It was getting bad.
She had the impending sense of being in a car, belted in without any control over the steering and rolling down a hill. It would be a slow, gradual process that ended in a violent crash and while she was belted in, safe, and would most likely escape with her life there was no telling what would happen to the driver - or if his safety belt was even secure.
A broken MRI machine was the least of her concerns. Firing Doctor Cameron should have been the first priority on her mind after that little stunt, but Cuddy had bigger concerns now. The doors to her office had been closed and locked for over a hour, and that was how she wanted them to remain.
Another failed attempt. Not just one, but another, and she was disheartened that it was the case. Sitting down in House’s office that morning the intent had been to tell him, but she couldn’t form the words. Not with the impending lawsuit he was facing and a team of doctors that were rebelling against his direct wishes.
She really should have fired Cameron on the spot.
Hours passed and when dark came she finally lifted her head, knowing it was time to go home. The clinic was long since quiet and her heels were the only sound as she walked out into the night. Going home to an empty house was getting harder and harder, and dimly she thought of calling him. But calling him at a time like this would mean admitting what was going on, and she didn’t want to say that. Not now, not like this.
The drive home was quiet and uneventful, and when she let herself in the front door she clicked off the small lamp in the hallway, chiding herself for not remembering to do so earlier. She also chastised herself for leaving the door to her bedroom open, since it would now be unbearably cold and-
Cuddy inhaled a sharp breath, keeping herself from screaming in the threshold of her room. “How did you get in?” she snapped, her voice devoid of some of its usual sting. Clicking on the light switch flooded the room and House glared at her irritably from the bed.
“I know where you keep your key,” he grumbled, squinting up at her. Cuddy shook her head in frustration, walking into her adjoining bathroom. She heard movement and then the sound of his steps accompanied by the hit of the cane.
“You’re upset.” His voice was as knowing as always and Cuddy was torn between wanting to cry and wanting to chase him out while brandishing the curling iron on her counter. “Your little princess almost got herself fired,” she snapped, thinking a retort about Cameron would get him off her case. House laughed, short and low in his throat, and she both heard and felt him come closer.
“The only princess of Princeton-Plainsboro inhabits the corner office overlooking the moat,” he retorted, and she laughed helplessly before he touched her. His hand was warm and strong on her shoulder and when she turned there was no exhibited force, only a gentle and discreet pressure of knowing.
Knowing, yes. He knew. The knowing was evident in his eyes and in the way he was looking at her now. There was no more need for words or anything else that could have been done to clarify it. She pulled away from him after a moment, before pity could form in his gaze, crossing from the bathroom and back into the bedroom.
He didn’t say a word even as she stripped her skirt and blouse off, and something in her twisted at that. How often had they been in this situation over the past few months and he’d at least said something mildly vulgar and rather appreciative as she’d undressed? Was she really becoming that...
The rough warmth of his stubble and lips brushed across the curve of her spine before Cuddy could finish her derogatory thought, and she exhaled a slow breath from parted lips. She didn’t turn and kept her head bowed as House slowly dragged his lips along the curve of her shoulder and throat.
“Bed,” he almost whispered against her ear, and when she turned to face him she saw the raw pain in his eyes. Not her pain, but the physical pain he was experiencing through deprivation of the pills that had been part of his life for so long. Her heart twisted momentarily but she couldn’t - and he knew that, too.
A few soft fumbles later and they were in bed, his lean, hard body undressed beneath her, and her lips were moving in a slow trail down his throat. He sighed against her hair, the pressure of his hands strong against her hips, but she resisted the guidance and nipped his ear. Not yet, she wanted to say, but she wouldn’t admit to wanting this and he wouldn’t confess to wanting it to last. They couldn’t even speak, save for kisses and caresses that came with nights like these.
She didn’t hurry, the warmth of her breath caressing his skin as she moved parted lips against his skin. “Lisa,” he hissed, and she let her teeth brush over a nipple at the utterance of her name, the sound coiling a warmth in her lower stomach. Everywhere she kissed she left heat in her wake and as his hands dug harder into her hips she knew he was growing frustrated.
Not yet, she begged silently, the plea nearly escaping her lips as he pushed up to meet her. Warmth and coarseness raked at her skin as his tongue dragged across one of her nipples, teeth nipping once before drawing it into his mouth. A cry spilled from her lips and then control was a thing of the past as manicured nails raked down his shoulders and he rolled once, the hard strength of his body now atop hers.
Everything was a whirlwind, a pulsating turmoil of emotion with no end in sight. He was kissing away her loss and she his pain, and they caressed each others’ fears into nothing, refusing to allow concern to inhibit this. This was all they had, all they could ever have between them, and it was enough. For now, it was enough.
She was soft and yielding beneath his mouth and her spine arched into his mouth as he kissed a warm trail down her stomach, dragging the coarseness of his cheek against her inner thigh. Not yet, she begged, the plea a strangled cry, and he kissed where her pelvis met her thigh, making her whimper with need before nuzzling slowly up the length of her again. Her legs wrapped tightly around his waist and he cursed against her hair, realization bringing him to shift position once more.
Even in the darkness - especially in the darkness - she was beautiful. She was dark hair and pale skin, the remnants of perfume and the salt of her tears - and he wanted to drink all of them in between slow, lingering kisses. Her fingers tangled into his hair, clasping his head against her as he arched up to meet her, and one smooth motion neither initiated or declined he was inside of her and her hips were moving to meet his. His breathing and her cries punctuated the air and it wasn’t going to be long enough - tonight nothing would be enough - but it would last as long as possible and that was all they could hope for.
His hands moved across her back, pushing the tension from her spine and her nails raked delicately down his scarred thigh in a silent prayer for forgiveness at what it had come to be. She buried her lips in his throat, nipping the pulse there, and he suckled a spot at the curve of her throat she loved too much to have ignored, not caring that she would hate him in the morning for the mark that would be there. She lost coherence as he surrendered control and when it was over in a violent wave of cries and shuddering gasps she lay tangled in his arms, splayed across his chest with his fingers tangled in her hair.
She didn’t ask him to stay and he didn’t offer to, but when dawn broke through her bedroom window he was there and she was rising and falling with his chest as he breathed. And when she moved to slip off of him he pulled her back by an arm looped around her waist, burying his face in her hair silently for another long stretch of moments.
They were both wounded, she knew, both hurting now, and maybe they couldn’t make it right for themselves. But if they could make it right for each other maybe it wasn’t as bad as they thought after all.