IT'S ALL FOR YOU DANI, IT'S ALL FOR YOU!
Cuddy and House exchanged a look of disbelief, then House's lips curved into a wolfish smile. Cuddy glared at him, but he only lifted his shoulders lightly in a shrug. "I wish I could take credit, but I can't," he said smirking.
"Jimmy, who told you that?" Asked Cuddy.
"Its common knowledge," Wilson replied, looking down at his tasseled loafers.
"We have never slept together," Cuddy declared emphatically. "Never."
Wilson lifted his eyes from his shoes. His expression was neutral, but she could see the doubt and hurt in hi eyes. "Lisa really, it isn't such a big deal. I mean younger student and the resident campus bad boy, its something that occurs quite often. The only thing that seems odd is that you find it necessary to deny it to me. Why is it that you can't admit it, at least to me?"
House paused the Tivo. "Do you two mind, I am trying to watch a special about a former Princeton alumni," he asked.
Wilson glanced at the screen, naturally assuming that House was lying. What he found was that it was indeed a program with some sort of medical setting and, judging from the outfits, House had paused it in the middle of a reenactment.
There was something vaguely familiar about the scene; Wilson thought it might be something on Discovery Health that he'd seen earlier in the month. "Sorry."
"Could you take this little spat somewhere else?"
Cuddy glared at him, not in the least bit concerned about his viewing enjoyment. "House, don't you think that this is a little more important? I mean, maybe you don't care about your reputation, but I do."
"Why would you care about my reputation?"
"House, stop being so deliberately dense."
"I personally think it would boost your street cred if people thought I was a notch on your stethoscope." He flicked the pause button again and the program resumed.
Wilson's attention was drawn to the screen. "I think I've seen this before," he squinted slightly, "that one actor was on NYPD Blue, and now he's on educational programming. Still, I guess work is work."
House snorted, "You are the only person I know that would recognize some bit player from NYPD Blue. Nothing gets past you, does it?"
Hearing the laughter in House's voice, Wilson asked irritably, "What's so funny? So what I have a good memory when it comes to faces, that's all."
House heaved a sighed before pausing the Tivo again. "You do huh, did you happen to notice who the attending is?"
Wilson turned his attention back to the screen. "Is that Neil Patrick Harris?"
"You said you were watching a special about a Princeton alumni," snapped Cuddy.
"I am. Doctor Howser attended Princeton. I don't know why it isn't in the brochure. His story is really enthralling," said House as he pushed the info button, a minute later the program information loaded at the bottom of the screen, "Douglas "Doogie" Howser, is a child prodigy who after completing high school in nine weeks, graduated from Princeton at age 10 and finished medical school four years later, becoming, at the tender age of fourteen, the youngest practicing physician in the country," read House aloud. "That kid did Princton at age ten and you're proud of being the youngest Dean of Medicine? Big deal."
"You are confused, I am the second youngest dean of medicine, but I am the first woman," said Cuddy as she leaned over and snatched the remote from his hand, switching off the tv.
"Hey! That is against House's house rules. There is only one person who gets to do that, and you don't want to know what she has to do for the privilege."
"Grow up. It's a stupid tv show, this is important."
"So was that, it's the episode where Doogie brings his mother's boss to the house to go skinny dipping," House laughed appreciatively, "Oh, that Doogie. He is a scamp. Reminds me a little of myself as a lad."
Cuddy arched a finely plucked brow and waited till House had finished. "He doesn't want to tell you what really did happen between us in college because he comes off to much like a sympathetic human being, that is why he is stalling."
Knowing that she knew him to long and too well to keep denying the obvious, he admitted reluctantly. "I also come off as a felon."
"What we did wasn't a felony, at least not exactly."
Still, it was worth a last ditch effort to dissuade her, thought House. "Not in Nevada maybe, but people frown on that sort of thing in the Blue states, the red ones too. We need to find a purple state."
