A/N: Here I am with chapter 10! Took a while because I wasn't sure what the next step should be but I think I got it. I decided that we needed some Wilson.
Hope you enjoy reading and don't forget to review!
The afternoon had passed in a boring blur. Rachel had been awake for a few hours and managed to amuse the two adults with her antics. She had tired quickly, though, and barely made it through dinner before falling asleep.
To fill the time, Cuddy had asked made a quick run to her office to grab some paperwork. Her type-A personality wouldn't allow her to fall behind in her duties. It took her longer than usual, though, she found herself re-reading lines a few times before her brain would absorb them.
House had opted to pass time his usual way. He played his video games and read medical journals. It only took him so far as his sarcasm muscle was twitching. With no one to harass, he was slowly going insane. While playing his games, he was frustrated with the lack of concentration. His blue eyes constantly flickered over to the raven-haired beauty.
He fought back a smirk as she kicked her shoes off and dug her feet into the blanket while signing what he was sure was boring legal stuff. Need-money-for-this, cost-money-for-that kind of stuff that he had absolutely no interest in.
Wilson had been making himself scarce and neither House or Cuddy could figure out if it was to give them time alone. Well, as alone as they could get in a crowded hospital with a sick toddler permanently fixed to the bed. Or if he was actually swamped with work.
After beating his record for the third time, House decided to pay the oncologist a visit.
Rising from his chair, he spoke quietly to Cuddy.
"I'm going to go see Wilson, need to stretch my leg a bit." He sent her a shy smile, which she returned, before he exited the room, closing the door softly on his way out.
He contemplated about the butterflies in his stomach at her smile on his way to Wilson's office. He felt light and almost happy. They weren't even together yet but he knew that he would have another chance. Eventually.
As he entered the office, Wilson looked up from his desk. His sleeves were rolled up and his feet kicked up onto the desk. He didn't look busy at all. Drawing pictures in his little Zen sandbox is what he was doing.
House closed the door behind himself and quirked an eye brow at his friend.
"This is what you get paid to do? Build sandcastles?"
"You're one to talk, at least I do my nothing in my office instead of everywhere else." the oncologist shot back.
"Well played, sir. So, what's up?" He dropped himself onto the couch and stretched his legs out while folding his arms behind his head.
"No a lot, I thought that I might die of boredom but it seems my savior has finally arrived." He tossed the sandbox aside and settled down for their daily banter session.
"What's up with you? How is Cuddy doing?" There was a slight hesitance in his tone, as if he wasn't sure if the question would upset House.
"She's doing. Doted on Rach while she was awake. She's doing paperwork right now, you know how she is." House waved his hand as if to brush the answer aside and tried to ignore Wilson's raised eyebrow.
"That's it? That's really all you have to say? Are you forgetting that I was there when the Lucas this happened this morning? Come on, House. Don't make me ask." His tone was playful but pleading and House rolled his eyes.
"Good God, Woman. There's nothing to say. She followed me, she yelled, I yelled. The usual." House raised his eyes to the ceiling, uncomfortable with the subject.
Wilson stared at House for a minute without speaking. There was something on the diagnostician's face, he just couldn't place it. He was almost afraid to ask because it was such a delicate subject. The thing about his friend was that if you asked and he didn't want to answer, it was easily frustrating and Wilson didn't really have the energy to deal with scared-deflecting House. But if his friend was hurting, he wanted to know. He couldn't help if he didn't know the problem.
Wilson tended to consider himself a smart man, in doing that, he was able to deduce that seeing Lucas in the same room that House himself had occupied moments before must have been like a slap in the face. On top of all the other hurt and heartbreak, it was like icing on the cake. He was also aware of the rate in which negative thoughts raced through House's head. It could be incredibly damaging if no one was there to kick him off of that path before it was too late.
"She slept with Lucas." It was said quietly and with barely restrained angst.
Wilson was brought out of his musings by that statement. He was dumbfounded as he stared at House, waiting for him to continue. He wasn't sure what to say, as apart from the obvious, he didn't know how House was handling it.
"Oh come on, she's sexy and smart. She knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Did you really think it would be that long before she looked for company?" House's tone had risen and he found himself annoyed for no apparent reason. Normally, you couldn't shut Wilson up with threats to his happy place. He chooses now to become mute?
After stuttering for a second, Wilson finally regained his bearings and managed a reply.
"She told you that? It's not just one of your crazy deduction theories?"
"Yes, daddy. She told me straight to my face. With eye contact and all." He had adopted a 'duh' sort of look and Wilson rolled his eyes.
