Dedicated to Afshan... just because.
Fifty words for House x Cuddy
What Could Be Perceived As Romance
There was a comfort in his brief moments of affection, rare but precious because of it. He would not willingly hold her in public, or kiss her in private in a show of simple fondness. She didn't mind that, because it was those moments where his hand would drape across her waist when they lay in bed, or when his eyes would hold onto hers for a second too long, that reminded her why she put up with it all.
There had been many times, when he had been called in front of the board for yet another act that called for immediate discipline and reprimand, that she had sat there, stopped listening and wondered what it would be like to kiss the mouth that those insults were falling out of.
The look in his eyes was surprisingly soft, not the cold ice that she was used to. It was like the rage and pain had melted away so he could simply stare at her with an intensity different to normal, enveloping her, drawing her in. The look was an invitation of the purest, simplest kind. Unexpected, but not, she decided as she stepped towards him, unwelcome.
She wondered, sometimes, if she could kiss away the pain in his eyes.
"Are you going to cook her something romantic for Valentines Day?"
He glanced at Wilson.
"Oysters, chocolate covered fruit, the usual."
"What are you going to cook?"
There was a long, drawn out pause.
"Take her to a restaurant."
"I'm not getting on that."
"You got on it yesterday."
"Today it's raining."
"You have a helmet."
"I'm not going on your bike in the rain, House."
"Fine. Then I'll meet you back at mine. Have fun walking."
She wondered, on one of those moments when she should have been working, would he give her chocolates for her birthday? Or flowers? No, flowers were too bright, too obvious. He wouldn't buy her jewellery, either, because that was too much of a symbol for him to ever want to endorse in. So, not a necklace… and definitely not a ring. God, if she was going to start hoping for a ring from him she would be waiting forever. So, chocolates it would be, then? Nice chocolates. Nice, predictable, easy chocolates.
She sighed, and tried really hard not to hope for the ring.
She couldn't help but smile though when he turned up at the door with a box that was defiantly not chocolate-box shaped. It wasn't a ring box, either, but that was a start.
Happiness was the feeling that she was waiting for him, alone at home, a smile curving up her mouth, keeping the bed warm for him. Happiness was her naked on his sheets, her arms open to him, her eyes staring up into his own, saying that she didn't mind all his emotional baggage, she just needed him, wanted him, loved him.
"Hey, call me later?"
"Because it's a waste of time."
"Talking to me is a waste of time?"
"No, the phone is. I could just come over."
"And we could talk?"
"Talk… or something else."
"I used to want to have my ear pierced."
"That's very… camp."
"Why do you think I took it out?"
"Can you not call me by my name?"
"That is your name."
"My first name, not my surname."
"Better. Try again."
"Okay. Cuddy, we need to talk about this grant."
She never thought that he could be anything but the coarse, rough man that he was, but when he ran his hands up her bare sides so lightly that they were barely there, she felt the hair on the back of her next stand up and wondered why on earth she had never dreamed he was like this.
Death followed doctors at every turn. If they thought about it too much, it would drive them crazy. So doctors got through the day by simply not considering the fact that they held precious life in their hands every minute, ignoring it, pretending that it wasn't there, shining in their palms.
He stared at her, at her sleeping face on the pillow next to his, and wondered why he could not forget that she had given her life to him.
Until death do we part was a scary thought, but he was starting to see why some people wanted to go down that route.
"Did you ever think that sex would be difficult with us?"
"Because we work together, and it might be difficult, or obvious, and I'm your boss, and-"
"You're not my boss."
"No, I never thought it would be difficult."
"Because I'm a bastard to you all the time anyway, and when I'm awkward, I'm just a bastard to everyone else, so no one will notice a difference."
"I'd argue, but that's probably true."
When he reached for hand as they made their way across the restaurant to where his parents had a table, she knew that there were some times when he needed her support just as much as she needed him.
He was her fatal flaw, the one person that could break her down and build her up and change everything into something she had never conceived with just words, a gesture, a look. She hated to think that she had let him in that much. It did not seem plausible, seem fair even. She didn't want to, but she couldn't stop herself: every day she found herself being drawn closer and closer to him.
