Author's Notes: This one shot is dedicated to adieangel. For her birthday, she wanted a fic set in season 4 exploring House and Cuddy's first time together. In other words, what would happen if they had had sex back then? This is set right after "Mirror, Mirror" and contains adult situations. If you don't like smut, please don't read.

Disclaimer: I don't own the show. Shocking I know.

Win for Losing
By Duckie Nicks

"Fine," he announces, barging in to her office. "You can hire Foreman back."

She tentatively looks up from the briefcase she's been carefully packing for the last five minutes. In her mind, there's absolutely zero chance that this conversation will be simple, that he will be as acquiescent as he appears. And though they've been getting along all day, been having fun really, Cuddy knows that that dynamic can shift at any second. Or more precisely, if she allows herself to stay here with him, the dynamic will change, and it goes without saying that that's the last thing she wants.

"I already did that," she says after a beat. Her gaze wanders back down to the files she's been packing away. Her irritation is audible, even to her own ears. Weariness, which she has kept at bay since what-should-have-been dinnertime, has finally encroached upon her cool veneer. It's been a better day than most, a fun one even, but even she has her limits – and she has suddenly, undeniably reached them.

If House notices this or cares, he shows neither awareness nor concern. He simply shrugs and explains, "Now you can hire him for real."

She lays her hands flat on her desk to keep herself from punching him. "You want me to hire him. Again," she said doubtfully.

"Yeah, that's kind of what I meant when I said, 'Now you can –'"

"You've been fighting me on this all week," she reminds him. "You created a panic by pretending mayonnaise in the cafeteria was tainted."

"A harmless prank," he says with a shrug. "I didn't actually poison the mayonnaise."

"You ordered thousands of dollars worth of tests for –"

"Well, I'd hate to cost the hospital –"

"You tampered with my birth control pills," she accuses, her voice getting louder than she wants.

"Like you're having sex."

She smiles. "Like I'm not."

She says it, not because it's true, but because she knows. As often as he accuses her of having the hots for him, their attraction is mutually felt and equally so; if he thinks she's dating someone else, the palpable electricity between them will make him burn with jealousy.

"Oh, you're not," he says knowingly.

Cuddy looks at him to give the lie the appearance of honesty. "Why do you think I'm on the pill?"

Unfortunately for her, it's then that she realizes she's piqued his curiosity. As he heads towards her couch, as he plops down on the cushions and looks at her expectantly, she understands: she won't be leaving any time soon. She said it to irritate him, but he's so interested now that she's essentially shot herself in the foot.

"Well," he says, propping his dirty shoes up on one of the arm rests. "Now we need to talk about this."

"There's nothing to talk about."

"You have a boyfriend."

"Which is not your business."

"So then even your imaginary boyfriend doesn't want to acknowledge that he's dating you."

She can feel the smile forming, despite the fact that she's not amused that he's here.

"It's late," she announces, changing the subject. She doesn't think she should have to mention that since he's wearing a brown winter coat and obviously ready to leave. "Go home."

He doesn't move.

"We still have things to discuss."

"Fine. There's no boyfriend," she says quickly. Moving out from behind her desk, she heads straight for him. "Now can you leave?" she asks, pushing his feet off of her couch.

House clearly ignores the question. Instead, upon hearing her admittance, he decides to pick it apart; she knows this, because he tells her, "That much is obvious." He gestures towards her chest. "If you were getting some, you wouldn't be wearing a bra that pushes you up so much that your breasts could be a chin rest. I was right by the way: you do have great yabos."

"You didn't say that."

"No," he agrees, nodding his head. "My patient did, but he was being me, since he didn't remember who he was, so it's sort of like I said it."

She purses her lips together. "Are you done? Or would you like time to dissect my choice in underwear as well?"

He acts like he's thinking about and then shakes his head. "You're not wearing any."

"Yes, I am."

"… No," he disagrees. "But you're welcome to prove it." His feet having been pushed off the couch, he simply rearranges his body on the sofa. This time he places his feet on the coffee table and his hands behind his head. "I'd like a good show."

She smirks in spite of herself. "I think you'll have to pay someone for that."

"Oh I don't know…." He gazes at the ceiling before looking back at her. "We took the test together. My patient recognized me as the one in charge."

She laughs and walks away from him. She's aware that it would be best if she walked away all together, to grab her things, and leave. But his curiosity isn't the only one that's been piqued tonight.

She has no idea why he has come to her now, what could be so important that he can't wait until morning when they see each other again. She has given him enough of an indication that she would rather wait to have this conversation, which means nothing. But the fact that it's late does mean something to her; it means that whatever's on his mind is important enough to be here now.

And yet she tries again to encourage him to leave. Grabbing her coat, she slips her arms into it. "You're not in charge."

"Admit it: I'm the dominant one."

"No," she says flatly.

"That's not what my patient thinks."

"House, you have no idea how your patient chose people to imitate."

"Actually –"

"You have a theory," she interrupts patronizingly. "That doesn't mean you're right. He could choose at random."

"Then he's unreliable. Doesn't mean he's wrong." She opens her mouth to respond, but he doesn't give her a chance to speak. "And I can prove it."

Her coat hangs limply on her shoulders. Leaving it all but forgotten, she accepts the challenge. "Go ahead. By all means, prove it to me."

He grins in a manner that makes her blood run cold. "I'm pretty sure I just did, if you're still here talking to me."

Secretly she knows he's right… not that she'll ever give him the satisfaction of being right by admitting it.

"Is that why you're here?" she asks, deflecting from the truth he's just stated. "To point that out?"

"I don't need to go out of my way to prove who owns –"


"Who here," he says, ignoring her discontent.

"Get to the point."

He sits up, his eyes narrowing on her. "Foreman didn't want to be here. He quit for a reason. I want to know what you did to get him back."

She's surprised he's asking the question, when the answer is so obvious. "I didn't have to do anything. He's untouchable right now."

"So." House shrugs. "He genuinely was afraid of turning into me."

"He's not going to –"

"Obviously. He doesn't have the huge penis for it."

Cuddy raises an eyebrow. "How would you know he –"

"Point is, he had a reason to stay away. A moral one."

"Foreman's practical. He needed a job."

"Still, he capitulated remarkably quick for someone standing on principle. You must have given him some incentive."

"I didn't give him anything," she says honestly.

Not that he believes her.