"Then what? I want to know the good parts." The excitement that was in his voice made House roll his eyes this time.
"I feel like we are on an episode of 'The Hills'. Do you enjoy my misery? Maybe I should have named you Cutthroat. God, have some sympathy!"
"Enough deflecting. You're not turning this around on me. Spill." Wilson relaxed his stance a bit, mirroring House's hands behind his head.
"I asked her if she slept with doofus and she said yes. Then she threw the hookers in my face, which is completely different, by the way, and then we yelled at each other until the yelling stopped and the hurt came in." House was sitting now and rubbing his leg. Just talking about it made it ache like crazy.
"I told her that she turned her back on me. That I was terrified of losing her and then she left anyway." Shaking his head for a second, House brought himself back to the present.
"After some more yelling, she told me that now wasn't the right time and that when Rachel was better, we could talk." The older doctor finally lifted his eyes to see a goofy smile plastered on Wilson's face.
"Dude, stop being such a girl!" His smile leaked through his lips anyway, and they shared a celebratory moment. The first step had been climbed.
"That's great, House. Really." All he got was a nod in return, but he really hadn't expected much more.
"So, what's for dinner? I'm starving from all that mouth-flapping." He rose from the couch and was closely followed by his sidekick.
As they made their way down the canteen, Julia Cuddy was making her way up to room 315.
Knocking lightly on the door, she peeked around the corner.
Seeing her sister staring blankly at the papers in her lap, she offered a greeting.
"Hey, I got here as soon as I could." She placed her things at the end of the bed and wrapped her arms around her sister.
"Hey, thanks for coming. How are you?" Cuddy was grateful for the interruption as she couldn't concentrate anyway.
"I'm fine, how was you holding up? How is Rachel?" The woman moved over to the toddler and laid a gentle kiss on her warm forehead before settling down on the little free bed space that was left.
"The biopsy revealed a malignant tumor on her right kidney. Wilms tumor, surgery for removal is tomorrow morning. With that and chemo, she should be just fine."
"That's good, it could have been worse, right?" The younger sister was reading Cuddy's face and she knew there was more. She just wasn't sure if it had to do with Rachel or not.
"So how are you holding up with the other stuff? You know, work and home and House. Oh god, how did that come up?" She had a smirk on her face and saw Cuddy's eyes widen for a second before going back to normal.
Hesitating, she began speaking "House is…oh boy. House is House but different..better. He has been here since I brought Rachel in and he been so amazing. He didn't push or annoy..he just took on the role of a concerned father. Rachel was so happy to see him, Jules. They really bonded a lot more than I gave him credit for." A goofy smile had floated onto her face and it was not missed.
"Lisa..you can't be thinking about getting back together with him. Don't you remember what he did? He's not going to change, that's why you ended things in the first place! Don't be foolish, it's probably an act to get back with you. I really wish you wouldn't fall for it." Disapproval shone in these words like a beacon and immediately made Cuddy annoyed.
"He wasn't the only one who messed up, Julia. I did too. When we first got together I told him that I didn't want him to change and then I expected him to every time something happened. Every time he messed up, he fixed it and it still wasn't good enough. My idea of us was clouding my eyes, and I should have given myself time to calm down before going to his place. I was so happy after finding out that I didn't have cancer that the fall from his relapse seemed a lot further than it was. He's an addict, it's amazing that he made it as long as he did. They relapse, it happens. You get back on the wagon and move on..I should have stuck by him instead of abandoning him! I turned my back on him when he needed me the most, which was exactly what he did! The only difference was that he was punished for it and I wasn't. Any relationship between us won't be perfect and I finally realize that. He messes up, we fix it. I mess up and he takes the fall anyway. It shouldn't be that way. If we do try again, we both need to change some things. I'm not better at this than he is and I need to stop pretending that I am. Being with him with the occasional disappointment is better than not being with him at all." she took a deep breath and wiped the few stray tears before she continued "I love him, Jules. That's hard to find, especially for me and I know he loves me. I'm the one who doesn't deserve a second chance, but he loves me enough to offer it anyway."
She was finally admitting to herself that she made mistakes too. All the blame had been on him when they both deserved it. Every time they had a problem, he did every thing he could to fix it, but it wasn't just him who should have been providing band-aids.
They really did have a lot to work through before they even came to a place where they could be genuinely happy with each other.
Regardless of what her sister thought, he deserved it. He deserved more but was willing to settle for her.
