Character/Pairing: House, Cameron, House/Cameron
Genre: Apocalypse fic, yet fluffy? IDK; you decide...
Summary: The second one comes; louder, nearer. BOOM! In the end of the world, no one should have the last laugh. 2,272 words.
Note: Since apocalypse fics are my new crack, I decided to make one of my own. Hee. But no one's dead. Yet.
And disclaimers are getting old but we have to do it anyway. So, nope; not mine.
Same Time Next Week
Thirteen was laughing the first time they heard it.
She and the team were in the diagnostic room when it happened. House was scribbling on the whiteboard; the black marker, like most other things he encountered, squeaked under his thumb. Taub and Foreman were sitting near Thirteen, one at each side, and spelling out diseases. Apt pupils.
And when they all first noticed the faraway sound, Thirteen blurted out, giggling, "That sounds like a bomb!"
Then, the second one came. Louder. Nearer.
This time, no one laughed.
House turned to watch the others looking back at him. They seemed to have this look on their faces. Horrified, he believed, was the right sentiment.
"Do," he began, softly, "an LP."
He started to pick up sounds of sirens, not far from here; from them. There were, too, the occasional shrieks and familiar curiosities.
This room, though, was unusually silent.
House tossed the black marker into the air, watching quietly as the inevitable gravity pulled the marker down, and caught it again in a timely manner.
He looked back at the others; their eyes fixed on his still. "What are you waiting for?" he scolded. "Go do your job!"
As soon as he found the empty office, House knew Wilson must have been rushed to the ER to help. Limping down the stairs (because the elevator suddenly seemed to have stopped working), he finally found Wilson trapped between hospital beds, tending to their occupiers.
Cuddy was there, too. She was shouting his name but he was too busy avoiding a swarm of people, who seemed to be coming from everywhere. They all jogged hurriedly to the opposite direction; one of them almost knocked his cane down.
It took him rather a longer time than usual but House got to Wilson nevertheless.
Wilson was mad at him, blabbing something about too many people coming in and him being not helpful at all. "I have a patient," explained House.
Rolling his eyes, Wilson handed him, with force, a tattered and used bandage. There was a smear of blood sticking to it, and for a moment, House forgot to keep his eyes open.
Wilson was still glaring at him when he opened them again. House looked down at the bandage before throwing it in a bin next to his feet. "How can you stand the smell?" he hissed at his friend.
Wilson watched in silence as House, now following a wave of scattering people, retreated to his office.
Before he could go back, House made a quick stop at the vending machine. At the press of a button, it belched out a cup of the infamous cappuccino.
Still, trotting up and down the stairs has taken its toll on him and he was in need of his pills. He could have swallowed them dry, per usual, but he craved for something else to wet his tired throat.
Besides, he was sweating already. And the metal machine behind him was cool against his back.
House downed the pills with the cappuccino abruptly and smirked to himself. The brownish liquid was as bad as ever and this at least was something.
When he finally entered the diagnostic room, Taub was already there. Or, still there; House wasn't exactly sure which. He was sitting on the same chair and wearing the similar expression as when House left him earlier.
"What are you doing here?" House prompted. "Where are Thirteen and Foreman?"
Taub looked up from the hands that were folded neatly on his lap. "They're," he began, "doing the LP."
House stared back at him, keeping mum and finding an inward satisfaction from seeing Taub's eyes blinking too rapidly.
"Keep going," came the rejoinder, "practice makes perfect."
Taub returned to his hands again, although not for long.
As if on cue, a knock echoed through the room, calling their attention to the opened glass door. Chase was standing there, eyes flickered between the two men. The said eyes set themselves on the ceiling before finally landing on House's. And only then did he notice how tired the young man was, how worn out the skin on his face and how anxious the feet that held him afloat were.
"I-," staggered Chase. His voice came out too rusty, as if he had been using it far too much, or far too much in vain, earlier this morning. House waited for him to try again, watching him in silence as he swallowed.
Chase started one more time, "Cameron."
The same voice that called him earlier was there again but, just like before, he ignored it. There wasn't a time for it; the stairs were already taking his. And, he thought, who knows when or where the third one will fall? When it does- Hell, it maybe even funny; hilarious, in fact. Maybe this time, he'll laugh with Thirteen, too.
As House approached the hospital's front door, a not so distant memory kept playing in his mind. There were Wilson, Cuddy shouting at him, beds, bandages and people knocking his cane down. Why didn't he notice? And then, what good would he be? Because that was what he did.
The front door opened to a lawn dotted with benches no more; now, it gave way to a horde of volunteers loading goods and colleagues into an enormous truck. His eyes scanned through the chaos, disregarding the mixture of cries, shrieks, orders and more sirens that came all at once and hurt his eardrums.
And there she was; ponytail, sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers and all.
House waited until he was near enough before shouting at her. "What do you think you're doing?"
Cameron jumped slightly from where she was standing; her hands, though, never lost their grip on a handful of orange vials that rattle against each other as she turned to meet him. She seemed to be responsible for collecting medicine and putting them in cardboard boxes so another guy could pick them up and load them in the truck, along with the volunteers. And even as she stopped to stare back at him, a man had taken a box near her shoes and grabbed the vials inside her grasp altogether.
Empty-handed, she was left with no choice to address him back. "Hi House," she greeted, too calm for his taste, "how's your patient?"
She didn't wait to hear his answer, returning to sorting the medicine already.
"He has a heart attack," he replied nonetheless.
It did catch her attention again. "What?" she asked, startled. "He didn't have a heart condition when I gave him to you."
