Play Date

Visiting hours were about to begin. Greg was a little anxious about his "play date" with Jeremy. Mom hadn't said much more than that the two boys should do lunch. She was staying for the little get together. When he asked if he could invite Cindy, she thought it was the perfect idea. No matter what transpired, House felt like the odds had been evened a bit.

Blythe arrived at her usual time, did her usual morning rituals with her son, then took a seat and opened her book. Wilson stopped by between patients to tease him about his big date. Something felt decidedly off to Greg. It was as if this Jeremy was some superstar patient that House would end up envying or admiring. As long as it wasn't one of Wilson's cancer patients, he felt he could survive just about anything.

When Cindy popped in, he couldn't help but smile broadly. He almost forgot why he was in the hospital...almost.

"Wow, what an improvement," her eyes shone with delight. "I thought I was going to find you in your usual mood. Who knew a mother's love could be so life affirming."

"Shut up," he teased.

"Considering he's got an attitude only a mother could love," Blythe rebutted.

"Hey, no ganging up on the cripple. I can't get up and chase either of you around."

"I'm going to go down to Jeremy's room, see how he's feeling and get him set for his journey." Blythe patted her son's shoulder mouthing, 'have fun.'

No sooner was his mom out of the room than Cindy sat on the edge of the bed. "Okay, what's going on. A play date?"

"My mom's been the roving hospital granny. Cuddy has her hanging out in the neonatal nursery. Wilson's got her reading to the cancer kids. If I don't get out of here soon, she's going to take over my office and give me a good reputation." His exaggerated the whine in his voice for effect.

"God forbid your rep would be ruined." She smiled awkwardly. They way they had last left things was a bit strained.

"How are you doing?" He was tired of being the center of attention. Her symptoms had been weighing heavily on his mind for the past twenty four hours.

"I'm doing alright. A little bored at times, but getting beyond it."

"What are you doing to break up the monotony?" He truly wanted to know what she did to keep from being exceedingly unchallenged.

"Sleep. Yep, that's pretty much what I do." She puffed her cheeks full of air and blew it out through forced lips slowly. "How 'bout you?"

He thought about it a few moments. "I like to berate my underlings." He nodded with his lips pursed in a cynical expression.

"Wow, wish I had that talent."

He held her hands in his. "Oh, I'm sure you do. You just don't have underlings to berate like I do."

"I've heard you're a bit of a sadist. I guess your minions are like me, happy to be in your line of fire."

"Are you trying to tell me something?"

"Only about myself; that I'm a glutton for punishment."

He leaned up to her, planting a light kiss on her lips. She responded back in equal force. They both wanted to take it further but knew that his mom was due back any minute with their guest of honor.

"We can continue this later." She hopped off the bed and out of reach. A quick inspection of his leg revealed a decrease in swelling. "Have they told you when they're going to cast this puppy?"

"Probably." He smirked at her confusion. "I'm sure they said something. And I'm sure I wasn't paying close attention at the time."

"I figured you'd be pushing the envelope by now and demanding it."

"I've had some other issues, like PAIN on my mind. A cast kind of takes low priority. Besides, they can place a heating pad on my thigh like this."

She smiled broadly.

"Why do you look like the cat that just ate the canary?" He held out his hand to her, wanting her to join him on the bed again.

"You should probably listen to your surgeon more closely. He's like E.F. Hutton. When he talks, you should listen."

She was about to go in for another kiss when his door slid open and Blythe appeared with her new friend. Both of them did a double take.

"Greg, Cindy, this is Jeremy. Jeremy, this is my son Greg and his friend."

Cindy and Greg looked at each other letting a smile cross their lips. Greg took a good look at the little boy. He'd take one bum leg over two broken arms any day.

"Those are some serious sleeves," Cindy broke the ice. "Good thing there's no matching shirt."

Jeremy actually giggled. It was the first time Blythe heard him laugh. She rolled him next to the bed so he could be part of the group.

Cindy noted that Greg had to strain his neck to look down at the boy. "Got an idea," she warned before lowering House's bed. Now they could all be on the same level.

"So, how'd you come to be my mom's favorite patient?" Greg's idea of a little poker game flew out the window. Even Go Fish was going to be a no go.

"You're a lot older than I thought." He stared at House's splinted leg. "Do you play hockey?"

"Uh, no. I'm more of a sit at the table and play cards kind of guy." Greg caught his mother's eye and raise an eyebrow in question.

"Hmm. Your mom said you fell on the ice."

Greg rolled his eyes. Now he had to take flack from a kid. "Yeah. It ain't so fun when you're an adult and you do it. So what happened to you?"

"I thought it was plain as the nose on my face. I broke my arms." Jeremy said it with such innocence, Blythe and Cindy both turned their heads to hide their laughter.

"Yeah, I can see that, but how did you break both arms?"

"Sledding."

House remembered being a kid and sledding. Those were the days. "Dangerous sport, that is."

There was an awkward silence that followed that was only broken by someone's stomach growling. Both Greg and Jeremy looked down at their bellies.