"House, come on…"
"Fine," he said throwing up his hands. "Tell him, but I bet you five bucks that he isn't going to find it any better than us sleeping together."
"I would find anything better than the idea of you two together," said Wilson.
Cuddy pulled the chair away from Cameron's desk. "When I was an undergrad in college, I took on way more than I should have. I pledged, I was on several student committees, I even volunteered at the health clinic. I was so focused on looking good on paper when it came time to apply to med school that I didn't bother to look in the mirror most days…"
"It showed," House agreed, "you were usually a little skanky."
"Shut up. I mean that I was always rushing to be somewhere and I was always exhausted. I would get to class and be doing work for the next class. If I wasn't doing that, I was working on the budget for the next meeting of my sorority because I couldn't settle for just being in an active member sorority, I had to be on the board. After awhile, you get to a point where you can only balance so much. I was nearly at that point by the middle of fall semester my second year. I was nearly drowning, but I just kept swimming for shore."
"She was doing very well in Creative lit, as is evidenced by that poetic allusion."
"House," she warned with a glance and to Wilson's surprise, House's expression changed to something that boarded on sympathy.
Looking away from Cuddy, House began with a quip, but his words soon turned serious. "You see that more than your fantasy about naïve college girls and the B.M.O.C, kids that have worked so hard to be the best in their high schools and then they get to college and instead of having to be the best in a class of two hundred, they have to be the best in a class of two thousand. And to do that and have the networking opportunities they need for careers after school they spread themselves too thin."
Cuddy nodded. "That's what happened to me. I was taking Topics in neuroendocrinology. I had to appeal to the chair of the department to take it, so I had to get a 4.0. Not, I hope I get a 4.0, but I had to. Because if I didn't, I could never force into a class again. That's how I first met House, he was the TA."
"There it is, my secret shame exposed. I once TA'ed, but it was only because I had to. I was very young and they…they forced me. It was so humiliating."
"I thought it had something to do with an incident at John Hopkins," commented Cuddy.
"There was that as well. Doctor Emerson was one of the people on the review board at U Mich that voted to let me in. It was a conditional vote, at least on his part, the condition being that I did all of his grunt work for as long as he needed me to. I slaved for him for three semesters until he found his next victim."
It took a minute to wrap his mind around the idea of anyone being able to manipulate House. But once he got past it, Wilson was able to examine the connection between House and Lisa. "Did you fix her grade?"
House smiled, "I am insulted by that accusation. I would not fix a grade. I misplaced her midterm to buy her some extra study time."
"You did what? Just because you felt bad for her?"
"Pft," House made a dismissive noise. "Hell no, she offered me sex."
"That isn't true," said Cuddy. "There used to be a student area for athletics. During the day, it was always packed, but at night, it was usually deserted. It was the only place I could think to go to be alone. I was sitting on the bleachers, crying because I knew that I had failed my midterm. It was going to drag down my grade, which would drag down my GPA, which would pretty much ruin my life."
The three doctors were silent, each thinking of moments in their school careers that had seemed like the end of the world. In House's case, it had been that accusation of cheating that had nearly destroyed his future. Wilson had been found with a watch during his MCAT's, not knowing that it was prohibited. There had been a scene and Wilson, a younger, very nervous Wilson, had fainted dead away.
Cuddy smiled faintly. "It's funny how dramatic you can be when you're younger, what's the worst that would have happened? I got a lesson in over extending myself? I wouldn't be the first female dean of medicine at some prestigious institution?"
"Alright," admitted House begrudgingly, "It could have happened like that, but I prefer my version. It was sexier."
"I'm sure you do. Anyway, House was running laps and he came over to ask me if I was alright…."
"I was interested in sex," House cut in, "I figured if she was on the rebound, strike while her self esteem was low."
Wilson waited for Cuddy to correct House's statement, but when she didn't, he realized House was serious. "Classy."
"Classy don't get you undergrad ass."
"Neither did being a pig," pointed out Cuddy.
