House sighed, pushing open the door to the lobby.

"Hi. How's the leg?" asked Cuddy's annoyingly cheerful voice.

House looked at her.

"Why do you want to know?"

She stopped, hesitating.

He shook his head, smirking, "you want to know because you want to know if you can assign me clinic duty."

She smiled.

"That, and I'd like to know how you're doing."

He shrugged.

"I'd be dancing, if I didn't suck at it in the first place."

She looked at him.

He sighed.

"Yeah, ok... the sore muscles and exhaustion isn't so great, but...."

She nodded.

"I'm sure I can find you a chair, then."

"Hey, wait, you can't--"

Foreman, who had been listening to the whole thing as he signed them both in at the front desk, snorted.

"She's got you, House. And she's not gonna let you go until she's done with you."

He looked despondently at the younger doctor, who just smirked at him.

"You're both just big meanies," he announced, making both of them smirk a little, "see if you get any tonight."

"I doubt you'll actually care by tonight."

"Good point."

House walked off towards the clinic.

Cuddy and Foreman watched him go, blinking.

That was probably the most cheerful House had ever looked while going through those doors.

"Hi, I'm Dr. House."

"Hi. I have a toothpaste tube in my large intestine."

"Well, the toothpaste part, yeah, but I'm the one who gets to say where it is. That's why I've got the stethoscope and you don't."

The man opened his shirt.

The was a small bulge in his abdomen.

House raised an eyebrow.

"It kind of hurts," the man admitted, "it's been there a week."

First day back, and they were still idiots.

Several months later:

House sighed, standing next to Foreman as they waited for the damn hospital board to make a their decision.

The janitor discovering them in the closet had been... unfortunate... but it wasn't like they were the only couple ever discovered in that position. On that floor. In that closet. Today.

Just, apparently, the only one consisting of two males in an employer-employee situation, hence the special meeting being held.

They saw movement in the room, and Cuddy came out.

"Foreman is co-department head to avoid and employee harassment stuff, I doubt you'll have a problem with that since it was practically true before, and try not to get caught again."

"That's it? Half those guys are complete bigots."

"Wilson mentioning the weird lawyer's girl-slash-boy friends helped."

Foreman and House both snorted.

Cuddy sighed, looking at House.

"Are you mad at me?" she asked, quietly.

He looked at her for a while.

"No, I don't think I am, anymore. Probably has something to do with your decisions causing me to be happier than I've ever been before in my life."

She smiled, relieved.

House raised his head from leaning on the balcony wall, reading, as arms slipped around his waist from the back.

He rested his head back against the shoulder, smiling a little bit.

"Cuddy let you off clinic for tonight?"


He let out a deep breath, then turned around, grinning.

Foreman smirked.

"Good," said House, walking off the balcony.

Foreman followed him, sitting on the edge of his desk as he watched House pack up for the day.

"You make sure the nice shoes still fit with the prosthetic?"

"Yes, Foreman. I'm not a moron."

"No, you're a socially inept misanthrope. Which, in this case, makes you act like a moron."

House snorted, shouldering his pack as they walked out the door.

When they got home, House went into the kitchen, and Foreman went into the bedroom.

House dug around in the cabinet until he was able to reach the box in the very back corner.

Foreman reached far up into the closet, feeling for—there it was.

They pulled out small black boxes, opening them briefly to check the nearly identical contents, then shutting them with an identical snap.

Foreman smirked, sitting across the table from House as they waited for the food to arrive.

It was funny. They had been together for almost a year, but this was their first official 'date'.

So far, it wasn't going that great—House was always uncomfortable in places like this, no matter who he was with. Although, Foreman was guessing he would be a lot more uncomfortable with a different person.

House sighed, looking around at the people at the other tables.

His right hand, which was usually fidgeting with the edge of the socket through his pants when he wasn't doing anything with it, was tonight running along the hinge of the box in his pocket.

Foreman took a sip of water, feeling the box in his pocket weighing against his leg.

"Why are we doing this, again?" asked House, trying to conceal the fact that he was way more nervous than just being in a nice restaurant would usually cause.

"Because... I don't know, you're the one who brought it up."

"I was joking."

Foreman shrugged.

The soup came.

Several people were looking at them.

Foreman ignored them, House stuck his tongue out at them.

"Stop it."

House looked at him.

"Unless you want to give it something else to do..." he muttered.

Foreman snorted.

"Wonder what they'd do if I took my leg off..."

Foreman looked at him.

God he looked uncomfortable.

"We can leave, if you want." dammit.

House shook his head.

"I think I can handle a dinner."

Foreman rolled his eyes.

House sighed, running his thumb over his jawbone.

Foreman smirked.

"Where'd you get the razor?"

House shrugged.

"Borrowed Cuddy's."

Foreman rolled his eyes.

"Actually do own one... though it took a while to find."

Foreman had been a little shocked, when he had walked into the bathroom to find a completely clean-shaven House struggling desperately with his tie.

House had said he wished he wasn't so tangled up in silk, so he could take a picture of Foreman's expression.

Foreman had rolled his eyes, started to help him with the tie, and ended up with his tongue in the older doctor's mouth.

To tell the truth, he had actually missed the stubble.

Half an hour later, they were finishing up the main course, and both of them had their hands in their pockets, waiting for the right moment.

The lights in the restaurant started to dim.

They started to pull the boxes out.

