Author's Notes: This is another piece originally written for help_lisa on Livejournal. The person who won this particular auction, geesnarky, wanted a continuation of A Dark Inclination (without new watersports). As such, it might be helpful to read that piece, as this fic starts the morning after those events take place. However, it's not necessary, because this first chapter recaps everything for those uncomfortable with the original piece. Set after Cuddy gives Cole her thong, this fic contains sexual situations (specific kinks will be listed for each chapter). Mentions of watersports, dominance/submission, and spanking are in this chapter. If any of those things make you uncomfortable, please turn away now.

Disclaimer: the characters don't belong to me.

Darker Inclinations
Chapter One: You put this in me, so now what?
By Duckie Nicks

Her internal clock forces her awake at precisely five in the morning. The night before has left her bleary, aching and exhausted, but habit prevails as it always has. And as much as she would like nothing more than to curl up next to House and go back to sleep, Cuddy knows that she can't. As always, there is work to be done. But then she's not really thinking about that at that moment.

She's too busy coming to grips with how odd all of this feels. The more conscious she becomes, the more noticeable the strangeness is to her.

The more she feels out of place.

Obviously this is not the first time she has had sex with him. This is not something that occurred by chance. But it is the first time she has spent the night. And waking up in his bed, coming to surrounded by all of his knickknacks and the sound of his breathing… those are things she has never experienced before.

Mentally she tries to reconcile this new reality of hers. She attempts to tell herself that it actually isn't weird at all for her to sleep in the same bed as the man she's been sleeping with for months now. Then she remembers that he is no longer just the person she's having sex with.

He's her boyfriend.

She's dating House.

Of all people: House.

Of course, that was the plan all along. She didn't give Cole her thong without intention, after all. When she'd decided to participate in House's game, she'd had a reason beyond the obvious joy in undermining him; she'd wanted to force this turning point in their relationship. She'd wanted to push him towards possessiveness, towards the need to claim her in a way he had avoided doing the past few months. Knowing she could easily provoke envy in him, she tricked him into this.

Logically it's not surprising. He has always had this side to him, as evidenced by the disproportionate amount of jealousy he has displayed each and every time he has gotten even a hint about her dating life. Really, it was only a matter of time before he acted on his feelings.

Once they started to sleep together, they were not that far from being in an actual relationship. That much has been clear to her for a while now.

And yet… there is a certain amount of shock that comes with this change for her. As much as this has been what she wanted, as hard as she worked to get them to this point, it still seems unbelievable. She's in bed with her boyfriend. When's the last time she could say that?

She doesn't regret it, she tells herself. The newness of it all takes her by surprise, but she doesn't regret taking this step. Even knowing the bizarre road they took to get to this point, she is without remorse.

Maybe she should feel differently about that. She recognizes that there is nothing normal about what they did. And part of her thinks that she should feel ashamed or embarrassed by the things she let him do. It should, she thinks, give her pause. He hit her, and she let him. He spanked her, and she encouraged him to go further. He used her mouth as though it were a toilet, and she got off on it. She had asked him for it. In light of what happened, she would expect to feel used, betrayed, disgusted, and disgusting.

But she doesn't. She harbors no negative feelings about it at all. And if there is a problem now, it's not that she wishes it never happened. It's that she doesn't want it to end.

She wants to do this again.

And she's not sure what terrifies her the most about that fact. That last night hasn't left her terrified – that it has actually turned her on. That she wants this to continue, that she will have to tell him that, or that in doing so, she will have given him everything he will ever need to destroy her.

There's no point in sugarcoating the possibility that he will betray her. She knows better than to believe she is free from blowback, that their relationship will prevent him from using any of that against her. Her gaze shifting to him, she thinks he looks almost… sweet fast asleep beside her. Not innocent because he will never seem like that to her, he looks content, at peace. But even still, she knows the man next to her, knows too well the malice he is capable of.

He'll keep this secret until he won't. He'll be nice until he's not. And if he gets to that dark place, there will be nothing that stops him from using this against her.


In going for what she wants, she will have given him a giant stick to ram into a soft spot. She will have opened herself up to that possibility.

And she understands then that that's the truly scary part. She knows how badly this might end for her, but that's not stopping her. She knows there is a great chance he will hurt her, and yet she is desperate to be pushed back into that mental space she was in yesterday. Regardless of logic and reason, some part of her needs to do this, to see it through. She is driven towards that end; having experienced his rough hands and harsh remarks, having crossed those lines, she is unwilling to go back.

Even if retreating is something that makes sense, there is no backing down now.

She wants this too much.

Which makes her wonder: just how badly does he want this?

She squints in the dark in his direction, as though the answer to that will be etched in his features. He's got both of his hands buried under his pillow and a leg sticking out from under the sheets, and she supposes that in a way, he has given her all the clarification she needs.

He's not the type to do this if it's not absolutely what he wants. She's not naïve enough to think that he hasn't slept with anyone since breaking up with Stacy; he makes every dalliance with a hooker so obvious that Cuddy would more than likely need to be in a coma to not know how he's gotten off the past several years. Which is why she also knows that he hasn't dated. And if he's choosing to take that step with her, then it means something. It means he wants this as much as she does.

It means she's not alone.

That knowledge only eases her nerves slightly. Truthfully she knows she hasn't made a wrong conclusion. She knows she's right about House and how he feels. But nevertheless, it would be nice, she thinks, to hear him say that. It's not that she has to be told these things; she certainly won't operate under the delusion that if she demands it, he will offer reassurances. She knows that won't work, and even if she thought she could push him to admit those things, it's gonna take more effort than it's worth. Because what it comes down to more than any need is one simple belief on her part: it would just be nice to know she's not hallucinating this out of desperation.

But at the moment, all of that wanting can only be a wish. He's not going to wake up now, and she's not going to disturb him. If she did that, he would withhold to punish her. And Cuddy understands that even if he didn't, there is, as always, work.

Knowing she can't stick around, she starts to scoot towards the edge of the bed. She's so focused on not trying to wake him up that she forgets all about the physical toll last night has had on her…

Until she sits up and puts all of her weight on her ass.

Then she is suddenly reminded of what has happened. And the general ache she was able to ignore makes itself known in a way that leaves her breathless.

Instantly she squeaks in pain. Taken by surprise, she has no chance to conceal the noise. One of her hands immediately goes to her mouth to smother the sound, but it's too late. She can feel House shifting underneath the covers behind her. Though she doesn't look back at him, she knows he's now awake.

Her own body stills as he moves around, as though that will make him go back to sleep. Obviously though it doesn't work like that. He groans a little, and then she feels the warmth of his hand on her lower back.

He mutters something, but exhaustion makes his mumbling incomprehensive. She can only assume, as she turns to face him, that he's telling her to go back to sleep. His fingers pulling at the hem of her shirt, it definitely would seem that's what he wants. Since it's also what she would like, she doesn't hesitate to go along with it.

Crawling back towards him, she reminds herself that going back to bed isn't an option. She'll curl up next to him for a moment, which she does, with her head on his chest. But she can't stay here. She can't.

Repeating the thought in her head doesn't work. Because the second she is next to him, the instant his fingers lazily card through her hair, she wants nothing more than to stay there with him. She is awake, of course, too used to being up at this hour to ever be able to fall back to sleep for long. She just happens to think that it would be nice to lie here with him, to live under the illusion – at least for a minute – of having no other place to be.

But they both know that that's not the case. Or rather, he seems to sense something's preventing her from doing what he wants, because after a few minutes, he asks, "You okay?"

She nods her head. "Yeah."

It takes him a while before he seems to have the energy to say, "You made a… noise?"


"Not now." He sighs loudly. "A minute ago or…." His head wobbles a little bit. "Something."

She runs a hand along his stomach. In this particular moment, he is the antithesis of the man she saw last night, of the person she usually sees, and she finds herself smiling at the difference. "Go back to sleep," she tells him while reminding herself that the things they need to discuss can wait.

It doesn't feel like that. Of course she would prefer to give voice to everything inside of her head. But rationally she knows: there will be time for that. After the things they did last night, they can't move forward without the conversation.

Which is why she simply lays with him until he falls back to sleep once more.

Shortly afterwards she leaves, but her mind returns to that apartment throughout the day. Outwardly she does her job with the same amount of dedication and efficiency as always. Inwardly, she is distracted with possibility and memory. She thinks of the way his hand felt on her ass; she thinks of what it will feel like the next he does that. And no matter how hard she tries to shift her attentions back to the task on hand, it's as though her mind is no longer under her control. She doesn't want to be preoccupied with the fantasies in her head, but somehow she finds that she is.

Meetings are awkward. The hospital's budget committee is outlining their recommendations to cut spending, and out of habit, she knows precisely when to object, challenge, and agree with their findings. Numbers roll off her tongue with ease; no one knows the hospital's limited resources better than she does. But the words never quite grab her attention. She's sitting in the meeting with several employees whom she respects.

And she's thinking about sex.

She's talking, but in her head, her mouth is doing something else. She's kissing House, his jaw, his neck. Her tongue laves over his nipple, teeth grazing at the sensitive flesh in a way that makes him hiss. His fingers grab at her hair roughly, and he wrenches her head back so she can see the disapproval in his eyes. "Do that again," he tells her warningly, challengingly. He is telling her no and telling to repeat her behavior all in one. The threat is inherent in his tone, and experience has her understanding just what will happen if she crosses those boundaries, fulfills his request.

So she does it again.

Before she knows what's happening, he has yanked her arms out from under her. She flops down onto his stomach roughly. And then –

And then she remembers that she is actually saying something about the budget. Then she remembers that this is not the time to fantasize, to let her body get as hungry as it is for him. But the reminder means nothing. Soon enough, she is thinking about him once more.

By the time her morning meetings are over, she decides to do something about the problem.

Or more specifically, she decides that if she can't do her job efficiently, she'll make it just as difficult for the person responsible to do his.

As she seeks him out, she understands that she's not exactly being mature. She also understands that it will hardly stop her from having these fantasies at inappropriate times. If anything, part of her suspects that this will have the opposite effect on her. But if he's just as miserable as she is, then at least she's not alone in this.

