Before What Never Happened, PG-13, House/Cameron
Summary: Cameron and House, fragmented
Spoilers: This season up to Autopsy.
A/N: House isn't mine.
They have one conversation about it. It goes like this.
"Did you ever dance?" she asks, and he leans his cane on the desk. He knocks a few of Chase's paper missiles off the edge. "I mean, before."
"Sure. Ask Stacy, we were a regular Fred and Ginger down at the VFW on Big Band Night." It's sharper than it should be, the last.
"I used to go out dancing, after," she says, twisting her hair around her wrist. He doesn't need to ask, after what; he has one before, Cameron has one after.
"I'd go out to these clubs, and I'd dance until I was exhausted, until every muscle ached."
"Some people drink." He shrugs.
She closes her eyes. "Some people drink."
"It was never going to work."
She smiles at him, tired. "I know."
"You're too young."
"You're too old."
"You're too needy."
"You're too bitter."
"You'd expect things of me."
"You're still in love with Stacy."
The sound he makes might be a laugh. "True."
"And I think," she says, not as cautiously as she should, "that I'm still in love with my husband."
They went back to work. They pretended it never happened.
The worst part was, it wasn't that hard.
At Greenfield County Hospital, they would have given her an office.
Here she's at a desk and Chase is lobbing balls of paper at her from across the room, the needy little brother she's never had.
At Greenfield County Hospital they would have kissed her feet, trust-fund baby with a resume to die for and thirty-one pairs of high high heels. They would have given her tenure in five years, made her department head in ten. Because doctors like her didn't work among the poor, or even among the ordinary.
Doctors like her worked at places like this. If Princeton-Plainsboro spent on medicine what they spent on drapes, they could cure neuritis, neuralgia, the common cold, death.
"Catholics oppose the death penalty, don't they?" she asks Chase.
"Then where are you on this?" It comes out sharper than it should have. At Greenfield County Hospital she wouldn't be putting dead men on respirators. She thinks of the letter she wrote, declining their offer.
He looks at her, and then down at the page of the budget report he's folding into an airplane. "I didn't know you gave a damn what I thought."
And then looks up, the calm gaze, and she sees the priest he could have been, dispensing dispensation. Granting indulgences. "You don't have to fight all the battles at once, Allison."
At Greenfield County Hospital men a year younger, men with floppy hair and ties that hurt her eyes, would have been afraid of her.
And men old enough to be her father wouldn’t stare at her like cats at a mouse hole.
"It's like the rest of his stuff. He just leaves it lying around. You could step on it."
They have their parts to play. She knows this the way she knows the Late Victorian poets and the name of every bone, the order in which organ failure typically occurs. It's the kidneys, usually. The lungs and heart take each other down. Usually.
Wilson looks at her accusingly as House snaps at him. She didn't break House. He was in pieces before she opened the box. But they have their parts to play.
She knows her lines. She's supposed to try to save him. He's supposed to resist. Then give in. Then she's supposed to walk away because it's too hard, and break his heart, and that's what Wilson's waiting for, the opening he wants.
The problem was, House didn't play along. Didn't resist. That's what she wants to remind Wilson of, shake him and yell in her best spoiled child voice, "He started it." He looked at her, and then down at the present in her outstretched hand. If he'd slapped the gift away and made his usual kind of cutting remark, if he'd kept his damn mouth shut about his stupid Monster Trucks, she'd never have looked at it as anything but an uncomfortable joke
If he'd done anything, really, but look at her with a face stiff with shock, as if she'd jabbed something sharp in a soft place, she'd never have made another overture of any kind.
House is crankier than he was before what never happened started, but she wishes Wilson would attribute that to Stacy (she does) and stop expecting her to do something about it.
What's she going to do? That wouldn't make it worse? Wilson's the one who's good at terminal cases, anyway.
"You could step on it."
She wore stiletto heels to the interview.
He should have known what he was getting into.