The remainder of the week passed without incidence. Fearful for the safety of his testicles, House completed his clinic hours without a single word of complaint. With a wealth of impressive information, Cuddy entertained the consortium of investors on Friday and was quietly confident of obtaining some manner of funding as a result. The final meeting finished at 4.30pm, at which point, Cuddy gathered her things and left, looking forward to a long soak in a hot bath, and a good night's sleep in her own bed for the first time in ten days.

Light snow began to fall as Cuddy stepped out of her car, retrieving a week or more of mail before heading inside. She dumped the mail along with her things onto her kitchen table before heading to her fridge, swinging the door open only to be met by the distinct aroma of rotting vegetables. Cursing her work ethic, she snatched a Thai take away menu from beneath a magnet on her fridge door, grabbed her phone and headed off to run a bath.

After a long luxurious soak in her tub and a mild Thai green chicken curry washed down with a glass of crisp New Zealand sauvignon blanc, Cuddy settled down on her couch with a glass of scotch and a copy of Architectural Digest. After a few minutes of flicking absently through the magazine, it became painfully obvious to her that she was thoroughly sick of reading. Tossing the magazine onto the coffee table she fumbled around in search of the television remote. Cuddy drained her scotch and began to restlessly cycle through television channels. Bored, over-tired and increasingly agitated by the fact that the hot bath she had been looking forward to for the best part of a week had done little to soothe her tired body, she glared at the television, desperately hoping to find some manner of vicious contact sport to watch for the time being. A knock at her door prevented her from throwing the remote at her television in frustration. Cuddy sighed; the knocking persisted. She rose and slowly padded across the room to her front door, gazing through the peep hole on tiptoe. She saw no one, yet the knocking continued. Cuddy opened the door, peering cautiously around the side.

House lent on the door jam, head resting on his bicep, hand braced against the top of the jam cane roughly at eye level, the handle crooked toward the door. Snowflakes peppering his unruly hair, he gazed down at her; Cuddy tried desperately to avoid his eyes.

"What do you want?" She mumbled, clinging to the door.

House leant his cane against the door jam before reaching inside his coat, eyes never shifting from hers. He finished fishing around inside his coat, producing a single daisy. House extended his arm, bisecting the space between them with the little flower.

"I'm sorry." He tilted the head of the daisy toward her, breath leaving his mouth in a thin stream of steam.

Cuddy looked from the daisy to the man wondering where he managed to find such a flower in the middle of winter, the sincerity in his terrific blue eyes threatening to break her resolve. She reached out, warm fingers sliding over his cold hand to take the little flower. Reluctantly, Cuddy allowed herself to meet his gaze; the sadness in his eyes was heartbreaking, he meant it. She stepped back from the door, retreating to the kitchen to find water for her flower. House retrieved his cane and slowly ambled inside, rubbing his left hand through his hair in an attempt to shake out the snow that peppered his coiffure. Cuddy returned holding a glass of water containing the lone daisy. House's eyes travelled the length of her figure, noting her dressing gown and sensible pyjamas. He allowed himself a moment's contemplation before grabbing the loose ends of the tie that fastened her dressing gown, towing her along behind him as he made his way down the passage to her bedroom.

Standing next to Cuddy's bed in relative darkness, House took the glass from her, placing it down on the nightstand before pushing her dressing gown off her shoulders, letting it fall to the fall to the floor.

"House…" Cuddy began, staring at the floor.

"Greg." House lifted her chin until her eyes met his.

"Greg…" Cuddy tried again. House lifted a single finger to her lips, silencing her.

"If you talk, I'll talk, and you don't want me to talk." House paused, running his finger across the seam of her lips. "I don't want to spend the next six months apologising. Just trust me. I know what I'm doing."

