Title: Of Candy Canes and Mistletoe
Author: Gomes
Fandom: House MD
Pairing: House/Cuddy established
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Kind of.
Warnings: Mild sexual themes
Disclaimer: All known characters and premises belong to their respective owners. So there.
Summary: "Damn House. Why don't you piss around her and mark her for your own?"
Notes: Written for the sshuddy Secret Santa gift exchange.

December 24th brought forth a party that put the age-old dressing-to-the-nines into much practice. Scrubs were replaced by tuxedoes and gowns and stress relinquished itself to pleasantries and merriment. It was a time of celebration and family - one that Princeton-Plainsboro prided themselves on.


Sure there were disagreements and arguments, tantrums and resignations. But there was also teamwork and friendship, laughter and celebrations.

And every once in awhile, a miracle was born.

Headed by a group of nurses with Cuddy at the helm, this year's Formal Hospital Christmas party was graciously held in the Make a Wish Foundation's honour.

"Funny." He groused as he lumbered down the path, leaning heavily on his cane which was painted a holiday theme.

"What? The candycane or the 'We Love You Dr. House' banner?" She asked innocently, pointing to the banner that dressed the entrance. "The Foundation were very thankful for your generous donation, Dr. House."

He glared at Cuddy, holding the door open for her despite the threatening look in his eyes. "They conned me into it."

"Serves you right for calling them and making that stupid request about getting into my pants -"

"- they had a good laugh. Thought I was joking. Asked me how much I was willing to donate."

"Too bad your delightful sarcasm falls flat over the phone." She retorted, helping him with his jacket as they stopped at the coat check. She pinned a red rose to his lapel before smoothing out his suit jacket. "Aside from the ridiculous belt buckle, you actually managed to look decent tonight."

He glanced down at his buckle. "What's wrong with it? I like the mistletoe buckle. And correct me if I'm wrong, you easily succumbed to the buckle's charm just before we left." He paused, eyes crinkled with an unseen smile. "It's kind of a pun when you think about it," he began, watching her remove her dark blue jacket and scarf. "Succumbed. First you sucked and then I cu -"

" - House!"

He paused abruptly, lips pressed together and eyes wide with his trademark boyish innocence.

She smiled an apology to the nurse at the coat check and gently smoothed her hands over her dress.

He watched her hungrily, unabashedly taking in her curves that were tantalizingly incased in a form-fitting red dress which screamed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. "Aside from the Hitler personality, you actually managed to look quite hot tonight."

She ignored him, instead walking towards the reception desk which held an array of drinks and finger foods. Greetings crowded them both, where one warmly accepted and reciprocated while the other fended them off with cold stares and unhidden snarls.

"I see you managed to drag Scrooge out."

Cuddy turned, smiling at the familiar voice. She gave him a hug, giving his arm a friendly squeeze.

"Tiny Tim." House grumbled, glaring at his best friend.

Wilson cocked his head to the side. "Actually, I think I'm more likely to be cast as Cratchett."

"True, Wilson does always end up getting screwed while you bank in…" Cuddy agreed as the three moved towards a table in the corner.

"Yeah. I guess Cameron would end up playing Tiny Tina." House commented, giving Cuddy a thankful nod for the drink placed in front of him. "So pitiful, staring at you with those wide-innocent 'Oh why don't you like me' eyes."

"Didn't Tiny Tim end up croaking in one of the sequences?" Cuddy interjected, taking a casual sip from her glass.

"Me-ow!" He turned to his friend. "Feisty. You should see her in bed. One mention of Cameron and -"

" - House!"

He smiled ruefully though both Cuddy and Wilson knew that he regretted nothing.

"You mention other women's names when you two are…" Wilson trailed off, making some a weird gesture with his hands.

He grimaced. "When we're what, making pottery?"

Wilson rolled his eyes. "Having sex."

"Wilson! I'm offended that you dare inquire about Cuddy's and my sex life!" He watched a couple of nurses walk by and leaned towards them, voice louder. "Our sex life. Together."

He jerked, letting out a small yelp as he rubbed his shin. "And of course, you had to wear the pointy witch shoes…"

The three of them glanced up, staring at the speakers over head as a soft, slow ballad kicked in. In succession, they all glanced at a small area that had seemed to be vacated, issuing a self-proclaimed dance area.

Wilson glanced back at the two, and gave them a half smile before standing up and walking over to a devastatingly-cute blonde nurse.

"Figures. I always pegged Cratchett as a pedophile."

Cuddy threw him an annoyed look. "Right. And your fiasco with that incredibly young patient who obviously had some screws loose in her ongoing obsession with you, would be considered what? Child's play?"

