Author's Notes: This is a one shot set after "A pox on our House." As such there are spoilers through that episode. This piece also has sex in it, so if that bothers you, please turn away now.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Think About Me
By Duckie Nicks


The order sounds raspy even through the filter of their cell phones, and House apparently feels compelled to ask, "Are you having sex?"

"No." It's not exactly a lie, Wilson tells himself. Sure… Sam's pressed against him in her bra and panties with her lips on his neck. Yes, he might have lost his tie and suit coat at some point along the way.

But it's not sex – "Not yet," as Sam herself says – and even if it were, he sure as hell isn't going to answer that question with a yes.

"You're wheezing," House accuses suddenly.

"We're not having sex."

"Sam having trouble locating her strap on?"

"Yes, that's exactly what's going on." Wilson tries to make himself sound as calm and unmoved as possible, but that's nearly an impossible task as Sam's undoing his pants.

Just as it's suddenly impossible to care about House when Sam whispers, "Get off the phone."

Wilson is tempted to tell her that he doesn't need to be told that. But instead, he clears his throat and says to House, "Apologize to Cuddy and –"

"I didn't do anything wrong. I saved a patient's life. Why should I –"

"Because it bothers her," Wilson offers simply. "And it's been a week, and she still hasn't backed down, and I know you think you can hold your breath the longest, but you're not going to win this. So accept that, apologize, have –"

"You're telling me that, even though I'm the one who almost died, she gets to win the argument." Bitterness laces every word. "I'm wrong, because I lived?"


Wilson considers pointing out (again) that all relationships have costs and benefits that solely revolve around each person's individual neuroses but decides against it. Sure, House probably would have benefited from hearing that lesson again, but it's not just House Wilson needs to think of. There's also Sam to concern himself with. And since she's in the room, since she's the one taking his pants off and the one who's about to have sex with him, it doesn't seem like the right time to essentially admit that she has qualities he puts up with just to get laid. Perhaps she wouldn't be offended, but the last thing Wilson wants is to jeopardize his relationship, because House doesn't know how to manage his.

Not wanting to take that risk, Wilson points out in a voice as patient as he can make it, "You kept something from her."

"Like she doesn't do the same," House scoffs.

"She probably does, but she doesn't rub it in your face."

"I didn't –"

"She found out, didn't she? She figured it out." Wilson pauses to see if House will connect the dots on his own. But predictably, he doesn't – or won't.

Rubbing his forehead with one hand, Wilson begrudgingly does the job for his friend. "You lied about the blood test, which was stupid to begin with but possibly fixable. But then, even after your patient survived, you still didn't tell her the truth."

"Because there was no point." There's a beat before House adds, "Telling her the truth then would have just hurt her."

"Yes, and keeping it from her probably made her feel as though you didn't trust her."

Wilson notices that, at that, Sam shoots him a look of pity. As though she's trying to say, "You're never going to make him understand," she frowns and shakes her head.

But surely she understands that he can't give up now… right? By now, certainly she can see that House won't go away on his own; he needs to be forcibly led to a solution any sane person would have already seen.

Sighing Wilson continues, "Then, knowing you, when you were confronted about it, you completely ignored her feelings and justified your behavior."

"And then I nearly died."

"You didn't nearly die," he says through gritted teeth. "On the other hand, you did force your way into a room with someone you thought had smallpox."

Even just saying it out loud makes the entire incident sound preposterous. Wilson, having chosen to focus on his patient at the time, hadn't allowed himself to consider the danger House had placed himself in. But now that all of that's over, now that Wilson has time to mentally review what has happened from a safe distance, he can't help but think that it was completely ridiculous and horrible.

And totally House.

Selfish, insane, risky – they're all classic ways to describe House and his machinations. Of course, he never sees his own behavior that way. Even after what he did last week, House obviously still sees his own actions as being completely normal and acceptable. But believing that doesn't make it anywhere near true.

"You scared the hell out of her," Wilson rebukes, feeling his own ire grow all of a sudden. Sam gently runs a warm hand along his bare chest. Thankfully, she isn't surprised or dismayed by his change in tone; her eyes warm as she casts her gaze on him, she is, he thinks, silently making her support known. And he appreciates the gesture.

