Author's Note: While doing a season's worth of drabbles from House's POV under the title So It Goes it struck me that each character would have had a different perspective on each episode. So I decided to play with that, again in drabble form, 100 words on their take on each episode. I'm starting with Cuddy.
Cuddy hates it when she cries. She tells herself that she's gone toe-to-toe with billionaires without flinching. She's told patients that they're dying, and done it with compassion and dry eyes. She's consoled mothers and daughters alike. She's always done her crying in private.
But she finds herself shedding tears as she watches a man she doesn't even know embrace his family. They're not for him, but for House,who has always known how to make her cry: in anger, in joy, in frustration, in sorrow.
She slips into her office before anyone can see her and closes the door.
Cane & Able
Wilson knows best, Cuddy tells herself. Most of the time, that's true, but now she's not so sure. She wants to believe it, believe that he's right and somehow they can clip House's wings, bring him under control. Wilson thinks he'll be happier somehow, able to find solace somewhere beyond his skills.
Cuddy pictures caged birds, unable to fly, unable to do anything more than make pitiful hops on the ground and stare out at the sky they no longer own. House is meant to soar, to mock everyone still on the ground with feats that are beyond their understanding.
She gets it, she really does, this attraction House seems to have despite his rumpled clothes, unkempt appearance and harsh words. Cuddy felt it the first time she saw him, simultaneously appalled by his behavior, stung by his criticism and intrigued by the man behind them.
It's that self-confidence, the way he's sure he knows more than you -- drawing you closer so you can learn his secrets.
But she's not that infatuated student anymore, She's his boss. She's the only one with any chance of keeping him in line. She takes a breath, braces herself and walks into his office.
Lines In The Sand
"He needs this," Wilson says.
Cuddy believed him last time, followed Wilson's advice into disaster. She's not not sure why she should trust him this time, afraid to make another misstep.
She doesn't know why House would want that carpet. She hates that stain, and can't walk into the diagnostics office without staring at it, trying hard not to.
It's House's blood, but her failure to protect her staff, her people, him. She calls the carpet company, expecting them to say they've already tossed the piece they removed, but it's still there, and she tells them to bring it back.
Fools For Love
Cuddy stares at the strip on the home pregnancy test. Another test, another failure. She's beginning to wonder if it's worth it. She doesn't want to add how much money she's already spent on this, and for what? She finds it hard to explain to herself why she wants a baby, why she thinks the time is right, but she knows it is. She's glad House never asked -- and that no one else has ever found out.
She stands up, tosses the test in the trash. One more time, she promises herself, one more time. Maybe this time, it'll take.
Que Sera Sera
Cuddy knows the routine: House insults someone, that person lodges a complaint, she placates the person. Sometimes that means making House apologize, and she'd set up a meeting, expecting the usual reluctance and mumbled words from House.
There was something different this time. House wasn't just annoyed with the man, and the man -- Tritter, she reminds herself, Detective Tritter -- isn't the forgiving type. Something else happened in that room, but House won't say what it was.
She pleads with House to call the attorney. He can make it all go away, she tells herself, and this will all be over.
Son Of A Coma Guy
This is what House does, this insanity. Induce a seizure, just to prove that he can. Load up a patient in a vegetative state with a chemical cocktail, expect him to wake, and he does. Expect that patient to rise and walk, and he does.
He calls from Atlantic City with hypothetical questions, already knowing the answers, then changes the equation when he calls back, saying the guy killed himself.
No one else can do what House does, because no one else is this crazy, and Cuddy thinks that one of him is enough, but they need at least one.
Wilson doesn't deserve this. Cuddy wants to tell him that she'll fix everything. She doesn't. She does make a call, contacts someone in the prosecutor's office.
"It's crazy, I know," he says, "but the DA's up for reelection. He's trying to make a splash, and thinks Tritter can help. Our hands are tied."