When he shoots her a doubtful look, she tells him, "I called him after Mercy fired him. We had lunch. He turned me down and kept saying no –"

"You had lunch?" House asks suddenly. "We never had lunch," he complains.

"I hired you. I treat you incredibly well here, so –"

With a frown, he says, "You didn't implement naked Thursdays."

She can appreciate the joke, but again, she wants to go home. The banter between them may come with ease, but she's not interested in being here all night. And if for no other reason than she's tired and wants to go home, she says tiredly, "Just tell me what you want."

"And you're the dominant one?"

"Shut up," she says with a scowl.

"Well now, I want a meal."

The demand comes out so casually that she doesn't know how to respond right away.

Of course there is irritation, the feeling of agitation hitting her instantly. She is never surprised by his obnoxiousness these days, but there are times, like now, when she can't believe she's put up with him for this long.

But that's barely a thought in her head when it strikes her as odd, his request. He didn't come here knowing that she'd had lunch with Foreman. Maybe Foreman told him, but House sounded surprised when he heard that bit of information, and she doesn't think he knew before for that reason. Which means he wants something else.

"I'm serious," she says, not interested in dragging this conversation out any longer.

"So am I."

"That's not why you came here," she says shaking her head.

"Of course not," he agrees. "But now I'm going to need dinner before I –"

"Good night then."

She quickly buttons her coat.

"I won the bet," he points out, as she goes to grab her briefcase.

"You just said you wanted him on your team," she practically whines.

"And I do." Standing up, he says conversationally, "But it's not fair for me to walk away empty handed, now is it?"

She casts a sideways glance in his direction. "You have Foreman back. You don't need dinner on top of –"

"Oh, but I do."

She pulls her briefcase close to her body. "Then you can go eat, and we'll talk about this in the morning."

"Nah, that's not gonna work," he says dismissively. "You have to come."

She's completely taken aback by the insistence in his voice. It's measured, obviously; there's nothing desperate or pleading about it. Frankly, she wouldn't recognize him as House if there were. But by the same token, it's odd to hear his words and know that he isn't being sarcastic.

That's not to say that his motives are pure, of course. With him, the truth is probably the very opposite of that. And she's suspicious of his behavior, even as she feels herself believing the most rational explanation that comes to mind.

"Are you… are you asking me out, House?" she asks tentatively, immediately knowing that his answer won't be one she likes.

"Oh, you'd like that wouldn't you," he patronizes. "All this talk of me dominating you has sent you into heat."

She doesn't deny or agree. She doesn't back down. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?" she asks, throwing his words back at him.

He grimaces at the question or perhaps at the idea of asking her out (she prefers the former). But he's calm with his response. "Doesn't matter what I like or don't like; you've got a case of the wet panties when it comes to me."

"Yes," she says dryly. "You turn me on so much."

"I know."

"I was being sarcastic, you –"

"No, you weren't. But take me to dinner, and I'll make sure you have plenty of spank bank material for later."

He speaks as though she's really getting a bargain in the end.

"I don't know how it's possible, but I think I'll pass."

He doesn't bat an eyelash at the rejection – hardly surprising. "I would say yes if I were you."

This time she is the one who is unfazed. "And why's that?" She doesn't even let him answer the question before she answers her own question. "Let me guess: you'll do what you always do – create panic, make life harder for everyone else in the hospital –"

"Not everyone," he corrects. "Just you really."

She smiles. "Then I would start buying adult diapers, because until you leave me alone, your Vicodin? isn't going to be Vicodin."

"Then I'm going to have to move on to Plan C," he says after considering what she's saying for a moment.

She dreads the answer even before she asks the question. "And that would be?"

"It's just dinner," he says calmly, rationally. "One meal – which I know you haven't already had, because you were with me when you normally leave work."

Her eyes narrow on him. "Are you apologizing?"

"Hardly," he practically barks. His voice returning to normal, he explains, "I was leaving with Foreman. He thought he didn't want to be here. Faced with the patient…." His voice trails for a second before he continues. "He realized that he liked being here. All of those idiots watched the patient become them; they learned something about themselves… and did nothing about it."

The mood shifts in a serious direction. She's not sure why this is, but he's suddenly become pensive. All week they've been bantering and one-upping each other; they've traded insults and pranks, fought over Foreman of all things. She's gotten comfortable with that dynamic, enjoyed it even. For House to now sound deep in thought… it's at odds with what she's experienced all week.

"And what did you learn, House?" she asks seriously.

He looks at her as though she's an idiot for not instantly knowing. "You were there."

"I don't –"

She cuts herself off. She doesn't need him to clarify; he's already mentioned it once, and she suddenly understands exactly what he means.

"This is about my breasts," she deduces.

"They are nice," he admits.

It is tempting then to point out that that sounds like attraction coming from him. For all of his jokes about her, he's clearly the one with the hard on. In the back of her mind, she is aware that probably she should be offended, but that's not what she's thinking about at all; that there's an opportunity to prove him wrong, to throw his desire for her in his face, is.

She doesn't even want to think what that says about her.

And in the end, it doesn't matter, because House tells her, "It's also supposed to rain tonight. And you're wearing a white shirt. So –"

"You think I'm going to go out to dinner with you, so that you can see me in a wet t-shirt."

"Why not?" he says earnestly. "It's no different than any other date you've been on in your life. Or did you think those guys were interested in your mind instead of your tits?"

Again, she understands that she should be offended by the bite in his words. But she's not, because at that moment, she feels herself grinning more widely than she thought possible.

"You said it wasn't a date."

She's clearly touched a nerve, because suddenly he seems upset. Cheeks red, eyes wide, he says quickly, "It's not a date."

"That's why you came here." She knows he'll deny it, but she doesn't care about that. "You wanted to ask me out."

"No. No, no, no, no, no."

He can't deny it fast enough. His words uncharacteristically trip over themselves as he tries to make it clear: he does not want to date her. Cuddy can appreciate his frantic denial, because if the situation were reversed, she'd behave the exact same way. But since he's the one in the hot seat, she enjoys watching him squirm.

It's not that she particularly likes the idea of him wanting to date her. It's the opposite in fact. She doesn't want to date him, knows that it is a bad idea to chase down that attraction to its logical, inevitable conclusion. Nothing good can come from a date.

But that is something she knows that he's aware of as well, and as such, she's not at all concerned that he actually is asking her out.

Which is why she has no problem taunting him.

