When We Were Young
Chapter 13: A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
A/N: This chapter got a little longer than most of the others, but I did promise you Huddy this chapter, and I keep my promises. Read on little ducklings :)
"Mmmkay" House mumbled sleepily into his pillow as Thirteen had reluctantly agreed to tell him the tale of her summer vacation. He made sure to slow his breathing to long and heavy breaths and as she looked down at him with his eyes close she was pretty certain he was either asleep or very close to it. With her mind slightly at ease now she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and started into her story.
About ten minutes later an emotionally spent Thirteen wiped a tear that rolled down her cheek as she concluded the story. Her mother was very ill with an incurable disease and her father had finally come to the painful decision to move her into a facility upstate that could better care for her. Her father had rented a house only a few minutes from the facility for himself, Thirteen, and her older brother to stay in so that they would be able to visit every day without a hassle. She painfully admitted that after only a few days of watching her father fall apart in front of her eyes as he sat by her mother's bedside was too much for her to handle. The woman they saw every day was no longer her mother; but rather an empty shell of who she used to be. It terrified her and broke her at the same time. After the third day she couldn't bring herself to visit anymore and jumped on a bus for the hour long trip out of town to stay at her Aunt's house. Too coward to even admit it to her father, she left him a note instead, telling him that she missed her cousins and wanted to spend the summer with them. The truth was it was too painful; the way her father looked at her mother and her brother as well. Her brother is nine years older than her and was also diagnosed with the genetic disease six months ago. Thirteen knew that there was a 50/50 chance that she would inherit this disease as well and she couldn't bear the thought of having her father look at her with that same broken look. She figured all she had to do was lay low with her Aunt and cousins until she turned 19 and was free to do or go wherever she pleased and she could take care of herself. She couldn't risk putting her father through that a third time; the man was already at his breaking point and in about ten years she knew it would be happening all over again with her brother.
"And that's what happened to me this summer… " she concluded with a heavy sigh and a quiet sniffle. She had yet to tell anybody this and for whatever reason it made it easier to tell House; especially when he was passed out and unable to respond or judge her.
Or so she had thought…
She took a deep breath and then pushed herself off the end of his bed; ready to call it a night and head home when suddenly his voice stopped her dead in her tracks.
"That's it?" he scoffed at her. Her eyebrow raised in suspicion as she slowly turned back around to face him and he was already sitting straight up in bed. "So you freaked out about your mother getting sick, you're human you know. And not to mention, still a kid! You shouldn't know how to deal with that yet. Hell, no one would know how to deal with it. Not even your old man"
She stared at him. Clearly, he was far from drunk. Fifteen minutes ago he couldn't stand up straight or even complete a sentence properly; but evidently it was all an act. She really should have known better. Her blood was boiling as she continued glaring at him. She was absolutely furious and yet when searching for something to say, or rather yell, at him she came up completely empty. He knew exactly what he was doing; he knew she needed to get it off her chest but being just as stubborn as he was he knew she wouldn't just give it up.
"You were screwing with me?" she practically growled at him.
"Hi, Greg House, pleased to meet you!" he mocked; extending his hand out to her.
"House!" she huffed in frustration as she put her hand to her forehead.
"Oh come on" House groaned, finally pushing himself off the bed completely to stand in front of her. "You and I both know you wanted to tell me, otherwise you never would have came here in the first place"
"I came here" she began in a low, angry tone; "because Wilson told me you were drunk out of your mind and needed help"
"And you actually bought that?" he scoffed. "You're a bigger moron than I thought"
"And you're a bigger ass than I thought!" she quickly countered; folding her arms across her chest.
"Okay, can we skip the next thirty seconds where you actually think you're mad at me and get straight to the part where you tell me you needed this, you need your friends" he snapped back at her not in anger but more of frustration.
They were in a silent standoff. He stood only about a foot away from her with both hands on his hips and the look on his face begging her to try and tell him where he was wrong. She stood slightly slouched with her arms still folded across her chest and her enigmatic green pools glaring furiously at him. She wasn't about to give up either.
"Fine" he eventually huffed; throwing his hands up in defeat. "Go back to wherever the hell you've been hiding all this time and crawl back under the rock you've been living in. I'm not going to stand here and hold your hand, if you want to be an idiot than that's your decision. But just so you know, it's a pretty moronic one"
The harshness of his words left Thirteen temporarily frozen in shock. She couldn't move, couldn't speak, just stared at him with wide eyes as he turned around and simply walked away from her. He didn't storm out, didn't slam doors or throw and objects, he simply walked away calmly and still she stood perfectly still, only watching him as he walked out of her life. As big of an ass that he was she knew why he did it, but at the moment she didn't care.
