Title: Manner Of Speaking
Author: smithar
Rating: PG
Fandom(s): House
Pairing(s): House/Cameron, Wilson/Cuddy
Summary: Cuddy is fearless, Wilson is appalled, House is amused, and Cameron is distraught.
Notes: Written as part of a challenge with Anita, who wrote the converse pairings with similar situations. This was so freaking hard, because I am not so much into House/Cameron anymore. But I was trying to challenge myself. I think I did pretty well... nothing a glass of wine couldn't solve. ;) Takes place during the episode Act Your Age (3x19).


Cuddy knew House far too well to let his comment about sending Wilson flowers slide. The man was forever up to something, and she'd be damned to let him get away with more shenanigans right under her nose. But when she followed him back into the examination room asking for an explanation, he continued to make evasive quips with that dangerously pleased look on his face. She knew there was no point in prodding him further; when House wanted to keep a secret, he kept it for as long as possible. It was time to go to the source of the matter.

She caught Wilson at the nurses station, sidling up to him as he looked over a patient's chart. "Dr. Wilson, how are you doing?"

Wilson squeaked in a decidedly unmasculine manner and jumped a foot away from her, nearly dropping the folder in his hands. "Oh, uh... I'm fine- well. I'm... well, Lisa. I mean, Dr. Cuddy. I'm doing, um, well."

A puzzled smile crept over her face. "What in the world is the matter with you? Last night you were perfectly fine; what did House do this time?"

It was Wilson's turn to look confused, though he kept his distance from her. "House? House hasn't done anything. Nothing serious, at least."

Cuddy tilted her head, assessing him skeptically. "So the fact that you're hiding from me and stuttering like a five-year old has nothing to do with the flowers House sent you?"

In hindsight, watching the expressions unfold on Wilson's face was what sealed her fate. At first there was the shock, then annoyance, which quickly morphed into blatant exasperation. And even though she had no idea what House had done to Wilson, she couldn't help but start laughing at him, right there in front of all the staring nurses and interns and attendings. She didn't care who saw the dean of medicine laughing her ass off at Wilson's expression. There was just something so... endearing about him.

"That son of bitch..." Wilson muttered with a shake of his head, eyeing Cuddy with a rueful grin. "At least you're getting some amusement out of this."

Cuddy stopped to catch her breath, wiping a tear from her eye. "House is getting more out of this than I am; I don't even know what he's done to you."

"He sent me flowers."

"I figured as much."

"They were addressed from you."

Her humourous mood suddenly waned. "... What?"

Wilson sighed and started down the hallway towards his office. "He sent me flowers under your name, with an... ambiguous greeting."

"And 'ambiguous' means what, exactly?" Cuddy asked, walking beside him.

"Just a message that you wanted to go out again. But he signed it with your first name! And there were X's!"

"I don't even want to know." Cuddy closed her eyes with momentary exhaustion. One of these days, House was going to give her a coronary embolism. "You shouldn't enable him like that."

"This was less about me enabling him and more about House finding perverse enjoyment in messing with my state of mind."

Cuddy paused thoughtfully, processing what Wilson had just explained to her. "So you were acting strange because you thought I was interested in you?"

"Well... yeah." Wilson said slowly, opening the door to his office and allowing her to step inside. "Sorry about that. You're my boss and my friend; but we had a great time last night. You can't blame me for being... confused."

"Point taken." Cuddy murmured, contemplating Wilson's words as she watched him sit down with the files he had been carrying. His head was bowed, writing notes in the patient's chart with concentration when he finally realized that she was still standing in front of his desk, looking at him with a resolute expression.

"... What?"

Her smile widened, laced with a suggestive edge. "Things don't have to be confusing if you don't want them to be, James."


When Cameron walked into the Diagnostics department (freshly harassed by an eight year old boy), House was the only one there, leaning against the wall with an bemused look on his face and his red coffee mug in one hand.

"What are you so happy about?" she asked, not letting her gaze linger on his faint smile for too long.

He took a slow sip of his coffee, still staring blankly off into space with that pleased look of his. "Jimmy should know better than to leave his office blinds open when he's making out with the devil on his desk."

Cameron's eyes widened with shock. "You caught Dr. Wilson kissing Dr. Cuddy?"

House finally looked at Cameron. "Your powers of deduction astound me. Then again, I wasn't using any sports metaphors. No bonus marks for you. And it wasn't so much kissing as it was frantic groping that would make any thirteen year old boy proud."

Cameron didn't reply, merely sat down at the table to read an an article she had printed off last night about experimental allergy treatments. House was clearly annoyed by her non-reaction.

"You're not going to say anything? No passing of judgement, no moral and ethical lamentations?"

"I am the last person who should be saying anything about relationships as work." Cameron replied, resisting the urge to wince at her own words. "Besides, you hate it when I express my opinions on ethics and morals."

"Experience should count for something."

"Right. I'm preaching to the converted."

House looked at her smugly. "Of course you are; you kissed me. And may I remind you how royally you screwed that up? You won't be tapping this ass anytime soon." House's words were blunt and mocking and he hobbled out the glass door.

Cameron sighed distractedly, settling down with her article when she heard the door open again. House had returned, but this time he sat next to her, his face impossibly close and his breath brushing against her cheek.

"You are incredibly dense, you know that?" House murmured, leaning forward on his cane so that his lips brushed against her ear.

Cameron shivered, but didn't back away. "House, what are you...?"

"Come on, Dr. Cameron. Everyone's doing it." House said, pulling back and looking at her suggestively.

"This department has glass walls." Cameron replied, as if it were the most obvious fact on the planet.

House examined her closely (too closely), like she was a tissue sample under an electron microscope. Without a word, he pulled back and headed back towards the door. "Then I guess we'd better find a place that's more appropriate for this sort of thing. You would know. Experience and all that."

Cameron stared at House incredulously, but he didn't bat an eye. Pushing herself up from the table, she marched out the door, knowing that House was following her with that amused grin.