"Did she actually tell you that? Or are you just projecting like –"

"She never said anything but –"

He doesn't even have the chance to finish the sentence before House interrupts, "So that's a no on the actual conversation."

Wilson can feel his brow furrowing in dismay. "I don't think I need to ask Cuddy if she gets afraid when you do something life threatening."

"Not her life being threatened." Something in House's voice suggests that he doesn't really believe his own defense. It's not pronounced enough to be realization, not sad enough to be regret. Honestly, Wilson's not entirely sure what it is, other than a sign that House is faltering.

"You think she doesn't know that?" Wilson shakes his head, despite knowing that House will never see the motion. "I'm pretty sure if there's one thing Cuddy did realize this whole time was that you might die."

"Then she's still mad at me because…"

"So you missed the part where I said you scared her."

House's sigh is harsh and loud through his cell. "No." There's another rough exhale into the phone before he says, "So she's using my lie as an excuse to distance herself from –"

"House." Wilson stops him from finishing the thought, lest House actually get the wrong conclusion from this conversation. "It doesn't matter what she's doing. The bottom line is you're not going to get into Cuddy's pants again until you apologize."

"True," House replies after a second's pause. He clearly doesn't want to admit that he will have to do the one thing he's obviously dead set against.

"Don't even think about it," Wilson advises. "Just find her and say you're sorry." Spotting a way to end this phone call, he hastily adds, "Okay? I gotta go."

"Sam find her strap on finally?"

"Absolutely." He slaps the phone shut and looks to Sam in apology.

She smiles, understanding, even as she says, "Maybe you should turn off your phone for the rest of this."

Wilson knows better than to argue.

The second Wilson hangs up, House regrets letting him go. When it comes to making apologies, Wilson's probably the expert – what with being both a serial husband and cheater and all. He more than anyone else House trusts would know what to do.

But calling him back isn't an option.

House tries, of course, but the call goes straight to voicemail, and he knows he's on his own. Which means he might as well give up now, cause apologies are hardly his forte. And given that he's somehow managed to do the one he tried to avoid by lying (hurt his girlfriend), he's uncertain that he knows the way to proceed.

Does he apologize with flowers? Get her something else maybe? Risk going to her with only his words to protect himself from her anger? Perhaps he should buy a cup and jockstrap in case she decides to get violent….

Screw it.

He knows that it doesn't matter what he buys her or what he brings along. She's pissed and unlikely to forget that simply because of a few roses or stuffed bear or anything else he can think of. And in that same vein, if she feels the urge to hurt him, he's sure she'll find a way around whatever protection he brings.

Not that he really thinks she'll hurt him. He just likes to consider every possible way this can end.

Which is all he can do as he drives over to her house: contemplate how badly this can go.

He tries to distract himself by reasoning that she is, in fact, at home. He watched her leave work early this afternoon, and while it's possible she's gone back to her office, he doubts it. Together they've made each other's professional lives miserable this entire week, and he's sure she's gone home and stayed there – if only to avoid him.

The fact that it's a Friday also bolsters that suspicion. People with lives tend to go out, but Cuddy's got a kid and not a lot of friends, so where is she going to go on a Friday?

No, he's sure she's home.

But with that knowledge firm in his mind, House can practically feel his thoughts drift back to all the potential negative consequences.

What if she doesn't forgive him? He doesn't want to ask himself that question, but he can't help it. It's been so long (or at least it feels like it) since they've had a kind conversation that he fears her anger has become permanent. What if he apologizes and it still doesn't matter?

Over and over again, he wonders: What will she do?

When he first gets to her house, the answer to that question seems to be ignore him. He knocks on the door, rings the bell, but she doesn't answer.

House knows she's home, because her car is parked right outside. So clearly, she must be avoiding him.

That's okay though; he knows where she hides spare keys and lets himself in.

Admittedly, he doesn't think she'll enjoy the part where he breaks into her home. But since she's been begging for him to make the first move, he tells himself that she doesn't have the right to complain about what that gesture looks like.

Even if it is breaking and entering.

As it turns out though, she's not anywhere in the house, lurking with her disapproval. He looks for her, of course, but he doesn't find her or the kid until by chance he glances out the kitchen window.

