Changing All the Time

by Mistral Amara

Title:Changing All the Time
Author:Mistral Amara
Written for:Sarah Izhilzha
Fandom:House, M.D.
Characters:Cameron, Wilson
Summary:Cameron examines her motives.
Author's Notes:This story takes place shortly after episode 3.03, "Informed Consent." Subsequent events have already made it perhaps a bit AU.

September 20th, 2006

Proud of me. He says he's proud of me. What does that mean, exactly? If he'd said it last year, even six months ago, I'd have thought I knew. Now? I'm not sure it matters. I didn't do it for him. I'm not even sure I did it for the patient.

I think maybe I did it for myself.

House is wrong about me. I'm not attracted to damaged people. Not in the way he thinks, anyway. I just want to ease their pain, is that so wrong? It's the reason we become doctors, after all, to heal the sick and ease pain. Even if sometimes those two things are mutually exclusive.

Maybe that's what House wanted me to learn from this, that you can't always do both. You'd think I'd have learned it when Tom died. I thought I had learned it. But I couldn't do anything for Tom; only hold his hand and wait. It almost destroyed me, the waiting, the not being able to help. But this time, I had a choice.

Powell may not have deserved my admiration for the things he did in life, but he was still my patient. He deserved humane treatment. He deserved some dignity. I hope I gave him that. But still, that wasn't why I did it. Maybe I did it because of what I needed; what I thought I deserved: not to have to watch someone suffer needlessly, ever again. Or, maybe, I needed to prove to myself that I didn't need to make him suffer; that on some fundamental level I'm not like him.

And I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the surface, it's a simple transaction: he got what he wanted, and I got what I wanted. The maximum good was served. When no more healing was possible, I eased his pain. A rational decision, in despite of the rules. That's what House is proud of; that's what House sees.

Only I know how irrational a decision it really was; how much of it was driven by my needs, rather than the patient's.

And so now I know something else. Something that House has been saying all along: I have to stop taking on other people's pain, pain that I can't ease. Which means that I have to stop taking on House's pain. He should appreciate the twisted logic of that.

Because if the ketamine wears off, it's back to square one. If the ketamine doesn't wear off, well, House and pain are old friends. They're much too intimately acquainted to let go of each other now. And I can't be friends with pain anymore.

I have to make some new friends.

*--A. C.*

It wasn't really planned, what happened next. She saw Wilson in the corridor, and a half-formed thought bypassed her inner censor and translated itself into action. "Doctor Wilson," she heard herself say.


"Are you free for dinner?"

He frowned and looked at his watch. "If you need a consult, I have ten minutes right now."

"No consult; I just thought we might have dinner. There's a new French restaurant near my place I've been meaning to try."

Wilson's frown turned to puzzlement. He looked around the corridor as if expecting a hidden camera. "Look, if this is an attempt to get under House's skin--"

"It's not."

"What, then?"

"You know, dinner: food, conversation, relaxation."

"Will the others be coming, or is this just--"

"Just the two of us. Two friends having dinner." She gave him a friend-sized smile.

"Okay," he said uncertainly.

"Great. I'll make the reservations; you pick me up at seven-thirty." She turned to go. A thought struck her, and she turned back; he was still staring after her. "One rule," she said. "No shop talk. Especially, no House talk."

He blinked. "Right. No House talk."

"See you." She turned and walked away before Wilson could change his mind.

Her heart felt lighter already. Okay, so Wilson wasn't exactly a new friend; but seeing him outside the context of the hospital, outside the context of House, would be good for both of them. Even if making a no-House rule was still perversely House-centric, it was a step in the right direction.

And a step in the right direction was always a good way to start.

This story inspired by the lyrics to:

"Extraordinary Machine"

by Fiona Apple

I certainly haven't been shopping for any new shoes
I certainly haven't been spreading myself around
I still only travel by foot and by foot, it's a slow climb,
But I'm good at being uncomfortable, so
I can't stop changing all the time

I notice that my opponent is always on the go
Won't go slow, so's not to focus, and I notice
He'll hitch a ride with any guide, as long as
They go fast from whence he came
- But he's no good at being uncomfortable, so
He can't stop staying exactly the same

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine

I seem to you to seek a new disaster every day
You deem me due to clean my view and be at piece and lay
I mean to prove I mean to move in my own way, and say,
I've been getting along for long before you came into the play

I am the baby of the family, it happens, so
- Everybody cares and wears the sheeps' clothes
While they chaperone
Curious, you looking down your nose at me, while you appease
- Courteous, to try and help - but let me set your
Mind at ease


-Do I so worry you, you need to hurry to my side?
-It's very kind
But it's to no avail; I don't want the bail
I promise you, everything will be just fine

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine