Hello again! So sorry, guys. Genuinely. No excuse but real life.
"Yes! Found it," Cuddy exclaimed, emerging from her room with her hand held high. In it was a simple business card with silver printing.
House rolled back and forth in the wheel chair silently. Cuddy handed him the card, and he took it with a gloved hand. She'd finally convinced him to buy some new gloves, so he wouldn't rub his hands raw on the wheelchair wheels.
"Marcy Black," he read out loud, then flipped it over. "Call me if you need to talk. What a catch phrase," he snarked. "Do you think she thought of that herself?"
"She was there at the accident," Cuddy replied. House stilled, opening his mouth and then snapping it shut.
"What are the freakin odds that a therapist stops to give you her card at a car accident?"
"I don't know. I was sitting in the ambulance, and she gave me some hot chocolate, and her card."
"Jesus. She and Wilson need to meet."
Cuddy grinned. She'd thought much the same thing when she'd first met the woman. "I think it means something, House," she said, her face growing serious.
House scoffed. "Coincidence."
"I thought you didn't believe in coincidences."
House threw her an acid glare. "You're right. Maybe she's a sadist, and she camps out at the stoplight waiting for people to crash so she can swoop in and offer her services."
Cuddy rolled her eyes. "I think we should call her," she insisted, crossing her arms.
"Seriously? You're going to go with someone you met on the street versus someone we know is a professional?"
"It had to have happened for a reason."
House pressed his lips together, then sighed. "We'll check her out, okay?"
Cuddy smiled, pumping her fist in victory. "I'll see when I have a gap in my schedule," she said, already pulling out her smart phone.
House rolled his eyes, guiding his wheelchair to the living room. Looking around, he got why Cuddy wasn't really attached to her house. It was so… impersonal. There was nothing that showed her fiery personality. It was bland, straight out of an Ikea catalog.
"Did you have someone else decorate your house?" he called up, inspecting the dining room table. "Because it practically screams 'I have no personality'."
"Oh, shut up. I didn't have time to go furniture shopping, alright? I paid someone to do it for me."
House snorted. "You should really be sure that you aren't hiring an android next time. I mean, really. Foreman has more personality."
She swatted him on the back of the head, sauntering away. House watched her go, admiring the view.
"Stop looking at my ass, House."
"Hey, we're engaged. It's practically mine. I've made a down payment and everything."
He could hear Cuddy's laugh, and it warmed his heart. With Rachel napping in her room, he was free to be as lewd as he wanted. Not that he really minded toning it down in front of the kid. If you had told him a year ago that he'd be saying shoot instead of shit, he'd have laughed in your face. But now he even found himself censoring himself in front of his team.
Another surge of… something… hit him when he thought of the hospital. He missed working. The thrill of a good case… there was nothing quite like it. He might even – grudgingly – admit that he missed his team. He'd only seen them in passing when he went in for PT, and he usually wasn't in the mood to talk.
He'd have to talk Cuddy into letting him back early. He didn't care that he'd be in a wheelchair – he'd done it before, and been just fine. Maybe he could use that as a bargaining chip with the therapy.
He immediately felt guilty at the thought. No, he wouldn't try to worm out of this one. It was shameful to think of it as something to play around with. If there was anything he learned at Mayfield, it was that therapy was serious business.
Nolan didn't play, and House could appreciate that about the man. They'd gotten into some issues he had about himself – some deep things, that he'd never shared with anyone else. They'd never gotten to John's abuse – House had quit therapy long before they'd gotten to that amount of trust. But, Nolan had helped him.
He'd shown House some things he'd been holding against himself, things he hadn't even been truly aware of before Mayfield. His inability to trust. They'd even talked about Stacey; everything, from when they'd first met, to the infarction, and finally, when she'd returned, and House had sent her away.
If he hadn't been close to forgiving her before, Nolan had at least opened up the possibility.
At any rate, he knew that therapy wasn't as soft a science as he'd believed. There were real problems with the mind, and real techniques to fix them. It wasn't a random grouping of stabs in the dark, as he'd long suspected… it was more of an educated, calculated series of guesses that led to real problems being discussed and treated.
Cuddy's voice brought him out of his reverie. "Lunch?"
He rolled into the kitchen, grabbing the sandwich. "Tastes like heaven," he mumbled around a mouthful.