House started blinking.

Foreman sighed, stood, and led him to the bathroom.

They got several odd looks, but Foreman knew there would be a lot more if House started seizing in the middle of the restaurant.

House sat down on the bench, leaning forwards, head in his hands.

Foreman sighed, standing next to the bench, hand on his shoulder.

House jerked a little, raising his arm for a moment, then lowered it.

He shook his head.


Foreman caught him as he shot forward off the bench, keeping him from hitting anything on the cold floor—he never managed to use the prosthetic correctly during these, which was actually sort of a blessing, since it kept him from running randomly around.

He started blinking again, half held up by Foreman's arm.


Foreman sat him back on the bench.

Someone came in, then jumped as House shouted again.

Foreman shook his head, "seizure."

The person blinked for a second, shrugged, and walked over to the urinal.

House finally started blinking again, sitting completely still.

The guy washed his hands, looking at them again, and left.

Foreman sat down on the bench next to House, arm around his shoulders as he slowly came out of it.

"You ok?"

House groaned, leaning against the younger doctor.


"Ok," said Foreman, "it's ok."

House nodded, closing his eyes.

Damn he was dizzy...

Foreman just waited, rubbing House's shoulder and watching his face.

Eventually House opened his eyes again, nodding.

"Ok. I'm good."

Foreman nodded, standing up.

House stood as well, but ended up stumbling and leaning against Foreman, who sighed.

"No you're not."

House shrugged, sitting back down.

Someone else came in, walked into one of the stalls.

House leaned forward again, groaning.

They guy came out, looked a them, washed his hands, left.

Foreman sighed.

At least House's suit jacket was still at the table so it wouldn't look like they had walked out on the bill.

House jerked, diving off the bench again.

Dammit, this was taking longer than usual.

Foreman sat down on the floor, leaned against the wall, and pulled House close.

At least right now it just looked like a panic attack.

House eventually seemed to just fall asleep, head drooping to rest on Foreman's shoulder.

Foreman shook him gently, he jerked a little, looking around hazily.

He looked at Foreman, swallowing dryly.


"Yeah. Hey."

House looked exhausted.

"You up for desert, or you just wanna go home?"

House closed his eyes.

Foreman sighed.

Guess that answers that...

He left House sleeping on the bench, paid the bill, got House's jacket, and went to collect his unfortunate boyfriend.

House was snoring by the time he got back, and took a while to wake up.

While Foreman was shaking him, something fell out of his pocket.

Black. Box.

Foreman stared at it for a moment.

Then looked at House, smirking and shaking his head.


House finally opened his eyes.


"You dropped something."

House looked at the floor.

Two black boxes.

He looked at Foreman, who smirked.

"Well there goes the speech..."

"You had a speech?" asked Foreman, handing House his coat.

House shrugged.

"I figured it out ahead of time, 'cause I know I suck at that kind of thing."

Foreman leaned against the wall, tilting his head.

"What was it?"

House pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, making Foreman snort.

"You wrote it down?"

House looked at him, rolling his eyes.

"As has been mentioned, I suck at this sort of thing."

Foreman shrugged.

"What was it?"

House shook his head.

Foreman made a grab for the paper, House jerked it away.

"Fine," he said, laughing, "I'll say it."

Foreman grinned, picking up House's box and handing it to him.

House cleared his throat, still looking a little sleepy, and started.

"Life sucks. Life always sucks. I used to think it could be changed, and I fought really hard to do that, but... it never changed. Life always sucked. By the time I had my infarction, I didn't even see other people trying to change that. It all seemed useless, nobody ever managed their dreams that I saw. Everybody was too afraid of offending someone else to say what they really thought, and nobody ever accomplished what they set out to do. Then Cuddy decided I needed another fellow, and I happened to interview this one guy. He didn't give a damn what I thought about him, even though that mattered for whether he got the job or not. So I didn't throw away his resume after he left, and called a bunch of people. That guy was the first person I had ever met who actually had the guts to fight for something, even though all of society was telling him he would never make it. That was fascinating to me, so I hired him. Life still sucked, but he was interesting. Then, recently, life started sucking even more. And more. And more. But I noticed something. Life sucked more, but I was getting happier. And happier. And happier. I think I'd like that second trend to continue."

He held out the box.

Foreman was looking at him oddly.

House raised an eyebrow, "what?"

Foreman shook his head, taking the box.

Then he pulled a piece of paper out of his own pocket, which made House snicker.

He grinned, picking up his box.

"You're a manipulative bastard. I hated you. I did everything I possibly could to prove you wrong. I fought you at every turn, and I argued with you constantly. I was disgusted by some parts of you, and grudgingly admired other parts. I looked up to you as a doctor, and down on you as a human being. When Cuddy stuck me in that room with you, I thought I was going to be miserable, and I was, at first. I still hated you, still argued with you, still thought you were juvenile and annoying. And then, I was thinking. I was thinking, and I started to realize that, positive or negative, I had more feelings and thoughts about you than anyone else I had ever met. And I was starting to realize that I enjoyed the arguments, and the fighting, and everything except the misanthropy. And I noticed that the wall I didn't like, was starting to go down. I was happier sitting in that hospital room than I'd ever been before, because I enjoyed who I was with. I thing I'd like that trend to continue."

House smirked, taking the box Foreman held out.

By the time they left, two fingers were bearing nearly identical gold bands.