Disclaimer – We do not own House M.D. It all belongs to David Shore and Fox.
Friday, Cuddy's Office, a little past 10PM
House was slowly limping through the lobby when a faint glimpse of light, coming from Cuddy's office, caught his always alert eyes. He looked down at his wristwatch and noticed, with unhidden curiosity, that it was way past her proverbial 'bed time'. Rubbing his forehead in puzzlement he quickly decided to get to the bottom of this mystery and, in one pivotal move, changed his direction. Seconds later he barged into her office, visibly startling her. She definitely wasn't expecting to see him.
Cuddy slightly jumped in her seat, immediately focusing at the swinging door. It was late, it was the end of the week and Gregory House was the last person she expected to see. Yet he stood there, suspiciously looking around her office. Lacking a better questioning device, she simply asked, "House, what are you still doing here?"
Still looking around as if he was expecting to see someone else hiding in her office he smugly replied. Irking Cuddy was his favorite pastime. "Playing hide and seek with the nurses. It's fun when it's dark around here. A lot of shady corners for doing shady deeds."
"House." Cuddy quickly reprimanded him for his obviously tactless joke. It was not that she didn't believe he was capable of doing it, she did. It was the mere image of his sexual misdeeds that disturbed her. On so many levels.
"What? I was saving a patient. Is that suddenly a crime?" House asked pretending to be hurt. He hated professionally justifying himself, especially to her. But being his boss she had the prerogative and that further annoyed him. Why did she have to be so infuriatingly sexy and demanding at the same time was beyond him but he couldn't deny he liked her company. A lot. The more she irritated him the more he wanted her.
Cuddy knew he was working on a complicated case and was duly informed about it but his sudden dedication surprised her. Did he intentionally stay behind or was he called in?, she asked herself before answering his question. "No. But you never stay late. I mean not beyond the necessary hours that you so reluctantly put in."
Her statement was nothing but true. On Friday afternoons he had a pole position at the main door at 5PM. Last one in, first one out. But today his case took him beyond the borders of medicine and he was more than intrigued but Cuddy didn't need to know about it. Her own mystery camp-out was a greater puzzle at the moment. "You don't either yet you are still here. Why are you still here?"
"I am finishing some paperwork for the midterm review." Cuddy quickly replied, glancing over her paperwork before meeting his questioning gaze. However, one fact slipped her mind. Gregory House had an uncanny gift for observation and immediate deduction and that gift served him well when he wanted to catch someone lying.
"Yeah, nice try. Why are you camping out here? Who are you hiding from? Another date gone bad?" House asked sarcastically, knowing full well that she turned her office into her sanctuary, at least for tonight.
"I am not hiding from anyone." Cuddy uneasily replied, provocatively looking at him, almost daring him to prove her wrong.
Accepting her challenge he turned around and pointed to her office couch. A pillow, a neatly spread sheet and a blanket were a dead giveaway that she was intending to sleep there. "Then why is your sofa made up for sleeping?"
"I was taking a nap earlier. That's why." Cuddy quickly came back with a sort of believable reply but she knew that House was not buying. Not now when she was acting all nervous around him.
"Cuddy, it's such a turn on when you are lying," House said saucily with a devilish grin on his face. She was truly adorable when she was trying to hide something from him. "But don't mind me. Give."
"I can't go home." Cuddy said forcing House to arch his eyebrows in sheer amusement. He stood there, probing her with his gaze, expecting a piece of juicy gossip. Stuff he lived for. All his hopes of verbal entertainment quickly deflated when she explained her reasons. "I have a gas leak in my house."
"Why didn't you check into a hotel?" He asked quickly trying to hide disappointment. He was hoping it was one of her dates gone bad without him even crashing it. He just couldn't stand other men around her. Not now. Not ever.
"I didn't think…" Cuddy started but House quickly interrupted her with one of his trademark banter insults.
"Oh you are such a cheap Jewish girl." He said jokingly, almost lovingly as an idea started simmering in his head.
"House, I am not cheap. It's only a temporary solution. I will be fine." She quickly defended herself and turned back her attention to the files in front of her. Then raising her eyes back to the figure standing in the doorway, she said, "And unless you need something that is case-related this conversation is over. Leave me alone."
"You are soooo cheap but that's not gonna happen. I mean leaving you alone. Come on, pack up." House ordered and limped closer to her desk. There was a certain determination in his voice, something commanding yet compassionate at the same time.
Putting her palms on the desk in front of her Cuddy nervously spread all ten digits in annoyance. She didn't know how to respond to him when he wasn't a complete jerk. And tonight there was almost something soft about him. "House, I am not in the mood for your games tonight. Just leave, please."
