Nothing changes

Gregory House… one of the most intriguing TV show characters, played by the amazing Hugh Laurie. He inspired me more than once. This was my first fanfic on the subject.

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Nothing changes

He sat in the gloominess of his floodlit parlour, sipping hot coffee, wondering at the irony of the word, given his own circumstances. The last time anyone sat and talked to him in the room was on Christmas Eve. Wilson had come over to keep him company, out of sheer pity, or maybe because of his own emotional problems. Well, that’s what friends are for. In need, indeed. Rain was pouring down on the annoyingly clean windowpanes. Sally came regularly, every week, or fortnight, depending on his mood. Sometimes he just didn’t care, he let the dirt grow over him, like tendrils of memory, pulling him down, pulling him back into the past. But most often he liked law and order persisting in his home. Unless he had to do something about it. Then he just limped to his mistress, the white-lipped, cooing microwave, and exerted scorching coffee out of her. He needed the coffee to chase away his current hangover and stoniness: his best friends did not exactly get along with booze. Tonight he had had to take extra two of them, as his majesty, the leg was giving him hell. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was his inert soul triggering the pain, to make him… well, make him feel. Feel just about anything. And then, of course, the illusion of power: killing the pain gave him an unexpected sense of authority each and every time. He remembered the silly dialogue between him and Cameron, and chuckling into his coffee cup, he attempted to step into the Almighty’s shoes for a few seconds. Would God drink coffee? Sure he would. The old bastard obviously liked old-fashioned relishes, would he have invented sex otherwise? His free, private, universal but forever new, neverending porn-movie. His leg twitched, out of fashion rather than with pain, as he sat on the piano stool. He rubbed it with his right hand, his thoughts rambling lazily, disconnected and uncertain. His bedtime was close, but a strange awareness was slowly stirring in him. Except for the occasional notes dissolving in the evening air like the sugar in his coffee, he was alone.

She had no idea what she was doing outside his door. The talk they had the other day… or rather, the question she asked, and her helplessness against his apparent unapproachability had kept her awake for the past few days. She knew he would send her away. Leaving memories of a dead husband behind her, with her hopes for a foolishly perfect life as his shroud, she was past romantic reveries about idealized, chivalrous men. Nevertheless, she felt like a silly young girl, fighting against all odds, trying to keep that last drop from falling. Perhaps she should keep silent. Wait for things to happen. Or just wait. But she was not the waiting type. She had her age, she had her unfaltering, if faded hopes, and her occasionally surfacing tenacity: she wanted to know. In view of his personality, his always wanting to know, he will not hold any grudges. Only send her away. A deep breath, and she knocked on the door.

House looked up from his inconsistent playing. What was Wilson doing here at this hour? He hopped to the door without his cane, rather dizzily, and he propped himself just in time. The face he saw through the glass made his left hand grab the wooden doorframe a little tighter. Her, he was not expecting. More precisely, he was not ready for her. He had a slight suspicion as to what she was about to say, and he was not really in the mood for dealing with her right now. Or at any time. With her, or any other woman. Stacy had left; it took him years to find his way back to living on his own. His head slightly tilted, he opened the door, to see Cameron in a stunning blue top, her hair a long velvety stream on her back. Her eyes fixed on him, she said nothing, just stepped into his appartment before he had time to say or think anything acceptable from him, the snarky House. She briefly looked around. The piano registered. So did the cupboards. Odd books, table, settee, curtain, rain behind the curtains. In a split second’s time, her mind was blank again. Turning to House, she tried to focus on something, anything. His T-shirt, his dark jeans, his stubble. No, not his stubble. Anything else. She swallowed invisibly and raked her brain for her long-rehearsed sentences that in this rain-drenched, musty-smelling moment refused to come to her.

-I’m sorry. I should have taken a couple of extra Vicodin and just held my nose.

She was grateful he broke the spell, for whatever reason. To help her, probably.

-I’m guessing you did take a couple extra Vicodin –she replied with a half-smile.

-True.

His voice was deep, dark, and after her two Martinis in the bar several streets away, it sounded awfully seductive. She felt panic surging in her. She must not let him see that, he cannot see her more vulnerable than she had already shown herself to be. But whatever she will say, will make her just that.

Cameron cursed herself for being so irresponsible. She will lose her job, she will lose him, she will lose the chance to come back to him, and she will stay in his mind (if at all) as a helpless, romantic fool. His first ever remarks on her made her see House was no exception to the rule: your breasts, your legs, your ass, your mouth, all assets they must possess to feel rulers of the world. He saw her as a pretty doll first, and he will remember her as a sentimental bitch. He was now looking at her, into her eyes as usual. Not a hint that there was any lurking thought behind his dull words. Whenever he complimented her, it was for professional reasons; when he seemed to care about her, it was because she was his colleague, helping him. That much he admitted, even without saying so. But no more.

House skipped to his cane he had left aside the piano. He stooped for it, then slowly limped back to her and stood there, propped on his stick, looking lonely, miserable, silent. Unexpressed hope in his eyes, the blue of which had been dulled by the long shift and the drugs, yet refusing her in advance. She desperately tried to avoid making a complete fool of herself. She did not need any more tender feelings surging in heart, she was falling for him anyway.

-You don’t need to worry about firing anyone. I’m leaving.

-Why? Is this another noble, self-sacrificing gesture? You trying to protect Foreman? –retorted House, not expecting her to say what she said. He had expected… something else. The realization made him wince- was he a helpless old fool like the rest? For the warm cuddles of a soft, breasty female he would give up his integrity again? She is just another woman. No more special than the rest. He does not need to feel sorry for himself if she goes away.

