DISCLAIMER: House, MD and its characters are the property of FOX. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By brighteyedcat



Cuddy didn't exactly want to bring her work with her to the bar. All she really wanted to do after a nightmare of a day at the hospital was relax over a glass of cabernet, but she didn't feel like being at home nor did she want to give the impression that she was in need of company. So as a compromise, she worked diligently at one of the dimly lit booths, drinking wine while taking notes and reviewing endless employee reports and their various medical procedure requests.

Not so far away, Dr. Cameron walked into the tiny neighborhood bistro and stood patiently at the bar. More concerned with his numerous happy hour customers, the bartender ignored Cameron standing by the takeout counter for longer than she deemed acceptable. Stepping up onto the brass foot rail under the bar, Cameron hovered over the counter and playfully drummed her hands on it, raising her brows in coy annoyance once she'd finally gotten his attention.

"Name?" The well-polished but incredibly rushed bartender asked, nodding at her.

He was clearly the new guy. "Allison Cameron," she said, stepping down from the foot rail and sitting in one of the barstools to wait. Looking around for a moment while the bartender searched for her order, Cameron took off her gloves and looked over at one of the small booths in the corner, not realizing until the second glance that it was Dr. Cuddy sitting there and working, as usual.

"Ma'am?" The bartender addressed her, drawing her attention away from Cuddy. "I'm sorry, but your order didn't get put in, so if you wouldn't mind waiting for a few minutes, I'll throw it into the queue now."

Cameron sighed, irritated that she had to wait at all. She hadn't been home in at least 36 hours and she was in serious need of a long bath, a good book, and at a minimum, a 12-hour nap before her next endless shift started all over again tomorrow afternoon. "Okay," she said, forcing a smile.

She'd have to wait for food no matter where she went so at least by waiting at the corner bistro, she'd get the dinner she'd been craving all day and maybe even win some brownie points with Cuddy along the way. "Excuse me," she interrupted the bartender before he got too far away. "What is she having?" Cameron asked, nodding to Dr. Cuddy.

"Cimarrosa Cabernet. Can I get you a glass while you wait?" He asked, already pulling down a wine glass from the rack above his head.

"Two," she said, stepping down from the barstool. "And would you bring them over to us please?" He nodded at her with a smile. Thanking him over her shoulder, Cameron walked over to sit with Cuddy.

Cameron couldn't remember ever seeing Cuddy looking so…serene, and dare she say, content? She could only assume that it was because House wasn't anywhere within range. As she approached, Cameron noted the dim flicker of candlelight that beautifully accented the contours of her face, the length of her eyelashes, and the soft curl of her hair. Without a doubt, Cuddy looked like a different woman outside of work. Her intellect and poised sophistication were devastatingly attractive and Cuddy sure as hell knew it, but she was always so nonchalant about it. It was admirable and kinda hot, Cameron admitted. For a brief moment, she thought that maybe she shouldn't interrupt a rare moment of peace for Cuddy, but it was too late. She'd already ordered two glasses of exorbitantly expensive wine and she wasn't about to drink them both herself.

"I'm pretty sure it's against the rules to work during happy hour," she said, sliding into the booth opposite Cuddy. "Kinda defeats the purpose," she smiled.

Glancing up twice at Cameron, just to make sure it was she, and then putting her pencil down, Cuddy strained to smile; her defenses already up and ready for whatever Cameron's ulterior motives were this time. How did she even know she was here? "Dr. Cameron," she greeted her stiffly, reaching for her near empty glass of wine and running her fingers down along the stem. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" She asked, briefly looking around.

Seeing the rapid shift in her demeanor and suspicious glances around the bar, Cameron quickly tried her best to reassure Cuddy. "I'm not here for House," she said, falling short of a better explanation that would have put her at ease.

"Uh huh," Cuddy nodded, sitting back in the booth and folding one arm over her chest while resting her chin on her other hand, not at all convinced. She'd never been to this bar before and specifically chose it because it was completely out of the way of where she lived. There was no way in hell running into House's most devoted con artist was a coincidence. He'd been pestering her all damn day about an extremely risky and in her opinion unnecessary surgery for this new case of his and if he'd sent Cameron to stalk her for approval, he was in for some serious disappointment.

