Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy, Chase, with a dash of Foreman and a pinch of Cameron
Rating/Pairing: Gen; a mild R for language. H/W strong friendship (slash only if you wear goggles)
Summary: The fallout from House's recent misadventure. Follows Sleeping Man: Outside
Timeline: Set in the early fall of Season 3, around Cane and Able, Lines in the Sand
Chapter One is here: Part 1 For the next chapter, click on "next entry" arrow above.
What the Critics Are Saying About SM:I:
"...A story that must be read and re-read, time and again.This reviewer read Sleeping Man straight through from beginning to end, and then went back and re-read the beginning, because he had forgotten it all." --Editor, Journal of the American Society of Amnesiacs
* * *
“Try again, Dr. House. Do you recognize this one?”
Cameron picked up another photograph from the pile of hospital personnel headshots. House stared at it for a long moment before shaking his head, his expression equal parts concentration and confusion. Just as she put it back in the pile he spoke.
“Wait,” he said. “I’m thinking--I don’t know why--the word ‘Jack off’ comes to mind. Dr. Jack Off. Is that possible?”
Foreman, Cameron and Chase exchanged wondering glances. Cameron approached even closer and sat in what had been Wilson’s seat.
“That’s very close, Dr. House,” she said gently, her brow furrowed with hope. “It’s actually Jacoby, Dr. Jacoby. He’s head of Nephrology here.”
“Sounds like jack off,” Chase added encouragingly.
House lay back against the pillows doing his utmost not to react. His team was arranged in a semi-circle around his bed, and they all seemed strangely…tentative. Among other things, he’d noticed that they had all reverted to calling him “Dr. House,” as if he were the stranger here. As if he might be made of glass. House looked at their concerned faces, at Wilson fast asleep on the other side of the room, and told himself he really should put an end to this. That sentiment lasted exactly a fraction of a second, because, honestly, you’d have to be a complete idiot not to ride this one for all it was worth.
“Keep going, Dr. House,” said Foreman. “Who knows what might trigger a memory, any memory? That is, if you feel up to it.” Cameron passed him another headshot, her fingers slowly brushing his as he took it from her. House just glanced at the photo (Marco the pharmacist) and then tossed it down with a tired sigh. He raised his eyes to Cameron’s supplicatingly and spoke so softly she was forced to lean in to hear him.
“You know”…(he paused to sigh pathetically a bit)… “I’ve heard that the most evocative of the five senses is the sense of… touch. Of touch, Dr….”
“Cameron,” she said eagerly, trying not to look hurt that he’d forgotten her name again. “Yes?”
“Dr. Cameron, do you think it might be…therapeutic…if you were to… kiss me? Might it not …awaken some memories?” He raised his eyebrows and made big eyes at her. Then, before she could respond he lowered his eyelids and lifted his chin a smidge. He peeked through his lids just enough to see Cameron making a face at Chase, who shrugged and made a what-the-hell face.
And Cameron did it. She actually bent over and kissed him full on the lips. This time it was a prim, medicinal little kiss, though. There was no tongue action at all, and House stifled the urge to open up wide and see what she would do. Instead, when she pulled back, he put a shaky hand to his brow and frowned thoughtfully.
“Yes,” he said. “Wait… Yes…. Doctor… Cameron…. Allison. Suddenly it’s all--” At that moment Dr. Cuddy walked into the room. In one swift glance she took in Dr. Wilson snoring away in happy land and the three fellows poised in some dramatic moment around House’s bed. “Ah, Dr…..Dr. Cuddy, isn’t it?” House was speaking in a barely audible rasp. “Come closer, Dr. Cuddy.”
Baffled, she did as she was told, leaning in and straining to hear him, her breasts presenting a delightful scenario. “Dr….Cuddy, you know, I’ve heard that the most… evocative of the five senses is the sense of touch. Do you think it would be therapeutic if you were to let me…” and he raised his hand and traced his thumb lightly along the curve of her right breast. She startled backward, but he appeared not to notice. “Yes, yes,” he said as if in a trance. “It’s all coming back to me now.” He squeezed his eyes shut and placed his fingertips dramatically around his temples. “Lisa Cuddy… Dean of Medicine…owner of the world’s finest… ass.” He groped blindly with his right hand and Cuddy, coming to her senses with a gasp of fury, swatted his hand away just as he went in for the kill.
“House!” she hissed at him, getting right down in his grinning face, “if you weren’t suffering from concussion I’d slap you silly.” She stood up and addressed her next remark to his team members. “When did this happen? Why didn’t anybody tell me?”
Cameron had her hand to her mouth in disbelief, whether over House’s miraculous recovery, or at the fact that she’d been tricked into kissing him, was not clear. Chase was chuckling in open pleasure, whether at the idea that Cameron had been conned at her own game, or at the familiar sight of his bosses going at it, was equally unclear. Only Foreman was even trying to maintain some semblance of professional dignity.
He scrambled up next to the bed, elbowing Cameron aside. “House. You know where you are? You remember who you are?”
House gave him his wolfish grin. “I have it on good authority,” he began, and this time his gaze took in the whole group, and Wilson, too, “that I am Gregory House, one part genius, and one part saint. Saver of lives, breaker of rules, lover of humanity, and—“
“You know,” Cuddy broke in, “I might just slap you silly anyway, concussion or no concussion. I think I preferred you when you didn’t know up from down.”
And then everyone started talking at once. Foreman tried to ask House more diagnostic questions—all in vain as no one was listening. At a certain point Cuddy kicked them all out, saying it was really time to let House rest and for them to go home, go home for the first time in days. They complied, though House did his best to get Cameron to come back one more time and try to “wake up Sleeping Beauty here”—gesturing to Wilson with his thumb-- with one of her “magic kisses.” All he got for his trouble was a glare and a too-firm closing of the door on her way out. She didn’t slam it. Cameron would never slam a door. But she managed to convey, in the closing of the door, exactly how ticked off she was, and exactly how pleased she was at the very same time.
At last it was just him and Cuddy…