title: All Ye Faithful
fandom: HOUSE, MD
pairing: House/Cameron, Foreman/Thirteen (implied Chase/Cameron and House/Cuddy)
summary: "I'm having a Christmas party at the office," Foreman says. She's the first one to arrive. When a nurse suggests they all sing "O Come All Ye Faithful" together, she slips out unnoticed, even before they finish the first verse.
this fic is for: chlorinehamster Hope you'll like it! :))) And beta-ed by jlneveloff Thanks, girl! *hugs*
they asked for:
1. More Foreman than usual.
disclaimer: Not mine
1. This story is pretty much about what I want to see in the end of season 5.
2. I swear the "Oompa Loompa" reference has already been mentioned in another fic. If anyone know what the fic or the author is, please tell me, so I can credit him/her.
3. And I kinda cheated on the "humor" part. I'm sorry, I'm not an expert in the humor territory. But according to Shakespeare, humor/comedy means no tragedy, and no tragedy means nobody dies. So...
All Ye Faithful
She said she would come.
Foreman was leaning on the nurses’ station when she spotted him. He had been waiting for God knows how long before she was finally done with the patient. She walked up to him, pulling off her gloves at the same time and called out, “Hey! What’s up?” when she was close enough.
He shifted his weight when she stopped in front of him. Dropping and scratching his head all of a sudden, he looked a little hesitant to her. Her forehead frowned, unsure of what he was actually unsure of.
“We—,”he eventually started, eyes downward at the floor, right between their toes. “I’m having a small Christmas party at the office,” he finished at long last, his eyes cautiously moved to meet hers.
His voice drifted away at the words “the office” and she knew why. It was a sensitive word now, at least between them—or between him, her and Chase. It used to be their office back then; now it was just his office.
She chose to dismiss the ever-surfacing awkwardness. “And...,” she said with a playful smirk, “you’re warning me now so I’ll stay away from the office on Christmas Eve?
He chuckled a little, sighing and shifting his weight again to his other leg. There was something different from the way he acted around her now. She could see his admiration, and she took it all with pride. There she said it!
The reply came a little late. “I—didn’t tell Chase.”
She acknowledged it with a brief smile. She never hoped it would come to this, especially since it was December and Christmas was near. She knew how much it would mean for Chase.
Foreman waited for her answer patiently. “So?” he prompted, when it never came.
“So?” she repeated. Her eyes faltered to somewhere next to Foreman’s left ear before dropping to his tie. She heaved a sigh as she finally answered, “Sure. Count me in.”
Foreman beamed at her response and nodded a few times; his own incomparable way of stating contentment. He turned on his heels and headed towards the elevator, apparently quite eager to go back to the office—and for a limited amount of time she wondered what kind of case they were working on at the moment.
“Bring the wine!” Foreman called out to her over his shoulder.
She said she would come.
Because despite what everyone thought of her, she hated doing dishes. She let her dirty laundry pile up in the corner of her room until it was too hard for her not to notice the untidiness. She let her novels scatter until she decided she was diligent enough to put them back on the shelf, in alphabetical order.
Besides, she thought it was wrong to spend Christmas alone, although she couldn’t care less about Jesus—and whether or not God really existed. She got a C minus on her high school paper for writing he instead of He.
And then there was the Foreman issue. She never told him but she knew that he knew that she loved him like a devoted sister would love her brother. He never told her, either. But, again, she knew that he knew that she knew he loved her just as much.
She looked at herself in the small mirror in her locker and decided to let her hair loose. Putting on her jacket, she grabbed her satchel and a bottle of wine lying next to it before walking to the elevator and pushing the up button.
She has come to learn the ways. Coming on time to a party was atrocious, she knew that since forever. That’s why she took all the time in the world to ready herself in the doctor’s lounge downstairs.
So how she still became the first guest to arrive was still a mystery for her.
