What: Cameron bet Wilson he couldn't teach her to swear, and now he's gonna try to collect.
Where: Someplace private. (Coma Guy's room. XD)
Rating: R for LANGUAGE. (Cameron's hot when she swears, says Wilson.)
WILSON: The prospect of earning fifty bucks wasn't unappealing and that's what Wilson told himself he was the most interested in, but the real drawing point of this bet was spending more time with Cameron. He still wasn't sure exactly how well he wanted her to get to know him, but one thing he was certain he wanted to get across to her was the fact that just because House was his best friend and he had a similar sense of humor didn't mean they were all that similar. So far, Cameron had been reacting to him quite often in ways that made it seem like she thought he and House were carbon copies. That had to be fixed.
He found her in the Diagnostics department, sitting at the table with her laptop and working on something. He poked his head in and smiled a bit. "Hi... Are you busy? I thought we could find someplace private to practice swearing."
CAMERON: It wasn't that Cameron was morally opposed to swearing: quite the contrary. It was a nice skill to have, but it was one that she'd never been able to master, despite plenty of beer-soaked nights in med school and a plethora of losing hands in pinochle. Something about the rhythm of the words had never made sense to her, so she'd chosen to perfect her sarcasm instead. With House rattling around in his office like a blind and inebriated grizzly bear, however, it seemed swearing might be a useful skill, if only because certain four letter words were the only ones he understood some days (sadly, "don't" was not among that set). Hence the offer to Wilson. As House's best friend, Cameron assumed he had some experience with her boss's favorite words.
At his entry, she peered over her laptop. "Hey," she replied, smiling a bit in return. "I'm just deleting more spam from House---something about breast enlargement and farm animals this time." She laughed. "So your arrival is actually quite . . . auspicious, let's say."
WILSON: "The farm animal one is probably in my inbox, too," Wilson muttered, shaking his head. "Do you think if I really do buy him the Xbox he asked me for, he'd have something to do and would stop forwarding that stuff?" He doubted it, but thought it might be worth a try anyway. If he got the fifty from Cameron, maybe he'd put that toward the price.
CAMERON: Cameron closed the lid of her laptop with a satisfying click, then ducked under the table for a moment to retrieve her briefcase. "I doubt the Xbox would do it," she mused, pushing the computer and a medical journal into the bag. "I think he's in pain, but I haven't noticed anything ... irregular with the Vicodin. Of course, he's usually shooing me out of the office, so what do I know?" She pushed back her chair and walked over to Wilson. "I don't know." A quick shrug and a half smile. "If I thought any good would come of asking. . . . Where are we going anyway?" she added, after a moment.
WILSON: Wilson's mind drifted to the morphine in House's apartment, but he kept his mouth firmly shut about it. If he told anyone about that, it would be Cuddy. He really ought to. It would piss House off to no end, but in the end it was probably the best course of--
Cameron's question shook him from his thoughts. "I've got someplace in mind. House and I use it to avoid Cuddy. And work in general. Come on, let's go."
CAMERON: "This isn't going to turn into some Through The Looking Glass thing, is it?" Cameron asked with some (genuine) trepidation as she turned off the lights in the lounge. The coffee wasn't made and most of the mugs were dirty, but for now, that was Chase's problem. She tapped on the glass wall of House's office and waved goodbye, then began following Wilson to wherever it was they were going.
WILSON: "Do you have your vorpal sword, just in case?" Wilson asked. He led the way through the hospital, pausing at a nurse's station to inform the nurse in charge of the floor for this shift where he was going and telling her to make sure he wasn't disturbed. He even gave her the instruction to steal House's cane if he tried to get through.
Returning to Cameron's side, he nodded at a door just down the hall. "Here," he murmured, guiding her into the room. He slid the door shut and closed the blinds for privacy and glanced at the man in the bed. "He's in a coma... Who knows, he might be able to hear us. But even if he can, he's not telling anybody about it."
