In Absence of Keen Judgment:

A House/Cuddy Tale

Story Title: In Absence of Keen Judgment

Story Summary: When one takes away the medicine, the trials, and the blonde wenches who walk in at odd hours, they are left with the bare bones of the pair. In that moment, in the small window, in the absence of keen judgment, something might just change. House/Cuddy. Spoilers for Season Five.

Genre: Romance/Friendship

Chapter Focus: #233 of 1000 Themes, "Esoteric"

Chapter Rating: K+

Word Count: 1340+

Spoilers: Same as the one before

Author's Starting Notes: And, so we've skipped some more time down the Huddilicious road and we've come to a point where they struggle to define who they are, and what they are to each other. So, this one is Esoteric. Review please.

If you like this, check out some of my other themed work by going to my profile and looking at my online works at the bottom. Read and Review.

Time Stamp: Posted February 9th, 2009


Everything has a pattern.

Every movement is part of a sequence somewhere along the line.

Rain falls in a way unlike what everyone portrays. It isn't a 'drip, drop', nor a 'goosh, plop'. Rather something more intricate and intimate pounding the keys of the universe simply for the avid listener. Someone who pays attention can find plenty of things in the downpour. A hope; a friend; a sign screaming for them to move to the next step. Everything lies in the patterns surrounding them.

Relationships have patterns as well. The one that lies there is often even more complex than the way liquid hits the ground. However, it is based on a very simple concept; give and take. It repeats, and the players change and alternate, but, ultimately, it is simply that. It is this concept that has Lisa Cuddy watching the shower outside her home so curiously. It is probably just a hallucination, but she swears she can hear words form in the sounds of the splatter.

It must be her conscience, she supposes after a minute or two. Surely rain doesn't yell at people to take action. Rain never says, "Say something! Say something!" Besides, she would have to be a lunatic to listen to nature calling; her conscience, not so much.

She whispers then his name into the air.


It seems to have gotten lost in the space between them for it never reaches his ears. He -- who lies against the wall in the small room, towering like a mighty oak -- is as unresponsive as before. She tries again, louder this time.

"House," she urges.

He groans, lifting his head from the sandy crevice of lofty dreams.

She can tell from his reaction time that he had been asleep. She tries to ignore the sign in his voice when he speaks in a rumble, deep as the ocean.


She smiles at the (tired, kind of dopey, lost in transition) expression, informing him, "The rain is easing up. You should be able to head home pretty soon."

His head bobs droopily. His face is hidden from view, causing her to miss the flash of discontent that passes.

"Your place is making me tired," he grumbles. Her lips turn upwards at his exclamation. She had almost forgotten how poor he was at making conversation.

"Or it could just be the insane hours you've been putting in for Patrick," she supplies. He pulls his gaze up to her eyes, confusion floating loosely in his blue orbs.

"Patrick?" he repeats.

"Your patient," she reminds him, "You know, the guy you've been trying to save for the last three days."

He nods then.

"Oh, Headband-Guy," he mutters. As an afterthought, he adds, "I hope Thirteen is actually treating him. I'd hate for her not to and the guy to go into another cardiac arrest because she was too busy with her death-sentence-induced jungle fever."

Lisa catches sight of the ceiling following that. Of all the people on staff, it has to be Greg House who focuses on relationships. Most employers barely know if their team is married or not, let alone exactly who they're dating with suspected motives as to why. She decides to poke fun at him.

"I'm starting to think you're jealous, House," she starts, "Always so interested in what Dr. Hadley does with her time. Aren't you getting a little Cameron-ish?"

Greg frowns at her, gasping indigently.

"Never! I could not be that pathetically sincere when talking to dying people in my life. Just ask Thirteen," he jokes. At least, it should be a joke. Both adults know that it is sadly is the truth.

"Still, you're either jealous of what she has, or you're actually starting to like your fellows," Lisa concludes.

"You're right, Cuddy," Greg agrees, his voice taking on a defeated hint, "I'm just looking for that lucky son-of-a-bitch ex-con who will give me a spot in a drug trial, break into my apartment, and then kiss me during a staff party. I'm hoping to find mine by Valentine's. I'd love to miss that party."

She smirks.

"If you're a good boy, I'll let you do clinic that night."

"Really? Oh, won't you, Mommy? I just love the clinic!"

The sarcasm in that statement is so thick, she nearly chokes on it. Her rebuttal is weak because of it.

"I'm not your mother, House," she says.

"Good thing. Kissing you mother is even more frowned upon than kissing your boss," he comments.

"The appeal in doing either is esoteric," she remarks.

His eyebrows climb up his forehead, ending almost symmetrically to the half smile on his face.

"The appeal in making a move on a babe like you is hard to comprehend?" he asks.

"Well, maybe not the appeal, but the end game," she clarifies, "I mean just look at our... uh."

Her sentence kind of falls apart when she looks at his curious face. She cannot exactly find the right way to end that sentence. How should she describe them? They aren't a couple; that would involve actually doing things together. They aren't friends with benefits; unless you count emotional baggage as benefits. And, they certainly aren't just employer-employee; they never were, to be honest.

Her eyebrows knit in concentration. He, meanwhile, tries to figure out what she was saying before.

"Our what? Our bird house?" he guesses, "Chicken farm? Love child? Widely expanding fan base? What are we talking about here?"

She resigns to saying the only thing that will shut him up.

"Our, for lack of a better word, relationship," she shares. His confusion melts away instantly. She expects him to cower back into his reclusive shell like usual, but this time he does not.

"Finish your thought," he commands. The assertive force comes up short of the bar, leaving her hearing more of a request than anything else. Still, she speaks, ranting almost with the first thing to come to her mind.

"The actuality of our… relationship is esoteric. It's hard to understand, more likely to be comprehended by a small number of people with special knowledge."

"Ie, you, me, and Wilson?" Greg says to check.

"You can't honestly say you understand it, House," she declares, "No one fully understands it because it makes no sense. It -- this -- isn't normal. First, we hated each other. Next thing I know, we're sleeping together. Then, we're not. Then, we are again. Then, we're in two separate states. Then comes Stacy, and the infarction, and the baby mania, and Joy, and now…."

She looks up into his eyes again, practically pleading when she asks, "What are we, House? Where are we?"

He turns his head from hers.

"We're House and Cuddy," he answers, "That's all we ever were and ever will be. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just, the two of us."

She looks to her slippers, still confused as ever. She should have never expected to learn anything from him anyway. He has always failed at expressing anything emotional. Despite that, the words he speaks drive home. They really are just that; House and Cuddy. With the awkwardness of future introductions ("Oh, yeah, this is the House part of House and Cuddy.") and the bitterness of past conversations, they are what they are.

"Is that okay with you?" he asks after a pause. She figures the question is directed more towards her coming attitude than anything else.

"It's fine," she responds. It truly is. They are House and Cuddy, as esoteric and frustrating as that may be. She is not completely sure what that means, whether it be romantic, platonic, or otherwise. But, it's what they always have been. Two separate entities brought together strangely by something small. They've been in countless situations that most groups couldn't handle, or sustain standing. The pattern for them is tiring and mind-numbingly hard to comprehend. But, it doesn't matter because if there's one thing that Greg thrives on, it's puzzles. And figuring them out seems to be one hell of a challenge.

© Everything written above belongs to me (FF user, Paint Me a Symphony). If somebody is out there pushing this as their own, they are lying. I may not own House M.D, or its characters, but I do own this.