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For [livejournal.com profile] chocolate_frapp, the inside story behind my one and only House-fic:

Before We Rest


So looking at the Word document title for this fic, I see it was meant to be hurtcomfort. It was a present for [livejournal.com profile] enigma731, and I heard she liked that at the time. Take these facts as you will.

It is nearly one in the morning, and as is typical for the two of them, Cameron and Chase are not yet asleep. He sits on the couch, his eyes dimly fixed on the murmuring television, as she makes decaffeinated tea, berry-flavored for herself

She has good taste.

and cinnamon for him. Once done, she flips off the light and blinks to adjust to the new darkness. Now, the only illumination in the apartment comes from the television in the next room, and if it weren’t for the window in the wall between the kitchen and the living room,

I have this kind of kitchen!

she would be in blackness. She steps into the hallway, pads over to the couch, hands him his drink (he nods in thanks), and sits down on the middle cushion, sipping. He takes a drink and sets the mug down on the coffee table.

“My stepmother called today.”

When I was preparing to write this fic, I watched a lot of House. A lot of House. I needed to, to figure out the characters and get their voices in my head (in a completely non-schizophrenic way, I promise) and to find an in-canon something for Chase to be hurting over. (It was always going to be Chase going through angst… I can’t quite remember why. Maybe because he’s just so cute and cuddly when sad?)

Anyway. The two episodes I watched the most were: the one where Chase’s father comes to visit, and the one where the patient dies because Chase’s father did.

His father (and his father’s shocking death) seemed to be the best way to poke at Chase’s already damaged psyche with a sharp angry needle. Hurtcomfort, remember?

This line is how I define this fic.


Cameron jumps a little at the sound, her teeth clacking against the ceramic, and she turns her head to the right. Chase is still staring forward at the television, the colors weaving across his face with such vitality that she can almost pretend she sees some emotion there. If she didn’t know him as well as she does, she would think this was a casual comment, a way to break the tedium of television or make small talk before they conquer insomnia and go to bed.

Except she can see the set of his jaw, the forced stillness that is almost tension in every limb, in the hand that lies on the arm of the couch, in the tilt of his chin, in the legs that are not splayed but held stiff, knees together, in the hand clasping the remote there on his lap.

This is how I describe body language. ...A bit repetitive after a while.

“What did she want?” Cameron asks. She keeps her eyes on Chase, watching him, even though he will only glance at her.

“My dad. There’s, um, she’s holding a memorial service for him. For all the great things he’s done.” Cameron can hear his eyes rolling, though she doesn’t need to; she can see his face.

Chase being bitter is fun.

She shifts closer and takes his hand, keeping the mug balanced on the cushion beside her. At the contact, he looks at her, his blue eyes bathed in shadow and so somber and so beautiful. She wants to hug him, but she doesn’t. She knows that he needs to talk first, not just hold her and breathe, not yet. After a pause, he continues. “You never talked to my dad, did you? Besides that diagnosis. You never got to know him.”

She shakes her head.

“Good.”

Y HALLO THAR Doctor Who influences! Twelve e-bucks to the person who can tell me where I got this.

He turns his head and sits back, tugging lightly on her hand. She puts the mug on the coffee table and moves closer, cuddling into him. With his arms around her and the back of her head resting on his chest, he asks how her day has been.

“Better than yours, apparently.” He smirks, though she can’t see it, only hear it in his sudden exhale.

“No more run-ins with the betting pool?”

I had such trouble figuring out what to call the new ducklings. I sat there and went through possibility after possibility, from ducklings to fledglings to human replacement receptacles (okay, not that one, but Chase does like his aliens).

When Chase actually called them “new us-es”, I just about did a little dance because I thought of that! I just didn’t use it… partially because I didn’t know if it sounded quite right and partially because I had no clue how to write the word without it looking ugly or like the plural of “use.”


“No,” she replies. “Just a car crash and a lot of broken bones.”

“Lots of tree-climbing going on?”

“Yoga.”

“Seriously?”

She laughs. “Yeah. Osteoporosis and scorpion poses don’t mix.”

A silence, a comfortable one, passes, as half-lidded eyes take in doctors hurrying to and fro and conversations taking place with gripped arms and secret rendezvous, the patients almost always forgotten. They’re watching General Hospital, a show House once watched, still watches.

Like the lingering specter of the past, inescapable even when you don’t realize it, the limping snarky backdrop to their lives for the rest of their days…

DUN-DUN-DUN.


Cameron brings her eyes up, can just see Chase’s chin and nose. “Are you going?”

“Going to what?”

“Robert.”

He sighs and shifts under her. They readjust their bodies and settle back together. “I have work. I can’t,” he says.

“Take some vacation time. Cuddy won’t mind.”

“I’ll mind.”

“I know.” Another silence, this one not quite so comfortable. “You should go.”

He snorts. “To do what? Hear about what a great guy my father was, what a brilliant doctor, how he just tried so hard and that makes up for everything? To look at old photographs and hear everyone talk about how much they miss him and settle down and cry?

Hi, House influences. Too bad you fired him, he might’ve gotten a motorcycle and everything.

No thanks.”

“No,” she replies. She turns to face him, to meet his eyes with hers. “To say goodbye.” He breathes in deeply and looks away, so she puts a hand to his cheek. Beneath her fingertips, she feels the stubble and clenched jaw. “You loved your dad, Robert. You loved him a lot. You can’t forget that by watching TV and cutting people open. You can’t pretend he just didn’t exist.”

“I don’t need to forget,” he replies. “I’m over it. I got over it two years ago.”

“No,” Cameron responds, “you didn’t.”

He gets up. “I did.”

She says nothing.

