I'm sorry to say it, but this is the last chapter. Thank you for the tremendous encouragement and feedback. I'm so pleased it was well received. Thanks, everyone! And enjoy the last chapter!
Cuddy could kill him. She made it home and was undressing to take a shower when she saw it. With his imminent death in her mind, she dressed in her choice of clothes, and took off for the hospital. Now, her heels clicked on the linoleum floor as she headed straight for his office.
She pushed through the door without bothering to knock. House looked up expectantly from his desk. His legs were crossed and kicked up on his desk. Cuddy stormed over and smacked his feet to the floor.
"What the hell was that for?" House asked, but he already knew.
"What was that for?" she repeated and pulled off her jacket, revealing her sleeveless shirt.
Cuddy pointed to the tattoo on her upper arm. It was a red heart with a banner swirled around it inscribed with the name Gregory House. She took a step back from his desk and tried to keep her voice at a reasonable level as House began laughing.
"I know it isn't a real tattoo," Cuddy said, "but, you've really outdone yourself, House. How long am I going to have this little gem on my arm?"
House was still laughing. The look on her face was priceless. "A week, tops. It was airbrushed. Thought you might want a peek at what it'll look like when we get matching ones."
Cuddy narrowed her eyes. "Is there any way to get this off sooner?"
House leaned back in his chair. "So, I'm guessing you didn't find the other one..."
"Other one?" Cuddy's face fell and drained of color. She took a step toward House's desk.
House stood from his desk and hobbled over to Cuddy. She anxiously watched him as he moved to her backside and lifted her shirt. Painfully peering back, Cuddy began to see the top of letters. She glanced up at House before looking back to the letters as he pushed down the waistline of her skirt and underwear.
He began to get dangerously close to lowering her skirt a little too much. "House."
House lifted his head and let his hands rest where they were. Cuddy glanced toward the airbrushed tattoo, trying to read it. Her eyebrows drew together.
"Does that say M.C.?" Cuddy looked to House.
His smile gave him away. "M.C. Hammer, to be precise. Guess I proved that I can touch this."
Cuddy angrily pulled herself away from him and turned. House watched as she tried to see the tattoo while holding her clothes down herself.
The door to House's office opened. Cuddy and House both looked up to see Cameron. Cuddy immediately stopped what she was doing. Cameron looked from Cuddy to House.
"I came to let you know the patient is doing much better," Cameron told him.
"Fantastic," House replied, the word laced with sarcasm. He moved to his desk.
Cameron turned to leave, but then turned back. "Is everything okay?"
"Why don't we ask Cuddy?" House looked to Cuddy while Cameron followed suit. "We should talk about this midlife crisis, Cuddy." He nodded and spoke quietly. "It's good to talk."
"Is that a tattoo?" Cameron asked and took a step closer to Cuddy.
Cuddy quickly covered the tattoo with her hand and hurried to her jacket. She threw it on while she glared at House. It wasn't fair that he was having so much fun with this. House smirked and gave a shrug. Cameron's eyebrows were drawn as her eyes were on Cuddy.
"Dr. Cameron." House swung his cane over his shoulder. "Why don't you tell Dr. Cuddy here the dangers of going to third rate tattoo parlors with dirty needles."
"I wouldn't know personally, but-" Cameron started, unsure.
Cuddy held up a hand, a forced smile on her face in order to keep her anger at bay. "Don't humor him." She then directed her attention to House and hissed, "and stop spreading lies about me."
House held back a smug smile that threatened him. Cameron gave up on trying to figure out the power struggle between the two and folded her arms across her chest.
Jamming his cane into the carpet, House moved around his desk and sat down in his chair. Cuddy let a breath escape and looked to the floor, her shoulders deflating. House directed his gaze to Cameron.
"Something you want?" he asked.
"No," Cameron answered, "I did what I came to do. Tell you about the patient."
House eyes widened and he leaned forward. "Then, go."
Cameron let out a sigh of her own and left House's office, shaking her head in annoyance at the fact that the antics of the day were still going on. Once the door was shut, House looked to Cuddy, who was still staring at the floor.
After a moment, Cuddy raised her eyes to House. "We need a truce."
"A truce?" House repeated, tapping his cane on the floor and thinking it over.
"Yes, House, a truce," Cuddy replied bitterly. "Can your thick machismo headed skull comprehend that?"
House drew back his head and infused his voice with shock. "Why, yes, I do believe it can."
Cuddy frowned and placed her hands on her hips. "No more teasing, no more insulting or commenting about anything that happened over these last two days. And if there are any more 'surprises,' I want to know what they are. Now."
"Way to suck the fun right out of this Freaky Friday adventure, Cuddy." House rolled his eyes.
Cuddy pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. "House."
"Okay, fine!" House threw his arms up with a sigh. "I rearranged your desk, there's a buzzer under your phone handle, and I unplugged everything in your office."
Shaking her head slowly, Cuddy glared with the burning fire. "If you could just take that mastermind and direct it towards good-"
"That would be a complete waste." House shook his head. "Why would I spend this amazing brain on other things when it could be directed to torturing you?"
Cuddy lowered her hands to her side and stared incredulously at House. "Haven't you learned something because of what happened? Haven't you changed at all? Anything?"
