Title: Trading Air
Rating: R (sex, language, the usual)
Characters/Pairings: Thirteen/Amber (Thirteen's POV).
Implied Amber/Wilson. House/Wilson & House/Thirteen if you squint.
Genre: Romance/Angst/Friendship
Word Count: 1300-ish
Summary: Thirteen bumps into Amber at a bar one night after a bad day at work, only to discover Amber had had a nasty break-up with Wilson only hours before. They find comfort in each other, but does Thirteen fall in too deep?
Disclaimer: If I owned 'House MD' would I be writing this? That would be a NO. So, yeah, I don't own 'House MD' or any of the characters in this fic, and please don't sue me because I'm a poor student and currently own about 20p.

1) First of all, this hasn't been beta'd. All mistakes (and there will be) are therefore mine.
2) Second of all, I've never written fem!slash. Ever.
3) Third of all, I'm not happy with this fic (as per usual) but I don't like my characterisation of Amber in this at all. If you have any suggestions on how to improve her character, please share!
4) This was originally going to be a short scene in a 13/CTB/Kutner fic but I got a bit carried away. Sorry.
5) Last but not least, the title ("Trading Air") is taken from an Athlete song (which is gorgeous, go listen to it!).

You had endured a bad day at work. Killed a patient, as House cruelly put it.

You knew there was a bar on your route home; not your top choice but you needed a drink. You parked up and walked inside the crowded town establishment.

You were making your way to the counter when you saw a flash of blond hair and a hastily removed tear. Amber. Cutthroat bitch. Crying?

You knew she saw you as you ordered your drink but you both stayed stubbornly silent, even as you boldly sat next to her at the bar. She was the first to speak.

She had broken up with Wilson. You can't for the life of you remember why, but she did tell you. She was easier to talk to with her walls down, her usual competitiveness and arrogance replaced with the need for companionship.

You talked for a while longer – about work, about Wilson, about love - and somehow your sexuality came up. Amber said she was open to it and experimented in college. You said "who didn't?" and then came the endless drunken college stories. You thought that would be that.

You finished your drink and stood up to leave when you felt her hand on your arm. She wanted to go home with you. She had nowhere to stay having sold her house to live with Wilson - at least, that was her excuse. Too exhausted to argue you walked to your car, Amber trailing close behind.

She made a few crude comments about your apartment; it was almost comforting to know that cutthroat bitch hadn't disappeared completely. You poured yourself another drink, and one for her, and before long there were a few compliments thrown in with the sarcasm, another drink later, and she was clearly flirting.

You didn't resist at first; you had liked her for a while and the new Amber was even hotter than the bitchy one you got to know when House was recruiting. But you didn't want to take advantage - for one thing, you knew House would find out one way or another, and if the stories that Foreman tells can be believed, you would never live it down. There was more to it than that though, and on some level you realised that you didn't want her to get hurt.

One drunken kiss later and you were stumbling to your bedroom. Clothes were lost in a matter of minutes as you hastily got lost in each other. Amber was on top, as you'd expected she would. And she was as experienced as you'd always imagined. But you'd never thought you would see her cry.

You held her afterwards, letting her cry herself to sleep. You didn't think she would fall for a guy like Wilson, but the world is full of surprises and you're surprised that that surprised you. You watched her sleep, the alcohol and post-sex buzz kept you from drifting off yourself as you delicately flicked a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear. You smiled at seeing her so defenceless, almost child-like, wrapped up in your arms.

She was an easy fuck, that was all.

She was gone when you woke the next morning. You are usually a light sleeper but clearly having a hangover changes that. You find a note on your bedside table:

"Thanks for last night.

See you,


You wondered if she chose those words carefully or whether she wrote them in a drunken haze before rushing back to Wilson.

You tried not to think about her that day, but memories of the previous night kept re-emerging halfway through a diagnosis and your mind kept drifting to what Amber meant by "see you" when Kutner was talking about what was on the Discovery Channel last night. House looked at you. And you knew that he knew that something happened. But he kept his mouth shut, and for that you were grateful.

A couple of days had passed and Amber had found a comfy spot in the back of your mind, when you heard the nurses gossip in the cafeteria. She was moving out. A part of you was sad at the news that Wilson and Amber didn't work out, but a little part of you was hopeful…and you wasted no time in telling that part of you to shut up. It was only sex. And she was only…well, she was only a cutthroat bitch that you used to know.

Shock doesn't even describe what you felt when a week later she strutted into House's office halfway through a diagnosis and demanded to speak to him. You tried to disguise your surprise and the small flip-flop in your stomach the best you could but you felt House's eyes on you and knew you were found out. He made a sarcastic comment about ignoring his team and so you watch as she gave brief greetings to other doctors. Taub shook her hand. Kutner even hugged her (although both looked rather uncomfortable). Foreman gave her an acknowledging nod. And House looked as if he wanted to murder her (you figured he took Wilson's side in the breakup). She flashed you a brief and somewhat awkward smile that you returned before turning back to House. You got the hint and you and the other doctors started heading towards the door.

Her hand caught your arm as you moved past her, an act reminiscent of the night in the bar, and you turned to look at her. She wanted to talk to you. You momentarily bowed your head in understanding before following the others out the room.

You made your way down to the hospital cafeteria for a coffee as Kutner decided to check on the patient and Taub caught up on clinic hours (or rather, House's clinic hours). You all knew that House and Amber were going to take a while, and even if they weren't, you didn't want to be anywhere near House and his anger afterwards.

It was only five minutes later when she slid into the seat in front of you, her confident façade long since forgotten. You wordlessly offered her the rest of your drink and she took it without question.

You took advantage of the silence by taking the time to study her. She looked better than the last time you had seen her; a little of her spark had returned and she was definitely dressed to impress. To any outsider, she would have looked like a confident businesswoman but you could tell she was anything but. Her shoulders were slumped in defeat, there were circles around her eyes from the exhaustion, and her right hand was uncontrollably shaking, a sure sign of the stress and anger that had built up recently.

She finished your coffee and placed the empty cup between the two of you. You were both silent for a while longer until she whispered a "thank you", and you somehow knew she wasn't just talking about the drink.

You gave her a small smile in response, and asked how she was doing. She assured you she was fine, and said she could do better than "that bastard" anyway. Wilson had cheated on her. And she was right, she deserved better. And you told her that. She gave you a hint of a smile and cautiously placed her hand over yours. You weren't even aware your hand was on the table. Your eyes connected.

You asked her out to the movies before your brain had even verified it and it is with some surprise that she said "yes". After the initial shock had worn off, you realised that you hate movie dates, but maybe two hours without speaking would be just what you need…and maybe a drink afterward.

A doctor walked past their table and she hastily removed her hand from yours. You raised your eyebrow jokingly in her direction, and she smiled back with embarrassment and a sarcastic comment.

This was going to be interesting.

Thanks a bunch for reading! Comments & concrit are love.