A/N: After tonight's amazing Season Finale of House, I couldn't help but write this follow-up scene. If it feels a bit rusty, it's cause I haven't done a fic in years- I'm out of practice. I also took a liberty with the tub/shower thing- so shoot me. Hope you enjoy.
Saved, a House M.D. Fanfic
The kiss was tender and desperate all at once, fed by a hunger and desire fueled by years of yearning. As their lips touched, it felt to House like coming home, like there could be nothing in the world more wonderful and familiar, and the days, weeks, months and years of pain and problems were instantly stripped from his mind and body. There was just her, there, with him.
It didn't last long. As suddenly as it started, it stopped, and the bliss was stripped away, the reality of the day came flooding back as his leg gave way, unable to hold his weight any longer. He would have fallen to the ground if she hadn't been holding onto him tightly, and as his body began to sag she took his weight and supported him. She helped him pivot around on one leg, and guided him to sit on the edge of the porcelain bathtub.
His eyes were pinched shut, eyebrows furrowed in pain, and he was rubbing the damaged thigh vigorously, willing the spasm to stop. Unsure how or if she should interfere, Cuddy just stood next to him and laid her hand on his back, willing her strength to him.
After a few moments, the rubbing slowed, and finally he opened his eyes and looked up into her face, tears glistening in his eyes.
"I'm sorry." He said, voice catching in his throat as he spoke.
Cuddy shook her head, perplexed. "Whatever for?"
"I've thought about kissing you so many times, hallucinated about it even, and not one of those times ended with me falling on my ass when it happened. I'm pathetic."
"Hey." She moved swiftly to face him, took his chin in her hands and lifted his down turned face, forcing him to look into her eyes. "You are not pathetic. You were amazing today, you have nothing to be sorry for. You saved that girl. Yes, she died, but you saved her. You got her out of there, you let her see her husband. You were amazing."
He shook his head, and tried to look away, but she held him firm, and he felt like her eyes were looking right into him, to the core of his being. He gave her an almost imperceptible nod, and she let go, and went to step away.
"Cuddy" he said, and she stopped moving and looked back at him. "By my nightstand, I…"
She cut him off with a nod, and went towards his bedroom. A moment later she reappeared, a bottle of Ibuprophen in one hand, a glass of water in the other. She handed them to him silently, and as he went about taking the desperately needed pills, she went to the tub and turned the faucets on. As the water heated up, she put the stopper in the tub and went to the other corner of the room to the shower, moving carefully around the shards of mirror to open the drug cabinet up, extracting a bottle of Epsom salts. Pouring them into the rapidly filling tub, she felt his eyes on her and looked up at him.
"You're covered in dirt, and you need to try and get some heat on that leg before it stiffens up."
He grunted and gestured towards his right leg. "Too late." He started to take off his jacket, but hissed when he lifted his left shoulder and it protested its newest injuries.
"Just sit still." She moved to his side again, and slowly helped him take of his blood soaked jacket and shirt, then moved to remove his belt. His hand clasped hers and stopped them before she could start.
"It's ok, I've got it" He saw the hurt look her eyes, and hastily added, "thank you."
She nodded, experience telling her that there were some things that he was fiercely protective of his privacy, and this was not the time to push it. She moved silently out of the bathroom, shutting the door on the way out.
Cuddy went to move towards the kitchen, but a pained grunt stopped her a few steps from the bathroom door. The sound of clothes rustling followed, then another sharp hiss. Against her own best judgment, she peered through the crack left open of the bathroom door, and saw Greg naked, trying to maneuver himself into the tub. As he turned around, he supported his weight on the bathroom sink, holding his right leg up off the ground, seemingly unable to put even the slightest bit of pressure on it. She was about to go in and help him but caught herself, and kept watching silently as he grabbed onto the safety bars on the wall and lowered himself slowly into the hot water. He let out a shaky breath of air at the same moment she did, and she turned silently away from the door.
She busied herself in the kitchen, and waited 15 minutes before heading back to the bedroom with two cups of tea and some peanut butter sandwiches, the only thing she could find in his apartment that wasn't expired. She set the tray of food down on his bedside table, and was about to call out to him and see how he was doing, when she heard rapid, pained breathing coming from the bathroom. Again peering through the crack in the door, she saw him rubbing the right leg vigorously, trying to breathe through the pain and settle the tight, angry muscles.
