Title: Vulnerable
Author: Gomey
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can brag...hehe.
Rating: PG
Spoilers: 2x13 Skin Deep
Pairings: House/Cuddy
Disclaimer: All known characters and premises belong to their respective owners. So there.
Summary: "...aside from his own hand, no other had physically traced his pain, felt the source of his destruction."
Notes:
For the HouseCuddy LJ CommunityCommandprompt01: The Pants. Takes place right after House drops his pants for Cuddy. snick


She left her office, the image of his scar still fresh in her mind. It wasn't the wound's appearance that caused the tightness in her chest, but the vulnerability he openly shared with her. His voice breaking provoked her heart to experience the same fate as her exit was made in haste.

Reaching the supply room, she singled out the key from the master-key bundle she held securely in her possession, and opened the door, quickly shutting it behind her, closing herself and any evidence showcasing his weakness within. She took out a sterile syringe before reaching for the small bottle of morphine that stood proudly erect, staring defiantly at her. She fingered the bottle, tapping the cap, deep in thought.

He was still standing, clutching his thigh when she had returned, closing the door and blinds to her office as she entered. A half-full syringe balanced between her index finger and thumb, while her other hand held offerings of latex gloves, gauze pads, band-aids, cotton swabs and a small bottle of iodine. She placed the items on her desk before pulling up a chair, turning it around to face him. She circled him, stopping in front of his somewhat crouched and inwardly-bruised form. Kneeling down in front of him, she gently placed her hands against each thigh, feeling him flinch but still too strong to let the feeling overcome him. She cupped her hand around his thigh, softly applying pressure as she slid her palm across the deformed surface. Her eyes rose to his, blue meeting blue as they held each other's gaze. Her thumb glided across the scar, soothing it with a light massage. Her hands slid down his legs to his ankles, where she grabbed the hem of his pants and slowly dragged them up. She gave them a final tug, and buttoned and zipping them up, allowing her hands to remain on his hips. Neither had uttered a word since her return, only staccato breaths mingled with each other. She had seen it in his eyes: he too had been affected by the intimacy of the gesture and suspected that, aside from his own hand, no other had physically traced his pain, felt the source of his destruction.

"Straddle the chair," she murmured, finally breaking the silence that had thickly engulfed them, forcing actions and gazes to be the sole method of communication. But her touches spoke volumes, and his eyes whispered secrets with each glance; words without sound revealing truths that neither had been brave enough to confront.

He complied, shakily sitting down and leaning his forehead against the chair's tall wooden back, gripping the sides tightly.

She reached around in front of him, gently clutching his suit jacket and slipping it off his shoulders. When her hands reached for the hem of his t-shirt, she felt him exhale slowly, an attempted controlled breath to calm his nerves. She knew he was afraid - not of the needle but of the situation, of her control over him and his reaction to it. She lifted the shirt off, placing it on the chair beside, along with his jacket. He sat there, goosebumps riddling his skin as the stilling air in her office forced a reaction upon. She took a step towards her desk, snapping on a glove on her right hand as the other grabbed the cotton ball and iodine. She squeezed a small amount and gently swabbed his lower back, spreading the liquid. She grabbed the syringe, removing the cap with her teeth before giving the tip two flicks, releasing any air bubbles as she depressed it slightly, some liquid making it's escape. "Round your back," she commanded through clenched teeth, cap still held firmly in her mouth. She knelt down behind him, her bare hand against his heated skin, fingers splayed and offering as much as hungrily receiving the energy that passed from them both. Pressing the needle into his lower spine, she emptied the medication before removing the syringe, quickly replacing it with a gauze pad and pressure. She finished up the procedure by placing a neon-yellow band-aid with red and blue polka-dots on the wound. She smiled with a certain satisfaction, her hand gently brushing over the band-aid.

He glanced at her over his shoulder, offering her gratitude laced with a battling affection and morphine. Slowly shifting in his chair, he remained seated, facing her. Grasping the orange cap between his index and thumb, he withdrew it from her mouth. He cocooned the cap in his curled fingers, freeing his thumb with which he caressed her bottom slip, sliding gently across. Drawing in a shallow breath, words softly traveled on the exhalation, granting her the sound of his spoken voice. "I need you to take me home." He averted his gaze, though vulnerability already present, it still bore no comfort.

She nodded, handing him his t-shirt and jacket while she went to retrieve his cane. Waiting for him to dress, she twisted the cane in her hand, feeling the weight of his crutch, of his most hated aid. She glanced up, watching him watch her; pondering whether or not she was his most hated support. She handed him the cane and helped him to his feet, grabbing her previously discarded jacket as they made their way to the parking lot.

The ride was short, boasting only awkward silence as each tried to focus on thoughts elsewhere. When she pulled up on the side of the road, she glanced over at him, offering him a small smile. "Take the day off tomorrow."

Grunting, he opened the door and pushed himself out of the passenger side. "Not going to happen." His voice was soft and tight, as he slowly limped towards the front door.

She followed his movements, at his side until she assured herself of his safety. "Well, be on call then. Tell your team that if anything comes up - "

" - come inside." He interrupted her, staring down at the floor.

She cocked her head to the side, lips pressed in a fine line as she analyzed his request. "You know that's not a good idea," she finally expressed, giving his arm a supportive squeeze before heading back to her car.

"You think I want to sleep with you?"

"What, you just wanted to cuddle?" She retorted, leaning against her open door.

"Look, either lie with me or lie to me, but just come in...please." He finally met her eyes, his blues on the verge of a pleading hue.

She sighed, reaching around the driver's seat and grabbing her overnight bag. She began to walk past him, stopping when she felt his hand clasp her wrist, holding her back.

"You need to know...it's not just the morphine talking."

She gave him a soft smile, cryptic in it's execution. "I don't doubt that," she replied, placing a hand on his chest. She stared at her fingers, watching as they traced small patterns along the material of his jacket. "And it's not just the guilt." She raised her gaze, honesty speaking through shining eyes.

He nodded and watched her walk in, before averting his eyes back to the ground. "Good." He glanced at her once more, before following her, closing the door behind. "Good."

–finis–