"Not your ass, but there was this one girl, she was a graphic arts major and she did this thing with her tongue, I…"
"Off topic House."
"It's a far more interesting story…"
"Says you, may I continue?"
"If it will get me back to Doogie."
"Thank you, anyway, I started telling him about the semester and how I couldn't believe that I didn't put the time into studying and if I only had another week I would have aced it. He left as soon as I was done talking and I didn't really give it any more thought, I had enough on my mind already.
House raised an eyebrow. "That's a lie. I think it was that evening that started your girlfriend's unhealthy obsession with me."
"I got to class that Thursday and the professor told me that two exams had been misplaced and that I would have to take a make-up exam. Doctor Emerson gave me and the other student two weeks to study because he was going to have to get lab time for us for the practical portion and we would be taking a different exam than the one previously given. I studied nonstop and when I took the exam two weeks later, I got a perfect score."
House was right, in a way. Wilson was relieved that Lisa and House had never gone to bed together, but at the same point in time, that tiny moral compass in his head was swinging back and forth. He wasn't surprised about House's involvement, but Lisa? She just didn't seem the type to cheat in college. The Lisa Cuddy she had been back then had been morally rigid, or so he'd always assumed. "That's the reason you stayed in touch with House? Out of a sense of gratitude?"
"Not entirely. I was grateful, but it was more than gratitude. We used to run into one another at conferences and we knew some of the same people. He lectured at Princeton and then he was a patient. And after that…" she trailed off before changing the topic, "Besides, with House's attitude, I get him cheap."
"So if it wasn't for House, you would have never finished second in your class."
"No, I wouldn't have. Which was part of the reason I got my position at the hospital. I don't want you to think that I didn't regret it, I did. But by the time I figured out that it wasn't a miracle, it was finished. If I had confessed, we would have both gotten in trouble. House would have been expelled and probably blacklisted. He didn't deserve it."
Wilson bristled as her Housian justification of wrongdoing. "I think he did, no offense House, but cheating is cheating."
"Maybe, but if she had gashed her wrists open over Christmas break because she couldn't take the stress anymore, I would have known that I looked at her and I could have helped."
That image subdued Wilson's self-righteousness slightly.
"I can't imagine you in the position of benefactor of teary co-ed's."
"Your imagination is pretty limited. If a patient asks for help, would you turn them away and let them die?"
"No," exclaimed Wilson.
"If you saw someone drowding but the sign said no swimming do you let them drown because they should have known better? Same difference. I saw a kid who was going to be dead before spring semester, so I did something. I intervened because I saw someone in distress, even if she should have known better. Emerson was a complete dick who would have mocked her to her face about pushing her way into his class and then failing. That alone would have been enough, but an added plus was I hated Rich Kempner."
"Who?" Asked Cuddy. This was a part of the story that she didn't know and since she was the story, she couldn't help but ask.
"That was the kid with the other missing exam. If just his disappeared, it would have looked suspicious since Emerson knew I hated him. But two exams, and one belonged to a hot co-ed? Maybe they fell off the pile or were stuck together. Who knows? But Emerson knew I wasn't going to cock block myself, not if I could help it. He figured it was an honest accident. Cuddy was an excellent student and so was Kempner, neither of them had anything to gain by getting a stay of execution…well, so Emerson thought."
Cuddy laughed. "I don't know if that's all true, but I do know that you helped me because I was overwhelmed, overworked, and hadn't slept in days. That's what really happened, I don't know why people would think that we slept together, at least, why they would think we were involved. Outside of that one class, we didn't know each other very well, not back then."
House leaned over and picked the remote off the coffee table where she'd dropped it several minutes before. "I can field that, Foreman said that he's vaguely afraid of you and I told him if you get her naked after a field house mixer, she is a pussy cat."
Disgustedly, Cuddy got up from the chair and put it back at Cameron's desk. "Why would you say that?
"Because if I flat out claimed to have nailed you, they would have known I was lying," he said with a self-satisfied smile before he turned Doogie Howser back on.