She has no idea why he's here, why he wants to spend any more time with her than he already has. But she suspects that he will never tell her the truth. So why not have some fun in the meantime?

"Of course not," she nearly coos.

"I'm not."

"Okay, House."

"I mean it."

She smiles as though she's sympathizing with a young child. "It's all right."

"Shut up," he says with a scowl.

"There's nothing to be ashamed of."

"If I were attracted to you, actually, there would be. But since I'm not attracted to you, because I don't like cobwebs to come with vaginas, you're right: there's nothing to be ashamed of."

"You know, for someone who claims to be so uninterested in me, you spend a lot of time thinking about my vagina."

He quickly throws her logic back in her face. "For someone who claims to be uninterested in me, you've spent the last ten minutes talking to me when you planned on going home."

There's nothing she can say at that moment to refute his rationale. She'll never say it out loud, because she has some pride. But knows that he's right. If she weren't interested in some way, she wouldn't still be here; she wouldn't let him get away with half the things that he does.

Knowing that he'll see right through a denial, she doesn't bother to offer one. Rather, she changes the subject altogether. "If you want dinner, can we please go?" she asks, her exhaustion evident in her voice. "Let's just get this over with."

"Well now I'm not sure I want dinner with you," he says with a pout.

She ignores his attitude. "Some place close." He doesn't move towards the door, and out of exasperation, she tells him what he clearly wants to hear. "All right. I admit: it's not a date. A date would involve the possibility of sex at the end of the evening, and there is zero chance of that happening. Now. Can we go?"

This time he does head for the doors to her office. And though he's limping, he moves with ease. It's not a physical comfort, but there is something about his... strut that makes her suspicious.

Not moving she says knowingly, "That was your plan all along."

House opens her office door and turns back. Looking at her, he doesn't speak. But then he doesn't need to. He's got that pleased look on his face, like he's planned this all along and she's done exactly what he wanted.

"It was," she accuses.

He ignores her. "Are you coming?"

Knowing that this is, for whatever reason, what he wanted from her makes her want to say no. But she's sure that, if she does that, he'll have a million other ways of forcing her acquiescence, and she would prefer to come on her own terms.

"Fine. But I'm driving myself."

She must sound agitated, because he stops smiling then. And when she tries to walk out the door he's holding open for her, he puts a hand on her forearm. She stops in her tracks, her eyes looking down at the fingers resting on her coat. Questioning her gaze slowly wanders upwards until she's looking at him directly.

"It's just dinner, Cuddy." The disbelief she feels must play across her features, because he tells her, "No hidden agenda. No games."

"It's always a game," she tells him calmly.

He doesn't say anything in response. She expects him to, of course; history has taught her that any comment is deserving of a remark of his own. There are no exceptions to that rule. If she speaks, it's safe to assume that he will respond. If she insults or accuses, he will lob at her some of his own.

But he doesn't here.

Part of her thinks she sees something akin to hurt in his eyes. And with anyone else, she would apologize or at least back down from her position. With House though, she doesn't bother. His emotions are often hard to gauge, a task that has become more difficult for her as the years go by. The longer she knows him, the more she realizes just how manipulative he can be.

He's emotional quicksand. At first glance, it seems easy to understand him, to conclude that you know his ways, because he can be shockingly predictable on the surface; he's oppositional, rude, cynical… she's familiar with each of those qualities. But over the years, she has seen underneath that. It's never been more than a quick glance of what lies beneath admittedly, but she has on occasion, when she's worked for it or just plain gotten lucky, been shown a different to side to him.

For someone as controlled and manipulative as House, those moments are, she realizes, rarely by accident. If he shows her something, there is almost always a reason for it. And she has learned to be suspicious when he is open. He may or may not actually feel the way he seems to; he may or may not have other motives.

She has learned all of this the hard way, and for that reason, she is judicious in how she chooses to respond to him.

But it's clear almost immediately that, real or fake, his agitation isn't going to go away on its own. He doesn't cancel the plans he's spent the last several moments needling her to agree to. He doesn't let the comment go.

What he does do is show his displeasure every way he can. When they leave, he drives away quickly before she's even had a chance to start her car. She follows him, and he takes her to a greasy diner that looks like it's had a hundred health code violations in the past month alone. He takes her there, she thinks, because he believes it's the kind of place she'll hate.

Indeed, when she reminisces to him that her father used to take her to restaurants like this one when she was little, House scowls. When she orders a nostalgic strawberry milkshake, his sarcastic remarks have more bite than they normally would. It's clear that he wanted to make her miserable. That he has accidentally dredged up a happy childhood memory for her makes him miserable instead.

They're still waiting for their food when Cuddy's decided she's had enough of his pouting. As she stirs the thick pink milkshake with a straw, she asks, "Are you going to be like this all night?"

His answer comes in the form of him blowing bubbles into his soda.

"That's a yes then?"

He doesn't respond.

At that moment, she can't help but think that this isn't what she wants. She doesn't want him to be annoyed with her or pretending to be annoyed with her. They've had a good day together, one of the few where they it is completely clear that they enjoy one another's company. She doesn't want their unpredictable nature to ruin that for her.

"Look," she tells him in a low voice that's just audible above the din of noise around them. "We've had a good day. We didn't kill each other. You didn't kill your patient. Don't –"

"You say that, and then you wonder why I ask you to dinner?" he interrupts, finally breaking his silence.

It's almost pathetic, she thinks, how he couldn't just come right out and say that. That he had to manipulate and attempt to blackmail and insult to go out to dinner with a friend, because he couldn't think of a way to just ask is sad.

"Next time," she says sharply. "Just say that."

"Then I wouldn't have any reason to talk about your boobs."

She nearly chokes on her milkshake. "If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that you can relate any part of my body to any conversation."

He puffs his chest out, as though what she said was a compliment. But he doesn't respond until the waitress puts a French dip sandwich down in front of him. As he pulls a loose slice of roast beef out of the bun, he speaks up. "I'm sure you can guess what body part I'd relate this to."

She looks down at her own vegetable wrap and shakes her head. "Damn. I didn't get anything small and misshapen enough to compare your penis to."


They fall into amicable conversation then, discussing work with the occasional mention of her thighs or ass thrown in to the mix. It's one of those moments where in the long run, she'll never remember what they talked about tonight. They're having a nice conversation, but it's not the words they're saying that mean much.

No, if she remembers anything at all from this night, it's the camaraderie between them. More than the words themselves, it will be the chemistry she recalls, the feeling of friendship between them.

