Fandom: House MD
Characters: House, Cuddy
Challenge/Prompt: 100_prompts, 016. Plead
Summary: Merry Little Christmas tie-in.
Author’s Notes: Have House season 3 on DVD now so all my season 3 tie-ins are going to start appearing once I’ve written all your Christmas fics. This is getting done first because I haven’t put anything in for this challenge in a couple of months and I’m meant to be doing one a month. *facepalm* Written in drabble(ish) snapshot form, each bit had to be less than 200 words…
So Wilson’s an idiot, everyone’s shit-scared for their jobs, and he’s expected to sit around acting like a) none of it matters, and b) he could fill in for the Grinch at short notice. It’s amazing, House reflects, how trying to be unpredictable often results in simply becoming a stereotype. Or, worse, a caricature.
Ok, so he isn’t overly fond of Christmas, as a rule, and Cuddy’s filled the hospital with so much tinsel that it’s impossible to walk anywhere without feeling like you’re being inappropriately molested by sparkly things, but that doesn’t mean he wants to spend all his time sounding like Scrooge. He’s got more things to worry about, like a patient and the fact that everyone seems determined to make sure he gets sent to jail (they call it helping, but Wilson knows him better than that. At least, he damn well ought to).
It isn’t going to end well.
Everyone’s getting steadily less passive aggressive and that’s worrying. House can work with passive aggressive; hell, he can win against passive aggressive – but direct action, outright betrayal, oh, that’s a different game altogether.
“You’re making a mistake,” he announces, dropping by Cuddy’s office; he’s got too much time on his hands now she’s stolen his case and dragged his team away to do pointless and time-consuming tests.
“House,” she sighs, and although her jacket is blazing red she looks tired and not altogether confident (which is nice, because he’s an expert at playing on insecurities). “You need to realise that this is a fight that you cannot win.”
“So I should fold, bend over for the DA and make life easier for you?” he asks, and it sounds more acidic than he means it to. “Everybody wins. Except me.”
“You don’t go to jail,” Cuddy tells him. “I call that winning.”
Compromising isn’t winning. House wants to tell her that but he suspects she already knows; he’s taught her enough times.
“You broke into my desk,” Cuddy says, all indignant expression and a pout that would probably be attractive under other circumstances. Under these ones, she just looks pissed.
“I didn’t,” House replies, and the amusing thing is that for once it’s actually the truth.
“Someone did,” Cuddy tells him, “And it just happens to be the drawer I keep medication in. You going to tell me that’s a coincidence?”
“It’s a Christmas miracle,” suggests House, trying to focus on picking up his email, and not on the way his hands are just starting to shake. He knows the signs that herald the start of the detox only too well.
“Well, I’m not stupid enough to keep your pills in my desk,” Cuddy informs him, mouth pressed in a thin, tight line.
“And now I know that.” House offers her a brief smile that he hopes doesn’t look like a grimace. “Want to throw out any other false accusations while you’re here?”
She leaves him to it.
“I’ve got deja vu,” House remarks, leaning back in his chair with a mug of filter coffee that tastes distinctly astringent because Cameron didn’t make it (he misses his team if only because they’re such obedient little lackeys. Oh, and they make good coffee).
Cuddy sighs, rolling her eyes heavenward as though help of some kind is going to drop down on her. It won’t, because it never does.
“Why?” she asks eventually, a long-suffering edge to her voice.
“I’m just remembering the last time you cut off my Vicodin while claiming you were ‘helping’ me,” House explains, “And how much fun that was for everyone.”
He thinks he sees her waver, just for a moment. House worked out ages ago that it was all Wilson’s fault; but Cuddy doesn’t know that. The look in her eyes, just for a second, tells him everything he needs to know about exactly who’s controlling this.
“You might want to try not breaking your hand this time,” she suggests dryly.
House scowls, but she doesn’t crack.
This has Wilson’s do-gooder, meddling fingerprints all over it. For a man who always claims to be the innocent one, it’s astonishing how often he’s responsible for the problems in House’s life, once you strip everything back. It’s what makes them even – House fucks everything up for Wilson, but Wilson can give back just as good as he gets.
House is almost impressed. Wilson’s really outdone himself this time.
It’s snowing and no one will give House Vicodin (he tried three clinics this evening and got kicked out of all of them), and Cuddy is standing there in her cream coat looking at him with actual conviction in her eyes, like she’s forgotten who started this. House doesn’t feel guilty about shutting the door in her face.
He does open it again before she reaches the end of the hall though.
“Come back when you’re not being Wilson’s puppet,” House calls after her. Cuddy stops for a moment, but doesn’t turn around.
His arm is bleeding through Cameron’s bandage and the lights of the hospital seem to have been designed just to annoy him. They’re unreasonably bright, and House thinks he can feel his retinas disintegrating. He should tell Cuddy that, actually; that trying to blind the poor, sick patients that matter so fucking much to her that she’d let them die to prove a fucking point is not really a good idea.
Detoxing doesn’t bring out the best in House.
“Happy now?” he spits, slamming into what looks like a fairly important meeting. Cuddy looks at him with narrowed eyes.
“I’ve given you the way out,” she says calmly, “You know what you have to do.”
“Next time you need something,” House announces, glaring around at the room full of resigned-looking department heads, “Just go to Dr James Wilson. Since he’s the one controlling Cuddy these days.”
“Get out,” Cuddy orders, voice shaking. House wonders vaguely how much lower he can sink.
If Cuddy and Wilson thought they could break him this easy, then, God, they’re going to be so fucking sorry. House has too many pills in his system; he lost count of how many a while ago, and it doesn’t matter.
Cuddy just looks tired when she walks in and sees him fucked up on someone else’s overdose.
“You saw this coming,” House informs her without opening his eyes.
“I thought, maybe-”
Drugs make him neutral. Sometimes. Other times, they just make him high, and that can be all kinds of fun.
“This is your revenge, isn’t it?” he interrupts. “‘Cause I told you that you’d make a shitty mother, and now you’re making me suffer for it.”
“Stealing a patient’s medication,” Cuddy says, ignoring him, “That’s really classy. Not to mention unethical.”
“Oh go and do this at someone who cares,” House mutters. “Tritter seems to be all ears at the moment.”
“Take the deal before it’s too late,” Cuddy says, and somewhere along the line it’s stopped being an order and started being a plea. He still doesn’t listen.
When he’s wiping the vomit from his mouth with hands that are in no way steady, House decides he’d really like to know what it’s like in Wilson’s head at the moment. If Wilson is still trying to convince himself that he’s acting for the best, or whatever the hell his mission statement of the moment is. It’s Christmas Day and no one’s picking up the phone and he’s started the day with an overdose. Things are hardly going to get better.
Indefinably later, he goes over to Cuddy’s. She’s probably drunk a little too much white wine, and she doesn’t smile at him when she opens the door.
“I don’t have any medication,” she tells him. “It’s not my problem you took a whole bottle at once.”
House has snow in his hair and he knew there was a reason he hated Christmas.
Cuddy’s alone in her big, empty home, and ordinarily that would be depressing, except that if they ever wanted to compare Christmas-related sob stories, House would win hands down.
“Tritter’s taken back the deal,” House says dully. “I’m going to jail.”
Cuddy’s definitely drunk too much wine and she looks kind of bemused.
“Told you so,” she murmurs. “You’d better come in.”