A/N: I was just listening to Speeding Cars by Imogen Heap and this kind of wrote itself.
Disclaimer: I do not own House or any of it's characters.
He had spent his entire life avoiding this moment. Well, maybe not literally his entire life, but from the moment he had met her to this very moment, he had been hoping against hope that it would never happen. She was not a hot dog and Coke, or a cheeseburger that slid apart when you tried to bite into it. Fast food was convenient, quick, easy and often left you wishing you had never stopped to eat in the first place. You could find any number of fast food women at any particular point in your life. But the moment he met Lisa Cuddy he knew she was five star dining. European style, where you spent five hours in the restaurant and everything was perfect and fantastic and you knew you'd be back as often as you could afford it. It wasn't cheap, easy or convenient. It was steeply priced, difficult to schedule and the most inconvenient thing. It was also worth it.
He had known, as soon as he heard her speak for the first time, rich brandy laced voice with the edge of sarcasm and wit, that this could never happen. She was someone with whom the words 'one night stand' should be erased from your mind. She was caviar, and expensive wine, something to savour a little at a time. Something you wanted to sip for a lifetime, not just one night. He had done everything possible to avoid the feel of her skin, the smell of her hair, the way she trailed her perfume along her clavicle, like a scent trail to the sensitive areas of her neck. He had held her at arm's length with his sharp wit and general personality. Then distance had made it easier, and he had assumed when he came here to work, he could use all his old tricks. Somehow, along the way she had managed to walk around his usual tricks, balancing carefully in four inch heels, with a smile on her face as she ground his only remaining defenses into dust beneath her three hundred dollar shoes.
He had needed something better then. And Stacy had walked into his life, with a metaphorical neon sign above her head stating that she was a last ditch attempt. An attempt he had grabbed onto with two hands, an attempt he had moved into his apartment and pretended was a viable relationship for five years. He had never understood why he thought that avoiding a commitment by making a different commitment was a good idea. At the time, he had explained it away by justifying the fact that the emotional attachment was different. With Stacy, it was easy. Easy to tell her the things she needed to hear, easy for the words he didn't really mean to roll off his tongue. Easy to make the mistake of letting her in so close that he barely noticed her there. Lisa wouldn't have been easy. Lisa wouldn't have been relegated to the background. With Lisa, it wouldn't have ever been a lie.
It was all too late anyway. His leg had made the choice a permanent one. A fixed point on which he could turn his back against her. Pivotal. Forever. And if he ever forgot, the constant pain reminded him. He was not a whole man anymore. He was not – not now, if ever – the type of man she needed. The type of man she deserved. He ran from her in the halls, hearing the echo of her footsteps in places he knew she couldn't possibly be, but feeling the fear crawl along his skin anyway. Precaution was key. Vigilance was needed. She could outrun him, he knew. The combination of the pain, and the work of keeping her away and building up an anger that he really didn't feel, but that he needed to maintain. He barely blinked when Stacy left. He had been surprised, but at the sublime things like how easy it was to extract every trace of her from his life. At how little he cared when the door closed the final time and left a blessed silence in it's wake. He wasn't able to convey this to anyone, not even Wilson, who had come bearing whiskey and a shoulder. Because how could you tell your best friend that the entire relationship had been a series of moments you felt you were expected to comply with. And the break up was no different. They all expected you to drink, so you drank. They expected you to be in a bad mood, so you were in a bad mood. They expected you to cut yourself off for a while, so you did and felt no guilt in enjoying the sudden quiet surrounding your life.
He had gone back to work, gripping his cane in his hand and tasting his pain every time he swallowed a bitter pill and used these things as the new lines of defense. He had continued to avoid her, continued to run as she chased him. He could only run so far though, and he could only feign anger for so long too. It was exhausting, and when she showed up at his door, he had been caught off guard. He had four drinks and two Vicodin and a haze of comfort had settled low in his groin, which had lead him to hold open the door a fraction of a second too long. Long enough for her to slip past and smile across at him. Long enough for him to hear himself offering her a drink and her accepting. He had stood in his kitchen, staring at the glass on the counter filled with ice and his hands wrapped around the neck of the bottle wondering how in the hell this had happened. It was like driving a car and suddenly realizing you had no idea how you arrived at this point, and you were speeding. Instead of applying the brakes though, he pushed harder on the accelerator, his need for speed drowning out any inner voices that protested the plan. The liquid rushed into the glass as if agreeing with his choice.
Her voice got deeper when she drank, like the tone of her voice reacted to the chemicals in the whiskey, deepening in response until it sent shivers over his skin at the very sound. He decided, somewhat hazily, that they were like planets. Or asteroids. He wasn't quite sure. The point was, gravity was slowly pulling them together, and eventually they would crash. If it was all inevitable, why wait? Why deny himself the pleasure of her skin, soft under his, or the sound of her breath, panting lightly in his ear as he worked his hands across her skin, playing her like she was a Steinway grand. It had seemed so clear, until his mouth met hers and everything crystallized and the haze lifted. He had been avoiding this very second, this very feeling of her lips beneath his, her hair tangled in his hands. This precipice that he was teetering beside, longing to fall into it and at the same time clawing at the edge terrified of what lay below. He was tired of fighting her. Fighting himself. Fighting their gravity. He wanted to jump, but couldn't quite force himself. How could she want this? This moment with him that would lead to admitting feelings and slicing open the skin and letting the emotion bleed out, thick and heavy, clotted by time and repression. He was not a good bet, he hadn't been before, and he sure as hell wasn't now. It would be like running through traffic, but he wanted to lace his fingers through hers and ask her to run with him. Past the cars that were speeding by, laughing in the face of the blatant danger.
She would agree he knew. She would hold his hands and risk her entire life, everything for him. He knew this as surely as he knew he would wake up tomorrow and want to swallow the entire contents of his pill bottle. He didn't know why. And he always needed to know the why. In all his years of avoiding her, he had never stopped observing her. The tension that seemed to build up in her over the years as she kept up her break neck speed at the hospital. The way she wound up so tightly that she looked less like a spring and more like a solid metal tube, her coils melted together. She felt tense beneath him even now, and he longed to know what she looked like sprung. He had the chance in his hands, felt it winding through his fingers like water soaked sand. Her mouth was on his neck now and he had to stop thinking for just a moment. A break in the tension filled rooms of his mind, a chance to step outside and feel the sunshine pouring down on him before he was forced back in.
Her mouth was dry and warm, and his hands slid along the contours of her back with a will of their own. She was whispering as she lifted her head, eyes gleaming in the dim light, soothing reassurances and soft murmurs whispered against his skin. When she said his name, it was a shared secret between his skin and hers and he felt the warmth the word caused. His was losing his grip as her small cool hands contacted his heated skin and his hands gripped her shoulders tightly. He didn't want it to ever stop, but he was terrified of it as well. When would be a good time, though? It was never a good time with them. He was about to graduate medical school and she was a junior. He was back in town and she was was winding herself up. He was working for her and she was his boss. He had a girlfriend and she had the hospital. He had his pain and she had her guilt. It would never be a right time, and now was as bad a time as any other one.
He took her hands and ran.