-No.

Her voice was resolute, yet very quiet. Her eyes were hanging on him, looking into him with that warm glow he had awaited. The warmth she was exuding covered him from head to toe- or was it the drinks? The Vicodin? The coffee?

-So this is just, “Don’t fire me, I quit”- he said, his eyes askance, yet impenetrable, as usual.

She knew she had lost the game. She had known it before, for days, for weeks, yet, in the face of conclusive evidence she felt horrible, shrinking to molecules, her cells evaporating, her shame mingled with the utter loneliness of having to leave him like that. Tears were welling in her eyes, and there was no stopping them. She had only one thing left to fall back on- she had to say what she had come for. She owed herself that much.

-I’m protecting myself. You asked me why I like you. You’re abrasive and rude, but I figured everything you do, you do it to help people. But I was wrong. You do it because it’s right.

The words stung, her truth stung like hell. He was feeling nausea and pain at the same time, at himself for feeling like he felt, at her righteous attitude, at the situation he had been forced into against his will. He had to look away from her. His leg was living a life of his own, signalling the twitches of his upset nervous system. He wanted more than anything else to grab three Vicodins and gulp them down for blissful oblivion, but she was standing right there, facing him despite her tears. Good lord, she does like me, he thought.

He remembered a funny noise in the street, perhaps a trash-bin being overturned, when she extended her hand. He would not take it. First, because he simply would not. He could not let himself feel the minute fingers under his. Touching her hand would have brought him closer to her, closer than he had planned. What was she thinking after all? That he would redeem her with a handshake? Did she want to seduce him with her velvety touch? It would not be too hard. She was amazingly beautiful, fragile and immaculate, and he was getting severely stoned. He even forgot the second reason.

Cameron was withdrawing her hand when he reached for it, against his will. And his cane. It was his right hand, and he unthinkingly relinquished his cane that fell onto the lush carpet with a muffled thud. Her eyes rounded in amazement, and for a microsecond she did not watch him, only his hand reaching for hers. His slightly shaking, strong yet lithe fingers took her breath away for no reason. When she looked up, he was stumbling for his lost balance. She stepped forward instinctively to hold him straight in the instability of the moment. She felt very small next to him, oh how close she was, it was as if he had denied everything that had ever happened between them, he had given up negation and was now willing to drown in his own existence, choke on her goodwill and tender love. She saw his eyes, dusky with repressed desire, the desire to let himself go, to allow himself that he was falling and she had caught him, and she wished she could tell him how she would always catch him. She did not notice when her arms had wrapped themselves around his waist to keep him stable. His hands were on her shoulders, propping himself in sheer self-mockery. He was the one looking down on her, yet he looked so defenceless, and she knew he was aware of her having seen him, really seen him, and felt him, really felt him under his shirt that lifted with his each breath, and through her blouse, the half-numb grip of his hands on her shoulders.

She wants to say things, she wants to whisper and be whispered to, she wants to be held strongly by the man who cannot push her away. She craves for a kiss, whatever the consequences, and she lifts herself up to his lips. They are inert and soft like his whole body. She tastes the booze on his tongue, the sour bitterness of the strong coffee, and something else underneath all that, his own taste, the taste of House, a mixture of hidden and obvious, of crass and sensitive, of sarcastic and affectionate. She hugs him with all her might and defies the feeling of loss gradually encircling her, the moment is lost forever, her lips are still touching his, her craving still encompasses his almost-abandon, her arms lightly shake in the middle of the room, now embracing flesh, muscle and the man she adores, now losing it all, slipping off, letting him slip away, pull himself out of it all, disappear in the twilight of his dogged retreat, a recluse of his long-forgotten feelings-

He doesn’t want to kiss her back. He doesn’t want to hold her either, but his arms are acting up alongside his leg, so when the pain grabs him real hard he embraces her. She is petite and clinging, but the stronger pain in his groin takes his mind off the pain in his leg. He flows into her without resistance, his aching cells pump into her blood, he relishes the luxury of a female embrace, the hard nipples pressing at his chest, the sensation of the lascivious curve of her lower back leading to her perfect bottom, oh god it was a long time… He feels her arms relinquish their clasp and he is on the brink of telling her not to stop-

He stares blankly at the closed door. He feels dizzy, so he softly falls to the carpet and lifts his legs against a chair to help the blood circulation. What had he said? Or done? He forgets. He feels her everywhere, on his face, in his mouth, in his legs, in his groin. She had been there from day one, the petite female shape, fragile in her uncertainty, yet ravishingly beautiful and bright. Her kiss had awakened his senses, and but for the growing sleepiness, and the persistent obduracy (and his half-dead leg, he made a sarcastic mental note) he would have rushed after her.

She had wanted to have him, in any way he was willing to give himself to her. But he was stubborn. He had to be. It was his job, it helped him save hundreds. He was unrelenting, even after the kiss. Why? He wanted to know, but there was no telling.
His thoughts slowed down with the slackening of his aching desire. He was only able to think in short, abrupt half-ideas.

She left. Good for her. He was half a man anyway. He only had half a life. No one fit into it but himself. He could not, and would not go all cheesy and cooey for the sake of a pair of warm eyes.

The rain dripped onto the windowsill through a crack in the wooden frame. He heard the drops amidst his distraught thoughts. He knew he had done the right thing. For her. As for him…

This could wait. The music in his head was playing loud and clear, and his hands were conducting the orchestra of his chaotic mind. The room closed up on him, and he took it all in. No regrets, no forgiveness. As usual.

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