The next morning, Nicky had an appointment with Wilson. He wanted to run some tests to update her records and to give her a general check up. She walked into the Hospital with House, she felt self-conscious, and it was so obvious that her hair was falling out, she knew she looked ill.
House's team was waiting for him as usual and he felt her falter when they got close to his office.
"It'll be okay," he said gently. He held her hand, entwining his long fingers in hers and drew a little closer to her.
"Hold on," Nicky said, pulling him to a stop, "is my bandanna okay?"
He noticed that she looked terrified and he hoped that the change in her appearance wouldn't show on his team's faces.
"It looks fine," House replied warmly, "and no, I'm not just saying that either," he added grinning.
She smiled, he knew that she totally trusted him and it gave him a good feeling inside.
They walked into the office, united. Nicky was still smiling and she seemed to light up the room when she walked in. The first to hug her was, of course, Chase, they'd always been close, then Foreman, in his awkward way gave her a bear hug and nearly crushed her.
"You're looking great," Foreman said.
"Thanks for lying so convincingly, Foreman," Nicky said grinning.
"Hi, how are you feeling," Cameron said, a little stifled.
Nicky had never really understood why Cameron was cool around her. "I'm doing okay, thanks," she replied warmly.
House stiffened but Nicky didn't notice.
"So what are you doing here?" Chase said, leading her to the table and holding out a chair for her to sit down.
"Check up," she replied.
"When are we gonna meet for lunch," Chase suddenly said, "we haven't done that in ages."
"Soon," Nicky said, vaguely, "let me get an appetite first, then I'll give you a run for your money." She grinned at him and House noticed that they genuinely got on, he wasn't just being nice.
"So, people, what have we got?" House said, getting down to business.
Nicky sat there and listened to all the bantering back and forth, symptoms were thrown around the room, left, right and centre. Diagnosis's were made and then discarded with a furrow of brows, in the end it made her head spin. Eventually House reeled off a number of tests he wanted done and sent them on their way.
"I'm worn out just watching you," Nicky said in awe.
"I just wanted to impress you, that's all," House replied, grinning boyishly. "Come on, let's go and see Dr Wilson."
They arrived at Dr Wilson's office and Susan was there to greet them.
"Hi, my name is Susan and I'm your Oncology Nurse today," she grinned at them jovially.
Nicky smiled back and looked at House and shook her head. He could see that she'd really warmed to her and that was good.
"Just going to take some blood from you and then you need to see Dr Wilson," Susan said, ushering her through the department. "Dr House, you can stay here," she ordered.
"Wow, you don't take any prisoners, do you?" Nicky said.
"Nope, I'm not under him, thank God," she said, "So I don't have to take any crap from him either."
"I get the feeling you don't like him," Nicky said.
"It's not that, sweetie," Susan replied, "he's just not that easy to get on with, so I'm not giving him the satisfaction of ordering me around. Sort of getting in first," she added theatrically.
As she busied herself taking Nicky's bloods, she asked lightly, "So what's the deal with you two anyway?"
"Well, I started working for him, and you're right, he was awful," Nicky smiled, "then we sort of came to an understanding, and now we're, um, together." She looked down, a little embarrassed.
"You're in love with him," Susan said almost dreamily.
Nicky thought for a moment, "Yeah, I suppose I am."
By the time she walked back into the waiting room, she was grinning from ear to ear. Dr Wilson was sitting next to House and they were talking, although she could tell it wasn't about her and she felt relieved.
"All done?" Wilson asked getting up.
Nicky nodded and followed him through to have an ultrasound. She smiled reassuringly at House and he looked slightly perplexed.
She slipped her blouse off and lay on the bed, and Wilson got to work. She put her arm over her head and looked away from the monitor. House's hand gently took hers and she smiled falteringly. She hated these exams, they went one way or another and it was still too fresh from the last time when the doctor told her that the chemo wasn't having any affect on the cancer. Within a week she had her breast off.
Both doctors picked up on her anxiety, realising that she'd done it all before. House prayed that Wilson would say that the treatment was working this time, but Wilson wasn't rushing. He was stopping the machine here and there, taking measurements and running the probe over her skin once more, then he'd do it all over yet again. He was thorough and leaving nothing to chance. Eventually, he was done.
"Well as you know, it was quite aggressive but we've caught it early," Wilson said, settling down in his office, "nothing's got smaller, but the cancer hasn't spread anymore either, so it's good news." He noticed that she was still expressionless, waiting to hear it all before she could breathe a sigh of relief. "It looks like we'll still have to do some surgery, but not like the last time." House took her hand in his and smiled softly at her. "If you continue like you are, we can schedule it in a couple of months, how does that sound?" He smiled what he hoped was reassuringly at her.
"It sounds good," she said quietly, but he could see that she was sick with worry still.
"It'll be okay," Wilson said, "we'll look after you, I promise."
Nicky stood up suddenly indicating that the consultation was over and it took them both by surprise. House could see that she'd had enough and needed to go.
