Title: Fall Away
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairings: Thirteen/Kutner (Kutner-centric)
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Romance
Word Count: 1200-ish
Summary: Post-Wilson's Heart. Kutner gets an intriguing phonecall.
Disclaimer: I don't own House MD, nor am I making any profit from this; merely a piece of fan appreciation.
Five reasons:
- Because, no, there aren't enough post-finale fics.
- Because, yes, this is more fun than maths revision.
- Because, admittedly, Thirteen and Kutner are cute and not enough people write them.
- Because I can't write Thirteen/Cameron all the time.
- Because sometimes mindless fluff is good, yes?


Kutner was watching his new Battlestar Galactica DVDs and attempting to forget her (the defeated look in Amber's eyes when she lay weak in the hospital bed, the way he had taunted her when they were playing American's Next Top Doctor, her laugh when he had asked her out...) when the phone rang. It was half one in the morning, which immediately ruled out the majority of the people he knew who could possibly be calling.

He sighed, leaving his half-eaten meal on the side table and getting himself up from the somewhat uncomfortable position on the floor. He glanced at the caller ID, "PPHT" – the hospital.

"What do you want House?" Kutner asked with mild frustration, once he had picked up the phone. Reason told him that his sadistic boss would be the only one crazy enough to call this late from the hospital, which is why the female voice on the end of the line surprised him so much.

"It's me," Thirteen's quiet voice emanated over the receiver, "Can I...come over? Please?"

He was shocked not only by her call (she rarely spoke to him about anything other than business) but also the gloomy tone to her hushed voice. Kutner knew Amber's death affected her more than him and Taub, but he had hardly given her a thought since he knew she wouldn't want to talk about it (specifically not to him). From the looks of it, maybe he was mistaken.

"Er, sure. You know where it is?" He said, attempting to remain casual.

"More or less."

Kutner gave her brief directions to his apartment, and set about attempting to make his house look slightly less like a messy bachelor pad as he contemplated her phone call. Thirteen never needed anyone, he had learnt that a long time ago, but over the last couple of days while Amber's life hung in the balance, he had noticed a subtle change in her. He couldn't quite place his finger on what had changed, but he knew that it went beyond worrying for a friend; maybe she was finally ready to talk about it.

The knock came about twenty minutes later and he hated himself for checking his appearance in the mirror - she needed a friend, not a guy that wanted to get into her pants. He sighed, and opened the door to a new person entirely.

He knew Thirteen was upset, but he'd never seen her like this. Broken. Broken was the only word he could find to describe her appearance; her shoulders were slumped in defeat, hair in a messy ponytail, and her red cheeks and eyes a testament to her earlier tears.

He wordlessly let her into his apartment, closing the door behind her.

"You okay?" Kutner knew that was a stupid question before the words even left his mouth, but it didn't stop him from asking.

She shook her head 'no', before the tears started falling again. His heart broke at seeing her so uncharacteristically vulnerable and he instinctively pulled her into his arms, the move seeming a lot less awkward than he would have anticipated.

He held her close, hand moving in calming circles on her back. "I know you and Amber..."

"I have Huntington's disease." Thirteen cut him off with a strained whisper.

His hand froze mid-circle, "Oh."

"Yeah." She sniffled, resting her head against his shoulder in exhaustion as the last few tears soaked into his tee.

He was about to tell her 'It's going to be okay', before realising that it really wouldn't be. Instead he settled on, "You want to talk about it?"

"I really don't." Thirteen said with some of her usual snark returning. She pulled away and he was thankful to see her look a little less dejected. "You got a beer?"

"That's my girl." Kutner joked, leading her to his kitchenette and fetching two beers from the fridge.

She made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a cry and accepted the drink with a strained smile, "Thanks."

"What do you want to do?" He asked, looking around his modest apartment, trying to find something that might possibly distract Thirteen.

"Go back in time and not run the test." She said bitterly, taking a large swig of the alcohol.

"'Fraid I haven't finished building the time machine yet," Kutner joked, "But I've got a couple of sci-fi films if that's your type of thing..."

"Sounds great," she interrupted what was quickly become a nervous ramble.

"Okay," he said with relief, fetching a couple of DVDs from the shelf.

He turned to see Thirteen sitting casually on his couch, feet tucked underneath her and a beer in her hand, eyes still a little teary. He smiled at how at ease she seemed to feel in his home.

"What?" She asked.

He shook it off, "What do you wanna watch?"

He laid a couple of films in front of her, sitting beside her on the couch. "Anything," was her reply.

They settled on Serenity and it transpired that Thirteen had a secret love for science fiction...and practically knew the film off-by-heart. Two beers and a packet of chips later, she was unashamedly quoting the film. It was cute, as was the laugh she gave every time he attempted to beat her to the punch line. By the end of the film she was hysterically giggling in his arms; a sure sign of her emotional and physical exhaustion as Thirteen never giggled.

His suspicions were confirmed when her laughter subsided and her eyes closed, head resting against his shoulder. His fingers ran through her hair distractedly as the credits rolled on the screen, and she smiled softly against his chest at the action.

"Tired?" He whispered.

She nodded against him, stifling a yawn.

"Stay here tonight." He asked boldly, leaving a chaste kiss on her hairline.

"Okay." She agreed quietly, re-arranging herself so she was lying down on the couch. He followed so he was spooning behind her, his back pressing against the back of the couch. Her small fingers linked through his and rested on her stomach, pulling her warm body flush against his.

He prayed his body would respect her fragile state but the feel of her being so impossibly close to him stirred primal feelings he was trying to suppress, a job made even harder when she shifted against him. Kutner tried to hide his arousal but it was too late and she turned in his arms with a questioning look and a sexily raised eyebrow.

"Sorry," he said sheepishly, moving the blanket that lay on the back of the couch so it lay over their bodies. He didn't realise how close she was until they were staring nose-to-nose at each other under the warm blanket.

"If you, er, want to take the bed..."

He was cut short by the sudden feel of her lips on his. The kiss was soft, gentle, curious; and he didn't have the willpower to pull away. His lips tingled delightfully in a way he hadn't felt for years, and her delicate fingers tracing his cheek tenderly sent a wave of electricity through his body.

Thirteen pulled away with a sweet smile; her forehead resting against his on the arm of the couch. "Thank you," she said softly, leaving the slightest hint of a kiss against his lips.

He shrugged off her thanks, letting his arm pull her back against him as they both fell into a restless sleep, uncertain as to what tomorrow would bring.

Comments are welcome! :-)