In any case, it's time he makes a decision about his team. She is tired of the interruptions, the distractions – the antics that have come with this test of his. This has been going on for a while now, and it's been long enough for him to know who he wants to keep. He has said otherwise, but he's a shrewd man and he knows when someone is an asset and when they aren't. He knows who his future team will be, and if he's acting like he doesn't, she gets that that's part of the game for him.

He wants to see how long he can get away with it before she makes him stop.

Until now, she's been patient. As irritating as all of this has been, it's at least kept him occupied. He's had less time to bug everyone else at the hospital, so she's put up with it. After her morning however, she knows she can't tolerate it any longer. Well… she can, but she's not going to.

That obviously comes as a shock to him. If only because it takes him a full thirty minutes to process what she's said and then come find her, she knows that he wasn't expecting that. He was under the assumption he would have more time to choose his team, and surprise prevented him from mounting an immediate defense. When he storms into her office a half hour later, that's no longer the case.

She's reviewing the minutes of her meeting with the budget committee when he flings the door open.

"I know what this is about," he announces. She looks up from her paperwork. "You don't care who I hire. You've just decided to annoy me, because you can't handle how badly you want me."

He's being obnoxiously loud, making the accusation as much for everyone in the clinic as it is for her. She's not worried though. He's using the same tone he has for years. Those who know him won't think he's serious, and those who don't will assume he's being an asshole, because no one that loud could possibly mean what they're saying. This time though, he does mean it.

She speaks the words expected of her. "Oh you figured me out," she says dryly, standing to close the door.

"Oh I did." He pushes the door shut for her with his cane. As she sits back down, he approaches her desk. "You let me play my game all this time –"

"And I believe I've told you several times just what I think about it." He takes a seat across from her. With his hands he carefully lifts his bad leg and rests it on her desk. She frowns. "Don't do that. Put your feet down."

He simply stretches out. "I seem to recall some hesitation on your part."

"Just some?" she asks with a raised eyebrow.

"I'm not denying there were a few folds in your panties, but they do seem to have gotten quite bunched since yesterday. Which is unusual because you don't get your period for another 21 days, which means this sudden change in your behavior isn't hormonal."

"Stop tracking my –"

"Point is: something's changed. Since it's not a matter of biology, since I haven't done anything terribly reckless –"

"You gave yourself blood that you thought was tainted," she points out.

He shrugs. "That's normal."

"I don't think it is."

"For me?" She has to concede the point "So like I said, there's something else. Something that's occurred in the last day. And I think it's safe to say –"

"You're wrong."

He sits up straight, his eyes looking at her as though he'll be able to read the truth on her face. "Am I?"

She hesitates to answer – not because she is afraid of admitting the truth. After the things they've done, honesty seems hardly difficult. But if there's one fact of administrative life she has become accustomed to, it's that there is always someone waiting in the wings to screw you over, to look for a sign of weakness that can be exploited. She's not so paranoid as to think that someone is overhearing this conversation, obviously; she just feels uncomfortable discussing something as important as this in a place that will be everything but welcoming to their relationship. Yet she knows how it will look if she doesn't answer the question, so she forces herself to press onward.

"Yes. You are."

"You hesitated."

"Because of where we are."

If she is reluctant to talk about their relationship here, he apparently feels differently. "Curious that you were the one pushing to make this thing between us official and now –"

"Nothing's changed," she says calmly. Her voice lowers so she can tell him, "I still want to be with you. I… want this to be official. But," she adds more firmly. "I meant what I said when I told you that we can't mix this with work. When we're here, we have to do our jobs – which is why I'm telling you to make your final choices for your team."

"Oh." He sneers in disgust. "I'd rather discuss the other thing."

"Me too. But that conversation is going to have to wait. Your team?"

"I'll figure something out."


"How's your ass?"

Cuddy isn't surprised that he's changed topics to one she's expressly stated she doesn't want to discuss here. She has asked him to distinguish between professional and personal, something their relationship confuses by definition. And never one to be good with restriction and etiquette, he can't help himself. Well, he can; he just won't – not until she has firmly drawn the line for him.

"What did I just say?" she demands irritably.

He looks intentionally blank. She has no doubt he remembers. He's just purposely trying to annoy her.

It's working.

"I'm not allowed to ask about –"


"Why not?"

"Because you wouldn't ask at work about my –"

"Really? That's news to me."

He is probably right about that. Whether they were sleeping together or not, he might ask that question to throw her off.

"I'm fine," she says curtly. Sore as she is, the feeling is bearable. If there has been a time today where it has become too much, that fact has little to do with the pain, which there really isn't, and everything to do with the memory of last night the feeling evokes. She's been seeing heated images of him spanking her, him shoving his dick in her mouth, and… everything else. Her mind elsewhere, it doesn't make her feel shamed, to know what they did. She's not embarrassed. She just finds it difficult to concentrate on her day when all she really wants is for him to drag her home by her hair and do it all over again. And knowing that he can't right now is frustrating, but the physical ache she feels means nothing at all.

"You sure?"

"Go take care of your patient. We can talk about the rest later."

He pushes. "How much later?"

She's not expecting the question, so she is slow to answer. "I… don't know. We… how about dinner?"

"Okay," he says with a short nod. He pulls his feet off of the desk and starts to get up. She is relieved to see that he is finally getting ready to leave. His fingers clenching his cane tightly, he uses that to hoist himself up. But then, much to her dismay, he pauses, sits back down. "So where are we having dinner?"

She fights the urge to groan at his persistence. "I don't know. My place, I guess. Or yours if you would prefer."

"So you don't want to go out," he deduces in a faraway voice, in contemplation. "You still want to sneak around."

The longer this conversation lasts, the more she's dying for it to end. So much for keeping things separate, she thinks.

Her words come out as harried as she feels. "I just thought that you of all people would want to keep this quiet until –"

"Why would I want to do that?"

"A day ago, you didn't even want to date me," she points out. "You were pretty content to have sex and leave it at that. And now you're ready to –"

"I was happy with the way things were, yeah. Then things changed," he explains. "Now we're, you know." His voice drops to a whisper briefly. "Dating." Becoming sarcastic, he asks, "Was that quiet enough for you?" She glares at him but doesn't say anything, so he continues. "I agree: we shouldn't tell anyone until we know for certain that this is something worth suffering all of the repercussions. But we're never gonna know either way if we keep doing what we were doing before and just call it something different, are we?"

"Then what do you propose we do, House? Go out to dinner where anyone can see us? Drive hours out of our way? What exactly?"

His face screws up in concentration, wrinkles becoming more prominent as he considers the problem at hand. After a moment, he shakes off the intensity that has settled over him. With a shrug, he finally says, "I'll have to think about that one."

"You do that."

He gets up out of his seat again. "I'll come up with something."

"And choose your team," she reminds him.

"Oh, I can't possibly do that. Now that I have the other situation to take care of, I'm gonna have to wait –"

"Two names."

He opens the door to her office. "Absolutely. You'll have them… eventually."

"That's not –"

She doesn't get a chance to finish the thought; the door slamming shut cuts her off. But she's okay with letting him go. If he stayed any longer, that would be suspicious to people. Besides, if he's thinking about how to get her on a date, he's not, at least, keeping himself entertained by pranking, insulting, and manipulating the rest of the hospital. Between the challenge their budding relationship has presented and his patient, he won't have time for much else. She hopes.

Wishing seems to make the thing happen however. Hours later, Cuddy hasn't heard or seen House at all. Truth be told, that's worrying, but if he were doing something dangerous or illegal, someone else would complain to her. Since they haven't, the working theory at this point is that he's actually trying to do his job.

But all thoughts of that go out the window when Wilson slips into her office. As she looks up to see who the intruder is, she's surprised to see that he's the one quietly shutting the door and tiptoeing towards her.

"Why are you avoiding House?" she asks, knowing that's the only reason for his behavior.

Wilson instantly looks defeated, desperate. "I need you to do me a favor."

She lets the confusion she feels show through. Inwardly she wonders if House is behind this, if he has somehow manipulated Wilson to solve their personal problem. "What's that?" she asks calmly.

"Apparently House and I have plans tonight." He sighs. "I didn't remember. We're supposed to have dinner at – I don't know. He says we've had reservations for weeks, but…." He sighs again.

Cuddy, on the other hand, has to restrain herself from seeming too gleeful. She understands immediately that House never had any plans with Wilson, that this is a ruse to get her to dinner. Coincidences like this don't just happen. But she has to keep that information to herself.

Resting her chin on her hand, she asks, "What's the problem?"

"I have a date."

"So tell him that."

"Then he'll follow me, and I'd rather he not interfere with this relationship." She shoots him a look like there's no chance that will happen. Wilson grimaces as if he knows she's right. "I'm on borrowed time, I know. But if I could just hold him off a little longer, that'd be –"

"What does that have to do with me?"

"I told him I'd go. If I said I had plans outright, you know what he would do." She does. "So I'm going to fake an emergency the second we get to the restaurant."


"Before that happens, I need someone to… accidentally walk by and join us for dinner." She scoffs, because it's a ridiculous plan, because House has no doubt masterminded all of this. But Wilson only sees the former reason for the sound; he can't know the latter. "It's stupid, I get it. But if I cancel plans or leave without giving him a distraction, he will find one in me. And I really, really do not want that to happen, Cuddy."

This woman clearly means something to Wilson, if he's willing to play right into House's machinations. Cuddy refuses to look impressed. "All right. I get that. But why me? Why not his team?"

Wilson is instantly apologetic. "I tried. Since you made your ultimatum and everyone knows about it by now, I expected his team to be more interested in fighting to the end for a permanent position."

"By taking him out to dinner," she says with amusement.

"There are worse ways to get a job. But House has other ideas." Wilson's face goes from placid to frustrated in an instant. "I don't know if he's screwing with me or you, but he told everyone that if they said yes, he wouldn't hire them."

Nice move, she thinks. "And why should I say yes? You go on a date, and I get stuck with him? How exactly is that fair?"

"You want two names from him. I'll push him to fire the ones you think are the biggest liabilities."

Now she doesn't bother to hide her pleasure. This is quite the coup for her if she plays her cards right. She gets to have a date with House and a hand in the way he hires his staff. Even if he disregards whatever Wilson tells him, at least she will have had an opportunity to manipulate House in a way she wouldn't have before. And with the situation seeming like one she can't lose, she allows herself to smile. "Okay. I'll have dinner with House. Convince him to keep Taub and Thirteen."

