Disclaimer: I don't own House. David Shore and the rest of them do. If I owned him – well this travesty of a season wouldn't have happened.

This is a House / Stacy fic on the surface I guess – but I am listing it as House / Cuddy because really, it is House / Cuddy. You'll see what I mean when you read it.

This is set between the 2nd from last episode and the season finale for Season 6. It's a one shot - but if someone wanted me to continue it, I could probably find somewhere for it to go.

The sounds of someone being in her house had her reaching for the baseball bat that lived in her closet as she stopped just inside the door, having gotten home from the office. It's being there a result of being the captain of her firm's softball team. Slipping out of her heels, so she was silent, she padded towards the source of the sound, ready to defend her home.

She wasn't expecting what – or rather who she found when she reached the kitchen. "Greg?" Stacy's tone was one of exasperation as she let the bat down from it's 'ready to beat the robber into a pulp' position.

"You need a better lock, it's a surprise that you haven't had that sixty inch plasma stolen by now… But you have decent crap in your fridge." House figured balancing an insult with a complement would soften her attitude. "And booze in your liquor cabinet."

"You shouldn't be drinking…" She started. "And I can't do this Greg…"

"I made us dinner…" He gestured at the array of dishes laid out on the counter, which she had to admit now that she wasn't panicking smelled wonderful. "And I gave up on the sober part of clean and sober weaks ago." House said flippantly. "Lesser of two evils… And I should have known you and Wilson were still gossiping about little ol' me… Have you heard about the she-bitch he's moved in?"

Stacy barely heard him, she was too dumbfounded by what she was seeing as she observed him. She'd known he was miserable. Greg had been miserable the last time she'd been with him but now. The pain and worse – the desolation in his gaze were devastating. He looked *so* tired. What the hell was going on? She'd thought he'd gone to Mayfield to get well.

She was snapped out of it by his voice, the quiet desperation in it. "I don't want you to cheat… I know Mark is at a conference this weekend. I promise not to try to get you into bed. I just… Can we just pretend?"

Silence reigned. She wasn't sure what to say. Until his head dropped. "It's okay… Stupid idea anyway." He'd picked up his cane and started to limp towards the door, his gait heavy and showing the pain he was in with every step.

"No…" Stacy called out. "Greg… Don't go…" She jogged after him and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Sure we can … We can pretend." She wasn't certain what she was agreeing to – but for him to have come to her. She was determined to find out what had made him so desperate that he'd come to her of all people.

It didn't take long to figure out what he'd wanted. It was simple. Just to act as though they were still together, as though the intervening years hadn't passed. There was no kissing, no inappropriate touching. They ate together and talked about their days, then they stood and did the dishes together as well with more talking. It wasn't anything earth shattering – and yet it was almost more intimate than if they had had sex. Especially when they curled together on the couch, her sliding beneath his arm as they watched TV, doing as they'd done before – him picking a show, then her picking one, until she fell asleep against him listening to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat.

She awoke in the morning, and as she expected he was gone. Leaving her carefully covered as she slept by the throw that they kept over the back of the couch. That was when she'd broken down, her tears rolling down her cheeks leaving uncounted wet trails. It wasn't that she'd wished he hadn't gone – her tears weren't about missing him or wishing he was still hers. Overall, she was happy with Mark. Her tears were for him.

It had been like pulling hen's teeth, but over the course of the evening she'd managed to pull from him bits and pieces that when fit together, told the story. The last she'd heard from James was that House had been coming home to live with him. From House she'd managed to find out that James had asked him to leave, to accommodate his ex-wife coming back.

If the oncologist had been there, Stacy decided that she'd have taken the baseball bat to him. How could he just abandon Greg like that? When he needed him. She was one to talk - but the more important factor here was Greg was trying. Hell, if he'd have tried half as much when they were together she never would have left. Now she could have been a better support to him that James was being even married.

Then there were the pointed silences when she tried to steer the conversation towards Lisa. Those silences told a tale too, and her heart broke for him. The one person she'd always wondered about was Lisa when it came to Greg. The one woman who she thought might have an equal or better chance of getting Greg than she had. The only thing she did know was that Lisa would never have tried to break up she and Greg's relationship – which was why when she came back – she'd asked if Lisa and Greg had found one another. A sort of precaution in case something had happened (which it had) that she wouldn't be treading in the other woman's relationship. Lisa and Greg hadn't at that point (and now it looked like they never would) and there was that annoying little child, Cameron but…

Now it seemed, if the silences were telling - that fate had truly not been on Greg's side. The painful, horrible irony was that when he went away to get better – Lisa – the woman she had never thought would leave Greg - had moved on.

Taking a deep breath, she rose from the couch and walked towards the bathroom to clean up, breakfast not even a consideration this morning. Running water into the sink, she looked up into the mirror and sighed at the look of her red rimmed eyes. For once Greg House had left her crying and it wasn't anything he'd done to her. Frankly, she didn't blame him for going back to the bottle. He was a stronger man than anyone gave him credit for. She couldn't imagine most addicts making it this long without going back to their drug of choice if the picture her mind had constructed was in anyway accurate.

She wiped her face with a cloth and shook her head sadly, bracing herself on either side of the sink with her hands. She wished she could do more for him. That there was some way that she could give him what she'd given him last night, everyday – but both of them had known this was a one time temporary fix. A placebo really. It hadn't really helped, just fooled his mind for a short time – masking the effects.

The fact of the matter was the writing was on the wall, as she squeezed her eyes shut trying to stop the new flood of tears from coming. She didn't give Greg House more than a month before he was back on the Vicodin for good.