rubyjuly: (red motorcycle/house)
[personal profile] rubyjuly
Title: Saturday Morning
Author: [livejournal.com profile] rubyjuly
Rating & warning: Adult for a sexual encounter. This takes place after events in "Both Sides Now."
Genre: Het. Wilson/Cuddy, with a hint of Wilson/House.
Disclaimer: Anyone you recognize here does not belong to me.
Wordcount: 2,535.
Summary: When compassion leads to passion and regret.



One of the things Wilson agrees to on the long drive to Mayfield Hospital is that he'll look after House's place. House didn't even make any jokes about not redecorating. He simply asks and Wilson agrees.

House has been in the hospital three days before Wilson comes by to pick up the mail. As he pulls into one of the parallel parking spaces in front of 221 Baker Street, he notices that the living room lights, which he distinctly remembered shutting off before he locked the door and shepherded House to his car, are all on.

He takes out his key at the doorway and wonders if maybe he should call the cops, but he looks back out the exterior door and sees Cuddy's car parked three spaces up the block.

He knocks, and there's a long pause before the door opens.

The apartment smells dead, the air already musty and stale. He's never seen the place with all the overhead lights blazing, since House prefers the muted glow of the many table lamps, and the emptiness, the lack of House in this space, stands out under that unforgiving glare.

Cuddy's wearing jeans and a t-shirt smudged with dust. She has what looks like an Easter basket hooked over one arm, a hot pink woven-straw thing with a floppy purple bow on top. "Somebody sent a baby gift in it," she says as he looks down. The sight is even more incongruous than he first thought: the basket is filled with bottles of Vicodin.

"You've been looking for his secret stash," Wilson says, and Cuddy pushes a loose strand of hair out of her eyes.

"Yes," she says. "It's ... everywhere. I haven't searched the books yet."

This is what they do: cleaning up after the disaster, putting the horse back in the barn, getting called out to the fire when the building's already fully involved. It's a path they've both walked down so many times before, and he volunteers to help before he gives it a second thought.

He starts at the bottom of the living room shelves. He ignores the books too thin to hide a standard pill bottle until he accidentally knocks what he thinks is a single paperback loose. What falls open on the floor proves to be five slender short story collections that House has glued together and hollowed out.

After that, he tips out every book in all the bookcases. He finds seven hiding places. He's about to skip the top of the living room shelves until he stops to think about why anyone as tall as House needs a library ladder.

He finds the gray metal lockbox and brings it down. His heart sinks with every descending step on the ladder. They know House and his private ways, and they've just searched his home with the same intent as a police raid. They've done it more neatly and with a more noble purpose, but Wilson knows exactly how House will regard this necessary betrayal.

He brushes the dust from the top of the box. He hopes it's nothing, but the evidence he's already found tells him he's wildly rationalizing and the time for that is long past.

He's sitting on the couch trying to crack the four number combination when Cuddy walks back into the room. "Unless there's something under the floorboards, I think I've got them all," she says and she comes to a halt.

Wilson holds up the box and gives it a shake. They hear the distinctive sound of something hard rolling around loose. "I bet this is not his coin collection," he says.

Cuddy looks pale and she puts the basket down on the coffee table. "Try four twenty-seven nine," she says. "It's his locker combination." Wilson doesn't even ask how she knows that. He just spins the little metal wheels to the numbers she recited, and the lock clicks open.

The vials of morphine are expired, but not by much, and the rubber tourniquet feels slightly tacky to the touch, as if it's breaking down with age. Wilson finds two torn-open syringe wrappers inside the box, but the used hypodermics are gone.

"How long?" Cuddy asks.

"There's no way to tell exactly," Wilson replies. "Not recently I think."

Cuddy sits down next to him on the couch. Her jaw is set hard, but she starts picking bottles out of her basket and lines them up on the coffee table alongside the ones he found. The oldest of the eighteen bottles dates back nearly two years; the most recent was filled a week ago. Chase, Taub and Kutner wrote most the ‘scrips, but there’s one prescribing physician’s name neither of them recognize and Wilson thinks back to the day House wrecked his motorcycle in New York and then wouldn’t say where he’d been.