Wilson hesitates for a moment, then says, "You… want me to tell him to fire Kutner and Dr. Volakis." He seems to stumble over the names, which Cuddy notes but doesn't think is too odd; these past few months have seen dozens of people come and go, potential hires brought in and fired at House's every whim. Why would Wilson instinctively know the names of two people he has hardly spent any time with?

"Yes. Is that a deal?"

"Sure." He doesn't seem like it, but with a thin-lipped smile, he bows his head and leaves.

Whatever the source of Wilson's possible reluctance, it means little in the end though. House's plan works as intended. Wilson emails her the name and address of the restaurant, which she happens to walk by as they're going inside. Wilson invites her to join them; House makes fun of her for agreeing, saying, "You seriously need to get laid if you're trolling restaurants for people with lives to join."

"You're out with your only friend in the world. I'd hardly say you have a life."

"More of a life than you."

"Guys," Wilson, the only one who doesn't realize this is a game, interrupts. "It's been a long day for all of us. I've got a patient who's probably gonna die at any moment, and I don't want to spend my dinner with either of you if you're going to behave this way."

He's laying the groundwork for leaving. Everyone knows it, but they all pretend like this patient exists, like he or she isn't going to suddenly worsen when they sit down. Cuddy apologizes though she doesn't mean it, and House falls silent like he does, and the three are ushered to a table soon after.

She fights the surprise that overcomes her when House takes the seat next to her. And just when she thinks she's taken control over the emotion, she feels his fingers creeping underneath the hem of her skirt.

Cuddy's too frightened to gasp out loud. His skin is cold against her warm thighs, but she doesn't even care about where he might take this. She's too busy looking over at Wilson to see if he's noticed.

He doesn't.

He's pretending like he cares about what he's going to eat. His own lies blind him to the fact that he's being used, that, as he works to get out of this meal, House's fingers are creeping up her skirt as far as they can go.

She turns her head to look at House, whose eyes are trained on her, daring her.

Rationally she knows that she can stop this if she wants. All she has to do is reach down and grab hold of his wrist, and he'll stop. Wilson will never know what happened if she does that.

But that's not the choice she makes.

Oh she reaches below the table, sure. But instead of pushing House away, she is hiking her skirt up. Not all the way, of course, as if that matters, but just enough so that she can spread her legs further for him. His eyes widen briefly as he realizes what she's doing. Of all the ways he imagined this going, he obviously didn't think acquiescence was going to be an option.

But he recovers quickly. Just as she starts to get nervous that someone will notice the shock in his eyes, he relaxes his face. Glancing down, he starts reading the menu. Beneath the table though, he is anything but relaxed. With her skirt riding up her thighs, his fingers are able to slip between her legs with ease. A finger pressed against her already damp panties, he slowly begins to stroke her through the silky fabric.

Cuddy bites down on her tongue to stop herself from giving the act away. He isn't touching her enough to make her scream, which in itself makes her want to shout for more. But they are in a restaurant, and she can't do that. It's loud enough, thanks to the music and chatter from the added tables, that no one else would hear her if she says anything. And it's dark enough inside that no one can see what's going on. Their table is tucked away in one of the back corners, giving them added privacy.


There's Wilson.

That means they can't possibly be discrete enough.

That alone should have her stopping House. Wilson's not paying attention now, but there's no guaranteeing that he won't look up and notice her blushed face or won't drop his napkin on the ground trying to leave and notice, while picking the cloth up, what's going on.

But she doesn't stop House. His fingers toy with the elastic of her underwear, as though he's wondering if he should continue. He's waiting for a response – specifically, a reason to quit what he's doing. When she doesn't give him one, he sneaks his hand beneath her panties.

His finger slips between her heated labia and touches her clit. Instinctively, as he strokes her, she bows her head to look. She wants to see him pushing two fingers in her pussy, wants to watch her body react to the contact. But as she tries to look down, he uses his free hand to lightly tap one of hers, which is busy clutching the menu.

It's not enough to be a slap, just enough to catch her attention and no one else's.

When she looks over at him, she can see the "No" in his eyes. And she understands her predicament then. As fun as last night was... it's not within her to immediately listen to him. Following House's instructions when it's not required is madness. His team listens to him, because it's part of their job. She tends to accept his theories and insane plans, because like it or not, his genius usually makes him right. But this? There's no reason why she should listen to him. Last night proved disobedience could be amazing. She's not sure she's prepared to accept the rest of what that dynamic requires. Once more she thinks that they really need to discuss things; they've talked about how to go on a date, that they are in fact dating. But the most important part of what she needs to say has been ignored until now, and then suddenly Wilson can't leave fast enough for her taste.

She holds off on looking down at her lap – not because it's what House has quietly demanded, but because she's too busy glaring at Wilson to leave. When that doesn't happen though, she can't help but let her gaze wander. House glares at her like she's going to screw everything up if she calls attention to what he's doing. But she can't help it. She looks down, at the sight of his hand moving beneath her skirt, fingers pumping in and out of her.

It's then, just as he's really getting her juices flowing, that he pulls away.

Cuddy is helpless to stop the whine that escapes her. Instantly she recognizes her mistake, but Wilson doesn't notice. House does, but he quickly hides his irritation and wipes his wet fingers on his napkin. She fidgets beside him, not out of nervousness, but out of the need to fix her skirt and her panties.

It doesn't matter though. There's no way she can be comfortable now. He's worked her up too much. She's warm and wet, and her pussy throbs with the need for his touch once more. The fact that they are in a public place no longer bothers her; he could bend her over the table and fuck her, and the part of her desperate for release would be okay with that. Rationally she knows that that can't happen, that that would defeat the purpose of tricking Wilson. She tells herself that that's not really what she wants, and it's not. But somehow sitting here for dinner like nothing has happened, like House couldn't have made come if he really wanted to, seems impossible now. What other choice does she have though? Even when Wilson leaves, they'll be stuck here having dinner. Now that Wilson knows they went to the restaurant, he'll bombard them both with questions tomorrow as to how the food was. And if he thinks anything is off with their answers, he'll know something is wrong.

So Cuddy forces herself to focus on the menu, to ignore House. The waiter has been gone for five minutes easily, but she still has no idea what she wants, because she hasn't read a single word on the menu. Quickly she peruses the leather bound parchment for something that looks good. At this point, she doesn't really care what she has; she just wants to be prepared in case House decides it's time to start fingering her again when the waiter comes to take their order.

Much to her dismay, House doesn't. In fact he seems content to ignore her. He doesn't even look in her direction until Wilson finally makes his excuses. His beeper goes off, and within seconds, he's apologizing, lying. Neither House nor Cuddy care, but House glares at her and complains to Wilson about being stuck with her. The way House speaks with disgust, it's pretty convincing. If she didn't know any better, she would think he didn't want to be with her, absolutely. And she has no doubt that Wilson has that same impression, because he shoots her a look of thanks when he thinks House isn't looking. But ultimately the woman Wilson has promised his time to is too important to sacrifice an evening with her. No matter what House says, Wilson isn't moved, and soon after, he's gone.

The second Wilson leaves, House starts to move to the other side of the table. He doesn't get more than an inch off his seat though before Cuddy grabs him.

"Where are you going?" she asks, flustered.

"I was going to take Wilson's seat. Looks a little weird if I'm sitting next to you all evening, no?" He's right, of course. It will look weird if they're close to one another with no one else across from them... although if they leave Wilson's place setting and scotch where it is, it'll just look like a third party is in the bathroom. But even if it looks like the two of them together, Cuddy doesn't exactly care anymore.

House knows why.

He laughs a little, sits back down. Leaning close to her so that only she will hear, he tells her, "If you're hoping I'll keep playing with your pussy -"

"I am." There's no point in denying it.

"Hmm," he murmurs, nodding his head. "Understandable. But why would I want to do that?" She's not expecting that question and therefore has no answer to it. She wants to ask why he wouldn't want to finish what he started, but he, unlike her, has an answer before the question can even be asked. "You've already shown that you can't be discrete."

She shakes her head. She can be, will be.

"We both know that's not true." She opens her mouth to disagree with him, but he doesn't give her a chance to say anything. "Don't lie."

"I'm not –"

"When you can be a good girl, I'll reconsider."

His tone leaves no room for argument, and he slips over to the other side of the table then without any protests from her. Silently though she fumes.

Perhaps that is what he wants – what she wants even. From an outsider's perspective, she looks unhappy to be alone with him; no one will ever guess that they've been sleeping together for months now. And after their conversation this morning, she guesses this is what a night out with him is supposed to look like. To keep their relationship private, they have to look like they can barely stomach each other's presence. That's not what she wants however. Maybe it was at the offset, but she doesn't want to pretend to be unhappy – or to actually be unhappy – to keep speculation at bay.

Suddenly pulling her out of her thoughts, House accuses, "I know what Wilson told you to get you here."

"Who says he had to do anything to get me here?" she asks, reaching for her wine and taking a sip.

He shoots her a knowing look and doesn't answer the question. "Having him whisper in my ear about who to hire though…." He shakes his head in disappointment. "I thought you were more clever than that."

She smiles a little. "Who says I'm not? He offered. I won't deny it," she admits, as the waiter puts their dinners down onto the table with a clank. "What makes you think we actually agreed to those terms?"

"Because he's suddenly taking an interest in who I hire."

"So? Maybe he cares who you –"

"Oh I'm sure," he interrupts, mouth full of food. His throat bobs as he swallows hard. "He has nothing to say on the matter, shows absolutely no interest. But then today of all days, when he needs a favor from you –"

"I can't believe you managed that." She hopes the compliment will distract him. "How'd you know he was dating someone?"

"I looked at his calendar. You can thank me later for that. In the meantime, don't even think you're getting out of this conversation."

She rolls her eyes. "I wouldn't dream of it."

"He said I should hire the Bitch and Taub. Since that's not really his opinion, I'll ask you. Why them?"