She buys Wilson a sandwich and coffee, and is glad he doesn't ask her to take sides. Maybe he knows what she'd say. Cuddy likes Wilson. He's a good man, and an asset to the hospital. But he can be replaced, and there's no one like House.
She was wrong.
Wrong that she was ready to raise a child.
Wrong about how to treat this child.
Wrong about how to care for her.
Wrong about how to comfort her.
Wrong about what was wrong with her.
Wrong that Tritter's presence wouldn't turn the hospital upside down.
Wrong that he'd see reason.
Wrong about House.
That's the hardest part, Cuddy thinks. She thought she knew him. Thought she knew how to handle him. Thought she knew what he would do. Thought he would understand what she was doing, and would go along with it.
But she was wrong.
Merry Little Christmas
Cuddy doesn't trust her own instincts anymore when it comes to House. She's screwed up too many times. She advised Stacy that she was making the right choice. She thought she could keep both Vogler and House in line. She'd believed Wilson that House would benefit from a lie.
When Wilson comes to her this time with a deal already in hand -- one that he's sure will save House despite himself -- Cuddy shakes her head. She doesn't think it will work, but doesn't know what else to do. She doesn't have another plan, so finally she nods, and quietly agrees.
Words & Deeds
She'll lose everything if she's caught. She'll lose her job, her friends, maybe her license. She'll go to jail.
She's going to tell a lie, but has no doubts. For the first time in weeks -- in months -- she knows she's doing the right thing. She knows she can end it all.
Cuddy swears to tell the truth, knowing she won't. She takes her seat and looks at House. He's pale from the detox, and she thinks she sees new lines on his face. He seems to be bracing himself for the next blow, but it won't be coming from her.
One Day, One Room
He lied. He fooled them all. House takes a pill and stares Cuddy down, daring her to stop him. He knows she can't. She's not sure if she could -- or would.
The Vicodin could kill him. She knows that. So does he. But it has a purpose. It's the lesser of two evils: pain and addiction.
So she ignores him as he flaunts his habit, and turns to his sense of loyalty. He owes her, they both know it. She'll make him do what he doesn't want to, because it's good for the hospital -- and, she thinks, good for House.
Needle In A Haystack
She'd almost forgotten about House's parking spot in front of the building.
Most of the year, House rides his bike, and ever since what he calls: "the incident with those goddamned pigeons," he's parked it inside. The garage is further from his office, but there are a half-dozen spots set aside for motorcycles, and he seemed happy there.
When Cuddy sees his old clunker parked out front during the first snowfall, she remembers to check the distance before she moves his space, figuring it won't matter to him.
She watches him wheel down the hall, realizing that it does matter.
She doesn't care about House, Cuddy wants to tell her date, at least not like that. But she doesn't say anything, since she doesn't know how to explain what it is she does feel about him.
Frustration? Absolutely. Anger? Often. Pity? Not that she'll ever let him know about.
House touches something in her no one else does. He challenges her, makes her want to prove that she can keep up with him, that he has no power over her. And yet, he does, and she knows it. She closes the door behind Don and watches the fire burn down.
Cuddy lies awake after House leaves, wondering what will come next, whether Wilson has some trick up his sleeve, her heart refusing to believe they can't find some miracle -- some unheard of treatment -- just like House has done so many times before.
When Wilson slouches into her office the next day, she catches her breath when he shakes his head.
"He didn't think anyone would find out."
"He's not that stupid, is he?"
Wilson shrugs. "Apparently."
But Wilson seems neither mad nor relieved. He's worried about something else, he says, something just as hard to treat as cancer.
Sometimes she wonders if that night belonged to someone else, some other person with her name, her face.
She took him on as a dare.
"Admit it Cuddy," he'd said, "I scare you."
She wasn't scared. Not of the sex. Not that her roommate would find them in that dim bedroom between campus and the hospital. Not of him, and his oversized personality that left everyone around him living in his shadow.
