Fandom: House MD
Challenge/Prompt: 100moods, 003. Angry
Copyright: A Tori Amos song whose title I don’t know (It might be “Blue”, I guess) and it’s off the B-sides of her “Little Earthquakes” album.
Summary: They’re not friends, but maybe they’re something else.
Author’s Notes: I don’t know where the title came from but I use titles that pop into my head when the plotbunny explodes, so eh. This tries to fill in some spaces related to “Sleeping Dogs Lie”, “Euphoria” and between “No Reason” and “Meaning”. Shiny spoilers for all those episodes.
I really like this. Does that make a difference? I know I normally go on about how unsure I am about everything, but I really like this.
(When you gonna stand on your own?)
“You said it yourself,” Allison tells him, “We’re not friends.”
Foreman’s hands are shaking, just a little bit, not so much that you’d notice unless you’re looking hard or you’re House.
“I stole your article, you brain damaged me,” Foreman says in a singsong sort of voice. “We’re even. Let it go.”
“I was trying to save your life,” Allison protests. “You stole my article for purely selfish reasons.”
“How do you survive in the real world?” Foreman asks, shaking his head.
“I hate you,” Allison explodes childishly. She can’t stand that she feels so young and stupid and wrong-footed around him.
“No, you don’t.” Foreman looks entirely too smug. She feels her fists clench, hating that she’s letting him get to her. “You only hate people who deserve it, like paedophiles or murderers or… people who cheat.”
“You stole something I spent hours and hours working on, edited it a little, and took all the credit!” Allison almost shouts. “I can hate you for that!”
“You don’t hate me. I know that.” Foreman smiles.
“Because I know you.” He shrugs. “I know your favourite colour is lilac. I know you only take sugar in your coffee on Fridays. I know no matter how much you pretend that you’re a doctor first and a woman second, you’ve got at least four issues of Cosmo in that stack of medical journals you keep in your locker. And I know that above everything else you have this compelling urge to fix people.”
Allison can’t work out what to think.
“You should stop listening to House,” she mutters at last, getting up to leave before she does something crazy like slap him or kiss him.
(I say: “The world is sick,”)
She doesn’t want to pity him because that goes down a whole long road that ends in marriage and brain cancer. Or something. It’s impossibly awkward, but it shouldn’t be, because they’re not friends and so she shouldn’t care. Chase doesn’t care. House doesn’t care. Cuddy doesn’t care. This hospital is overflowing with apathy and it’s terrifying.
“But you nearly died,” she says. They’re in the lab running gels and it’s two a.m and all sane people are tucked up safe and sleeping in bed.
“I didn’t notice,” Foreman mutters, refusing to look at her. She stares at his back and in the end he sighs. “I go to therapy twice a week like I was told to. My coordination’s almost all returned now. I’ve let go of it. You should.”
“Someone ought to care-” she begins.
“This is not healthy,” Foreman snaps, turning to look at her. “I know about your husband. Marrying someone who’s dying just so someone can miss him. I’m not letting you turn me into a pity party too.”
It stings but Allison grits her teeth and sticks it out anyway.
“You made me your medical proxy,” she says. “You forced me to make all the decisions. Doesn’t that mean anything?”
“House would have made me a human pincushion. Chase doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone. My dad doesn’t know anything about medicine.”
“So that was it,” Allison says quietly, because God, that hurts. Hurts more than everything else he’s done to her in the last couple of weeks. “You picked me because-”
“Do yourself a favour, Allison,” Foreman says firmly and quietly, “And stop over-thinking everything. It was a thing and it happened and now we’re slightly different people. Nothing else. Ok?”
Allison opens her mouth to reply and then closes it again because there’s nothing else she can say. She nods and her eyes burn.
(You say: “Tell me what that makes us, darling,”)
Even though it’s late, so late, he pulls open his apartment door.
“You tried to kill me,” she says, clearly, carefully, head held high, meeting his gaze. “You stole my article, I brain damaged you. All squared away. But you forgot something. You stuck me with an infected needle. You actively tried to make me ill because you couldn’t handle being so helpless.”
Allison has to give him credit, because he doesn’t try to avoid her gaze. He meets it moment for moment, but she’s going to win this one because she’s in the right. It had only been a couple of months since she was cleared for HIV and then he did his best to expose her to another murderous virus.
“You want an apology?” he asks, but she takes a step forward and he takes one back, and Allison knows that she’s won.
“It’s just words,” she says calmly. “And you won’t mean them.”
“Then what do you want?” he asks.
“It’s all there,” she tells him, and it makes such a change to be the one in control of the conversation, “Under the surface. And I can’t talk about it and you won’t. But I thought – I thought we were friends, and I thought I mattered in some small way. You betrayed me and you broke the trust I had in you.”