She won't say that she's happy to be out at this hour; she would still rather be home, especially since it's started to rain since they entered the diner. But she's enjoying his company. And looking at him, she can tell that he feels the same way about her.

That's not to say they are particularly nice to one another. No conversation they have can be devoid of insults or disagreement. Obviously it can't. Yet they are able to navigate those moments with surprising ease. Their week of tug of war with Foreman being the rope has left them both unfazed by their own antics and eager for battle. There's no offense taken over ridiculous comments, only the desire to say something more hurtful, more outlandish.

When conversation about work runs out, they take to discussing the other diners. Cuddy slides into the booth next to him, so there's less of a chance the other patrons will hear House accusing a balding man sitting at the counter of having sex with his dog.

"He does not have sex with his dog," Cuddy disagrees.

He leans her way, his chin practically on her shoulder, so he can point out, "His pants are covered in hair."

"So he has a dog – maybe. He could have a cat."

"Then that's completely different."

She looks over and down at him. "Don't," she warns.

"Don't what?"

"I know what you're going to do."

"Really," he says doubtfully.

"You're going to say something like 'I can't fault a guy for wanting pussy,' and I'm not in the mood for your vagina jokes."

He makes a dirty face. "Then I guess I don't have anything left to say to you."

When he pulls away from her, she becomes aware of just how close he was. It didn't seem odd to have him that near to her, to feel his chin dig into her shoulder with each word spoken or his thigh brushing against hers. But now that he's moved away from her, it does feel weird. That he should be so close and she wouldn't notice, that that violation of personal space wouldn't even register as such… well, it makes her uncomfortable with her own behavior.

She doesn't have a chance to mull the thought over though, because she's distracted by his decision to steal a sip of her milkshake at that moment.


That just makes him drink more.

The straw still in his mouth, she pulls the cold glass towards her. "Stop that."

"Sorry. Had to see if it was as disgusting as it looks."

"Yes, you had to see."

"You know, for someone who was invited to dinner, you're being pretty demanding."

She laughs. "Demanding," she says incredulously.

"Can't make pussy jokes. Can't taste your milkshake." He thinks for a second before adding, "Probably can't make the joke 'your milkshake' is making me think of. I can't do anything."

She rolls her eyes. "Stop complaining and eat your sandwich."

"See? You did it again." But he eats anyway… at least for a moment; he's barely had a chance to swallow before he tells her warningly, "You keep bossing me around, people are going to think we're sleeping together."

"No one's going to think that."

"You're right. They already think that."

"No, they don't."

He snorts. "Please, it's obvious you want my body."

"The fact that you keep insisting that I do just proves how desperately you'd like that to be true," she says with a smile.

"I don't think so." Quickly he adds, "But even if I did, let's be honest: when it comes to who has the hots for who more, you'd drop your panties way before I ever dropped mine."

She swallows a bit of her wrap. "You wear panties?"

Pointing a fry accusatorily at her, he says, "You know what I'm saying."

"If you're somehow implying that I would be more eager to have sex with you than you would be –"

"I am."

"You're wrong."

"No, I'm not."

He stops her before she can respond with a childish, "Yes you are." She starts to say it, but he waves her away with a hand. That just irritates her further, if she's being completely honest. And yet he knows just what to tell her to make her forget all about what she planned on saying.

"I can prove it." His words are particularly arrogant, followed by an attempt at stealing some more of her milkshake.

She blocks his hands from getting anywhere near her glass easily. "That's not possible. What are you going to do?" She wants to say more, but she never gets the chance.

His answer is immediate.

His answer is a kiss.

A kiss.

He's kissing her. His lips are on hers, and he's aggressive, insistently moving against her mouth in a way she can't help but enjoy. But she's so shocked by the gesture, so stunned, that she can barely appreciate what he's doing. She certainly doesn't know how to participate back, because all she thinks at that moment is:

House is kissing her.

He feels warm and nice against her, but she doesn't get it.

And then he pulls away from her.

For a brief moment, they look at one another. She can only imagine how taken aback she looks. Of all the ways he could prove a point, that's definitely not the one she's ever been prepared for. He must be the same way, because she sees the shock in his own face. He looks like he can't believe what he's just done, and she understands, because she can't believe it either.

But through all of that confusion, she can see – just as she can feel it within herself – the desire for more.

And when they kiss once more, it's impossible to say who initiates it. They both seem to reach for each other at the same time. She leans forward, and his fingers are entwined in her hair. Her eyes flutter shut, and she feels his mouth on hers all over again.

This time, she is just as eager as he is. There is no thought for the other patrons, of where they are. She doesn't consider how stupid this is. Whatever reluctance she felt moments ago has seemingly evaporated, disappeared when challenged by his soft lips and rough stubble. All she wants or thinks about now is him.

He's warm and wet against her mouth. She sucks gently on his lower lip, eliciting a moan from him. He exhales into her, the air igniting her body like the oxygen itself is a hot ball of fire consuming her.

Her fingers reach for him, settle on one of his thighs. She wants nothing more than to dig her nails into him, but even as she presses her body against his as best she can, she knows she has to be careful. Nothing would ruin the mood like accidentally clawing at the wrong leg, and she's not willing to risk this ending.

Stopping this is the last thing she wants. In spite of all the jokes they've made about wanting each other, the truth is clear: they do. They are attracted to one another, and that shows with every move they make. The way his teeth nip at her lower lip, the way their tongues meet, the way nothing else seems to matter when they are kissing - it is all undeniable proof that they want each other.

Suddenly, a baby shrieks loudly at that moment. Surprised they pull away from each other and remember where they are. This is not the place for making out, she tells herself. Even if it were, this is not the person she should be kissing, she thinks. She glances over at him and wonders if he's telling himself the same things - that she's not right for him, that they shouldn't cross that line.

She wonders, but House never voices what he's thinking beyond saying, "That was unexpected." Neither does she for that matter. They've done something they shouldn't have, and simultaneously, it seems, they've decided that there is no need to discuss it. They simply finish their meal in heated silence.

Cuddy's not expecting that at all, honestly. He wanted to prove that she wanted him more than he did her. Given what they've just done, he's got the perfect opportunity to rub in her face how easily it was to get her to respond. But he doesn't take it. He's got a chance to make fun of her and how easy she is; one dinner and she's making out with him, he should be telling her right about now.

But he is quiet.

