Fandom: House MD
Written for: leiascully. Although I fear she may hate it. [also: 100_prompts, 014. awkward]
Rating: PG-13 by my standards, probably PG-15 by everyone else’s.
Summary: Uh. Um. Things get broken, they break more, they almost slightly fix themselves.
Author’s Notes: This isn’t bad or anything; it’s just a little more somethingorother than I normally write (at least with H/C). Set at the end of series one because, you know channel five? Yeah, no sign of series three. *gnashes teeth* (although CSI and CSI: NY are back next week! Yay!)
The first time they have sex, Vogler has been gone from the hospital about four hours. Cuddy tastes like champagne, but there’s no celebration in her eyes and House realises, perhaps a little belatedly, that although he won this particular game, Cuddy didn’t. Her hospital lost a hundred million dollars and PPTH will have a cloud over it for a good long while. House suspects that there really aren’t that many billionaires willing to just hand over lots of money for shits and giggles, and although he could never regret his stance over Vogler (man was an ass), he realises that Cuddy is angry with him. Not the fun, regular kind of angry, but actually properly angry.
Perhaps his figures this out from the way her fingernails rake unforgivingly down his back, perhaps it’s in the way she refuses to say anything, perhaps it’s when after, in the semi-dark of his office and his leg is aching and the shock’s wearing off, she actually laughs with her face buried in his shoulder, only it sounds kind of like a sob.
She leaves him without saying a word, but she does look back over her shoulder through with the glass, something that’s almost a smile on her lips.
House throws himself at Cameron because when she’s there the department doesn’t spend quite so many hours ripping itself into shreds, and that’s probably a good thing. Having a free soap opera right there in his office is sort of fun, but on the other hand it’s not conducive to a good working environment and he can’t help feeling he ought to try and keep Cuddy in a halfway reasonable mood at the moment, not that he’d ever say it aloud. However, it does prove problematic when he’s trying to explain to Cameron exactly why he’d like her to come back. Apparently “you’re quite good at your job” doesn’t cut it; he’ll bear that in mind in case she quits again (that’s always a distinct possibility with his staff).
“You should get Cameron back,” Cuddy informs him at some point, when she isn’t striding about trying to organise the treatment of the meningitis epidemic in unsuitable heels that have got to be hurting her feet.
“Wow, Jimmy, when did you grow such beautiful breasts?” House enquires without looking at her.
“Wilson’s right,” she tells him firmly.
“And it hasn’t occurred to you that maybe I actually tried getting Cameron back and she said ‘no’?”
Cuddy considers him a moment.
“You’re obviously not giving her the right incentives.”
House stares at her.
“But Dr Cuddy-” he begins, giving her a look that screams but I think Cameron wants to tie me up in her basement and make me her own personal sex-slave. Cuddy’s look back screams but I don’t care.
“Go,” she says. “Give her whatever she wants. Just get her back.”
The second time, House has spent the evening tearing Cameron’s emotions into little unrecognisable pieces and isn’t feeling quite himself. Maybe it’s because he had to try and do small talk, maybe it’s the tie feeling incongruous around his neck, maybe it’s guilt or something else entirely, and hey, if he’d wanted to analyse his emotions this deeply, he’d have kept going to see that shrink Stacy pushed him in the direction of years ago.
Cuddy turns up somewhere around midnight just as he’s pouring his third glass of scotch. He almost doesn’t open the door, so convinced that she’s Cameron come around to beg for yet more chances (or maybe to blow his brains out- he certainly deserves it, even though he’ll never admit it), but he does and Cuddy walks in, strange little smile on her face.
“How did it go?” she enquires, taking the scotch from his hand and drinking it herself.
House can’t even be bothered to lie.
“I doubt Cameron will ever ask for another date,” he tells her. Cuddy laughs softly.
“That bad, huh?”
House could reply, but instead he just shrugs, letting Cuddy read what she wants into the gesture.
“Just as well I’ve never felt the urge to date you,” Cuddy smirks, and when she kisses him she tastes like scotch and lipstick, and House is just relieved he won’t have to spend the rest of tonight alone. He’s painfully good at brooding, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.
Wilson tries, without success, to get details from House about what happened between him and Cameron, and House decides not to tell him exactly how he used the condoms from the drug rep (he doesn’t feel bad about the fact he took them off Wilson; it’s not like he and Julie ever talk any more, let alone-). If he were someone else, he’d give an enigmatic smile, but since he’s not really given to smiling, that would make Wilson suspicious. So he just avoids the question entirely.
Question avoidance, at least, is perfectly in character for him.
“If you’re staying away from the clinic this afternoon,” Cuddy announces, walking in, “Then at least take on a patient. I didn’t save your department so you could spend all the time sitting about playing chequers.”
Wilson immediately looks guilty, mumbles something about a meeting House is certain he doesn’t have, and disappears out the door. House sighs.
“It never ceases to surprise me just how much fun you’re not,” he informs Cuddy.
“Well, not all of us have time to lie around pill-popping and being miserable,” she replies, tone acidic.
