A/N: Stumbled onto Hadleyfest one day, months ago and was intrigued. I've always been of the mindset that Thirteen was meant to replace Cameron in a way that gave him a kindred soul with a touch of compassion for him. I think if the writer's strike had not happened, she wouldn't have turned into the boring, simpering pariah everyone has made her out to be. Thanks to dancingphalanges for the effort to create an homage to her, even though it seems to have not panned out.

The PROMPT: She truly hated the bastard. And yet…

The SUMMARY: One night, they are the last two left in the office, a challenge is thrown down that neither can ignore

The SPOILERS: None, but takes place somewhere in season 4 before all of the mess started.


The Gauntlet

She truly hated the bastard. And yet...

She didn't.

Was she crazy? No. She was just tired. It had been a long day and he was especially mean for most of it. They had a particularly hard case and things weren't going well. He must have taken somewhere around twelve Vicodin throughout the day and he was either a giddy, sarcastic asshole or a caustic rusty knife boring into her and everyone around him. Honestly, she could tolerate either one. It was like a gift that know one else understood. The problem was she never knew which House she was going to get. And that sucked. She could never be prepared.

It was after 8:30pm and everyone else had gone home except for her and the aforementioned grizzly bear who was still teetering around his dimly lit office. The patient was stable enough to leave for the night so she decided to pack up her things and go home. A bag of Doritos and diet Dr. Pepper on the sofa in front of the TV with the nightly CSI marathons on Spike always soothed her nerves after a long day of 'Dodge the House insults'. She hoped she had some of her favorite snacks because she really couldn't remember the last time she had time to actually go shopping. Hell, she should probably keep like five bags on hand because occasions like this seemed to be popping up more often than not lately.

Remy swung her leather messenger bag over her shoulder and pulled on her hot pink crocheted cap. It was twenty degrees out this morning when she left and now that the sun was down again; it was probably still just as cold. She flicked the light off in the DDX room as she stepped through the glass door going the short distance to the elevator and pushed the button. She shook her head as she thought for the six thousandth time, why in the world would someone make a hospital with glass walls? Intubation, seizures and urine bags were not the visual décor that one needs to see flashing through the corner of your eye every ten feet or so like a gory medical montage as you walk down the hallway. Besides, it made it really hard to jump your boss and have him bend you over his desk for a quickie late at night when no one was watching.

She gasped a little in surprise of her own wandering thought process as she felt her cheeks grow hot at the explicit scene going on in her head. She couldn't believe she was fanaticizing about him like that. She hated him, didn't she? Didn't mean she didn't want to fuck him, though. He was annoying, dickish, bitter, angry, and yet she was drawn to him like a moth to flame. He was fun sometimes, though. Mostly, he was dangerous in a way that excited her. His intelligence bordered on genius. His skill rivaled no one she ever studied under. His sense of humor coincided with her own. He was sexy as all get out. He could hurt her deeply if she let him. And she wasn't sure she would stop him if he tried.

A noise from behind her shook her from her erotic thoughts. She didn't have to even look behind her to know it was him. The sound of his sneakers and the tip of his cane on the tile floor were as distinct as the thumping of a flat tire on pavement. She closed her eyes and pursed her lips together praying that the elevator came fast so she wouldn't have to endure standing next to him in awkward silence after she had just envisioned his penis inside her on the glass top of the conference room table. Damn her fertile imagination.

He came to a stop beside her wearing his dark wool pea coat and backpack over his shoulder. Without saying anything to her, he pushed the elevator button twice with his cane. She shook her head and jammed her hands in the pockets of her jeans. He always did that. Like his special push was going to be the one that made the elevator actually come faster. He was so impatient. And such a child.

Remy could feel his eyes on her. He was not afraid to stare openly at anyone. In fact, he practically leered at her sometimes like he was undressing her with those incredible eyes. She should be offended. But she secretly liked it. That was a little part of the dangerous thing about him that she was attracted to. He was always studying her like he thought he was actually going to discover what she was thinking if he looked hard enough. She loved it that he couldn't figure it out.

She brought her eyes up to his and stared back at him pointedly with a smirk. He narrowed his eyes at her curiously, his expressive eyebrows going through a myriad of speculations. Lifting her chin daring him to continue his pursuit, she held her gaze hard and fast because she knew how much he hated it when she did that. Like some how she'd be able to see into his soul and find out some secret about him she could use as collateral against him. He broke the contact and cast his eyes down to the floor like he always did. He was a coward underneath it all. But then again so was she. They were the same, hard and tough on the outside but afraid to emotionally connect to anyone on the inside because then they'd be truly vulnerable. And vulnerability made them weak.

The elevator doors opened and he limped in ahead of her completely ignoring the gentlemanly convention of ladies first. Once she was in, he punched the button to the lobby again with the tip of his cane. They rode in silence. Still. Neither one of them talking. He looked up at the ceiling puffing out his stubbled cheeks with his breath and then letting out on an audible flapping sigh. He tapped his cane anxiously against the floor while she stood still, staring at their contorted reflection in the dull surface of the elevator doors. With any other person this would have been a painless elevator ride. With him and his social awkwardness, it was torture. But his inability to hold a normal conversation amused her. He was so inept when it came to being a human being. It was kind of endearing.

Thankfully, the doors opened with a clunk and she gestured for him to exit with her hand. He paused for a millisecond and nodded before he hobbled out into the main lobby. Taking out her mittens, Remy put them on as she walked next to him, her boot heals clicking against the tile surface unconsciously keeping pace with his limping stride as she had gotten used to very early on in the survival quest that was her job interview. They approached the door to the outside and he stopped before opening it.

"It's late and I'm hungry, " he stated.

"It is, " she agreed simply.

He tipped his head at her. "I need someone to pay for my dinner."

Remy felt a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. He was asking her out... in his own twisted sort of way. A little part of her that she wouldn't totally acknowledge tingled with excitement. "I always expect that if I pay for dinner, my date has to put out, " she said boldly knowing it would both intrigue him and throw him off guard at the same time.

He smiled and tilted his head considering her for a moment. "So if I pay for dinner that means you'll put out?"

She knew she had the upper hand here and she couldn't help but wield that power. She leaned in close enough to his neck by his ear that she could smell the remaining essence of the laundry detergent he used. "You could buy me a coffee and a bag of M&Ms and I'd let you bend me over the hood of your car."

His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open as he stammered for coherent thought. She pulled back with a saucy grin and pushed the door open striding into the crisp winter air. When he didn't follow immediately, she turned and her booted heel and tossed a look at him. "You coming or am I going to have order delivery?"

He jerked his head and blinked, regaining his composure. "Burgers ok?"

Remy chuckled and fell into step beside him. "Perfect."