DON'T LET GO, Ch6-Cuddy's Comfort

House struggles through another night… And gets some much needed comfort…

I know it's kind of a short chapter, but there's more on the way…

Rated M/Adult for strong language and WARNING: References to child abuse and House & Cuddy getting more intimate… nothing too racy just yet… but it will be soon, I promise!

All the usual and applicable disclaimers and warnings apply, such as don't like - don't read; I don't own House or any other characters, or anything or anybody else, blah, blah, blah…

NITEJASMINE

DON'T LET GO, Chapter 6-Cuddy's Comfort

House MD fanfic by NiteJasmine

*****

Greg sat silently in the small dark space, his small arms wrapped tightly around his legs, hugging his knees up against his chin. The smell of floor wax and furniture polish thick in his nose. He could hear the mess being cleaned up on the other side of the thin door. He knew well enough to keep his mouth shut and not make a sound.

He hadn't meant to drop the glass of milk, it had been an accident. The heavy glass had just slipped from his fingers and then had shattered on the hardwood floor, sending milk flying and chunks of glass skittering everywhere. The noise had brought his father storming into the kitchen, bellowing a stream of military obscenities. The big man had snatched the broom and dustpan from the utility closet before roughly shoving him into their place and slamming the door shut. He slid down the wall in the tiny space, trying to make himself even smaller, fear knotting itself in the pit of his stomach. He knew he didn't dare even think about crying, that would only make things much, much worse.

Suddenly, the door was jerked back open. Greg looked up tentatively, blinking and squinting at the light, only to see the tall imposing figure of Big John House glaring down at him, the unbridled look of contempt in his eyes. Before he could move, both of his wrists were seized in one huge hand and he was yanked to his feet and hauled from the closet. The big man leaned in, pulling Greg up close to his menacing face.

"You know what your problem is, boy?" He growled, shaking him. "You just don't appreciate how good you have it here."

He stood back up and shoved the cleaning supplies back into the closet, banging the door shut.

"Same goddamn problem your mama has," his father snarled. He grabbed Greg's shirt collar and headed quickly for the stairs. Greg stumbled along, trying to keep up, knowing he would catch further hell if he let his shirt get torn.

His mother had left earlier for an Officer's Wives Fundraiser, and Greg knew she wouldn't be back home until much later. He was on his own with the big monster. John House was very good at tormenting him in a variety of devious and horrendous ways. All of which never left a mark on him. Never a trace of physical evidence to show anyone what he had endured, especially his mother.

They got to the top of the stairs and his father shoved him into the bathroom. The bathtub was filled with water, and Greg's eyes went wide when he saw the huge chunks of ice floating in it. Must have gotten them from the big chest freezer in the garage…

"Get those clothes off, boy," the big man ordered with an evil grin. "It's bath night. I promised your mother."

His father began to laugh at him as his small trembling fingers managed to undress himself. When he was finally standing there naked, his father scooped him up and plunged him into the icy water…

"Nooooo!!!" he heard himself shriek. He scrunched his eyes shut as the shock of the cold water took his breath away. He involuntarily sucked in some water and came up coughing and choking... His skin felt like a thousand needles were prickling him… He started shaking violently…

"Greg!" He heard a woman's voice yelling to him. "Greg!"

His mom! She must be home early! But his father leaned over and put his large hands on his shoulders, driving his small body deep under the water and holding him there so he couldn't call out… Couldn't breathe…

He heard her calling his name over and over again… He started to thrash wildly, his small fists banging against the tub, trying to break the big man's grip, trying to get away…

He forced his eyes open...

And there was Amber… Sitting on the bus seat in front of him, calling to him... Reaching a hand out towards him, her eyes pleading… The glaring lights of the truck behind her getting brighter and brighter… No… no, no, no… He clamped his eyes shut against the impact… Then everything was tumbling… crashing together… freefalling…

"GREG!"

He snapped his eyes open again. Cuddy was sitting in front of him, looking seriously concerned. Her hands were on his shoulders, shaking him awake while trying to avoid getting hit by his swinging, flailing arms. He was lying on the sofa in his own living room, bathed in a cold sweat.

"Greg!" She yelled again, seeing him finally come up out of the awful nightmare, his wild eyes focusing on her. He stopped struggling and sat up, trembling and gasping for air.