She entered the quiet office, where she noticed Foreman standing next to the long table of the neighboring conference room. But it wasn’t until she crossed the separating glass wall that she realized he wasn’t alone. Talking while standing too near to him was Dr. Hadley, who gasped and jumped back a little as she noticed Cameron’s presence.
Foreman saw the sudden change and eventually spotted her. “Cameron!” he bellowed—quite nervously, if she might add.
Hadley walked up to her and sighed out a feeble “Hi” at her direction. “Let me get that,” she said, taking the wine. Cameron didn’t even remember that she had it with her. And now it was gone—because Dr. Hadley grabbed it from her.
She took the wine to the kitchen counters and whatever she did with it, she really took her time doing it. She was still busying herself with the bottle when Cameron finally approached Foreman.
“Hi,” she greeted him. Her eyes widened to challenge his but he was too occupied in arranging the snacks on the table before him.
He rummaged through the tortilla chips; his talents in doing household chores made some of them jump out of the paper plate. He stared absently at them first before finally looking up at her. “Glad you came,” he nonchalantly said.
She set her eyes on his, and except for the sound of Hadley opening and closing the counters, there was only silence.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she replied, smiling widely at him.
He returned the favor, with that smug smile of his. Again, his own way of expressing joy, or perhaps relief. Either way, she knew it was always clear between them.
There was a loud voice coming from behind her. She turned her head towards the glass door, just in time to see House finishing his words.
“It’s only 10.15!”
She could feel his eyes move towards her for a brief second before he walked out of the office’s dark shadow to reveal Wilson standing behind him.
Funny how she never even considered the fact that she might run into him here. Guess everything was easier for her now.
“I thought you said you wanted to stay home,” Foreman called out from her side.
“Wilson dragged me here,” House said, pointing his cane carelessly in Wilson’s direction.
“Y—Yeah,” Wilson rejoined from under the shadow. “I want so much to see what’s going on between Foreman and Thirteen that I drag my friend to a Christmas party they’re having so I can tell them that my said friend forces me to go here, despite the fact that I told them earlier that I would rather watch porn at home alone.”
The noises from the corner of the room stopped all of a sudden. She could see Foreman from her peripheral vision, rolling his eyes and sighing at the same time.
For a moment, House was silent, too. He stopped in his tracks to pivot back to where Wilson was, giving him what he hoped to be a menacing look before turning around once again.
“That pretty much sums it all up,” he said in a low voice. “Where’s Oompa Loompa?”
No one volunteered to give any answer at first. It was Foreman who finally gave up. “Kutner has to attend another Christmas party with his college friends...”
“And Taub has to be home for Hanukkah or else the Missus will throw his ass out,” House finished for him.
By that time, House finally stationed himself near the tall bookshelf in the middle of the room. His eyes jumped from one point to the other before they landed on her. There was an all too familiar smirk coming suddenly from him—the one she never took to liking.
“Where’s Chase?” he let out finally.
His eyes shifted to somewhere behind her for just a moment and she knew that Foreman was giving him a warning glare. She could almost feel Foreman’s bulging eyes nudging the back of her head.
“Oh my gosh!” House shrieked exaggeratingly, “you two broke up?”
“House—,” warned Wilson, stepping out of the dark office at last.
House ignored him. “That is, like, totally unbelievable,” he moved on, walking towards her in the meanwhile; each word bringing him closer and closer to her. “You two are, like, the cutest couple ever.”
It was her turn to roll the eyes. She waited for other forms of harassment but all he did afterwards was staring hard at her. His face was only inches from hers now; she could almost scratch off the smirk that lingered on his lips.
She found herself returning his stare, though. She could feel a smirk of her own forming on her lips. “Where’s Cuddy?” she finally asked.
She saw Wilson from the corner of her eyes, arching his eyebrows approvingly. There was something different with the way they acted around her now.
House pursed his lips and dropped his gaze. “Fair enough,” he said while retreating.
An unexpected popping sound turned their attention to where Hadley was standing, with a now-opened bottle of wine in her grip. “Wine, anyone?” she asked.