He snorted. "Bitch."

She threw him a murderous stare. "Jerk."

"Love you." He snarled, eyes narrowed.

"Love you too." She shrugged, rolling her eyes.

They sat in silence, each of them smirking affectionately at the other.

A more upbeat tune slowly transitioned and a few more people made their way to the dance floor. Christmas music seemed to have that affect on all of them guests, infiltrating the mind and heart of all people young and old.

He watched her through his lashes, observing her stare at those dancing and laughing together. He picked up on the minute sway of her body, and how her feet gently tapped to the beat. He tapped his cane on the ground, immediately gaining her attention.

Curious eyes stared at surprisingly affectionate ones. "You want to dance." It wasn't an offer but a statement.

She gave him a one-shouldered shrug. "I'm fine."

It was like this for all of their outings, fuelling the are-they-or-aren't-they talk that always seemed to lay suspended around them. While they hadn't gone public with their relationship, they weren't bent on hiding it either.

While he acknowledged it as a relationship, deep down he knew it to be simply the next natural step in their friendship. All he had been searching for was someone who'd tolerate him but instead had always attracted those who wanted to help which involved fixing and meddling and changing.

And yet, along came a beautiful, stubborn, opinionated, bossy bitch of a woman who accepted him and who wanted him. As he was. And he found himself falling. She knocked his cane right out from under him. He glanced at said cane and grimaced, grunting loudly which caused her to flash a brilliant smile. He smiled back.

She went back to bobbing her head to the music, her upper body moving gently to the beat.

House pushed his chair out and held out his hand.

She glanced at him. Closing the distance between them, she took his hand and smiled, immediately picking up on his intent, laced with chivalry and a weird sense of humour. Holding on to his hand, she danced beside him, laughing softly at his failed attempt to twirl her while he remained seated.

"Letting you know…prepare to fall on your ass if you want to be dipped."

She giggled, dancing freely as she was filled with the holiday spirit.

The song ended and sat back down, scooting her chair closer to his. Wilson joined them and the three of them chatted, laugh and drank. Time passed by and soon enough, the reception area began to clear, leaving only the volunteer clean-up crew to take care of business.

"Nurse Brenda was telling me that we raised over four thousand dollars this year." Cuddy exclaimed, allowing House to awkwardly help her with her coat. She in turn helped him with his as Wilson waited for them by the door.

"You guys driving?" He asked, slightly worried as he waved to his cab-driver.

"Nah. Cabbing it too. Cabbie's got to eat too, y'know." House remarked, limping towards his friend.

Wilson smiled, holding out his hands and waiting for a hug.

"Yeah. Keep dreaming."

Wilson rolled his eyes, holding out his hand which House shook with uncharacteristic warmth. "Merry Chanukah Jewy."

"House!" Both Wilson and Cuddy yelled at him, causing him to cringe.

Cuddy dropped her chin to her chest, suppressing a laugh. "Why is it so hard to stay mad at that jackass?" She asked, rhetorically.

Wilson shrugged, giving her a quick hug. Normally he would have remained, but the feeling of House's jealous stare was enough to force him three steps back from her. "Damn House. Why don't you piss around her and mark her for your own?" He commented, giving Cuddy a wink.

"What do you think we do on Saturday nights though his aim does need practice." Cuddy retorted, the wine having loosened her tongue.

Both Wilson and House stared at her with wide eyes, before a satisfied smile crept up on Diagnostician's face. "Niiiice." He drawled, eyeing her with a lusty and appreciative stare.

Wilson cringed. "Thanks for the mental picture." He walked out the door, throwing them a smile on the way out.

They watched him get in the cab and waved until the car drove off. "Well that was nice." Cuddy remarked, staring at the white fluffs of snow that began to fall.

He shifted, standing right behind her. Leaning against her, he pressed his chest against her back, placing a small kiss against the back of her head. Such intimacies were usually kept at bay, neither of them wanting to be on display for prying eyes and ears. One arm snaked around her, holding her close as they both stared at the hypnotic play of snowflakes floating in the sky.

The cab's horn drew them both out of their reverie. Cuddy wrapped her scarf around her neck and stepped outside, waving to the cleaning-crew who remained at work. She held the door open for him, and fell into step with him as they walked down the path.

"So rumour mill has it that you skipped the Brazilian this season and shaved a mistletoe likeness down south." He quipped, watching her climb into the cab.

She snorted. "Heh. Yeah well, too bad you'll never find out."

He rolled his eyes, staring straight ahead. "Right. By the end of the night, you'll be begging Santa to come down your chimney."