They pay separately, without looking at one another. He holds her briefcase for her while she buttons her coat, but they don't talk. It's not until they're about to walk out the door, and they realize it's pouring rain that he says casually, "It's raining."

It's pointless small talk; she can see through the glass doors what's going on. "Obviously."

"And you're wearing a nice coat. Wouldn't want to ruin it. Maybe you should –"

"Take it off?"

"Why not?"

"I'll be fine."

She pushes open the door and holds it for him. Her instinct is to run for her car, but even as rain begins to pelt her, she makes the decision to wait. There's no way he can run; the pavement beneath them is slick, which means if anything he'll have to walk slower than he normally would.

"Go ahead," he says louder than normal, the roar of the rain forcing him to nearly shout.

She shakes her head, wet strands of hair clinging to her neck. "If you fall, I'll never hear the end of it."

At that moment, she steps into a large puddle, freezing cold water rushing into her shoe. Her nose wrinkles in disgust as her toes become coated with rainwater and the fine debris of loose pavement.

House, being the sympathetic presence that he is, barely bothers to muffle his schadenfreude when he realizes what she's done. She ignores him and continues to walk alongside him. She wants to say something in response, but she understands that talking will lead to one of them wanting to discuss what they just did.

She does not want to do that.

There's no conversation they can have that will illuminate anything about what they've done. And they both know that, will know that whenever they speak, so they'll simply concern themselves with saving face. They'll deny that it meant anything; they'll do their best to hedge and shift responsibility on to the other person. They'll probably get into a fight over it and leave one another in a bad mood. She wants to avoid that if she can.

But that doesn't seem possible.

The second they reach their cars, there is the palpable expectation that one of them will say something. They parked right next to each other; he backed in while she pulled in, so their drivers' sides are close to one another. It's possible, she guesses, for them to get in to their respective cars and drive away, but she can feel that that's not what's going to happen. The rain even offers them a reason to escape wordlessly, but she hesitates to open her car door.

House does as well, making it clear that they aren't going to take the immediate out.

That would be too easy.

As though nothing's going on around them, he tells her, "It's gonna be fun, telling everyone how you jumped me."

She pushes the wet hair out of her face. "Is that what happened?"

"Absolutely. You can't resist."

She wants nothing more than to prove him wrong, but she understands that simply saying so isn't going to work. It hasn't worked all night, to shove the accusation back in his face or to deny it. Nothing she's done has forced him to confront a fact that she has seen all evening: he wants her.

And she's not sure why she does this then; maybe it's the way they've been going tit for tat that pushes her to do it, to up the game in order to get the win. Maybe his words are what embolden her to do it or the knowledge that he'll tell everyone they had sex anyway. Whatever it is, she has no idea what her reasons are for taking this one step further.

But that's what she does.

For no reason she can name, she moves closer to him, so close that they are nearly touching. Looking up at him, she licks her lips. Her voice low, she says, "I didn't hear you complaining."

And then, to underscore the point, she draws herself up to her full height and kisses him. In her head, she thinks that this will force him to admit it, to admit that he's just as interested in her as he seems to think she is in him. In the same head, she hears a small voice telling her how asinine that plan is.

But any plan or doubt about it is forgotten the second House wraps an arm around her waist. Her mouth parts, and he deepens their kiss, and nothing else seems to matter in that moment beside him.

She molds her body to his, pressing herself as tightly against him as she can. His brown wool coat is damp under her fingertips; there's no doubt he's as cold as she is, but his body heat offers the slightest bit of reprieve nonetheless.

His hand slides down to her ass and cups her through her jacket. He's greedier than she is. His fingers dig into her flesh in a desperate way, and it's just what she needs to prove him wrong. She knows that.

But she doesn't care.

When she pulls away from him, she has the chance to point out how easy he is. But instead, she orders breathlessly, "Get in the car."

He looks at her like she's insane, and she must be, if she's offering to do this. But they've been toying around with the idea of having sex for years; they've spent the past month easily moving closer and closer to this inevitable conclusion. He loses his team and turns to her, and she's eagerly welcomed him each and every time, so maybe she's not entirely crazy.

House doesn't argue either way.

Turning around, he begins to put the keys into the car. The tinny sound of the keys jingling speaks to his nervousness, and that makes her smile behind him. For all his bravado, the very idea of having sex with her is clearly something that makes him anxious.

She likes that.

When he nearly drops the keys, she asks with a hint of condescension, "Want me to do that for you?"

It's dark out and hard to see through the curtain of rain, but she can just make out his scowl.

"I got it," he says irritably.

The car is old, so the hinges creak when he pulls one of the large doors open. But in this case, she can only be grateful for the vehicle's age. For all of its ugliness, the car at least has a big back seat. She figures that's an advantage at this point.

He slides into the car first, and she follows suit. As he leans over and closes the door behind her, she thinks that this is as far as it needs to go. She's made her point; she doesn't need to make this mistake again and sleep with him.

But comprehending that and acting on it are two completely different things. Because as aware as she is of her options, she understands clearly:

She wants this.

It's been too long since she's had sex as uncomplicated as this will be. She's been so focused on having a child, a relationship, or maintaining her job that she has ignored or refrained from indulging her baser instincts. She can't ignore it anymore.

House is ideal for a one-night stand. He knows what she likes (she doubts he's forgotten). He won't judge her, won't hurt her. He'll tell everyone he can, she thinks, but no one will believe him. And even if things are awkward between them for a while, they are obviously capable of getting back to normal… to their normal anyway.

They've done it before.

So it doesn't matter then, that she has a way out.

She has no intention of taking it.

Perhaps he understands this as well. There is no discussion as to what will happen, no making sure. Without any conversation, they turn their attention to their coats. Silently they begin to undo their soaking wet jackets.

Their elbows rub against each other as they focus on unbuttoning the wet wool clinging to them. Cuddy's not used to having that intimacy – with him or anyone else – at this point. It's a simple, inadvertent touch that means absolutely nothing. But it turns her on nonetheless.

She should be nervous; her heart pounds in her ears as if to make her aware that this is no dream, that this is really happening. Yet she is inwardly calm and positive that this is what she wants.

She shoves her coat to the ground when she frees herself from it. He doesn't even bother to go that far; his jacket, trapped behind his back, stays exactly where it is as he leans over to kiss her.

Rain pelts the car violently, but she can still hear the rough exhales of their breathing. She can feel it against her heated flesh, as she tastes him with all the passion she's kept pent up for... years now.