House raised his eyes to the ceiling, thinking it over. But, he wasn't going to admit his truths to Cuddy, so he brought his gaze back to her. "No."
"Well, I have." Cuddy kept her eyes locked on House. "It's a shame you haven't."
With a look displaying her disappointment, Cuddy turned from House and left his office. She let out a sigh as her head filled with thoughts of returning home and scrubbing her skin raw at the tattoo sites with any chemicals that wouldn't completely damage her skin.
House leaned back in his chair as he watched her figure pass his office. His lip twitched slightly and he stood to his feet. There was a change somewhere within him, he was quite sure of that. However, he wasn't too keen on wanting to share that with Cuddy.
Cuddy's heels clicked on the cold floor as she made her way through the lobby of the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. She was treating today as a fresh start and hoped that whatever House had done yesterday wouldn't come back to haunt her.
Cuddy cringed and stopped in her her tracks. She spun around and placed a smile on her face to greet Wilson. Wilson approached her, his jacket on and briefcase in hand.
"Is it safe?" Wilson asked, half prepared to hurry to the elevators if it wasn't.
Cuddy sighed. "Yes. Sorry about yesterday. It'll never happen again."
"I'm not quite sure I know what happened yesterday." Wilson replied, his face showing the confusion he was feeling.
"Neither am I," Cuddy said more to herself than to Wilson. "Just know that we won't be having any other days like that ever again."
Wilson nodded. "I'm not going to get an explanation, am I?"
Cuddy shook her head slightly. "No."
Cuddy and Wilson both looked to the front doors as House strolled into the building. Wilson was intrigued and Cuddy was shocked.
"You're here-" Wilson started.
"On time," Cuddy finished, her eyes never leaving House as he approached.
"For the second day in a row." Wilson sized House up.
"Thought I'd remind everyone they can't guess the great Doctor Gregory House." House looked from Wilson to Cuddy, his eyes remaining on her.
"Why don't you keep it up by going to the Clinic?" Cuddy suggested forcefully with a nod.
"Well, we don't want to shock 'em to death, now do we?" House replied to Cuddy and then popped a Vicodin.
"Knocking them back already?" Wilson asked, watching House as he put the pill bottle back in his pocket.
House leaned in towards Wilson. "Let me jab you in the thigh with several sharp objects and then you can ask me that again."
Wilson narrowed his eyes and opened his mouth to retort, but Cuddy stopped him.
Wilson looked to Cuddy. He realized she used his first name in order to be able to reprimand him, but in a way that meant there were no hard feelings.
"His leg is probably stiff and painful after resting it all night." Cuddy tried to justify herself.
"Right," Wilson agreed suspiciously. "I'm just gonna go."
Wilson looked to House before turning from the two of them and heading for the elevators.
"The right one's broken!" House and Cuddy shouted in unison, getting another suspicious look from Wilson that was mixed with confusion.
"My leg's stiff in the morning?" House turned to Cuddy, a small smile spreading.
Cuddy gave him a look. "Don't think I'm not watching your Vicodin intake. I'm still on to you."
House was about to respond when his eyes fell on something past Cuddy. Cuddy's eyebrows drew together and she spun around, curious as to what could have made House shut up.
Dr. Simmons was leaning in a little too close to a nurse. House and Cuddy both watched as the nurse tried to pass Dr. Simmons, but he raised a hand that held her back. House immediately took off toward Dr. Simmons with Cuddy hurriedly following after.
"What did I just tell you?" House asked Dr. Simmons, his tone indicating his disbelief.
The nurse slipped away from Dr. Simmons, who straightened. "Excuse me, Dr. House?"
"One more act like that and you're fired," House told him.
Dr. Simmons looked to a confused Cuddy. "I thought our conversation was private, Dr. Cuddy."
"You lost your privacy when you started your tour of unwanted sexual groping of the females in this hospital," House said.
Cuddy, her mouth hanging open, looked from Dr. Simmons to House. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. She heard inklings of Dr. Simmons and his actions, but no complaints ever made it to her desk.
Even without the complaints, she did bring Dr. Simmons into her office for a stern lecture and evaluation, but he evaded her tactics of obtaining the truth and she had to let him remain. It was strange that House was defending another human life form, especially on this topic.
"Is this serious, Dr. Cuddy?" Dr. Simmons kept directing his words to Cuddy in fear of making eye contact with the unpredictable Gregory House.
"Yes." Cuddy found her voice and nodded. "What I said to you yesterday were the facts."
"Which means you're fired," House added in, covering for Cuddy since he was the one who performed the confrontation.
"Yes, you're fired." Cuddy locked eyes with Dr. Simmons. "Have your office cleared out by one."
Dr. Simmons shook his head. "You have no proof on your charges. I'll fight this and sue."
With that, Dr. Simmons took off. Cuddy let out a sigh and turned to House.
"We have testimonies, don't worry," House told Cuddy's worried look, "and you might want to check on some of the gang in HR."
A smile spread across Cuddy's face, a realization coming to her. "And you said this hasn't changed you."
Cuddy began to walk away from House in the direction of her office. House held up a puzzled hand, his eyes watching her go.
"It hasn't!" he protested.
She looked back over her shoulder, a knowing smile on her face. When she turned away from him, House couldn't help but let a gentle smirk extend across his face as well. House and Cuddy were well aware that this experience had changed them both.