Title: You Raise Me Up
Summary: House's therapy and relationships - and difficulties - continue. Follows When Pranks Go Wrong and Desperado.
A/N: Here's the much-requested completion of the trilogy. It's also a longish beast with a lot going on (four distinct major plotlines). Updates will come as I can, but don't be disappointed if not daily. Lots is going on, and when I can't, I can't.
"Right there is the fracture site." The orthopedist indicated the spot on the x-ray, and House, seated on the exam table, gave a huff.
"I can see that. I've got eyes. Even have a medical degree to go along with them." He studied the film himself. "And it looks pretty solidly healed to me, so are you going to let me out of this thing, or should I do it myself with a saw tonight?"
The orthopedist rolled his eyes. "I think we can safely get the cast off today. Just give the arm a little time to get back to full motion and strength; it's been in the cast for nearly 9 weeks from the first injury. What happened to cause the rebreak, by the way?"
"I fell." House's tone unequivocally slammed the door shut on that explanation.
The orthopedist dropped the subject, although he wondered about the circumstances. The topic of who set a trip wire on House in the first place had given the hospital grapevine a good fertilizing for a few weeks after House's initial injury. He reached for the cast saw. "Okay, this isn't going to hurt."
"I know. I've had casts removed before," House replied. "Get on with it."
Okay, toss the bedside manner and just get him out of here. They'd both be happier. The doctor began to cut the cast in half, with House watching eagerly. Finally, it fell away, exposing the pale, rather thin forearm beneath. The doctor probed along the wrist carefully. "Does that hurt anywhere?"
"No." House stood up, pulling his newly freed arm away from the orthopedist's hands. "Thank you, have a nice life, and goodbye."
The doctor sighed. "Well, you know what to do. Try to stay away from this wing of the hospital in the future, okay?"
"Believe me, I plan to."
The doctor looked back at the x-ray and hesitated as he took it off the wall box. "By the way, what caused the older break, the one in the mid forearm? That one looks like it would have had an odd angle of mechanism."
"Ancient history," House stated. The door shut firmly behind him on the way out, and the orthopedist filed the x-ray and wrote his final note in the chart. He hoped that he wouldn't be seeing House again any time soon. Not as a patient, anyway. On second thought, not at all. Brilliant as House was, he'd never be able to understand why Cuddy kept the man around the hospital.
Cuddy was behind her desk when House came bursting in with his usual impetuosity. She was on the phone and held up one finger to him in a 'wait' gesture. "Yes, thank you, Mr. Griffin. No one else could ever replace you as a friend of this hospital." House rolled his eyes and, to her surprise, starting mouthing the rest of the conversation precisely in sync with her and with spot-on accuracy. "We truly appreciate all that you do." Cuddy choked back a laugh; House's goofy expression was making a joke of her usual sign-off platitudes. "And of course, I am . . . " She took a second to clear her throat, fighting for control, and House mouthed the words available at any time, then paused, politely waiting for her. " . . . available at any time if you want to call." House picked up the speech again silently. "My secretary will always leave a message from you if I'm not in the office. Please don't hesitate to let me know if there's anything I can do, and I look forward. . ." She nearly lost it there, as House illustrated dramatically the phrase looking forward, heavy on the parody. Cuddy disguised her laugh as a cough and tried to glare sternly at him. "To seeing you at our next banquet. Goodbye."
She sighed after hanging up the phone. "House, one of these days, you're going to get both of us fired."
"Oh, they couldn't get by without you, and you know it. You're the only one who can deal with me, so as long as I'm here, your job is safe, and as long as you're here, my job is safe. Kind of neat how that works out, isn't it?" He walked over to the desk, deliberately leaning both arms on it, and she realized what was different.
"You got the cast off! I thought the appointment was in two days." She paused. "Um, you did get it off at an appointment, didn't you? Removed by a doctor? Not one named House?"
He immediately looked angelic. "Of course. Saw the doctor and everything. They had an earlier cancellation, and I'd asked them to let me know if they had an open slot. I always do what my doctors say."
"Yeah, right." Cuddy reached across to capture his left arm, running her hands along the wrist, probing. "So the current x-ray looked good?"
"All better." He dribbled his fingers on her desk. "It's just a bit stiff, but that's expected."
"Watson release you from followup?"
"Yes. Should I have brought a note?" He abruptly shifted from joking to serious. "Want to come over to my place for dinner tonight?"
They had been spending progressively more time together off the clock over the last several weeks, rarely apart for an evening now, but she detected the special note behind the invitation. "Sure. What's up?"
He looked away, studying her walls. With the help of recent events, she was able to run that differential easily. He wanted to do something for her, something sweet and romantic, and he still was afraid he would fail. She herself had no doubts. House was revealing an endearing romantic streak underneath his bluff. "Want to just surprise me?" she offered, saving him the explanation. "I love your surprises." He couldn't resist arching an eyebrow there, the uncertainty suddenly displaced by humor.
"Really? I'll have to remember that the next time I have a patient who needs . . . "
"Your personal surprises, House," she emphasized. "But you don't have to tell me right now. Whatever it is tonight, I'm sure I'll love it. Should I bring Rachel or get a sitter?"
"Bring her." He pulled his left wrist, which she had still been holding all this time, free and turned away. "Better go check on the team, see if Kutner's set anyone on fire today. I'll see you later."
"See you later." Cuddy found herself watching his exit with a smile on her face. She might be more discreet in mentioning it publicly, but House definitely had an ass worth watching, too. Her scrutiny suddenly made her notice something else, though. "House!"
He made a dramatic if slow pivot. "Yes, mistress?"
"Is your leg bothering you more than usual today?"
He rubbed at it. "A little bit. Probably means the weather is changing. Spring rains and all that." His pager went off, and he glanced at it. "Got to go do my job. See you tonight."
Cuddy stared at the closed office door for a good two minutes after he had left. Life was good these days. She smiled as she returned to the paperwork on her desk.