Immediately he spots them both out by one of the larger trees in the yard. Perhaps aware that winter is right upon them, Cuddy is hunched over raking leaves. She doesn't see him watching her out the window; her back is turned to him, and her focus is split between collecting the fallen foliage and watching Rachel, who's running around with leaves tight in her fists as though someone's just slipped her some crack.

Frankly, he's a little put off by the familial image. Because, although he's come to terms with Cuddy being a mother, it's still odd to see her… parenting. Normally when he's over here, Rachel's asleep or about to go to sleep or just waking up; she's around but not exactly conscious. She's definitely not running around like she is now, and considering Cuddy's been unbearably angry all week, it's even weirder to see her smiling and laughing at Rachel's antics.

And for a brief moment, House wonders if maybe this should wait. He knows that Cuddy doesn't get as much time as she would like with her daughter. She's never said as much, but he can tell that she thinks it every time she has to stay late, every time he is the reason she can't leave her office. And right now, she looks so happy to be with Rachel that he feels bad about interrupting.

He doesn't want to be the one to ruin the good mood.

But… he also knows that he's put this off long enough. Apologizing is the one thing he does not want to do, but he's beginning to see that it's the inevitable step he has to take. Cuddy won't interact with him in any meaningful way until he does, and even if he doesn't regret what he's done, he is starting to regret how he's handled this whole situation.

Why didn't he just lie and apologize when he first realized she knew? Why had he instead picked that time to defend his methods? Especially when he had waffled about lying to her, why had he felt compelled to ignore and deride her feelings?

Looking at it now, House knows he could have avoided this whole incident if he'd just pretended like she was right.

That's still true, he understands. If he just lets Cuddy think she's right, this whole thing can stop. Which is what he really wants anyway, right?

He doesn't want her to win exactly, but he does want to stop fighting with her. He does want things to go back to normal and for his girlfriend to stop looking at him as though he's completely let her down.

And he knows that that can't happen until he capitulates.

So before he can talk himself out of it, he throws open the kitchen door that leads to the backyard.

She doesn't see or hear him coming. He can tell, because she jumps in surprise at the sound of his voice.

"I'm sorry." He hopes the words come off as being honest, but he's not sure.

Slowly turning around in reaction, she immediately trains her gaze on him. If he was going for honest, he decides that he must have failed in part, because she's looking at him like there's a hidden message in his words.

He considers adding, "I mean it," but decides against it. Pushing her to believe him will just make her all the more resistant.

"Really." It should be a question, but she's so doubtful, he thinks, that it comes out as more of a statement.

House opens his mouth to respond, but Rachel interrupts. "Hi."

There's no missing the tentativeness in her voice, though he does find it interesting to hear his own feelings reflected in the words of a two year old.

And in her eyes as well, he notes.

As he looks down at her, her body buried waist deep in half-dead leaves, he can see her nervousness all over her face. Her eyes are wide and round, bright irises fixed on him in expectation.

Like mother like daughter, he thinks in a manner best described as bitter.

"Hi," he returns in kind, trying to sound as nice as he can. Talking to her is not exactly something he wants to do, but he knows Cuddy is watching them intently.

Thankfully though, at that moment, a cardinal in the tree above them chirps loudly. And instantly, Rachel's attention shifts to the bright red bird, which outweighs any fear he might have of bird crap hitting him. For him, at this particular second, he'll take poop over the kid.

It's just easier to deal with, honestly.

"Do you see the birdie?" Cuddy asks sweetly, leaning down to talk to her daughter.

But Rachel merely shrugs away from Cuddy's touch.

House can see hurt flash briefly in her features before she stands up once more. Of course, he pretends not to notice, choosing to act like he's amused by Rachel's fascination instead. Because if there's one thing he's sure of, it's that Cuddy won't appreciate having her feelings be made the subject of conversation.

Not when she's already furious with him anyway.

So rather than make matters worse, he simply waits for her to speak. And since she's interested in focusing on his mistakes, that doesn't take long.

"I left work early so I wouldn't have to see you." She starts raking again, her pace furious – so much so that the leaves she's trying to wrangle tear and shred thanks to her violent effort. But she hardly seems to notice the bright confetti she's leaving behind. "Why are you here?"