Cuddy nodded, House smiled faintly, turning away momentarily to hook his cane over the edge of the nightstand. He gripped Cuddy's hips firmly, marvelling at how neatly the bones fit into his palms. In a single fluid movement he lifted Cuddy, throwing her backward and onto the bed. Cuddy bounced as she hit the mattress, desperately trying to stifle a giggle as House shrugged his coat and dropped onto the bed, leaning forward to untie his shoes. He sat up, kicking off his shoes and toeing off his socks. Cuddy slid in behind him, reaching over his shoulders to unbutton his shirt. House watched her over his shoulder, fighting the urge to offer a snappy one liner, shrugging obligingly as Cuddy pulled his shirt down and threw it over the edge of the bed. He physically lifted his right leg up onto the bed, stretching out briefly before rolling onto his side to face her, head propped in his hand. Cuddy unfolded her legs and lay down next to him, slightly nervous due to the unfamiliarity of the situation given her present company. House twirled a hand in her direction in the hope it was some manner of universally acknowledged non-verbal gesture meaning roll over. Either way Cuddy drew some degree of meaning from it, rolling onto her stomach, arms folded across the pillow beneath her chin, not entirely sure what to expect.

House shifted closer, draping his good leg over Cuddy's effectively pinning her there. Sighing quietly to himself, he began to lightly trail his fingers down the length of Cuddy's spine, the silk of her pyjamas reducing his touch to little more than a feathery caress. House watched her intently as he repeated the simple motion, enjoying the notion of proximity as Cuddy slowly relaxed beneath his fingertips. She sighed, this wasn't exactly what she had in mind, but House's surprisingly soothing caress was ultimately having the desired effect. Cuddy felt his fingers skate along her skin just above the waistband of her pants, still cool from time spent outside. House slid his hand up under her pyjamas and along the side furthest from him. Leading with his middle finger in a teasing caress, his fingers trailing over ribs before ever so lightly grazing the swell of her breast. With Cuddy humming in approval, he repeated the movement, fingers lingering just fractionally longer as they slipped over her breast with each stroke. Cuddy felt the tension in her body slowly dissipating beneath House's fingers, mildly surprised that he was capable of such tenderness.

Sensing the time was right House gripped her side firmly, pulling her toward him. Obligingly, Cuddy rolled over onto her back, her side pressed against House's body. He lent down, gently nuzzling at her ear, seizing the opportunity, Cuddy grabbed the bottom of his t-shirt in the hope of pulling it off. House sat up, removing the offending garment and tossing it aside. He caught Cuddy's wrists, swiftly pinning them behind her head before returning to his previous position. House adjusted his posture so that his right arm folded neatly around Cuddy's head, ensuring her arms remained where he wanted them. Cuddy sighed as House's lips traversed the sensitive skin of her neck, his free hand gripping her side possessively as he worked his way down along her collarbone. He kissed the hollow at the base of her throat, eliciting a soft, contented moan from the woman beneath him. With her arms pinned above her head and House lightly dragging his nose down her sternum Cuddy relaxed, thoroughly content with the deliciously slow pace he had elected to set. She felt his hand shift from her side; silk sliding across her chest, the rough graze of stubble across her skin; contrasting sensations culminating in the heat of his mouth on her nipple. House gently suckled; Cuddy groaned, wriggling in an attempt to free her arms, desperate to weave her fingers through his hair and keep his head where she wanted it. House responded, firmly pressing her arms back behind her head and shifting to the other nipple. She groaned, generally not the type to lie back submissively and let any man assume control, especially not this man, but who was she to fight it.

Lips breaking contact with her skin, House sat up, fingers skating under the waistband of her pants. He gently patted her hip; Cuddy obligingly lifted her pelvis. Finally forced to release her arms, House shifted down to slide her pyjama pants down her legs, ensuring his fingers travelled the full length of her perfectly toned limbs in the process. No panties; House desperately fought the urge to comment, instead grabbing her hips, shifting her until he was lying comfortably between her thighs, eyeballing the prize, determined to continue at the same leisurely pace. No teasing, no time invested in building tension; he knew it would only serve to frustrate her, and with Cuddy's arms free, House feared for his testicular safety. Spreading her lips, he began to gently lap at the growing heat between her thighs. Above him Cuddy offered a deeply satisfied moan, arching her back slightly and relaxing into the deliberate flicker of his tongue across her throbbing nub. Oh god this was exactly what she needed. Desperate for a quick taste, House dipped down, slipping his tongue inside her before she grabbed a handful of his hair, shifting his tongue back to its previous location. House continued; her breathing began to quicken; he paused, planting a single kiss on her screaming flesh before shifting back up to lie on his side next to her.