Cuddy smirked. She knew House was only buttering her up – she burned water, and he could cook like a god. She took the compliment anyway, patting his shoulder. "It should. It was made by an angel."
"Don't get full of yourself."
By the time six o'clock rolled around, they were back in House's apartment. He was tired from the day – not only where his legs hurting, but his arms were sore from doing so much moving around. Not to mention the three steps to his apartment, which he'd taken with quite a lot of pain that he'd had to hide, with Rachel around. He wasn't used to it yet.
Yet, he thought, trying but failing to not get bitter about the whole thing. When the damn femur finally heals, I'll still have months of PT to get back to walking. And Cuddy and Yung still want me on the chair a few days a week.
He could hear Cuddy attempting to rustle around in the kitchen, so he pulled out his phone.
"Come make us dinner," he demanded as soon as Wilson picked up. "Cuddy is trying to cook and I don't want food poisoning on top of everything else."
Wilson didn't even pretend to protest. He'd been planning on bringing the three of them something anyway – he'd spent his day off sleeping and worrying. Food was as good an excuse as any to check up on them. "Fine. What do you want?"
"Anything. Everything. Just hurry and get your ass over here."
Wilson agreed, and hung up. House, satisfied, called Rachel over. "Go tell your mother to get out of the kitchen," he said, knowing the toddler would enjoy the task.
Rachel, predictably, smiled, and bounced into the kitchen. "Mommy! Get out!"
Cuddy picked Rachel up, walking back into the living room. "Did your daddy put you up to this?"
Rachel giggled, hiding her head in her mother's shoulder. Cuddy raised an eyebrow at House, bouncing her daughter up and down lightly. "What?"
"Wilson is cooking. Put the pans away before you hurt yourself."
Cuddy cocked her jaw. "I am capable of putting together a meal."
"Yeah, but not one we want to eat. Sit, relax, watch a movie. Wilson will cook."
"Wilson's been with you all week, cooking!"
"And I called and asked, and he couldn't say no."
"Of course he didn't say no," she muttered, but conceded to his earlier demand and sunk down on the couch. It did feel good to relax, after the long, tension filled day.
"You're using him," she said, not willing to give up so easily.
"And he enjoys every second of it. He didn't even try to say no, Cuddy, which means that he was already planning on coming over with a food peace offering. He can't let it alone just yet. He's like a mother hen."
She shook her head, amused, in spite of herself, at how well House could read him. He was probably right.
"You need to teach me how to cook," she replied instead of continuing the argument.
House snorts. "Can't teach a fish to climb a tree."
At that, he received a punch on the arm, none to light. Rachel giggled at her parents' antics.
"Let's watch the Little Mermaid," Cuddy suggested to her daughter, who agreed quite vocally and got up to fetch the DVD. House grumbled in protest – he hated the princess movies.
"Why do you let her watch that?" he demanded. Cuddy ignored him – he'd used the same argument more than once. "It's only establishing that nothing matters but good looks. Or a good singing voice, for that matter."
"It's love, House."
"If Wilson suddenly ended up with your voice, I wouldn't drop everything and try to fu-"
Rachel's reappearance in the living room made House swallow his words. Cuddy laughed at House's pained expression.
"I'm glad that Wilson wouldn't be able to woo you by serenading you," she replied, grinning. House rolled his eyes, sighing as Cuddy got up to put the DVD into the player.
Once the movie had been playing for a while, and Rachel was totally enthralled, he rolled backwards on his chair.
"Where are you going?"
"Bathroom," he replied to Cuddy over his shoulder, rolling through the hall. He'd needed to go for a while, but when it was this difficult he tended to wait until it was absolutely necessary.
With no small amount of difficulty he rolled into the bathroom and shut the door behind him, then stood by pushing himself up on the sink. He grimaced – his arms were very sore.
Neither of his legs were in proper working condition, but he'd be damned if he was going to sit and pee. He was a man, God dammit.
Sighing in relief, he zipped back up and began to sit down. But, as he tried to lean back into the chair, it rolled backwards and left him falling into empty air.
"Shi-" he cried, just before landing on his back. He'd tried to grasp onto the sink but had only managed to knock off his toothbrush onto the floor right along with him.
The breath was knocked out of him, and he simply stayed still and gasped like a fish for a moment. When his vision cleared and he could draw a full breath again, he blinked up at the bathroom light.