He stopped at the top of the staircase and took one final glance at her and her eyes caught his. His stare was softer now; certainly not like it was only a few minutes ago and he held her gaze for a long few seconds before finally turning his head frontwards again and heading back down the staircase.
Thirteen sighed. Leaving these people was harder than she thought it would be, which is why she didn't want an emotional goodbye in the first place.
She took a moment to collect herself then slowly and quietly headed down the staircase; careful to make sure that no one else would see her leaving and try to stop her because she honestly couldn't take any more of that tonight. She knew House wouldn't sit there and beg her to stay, in fact, he did pretty much exactly what she had expected him to do which was tell her she was being an idiot but ultimately leave her to her own decision. Sure it wasn't the most ideal approach, but it was the House approach.
She reached the front door without being seen and as her hand rested on the cold metal handle she took one last look back at the people she used to call her friends.
Cameron was still sitting on the same sofa as earlier still looking very upset. Wilson was at her side trying to comfort her. Thirteen couldn't hear what he was saying but knowing Wilson she was pretty sure she could figure it out. Even a drunk Wilson was still a caring one. Whatever he had said seemed to calm Cameron slightly and she nodded her head slowly before letting it fall against Wilson's shoulder and Wilson wrapped an arm around her and rubbed her shoulder in an attempt to console her.
A commotion was heard and Thirteen shifted her attention to the other side of the room where apparently a young man was less than impressed with Chase having his arm around who he claimed to be his girlfriend. Chase was so far gone that instead of apologizing to the boy he just ended up keeling over in a fit of laughter which only enraged the guy more. The boy went to lunge for Chase when Foreman stepped out of nowhere, grabbing the guy's arm and twisting it behind the back of his head and rendering him motionless. The boy yelled out in pain but Foreman's grip remained as he pushed him up against the nearest wall.
"First of all" Foreman began; practically growling in the kid's ear. "You might want to keep tabs on your girl before you start accusing other people of acting inappropriately. And secondly, you come near my boy here again and I'll make sure it's the last thing you do. Got it?"
The boy let out another sharp wince of pain before quickly nodding his head against the wall.
"I'm sorry!" he shouted and Foreman immediately released his hold.
The boy remained leaning against the wall for a few more seconds in an effort to catch his breath before finally pushing himself off and motioning for his girlfriend to follow him as he made his way for the front door.
Thirteen stepped back as the less than happy couple made their way to the front door; the girl muttering something about how they could use some friends that would stick up for them like that and the boy just offered a grunt in return as he was clearly still in pain. They brushed past Thirteen and headed out the front door; leaving only Cameron, Wilson, Cuddy, Chase, Foreman, House and of course Thirteen, still behind.
Thirteen bit her bottom lip as she took a moment to let everything that had happened this evening sink in. She knew House did what he did because he cared about her. She knew that her friends would have her back in a second if she needed it, just as they were doing now with Cameron and Chase. She knew she was lucky to have these people in her life, and just as House had said, she knew she was an idiot for believing her best option was to throw that all away.
So after taking a long deep breath she slowly made her way back into the main room of the house where her friends were all gathered. House was the first to notice her; giving her a small smile and a nod and she quickly offered one back.
"Hey guys" she spoke softly at first until she held all of their attention. "I'm back"
The reactions were mixed; Cameron sobbed out of what Thirteen could only assume was happiness. Cuddy shrieked in pure joy and ran up to hug her. Foreman smiled, which was a miracle in itself. And Wilson ran over, picked her up by her waist, and swung her around like a rag doll until she begged him to put her down.
"God you guys are all trashed" Thirteen sighed but let out a hint of laughter as she was clearly amused with their more than happy welcoming. "Who do you gotta screw to get a drink around here anyway?" she scoffed and glances were exchanged between Chase, Wilson, and Foreman before the three of them dashed for the kitchen; slamming into and tripping over each other in what appeared to be a circus act gone wrong.
Chase however was apparently the victorious one as he appeared a few seconds later at Thirteen's side with a fresh drink in hand.
"Robert Chase" he greeted her politely and she smiled.
"You're new" she commented and he nodded.
"You're hot" he immediately returned and it caught her slightly off guard.
"You're drunk" she eventually answered with a roll of her eyes.
"Touche" Chase sighed.
"Yeah didn't I cut you off hours ago?" House finally spoke up and Chase just started into another fit of laughter. Apparently he had found another source to supply him with alcohol.
"Oh hey, you know what I've always wanted to do" Chase began again; apparently ready to approach a new subject.
"What?" Foreman asked with one eyebrow raised.
