Pairings: House/Cuddy, hints of House/Stacy
Rating: PG (bit of bad language as ever)
Challenge/Prompt: 7snogs, 3. Embrace
Copyright: "Taxi Ride" by Tori Amos with the lines messed up a bit. I like to write a "Taxi Ride" fic for each fandom and this is my House one. It's a gorgeous song.
Summary: How House, Stacy, Cuddy and Wilson coped with the infarction. Cuts between then and season 2's Need To Know.
Author’s Notes: Another House/Cuddy infarction one, but I like writing infarction ones and normally with my OTPs I don't get the chance. Not the best-written thing in the world, but feedback is always appreciated.
We’ve all been pushed too far today
No one- not Stacy, not Wilson, not Cuddy- ever really believed that the infarction struck while he was golfing. But Greg was. Sometimes, when he’s in enough pain, he closes his eyes and he can still feel himself there in those last pain-free minutes. The smell of cut grass in the air, the cool metal of the nine-iron in his hand, the feel of his jeans against his thigh. His right thigh, whole and smooth and undamaged. To tell the truth, the memory makes Greg feel sick to his stomach, a longing that he can’t handle deep in his whole body, until his fingers curl into fists and the morphine seems like the next logical step.
He won’t, and he can’t remember the days after the infarction. The pain, the lack of diagnosis, Stacy’s cool fingers around his wrist, swearing that she wouldn’t go anywhere. The sound of Wilson arguing with his cell phone (or, more likely, with his wife on the other end of the line) outside the glass walls of his room. Cuddy, trying to tell him it would be all right. His head aches at the memory. It’s so much easier to go forwards and try not to remember how vulnerable he was- how vulnerable he still is.
Even a glamorous bitch can be in need
Stacy wasn’t looking for forgiveness when she picked up that biro pen and signed the relevant papers. She knew that she wouldn’t get it. She knew that she was signing away the man she loved at the same time, but she could accept that, as long as she saved him, as long as he was all right. She signed the papers and handed them to Lisa and the two of them watched Greg- in his unconscious state, unaware quite how badly she’d betrayed him- as he was wheeled away to surgery.
“I can take you to the observation gallery,” Lisa offered, fingers brushing Stacy’s arm. Stacy swallowed hard and suddenly the strength she’d been holding together broke, and she sobbed helplessly into Lisa’s shoulder, the shorter woman hugging her tight. Stacy stood there as they saved Greg’s life, sobbing because she knew that it was a catch-22 situation; she’d lose him either way.
Now, working in the same place as Greg, remembering how much she loved him and how much she hated losing him in these echoing halls (light sparkling off the walls and making her feel dizzy), it makes her feel like no time has passed at all. And no one could ever understand how much the whole thing still *hurts*.
This is where you tell the honey from the killer bees
The look on House’s face when he woke up is something that Cuddy can never, never forget. It haunts her sometimes, as do the words he directed at Stacy, who didn’t have time to look happy that he was alive. From anxious to penitent in 0.3 seconds. Cuddy pulled her labcoat tighter around her like it might protect her. House would never comprehend how much it had cost Stacy, how the tears had flowed for hours. And he would never know.
“What have you *done*?” he hissed, voice raw and hoarse and filled with more anger and horror than any voice had a right to have in it. The words and the tone made Cuddy feel nauseous. But Stacy didn’t apologise and neither did she. They just stood there and looked at him and watched as anger turned to misery turned to fear turned to despair. Cuddy has learnt to pinpoint that as the moment that House gave up on *everything*, and she hasn’t seen him smile properly since.
“Get out,” House said softly, and Stacy obediently complied, her face showing she already knew she’d gambled and spectacularly won *and* lost. Cuddy wouldn’t leave. “Get out,” House repeated, “Or I’ll-” He didn’t finish his sentence, and Cuddy bit her lips and left, hearing him starting to cry, alone, behind her.