Cuddy doesn't say anything immediately. If she is too quick with her reasons, it will seem as though her opinions are thoughtless – or that her choices have been selected for the sole purpose of creating drama between them publicly. And of course there is the fact that Wilson has not represented her choices as she dictated them. That part has to give her pause, because she can't understand why he would do it. She said to hire Taub and fire Dr. Volakis, so it's not as though Wilson is trying to get the ending Cuddy wants by telling House the opposite of what she said. It makes no sense and sparks the embers of curiosity within her.

She keeps that to herself though. Whatever Wilson's reasons, House doesn't need to know that there might be more to the story than he's currently aware of.

"If I told you," she explains cautiously. "You'll look for reasons to prove me wrong and not hire them."

He easily throws back another truth for her to digest. "If you don't tell me, I'll just assume you have no reasons and won't hire them."

"That's childish."

"So is withholding explanations."

"Fine. You don't like Taub, but he's good for you. You need people who do more than just follow your orders and play your games."

He's amused. "You mean you just don't want me to hire the one who routinely sets himself on fire."

"That would be another point, yes."

"You do have to admit he keeps things interesting."

"He keeps things burning, which is distinctly different than being interesting. And at some point, you'll get bored with his predictable ineptitude and come to me, because you want to fire him. More importantly, I don't need two people causing that much trouble in my hospital."

"I'll keep that in mind. And the Bitch?"

She realizes that it doesn't matter that Wilson put forth the second name. Whatever his reasons are, she needs some of her own now. The last thing she wants is for House to think she's lying about her interest in keeping Taub. At the same time though, she doesn't want House hiring Dr. Volakis, which means Cuddy needs to offer something that, at face value, sounds like a good reason… but becomes in his mind a detraction.

For someone else, that might be difficult. For someone who knows House as well as she does, she understands what needs to be said.

"You want someone to play your game? She's the one most willing. She will do anything to prove that she's right. And if she's wrong, you'll do everything you can to prove her wrong," she explains calmly, knowing secretly how little House will appreciate that quality in someone. "You'll solve cases faster."

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

"If you say so."

Silence quickly overcomes them. Save for how the food is (good), they really have nothing to talk about. Well, they do, Cuddy realizes, but those issues aren't exactly easy to discuss in public. But halfway through dinner, she has the urge to try anyway. She doesn't want anyone to suspect what's going on, but this date, such as it has been set up, is a waste of time if they are under the stress of indecision and confusion. House may disagree, considering he hasn't said anything about it. But Cuddy doesn't want to stay silent any longer.

"We need to talk," she says slowly, putting her fork down.

House looks at her like he isn't sure that's a good thing. "About what?"

"What just happened?" she suggests.

"What do you mean? What just happened?"

She frowns, tries to be specific without outright saying it. "When Wilson was here."

"Oh. That." He fidgets, takes a drink. "That got out of hand. I didn't think you were going to go for it."

"You were trying to tease me," she decides without any real surprise. Of course he would. If she's set limits, he has to play along the lines – a part of his personality that should mean this relationship, at least as she wants it, can't work.

He shakes his head. "No. I just wanted to..." He lowers his voice. "Touch you." He must realize that that doesn't clarify things, because he adds, "Not like that. Just generally. Then you made it clear I could go further, so I did. If you had indicated you wanted me to stop, I would have. I did when it became it clear that you weren't going to be able to control –"

"That's fine."

"Is it?" he asks doubtfully.

She shrugs. "Yeah."

"That doesn't sound like a yes."

"I just want to make sure you haven't forgotten what I told you in my office."

"You want to keep things separated," he repeats instantly. "I haven't forgotten. I won't."

He's stressing the point as though he's concerned why she's bringing this up. Caution defines his demeanor, and the promise that he won't go against her wishes is proof enough that he is worried where this is headed. It makes her reconsider her earlier assumption: that he will eventually use whatever this dynamic between them is to hurt her. Right now, he's proving her wrong by being so apprehensive of the topic at hand.

What he doesn't realize is that she has no aim in mind. She's not looking for an apology or a way out of a relationship, which he seems to assume she is. Or maybe it's not right to say that she has no aim in mind, because in a way she does. She's trying to find a way to discuss last night, and starting with what's just occurred is as good an opening as any.

"Okay," she tells him, hoping that he believes her and doesn't assume she's dismissing him. "What about yesterday?"

The transition is messy, non-existent. Not talking about the one thing she wants to discuss has made her itch for the conversation. And now that she finally has House alone, she can't help but get straight to the point.

The downside of this is that he looks more confused than ever.

At first, he seems like he doesn't know how to react to the question, like he isn't sure what she wants him to say. Then he says with decision, "It won't happen again."

"No" is her immediate response.

"No? You don't believe me?"

She stabs a piece of broccoli on her plate in frustration. "No as in the last thing I want is for that to be a singular event."

His mouth opens slightly, but no words come out. In a way, she thinks it shouldn't be so shocking. She didn't run away yesterday when he said he wanted to punish her. She didn't object or leave when he went through with it, and she didn't treat him any differently today when she would be most susceptible to shame. Truthfully if her behavior has indicated anything, it's that she's either indifferent or approving of the direction they've moved towards in the last twenty-four hours. He was betting on ambivalent apparently.

Wanting to leave absolutely no doubt in his mind, she tells him as quietly as the environment around them allows her, "I… need that to continue."

"You liked that, huh?" If she's serious, he's conversational – proud. If there's a little bite in his tone, it's because he's pleased with himself.

She is less amused. Through gritted teeth, she says, "I would think that's obvious by now."

He pretends to be taken aback by her irritation. "Wow. Very sensitive."

"I just want to be clear about what I want out of this situation."

"And I want to be equally clear that I take no issue with that. At all." He blinks like he can't even believe what's going on. With a laugh he repeats himself, "At all. But you can't expect me to not react to what you're telling me. I'm not –"

"Mature enough for that? I can see."

He smirks. Then he orders – orders, "Finish your dinner." He's gruff, using the same tone he did throughout last night. The reminder is intentional and effective. It immediately pushes her back into the space she was yesterday.

She's not even sure why he's able to have this effect on her. It doesn't seem right for her, as a grown woman, to want much less enjoy this as she has, as she will. Especially when it's House who's giving the orders, it should be wrong to her. Because if working with him has proven one thing, it's that she shouldn't ever listen to him, right?

But she finds herself picking up her fork and eating her dinner. She's following his orders, not out of fear, not out of hunger (for food anyway). She's doing this, because something inside her wants to. And that is just as surprising to him as it is to her.

"You really do like this," he says in amazement. The realization has him eating much faster than he was minutes ago.

"You're enjoying this too much."

He looks at her as though she's insane. "Aren't you?" She smiles at the question, just a little anyway. "Hurry up. We have things to discuss."

"I know."

"Then why aren't you eating?"

"Maybe I'm finished."


"I am."

At that moment, it's as though he can't swallow fast enough. He's scarfing his dinner down with hardly any time taken to chew the food. If she has ever been in doubt as to how attracted he is to her, this clarifies things in record time.

It leaves her speechless, truth be told. She should be telling him to slow down, as the mood will be killed if he chokes and needs the Heimlich or worse. Having that power over him, she should be lording it over him. She would have done it in different circumstances. What she feels now though is nothing like victory.

His want for her just kindles her own need. Watching him rush his way to be alone with her, she feels cared for, special.

Like she's his.

That shouldn't sound as good as it does, but possession has her blind to whatever distaste she would anticipate feeling. She just can't get past how much he wants her and how much, in return, she wants him. It consumes her and makes the final minutes of their dinner unbearable. He's eating as fast as he can, but it's not quick enough for her.

Eventually though, after what feels like an eternity, he is finished, and they are able to pay for dinner and leave.

His hand brushes against her lower back as he ushers her out the door. They are in agreement that their relationship is private, but small touches like that make her want to reconsider.

When they're standing outside, he asks, "Want to walk me to my bike?"


"Meanie." Within a beat, he's inviting himself over albeit quietly. "Your place?"

She nods her head. "That's fine…. Bye?"

It's not her intention to be blunt, but he is equally quick to the point. "Yeah" is all he says before he turns from her and walks away.

As she heads to her car, she supposes the awkward and abrupt ending to their meal is acceptable, a good thing even. If Wilson were to ever become suspicious, if he were to ever question what happened tonight, no one in that restaurant would ever be able to confirm those feelings. Not that that's going to happen, she realizes. The chances of Wilson thinking anything is off are slim. But it's comforting to write off the rough areas in her budding relationship with House as being things that could work for them later on. It makes it easier to move forward without doubt, as she does by driving home as if nothing's happened.

That House isn't waiting for her when she gets there is discouraging. Pulling into her driveway, she half expects him to come racing down the road behind her. And when he doesn't, that too is a rough spot, a disappointment she tries her best to ignore. She tells herself that these difficulties are to be expected. She hasn't been in a relationship in a long time, and God only knows how long it's been for House. Their apparent proclivities do not make the adjustment any easier, especially when they have not had the frank discussion they need to understand just how far they will take things. As such, Cuddy has to believe that things will get better. They will adjust to being with one another; they will figure out where the lines lie, and they will get past it. And when there are issues, and she knows there will be, they will be so screwed up that saying bye awkwardly and one person being slightly late will seem like nothing.

Because they are nothing.

But as she waits for him to come, anticipation makes the problem seem bigger than it is. She does her best to keep busy – going through her mail, listening to her voicemail and answering machine. Setting her briefcase down, she plops down on the couch to the sounds of a rambling apology on her home phone from Wilson.

His words are familiar to her, like so many of his canned thank yous she's received in the past. He complements her wildly in his message. As usual, Cuddy responds to it with a mix of flattery and disbelief. She's never thought that he's lying, just that his appreciation only seems audible when she's dealt with House for him. For this very reason, Wilson is the last person she wants to reveal her relationship to. House, of course, will probably make him the first. But Cuddy would rather not suddenly turn into the House whisperer, the one who has the unenviable task of dealing with his issues day in and day out, because Wilson no longer wants to do it himself. She figures being in a relationship with the man guarantees she'll have to deal with the more frustrating parts of House. But she has no interest in becoming Wilson's crutch.

If things go the way she wants them to, however, surely that's going to happen.