His hand slips under her t-shirt. She wore it, along with her push-up bra, knowing it would distract him. He'd been so hell bent on torturing her for hiring Foreman that she felt a little torture in return was only fair. She thinks now that perhaps she's missed the mark, if she's in the back of a car making out with House. He doesn't seem tortured at all.

His fingers creep underneath her bra. He's clearly not worried about ruining the underwire, because the second he touches the swell of her breast, he becomes incessant. He quickly forces his entire hand into the cup of her bra, and she doesn't mind it then, because she's willing to the lose the lingerie if it means he keeps touching her like that.

She arches into his hand as he snags a nipple between two fingers. Expertly he squeezes the flesh, forcing it into a tight bud. Cuddy's never been the kind to get off that easily, but it's been so long and it feels so good that she's close just from that. Her tongue in his mouth, his thumb dragging over the peak of her nipple… there are no words for the heat it creates within her.

As much as she can, she squeezes her legs together. It's a nearly pointless act, but she's hoping the pressure of her thighs will alleviate the ache growing inside her. She just wants something – anything – to push her over the edge.

Instead, House breaks their kiss. "You feel nice," he tells her quietly, his voice barely audible above the sound of the rain.

She hardly cares about the compliment. Her mind is on sex, not on the niceties that come with it. So she doesn't respond; she doesn't even let it show that she's heard him.

Reaching over, she heads straight for his zipper. Since it's dark out, it takes a few seconds to find it, not that House is complaining. As her hand fumbles against him, a pleading sound catches in the back of his throat.

Cuddy realizes then that not all hope is lost for her. She can still give him the misery he deserves, still prove the point to him that he's staunchly denied up until now. She was so desperate to get off that she assumed she had to make a choice: have sex or be right. Now she knows she can have both.

And she will.

Letting go of his zipper, she starts rubbing him through his jeans. From one night years ago, she knows he's big, and he feels promising underneath the thick denim. She lets her hand press seductively along the outline of his length, her fingers and heel giving him just enough to make him want more.

She knows it's working by the way the grip on her nipple tightens, by the way he irritably says after a moment, "Fun as this is, it'll be much better if you take me out –"

"For someone claiming to be so uninterested in sex, House, you sure are –"

"Your hand is on my dick. Sort of," he points out. "You could be toothless and –"

"That's a nice mental image, thank you."

"I'm just saying: a hand job – sort of one, technically – beats." He cringes then. "My undeniable lack of attraction for you," he finally finishes. "That's an unfortunate choices of words."

She pulls her hand away from him in response, which makes him whine loudly. As she settles back against the seat, she has to suppress her own complaint when his fingers slip out of her bra. Coolly she tells him, "I'll stop then. I wouldn't want to make you do anything you don't want."

"I didn't say that." He sounds frustrated, which inwardly pleases her. "If I didn't want it, I wouldn't have gotten in the car with you. I did, so logically, and I get that that's not your strong suit, I'm game for a little slap and tickle. But let's not act like it means –"

"You want me," she says knowingly. "That's all you have to say."

"I want to get off. There's a difference." He looks at her hungrily before telling her in a firm voice, "I'll show you."

House wastes no time in doing that. He reaches over. With both hands, he grabs the edge of her skirt. The fabric is wet and clings to her curves even more tightly than normal, but somehow he manages to force the material up around her waist anyway. Frankly, she's surprised the skirt doesn't rip from the way he's shoving it up her body.

She is less surprised by the disappointed look on his face when he sees her thong.

"You weren't lying," he says in a way that shows how taken aback he is. "I was wrong."

Cuddy shrugs, like it doesn't mean anything that she's in the back of his car with her skirt around her waist and a body so hot for him that she's beginning to sweat in spite of the cool temperature. I told you," she says smugly.

He doesn't respond. Yanking the flesh-tone thong down by the crotch, he's far too interested on her body than anything she says. His eyes are trained on her bare hips and mound. When he looks down to take in the sight of her slightly parted lips, he sighs loudly. "You are so..." His voice trails off as he stops himself from saying something dangerous, she thinks.

"I'm so what?"

"Annoying," he supplies. But the harshness in his voice is clearly just an act. Whatever roughness is there is belied by the gentle way he parts her thighs, by the slow manner in which he slides a hand up her leg and over her pussy. His thumb circles her clit once. "But you'll see what I'm talking about. You can tell me how easy it is to resist me when someone's got a hand on your -"

Her gasp cuts him off as he teases her opening with a finger. She has to bite her lower lip to stop herself from telling him to give her more. She plans on getting everything she wants, but she's not willing to ask for it, much less let him win this round.

"It's good, isn't it?" he asks snottily.

She rolls her eyes easily. It should be hard to be haughty in the moment; she's so wet that she swears she can hear every little moist, hungry sound her body is making as he slowly plays with her, taunts her. But truth be told, it's not that hard for her. He's so irritating that it's not difficult to be annoyed – even if she swears she's close to gouging holes in the back seat, her nails are digging in that harshly.

"Don't flatter yourself," she manages.

He pushes two long fingers inside of her. The sudden intrusion is more than she's used to. She's masturbated of course during this dry spell, but her fingers are smaller, thinner than his are. And not for nothing, but when she fingers herself, she's aware of what's going to come next. She's unprepared for him here, physically and more importantly psychologically, and she can't keep that fact to herself even she would prefer to.

"Oh, I'm not," he says knowingly. He gives her a few seconds to adjust to the sensation before he starts moving his fingers inside her. Instinctively, Cuddy's hips begin to move in time with his small thrusts. She presses herself against his hand as hard as she can.

She is aware of how wanton she's being. She knows how easy she is, to be this turned on by a few fingers inside of her. But she can't help it. Truly she is powerless to stop her body from responding. She wants it so badly...

Yet House almost makes her reconsider the matter. He adds the thumb to her clit, and she can feel her walls begin to tense against him. She's so close to coming, so ready, and then he orders, "Tell me you like me."

She's too confused to orgasm, though her body tries to pull her addled mind in that direction. "What?"

"Admit it: you have the hots for me."

"Are you serious?" Inwardly she's pleased that she sounds as annoyed as she does. It's not that the emotion is being forced on her part; she really is irritated by the game he's playing. But wanting to come makes asking questions and just being coherent difficult. That she manages, that she is capable of denying him what he wants to hear, makes her happy.

