"They can give you something for the nausea."
"That would be cheating."
"Since when have you cared?" The only response she gets is him doubling over and emptying what's left of him into the toilet and, oh, if the irony doesn't make her tongue bleed. There’s nothing left in him, not when there was never anything there in the first place.
She’s often entertained the idea of it, splitting him open from top to bottom and pecking around until she’s satisfied. What will she find, she wonders as she taps her shoes together - tap a liver silence no kidneys (and doesn’t that have her snorting to herself) tap a stomach silence maybe even a heart nestled somewhere in there. Or maybe it’s locked up in the child-proof pill bottle she thumbs in her pocket, like it’s always been.
“I always care when it’s about me,” House spits out, pulling the flush and breathing heavily. “But this is more fun.”
“Fun. Right,” Cameron scoffs, closing her eyes and pressing her temple to the toilet tank. It’s perfectly cool; two degrees colder than her boss’s eyes if such a thing were possible. He’s got permafrost eyes that nothing - nobody - will ever thaw. She’s burned herself trying to keep him warm for so long she doesn’t remember what it’s like to be anything other than this suspended cloud of bits and pieces. She was a person once, with thoughts and feelings and now every time she blinks it’s blue eyes and when she breaths it’s a soft cadence of ha-ha-house-ha-hahou-
He touches her neck. Her eyes stay shut, even when his pianist fingers slot right over the mottled purple, a touch too big to be a perfect fit for the marks. For a second, she thinks he’s going to squeeze. For a second, she wants him to.
Then his thumb traces the column of her throat and he asks, “What did you do?”
“The patient had a psychotic-”
“I know what happened. I want to know what you did.”
“Nothing. Foreman had the nurse give him lorazepam. It’s protocol.”
“Protocol,” House echoes, his hand slipping down to hook into the hollow of her collarbone. Her heart pounds its way out of her, trying to find its fit in his hand. It’ll fit so perfectly his fingers will cross over and cage her right in before he shatters it like he has so many times before.
She’ll let him, though. She always will if it’s him.
“Next time,” House murmurs, tapping a song into her clavicle, “You get him before he gets you. I thought I taught you this.”
“You, teach me about patient care?”
“No. About knowing when a person is going to strike.” House’s eyes don’t go soft or look even a tad bit warmer. If anything they’re more frigid but she sees something under the layers of ice, something swirling and deep that she knows she can wade in easier than she can breathe.
About knowing when a person is going to strike because you strike you do you find the parts of me you haven’t tried to turn to stone and you sink your teeth in until until until-
Until I bite right back.
“Right. I’ll just sedate every patient who so much as twitches my way,” Cameron says, shifting so she’s curved towards him, closing the world in so it’s just him and her, House and Cameron, inhale and exhale. Her free hand closes over his wrist, idly feeling for his pulse, just to see if he has one because sometimes it feels like he doesn’t. He waits for the requisite fifteen seconds - fifty-two beats per minute, he was an athlete wasn’t he - and then says, “I won’t always be around to keep that tight ass safe, Cameron.”
Her grip tightens so much her nails are sure to leave little half-moon reminders of her existence in his skin. “Yes, you will.”
“And why’s that? A sense of duty? You know I don’t have that, especially to you,” House says.
“You don’t,” Cameron agrees, leaning in close enough that she can feel his stubble cut into her lips. “But you can never leave well enough alone.”
She kisses him, and there are no sparks or alterations of gravity, just the taste of bile in his mouth as she slips a pill in with her tongue and waits for him to swallow them whole.
“Prochlorperazine,” Cameron whispers as she pulls away.
“Contraindicated for use with buprenorphine, Dr Cameron.” There’s an undercurrent of pride in his eyes before it flash freezes over. She’ll drown to find it again and never let go.
“Don’t be a baby, House. All it’ll do is make you a little sleepier while stopping the nausea.” Cameron stands up and looks down at him, waiting for him to stop her from leaving. He never does, but she waits anyway.
Just in case.
“Look for a left bundle branch block, ST abnormalities…” House trails off. Cameron frowns, and he sighs, rolling his eyes. “Must I do everything for you? Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.”
“You can either look surprised when I say it tomorrow when you inevitably drag Foreman and Chase in, or I can pretend to be proud of you when you say it after me going ‘look for a left bundle branch block, ST abnormalities’ and trail off dramatically again.”
“We won’t be coming,” Cameron says confidently, and neither of them believe her for a second. “But thank you, House. Sweet dreams.”
(They’re back tomorrow, and when House throws up after saying ‘left bundle branch block’, Cameron proposes Takotsubo and the other two scoff, but House looks up and -