"Play spin the bottle!" He announced excitedly but everyone only groaned in response; immediately dismissing the idea.
"What?" Chase moaned. "Whenever I watch a movie or TV show about American kids at parties they always play spin the bottle!" he continued arguing his point.
"Yeah, we do that when we're twelve, not seventeen" Foreman quickly answered and Chase let his shoulders slump in disappointment.
"Well what do we do now?" He huffed.
"Gee I've got an idea, you go HOME!" House quickly answered.
"Somebody's cranky" Cameron giggled and House rolled his eyes at her.
"Well Wilson woke me up early this morning, I didn't get my proper beauty rest. And besides, having to look after your drunk and belligerent asses all night is harder than you might realize" he finished and Cameron quickly shot him a glare.
"Okay, well maybe YOU might realize" he quickly corrected.
"Well" Thirteen was the first to speak up. "I'm exhausted and going to take a cab home. Anyone who wants to split it with me is welcome to" she mentioned and Foreman nodded his head and followed after her towards the front door.
"So, see ya Monday?" House called out before she stepped outside and she turned back and offered him a small smile.
"See ya Monday House" she confirmed before stepping outside with Foreman closely behind her.
"Well, I don't live too far so I'll just walk" Chase shrugged as he looked around the room for the jacket he had discarded hours earlier. Spotting it hanging over the sofa he walked over to grab it and Cameron hurried after him.
"Um, Chase…" She said hesitantly tapping his shoulder. He grabbed his jacket and spun around to face her; unintentionally rolling his eyes as he did so.
"What?" he sighed.
"I was just wondering, do you think maybe you could walk me home?" she asked shyly. Chase wanted to laugh in her face, to tell her to get lost, to tell her to ask any one of the other ten guys that she spent more time with tonight than him but when he looked at her saddened eyes he knew he was sunk. He let out a deep sigh before lightly nodding his head.
"Yeah, I'll walk you home, come on" He motioned towards the door and Cameron nodded before leading the way; offering a quick good bye wave to the others still left behind.
"Alright Wilson, I guess we should…" Cuddy started to speak, then stopped as she realized Wilson was no longer standing behind her.
"Where the hell is Wilson?" She asked curiously; looking to House who stood beside her.
"Oh Great" House sighed as he turned to see the patio door opened slightly. "Drunk Wilson is worse than a toddler" he grunted. "Turn your back on him for one second and bam! He's gone"
He pulled the door open further and stepped out into the chilled night air and looked around the deck. He let out a small laugh at the site that caught his eye; Wilson draped over the patio swing lying flat on his stomach with one leg and arm hanging over the edge, the other leg extended through the space of the arm at one end of the swing and his other arm was bent above his head, his fist still clenching a beer bottle.
"I think your bodyguard is off duty now" House commented as Cuddy reached his side.
"Fantastic" Cuddy huffed; throwing her hands up in frustration.
"There's lots of room in my bed ya know" House teased; nudging Cuddy with his elbow. "I'm a snuggler"
"Very funny House" she deadpanned. "I need to get home tonight, if my father wakes up and I'm not there he's going to kill me. And when he finds out I slept here, he is most definitely going to kill you"
"Good point" House nodded. "Come on" he sighed, heading towards the front gate and Cuddy reluctantly followed after him.
House came to a halt in the driveway when he reached his motorcycle and grabbed for his helmet and extended it towards Cuddy who just stared at him with her hands on her hips.
"Are you crazy?" she scoffed at him. "I am not getting on that thing with you! Especially considering you've been drinking!"
"No," he quickly countered. "You've been drinking. I had one shot. ONE. And it was over an hour ago. Relax. You think I'd put the love of my life in danger?" He asked candidly and Cuddy's eyes shot wide open in shock. She was stunned. Speechless even. She had no idea how to respond to something like that and she wasn't even sure she'd heard him right; she must be more drunk than she thought…
"I wouldn't do that, would I baby?" House began speaking again and it snapped her out of her momentary daze. She looked down to see House kneeling in front of his motorcycle and softly running his hand over it in a petting motion and she immediately rolled her eyes. Of course he was talking about his damn bike.
"Whatever, let's just go" she huffed, reaching for the helmet in House's hand and shoving it on her head. House stood up and gave her his trademark smirk as she glared at him from underneath the helmet.
House climbed up onto the seat and Cuddy reluctantly followed. She gripped her hands tightly onto the sides of his leather jacket and he smirked and shook his head before taking her hands and pulling her closer until her arms wrapped around his abdomen and the rest of her body was pressed firmly against his back.