He shrugs. "Apologizing."

"Right." She turns away from him then to pull Rachel away from the trunk of the tree. "Don't climb the tree –"

"No!" Rachel whines.

"Do you need to go take a nap?" It's as much a question as it is a threat. And Rachel knows it, because she immediately shakes her head. "Then don't try to climb the tree," Cuddy says firmly, gently guiding her daughter back to the pile of leaves she was playing in when House first came outside.

Rachel is clearly no longer enticed, however; she stands where Cuddy tells her to, but she doesn't play. She just glares, a pout on her face.

But apparently, that's good enough for Cuddy.

Turning her attention back to him, she explains, "She wouldn't go down for a nap, I guess. She was awake when I…."

She pauses, her voice trailing off. Perhaps sensing that she's being too conversational or that he doesn't care, she changes the subject. And unfortunately, her angry brand of doubt returns. "So. You're here to apologize."

"Actually," he corrects. "I did."

"Why?" She doesn't let him answer the question, not right away anyways. "Get tired using of your hand?"

"I thought it was a given that those," he says pointing at her breasts. Then gesturing towards her crotch, he continues, "And that always outdo this." He holds a hand up in the air and sees Rachel mimic him with a wave of her own out of the corner of his eye.

"So you're here for..." She pauses to lower her voice. "Sex."

House wants to point out that, after a week without getting any, he's not the only one hard up for something more than masturbation. She'll deny it, of course. Since she's the one who's imposed this unfortunate bout of celibacy, she'll never allow herself to be the one who ends it or even admits that it's been awful.

And for that reason, he doesn't shove her own desire in her face. She'll never admit to it, much less respond well to such an accusation. So he shakes his head and says, "No."

But then he gives into temptation and adds, "Unless you're interested..."

She drops the rake on the ground, so she can fold her arms across her chest. "Not until you –"

"Say I'm sorry? I did that."


The question takes him aback. It's the kind of thing Wilson would have a tactful answer for, but House has no idea what to say. From his perspective, there's no response he can give that won't piss her off.

But she's pissed anyway. "Why?"

"Why am I sorry?" he asks as though he's looking for clarification. Really, he just wants to buy more time.

Cuddy laughs humorlessly at the question, and that just makes him feel as though he's already said the wrong thing. "You still don't get it," she says knowingly, shaking her head in dismay.

His first instinct is to say that he does. His conversations with Wilson have given him snippets of a logic she might buy. But House is sure that she'll be smart enough to see what he's doing. And even if she isn't, he is also equally sure that worming his way through this will only hurt him in the end; he is convinced that taking the easy way out will only guarantee that he repeats his apparent mistake in the future.

Fearing that, he knows he has to tell her the truth. He doesn't want to admit that he has no idea why she's upset, but it's the only way.

"I… don't," he admits slowly, quietly.

Her response is immediate. "Then you should leave." She sneers. "Until you can figure it out."

But he doesn't move.

He won't.

"Why are you doing this?" he asks in curiosity.

It hits him suddenly that this makes even less sense than he thought. All this time, he's focused on how stupid it was just for her to be mad at him. Now though… now, he's starting to realize that none of this makes sense.

She's so mad at him she can't even explain in detail what he did wrong?

That doesn't sound right.

Not at all.

"You've been mad at me all week, but you're not going to tell me –"

"I shouldn't have to tell you," Cuddy says in a voice that at best sounds strangled. "You should know –"

"What?" he asks in complete frustration. "What is it that I'm supposed to know? What is supposed to be so obvious that you don't even talk to Wilson about it?"

She shifts on her feet nervously, and sensing her wavering, he steps closer to her. "I can apologize," he tells her gently. "But it's not going to mean anything to you until you tell me what it is that's bothering you."

He watches the muscles in her throat shift as she swallows hard. "You lied to me."

"I've lied to you before." House doesn't mean to be cruel, but it's the truth nonetheless. And he feels obligated to point it out, because some part of him doesn't understand why this one lie should be different than any of the others.

But Cuddy's willing to point out the difference right away. "Yes. But we weren't having sex then."

"I didn't lie to you, my girlfriend. I lied to my boss."

As soon as the words leave his mouth though, he wonders why it is that the more he says it, the lamer it sounds. Probably because it's a lie as well, he thinks, and not a very good one at that.

