I have two apologies:
One: It's kinda short. I apologize. That was unplanned, due to an also equally unplanned wrist injury. Which makes life a whole lot more difficult.
Two: The end is so not creative. I'm sorry. The next chapter will be better. I found myself in a rut and no way to get out besides finishing the chapter. But it could be worse.
As the days went on, House grew stronger. It was certainly not enough for his physical wounds to heal, but enough for him to not sleep trough the daylight hours. As this alertness increased, so did his boredom; he hated being inside and doing nothing and soon grew restless on Cuddy's couch.
His agitation grew; her paranoia and anxiety did as well. It got to the point where she had to hit him or threaten to throw him out before he obliged to what she was asking.
Cuddy sent Rachel to her aunt's for the long weekend. Things needed to change, and though she hated it, Rachel needed to be out of there for a few days. Sure, House had told her the story of how he got there, but there was still so much to discuss.
Such as... Now what?
To find the answers, Cuddy cornered him in the kitchen, where he was making himself a bagel. She placed a hand on her hip.
"House." She used her Dean of Medicine voice.
"Mmm," House replied, clearly more interested in his masterpiece. He didn't turn around, but Cuddy still set her face in an unpleased expression and leaned on the counter. She tapped a foot. House stole a sideways glance, making no effort to hide the fact he was checking her out.
Cuddy cocked her head, straightened, and raised an eyebrow.
"Yes?" He relented.
"We need to talk."
"About... This!" She gestured to empty air. "It can't just go on like this. You can't just sleep on my couch! I would like to be able to open my curtains and have a social life!"
"Is this about Tom? If so, was the curtain part a metaphor?"
"No, this is not about Tom." She said, frustrated. "It's about me doing you a favor, and you and me figuring this thing out!"
"Okay, okay, you've got my attention!"
"Can we discuss this like proper adults?" Cuddy asked, slightly calmer.
House nodded, slathering his bagel in cream cheese. The two made their way to the dining room.
"First thing, you can't stay on the couch," she motioned to the messy living room.
"In your attic, then?"
Cuddy fought to stay composed, a million emotions struggling to surface. "No, genius. I have an extra room."
What exactly were those feelings? Anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, frustration, disbelief, concern, wariness. Sometimes, she thought she was contradicting herself in her emotions, if it was even possible. When she felt it all at once, though, it usually turned into a panic attack.
"So, in the extra room, then."
She glared. She was determined not to have a panic attack today. "I have a plan."
"Oh, goody. Those come in handy." Sarcasm was clear in his voice. Cuddy chose to ignore it, getting up and heading through the dining room and up the staircase. They passed Rachel's room, and then Cuddy's, and at the end of the L-shaped hallway came to a simple bedroom. It was navy blue in color, with white crown moldings. It had a bureau and a desk, as well as a closet. In the middle was a small double bed.
"Welcome to your new home," Cuddy said bluntly. House stepped in, observing his surroundings. "Not bad. But won't people notice me living here when you regain this so-called social life?"
She shook her head. "You will use that chair to make sure it's locked the whole time by propping it against the doorknob. I think I'll put a little display table there in front of the door and tell people it was an old wood workshop or whatever and I don't want Rachel getting into it."
House contemplated; shrugged. "Works, I guess."
"It will." She said firmly. "Now, go clean up my living room and move your things up here."
The moving was much shorter than the cleaning. As Cuddy watched with an eagle eye, House made her living room spotless – in simpler terms, as it had been before him.
It took most of the day – she gave him a huge grin as he collapsed, finished, exhausting and glaring. She said she had to go into the hospital for the other half of the day and that he was up to his own devices. He chose to watch TV.
When Cuddy got home she headed straight to the shower as House made himself dinner. They ate in silence in front of the TV, both drifting in and out of the room as the night dragged on. They both retired early.
Cuddy made her way down the hall to his room. She stopped in the doorway; House was wearing nothing but boxer shorts. The ugly bruises still covered his abdomen; Cuddy refused to glance at his leg.
He pulled back the covers and noticed her then, stopping. She offered a good-night smile, but it grew faint as she studied the bruising.
"They're really bad," she said, coming into the room. House watched her come towards him and lightly touch the exposed skin. He grimaced, ignoring – and hoping she didn't notice – the goose bumps it gave him.
"I'm fine," she said gruffly, crawling into bed and lying on his back to stare up at Cuddy like a child. She sat on the edge of the bed and pulled back the covers to once again reveal his stomach. Ever so gently, she prodded at the purple, swollen area.
"It's bad, House. Like, hospital visit bad."
Fear pulsed through him and he quickly pulled up the covers and turned his back on her.
She stared at his back and sighed. "Night, House." He heard the soft patter of her footsteps as she retreated to her own room.
Neither of them slept that well that night, often one would wake up to the other's nightmares. Cuddy was drinking coffee in the kitchen when House joined her. Her curly hair was all over the place and bags were visible underneath her eyes. He wasn't all that much better – he looked a lot like he had that first night. Neither of them spoke, but sipped their coffee timidly in the first rays of sunlight.
Later in the day, Cuddy showed House the clothes she'd bought him – he had arrived with next to nothing. She made him try them on and seemed satisfied.
Silence defined most of their time together – they had nothing to say to each other. As they ate lunch, Cuddy caught him staring at her and raised an eyebrow.
"Why did you take me in?" He asked. Cuddy shifted uncomfortably. Truth be told, she didn't really know.
"I don't know."
"Well, you should know." His abruptness took her by surprise.
"You should know why you took me in, for how long, what you're going to do about it, how it'll work..."
"Well, I'll keep you here until you give me a reason to kick you out, or one of us sees fit otherwise. It'll remain our complete secret, but I do plan on having my own life.
"Don't get me wrong – this week is peaceful, but you will have to listen to me and make sacrifices." She took a bite of her sandwich to punctuate her point. House blinked and then nodded. Without another word, he got up and put his dishes away.
This was how it was – they avoided each other for most of the day. And yet, it wasn't awkward. They shared a few words but what either said was important.
"So you'll get back to work, and I'll stay here? And what, laze around and be your prisoner?"
"You'll become of use to me," she replied firmly. "I'll think of something."
Life went back to normal, or as normal as it could be with a fugitive 'ghost' in your house. Sunday night, House tracked down Cuddy.
"What comes now?"
"I go back to work, and we figure things out step by step, as they come. Which reminds me, how are your bruises?"
"Fine," he brushed her off. She didn't believe him for a second. They were as bad as before, turning an ugly yellow and brown.
She gave him a warning with her eyes. "If this goes on for the next week, we have to do something more."
House nodded, distracted. It took her a moment to place it – he was amused.
"What?" She asked indignantly. The doorbell rang; House's grin grew wider.
"What did you plan to do about Rachel?"