In the end, their modest party attracted too many passer-bys, who all invited themselves in. And it wasn’t like she had a problem with that because they were her friends and she smiled and greeted them all wholeheartedly.
But when the office became over crowded and one of the nurses suggested they sing “O Come All Ye Faithful” together, she slipped away unnoticed, even before they finished the first verse.
She never liked that nurse, anyway.
Heading to the elevator, she just realized how blurry the whole view was. It was like as if a giant hand had suddenly pulled up a white curtain before her.
She closed her eyes to clear her vision and when she opened them, she was already elsewhere, somewhere familiar. She didn’t know how her subconscious always managed to get her here. She didn’t even know how she got here in the first place.
She scanned the darkness around her. Maybe it was the stillness that got her. Maybe it was because she knew no one would look for her here. After all, it was her.
It was the thumping of the cane that gave him away.
“House?” she called out; her voice was too loud, too high. It sounded like she was squealing.
He stood still for a while, setting his eyes her way. He walked slower than usual, letting out a question as he did so. “What’s an atheist doing here?”
She looked down at her lap, feeling fully self-conscious of where she was. Try as she might, she herself couldn’t find the logic behind her sitting on the carpet on the aisle with her legs crisscrossed and her back leaning on the side of a pew in the hospital’s chapel. She felt something icy in her left hand and looked down to find an empty glass. There were traces of thick reddish liquid all over it.
She swore she only drank two glasses.
Was that why she felt so warm?
She turned back to House instead. “What’s a youu doing here?” She was yelling again.
Somehow, he had reached her and was now towering over her. He looked down at her; his forehead frowned as he squinted hard. “You’re drunk.”
There was a feeble sound coming from her. “No.”
She stayed silent afterwards; there wasn’t anything much she could do with House’s eyes still fixed judgingly on her—at least that was how she liked to explain her numbness.
It wasn’t long before the creases on his forehead seemed to disappear all of a sudden, replaced by a haughty smile that she has come to recognize. His eyes widened in sheer amusement when he repeated, “You’re drunk!”
She didn’t have any rejoinder to that, keeping mum while he took his place across from her. There was a disgruntled groan from him, as he tried with difficulty, to sit on the carpet and stretch his legs one after another in front of him. His right shoe brushed her knee in the process, leaving a dusty mark on her pants. House watched her brush it off listlessly while leaning his back on the opposite pew, imitating her position.
“What is it—,” he prompted, breaking out the stillness. He took out an orange vial from his jeans pocket, opened the cap and let out two—no, three!—pills before putting it back. With the pills still in his left hand, his right one struggled for his blazer pocket, from where he pulled out a bottle of scotch. She wondered why she didn’t notice it earlier. “—With nonbelievers and religious institutions that complements one another?” he moved on, before downing the pills with the help of the scotch.
“What is it—,” it was her again. “With big—jerks. And churches. That similarizes one—another?”
“It’s Christmas,” he answered abruptly, “it’s cold out there, I need to get a shelter. I asked you first.”
Her gaze seemed to return back to her lap as she shrugged absently. “I hate dishes,” she said.
“Who doesn’t?” House drank the rest of the scotch, shaking the bottle harshly when a mere sad amount of drips fell from its lips. He let the bottle out of his grip, watching it drop helplessly to his side. Only then did she really look at his eyes: they were red.
He stopped the silence with another question. “Is that why you two broke up? Because you let him wash the dishes alone while you’re sitting on the sofa, watching baseball?”
Back when she was in high school, nearing graduation, the school’s counselor called the students one by one to her office. When her turn came, she sat down politely, listening to the woman’s questions of What do you want to be when you grow up and What are your dreams and aspirations. She could hear her own voice saying, Doctor, before she followed on—endlessly—with mother’s disapproval and wants to help people; something she never even told her high school best friend.
There were rare moments in her life when she seemed to be unable to stop herself from leaking things she was usually reluctant to share.
