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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Palimpsest

Title: Palimpsest
Author: Flywoman
Fandom: House M.D.
Pairing: Chase/Cameron
Rating: PG-13
Summary: “All you wanted was to use his beautiful body as an intricate map...” Set in S3 sometime before the events of “Airborne.”
Disclaimer: You don’t see my name when the House M.D. credits roll, do you? Didn’t think so.
Author’s Note: Inspired by Catherynne M. Valente’s lush, evocative novel of the same name.

 

You once scoffed at him for being so young, and, sprawled in sleep on the mattress beside you, he looks like a little boy, wheat gold hair tousled, the bruises your mouth made on his throat and shoulder just beginning to fade. It takes him two days to grow a five-o’-clock shadow, and the darkening skin only serves to emphasize the tender rose of his lips. The same way that his sex sways, smooth and pink and almost virginal, from the sparse copper curls between his legs.

You knew that he would go along with your presumptuous proposal because that’s what he does. You’ve seen it time and again at work, when the sneering rise of your boss’s voice appears to act as a supersonic whistle, resulting in prompt obedience instead of a snarl. Now the leash is in your hand, and he’s at your beck and call, trust and the threat of devotion in his glass green eyes.

You tell yourself, and him, that you never wanted this. You’d thought that this could be so simple, almost anonymous, a purely physical coupling that would transport you both momentarily into a state resembling redemption. All you wanted was to use his beautiful body as an intricate map to guide you, if only for a short while, into another place, where every object and gesture was rich and heavy with meaning.

He can’t understand that you seek, not connection, but escape. Showering with him was a mistake; he’s incorporating you into the myriad little rituals that circumscribe his day, his adult self striving to duplicate the delusion of domestic bliss that the child never knew. He persists in dragging you back into this world, where wives try to murder their husbands with metallic symbols of matrimony, and too-beautiful teenagers deliberately seduce their own fathers, and, every so often, truly terrible things just happen for No Good Reason.

His hints at the desire for more are starting to become insistent. When you stand at the apex of your little love triangle, he’s the one reacting with jealousy, when that wasn’t the plan at all. He tries little tricks to keep you here overnight, plies you with wine, serenades you with silly songs, transparently hoping that you’ll wind up staying because it’s too late, you’re too drunk, he’s too cute to abandon just yet.

And now, when he stirs and smiles sleepily and reaches for you, your traitorous body responds. Soon you are rocking together, hurtling on a high-speed train into the distance, slipping into another dimension in which your solitary self dissolves like a lump of opium in a steaming cup of tea. You slide against him, then clutch and cry out, lost in the rush of release for a few precious seconds before you tumble off onto the rusty tracks.

But you know that this can’t last, when every journey you take together brings you closer to your terrifying destination.

And you know that Cuddy was wrong when she said that Chase wasn’t the one who was going to get hurt.

 

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