Category: AU (of course)
Spoilers: Through "Love Hurts"
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, never will.
"Allison? Ally, I'm home!" He sounds so excited.
She pushes her anatomy textbook away with a sigh. Stupid finals. "I'm in the kitchen!"
She stands and stretches, and yelps when he grabs her around the waist. "You won't believe what happened." She can feel his smile on the back of her neck.
"You won the lottery," she teases.
"Better." He spins her around to face him. Eyes glowing, he says, "The doctor said the cancer's in remission!"
She laughs with joy and kisses him. "That's wonderful!" Her brow wrinkles. "Brian, I'm sorry I couldn't--"
He places a finger on her lips. "Uh-uh. No regrets. I know how much getting into medical school means to you." He presses a kiss to her forehead. "Besides, we'll have plenty of time together."
The fluorescent light glints off her wedding ring. The tears in her eyes refract the light, and it dazzles her.
Goddamn it, this isn't supposed to be how it went. They've only been married for six months. Six months! That isn't nearly enough time.
By the time she'd been diagnosed, it had been too late. They were talking of comfort until the end, not pain to stop it from coming. He proposed anyway. She didn't want to accept at first, but he had been so persuasive.
Her husband grips her hand. "I love you, Allison," he whispers huskily.
The tube down her throat cuts off her response. She squeezes his hand with all her strength. I love you so, so much.
Her eyes close. She can feel her heart rate slowing, but it's too hard to hold on.
"Cameron! Hey, Cameron!"
She rolls her eyes and turns. "I have a patient in exam room two, three reports to finish, and an experiment to run. I don't have time for chit-chat, Thompson."
The other young woman grins. "Okay, chill out. I just wanted to ask you if you'd heard of the opening over at Princeton-Plainsboro."
"The new diagnostics department?" Cameron shrugs. "Sure."
"So...?" Thompson presses.
"Buttons," Cameron replies dryly, starting to walk away.
"Aren't you going to apply?" the blonde asks, chasing her.
"I've heard... rumors about Dr. House. He's not the nicest guy to work for." She opens the door to the exam room, ignoring her colleague's next question. "Good afternoon; I'm Dr. Cameron..."
"Hi there. My name's Dr. Chase. What seems to be the problem?"
She smiles shyly at the doctor. "My throat..."
He nods at her hoarse voice. "It hurts?" She nods back.
"Any fever, bleeding, difficulty swallowing?" She shakes her head in the negative. "And how long has this been going on?" She thinks for a moment, and holds up three fingers. "Three days?" She nods, relieved that these are all yes or no questions.
"What do you do?"
"I teach second grade." She winces at the effort of speaking loud enough to be heard.
He grins. "That's gotta be tough." She rolls her eyes. "All right, open up." The tongue depressor is scratchy.
"You have laryngitis. Rest your throat for a few days..." She snorts, and he chuckles. "I know, but it'll get better faster with rest. No alcohol or smoking until you get better. Drink a lot of fluids. Do you have a vaporizer?" She shakes her head, and he goes on, "Hot showers will help--the steam will soothe your throat."
She smiles at the handsome young doctor and raises an eyebrow. He clears his throat and looks away.
"I have one evening with you, and I don't want to ruin it. I'm not going to pressure you into telling me your life story."
House seems relieved, and she shakes her head. Was that what he was so worried about?
"So... have you always liked monster trucks?"
"You've suckered me into a date, and you ask me about monster trucks?" He sounds torn between amusement and disbelief.
"Why not, indeed?" he mutters. "My roommate in med school liked ‘em."
A thread of information, given freely. Well, almost freely. She smiles. "They're kinda... loud."
"Loud? Cuddy's loud. Monster trucks are deafening."
The evening is more comfortable after that. There's no goodnight kiss, but at least she's chipped away at a bit of his defenses.