“Not everyone’s as good at it as I am,” House points out.
“And it would be a shame to deprive the world of such self-centred, self-indulgent whining,” Cuddy says dryly. “I don’t know how I live with myself.”
She hands him a file, which he reluctantly takes and flips through.
“Food poisoning,” he mutters, tossing it back at her.
“The patient is due for an operation in three hours, they haven’t eaten anything,” Cuddy replies.
“Then somebody’s lying,” House informs her, leaning back in his chair, toying with the head of his cane and avoiding looking at her.
“You’d take the case if Wilson presented it to you,” Cuddy tells him.
“Probably,” House agrees. “Life’s kind of a bitch that way, huh?”
Cuddy looks at him with an expression that, on someone else, might be translated as ‘hurt’.
“Fine,” she says softly, and walks away.
The third time Cuddy will barely look at him and refuses to kiss him on the mouth, but even House can tell that making hooker comparisons right now could end in bloodshed. Cuddy’s teeth sink into his shoulder and he rethinks that slightly. No. Make that definite bloodshed.
House knows when he’s gone a little too far, even though he doesn’t really care all that much, and he supposes that telling the woman you’re having almost regular casual sex with that you don’t care enough about her to even read a patient file is not the smartest of ideas. Well, now he knows. Hurt feelings lead to awkward sex, and perhaps he should’ve worked that out with Stacy, but what the hell. Who knows. Maybe Cuddy has slightly different tipping points.
“This can’t happen again,” she whispers into his ear, breath warm against his skin.
“Why not?” he asks, fingers twisting inside her because that’s how to break her control, her strength, that little spot right there.
“Sorry,” she says, sounding breathless now, “This won’t happen again. I won’t let it.”
She kisses him to shut him up. It’s almost poetic in some random way. And he pops a Vicodin on the way out of her office because it will make her wince, and he knows it’s all too close and too complicated right now.
“You can’t seriously be blaming me for this,” Cuddy says.
“You hired her,” House points out, “That makes it your fault.”
“Yes, House,” she replies dryly, “Because everything is about you. I forgot.”
There’s more anger in here than he knows how to deal with, which is almost funny, since simmering fury really is his forte. Perhaps because it’s Cuddy. Perhaps because when they fight it isn’t meant to mean anything and this does. This really does and one step in the wrong direction could tip the whole thing right over. And Stacy’s been around too much and is apparently going to be around all the time now, and he doesn’t want her here and nothing, nothing is right.
“Fuck,” he says softly, instead of apologising (because that’s too far for him). Cuddy’s expression doesn’t change but they’re all broken here, in pieces and this started the wrong way and he thinks it might be too late to retrace their steps and try it differently. You never know though.
“If this is a problem-” she begins, obviously deciding that this is the moment for compromise.
“It is,” he tells her. “But it doesn’t matter.”
“Whatever you’re planning on doing, don’t,” she says. “I refuse to be punished alongside Stacy.”
House thinks that maybe she deserves it. Then again, maybe she really doesn’t.
“Well,” he drawls, “You should have thought of that.”
Cuddy’s smile isn’t entirely nice, but it is sincere, as she warns him: “Oh, I did.”
The fourth time, he ladders her flesh-coloured pantyhose, and she doesn’t even seem to notice. Or maybe she just doesn’t care. Hands sliding up her thighs and it’s all a little different now, really, because he’s the closest to penitent he’s been in- oh God, years, and even so he’s not really sorry.
This could all be some incredibly complex game, he realises, leg shaking and hurting but she knows all the places to touch and that surprises him, that she learned so fast just what he wants and needs and craves. This time, he kisses her first, which is almost unsettling apart from the fact that it’s Cuddy; this has been brewing forever (and maybe even a little longer- smiles and bickering and almost painfully low-cut blouses; she probably knew what she did to him even before he did).
“House,” she says, and he makes sure to take a couple of steps before stopping so he doesn’t look like he’s entirely under her control.
“What?” he asks, voice long-suffering as ever. “I haven’t got time to service you right now, sick people to torment and all that.”
He’s serious, and they both know it; Cuddy smirks like it’s a joke. House reflects it’s probably better like that. Cameron is quite happy to admit she wants to sleep with her boss. House is nowhere near as candid.
“Just wondered if you’d take a look at this,” Cuddy says, holding out one of those goddamn manila folders. “ER doctors can’t work out what’s wrong with him.”
“They never can,” House mutters, “Who’ve you got working down there, shaved monkeys?”
Cuddy refuses to be baited, and instead continues to hold out the file. House contemplates not taking it, then reflects that things are complicated enough as it is without him deliberately exacerbating matters.
So he practically snatches it from her hand. A satisfied little smirk twists her mouth, and House wonders if this was all just some game to her, one so good that he didn’t even realise it until it was too late. Oh, she’s good.
“This doesn’t mean I like you,” he mutters, sounding more juvenile than he’d like.
Cuddy’s smile is like sunshine.
“Ah, who are you kidding?”