The thought is not a sobering one per se, but it unleashes the exhaustion she's earned after a long day. Between work and the fear someone will find her out, she has worn herself out. Then again, she's home, and what else does she do at home besides sleep? Not having a personal life (or so it seems) has trained her to treat the hours she's not at work as time to rest. And with that and the monotone (and monotony) of Wilson's apology, she finds it difficult to keep her eyelids open. She wants to stay awake for House, but her head bobs up and down. She doesn't want to sleep, she tells herself, but it would be nice to just lay her head down for a while – a little while.

It doesn't register in her mind that it's happened until she feels a hand on her shoulder.

She wakes up with a start, aware only of the fact that she is home alone and no one should be touching her. Fear easily dissolves to recognition when she realizes the hand is House's.

"You're late," she grumbles.

He pushes a few stray strands of hair out of her face gently, letting his fingers slowly meander to her back. His touch warm and soft, he explains, "I stopped by my apartment so I could pick up a change of clothes. In the spirit of keeping things separate, I didn't think you'd want me to come into work tomorrow looking like I spent the previous night getting my dick wet." She groans at the language, too tired for his antics. "I figured that would create too many questions. So I grabbed some stuff and came over. Ran into some traffic, but I'm not that late. You're just tired."

"I am," she agrees, whines.

He leans down and slips off the pumps she doesn't realize she's still wearing. One of his palms runs along her heel, glossing over a spot that must be red because it's sore from long hours on her feet. If he's worried about the area, he doesn't say anything. He just lifts her ankles and helps her rest her tender feet on the couch cushion.

"I'd let you sleep, but we have some things we need to talk about," he tells her. "And I don't think it can wait."

She nods her head against the throw pillow her head is resting against. The way her cheek brushes against the cushion forces her to acknowledge just how tired she really is. She must have found a way to lie down before nodding off. She had no idea until that moment.

"I'm gonna make some coffee," he announces. "Maybe that will help wake you up."

Presumptuously he heads straight for her kitchen and starts rummaging through it. Frankly she's surprised he doesn't know where he keeps her coffee and filters – as the amount of noise indicates he's lost. For someone who obviously knows where she keeps her spare keys and how to get into her home, he should be more familiar with her house, and she's taken aback that he isn't. Against her body's wishes, she thinks she should get up and make sure he doesn't destroy her kitchen looking for what he wants.

But by the time she enters the room, the coffee is already starting to brew. His back to her, she steps behind him. Instantly sensing her presence, he turns around, slings an arm around her.

As he pulls her into his embrace, he says, "Following me into the kitchen? Where there are wooden spoons? That's brave." And then in put-upon surprise, he adds, "Oh wait. I forgot: you'd probably enjoy that."

She doesn't care that he's taunting her. Her chin on his chest, she asks, straight to the point, "Are you going to do that?"

"No." Her disappointment is obvious, and he must see it, because he tells her, "Not ruling it out completely. But if we're not just having sex anymore, then you're right. We need to talk about that."

"I'm surprised you agree."

"I was thinking what would happen if my team called me on my way back. If I told them to do something… not illegal but maybe… not entirely legal –"

"Not entirely legal is –"

"Point is," he says, talking over her. "If I did something questionable, do I tell you? Do you know and not do anything about it? Do you do something about it and then make people wonder just how it was you knew what was going on? And that doesn't even begin to touch on how you like getting your ass slapped and what exactly I'm supposed to do with that. So forgive me if I think we need boundaries now that we're not just playing hide the sausage for fun."

She raises an eyebrow at the phrase. "I'm dating a teenager."

"But you get my point."

He pours their coffee then and hands her one of the mugs. As he busies himself dumping absurd amounts of sugar and milk in his cup, she takes a few small sips of her own. Unlike him she's not a big coffee drinker; if she needs caffeine these days, she prefers to get it from tea. But she knows that they have a lot they need to hash out, and that will require her to be awake and sharp. Normally she would want to be prepared, because she anticipated a fight.

Sitting with him on her couch though, she realizes quickly that this conversation won't involve arguing. There's nothing to fight about.

"Tonight went well," he starts off before slurping down some coffee. "But we're not at that point where we can go out without anyone thinking anything of it."

His logic is irrefutable. As much as she would like to believe they can do whatever they want from this point, she knows they can't. "I know," she tells him.

"Now that I know Wilson has a –"

"So this is about screwing with Wilson."

"Absolutely not. This is about screwing you. But if a byproduct of that is learning more about who Wilson is dating, that's fine with me."

Cuddy can't even fight on this point. She doesn't like that Wilson will get caught in the crosshairs of this relationship, but surely by now he knows how House operates. He knows that keeping secrets is all House needs to meddle in his life, just as she understands that relationship or no, House would be doing precisely what he's doing now. Even if she's against it, he will do what he wants. He will continue to dig until Wilson tells him who he's sleeping with. So then why would Cuddy really object to House's plan? He's going to do what he feels is right no matter what. At least this way, this furthers their own relationship.

Rightly accepting her silence as approval, House continues. "I'll just keep asking him to do things. Now that he knows he can depend on you to take over when he wants to get laid, he'll come to you, which I assume you have no problem with, considering it places him in your debt. If someone comments to you or me or him about seeing us together, any one of us can easily say that you were doing him a favor, babysitting his annoying friend while he went on a date."

"And that's your plan? We just use Wilson. What happens if he breaks up with this –"

"Wilson doesn't get dumped until after he's married them, and that usually takes a while."

"Still. You don't think it will be obvious that –"

"At a certain point, we'll suddenly realize that we have fun together and start to hang out of our own volition. By that time it'll seem natural. No one will think anything of it. And if we ever get to the point where we want to reveal our relationship to the rest of the world, again, people won't think it's that odd. It's a win-win situation."

She tries to find the flaws in his logic, but she can't. Perhaps she just wants to believe that this relatively simple plan will work, that she can just seamlessly start to date her employee without issue. At that moment it seems too easy for them. After all this time of sneaking around, she is suspicious at how fluid a change this might be. But her reservations bear no fruit; there's nothing she can point to as a problem. And so she is forced to say, "Okay. That works."

"Now the more difficult part," he says slowly with a lackluster quality to his tone. "How we keep things separated mentally."

"I don't want you to lie to me." She blurts the truth out as she thinks it, no hesitation, no consideration for the wording. She just knows that regardless of anything else, their relationship can't last if she doesn't trust him. And if she's going to ask him to indulge her apparent kinks, she needs to know that he is a man of his word. "I'd rather you tell me what was going on than not."

"Even if that means you can't do anything. Say I tell you I'm going to forge Foreman's name on a release form. You're going to be okay with letting me do that?" He is doubtful.

"I..." She'll be lying if she says she would have no problems with that kind of behavior. If honesty is the subject, then she herself must be truthful. "I would try to talk you out of it. I'd be mad at you if you did it anyway. I would try to stop you if I could find a way of doing without jeopardizing everything else."

"And if you can't find a way, what are you going to do?"

She thinks about it, hates what her answer is. "We work well together. If we're discovered sleeping together and we haven't gone through the proper channels to divulge that relationship, I'd be... not ruined but close enough for it to risk our working relationship. And if I'm not in charge of you, the person who takes over that job will have no sympathy for your practicing methods. You'll either be fired or so tied up with bureaucracy that you can't do your job effectively, and people will die because of that. So..." It kills her to say it, but she knows it's the truth. "If I have to look the other way, I will."

He looks at her closely to see if she's lying. But she obviously isn't, so he nods his head approvingly. "Good."

"Yeah" is her unenthusiastic response.

"If it makes you feel better, anything I tell you in secret is something I wouldn't have told you if I didn't get to play with your boobs regularly. So even though it feels like something's changed, nothing really has."

When put like that, it does make her feel better. "True," she tells him, reconsidering the matter with new perspective.

But as she does so, she realizes that there is another part of the work equation that they haven't discussed. "What happens," she asks suddenly. "If I do manage to stop you? Whether you tell me or not beforehand, if I prevent you from doing what you want, how does that work?"

He smirks. "I thought you'd figure that out on your own." When it's clear she hasn't, can't, he sets his empty mug on the coffee table - next to her cup, which is still nearly full. As he sits back on the sofa, he reconsiders what he's said. "Well, I shouldn't say that. Maybe you'll disagree with me, but here's what I know: as much as I resent your interference, I understand that it's necessary."

That's all very nice to hear, she thinks, and she has no doubt that he means it. But sincerity hardly guarantees that he will be able to control himself when his girlfriend blocks him professionally.

"I'm glad you mean that," she says honestly. "But I think it's –"

"You don't believe me." The accusation is a light one, but it's still notable.

"I believe that you mean what you say. I don't believe that means you'll always be able to restrain yourself when things don't go the way you want them to."

He considers this for a moment then agrees. "You're right. But it's worth pointing out that it takes quite a lot for me to take real issue with you doing your job and I'm guessing more than that for me to take those issues home with me." He must sense that this isn't enough for her. His hand reaches over and brushes against hers briefly. "If that happens, it'd probably make sense for me to go home, stay away for a while."

"You would avoid me."

"If I needed to."

Cuddy isn't sure that's the answer she's looking for. It's not that she wants to face House's ire. She's experienced that before. In the very public hospital, he has found ways at times to hurt and humiliate, and she doubts that it would feel any better to have him do those things in private. But on the other hand, she doesn't like the idea that they might have to distance themselves to get through an unpleasant part of their lives. She doesn't relish leaving him to his own devices when he could be here with her. Separation may very well turn out to be for the best, but it makes her uneasy to think that there might be a time where she needs him and he isn't there.

Still, she's uninterested in voicing her concern. The idea isn't one she loves, but that doesn't mean it's going to be bad when (and it will be when not if) it's implemented. She thinks that it might never be something she enjoys, but if it works, then that's what matters. And if it doesn't, then they'll discuss that then. There's no point in objecting when she doesn't know how it will work in action.

Of course nothing needs to be said; her misgivings are obvious and don't need to be articulated as a result. So she just says, "Okay. If you think that's what'll be best." The words are awkward coming from her.

He grabs her mug of coffee and holds it in his hands as if contemplating on drinking it. Deciding against it, he sets the cup down once more. When he sits back, he tells her, "I don't know why you're worried. We agree to take some space when we'll need it, and we'll see what happens. If it makes things worse –"

"That's my fear."

