A/N: Stupid title. What a stupid, stupid title. I couldn't think of anything else.
This is just a silly oneshot. Yeah I KNOW it's not Christmas anymore. So what. I'm two weeks late.
[Disclaimer: I don't own House MD. Or the characters.]
It's Christmas time once again, and like every year, the halls of Princeton Plainsboro were decorated with tinsel, streamers and ornaments for the holiday season. The high spirits and bright moods floating around were definitely contagious. Even the patients confined within the hospital felt the cheerful energy – and though it was quite unfortunate that they could not go home, their families and friends came to celebrate with them.
Every year, there was a party hosted by the hospital for all the staff and employees. It was a gathering that many looked forward to – for once, everyone would be able to relax and socialize instead of the usual yelling over bloody bodies.
Even Thirteen felt affected by the positive energy that's been surrounding her. Although she was never too enthusiastic about holiday celebrations, she did show up at the party with a smile on her face. Of course she was far from being the chatty type, but even as she sipped at her drink and rolled her eyes at Kutner's stupid joke, she felt genuinely glad that she was there. The old and the new team stood in a circle, chatting lightheartedly with one another. It was times like these that make her realize unexpectedly how much she truly enjoyed working at Princeton Plainsboro; and how much she enjoyed working for House as well. She had even gone out of her way to find her maniacal boss a little something for Christmas. It wasn't much though – just a couple of vintage records and a flying-V bottle opener that she thought he might like. She figured, why not. He'd appreciate it.
What she didn't expect was for him to find her later in the evening, handing her a gift in return. All wrapped up and everything.
The way he said it made her skeptical for a moment. She eyed him as her fellow team members watched her tear the shiny wrapping paper. The moment that the object fell into her hand, she groaned and rolled her eyes upwards. "You can't be serious."
It was a stress ball. More specifically, one in the shape of a breast.
"Thought you'd appreciate it. I know how hard you work." Kutner and Taub snickered as she passed it around for them to play with.
"Thanks House." She couldn't help but return his smirk though.
Despite its ridiculous nature, Remy actually liked it as a gift. Quite typical of House, but hey, she did like boobies after all. Unfortunately, it was too much of a hassle (and quite a distraction) to be carrying the present around with her at the party. She decided to drop it off at a room down the hall, which was the designated coat room where everyone kept their belongings. She temporarily left the crowd, casually tossing the plastic boob up and down as she sighed inwardly at her favorite boss's antics.
Cameron loved Christmas. She never really grew up religious, but she just enjoyed the holiday spirit and the culture surrounding it. She also loved that it was the time of the year when families and friends came together and exchanged gifts.
More importantly, it was a time for grudges and conflicts to be momentarily forgotten. Though not many people know, Allison was not exactly on the best of terms with her parents. But every Christmas, she would still go home and bring them gifts. And for a while, just a while, they would set aside their differences and forgive each other, forget the past, and have dinner just like they'd always had. Allison was a little nervous to go home in a few days, but at the same time, was quite looking forward to see her mom and dad, and her brother especially.
Speaking of which, she was supposed to receive a call or a message from her brother sometime this evening. As she finished off her drink, she remembered leaving her phone in her purse. She excused herself politely from a conversation and left go find it. Humming a Christmas melody lightly to herself, she strolled down the now quiet halls of the hospital, feeling extremely relieved that she had the next couple of days off.
Cameron entered the designated coat room and took a while before she found her purse. A message from her brother said that he planned to call her later in the evening. Which would be fine, just as long as it wouldn't be too late. She felt like she might just pass out the moment she arrived home.
After sending him a short message in response, Allison heard the door swing open, followed by footsteps halting to a stop. She spun around to find a certain brunette looking back at her, probably mirroring the curious expression on her own face.
"Cameron," the younger doctor responded, in a friendly manner, but almost a bit too formal for her liking.
"You can call me Allison, you know." She watched as the brunette walked up to a table just a few feet away from her.
"Then you can call me Remy," she offered with a small smile.
The blonde returned in kind. She noticed her colleague holding her purse. "Are you leaving already?"
Thirteen looked up. "Oh, no. Just putting this away." She gave a casual shrug as she showed the ER attending what was in her hand. Cameron widened her eyes. "What is that?"
"A gift from House." She handed the stress boob over to the older woman. Allison examined the orb with her mouth agape and gave it a light squeeze. "Typical," she muttered, before handing it back. Thirteen chuckled at her amused expression as she threw it in her bag. She then turned around and leaned against the table. "Are you leaving, Allison?" she asked in return, emphasizing her first name almost in a teasing way.