Her delight is short-lived.

When he adds a third finger – seemingly as slowly as humanly possible – he nearly breaks her willpower. She's fuller than she's been in years, and she's right on the edge.

"I'd admit it if I were you," he tells her. The threat is implied. If she wants to come, she better start telling him what he wants to hear.

But she's not willing to give up that easily. Pushing his hand away from her, she says, "Nice try."

He seems surprised that she pushed him away. And maybe it's that shock that stops him from responding. He just sits back dumbly, confused.

Cuddy uses that to her advantage. While he's amazed at her self-control, she's unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans. And then he doesn't seem to care about what just happened, because he's too grateful that things are progressing.

"Finally," he mutters, his gaze shifting to where her hand and his body meet.

He's hard, even before she has a chance to pull him out of his shorts. The second she wraps a hand around him, he's ready to go, and she has to carefully tug him through the slat in his boxers.

Thick and promising, he's warm against her palm, as she gives him a few feather-light strokes. It doesn't take much to make him even harder, and then she's grateful she didn't give him what he wanted moments ago. Had she admitted to wanting him, he would have gotten her off then. Which sounded good at the time, but seeing him, feeling him, she knows that this will be far more satisfying.

She pumps him a few more times before stopping, much to his dismay. As she reaches down to grab her briefcase, he complains. "You're stopping there?"

Rummaging through the large bag, she explains, "Not exactly what I want, but one of us has to be smart about this." Snatching a couple of the condoms she took from the clinic earlier, she drops them onto the side beside her.

"Your imaginary boyfriend have an imaginary STD or –"

"I don't have an imaginary boyfriend," she snaps, sitting back up. "However since it seems as though someone tampered with my birth control, I thought it would be best if I were prepared. So unless you want very real children –"

He makes a loud sound of protest. Begrudgingly he takes one of the condoms and starts to rip it open. At first she thinks he's annoyed, because he's being asked to use protection. But then he makes the source of his obvious disgust clear. "Talking about offspring isn't exactly a turn on."

When he fumbles with the condom wrapper, she takes it from him. "Let me do it before you break it."

He quietly brushes the hair out of her face as she pulls apart the little package. It's almost eerie how calm he is, how patient he suddenly seems. Why shouldn't he be though? He's about to get laid.

Of course though, the second she thinks that, he reverts to being an ass.

She's just slid the condom down over his length when he says disappointedly, "And here I thought you were going to do that with your mouth."

"Don't complain," she says, hiking her skirt up further than he has already done so.

His gaze is trained on her body. "I'm not."

"You were. And it's a condom, not a circus routine."

Naturally that's not how it feels. As she goes to straddle him, it feels exactly like a circus act. The back seat is larger than average, but that hardly makes it easy for her. She still has to worry about hitting her head, still has to be sure that she doesn't accidentally hit his leg or knee him in the crotch. Admittedly it seems unlikely that any of that will happen, but she's not willing to be blasé about it. She's decided to have sex, and she's not going to screw that up for herself.

He just might though. She's getting herself into position atop him when he chooses to respond, "I don't know. I'm sure the circus would pay good money to exhibit a chick with a dick."

Cuddy stops what she's doing. She's got legs on either side of his thighs, her hands on his shoulders, but she stops herself, much to his dismay, from sinking down on top of him.

"You're unbelievable," she says incredulously.

"And you're not having sex with me." One of his hands reaches for his dick, so she can easily take him in, no complications. Unfortunately for him, she is in no hurry. "I get that you haven't done this in a while but –"

"Enough," she interrupts firmly. "I know it kills you, but you're attracted to me."

He shakes his head. "No –"

"We're about to have sex."

"Which means we're taking advantage of –"

"Just stop." She's had enough, and it shows. "I'm sure that makes sense in your head, but it's not going to work on me. If you want to have sex with me," she says, laying out her terms neatly. "You're going to have to admit that you are at least slightly interested –"

"In you?"

"Of course."

Her expectation is that he'll deflect somehow. Instead of admitting how he obviously feels, he'll make a joke about he's not in her at all right now or shove the question back on to her. Given their history, it doesn't seem crazy to think that that's what he'll do. But pattern lets her down then. She has no idea why or how this happens, but for whatever reason, that's not what he does. He's always been a proponent of people don't change, but at that moment, he looks up at her with honesty in his eyes and he admits the truth.

"Fine. I like you."

The words come out quickly if not easily. It's clear that he means what he says, because he would have no trouble telling the lie. That there is a hitch in his breath and a hint of difficulty behind the admittance means that he's not lying. He actually means what he says. And that completely throws her off, because that's not at all what she's expecting him to do or say.

Dumbfounded she says, "You mean that."

He looks away from her. His gaze is focused on the window to the right. She watches his eyes follow a raindrop trailing down the glass. "I guess," he says eventually.

She should say something in response or at least proceed to have sex with him. But she is frozen, unsure of what to do.

Perhaps he takes her silence as wanting more, because he explains slowly, "I'd won the bet; we were getting ready to leave. I looked at him -"

"Your patient."

He nods his head. "I saw it. He wanted you. Which meant I wanted you. I didn't care," he says hastily, as though that somehow makes it better. "And then Foreman had to go ahead and act on what he'd learned. So..."

"So you're doing this to one up Foreman." It's so ridiculous that it shouldn't be the truth, but she knows nothing is too ridiculous to believe when it comes to House.

"Technically I'm just trying to get one up you."

She is unimpressed by the quip.

Defeated he sighs. "He learned he liked his job, and he decided it was worth fighting for. And that's the difference between this and that. He'll work for that." Bluntly he explains, "We won't, which is why we're in the back of a car and not on an actual date."

She readily accepts the idea that this is just a temporary, one time (well, two time) situation, because that's what she wants to believe. Part of her rails against the idea, her mind screaming that she's deluding herself if she thinks they can do this once (twice) and pretend it means nothing afterwards. But she ignores that voice. Right now, she wants him; nothing else matters.

"This doesn't mean anything," she says firmly.


Cuddy slowly sinks down on top of him then. His dick presses at her opening before slipping inside. She moans at the sudden fullness, and he cries out at the feel of her heat wrapping around him. Her muscles burn at the intrusion, clench tightly together.