"No really, I'm just…waiting for my dinner," she laughed while nervously pointing to the bar beside them. "It's kind of a local secret, but they have the best ribeye in town." She wasn't sure why she said that. It was irrelevant, but Cuddy was studying her like a contaminated Petri dish, waiting and hoping for her to develop into some infectious disease called House and as a result, she was spewing nonsense. Even if her intentions were pure, Cameron shrank beneath her stare and fumbled for a conversation that would reassure Cuddy that House had nothing to do with her being at the bar.

"Is that so?" Cuddy asked, raising a questioning brow. "I've never had it, but then again I've never been here before," she said, not even trying to conceal the snark in her tone. Taking a last sip of her wine, Cuddy looked up when the bartender came to their table to drop off two fresh glasses for them. "You bought me a drink?" she asked Cameron, perplexed and even more suspicious.

"Why not?" She shrugged, feigning confidence and spinning the deep, crimson liquid around in her glass.

"Can I get you anything else?" The bartender asked.

"No. Thank you," Cameron replied.

"All right. Your food will be right out," he said leaving them alone the table.

"See? Told you I was just here for food," Cameron said, cocking her head to the side and smirking, knowing she was just as paranoid as Cuddy about House's shamelessly manipulative mind games.

Chuckling uneasily, "You must think I'm an idiot. I'm sorry for thinking otherwise, Cameron," she apologized, accepting the new drink by drawing it closer to herself at the table.

"No, don't worry about it. I get it." Raising her glass to Cuddy, "To a night without House," she grinned.

"That's a concept I thought not possible, but here goes nothing," she joked, lifting then clinking the edge of her glass against Cameron's.

Cameron laughed, taking a drink. Moaning softly in appreciation of its flavor, "Very nice, Cuddy," she said complimenting the wine. It was no surprise why Cuddy liked it. Its body was full, rich, and complex; it suited her. "Not that I'm surprised," she said, thinking aloud. "I should have expected you to like only the best."

Cuddy's eyes widened, surprised by Cameron's candor. "Thanks…?" she said hesitantly. "And thank you for another glass. You didn't have to do that."

"It's my pleasure," Cameron replied, licking the wine from her lips and watching Cuddy, wondering if she felt as nervous sitting with her as she did. She didn't appear to be, but then again, nothing ever seemed to faze Cuddy. Not even House half the time. Jumping at the sensation of her phone vibrating in her pocket, Cameron grabbed it to answer. Lifting a finger for Cuddy to wait, Cameron stepped away from the table to take the call.

Cuddy sat quietly, staring at the dark shade of red in her glass and then delicately swirling it around, thinking. She couldn't help but consider the chances that Cameron would be at this bar on this night. It was odd…or was it? God, she really hated House for making her so ridiculously paranoid, always suspecting that there was an ulterior motive of some kind whenever she had a random encounter with one of her employees outside of the hospital. Princeton was a small town; of course she would run into Cameron on occasion. Besides, it was evident that Cameron was here of her own volition, out doing the hunter-gatherer thing in one quick sweep by way of takeout, but she still couldn't trust it because she knew House's tactics all too well. This is insane, she thought dismissing her own psychosis. But then again…even if House wasn't behind this, retaliation was in order for making her think he was, she mused. Lifting the glass to her lips, Cuddy took a long drink of her wine, considered her options, and waited for Cameron to return to the table.

Slumping back into the booth, Cameron returned with a heavy sigh. "Sorry, that was Chase."

"Everything okay?" She asked, though in truth, she didn't want to know. She'd just toasted to a night without House and she had no intention of returning to the hospital even if House had somehow badgered Chase into performing that ridiculous surgery without her consent.

"Oh nothing," she deflected though feeling Cuddy's mistrustful eyes pinned on her for any slight deviation from the truth. "You probably don't want to know," she said shifting a bit in the booth and leaning forward, her long bangs falling from behind her ear.