"Then we'll change courses." He makes it sound so simple, but she fears it won't be. "That's how it works. We test a theory out. If it's not suitable, then we'll come up with something else – and when we do, we'll know what not to do, which will make a solution that much easier to find."

"This isn't one of your patients, House."

"Well, that's unfortunate, because I have this fantasy of taking your temperature with my –"

"Can you please be serious?"

"Oh I am." She shoots him a dirty look, and he concedes. "Fine. I understand that this isn't science. However, I also think that dating you means there will be some inherent failures that come with it. There are going to be things we have to work through. But if we try, blah, blah, blah, eventually we will have some success, etcetera."

"And you're not worried we'll screw it up in the process."

"Sure. I'm equally sure that there's nothing we can do about that… other than do our best to avoid that situation."

She doesn't understand how he can be so nonchalant about this. And she's about to ask him why he is, but he has anticipated this question. He must have, because he answers her before she can ask.

"I don't think we need to discuss what we risked by just sleeping together and now what we're putting on the line by attempting a relationship.

She shakes her head no. "Please don't remind me."

"We both stand to lose a lot if this doesn't work out. Yet we're taking that risk, which is why I know that you're not screwing around with me and why I hope you know I'm just as serious."

Sometimes she hates how coldly he can reduce a relationship to gains, losses, selfish motivations. Right now she appreciates it. He has taken all of the emotional concerns out of the equation, and reduced, the issue seems as black and white as he is making it. They have made a lot of effort to get this far. Perhaps there is some reassurance to be had with that knowledge.

"I guess you're right," she admits eventually. Immediately she regrets saying it out loud; the smugness rolls off him like a physical essence. "Act like that, and I'll never say it again."

"You don't need to say it again. Just knowing that I got you to say it once is enough to light many a dark night for –"

"Oh stop," she orders, disgusted at the display. "You don't win anything for being right."

"Pretty sure just knowing that my intellect beat you into submission is enough for me," he says proudly. She's too busy scowling to notice him changing the subject. "Speaking of beating you into submission, what you said at the restaurant."

Confused she asks, "What about it?"

He's irritated by the question. "You know for someone who's been saying all day that she wants to talk, I seem to be the only one actually doing any of the conversing."

"I'm tired," she explains. "And you're saying all the right things, apparently, so what's the problem?"

"Because I don't want to have the argument some day that I made all these decisions for us and you're not –"

"All right. I'll participate more. What didn't you understand about what I said?"

"I understand. I hope." He seems a little unsure now that he has asserted that he gets it. "You want things to be kinky? That's fine with me. But that's the kind of thing that gets out of hand if there aren't some ground rules. And since that's not something I am inherently aware of –"

"I have to spell it out for you."

"Yes." Rethinking the neglected cup of coffee, he picks it up once more and takes a sip. There is enough room in that period of time for her to say something, anything, but she doesn't. Words seem just out of reach.

It has nothing to do with fear or embarrassment.

It's simply hard to voice something she can't explain.

Not understanding that, he says, "I get that this is anything but easy. If you're embarrassed –"

"I'm not." She means it, and that shines through in the way she shoots him down. "I'm just not sure how to describe…." Her voice trails off, the sentence not working for her. Licking her lips, she tries again. "Last night, I started off thinking you were bluffing."

"I know."

"And then when you… spanked me, I…." She shrugs. "I didn't want you to stop." He looks like he wants to say he knows that too, but he refrains from doing so. "You were… possessive, and I liked that. I liked that you were in control and pushing me to do things I wouldn't have ordinarily done." She can't leave it there. More needs to be said. "Of course I knew that you would stop if I told you to." She feels the need to say the last part empathically.

It's not just that he was dominating her, maybe even degrading her. It's that she was truly the one in control, that for all of his outward effort to make her feel under his spell, he was the one who became beholden to her. She does not relish that fact out of a need to be in charge of him. It has nothing to do with that. Instead, for her, it made her feel in complete control of herself, her experience. And as they devolved into darker acts, as she uncovered affinities for things she never thought she would like much less ask for, she found herself glad to feel as protected as she was from going too far, from being so deep in it that she couldn't find her way back. He was in charge as much as she was, and together they explored just how far things could go.

"I've never had sex like that," she tells him. The pleasure he takes in hearing that is not missed. "I was thinking today what it would be like to go back to the way things were before that. Not that the sex was bad before, because it wasn't. But the idea of just forgetting what we did, making it a one time thing… I don't want that."

"So… what you're saying is…." He slides closer to her on the couch. Leaning into her, he kisses her neck once. "You want me to spank you?" The heat in his voice makes her freeze, much to his dismay.

He sets the coffee cup down once more and then turns his attention back to her. His free hands are suddenly on her, one arm wrapping around her waist. The other hand rests right above her knee.

"You need to answer me," he says.

She licks her lips. "Yes."

"Punish you?"

She thinks about the question, about how she wants this to work. In reflection, last night was not the first time he slapped her ass. Before then there had been a few occasions here and there where he'd offered her a smack or two. And she'd liked it, yes, but it hadn't delivered the same punch being turned over his knee and spanked for misbehaving had.

Right now she doesn't believe what she wants could be more obvious.

Her stomach twists at the knowledge. She's okay with telling him the truth; this is what she wants. But there is fear that comes with knowing she will get what she wants. There's excitement too. Again, she wants this. It's just terrifying to think that with a nod of the head, this will be a reality.

"Yes," she says shakily.

"You don't sound convinced."

She looks over at him. Looking into his concerned eyes, she finds it easy to reveal her reservations. "I am convinced. I just can't believe it. And that makes me wonder if there's a reason for that."

"We don't have to –"

"No. We do."

The issue becomes apparent to him. "You're afraid you can't back out?"


He looks at her like she's an idiot. "Don't be stupid. I gave you plenty of opportunities last night to change your mind. That will always be the case."

"You wanted me to use my underwear to stop you. That's not always going to be –"

"You have to stop talking cause my I.Q. is dropping just hearing you –"

"Shut up."

He tries again, this time more nicely. "Here's an easy solution: Wilson's got a baby dick."

That's the last thing she's expecting him to say, and the absurdity of it all makes her laugh loudly.

"That makes no sense," she tells him once she's calmed down, the smile still on her face.

"That's what you say when you want me to stop."

She starts to laugh again, because she can't even imagine that working. She tries to conjure up the scene in which that happens and saying in the middle of being smacked or whatever, "Wilson's got a baby dick." She can't fathom it.

"I can't say that."

"That's unfortunate, cause I would really like it if you did. At least once."

"I'm never going to talk about Wilson's penis. I can promise you that."

"Again – unfortunate."

"Be serious."

"Okay." And he is solemn then. "You need a way out is what you're saying, and I'm all for that. So pick a word or something. My personal preference would involve –"

"I'm not saying that."

"Then what?"

"You act like there are no other options that –"

"Well, I do think mine's hard to beat," he says proudly. "But ultimately this isn't about cleverness, as there would be no competition there."

She pulls away from him. "If you keep insinuating that I'm an idiot, you can go home."

"My bad." He holds his hands up as if to say that he doesn't mean any harm. Then he gets straight to the point. "It just needs to be something you'll remember and I'll recognize, really. So whatever you want."

If it's something he needs to realize is a signal to stop, it can't be something as simple as no – which he ignores even in the best of circumstances. It has to be something that catches his attention. She's tempted to make the phrase, you have a small penis, but doesn't. He would never let it go if she did that. And besides, that takes too much of an effort to say.

In the end, she blurts out the first word that comes to mind. "Yak."

"Yak?" He mulls the idea over. "Fine," he says decisively. "Although clearly my idea was better."

"It was not."

"It totally was, actually. But it's your choice, so yak it is."


"Last order of business," he states, making her groan. The sound surprises him.

She explains, complains, "I've been handling administration all day. I don't to spend our first hours as a… couple." She stumbles over the phrase. "Discussing all of the –"

"Yeah, it's boring. I get it. But if you want the whips and chains so to speak, that requires a little more planning and consideration."

"And we have to make all these decisions now."

"Oh no, I think it's a much better idea to go in without any rules. That can't possibly end in disaster," he says sarcastically. He has a point, and she knows it. Before she even has a chance to say so, he capitulates first. "You're right though. We probably shouldn't decide everything now, not when we haven't had a chance to think this through."

Hearing him say he wants to think about it stokes the fear inside her. He didn't use the words, "I want to rethink this relationship." But part of her takes it that way.

She tries to tell herself otherwise. It's insane to jump to that conclusion. More than that, she knows that's not what he means. But it's been a long time since she dated anyone. She's not used to this and certainly wasn't prepared for a relationship to happen. Trying to think logically, she can see that her willingness to believe he wants to back out has to do with her own doubt. She is afraid this won't work out, so she's looking for reasons it can't.

Recognized self-sabotage is impossible to endorse, and she shuts the idea down instantly.

Confident she asks, "What do you have in mind?"

"You make a list of things you're absolutely not comfortable with. And then –"

"A list," she says doubtfully.


"An actual list or –"

"Are you kidding me?" He shakes his head in frustration. "Yes. A physical list, something I can read."

"And if I'm not comfortable writing –"

"I'm not going to show it to anyone. I told you: I have no interest in letting anyone know this side of you exists. I want it to be just for me." A sense of ownership surges through his voice briefly. Then he adds calmly, "And also like I told you: no one would believe me even if I said something. So unless you title your list, 'Cuddy's list of non-kinks for House,' which doesn't even mean anything since it'd be a list of things I can't do to you sexually, and have the thing notarized, it doesn't matter."


"Okay?" Her initial reluctance has him seeking reassurance.

"I'll do it. I have no reason not to trust you."

"Thank you." He seems relieved. "Now that you have your homework, come here."

His hand is pulling on her wrist, not leaving her much choice but to do what he wants. But she doesn't need the choice. She has waited for this moment all day. Willingly she allows herself to be tugged to him.

Just as soon as she's close to him, he's pushing her to stand up. If only to avoid falling onto the floor, she listens. When she's on her feet in front of him, his gaze roams over her body appraisingly.

"You looked so hot today," he tells her.

She smiles at the compliment. "Thank you."

