A/N: So, I've had this story sitting in my computer for WELL over a year. I gave up just as I was about to finish, took a bit of a break from FF, and well.... Here I am. I'm about to graduate high school, so I have a lot of time on my hands, and not very many productive things to do, so it just sort of led me back here. I'm not exactly happy with this, especially since this wasn't the original ending (I have to confess, I don't remember how I had planned to end it) and I just wanted to find a way to get it off my computer so I can potentially start something else (I have a few ideas). So, I apologize if you're a bit confused at the end there. Clearly, the end is set after the season 6 finale.
He could hear the sharp staccato rapping of her stiletto heels on the floor from all the way down the hall. He often found himself surprised that they didn't drill their way through the ground and onto the next level of the hospital. The tapping got louder as Cuddy marched towards his office, swung open the door, and crossed towards his desk in less time than he thought possible. He remained neutral, a practiced mask of disinterest painted on his face that he had perfected over the years. With nothing more than a slight raise of his eyebrows, House indicated to her that she had his attention.
Cuddy was fuming. He could always tell when she was mad. Her stride became quicker and more agitated, and her lips set in a firm, hard, line. Her already curly hair would seem to grow and frame her face angrily, as if it too had taken offense at the object of Cuddy's rage – usually House.
This time was worse than usual. She could hardly speak through her indignation, and House had to wait at least two seconds longer than usual for her to say something.
"Why is your patient withdrawing his two-million dollar donation to this hospital?" was what finally managed to escape from her mouth.
Well, that would explain the tirade.
House merely shrugged. "Maybe he thought you didn't put out enough? I'm guessing you didn't go all the way in your first meeting with him."
He saw her knuckles turn white and her jaw clench. She walked around the desk, and all of the sudden, there she was, leaning down so her face was inches from his. His heart sped up slightly – somehow he didn't think it was from fear.
Her voice got lower like it always did when she was beyond furious – Cuddy hated making a scene.
"I don't know what you did to Mr. Vanderbilt, but whatever it was, fix it. If I don't get that two-million dollar donation back, I will dock your paycheck until I have it. Do I make myself clear?"
He could only nod.
House hadn't heard a single word Cuddy had said.
Instead, he thought about kissing her. He wanted to lean forward ever-so-slightly, silence her with a kiss, and then pin her to the wall. The kisses would be hard and desperate and violent. Afterwards, her hair would frame her face like some sort of ancient siren, and her lips would be swollen and red.
She stood up, and with one more murderous look in his direction, she strode away.
I want to kiss her.
When it came right down to it, House loved asking Cuddy for permission to administer various dangerous and unethical tests. She would peruse the patient file, look up, and give him a firm, flat, "no."
He loved that "no."
It would start an argument, and both of them brought out their battle weapons. Rarely did one of them actually fire a lethal volley – though both knew the other could and would. It was their own Cold War of sorts; they would dance around each other, feinting and dodging in a haphazard dance rife with near-misses. Finally, one of them – usually her – would lay down their arms temporarily, a peace treaty signed with the rustle of papers in a patient file.
He was especially ready for the fight he planned on today.
But the shades were drawn in her office. So naturally, he went in.
She was sitting at her desk, crying. Her normal signs of productivity – forms, folders, pens – weren't there. Cuddy knew what he wanted to know before he even said it.
"An old college friend died. Car accident. She was killed by a drunk driver. She had three kids."
"That's too bad."
He wasn't sorry. Not for the woman who died – hell, he didn't even know what she looked like. But he wanted Cuddy to stop crying.
He wanted to take her home with him, sit her down on his couch and have her grab him like he was the only thing keeping her grounded. And then he would push her away slightly and tilt her chin up to his. Her lips would part, and that's when he would kiss her. He would let his kiss say what he could never seem to put into words – things that he couldn't even admit to himself. They would move to his bedroom, and he would wake up with her draped over him. Maybe he would even make coffee.
Instead, she held out her hand.
"Give me the file. You're getting off easy today because I don't feel like fighting with you."
The handover was accompanied by disappointment.
I want to kiss her.
House never understood why so much importance was placed on pagers. People such as Wilson might claim they helped save lives, but he found that more often than not, they made his own life considerably more difficult.
Such as now.
Cuddy had paged him five times in the last twelve minutes, and frankly, he was sick of it.
It was shrill and irritating; if Cuddy was reincarnated as an electronic, House felt sure it would be a pager.
And… that brings the count up to six times in the last thirteen minutes. She's getting desperate.
He knew what she wanted. She wanted him in the clinic. The clinic whose bare, antiseptic walls offered no puzzle or challenge, or even interest. He often felt that if she only padded the walls, she could use it as an insane asylum. Or perhaps solitary confinement in a prison. Or maybe even a form of torture. If Cuddy kept criminals in there for just a week, they would get enough confessions to make people think they were another Guantanamo.
After the seventh page in fifteen minutes, House figured that he ought to pay Cuddy a visit.
Might as well make her miserable if she's going to do the same to me.
He hadn't even fully entered her office before she started talking.
"What have you been doing? I've paged you at least ten times."
Her brows furrowed. "What?"
"You paged me seven times. Seven times in the last fifteen minutes."
She didn't seem to hear him. Instead, she got up and started filing papers in her meticulously neat filing cabinet.
"Well, you have clinic duty this afternoon, so I suggest you get your ass over there before I assign penalty hours."
All of her movements were sharp and precise, no energy wasted, everything economical. Her hair didn't seem to move, or her expression, as she maintained a coolly professional façade.
House loved it when she got like this. He wanted to see what would happen if he surprised her when she was in her "administrative mode." He wanted to stalk over to her and kiss her. He would clear off her desk – with no regard to the color-coded organization of her piles of folders – and lay her on it. He would move to her neck, kissing her all over her body. He would want to go all the way right then and there, but she would stop him before they got too far.
Instead, he went to the clinic.
I want to kiss her.
When she had walked into his bathroom a few hours ago, kissing her had been the last thing on his mind.
Her words had caused more damage than he cared to admit. It was one of the few times in his life when he wasn't thinking about kissing Lisa Cuddy.
But somehow, improbably, they had come together. Raw vulnerability had destroyed their walls. And now here they were, lying in bed together. She was sleeping, her breath soft on his chest, her hand still entwined in his. For the hundredth time that night, he had the urge to kiss her.
So he did.
A/N: Reviews, both positive and negative (though, do try to avoid flames, please) always welcome!