Title: Out With a Bang

By: Jules

A/N: Like most fans, I don't think the exploration of House and Cuddy is over by a long shot.


Synopsis: Aftermath of the House and Cuddy break-up. Their exploration continued and deepened. Takes place after the worst of it. Set in a couple of weeks or months, your choice, dear Reader.

Disclaimer: House isn't mine.

Rating: T

The constant ache had lessened to a dull, hollow one after it was all said and done. House had been on a tear, and his warpath to self-destruction, consisting of booze, assorted drugs, and unfeeling sex, had eased, but only in the sense that he was actually cognizant of his actions and surroundings now, which wasn't necessarily a good thing since all that remained was a shell of a broken heart.

Cuddy, witnessing more than she wanted to, had turned her own despair into a fistful of guilt. She knew it was her fault. She had been stupid and in love and hadn't given a damn about common sense, which had inevitably led them here, to this delightful train wreck of a break-up.

But the most annoying part of time passing was the ruins of the good stuff, left behind like an unsuccessful heist, with smatterings of tenderness, bursts of laughter, and that sad, homeless love stretching the distance between them, begging to be re-examined.

This "re-examination" didn't begin with declarations of "I love you" or intertwined fingers.

When she came to his office on a gray Friday afternoon, she had expected to be greeted by a strong dose coldness and sarcasm. But he had looked in her eyes and smiled like she hadn't destroyed his life, and before she could find her protective, straight-and-narrow armor, she was in his lap, straddling and grinding against him with a starved amount of desperation.

They found skin quickly and moved inside each other with swift abandon. They groaned as he filled her—it was an instant relief.

Whoever said break-up sex was way hotter than regular, "together" sex wasn't lying. Everything was hotter, more focused since they already knew they had surpassed their expiration date.

The loving, tender man she had been with for the majority of the year was gone. It was like making love to his shadow; the same mouth and hands touched her, but it was with a cool distance that taunted her to take him further, deeper inside of her until he felt something.

There was nothing else left for her to break. He enjoyed her and the familiarity. He got off on her obvious guilt and desire. But there wasn't anything, anything left to give her.

When it was over, they stayed in each other's arms, quiet and warm and somewhere totally new.

House nudged her, making her lift her face until she met his eyes. "I don't want you back."

Cuddy looked out the window and bit her lip. "I wasn't coming back."

House pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows. He nodded quickly, ignoring the sting of her words. He was ready to turn her down, kick her out, and cut her out of his life, just as he had done with Stacy.

But Cuddy would never be Stacy. She was a permanent fixture in his life, whether he wanted it or not.

House rolled his eyes and lifted her away from his body. He limped across the office towards the balcony. "You need more. Whatever that is. But here you are again. Either you're a guilt ridden masochist who just needs one more hit of your favorite drug or the stupidest, most selfish bitch alive."

Cuddy curled her fingers around the edge of his desk. She probably would have been offended if he hadn't been so dead on the mark. This was pathetic—she knew she couldn't have it both ways. She knew it wasn't going anywhere.

House was House.

And yet, here she was again, ignoring everything she knew. She was becoming a fast expert in denial.

She met his eyes again. "I miss you."

House attempted to laugh, but it just came out as an exhalation. "Looks like you've got a problem."

Cuddy straightened her skirt and righted her shirt. She smiled tensely. "I'll go. I'm sorry."

House watched her turn. It was easy to let people go. He had done it all his life. But with her…."Hey, Cuddy."

"Yeah?" She turned, surprised.

"I'll see you tomorrow."