"Hey, shhhhhh," Cuddy said, keeping a hand on his shoulder while running the other through his damp hair, trying to calm him down. "It's OK. Calm down. You're safe. It was just a bad dream. You're OK…"

He looked around quickly, reassuring himself that he was, in fact, safe in his own home and that nobody else was there except Lisa Cuddy. He remembered coming out here to the living room with her sometime in the afternoon, to watch TV. She was going to stay with him tonight and Wilson would be by in the morning… Yeah, he remembered now.

Only then did he let himself relax. He closed his eyes again and focused on slowing his breathing. Cuddy gave him a few minutes to recover. He finally stopped shaking.

"Want to talk about it?" She asked him, gently stroking his arm.

He opened his eyes and looked at her, then shook his head.

"No," he said quickly. "You're right. Just a… nightmare. It was nothing."

Cuddy knew it certainly hadn't been nothing, but decided to not to push him about it right now. He had been shouting and fighting against something horrible, she could hear the terror and panic in his voice. And it had taken her quite some time and effort to finally get him to wake up. But she knew how vulnerable he still was, both physically and mentally, and that there was nothing to be gained by trying to force him to open up. So she settled for just staying there next to him, helping him calm down and get a hold of himself.

"Okay," she said softly.

It took several minutes for House to get himself settled down. Cuddy sat quietly with him, giving him all the time he needed. He put a hand up and rubbed his forehead. He had a pounding headache. And his leg was already voicing it's own nasty level of discomfort.

"What time is it?" He asked, wondering when he would be getting his next dose of methadone, no matter how small.

"Almost two in the morning," Cuddy replied, still looking worried.

Damn. He had at least another couple hours to wait, maybe more. He needed to distract himself. Plus he wanted to deflect any further conversation about his bad trip through dreamland.

"Can I get you anything?" She asked gently.

He looked at her, and she saw a tiny sparkle in his eyes.

"How about a Vicodin?" He quipped.

She gave him a dirty look and scoffed, breaking the tension.

"Morphine?" He continued, encouraged that the injection of humor seemed to be working. "Demerol? Percocet? Or how about…" Cuddy cut him off before he could go any further.

"Oh, knock it off," she said in mock annoyance. "You know better."

She sat for a moment and just gazed warmly at him. This enigmatic man that she had known for some 20-plus years. They had been through so much in the last few days. More than once she had wondered if he would pull through, if he would be alright. And somehow he always managed to constantly surprise and amaze her. She knew they weren't out of the woods yet, but she was so delighted to see the shades of his old sarcastic self resurfacing. The old House she had always known and yes, had really always loved. She couldn't keep the smile from coming to her face as she looked at him.

"What are you grinning at?" He asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes.

She reached out and put one hand on his grizzled cheek, then she leaned in and softly pressed her lips to his. She didn't think about, she just did it.

It caught him completely off guard. He remembered his massive hallucination, how real it had all felt, her kiss, her touch. How real her body had felt against him. Now it was real… And it scared the living hell out of him. But… it felt so good… He wanted more… He had waited so long…

He didn't let her pull away. He reached out and gripped her shoulders, pulling her closer to him. He returned her kiss, deepening it, while slowly wrapping his arms around her. She leaned against him and moaned softly, her hands sliding around his neck and wandering up his back.

They stayed that way for a while, kissing each other lazily, their mouths tenderly exploring each other. Neither one wanting it to end, neither one pulling away.

House forgot about his headache. He forgot about his nightmares. He forgot about his thigh. He forgot about his pain. For those timeless moments, the only thing that he felt was the warmth of the woman in his arms. His Cuddy. Nothing compared to the comfort he felt radiating from her. He had waited over 20 years for this, but now he had absolutely no idea why he had waited for so long. And now that he had it, he never wanted to let it go…

Their kiss eventually ended as gently as it had begun, but Cuddy didn't move away. House laid back on the sofa, turning slightly to give her more room while still holding her closely against him. She curled herself up against his chest as he draped the light blanket over them both. She felt him relax into the couch with a deep sigh, burying his face in her hair. He kept his arms gently wrapped around her, careful not to put any stress on her still tender and bruised ribs.

"Sweet dreams, Greg," Cuddy whispered softly. He didn't answer her, but she felt him kiss her through her mess of tousled hair.

Cuddy closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep listening to the steady sound of Greg's heartbeat.

They laid there entwined with each other until some hours later, when Wilson burst through the front door, juggling his briefcase and a couple bags of coffee and donuts…

*****