The bottles bear labels from four different pharmacies, and none were filled at the hospital. Of course not, Wilson thinks. Nearly being sent to prison didn’t change House at all, except to make him more creative at deception. He wonders if he should be grateful, since he once almost lost everything because House wasn’t so good at hiding it.

"I'm guessing, but it looks like there are nearly three hundred pills here," Cuddy says. She's hunched over, her hand on her forehead like she has a headache coming on. "There was even a bottle inside a box of oatmeal in the kitchen. After Tritter, I thought he'd learned, I thought he wouldn't, but morphine ... godammit," and her voice breaks.

He reaches out to put his arm around her and she leans into him.

She almost never cries, and she's never asked for comfort when he's seen it happen, but this time she turns her face to his shirtfront and sobs. It took House to break her, and he feels a rush of anger he's been quashing for days.

He’s not angry at House as he is now, the speechless man who pulled himself together enough to walk alone into a psychiatric hospital, but he’s furious at the House who did this, who squandered everything they both risked for him.

"Lisa," he says, and he realizes he's chosen that name because House, who has no terms of endearment for her, never calls her anything except Cuddy. If he's being insulting, he calls her by both her names.

He means to press a kiss, a gesture of friendship and comfort, on her cheekbone, but she turns and kisses him full on the mouth. Her lips are hot and he tastes salt from her tears in the corner of her mouth, and then his hands are in her hair and she has a fistful of his shirt.

They're necking like teenagers facing a looming curfew. He runs his hands under her shirt and slips one finger and then another into the cup of her bra, until her breast is in his hand, the nipple firm under his thumb.

She's pulled his shirt out of his slacks and has it half unbuttoned. She's kissing his neck, with every touch of her lips sending a bolt of electricity straight to his groin, when suddenly he hears, in the back of his head, House's voice from so long ago accusing him of eating neediness.

He was right, Wilson thinks.

"Stop. We should stop," he says and he pulls his hand away. She leans back just far enough to look him in the face. She’s flushed and defiant, her chin held high in a way he recognizes from how she storms into battles at work.

"No," she says. "Don't we deserve this? Shouldn't something be ours?"

"House was fixated on you, has been for ages," Wilson says. "I shouldn't ..." and she puts her hand over his mouth.

"That's dead." Her eyes narrow. "And most of it happened while he was losing his mind. This is real. This is now." She takes her hands away and pulls her shirt off over her head.

He looks. He's human, and a man who's been lonely too long. They both need solace, and nothing provides that like the familiar.

The couch is too small for two sprawling bodies and he’s certain House has condoms in the table by his bed, so they wind up there. The room is tidy and the sheets are clean. He took care of that during the long night while he waited to drive House, who passed the hours pacing and vomiting, to Mayfield Hospital.

He pulls off the duvet that holds House's scent and dumps it on the floor. On the way to here he's lost his shirt, shoes and socks, and Cuddy's hands go straight for his belt when he turns around.

She's down to her bra and panties, her shirt left on the couch and her jeans in a tangle in the hallway. He slides his hands around her back and unhooks her bra. When he bends to kiss her breasts, she pushes his trousers and boxers down together.

He steps out of them and slips her panties, those little wisps of embroidery and lace, past her hips and down her legs. She pushes him down until he's sitting on the edge of the bed, nudges his knees apart and has her hand on him.

She’s very good at this, if the sureness of her grip and how her fingertip seeks the soft skin between his scrotum and anus is anything to go by, but he stops her, his hand on her sleek back, before she sinks to her knees in front of him.

He’s not a fan of blowjobs with a condom on, but he won’t let her do it otherwise. In all his forays across the ever-shifting frontline of his own sexuality, he’s never risked anyone’s health, including his own, regardless of the number of times he’s killed his marriages. He leaves most of the self-destructive behavior for House.