CAMERON: Cameron arched an eyebrow at Wilson's antics with the nurse. This was---unlike him, or at least her image of him: Wilson, white coat flying around him, rushing off to save another patient who'd lost hope. On the other hand, she thought to herself, fifty bucks does change the equation, particularly when there's a divorce in play. She'd overheard House making jokes about alimony payments.
That thought was quickly shoved aside when Cameron saw the room. While Wilson moved about, she stood in the doorway, more than a bit stunned. "Wilson---he's in a coma. This---what if his family comes to visit?" She shook her head and placed her hands on her hips. "You---when I can't find House, you two are here? I realize space is at a premium, but. . . ." This, she thought, the irony almost making her laugh, would be an excellent time to know how to swear.
WILSON: "His family never shows up," Wilson said absently, almost sadly, before shaking himself out of it. "Anyway, if they do, Rebecca will stall them and warn me. Plus, next time you can't find House, you'll have an idea where to look." He gave Cameron his most charming smile, hoping she'd be unable to resist and would give in and unclench.
CAMERON: "Right," Cameron managed, exhaling. One hand was lifted from her hip, and she tucked back a loose piece of hair before fixing her sternest "you are all going to Hell, except I don't believe in Hell, so you should feel ashamed, right now, and change" glare on Wilson. "It's still wrong," she said. "But if I can't find House, then I will check here. I assume you won't be telling the nurses to block me from getting through?" She lifted an eyebrow.
WILSON: Wilson had the grace to look properly ashamed in reply to Cameron's glare, but a smile tugged at one corner of his mouth after a couple of moments. "I can't make any promises, but if you take the stairs that come out on the other end of the hall, you can get to this room without going past the nurse's station..."
CAMERON: "I like your willingness to sell out your best friend for a possible quick fifty," Cameron replied, drawing out the word possible for a full beat. That bit of business dispensed of, she stepped away from the closed door and sat down in one of the chairs, crossing one leg over the other. "So," she said, looking up at Wilson, "where do we begin, O Captain My Captain?" The poetry, she reasoned, was entirely his fault. After all, he'd started it with that damn Dickinson poem, and he should have known better than to try to out-pretension a Swarthmore graduate.
WILSON: "House has plenty of other tactics for hiding from people. He can afford to lose one," Wilson said dismissively. Besides, it wasn't really the money he was selling out for. Not that that made it any better, really.
He took the other chair, sliding it around to face Cameron's, and plopped down. He stretched his legs out in front of himself, crossing them at the ankles in that confident, casual, I-Own-The-World way he sometimes had. "Well, first I guess I have to figure out exactly what the story is. I know you swear a little bit. Why do some words work for you and others don't?"
CAMERON: "'What the story is'?" Cameron repeated, laughing a bit. "It's not dramatic, that's certain." She folded her arms over her stomach. "It's just a skill, isn't it? You have it or you don't. I tell House to 'go to hell' or say 'damnit!' when I'm frustrated and he laughs. I called him a jackass once," she said, lowering her voice as if she were imparting a deep, dark secret like Mommy is an alcoholic or Actually, I'm a lesbian, "after he made another one of his absolutely brilliant remarks about my breasts. It didn't work---he just laughed. So you get the money if you can teach me to put together a string of words that'll make him blush or at least shut up for the moment. But I won't say" --- she paused --- "you know. That word."
WILSON: "Which word?" Wilson asked innocently, testing exactly what Cameron would do to avoid actually saying it.
CAMERON: Cameron rolled her eyes and tipped her head up, as if to say 'You are so far beneath me that I will not even bother to look upon you right now.' "Very funny," she said. "You and House really should do a comedy tour." There was a beat, and then: "It starts with a c."
WILSON: "Conservatism? It's the dirtiest c-word I know," Wilson joked before turning serious. "I don't like that one, either. Easily avoided." He folded his hands over his stomach and tilted his head back to stare at the ceiling in thought. "So the task is to find something that'll make House shut up, instead of just laughing at you. Your best bet is a fairly long, creative string that doesn't repeat much. Variety impresses him..."