"Hotter than usual I mean. It made me wonder if you were dressing that way for someone." He uses his index finger to draw a circle in the air to indicate that he wants her to turn around. She does and almost immediately feels his hands on the zipper of her skirt. "Were you?" he asks leadingly.


Slowly he pulls the zipper down. Given how close he is, she would love nothing more than for him to just yank the damn thing off of her. But he takes his time, carefully undoing the zipper one metallic tooth at a time. "No?" he repeats, testing the answer with his tongue. "You weren't hoping to give your panties away again?"

She smiles at the memory. It only happened yesterday, but it has been the catalyst for so much. "I learned my lesson."

"Good." A palm slips beneath the fabric of her skirt, so that he is touching her ass as he pushes the piece of clothing off her body. "I would hate to have to punish you again for that." The skirt pulls at her ankles, and for a moment, she can practically feel him staring at the way her body looks in the thong she's wearing.

Ordinarily it would turn her on. Today she has other matters on her mind. "Is it bruised?" she asks curiously. She was in such a rush to get ready this morning that she never caught sight of her ass to see the damage he had done the last time they were together. When he'd hit her, she knew that his focused hand would probably leave bruises; it certainly felt like there might be something there this morning. But she's not sure.

"No." She is disappointed by the news. She wants the mark of his hand on her. She wants the proof that he owns her. "Not yet."

She raises an eyebrow at the words. "Not yet?"

He pats her ass gently. "You didn't think I'd let you threaten me with a bad parking spot if I didn't hire my team already, did you?"

"I'm your boss. I can do whatever I want."

"At work, yes. Here?" His hands are on her hips. Abruptly he pulls her backwards, forces her to sit on his lap. Her breath hitches at the closeness. "I'm in charge here, remember?"



In a rush, she points out, "You realize nothing's going to change, right?" A sound catches in the back of his throat like he's not sure what she's talking about. "Tomorrow, I'll still be pushing you to hire someone. I'm not going to back down just because –"

"Of course. Like you said, you're the boss." He pulls her closer, squeezes her so tightly that she feels completely surrounded by him. She likes the feeling. "But right now, you're here with me. You're mine. And I think you've been bad."

He's not even angry, she realizes. If she told him to stop, and thanks to "yak," she can, he would. She can put an end to this if she wants, because the rage in his voice is an act, something designed to get them both off. But the thing about it is: it is slowly pushing her to that point of no return. It is turning her on. It's fake, and for that reason, maybe she should laugh at the way he's talking to her. But from her perspective, there is absolutely nothing to laugh about.

"Do you agree?" he asks, pulling her from her thoughts. She can only nod her head. "Hmm," he murmurs approvingly. "Since you're in agreement, I think you need to go lay down."

She frowns. During the time that has lapsed since dinner, she has felt nothing but exhausted. Suddenly she's no longer tired. "I don't want to go to bed."

"I didn't say you would sleep," he says snidely. "I said: you need to go lay down. On your stomach. While I decide just how badly you need to be punished." Her body seems to run out of oxygen. The game leaves her breathless and warm. "Understand?"

She nods her head.

The second she does, he's pushing her back onto her feet. Unsteadily she does as she is told.

Her mattress is soft beneath her body, her cheek lightly pressing into the fabric of her comforter in a way that would normally send her into a deep sleep. Tonight she's not sure she can wait another second for him to come into the room behind her. Anticipation makes her squirm. Seconds feel like minutes, and each moment she is alone, she has to increasingly resist the urge to return to him, demand that he make his move.

In the end though, that's unnecessary. Just as the waiting is about to destroy her self control, he is in the room, behind her.

He quickly curls an arm around her waist and pulls her up. When he has her kneeling on the bed, he lets go of her, begins to undress her. Her shirt comes off first, the purple satin tossed over the edge of the bed. Her bra goes next, and when she's exposed in front of him, all she wants is for him to touch her.

He doesn't.

"Head on the bed," he orders.

She does that and can't help but notice the way her ass arches upward – as he no doubt intended. His hands skim her sides, fingers hooking into her underwear.

Pulling them off, he says, "You have no idea how long I waited today to do this. No idea."

"Considering I've had the same day you've had," she starts to point out. But she never gets the chance to explain that their misery has been shared equally today. Her mouth stops working when his begins to.

There is no foreplay, no gentle touch to ease her into it. She's not complaining of course, because she doesn't need it. She has waited for this for far too long to need gentle touches and soft kisses to get her in the mood. His voice, the promise of this relationship, their date – it has all put her on edge, made her wetter than she ever thought possible. Being fingered in front of Wilson just pushed her further into this. And now she is so far gone that when House's mouth is suddenly against her pussy, she is already primed and ready to go.

His nose nuzzles at her perineum, the sensation one that is equal parts uncomfortable and delicious. His tongue laps up the juices he has made flow all day long. There is a certain amount of disbelief that comes with finally getting what she wants, and because of that, she's louder, more appreciative.

She cries out for his touch, and he rewards her repeatedly. His tongue thrusts inside her, and she screams at the sensation of him sliding against her wet walls. Her body instinctively understands the truth of the matter in that moment. As she lies there at his mercy, it's clear that he does not need to hit her to be in complete possession of her. He is in control now just as much as he was yesterday, and she loves every second of it.

Cuddy can hear herself practically shouting for him to continue. Her voice ranges from orders to pleading, from understandable words like "More" to the completely incomprehensible.

And throughout he ignores her. As he always is when he's focused on a task, he pretends that her wishes do not exist. It takes quite a bit of talent, she thinks, to be pleasuring her, tasting her, without any regard for satisfying her.

She squeezes her legs together in the hopes that he will get the message, that he will get her off. But his hands just push her thighs farther apart in response. Regardless of what she wants, he is in no hurry to get her off. His pace is pre-planned, and he will not speed up just to make her happy.

The point of it all isn't lost on her. As he purposely slows down so she can't orgasm, she gets what he's doing.

She has forced his hand professionally, stopped him from doing what he really wants to. Now he is going to do the same to her.

It is, in her mind, a challenge. If he doesn't want her to get off, she will do her best to do just that.

She starts to move her hips in time with the motions of his tongue. It feels good, lets him move deeply enough for her to start to feel the heat in her build. It's not enough; nothing could be enough right now; but maybe if she just keeps it up, she thinks, rocking her hips against him….

And then he pulls away entirely.

When she cries out this time, it's not because she's enjoying what he's doing. That just makes him laugh at her.

"Not as much fun when the tables are turned, are they?"

"Shut up and do me," she barks.

"Poor little Cuddy," he mocks. "Wants to come but she can't."

That's not exactly true. He may not be willing to get her off, but she has no compunction about taking care of herself in front of him, against his wishes.

She moves a hand toward her needy cunt. She's ready to finish this herself. But he quickly grabs her by the wrist. Bringing her hand behind her back, he uses his weight to push her down onto the mattress completely.

"No," she growls, frustrated, her body pleading for release. In that moment, she's glad she didn't choose no as the word to make him stop; if she had, she would never get what she wanted from him. Then again, she's thinking she won't get it anyway, because he's proving a point.

His free hand grabs the last remaining wrist she has loose. He brings that behind her back as well, transfers it into the grip he's got her other hand in. She fights, but he's practically lying on top of her, and she has no leverage with which to battle back. Unable to move much, she loses. And when he is sure he's got both of her hands tightly secured with only one of his own, he reaches up and roughly yanks on her hair.

Her neck cranes upward, making her gasp. His mouth hovers next to her ear.

"This is the part where you realize demands aren't going to work," he whispers coldly. "I can keep you here all night on the brink."

Although he's in his clothes, she can still feel the erection he has pressed against her ass. No matter what he says, at some point, he will want to get that taken care of. And when he has her here, he's not going to settle for the touch of his own hand; he's going to want her. Then he will be just as helpless as he wants to make her seem, she tells herself.

"No, you can't," she says knowingly.

He sits up, still having a tight hold of her hands. "Can't is a funny word." His tone can only be described as conversational. The sound of him slowly undressing, however, undermines the casual voice. "How long have we been sleeping together? A while, right? I know what gets you off. I know what doesn't. And you think I can't find a way to use your body and leave you wet and desperate and completely unable to come?"

Out of her peripheral vision, she sees him take off his pants. There is a bit of a struggle to do so, between holding her hostage and navigating his thigh. But the effect of the act isn't lost on her at all. He's getting undressed. He's by her bed with her juices on his mouth and his cock hard and ready for her, and the awkwardness with which he strips doesn't take away from that. In that moment, he is beautiful to her. She has always been attracted to him, but right now, that desire is tenfold. He's pale flesh and defined muscle, musky scent and beautiful cock arched in the air for her touch, and she is eager to do just that: touch him. The way she wants him, she's not sure he can actually do what he says. Maybe if she wanted him less, he would be able to leave her panting for more, but she isn't convinced that's possible now. Her pussy is laden with need, heavy and hot for his dick. It won't take much to make her orgasm, and once he's inside her, she doubts he will have the wherewithal to deny her.

Then again, he will see that as a challenge. If success is unlikely, he will work that much harder to be a man of his word. And because of that, it's clear she has to play the game the way he wants it played.

"I'll be good," she insists, as he has trouble unbuttoning his shirt.

"That's easy to say when you want to come." Finally he's free of the button down, and he makes quick work of the t-shirt he's wearing beneath it. Naked now, he uses his free hand to stroke his erection. She whines and struggles against him at the sight. "See? You don't mean it."

"I want your cock." There's no point in trying to put it nicely. He has her by the hands on her bed, and they're naked, and there's no reason to be anything other than blunt.

He just smiles. "Good."

With effort he crawls onto the bed. He lets go of her hands to balance his weight, and she fails to take advantage of the freedom. Truthfully, he would probably catch her before she managed to get off, but she doesn't try it either way. She doesn't move as he does, concern for his leg making her stiff. He manages all right, and he would probably be okay if she continued to fight. But she doesn't want to risk something going wrong. So she waits until he is practically on top of her to start up again. As he leans against her, pushing her into the mattress, she feels his erection slip along her ass. The head bobs along her crack, eliciting a whimper from her.

She closes her eyes and waits. He's so close to her now; they are so close to having sex, and she anticipates the moment he penetrates her.