Cuddy wrapped her leg around him; House drew her close, lips millimetres from hers. Then finally a kiss; deep, languid, his lips and tongue awash with the taste of her. His hand shifted to the back of her neck, grip firm, controlling as they continued to kiss. Cuddy moaned into his mouth, shifting her hips against his as his tongue continued to probe hers. Ultimately in the mood to kiss and in absolutely no hurry, House trailed his fingers along the length of her spine beneath her partially unbuttoned pyjama top, slowly rocking his hips against her.

Already hot from his previous efforts and becoming increasingly impatient Cuddy reached down between them, frantically working at House's belt. She unzipped his jeans, slipping a hand into his shorts to grip him. She felt the corners of his mouth twist upward into a smile as they kissed.

"Please." She whispered, squeezing him. House dropped a kiss onto her forehead, before rolling onto his back, lifting his hips and discarding his jeans and shorts. Cuddy hopped under the covers, House smiled inwardly at her modesty before joining her. She sought him out, lips meeting his again with more desperation now.

"Roll over." He broke their kiss. She did as requested. House rolled onto his side, pulling her to him, one arm snaking beneath her to cup her breast. He slid his left leg between hers, pushing into her in one smooth stroke.

"Ohh." Cuddy groaned, breath escaping from between her lips with a hiss as House eased into a steady rhythm behind her, nudging that magical region with every deliberate thrust. He shifted his other hand around to tease her as he worked, his mouth pressed to the back of her shoulder.

Cuddy moved with him, breathing heavily. He was good, oh so good. She would have been more than happy with a quick fuck, but this… Certainly not quick, definitely not fucking; too considerate, too tender… Her breathing quickened, she was close. House slowed down, ceasing to caress the hard nub at the apex of her thighs.

"Geez, House!" Cuddy growled, pushing back against him.

"Shhh." House bit her neck. "Just a little longer." He slowly worked back up to speed, gripping her tightly, hand shifting back down to tease her as he moved. His leg burned beneath him, he didn't care, pushing harder determined to come with her in spite of the fact he would have gladly prolonged proceedings. Cuddy's arm snaked up behind his head, gripping his neck, pushing back against him as she neared the edge. He felt her tighten around him, pushing harder, deeper. Cuddy's breath caught in her throat, fingers tightening around the back of his neck, a wave of pleasure sweeping down through her. Between the sheer size and skill of the man inside her and his teasing fingers she was finished, writhing in his grasp as she came. And god, she couldn't remember the last time she came that hard, a week's worth of tension dissolving; afterward though she'd swear she didn't scream. House groaned, the sound she made when she came was too much, and with one final thrust he ended it, gripping her tightly with both hands.

House stirred, eyes opening wide in a peculiar ocular stretch before blinking away sleep. He propped himself up, regarding the empty space in the bed next to him thoughtfully before catching sight of a crisp $50 note on the pillow.

"Fifty bucks?" House shouted. "Is that all?" Seconds later, Cuddy appeared in the doorway, arms folded tightly across her chest. She leant against the door jam.

"Do you seriously think you're worth more?" She asked flatly.

"Not really," House paused. "But my performance last night was at least worth $60."

"It was a mercy fuck." Cuddy sighed, lying through her teeth.

"You came." House countered, "and I didn't say a word all night- that's gotta be worth a few extra dollars…"

"It was part of an extended apology." Cuddy's eyes narrowed. "And what you did was really low, even for you."

"So the monetary value of genuine remorse is $50?" House inquired.

"Remorse?" Cuddy was somewhat taken aback by his admission, but recalling the sadness in his eyes, the tenderness of his caress, it made perfect sense.

"Got any chips?"