It's certainly not one Cuddy believes, not yet anyway. So he says, "And don't say you can't compartmentalize. Obviously you can. You just –"

"There's nothing to compartmentalize, House," she snaps irritably. "You lied to me to get my signature on some forms. Then you kept lying."

House glances over at Rachel, who is watching them attentively. From where he's standing, she doesn't look upset or angry. But just as she stared at the bird, so too is she now watching them with interest. And even though she can't understand half the things they're saying, it still makes him uncomfortable to have an audience.

Of course, he's not dumb enough to point the kid out. If Cuddy hasn't noticed her, he's not going to say anything. And if she has noticed Rachel, he's not going to mention it, because he doesn't want Cuddy to accuse him of pointing it out so that he can insinuate that she's a bad mother.

As an aside, he realizes that that thought is insane, which is why he doesn't doubt Cuddy would feel that way right now. He doesn't mean to call her crazy (after all, who is he to judge?), but this conversation is. And he knows that bringing up Rachel now will only compound the headache he's starting to feel.

Pressing the heel of his hand to his forehead, he sighs loudly. Maybe Wilson was wrong, he thinks. Clearly this isn't going to be as simple as saying he's sorry and being forgiven. If anything, this discussion seems inordinately labyrinthine, and the longer he continues to partake in it, the more he regrets it and further away make up sex seems.

He supposes, however, that there's no getting out now.

"Yes," he admits finally. "Why would I tell you the truth?" He genuinely asks the question. "Telling you would have only –"

"So you were just trying to protect me," she interrupts in a derisive voice. "How sweet."

He cocks his head to the side. "You think I'm lying about my reasons?"

Cuddy licks her lips in contemplation. Unfortunately for him, it's simply a reminder of how much he's missed having her in his bed. God he's missed her mouth, her tongue, her –

He abruptly stops himself from finishing the rest of the thought. He doesn't need to come off as distracted, not that Cuddy seems to notice.

"I think… you had enough proof to just ask me to approve your treatment."

"I did ask and –"

"I mean after you got the Senator's blood," she says with a roll of her eyes.

"Oh." Silently House begins to recall the events of that day. Two big cases later, it's less than easy to remember the specifics of this particular patient (whose name he's already forgotten, no less).

But she makes it easy for him by walking him through the steps. "I said I needed proof. You don't think finding someone your patient was intimate or shared drugs with, who had Hep. C, is proof?"

Part of him sees the logic in that. The rest of him though refuses to admit that he might be wrong and stubbornly insists, "It was, but you're not going to stand here now and act like it would be enough for you to go on."

"Because I demand so much proof from you," she says in disbelief. "I ask for so much from you that a cluster of symptoms and another person suffering from that exact illness aren't enough for me."

House doesn't respond, because he knows he can't deny what she's saying.

"Look at our history. You know I have gone on a lot less information than that." Her voice is quiet but firm, strained but not overly emotional. "And I've signed off on treatments that are far more dangerous to a patient than that."

He shrugs off her point. "That's probably true, but I –"

"Had an intern to impress," she says knowingly.

"I was gonna say 'made a judgment call,' but those two things sound exactly the same, yeah." In all honesty, he's tempted to laugh at her accusation but doesn't. "I don't posture. If you'll recall, I don't like Emineminem." He pauses and shakes his head a little. "There's got to be a better name for her than that."

"You don't like her, because she's honest." He doesn't fight the accusation. "So you used me to prove a point. You made me look like an idiot to –"

"So that's what this is about," House interrupts, finally understanding what her problem is. "You're embarrassed that you looked like a moron in front of –"

"I'm not embarrassed." But even she seems to realize how unbelievable that sounds, because immediately, she forces herself to swallow hard and admit, "A little."

He doesn't say anything right away. Aside from the fact that he's sure she has more to tell him, he's pretty surprised that she would ever admit to such a thing. Then again, considering she's avoided confessing to that all week, he's guessing she's decided there's no other way.

"You made me think you'd deferred to me, not because you were sleeping with me, but because I was right. And then you don't even tell me the truth after the case is over? I get to find out you've been lying to me the entire time from somebody else?"

