There Will Be No Divorce Chapter 15

"Sing for the flames that will rip through here

And the smoke that will carry us away

Yeah, sing for the damage we've done

And the worse things that we'll do."

"Alpha Rats' Nest", The Mountain Goats

House stared helplessly at the slender hand in front of him. He remained frozen in place, his best attempt at reconciliation hanging in the air between them. Had he overplayed it? Or should he have just stormed in, kissed the hell out of her and worried about the consequences (or serious bodily injury) later?

She looked beautiful in the soft light of her kitchen. Though she could cook a grand total of three dishes, the room was laid out in a homey style with enough porcelain and metal equipment to keep Martha Stewart busy for a month. He really did love that about her, that she never went into anything half-heartedly. That was the Cuddy who had grabbed his attention back in Michigan, though admittedly the great rack and tight little ass had been more of a priority.

Cuddy flexed her outstretched fingers, forming a fist and then pointing firmly at him with the index finger. Every detail of her movements seemed like suspended animation to him; he was hypnotized by her. He almost felt as though he could read her thoughts as he watched her struggle to vocalize them. But it was like bad radio reception in a language he didn't understand, and so he was stuck holding his breath and praying she wasn't about to break his heart all over again.

"It would be a stupid idea."

Like a swift kick to the solar plexus, the peaceful moments of staring at her and hoping began to dissolve in an instant. He couldn't control the dismay that must have swept across his face. She frowned slightly and continued, not stepping back, not moving closer.

"But it's all been a stupid idea. Stupid, painful but exciting and fun too. I might just have crossed the border into insanity, but I'm tired of resisting you."

It had been 23 years since his last drunken attempt at a cartwheel. Then, it had been for a stupid dare, but in that moment he would gladly have risked life and limb to express the sudden surge of happiness, of success that flooded through him. Luckily, that surge was accompanied by a timely pang from his thigh and so he opted not to undo the past six weeks of grueling physical therapy for one moment of madness.

So he did the next best thing and implemented what had originally been Plan B: he closed the last inches between them, took her face gently in his hands and proceeded to kiss her like his life depended on it.

In some ways, it probably did.

Cuddy almost collapsed as his lips first met hers. There was a split-second of hesitation in his kiss, as though he expected her to pull away, but it immediately gave way to almost bruising intensity. His tongue pressed forcefully into her mouth, and she moaned as she parted her lips to allow it.

It was heady, it was passionate and damn, it was turning her on.

The t-shirt of alleged commitment fell to the floor as she grabbed blindly at the shirt he was wearing. His hands were already tugging impatiently at her top, and when they broke contact for a moment, the two offending items were roughly pulled over their respective heads. When the kiss resumed it had the additional catalyst of his naked chest and torso pressed against her, and Cuddy knew that nothing short of a nuclear war was going to stop this now.

She tried to talk between kisses, navigating clumsily backwards through the kitchen, dragging him with her.

"You need to…" Oh God, he was doing that thing where he bit her lower lip and it was getting so difficult to think.

"You need to promise me you won't hurt me that way again. Ohhhh…. Those things you said…"

When he responded it was hard to make out the words as he nuzzled at her neck.

"Can't promise that. Still…mmm… me."

Cuddy dug her nails into his shoulders at that, and he looked up expectantly from where he had most likely given her a pretty noticeable hickey. For a moment she contemplated calling it off, denying herself the sex that seemed pretty much inevitable.

Then she realized that she was asking something of him that they'd never had before. The sarcasm and bitchiness hadn't abated when they first slept together. If anything it had been adapted into a form of foreplay. Whereas in the past they'd simply upset each other and walked off to sulk, being together meant make-up sex, which was quite possibly one of her favorite varieties.

Screw it.

When she kissed him, she also realized that no way in hell were they going to hold out all the way to the bedroom, and so she reached for his fly right away. Her skirt was shoved up over her hips, and House was already pulling insistently at her panties as he backed her up against the dining table.

Somehow, in a matter of seconds they were divested of all clothing, the greed in his eyes when she finally undid her bra sent a shiver down her spine. It had been almost easy to forget how sexy it was to be wanted like that, to feel the full force of his intensity focused on her.

As he hoisted her up onto the smooth mahogany surface, she muttered concern about his leg but he waved it off. She noted that he did seem to be standing more comfortably but rational thoughts evaporated as his mouth descended on her right nipple, the warmth and wetness of his circling tongue short-circuiting any remaining coherent thought.

She moaned her whole-hearted approval as she ran gentle fingers through his thinning hair, another reminder that they were getting older, that they'd wasted so much time apart. It would have been ludicrous to assume they could have been happy together over the past 20 years, but the nagging sense of time running out came naturally with someone who flirted with destruction as often as House did.

It didn't matter anymore; he was there, and so was she. His fingers sought out the slick wetness between her thighs and his muttered curses on discovering exactly how much she wanted him only escalated the desperate need she felt for him in that moment.

The sudden tenderness was unexpected though quite lovely, but it wasn't what she wanted. Pulling roughly at his hair, she made him face her again.

"Don't you dare treat me like a piece of porcelain. I'm not going to break."