Cuddy's shoulders tensed and her eyes closed slowly, "House," she snarled under her breath.

Cameron felt like an ass. She couldn't lie to her, but she didn't want to ruin Cuddy's night away from the hospital either. Of course, she also didn't want Cuddy to shoot the messenger so instead she tried to coax the situation as best she could. "Well, it's not all bad," she said. "Maybe one of the new fellows will come up with an alternative plan before 11 tonight."

Cuddy scoffed aloud at the thought, "Right. You'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath." Taking another long sip of her wine, Cuddy placed the glass back onto the table, shaking her head in frustration. "So 11:00, huh?"

"Apparently," Cameron shrugged.

"You're right. I'm sorry I asked," Cuddy growled, taking another sip of wine and fuming at the notion that House would actually go through with this even though he knew she was opposed to it. She might as well get home and start prepping the lawyers again.

In an effort to pique her attention again, Cameron reached across the table and clasped her hand over Cuddy's. "I'm sorry," she said.

"Not you're fault," she said petting Cameron's hand with her own and smiling back at her. She could be so sweet sometimes. It was such a shame that it was all a façade in an attempt to protect the people more dear to her.

"So!" Cameron exclaimed, quickly thinking of a change in subject in hopes of swapping Cuddy's mood back to what it had been before she showed up. She certainly didn't want her to dwell on this surgery long enough to consider leaving…or firing Chase, she supposed. "Have you had dinner yet?"

"Not exactly, no," she replied, putting her files back into her briefcase. "Why?"

"Would you care to join me? I only live about a block away from here," she suggested, tucking her fallen bangs back behind her ears.

"Oh," Cuddy said, surprised and unable to think of an appropriate reply at first. Giving Cameron her full attention, Cuddy stopped putting away her files. "I don't know, Cameron," she backpedaled, playing with the cardboard coasters on the table as if they were poker chips. It was a harmless offer and she'd certainly gone to dinner with other colleagues before but having dinner at Cameron's apartment was an entirely different story. "I have a lot of work to do before tomorrow thanks to You Know Who, and now I have a headache to nurse so I think I should probably just get home." Pausing for a moment, "but thank you for the offer. Maybe another time," she smiled.

Ouch. Shot down by Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Dean of Medicine Extraordinaire. And without any real justification either. It probably happened to a lot of people, but it'd never happened to Cameron and now she felt like a damn fool for asking…not that she was going to let that stop her.

"Are you sure?" Cameron asked. "This place always serves gigantic portions as it is and with Chase not coming home tonight, I'm going to have enough ribeye, boursin mashed potatoes, and asparagus to last me a week! Not to mention, I feel guilty enough for having been an indirect cause of that headache. It's the least I can do," she added, flashing Cuddy an infamously glowing smile as incentive. God, how she wanted to pick that brain of hers, hear sordid stories about House's past, and learn a secret or two about Cuddy herself. Or at the very least, she could maybe earn herself a free pass next time she did something unquestioningly idiotic for House and was summoned into Cuddy's office for a little chat on ethics.

Cuddy laughed, "It's a very generous offer. Really Cam," she paused. She was kind of hungry, now that she thought about it. "How far away did you say you lived?"



Cameron's apartment was about as cozy and welcoming as Cuddy expected it to be, and even though Cameron tried to insist that she sit down while she prepared the table with dinner, Cuddy was not about to let her employee wait on her. Throughout dinner, Cameron was so pleasant and strangely comfortable about having Cuddy in her home that after another couple glasses of wine, Cuddy was almost relaxed enough to take off her shoes. But she didn't. Cameron had, but it was her house. She, on the other hand, was still a guest and more importantly, her boss.

"You could at least take off your jacket and pretend like you're not in a hurry to get out of here," Cameron joked, carrying Cuddy's finished plate back to the kitchen to drop off in the sink.