And I’m down to your last cigarette and this “we are one” crap
Stacy lights a cigarette and passes it to Cuddy. Cuddy takes a drag and passes it on to Wilson. The three of them are on the hospital roof as below them House and his team rescue their patient. Wilson is apparently tired of shouting because he’s not saying anything as he passes the cigarette back down again. He’s either run out of blame or can’t be bother to scream at Stacy about what she does to House any more. It’s a toss-up which.
Stacy’s office is packed into boxes and tomorrow she leaves. Cuddy and Wilson saw that one coming but they politely don’t mention it as between them they smoke Stacy’s cigarettes. Sending Stacy off with the stain of being forever unforgiven back to a marriage that isn’t going to hold together much longer seems unspeakably cruel but they have no other options.
“We’re all kind of the same, aren’t we?” Wilson mumbles as Stacy lights her final cigarette. In some ways, it’s true. They were all there at the same time, before the infarction, all started smoking together to get through it afterwards. House didn’t have time for any of their emotions alongside his. He never has and never will. Stacy sighs, gets to her feet, says she’ll have to go and that she’ll call. After she’s gone, Cuddy turns to Wilson.
“What was with the ‘we are one’ crap?” she asks bluntly. Wilson smirks as he stubs out the last half of the cigarette beside his shoe.
“I feel sorry for her,” he replies, “I always have. There had to be something to say other than ‘oh look, you let House break your heart again, could you be more idiotic?’”
As you’re invading this thing you call love- she smiles way too much
Wilson could tell, as he sat next to House’s bed and watched his friend complain, that all he really wanted was a hey man, bummer about your leg, but Wilson had never used phrases like that before in his life and wasn’t about to start. Instead, he sat and chewed his nails.
“Rose wants to come and visit you,” he said softly. House choked.
“She smiles too much,” he said. “She’s too cheery and she’ll look at me with all kinds of pity and it’ll make me nauseous, and I’ll have to be sick everywhere, preferably all over that tie, which is *vile* by the way, the shop where you bought it will have to be razed to the ground.”
Wilson could have opened his mouth and argued, but he didn’t. He just sighed.
“All right, Rose won’t come to visit. I’ll come up with a reasonable excuse.”
House just looked at him, blue eyes edged with pain, questioning him as to why he kept giving this relationship thing a try when every time it came back to bite him hard on the ass. But that was different. House had Stacy. He would never get it.
But I’m glad you’re on my side still
Cuddy sits on her sofa and thinks about Stacy and how badly she and House fucked each other up. And she thinks about the days after the operation, and about the time when House had kicked Stacy out of his room because he didn’t want to speak to her any more and she’d gone off to get some rest, and Cuddy came in to check his stats.
“She saved your life,” she said. “You should be thanking her, not screaming at her.”
“You don’t understand,” House replied. “How would you feel if someone did that to you? She betrayed me.”
“Maybe,” Cuddy told him. “But you weren’t thinking straight and you still aren’t and you would be dead right now if she hadn’t done what she did.”
She still isn’t sure if House had actually muttered I’d rather be dead than crippled.
But she had stopped checking his stats, and turned around to face him, to try and talk some sense into him; instead she ended up hugging him tight, and he tried to push her away and she wouldn’t let go, until he sagged in her arms, being weak for a few moments with her because he couldn’t be weak around Stacy. And maybe it was fitting that his mouth found hers and they kissed desperately for what could have been a few seconds or a few hours, until Cuddy gently pushed him away.
“We can’t do this,” she’d told him, “There’s Stacy, and-” He’d nodded in agreement, indicating her abandoned chart and not saying another word.
Cuddy is startled out of her reverie by the sound of someone hammering on her door. She obediently gets up and goes to open it.
“I never wanted her here,” House says.
“I know,” she replies.
There’s an impossibly long pause.
Cuddy teeters on the edge of a decision, unsure whether this is right or wrong or clever or stupid. And then she steps back, leaving the doorway wide and empty.