No

No

I'm the only one who can control him!

She recalls her words now as she slams the window shut. There's a noise so soft she barely hears it, but it sounds dangerously like her heart cracking in all the wrong places; she turns her eyes from him and glares down at her flimsy nightshirt and the coffee stain on the carpet.

Cuddy wonders if that was ever true, or if she said it simply because controlling him is a step in the direction of loving him, a fair compromise to admitting something that she's just not willing to admit yet. (Will she ever be ready?) She thinks that House isn't really controllable at all, like a landslide or a tsunami, and all you can do is prepare and then clean up the damage.

Sometimes it feels like she's stuck in the eye of his hurricane, dead no matter which way she runs.

He lingers outside her window for a moment, waiting for her to change her mind. That's usually what happens – she says no, he ignores her, and everything turns out right in the end. Like some sort of twisted fairytale.

But this time, she turns out the light and crawls back into bed. She watches him turn – slowly, still waiting – and shuffle into the darkness.

-X-

She did it because that's the way they work. She says no, he ignores her, and everything turns out right in the end. He was breaking the rules by obeying her command, so she had to break them and play his part. She tried to be surprised when the patient stood, when he hugged his wife, tried to pretend that the tears in her eyes were because she'd saved a life – the most important kind, the kind that wasn't really in any danger at all – and not because it hadn't really been her at all who'd done the saving.

She can't control him anymore – whether she ever really could is a question she doesn't want answered – but he's got her under his thumb.

Maybe he always has.