"I'm not in a hurry," she disagreed albeit betraying her words by looking down at her watch. It was 9:30 and the surgery was scheduled for 11. Pressing her fingers against her temples to put the thoughts out of her head lest her headache make an expedited return, Cuddy sighed quietly to herself before standing up from the table and carrying a couple of other plates and silverware over to Cameron in the kitchen. "I just don't want to overstay my welcome, that's all," she smiled. "This has been very nice though, Cameron. Thank you."

"You're welcome," she answered, taking the plates from Cuddy and stacking them up in the sink. "And you're not overstaying your welcome," she added, squeezing Cuddy's wrist and warmly smiling back at her. Tugging on the end of Cuddy's pink suit jacket, Cameron raised her brows, inviting her to stay a little longer. "Come on, surgery's not scheduled for another hour or so. Might as well stick around for dessert and wait for the call. I live closer," she reasoned with a playful scrunch of her nose.

Rolling her eyes at Cameron's persistence, Cuddy finally agreed to take off her jacket. Offering to take it from her, Cameron carried it over to one of the dining room chairs and carefully slung it over the back, fingering the sleeves of the finely woven wool fabric and quietly swallowing the lump in her throat. Sordid daydreams of her dignified superior in a compromising situation invaded her senses, but were quickly disrupted by the sound of Cuddy turning on the water in the kitchen to clean the dishes for her.

"Oh God, please don't," Cameron said, practically jumping back to the kitchen, reaching over Cuddy, and turning off the water. Shaking her head at her in disapproval, "You can make yourself comfortable, but you're still a guest and I can't let you do my dishes."

"I'm not helpless, you know. I can do the dishes," she argued.

"No, you can't. Besides, that's why I keep Chase around," she laughed, picking up Cuddy's glass of wine and handing it back to her before leading her over to the couch to share a plate of tiramisu she'd purchased from the bistro as a last minute decision.

After however many glasses of wine it had been and catching the slight glint of inebriated wickedness in Cameron's eyes, it was apparent to Cuddy that she and Cameron had moved on from being just work colleagues. They weren't friends either, but…well she wasn't sure what this was but she felt unusually calm around Cameron. She was a beautiful and clever girl to be sure, but Cuddy had never given her more thought than that once it became abundantly clear that she was House's favorite apprentice and that her loyalties were solely with him. That had been enough to deter her from getting to know Cameron before and yet, here she was, sharing stories about House, her residency experiences, and her vast accomplishments in the medical field with her. And all the while, Cameron listened with contented interest, laughed flirtatiously at her jokes, and shared her own tales.

Entertained as she was, Cuddy kept hoping that being in the closed intimacy of her apartment wouldn't affect their professional relationship at the hospital the next day. She was still her boss and she needed to not lose sight of that. The last thing she needed was a House, Jr., and Cameron was certainly an ideal candidate to assume such a role. However, at around a quarter past ten, while she was having another bite of the tiramisu, Cuddy's concerns came to fruition.

"So how do you do it?" Cameron asked, trying not to drawl, but after sharing two bottles of wine plus what she'd had at the bistro, she was undoubtedly drunk. She imagined Cuddy was too, but like everything else, Cuddy was better at hiding it.

"Do what?" Cuddy asked, quirking a eyebrow to gauge the exact nature of Cameron's question and feeling her heart unwittingly start to beat faster from the blonde's close proximity and endlessly curious green eyes boring into her. She knew nothing good was going to come out of this question and for that reason, she would have to think fast in order to appease Cameron and then quickly change the subject.

Cameron chuckled quietly at herself while setting her glass back onto the table and pulling her bare feet up underneath herself onto the couch while consciously shifting closer to Cuddy. "Control him," she said, letting her hand fall onto Cuddy's knee and smirking at her as if she needed to explain.

Cuddy nearly dropped her fork in her hand as she glanced down at Cameron's fingers gently caressing her, but quickly and undetectably regained her composure before answering. Cameron had been unabashedly flirting with her all night and it wasn't like Cuddy wasn't receptive or even reciprocating in her own subtle ways, but she couldn't even imagine the House-induced drama or the damage to her reputation if she indulged Cameron even a little. Still, it was apparent that Cameron needed a reminder that she was her subordinate and that she could not use Cuddy however she deemed fit in order to get to House somehow. That was a definite no-no.

