable, risk getting hurt, and somebody knowing something deeper about him. Pros he believed were she did like him somewhat when he had a cane, she was beautiful, he was pretty sure she wouldn't share anything he told her to anyone else, she already knew him so she knew what she was getting into, and she was fifteen years younger than him and still wanted him.
"The pros out definitely outweighed the cons," he thought.
"Deal, and you guarantee I won't betray you because if I do Cuddy would be ecstatic. Can't have that," House said and surprised himself by holding out his hand to confirm the arrangement. It seemed his subconscious was trying to tell him something.
Cameron looked surprised at the outstretched hand at first but smiled and took it, "Deal."
A/N: This story is going to be my long ongoing story. My favorite stories are the long, involved ones where authors try to deeply explore a House Cameron relationship. I know this concept has probably been done to death but my muse wants what it wants. However this story is going to veer from others because I am using episode 3X01 (before the ketamine stops working) and changing things around. I am also tentatively rating this M because I am heavily considering trying my hand at writing smut scenes.
This story is also kind off a breather story for me. Since I want it to be long and ongoing I will write and update the story sporadically.