He watched the frowns drawing lines on her forehead before giving away a reply. "He will if we don't find out what's wrong with him."
Between the noises, he thought he heard her sighing. Her hands, meanwhile, were swiftly back on the orange vials and the boxes.
Still, she told him, "Then, why aren't you crossing out symptoms with your team in your office?"
"Foreman and Thirteen are gone," he answered, feebly.
His eyes seemed to move on their own, intrigued by the way her hands fumbled with the medicine. These vials, this box, those vials, that box. The same man that had taken a box earlier came back for another fix. He seemed to deem House, and even the owner of the hands that had filled the box, invisible and, without a glance, disappeared to where he first came.
But the feeling, it seemed, was mutual as Cameron looked equally unaffected. "You can use a hand," she muttered, nonchalantly. This, that, this, that. "Too bad I'm busy."
They stayed silent afterwards, succumbing to the madness that surrounded them for a while. Cameron was still busied with the never ending task, while House stood awkwardly beside her, looking back at her quiet temple.
He broke the silence. "That's alright. Chase came to the office."
She refused to acknowledge it too, not even considering displaying a hint of concern. And he found himself hating the way she caressed the vials with her fingers.
He pressed on, "He told me his idiot fiancée thought she could save the world."
At that, Cameron paused and dropped the vial she was holding in her hand. Straightening up, she turned her head towards House and finally returned his looks.
But it was one of those moments that went as soon as it came.
Rotating her body half-way, she seemed to have a sudden interest in a group of doctors that stood at the opposite end of the lawn, near the giant truck. Her hair, as she turned unexpectedly away from House, brushed past the tip of his nose. He wanted to follow her gaze because it had been his nature. But the black rubber band that held her ponytail together bound, also, his eyes in place. And when she, at long last, averted her eyes back to him, he was forced to swallow a surprised gasp.
"What?" she asked suddenly, jerking her thumb in the direction of a red head in the group. "Chase proposed to Dr. Walker, too?"
She let out an uncomfortable laugh, wry and short-lived. House's lips, though, remained linear. His eyes, meanwhile, were accusing hers. For the first time since he limped over to her, they looked nervous and uncertain.
But Cameron recovered quickly. Turning her attention from House, she was more than ready to resume her task. The seconds ticked inside House's mind as her hands moved in slow motion to handle the vials again.
And before he knew it, his cane had swung itself forward and knocked down the box in front of Cameron. Vials over vials flew midair before they dropped to the ground beneath. Some rolled down across the lawn and hid themselves between the bushes.
There was a moment she spent to take everything in, staring at the spoiled contents numbly. Military aircrafts passed above their heads; too close to the hospital's roof. But he was more curious of her flushed cheek, induced by surfacing anger.
"House!" she yelled, staring hard at him.
Behind her, Dr. Walker and her group took a halt, abandoning their tasks and turning to observe them. The man that took the boxes from Cameron stopped half-way through, maneuvering his feet elsewhere.
House didn't have a retort coming, staying quiet and mirroring her widened eyes instead. Her breath grew faster with every second passing. And he thought he saw water welling in her eyes.
"What are you doing?" she said, still shrieking.
His throat was suddenly burning; it ached him. The cappuccino-because it must have been the cappuccino-had taken its effect at long last, he thought.
Nevertheless, when he finally discovered the right words to reply to Cameron, he found himself yelling with the same strength she had used against him.
"You don't go!"
Around them, the world was urgently back to normalcy. The truck still stood there, waiting. Dr. Walker, no longer finding their argument captivating, returned her attention to the group. The box man was still nowhere in sight. The aircrafts had long gone but the smell of the smokes they left still lingered around both their noses.
Between them, there were scattered, futile pills-and nothing. No exchange; nothing.
But when the silence became too overwhelming, it was Cameron's turn to stop it.
"Why?" she confronted, still loud but softer than before.
House rolled his eyes, mildly thumping his cane all the while. "For all you know, they were dropping a deadly virus over there," he bellowed.
She pursed her lips, shrugging and shaking her head. "Exactly the reason why I need to be there," she answered, briefly.
House watched the left end of her lips in silence as it curled upwards, and took a long and deep breath.
There was a moment of another pause that they fell into, shattered only by House. But old, his words were. "You don't go," he repeated.
Somehow, it came out faint. He never meant it to be that way but it did. He wasn't built for this but he wasn't the one to regret, either. So he let it hang above them, watching the sentence pulled a sigh from Cameron's side.
But she held no reply with that, looking back at him instead. Over the sound of an engine revving, House had almost missed it.
The smokes, though, were getting thinner; the man still hadn't come back for another box. The vials had long been forgotten. The hands that used to take care of them now hung worthlessly at Cameron's sides.
"I want to," she said eventually.
From the corner of his eyes, he caught the sudden unfitting stillness that wrapped the lawn and the realm in it around. But the thing is, the bow that tied was blocking his view; not keeping him inside. So he said nothing and held her gaze still.
But from her end, she let her left hand shift to touch his right one. It moved to finger the skin on his wrist and brush over his elbow, up to his arm, until it was finally placed on his cheek. She didn't cup it, no; she just let the hand stay, sensing his stubble with the tips of her fingers.
His eyes closed voluntarily, as his head clung to her touch. In the darkness, every little murmur; every subtle hum was as loud as the sound he heard this morning; the one Thirteen laughed about, the one that was there. Jets and helicopters swirled in the distance. Steps and tires. The wind in the background.
And the words Cameron whispered.
When he opened his eyes, she was gone already.