Snickering quietly, Cuddy leaned forward and slid her fork through the soft cake in front of them on the coffee table. Then, cupping her hand under the utensil, she lifted it up to Cameron's mouth. "I think you know," she said, inviting her to take a bite.

Hesitating for only a moment, Cameron opened her mouth for Cuddy to feed her, closing her eyes and nearly melting into a puddle on the couch once the sweet combination of mascarpone, espresso, and chocolate hit her tongue.

Eventually, Cameron opened her eyes and caught her boss watching her with a smug know-it-all grin on her face. It was almost as if she were testing her, and if it was, Cameron felt certain that she would fail. She'd always admired Cuddy's uncanny ability to remain calm in the face of insanity as well as her ability to juggle House and Wilson's antics with astonishing grace. And through it all, she maintained her authority over an entire hospital donned in a perfectly feminine, tailored suit. It was tantalizing. Most of all, however, Cameron could not get enough of her cunning wit. She fell for House for the same reasons and he was an ass. And in some ways, so was Cuddy but only when she was provoked. On her own, she was just stunningly powerful, sophisticated, and as it turned out, unimaginably seductive.

"I guess I do," Cameron smiled shyly, looking at her hands for a moment; wanting to kiss her but knowing she shouldn't. Not that she could move anyway. She didn't know what was wrong with her. Cuddy had all but invited her to give into her daydreams but Cameron could not budge from her place on the couch. But then again, had she? Maybe this was just another game, pushing her into a humiliating situation just so that Cuddy could reestablish authority over her. It wouldn't be unheard of, after all. Terrified of doing the wrong thing but not for a second letting Cuddy see her weakness or confusion, Cameron stayed glued to the spot, waiting for some indication from Cuddy that this was really happening and that it wasn't just another game.

Snickering, Cuddy shifted closer and swiped a touch of the chocolate-dusted mascarpone from the edge of Cameron's lips, then hovered her fingers just shy of Cameron's mouth. Paralyzing Cameron with one look, Cuddy waited expectantly for her to do exactly as her instincts were telling her to do.

At this point, Cameron could only logically deduct that this was no longer a daydream. And as shocked as she was, there was no way that she could possibly daydream the sensation of Cuddy's soft, manicured fingers inside her mouth while her tongue gently sucked the bittersweet chocolate from them. This was definitely real and upon proper realization of this fact, Cameron shifted closer to Cuddy on the couch as Cuddy withdrew her fingers only to slowly replace them with her lips.

The kiss was seductively calculated and infinitely profound; like nothing Cameron had ever experienced before, and as she sat there dumbfounded, Cuddy's hands spread up along Cameron's back. Her fingers smoothed between the ribbing of her sweater and then up into her hair, massaging and scratching the nape of her neck as she deepened their kiss. Reaching for her, Cameron gently cupped Cuddy's face into her hands and the more she thought about who this was touching her and how impeccable and prestigious of a woman she was, the more hungry for her she became.

Cameron's hands fumbled down to find the buttons of Cuddy's shirt and undid them as rapidly she could even though her head was spinning with alcohol and the alluring risk of having an affair with her boss. With her smile about as guilty and wide as a Cheshire cat's, Cameron suppressed her moans and the overwhelming sense of leverage and lust she felt as Cuddy licked her way up along her jugular.

"God, you're good at this," Cameron growled, a darkness coming to her eyes as she looked back at her superior while tearing off her own sweater, then reaching forward and kissing her again.

"Maybe we shouldn't actually – ah!" Cuddy gasped when Cameron's hands found their way through her opened shirt to grope at her through her lingerie. "Do this," she finished, kissing Cameron's cheek and running her hands up the younger doctor's smooth back until her fingers were under the simple and archaic enclosure of her bra.

"And yet…" Cameron snickered, gently biting Cuddy's neck and then flicking her earring with her tongue as she slowly reaching behind herself to undo the hook-and-eye closure since Cuddy was being obnoxiously coy about doing it herself.

