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Bad Company

Aftershocks 29.1: Let's Make a Deal

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Aftershocks 29.1: Let's Make a Deal

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: The only way to give anything to House is to make him think he's stealing it.
CHARACTERS: Cuddy, House
RATING:
R for language and themes (gen fic).
WARNINGS: Details the aftermath of events in Bad Company, a rough, violent story. Aftermath isn't always pretty; may distress some readers. Adult themes and adult language.
SPOILERS: No.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: The pieces of this shattered story are numbered. The first number signifies the number of days that have elapsed since the original event in Bad Company; the second number signifies when the fic occurs during that day.


Let's Make a Deal


"What now, House?" she sighs as she hears her office door swing open.

"Is that the way you greet your favorite department head?"

"No. That would be, 'What can I do for you, Doctor Wilson?'  You're not even my second favorite. At present you're in a dead heat with the head of Janitorial."

"Liar. You'd never have paid a hundred million for the Tidy Bowl Man."

"This hospital's independence was worth a hundred million. You were just a dubious perk."

"I'm good at being dubious, but perky? You wouldn't know about that unless you had -- ohhh, that's right, you did sleep with me!"

"And I out-perked you by a two-to-one margin. So," she purrs, offering her most cunning smile, "are you headed for the clinic all by yourself, or do I have to have the nice men in uniform show you the way?"

"You wouldn't."

"This is the fourth time in two hours you've interrupted my work. Care to bet?"

House shuts his mouth but does not turn to go. He leans on his cane at a slightly odd angle, and Cuddy notes that his right hand is bandaged.  She decides not to ask what happened because first of all, she probably does not want to know and second, he will use the question to divert her from ... well, who knows from what.  He stands there and stares at her -- not the leering stare of a moment ago, but the troubled, guarded one that makes her think of ghosts, of half-formed figures moving behind a pane of glass. 

"You want something. Just tell me what it is, so I can say no and we can get it over with." What she means is, Tell me what you need and I'll do my best to help. Life would be so much easier if she could just offer and he could just accept, but that's not how it works with him. She has long since learned that the only way to give anything to House is to make him think he's stealing it.

"I want you to --"  He looks away, down at his hands, and then at the door. "You should go see Wilson."

"Is he doing all right?"

"If by 'doing all right' you mean 'being a constant pain in my ass', sure. He's demanding, whiny, always hungry, and I'm sick of it. You agree to come over for an evening, do your maternal nurturing thing, and I'll ... leave you alone for the rest of the day."

"If by 'leave me alone' you mean you'll go to the Clinic ..."

"Fine." He's caving far too quickly, but she's not going to call him on it, not going to tell him that she knows damn well he isn't sick of Wilson. "Sadist," he growls at her. "I just thought you might want to go play mommy for a while, since Wilson's real mommy doesn't love him anymore."

"You mean his family --?"

"AWOL. Or MIA, or whatever set of letters mean 'uncaring selfish hypocrites' these days."

"They're still on that cruise?"

"The Rhine must have frozen over," House mutters, and then he's gone as suddenly as he appeared. He must be distracted; he never even waited for her answer. She picks up her pager and sends him a quick message: tonight 6.

Cuddy stares down at the calendar on her desk, but instead of dates she sees Wilson in his hospital bed, surrounded by cards, flowers, pastel trinkets and no people. His isolation had bothered her then, but she never thought House cared about that. He had always seemed to like having Wilson all to himself.

Maybe he's just careful who he shares with, she thinks, feeling a sad little smile tug at her mouth. She wonders what she should bring when she visits, and decides that she'll have to ask House. No one else would know as well as he would, and she can't ask Wilson himself. Hard as it is to give anything to House, with Wilson it's almost impossible. House at least will admit that there are things he wants.

She's jarred out of her thoughts by the ringing of her phone. It's the line from the Clinic's admitting desk.

"Yes?"