He seems fine with waiting. On top of her, he makes no move to push his dick into her. If anything, every time his penis gets too close to her opening, he reaches between them and pulls his cock away from her. He'll rub it against her hole, let it slip along her labia. But he won't let it go any further than that.

From her position, she tries to get him to accidentally penetrate her. Her thinking is that if she moves while he torments her, perhaps he will push his dick's head into her, and once in her, he won't have the willpower to deny himself what they both want. But it's clear he has the upper hand in all of this. She tries her best to move beneath him, rock her hips in a way that gives him access to her. His weight prevents her from moving much though.

She groans in frustration, and he laughs. Taking hold of her hands once more, he moves them to a spot above her head. Pinning her wrists takes away some of the leverage she had before. She's thoroughly trapped on the mattress beneath him.

His other hand pushes the hair out of her face gently. His stroke is paternal at best, patronizing at worst. She frowns at her current situation, even as she is aware that her juices have completely coated his cock. He hasn't been inside her at all, but she's still that turned on.

"Frustrating, isn't it?" he taunts, kissing the plane between her shoulder blades.

She clenches her jaw. "I swear to God if you don't –"

"What are you going to do exactly?" She can feel his smirk against her skin. "Pretty sure you can't do anything."

The chance to respond is lost. She wants to say something, but his cell phone ringing from his pants pocket shuts her up.

Things suddenly on hold, he groans. The frustration she's felt keenly rubs off on him, and he reluctantly lets her go, rolls off of her. She stays where she is so they can easily pick up where they left off. But she can hear him struggle to find his phone, the rustling of his jeans a testament to that. So too does she hear him scoff when he's finally grabbed the cell.

Curious she can't help but turn to him then. Since he makes no move to answer the call, she asks him, "Who is it?"

"Wilson," he tells her, setting his phone on her dresser.

"You're not going to answer it?"

"No. If it goes to voicemail, he'll think I'm mad at him, which means he won't suspect anything," he explains confidently.

As he comes closer to her once more, she feels the need to point out, "But at some point, we want to be able to go out without anyone –"

"Yes. That's true. On the other hand, if we hang out once and we just love it." His voice is biting, sarcastic, irritable. "Automatically Wilson's gonna suspect I did you."

"That's not true."

"It is. And if I were to answer the phone, I'd say it would only take you, what, thirty seconds to decide that you wanted to get laid? Then I'm on the phone with him trying to concentrate while you –"

"I would behave." She tries to look innocent.

It doesn't work. He scoffs. "Forgive me if I remain doubtful." He looks at her pointedly, as if to say that the fact that she's rolled over and at the edge of the bed is proof enough of his statement. Just in case she hasn't figured that out, he says as he stalks back to her, "Look where you are."

"You didn't tell me I couldn't move."

He pretends to have not heard her. Ignoring the comment, he returns to his original point. "Wilson can't think we had fun, because that will be suspicious."

His dick in front of her, she curls a hand around his erection. But she only gets to stroke him a few times before he pushes her away.

She sighs in frustration. "If he thinks I hated it, he won't ask me again to –"

"Oh yes he will. He doesn't care if you had fun. He cares if you did it. Coincidentally that's how you're going to be describing the sex we have tonight if you don't get back where I left you."

"So you are planning on having sex with me," she grumbles even as she does what he wants. Rolling over, she crawls back to the center of the bed where she was lying moments ago. Once again she lies down, hands above her head and legs spread enough for him to have complete access to her body. "That's good to know."

For the second time now, he gets onto the bed and moves along her body. Again, he rests his weight on her, grabs hold of her hands, teases her with his dick. Maddeningly enough he is in no hurry.

He kisses her shoulder, her ear, her back. He's doing this on purpose. He's intentionally trying to drive her crazy, which hardly comes as a surprise. But it makes her realize that he has mentally prepared himself to take as much time as he wants. She can't, therefore, egg him into speeding things up, force him to accidentally penetrate her, or control this in any way. The only way she gets what she wants is if she lets him do exactly what he's planned.

That's not hard for her to do. If he has thought this through, it's not difficult to believe that he has in mind ways to punish her if she misbehaves, consequences for each act of defiance. Would he actually deny her an orgasm? She doubts it. This means less to him if she's not getting off on it. But she is sure that there are plans set to make that orgasm harder and more costly for her to have.

Lying there and letting him do as he wants are the only things she can do to get her way.

No doubt he knows this. Her sudden acceptance of the matter is met with more taunting. "See?" he asks condescendingly. "Is that so hard?" He presses his cock to her opening, his dick becoming the "that" in the question.

He pushes the head of his penis into her and just as quickly pulls back out. She moans at the contact and even more so at the loss of it, but she does not complain. She does not fight him.

He does this a few more times to see if he can loosen her tongue, but she has already made up her mind to silently defy him. She doesn't give him the green light to torture her further.

His lips descend onto the nape of her neck. As he kisses her, he inhales deeply, the scent of her perfume and shampoo no doubt mingling in his senses. The hand on top of hers is warm and surprisingly soft for someone used to the harsh soaps at the hospital. And then he says as though pleasantly surprised, "That's good. That's very good."

Having gotten what he wanted form her, he thrusts into her. This time he doesn't stop until he's inside her completely. He stills to give her a moment to adjust to the intrusion, but she doesn't need it. From the beginning she has been ready for him.

The instant he senses that, he moves against her, hips thrusting against her ass with each motion. He nearly pulls out and pushes back in, the sensation making her cry out. She can feel him inside her, filling her like no one else ever has. Her body aches to accommodate his girth, clenches when he hits that spot, and has her moaning so loudly she can barely hear the sounds their bodies are making together – the slick noise of his dick slipping between her labia, the fleshy sounds of his body hitting her ass, and his labored breathing.

He builds up speed, going as fast and as hard as he can go. His hands move to her shoulders for leverage, and he pushes himself upwards so that he can fuck her all the more roughly. She spreads her legs to give him better access, and this time he doesn't have a problem with that. It's the opposite in fact.

"Oh. God," he forces out.

His fingers are bruising her with their grip. Her lungs burn, air rasping in the back of her throat, as she tries to breathe beneath him. He's heavy on top of her, even though he's pulled back to change angles, and there is a little pain that comes with all of it. Roughness punctuates each movement they make, tugs at the edges of her consciousness.

But above all else, she feels raw with need. Each thrust brings her closer to the edge, makes her stomach flutter and fill with desire she can't seem to satiate. He is so perfect inside her that she feels stars and tears prick at her eyes. Her body clenches with each motion he makes, and it's still not enough.

And then in an instant, it is. She's so busy trying to get off that her orgasm takes her by surprise. It hits her quickly and hard. Her toes curl, scream getting tangled in her throat and the air, and she comes with long clenches that she never wants to stop. Pleasure runs through her uncontrollably, and then in her as House joins her in total ecstasy.

Their rhythm immediately breaks down, as they selfishly ride the feeling out. His hands scramble to grasp her hips so he can hold her still. But her body jerks backwards, thrusting of its own accord. Her pussy clenches him tightly, making it harder for him to push in and out of her. If he minds any of this, he's too busy coating her cunt with his semen to care.

They push together once more in a mistimed moment, and then they are too exhausted, too satisfied to continue.

He wheezes behind her as he pulls out. "Oh God," he struggles to say, their lovemaking having taken its toll on his body. Red and sweaty he flops onto the bed beside her. His entire chest is flushed, and she smiles at his apparent exhaustion. Blissfully satiated herself, she takes pride in knowing that she has worn him out, pleased him so much that he has to catch his breath.

Then he winces.

She's less pleased about that. He does it only for a sliver of a second, of course. If she blinked, she would have missed it. He is nothing if not capable of pretending like it doesn't bother him as much as it does. Because as often as he reminds anyone in the vicinity that he has pain, there are times like these where he does his best to hide it. Six months ago, she wouldn't believe that. But the proof is here, right now, when she sees the ache flicker through his features for a second.

At first, she's tempted to ask if he's okay. Immediately realizing how that will go, she refrains, reconsiders what to do. And then the answer is obvious: Vicodin. Surely that's what he would want.

Without a word, she slowly rolls away from him. Her movements are unrushed, intentionally so. The last thing he would want is for her to know that he's in pain, she thinks. He was quick to hide the pain for a reason, and she doesn't want to call attention to it because of that. So she makes it seem like she's just trying to avoid the wet spot on the bed. She acts like, being sweaty herself, she can't get comfortable and eventually sits up.

When she stands up, she purposely makes sure to step on his pants pocket, where she knows he keeps his Vicodin. Pretending to be surprised she asks, "What the….?"

She bends over to pick up his jeans as though she's curious what she's stepped on. Her ass in the air, House is distracted enough to say, "That's a nice image."

She pulls the bottle of pills out of his pocket, tosses it to him. "Put that somewhere so I don't trip on it."

As he discretely takes one, she goes about picking up their clothes and setting them aside. They go on her bureau one by one. Normally she would stick her dirty laundry in the basket she has tucked away in her closet, but that invites questions as to what to do with House's clothes. She's not going to do his laundry, not ready to let him take over drawers or anything else in her home. It's simply too soon, and she's in no rush to get to that step. But at the same time, she's not going to ask him where she should put his things. The mood in the room is calm, something that will be destroyed, she fears, if she makes it clear she doesn't want his stuff here.

He broaches the subject anyway. "My backpack's in the hall. You can bring it to me."

"I can bring it to you?"

"Oh right. I forgot. You will bring it to me. That's what gets you off, right?"

"I don't enjoy being your slave," she says with gritted teeth.

He smiles. "Don't you?"

When thrown back at her, the question isn't so easily answered. If he said that he would spank her unless she got his bag, she knows that would have turned her on. Maybe if he made the demand before they had sex, she would have done it thoughtlessly, being so turned on and desperate for sex she would have listened. Maybe she would do it if she could ignore the implications of giving into such behavior. If she could set aside the shame of doing whatever her boyfriend wanted, perhaps she could go down that road entirely.

But she can't and doesn't know if she ever will be able to.

She's not sure if that's a bad thing, but what she does realize then is that House is right. She needs a list, a set of limitations. Without it, he'll go too far.

Without it, she won't trust him.

To Be Continued