"I guess it's lunchtime then," Blythe announced.

"Have they been feeding you the same junk they're giving me?"

"Is it green and has vegetables with it?" Jeremy wrinkled his nose with distaste.

"That's the stuff! It's yucky."

"Yeah!" Jeremy nodded his head for extra emphasis.

"That's why today we decided to bring you something special." Cindy winked at Greg before leaving the room.

Greg looked to his mother. "You set me up."

She smiled sheepishly and shrugged.

Cindy returned with two McDonald's Happy Meals and a bag of extra edibles for her and Greg's mom.

"All right. Real food!" House and Jeremy were thrilled.

Greg became all too aware of how his mother had been helping the child. The poor kid couldn't even feed himself. "Whatcha got?"

Jeremy peeked into the bag Blythe held and smiled. "Chicken nuggets!"

"Cool." House looked into his bag to discover he got the Big Kids Meal.

Blythe set up Jeremy's food on the bedside table, while Cindy played mom to House and put his food out on the tray. She didn't want Jeremy to feel at a disadvantage not being able to feed himself, so she decided that she was going to help Greg as much as possible, whether he wanted her too or not.

"I like french fries."

"Me too," Greg said earnestly.

Blythe and Cindy took care of the boys while they chatted away between eating lunch and telling stories about the fun times they had in the snow. Of course Greg's stories were memories, while Jeremy dreamed of doing some crazy stuff.

It was nice to feel whole for a while. Greg didn't know Jeremy knew that before his accident Greg couldn't walk well. It seemed to Jeremy he was just a guy who had a broken leg. There was no reason to tell him anything different.

Lunch was over all too soon. Jeremy was sad to have to leave, but Greg explained that he needed to have some special treatment, and even his mom and friend had to leave for a while. House promised he could come visit again.

Blythe left with the young boy, planning on settling him back in before going on to grandma duty. Cindy took the opportunity to close the blinds and get a little closer to Greg.

"You two were cute together," she teased.

"Oh yeah, just a couple of broken guys bonding." He grabbed her hands in his again, his reasoning two-fold. "He's not going to have any lasting damage, is he?"

"Don't know. Kids are pretty resilient. If you want me to ask..."

"I want you to kiss me."

They leaned into each other letting their desire take them wherever it would lead.

"Ahem," Thirteen did a bad job of clearing her throat as she entered the room with the dialysis machine. "Sorry, but it's time."

"Great. Let's get it over with."

House seemed to be in a better mood now that Cindy was with him. "Hey," Remy smiled at her. "Let me just hook him up and I'll be out of your way." She was ready to make the connections when she realized House's bed was about two feet lower than she was used to.

"Forgot about that," Cindy chuckled. She pressed the buttons that would take his bed back to 'regulation' height.

"I feel like I'm riding a barber's chair."

"I'm glad you're amused. We aim to please." Dr. Hadley secured the line into the shunt and started the machine. "See you in a couple of hours."

"Could you place the do not disturb sign on the door?"

"Sure," she said ignoring the request. They didn't have do not disturb signs.

Cindy kissed him again as she snuggled on the edge of the bed with him.

"I'm glad you're here," Greg kissed the top of her head.

"I like being with you." She snuggled closer.

"I sense a 'but' in there."

"But we really don't know each other well. I'm not even sure why we're friends."

He thought about it. She had a point. Aside from being there when he was laying in the street, they really knew nothing about each other except for his history of infarction and her...well, whatever it was she was suffering from.

"That's why there's this whole courtship thing. It's the time period when two people get to know each other."

"Well, duh. We're obviously attracted to each other physically," Cindy stated.

"There's more to it than that. You're smart. You're strong. You're-"

"Opinionated."

"Yes, that too. All good characteristics in a woman. And there's the promise of kinky sex." He just couldn't help but add that last remark.

"No kinky sex for a while. You can't risk another crisis."

He wasn't sure if she was teasing or not. She wasn't looking at him. Not that she was trying to avoid him. It was just the positioning on the bed and all.

"Let's move on from my health and discuss yours." He reached for her hands.

"Doing much better today. I didn't sleep on my hands. Always good to not cut off circulation."

"So that's why you had 'pins and needles'. That'll go away if you stop doing that."

"No shit. Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be stroking your ego. My god, you're an amazing diagnostician and a genius. But I suppose you hear that all of the time."

"Doesn't hurt to keep hearing it repeated," he snorted.

"I'll have to get my game on now, because tomorrow I go back to work."

"Bummer."

"You should be out of here soon. I mean, you can do dialysis on an outpatient basis."

"I think Cuddy wants to keep me under her thumb. This way I keep consulting and my mom keeps helping out the nurses. It's a win, win, win, lose situation."

"Is she ever going to be over you?"

"Probably not. But that's her problem. I'm done with her."

"Really? You see her every day. How are you to not inextricably connected?"

He was smiling to himself. She was jealous, and he liked that. "We're always going to have a history. Just not a romantic future."