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Queen of Hearts

A/N: This idea is not wholly mine. I got it from Mel Gibson's Maverick, and changed the storyline a little. Anyhow, hope you enjoy!

Summary: He knew exactly what he wanted and he knew exactly who had it. HouseCuddy, vignette-ish

-

"I'm tired of poker," House announced abruptly, and let his fingers go slack. One, two, three, four cards fluttered to their resting place on the smooth wood of the table.

Wilson sighed and laid his hand down on the table while Cuddy retorted, "Regular poker or just poker in general?"

House's gaze grew suspicious before breaking into a devilish grin. "Why, Dr. Cuddy," he drawled, "I do believe the words 'strip poker' are evidently written smack dab in the middle of your forehead." Only a second later, he added, "And red is a most becoming shade on you."

Cuddy scowled at him. Wilson covered his laugh with a cough.

House blinked innocently at them both. He glanced down at his cards, gathering them into his hand. "Changed my mind," he said smoothly. "And no, Jimmy, I did not look at your cars. FYI, you laid them face down. Wouldn't it be cool if I had x-ray vision?" All this was spoken in one breath without the slightest change of inflection to indicate he had switched topics; dealing the next hand as he talked.

The oncologist's eyes met Cuddy's. She shrugged as if to say "whatever", rolling her eyes.

-

Please, please, please be a queen of hearts, House chanted inwardly. All he needed was the one card and he was guaranteed a straight flush.

"Wishing for something, House?" Cuddy's smug voice interrupted his train of thought.

"None of your business," he shot back snootily. Even so, Cuddy grinned when she spotted his forehead crease as he frowned in concentration. His hand hovered above the card Wilson had flicked his way.

Queen of hearts, queen of hearts, queen of hearts…

He lifted the card and flipped it face up so only he could see it.

Cuddy and Wilson watched expectantly.

"House? Got anything good?"

House tossed his cards carelessly on the table. "Nope."

Cuddy frowned. "House, that's a straight flush!"

House feigned surprise. "Well, would ya look at that." Satisfied, he drew the many large stacks of poker chips toward him. "Good game, guys."

Cuddy downed the rest of her beer. Wilson wrinkled his nose. "Whatever you say, House."

-

"Anyone up for go-fish?"

"Oh, that's right. For a minute I forgot you were a six year old in disguise," Cuddy scoffed.

Wilson stifled a laugh.

"But Cuddy…." House whined, "it'll be fun!"

Cuddy gaped at him. "Yeah, and maybe I'll come to work tomorrow dressed as a ballerina!"

"Really?" House pressed his palms together in anticipation, blue eyes wide.

"NO!"

-

"You're such a sweet talker."

"I know. It's one of my many wonderful talents."

"Wow, you're so modest."

"Wilson!"

"House!"

"Cuddy!" House clapped his hands together, mimicking a child. "Now that we all know each other, let's finish the game sometime today."

"Fine." They chorused.

Five minutes went by.

House stared intently at his colleagues. One of them had it. Wilson's face gave away nothing; the man possessed an impeccable poker face. A quick glance at Cuddy determined the same.

There was one card left on the 'Go Fish' pile as well as one in each of their hands. House held the queen of clubs in front of him. The queen of diamonds, paired with the queen of spades, was in his pile of pairs. He knew exactly which one he wanted, and he knew exactly who had it.

His queen of hearts.

Cuddy.

Literally.

Possibly figuratively as well, but he was too drunk to let the thought linger.

A split second passed, and House finally spoke.

"Hand it over, Cuddy."

-

They were gone. Beer bottles were littered everywhere, the lights were dim, and the apartment was cool, further indicating the absence of his company. Music filtered in the background. The scent of her perfume lingered in the air, sneaking into his nostrils

He sat, slumped over, on the couch, eyeing the deck of cards sitting face down on the coffee table beside him. It was too quiet.

He heaved a sigh and reached over. Cut the deck. Squeezed his eyes shut; opened them again when the card was safely secured in his fingers.

His heartbeat tripped.

The queen of hearts.

-

When Cuddy walked into her office the next morning, she spotted a card on her desk. A plain white envelope was under it. She picked up the card.

Queen of hearts.

A slow smile spread across her lips.

She rubbed her thumb absently across the card as she opened the envelope and read the paper inside. Only one line was written in the diagnostician's heavy scrawl, a dark contrast against the white paper.

Where's the tutu?