CAMERON: "Ha!" Cameron blurted out at Wilson's quip. She laughed, genuinely, for a moment. "That was good," she said approvingly, before returning to business. "Variety . . . I don't know anything foreign. And I don't know many curse words in English, come to think of it. I mean, I know the obvious ones," she continued, the words tumbling out. "And-- well-- the dirtiest word I know is" --- she paused, a moment, and gathered her breath --- "cocksucker." Following that revelation, she folded into herself a bit, shoulders pulling together and back curling, and covered her face with her hands. "Not that I was calling you one," she said through her fingers, the words quite muffled.
WILSON: An eyebrow twitched upward. That was oddly hot... Wilson rubbed at one eye and laughed softly. "If we can get you to say that one without going into a fetal position and trying to hide, it might be pretty effective..."
CAMERON: "Yeah," Cameron said, fingers still over her mouth. "Not flinching would be good." She lifted her hands and began to uncurl, glancing over at Coma Guy as if to make sure he hadn't heard her. "I could say the word to House. It's saying it to you that's the problem." She kept looking at the patient, before her face lit up with an idea. "Hey! That's it. Pretend to be House. Try to grab my ass or tell me my only value is in my looks or ask me if I was sexually abused or something horribly inappropriate. Think of something to say or do that would give Parker an aneurysm, and then go for it. Then I might get some anger into my inflection."
WILSON: Wilson opened and closed his mouth a few times, looking vaguely like a fish out of water. He wasn't so good at horribly inappropriate when he didn't have House to work off of, or at least someone else prompting him. "Um..." He rubbed the back of his neck and struggled to think fast. "I'm not sure if I can. It'd be like kicking a puppy."
CAMERON: "So, you can't insult me---deliberately---and I can't swear." Cameron smiled ruefully. "This is going well, isn't it?" The smile turned into a full-blown smirk. "Of course, I keep my money if you keep on with your innocence, so I have little motivation to tell you that I am not puppy and that you're acting rather cowardly for a man who's best friends with Gregory House. . . ."
WILSON: "He dishes it out and deserves to get it back," Wilson said. "It's not as difficult to abuse someone who abuses you first." He squinted slightly as he studied Cameron. "I did do some acting in college, though. I should be able to fake it. If I can be creative enough to come up with anything, that is."
CAMERON: Cameron laughed. "Well, I don't think I can abuse you," she said. She kept her eyes on Wilson as she leaned over to scratch an itch on her calf. "So I guess it's method acting for you. And the winner for Best Impersonation of a Misanthrope With a Heart is. . . ."
WILSON: Method acting, indeed. She'd practically handed this one to him on a silver platter. Easy start. Quirking one eyebrow, Wilson craned his neck and tilted his head just slightly to cast an obvious glance down the front of her shirt. ...Nice view. He might have to act like House a little more often.
CAMERON: It took a Cameron a few seconds too long to notice what Wilson was up to---likely because it was the last thing she'd expected him to do. "Are you---?" she spluttered as she quickly straightened. "Oh, grow up, Wilson," she said coolly, then scowled and folded her arms over her chest. "I thought you were going to teach me something useful, not act like an eighth grade boy. Do you want to give me a cootie test too?"
WILSON: Alas, the point was to act like House, which entailed acting like an eighth grade boy. He would've pointed that out, but he had to stay in character long enough for this to work. So instead of an apology accompanied by a shy grin and a bashful laugh, he made one corner of his mouth flicker upward into a wry smirk. "You know, the procedure for cootie tests changes drastically once you hit legal adulthood. Does that question double as consent? I'd rather not end up in jail."
CAMERON: And people thought Wilson was the nice one? Cameron was fuming; her mouth had dropped into a small 'O' and her fingers instinctively curling. That had been her reaction for her first month with House, until she'd acquired an automatic repressed anger mechanism, but hearing the words out of Wilson's mouth didn't trigger it, somehow. She stood up in a rush, the movement pushing her chair back slightly and knocking it into the wall with a small thunk. Hands on her hips, she stood over Wilson.