For a long moment, they do not move. He pulls her down into a soft kiss, but their hips remain still. She's not used to this, the warmth of a man inside of her. He's bigger than she remembers, her tight hole aching to accommodate him. Her clit pulses in hard beats, and she wants nothing more than to reach down and touch herself. That would end this all too soon for her (and she suspects him as well) however, so she keeps her hands on his shoulders, her grip bruising.

One of his hands rubs her lower back to relax her. She drinks in the tender touch, knowing that, for someone as rough and needy as he is, it can't be easy to be gentle and patient. His other hand finds its way back underneath her shirt and bra.

When he palms her breast once more, she can't help but move then. Everything he's doing is to make her want him, and his actions are having their intended effect; that much is obvious.

Her hips rock against him. Being in a car, she can't move as freely as she would like. Despite the small likelihood that this would happen, she's worried about hitting her head on the ceiling. But that concern almost makes the sex better. The constant threat of being caught, the need to mold her body to his for fear of hurting herself – it shouldn't increase her desire, but it clearly does.

She already feels out of control, for having sex, for having sex with an employee, for having sex with House. Everything else just amplifies the feeling, and she likes it.

And she has no problem letting him know that.


Cuddy knows that she should be quiet, but she can't help it. When she shifts her hips downward, the head of his cock hits her in a way that sucks all of the oxygen out of her lungs. She nearly screams while exhaling, her fingers digging into his shoulders.

"Shut up," he grunts, almost as loud as she is. His hand moves from her back to her ass. The weight of his palm against her feels good as he helps guide her up and down. He rolls her nipple between his finger, and she knows she won't last long at the rate they're going. He feels amazing inside of and against her; each movement they make together makes her hungry for more, and it's only a matter of moments before she satiates them both beyond measure.

Cuddy grinds against him with force. His dick glides in and out of her, her juices slicking the condom, her thighs. She wants him – this – so much right now that it's all she can pay attention to. Even if someone were to discover them, she wouldn't be able to stop now. She just needs this so badly.

She's breathless with want of him. She'll be sore in the morning for forcing her body to take him as roughly as she is. She bounces up and down, her breasts jiggling in her bra and against his hand, as intensely as she can. Sweat is pouring down the side of his face and along the curves of her back. It's freezing outside in the autumnal air, but in the safety of the car and his arms, she has never felt more molten.

Her body pushes against him; the heat in her belly seems to swell and widen as she gets closer and closer to coming. She kisses him roughly, breathlessly. She feels lightheaded. Though she can feel their exhales on her lips, can hear the rasp in the back of their throats, it feels like there's no oxygen in the car. The air somehow consumed by their desire for one another, there is only her body and his, thrusting and withdrawing, his hardness meeting her soft, wet curves with enough heat to set them both ablaze.

His hand slips from her ass. His fingertips graze along her hipbone, the touch so light she's too delirious with desire to know if she's really feeling it. He presses a thumb to her clit and strokes her. She cries out at the new sensation. It's suddenly too much and not enough, and out of her mind, she comes on top of him. The strength of her orgasm takes her by surprise, her nails digging violently into his collarbone as she rides out her pleasure.

He thrusts into her, though it's difficult for him to do in his position, before he too groans and comes. They move together, wanting to sustain the moment as long as they can. They've agreed that this doesn't mean anything, which is why she doesn't want the encounter to be over.

It feels too good to let him go.

But eventually they do just that. He withdraws from her, and spent, she slumps onto the seat next to him. She doesn't look at him as he removes the condom, ties it off, and much to her dismay, throws it out the window into the grass. Trying to catch her breath, she doesn't even bother to pull her skirt back down, though rationally she understands she should.

He's quicker about fixing himself, tucking his dick back into his boxers and zipping up his pants. She is slow, hesitant to call it a night and go home. They don't talk. They don't say anything or even acknowledge one another until she reaches for her thong.

"You're taking that with you?" he asks, almost disappointed.

"What - you wanted to keep it a souvenir?"

He nods his head. "Why not?"

"There isn't enough time in the world for me to tell you why not." She catches him frowning as she pulls the thong on. "Don't pout. The less proof there is of this, the better. For both of us."

"But if I don't have proof, Wilson will never believe –"

"You're not going to tell Wilson about this," she says with a scoff.

House takes it as a challenge. "Oh really? Why wouldn't I?"

She looks at him pointedly then. "Admitting that you had sex with me? People would start to suspect you are attracted to me."

"And if I don't care?"

The question is an honest one, which makes it that much sadder for her to answer.

"You do," she says after a beat.

He doesn't bother to deny it. He can't even if he wants to. The fact of the matter is that wanting each other has never been the problem; they have always wanted each other, and she doubts that there will be a time when that desire isn't there. But an actual relationship – one that involves dates and flowers and in-laws, kids, and all the other normal things that come with a relationship – is something she thinks is out of the question.

"We're so screwed up," she laments. His gaze focuses on her; he's clearly interested by the outburst. He doesn't need to ask for an explanation. Truth be told, nearly everything they do points to that conclusion: they are messed up. But she offers an answer to the unspoken question in his eyes. "We have sex once every twenty years. That's not normal"

"In some cultures, that means we're married."

"I'm serious. We are so screwed up."

"What do you want me to do about it?" he asks calmly.

She shakes her head slowly. "Nothing. I –"

"I mean, if you want me to up my percentage, we can do it again."

She smiles. "That's not what I mean."

"Seriously," he says as she leans into him for a kiss. "We can make it two or three times," he mumbles against her lips. His voice trails off like there's more he plans on saying. But what he plans on saying she never hears.

When she pulls away, she says, "I should go." She tugs her skirt down and reaches for her jacket and purse.

As she's slipping her jacket back on, he asks, "What are you doing this weekend?"

She smirks. "Not you."

Still she finds herself kissing him once more. "Definitely not you," she mutters when they pull away.

The words don't even convince her, so she's not surprised that he is unmoved. Absolutely nothing she has said or done in the past several minutes have indicated that she plans on this being a one-time deal. Thinking that, she begins to suspect that, in fact, she doesn't want it to be a one-night stand.

It frightens her. To think that he might be right, that she might actually want him in a way that doesn't reduce itself to sex, scares her.

Instinctively she reaches for the door. She doesn't say anything as she pushes it open. She doesn't trust herself in that moment. Words are not her friend in this situation, not right now.

So he gets the last word when he says, "We'll see."

As she gets out, she catches his look of determination in the reflection of the car's window. That too scares her, but for the first time today, she considers that it might be nice to let him win that argument.

The End