Arching into Cuddy's kisses after discarding the garment, Cameron guided Cuddy's hand up until it was over her breast. Then, gasping when Cuddy's fingers found the perfect amount of pressure to tease and entice her, Cameron tugged on Cuddy's blouse and willed it to come off so that she could do the same for her. Though she resisted at first, Cameron finally got what she wanted when Cuddy pulled away from their kiss. The brunette slipped out of her blouse, dropped it to the floor, and tossed her hair out of her face before reaching forward for Cameron and kissing her hard as she undid the buttons of Cameron's trousers and pulled them off of her in one brilliant sweep.

Impressed and excited, "Damn," Cameron moaned as she ran her hands down Cuddy's tight stomach and then over the gentle curve in her hips as she kissed her way along her shoulders, neck, and jaw.

"Allison," Cuddy said curtly and stopping long enough to glare at her in annoyance.

"What?" She asked, breathless though still running her hands through the ends of Cuddy's hair and down her shoulders, not wanting them to stop when they'd already gotten this far.

"Shut up," she ordered pointedly.

Gulping, "Okay," she nodded, momentarily intimidated, but getting it. Biting her lip and laying back against the arm of the couch, Cameron rolled her hips against Cuddy as she held onto her waist, begging her to come down to her.

Having lost sight of control in a blink of an eye, Cuddy resolved that even though no good would come of this in the long term, or worse – tomorrow morning, good could certainly come of this in her immediate future. Besides, she would still have plenty of time to work this situation to her advantage later. The first thing that came to mind was how House always bragged about how he could have had Cameron, but didn't. What an idiot, Cuddy thought, pleased that she had the little vixen right now and all to herself. Absorbed by her own selfish fantasies and games, Cuddy finally shifted forward and lowered herself onto Cameron, knotting her fingers into her long blonde hair and moaning quietly from the rapturous, feminine contact.

Eventually Cameron found the zipper on the side of the dean's pink skirt and slowly pulled the teeth apart before sliding the skirt down her thighs and onto the floor as she pulled Cuddy against her tighter, wanting the woman to teach her everything. Curiously touching the edges of Cuddy's bra, Cameron lifted her eyelashes to watch Cuddy's reaction as she undid the clasp and slid one of the lacy straps down her pale shoulder. Cuddy took the liberty of removing the expensive lingerie between them and once she did, Cameron glanced down and gently touched her, licking her lips and panting quietly at the sensation of having the woman's perfection in her hands and on top of her.

Lifting up slightly to bow her head over her shoulder, Cameron chuckled mischievously into Cuddy's ear as she curled her fingers over the string of pearls wrapped around her neck. "This was your plan all along, wasn't it, Dr. Cuddy?" she teased, capturing her lips once again and kissing her.

"And why would you think that?" Cuddy played along, gasping between kisses as she leant down to nip upon Cameron's collarbones while sweeping her hands down her ribs, stomach, and hipbone. "You're the one who invited me to your home, remember?"

Gasping and squirming beneath Cuddy's exquisite touch, "True," she murmured, grabbing onto Cuddy and holding her closer. "But that still doesn't answer my question," she snickered, licking the skin just below Cuddy's ear and then kissing her there.

Watching the look in Cameron's eyes shift until they were devoid of all innocence while unequivocally soliciting her to play, Cuddy smirked at her as she slowly pushed Cameron back down onto the couch. "I think you've asked enough questions for one night, Dr. Cameron," she said running her hand up the girl's thigh as she leaned down and conquered the smart-mouthed little sidekick once and for all.



"Dr. Cuddy!" House proclaimed, bursting into her office unannounced with an assiduous Thirteen nipping at his heels.

"Ouch!" Cuddy cried having banged her head up against the center drawer of her desk as a result of being figuratively pounced by House first thing in the morning.

Thinking she was doing Cuddy a favor, Thirteen flipped on the overhead lights.

"If I'd wanted the lights on, I would have turned them on myself," she barked, squinting. Sitting up in her chair and gingerly rubbing the back of her head, Cuddy felt a distinctive wave of nausea come over her as a splitting headache slowly developed at the source from where she'd bumped her head. There was no escaping it: today was going to be a bad day.

