Disclaimer: David Shore still owns House and Cuddy (and is doing wonderful things to them).
Author's Note: I've been trying to write my version of House and Cuddy post-finale for a while now (well since the finale anyway), and it's been rather unsuccessful. Although I'm reluctant to post this, I do hope you find some joy in reading it. It's about Cuddy dealing with the ambivalence of the "morning after" and with House of course. There are ups and downs almost abruptly, just like I imagine her to be feeling - scared for her life one minute and seduced beyond all rational thought the next. The title (strange as it is) is meant to convey the inevitable: sunshine, gravity, night, day, House and Cuddy...etc.
Of Sunshine and Gravity
You know that when I hate you, it is because I love you to a point of passion that unhinges my soul.
- Jeanne Julie Éléonore de Lespinasse
His pillow smelled like softener.
That was her first thought when she opened her eyes to find sunlight gushing through the naked window. She wondered what had befallen his curtains, then she turned her cheek into the pillow, and the almost-babyish scent made her smile. It was such a paradox – sweet and innocent where he was dark and weary. The sunlit warmth draped heavily across their bodies, askew in slumber, not quite intertwined but subtly whispering with needy touches – much like their lives. His hand was flat against her bare stomach, pink scrub top bunched unceremoniously against his strong grimy wrist. One of her feet was tucked into the crook of his denim-clad knee and her fingers curled lightly into the dusting of hair on his forearm.
The daylight came with uncertainties: snapshots of his unadorned bedside table, forgotten curtains and the detached impersonality of his possessions. None of it was unexpected or surprising. She had known this man for far too long. She knew his nuisances, his aversion to intimacy, his well-cloaked sensitivity. She had suffered the wounds wrought by the sharp edges of his honest words. She'd taken each and every one like a little gift wrapped in tiny blades and pretended it was a token of his reluctant affection. It almost made her want to leave the comforting cocoon of his bed where they lay sprawled in last night's clothes, unwashed, messy and cluttered. She should have left, but the past few months had taught her that feeling anything that wasn't about him was impossible.
There was a sense of inevitability to this moment that rendered her powerless.
The sudden hitch in the rhythm of his even breathing told her he was awake. He was still for the full length of a minute, almost suspended in the reality of their coexistence. She wished she could see his face, make sense of the lines denting his brow, and study the way his icy blue eyes melted in the sunlight. But she was as frozen as he was, clinging to the silence like the survivors of a shipwreck latching onto floating debris.
Something seemed to click into place for him and he drew closer until the heat of his chest slipped like liquid down her spine, gathering in her lower back like a treasure. His fingers came to life, playing a pianist's sonata across her skin. The way her body curved into him in wordless acquiescence frightened her beyond reason. She gravitated towards him, roped in by something invisible but all-encompassing. The soft hum of his breath fell into the crevice of her neck. He was complacent to breathe her in for a few seconds until the hot rasp of expelled air was replaced by the texture of his lips, outlined by thick stubble. It was ticklish, almost uncomfortable, but her stomach sunk, blood rushing through her like a sudden awakening. He kissed the sensitive skin gently at first, prickly facial hair teasing every nerve ending to life. She closed her eyes when he opened his mouth and outlined the path to the curve of her shoulder with the velvety wet warmth of his tongue. Her fingers tightened at his forearm, digging into the tense muscle there hard enough to leave imprints of crescent-shaped nails. He stroked her stomach in return as if to placate her, but the movement of his hand was like a trail fire. She caught his wandering fingertips with her free hand stilling them against her belly button. She knew he was smiling before she felt the tilt of his serious mouth against her collarbone.
"House," she said, and her voice trembled on a moan as his hand inched up her abdomen, the tip of his thumb tracing the underside of her right breast.
"Hmm?" He brushed her dark hair away irritably and settled his lips in the soft indent where her jaw met the shell of her ear.