She had been waiting for the axe to fall during their entire relationship. Kept waiting for it to get better instead of focusing on the actuality of it. She remembered the happy times, when the surprisingly sweet man made her remember what happiness felt like. Paying the babysitting to stay longer, meeting under the bed for roaming fingers and sweet kisses, the peace penguin and flowers. He did his best to make her happy and she shot him down at every turn.
Julia saw that her sister was no longer there. She wondered if she was wrong. If being constantly disappointed by someone that you loved really was better that being without them completely.
"Are you sure that you're not reaching to find a safety net to help you deal with Rachel?" she gently inquired.
"Safe?" Cuddy scoffed "House is many things, but safe has never been one of them. That man can completely mind-fuck you in minutes and I love him. I love who he is, sis, I don't care what it looks like from the outside. I just don't care anymore." She had a brilliant smile on her face and the color was back in her cheeks.
They shared the smile and Julia was glad to see part of her sister back. She didn't ever want to see her breakdown like she had the night they sat in her dining room after she had broken it off with House.
Apparently, there was more than meets the eye with Gregory House and who was she to guess it?
Down in the cafeteria, House was flicking bits of straw wrapper into Wilson's food as his pager sounded.
"Gotta go!" He rose quickly from his seat and limped out into the hall and around a corner before looking at the tiny screen.
He blinked twice at the device as the letter registered in his mind. It simply read "ILY -C"
He leant his head back against the wall as an idiot smile overtook his face and he closed his eyes as if to relish the moment. He had taken the first step, and she had more than returned the gesture. It wasn't a relationship, but it was more than he felt he deserved.
His pager sounded again, disrupting his silent moment. This time it was the team and House took off towards the elevators. He had a few minutes to spare for the dying.
Minutes later, he entered the DDX room and was surprised to find only foreman present.
"Where's Saint, Sunny, and Cher? A quick look out the door revealed that they weren't incoming and he shrugged before sitting down.
"Sent them home and do I even want to know which one is Cher?" he gave his patented eye quirk and paired it with a smirk.
"Chase of course! He's such a pretty diva." House gave a mocking hair flick before raising questioning eyes to his boss.
"Patient has improved, antibiotics are helping and he hasn't seized since the last one, CT scan was clean." Foreman was exhausted and it showed in his posture. His shoulders were slumped and his face weary.
"Okay. So, you needed me why? I could have been doing something important!" His mock outrage was short lived a Foreman's snort.
"I saw you eating with Wilson. Yeah, I can see how important that is. I wanted to ask about Rachel. It's not really my business but I know her too, sort of." He was nervous about the question and House smiled internally before putting the doctor out of his misery.
"She's okay at the moment. Biopsy showed Wilms Tumor. Cutting it out tomorrow, then with some Chemo she should be ready to continue annoying me." The sparkle in his eyes bellied the end of his statement and Foreman was relieved to see it there.
"Good. That's really good. Tell Cuddy that I'm glad, will you? The patient is fine so I'm going to head home, get a decent night of sleep. Have a good night, House." After nodding, he collected his briefcase and jacket and stepped out of the room.
Exhaling into the empty room, House dug into his pocket of his jeans for the Ibuprofen bottle.
Shaking two into his hand, he rose and limped over the sink for some water before swallowing them. He rested his hip against the counter and flicked his eyes around the room. His leg hurt like hell but the rest of him was so pain free that he wasn't tortured by the piece of flesh missing from his thigh.
He felt light. Like he could float.
He snagged his pager from his waist before running his fingers over the screen which still displayed the message from Cuddy. His heart skipped a beat and he admonished himself. It's not like it's the first time she had said it. Get a grip!
The stubborn smile refused to leave his face though, and he was glad that no one was around. Baby steps.
Having seen Julia in the hallway briefly, House decided to make another trip home to grab some things.
After returning to Cuddy's, he stopped in the hospital gift-shop. Opting to purchase flowers instead of stealing them.
Paying a orderly to deliver two dinner plates and the flowers, House settled down in the waiting room. Pulling out his game boy, he let out a sigh. Life was good right now. He'd take that.
As a song came over the PA, he figured some teenybopper had changed the station. He didn't pay much attention to it, but one line caught his ears and he froze during his game as it ran around in his head.
When the roof caved in
And the truth came out
I just didn't know what to do
That's what had happened. It all came so fast that he hadn't known what to do. He reached for Vicodin. It had been his safety net for years. He had acted out of habit and questioned it later. Why did he do that?
