Foreman had already knocked once. His knuckles ached with the tightness of his grip around the handle of his suitcase. House's wide, toothy, shit-eating grin inspired several fantasies at once. Forcing House back to the car by his collar and speeding away, back to Princeton, before either of his parents could open the door. Unhinging House's jaw to shove his hand straight down his throat to rip out his damn vocal chords. Foreman settled for squeezing his leather handle as if he were trying to draw oil out of it. Smear it-

"-all over your ass. You should have seen the look on your face."

Foreman fixed House with a stony glare. "How about we don't talk about my ass for the next forty-eight hours?"

"Your eyes were huge." House chuckled. "Bugging out of their damn sockets, while your cheeks were still bared to-"

"Mention it, and I'll kick your ass as soon as we leave."

"You will not." House flapped his lips with a breath of air; the scoff sliced at the remaining threads of Foreman's patience.

"Yes, I will," Foreman said, solid and resolute, as if he'd left nothing for House to argue.

House snorted, entirely unruffled. Foreman could feel House eying him, could see House taking aim, ready to poke at him like a toddler instigating a playground fight. "Won't. Because I won't leave," House said, childishly obstinate. "Your mom will coddle me like the son she wishes she could remember."

Foreman clenched his jaw and struggled to fight off the sting in his chest. He forced his own scoff. "Yeah. Right. Because you're really into coddling," Foreman said. "You'll be making a break for it faster-"


Foreman's head snapped to the side as he instantly faced the door. His mother smiled at him, her arms spread wide, and pulled him into a hug. "Hi, Mom," Foreman mumbled, gently and discreetly laying his hand on her back before extracting himself from her embrace.

"Who's your friend?"

Foreman stumbled over the word 'friend' for a moment and stammered, "Mom, this is, uh-"

"Greg," House supplied, smiling. Warm. Cordial. If Foreman didn't know House, he might have believed House's tone was genuine. "Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Foreman."

Foreman narrowed his eyes at House, his face turned away from his mother as she replied, "Oh, what a lovely friend. It's been so long since Eric's brought a friend home. Come in."

Unease churned, slithered through his empty stomach as House jostled past him before Foreman could haul him back and enter first. As Foreman trailed behind, he rolled his eyes as House's voice floated sweetly from the kitchen: "Yes, ma'am, I love lasagna."