She made a sound that was breathy and wanton, and she hated how much it made it seem like she needed him – needed this, the crude touch of his hand, the harsh feel of his stubble, the firm movement of his mocking mouth against her anywhere, everywhere. He threw his bad leg over both of hers, and the shackling weight of it was wonderfully heavy. Shifting onto her back, she stared up into his heavy-lidded gaze. The sight of him in the morning did something funny to her heart, but she ignored the tripping rhythm in favor of bringing a caressing hand to the unrelenting slant of his jaw. His eyes were the clear blue of a tropical shoreline, vivid and transparent, and she couldn't stop staring into the telling depths of his content gaze. He was the first to break away, his eyes darting to her parted lips and back to hers. He held himself up on his elbow and lowered his head to hers. Just like that, he was in her mouth, invasive and brutal. He carried every part of his personality into his kisses – inquisitive, mysterious, perverse, all-consuming and merciless. His mouth had the stale taste of early morning. It was the taste she wanted, and she relished in it. She wound her fingers through the silver hair at the nape of his neck and slid her other arm around his chest, holding his body close to hers.
Their kiss became a love affair of its own, slow and passionate. They breathed for each other. Every part of her longed to feel the solid lines of his body, and she couldn't get close enough. As if plagued by the same need, he splayed his hand over the small of her back, crushing her pelvis to his. He grunted at the contact and the unhurried exchange of their savoring mouths turned into something desperate and potent. She bit his lower lip and he groaned as her hands found the hem of his cotton t-shirt, tugging it over his chest. He broke the kiss long enough to pull the shirt over his head and throw it to the ground. Then he was on her again, kissing her hard and fast. Her hands feasted on the feel of hard, agile muscle moving beneath the smooth surface of flushed skin. He released her lips to blaze a path of kisses down her neck. When he pulled the delicate skin into his mouth and sucked hard enough to leave a bruise, she hissed and scratched his back.
She wanted to hurt him a little and love him a lot. She wanted to be able not to tell him how much she loved him.
Her phone rang. The piercing sound was so misplaced that it startled her out of her dazed obsession.
Above her, House cursed angrily and begged her not to answer. "Ignore it," he urged, his teeth tugging at her earlobe as his fingers slid past the elastic waistband of her scrubs.
She gasped and placed a hand in the center of his bare chest, pushing him away. "I can't," she whispered, rolling to her side when he lifted himself off her. Her phone was still ringing when she found it on the nightstand.
"Marina, hey," she said, hoping she didn't sound half as breathless as she felt. "I'll be right there. Thank you so much for staying the night. I really appreciate it. Alright, thanks. Bye."
"Seriously?" His incredulous voice was sharp from where he sat, propped up against the headboard like a disgruntled child.
She successfully hid the amused smile on her face. For such an intense man, he was so easy to torture. "What?" she asked, feigning innocence as she left the bed in search of her bra and shoes.
House scowled at her, darkly enough to make her believe he was angry. "You're going to leave me like this?" he insisted, glancing at the distended fly of his unbuttoned jeans tellingly.
She found her bra beneath the window and fastened it quickly under the penetrating stare of his sad eyes. With laughter in her eyes, she walked around to his side of the bed and perched herself on the edge. "House," she scolded him, her hand cupping the side of his neck as she lured him closer.
He gave in and kissed her smiling lips softly – once, twice, and then he pulled away. "You know a man could get really hurt," he whined, gesturing again towards his erection.
She laughed in earnest then and rolled her eyes at him. "I'm not fifteen, you big baby," she teased as she came to her feet. Cupping one of his stubbly cheeks, she pressed a fervent kiss to the other one. He turned his face into hers to press a lingering kiss to her mouth.
"Cuddy," he murmured against her parted lips, his right hand tangling in her hair. "Stay."
She shook her head and kissed him again, light and quick like something she wanted to make a habit of. "I love you," she breathed softly because somehow it was harder not to say it.
He sighed as he watched her cross the room to her shoes and tug them on with short economic movements. Looking up, she caught his gaze with her own. "You better be at the hospital by eleven," she said in parting.
House scoffed after her retreating form. "After this, I won't be able to walk for a week!"
Shaking with laughter, Cuddy shut the door to his apartment and tried to tame the spring in her step all the way to the car.
A/N: Reviews are love!