The fear of losing her wrapped like a cold vice around his heart and he felt like he couldn't breathe. It felt like he was drowning, his savior was the one that needed to be saved and he had no fucking clue. He didn't know how to do this without her, without her directives and guiding hand.
It had hurt so damn much. A fire had consumed his leg and surged down to his feet. He couldn't think, he could only feel. He had never wanted to feel that kind of pain. He hadn't felt it when Stacy left, he supposed it helped that he was so angry at her. But Cuddy, there was no anger, only blinding fear. He didn't know how to be who he was without her.
Her walking away from him was implanted in his mind. It rewound itself over and over again in his dreams and every time, he couldn't speak. Couldn't stop her.
He pictured himself closing the door before she could pass through, Wrapping his arms around her from behind so tight that she had to stay. That she had to listen. He would bury his face in her hair and tell her all the things he had kept inside. Scared didn't cover it and that was all he had managed to choke out that night. Told her that he wasn't planning on going back on drugs, he just needed something, anything to get him through that ordeal. Begged her, if he needed to. More than he had anyway. Held her until she gave up the fight. Until she agreed to stay. He could do better. They could do better.
He was brought out of his musings by the door to Rachel's room opening and Julia exiting. She shut the door behind her and flashed him a smile before she reached him.
"Watch over them. This is your chance. Don't screw it up." With a light pat on his chest, she breezed by him and entered the elevator.
As her face disappeared behind the doors, House made his way towards Cuddy.
When he saw her face, another line from that obnoxious song passed through his mind.
Let me in
Give me another chance
To really be your man
And she was, he could see it in the smile that she directed at him. Her eyes sparkled and her face flushed slightly. Unable to stop himself, he limped to her and kissed her chastely on the lips.
"Sorry, habit." her eyes flickered open and she returned the kiss with one of her own that was not so chaste.
"Oops." she spoke softly.
House touched his thumb to her cheek and gave her a wink before taking his seat and moving his eyes to Rachel.
A blur of color on the floor caught his eye and he rose when he realized it was Sox. Picking the stuffed dog up, he aimed an "animal abuse!" at Cuddy before carefully tucking the animal in next to Rachel and gazing at the girl for a second before returning to his seat.
"Stop smiling at me like that, Woman. Your face will stick and we'll have to call Taub in." he made an 'ick' face as he spoke.
"Oh, shush you big softie. You're more of a teddy bear than anyone knows." she was teasing him and he relished in it. It seems like it's been forever since the last time.
"Tell anyone and I'll have to punish you." He glared at her and pointed a mock stern finger in her direction.
"That could be fun, actually. But I promise to keep this to myself. I kind of like it that way."
"Yeah, yeah. You should feel so special." he grumbled.
"I do! Doesn't it show?" she folded her hands under her chin and batted her eyes at him.
House broke out in laughter that sent chills down her spine.
She spoke without meaning to "God, I missed you."
Her eyes had taken on a deer-in-headlights look and she snapped her mouth closed.
House's laughter stopped in an instant and his eyed sobered.
"You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that, Cuddy." Her name came out almost as a caress and his eyes roamed her face as if imprinting it into his memory.
In her eyes she read that he missed her too, there was no need for him to say it.
Unable to hold his stare, she focused on the starched white blanket as she spoke again.
"I'm sorry, House. I'm sorry for expecting you to change even after I told you that I didn't want you to. I'm sorry for getting hung up on all the negatives and letting all the positive things pass me by. I made mistakes, a lot of them. And it really means a lot to me that you want to try again. I don't think that I deserve it, but I'm really going to try to be better for you. For us." she had turned her face to his again, and he could see the clear truth in her eyes.
He swallowed roughly before speaking, quietly and filled with emotion "We both made mistakes, we both need to fix things. I want us to be better, Lisa. We need to stop looking for perfection and just find us."
With a shaky breath, she replied "Sounds perfect" and flashed him a smirk before going back to her paperwork.
He smiled at the top of her head before flicking through his journal, looking for the article he had yet to finish.
So tell me girl
I really need you in my life
Cause things ain't right
Maybe that song wasn't so obnoxious after all.
Humming to himself, he focused on his reading. Trying to prepare himself for tomorrow.
A/N: So? Like it? Hope so, it was a blast to write. Only took two hours and 13 minutes for a little over 4,000 words. I'm not sure where that is on the fic writer scale, but I'll get there. The song is Whatcha say by Jason Derulo and I'm currently obsessed with it, sorry.
Don't forget to leave a review! Thanks for reading! Oh! And I joined the likes of twitter. HuddyAddict3315, drop me a line.