Lady Paperclip (paperclipbitch) wrote,
Lady Paperclip

"Here in this half-light you look a lot like her..."

Title: What Price Ambition?
Fandom: House MD
Pairing: Foreman/Cuddy
Challenge/Prompt: 100moods 052. Indescribable
Rating: PG
Genre: Het
Summary: Foreman and Cuddy are in a relationship(ish)- but is it all really about House?
Author’s Notes: fallen_arazil gave me a line from this and told me to write it ages ago. I did. I don't think this is what she wanted but on the other hand I don't hate it as much as I did. Also: woo! Another one for my channel five advert set.

Late in her office with the lights turned down and an unspoken invitation floating somewhere in the air, he taps his fingers on the edge of her desk, and she waits for him to actually speak.

(It’s like this a lot. He pretends to go home. He goes to her instead. It’s an arrangement and it’s not an arrangement and maybe everyone’s worked it out but maybe they haven’t.)

“Er,” he says awkwardly (very awkwardly), “This is about House, isn’t it?”

(This could have turned into a lovely evening- well, an all right evening- back at her very nice home with a bottle of wine and some kind of Italian food, and then some pretty good sex on her king-sized bed. But House has lately been pissing her off, and he can’t help wondering if she wants some kind of inside information.)

“Not everything is about House,” she says, crossly, but they both know, as far as they're concerned, that is a lie.

(Everything is about him. He demands it. He spends so much time insidiously working his way under their skin that it would be impossible not to spend time being taken over. Not to think sarcastic comments that sound like him, not to look at a patient and think, immediately, now, what would House do? Well, you know, after popping Vicodin and mocking them.)

“So this isn’t about House? At all?” he asks, just because he likes the look of anger and resignation that flashes across her features.

(They’ve both established, mentally, if not verbally, that this whole thing is about how he wants House’s job and she doesn’t want to give it to him but she has no objection to him futilely attempting to convince her. All in all it’s a mutually beneficial transaction as long as they ignore the fact it’s going, um, nowhere.)

“We’re people in our own right,” she points out [uncertainly?], “And we’re adults who are capable of making our own decisions.”

(…As long as they correlate with what House wants, or they can be easily reversed should he change his mind/diagnosis/meds. And he can’t help thinking that, you know, of course this thing is fucking about House. He’s here because of House, she’s talking to him because he works for/wants to usurp House. There are all sorts of shackles they just can’t break.)

(Work for Princeton/Plainsboro Teaching Hospital! Sign your soul over to this crippled drug addict madman!)

“Okay,” he murmurs.

“Okay,” she replies.

They look at each other for a very long moment.

(The decision was technically made a month ago, back when there was too much snow and he was feeling pretty destroyed and all Wilson would do was make toga jokes, or something, and he went to see her and asked if he could stay head of diagnostics. The first time she said ‘no’, but when he went back the second time, and it was late and the snow meant they’d probably be at work all night anyway, she simply shrugged and said ‘persuade me’.)

“So,” he murmurs, “Shall we-”

“Yes,” she agrees quickly, tucking a loose strand of dark hair behind her ear.

(It’s amazing that she can be all calm and ball busting during the day, but when he appears on the scene in the late evening, she suddenly loses most of that, just for a little while. He’s almost gratified; it makes him feel like this could actually be real, be something that could potentially go somewhere one day.)

(Even if it is all about House.)

She pushes the door to her office open, fingers lingering on the glass for a moment. He takes a moment to appreciate her figure, even in the eye-wateringly pink suit she’s wearing, a smile almost twisting his lips.

(In different circumstances he might count himself lucky. She’s gorgeous, isn’t a bad cook, has a great sense of humour and there’s this thing she can do with her mouth that- Anyway, he likes her. She’s not feeble like Cameron, she’s powerful without being cruel. He respects her. He kind of hopes she has some modicum of respect for him. But these aren’t different circumstances and this might have to end tomorrow.)

Much later on, when her mouth is barely brushing his and he’s considering that although they’re not dating this is something slightly more than just sex, and this could somehow work to his advantage, he mumbles:

“This is about House, somewhere along the line, isn’t it?”

(Even if she did choose him of her own free will and she actually likes him, it’ll all boil down to House in the end. It usually does. Which is tiring but he’s worked here over a year and in the end he might start accepting that all roads lead to House, the way everyone else does. Maybe he won’t. Who knows?)

She considers this for a moment, frowning in a surprisingly attractive way.

“It doesn’t have to be, not if we don’t want it to,” she tells him.

(It’s a lie. But it’s a nice lie. And one he’ll let himself believe, at least for the next couple of hours.)

Tags: challenge: 100moods, character: eric foreman, character: lisa cuddy, pairing: foreman/cuddy, series: what price, tv show: house md
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