She knocked gently on the door. "House, are out alright?" The rapid breathing stopped, and after a moment, he called back. "Fine. Be out in a minute." His voice was strained and full of pain. She went to turn away from the door, and then thought better of it. Instead she moved towards the door and opened it slowly, stepping into the bathroom.
"Cuddy, I'm fine, I'll be right ou… his words turned into a sharp hiss of pain as he tried to get himself up in the tub, and instead curled around his leg tightly as it rebelled from the movement.
She moved quickly, shedding her scrubs and stepping into the tub before he could object. Sitting down opposite him, legs tucked underneath her, she gently peeled his hands away from his right thigh. He drew in a breath as her hands touched either side of jagged surgical scar on his leg, and began to slowly and gently massage the tight and angry muscles underneath the taut skin.
She worked methodically for several minutes, kneading the muscles and releasing the tension, trying desperately to not cause him any more pain. As she worked, she looked at the leg for the first time since the end of the surgery that had mutilated him. He had told Hannah there was a fist-sized chunk of muscle missing from his thigh, but he had been understating it. The crater was large, the scar around it even larger, and the way the remaining muscles of the leg just ended for several inches was so unnatural it was hard to fathom how the leg could possibly bear any weight.
She thought to the events of the day, watching House crawl in and out of the wreckage so many times, maneuvering through the rubble, his cane set down and lost through the chaos. She knew the only thing that kept him upright was his force of will.
As her fingers kept working, kneading the muscle, she felt his body relax, and the muscles finally let go of the tension. His breathing slowly returned to normal, and at last she looked up at him, not sure what to expect, having just violated every one of his strict privacy rules. To her relief, he didn't seem mad or angry. Instead he just looked tired, as if the last spasm had taken up what little energy reserves he had left his body. He smiled weakly at her, and she took his hand and squeezed it gently.
They stayed like that for several minutes, silently holding each other. The temperature of the water began to cool, and Cuddy knew that she had to get him out of the tub and into bed quickly before he couldn't move the leg at all. She reached behind him for a sponge, and gently wiped the water across his body, removing bits of debris and dust from his hair and body before doing the same to herself. She unfolded her legs and stood, and though she was fully naked in front of him, there was no ogling, no witty remark, he just held her gaze as she stepped out of the tub and wrapped a towel around her body. She secured the towel and reached down to him, and he grasped her hand tightly, as if he was drowning and it was his only lifeline.
He gathered his strength and lurched upwards, using his good leg to propel himself upright. Slowly they got him out of the tub and standing. He wanted to protest, wanted to be strong and not need her, but he knew if he let go of her, he would fall. He let her gently towel him off and get him into a bathrobe. Gingerly he lowered the right leg to the ground, and cautiously tried to take a step on it, but the instant, searing pain made it clear the leg was done for the time being.
Silently, she moved to his side and got under his right shoulder, taking his weight as they moved slowly into the bedroom. She helped him lower himself onto the bed, and lifted the right leg up to follow his body under the covers. He closed his eyes as he tried to catch his breath from the pain of moving across the room, and expected to hear her footsteps recede as she left went to leave. Instead, he felt the far side of the bed sag and the covers pull back as she crawled under them, coming to rest silently next to his body.
Laying on his back, he turned his head to the left, and looked at her. She was on her side facing him, head propped up on her hand, looking back at him. Naked, her hair wet and disheveled, she looked more beautiful than he had ever seen her. He reached up to her and brushed a stray curl away from her face, and her hand met his, squeezing it tightly.
He felt like he needed to say something, but was having trouble coming up with the words to express what he was feeling.
She shushed him, putting her hand up to his mouth. "Shhhh. Don't say anything. Lets just lay here for a while, okay?"
He nodded, and she settled her head into his shoulder, still holding his hand tightly.
They stayed that was for a long time, and eventually House felt her breathing slow into the steady rhythms of sleep. He allowed the edges of sleep to pull at his own mind, and he willed away the tragedies of the day, and allowed himself to experience the joy his heart was feeling. As he began to drift to sleep, he whispered into her ear.
"Thank you for saving me."