"Six is good," says House. "Wear something sexy." He hangs up before she can say anything, and she hates herself for immediately thinking of that red silk tank she hasn't pulled out of the closet in ages.

Well, what the hell. The color makes her feel happy, and maybe James will like it. He's got to be tired of looking at wrinkles and stubble.
 
  
  • House at least will admit that there are things he wants.
    So very true. All of his wants are about House and for House.
  • I *love* how your Cuddy handles House. Very much looking forward to seeing her visit Wilson! (I can almost forget that Martin is out there, lurking. No! I'm going to totally forget that for another chapter, if I can!)
  • I wonder if the absence of Wilson's family is an indication of something more sinister...

    Lovely section as usual. You write a wonderful Cuddy...occasionally on the show she seems to lack backbone, but she's strong and witty here, for which I'm grateful. :-) The banter at the beginning was great, as was the bit about her red silk tank at the end.
  • Greetings!

    Hmmm... delicious wonderings about What It All Means. Is House, for once in his life, going to admit that he needs help, that he might be just the teeniest bit in over his head here? Is it a gift of a friend for Wilson? Or... is he simply dumping the job of telling Wilson about Cuddy's pet project firmly back in Cuddy's lap? Or some of each???

    Curious readers want to know, etc. And this reader loves the way you handled Cuddy here - a wonderful blend of sharp and feminine - and thoroughly amused and aware of House besides.

    Thank'ee's as always for writing and sharing this wonderful tale!!!
    -Katrina
  • (Anonymous)
    I also adore your Cuddy! Thank you too for bringing up the fact that Wilson's family still hasn't come to see him, since I was wondering about that.
    What's House up to? I can't believe he would put Cuddy in danger, so either he thinks that Martin won't attack if Cuddy is there or he needs someone to babysit Wilson while he seeks out Martin himself...
    • (Anonymous)
      I also hope we get to see the Cuddy and Wilson scene.
      Whoops, I should have signed off there. Taiga
  • Awh I was starting to miss Cuddy. The way she talks to House is wonderful.
    He stands there and stares at her -- not the leering stare of a moment ago, but the troubled, guarded one that makes her think of ghosts, of half-formed figures moving behind a pane of glass.
    Gah. Cuddy is so close, she has no idea.

    I haven't commented on this before, but I just had to tell you how much I love this fic.

    Kinks
  • Well I'm late reading the new awesome chapter because I have been squeeing non-stop over the H/W goodness in tonight's episode.

    I loved this line Well, what the hell. The color makes her feel happy, and maybe James will like it. He's got to be tired of looking at wrinkles and stubble. Made me laugh out loud.

    Here's what I don;t get though. Why does House want Cuddy to visit Wilson? How is that going to help keep Wilson safe?
  • Yay, Cuddy! I was just thinking, "Man, I'd love another Cuddy chapter." I hope we get to see her visit.
  • I love your Cuddy. She is a sincere friend of both House and Wilson, she knows how to relate with them, she is smart, she is strong, she is feminine... in a word, awesome.
    Thanks for this.
  • your Cuddy rules! but yes i wonder why House wants her to visit Wilson? maybe its just because she hasnt yet? Well whatever it was a loverly chapter! and i loved the last few lines ^_^

    :P

  • I'm *not* a Cuddy fan, but this whole story arc has me gripped, so I read every word of this part as usual. Dressing for Wilson's enjoyment? Hmm...better not make House jealous ~smile~ And I didn't even think of evil men who I won't name the whole time I was reading
  • Cuddy and Chase are in a dead heat for Best Supporting Character. I love them.

    Chipping in a giggle for I out-perked you by a two-to-one margin. Oh, Cuddy; you can tell how long she's known House by how quickly and cleverly she returns his volleys.
  • (no subject) - whathobertie
  • :D Go Cuddy!!! Maybe she can brighten up Wilson's day... WHY am I reminded of Wilson bringing Cuddy to the bondage exhibit...?
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