"So you are saying that on some other nights you will be in the mood for my games? Sweet." House teased as Cuddy tensed under his inquisitive gaze.
"House!" Cuddy semi-screamed in fake reprimand of his behavior. Honestly she preferred their little banter more than the stupid report in front of her.
"Hey watch out, you are gonna wear my name out. I take a lot of pride in it." House joked back, stealing a little smile from his boss. She just couldn't stay mad at him for a long time and he knew it. He took pride in that too.
"OK, fine. What do you want?" She finally gave up, raising her hands in the air and pushing herself in the chair, away from the desk. She crossed her legs seductively and leaned back, measuring him from head to toe.
House immediately got to the point, appreciating the sudden change in her bossy attitude. "Get that cheap ass off of that chair and come with me. I am not gonna let you sleep in your office for Gods sake."
"What do you mean?" Cuddy asked, visibly confused.
"Cute. First you lie then you play dumb. Get your stuff together and move. You are sleeping over at my place." With fierce determination House explained as he moved closer to her desk, placing his palms down and staring at her. He was not going to take no for an answer.
"No I am not." Cuddy squealed in protest.
"Yes you are." House squealed back in the same tone, pressing his palms harder against her workstation.
"No I am not." Cuddy tried again with ultimate defiance in her voice.
"Listen," he finally said, walking around her desk and stepping in front of her. His big stature was threateningly looming over her and she dry swallowed when he announced, "It's either my way or the hard way. And you know how the second one will play out."
"I don't think…" Cuddy stuttered trying to tell him it was not a good idea to begin with.
"With that cleavage, Cuddy," House said pointing down at her boobs, "…there is no need to think. Seriously." Cuddy was silent, obviously thinking of her options. Her mind was racing at the speed of sound when she heard him continue, "I am not going to let you sleep here. Accept it. Now move, I don't bite."
"I am not so sure of it." Cuddy cockily replied, locking her now grayish eyes with his scorching blue ones.
"So you gave it some thought, didn't you?" House leaned down, grabbing the armrests of her chair, daring her to deny it.
"Actually yes. And not in a pleasant way." Cuddy replied, catching him off guard. When he didn't say a word she got up and strolled past him, evading his overwhelming closeness. Her body already started responding to his, this time in a pleasant way. Deflecting her own feelings, she asked, "What is it that you expect in return?"
"Nothing." House quickly replied following her little frame across the office with his hawk eyes.
Cuddy turned around to the unexpected answer that left his mouth. With a slight shock on her face she challenged him, "I don't believe you, House. With you there is always a hidden motive or some kind of inexplicable reason."
"I want to help you in this situation. Is that a bad thing?" House honestly replied thinking back about his motives. When he offered her a place to stay House really and only wanted to help her. He couldn't stand seeing her more tired and broken from her job than she already was. Too bad she didn't believe him. Then again, she rarely did unless it had something to do with diagnostics.
"No. But I need to know what I am getting myself into." Cuddy rationalized, not ready to give in yet. She truly wanted to know what she was getting herself into. She needed a good-night rest in a proper bed but if the price for The House bed-and-breakfast service was getting hurt and losing her heart, she was not willing to pay it.
"Here is the deal. How long do you have to be homeless?" House asked, toning the situation down a notch.
"Two days. Just this weekend." Cuddy replied wondering where he was going with this.
"See, that's not bad," he boyishly said, clearly onto something. Then to her ultimate astonishment, he delivered calmly, "You can make me two home-cooked meals and we are even. How is that?"
"Just two meals? No sexual favors?" Cuddy asked, still careful of his motives. Nothing was ever simple or easy with the infamous Gregory House.
"Well, now that you mention it … that would be nice." House jokingly replied with the most amazing grin on his face. If she hadn't been in love with him already, deeply and desperately, that would have been the moment. His charm was unbelievably soul-stripping.
"House!" Cuddy smiled, clearly amused by his antics.
"Cuddy will you just move, for the love of God?" House asked, gently tugging her by her upper arm and pivoting her in her place, urging her to move. Then looking at his wristwatch and noticing that they had been going at this for more than half an hour, he somewhat seriously said, "I am not going to do anything you don't want me to do. You have my word, OK?"
She turned to look at him, the sincerity in his eyes was substantial and she took a few deep breathes as she kept their eyes locked. She just couldn't tear away. Something in her brain was warning her to look away, but she couldn't, she didn't want to either. "OK." Seconds later Cuddy lowered her gaze and simply agreed as she started collecting her belongings.
*This is definitely shorter than True Lies, 5 chaps max (but don't take my word for it). And I promise no angst. Nikki
**TX Brit for being my white board.