She walked to the car, tears clouding her vision. She couldn't look back. She would not allow herself to look back. She wouldn't.

Not again.

Look where it'd gotten her this time.

He watched her walk away, standing in his window. 'The insufferable bastard strikes again,' he thought wryly. He shouldn't have let her talk him into it.

Not again.

Look where it'd gotten him last time.

The same damn place he was now.

Shutting the car door, she looked up at the window, watching him watching her. She looked forward again, hand on the key, but…

She couldn't turn it.

She stared helplessly at it, begging it silently to turn. But it refused.

The sudden weight of everything crashed down on her, and she burst into tears, her head coming down on the steering wheel, sobs wracking her body. She felt him watching her steadily, and cried harder.

Just like the first time.

A part of him wanted to rush out and hold her. Looking at the cane clenched in his right hand, he figured that wasn't possible. And it would be completely out of character. But, looking back at the sobbing woman in the car, he felt his heart ache.


NO! This could NOT happen!

Not like the first time.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

She looked up, sniffling and wiping her eyes. He was standing there, looking across the street, but still tapping his cane on her window. She rolled her window down.

"What do you want, House?"

He refused to look down, afraid her red, tearstained cheeks might draw him in. The last time that had happened, he had taken her back. that time they had both been hurt even more. So she finally left.

'But maybe,' a tiny, desperate voice tried to reassure. He pushed it away. He'd already made up his mind.

"Come inside," he said gruffly. "You're going to catch a cold. We need you on the team."

Only at that moment did she realize it was starting to snow. She looked at her bare arms, already covered with goosebumps, and followed the right arm to the frozen hand, still gripping those damn umoving keys. She really didn't want to, but what choice did she have?

She sighed, nodding, finally moving her arm and climbing out. They trudged silently up to his house, door still open, illuminating a yellow rectangle onto the sidewalk. He stepped in first, allowing her to step past him. He shut the door.

Both stood awkwardly in the entrance hall, not daring to look at each other.

"Do you want something to drink?" She almost laughed at the thought of him being nice, but she couldn't. It seemed the only emotion left inside her was emptiness. 'Please,' she thought. 'Not again. I can't handle this again.'

Silence. He had never been good with silence. And so, despite everything--his mind screaming at him to stop, her green eyes doing the same--he snapped.


And the cycle repeats.