She was scared she was actually falling for him, and that she wouldn't be able to walk away. If it'd lasted longer than one night, she wouldn't have.
Cuddy can feel the blood coursing through her veins. She's become hypersensitive to everything -- every sound, every smell, every color. She feels invulnerable. She's been awake for 36 hours, but she doesn't feel tired, doesn't feel hungry. It's like a drug, this sensation, knowing that she was right.
She understands now, what it's like for House. She knows now how his pain seems to fade away when he's caught up in a case. Solving a puzzle isn't just a mental game. It's a physical one with its own reward, and she can imagine that this is what addiction is like.
Cuddy still feels lightheaded as she follows House's wheelchair out into the main terminal. She knows the symptoms she's feeling are being driven by her mind, not a virus, but her brain has been slower to respond than she'd like.
Instead, she ignores the symptoms, tries to will them away as the inconvenient reminder of her own overactive imagination and jet lag from the flight that's lasted too long. Usually that imagination usually helps her come up with solutions to the problems brought by patients, and regulations -- and House. Now she just curses it, and steadies herself against the wall.
Act Your Age
Wilson almost seems shy as he shows her the tickets.
"If you want," he says.
Cuddy has seen him when he's looking for a date. She'd seen him when he was first dating Julie. He was confident then, smooth. He knows what he wants, and what to say and do to get it.
"No pressure," he says. "I got tickets at the last minute."
"Why me?" She wonders if House is behind this, some joke at her expense, but then tells herself that while House would pull a prank like this, Wilson wouldn't.
Wilson smiles. "I thought you'd like it."
Accidents happen. Even the best doctors make mistakes.
House comes to her in her office, his face still, no bravado, no jokes. He sits opposite her desk and takes the blame.
"It was my decision," he says. Even his cane is still, and it looks as if he doesn't have any energy to spare.
Cuddy suspects there's more to it than that. She's already heard from the nurses that Foreman was blaming himself, but this isn't the time to argue about fault.
"What do you need me to do?"
"Wait," House says, "and get ready to sweet talk the family."
If Foreman worked for her, Cuddy thinks, then stops herself. He does work for her, but more importantly he works for House.
House is a lousy manager by any standard. He derides his fellows. He mocks them. He pushes them just to see if they'll push back. He's led them into burglary, and taught them not to trust other doctors, just what they see for themselves.
Foreman knew what he was getting into. House has a reputation for both his medical skills and his behavior, and everyone who studies with him knows the price they'll pay to become better doctors.
"He's afraid of turning into me," House says, and Foreman doesn't deny it.
Cuddy has Foreman's paperwork in her hands. She's wished him luck. She knows he has a promising future. But she's not thinking about Foreman when she goes back to her office. She's remembering Andie, who managed to squeeze out another year of life because of House, and Senator Wright, who's been making headlines and campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.
She thinks of Alfredo, who's still alive, and his brother who's still in school.
She finds Foreman. "There are worse things to turn into," she says.
"We wouldn't need another diagnostics team if House worked a normal workload, like the rest of us."
Cuddy expected Williams' objections. He and House have a rocky history, and since Williams joined the board, he's made that clear. Cuddy doesn't try to win him over. She concentrates on the other board members.
"Dr. House has brought renown to this hospital," she says, "but he can't handle every case referred here."
"Can't, or won't?" Williams asks.
Cuddy ignores him. "A second team would be valuable." She sees a few heads nod, and knows she can make House -- and maybe Foreman -- happy.
Cuddy hears about Chase through the grapevine - a resident who saw him cleaning out his locker, who mentioned it to the head of the ICU, who asks if Chase is available.
Cameron stops by Cuddy's office on her way out, to give her the news directly.
"Now what?" she asks House when she finds him in the conference room.
"Hire someone else," he says, "maybe a redhead this time."
She shakes her head, praying this isn't a symptom of something darker lurking inside his mind.
"You've got two weeks," she says, "then I'm giving your staff funding to the clinic."