“Oh grow up,” he snaps, pale imitation of House because he’s uncomfortable. Allison refuses to allow herself to be intimidated.
“No,” she says calmly, “You don’t get to put me in the wrong here.” The door’s still open and she walks out, turning back just once more. “You tried to kill me. However you justify it, you know you owe me one.”
(You see, you always find my faults faster than you find you own.)
The thing about Foreman, Allison supposes, is that he isn’t grovelling. He won’t grovel. He won’t spend hours trying to get onto her good side. He did what he had to and he’s sorry but he’s not torn up over it. He’s sort of like House in that respect, she supposes, and then dizzily wonders exactly how deep that man has permeated her body and soul.
“I don’t understand where I fit in,” Foreman says. It’s an afternoon of some description and there’s no case and she’s run out of mail to answer and Chase has been bullied into doing House’s clinic duty and House himself is out somewhere with Wilson doing whatever it is that they do. Just them in the office and Foreman’s finished the crossword.
“What?” Allison looks up from her mug of coffee, hair falling around her shoulders because her hair tie snapped and she isn’t in the mood to snag her hair on a rubber band.
“You like House because he’s mean to you,” Foreman says bluntly, leaning back in his chair, “And because he’s got the bum leg and the eyes and it all makes some sort of sense in your head.”
“It doesn’t,” Allison mumbles, but he isn’t listening or he doesn’t want to.
“And you slept with Chase because he’s easy,” Foreman shrugs, “You knew he’d give in to whatever you wanted.”
“I was high!” Allison protests, because she’s going to spend forever trying to live down that mistake, and the surprise and amusement in people’s eyes.
“And Wilson isn’t your type because he cheats on everyone,” Foreman continues, ignoring her. “So where exactly do I fit in?”
“I don’t know,” Allison mutters, sounding a little angry, a little sulky. She drinks her coffee and pretends she can’t feel him watching her.
“You can’t just shut things into boxes and hope that eventually you’ll know how to deal with them, or at least figure out how you feel,” Foreman tells her.
“Works perfectly well for House,” she snaps. It’s a ridiculous retort because they all know exactly how well it doesn’t work, but she can’t figure out what Foreman’s trying to get at and it isn’t fair.
“Now you’re just being stupid,” Foreman tells her. Allison flinches like she’s been slapped.
“You don’t get to ask where you fit in,” she snarls back, words falling out of her mouth before her brain can check them, “Because you’re the one who made it perfectly clear that we’re nothing more than colleagues. By your standards, even this discussion is too much intimacy.”
She slams her mug down hard on the table and imagines it cracking it into pieces, but it doesn’t.
“Cameron-” he begins, but she shakes her head and walks out.
(You say: “The world is getting rid of her demons,”)
There are four of them in the diagnostics department. Not House and his team. Not House and Chase and Foreman-and-Cameron (the halfway sane ones). Just four of them all separate and angry for too many reasons.
“Am I the only one who cares about the sick people?” Allison demands furiously on a burning hot afternoon when there’s a father of two dying in the second floor ICU and no one seems to care because House is more preoccupied with his leg and Chase and Foreman are too busy bickering over something pointless that they’ve both forgotten and are only continuing the argument to aggravate everyone.
“Cameron, you’re the only one who ever cares about the sick people,” House replies in a long-suffering tone and returns to watching General Hospital.
“I don’t know why I stay here sometimes,” Allison tells Foreman next day when they’re in the elevator down to the clinic. He smiles vaguely.
“Yeah, you do.”
“Do we have to remain here until we go mad or become him?” she asks hopelessly. It’s a bad day all round and she can’t be perpetually optimistic.
“Leave the self-pity to Chase and House,” Foreman advises her quietly. His tone practically screams we’re better than them and she wants to rebuke him for it but then he sort of has a point. The elevator doors open and she follows him out. She’s doing her own clinic duty; Foreman is obediently doing House’s. Neither of them really mind. At least clinic duty is a break from the increasing craziness in the diagnostics department. The breakdowns building and escalating and out of control.
Allison thinks about saying something to Foreman before he goes into exam room two, but she can’t work out what the words are, so she doesn’t.
(I say: “Baby, what have you been smoking?”)
With blood on the carpet and sunlight in her hair and her eyes and all other parts of her that don’t really want to have sunlight, Allison looks helplessly at Foreman. She has nothing to say to him – nothing she can say, or at least, nothing she wants to say. She doesn’t know where Chase is. She doesn’t care.
“But he-” she begins.
“Don’t,” Foreman says. He doesn’t sound pitying, like he wants her to stop talking to spare herself. He sounds bored, irritated.