"I'm…sorry?" Thirteen replied somewhat defensively while retreating backwards to turn the lights back off; the only light remaining being that of the sun seeping through her blinds as well as the dim glow from Cuddy's desk lamp.

Taking a seat in a chair opposite her desk, "You're late this morning," House observed, though his tone was more accusatory in nature.

"Since when did you become my boss?" Cuddy asked, pushing her desk drawer closed.

"You're never late," he interrupted, propping his arms on the hook of his cane between his legs.

"Traffic happens, even to the best of us," she said, continuing her search for painkillers in another desk drawer. Anything to distract her from the diabolical mistake she'd allowed to happen the previous night – and again this morning – with Cameron.

"That was Cameron's excuse too," he pondered. "Interesting..."

"It's not interesting, it's a natural phenomena called rush hour traffic," she said, rolling her eyes at him. Ultimately, she knew that House didn't actually know anything and that he was only digging at her this morning because she'd managed to put the breaks on his unapproved surgery between sultry sessions with Cameron last night. However, the longer House stayed in her office, the more questions he was going to ask and the more her paranoia was going to shift into overdrive. Especially with that curious smirk Thirteen just shot at her. "Why were you looking for Cameron anyway? In case you hadn't noticed, you have a new team working for you now," she said offering an open palm to Thirteen and exploiting the fact that she was standing there useless.

"I wasn't looking for Cameron. I was looking for her devoted sex toy," he explained.

"Excuse me?" Cuddy shot back, answering a little too quickly and a little bit too offended by the remark. Surely he meant Chase and not her. Oh God, what was she thinking getting involved with her!

"Oh, sorry, you might know him as Dr. Robert Chase. You know, that spineless surgeon with big puppy dog eyes and a stupid accent. So…any sightings today?" He asked again.

"No, but I would assume that he's in the OR or something," she said, annoyed, but thrilled to death that she'd found some Tylenol in her bottom drawer, buried under piles of paper, pens, paper clips, and stray staples. Cracking open another bottle of water, Cuddy took three of the white oblong pills with a swig of water. "Why? Chase is already aware that I've shot down your surgery request."

House laughed, mockingly. "Yeah, thanks buzzkill, but no. No," he said, his voice stretching as he did before clasping his hands behind his head and making himself comfortable. "I'm a lot more interested to know what he thinks about you having dinner with Cameron last night," he said, playfully raising his brows to Thirteen a few times as if they were in on some kind of secret together, but the look on her face indicated she was not at all interested in getting involved. "Seems like he would object to his cougar boss sharing a private dinner with his fiancée last night, don't you think?" He asked, directing his attention back to Cuddy and surveying her every move.

"I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to say to that," Cuddy replied flatly. "I have dinner with colleagues all the time, but perhaps you'd like a copy of my calendar so you can investigate this further?" She offered with enough sarcasm that it would take a hazmat crew to properly excavate it from her office.

"No need. I'm only interested in the dinners where you've shared a decadent meal by candlelight in the privacy of your "colleagues'" home. Like, for instance, with Dr. Cameron," he pressed, cocking his head to the side and smiling in that condemning manner that he had perfected over the years.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, House, but it was just dinner," she said, ignoring his assumptions and opening her calendar to begin prioritizing her day, which now included strangling one Dr. Cameron with her stethoscope the second she saw her. "And it was not by candlelight," she corrected, glancing up at Thirteen and immediately seeing that the young fellow was no longer indifferent to this subject. She, in fact, appeared to be very interested now. Shooting a nasty glare at her, Thirteen lowered her sparkling green eyes and tried to hide her self righteous smile as best she could.

"Uh huh," he pondered. "Quick, Thirteen!" House bellowed, turning his attention and cane in her direction and nearly slicing her off at the knees with it. "Differential diagnosis for irritability, headache, sensitivity to light, and – judging by the two empty water bottles in Cuddy's trash – dehydration."