To quote Dido: but all the time she’s thinking, thinking...

Liar, liar, pants on fire!


Chase looks at her, his eyebrows knit together, and with a sigh that sounds almost like a groan, he begins pacing. “You know, I went to seminary for that man. I thought, if I can just figure out how this whole forgiveness thing works, if I can just pray enough and study enough, then I can do it. I can forgive the man who left my mom to drink herself to death and left me to watch. You know what I figured out?” He stops and looks at her. “It was a lot easier when I just didn’t care.”

She nods and glances down, looks back up again. “Think if you keep saying that you’ll convince yourself?”

Seriously, think about it. A wound like that, the father he never fully reconciled with just dying on him without even ever telling him he was dying in the first place…

Chase might appear aloof, sometimes even heartless, but no matter how hard he may try to be, he’s not. And what happened with his father would hurt quite a lot. And he would be pissed off, and regretful, and sorry, and his father’s death would probably be like that stereotypical dark cloud, hanging over his head even more than his past with House would.

This is why Cameron is ideal here: comfort, understanding, and the ability to call him on his bullshit. What more can a blond Aussie ask for?


He purses his lips and, almost comically, puts his hands on his hips. “Yes. Yes I do.”

She smiles, and if he were in a better mood, she knows he would too. Instead, he just puts a hand to his head, running his nails through his scalp and tugging at his hair as he paces anew. “This was over. This is over. This ended two years ago. I don’t even work for House anymore. Everything was supposed to calm down now. It was supposed to relax. What do I get instead? A memorial.”

This time, she doesn’t suppress her instincts.

Cameron cares.

She stands, walks over, and puts her arms around him. He tenses for a moment, wishing to run, she knows, to yell and rave at the unfairness of it all, all the while keeping that exterior of his so very very calm. But then he relaxes, pulling her even closer, the arms around her so tight they almost hurt. His hold is firm, his arms and chest muscular, his ribs pressing against her, but she doesn’t mind. She finds it comforting, even thrilling, that this man has come to rely upon her.

Cameron cares in not altogether healthy ways, though at least she’s found a healthy outlet here.

She can hear and feel the sharp intake of breath at her ear. “Think if Cuddy fires me I’ll have an excuse not to go?”

“Possibly,” she says. “Or your stepmom’ll just think you have more free time.”

“Now that would be very her.”

For another moment, he continues holding her, his lips at her temples and forehead, his breath on her skin. With her face at his neck, she can still smell the faintest hint of aftershave beneath the salty tinge of sweat he has acquired during the day. He must be exhausted, but even if his stepmother had not called, Cameron knows he would still be up. She only made it home half an hour ago, and it has become increasingly difficult for either of them to fall asleep when the other is not there.

I blame my friends Heather, Tabitha, and Jeremy for this. After hearing how they have borderline insomnia when apart from their respective others, I figured it would be the same for two somewhat needy people who are more than a bit in love.

Something about the company, about not being alone anymore—they’ve both gotten used to it.

I made this part up, because it made sense. That, and I didn’t want to go on for a paragraph about the motivations behind wanting to sleep beside the person you love.

“I love you, you know,” he murmurs.

While the words and sentiment once terrified her, now all Cameron can do is smile and pull back, meeting his gaze. “I know.” She kisses him, long and deep, before pulling back. “Love you too.” Even under the circumstances, this sentence still makes him grin. She kisses him again, just a peck, and steps back.

Say it with me: aaaawwwwww.

“Are you gonna go?”

Chase sighs. “I don’t know.”

She nods and takes his hand. “Let’s go to bed,” she says. “You have to wake up at six.”

“And you have to wake up at five-thirty.”

“Guess sleep is a really good idea then.” She pauses, tilts her head, and gives him the look and tone she knows he loves. “Or not.”

I feel that line speaks for itself.

This time he does chuckle, just a little, even though they both know that all they’ll be up to tonight is some fast and furious sleeping.

As does that one.

But at this particular moment, Cameron knows that this lightheartedness, this distraction, is exactly what Chase needs. Even though he hasn’t told her the specifics, she had deduced that this memorial won’t be for a few months, a few weeks at the least, and he doesn’t need to make the decision yet. If he tries to, he’ll just end up tossing and turning and worrying all night, coming into work the next morning with coffee, a headache, and the should-I-go, should-I-not-go still running through his head. If he wants to talk once they lie down, he will. She’ll listen. But what he needs more than that, what he needs right now, is her, the knowledge that he is not alone, and rest.

And the title comes from…

He kisses her and, letting her go ahead, finds the remote and shuts off the television, so that they are no longer walking in shadows but darkness. This apartment is still new to them, and if she were not already at the bedroom door, she would have stumbled either on the coffee table or a stray cord. She halts and turns, waiting for him, a silhouette of black in a sea of the darkest gray. “Think my dad would approve of surgery?” he asks.

She barely hesitates. “Yes,” she says.

He pauses, both in step and speech, and for a moment, she is worried. Then he shakes his head and says, “Yeah.” He looks up. “Let’s go to bed.”

Cameron nods and waits until his hand is at the small of her back. The two of them leave the room.

Which is a slightly more subtle way of saying…

The End.


Also, check out my new header, guys! It's made by [livejournal.com profile] schattenmond and is pure Awesome.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-31 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolate-frapp.livejournal.com
yayyyyyyy! thankyouthankthankyou!!!! (jumps up and down like a little kid going to disneyland)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-01 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salienne.livejournal.com
*Offers you ice cream, because what is disneyland without ice cream?*

Hope you liked it! :D

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-01 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolate-frapp.livejournal.com
I liked it a lot. *scarfs butterscotch sundae*

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