"Nicky, before you go," Wilson said, "can I have a word with you?" He looked at House, then added, "In private."
Nicky glanced at House too, "Sure," she said quietly. "I'll meet you outside, Greg."
They waited until he shut the door. "I've read your journals," Wilson started.
Nicky nodded impassively.
"I'm doing an Oncology Seminar next week and I wondered if I could use what you've given me?" he asked. "I want to highlight the roller coaster of emotions that a patient has to go through. How do you feel about that?"
She thought for a moment, then said, "Do you want to use the both of them?"
He nodded, puzzled for a moment.
"Then I'll have to get Michael's permission," she said.
"I'll do that," Wilson said gently.
But Nicky shook her head, "No, I'll do it, it'll be better coming from me. When's the seminar?"
"Okay, leave it to me."
She walked back out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her. House was sitting in the waiting room, bouncing his stick against the floor. He got up when he saw her and looked at her questioningly.
"If I've told him before, I've told him a hundred times, I don't want to date him," Nicky said jovially, "I'm with you now and he'll just have to accept it."
His face broke into a grin and he put his arm around her before they walked back up to the corridor towards his office.
That evening, House took Nicky out for a spin in the car, the rain had stopped and everything smelled fresh and sweet. They walked leisurely along the river and talked some nonsense.
Eventually, Nicky pulled him to a stop. "Greg, about earlier, when James kept me behind," she said a little hesitatingly. "He wants to use my journals at his Oncology Seminar next week."
House looked thoughtful and waited for her to go on.
"I gave them to him when he brought me home after my chemo session last week. We talked about some things and I gave him the journals to read. I thought he could see cancer from another point of view, although he's probably read hundreds of them by now."
He smiled but still said nothing and Nicky realised he knew what was coming next.
She sighed before carrying on, she had to see it through now. "I'm going to call Michael and ask if he'll see me."
"See you?" House exploded, "He'd have a damn cheek to come all high and mighty with you, you didn't do anything wrong."
"Greg, don't start," Nicky said quietly, "I have to ask his permission, you know that."
"When are you going to call him?"
"Over the weekend perhaps," Nicky replied, "I want to get it over with."
"You've never shown any bitterness towards him," House said quietly, looking at the water.
"Oh, I get it," Nicky said shaking her head, "you think he's going to say the word and I'm going to go running back to him aren't you?"
He didn't say anything, just carried on brooding at the water.
"Believe me, he's the last person I'd want to turn to," Nicky said. "Besides, I don't love him and haven't for a long time. Why would I want to go back to him?"
"Familiarity, I suppose," House said quietly.
"It's not like that, Greg," Nicky tried to reassure him, "he's out of my life now, for good. Why don't you trust me anymore? Or perhaps you never quite did because I committed myself to someone before you? Is that it?" She flashed her angry eyes at him and stared at him until he dropped his eyes first. "I've had enough of this. I'm calling him and asking if James can use the journal and that's that. If you can't deal with it, then there's nowhere left for us to go."
She turned around and started walking away from him.
"Nicky," he called, "wait up will you?"
She faltered, but stopped and waited for him to catch up.
"What?" She was still angry.
He put his hand on her shoulder, "You're right, I am jealous," he said gently, "and stupid. It's just that I don't want you to see him and realise that you still have feelings for him, that's what I'm scared of."
"After what he did to me?" Nicky said calming down, "Trust me, Greg, there's nothing there. And the only reason I'm doing this is because James asked me." Then she added, "plus there's that little part inside me that knows it'll make him squirm. He'll do it because he feels guilty and he'll think that this will make it alright, but deep down we both know what he did was shameful."
She looked deep into his eyes, her hand touched his hand that was on her shoulder still, "So are we alright?"
He nodded and kissed her. "Yeah, we're alright."
They walked slowly back to the car in comfortable silence, then drove to House's place.
As he shut the door she turned and kissed him passionately, he responded and pushed her roughly against the door, his pent-up feelings surfacing, as his mouth tasted hers. His stick fell to the floor with a clatter and he let his hands roam over her body. He undid her blouse with one hand, the other reaching around the back of her neck so he could hold her close. Nicky held on to him tightly, then broke away from his kiss and gently traced her tongue along his neck, down to his Adam's apple and finally kissed his earlobe. His senses nearly exploded.
She led him into the bedroom, her intentions blatantly obvious from the wanton look in her eyes. He pulled her close and kissed her hard, but as he slid her bandanna off, he slowed down and let his fingers gently stroke her head, he looked tenderly into her eyes and he saw them sparkling once more. She'd really gotten to him, just that look was enough to make him melt.
She pulled him gently over to the bed and once Nicky knew he was comfortable she ignited their passion once more, no more softly, softly, she wanted it rough tonight and she was in control. The only time they stopped was for water and to catch their breath. Both of them had never experienced sex like it, they couldn't get enough of each other, insatiable was an understatement.