Without a word spoken House quickly sped off the driveway and into the street; the initial burst of speed making Cuddy jump slightly in her seat and she could feel House laughing at her through the vibrations in his back.
"Shut up" she grumbled before gripping him even tighter. She closed her eyes, hoping that it would be less scary this way.
A few short minutes later they arrived on Cuddy's street and she forced her eyes open and gave him a sharp pat on his shoulder. He nodded; knowing exactly what she wanted and pulled the bike over to the side of the road and turned off the ignition.
"Can't have Daddy waking up now can we?" House smirked as he put the kickstand on and dismounted the bike; gently pulling Cuddy off as well once he was able to.
She handed him his helmet and a muttered a quiet 'thank you' as House returned the helmet to rest on one of the handlebars. She began walking, or rather stumbling, the short distance to her home and was slightly surprised to see House following her.
"I know where I live you know" she sneered at him before turning up into a driveway. House chuckled softly then shot his arm out to grab her by the hand and pull her back to the sidewalk.
"Do you? Because last I checked it was 224, this is 234" he explained and Cuddy scrunched up her nose as she looked up at the house.
"Damnit" she sighed; rubbing her hand against her forehead.
"This way" House nodded before tugging on her hand and forcing her to follow him.
"Why are you being so nice to me now?" Cuddy asked curiously as she gripped her free hand around his bicep in an attempt to keep her stumbling frame upright. "Normally you would have left me there and ran home to tell Wilson about how I was so drunk I walked into the wrong house"
"Well that was before you so delicately reminded me of what your father would do to me if he found out that I got you into this state" he groaned.
"You did not get me into this state" she snapped at him. "I'm a big girl you know, I can make my own…"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, just shut up already" House huffed. "Keep your voice down or we'll wake old man Cuddy up and we'll both be dead" he warned her and she reluctantly agreed as they began heading up her driveway.
"Wait here" House demanded as he left Cuddy standing in the driveway. He slowly approached the large bay window at the front of the house and saw Mr. Cuddy sleeping soundly in a large armchair in front of the television.
"Well, front door is out of the question" he whispered as he returned to Cuddy's side. "You're going to have to go through the back. Come on"
House motioned his head toward the side of the house and Cuddy nodded slightly before making her way towards the backyard; House following closely behind her. Her first step from the driveway onto the grass beside the house landed with a loud crunch of leaves under her feet and she gasped as the noise frightened her; which only turned into an uncontrollable fit of laughter as she felt so stupid for being afraid of leaves.
"Shut up" House warned in a harsh whisper. If her giggling kept up like that she'd not only wake her father but probably the whole damn neighbourhood too.
"I'm s-sorry…" she tried through more laughter. House was really starting to lose his patience with drunk people.
"Just keep going" he whispered as he placed his hands on her waist and gently urged her forward.
"That tickles!" she practically shrieked and her laughter got louder.
"For God's sake Cuddy, keep it down!" House warned; apparently a little too loudly as a light suddenly turned on in the Cuddy household, causing House to freeze in place.
"What was that?" Cuddy asked with apparently no regard to just how loud she was talking.
"Shhhh" House whispered, placing his finger to his lips. "Just be quiet"
"Kay" Cuddy nodded, trying her best to get her giggling under control, which wasn't an easy feat for someone as intoxicated as she was.
A click was heard, followed by a slow creak and House closed his eyes tightly as he knew the sound was of the front door being opened. He and Cuddy were now about halfway down the length of the house; luckily far enough that the light beaming from the porch wouldn't capture them and he hoped that once Mr. Cuddy saw no reason to look any further than the front yard that he would turn right back around and head back inside.
Cuddy gasped as she heard footsteps creaking on the front porch and her father grumbling under his breath. Her hand quickly covered her mouth but she still managed to find the situation funny and her laughter bout was starting all over again.
Completely stumped as to how to keep her quiet House did the only thing he could think of to shut her up. He grabbed her by her shoulders, pressed her against the side of the house, and kissed her. Hard.
The moment his lips connected with hers Cuddy felt a fire burning up inside her. Both her father and her laughter was all but forgotten about as she parted her lips allowing him to deepen the kiss. She gripped the lapels of his leather jacket and held on for dear life as his tongue swept inside her mouth and duelled with hers. The electrifying kiss was fuelled with so much passion it made her dizzy and her knees feel weak but she was quite certain it wasn't due to the alcohol she had consumed. She was drunk on something else entirely now. Gregory House was intoxicating.
A/N: Sorry folks but the Huddy train stops here for now. You know me, I'm a sucker for reviews, so be a pal and leave one for me? Up next, the aftermath of "the kiss" & more. Stay tuned!