Sometimes she still woke in the middle of the night with tears rolling down her face at the thought of the child that had been taken from her, wondering where that tiny thing was now. She would wrap her arms around him and press her face against his back, not knowing that he was awake, and cry herself back to sleep. He never said anything, because he knew that he did not have the words she needed for comfort.
"I'm not getting on that."
She shook her head.
"For such an intelligent person, that was a surprisingly dumb question."
She was surprised by how nice the wind on her face felt as she rode on the back of his bike.
He was just surprised by how right it felt to have her arms around him.
Neither of them were free, as much as they would like to believe they were. Her happiness was dependant on her hospital being run efficiently, her child being healthy, her doctors being happy and their patients being saved. She was dependant on his smile and her family being well and her heart not being broken.
He was dependant on her always being there when he woke up.
Doctor's hold life in their hands, and soon the importance of that becomes slightly faded, no longer something to be feared, just something to be accepted. But despite all the practice he'd had holding lives, the most terrifying moment in his life was when she turned to him, and he could see in her eyes that she was giving him hers.
It shocked her the first time that he glared at a man who smiled at her on the street. His previously… well, not happy face, but not as irritated (almost, in fact, smiling) face had creased into a look that, if they could kill, he would be half-way to court for one count of murder for giving.
She nudged him.
"He's a patient."
His expression didn't change, intentionally.
"I… knew that."
He liked her hands. They were small and soft, and they moved with precise deftness when they examined a patient, and in swift, smooth strokes when writing at her desk. He liked them best, though, when they grazed across his face, slowly pulling it down to meet her mouth.
He stared at her from across the table, wondering why it was that she had picked a surprisingly inexpensive restaurant for their first date. He watched her mouth as she placed a forkful of vanilla cheesecake between her teeth, and wondered if she would let him kiss her again after this, and if she would taste of vanilla, or just hope.
Her hospital was like her child, a moving, living, breathing body of continuous motion and movement and life. She was dedicated to it, and she would do whatever was necessary to make sure that it was constantly, consistently healthy, well, secure. She loved it like it was hers in truth, and he knew that it would always be a main source of her concern. He didn't mind, though, because he knew that she was just as devoted to him, too, and she was trying just as hard to keep him safe.
There was a truth in the glint in her eyes, a determination that he knew he couldn't dim. She was resilient, strong, and she wasn't going anywhere. He knew she would be there forever, whether or not he wanted her to be.
His hands were stained with the blood of those he had not been able to save, those who still haunted his practise and the way he made medical decisions. He always wondered about them, about what he had missed. She was not sure if she would ever be able to wash it away for him, make him forget it all, but she was not going to stop trying.
Marriage vows scared him, because he wasn't sure if he could keep them. 'Love, Comfort and Honour'? He was terrible at comfort, because he never knew what to say, he didn't know what honouring her would really constitute, and, well, he wasn't sure if he even knew how to love properly. The only thing he was sure he could keep was 'in sickness and in health', because they saw that everyday.
She woke that first time to the sound of music, to softly played jazz piano from the other room. She crept out, the sheet wrapped around her (because god knows where her clothes had gone) to see him there, playing, watching her from across the room.
She liked stars.
She thought that they were pretty, that perhaps they had some meaning behind them.
He liked her.
That was why he put up with all the 'meaning' bullshit.
"So… this is your house?"
"Was that an attempt at a pun?"
She wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered into his ear, her mouth ghosting over his skin.
"I prefer my House."
"You confuse me."
"Yeah. Do you think you ever could be simple?"
She knew that some things scared him more than any words could say, so she didn't say anything as he pulled her to him and kissed her mouth, because she never, never wanted this to end.
House watched the lightening cracked across the sky in a silent bright slash from the window behind her head, and almost a minute later the thunder echoed out into the silence, making her jump visibly in surprise. He pulled a face at her.
"Seriously? You jumped at thunder?"
"So? You jumped when I touched your leg in the departmental meeting this morning."
"Because when I jump, you're not allowed to mock me."
"Because no one is allowed to mock me. I'm far too wonderful."
"Your egotism still astounds me."
Bonds made them stronger, so everyday they tried to form new ones. It didn't matter whether he tried to break them again, because she would just roll her eyes, and know that he would never manage.
"You're in the market for love."
"That's the worst line I've ever heard."
"But you know it's true."
"You know what?"
"You get less cool every day."
"At least I'm not sleeping with my boss."