"I'm a professional. And so, allegedly, are you," she spat out. "Grow up, Jimmy, and --- go to hell!" The last part was a bit clumsy, but she was showing promise, at least in tone; her voice sounded as if it could burn metal.
WILSON: Good start, Wilson thought. Push her more. Part of what had annoyed Cameron so much was the fact that House laughed at her when she swore, so he gave a faint derisive snort. "Professional whats, precisely?" he asked. "I could come up with a couple of professions that you'd be well-suited for." Oh, God, he hated himself, and he sort of wanted to deck House even though House wasn't the one saying the actual words. But he was still the inspiration.
CAMERON: Cameron dug her fingers into her hips at Wilson's snort, her scowl becoming more ingrained with each word he spoke. "You asshole," she replied, voice strained, "you really are just like him. You're worse. You absolute bastard."
Done speaking for the moment, Cameron lifted her hands, but not to cover her mouth this time. Instead, they went into her hair, loosening it so it fell over her shoulders. That task completed, Cameron pulled one hand down her neck and past collar of her shirt, slowly moving it down the line of buttons on her blouse. "Is this what you'd think I'd be better at? Does this make you happy? Is this what you think I'm good for?" she asked, voice intensifying with each question until it broke. "Well---FUCK YOU, you jackass," she half-screamed, not thinking. "I am worth so much more than that. If that's all you see---if that's all you want to see, then I feel sorry for you, you pathetic prick." Another example in which it was best not to store up one's emotions.
WILSON: Win. Not a comfortable victory, but it had worked. Wilson's eyes opened wider and he let the act drop. He stood quickly, reaching out to cup her face in his hands to force her to look at his face, hoping she'd be able to tell now he was being sincere and she'd remember that he was supposed to be acting before. "Hey," he said quietly, employing the voice he used on patients who were on the verge of or in the middle of a panic attack. "Hey. See? You can swear. ...Pretty damn effectively. But breathe... Don't forget to breathe. Calm down for a second."
CAMERON: "Oh. . . ." Cameron murmured. The tension and anger gone, she let her arms drop and her shoulders relax. "Acting, right?" She stood for a moment, breathing deeply. It was slightly odd to be standing so close to Wilson, but not particularly uncomfortable, though that could have just been the last of the adrenaline thinking. Several breaths later, she brought her hands up and laid them over Wilson's as if to say it's okay, I'm okay. "Sorry for calling you such awful things," she said, blushing slightly. "You earned your money, though. And you're still cheaper than a therapist." A small false laugh---now, this was awkward, his knowing her capacity for anger. And his seeing her . . . dance moves. She blushed more deeply and looked away.
WILSON: "Don't apologize," he said with a bit of a laugh. "It was the goal, after all. Now the trick is to get you to react the same way when it's actually House, and not just me trying to be as horrible as I can." Wilson laughed again and once again found himself taking the opportunity to really look at Cameron for a few moments while she was looking away. "You should wear your hair down more often," he murmured.
CAMERON: If she hadn't already been blushing, Wilson's comments would certainly have made Cameron's cheeks flush. Since she was already in the act, however, all his words did was bring more blood to her face, turning her skin a particular shade of crimson. "I am sorry," she said, still talking to a spot on the wall. "Though I won't be the next time I use those phrases." She took another deep breath and forced herself to look at Wilson again. "Thanks," she managed, her voice so soft the word was almost a question. That was when she realized her hands were still on top of Wilson's; she quickly pulled them away and dropped them to her sides, blushing, if possible, even more as she did so.
WILSON: She was impossibly attractive when she blushed. This could end up being one of the biggest I-Told-You-So's ever from House... Wilson drew his hands away from Cameron's face, hesitating a little so his fingertips brushed lightly along her jaw line. He didn't step away from her, though, and now it was his turn to shift his gaze, smiling in amusement at how ridiculously like an awkward teenager he felt. "If I were to kiss you, you wouldn't slap me or anything, would you?" he asked with a laugh. Better safe than sorry...