Cameron smiled at that. "No, I was just checking my phone, Remy." She secretly decided that she enjoyed saying that name over a number. After taking one more glance and the aforementioned device, she slid it back into her purse. "Got any plans for the holidays?" she casually asked her co-worker when she looked back up.
"Hmm..." Thirteen thought for a while. "Probably gonna spend most of it unconscious on my bed," she finally answered, earning a laugh from Cameron. "You?"
"Visiting my family in a few days. Not too excited about it to be honest."
"Really?" Remy hadn't imagined the blonde to feel this way.
Allison absentmindedly fixed the strap of her dress. "Let's just say... we don't get along all the time."
"That's surprising," Thirteen remarked, and her expression definitely mirrored it too.
"That sweet and caring Doctor Cameron has family issues," she said with a smile.
"Well don't go telling everybody that I don't live up to my reputation. Especially not that boss of yours," she remarked, pointing an chiding finger at the younger woman. Remy held her hands up in mock-defense. "I know better than that. Don't want to get on your bad side," she joked. The both of them laughed a little at their own silliness. After a moment of comfortable silence between them, Thirteen cleared her throat a bit and spoke up again.
"Well, we should probably head back to the party before Kutner eats all the cookies," she suggested with another chuckle. Allison smiled in accordance and led the way to the door. As they walked, both thought in their own minds how little they knew about each other, and yet, how easily they fell into conversation. Cameron was pleasantly surprised by Thirteen's friendly nature, as it was not something she was known for at the hospital, she was sure.
When the ER attending reached the glass door, she moved to push it open – but was quick to notice that her companion stopped a little behind her, so she took a step back to see what was up. Her gaze snapped to Thirteen's face, only to notice that the brunette was looking upwards. Allison followed her eyes and was caught off-guard when she saw this little twig hanging above them.
She quickly snapped her gaze nervously back at Thirteen, only to see her return with a slight smirk on her face.
Then, a brief pause.
Was Remy being serious right now? Or was she just fooling around? Allison couldn't decide. Rather, she was so unprepared for such a thing to happen, she was rendered speechless and was frozen on the spot.
Should she do it? Should she not? Wait, why was she even considering the option of doing it?
Before she even had time to think of a reaction, the younger woman had already moved. Thirteen walked ahead and held the door open.
"Coming, Doctor Cameron?"
As the two doctors returned to their party, thoughts raced in their minds – especially the blonde's. What happened back there... What was that? Was it Thirteen being a flirt? Truth be told, she had heard about the promiscuous side of Doctor Hadley, so that wouldn't be much of a surprise there. But then why would she flirt with her? Cameron felt increasingly self-conscious as she pondered about what Thirteen really thought of her. And then, she remembered the whole two seconds where she actually paused and took into consideration whether she should go along with the tease or not. It was a Christmas tradition, and she was always one to stick to them. A kiss under the mistletoe. Overlooked was the original custom of it applying to heterosexual couples. What caught her off-guard was that she actually considered doing it.
But maybe she was over-thinking everything. Maybe... maybe Thirteen was really just joking and fooling around. Nothing special. Just messing with her all in good fun. It didn't really mean anything.
It couldn't have meant anything...
Or could it?
Allison decided to just shake it off and snapped back to the conversation that Chase was having with Foreman – something vaguely about the places they've travelled in the past few years. After peeling her eyes off of Thirteen for the fifth or sixth time, she decided not to think too much of the incident and stopped troubling herself with it.
It was late in the evening and people were already beginning to leave the party to head home. It took Cameron a good ten to fifteen minutes to say goodbye to everyone, including Cuddy, House, and Wilson. She rushed to grab her coat and purse, and was eager to head for the hospital lobby. More than anything, she was excited to have the next couple of days off. No hectic shifts in the ER. No paper work and charting to do. She was finally going to have her much-needed break, and nobody was going to stop her.
Allison hummed a cheerful Christmas tune to herself as she exited the elevator. Being as absorbed in her thoughts as she was, she failed to notice someone falling into step with her until the person called her name.
"Heading home, Doctor Cameron?" a familiar voice asked out of nowhere.
"Oh! Hi Thirteen." Allison's heart skipped a beat. "Yes, I am." She found herself staring at Remy's face for a moment, before snapping herself out of it. "And you must be as well."
The younger woman nodded in accordance. "Looking forward to some sleep."
Allison smiled at that. "Me too."
They crossed the lobby together and eventually reached the doors. Cameron reached out and push it open, when she heard a chuckle from her colleague. A familiar feeling settled in her stomach as she turned to Thirteen with a questioning look.