“But right there-”
“I’m telling you, don’t.”
Brittle silence. It’s summer. There’s supposed to be… well, Allison isn’t sure what there’s supposed to be, but this isn’t it.
“You’re just as much a bastard as him sometimes,” she mutters. She can’t say his name. Not when he’s so freshly shot. Foreman just rolls his eyes. They’ve been through this before.
“And you can be a real bitch,” he retorts in a tired voice. “Are you going to stay here and stare at his blood on the floor all day?”
“House was shot in front of us!” Allison almost screams. There’s too much light in here because the blinds are open and the sunlight is streaming in.
“It’s been three days. He’s in a ketamine coma.” Foreman is the voice of reason, as ever, and she doesn’t want him to be. “Some rehab, he’ll be fine. You’re the one morbidly obsessing.”
“Stop it,” she orders, feeling tears prickling the back of her throat, “Just stop it!”
He half smirks, half laughs, and she can’t read the look in his eyes.
“You never change, do you?” he murmurs, a trace of bitterness in his tone, and walks out, leaving her with the ghosts that cling to the glass and the echo of a gunshot trembling in the empty room.
(Don’t you love to turn this little blue girl upside down?)
One month since the shooting and House can apparently sort of walk and Wilson won’t tell her anything. Allison needs to know these things.
“No, you don’t,” Foreman sighs, pushing a mug of coffee across the table to her. “We’ll find out what we need to know when we need to know it.”
“Don’t you care at all?” she asks.
“He’s not dead. That’s probably a good thing.” Foreman shrugs. Allison shakes her head because she can’t understand how he can be so rational about all this. They sit in silence for a while.
“That’s where I fit.” Foreman smiles triumphantly, like he’s finally got the answer. “I’m the only person in the world you can talk to now. Because no one else in your life gets it, because half the hospital is insane or broken or complicated.”
“That’s not it,” Allison mumbles, because she’s learnt a thing or two in this last superfluous month of exhaustion and panic. She gets up to dump her coffee mug in the sink. Her head aches and there are blurring lines in front of her vision that warn of a fast-approaching migraine.
“So you’re telling me that I’m not the last piece of sanity left in your life?” He sounds amused. Allison feels dizzy and thinks about just fainting now and not having to deal with everything else. She clenches her hand into a fist at her side and forces herself to remain upright and conscious and in one piece.
“You’re not the slightest bit sane,” she tells him. “And I don’t know where you fit in. Maybe you don’t. Because every time I think I’ve figured you out you do something else and everything has to change again.”
She leans against the wall and looks through the glass at the balcony and its tempting fresh air.
“I’m not that complicated,” he smirks, “You’re getting me confused with House.”
He dumps his coffee cup in the sink too and Allison won’t look at him.
“I thought you gave a damn about me,” she says quietly. “I thought I might matter in some tiny little way. But you betrayed me and you stabbed me with that needle and you treat me like I’m an amusing joke rather than a person and now I know that you don’t give a shit about me.”
It’s almost like violence, the way he moves. His hand clenches in her hair and she wraps her arms around his neck because she can’t help it and his mouth meets hers, hard and angry and unforgiving. Allison is pinned against the glass and she can feel him, strong and warm as he kisses her like she hasn’t been kissed in years.
“We should have done this weeks ago,” she murmurs.
“No, we shouldn’t,” he replies.
(Any kind of touch I think is better than none, even upside down.)
It’s not a relationship and it isn’t better to the way it used to be. They don’t act like a couple and nothing really changes. Allison thinks that maybe she’s too old or too jaded or maybe just too tired for a flowers and chocolates kind of life, and she doesn’t want to love anyone for a while because she’s got enough things to worry about without adding devotion to the list. But sometimes Foreman makes her breakfast while she walks around wearing his shirts and sometimes he remembers to call her ‘Allison’ and sometimes saying ‘Eric’ doesn’t feel as strange as it did.
House is still a bastard. He’s more cheerful and Allison finds herself fascinated by him but he hasn’t changed just because he doesn’t need a cane and doesn’t limp. She thinks maybe she was just a little bit stupid for assuming that he’d magically become sweet and caring. She probably doesn’t even want him to change. Without trying to keep him in check she’d have nothing to do with her time. The world turns. People live and die. Foreman offers her a smile when she’s tired, even if Allison is snapping at him because she’s learned a little but she’s not a different person.
In bed, she whispers in his ear:
“I still hate you.” It’s teasing and it’s a challenge and his hands run through her hair (Foreman doesn’t approve of the new cut but she didn’t do it for him) when he kisses her, deep and certain.
“And I still know that you don’t.”
Maybe he’s right. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe they’ll never really know.