CAMERON: "No," Cameron murmured, the word caught in an exhalation and almost inaudible. For a moment, it seemed as if this was her freshman year all over again, although the coma patient added a nice touch of surrealism to the proceedings. She looked at Wilson and attempted a smile, trying not to let the awkwardness choke her. "No," she repeated, a bit more clearly this time, "but . . . you're not being House again, right? You did just teach me to swear. . . ."
WILSON: "I don't think he would've checked first," Wilson pointed out as he wrapped an arm around Cameron's waist, his hand settling at the small of her back with just enough pressure to pull her closer. He leaned in and pressed slightly parted lips to hers, soft enough that if she wanted to pull away she could without it seeming offensive but firm enough that she knew he'd rather she didn't.
CAMERON: This was . . . nice. Really, really nice, Cameron thought, before the ability to think evaporated. Some rational part of her mind (which sounded an awful lot like House) reminded her that Wilson had probably had quite a lot of practice with this, but it (he) disappeared with all other thought after a few seconds. She curled a hand around Wilson's shoulder and relaxed into the kiss, her eyes closing as she did so.
WILSON: Most of the physical contact in Wilson's life came from outbursts of emotion. The motions were quick and fierce. There was the occasional punch aimed at his nose, though he'd gotten exceptionally good at anticipating and avoiding that. Frightened kids clinging to his shirt and crying after their parents had gone home for the night. Grieving family members needing bone-crunching hugs and soothing words.
But this felt different. And better. Cameron's body all but melted against his and it wasn't because she needed anything. It was just because she wanted to and because the moment felt good. He let the kiss linger for a few more moments and then he pulled back just far enough to be able to see her face and try to read her expression.
CAMERON: As Wilson moved away, Cameron opened her eyes and looked up at him, completely unsure of what to say---thanks for all the fish? "Um," she tried, and then closed her mouth. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen: in her past imaginings, it had been House, for one thing, and there was no comatose patient, and it wasn't this disturbingly good. Pleasant, even.
The capacity to think materialized again, a not altogether good thing. It occurred to Cameron then that Wilson was still, technically, married, which was an idea that made her rather nauseous, so she shoved it inside. The notion that Wilson was her boss's best friend was the next to arrive, a thought that, unsurprisingly, had the same effect as the previous one; it too was shelved for the moment. Major concerns pushed aside, she realized she'd really enjoyed that---probably too much---and she began speaking to try to mask her nervousness, although the blush that was again spreading to her face meant that hope was a ridiculous one. "Um. We're sure he's in a coma, right? Because the nurses would have a field day with this. . . ."
WILSON: "I think a lot of people would have a field day with this," Wilson said, unable to keep himself from leaning in again to brush his lips lightly along her jaw line, just where his fingers had caressed a few minutes ago. "A lot of people as in just about everyone we know."
CAMERON: At Wilson's motions, Cameron moved her hand from his shoulder to the back of his neck, winding her fingers through his hair. "Yeah," she breathed, tipping her head back slightly. "Maybe we shouldn't tell them for a while. If there's going to be awhile, I mean---what I mean is we shouldn't tell anyone," she said, the last sentence breathless and rushed. Her eyes opened a bit bigger as she realized what she'd said and she froze where she should stood. Oh, fuck, she thought: I just ruined it, didn't I?
WILSON: He felt her tense slightly in his arms, so Wilson ran a hand down Cameron's spine to try and soothe her a little. "Probably not a bad idea, considering it hasn't even been a week since I insisted to House that nothing's going on with you and me," he murmured against her neck.
CAMERON: "You told him that?" Cameron asked, smiling slightly in spite of her fear. "That probably won't keep him off track, but it might buy some time." She relaxed as Wilson's hand moved down her back (and, oh, his breath against her neck really did feel too good), and placed a light kiss on his jaw, as if to apologize. The hand that had been on his neck slipped underneath his shirt collar to slide over his shoulder-blade. "So," she said, and then shut up.