"At least I'm sleeping with someone."
"The advanced technology of the medical practise can never make up for hands on experience with the patient."
Cuddy nudged him, and whispered under her breath, hoping that the visiting lecturer wouldn't hear them.
"So, taking that into account, when is it time for my physical, doctor?"
His hand on her leg, a definitive squeeze, was the only response she needed, and she really hoped that no one could see her blush.
"I have no idea what to get him for his birthday."
"A new cane?"
"No, I can't draw attention to it."
"No, he'll bitch about them."
"I won't pick out something he'd like. Remember last time? He wouldn't shut up about how distasteful it was."
"You know he plays it all the time when you're not around?"
"Because you gave it to him."
He didn't smile a lot, but she liked it when he did. It made him look younger, happier, perhaps the person he might have been if it hadn't been for his leg, for his upbringing, if things had simply been different. But then he would turn his face towards her, and he didn't smile, but she realised that to her he was fine, perhaps not perfect, but brilliant none the less.
She used to be very naive, very pure, and that used to annoy him, because he couldn't understand how she could see past all the bad things in the world. Somewhere along the way she'd lost her innocence, and now he wished more than anything else that he could bring it back to her. The sadness in her eyes, some days, was enough to hurt him.
There was a hole inside of her where the child that was never hers should have been, and it was painfully empty. She could hear the echoes of sadness inside of her, and she was pretty sure that he could hear it too.
She smiled at him, and wondered if he could fill it for her.
The clouds obscured the sky and the sun from where he sat on the rooftop, dark grey and hanging low in the sky over the city, threatening to burst and rain.
"If you catch a cold, you know you can't take cough medication with Vicodin."
"Of course I can."
"You should still come inside."
"It's not raining yet."
She rolled her eyes, and left. The side of his mouth quirked up in an almost-smile when he noticed that she had left her umbrella for him. She really did care too much.
She woke up after their first night together to find his side of the bed empty, but still warm, as if he had only just left. She winced at the bright light streaming in from the window, and glanced up at the wall opposite it, and at the silhouetted shadow on it.
She smiled up at him.
"Hey. Did you sleep okay?"
"Yeah. What colour is the sky today?"
"Is my answer going to be analysed for symbolism?"
She smiled again.
She rolled herself up in the duvet, and closed her eyes again, the smile never leaving her face.
"I thought it would be."
She had always thought that heaven would be a tiny baby fist closing over her finger. She was starting to wonder if heaven could be the blue of his eyes.
That day that she had lost her baby was the worst day of her life. She never thought that she would feel pain the way that she did then, and she was probably right. It had been hell on earth. She knew she could never repay him for his comfort that night, that brief moment of coolness over the flames, that left her calmed, just a little.
The sun beat down on the hospital, heating the air despite the air conditioning that was supposed to be circulating chilled air through the humid rooms. House glared at the vent in his office that was, for a reason that neither he nor any of the people who were supposed to be able to repair it could glean, broken. He raised himself to his feet in just his shirt sleeves, abandoning his jacket, and made his way to the empty Dean's office. He snuck in, lay down on the couch, and fell asleep.
She entered an hour later, sweating after a confrontation with House's team in their heated office about where the hell he had gone, and glared at his prone figure.
She sighed, letting the frown slip away.
She would let him sleep for a little while longer… after all, it was her that had kept him up all night.
"Are you not afraid of being alone?"
He stared at the sky.
"I can live with it just being me and the moon."
She linked a hand through his.
"You don't have to be."
Waves roll their way on to the shore, a continuous motion, breaking just as others are forming far out too see, and endless chain never broken. Rolling, breaking, rolling breaking, life, death, life, death. Like people, living, then dying. He saw that everyday, and he thought he'd prepared himself for the worst. Death was inevitable, but he wasn't sure how he'd cope when she left, when she broke on to the beach, life rolled out, leaving him adrift at sea.
"Oh, be quiet, you old hag."
"Oh, decrepit old man, is that all you can come up with?"
"Don't frown too hard, you'll make your wrinkles worse."
"At least I'm not greying."
He had no response.
"Wow. Look at that one."
He stared at the image she was indicating in the exhibition.
"It's just a computer generated image of a stellar explosion and gas radiation."
"Must you ruin every romantic image I have?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"That's a stupid question."