“Come on, come on now,” he says. He kisses her between words, pulls her up his body and onto the bed.

The condoms are there, plain blue wrapper Trojans (somehow he’d expected something sleazy, if House’s self-reported exploits are to be believed) and Cuddy unwraps one and rolls it down his cock.

He stuffs a pillow between his back and the headboard and she straddles his lap, sinks down and takes him in, her head rolling back as she does. He's always astonished at how women hold this pleasure deep in a cradle of bones. He wants to touch her everywhere, anywhere his mouth and hands can reach, but she takes his hand and guides it between their bodies and crooks his fingers just so.

“There,” she says breathily. “Just there.”

She clenches with every thrust into her body. There's a bloom of sweat on her neck, and he sweeps her hair aside to kiss her there. She cries out, a high, quick gasp when he nips her skin between his teeth.

He can feel his own orgasm building, that coiling tension down his spine, and he moves his hands to cup her bottom. She leans back, and he dips his head to suck her nipples. Her hand has replaced his between their bodies, and she's holding onto the headboard of the bed with the other.

He looks at her, and her eyes are half-closed. She's looking away from him, a glazed, sidelong gaze that's turned toward the window, and then he knows they've both imagined being here before and she's seeing House behind her eyes like an image viewed through a stack of old photographic negatives.

We are too much alike, he thinks, and the thought makes him falter. He's not sure he can finish this. She moves against him and leans forward, her forehead against his, and he can see all the flecks of gray and gold in her eyes. It's like looking at a calm sea, and nothing like the sun dog corona of white in House's eyes.

He wraps his hands around her waist and presses down while pushing up with his hips, and that's enough to send her over the edge. She shudders, her head thrown back, a furious blush rising up the length of her throat, and she is spent.

She kisses him again and rolls to one side. He turns on his side to face her without looking at her. He's wound so tightly that he'd swear there's a high tension line running from the top of his head to the base of his spine, but release feels both unattainable and undeserved.

And then she runs her hand down his body and pulls off the condom. She kisses him, deeply and deliberately, winds her arm around his neck and murmurs, "Let me do this," against his mouth.

It ends as it began, with her hand on him, and the third stroke is enough to snap that line. He cries out and pushes into her slick fingers and the promise of oblivion.

But it doesn't last. They're back in their bodies and together in a bed where they shouldn't be. She curls up against him for a few minutes before sitting up and wrapping the sheet around herself. The closeness between them is fading away like smoke rising from a blown-out candle.

"That was wonderful and cathartic and ..."

"And it's not going to happen again," he says.

"No, it's not. I think we’re both a little out of our heads," She looks down at his hand splayed open on the mattress and touches him, just once, to trace a line across his palm. "And this is not really about us, is it?"

He can't answer her. They've spilled out their secret selves like wine poured into a pair of broken cups, but there are still things that will not be said or admitted, not now or ever.

Once they're dressed, he sees her to the door. She picks up her handbag from the chair beside it and turns to leave.

"Your basket?" he says.

"Burn it. Throw it away," she replies, and then she opens the door and is gone.

Wilson looks around the deserted room. They've missed the banquet and satiated themselves with this stolen meal. This room, with all House's things in it, with the same slant of light he sees on the same patch of rug, the clocks and mirrors and gadgets scattered on every surface, is his place alone.

He sets about removing their presence. When he strips the bed, he finds her handprint in a stiffening white outline on the gray bed sheets, and he draws the same line across her absent hand. The gesture is meaningless without her, and he folds the mark inside the sheet.

He flushes the pills, puts the bottles, sheets and lock box in a trash bag so he can deal with them at home.

He thinks he'll call Lady, his old housekeeper from his last marriage, and ask if she can come by and thoroughly clean the place next week. By the time she's done, the apartment will smell of lemon and pine, and not a whiff of this shame will linger.

He turns out the lights, and locks the door on the silence.

~~ Finis

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rubyjuly

July 2012

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