There's so much hurt in her voice that he can't even muster up the nerve to ask her who's posturing now. Part of him is tempted to say it, of course; he's not perfect, can't stop himself from thinking the come back.

But he won't say it.

As easy as it is for him to have that thought, he won't use it against her. He can't, not when he's the one who has hurt her so badly in the first place.

"I'm sorry," he tells her honestly.

And House really does mean that. Because he only continued to lie in order to avoid hurting her, and now he sees in her sorrowful gaze and words that lying to her has done precisely that: hurt her. The one thing he wanted to never do, he recognizes that he's done. And if he's never been more sincere with an apology before, it's because he's never felt so contrite before in his life.

But Cuddy's not easily mollified. "And it only takes you a week to mean it."

Again, pain coats her words. The fact that she's right just makes him feel worse, makes him wonder once more why he hadn't apologized outright.

"I understand that we have to be… antagonistic at work," she admits, her body shivering in a way that makes him think it's not due to the chilly air. "I just wanted to hear that lying to me was hard for you."

"It was," he says honestly. Yet he quickly understands that she won't believe him now, not when he's gone a week without apologizing, not when she's essentially had to force the words from him.

"I think you realized I would be upset if I found out."

"And how wrong I was for thinking that, huh."

She ignores the comment. "But I don't believe for a second that you thought about confiding in me that you were going to take the Senator's blood."

At first he doesn't understand the point she's trying to make. He doesn't get what she's trying to say.

"You thought of the consequences of what would happen when I found out you lied to me," she explains in a way that suggests she's forcing herself to keep calm. "But the whole time you knew you would lie."

"That's not true," he says softly.

She smiles joylessly. "I know you. You weighed your options: lie to me or let your patient die."


"That's my point, House. You never even considered that I could help you. It didn't even hit you – that you could trust me."

"I do trust you," he insists.

She remains unmoved. "We sleep together, but at no moment in time has it entered your mind that your decisions affect me." She abruptly holds up a hand to tell him to shut up. "Don't deny it. You lie to me about the blood. You don't tell me the truth until I force your hand. You act like you think you're honorable for lying to me and never consider how any of it makes me feel until your best friend makes you."

"Wilson didn't –"

"Then you force your way into a room you think has smallpox. You nearly kill yourself and let me watch, and what you take away from that is… what exactly? That I'm crazy for being mad at you? That I'm the one with the problem?" She throws her hands in the air. "I guess I am. Because I'm the one with the boyfriend who compartmentalizes his life by when I matter to him."

It only takes her a few seconds to hurl at him all of the things she's been holding back, but it feels like hours pass before he's able to process any of it. In truth, he realizes that there's maybe only a minute's worth of pause before he responds. But each second feels large, long, and weighty to his mind as he tries to find the words he wants to say.

Obviously he wants to tell her that she's wrong. He wants to deny everything that she's just said. Yet, his lips and tongue refuse to work. The rustling sound of Rachel rolling around in leaves fills his ears, but he remains silent.

More now than ever, he knows he needs to get this right. But finding the exact words is harder than he ever thought it would be. And if he starts talking, it's because he can feel Cuddy slipping away from him and not because he knows what to say.

"I wasn't trying to hurt you. It seems like I was, I guess, but I wasn't trying to keep you out of my life like that," he tells her in words that are equal parts genuine as they are clumsy. "I'm not trying to do that."

Cuddy nods her head sadly. "I know." She looks over to Rachel as she says the next part. "That's the problem: you don't even realize you're doing it."

"I guess not." He can't help but mutter the words. She's right; he knows she is, but it's difficult nonetheless for him to admit that he's been screwing their relationship up.

All said, these situations are much easier for him to handle when she's the one making the mistakes. But what he says is, "I'm… not used to having someone else to consider."

"I know," she replies sympathetically, finally looking back at him. "But it's like you said: if we're going to make this work, you can't do this. You can't decide when I have a right to be in your life and when I don't. I'm either your girlfriend, or I'm not."

He opens his mouth to speak, but she doesn't give him a chance to respond; she's too busy adding, "I know you'll lie again. I know you'll do stupid, dangerous things to yourself again. You can't help it."

Whether he likes it or not, that sounds about right. "Probably."