"Sounds like a hangover," Thirteen replied simply, keeping her eyes down on the file in her hands, not wanting to play or interfere with this game as Cuddy had already yelled at her once, but also figuring it was easier to just appease House and move on to why they were really bothering Dr. Cuddy this morning.

"Sounds like someone's skating on thin ice," Cuddy countered, knitting her brows at Thirteen as a third and final warning.

"Ooo," House cooed, antagonizing Cuddy's mood. "I'm onto you," he said touching his index finger to his nose and then pointing at her as he stood up, wobbling a bit before his cane rebalanced him.

"I don't have all day for this. What do you want?" Cuddy asked, getting increasingly agitated.

"I keep telling you, it's not about what I want," he said in a familiar, ridiculing tone, "it's about what the patient needs and he needs surgery!"

Cuddy let out an exasperated sigh. "I thought we already covered this. The answer is still no, House, and if the next words out of your mouth aren't directly related to an alternative treatment for this unknown condition that's killing your patient, I suggest you return to the white board in your office with your devoted new fellows and come up with something else before he dies."

"We already have," Thirteen interrupted.

"Excuse me?" Cuddy asked, befuddled with Thirteen's complacent behavior today.

"We've been here all night and have already tested him for everything else," she explained, stepping forward and handing Cuddy the file to look at again. "There is no alternative, given the parameters we already know about. We all agree that this surgery, while invasive at best, is the safest and best course of action for this particular case."

Harshly scrutinizing Thirteen but opening her mind to the possibility that her argument was somehow valid, Cuddy reviewed the file for what seemed like the hundredth time. She flipped through a few of the pages and saw that Thirteen's analysis of the case was probably accurate. She was still uncomfortable with giving House the go ahead, but it did appear that all other avenues had been examined quite thoroughly before coming to her with this again this morning. "Fine," she said reluctantly slapping the file closed and shoving it forward for Thirteen to take back.

"I knew it was a good idea to bring you with me," House said applauding Thirteen. "It's the eyes. They must remind her of some other idiot doctor she's been spending too much time with lately," he said turning around to hobble out of Cuddy's office. Mission Accomplished.

Knowing that deer in headlights look followed by the flustered glow that came to Cuddy's cheeks at the mere mentioning of Cameron again, Thirteen gave Cuddy a rather shameless once over and then smiled at her when the woman's mouth dropped in shock and unrestricted anger. Taking the hint, Thirteen turned to follow House.

"Dr. Hadley," Cuddy called out, asking her to stay behind as House left to go bother Wilson about her supposed relations with Cameron, no doubt. Never mind that a patient he was responsible for was dying on a hospital bed this morning and major preparations were needed before his surgery was scheduled. Death happened everyday in a hospital, but Cuddy suffering from a hangover after a private dinner with Cameron? Now that was information worthy of a full-scale investigation in House's world of warped priorities.

"Yes?" Thirteen asked smugly as she stepped back up to Cuddy's desk.

"You do realize that I don't actually have to have a reason to fire you, right?" Cuddy threatened in the most non-threatening tone while propping her elbows up onto her desk and leaning her chin onto her clasped hands and smiling at her sweetly.

"Yes, but I'm not –" Thirteen stumbled, shifting her weight uncomfortably under Cuddy's all too friendly stare. "I was out of line, I'm sor–"

"Keep your diagnoses to yourself," Cuddy interrupted. "Understand?" She asked before picking up her pen, returning her focus back to her work, and dismissing Thirteen.

Smiling and letting out a quiet chuckle, Thirteen looked down and bit her lip while shaking her head. She could not believe what she was (not) hearing. "Got it," she said when Cuddy looked back up at her to be sure that Thirteen understood everything that was at stake.

Silently, Thirteen pantomimed her mouth being zipped closed before turning on her heels to leave Cuddy's office now that she had her blessing. Once she reached the door, however, she turned around one more time and smirked at the Dean of Medicine in acknowledgement of the delicious tryst that she'd obviously shared with Dr. Cameron last night.

The End

Return to House, MD Fiction

Return to Main Page