He grinned lasciviously, a familiar sight, but she stopped analyzing his expression when he guided his hard cock swiftly inside her, the sudden thrust causing her to let a grateful hissing 'yes' to escape her lips.

And then a blur.

A delicious blur of heat and strength and him being suddenly real again after all those painful weeks of abstract and when orgasm finally announced itself, loudly and overwhelmingly, tears appeared briefly in her eyes.

Her ankles were hooked over his shoulders, she realized as she regained coherence, perspective. He was partially slumped over her, pressing insistent kisses along her calf as he struggled to remain standing. It was ridiculous, slightly uncomfortable and probably pretty stupid.

It was them.

Detangling took more coordination and sense than either possessed, but eventually they achieved freedom from her furniture and stumbled on mutually weaker legs towards her bedroom.

Cuddy couldn't formulate much of a sentence until their naked bodies were safe from the evening chill under her sheets. Her left hand rested lightly on his chest, a conscious and unconscious reminder that he was back.

He was watching her with his customary intensity, quiet for once but she could feel the furious workings of his mind across the pillows. No doubt House was still trying to pick a winner from the competing words of sarcasm, curiosity and outright rudeness.

"That's how you tell a guy no? It was particularly convincing when you started thrusting your hips at me like that. Was that the kind of indifference you were going for?"

Damn, he'd combined all three. Cuddy sighed at the thought of managing a barrage of House's own brand of pillow talk.

"If we can't keep away from each other, there seemed little point in denying ourselves pleasure. We can't all be masochists, you know."

He stuck his tongue out at her.

"Seriously, Cuddy. We should keep doing this. We're good at this, when we're not busy sucking at it. And I'm sorry for…stuff. Wait, I said that already. And since I got laid, I'm pretty sure I don't have to be nice to you any more."

Her fingernails pressed a friendly but sharp reminder into his pectoral muscles.

"It wouldn't kill you to be a little nicer to me."

House seemed to consider the idea, shrugging non-committally.

"We'll see. You want to have a conversation about how we forgot to use protection, again?"

"Not overly, no."

He accepted her refusal first time, apparently too sated for their usual sparring matches.

"I meant it, with the t-shirt. I don't want to mess this up again, though I guarantee you I will. Constantly, and in a variety of horrifying ways. None of which changes the fact that I love you."

Damn, that did it. Her tear-ducts committed the ultimate betrayal and reacted violently to his words, the first time she'd heard him say them outside of hushed whispers in the throes of passion, unconscious comments that she'd never taken seriously.

Choking back a sob, she forced out a response.

"Yeah, you're okay too."

That prompted a smile from him, as light and as genuine as she'd seen from him in months. He quickly replaced it with mock-disgust as he swept her last few tears away with a calloused thumb.

He looked her directly in the eye and asked the one thing she'd never expected.

"You think we should get married?"

She laughed.

Not the awkward, uncomfortable laugh she'd used so often when he said something that had confused her, nor the mirthless one she reserved for discovering she was once again the victim of one of his pranks.

No, for the first time since their fight, since the horrible doctor's appointment and all the painful, colorless days, Lisa Cuddy laughed and truly meant it.

She was weak from lack of oxygen when her almost hysterical giggles subsided. To his credit, House didn't look particularly wounded by her less than considerate reaction. He was probably expecting it anyway.

"Good one, House. Now why don't we talk about something real – like the fact that you're regaining some use of your leg? Upping the Vicodin? Or have you finally upgraded to heroin?"

"Wouldn't be able to get it up quite so impressively if I had, would I?"

His eyebrows waggled suggestively, and she was reminded quite forcefully of why she was crazy about him.

"Princeton's favorite lady-lover has been using all her secret tricks on me. As soon as I called it punishment, she was all over me. I think I might have turned her on you know."

Cuddy smacked him lightly, but all the diversity training in the world would have no effect on him. Another fact she'd learned to accept.

"I don't care if she ties you up and does the reverse cowgirl on you. If it works, it's a good thing."

Of course, his eyes widened at that. He kissed her firmly, reigniting the low heat that had kept simmering inside her.

He pulled away and punched her overstuffed pillow into submission.

"If you want to go again, you nymphomaniac, you're going to have to let me rest a little while first. I'm not twenty anymore."

Cuddy kissed him affectionately on the forehead.

"You get your beauty sleep, old timer. I'm going to clean up a little."

House smiled sleepily, eyelids already fluttering closed. She eased herself from the easy embrace they'd fallen into and pulled her robe from the bottom of the bed to cover her.

"Hey, what happened to all chores being performed naked? That was definitely a rule. I love rules, after all. Couldn't bear to see one broken."

Cuddy snorted at his hypocrisy, and threw a discarded cushion at his almost-unconscious head.

Padding lightly through the familiar rooms of her house, she surveyed the damage in the dining area. Clothes everywhere, including her bra hooked over the light fitting. Not to mention that the table itself would need cleaning before the cleaning lady arrived in the morning with her silently judgmental expressions.

Gathering up the clothes, she heard something drop onto the hardwood floor. Bending to collect the fallen item, she literally forgot to breathe for a moment when she saw what had undoubtedly fallen from House's pocket.

Pale blue. Velvet. A couple of inches square.

Perhaps House hadn't been kidding after all.