Title: Five Ways Out of Hell
Author: sy dedalus
Rating: T
Pairing: House/broken heart
Spoilers: "Need to Know"
Warnings: Drinking, sex with strangers, general Housian masochism
Summary: House's five ways out of hell following "Need to Know." Couldn't keep my paws off this one.
Disclaimer: Not mine.

A series of five vignettes detailing House's way of dealing with the Stacy debacle. I couldn't leave well enough alone.


1: Alcohol

What was it about Stacy and February that always led to bad things?

House began counting them on his fingers.

One. Regret was a dish best served cold. Or something.

Two. It was cold outside. They spent too much time inside. Too much time together always led to a fight. Fights always led to great sex.

Wait. Great sex was good. What was he thinking…?

Oh. Too much time together. Now he had it. Too much time together not having great sex. That was it. The whole communication thing.

"Please, Greg."

God, she was crying. He never thought he'd see her cry. Her understood a few tears when she told him about her decision, but no more after that. She wasn't the type. She didn't beg either. But her hands were clasped together in supplication and her mascara was running.

"Please, Greg. Talk to me. Please."

I hate you.

"Please. Anything. If you're angry, if you're hurt, sad, depressed, whatever. You want to…do you want to hit me? Just say that you do. You can. It's okay. Please, God. Say something. Say anything."

Yes, I want to hit you.

She brought her hands up to her chin and did that thumb-nail biting gesture that annoyed the hell out of him.

If you're gonna pray, go pray. Go be something you're not. Go break your promises. See if I care. God's as good a dupe as anyone else.

He turned his head. She'd turned the television off, but a black screen was easier to look at, even if he could see her reflection convexing off the surface.

"Please."

Memories. He didn't need them.

He waved the bar tender over for a tequila refill. It had taken her three shots to recognize a man in pain and leave the salt and lemons with him. Must be new. She wasn't earning whatever tip he'd leave. All his fault for choosing the trendy new bar that attracted all the adult singles. But it was close to the hospital—hugging a motorcycle wasn't great for his damn leg after several flights of stairs and over an hour in the February pre-dawn and twilight…she'd loved it, speeding back to his place, clutching his chest and laughing through the helmet in his ear…she was a closet biker chick and they both knew it…besides, she looked great in black leather—no.

He wouldn't take the bike home tonight. Maybe he'd put it away for a while, drive the vette again. She must be lusting for his attention by now. But she could wait another day. Tonight he was going to someone else's home in a taxi.

He'd missed out on this part of it last time, but he remembered what to do and how to do it. Play up the doctor angle. Play up the cane angle. Play up the lost love angle. His shirt was suitably wrinkled. He was suitably scruffy. The jeans he was wearing were suitably tight and he knew how to arrange himself to make them like what they saw. He could do this. He was good at doing this.

Lick the salt. Down the shot. Bite the lemon.

There. Four. Two more and he'd be ready.

He called the bartender back and ordered a vodka martini for the brunette in the corner who'd arrived five minutes ago and had sent a few looks his way. She was wearing too much make-up. She looked garish. But she was also his age, trying hard to look ten years younger just like he was trying hard to look heartbroken. He knew what garish make-up on a forty-year-old woman in a trendy singles bar meant. He knew that if he sat up straighter and put on the right expression, she'd know why he sent her that particular drink. Stacy did say he resembled 007 on his good days—when he was packing heat.

No. Stacy said nothing. Shut up, Stacy.

He pretended not to pay attention when the bartender served her. Eyes forward. He waited, counting slowly, then glanced over when he'd reached fifteen. Lipstick on the glass. Her dead-on seductive gaze as she closed lips around the olive.

Yes.