"I know that won't change. You can't change. I don't want you to. Just…." She stops talking for a second. Apparently he isn't the only one struggling to find the right thing to say. But then, she clearly throws in the towel, because what she says is a dry, "Give me some consideration, and try not to be such an ass next time."

House is stunned. "That's it?" He blinks, because that can't be it.


"You've been cock and doc blocking me for a week, and the moral of the story is 'Don't be a dick'?"

She shrugs. "Sure."

He can tell that her good mood is returning, but he's not ready to get past this one point. "Really? A week?"

"After smallpox, you needed to suffer."

This time when she speaks, for the first time in what seems like ages, she grins at him.

Her throat rasps loudly as his tongue enters her, and any chance of her saying she hadn't missed him are completely gone. If he would have believed her before, Cuddy knows he'll never be convinced now. She's enjoying this too much.

Not that she's complaining, of course. She'll gladly let him know how much she's missed him if it means he'll keep doing this. At that moment, he lets a thumb brush across her clit, and she moans in approval. Yes, she'll gladly pay that price, because very little can compare to what he's doing.

His head is buried between her thighs, his tongue pressed against her clenching muscles. He's got one hand cupping her mound and rubbing her clit and the other stroking one of her legs gently.

At no point does he let up. His breath is hot and labored; his stubble, longer than she's used to, scrapes against her. And between her desire and his incessant touch, Cuddy feels like she's become a pool of need.

Her blood oozes within her like warmed molasses – hot and thick and filled with the kind of sweetness only her love for him can create inside of her. It makes her woozy with desire, makes her muscles tighten around his mouth, and her clitoris pulse rhythmically.

Letting go of the bed sheets, she reaches for his him. Her fingers eagerly card through his hair in approval. "Keep going," she whispers harshly.

But then he stops. He looks at her in confusion and sadness. Her juices glistening against his mouth, he asks, "A week?"

Her grip in his hair tightens. "The whole point of oral sex is for you to put your mouth to better use."

He works with her pulling. His body slowly sliding up hers, he takes his time to kiss the flat plane of her stomach, the curve underneath her breast, the warm peak of her nipple. And all the while, he says in between kisses, "Yeah… and imagine… how many times we… could have done this in that week."

As he comes face to face with her, she spreads her legs to accommodate him. His weight is warm against her already heated flesh, and wordlessly he pushes himself into her.

And this time she isn't only one to moan.

"God," he says loudly.

Cuddy doesn't say anything in return. Her jaw clenched tightly together, she doesn't feel the need to respond. The second he's inside of her, all she wants to do is focus on that feeling – that warm, heavy fullness they create in her body when they're together like this.

He shifts a little on top of her, the pillow beneath her dipping as he props his elbows on it. And it's a small motion, but that tiny movement is enough to make sweat bead between her fingers and toes.

Without any hesitation or thought, she blurts out, "I want you so much."

He smirks into her mouth, kissing her as he starts to move. And she gasps then, unable to control herself as his body accidentally brushes against her clit.

His breath is humid and heavy on her skin, as is the air between their bodies.

Again though, he nearly ruins the moment by asking, "A week?"

"Shut up." The words come out breathless, and though some part of her is annoyed, the rest of her just wants him and more of it.

But at the same time, she understands that he won't ever listen to her, not until she explains more. So she adds after a second, her voice listless, "I didn't think it would take you this long."

He thrusts into her harshly, punitively. The smack of his balls against her ass fills the room, the noise punctuated by a loud wail from her.

She doesn't mean to be so vocal, especially when Rachel's sleeping down the hallway. But Cuddy can't help it. A week is a long time, for them anyway. And especially since they've been fighting during most of that time, this feels even better than it normally would.

Which is why it takes her a while to recover and explain, "I thought for sure the lack of sex would have you begging Wilson for advice by Tuesday at the latest."

"Do me a favor," he says through clenched teeth. "Don't talk about Wilson while I'm inside you."

She laughs at the absurdity of it all and shakes her head. "I don't take orders from you."

Her mood is light, her voice joking, and maybe that's the reason House simply shrugs and says, "Okay."

Minutes later though, she understands why he drops the subject.

When she comes, it's not Wilson's name on her tongue.

The End