WILSON: "Well, it was honest, at the time," he said. "Not that I would have said anything different to him even if it hadn't been. We'd almost just gotten into a fist fight -- beer and psychoanalysis make poor bedfellows, in case you weren't aware -- and I wasn't about to say anything that'd make him take the cane to me again." Wilson shook his head, dismissing the topic. House didn't get to know about this yet. Whatever 'this' was. Which probably should be figured out pretty soon, because he'd also told House that he didn't want to break Cameron, and that was honest, too. "So," he echoed. "Now we've got a secret. Where do we go from here?"
CAMERON: "A fist fight?" Cameron repeated, eyes widening and voice acquiring a touch of awe. "I'm so sorry--- he must have been really drunk--- he couldn't have meant it--- but, oh, I'm sorry. When Foreman and I called you House's personal punching bag, we didn't mean it literally. . . ." Her focus moving from the fight to The Big Important and Awkward Question, Cameron brought her hand back to rest at her side and tipped her head up to study Wilson's expression, the better to frame her answer. "I don't know," she said. "Actually, I kind of want to go to a bar and get smashed so that I don't have to think about what you mean by that question, but that's not really an answer, is it?"
WILSON: Wilson had to smile at the half-thoughtful and half-nervous look on Cameron's face. "It is an answer, technically, just ... not a great one." He tucked a few strands of hair behind Cameron's ear, just so he had something to concentrate on instead of keeping eye contact. "It's a big question. I didn't expect a real answer yet. I just wanted to put it out there."
CAMERON: Well, this moment was acquiring awkwardness at a rather impressive rate. Cameron clasped Wilson's hand with hers to stop him from moving, then stared at him for a long moment. "Well, what's your answer?" she asked with false joviality. "Seems unfair that I'm the only one in the hot seat here. And" --- she took a breath, steadying herself: I forced House into a date, I can do this, she told herself sternly --- "I think we should see where this goes. It's going to be awkward and complicated no matter what we do, right? In for a penny, in for a pound. . . and I don't. You know. Dislike you or anything. In fact, I even like you."
WILSON: "That's a relief," Wilson said with a snort. He tangled his fingers with hers and looked down at them, squinting in thought. "There's a lot to think about," he said finally, "but I agree we should see where it goes. I think making any sort of big leap in either direction at the moment would be a mistake."
CAMERON: "Shut up, you goddamn bastard," Cameron said, laughing. "Yeah. We'll just . . . see. So, right now --- now what?" After a moment of searching the room for a clock, she caught the time. "We've been here for a while, and I'm sure Cuddy will be along to skin us alive for neglecting the clinic soon, so. . . ."
WILSON: "Now we stop neglecting work. And we..." Wilson trailed off, his mind groping for a plan of action. "Well, it's not like we'd be able to avoid each other unless we really made an effort to. So we'll talk again soon." He paused for a beat and then amended that with, "I'll call you. Might be easier to talk if we don't have to worry about blushing and keeping eye contact and things like that." He flashed a faint grin to show he was teasing a little.
CAMERON: Cameron pulled her hand from Wilson's and nodded. "Right," she said, smoothing out her blouse. Her hands went back into her hair, brushing it off her shoulders and back behind her ears, and she smiled apologetically at Wilson. "It gets in the way, otherwise," she explained. She stood for a moment. "Right. Well. Yes. You know my number. And we'll . . . work something out." She hesitated a moment, then gave him a quick goodbye kiss before turning to reach for her briefcase.
WILSON: Wilson shook his head a little when Cameron's back was turned, in response to the peck. He kissed his sister-in-law like that, for God's sake. Before she left the room, Wilson caught her by the arm and pulled her into a proper kiss -- still not anything earth-shattering, but it lingered for a while and he smiled when he pulled back and let her go. "Talk to you later," he told her.