Those were the times when she knew that someone would actually listen to what she was saying (because the counselor was paid to listen to her).
“There’s this chest,” she yelped, too loud for her taste. She lifted both her hands and started showing House the width and length of the said chest with them. House didn’t interrupt, watching the wine glass glint in her left hand.
“He probably thought I kept your used condoms in it,” she finished, hiding her snickers behind her palm.
House’s face winced in mild disgust before quickly returning to his old expression again. He let her finish.
“And that confirms my belief,” she moved on, raising the wine glass in her hand. Her malformed reflection was looking back at her from behind it.
“That man is a useless passion.”
“You’re quoting Sartre when you’re drunk?”
“And hell. Is other people.”
With that, she dropped her hand back to the carpet. The glass made a muted sound as it hit the softness of the material. Her gaze lingered in the corner of the ceiling; she didn’t really know why.
House was uncertain, too. His eyelids opened and closed for no reason as his brain digested what just passed between them.
“You can say that again,” he quietly murmured after a long while.
His eyes suddenly flickered back and forth between nothingness and her face, secretly observing her observing the wooden ceiling. He started massaging what was left of his right leg slowly, breathing out a weak “Um—” just to fill the void.
“I slept with Cuddy,” he finally whispered.
“You f-f-f-f-f-slept with Cuddy!?”
“Louder, Cameron! I don’t think everyone at the party heard that!”
He rolled his eyes as she covered her giggles with her hand.
“You’re doomed,” she said matter-of-factly between her fits of laughter.
There was certain somberness in his voice that got her. Between the silences, she turned to look at him, only to find him staring at her. She wondered about him in the past; about what kind of things he said to his school’s counselor.
The sudden screeching sound of the opened door, complete with the white light that forced them to shut their eyes, broke the moment altogether. Once they were adjusted to the brightness, they found themselves looking back at Foreman. He seemed to be stuck in the doorway; not even making an effort to release his hold of the handle. His jaw dropped for quite a lengthy moment as he fixed his stares on Cameron, and then on House.
“I don’t even wanna ask,” he eventually said. His figure abruptly disappeared as he walked backwards and shut the door completely.
“Do you think we should tell him?” asked House suddenly—more to himself, rather than to her. “I think we should tell him.”
The echo of the door’s click hasn’t even vanished yet when House shouted ever so loudly. “Hey, Foreman! You might as well dump her now. Girlfriends suck!”
This time she didn’t even have a chance to cover her mouth, as she burst out into laughter. She could swear she spit out traces of red wine onto the carpet. A grunting voice coming from afar, followed by the dinging of the elevator let them know that Foreman obviously heard House’s warning before he got a chance to walk into the elevator.
Her shoulders moved up and down as she let out the remaining giggles before returning back to their stiff position, as quietness reigned over again.
“Wanna make a New Year’s resolution?” she could hear him asking.
She didn’t answer at first, letting the question hang between their heads. “Don’t you have to change to actually do that?” she questioned back.
He was silent again for a while, weighing the truth of her words. “Let’s make one that doesn’t involve change, then,” he finally said.
Everything seemed to be in slow motion now, as she searched inwardly for the best reply. “Let’s promise,” she said at long last, “to never be caught up in a useless passion ever again.”
He didn’t say anything to that, watching her right hand in quiet as it was stretched out before him. He took a deep breath, as if to brace himself and, slowly, took her hand in his.
He let her smoothness and warmth spread over him for a moment before shaking her hand up and down. “Deal,” he said, while nodding slightly.
She pulled her hand out of his grasp—too fast, just like the other time. She was quickly back to her initial position, leaning back on the pew, but now with her eyes half-closed, like she was about to drift into deep slumber in any second.
He rested his head, suddenly feeling tired, too. He chuckled softly before he took a deep breath and whispered, “I miss you.
“Yeah, I know. You’ve told me.”
Her eyes were closed when she said it. He let his looks linger on her for another moment before shutting his own eyes at last.
“Yeah, I did, didn’t I?”