"It must be a sign," the brunette remarked, with a hint of a teasing tone. Allison followed her eyes once again to see the dreaded mistletoe hanging above them.
Twice in one night. Seriously?
She felt blood rushing to her cheeks lightly as she found herself reduced to speechlessness for the second time that evening. With the way Thirteen was bringing it up again, she must be intentionally hinting at something. But then again, judging by her playful nature...perhaps she was really just kidding around...
'Should I just do it for the hell of it...?' Allison asked herself. 'But that would be inappropriate...wouldn't it?'
Her mind raced on and on as she analyzed and over-analyzed the situation. Allison had always hated to be the one to break traditions – especially ones of her favorite holiday season. But this was just... She wasn't sure if... She just couldn't bring herself to...
Allison's thoughts were interrupted as Thirteen moved once again. Like the last time, she held open the door for the ER attending, who has yet to speak a word.
The both of them paused for a brief moment when they stepped outside, observing the mesmerizing delicate snowfall. Allison pulled her coat tighter around her body as Remy shoved her hands in the pockets of her jacket.
"My car's over on that side..." the blonde said as a kind of announcement, believing that they would part ways. She gestured to that certain direction of the parking lot.
"Mine too." Then again, maybe they won't be saying goodbye just yet.
The two women slowly began heading towards the space of parked cars, walking quietly side by side. The light fluttering of snow under the faint moonlight made for a lovely scene. They walked on, arms brushing accidentally – most definitely accidentally – as they engaged in some form of small talk, exchanging a couple of words about work and the hospital. Surprisingly, any awkwardness from before had quickly dissipated. Their conversation was not forced, and flowed naturally between them in the form of witty comments and rebuttals. It was refreshing.
"So House seems to be behaving lately."
"It must be the holiday season."
Allison chuckled at her colleague's cynical tone.
"You know what he's like!" Remy exclaimed. "The moment you think he's finally improving, he turns around and breaks the MRI machine. Again."
"I remember that! How many times has that even happened?"
"I think I've lost count."
Cameron laughed even harder. By the time both of their chuckling died down a bit, the two doctors finally reached the blonde's car. It was covered in a thin layer of snow, similar to the way icing sugar is sprinkled over the surface of a cake. Allison unlocked the car, then, with some reluctance, turned back to her companion.
"Well...goodnight Remy," she said sweetly, despite timidly. "Merry Christmas."
Thirteen returned the smile. "'Night Allison... Happy Holidays."
For a second, they both stood there. Both lingering, standing still, eyes locked, with the snow fluttering around them, almost as if they were waiting for something... Waiting for something to happen.
But then, as quick as the moment came, it passed. Remy suddenly broke the gaze and took a step back, before turning around completely to walk away.
The instant she spun around, Allison's heart fell, and she panicked.
If there was a moment to do this, now was the time.
The brunette halted in her tracks immediately at the sound her her name. "Yeah...?" Her heart raced as she slowly turned back around, despite not knowing what to expect.
With her feet planted firmly in the snow, her hands balled up into fists in her pockets, Thirteen watched with wide, questioning eyes as Allison Cameron gradually closed the distance between them. Her eyes grew even wider when the blonde did not stop a foot away from her but leaned in closer instead. And all of a sudden, a swift kiss on the cheek. Remy felt as if her body was on fire.
By the time she regained her posture, she had barely caught the end of Cameron's nervous "goodnight" as the older woman made her way back to her car.
"Uhm... Yeah... 'Night. Uh... Drive safe..." She instantly wanted to kick herself. She couldn't understand why her brain refused to work.
She watched motionlessly as the ER attending entered her car. Judging by the expression on her face, she was just as nervous and shy about this as Remy was. That took a lot of guts. And Remy wanted to make sure that those efforts weren't wasted.
A split second after Allison started the engine, she heard a soft knock on her window. As anticipated, the brunette was now right next her, leaning over with a hand on the hood of the car. Allison swallowed once before lowering the window.
"I was wondering... Do you want to...go grab some coffee tomorrow...?" Remy asked with some hesitance. Heart pounding in her ears, she had never felt this nervous in her life. "If you're free...that is..." she added, kind of as an afterthought.
In the car, Allison was chewing out the inside of her cheek.
"I'd love to."
As soon as her response registered in Remy's mind, she smiled shyly.
"Okay... Well, see you...tomorrow."
After having exchanged another round of quiet "goodnights", Remy slowly backed away from the car and Allison drove off.
As Remy walked towards her own car, she couldn't fight the silly grin threatening to spread across her face – one that only grew bigger with every step.
She couldn't help but think that hopefully, by next Christmas, she would be getting a kiss on the lips instead.